Over and Out

We finally have WordPress (and our 'Out and About' WordPress template) up and running!

Check out our new blog at: http://familyblog.spritzerleyba.com/

Please update your bookmarks and feeds accordingly!
(I will set up a redirect here soon.)

Posted on: Nov 18, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Photography Portfolio
I have a host of to-dos before the baby arrives: finish unpacking, order layette and baby gear (unpack, wash, put away), create a photo album with my favorite photos from our wedding, stock the freezer, move this journal over to WordPress (almost done!), etc.

One of the projects that has been on the back burner, but that I have strongly wanted to complete, is an updated photography portfolio. It's been mostly done for over a year, needing just those final touches and corrections before the final upload. So, after an evening of coding and adding an events section, my new photography portfolio is live. Please check it out and let me know what you think!

As always, it's a work in progress. (Though who knows when I'll get around to updating it again once the baby gets here!)

Posted on: Nov 17, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Month Seven Poll

When will our baby arrive? I was born three weeks early, David almost two weeks late. We each arrived when it was the right time for us and were perfectly healthy.

Please leave a comment and guess the baby's birthday! My due date is February 3rd.

(We need to work out some prizes for the person who guesses the closest date!)

Posted on: Nov 15, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (5) - about comments
Transformation into a Home

Window texture at sunset. We tacked up this beautiful paper on our front door.
Little decorating details like this are slowly making our rental feel like home...

We are slowly unpacking and turning this house into our home. The first thing we did when we moved in (after unpacking basic kitchen and bathroom supplies) was unpack our books. I feel like this somehow provides brilliant insight into who David and I are and what we value, but I am not quite sure what it is other than the fact that it shows how we love to read and missed our books at our last place (we only unpacked around 5 of the 20 boxes there).

The rest of the unpacking has been slow and steady. We've been here over a month and we still haven't unpacked our clothes -- we've been washing the same two weeks worth of shirts/pants, etc. over and over again since we moved in. That's one of the projects I plan to tackle this week: sort, purge, wash, put away. (For example, I've decided that I really don't need to still be wearing shirts from middle school. You think I am kidding?!) I also want to set aside my favorite pre-maternity clothes, so I have some cozy and loved things to wear after the baby comes.

Because my belly is so in the way now, I tend to drop food on it all the time. David says this is just a preview of our life to come with the kids: we will be wearing stained clothes for the next few years... unless a miracle occurs and we can suddenly afford to dress like those girls on Sex and the City and only wear our outfits once. Ha!

Posted on: Nov 14, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
A day in the life

28 weeks pregnant -- arms crossed, posing in front of our new bedroom curtains

and the only time you'll catch me lying flat on my back...

Today I got up at 5am so I could spend some time with David before he headed off to Colorado (for a business trip), replied to some emails and tried to troubleshoot Wordpress errors on my Audrey Hepburn Tribute website, headed out to yoga, ran into my friend Chelsea (and got to say bon voyage before she heads off to Mexico for a friends wedding), hung out with lots of pregnant women, checked out organic baby clothes at the local consignment store, picked up a treat at Whole Foods, and headed home, made lunch (and burned my finger for the third time this week on our new convection oven -- bleh!), chatted with David, took some belly photos, and updated this blog. All before 2pm. It's nice to have a busy day. Keeps me distracted and not thinking about how my honey is away for the week.

Good thing I have the baby to keep me company. ;)

+ Updated: Baby has the hiccups! (We now know that our little one has already turned and is in position! All right, little Leyba!)
+ Had a great visit with my mom last week! The baby wishlist is now almost ready to go online.
+ So upset that I can't go help with the San Francisco Bay cleanup efforts. One of the downsides of being pregnant.
+ On the upside, my skin is the clearest its been in over a decade. (I need to take comfort in the small things. Pregnancy, while rewarding and totally worth it, can be ass-kicking.)

Recent flickr favorites:

Click above to view more.

Posted on: Nov 13, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Preparation Methods

In our house David and I each have our own way of getting ready for the baby. While I'm reading The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, David is reading Calvin and Hobbs collections. I think they are equally valid (and could be a good commentary on differences between the sexes).

Posted on: Nov 4, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Month Six Poll

Before we hit month seven of the pregnancy, I thought it would be fun to post monthly polls about the baby. Take your best guess!

Updated: the biggest problem with this poll thing is that we don't know who's voting! So, please leave us a quick comment if you do vote. And NEXT TIME we are totally going to do this poll in the comments section and skip this whole fancy voting application thing! No more of this voting anonymity crap. Consider yourself warned.

Posted on: Nov 1, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (4) - about comments
Halloween love

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Now that I am an adult I couldn't care less about dressing up or gorging on candy. But I still love all the witch stuff and Halloween movies. In October I always want to watch episodes of Charmed and my favorite witch movies like Practical Magic, and of course the Harry Potter films (the last couple anyhow!). Now I also enjoy seeing the kids dressed up. This year we spent the holiday with friends and their children. It was a blast:

When I was a child I loved decorating the house for Halloween even though we'd only have a handful of trick or treaters (I lived on a very small street where we were the only children for most of my childhood). Instead of the usual filling up a pillowcase with candy like my friends did in the big development neighborhoods nearby, I would spend the evening visiting my fifteen or so neighbors and chatting with each for 15 to 20 minutes at their home. I used to love the fires in the fireplaces and spending quality time with these diverse and interesting people who I had known my whole life. Even today, years later, I feel a bit sentimental about the whole thing. During this time of year, I always feel a little bit sad that I can't visit with my beloved neighbors from Manning Lane: Natalie, Madeline, and Margaret, who have all passed away (in their upper 90s). (It even makes me sad that my children won't get to know them. Ah, I am so pregnant and extra-sentimental!) I feel lucky to have such warm childhood Halloween memories.

For me this holiday is still about good friends and that extra element of magic that's missing from every other day...

Okay, I also have a thing for candy corn.

