Saturday, May 31, 2008

san francisco discoveries, volume 4

Boudin Bakery in Fisherman's Wharf has been making bread since 1849 during the Gold Rush. Some say it was the first sourdough ever made. I just had to try some. Several of their loaves are shaped like animals. We couldn't resist the turtle.

Friday, May 30, 2008

san francisco discoveries, volume 3

While taking a stroll near Fort Mason, we spotted a couple zooming down Bay Street in a tiny yellow, go cart-looking contraption. I couldn't hide my excitement and proclaimed that we would be climbing into one of those. Because I'm always looking for new and unusual ways to discover our travel destinations, I didn't care how much it cost or how silly we looked; we were going to drive around san francisco in a talking GoCar! The Husband finally agreed, and after finding the address in a local advertisement, we hightailed it to the shop and made reservations for the next morning.

On Monday at 10 a.m. we were nervously climbing into the cockpit. Because it is so much smaller than the other cars, we were a bit worried, but the shopkeepers assured us that San Francisco traffic travels quite slow, and everyone in the city was used to the little bastards. The GoCar is equipped with a GPS system, so you can't get lost. And a voice coming out of the car's speakers narrates the way through the city streets, with a few hilarious comments here and there. It's not your typical San Francisco tour, and it's self-paced. We were able to get out of the car to take photos or grab a bite to eat. Our three-hour drive took us through areas where buses aren't allowed, including Robin Williams' neighborhood, and the views from the top of Baker Beach and Fort Point were jaw-dropping. While we did get a few stares (a group of young boys took pictures of us while we were navigating our way down Lombard Street), it was by far the best thing we did on the trip.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

san francisco discoveries, volume 2

In our quest to avoid touristy San Francisco, we just couldn't resist a trip into Chinatown. It's one of The Husband's favorite spots in the city, and I have trouble resisting all the tea in china(town). (Couldn't help the play on words there.) A few blocks down Grant Avenue, we stumbled upon Red Blossom Tea, a small shop filled with bins of fresh, mostly organic loose-leaf tea. The shopkeepers could barely speak English, but they had two shopworkers who did the translating. I smelled a variety of white teas before I settled on 2 ounces of Snow Peony, handpicked from Northern Fujian. Justin made off with some green tea called White Monkey. But I was quite taken with the tea blossoms, hand-wrapped tea buds that expand into flowers when bathed in hot water.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

san francisco discoveries, volume 1

Part of the fun of being in San Francisco (and being a foodie) is the multitude of farm-fresh, local, organic, and wonderous flavors that are so abundant in Northern California. I ate and drank and savored and tasted my way through as much of the city as possible, and although I've been there before, I've never tasted the same thing twice. On Saturday, we made our way to Pacific Heights, an area of the city that I'd heard good things about but never visited. If only I could live there! Fillmore Street was packed with boutique after boutique and cafe after cafe. My favorite discovery of the afternoon was Bittersweet: The Chocolate Cafe. This place is pure heaven, and why we don't have one like it in Dallas is disappointing. It's funny that, just the week before at work, a colleague of mine was telling me that if she won the lottery, she'd open a chocolate cafe. I'm beginning to see the genius in her plan. I was bombarded with so many chocolate drinks, but I decided, happily, on "The Classic," a sweet and creamy drink that made me feel like I was floating in a warm, chocolate bath. They also sell espresso, chocolate candy, and pastries.
Another shot of the cafe:

city by the bay

It's been five years since The Husband and I spent our honeymoon in San Francisco and the wine country. So it seemed appropriate to visit again. We just returned from a spectacular trip that began early Saturday morning and ended last night around 2 a.m. after a delayed flight home. So I am incredibly exhausted today but still breathless from all the fun we had. I'll post more later. For now, I'll leave you with the painted ladies.

Monday, May 19, 2008

green plastic watering can

Last night was the Radiohead show at the Center. The venue was sold out, meaning 20,000 people came to see Radiohead play. I don't know why this surprises me, but the first time I saw the band it was in a very small venue 11 years ago, very intimate. The second time was 10 years ago at Fair Park Music Hall, still no where the size of last night's gig. Luckily, we had seats near the front this time, about 15 rows back from the pit. After the Liars finished their set, I started getting that tingling feeling you only get when you see one of your favorite artists play live. It's been a while since I've felt that (Paul McCartney, 2004?).

The stage was simple, industrial, with about 70 hanging light bars of varying heights that would flash and pulsate. Five simple, almost fuzzy video screens were set up behind the band, sometimes showing Colin's shoe and other times Thom belting into the mike. It was random, but it made for a nice presentation. They opened their 25-song set with "All I Need" from In Rainbows and proceeded to play every song from that album, with bits from Kid A sprinkled between. It was an amazing set, and I almost forgot how disappointed I was that they had yet to play something from The Bends or OK Computer. But the first song into encore #1 was "Fake Plastic Trees," and I was so excited that I started jumping up and down. They also chimed in with "The Bends," "Exit Music" and "Paranoid Android." So I was a very happy girl by the time we left, sweaty and tired, at midnight.

