bunch of completely random stuff...

I haven't used my big camera in so long I can't even find the battery charger. But I want to find it so I can learn to make sun/rainbow/lens flares, and starbursts, in my photos, like this:

Aren't they pretty? All her pictures are...

Made acorn squash soup and BLTs for dinner a couple nights ago:

The soup is so easy to make and so good for you, except that I substituted bacon fat for the olive oil. Bacon makes everything better. I'm trying for a theme of mostly orange food for the rest of October.

I love my recipe binder, with my first recipe I think I've ever saved (New England Clam Chowder from Domino magazine, which coincidentally I am making tonight) in the cover:

Halloween costumes make me so happy! Although both boys picked scary costumes, I've never dressed up as anything scary in my life (except once a dead girl in my friend's movie). I bet it's fun, maybe next year. I would've never dreamed a 10-year-old in a clown mask could be this scary:

It'll be a trio of scaries...

and me!

I've decided I want a costume to dress up in for everything, like Christmas and St. Patrick's Day and Valentine's Day...

My iPhone gets picture messages now, and it is so awesome, they come in cute little picture thought bubbles:

(that's my sister's new kitten)

And my new makeup station, a vintage train case from etsy:

The apartment's only mirrors are in the bathroom, which has absolutely no counter, and the kitchen backsplash, which is where I usually put on makeup and fix hair. This should help.

And lastly, maybe the best photo ever - don't get mad baby! - by Lorenzo Agius:

I got excited thinking maybe this was a promo photo for a new movie, but no such luck...


Now that we've settled back in at home, in the spirit of weekly meal planning (which we messed up by ordering pizza on Monday, it's amazing how many things I eat now that I wouldn't touch before, like anchovies on pizza):

I searched the web and found a few recipes for massaman curry, picked out this one because it seemed simple and concise, and then preceded to change it up a bit since I couldn't find tamarind or curry paste at the Mexican market.

I am getting pretty good at changing and tweaking recipes, even though I usually am a by-the-book kind of person. Anyway, my chicken peanut/massaman curry (can you still call it curry if you leave out the curry paste?) came out really good, and was really easy, and here is how I made it last night:

3 large baking potatoes
3 large carrots
1/2 large yellow onion
2 cans coconut milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 c. skinless boneless chicken breast (eeww!)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. fish sauce
1/3 c. peanut butter, creamy (one giant spoonful)
2/3 cups peanut halves (I forgot them, but I think it would have been better with them)
A Taste of Thai peanut sauce mix (I used both packets, but next time would only use one.)
1 Tbsp. lime juice

  1. Peel and cube 3 large baking potatoes, peel and thickly slice 3 large carrots, cut 1/2 a large yellow onion in really thick slices. Put all this in a big pot on medium heat with 2 cans coconut milk.
  2. Cut up about 3/4 pound of chicken breast tenders into tiny pieces. (Omg, this is so disgusting, I hate touching raw meat, especially chicken, and I wound up throwing about half away because of the really gross white stuff running through it, eewww.) Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add chicken, sprinkle with ginger, and cook 5-8 minutes.
  3. Add everything else (except lime juice!) to big pot and stir. Pour in chicken (and oil) from skillet. Add more sprinkles of ginger. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer. Cook 20 minutes or so until potatoes and carrots are soft, stirring often. Add lime juice, cook 5 more minutes.
  4. Make some rice while you are cooking the curry. This is the first time I've successfully made (instant) rice. I think the trick is making sure it is really, really boiling, not just a few bubbles before you turn off the heat, and not opening the lid for anything.

This made enough for 4 people, or 2 people and leftovers. It tasted way better than it looked:

I'm so glad it's fall. This morning I made, pumpkin spice lattes from this recipe, that were supposed to taste just like Starbucks, but totally didn't, and pumpkin honey walnut muffins that are so, so good, moist and delicious. I got the recipe here last fall, but this is how I make them (with way more pumpkin!):

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
15 oz. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/2 c. honey
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1/4 c. self-rising flour

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the all-purpose flour, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center, and put in eggs, pumpkin, oil and honey. Mix just until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Add self-rising flour and stir in along with the walnuts. Spoon into muffin cups.
  3. Bake for 18-20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the tops spring back when lightly touched.

