Bloggity blog

Someone please stop me! I start reading one blog, and the next thing you know, I've clicked on a dozen links, found new blogs and become totally overwhelmed at all the talent out there.  How can so many beautiful and amazing things out there overwhelm me? I feel inspired at the same time, and just want to start getting my hands in another project. Yet I can't tear myself away from the computer to get anything done!

Today, it started with decorology. As I read through today's post, this photo caught my eye:

The style is not really my type, but I loved the detail along the side of the table. Then I thought, wouldn't it be nice to find some kind of molding, stain it and add it to my plain farm table? Then I had to find out where the original post came from, which led me to Kitchenisms. I had to go back to March 2010 to find the source, and of course the title is Modern Luxe. Ties in with my Lady Luxe dining room theme!

Well, Kitchenisms is just a feast for the eyes, and going through all the posts just had me drooling. Of course, going through them, I found this. Jag gilla! Then I found this, which led me to this and this (which I haven't even read yet but the title spoke to me). And then I found this and this. And then I had to force myself to close everything because things were just getting out of hand. I am now subscribed to 100 blogs, it's like an addiction reading these things!

So to try to curb my addiction, I decided to go shopping instead and purchase this cute stamp set that I had noticed the other day. 


But it had sold out! Boo hoo. Now what to do? Oh, I guess I could work. Sigh.



Just about every room in my house is in some stage of redecorating. The two top rooms on my redecorating list are the dining room and the craft room, which is currently the "throw all your junk in here" room.

I decided to start tackling the dining room. As I'm big into repurposing, I'm really going to try to limit my purchases and use whatever I have lying around. Plus, I need to get rid of the junk in the junk room so I can finish redecorating that room.

Dining room circa 2010

When I moved into this house at the end of 2008, I was okay with the wall color. But the more I looked at it, the more peachy it became and the more I started to hate it. I finally painted the walls last month a Tiffany Bluish color after I found a can in the $5 pile at Home Depot. When it's on a little tiny box, the color is fantastic. But when it's on 10 feet of wall space, you start to feel like the Easter Bunny came in and got sick on your walls.

I started to flip through my Domino home decorating book, and came across this photo:

"Ladylike Luxe" is the title of the page. Yes, that's what I want! But can this luxe lady create a room like this on a budget? The wall is a bit busy for me, so I decided to try my hand at painting free hand.

It doesn't really have that luxe feeling to it, almost a bit childish. Is it the monkey? But I love monkeys! I'll have to let it simmer a bit while I work on the furniture. My plan is to add a slipcover to the bench, repaint the chairs with the blue cushion a white color, and haven't quite figured out what to do with the other chairs. Anyhow, let's see if I can finish this before the next millenium.


Sunday cooking

So much for enjoying the last days of summer. Clouds rolled in today along with some rain. But I am never one to not have something to do. First, I hung out with my CASA child, and we made, or rather I made, these recycled magazine paper bowls. She did not find it that exciting, so she chatted while I rolled. It all worked out lovely.

Magazine paper bowl

Magazine paper bowl

Then lunch. I had an odd array of ingredients in my fridge: pork cutlets, ginger, green onion, and lotus root. I love the crunch and earthy flavor of lotus root. And they are so pretty!


I believe they come pre-boiled and pre-sliced at Asian supermarkets, but this time of year, you can actually buy them fresh. My mother found some for me, now I had to figure out what to do with it. A quick search online, and I found this pretty dish.

As I didn't have ground pork, I switched up the recipe a bit and this is what I came up with (I am horrible at writing up recipes, so I apologize for any poor instructions):

Panko-Crusted Miso and Ginger Pork Cutlets with Lotus Root

2 tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. mirin
1 tsp. miso paste
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
6 boneless pork cutlets
1 tbsp. cooking oil

Peeled lotus root
8 dried shitake mushrooms, reconstituted and sliced
2 green onions, sliced
3 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tbsp. cooking oil

1/4 cup mushroom stock (from reconstituted mushrooms)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tbsp. white wine
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp mirin

Mix the first 4 ingredients. It will make a paste, which you will then use to coat each side of the pork cutlets. Just spread out a thin layer of the paste on each side, like butter on toast. Then dredge each cutlet in the panko. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Place the cutlets and cook 2 minutes on each side. Set aside.

Fresh lotus root kind of looks like a potato and you peel it like a potato. Then you boil the whole thing for about 5 minutes. Once cooled, slice them thinly.


Take the lotus root, green onions and mushrooms, and toss with the cornstarch. In a separate bowl, mix the liquid ingredients. Add the oil to the saute pan, add the lotus mixture and the sauce. Stir until the mixture thickens. If it is very thick, you can add some additional mushroom stock. Let simmer 5 minutes.

Serve pork cutlets with the lotus mixture, garnish with sliced green onion.

