Thursday, January 27

San Francisco: The Good Hotel

We stayed at a hotel in the SoMa district called The Good Hotel.

They had this cool bench (which wasn't very soft though) and this fun Louise Nevelson inspired table in the lobby.

They have bikes for their guests to use for free! We didn't think there would be any available, so we brought our own, but there were always a few in the lobby. Maybe next time we don't need to bring our bikes.

Fun rooms made with rescued materials.

A special toilet where you can wash your hands as the toilet tank refills, then the graywater goes into the tank to be used for the next flush. How cool is that?

It was a pretty normal hotel that has a lot of cool environmentally friendly features. We thought it was a good find!

Wednesday, January 26

San Francisco: the food post

Admittedly, we did spend a large percentage of our San Francisco time finding and eating at yummy places. We kind of thought we deserved it since we spent the next greatest percentage of time biking.
I highly recommend the farmers market behind the Ferry Building. There were looong lines of people waiting for the food booths here, so we didn't eat here, but we did take advantage of the samples!

We bought a (compostable) bag of this purple spinach. It was amazing. It's salty. So salty it could almost sub for potato chips! I want to find this and grow it. Sooo good.

Our big find of the trip was Brenda's French Soul Food. I looked up a few places on yelp and gave Colin the choices. He chose Brendas because "French soul food" sounded intriguing.

We got the specials on Saturday morning: eggs benedict on Brenda's amazing biscuits with cheese grits, and sweet potato pancakes. It was nothing short of perfect, especially with chicory coffee!

Bi Rite creamery was recommended by a few friends (I solicited help on Facebook), so we made the trek there Saturday night after dinner at The Slanted Door, which was also recommended. Yay for both of these places.

Sunday morning I chose to eat at Farm:Table, which was very good. A fun, simple little San Francisco experience.

But we had to end our trip the way we started it. We ate lunch on Sunday at Brenda's again. Colin was craving the grits. This time I got a goat cheese, shrimp, and caramelized onion omelette with tomato relish on top that was pretty much perfect. Oh, and watermelon iced tea. (I really want to have one of those biscuits every Saturday for the rest of my life and also learn how to make that tomato relish and iced tea.)

Tuesday, January 25

San Francisco!

To celebrate our first anniversary, we went to San Francisco. It was a longer drive than either of us anticipated, but we enjoyed a full day Saturday and half a day on Sunday - mostly riding our bikes up and down hills, eating at YUMMY restaurants, and seeing a few sights. It was my first time to visit the bay area, and I now see what all the hype is about. We are going to have to find another weekend to visit to see more!

Tuesday, January 18

One Year!

Sunday was our one year anniversary! Pretty hard to believe. I was away for the weekend. When I came back on Sunday afternoon, I noticed Colin's gift to me right away:

He sanded down my desk and repainted it! I couldn't believe it. He painted the chair to match, too! I had this project on my long list of projects ever since he found the desk (for free) almost a year ago. I didn't think I was ever going to get around to doing it, since my list of projects just gets longer and longer.

I love it and I'm super excited to get to make some fun stuff at it soon!

We got dressed up and went to dinner and a Flamenco show in LA, which was fun. We took our letters that were written to us at our wedding and reception a year ago and read them over dinner. It was a great way to remember our wedding and think back a little on the year. We also found two surprise wedding gifts in the envelopes!

It was dark, which doesn't make for good pics, especially since my good camera is broken, but we got a blurry shot to remember our one year mark. We're going to San Francisco this weekend for a little more celebration. Yay!

Not Built For Mediocrity

From this article that Colin's brother Jeremy shared:

It would be folly to suggest that anyone can literally do or become anything. But the new science tells us that it's equally foolish to think that mediocrity is built into most of us, or that any of us can know our true limits before we've applied enormous resources and invested vast amounts of time.

Our abilities are not set in genetic stone. They are soft and sculptable, far into adulthood. With humility, with hope, and with extraordinary determination, greatness is something to which any kid - of any age - can aspire.

David Shenk is the author of The Genius in All of Us.

Monday, January 17

Link Love

I wish I had an attic so I could make it into something amazing like this.

The things this person makes are amazing.

Cardboard faux logs? Awesome! Now I need a fireplace and an attic!

Time to try a new stew. Especially since it has sweet potatoes in it. I once made a really yummy stew with sweet potatoes and green apples. I should find that recipe, too.

Am I late to the infnity scarf thing? I like this one a lot.