Posted on: Oct 31, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Welcome to the pregnancy club

So this past weekend my engagement and wedding ring came off. It's official: my ring finger is no longer a size 4. I found the whole experience rather crushing -- not so much over my fingers being larger, but the idea that I had to take the rings for the first time since we got married with the understanding that I couldn't wear them for at least three more months. I like having David not just in my heart, but on my finger, thank you very much. I'm just too sentimental.

Today I felt a little bit better when I noticed that about half of the pregnant women at my yoga class were without their rings as well. Now I feel like the whole thing is more of a pregnant woman right of passage, than just another addition to the crappy pregnancy symptoms checklist. Big sigh of relief.

My belly is getting big! Trust me, these pictures don't really show just how gigantic my tummy is right now.

+ From the New York Times: Five Easy Ways to Go Organic

Posted on: Oct 23, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Feel the rhythm, move to the beat

Lemon tree in our backyard

Crisp evenings, gorgeous downright hot days: these California seasons are so strange! We're talking about a 40 degree temperature difference! Amazing. Reminds me of the desert.

The unpacking activities continue...

And I'm now 25 weeks along. Suddenly my appetite has increased, my belly grows noticeably every week, and getting up out of bed is surprising difficult. I can't even begin to imagine how hard moving around is going to be in three months...

We've discovered the baby likes Euro dance music: picture lots of dancing around and kicking Mommy to the beat! I guess we shouldn't be too surprised as David's brother and my uncle are musicians. Let the rhythm move you, baby!

I can't wait to meet our little one.

Loving these sites:
+ My cousin Michael's awesome new music blog
+ Geninne's beautiful illustrations at her art blog -- check out her mini biosphere
+ Creative Thursday with playful daily paintings
+ Updated our links page

And some gorgeous flickr finds:

I'm gearing up to overwhelm you with baby photos.

Posted on: Oct 22, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Warm treats on cool nights

Where have I been? Moving!

What have I been up to? Packing, cleaning, and unpacking!

I'm also getting to know the new neighborhood (just a few blocks away from the old), regularly attending prenatal yoga classes, starting up at the local chiropractor (life changing for a pregnant woman!), hanging out at my friend Chelsea's house, baking all sorts of yummy fruit treats -- baked apples, strawberry pie -- and drinking lots of decaf English Breakfast tea. It's this fall weather; I can't help myself.

Now that the computer is set up, we have internet access, and I've located my camera card reader, hopefully I will get this blog up and rolling again.

Some links for you:
+ I love the idea of a doctor making house calls
+ Video on homebirths via Wannabe Hippie (note: this is definitely not g rated!)
+ Decorating ideas with awesome room inspiration galleries
+ Great book for every woman planning on giving birth in America (thanks, Ranni!)
+ Fun, inspirational, very orange blog

Posted on: Oct 12, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Autumn rituals

Right now I am savoring the first rain of the fall. With the window cracked open, I can hear the sound of raindrops landing on the ivy outside. It's cool and crisp and overcast. I just love fall here in California, how it stretches on and on and we barely see winter and then finally spring arrives again.

Banana BreadI also love how autumn is already becoming a part of my morning routine. I wake up bundled warm in a crisp room, enjoy cups of (decaf) English breakfast tea with milk, and do yoga. I wear a sweatshirt in the mornings and put on layers of clothing for my daily walk. I've been baking nearly every day -- banana bread, Brazilian cheese bread, baked apples. The trees are just starting to change colors and leaves litter the path.

I adore this time of year. I so like the idea of bundling up for winter and feeling cozy.

We are in the process of moving. We've rented a darling little house in the same part of town as where we now live. It was built in the 1940s, so it has wood floors, big windows, and loads of charm. Slowly we have been organizing and updating addresses and beginning the packing process. We have almost three weeks to move all our stuff over, so it should be as sane a moving experience as one can wish for. So many exciting things going on...

Some autumn flavored, beautiful photos:
+ Autumn breakfast
+ Fall preview
+ A little gift of autumn

Posted on: Sep 22, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Flickr toys

L E Y B a
You know you want to try this out. All the cool people are doing it.

Posted on: Sep 21, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
I've been ordered to indulge

Today my midwives told me I'm allowed to have a little bit of chocolate every day. They were shocked I was eating it just once a week.

I am the luckiest woman alive.

Posted on: Sep 17, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Evening Activities

Reading up on baby bath time in the fabulous Baby Book by William and Martha Sears.

I've been slowly working my way through all the pregnancy/parenting books at the library... This one is heads and tales above the others I've read recently. (Let's just say that I don't see eye to eye with the AAP, for example!) Other books I've loved: Pregnancy the Natural Way and Raise a Smarter Child by Kindergarten (intuitive, basic stuff that every parent should do!). I cannot wait to apply all this knowledge! We're pretty much half way there now...

It's amazing how fast this blog has transitioned from a grown-up blog to a baby blog. Sorry, guys! I have a feeling it's only going to get worse.

Posted on: Sep 14, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Ready, set, build!

Where have we been the past week? We've been covered in straw, clay, and sand up in Hopland where we took a fantastic class in natural building techniques. Now we are really excited about building a home with our own two hands.

After a week of being with like-minded folks, camping, using an outdoor shower, away from the computer and email, and being outside every day, we've been in culture shock since arriving at home. We want to go back! We miss our new friends!

View photos from the workshop here.

Posted on: Sep 11, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Blame it on the hormones

These "Estrogen To-Do Pads" are just so brilliant. Yuni and I saw them a few weeks ago when we were cruising baby shops in Berkeley.

"Write it down before estrogen makes you forget."
"You're not stupid. You're pregnant!"

See, there is this great scientific explanation for why I forget everything now that I'm pregnant.

David likes to call this my "estrogen excuse."

Posted on: Sep 3, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
A return to routine

I'm loving my early morning walks. It starts off cloudy and cool and then slowly the clouds burn off and the sun and bright blue sky arrive. I feel invigorated by the beautiful scenery, not to mention the endorphins. I really love working out.

Here are some photos of my breasts and I taking my tummy for a walk. (I swear my baby bulge isn't quite that big yet -- it's just distorted by my camera phone and the fact that my shirt kept inching its way up my belly!).

Posted on: Aug 31, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Lighten your chemical load

I wrote this back in July and forgot to post it... Whoops!

