Monday, August 29, 2011

Sushi and French Raw Silk

My parents have been serving in the local Single's Ward for a little while now. Recently my Dad organized a Sushi Night. A member of the ward is a world renowned Master Sushi Chef, and he agreed to teach a little class on Sushi Basics.

We set about chopping cucumbers and avocados, using our bare hands to work with the rice and seaweed, and using bamboo rollers to shape the final rolls unto squares and rectangles. The chef and my Dad spent hours preparing spicy tuna and crab filling, as well as perfect tangy sweet sushi rice. I felt like I belonged on Food Network.

When the Master Sushi Chef walked by and I asked how I did, he paused, shrugged, and said, "Yeah, it's okay."

He told me and Harry about a restaurant he's opened in San Francisco. That's at the top of our priority list for when we get back.

In other news, my Mom and I finally got up the guts and courage to do something we've been talking about for ages. We spent a Saturday morning in the LA Fabric District this past weekend.

I've read on lots of blogs about the incredible amount of fabric available for wholesale prices in Los Angeles. I did some research the night before on the must-see places (namely, Tex Carmel, Michael Levine, and the Michael Levine Loft) and on where to park. I checked traffic projections and determined the best way to get there, and the best way to get home (two different routes. LA traffic is a cruel and unpredictable beast).

On Saturday morning at 8:00 am, we gritted our teeth and set off for the district. My Mom is a very accomplished seamstress, and I think this trip for her was a bit like taking a person who is obsessed with fish to the biggest aquarium on earth. I think the wheels in her brain began turning so fast they may have left skid marks on her cerebellum.

I did find exactly what I wanted- a dark orangey-copper-ish french raw silk. I love this material. Both my sisters had wedding dresses made of raw silk-- and so did Princess Diana. It's delicate but stiff, and rough to the touch, and looks as though it's got a lot of runs going through it, but in the light, it has a beautiful glow. I did some haggling, and got it for $10/yard. This fabric usually runs somewhere around $45/yard. In a store nearby I found a perfect crocheted lacy trim.

We ran up the street to the Michael Levine Loft. I'd read about this place-- it's a sweltering room that looks like an old attic that's full of boxes of discarded knits. Everything in the room is $2.50 per POUND. So you can load up on endless amounts of fabric and if it's lightweight, you can walk away with tons of it. We got about 10 yards of different colored knit fabrics and it cost under $10. Sha-blam!

The last stop was Michael Levine. I read it's a good place to go to last, because while they have incredible deals, they do run a tiny bit more expensive. Their selection is mind-boggling.

There was another skirt I wanted to make that is comprised of rows and rows of lace.

I found beautiful lace in both black and white and $1.00/yard. I pounced and bought 7 yards of each, and spent about $5 more on white poly-cotton for lining.

All together, I think I spent about $35. For what will become a raw silk skirt, 2 lace skirts, and a cardigan. Assuming I don't mess them all up!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

(no subject)

Why do I feel anxiety when I think about updating this thing? This is not how it was supposed to be! I was supposed to just regurgitate thoughts and the occasional picture when I felt like it. Now it's become a sort of travelogue, which is fine, but it makes me feel an immense sense of inadequacy if I don't consistently have something to say. Which is pretty silly. So here are some things I've been thinking about that need to be said/typed/posted, without regard to chronological order or... any kind of order.

- I can't stop watching these "I'm A Mormon" videos. Especially Brian Kershisnik's video. I remember the first time I saw his paintings was with Harry our favorite restaurant in Provo (Pizzeria 712). They had a few of his paintings on the walls and we used to talk about owning one someday. And by talk I mean dream.

- I'm guilty of watching this season of "Bachelor Pad." I'm currently halfway through this past week's episode. I don't know if I can get through it. And as much as I'd like to think it's because I'm such a righteous person… it's really because I feel like there are germs crawling all over me after every episode. Everyone in that mansion is perpetually wet and in a swim suit. And then they're either crying or throwing paint at each other or making out and… I feel like I need a piping hot shower just thinking about it. Put some dry clothes on, people, and read a good book and just calm the heck down for a minute.

