Thursday, April 29, 2010

So much loveliness out there...

Hello everyone! Just wanted to write a quick note to let you know that I updated my blogroll. I added a considerable number of lovely blogs to my list, many whose authors I consider friends, so I hope that if you're bored-- or even if you're not-- that you'll take a moment to check them out. You might find a new daily favorite!

There's so many blogs that I adore and so not enough time to read them all, but I do my best. And judging by the length of my blogroll, you can see it's a pretty big job to stay updated on them all! But I appreciate everyone who reads and comments on my posts-- the serious ones, the funny ones, the just plain pretty ones-- and I'm hoping to catch up and return the favor to all of you.

Till then, I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday! (Thursdays are always the best days because by mid-afternoon that week's paper is done and the weekend is almost here!) It's a warm, sunny day in Simi. The wind is blowing the palm tree fronds out my window and I'm listening to country music-- Rascal Flatts, to be specific-- as I type. Other than that, the apartment is quiet. The boy and the pup are out. Anything interesting or exciting going on in your neck of the woods?

Oh, and thanks for being here. :)


Gorgeous image seen on Daydream Lily the other day, by _cub

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Roberta Grove

I was thinking the other day that I haven't posted many lovely Etsy finds lately. Lest you think I have not been browsing Etsy with my usual intensity, which is so not the case, I thought I'd share with you this perfectly edited vintage shop I stumbled upon the other day.

Meet Roberta Grove, a "wonderland of vintage goodies" curated by Los Angeles Etsian, Jannay. (She has a blog, too.) I love all of the vintage finds she has listed in her shop, from gorgeous antique books whose pages have wonderfully browned with age to vintage home wares that would add a touch of whimsy to any room.

I rounded up a few faves to share:

Have you found any lovely Etsy items or shops lately? Do share!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Forever in my heart

Every step I take, every move I make
Every single day, every time I pray
I'll be missing you

Thinking of the day, when you went away
What a life to take, what a bond to break
I'll be missing you

On that morning, when this life is over
I know, I'll see your face . . .

Today was somewhat of a somber day for me. Definitely a day of reflection.

Today is the nine-year anniversary of my brother Jeremy's death.

No matter how many years go by, this day never gets any easier. Most days I remember my brother cheerfully, but this day is different. It can't help but be. But the more time marches on, the more I start to worry that I will somehow forget him. That my memories will get fuzzier and fuzzier until soon he has completely faded from my mind.

That's why I got my tattoo last May. So that I would have a constant visual reminder of him, every single day. And it has worked. No matter how busy I get, I catch a glimpse of that little swallow, his initials under its wing, and I remember. I remember so many things. And I smile.

Even still, I worry. The other day I was talking to my best friend about Jeremy, reminiscing a bit since she is one of the few people in my life besides family who actually knew him. At one point we were talking about how I used to braid his long, curly hair. But then I couldn't remember if he still had long hair when he died-- I don't think he did, but it unnerved me that I couldn't quite recall. I think that might be one of the biggest fears people have after they lose someone. That they will forget those precious memories. That they will forget what the person looked like, sounded like-- and because of that, they have to keep feeling the pain so that they will not forget. They can't move on because they don't want to leave that loved one behind, in the past, where the cobwebs creep into our memories.

I have, of course, moved on. Life inevitably goes on, no matter what tragedy befalls you. You laugh again, smile again, get to a point where you can talk about that person and not crumble into tears. It's a strange but necessary thing.

As I drove to the cemetery this afternoon, all these things were going through my mind. Then, for a brief moment, I felt nothing. And I got scared. I looked over to the flowers sitting on my passenger seat, in the car my brother used to drive, and I thought, "Why don't I feel sad?" Just as quickly as that thought came into my head, I shook it away, urging myself to just stop thinking-- about work, about blogging, about all the things that fill my mind on a daily basis-- and I let myself really feel. His image and my memories flooded my mind, and tears came to my eyes. A knot caught in my throat and I felt a heaviness on my heart. I laughed a little. "There it is. There he is," I told myself. "I haven't lost him. Don't worry, you can't forget because he is in your heart. Forever."

