Monday, November 30, 2009

i live to be inspired :)

I think that if you asked me what my ultimate # 1 simple pleasure in all of the world was, my answer would be...being inspired. I am an absolute junkie when it comes to seeking out the feeling I get when I hear a good idea, a beautiful song, an uplifting quote, see a friend's photographic/artistic take on the world, a couple in love, almost anything created by mother nature....the list goes on and on.

I try my best to be on "inspiration alert" every day, and I can't imagine living without my inspiration radar - it makes tough days so much easier and good days even better. What amazes me most is just how much inspiration exists everywhere, all around you, when you make even the slightest effort to open your eyes to it.

So anyways, what got me started on this inspiration rant is the speaker that we had in design class tonight. Her name was Brenda Laurel, she is the chair of the Grad Program in Design at the California College of the Arts. What I loved most about her was that she was this gutsy, passionate, honest woman, who said it like it was and didn't feel the need to apologize for anything. Here were a few of my fav. quotes from the class...

"Reality is too small for human imagination."

"If your heart isn't in it - you'll never be any good at it."

"Engage with the world." (She told a great story to go along with this quote - Engaging with the world is what she wants her students to do. She talked about how when she took over the Design Program, it had devolved into a program where students were writing theses about what it felt like to be japanese and gay and how she saw this as the student turning inward instead of turning outward to engage with the world, and how this struggle with identity that the student was writing about was something that we'd all have to think about all our life and that we don't get to get a Master's Degree for. Very interesting perspective! Love it, I love hearing from successful people that confidence, identity etc are life long projects--good reminder about the importance of getting outside of our self centeredness every now and then to help make the world around us a better place).

"An MFA is the next MBA."

"Jobs of the future are the jobs that can't be digitized - the ones that require creative thinking."

Sweet Potatoe Soup Recipe

Lisa, this one goes out to you!

Here is the link to the Sunset Magazine (of course :)) recipe that we used.

We doubled it and ended up using about 5 cans of chicken broth to get the consistency just right.

Happy Sweet Potato Soup Making!

Delicious Sweet Potato Soup

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Scenes from Thanksgiving weekend...

I am so very thankful for a wonderful place to call home and an amazing family to go home to for the holidays. Here are a few shots from the weekend...

Our first stop off the plane...El Indio...maybe the best Mexican Taco shop in the city, gotta love San Diego and the authentic Mexican food.

My mom prepared a fun cooking project that the whole fam got to do together. Omlettes in a baggie---I was skeptical at first, but they turned out great!


The cooks, minus our potato masher.

My lovely grandparents.

My dinner plate.

My fav. new soup recipe - Sweet Potato Soup with Prosciutto Crisps!

Just love the colors here, and look closely at the dip bowl - adorable!

Saturday brunch with the F4L-San Diego girls.

Our lovely brunch - quiche, cinammon rolls, muffins, fruit and mimosas!

The cutest F4L kid around!

Oh and of course I couldn't leave town without at least one jump pic!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am thankful for...

1) Free Wifi at the San Jose Airport compliments of Google :)

2) Peet's Masala Chai Tea.

3) An AH-MAZING family waiting for me to arrive in San Diego.

4) An AH-MAZING friend family (term coined by the lovely Kat) in the bay area.

5) An AH-MAZING second family I get to share a home with.

6) My highschool girlfriends and a connection that just gets stronger over time.

7) A healthy body that allows me to run, spin, yogasize, and enjoy life to the fullest!

8) A job and great co-workers.

9) The blogosphere and my new blogging friends - Lisa and Sadina---this is you I'm talking about!

10) My camera :).

11) Kitchens and especially the lovely creations that come out of them!

12) Boots --haha I am obsessed this fall.

Love this holiday--Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving Part I Part II

I had to post more of last night's amazingness! Beware, you might be stuffed just looking at this!

Our adorable Table Place tags - made by Laura and Julian! Love em.

Brie stuffed mushrooms prior to being stuffed with brie. I didn't get a pumpkin gnocchi shot, bummer!


Joe's Butternut Squash and Ginger soup - deelish!

Reese and Frank's Posole with Chorizo and lime!

Lindsey's Party Potatoes!

Kat's famous Cranberry Relish

Kat's second claim to fame - Butternut Squash Puree.

Lindsey's Regis and Kathy Lee Carrot Cake.

