January 31, 2010

[thirty first]

Our final day together took K and I to the sea. It was good to hear crashing waves again.

After some long decision making, we decided to go to Laguna Beach.  It was an absolute beautiful day -- clear skies, warm weather, a slight breeze.  We spent about two hours on the beach soaking up the sun, looking out towards the horizon, and taking an outrageous number of pictures.

We walked along the streets of Laguna and bought a fruit tart with kiwi slices and blueberries at a small bakery.   We ate at a Taco Bell with a vintage sign for lunch.  T-Bell never disappoints :)

I had such a great time with K -- a weekend completely full of laughter, music, food, memories, and spontaneous dancing.  I hope an adventure in the PNW is in our near future!

Written 2/6/10

January 30, 2010


The second day in SoCal with K was pretty much devoted to eating, so it's no surprise my photos from that day were mainly of the comida.  The above photo is of lunch: Korean Hot Pot.  I had Kimchi Soup with little hot red peppers, tofu, and bits of beef while K had the Tofu Soup. It came with these delicious side dishes that we split too.

The honorable mentions show breakfast and our after-lunch snack.  We had mango and bananas for breakfast and this particular banana slice looked like it was scared.  Eating tropical fruit in that warm environment made it impossible to think it was January.  K also really wanted to take me to Yogurtland and I'm so glad she did -- It was incredible! So many flavors and toppings! I got Arctic Vanilla, Dutch Chocolate, Coconut, and two other flavors I forgot were in there.  Topped it with mochi balls (mmmmmmm), white and dark chocolate chips, blueberries and, for the first time ever, sacrificed flavor for the sake of a photo: I wouldn't have put M&M's on top, but it added some fun color.

After this we shopped and saw Sherlock Holmes.  It was a great day :)

Written 2/5/10

January 29, 2010

[twenty ninth]

I spent the weekend with one of my best buddies, K, in SoCal.  K is wonderful -- she's so funny, bubbly, lovely, and all-around great.  Although we've lived in different states for nearly five years, time hardly feels like it's past during our reunions.  We still laugh about the same memories we've told for years and never fail to make more hilarious ones when together. 

We spent most of the first day in Long Beach -- pigged out on a great Indian buffet, toured the Queen Mary, marveled at the sealife at the Aquarium of the Pacific, and accidentally took an hour long bus ride through the city at night (there was a really smelly woman in the seat in front of us).

The Queen Mary was fun.  Our admission included the Ghosts & Legends Tour where we followed a guide through a theatrical tour of the most haunted parts of the ship.  Mysterious fog billowed up in the closed pool and water droplets splashed our faces in the boiler room.

After, we went to the Aquarium.  K was a little photo-obsessive about the jellyfish and seahorses, but I must admit, they are pretty fascinating.  The scariest part for me of the whole day wasn't the bus ride - it was touching a tiger shark in one of the petting pools.  K did it no problem but freaky shark kept fidgeting around when I stuck my hand in the water.  I didn't feel like returning to the PNW sans my right hand, but I eventually touched him and he felt like soggy sandpaper.

This picture is from my favorite tank: The Clownfish! It was like a party in there, full of Nemos and Dorys :)

It was dark on our drive home but I could see the trees and hills so prominently.  I thought it was light pollution or me just being used to the darkness of Washington nights, but I guess it was one of the brightest moonlights of the year (aka The Wolf Moon).  For real.

We reached K's place and sat down to watch Taking Woodstock.  K baked up a homemade apple pie she'd had frozen since last year and we noshed on that.  The culmination of dessert, being up since 4 am, walking all over the Aquarium and, well, a pretty boring movie made me pass out on the couch.  We decided to head to bed and looked forward to another day.

Written 2/5/10

January 28, 2010

[twenty eighth]

B, mom and I saw Avatar! We are ultra cool in our 3-D glasses.  The movie was really good even with the freaky cat-human hybrids.  Seeing it in IMAX 3-D was completely worth it for the effects too, especially since most of the time the creatures are running or flying through a gigantic jungle. 

Poladroid made this photo look pretty overexposed and even with some photoshop tweaking, I couldn't bring our skin to its natural hue.  It's reassuring though to know it's just a photo problem instead of thinking you look like ghosts after seeing Avatar.