This summer I've stumbled on a number of articles and useful websites rating chemical additives in basic everyday products: make-up, cleaners, sunscreens, and even toothpaste. Even products that sound green can be unsafe. For example, Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner contains additives that are hazardous to women's reproductive health.

One of my favorite sites is the The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database, which scores and ranks personal care products based on a synthesis of known and suspected hazards from databases of scientific literature. Search for your toothpaste, moisturizer, contact lens solutions, shampoo, deodorant, mouthwash, make-up, sunscreen, and more to identify unsafe chemicals. (If your particular brand isn't listed you can search by ingredient instead.) I've already switched our sunscreen and daily moisturizer to avoid known cancer causing agents from seeping into our skin. I find it terrifying reading about what we put in our cosmetic products.

The best part of the Skin Deep site is that they rank products, so it's fairly easy finding alternatives to our household favorites. Of course, just because they are natural doesn't mean they are affordable. I've found that has been the most trying aspect of this whole thing: finding affordable and safe cosmetic products. You'd think it would cost more to process all those chemicals, but evidently not so much.

Posted on: Aug 30, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Planning ahead

"The next Harry Potter movie comes out in November 2008. We'd better make sure we line up a babysitter so we can go see it."

Posted on: Aug 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Thank you!

Thank you to our loving and supportive friends and family who have written and called us over the last few days offering congratulations! We love hearing from you and have been thrilled with your response!

Our company left on Friday, so now we are trying to get back to each and every one of you (over 70 people!), so please be patient with us. As we wrote in our family email, we're trying to spend as little time as possible on the computer/phone and doing email at this time in our lives. What can we say?! We have other things going on.

In the meantime, we wanted to send out an enormous thank you and let you know how much we appreciate your well-wishes!

Posted on: Aug 26, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
It's about time we spilled the beans...

We're into the second trimester now, so it's time to share our news: yep, we're having a baby! Finally, the news you have all been waiting for. As you can imagine, David and I are thrilled!

We're planning on having a natural, at-home birth (under the guidance of two fantastic, very experienced midwives), so we won't know the gender until our little one arrives in late January/early February.

So, here's what I have really been up to this summer: Growing our peanut. Taking naps. Watching my belly grow. Developing porn star boobs (and the corresponding constant backaches). Wearing maternity clothes (shopping for some in the above picture). Going for lots of walks. Craving kiwi fruit and string cheese. Researching baby names. Feeling our little one move around.


Posted on: Aug 20, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (5) - about comments
Sorta back online

Where have we been? We've had house guests. Many, many house guests. Only one more this week and then that's it for the rest of the summer.

Posted on: Aug 19, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Photo opportunity

Driving to the airport, we came to a complete standstill on the highway. Was it a serious accident? Construction? No, it turned out to be rubbernecking because of a photo op. Two car loads of tourists (who else could they be?!) who were in a minor fender bender, took turns posing for photographs with the very tall and distinguished local policeman in front of their cars. I've never seen anything like it.

Posted on: Aug 5, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments

We're thinking about buying a digital camcorder and we'd appreciate any suggestions that you may have about brands, models, specs, etc. We're primarily planning on taking videos to post on this website, but would like the option of making dvds for our families too (so the resolution would have to be fairly high). We are already fans of Canon and Sony digital cameras, but are open to just about anything compatible with our PC computers. Oh, and our budget is modest. Any thoughts? Thanks for your help!

Posted on: Jul 25, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Giant cake for two

Earlier this month we celebrated our wedding anniversary and David's birthday. We baked one amazing strawberry shortcake (David's choice! My favorite!), half of which is now in the freezer. David worked from home and then had holiday, so we spent three super chill, relaxing days together. And in typical Spritzer Leyba fashion, we celebrated with great food (Vietnamese and Japanese) and no presents or cards. It was so us and just perfect.

This week I've been out of commission with a head cold. Yesterday I started to feel more energized and am no longer blowing my nose every 10 minutes, so I think I am on the mend (just in time for David to catch it, poor guy). On the flip side, the perks of being sick include lots of yummy comfort food, catching the episode of Voyager where Seven becomes part of the crew (!), and reading several books cover to cover. It's been restful, it's been relaxing, and now that I am totally bored out of my mind, I am ready to feel good already and get back to normal life! I mean, who has ever heard of getting a cold in July?! Sheesh. I want to get out and exercise already! Now that is true dedication.

It's almost the weekend of Harry Potter. Who else is totally pumped?! (Btw, David and I both felt that the new Order of the Phoenix movie was a dud --- I could go on and on about it's shortfalls, but perhaps that will be a post for a later time. Back to the couch, I go! Stay healthy, everyone!)

--- Updated: Did you see that the New York Times printed a review of the final Harry Pottery book containing spoilers?! I usually read the paper online everyday, but I am boycotting them until Saturday as a result of this early review. (Obviously, I did not read it!) JK Rowling's response to the leak can be found here.
Posted on: Jul 19, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Sorry, but we have a date with Harry Potter...

Maybe I just needed to post once to get my posting-groove back on. Inspiration abounds!

Reading about Mary Beth's kitchen renovation project made me chuckle. She writes, "[her husband] Iain has 10 days to get this done, because then the last Harry Potter will arrive and he won't be doing anything but breathing and reading until he's finished it." I can totally relate. We have our calender cleared for next weekend and that's a feat in itself.

As we have with the last few Harry Potter books, David and I plan to read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7) aloud to each other, taking turns as our voices start to go. We love this ritual: sharing the book together and really savoring it, because reading aloud forces us to absorb each and every word (we can't skim ahead!).

I feel bittersweet about this final book. I cannot wait to hang out with my favorite characters, yet dread the end of the series and saying goodbye to this wonderful world.

Posted on: Jul 11, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Overheard in Whole Foods

"Honey, I don't think they sell Trader Joe's brand beans here." Really, you think?! They were a darling older couple and it just cracked me up.

