Friday, February 27, 2009

Home Sweet Home

I'm finally posting pictures of my new apartment! It took me awhile, but I couldn't not deliver since I told ya'll I would post some. I just had to get it looking somewhat respectable before I could take the photos, you know?

So here goes. I'll start with the prettiest pictures first:

A view from our balcony. We are on the top floor, the second floor. The sky looks so amazing in this shot. And the palm trees are very California.

The view looking the other way. Can you see the cross on the top of the hill? It has been there for as long as I can remember, and I have lived in Simi for 20 years.

Our cozy living room. It's not much, but it's homey. And the couch is comfy! That's Hazel's new favorite spot. She is sitting behind me chewing a bone as I type this... Oh, and as you can see, we have a lot of blankets!

Another shot of the living room. I love those photos on the wall. The bf was not such a fan, which is why this is the first time they've been hung up, but I think they add a little something to the room. You can't tell, but they're nature shots taken by American photographer Eliot Porter and I got the prints during a visit to the Getty.

Our tiny kitchen. A bit cramped, but it gets the job done. We hung the colorful painting to liven up the space and have something to look at while doing the dishes!

The boudoir. Not sure I can call it that, but I will anyway.

My closet. I bought the picture from a sidewalk-artist in Venice. I think it's nice in the morning to open up my practically-bursting closet and get dressed seeing the beach.

See. I told you. It's overflowing with stuff! (It took awhile to organize, as you can imagine.) I can't believe I filled that whole closet. RR has to use the one in the spare room! 

Me. Posing in the "boudoir."

So there you have it. It may not be an HGTV Dream Home, but it's ours and I like it. For now, it's home. Hopefully, we won't move again for awhile (at least a year, please!). Hazel loves her new home too, especially when we go for walks. See how happy she is:

Have a great weekend everyone! Me and the bf are going to the LACMA to see Vanity Fair Portraits before it closes. So excited!

Something strange happened yesterday

My ex-boyfriend called me. Random. But see, the thing is, I didn't answer. I was actually on my cell at the time doing an interview for a story. But when I got off the phone I checked to see who called and it said, "Jason's house."

My first thought was "WTF?!?" And then I went into a tizzy for a good 30 minutes, not sure what to think or what to do.

There was no message so my thoughts went something like this:

Why did he call? Did he call? Or was it his mom? But why would his mom call me? And why would HE call me? Perhaps they didn't really mean to call me... Should I call back? But what if his girlfriend answers?

So as you can see, I was kind of freaking out. I haven't talked to the ex for about a year. We had a bad falling out that is too complicated to explain right now but, suffice to say, there was a big blow up between him, myself AND his girlfriend. And honestly, it left me kind of heartbroken simply because we had been such good friends, best friends, for the five years we dated on-and-off.

After running through all the possibilities in my head, I called my mom for advice. She said I should call him back. I said, that is too dangerous. I mean, what if his girlfriend answers? And what's worse, what if he really didn't mean to call and that is why there was no message?

I quickly realized my ma wasn't the best person to go to for this situation, so I called my bestie, Marielle. We came to an agreement that it was probably a mistake and to forget about it. Unless it happens again. Which, for the record, I don't think it will. I really do believe it was a random, awkward error.

I almost think my cell phone was playing an evil trick on me.

Anyway, what do you think? Has this happened to you before? Would you have called back? Please share so I don't feel like an overreacting maniac!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Comedy Hour

I almost died laughing watching this last night! Like Randy said, Nick Mitchell (aka, the outlandish Norman Gentle) gave the most entertaining performance anyone has ever seen on American Idol. For sure.

So do yourself a favor. Even if you don't like AmIdol, watch this. It is just that funny.

Now, I must say, while Nick/Norman has endeared himself to me by his crazy antics, disco ball-inspired shirt and red sweatband, I hope he does not go on as one of the final 12. (Sorry Norm!) Paula got it right when she said there are many other stages--predominantly in Los Angeles-- where his brand of entertainment would be better suited and undoubtedly welcomed with open arms. Idol just isn't one of them.

But rock on, Norman Gentle! Rock on.

P.S. Sorry for that annoying little yellow arrow in the video... just ignore it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still on my mind

So I know the 81st annual Academy Awards happened three days ago, but there are just some gorgeous gowns that I can't get off my mind. (And a few that I have tried to forget!)