- My sister E was randomly in town! And by "in town" I mean "in Vegas," which is where we were up until yesterday. She brought little baby I in town for a quick little doctor's visit, even though she and her cute fam moved to Utah a few months ago. As luck would have it, we realized our paths would cross in Vegas and she stayed here with us and I got to spend hours and hours catching up with her and laughing. It was really hard for me when she moved out of Vegas-- not getting to see her whenever we're in town is pretty sad. So we made the most of our time together and it's heavenly.

- I love when Harry gets really into a good book. He usually starts fiddling with his hair while he reads, twirling it, patting it, all while he can't look away and is deaf to everything else in the room. Someday his ability to tune everything out may bug me, but for now, I really love it, and wish I wasn't so easily distracted while I read.

- I'm itching to sew again. I happened upon a little sewing blog that I really like! There are a few projects I'm really interested in, the main one being this one:

Since my most glorious cousin Rebecca is getting herself hitched next month, there's no better time to create a good skirt to wear in the exact color and trim that I want!

- I'm getting homesick for Palo Alto. This is bad. Very bad. Because it will only be home for one more year. I know it's a dumb thing to grieve way in advance, but I can't help it. My heart already hurts.

- Fall is coming. Cameron is going back to school. Pencils and spiral notebooks are on sale. I know when we get back to Palo Alto the marching band will be practicing near our house (this is a major blessing/curse) and I'll start concocting a plan for the best Halloween costumes possible. Especially one that can stand up to the glorious ones of the past:

2007: Christmas Elf and Eminem

2008: Road Kill and Camoflauge Man

2010: Reynolds Wrap

Suggestions are most welcome.

- Series 2 Premiere is September 18 (according to Wikipedia). Set your DVRs, ladies. It's going to be epic.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Los Angeles: Nutshell style

My sister E joked with me a few months ago that I should create a separate blog for all the celebrity sightings I hoped to have while in LA. And to make it extra funny, there should only ever be one post, and the one sighting I would have would have been an extra from some obscure episode of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Luckily, our experience wasn't as lame as that. Here are the celebrities we've seen while in LA:

LA (Santa Monica, specifically) has been a whirlwind. One thing we didn't expect is that we wouldn't have the time to do everything we wanted to do. I've been working from home from 8-3 everyday. With that and Harry working full time, it actually doesn't leave much time to do much else.

That's not to say we didn't do fun things. We still got to hang out with Dan + Aja, and we traveled to see family every weekend, explored by going to new restaurants and theaters, and went for evening walks and jogs along the beach. I went down to visit my sister/bro-in-law/nephew/brother/parents about once a week when Harry had an after-work event that I wasn't invited to. And we've been adventurous in the food department as well.

On 4th of July weekend, our friends the Dyers crashed with us for the night, and we all met up the next day with our good friends, the Santistevans. It was fun to see some familiar Palo Alto faces!

Then we partied Irvine Style with barbeque, food, and togetherness.

Also, Jeff and Merzy had us (me, Harry, Cam) over for a sleepover, Junior High style, complete with pizza, candy, movie, staying up late... and we almost went to get Krispie Kreme donuts at midnight, but being the wimps that we are, we were konked out on the couch by then.

For our 2 year anniversary, Harry did his research and surprised me by taking me to Lucque. It was (cue: far off look in eyes, tear of nostalgia, trickling of drool down chin) so good.

I'm not a big beef person. But at Lucque, the braised beef short ribs were calling my name. The restaurant owner was making the rounds, asking everyone how they liked their food. He got to our table and told me I was eating a dish that was featured on the Food Network show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate." Not that it mattered, I barely heard him over the sound of fireworks of joy shooting off in my brain. I will never be satisfied with short ribs ever again after this experience, I'm afraid.

They wrote "Happy Anniversary" on our dessert plate. Which you can't even really see... at all.

Last Friday, my Mom drove out to spend the day with me. It was so much fun! We ate at the 3rd Street Promenade at The Market, and took our time wandering around afterward, choosing gelato and a few chocolates to share, and walking around the mall.

All in all, this was a really wonderful summer. And it's not exactly over either.

Next summer if we come back, we'll wise up by living in an area that is cheaper, more central, and not so traffic-ridden. But living in Santa Monica has been such a blast and I'm sure I'll miss our summer by the ocean when it's over.