Oh hey this isn't food, just me rockin the boots and tights---have I told you I love Fall clothes? he he

Are my friends awesome cooks or what?????!!!!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Is this my life?

It's way past my old lady bed time, but I just had to get one pic in before I turn in for the night. I have to pinch myself after this evening to make sure that I am not dreaming. I don't know what I ever did to deserve such an amazing group of friends, but man do I feel lucky.

Lindsey and Nate hosted Thanksgiving Part I tonight and it was incredible. Great friends and great food... Julian and Laura on the turkey, stuffing and pomegranate and grapefruit fruit salad, Kat's awesome cranberry relish and butternut squash puree, Erik's Signature greens, Reese and Frank's deelish posole, Lindsey and Nate's Party Potatoes, and Regis and Kathy Lee award winning Carrot Cake with cream cheese frosting, Joe's incredible butternut squash and ginger soup, Pomegranate Champagne, Home made cider. Holy Moly! Can you say stuffed?

Oh and Kat and Erik made a Turkey Day Quiz! Loved it, and we played ____ on your neighbor and Laura made adorable Crane place settings.

Here's a quick pic of the evening...I hope I get to a longer post this week! Happy, Happy Thanksgiving week everyone! If you are reading this, I am very thankful to have you in my life.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Adorable little restaurant in Noe Valley. You must try it!

Can you get any cuter? Pink bikes, twinkly lights and a big pomelo on top.

San Marino - Risotto with chestnut, butternut squash and tiger prawns!

Otsu - Soba noodles with cucumber and pan fried tofu.


Playing around with the rebel :) and a song of the day too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A little bit of honesty sure feels good.

Just got off the phone with my dad after a much needed venting session. I love my dad, love him to pieces....I don't think I could EVER live under the same roof as him again, but man, when I've got some life issue that is really starting to drag me down, there isn't anyone in the world I would rather talk to.

I was in need of some brutal honesty today and my dad is one of those people who I know can handle my brutal honesty.

I am a positive person, if you know me, you know this. The only problem is that I often get caught up thinking that my honesty is negativity. So I think what I do is I kind of allow the guilt I feel about being negative to drive me to look to the positive, even when something is seriously wrong. I repeat to myself over and over how lucky I am to have this or that in my life and I forget that you know what, every once in a while it's okay - it's HEALTHY even to be down about something if that means that I am being honest and honoring a true feeling that exists in me.

So I've been a bit down about work lately. I feel a little bit bad even as I write this. I just got some exciting news about work, had a great talk with our Director and there are some potentially great opportunities coming up, but when it comes down to it, I am slowly, trying to allow myself to be okay with the fact that at the present moment, I am not inspired by my job.

It is by no means the people I work with or the place that I am working that make me unhappy. If you have ever talked to me about my job, you have undoubtedly heard me say that I am so grateful to be working with such great people and at such an amazing place.

But, the truth is that something is missing. I do not fault my workplace itself, it is something inside of me that is making me unhappy. Something about what I am doing is just not reaching my heart. I have been feeling bad about whole heartedly admitting this, telling myself, instead how lucky I am- but today I realized, you know what? It's okay to feel and know somewhere deep inside that I am not happy with my job. It's okay - it's good even to KNOW that what I am currently doing isn't inspiring me---it means I am alive, that I have a pulse and that I am not willing to settle, give up on or compromise whatever dreams are working their way up to the surface inside of me.

Expressing dissatisfaction doesn't take away from how grateful I am for the amazing learning experiences I have had in my job, it doesn't take away from my respect for what a unique and vibrant place I work for and it doesn't take away from my desire to do the best job I can with whatever is in front of me at the moment.

It just means that something inside of me is speaking to me, and you know what, it's okay to honor and listen to that, because ultimately, I think that it is exactly this kind of honoring and listening that is necessary, required even to help me to find work that is inspiring and that speaks to my heart and soul.

I am still young, I know. And while it would be nice to suddenly land in my dream job right now, I know that that is not necessarily a realistic thought. However, going forward, as much as possible, I want to be unafraid to allow my honest feelings to remind me not to give up on working towards finding work that satisfies my soul.

Off to brainstorm...I'm thinking health, nutrition, wellness, cooking, education, travel, photography, yah that is what is coming to me right if only I could figure out how to put those all together into a job. Wish me luck :).

Sunday, November 15, 2009

oh good friends...