Happy October!

lights in the trees!

Accidently woke up before 6:30 am this morning and stayed up to visit my husband before he went to work. It's fun to see what his routine is when I am asleep. He also showed me that the river lights were turned on outside our windows. Now it really feels like the holidays are coming! Is it too early to put up the Christmas tree(s)?!


It was 90 degrees on Thursday when we landed in San Antonio. Today, it's 60 degrees. I'm definitely not complaining.

Yesterday, we went out for sushi...

then to a double feature of Zombieland (good, but gory) and Couples Retreat (cute, but not as funny as I thought it would be)...

then picked up some beer and Ben & Jerry's for a night at home.

without you i'm nothing...

If I had to pick just one album to listen to for the rest of my life, I think it would be this:

I can listen to it day in and out and it just never gets old.

Last night, a classic poltical/conspiracy/murder moviefest came on tv and we watched The Manchurian Candidate (from 1962). It was so good! I haven't seen the 2004 one, but I don't know why they would ever remake a movie when the classic version is so well-made.

ugg, texas

Goodbye, city lights:

So, we are back in Texas after a week in San Diego. The weather here is exactly the opposite of there: hot and raining. Seriously, I was all in a fall mood from wearing my leather jacket and eating pumpkin pie in California and now it is impossible to believe it is October. On the plane, totally inspired by Julia Child, I was making lists of fall recipes I could cook - clam chowder, pumpkin soup, squash risotto - and now it feels ridiculous.

The long plane ride was awesome; I love first class. It's one of the really pretentious things that I adore (it doesn't count since it was a free upgrade, right?). They had a little tv on the back of my seat and I watched The Proposal (which I had been wanting to see, it was so funny and cute, I couldn't stop laughing out loud), and ate a pretty great lunch (compared to the cheeseburger in a bag they usually have on the plane) and the seats are so comfortable and spacious.

Today, I have nothing to do but laundry and catching up on my tv shows that I watch every week via internet (The Hills and The City) and itunes (Mad Men and America's Next Top Model).


San Diego is such a nice combination of warm and breezy. It feels so great to be outside - if we lived here I would probably abandon my excersise tapes and start jogging outside.

I went out to pick up Chinese food...

and, since I was sans hub, stopped into Forever 21. I'm way, way past 21 but there were women much older than me in there so I didn't feel too bad. I'm a sucker for striped shirts:

The bums here are quiet and funny, not like in San Antonio at all! One man, after I said I didn't have any change, joked that he accepts major credit cards too.

swimming in october?

View from our window last night, it looks so pretty when the lights come on and the sun starts to set:

I so want to live in California now. It's October and I spent the morning at the pool with my book and iced pumpkin spice latte. It was beautiful - sunny and quiet (except for the sounds of waterfalls and faint music from the restaurant).

Now, I'm going to take a quick bath (baths! my favorite thing about staying in a hotel room since moving into an apartment with only a shower), then walk around the gaslamp district to find something to eat, and maybe back to that mall.

I'm liking Julia Child more each day, and her husband too. They seem so young and playful and in love, even though the book begins when she was already 36. It's inspiring; I want to learn to speak French, tour Europe in an old car, cook and cook and cook, bring my camera everywhere, and send out a card like theirs from 1956 every year:

(from this Vanity Fair article)

Another thing I like about these conferences is the excuse to go out to eat every night and go to Starbucks every morning. We've been several downtown restaurants so far, from seafood (Oceannaire - very good stuffed sole), Indian (Masala - really slow service), Thai (Rama - decent), to a steak restaurant (Fleming's - great service and really good food).

I, for one, and not at all a steak person. I've ordered it maybe once at a restaurant, and never been able to eat more than a few bites. It's just, well, gross - the taste, the texture, the color. But the other night, I was craving red meat. I kept saying I wanted a burger, which I rarely eat, and when we wound up at the steak place the chicken and seafood on the menu just didn't seem appealing. So, I got the steak... and ate almost every bit of it. It was so good, the best steak I've ever tasted without a doubt, although that probably has little to do with the restaurant and more to do with my unusual craving. I wonder if I'm going to like steak from now on or if it was a one time thing.