As I have mentioned before, my favorite part of awards shows is, somewhat sadly, the pre-show. The people watching. The gown gushing. I did tune in for the whole show and enjoyed host Hugh Jackman's musical numbers with Anne Hathaway and Beyonce/Amanda Seyfried/Vanessa Hudgens & Zac Efron, but what I really truly care about, more than the winners, is the clothes.

Oh, and the eye-candy.

Nevermind his suit is a bit ill-fitting. Milk's James Franco is delicious.

I tried to narrow my faves down to a manageable bunch, like three, but this was impossible for me, I just loved too many! So here's the rundown of what I think made a memorable statement on the red carpet Oscars night:

Neutral Knockouts
There were lots of neutrals popping on the red carpet, but these were some of the best:

The Wrestler's Marisa Tomei shined in a pearl-grey Versace Atelier satin organza gown. I love the whole look, but what did it for me is that amazing pleated skirt. That is some serious craftsmanship.

Taraji P. Henson, who plays Brad Pitt's mother in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, is the epitome of easy elegance here, wearing a tiered Roberto Cavalli confection, a Fred Leighton statement necklace and a sleek 'n' sassy do, too! Why can't my hair do that?

Upon her arrival on the red carpet, I did not like Anne Hathaway's dress. But a closer look at the slinky Armani Prive ivory gown covered in Swarovski crystals and clear paillettes made me change my mind. It kind of reminds me of the scaly look worn last year by then-Best Actress Winner Marion Cottilard. Oh, and I am still dying to see Rachel Getting Married. It is actually coming out on March 17 so I guess I'll see it then.

Penelope Cruz truly looks like a princess in this vintage Balmain ballgown. It is 60 years old! She also looks like a winner-- she took home Best Supporting Actress for her work in Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

Sexy Stunners
Step aside. These hot commodities are coming through:

What can you say about Kate Winslet, Miss Best Actress for The Reader? She always looks fab. This one-shoulder YSL gown, worn with Chopard jewels and a sleekly swept updo, scream old Hollywood glamour. I read somewhere that Kate's daughter, Mia, wasn't too pleased with her mother's choice of wearing a gray dress, however. Too funny!

Not everyone loved Freida Pinto's royal blue, one-sleeved dress by John Galliano, but I thought the color was perfect for her and her warm, radiant makeup was stunning. The Slumdog Millionaire-ess is absolutely beautiful, and I still need to see her movie, too!

Presenter Halle Berry commanded the stage in a striking Marchesa brocade gown. 

SJP is known for her fashion risks and while some might say this was a fashion mistake, I beg to differ. I literally screamed when she appeared on my TV screen, my boyfriend can attest to that. I am loving her "barely mint" (as she called it) Dior haute couture. I've heard some tsk-tsk the ample cleavage the Sex and the City star had on display, but I say, if you've got it, flaunt it! (This is not a hard and fast rule, but I pretty much give Sarah Jessica-- yes we are on a first name basis-- a pass to break any fashion rule she darn well pleases. This is how much I love her.)

Bejeweled Beauties
The awards for best blinged-out babes goes to:

Heidi Klum carried a heavy load with diamond-and-coral Lorraine Schwartz earrings and stacked bangle bracelets (not shown).

Angelina Jolie in emerald Lorraine Schwartz earrings (she had a matching cocktail ring, too). I am not a fan of the perpetually black attire Angie usually wears-- you could say this Changeling is in need of some change-- but I am glad she added this dazzling pop of color wear it matters most: around her face.

No Doubt: Amy Adams' Fred Leighton necklace is amazing. It perfectly compliments both her green eyes and her scarlet Carolina Herrera dress.

All images via Yahoo!'s Oscar Fashion Report Card

Happy Day

I got my very first blog award today!!

A big THANK YOU to Amber over at Amber Alert for giving me this "Cute's Blog Award." I totally appreciate it and can't believe you would pass it on to me!! So sweet.

Definitely check out Amber's blog if you haven't already. I LOVE it and she was my very first commenter, so I have a special place in my heart for her :)

I think I am going to hold on to this award for a bit before I decide who to pass it on to... Something to look forward to!

What a happy blogging day! (Filled with many exclamation points, as you can see.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wiggle Wiggle

Sometimes I wish I was Samantha from Bewitched. Just wiggle my nose and POOF! whatever I want or need to do is done. Just like that. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Here's what I am thinking:

Laundry? Wiggle Wiggle. POOF! Done.

Articles? Wiggle Wiggle. POOF! Done.

Cleaning the apartment? Wiggle Wiggle. POOF! Done.

Venti Starbucks latte instantaneously in my hand. Wiggle Wiggle. POOF! Done.