By the way, I have been much more aware of price differences lately between stores here. Organic items such as sprouted bread, cheese, cereal, cottage cheese, rice pasta, and jam are MUCH cheaper at Trader Joe's. Things like nuts, dried fruit, and omega-3 fortified eggs are cheaper at Whole Foods. For our veggies and fruits, we pretty much stick to the Farmer's Market, which is now in full swing (thank goodness!). We've been eating a total of about 10 pounds of peaches, plums, and nectarines weekly. We just can't resist prices less than two dollars a pound for pesticide-free fruit (versus over four dollars a pound at Whole Paycheck). It's Spritzer Leyba heaven!

Posted on: Jul 10, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
There must be a vitamin I can take for this

For the last few weeks I have been even more flakey than usual. Day after day I've forgotten to do any of the items on my to-do list (basic things too, like cook dinner). Earlier this month we missed David's parents' thirtieth anniversary and then his mother's birthday five days later. And on Sunday I forgot about Heidi's book signing that I have been eagerly anticipating since her book came out in March (I had even emailed her a few days earlier telling her how excited we were!).

Yep, that's a bad track record.

It makes me wonder what other things I've forgotten about.

Posted on: Jun 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Where have I been?

I've been spending next to no time on the computer and it's been lovely. Sorry for my silence, I'll try to post more in the next few days. Right now life is full of fresh fruit, good friends, lots of walks, favorite books, and little adventures.

Posted on: Jun 25, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
The summer of movies (UPDATED)

David and I love going on movie dates. Indie films, blockbusters, documentaries, you name it. We like it. We like going out, we like the big screen and surround sound, we like the experience of being at the movies together.

This summer should be great for movie dates. There are so many movies that we want to see. Here is our list of films to catch, with release dates, and links to summaries and trailers.

Fay Grim (now in theaters) -- I am a huge Parker Posey fan. This one looks hysterical: she plays a normal person thrown in an Alias-type situation.

Shrek the Third (now in theaters) -- one of many, many movie sequels this summer.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (now in theaters) -- thoroughly enjoyed the previous two films, mostly indifferent to this one though I believe we'll enjoy ourselves.

Ocean's Thirteen (now in theaters) -- loved the first, hated the second, might be willing to give the third a try.

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (June 15, 2007) -- we'll probably wait for the reviews before seeing this one.

You Kill Me (June 22, 2007) -- we are so looking forward to this Ben Kingsley mob comedy. Read the synopsis and watch the trailer.

Evan Almighty (June 22, 2007) -- looks SO much more clever and fun than the first one. Starring Steve Carell as the modern-day Noah.

ADDED: Live Free or Die Hard (June 27, 2007) -- Die Hard with a Vengeance is one of my favorite action movies. Can't tell if I'll like this one from the trailers, but it certainly looks action-packed.

ADDED: Sicko (June 29, 2007) -- Michael Moore's latest documentary about the American healthcare system.

ADDED: Ratatouille (June 29, 2007) -- The most recent trailer finally explains what this Pixar film is about: a rat dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family's wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession.

Transformers (July 4, 2007) -- David can't wait to this one. (He insists that I missed out never seeing the original show when we were kids.)

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (July 13, 2007) -- 48 28 days away. I cannot freaking wait.

ADDED: Talk to Me (July 13, 2007) -- The story of Washington D.C. radio personality Ralph "Petey" Greene, an ex-con who became a popular talk show host and community activist in the 1960s. Trailers look fantastic. Cami and I are going to this one together.

ADDED: I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry (July 20, 2007) -- I laughed so hard at the trailer for this Adam Sandler and Kevin James comedy about two straight, single Brooklyn firefighters who pretend to be a gay couple in order to receive domestic partner benefits.

Becoming Jane (August 3, 2007) -- the jury is out as to whether we'll see this one. I'm a HUGE Jane Austen fan, so I'm not sure I'll be willing to put up with the fiction they are weaving into this biographical piece.

Stardust (August 10, 2007) -- we haven't read the novel, but the trailer looks so fantastic and what a cast (Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ian McKellen, etc.)!

Opening this fall:
Martian Child (Oct. 12, 2007) -- the trailer looks cute and I like the premise.

The Golden Compass (December 7, 2007) -- while not a huge fan of the book, I adore Philip Pullman's other novels, and this preview makes the story seem much bigger than what I imagined while reading it...

Wow, what a list! Obviously, we won't make it to all of these, but I like knowing that when we're in the mood for a movie date, there will be many movies to choose from.

So, what are you looking forward to seeing this summer?

Originally posted May 24, 2007

Posted on: Jun 12, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Late night activities

"What are you up to, sweetie?"

"I'm reading trashy gossip."

"Trashy gossip? As opposed to classy gossip?!"

Yep, after I read the New York Times, I need something lighter to help me unwind.

What are some of your guilty pleasures?

Posted on: Jun 7, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Living the life

We've had so many great days in a row. Charming movies, wonderful times with friends, super-awesome-fabulous birthday parties, and hours spent out of doors (gardening, biking, hiking...). I love this time of the year. It's perfect weather for BBQs, sitting on the grass, and drinking cool refreshing beverages. The little things that make us feel so relaxed and happy. It doesn't seem to take much to have a full life.

What do you love most about springtime?
What are your favorite warm-weather activities?

Posted on: Jun 4, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Inspired by nature

Our last ceramics class was on Wednesday.

This morning I stopped by the pottery studio and half our class was there working. I like how this is developing into a passion for all of us.

My first set of bowls and plates are fresh out of the kiln.
These are two of my favorites from this firing.

Can't wait to see how the others turn out.

Tomorrow we attend a tea ceremony at our professor's house. The last time we will all be together as a group. We've talked about organizing a summer pit firing on the beach--how wonderful that would be! I will miss my ceramics-class cohorts. We've had such a good time together.

Posted on: Jun 4, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
A Perfect Thursday

+ Audiobooks for the drive north
+ Beautiful hill-covered vineyards
+ Lunch with a dear friend
+ A walk around town
+ California sunshine
+ Captured on camera

++ Check this out: Women In Art, 500 Years of Female Portraits in Western Art, on YouTube.

Posted on: May 31, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Some people vacation in Mexico...

We choose to learn how to build a house.

