Out & About: SF Underground Market

July 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

This weekend I went into the city for the return of the SF Underground Market. It was quite packed, wall to wall people. Everywhere you turn there was delicious food being cooked and samples being handed out and the aroma…I’m like 95% sure that the Underground Market is what heaven smells like. Holy cow.

Anyway, I went more for business than for pleasure. I wanted to scope out the scene, doing a bit of research for a project that I am working on. I did manage to come away with a jar of cherry pickles from The Uncommon Pickle. I quite enjoyed them. I think next time I am going to go for a jar of pickled carrots. I’m already planning on going again for the next market and bringing/meeting friends there.

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Weekly Digest: July 27, 2012

July 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

Is it just me, or did this week go by really quickly? Every day felt as if it was short just a few hours. Maybe that’s because I fell behind on work on Monday and spent the rest of the week trying to catch up. I’m launching an IndieGoGo campaign for my newest project, so things have been just a little extra insane (more on that later).

Tyra Banks, I’m giving you notice. I am officially replacing you and America’s Next Top Model for The Face. (I’m sure she’s taking this really hard, guys.)

I want this jacket. That is all.

What’s extra special about the list of films announced for the Toronto International Film Festival? All three of the high profile documentaries were directed by woman. Boo-yah.

Refinery29 posted an “Ultimate Guide to African America Hair,” this week. Not only it is a pretty cool guide, I am excited to see that a mainstream fashion and beauty magazine is making an effort to connect with it’s Black readers.

This Carrot Banana Bread needs to be in my oven and then in my belly.

Single Ladies has been doing so well on Vh1 that they’ve just announced another predominately black, hour-long scripted show, Bounce, will debut this fall. Kimberley Elise? Dean Cain? Yes please.

Looks like my stack of September issues is going to be fat this year. Just the way I like it.

Instructions for a Simple Summer Hammock that I will probably call my Year-Long Hammock.

Dressing Up: Dreaming of Colder Weather

July 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

Autumn is still a few weeks off, but I’m already dreaming of what I plan to wear when the seasons finally change. I can’t help it. I love dressing for cold weather. I love chunky scarves, over-sized sweaters, knee high boots, and super opaque tights. Oh, how I love my tights!

Of course, it’s not just the clothing that I love about fall, though I will say that is probably about 70% of it. The other 30% is made up of the scents, flavors, colors, and making plans for the holiday season (I am a freak for all things Christmas, as you will soon see). I am happiest bundled up against the cold, cradling a cup of warm coffee in my hands. Savoring it for both the extremely necessary caffeine boost as well the pleasure I get from feeling the warmth that slides down my esophagus and into my stomach with every sip. Or in bed, wrapped up in my flannel sheets very early in the morning, listening to the wind and rain beating against my bedroom window while I doze for a few more minutes before leaving my nice warm bed.

I could go on for days. I won’t, but I could.

So I have been planning. More specifically, before I begin to budget for and/or covet specific items, I am collecting inspiration. I’m putting together a plan. I like to shop with a mission, so that is what I am putting together right now. A very thorough, detailed mission. So far the mission is looking very French inspired, with some rugged, outdoorsy elements. I like the mission. The mission excites me.

The Chocolate Chip Cookie

July 24, 2012 § 1 Comment

There are very few things in this world as satisfying or life-affirming as a warm, homemade chocolate chip cookie. You know, after they’ve had a couple of minutes to cool off from the oven, but the chocolate is still a little gooey, and a bite in your mouth just kind of…melts on your tongue. It’s a sacred experience.

Since the age of eleven I have been perfecting my personal recipe. It’s served me well for over a decade, winning me friends and admirers across the land. Chocolate chip cookies are a great American art form, like jazz or television…or Monster Truck shows. The search for the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe is one of the noblest of all culinary quests.

One of the best breakdowns of chocolate chip cookie science I’ve ever seen came from Baker Bettie earlier this year. I spent a solid three weeks tinkering with my own recipe after I read her post.