Oh, how I wish this could be so. I remember when I used to watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch (don't hate, you know you loved that show!) and I would day dream about what spells I would cast and all the clothes I could have. If you recall, Sabrina had a never-ending array of options in her "closet" as she could simply think up whatever she wanted to wear and it would appear-- like magic!

Heck, I would even settle for a day as Jeannie from that other fabulous Nick at Nite show, I Dream of Jeannie. For one, I would have a smokin' hot body that looked killer in a midriff-grazing bubblegum pink getup. Secondly, all it would take is a cross of the arms and a simple bob of the head for the world to fall at my feet.

Anyone with me?

Bewitched image via Daveland
Jeannie image via Elastic Pop

Hazel got groomed!

Again. I think this is her third time going to the groomers. She never likes it much, but she sure does come home lookin' purty. Can you see the cute purple bows?

Mom! Why are you always taking pictures of me??

Ok, ok, I'll smile.

Can I take a nap now?

Too bad I don't have time to get a haircut!

Monday, February 23, 2009

A taste of K-Town

I am not the most adventurous eater. But when my friend Kapua invited me to tag along with some of her friends for lunch this past Saturday, I couldn't say no. 

One, because it was a semi-birthday party for her (she already had one lunch-time get-together the weekend before but I missed it due to a previously scheduled interview for work). 

Two, because I love Kapua and I hardly ever get to see her anymore since we graduated. 

And three, because she said they were having Korean barbecue, something I had only heard of and never tasted. 

The Hungry Bunch outside Tahoe Galbi in L.A. on Wilshire. I stick out like sore thumb, don't I?

I actually first heard of it while working at Angeleno magazine in L.A. As an intern, I did a lot of fact-checking and one story was on Korean BBQ. But the people who work at these places don't really like to talk to reporters-- they are a little suspicious of our intentions-- or speak English very well, so I had to go visit the three restaurants we reviewed in person to look at the menu and make sure our story was accurate. But I digress...

Anyhow, it was a feast for the eyes and the palette. If you have never been to Korean BBQ before, there is a grill in the middle of each table which you use to cook your own food! So, as you can imagine, it is very interactive. And communal. Great for a group of friends that are really REALLY hungry.

Grill top at Tahoe Galbi surrounded by plates of banchan. Cooking up some galbi (or kalbi).

We had the all-you-can-eat lunch for about $20 a person, which is a good deal if you are as ravenous as my group seemed to be. They kept ordering more and more! But hey, why not when it's all-you-can-eat, right? Gotta get your money's worth.

There are a number of Korean BBQs to choose from in Los Angeles, most of them in Koreatown, but we went to Tahoe Galbi. Right when we sat down, the server brought out a bunch of little white plates of various of dishes that I didn't recognize. Turned out, it's called banchan (or panchan)-- Korean side dishes or appetizers. My favorite banchan was a yummy pan-fried patty. Not sure what was in it, but I tried looking it up and it might have been something called Donggeurang ttaeng, a patty made with tofu and meat and vegetables, coated with eggs and pan-fried. It is a type of jeon, according to Wikipedia. Not the most reliable source, but there you have it. Whatever it was, it was delish.

There also was kimchi (pickled cabbage), Korean-style potato salad, bean sprouts, steamed egg, some kind of broccoli-something (I didn't actually try this) and a tofu soup (not sure about this either, no one at the table ate it). There was a big bowl of green salad to pass, too. And of course, we ordered some white rice. Mmmm, I love rice. With soy sauce.

Some banchan. That is the tofu soup that we didn't try.

But the star of the meal is the meat. My table had the beef brisket, galbi (marinated beef short ribs) and pork belly, which is kind of like thick bacon. Chicken is on the menu, too, we just didn't order it. Well, I didn't order anything. I left that up to my more-experienced friends. And boy can they order. There is a little button on the table to ring for your server-- how ingenious, right?-- but I think ours wanted to kill us by the end because we kept asking for more meat, more rice, more water, more rice paper....  Don't worry, we left a good tip.

Sizzling pork belly. Like bacon, it is good to eat but not good for you.

Once the meat was cooked-- I liked the brisket best-- I was told to wrap it in a thin sheet of rice paper for dipping in one of two kinds of sauces. This wrapping is easier said than done-- I am not too handy with the chopsticks! But I sure did try. And when all else failed, my fingers were pretty good tools! My friend Andrea said I was making such neat little packages. I said it was because if I didn't, the meat would just slip right out of my not-so-tight chopstick grip. I could have always asked for a fork, but I wanted the total experience, even if it meant having to work for my food.