This summer David and I are forgoing the typical luxury vacation to take a course in alternative building techniques. A six-day intensive, we pay them to get ourselves covered in mud, stuck with straw, and up to our knees in alternative foundations. And even though the workshop is just 45 minutes away, we intend to camp on site for the whole week.

Trust me, this is so us.

Anytime we get annoyed with the California housing market, we talk about buying a little bit of land and erecting a yurt until we can afford to build a little cob house.

Our shared dream is to build a green-friendly home out of sustainable materials, off the grid, and with no septic system (opting instead for greywater reuse and composting toilets). I want to eat from our garden and orchards. I am so ready.

So, to David and I, this workshop as an important step in achieving our life goals.
We can't wait. It's going to be so fun!

(Above are Siobhan, Amanda, and David inside the cob cottage at the Kenyon College Environmental Center taken on our trip to Ohio earlier this month.)

Posted on: May 30, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Beautiful music

I love listening to music. At home, in the car, on our iPod when walking around town... I frequently find myself humming. I often have songs stuck in my head and, as long as they are good songs, that makes me happy. I like surrounding myself with music.

Here are some female musicians that I am currently digging (with links to their sites and music samples).

Bebel Gilberto, Missy Higgins, Vienna Teng:

Imogen Heap, Colbie Caillat, Hope:

Tori Amos, Leela James, Regina Spektor:

Posted on: May 29, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Treat yourself to a strawberry

I am a strawberry fiend. I love them just about every way: in fruit salad, with ice cream, yogurt, short cake, pancakes, lemonade, and baked with rhubarb. I like them fresh, frozen, stewed, freeze-dried, and baked. We serve them at special occasions. Strawberry short cake is always my birthday treat. At our wedding we served strawberries in spinach salad and also dipped in chocolate. As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as too many strawberries.

David's grandmother is also a strawberry enthusiast and this is a huge bonding point for us. She has strawberry prints, strawberry light switch covers, strawberry pillows, and other strawberry items all over her house. I like to add to her collection -- we've gotten her strawberry decorated drinking glasses and, of course, chocolate covered strawberries. Whenever I get a new catalog in the mail or discover a great online shop, I always check for strawberry items. This is exactly my kind of quirky.

You can imagine my delight that strawberries are now in season. We buy them in bulk every Wednesday and Saturday at our local Farmers' Market. Organic, sweet, juicy, and so delicious.

Ah, I love springtime in California.

Posted on: May 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Desktop photos

desktop image
Every couple of weeks I change my desktop image. Sometimes I download photos from National Geographic, post photos from my portfolio, make a collage of favorite images, or photos that friends have taken (from our wedding, for example). I try to pick images that elicit an emotional response: photos of the ocean when I feel hot and want to go swimming, photos of the mountains when I miss Boulder, photos of friends after we've talked on the phone. Above is my latest desktop image of artists/photos that inspire me (drop me an email if you'd like a copy for your desktop).

What sort of images do you post on your desktop?

Posted on: May 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Full circle

When we moved here over a year ago, two ducks and their offspring were living in the water feature outside our apartment. This year, they are back. After weeks of waddling around, the mama duck has given birth. Look how cute her little ducklings are! I love that they follow her everywhere.
This was as close as I could get (the pictures are super zoomed in). Every time I would approach them the mother would turn everyone around and they would swim off in the opposite direction away from me (see picture on right).

I love having them here; I just hope the cats stay away. Last year, only a few ducklings survived.

Hang in there, guys!

Nature can be so heartbreaking.

Posted on: May 26, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
She did it!

My younger sister Laura graduated from college!

We had a fantastic long-weekend at Kenyon visiting with family and friends and celebrating my awesome sister! Congratulations, Laura! We are so proud of you.

Posted on: May 21, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments

I love this site: 2-views, where two artists interpret a word using photography and mixed-media. I've been a fan of Maditi's blog for a long time. Love those collaborative projects.

Oh, and I finally updated our about us page. Just little tweaks and a few photos:

above: our Boulder, Colorado wedding

and camping trip to the Great Sand Dunes in 2005

Posted on: May 15, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
High school science

The other day David and I bought a Home Test pH Kit on a whim at Whole Foods. You know how they put good stuff by the register to suck you in. And we are total suckers for science stuff. Especially when there are experiments involved.

So, we've tested our pH levels and evidently David and I are both too acidic. Who knew that was even possible?! And it's not like we are eating a diet of soda and pop-tarts over here. (Just too much dairy and processed grains, I guess.)

Right now I am drinking lemon-spiked water to alkalinize. Yes, I am drinking an acid to be more basic. Evidently lemons, when digested, have a very alkalizing effect. I know this sounds crazy. You're going to have to trust me on this one.

Posted on: May 10, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Work-In-Progress (WIP) / The Queen

Lately I've had a surge of creativity and it has been a blast. I've had such fun working on my ceramics homework. Yesterday and today I played around with using leaves to create different textures and patterns:

Clay and bits of leaf are now all over the house. So worth it.

Yesterday I finally saw The Queen (how fitting that her majesty visited the White House on the same day--total coincidence). Wow, the film was phenomenal. I was completely floored by Helen Mirren's performance, the breathtaking cinematography, and spectacular script. It was moving, interesting, and thought-provoking. I found my mind lingering over it hours afterwards and it was fresh on my mind this morning when I woke up. Now that is a good movie.

I find it interesting how certain memories are etched clearly in our minds. I remember exactly where I was the moment I learned of Princess Diana's car crash. Some things, often haunting things, really stay with us.

Posted on: May 7, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Spritzer loves

+ walking around barefoot
+ English breakfast tea with milk
+ blooming plants and deep greens
+ creating Japanese tea bowls:

+ pottery inspiration: 1, 2 & 3
+ hot summery days
+ coconut rice pudding as a Sunday treat
+ anticipation of trips to the beach
+ late night alumni on pandora
+ postcards from abroad from Kate-Robin!

Posted on: May 7, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Faux Boulder date

When we lived in Boulder, we ate out several times a week and frequently met up with friends at local bars or restaurants. David and I used to go out on dates all the time. In our three years there, had tried nearly every restaurant in town and had our favorite places. The waiters knew us. The owners would stop by. Our friends would know where to find us.