Nine years ago, at my brother's private viewing, a 16-year-old me slipped a note-- folded in the shape of a heart-- into my brother's hand. Though I've tried, I can't quite remember what I wrote then, what words I wanted Jeremy to hold onto for eternity. But I'm pretty sure I said "I miss you. I wish you were here." And I still do. After fussing with the flowers by his grave and cleaning his marker-- the things we do to keep from crying-- I told him so again.

I love you, Jeremy. I miss you. I wish you were here, big brother. I think about you all the time and I will never forget you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

An afternoon on Third Street

Happy weekend, everyone! I hope you are having a sunny, lovely day. Though this past week was a bit rainy and gloomy, the last two days have been your typically beautiful Southern California days. So it was a perfect time to go to Santa Monica yesterday for a stroll down Third Street.

Though I had only meant to window shop-- isn't that the way it always starts?-- I ended up coming out of the two-story Forever 21 with an armful of clothes. My excuse? I had $25 on a "store credit" card that has been sitting in my wallet for months. What better time to use it, right?

Don't worry, I didn't completely lose myself in the aisles and aisles of cute, affordable tops. I walked away with a blue, scalloped-trimmed blouse, a flowy, peach dress and two casual tanks. After the cashier swiped my $25 card I only had to fork over $37. Not bad, don't you think? More importantly, what do you think of my selections?

I saw this dress on a mannequin and scoured the store till I found it-- all the way on a rack in the back. And I just loved that blue tank, it made me LOL: It says "Camp Crazy Bear."

I wore this royal blue, v-neck blouse today over a white cami. My mom gave it two thumbs up.

After a bit more window shopping and a lot of walking, we (the boy and I, that is) decided to get some grub at CPK. Pizza is one of his favorite foods (oh my goodness, we eat it at least once a week around here; so not good for the waistline!) but I also had a $50 gift card that his parents' got me for my birthday, so again, another fiscally sound choice. (Hehe. Yes, I'm cheesy today.) Being the creatures of habit that we are, we got what we always get: the Pepperoni Supremo Napoleon-style pizza (read: super thin crust) and a fields green salad, gorgonzola on the side (he likes it, I don't). It is the perfect thing to share between two people. We had three slices left over, even, but the boy ended up giving it to a homeless man who was sleeping in an alley way. He needed it more than we did.

After our late late lunch/early dinner, we headed back to the main strip to stop at one of my favorite places on Third Street: Cafe Crepe. Now, I know from looking at other people's food that they undoubtedly have delicious sandwiches on crusty baguettes, fresh salads and even yummy looking nachos, but I get just one thing when I go there: a Nutella and banana crepe. It is like heaven on a plate, I swear! I paired it with a hazelnut latte that was so good I had to pace myself so as not to drink it all before the crepe arrived. The boy, on the other hand, got a vanilla milkshake; he's not much of a coffee drinker. It was a sweet finish to a nice afternoon taking in the sunshine and feeling the breezy, off-the-beach air.

If you're ever in Santa Monica, I'd definitely recommend a trip to Third Street. And once there, I would urge you to get a crepe at this cafe. You won't regret it!

While walking back down Third Street for the second time-- Cafe Crepe is all the way on the other end from where we parked and where CPK is, so we got our exercise in!-- we once more took in the sights and sounds of Santa Monica. People watching is a popular pastime on Third Street. There are so many interesting folks just out and about-- and lots of little doggies, too-- and every few steps there is a street performer entertaining the crowd, usually through music or dance. I snapped a photo of this guy, John West, as he strummed his guitar and sang a cheerful tune. From what I heard just passing by, he is really good; think happy music that puts a spring in your step. Just right for an oceanside town. I was trying to think who I'd compare him too... Jason Mraz, maybe? And I love his drummer-- his hair was swinging and bouncing around to the beat!