My life in California

Today I walked all around the harbor in downtown San Diego. I walked to Seaport Village and into a bunch of little touristy shops selling soaps and tshirts and silver and candles and Christmas ornaments.

They had chives planted everywhere - mixed in with the birds of paradise and palm trees - and the whole place smelled like them. Their smell is so potent and distinctive, a weird mix of both slightly attractive and very off-putting, and it's quite an odd smell to find lining the walkways to restaurants. I heard so many people say out loud, what is that smell? when they passed by the planters and almost answered it's the chives! several times.

Then I sat outside for a few hours on a bench in a little park on Harbor Drive. I read, and watched a guy flying a kite and a couple snuggling in the grass. I honestly can't remember the last time I just sat outside in the sun (you just can't yet in Texas without sweating, and we don't have a backyard or anything, and it usually just doesn't feel safe enough in my neighborhood to sit outside if you don't have too). It smelled like the beach and felt incredible with the sun on your skin and the breeze off the water.

Yesterday was cold, but today I could've worn a bikini by the pool if I had wanted too. The pool at our hotel is a funny scene: you see only men and women in business suits lounging on the pool chairs, I guess because of the conference center next door, maybe taking off their blazers but that's it.

Anyway, I was reading Julia Child's My Life in France, which is really good. For some reason I can relate to Julia, I totally get this feeling of accomplishment and, hmmm, maybe purpose? when I cook up something nice for my husband for dinner. Like that's part of my contribution to our relationship or something and it really makes me feel proud. It seems silly, but I never, ever, was one to cook anything for myself or anyone else, and it feels good, I like it. I get a sense she felt that way about her husband too.

When I picked that up from Borders yesterday, I also found a new (to me at least) book by one of my favorite authors, Richard Bach. His books are always so good; I can't wait to start it.

On my walk home, I took this picture of an advertisement for condos, because the message just really appealed to me:

Measure your life in steps, not miles.

it's freezing here in sunny San Diego.

Some random things that are making me really happy at the moment:

Makeup! I usually feel like a drag queen when I leave the house in red lipstick, but I think I figured it out: Tiny bit of beige eye shadow, tiny bit of peachy blush, the lightest line of black liquid eyeliner, dots of mascara along the upper lashes, and then the bold red applied with a lip brush. Inspired by looking at these pictures of red lipstick done right (and some others of it done wrong), and by the pretty red lipstick my hub picked out at Sephora (Rouge Dior Replinishing Lipstick in Red Premiere).

Minidresses (a.k.a. the first time having really short legs is an advantage)! After looking everywhere for a basic cotton long sleeved minidress, I found them in dark gray and black at BCBG, except as the salesgirl pointed out, they were tops.

I tried one on, texted this pic to hub who agreed it could pass for a dress, and bought away. I wore one out last night, and I honestly did feel a little but obscene, but I think it was mostly because I kept thinking: Am I too old to be wearing a shirt as a dress?

San Diego! If Gloucester sounds like seagulls, and San Antonio sounds like ambulance sirens, I would have to say downtown San Diego sounds like train bells ringing and wind blowing... Got here the day before yesterday. I love places with a beautiful city view, which San Diego has for sure:

It also has the coolest outdoor mall I've ever seen with, like, 5 stories of zigzaging outdoor walkways and shops (including the above mentioned BCBG and the mini-teeshirt dresses):

My favorite is being able to walk all over. To shopping and groceries and coffee and bookstores and even movie theaters. People are nice too. I would probably live here.

Makeovers! I love them and I love these Model-Morphosis posts [via] showing model transformations for the runway. I always liked seeing how different the same girl can look in various magazines and shows and these posts really show the extent of the amazing things you (well, they) can do with makeup:

Fall coffee! Pumpkin spice lattes are back at Starbucks... I love the fall, I especially love pumpkin. I'd been craving one, and am now on my second for the day. Here in San Diego it is freezing (compared to Texas anyway). I brought my iced latte to the pool, then had to go get my jacket, then just had to go in cause the cold wind and iced coffee were too much together...