I also like to occasionally cruise other recipes for inspiration. Chasing Delicious has a pretty impressive collection of recipes, from the classic cookie to a few unexpected, delicious flavors like chocolate chip with an orange twist and chocolate chip raisin spice cookies. Two Tarts’ has an extremely delicious recipe for Chewy Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies (their Peanut Butter Cookie recipe is also off the charts amazing, FYI). It’s enough to keep you busy for a while. Or at least enough to throw a chocolate chip cookie party, invite all your friends over and go crazy (hmmm…that’s an idea).

My own ideal chocolate chip cookie is a bit on the thin side with just a bit of crunch to it. Everyone else in my family likes softer cookies, so I tend to bake to satisfy popular demand when I am at home, but when I am on my own…watch out! It’s crunchy cookie time. I’m a wild one.

Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 cup butter, softened
2 tablespoons whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup toffee bits

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine sugars, butter, egg, milk, and vanilla until light and creamy. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips and the toffee bits with a spatula. Use a tablespoon to scoop out walnut sized balls of dough and bake for 8 to 10 minutes.

(All photos taken by me)

Weekly Digest: July 20, 2012

July 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

Happy Friday! I hope your weekend is restful yet eventful.  I’m going to see The Dark Knight Rises and work on my quilt. With any luck the weekend will be easy and fun because I have a feeling that this next week is going to be quite the doozy.

Amy Poehler is amazing. That is all.

I’m drooling over One Mango Tree’s first lookbook.

I need to make this recipe for Carrot Banana Bread.

I’ve been looking for a cute pincushion pattern, and I think this Vintage Teacup Pincushion just became the frontrunner.

Technically this was two weeks ago, but I can’t stop thinking about this Pop Culture Happy Hour on movies about road trips, journeys, and quests. Also, I need to see Boys on the Side this weekend. Not want…neeed.

This video makes me homesick for Paris. I miss my old boulangerie…and my backup boulangerie when my primary one was closed on Mondays.

Crafty: Modern Quilts

July 18, 2012 § 2 Comments

My friends often poke fun at me, saying that I have “old lady habits.” I used to resent it, until I realized it was true. I would rather spend my Friday nights knitting a scarf, drinking wine, and watching a movie starring Katharine Hepburn or Barbara Stanwyck than dancing in a sweaty, crowded nightclub…with all of the pounding music and overpriced drinks and what not.

Yes, I am 22 going on 75…and I am proud of it.

So it came as a surprise to absolutely no one when my friends heard about my newest hobby: quilting. I decided a needed a big project, something I could get lost in for hours while watching Breaking Bad when I needed to. My little escape into fabrics and colors and my sewing machine.

I’ve been soaking in a lot of modern quilt inspirations and looking at patterns. I haven’t quite found one that I’ve liked so I’ve kind of been creating my own hybrid pattern. I’ve been especially attracted to bright solid colors and triangles, for some reason. I kind of can’t wait to wrap myself in it when it’s done. Or maybe drape it across the back of a modern couch, when the day comes.

triangle quilt

Ryde Hotel

July 16, 2012 § Leave a comment

The other day I was out for a long drive and found myself in Ryde, California. Population 61. It’s one of those really small towns that sits just along the Delta River, right outside of Walnut Grove. The town consists of little more than a couple of shops, a ranch, and this hotel.

According to the owner it was built in 1927 and, at one point, was frequented by Marylin Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable and a few other notable guests. There was a speak easy downstairs that has since been converted to a ballroom where people now have wedding receptions and things like that.

They let me poke around a bit. It was the middle of the week, so there were no guests around to disturb. My mind ran wild thinking of all of the things that had been said and done in that hotel. All of the martinis that had been drank, and the beautiful clothing that had been worn, and all of the songs that had been sang by God only knows what amazing star just for the hell of it. And the fact that I had just found this place by accident, just wandering around in my car, was the most amazing part of it all. I hadn’t expected to find anything, nothing other than fields and vineyards and trees. I’ve been going on the occasional exploration in my car since I was sixteen. Then I took a turn I had never taken before, and then another, and then another and, suddenly, I was standing in a hotel lobby where Marylin Monroe had once stood to check herself in for maybe a week or a long weekend. To think that, for most of my life, I lived maybe 20 minutes away from this place and never knew it. It staggers the imagination.

Where Am I?

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