So tell me, what have you been up to this weekend? And what are your plans for tomorrow? I'm going to be meeting up with a couple of my awesome blogging buddies again for coffee and girl talk-- can't wait!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Scandinavian pride

As I mentioned in my last post, on Sunday I journeyed to Thousand Oaks for the annual Scandinavian Festival held at Cal Lutheran University. It had been ages since I'd last been. The first time (and perhaps the last time? I truly can't remember...) I went was in elementary school. During my sixth grade year I had to do a country report for my history class and of course this half-Dane chose Denmark. The festival was scheduled for right before my presentation so my parents took me for a day of food and fun and research (haha, yeah right!). I don't remember much except that I picked up a floral-printed T-shirt that said "Denmark" in big letters-- and you know I wore it during my presentation! I was so cool back then.

Now, I will admit, the Scandinavian Festival isn't exactly the highlight of the year. But it is a nice thing to do on a lazy Sunday afternoon and it doesn't cost much to get in: just 5 bucks. And my Danish pride just can't resist.

My fave part? The food, of course! (As if there was any doubt.) We had Norwegian Lefse (imagine a potato "tortilla" smeared with a delightful mixture of butter and sugar, all rolled up) followed by moist Swedish meatballs with lingonberries (like you get at Ikea!) and a cup of lingonberry drink to wash it all down.

And then we had what I will with shameless bias call the BEST thing at the festival (and the long line backs up that statement!): Danish Aebleskivers. If you have never had one, we must correct that immediately! (My mom has one of the special pans used to make them, so I can whip some up, promise.) They are SO good. They are best described as a sort of pancake ball. Topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar and a generous dollop of raspberry jam, they are simply perfection. Definitely worth the 25-minute wait to get them!

Now, my least favorite thing? The lack of vendors selling Danish paraphernalia and knick-knacks. But, I guess at the end of the day that's a good thing on my poor poor pocketbook. Funny enough, though, I did happen to meet a local Etsian named Tracey selling colorful, hand-thrown pottery from one of the booths (me? find an Etsian? hehe).

Well, they say a picture speaks a thousand words so I'll leave it at that and just show you how the day went. Take a peek below for a taste of Scandinavia!

Hope you are having a good week!


P.S. Do you like my new s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d layout and BIGGER photos? :) let me know! Cuz I can't decide if these X-Large pics are just plain awesome or just plain in-your-face. thanks!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Take a hike

When I was younger, I used to love going on hikes. On weekends, my brother and I would hop on our bikes and pedal north into the rolling hills near our house or south to Corriganville Park-- where they used to shoot wild west movies-- to explore the dirt trails. And some of my favorite days at summer camp were those times when the camp counselors would lead us on "nature walks" through grassy fields nearby.

So when the boy suggested yesterday afternoon that we go on a hike, I was game. He had just helped his dad on a construction job in Newbury Park at a home that sits directly across from that view above. Pretty amazing, huh? Well, the boy heard that there were some pretty fabulous trails too-- ones that lead to waterfalls, even. So around 3 o'clock we got our butts off the couch and piled into the car with Hazel for an adventure.

We had planned to hike the Big Sycamore Canyon Trail, a paved service road that parallels a stream and winds its way to the ocean. Well, we ended up starting our hike at Wendy Trail instead, a dirt path that narrowed closely in some parts. I was a bit stressed at the beginning, worried about Hazel getting a tick or a rattler striking at her from the brush. But we survived and after passing an interesting little Indian hut and a rest stop we eventually hooked up with the trail we had meant to start on.

The trail really is quite lovely. There's expanses of grasslands, beautiful wildflowers and a stoney peak called Boney Mountain that dominates the scene. A sign along the trail describes the mountain as a "majestic beacon . . . (that) invites you to pause, reflect and look inward." And Charlie Cooke, a hereditary Chumash chief, says it's "a sacred spiritual area, a shaman's retreat, and a place for vision quests. It is a place for meditation. From up there, you can see everything." Maybe one day, we'll get up there.