I'm not a food photographer, so I apologize for my photos. But the dish is actually quite delicious! I ate 3 of the cutlets (they ARE thin!).

Pork Cutlets and Lotus Root

Now that I am fueled up, and it's not raining, I'm off to rake the leaves. There is a month's worth of leaves on the grass. I was hoping they would biodegrade on their own, but it's just not happening.


not having a dead computer

There are two things that I am absolutely not handy with and should never ever tinker with--cars and computers. I once tried to change the air filter in my car and ended up causing about $5000 in damage. Luckily, rather than spend the money, the car was able to run, albeit crappily, for a few more years on duct tape. True story.

Another true story, unfortunately, is that I tinkered with my laptop and after all was said and done, ended up erasing my hard drive. Sigh. At least I was smart enough to back up my files, but I don't do it frequently enough. Lost about one month of stuff, which was basically a lot of photos. I had edited a bunch of older ones, and my new Vancouver ones are gone too. Luckily, I put some on this blog so the blog comes to the rescue!

Also coming to the rescue is Pig from Pearls Before Swine. This is my favorite comic strip and a dose of pig always lifts my mood. Also, the weekend is here and I'm off to enjoy the last days of summer! Cheers!

See, things could always be worse


Photo editing

I've been going through the photos from my little vacation. I've always loved taking photos while traveling, but I'm starting to play with some different perspectives. I'm still learning how to take better photos and trying not to use the auto settings. But sometimes the photos don't quite capture what I'm feeling when I take it, so this is where photo editing is coming in handy. These are some of my favorite shots.

Granville Island was such a neat area, with a huge market selling produce, crafts and other knick knacks. I didn't get enough time to explore so I can't wait to go back!



Some flowers in the lovely rooftop garden at the Urban Hideaway Guesthouse. I can imagine sitting in this garden again in the summer, enjoying a nice glass of wine and conversation.

The little birdie welcomes you to Vancouver!


Vancouver Day 2

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity and gastronomic delights. The highlights:

- Porcetta sandwich at Meat & Bread. Tender succulent goodness

- Inuit prints exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology. No photos allowed in that particular exhibit, but loved the work by James Houston. I also loved all the drawers you could go through with additional artifacts.

- Negi turkey dog at Japadog. Ten different choices of dogs and I could only eat one :-(. Next trip must span 10 days so I can have a new one every day!

- Parliament cocktail at The Diamond. Cachaca with fernet branca. New tastes, cool space
- Gnocchi with chanterelles and goat cheese at the bar in Boneta. Melt in your mouth yumminess! And the bartender was a cutie too!
- Sleep at Urban Hideaway Guesthouse. My dream of running a little B&B would be modeled after this place.

Last few hours here before I head back to Seattle. A stop through Grainville market and an attempt to eat more at Vij's before a spa stop in Lynwood and dinner with friends. It's been a fabulous birthday vacation!



Headed out this morning, essentially eating my way from Seattle to Vancouver. The normally 2 hour drive took me 10, and my stomach is filled to the brim.

1. Needed coffee. Somehow managed to function just long enough without it to get into the car and drive 5 miles to Cloud City Cafe. Just loved the Seattle cafe vibe, which does not equal Starbucks. (Although I will admit I do have a Starbucks card.) With mocha in hand and coconut bread in mouth (heaaaaaven!), I popped out to I-5 and headed north.

2. Following the Bon Appetit article, I headed to Snow Goose Farms. But I took a slight detour, when an antique store caught my eye. An hour later, I was the proud owner of some random old postcards, a metal pencil box, and a tin Cadbury container. I got back on track and headed to the farm. When I walked into the farmstore, I was hit with a whiff of sugary baked goodness--waffle cones. So it was toffee crunch ice cream in a homemade waffle cone for lunch. Grabbed some other snacks for the drive and hit the road again.

Antique shop finds that would not fit in my suitcase

3. Entered into the lovely town of Edison, with Breadfarm as the destination. Still full on ice cream, I bought a carrot cocoa muffin and roasted beet foccacia for later.

4. Headed to the ferry to get over to Lummi Island. Of course, the day I go, there is no car ferry service. So I just walk on board, hoping the island has some sort of public transportation. And lo and behold, the shuttle is on break for the next 2 hours. But the kindness of strangers swoops in and a gentleman named Hal offers me a ride with him and his wife. We stop by the "grocery" which is actually a little peony farm. I chat with the owners, who are just lovely and I'm ready to move in with them and start raising the chickens.

But alas, I move on. Hal and his wife drop me off at Nettle Farms. Place is deserted so I just make myself at home and walk through the farm. Then I head down to the Willows Inn, munching on blackberries that I'm picking off bushes along the roadside. At the Inn, I say hello but unfortunately both the restaurant and cafe are closed. By this time, the shuttle is running again, so I head back to the ferry.