Since moving here we haven't really gone to happy hour or eaten outside or found tons of fabulous restaurants. Yes, we live in California with beautiful weather, but we don't eat out that much because everything is so darn expensive, and most of our friends aren't around the corner and able to meet at a moments notice.

So, yesterday was a treat. After a lovely drive in the country (scouting towns to move to with absolutely no luck), we ended up in beautiful Healdsburg, a smaller, more expensive, and less hippy Boulder, but lovely nonetheless. We found the local brew pub, sat on the back patio, and savored the sunshine and yummy pub fare.

Sitting there we realized that we were having a Boulder date. It felt so normal. It felt so right. We had missed it so much. And now we know that we need to do this way more often... Happy hour, anyone?

Posted on: May 6, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Here they come

Where have I been? What have I been up to?

Gardening at our house (as opposed to Luther Burbank's house), making leaf plates for my ceramics class, paring down and throwing out and organizing our stuff that is taking over the apartment, cooking Thai food, reading (up to a couple hours a day now!), and doing some hard-core running. We seem to have finally developed a routine here in California: yoga, arts and crafts, garden, run, eat, read, sleep, and repeat. We've been here a year now.

p.s. Check out HepburnTribute.com -- that's been a real source of time suckage lately.
Still lots of things to adjust and tweak, but it's on its way.

Posted on: May 1, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Easy steps to be more eco-conscious (part 2)

Evidently, David and I are even hotter than we thought because we're ecosexuals.

    "Ecosexual: n. A person who's into hybrid cars, low energy lightbulbs, and recycling. Now that environmentalism is hot, ecosexuals are getting increasingly fashionable." (Defined by Wired Magazine; learn more at Treehugger and SF Magazine.)
You know you want to be one too.

+ Switch to recycled
Recycled toilet paper, toothbrushes, aluminum foil, computer paper, garden hoses, pencils, clothing, mouse pads, printer supplies, crayons, trash bags, etc. If you are adverse to cloth towels, napkins, and handkerchiefs, buy recycled paper towels, napkins, and facial tissue.
"If every household in the U.S. bought just one four-pack of 260-sheet recycled bath tissue, it would eliminate 60,600 pounds of chlorine pollution, preserve 356 million gallons of fresh water, and save 988,000 trees." [via link]

+ Bring your own grocery bags
Many grocery stores will even credit you 5 cents for each bag you bring in!
"This is common practice in virtually every other country but our own. The U.S. uses 100 billion plastic bags annually, consuming about 12 million barrels of oil [with] less than 1% of plastic bags are ever recycled, using a sturdy reusable bag will eliminate hundreds to thousands of plastic bags over its lifetime." [via link]

+ Encourage plants to clean up
Certain plants can help remove air pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene, and carbon monoxide and are excellent at cleaning up indoor air pollution. The top 10 plants most effective in removing these toxins from the air are: Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea Seifritzii), Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema Modestum), English Ivy (Hedera Helix), Gerbera Daisy (Gerbera Jamesonii), Janet Craig (Dracaena "Janet Craig"), Marginata (Dracaena Marginata), Mass Cane/Corn Plant (Dracaena Massangeana), Mother-in-Law's Tongue (Sansevieria Laurentii), Pot Mum (Chrysantheium morifolium), Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum "Mauna Loa"), and Warneckii (Dracaena "Warneckii"). [via link]
Don't have a green thumb? Golden pothos, English ivy, and peace lilies are all easy-to-grow toxin fighters.

+ Double up on printing
Configure your printer so that it prints on both sides of the page or simply put your printed pages back in the printer to reuse the other side. Download these signs to post in your office around copiers and printers to help reduce paper use.

+ Unplug it
Unplug your cell phone charger and hairdryer when not in use. They continue to guzzle energy even when plugged in and turned off. Alternatively, plug everything on a power strip and use the switch to turn it off instead of manually plugging and unplugging things).
"If 10 percent of the world's cell phone owners did this, it would reduce energy consumption by an amount equivalent to that used by 60,000 European homes per year." [via link]

Posted on: Apr 29, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Eco-fabulous books

+ 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth
+ Save Our Planet: 750 Everyday Ways You Can Help Clean Up the Earth/25th Anniversary
I was ten years old when I read these books and they changed my life. Through them I learned that being environmentally aware is easy and that it doesn't take much to make a difference on a local scale. They also set the stage for my decision to become an environmental scientist... If you haven't already, read them!

+ Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things
"Paper or plastic? Neither, say William McDonough and Michael Braungart. Why settle for the least harmful alternative when we could have something that is better--say, edible grocery bags! In Cradle to Cradle, the authors present a manifesto calling for a new industrial revolution, one that would render both traditional manufacturing and traditional environmentalism obsolete." I haven't read this book yet, but I'm on the waiting list at our library.

+ An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It
The companion guide to the movie that made global climate change front and center in America.

+ The Healthy Home Workbook: Easy Steps for Eco-Friendly Living
I really like this book. It is organized by room and for each area it lists a variety of environmentally conscious changes for 1. instant gratification, 2. greater commitment, and 3. a truly healthy home. So you'll feel good if you make just a few simple changes and helps you set goals for more long-term eco-friendly projects.

+ Silent Spring
This book by Rachel Carson launched the global environmental movement. Required reading.

Should things continue not to go well, there is always The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook and The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Extreme Edition... But let us hope it doesn't come to that.

Posted on: Apr 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Easy steps to be more eco-conscious

"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money." - Cree Native American Proverb

In celebration of Earth Day, I've decided to little "save the earth" features this week. So, let's start off with easy ways to do our part.