All in all, we hiked for a little over an hour. We were getting a bit tired ourselves but at that point Hazel was utterly exhausted. We had to carry her back to the car; lucky girl, she got a free ride. I could tell she was pooped because she didn't even try to get down to walk herself. By the time I got in the car, all I wanted was some AC and a big gulp of our Crystal Lite. But I'd definitely do it again. Hopefully next time we will start earlier and we can take the 8-mile Big Sycamore Canyon Trail all the way through Point Mugu State Park to its final destination: the Pacific Ocean.

Here's some photos snapped along the trail:

Hope you are having a wonderful, sunny weekend! This Dane is off to enjoy some Aebleskivers at the annual Scandinavian Festival soon!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friends Forever

This week, I finally got a chance to crack open the May issue of Glamour. The current issue is all about friends (Former "Hills" star Lauren Conrad is on the cover, and an interview and adorable photo spread with her posse-- Whitney and Lo-- is inside).

Every month, the magazine's masthead features a question posed to Glamour staff. This month's is "Who is your best friend, and how did you meet?" The moment I read this, I started reminiscing. Like marketing manager Julia Olson, I found my bestie on the elementary school playground.

It was third grade. I had recently "broken up" with my first best friend, Kristen. Kristen was the reason I went to White Oak Elementary School instead of a private school in Simi, like my brother did. She lived right around the corner from me and we became fast friends. But soon enough she started hanging out with the more popular kids and suddenly I didn't cut it. I'd call to come over, but she said I couldn't; she already had a friend over. Eventually, I gave up. For a 7 year old, you can imagine the devastation I felt.

So, like I said, it was third grade. One day during recess-- or maybe it was lunch, I can't remember-- I was sitting on the blacktop, my back against the handball court, looking at the world and wishing I had a friend to play with. While scanning the playground, my eyes fell on a group of girls sitting at a picnic table. They looked like they were having so much fun. If my memory serves me correctly, I think they were forming a pretend club and assigning each other pretend titles, you know, president, vice president, secretary. Somehow, shy me mustered the bravery to walk over and ask, in a timid voice, "Can I play with you?"

The answer came easily from Marielle: "Sure." At the time, fun-loving, gregarious Marielle didn't realize how much this simple welcome meant to me. But as they say, the rest is history. Seventeen years later, we are still best friends.

Sure, we've been through our ups and downs, had a handful of fights, shed a few tears, struggled to find the time to get together as our adult responsibilities have taken over. But no matter how long we go between visits, we always pick up right back where we started. We can be so different at times and yet, we get each other, we understand each other-- sometimes better than we know ourselves. I can always count on her to give it to me straight, there's no sugar-coating with her. And I am always there to lend an ear when she needs to vent and I never judge her like others have. We simply love each other unconditionally. What more could a girl ask for?

So now I want to know: Who is your best friend, and how did you meet?

Swings image via ffffound

Monday, April 12, 2010

Snapshots from Vegas

On Friday night, Ashley, Jamila and I danced till our feet hurt at Luxor's ultra lounge, CatHouse.

Getting our groove on at CatHouse. All it took was one drink!

Posing outside Luxor. aka, the crotch shot.

Enjoying a delicious "breakfast" (it was 1 p.m.) at The Cafe at the Monte Carlo. 
Is that Eggs Benedict you spy? Why, yes it is.

High rises and Aria at the new City Center. We browsed the Louis Vuitton inside (Ashley's a fan) and tried on $600 "stunna shades."

Slurping our yard cup frozen drinks. Mine was blue ice and strawberry lemonade.

More sweets. Jamila and I show off our frosting shots picked up at The Cupcakery. Hers: heavy cream with shimmering pink sprinkles. Mine: rich chocolate with white jimmies.

Saturday night dinner at Tacos & Tequila consisted of a heaping of chicken nachos with a chipotle cheese sauce and creme fraiche, and a white peach margarita to wash it all down. So good I'm still dreaming about it.

It was almost time to leave but we couldn't check out Sunday and say goodbye before spending some time at the pool.

Jamila wanted to get some sun. I just didn't want to get burned. You know I have on 50 spf!

Friends and fun. A perfect combination.