Saturday, January 15

"Whale" Watching

We went on a whale watching cruise (is it still a cruise if it's only 2 hours long?) on Saturday off of Balboa Island. We saw no whales, but we did see two amazing kinds of dolphins who swam playfully so close to our boat I was afraid they'd get plowed over. We also saw some pretty amazing sea lions who played king of buoy. Highly entertaining! Of course, we would have loved to see a whale, but we were happy to watch all these playful sea mammals instead.

Friday, January 14

When twins get together...

they do things like this:

Colin's twin Kevin came to visit us last weekend! (He's family member number three to come visit us, but the first relative on Colin's side, so Colin was pretty excited.) They were working on an invention. If anything ever comes of this invention, it will become some sort of exercise iPhone app. We'll see!

Thursday, January 13

When it's cold...

Colin sits in front of our gas heater. I've never had one of these before and was kinda scared of it when the maintenance guy and came to turn it on for us. Colin loves it though and warms up to it every morning.

Wednesday, January 5

New Years Eve

Our New Year's Eve was spent simply - at home resting, organizing, catching up from a week away. We went to Bruxie for dinner, a waffle sandwich place we found spur of the moment on Yelp. It was dee-licious! Colin got the buttermilk fried chicken waffle sandwich and I got the goat cheese, sundried tomato, and arugula waffle sandwich. Yum. We'll be headed back for sure!

After dinner we got free hot donuts as we stood in line for coffee at Krispy Kreme then went to see The King's Speech. A truly great movie in both of our opinions.

New Years Day Colin and I made the meal he'd been dreaming of: black-eyed peas, turnip greens, cornbread, and pork chops. I grew up eating black eyed peas on New Years day, but we didn't have a standard meal to go with them. Colin grew up eating the exact same meal every year, so that's what he craved. He was so excited to get it that he texted his family with a picture and then posted it to facebook, which is a very rare thing for him. His parents replied that they'd had the exact same meal a few hours before and his brothers replied that they wished they'd had someone to make it for them. It's fun to make him happy and create traditions together.

Tuesday, January 4

Welcome, 2011!

I am working on clearing out space in our apartment and in my life. Although I wasn't looking forward to going back to work on Monday, it actually ended up feeling nice to wake up and go and come home. I still remember the feeling of months of no work, so I'm appreciating starting out the year employed.

I got excited on New Years night (as we were killing time between dinner and the movie we wanted to see) when I found a tiny turquoise Moleskine for 50% off at Borders. I like to carry one around with me in my purse, so the smaller the better. Beginning a new year with a new planner feels nice, if a bit nerdy.

Two other things to get my new year to an exciting start are a coupon envelope made from recycled paper and tape and Living More With Less, which just came out in a 30th anniversary edition. I have loved the cookbook that is by the same author for a long time because it's great for living overseas and being mindful of what we make and eat. I haven't checked out the new version (I got the old one for free from my mother in law), but I can only imagine that it would be even better than the one I'm currently reading. It's challenging the way I think and live and I highly recommend it!

Monday, January 3

Our Christmas Tree

I'm getting ready to take our weird little Christmas tree down, so I took a few pictures of it. Earlier in the fall, I was thinking that if I did a craft fair, I'd like to have a few Christmas trees to display my ornaments and headbands on. I really wanted an old fashioned aluminum one, but a quick search let me know they were out of my price range.

On an estate sale trip one morning, I came across a stack of tomato cages that were upside down and I realized they made a Christmas tree shape. I left that estate sale with a stack of vintage clothes, a bulletin board that I've been using as a mobile workstation (it makes it easy to clear off the dining table to eat when all the stuff I've been making is on a movable board), a great leather purse, tomato cages, and other random stuff for $30! Warning: getting a great deal like that can be addictive and lead to piles of things you have great hopes for.

So, after the craft fair was over, I took the tallest tomato cage and made it into our little Christmas tree. An eco-friendly, economical, and fun alternative!

Sunday, January 2

Christmas in Texas

We had a pretty great Christmas break in Texas. We flew to Abilene, in hopes to fulfill my Mother's dream of having Christmas at her house, and my sister and her family drove in the same night. We stayed there for most of the break and did a lot of resting, playing, and a few odd jobs as gifts to my parents.

Curtis took his first steps on Christmas Eve, but I'm not sure he's taken any since then. He's such a cutie!

Wesley got as much time on the iPad as his parents could stand.

We went to my sister's house for a few days to meet up with all but one of the girl cousins. Sarah, fresh from a semester backpacking and doing an internship in England, gave Wesley a dance lesson in his pajamas.

We were missing one important cousin who couldn't make it, but we enjoyed our time together a whole bunch. I'm already plotting when another Texas visit could be possible.