Monday, August 29, 2011

one year ago.

Exactly one year to the day of Essenciel’s first harvest, we headed out to Clarksburg (near Lodi) to check out the maturity of the grapes that we’re expecting to harvest next month.  While LB was off gathering samples and using his nifty refractometer, I went all Ansel Adams on the vines.  Here’s a sneak peak at this year’s crop.

in the meantime, in between time.

I had intended to put a moratorium on all non-essential purchases because of some upcoming expenses (*cough*registration, shocks, body work, oil change*cough*), but when I went to go meet my friend Kat at Anthropologie last Friday, all self-control went out the window.  I should mention, I’m also trying to quit smoking at the moment, and really, one should only try quitting ONE addiction at a time unless they’re some sort of masochist.

So I ended up buying this sweet Cairngaan Point Cardigan – on Sale for $59.95 -  in Navy (same color shown) to go over some of my summer dresses, as San Francisco “summer” weather is as unpredictable as the NASDAQ!  It's not quite cold enough to wear a full on sweater, but I *do* wake up to fog, and it gets chilly when the wind picks up or if you're standing in a shadow.  Tis quite a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

sweet summer.

Yesterday at Berkeley Bowl, I spied these lovely blackberries spilling over in their containers.  I had to grab one, as they are in season, and they smelled amazing.  I brought them home to find out, they taste....amazing-er!  

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

movin' on up!

The New York Times published an article today about someone building a house in Utah based on the house in Pixar's animated feature film, Up.  This film made me cry within the first 10 minutes, and laugh the rest of the way, so if you haven't seen it, you really need to, like, NOW.  The big deal is, Disney hardly ever grants anyone permission to reproduce their work, so this is quite a landmark decision!  Click on the NYT link to get the full story.

birthday message for my sister:

Happy 30th birthday to my baby sister, who just got married last month.  Your thirties are awesome, I promise you.  And as the print above says, "amazing things will happen".  I love you!

Available as a print on Etsy, by Mary Kate McDevitt.

in the yard

Monday, August 22, 2011

stake land: the cucumber chronicles

I am SO happy to report that my once-ailing cukes are finally beginning to look like real, thriving cucumber plants!

I peeked under a big leaf and saw tiny cornichon-sized fruits, as well as a couple of yellow flowers, so I checked out a book on organic gardening, and found that I needed to stake these babies.  LB bought a whole mess of small garden stakes at The Home Depot for the tomato plants, which seem to have monstrous growing capabilities, but they were actually more perfect for the cucumbers.  With a little kitchen twine, I rigged up the plants in just a few minutes.  They look so cute!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

california dreamin' in santa cruz

After months of patiently biding my time while the BF worked on his weekend project with the guys (which finally ended first weekend of August), I practically begged Jules for an out-of-town day trip for just the two of us.  He required little to no convincing and we ended up having a fantastically wonderful day at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Swift Street Courtyard.  

chocolate covered bacon = amazeballs
First stop was the Boardwalk, where we spent a great deal of time in the arcade.  I have to admit, I liked the NASCAR racing games, except when we both got royally smoked by a kid who was probably about 8 years old.  Kids these days.  We avoided the deep-fried Twinkies, Oreos, and Hot Dogs On A Stick...but we could not resist the Chocolate Covered Bacon at Marini's!  LB purchased a small bag of these heavenly goodies, along with his favorite gummies.  (Sadly for him, he did not realize that I do not like rollercoasters or any sort of adrenaline-inducing ride, so no Big Dipper for us this time.)    

Bonny Doon pinot noir
We then headed to the Swift Street Courtyard, where our main point of interest was the Bonny Doon tasting room.  It's pretty gorgeous, and they make some lovely wines.  We purchased a couple of bottles of Grenache Blanc, and one each of their Nebbiolo and Pinot Noir.  

cutest lunch bag ever
 Before leaving, Jules let me loose in the shops at Swift Street (I was so excited, I forgot to ask if we could stop by this French Linens place down the street).  I spied a little boutique called Scentsations, owned by a man named Prince and his wife, which carries my all-time-favorite soap - Miel by La Lavande.  It's a light, honey-scented soap that just smells like a dream.  Prince is quite a character – he’s the cutest older gentleman who belongs to a jazz group that performs all around the world, and is happy to tell you about his travels.  I ended up with yet another bar of Miel and a big bag of Milk Bath Salts.