Written  2/2/10

January 27, 2010

[twenty seventh]

Taking Woodstock from Netflix arrived today + Found this on my break: Netflix Origami

[twenty sixth]

Last night, the plan was to go out with a few good friends to a local restaurant for their trivia night.  Unfortunately, that plan didn't materialize because 1) Our intended trivia destination was full and 2) The back-up trivia had already started.  Instead, we chose to go to one of our favorite eateries: Old Spaghetti Factory.  We made it to the restaurant before it closed despite direction disagreements and stopping to check the curious sound of screeching metal coming from the car.  Our waiter sounded exactly like the host of Cash Cab.  I was really hoping our table would light up and our waiter would say, "Ok, ready for the first $25 question?" I suppose I was still in the mood for trivia. It was good to see old friends again to reminisce, swap stories about crazies on the buses, and dish on the latest celebrity gossip. 

At OSF, the paper placemats feature photos of many of their locations.  My intended photo was to be of my used butterknife sitting next to the tiny image of our restaurant, but since the restaurant was dimly lit, I couldn't take an ideal photo.

We got lost on the ride back home and so drove through Downtown at night.  It's always intriguing to see the empty city at night where the manholes are steaming and men are pressure spraying the streets. I took pictures from the car and noticed this glass sculpture perched on the corner of a shop awning.  I'd never seen it before and could only make out much of what this photo captures, so I'd like to see it again in daylight.  This is the first completely out-of-focus photo I've posted.  I like the mystery that creates.

[twenty fifth]

Any opportunity I have to provide food for a celebration I use as an excuse to bake.  Knowing there was going to be a birthday at work and that I had a neglected box of Hershey's Dark Chocolate Cocoa Powder in my cupboard, my brain instantly went to brownies.  I searched the web for recipes and found this one.  This was the first time I'd made brownies from scratch and they came out alright.  They were super dark and although they'd have a great name (Jackie's Blackies), I don't know if I'd use the dark chocolate cocoa again.  They just didn't taste like the classic brownie I was expecting.  I'm thinking I could make the brownie with plain chocolate cocoa powder, but use the same dark chocolate frosting next time.  Oh yes, there will be a next time. 

I had 20 pictures of these two brownies because I wanted an action shot of me powdering the squares, but that didn't exactly work.  Most of them have a flesh-colored blur in the upper left corner.  I still like the result of this photo though, especially since my favorite plate is in it.

January 24, 2010

[twenty fourth]

Mmmm, I can be a sucker for articifial scents.  Walked into Bath & Body Works and walked out with three new bottles of soap: Nectarine Mint and Island Nectar.  The orange colors on the bottles are so sunny and energizing!  Needed more soap, got some more soap and loving it.

On a completely different note, a couple new favorite quotes came out of this weekend:
J: Why is everything a vague reminder of something else?
J: I want to have a day of spontaneity with you.
B: We can't plan for that.

[twenty third]

It was particulary hard to choose one photo for this day.  This is why I found it necessary to include a couple Honorable Mentions below.  I picked the photo above because I found it the most visually interesting - the architecture, the reflection in the lamp and glass building, the unusually clear blue sky on a January day in Seattle.  B and I were heading home after an eventful day together when I took the photo:

We burned some calories with a morning jog and headed downtown for a quick lunch and our first trip to the SAM.  We saw the special exhibit of Michelangelo's public and private works.  It was amazing to see his original sketches for a few of the bodies painted on the Sistine Chapel and how effortless they looked.

The SAM was also featuring the photography of Imogen Cunningham. I liked many of her portraits and seeing how she played with light.  This photograph I was especially fond of because it makes we wonder about what was happening during this shoot: Was the couple posing? Is the woman tired? Are they being affectionate? What is she doing with her hands? Something more superficial that gets me is the woman's hair looks like a style from today, so I was surprised the photo was taken in 1922.

(left) The sunlight was beaming down on our faces and glinting off of B's crystal blue eyes.  Although that's not pictured here, it's what I remember when I see this photo.  The photo captures a certain moment in time, but evokes a different one in my mind.

(right) That evening, B and I passed by a local restaurant.  We came across this lonely onion ring sitting on a post. 

[twenty second]

Guhhh, what an incredible piece of bread this was.  It had a perfectly crisp, browned top, sprinkled with sea salt, slathered with salted butter and the warmest, pillowy interior.  The piece was sliced from a loaf of Trader Joe's rosemary bread I splurged on. The extra dollar was well worth this moment.  There's something about rustic bread and its uneveness and varying textures that make it so much more memorable than a bag of the presliced.  I enjoyed it so much, it was almost gone before I took the photo!

[twenty first]

Last year, I got a slow cooker from my folks.  I prepared comforting beef stew several times which was perfect for the autumn and winter nights.  I wanted to get more out of my new culinary best friend so I went to the web for a recipe expedition and found this little gem: Slow & Simple.  After a week of gathering the ingredients, I finally made the Best Yet Chili and it was delicious! I omitted the celery and threw in a can of corn instead.  The only changes I'd make are reducing the amount of cinnamon (I eyeball'd the measurement and it smelled more cinnamony-sweet than I expected) and adding the diced green pepper in the beginning because it was still too crispy for my taste.  I garnished the chili with sour cream, green onion and colby jack cheese.  Not the most heart-healthy, but oh so tasty!