I did find it funny that this band, who's always had this aversion to fame, played such a large venue. Perhaps they've gotten used to the notion of being in the spotlight. But the set still felt intimate, despite the fact there were thousands of screaming people -- most of them kids. There were so many young people around me, who strangely seemed to know every single word to the new songs from In Rainbows. But as soon as they would hear something from The Bends, these same kids would collapse into their seats. I guess it says something about my age. I kept wondering, as I watched these 40-year-old rock stars on stage, rock stars that a once-19-year-old-me worshipped and loved, am I still this indie-music-loving kid? A kid going on 30? Or am I a young professional whose concert-going days seem long lost? Or somewhere between? Suddenly, I don't know anymore...

But I do know that Radiohead is still just as amazing as they were 10 years ago, perhaps more. And despite the fact that I was exhausted today at work, almost falling asleep trying to edit magazine articles, I wouldn't change a thing. I would see them again tonight if they were in town.
(Excuse the blurry shot. It was taken with Justin's Blackberry.)

pancakes, pagodas and paintings

Justin and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary on Saturday, and it was one for the books. It started Saturday morning with the best pancakes in the universe at The Original Pancake House. And then it was off to the Japanese Gardens at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden, where we proceeded to gaze longingly at every type of Japanese maple possible. There were also koi fish galore, which is always fun. And there was a wedding taking place in a very nice pagoda structure. It looked very stylish, and we commented on the fact that those two buggers would have the same anniversary as we do. Darn it.

When it started to get too hot. we ventured over to the Kimball Museum for more culture. I loooove this museum. It's rather small, so you feel like you can see the entire thing without getting museum-weary (which does happen folks, let me tell you). Back at home, we got dressed for an early dinner at Stephen Pyles. I'm drooling just thinking about our meal. It really is the best restaurant in Dallas, except for perhaps York Street. Our appetizer was a sea bass ceviche, which was quite possibly one of the most amazing things I've ever tasted. And dessert was (my favorite) the "coffee and doughnuts," two homemade doughnuts and two doughnut holes with goats milk caramel dipping sauce and coffee-flavored creme brulee. Life was good.

It was the perfect day. And I can't believe it's been five years since our stellar wedding day. I'm so incredibly lucky to be married to someone I love so dearly.

Japanese Gardens:




My daylilies are now in full bloom! I've never had a show like this before. They must like the cooler weather we've been having this spring.

Monday, May 12, 2008

patterns in concrete

I mosied over to DesignSponge today and was delighted to see these images of concrete art from Transparent House. Patterns are applied to a polished concrete floor either while it is poured or after the concrete sets. I love how clean, simple and industrial it is, yet whimsical too. Just my style. I'm about ready to rip up the carpet in my den, and I am so torn with what to do with it. More carpet? Light-colored bamboo with a sisal rug? Dark-colored, wide-plank hardwood with a shaggy rug? Or perhaps, now that I'm inspired, concrete with etched-in artwork. It's hard to tell which is more frustrating... my many choices or lack of funds.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

so many paint choices...

I've decided to paint an old farmhouse dining chair robin's egg blue. The problem is, there are so many gray-blues out there it is almost impossible to pick one! Sigh. The chair was meant to be a temporary solution when I got married. We had so little furniture, and this hand-me-down chair was the perfect perch for our almost-chairless living room. It's migrated to our bedroom now, and the ugly mahagony stain has annoyed me long enough. Stay tuned for the final color selection and results...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

a short trip to austin

I spent last Saturday and Sunday in Austin with my dear friend Jen. She's thinking of moving there, so we spent the majority of the time driving around South Congress and South Lamar with my friend Mindy (who also happens to be a realtor!) touring some really fantastic condos. We also met up with Liz for some brunch at Ztejas. Mmmmm.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

planter project

The Husband and I finally came up with a solution to fill the gaping hole next to our front porch steps, a precarious drop that my Dad affectionately calls "The Death Trap." It was an awkward space that we filled in partly with expanded shale. My wonderfully talented hubby then built a cedar box planter, which we coated with natural cedar weatherproof stain. We then planted some horsetail reed inside and used a gray river rock as groundcover. We are so very proud of the result. And I'm truly in love with the horsetail. It really is the perfect plant -- spikey, bright green, and tall. I kept seeing it at the White Rock Home Tour and just had to get my hands on some.


The wonderfully talented husband at work:


A closer look at the horsetail:

Monday, May 5, 2008

life lists

I just read an article in body+soul magazine called, "How to Make a Life List," and it really inspired me. As I read it, I realized that I had done this before. Once upon a time, when I was a 21-year-old college student, I made my own life list. It's basically a list of things you want to accomplish in life before you die. It can really open your eyes to your true goals, especially if you write without hesitation. I remember that old list very well because most of the things on it (at least the ones I remember) have come true. Is it possible that if you write something down it will happen to you? To a certain extent, I think writing something down really cements it in your mind, which makes it more likely that you follow through with the dream. Even outlandish wishes can come true. I've accomplished an amazing amount of things in my 29 years, and I can't say that I have missed out on or really regret anything. Even the mistakes I have made have given me wonderful rewards in the end.

So, on that note, here is my new life list:

  • Finally learn how to crochet.
  • Take a photography class and invest in a quality camera.
  • Get a master's degree.
  • Write a book.
  • Buy or build a vacation home in the Hill Country.
  • Take horseback riding lessons and have a horse of my own.
  • Have children.
  • Save as many animals as possible from euthanasia.
  • Design and build the green home of my dreams.
  • Live to be 100.
  • Be just as in love with my husband in 50 years as I am today.
  • Conquer my anxiety and the fears that keep me from reaching for my dreams.