5. Now it's into Vancouver. The clouds are filling up the sky, but right as I cross the border, the sun starts to peek through. I enter into town and already I am in love.

6. Dinner is at Guu with Garlic. It's lively and packed, but there's always room for one at the bar. One of the benefits of traveling solo--quick seating. Hamachi sashimi with little fried garlic chips--my taste buds are just bursting with joy. Baked mackerel with roasted lemons--what a treat! I should've stopped there, but the tuna sashimi caught my eye. Overindulgence gets you in the end! It wasn't so good and my tummy is paying for it now.

Should have said no to the tuna...

DSC_00727. Finally to the hotel--the Waldorf. This place is like one-stop shopping for the party enthusiast. (Maybe it's a Walmart spinoff. Get it? Wal-dorf. Wal-mart. Eh? Eh? Never mind.) Anyhow, you can have dinner, grab a drink at the Tiki bar, go downstairs for live music, head upstairs for an art exhibit, and then stumble down the hall to your room. I've managed to polish off a drink at the bar and shuffle back to my room. This bed is quite comfy and sleep seems imminent. But then again it's 80's night at the Tiki bar. I think I hear Simon le Bon calling me...


The Coast with the Most

So I was inspired by the article with the same title in this month's Bon Appetit. I decided to spend my birthday week using this itinerary as a guide. Flew into Seattle today, picked up my car rental and met at my friend's beautiful house overlooking the lake.

We headed to Brave Horse Tavern for dinner. Pretzels, corn dogs, burgers, and beer. I was wondering where the ball game was. I'd give it 3 out of 5 Yelp stars. The company was better and it was good catching up with old friends.

Tomorrow, to the islands and then Vancouver. Snuggled up in bed now with a huge mug of hot jasmine tea, hoping that some sleep will make this cold go away.

Musical happenings and other adventures

It's been a busy past few days--2 concerts, a 30-mile 1850 ft ascending bike ride, packed days at work and doing my volunteer duties. I feel like I've done a lot and yet for some reason still feel unfulfilled. Or it could be this chest cold that's bringing me down. I'm fighting it tooth and nail and will not let it conquer me. Especially since I'm starting a mini vaca today to celebrate my birthday. I'm so excited for this adventure and plan to enjoy every moment of it, no matter what happpens.

The street sign at the peak of my cycling route


Remembering 9/11

10 years ago today, I was working in New York, and I remember thinking how beautiful a day it was, yet I was inside. After the towers were hit, we waited for people to come, but nobody came. We wanted to help, but there were no survivors to treat.

10 years have passed and I still remember that day. But despite the sadness, there is still so much beauty that surrounds us. It is a reminder that we are still living and that we should truly appreciate what life has to offer.

Taken above the skies of NYC last year



I am a volunteer with CASA. This is a fantastic organization that pairs volunteers with foster children, giving them a consistent person in their ever-changing and often traumatic lives. You are actually appointed by a judge and make recommendations to the court about what you think would be best for your child. I try to spend a few hours a week with my child, and this past week, I took her into SF and let her use my camera. Here are some of her great shots (with a little photo editing done by me).

Find the CASA in your area and volunteer!



Procrastinating at work again, I came across this fun magazine, Styled. Beautiful photos, great ideas, and now a screenful of bloggers on my computer. I kept clicking on the links to all the blog contributors that were new to me (which is a lot since I'm a beginner to this whole blog thing). Since I didn't have time at work to look over their pages, my computer screen now has about 10 pages on it, waiting for me to peruse. I guess this will be my bedtime reading. 

Anyhow, back to the magazine. My favorite piece was "140 Characters: Illustrated desserts to cozy up with... in 140 characters or less." Such amazing drawings by Amanda Waggoner

My only complaint was the Meat for Him...

vs. the Meat for Her. 

I mean, come on! I want the big T-bone. Yum.


A dose of happy

Happy Wednesday!

via swissmiss


To run, then eat (or maybe to eat, then run... or better yet, just eat)

I took advantage of my free morning today, and went for a run. After a commendable 6.5 miles (I initially stopped at 5.5, but then the thought of all the pasta I ate this weekend pushed me a bit further), I decided to reward myself with something delicious but quick and easy.

I bought some beautiful brown turkey figs the other day at the Farmer's Market.

Look at the gorgeous color! I found a lovely recipe by Jamie Oliver (tweaked just a tad) that pairs the figs with mint. Wonderful combo!

1 loaf rustic bread, cut into 1/2-inch slices
1 large clove of garlic, peeled
Extra virgin olive oil
6 large ripe figs
12 slices prosciutto
Fresh mint
Balsamic vinegar

Brush the slices of bread with olive oil and place on the grill. Once nicely toasted, rub with the garlic clove. Drape a piece of prosciutto over each slice. Tear up the figs and place a few pieces on top. Mince up some mint leaves and sprinkle on top. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar.

nom nom

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