I can cook satisfying meals for myself. I can make my bed and fluff the pillows. I do a decent job cleaning the dishes. I don't claim to be a domestic diva, but why can't I master the laundry? Obviously, I need to spend more time separating out my dirty clothes before throwing them into the washing machine like ingredients to a fruitcake. This jacket is prone to getting lint stuck to it, but this is outrageous. I'm pretty sure it from the white and pink wool socks that spun around with it.

January 20, 2010


Some of these photos are taken because I want to capture something I see and I will then write a story about it.  Others are taken because I first have a story to tell and want a visual to aid it.  This photo represents the latter.  The shoes pictured above are one of my favorite pairs.  For one, they're the only bronze shoes I own making them unique amongst the blue, brown and black pairs that dominate my closet.  I like the details - small pleats near the toe and a whimsical design covering the sole.  I also like how they are the only pair of flats that always stay on my feet thanks to the buckles along the ankle.  Most of all though, they do something you can't see with a picture: They click like heels when I walk in them.  When I hear it, I just feel so absolutely girly!


Today was a completely unexpected beautiful day.  After being blanketed by clouds and sogginess for many days, it was wonderful to be able to jump around outside and not sweat because of physical exhaustion but rather by the sun beaming down on my face! I walked around the lake and tried to capture a few long shadows being cast by the trees.  I think this picture is just ok.  I would have liked one of a tree in the background with the shadow coming forth in the foreground, but didn't want to damage my lens by looking directly into the sun.


It was a quiet evening of classic film and alcohol.  B and I chose to watch Chinatown while we sipped on mixed drinks of choice.  The photo is of the Bomby Sapphire gin bottle B contributed for martinis and gin and tonics.  Along the side it shows the different ingredients that flavor the alcohol.  Below the leaf and branch illustration it says Cassia Bark, but I can't help but see that drawing as a Thanksgiving turkey.



I was cleaning up my dish rack when my eyes caught the sun reflecting off the bottom of this pot.  I'm not sure how this swirly design was created, but my suspicion is from scraping a fork about the bottom while boiling spaghetti. I'm not sure if it's bad for the pot, but I am sure I like the design.

January 19, 2010


I enjoyed a girl's night out with a couple good friends and it was wonderful to catch up. We dined at a nice Italian restaurant downtown and I had a chicken piccata in a lemon-butter with capers, potato fingerlings, and green beans.  It was a toss up between the photo of my main dish or the incredible tiramisu we shared for dessert.  I decided on this one because all the ingredients described are featured clearly.


My first theater movie of 2010 was Up in the Air and I enjoyed it.  I'm no movie critic, but it had a good balance of comedy and drama, likeable characters, and, like the other Jason Reitman films,  creative opening credits.  I even managed a laugh when George Clooney's character says, "Photos are for people who can't remember. Drink some gingko and let the photos burn."



I baked a batch of cornbread muffins from a mix...yes, I took the easy road.  They were good but unfortunatly, not one came out of the tin intact.  All the bottoms were apparently too cozy in their individual cups.  Oh well, the tops were good - guess I should consider the tin half full.


On a rain soaked walk, I took this picture because I've always liked this tree-lined piece of campus.  Some of my photos I like better in their original format, but I like how the Poladroid made the picture slightly blurry and the dark trees pop.


Spontaneously, I searched "best chocolate cookie recipe ever" on google.  I was craving a cookie and had an urge to bake so after some brief browsing, I chose this recipe. The writer is adamant about adding sea salt and I followed the recipe exactly, or so I thought.  Apparently coarse salt isn't sea salt :-/ Despite biting into occasional salt bunches that made me think I was chomping on a salty eggshell,   I could tell why someone would deem these best ever - they were crispy and thick on the outside and perfectly soft within.

I attempted to form a couple heart-shaped cookies but admit that they didn't quite bake that way.  One wanted so badly to be a round cookie like his buddies, a very obese round cookie.  The other (seen here) was a tad more appreciative of my goal and kept a lopsided heart shape.  A little nibbling about the sides got it to look how I wanted. 

Initially I placed this heart cookie on a small plate and shot the photo from a bird's eye view, but it looked lonely and boring.  Instead, I opened a bag of unused gingerbread house candy and put it behind the cookie for visual interest.  I quite like the result.