Across the way, at the Cameron Marks boutique, I spotted a French market basket with long leather straps (I own one with short leather handles).  I decided I really didn’t NEED two baskets at the moment, but then started looking at everything else they had to offer.  Funny cards, RBG nail lacquers (organic and non-toxic), jewelry, home décor items by Jonathan Adler, and a table full of old-fashioned kids’ games from France.  I found the perfect lunch bag by 3 Sprouts, appliqued with a purple felt owl – and Jules decided I needed to own it and bought it as a belated birthday present.  How cute is that?  Cameron Marks also has a clothing boutique in a separate space, with gorgeous clothes including Quiksilver's Boutique line - fabulous is all I have to say about that!

Finally, one last stop at Kelly's French Bakery for some pastries and the densest (yet tasty) baguette I have ever had in my life.  You must try their strawberry-rhubarb tartlettes!

It was such a wonderful day, despite the cloud cover.  Until next time, Santa Cruz!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

batting 1000: faux cils de papier

These paper eyelashes by Paperself are so pretty.  Inspired by Chinese paper cutting techniques, they are sure to cause second glances!  Each design is infused with symbolic meaning rooted in Chinese culture.  


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

works in progress.

 Currently working on a few paintings, which are long overdue!  I found three large canvases under my bed, and a handful of smaller canvas boards (see the "owl" work in progress?) that I'm starting to paint.  The big painting, with the red heart, doesn't really have a planned home in my apartment as of yet (the color scheme is all wrong).
putting my feelings on paper


Friday, August 5, 2011

target is a total hoot.

whoooooo dat?

I don't know what it is about my owl obsession as of late, but I was nearly tempted to buy this overtly cute owl print from Target last night!  It was in the kids' room decor section, and I thought, I don't have kids, but this is really darling, and maybe I could pull it off....

Ultimately, I decided against it, but I kept looking and they have even more cute, cute, CUTE owl products in the store and online, much of which is on sale right now.  If you're with me on this owl kick...there are more owl-themed items from Target here!

Monday, August 1, 2011

global warming.

Can you believe I just bought a SCARF in the middle of summer?

‘Tis the Bay Area, so the weather is quite unpredictable that way.  Sunny one moment and jacket appropriate the next.  Thank goodness I love scarves!

This particular scarf is made out of cotton and imported from Thailand…but not just imported from Thailand, rather, purchased through the Global Exchange store, a Fair Trade store with locations in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Portland (OR).  Global Exchange is an international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic, and environmental justice around the world, by collaborating with groups in 40 countries to acquire goods in a “fair” way.  This means no sweatshops or slave labor, no deforestation or environmental destruction, and paying these artisans/farmers/purveyors a reasonable rate. 

I’ve purchased miniature Buddha statues, scarves, chocolate and coffee, and a few other gifts (jewelry and textiles) from the Berkeley store.  They also have items such as bedding, stoneware cooking vessels, purses made from recycled goods, decorative items made from repurposed metals and glass, and a whole rack of cute clothes.  They recently shut down their online store, but fear not, the free-standing stores are still here. 

For more information on the Global Exchange organization, or on their retail locations, check here and watch the video below!

news from the yard: when cats attack!

I don’t have pets, yet I found myself picking up a very large amount of kitty poo yesterday.

(Le sigh.)

As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the neighborhood cats has decided that my vegetable garden makes a great litterbox.  I didn’t really know exactly how MUCH litter that darn cat left in the soil until I decided to pull up the weeds and move the soil around a little.  I’m learning how to suppress my squeamishness, so I dug out all the poop and got the soil ready for replanting a few radish plants (destroyed by the mystery kitty).

Plants that have survived, in spite of the cat attack:

watermelon radishes

baby carrots

young tomato plants

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