+ Decline your ATM receipts
"Receipts from 8 billion ATM transactions every year are one of the biggest sources of litter on the planet. If everyone left their receipts in the machine, it would save a roll of paper more than 2 billion feet long---enough to circle the equator more than 15 times." [via link]

+ Use cold water
"About 90 percent of the energy used for a load of laundry goes to heating the water. While you may want to wash bed linens in hot water to kill dust mites, opt for washing all other loads in cold -- and save up to $300 and 330 pounds of greenhouse gas emissions each year." [via link]

+ Switch your light bulbs
Replacing just one regular light bulb with a compact fluorescent light bulb will save 150 pounds of carbon dioxide a year [via link] and now you can purchase a variety of different full spectrum and natural looking CFL bulbs. "If every family replaced one bulb with a CFL it would be like reducing carbon emissions from 800,000 cars." [via link]

Stay tuned for lots more tips over the next few days...

Posted on: Apr 23, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Every Day is Earth Day

"In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." - From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

There has been so much press about Earth Day and hype about green living recently in the news. All I can say is it's about time! My passion and commitment to protecting our planet began in nursery school when I declared that I no longer wanted to eat meat and has grown exponentially since then. I've been waiting over twenty years for an eco-conscious identity to develop here in America and I really hope that day is upon us.

Today is Earth Day. Because David and I feel that honoring and caring for the earth is important every day--not just on Earth Day--we decided to begin, rather than end, our Earth Week today. This week we shall present you with practical tips designed to show that being eco-conscious is really easy. As far as we are concerned, there is no excuse for not looking forward...

Posted on: Apr 22, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Spritzer loves

+ simply divine french lavender lotion
+ phone calls with ranni
+ gluten-free blueberry pancakes:

+ wildlife sightings
+ hands in clay
+ cool nights with the windows open
+ strawberry, mango, rhubarb crisp
+ late-night rain storms
+ curling up with a good book

Posted on: Apr 20, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Here comes the basil

I've been so busy this week with our daily 4-mile runs, volunteering at Luther Burbank's house, doing homework for my Japanese ceramics class, and rereading several of my favorite Anne McCaffrey books, that I've had little time to hop on the net. It's actually been a very nice break. I love filling my time with plants, books, and art.

Look! Our basil seeds are sprouting! We've got a couple more days until the cilantro and mint surface. A couple more weeks and then it will be transplant time. Look at the overcrowding that is already beginning! I am in biology heaven.

It's almost Earth Day so stay tuned for our eco-conscious Earth Week coverage starting on Sunday...

Posted on: Apr 19, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Ducklings & spices all in a row

Yesterday David and I saw a mother duck lead her 10-15 ducklings across a very busy street at a crosswalk by the park. Luckily traffic stopped and the ducks made it across safely. The mother duck then led her babies right by us (we were about three feet away!). The little ducklings were darling -- yellow and brown, and they walked as pairs in a column behind their mother. Cute little ducklings all in a row. I immediately thought of my father (we used to love reading those baby animals themed children's books together) and, of course, wished I had my camera. It was a heart-stopping, wonderful moment. Yes, I am ever the biologist, but who wouldn't fawn over baby ducks?!

After that cute story, the rest of my post -- about organizing our kitchen -- seams trivial, but here goes... I've been doing some spring cleaning and organizing around here. One of my recent projects is transferring our bulk spices into something other than little ziplock baggies and identifying them with computer printed labels. So, each time we go through another jar of jam from Trader Joe's, I set up another spice. Don't they look pretty and organized?!

When I took the picture on the left I realized that the colors of the cayenne, cinnamon, mustard, and allspice perfectly matched the onion and pineapple gluten-free pizza that I had just pulled from the oven (photo on the right). I didn't even plan it!

Posted on: Apr 16, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Bye bye sunglasses

Left: Road trip to Moab, Utah, in August of 2002. Right: October 2006 trip to the California coast.

My beloved sunglasses are officially broken beyond repair. The plastic rim has snapped and the superglue that resurrected them numerous times before no longer works.

A gift from my parents in 2002, they have traveled with me from New Jersey to Arizona for grad school, across the country a year later for graduation in New York (and another cross country trip for my family to meet David), back to New Mexico, then up to Colorado for three years, and finally all the way here to California. They even traveled with us to Mexico for our honeymoon!

I have worn them nearly every single day for the past five years (our five year anniversary would have been next month). I really, really love these babies and I am so sad that they are broken. I guess it's time to start saving up for a new pair...

Oh, and try to get rid of my raccoon-eyed tan in the meantime!
(It is so bad.)

Posted on: Apr 12, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Jalapeño time

Gardening season is upon us! Yesterday I headed down to our neighborhood nursery, which happens to sell only organic plants and natural growing supplies. Pure heaven! I exercised such restraint and walked away with only organic potting soil, a small jalapeño pepper plant, and herb seeds (basil, cilantro, mint). This year I will be gardening mostly over at Luther Burbank's house.

In honor of our darling pepper plant, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite jalapeño dishes. It's super simple, very versatile, and just delicious.

Spicy Mango Salsa
Adapted from Peter Berley's Fresh Food Fast (a fabulous cookbook)

    2 ripe mangos or 1 bag frozen mango, peeled and diced
    ½ cup chopped cilantro, plus additional for garnish
    3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon, lime, or orange juice
    3 tablespoons minced red onion (we tend to use more!)
    1 jalapeño pepper, with seeds, minced
    1 ¼ teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
    Pinch of coarse sea salt

In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients; mix to combine. Serve with black beans, enchilada casserole, on top of nachos, with seared fish or tofu, or whatever else sounds good to you!

Posted on: Apr 10, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
More family photos

I thought it would be fun to show you photos from my mother's side of my family (for photos from my dad's side, visit the February archives). My uncle recently scanned lots of family photos and I've had such a great time pouring over them. Here are a few of my favorites.

Left: My grandmother Florence Leff (at age 6) in 1937 outside of her dad's store in Morristown, NJ.
Right: My grandmother at Prospect Park (NY) during high school.

Left: My great-grandmother Minnie at the beach (on the right).
Right: Driving around Camden, NJ in my great-grandfather Ezra's car in 1923.

Posted on: Apr 9, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Pictures from David's trip

David had a fantastic time in Tokyo. Delicious food, interesting new things, good company.

Check out those thousands of paper cranes left as an offering! Reminds me of our thousand paper cranes at our wedding (folded by David and I with the help of family and friends)! I especially like the blooming cherry trees everywhere. Just beautiful!