You know that feeling you get when you meet someone and your hearts and minds just seem to be on the same page? Like there is some unwritten understanding between your souls and every time you get to hang out with these people, you come away feeling refreshed and hopeful and inspired?

Well, that's how I feel when I get to spend time with the girls that I have become better friends with here in the bay area. I know I have said it before, but I don't think any amount of my saying would ever do justice to the overwhelming gratitude I have in my heart for the amazing girlfriends I have found here. I never cease to be amazed at the creativity, generosity, spunk and strength that oozes out of these girls.

We had a lovely Sunday Funday in the city today...
Yup, you're right, you recognize it from The Pursuit of Happiness.

We started here. At Glide Memorial Church in the Tenderloin. For the 11am Gospel Service. Lots of soul, raspy passionate voices, cute sax players, beautiful music and PEOPLE--the place was packed to the gills! This week marks the 45th anniversary of Glide's pastor and there was a whole lotta celebrating going on (the pastor was wearing a HOT pink shirt under his jacket!), although this is not outside the norm and it is not unusual for this place to be packed - they sure do have something special going on!

Isn't the stained glass beeeeautiful?

Then we headed to the Rex for a yummy Sunday brunch.....yummmm...spinach and mushroom omelete with potatoes!

For dessert...a rice pudding great is that?

And then dessert stop #2 at the Candy Shop. Don't these glass jars just make you squeal with excitement?!? Oh is that just me?

And with a whimsical entrance like this, really, how can you resist?

Then it was off to the main event. Painting! Pictures of fruits and veggies for Kat's kitchen! Yup, that's right we spent the afternoon painting fruits and veggies.

How great did they turn out?!

And thanks to Erik's superb naming, we have titles for our paintings already...
Lemon = Slice of sunshine
Eggplant = Purple Phenomenon
Artichoke = Artie
Avocado = Seduction
Pomegranate = Cheer Pom

So yes, an exceptional day! And one final thought before I close out for the night - on the drive home tonight we were talking about some big ideas and you know what I was comparing us to in my mind? This is kind of bold to say, I know, but I was comparing us to famous groups of artists and musicians - you know like all the jazz musicians that were friends back in the day or the writers like Jack Kerouac and his crew and the way they inspired each other creatively. Yeah, call me absolutely crazy and maybe even a bit dellusional or arrogant to compare us to some of the big time great creative thinkers of our time but that is who we reminded me of. More on this conversation later...

For now, it's off to bed with me :).

Oh but before I go, just a couple more images of the weekend.

The Japanese Maple tree changing color in the front yard. It's gorgeous and makes me so happy every time I see it!.

The dried beans I used to make soup this weekend.

A beautiful ad created by the wife of the owner of my fav. running store in Menlo Park! If I ever did marketing, this is the kind of stuff I would want to do.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Thank you Lady Antebellum...

...for such an inspiring and beautiful song of the day :). Enjoy. Try not to be a sap like I am and start crying while you listen :).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I've been wanting to try....

...making a soup with DRIED beans.

I think this one sounds good :).

Creamy Chickpea Soup

Happy Hump Day :).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Maybe instead of going to work today...

I'd like to stay home and make Sugar Topped Molasses Spice Cookies with Spice Cream Filling and Pan Friend Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage. Yeah, I am pretty sure I'd rather stay home and bake and cook that go to work today :).

Here are the recipes I found:

Sugar Topped Molasses Spice Cookies with Spice Cream Filling

Pan Fried Pumpkin Gnocchi with Brown Butter Sage

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cheezy Song of the day :)

I can't sleep and..

I love this quote...

“The human heart has hidden treasures, In secret kept, in silence sealed; The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures, Whose charms were broken if revealed” -Charlotte Bronte

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is it weird to be thankful for being sick?

It was bound to getting sick that is--with a weekend of staying up late and still getting up early, stress at work (not all bad, just A LOT going on) - class on Monday night, getting my workouts in (I'm addicted, I know)...I'm once again guilty of burning the candle at both ends :). I've been beefing up on Airborne lately, but I guess there's just no substitute for a little R&R from time to time. Unfortunately it usually takes me getting sick to actually indulge in a little R&R. It's a fault of mine, I know - I just have too many things that I'm excited about or interested in to ever allow myself to slow down for an extended amount of time.