All in all, lunch was a blast. Everyone sitting around a grill, cooking up food, sharing banchan... And you can't be shy at Korean BBQ, just take your chopsticks and dig in. I will definitely say "yes" if invited again to K-Town.

As Kapua told me at lunch, she brings more culture into my life. Thank you for that, my love.

So dear readers, have you tried Korean barbecue? Did you like it? Share your stories with me!

Tahoe Galbi photos by Kevin Cheng for
To see more photos taken at Tahoe Galbi, visit Wandering Chopsticks or Gas*tron*o*my

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Newspaper + Sharpie = Flippin' Cool Art Poems

Today I want to introduce you to Austin Kleon, a super cool writer/cartoonist/web designer in Texas who has learned how to get people to read the newspaper again. Granted, it is by crossing words out with a black Sharpie, but I like it just the same. His Newspaper Blackout Poems have been featured on NPR's Morning Edition, Toronto's National Post and in various corners of the blogosphere. I discovered him this morning thanks to Lauren at Double Takes (really, thanks!). 

As someone who works for a newspaper, I love that Austin has gone all Michelangelo and created inspired (or alternatively, funny) word-art out of the not-so-poetic stories that we reporters write to fill a broadsheet. By simply crossing out the words he doesn't need-- OK, it might not be that simple!-- Austin is able to find the art hidden within, like a sculptor chipping away at stone. Like I said, flippin' cool.

Here's one blackout poem I particularly connected to:

A collection of Austin's poems are in the process of being turned into a HarperCollins book, which is due to be released in February of next year. Until then, you can see some of the cut poems on his website. Like this one, my second fave.

Can't wait for the book!

Images via Austin Kleon

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Time for a commercial break

Happy hump day everyone!**

So some of you may have already watched this video, which has been posted on other blogs, but I just had to repost it here because it is simply hilarious. A bit unbelievable and totally crazy, yes, but it put a smile on my face this morning and hopefully it will for you, too!

People ask me all the time if I want to get into broadcast journalism and unleash my inner Diane Sawyer and my usual reply is, "Nah, I don't think so." But after seeing this, what the heck? It looks like fun! At least during the commercial break.

Video via Cup of Jo

**As in Wednesday. Get your mind out of the gutter. Geez... :)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A weekend in pictures

Hey everyone! I hope you had a happy Valentine's weekend (and President's Day!). Here is my weekend, in pictures:

On Valentine's Day morning, RR had to go to work pretty early-- as a golf pro, he usually works on Saturdays-- so I wasn't able to make the fancy breakfast I had planned (more on that, later). Instead, I whipped out the Bisquick (I know, tisk tisk!) and made some quick blueberry pancakes, which he loved. It was a good start to the day and I hope it made going to work early and in the rain easier for the bf.

Full disclosure: These are not my pancakes. No, I forgot to take a pic of those. Sorry, it was really early! They kind of looked like this, maybe not as pretty, but mine were still pretty delish, if I do say so myself. Most important thing is the bf liked 'em and ate 'em!

When he got home from work later that afternoon, he had bought me some yellow roses (my fave) and a card. Good boyfriend! He remembered.

Here's a close-up shot of my roses. This was actually taken yesterday after the petals opened up a bit.

Here's all the Valentine's Day goodies we got each other. I bought him some of his favorite candies: Swedish Fish, Happy Colas and, of course, Sweethearts. He is not a big chocolate guy, but I got him some Hershey's Kisses of course. Ok, that might have been a selfish purchase but he does like them too! I also got him that lion you see, holding the heart that says "Wild about you." So cute, I couldn't resist. Ditto for the red and pink V-Day bowls...

Oh, and funny story: We almost got each other the same card! He got me the one one the left in the pic above-- it says, "There's nothing that I wouldn't do... for a Valentine as sweet as you"-- which I actually picked up and put in my basket at the store the other day before changing my mind and getting the other one. I always take forever to pick a card and go back and forth a million times before settling on one. But how funny would it have been to give each other the same card? Great minds think alike I guess.

Here's Hazel, chilling on the couch as we tried to organize and unpack from the move this weekend. Much of Valentine's Day was spent doing just that: cleaning. Not so romantic, but productive.