I heard a song on a commercial this evening that I remember previewing last week from the Youth in Revolt soundtrack.  It's pretty cute and appropriate for this photo.

"When U Love Somebody" - Fruit Bats


It's getting to see sights like this that remind me of what a majestic place I live in. 


B took this photo, not me.  But since I spotted and directed the shot, I should at least get partial credit, right? We were on our way out of the Super Mall and noticed the broken sign sending out a greeting.  It would have been cooler if it said, "Sup Ma?"


Simply put,  I caught a cool reflection in my faucet handle, grabbed my camera and snapped it :)


A date night took B and I to Ballard's Veraci Pizza.  Our wood-fired Neapolitan pie was pretty delicious - kalamata olives, artichoke <3s, sun-dried tomatoes, and chevre! We satisfied our sweet teeth with a stop by Molly Moon's, splitting a cinnamon ice cream sundae with pumpkin seed brittle, hot fudge, and homemade whipped cream.   All in all, a wonderful night for the tastebuds.


Throughout the progression of this photo project, I realize when I'm at a loss for an interesting picture of something, I'll just end up using myself as the subject.  It helps me practice techniques photographing people and forces me to get creative with camera placement since I'm not behind the viewfinder.  I used my tripod for this photo and got to know it's swivel capabilities and leg extenders very well.  

To be honest, I'm not fond of the lamp pole in the background but this lamp provided the best spotlight.  I really like silhouettes because of their simplicity.  It's amazing how an outline can draw out a figure so familiar.  This is why I love the Live Inspired Positively Green card collection.


These are my pj pants and I consider them to be the cutest I own.  They're covered with dogs and tiny hearts.  I didn't think much of this picture when I took it but I then remembered what happened to these pants on that night.  B and I were munching on salted chocolate-covered caramel, oblivious to the specks of chocolate landing on our pants and melting like snow.  Suffice to say, the dogs and hearts were joined by small brown circles.  Wow gross, you can see the chocolate spots in the picture right below the dog...maybe not the best placement :/

January 16, 2010


I guess a desire for some perspective prompted this photo.  This was probably my 20th attempt to get a photo with my feet in the foreground and the rest of my body still visible from behind.  At first, I had several pictures of the bottom of my feet but felt something was missing.  Then I tried to get my face visible through my spread out toes -- let me tell you, the 10 sec camera timer had never felt longer. I was contorting my body in ways I should never attempt again without proper yoga training.  After some tricky camera positioning, eventually, I snapped this guy. 


One of my first purchases of 2010 was Scrabble.  I never played it much as a kid, but have always loved word games.  To this day, I still search the comics section of the newspaper for Jumble.  

This photo is from our first game, which I won! Unfortunately, I've been getting my butt kicked ever since.


B and I weren't able to make a gingerbread house on Christmas, so we opted to make one for New Year's.  This was the second time I'd made a gingerbread house from scratch.   Although my first attempt eventually managed to stand on its own, I remember it always being on the verge of crumby collapse. 

Our house became a two day effort: We made the dough and baked the pieces on 1/1 and built the home 1/2.  B was the architect in the process and my role was supplier I suppose (providing the dough and frosting).  Basically, I was Home Depot.  Our first blueprint was a two-story home with a stained-glass window (made of melted sugar and food coloring) but it proved too ambitious with dough rolled too thinly.  We went to plan B: the common four-walled, slanted roof gingy home nailed together with confectioner's sugar and water. 

After we had cut out the pieces of our house, I was inclined to just throw away the rest of the dough. This prompted B to say our now commonly used exclamation, "What do we live in? The land of plenty?!!" We salvaged the dough to make a few miscellaneous shaped cookies and cut-outs of ourselves. Apparently, our gingerbread identities don't get a lot of sun.

Despite dough frustrations and tedious house decorating complications, our house creation was a success! It had a candy rock chimney, Andes mint door, candy cane windows, and the most lovely chocolate wafer shingled roof. All in all, it was awfully sweet :)

January 12, 2010


When the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, not only does it mark the beginning of a new year, but for me, it also brings the expectation of a living room floor littered with paper ribbons and confetti by 12:01 AM.  Exploding party poppers on New Year's Eve has been a tradition in my family forever - I love the tiny thrill of pulling that string, watching the weightless colored streamers fly out, and catching a whiff of the accompanying plume of smoke.  A couple years ago, my dad found a few 8 inch tall poppers from Pier 1 Imports.  Instead of yanking a string, the bottom is twisted and a spring pushes forth a bouquet of shimmering cellophane curled ribbons! These poppers have become our new standard.  My boo, B, and I shot off four this year to commemorate the start of 2010.