I've been thinking lately too - being a resident of the bay area doesn't help. Don't get me wrong, I love this place - in fact more and more lately I am feeling like I am right where I am supposed to be in life--but geez louise bay area-do you have to be such a stinkin over achiever all the time? You make my head spin.

Now I know I haven't been everywhere in the world, but I think I'd be hard pressed to find another part of the world as unique as the bay area - this place is literally teeming with intelligent, successful, eager to learn about the next best thing type of people. I mean where else can you work downstairs from Condi Rice, and amidst about another million and one geniuses at Stanford, drive 15 minutes to hang out at Google with Kat and Erik and run into founder Larry Page, drive another 15 minutes to Apple - one of the most innovative, cutting edge companies out there, loop back to Palo Alto and visit the offices of facebook, live in the same town as the producer of Michael Pollan's recent documentary, "The Botany of Desire," get to hear different design industry celebrities like Tim Brown of IDEO every Monday in a continuing studies class, drive by the offices of Sunset Mag every day on your way to work...the list goes on and on and on and on.

There's the quote that says, "You learn something new every day." Well sheesh, living in the bay area, I feel like I learn or am exposed to about a million new things every day - maybe a slight exaggeration here...but the truth is this place is chalk full of new ideas, wisdom etc and if you don't watch out it will knock you over. And while most of the time, I eat this up because I'm a sucker for learning new things-- there are also times when I feel like I am being paralyzed by information overload.

So I have to say, I am partially thankful that I am sick today - for no other reason than it gave me an excuse and a chance to spend an entire day in bed albeit with a groggy head and a stuffy nose. Although I love the constant stimulation, I often feel like all this information is just whizzing by me and I don't have a moment to give any of it any genuine thought...and then I get crabby, because I enjoy genuinely thinking about things. It's hard to do though when you're hit with one thing after another.

So, yes, call me crazy but I am actually thankful I caught a little (hopefully little) cold ---It's so wonderfully refreshing to have a day of nothingness---I am surprised that it is so hard for me to remember this when I am well.

Health is definitely a gift I try not to take for granted, but maybe a little cold every now and then is a good reminder that it's okay - important even, to slow down from time to time.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Song of the day

Makes me want to find a boy to go skinny dippin with...scandalous, I know :).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Simple Pleasures abounding...

It's funny how every now and then you get one of those weeks where it seems like everywhere you turn you are surrounded by life's simple pleasures---well, I'm in one and I'm soaking up every moment while it lasts! I have actually been wanting to share since last week at this time, but man life has been busy lately and between posts about Yosemite and Halloween---the simple pleasures took a back seat last's to never forgetting them for too long :)...

1) Inspirational Speakers
2) Italian accents
3) Confident, gutsy people
4) Pigeon pose in Yoga
5) Lunches with the boss
6) Social media conferences in the city
7) Home grown pumpkins
8) Getting a hair cut
9) Pumpkin Pancakes
11) Kind words from Kat.
12) Monday night picnics outside of Jordan hall with Lindsey.
13) Fally soups and OLIVE bread
14) Discovering new places - Menlo Park Tech Shop
15) Being reminded that sometimes it's best to JUST DIVE IN.
16) Enthusiasm that's contagious.

I think I could keep going for a while here, but it's past my bed time.

Sweet dreams world.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pumpkin Carving Showdown

So apparently we like to do things where we compete, and we also like to name things...bruschetta, pumpkins, maybe ginger bread houses next :).

Pumpkin Carving Showdown 2009 -complete with a Pumpkin Pancake, Hash brown and home made apple cider dinner breakfast was a complete success...thanks for hosting Kat & Erik!! Email smack talk all week long put on a little added pressure, but in the end I have to say everyone rose to the occasion!

Awesome pumpkin carving, delicious food and good friends---enjoy the pics :).

Kat's adorable table top decor :).

Finished pumpkins before the uveiling.

Critical win - 1 st place winner.


Sweaty Peace


Graveyard or Peter Carroll's nightmare.


The whole crew.

Flaming owl - my crazy pumpkin.

Pumpkin Pancakes!

Lindsey's delicious Cider!

Awesome Halloween weekend this year. From the graveyard cupcakes at work to Mia and John's barn party (which was decorated to the nines - huge ghosts and goblins, rickety old candle chandeliers and John's HUGE home grown pumpkins!) to Pumpkin Showdown 09 - lots of spooky stuff going on! Hope everyone had a spooktacular Halloween weekend!