After organizing our closets, hanging pictures on the wall and doing other moving-related things, and after RR asked me a dozen times what I wanted to do to celebrate V-Day, we finally decided to go out to dinner later on that evening, at about 9 o'clock. I told you he is not great at planning. But he can be sweet when he tries (see roses and card). Anyway, we ended up going to an Italian restaurant called Sisley. Here's us before we left. You can't tell, but I was wearing a cute dress, even though it was cold and drizzly out.

Cheese! The bf is not a fan of these self-portraits but he smiles anyway...

We definitely indulged at dinner. We both got "specials", which really is just code for "over-priced." But hey, if you can't splurge on Valentine's Day, when can you? I dined on the Chilean sea bass with mashed potatoes and broccoli and RR had filet mignon, also with mashed potatoes and asparagus. For dessert we shared a Bailey's Irish Cream cake. Yum yum yum!


The next day, Sunday, happened to be our year-and-10-month anniversary and since RR was able to stay home, I made the Pain Perdu, or fancy French toast, I had planned to make the day before. The recipe comes courtesy the Barefoot Contessa. Though it is labeled "intermediate" and I made a mess of the kitchen, it actually turned out fabulously, just like the pic on Food Network. See for yourself.

I'm sure the bf loves this I-just-woke-up-and-am-still-in-my-pajamas shot. Ha! See how I am not in it? I look a hot-mess in the morning!

RR doesn't like almonds so his didn't have any. The only thing I did different from the original recipe is I used Shepherd's bread instead of challah or brioche because I couldn't find it in the store. But I think it turned out just as good!

Here's a close up shot. I cut the recipe in half and it was still too much! One piece was plenty!

So that was my weekend. Time to get back to work. But tell me, what did you do to celebrate (or forget) Valentine's Day?

Pancake Image via Smitten Kitchen (which has some good tips for making blueberry pancakes... not that I followed them! Mine were out of a box, but it's the thought that counts!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Here's to a light-hearted, chocolate-filled weekend

I hope you all have a Happy Valentine's Day! I am not sure what I am doing yet, the bf is not the most romantic guy in the world so we'll have to wait and see. In fact, he just asked me about, oh, an hour ago, what we are doing for Valentine's Day! I joked, "What? You mean, you haven't planned a romantic evening for me??" See, I know him too well and I knew full well he had not planned anything for tomorrow. Honestly, I was just hoping he would remember at all and get me a card. Like I said, I'll just have to wait and see. 

Till then, I just want to eat chocolate. Lately, I have rediscovered my undying love and passion for Hershey's Kisses.

They may not be fancy boxed chocolate, but they are oh-so-delicious and perfectly bite-sized and I can't rip into those foil wrappers fast enough. Having a bag in the pantry is definitely trouble.

I am feeling a little guilty this V-Day because normally I would create cute Valentines for my friends. Or at least buy some adorable pre-mades to hand out with candy. Yes, I am one of those girls. But this year I didn't. But if I had, I would have totally picked up some of these cuties:

I just adore this sweet thieving racoon Valentine from La Familia Green on Poppytalk Handmade, a cool site I found last week that is just like Etsy.

Well, consider this post my Valentine to you. Single or taken, I hope you have a fabulous weekend filled with happiness, chocolate and wine, for good measure.

Oh, and watch this commercial. Not because I want you to buy the cell phone, but because Pepe Le Pew makes me laugh. And you will love it, too!

Kees Kees!

Top image via Jennifer Squires Etsy shop
Kisses image via Associated Content
Valentine card image via La Familia Green

I know I just moved but...

... I want to live here:

The HGTV Dream Home in Sonoma, California. This farmhouse is simply stunning, inside and out. Not to mention, it's in wine country!

So go ahead, take a look:

The formal living room.

The dining room, perfect for hosting a dinner party with friends.

A chef's kitchen, with two islands! (You can't see the second one, but it runs parallel to the one in the pic.) 

A contemporary family room, that actually comes with a second set of accessories so that the homeowner can change up the vibe at a moment's notice to be more flowery and sunny.

The study. Love that desk. Maybe I would be more productive if I worked in a space like that.

Love this master suite. I don't usually like green paint, but this one is vibrant and inviting, especially with all that white furniture. And that bed is fit for a queen. Secret trick: the designer painted the ceiling to give it that tall, four-poster bed effect.

Perfect master bath. Rich wood floors, beautiful counters, lots of space and cabinets, and look at that tub! Be still my heart.

Both RR and I have entered the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway a couple times already and while I would hate to lessen our chances of winning--I wager it is a zillion to one, ha!-- I can't hold out on you dear readers. So go here. You never know... *cross fingers*

Images via HGTV