Posted on: Apr 8, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Across the Pacific

Tomorrow David comes home from a last-minute, week-long business trip to Tokyo. For him, oddly enough, he'll be home later today (gotta love those time differences!).

While he's been gone, I've slept in late every day and occupied myself with all sorts of fun activities: lots of reading outside in the sunshine, dips (and laps) in the pool, time spent cooking my favorite comfort foods, and watching oh-so-many movies (pretty much a five-day movie marathon of chick flicks!).

I also visited San Francisco with Christana earlier in the week. We toured the de Young museum, photographed beautiful flowers in Golden Gate Park, savored cheap Chinese food, and met up with Sellayel and Sean for tasty treats down in Little Italy (so fun!).

Today I read several design magazines at the beach. Tomorrow I volunteer at LBH&G.

Yeah, I lead such a tough life.

The biggest surprise of this week is how much David and I have been able to talk on the phone. We've talked over an hour a day, every day since he left on Sunday and we've both felt like we've had quality time with each other. I feel totally in the loop and less left behind (last-minute trip = expensive airfare = I couldn't tag along!). Not only that, but we have been chatting every day FOR FREE thanks to the beautiful internet chat service that is Skype.

So, yes, I've had a good week, but I cannot wait for him to get home. I want him to hold me close for a couple days. Thank goodness for weekends together.

Have a good one!

Posted on: Apr 5, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Week of Design (Day 7)

This post concludes our Week of Design. Please leave a comment if you would like to see more "theme weeks" here on our blog. We'd also appreciate any theme suggestions you may have as well... Thanks for joining us this week and stay tuned for lots more journal goodness coming your way soon.

And, finally, here are some parting night shots...

Btw, welcome to April! (Check out our new design for the month.)
Some fabulous April Fools Day related posts: MuggleNet reviews 'Deathly Hallows', The April Fools' Day Defense Kit, and Strollerderby gems Organic Foods Found to Be Poisonous for Children and New Study: Everything Is Harmful To Children.

Posted on: Apr 1, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Week of Design (Day 6)

Second to our kitchen, at home we spend the most of our waking hours in our living room, which right now is also our office and dining room (ah, small apartment living!). Let's do an inventory of items we have already procured that are necessary according to my favorite living room photographs below. Beige sofa: check! Snazzy chair: check! Great artwork: check! Throw pillows, recessed lighting, marble fireplace, and books: check! Evidently all that's missing is a fabulous chandelier, a styling area rug, and, oh, a beautiful living room with giant windows, gorgeous curtains, and hardwood floors...

For our dream dining room, we are way behind in its execution. We do have a fabulous giant wooden table (from my Grandfather), so that is a plus, and we have tons of great serving ware, etc., but we're still using wooden folding chairs for seating and pretty much lack any sort of ambiance that these pictures project:

Only one more day in our Week of Design... Stay tuned!

Posted on: Mar 31, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Week of Design (Day 5)

Some of my favorite evening childhood memories center on open fire pits, campfires, and fireplaces. I fondly recall the smell, the flickers of light, the warmth (sometimes overwhelming!), the singing and storytelling, and, of course, the food (and treats!) cooked over them. For several years I abhorred open fires when I was dealing with my chemical sensitivities, but now that I am feeling oh-so-much better, I've started to think again about fireplaces and their place in our dream home. While there are so many great ones out there, David and I were amazed about how inefficient many of the designs are. When we build our little cob cottage in the country, I want a fully-functional and efficient fireplace to occasionally cook over and heat our house... and I want it to look damn fine too.

Here are some fireplaces I love the look of, though I can't vouch for their functionality. Which one is your favorite? Can you guess which one belongs to Brad Pitt and which one is from a popular television show?

Posted on: Mar 30, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Week of Design (Day 4)

I love the use of textures, geometry, and natural materials (such as stone) in gardens. I love courtyards and entry ways, paths that don't just direct you from point a to point b, but lead you through a beautiful garden, and the use of plant foliage---and open space---in creating a place of escape.

For David and me, our bedroom is currently our most important place to escape, containing the ever-essential calming colors, soft materials, and a feeling of home. Our bedroom is also our greatest extravagance at our house, with our organic mattress and organic sheets. We both sleep great pretty much every single night and never wake up allergied or with puffy eyes like we used to (before we went organic). We get a good night sleep and love and look forward to going to bed each night. Rather than post pictures of our current bedroom which fits my tastes perfectly, here are some photos of other dream bedrooms for your more modern (and not-so-modern) sensibilities. I just love 'em.

Posted on: Mar 29, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Week of Design (Day 3)

Swimming pools are the ultimate extravagance... Aren't they just lovely?! I love the idea of taking a quick dip while waiting for dinner to finish up in the oven or in between emails or late at night when I can't sleep. I adore the idea of not needing to locate my suit, but instead just swimming in the buff in my own backyard whenever I like. I like the idea of a pool with lights underwater, so that it casts those lovely reflections all over the place in the evenings.

A few times a week I swim at the heated pool in our complex, but it really isn't the same. I just hate those nasty chemicals they use (and people are always there--strangers seeing me in my bathing suit, gasp!). If I were to ever have my own pool (what a big if!), I hope to use a more eco-groovy cleaning method (such as ozone filtration, etc., there are lots out there!)...

I adore swimming and will take what I can get, but this week is all about reaching for the stars, so here we go. I will always prefer private pools to public ones... but then again who doesn't?! Enjoy:

Posted on: Mar 28, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Week of Design (Day 2)

Some favorite design websites:
* Apartment Therapy, Decor8, Design*Sponge, Domino Magazine, IKEA Hacker, Inhabitat, Land+Living, MoCo Loco, Terramia, Treehugger *

Posted on: Mar 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Design Addict - Week of Design (Day 1)

When I was ten years old I got my first magazine subscriptions to House Beautiful and Vogue. Now those of you who know me well are aware that I am not terribly fashion conscious. I don't spend any money on clothes, so I've been wearing the same gap t-shirts since 1994 (I even have photos to prove it.). I may not wear it, but if you ask me what's in style, I tend to know the latest trends (even though my Vogue subscription expired years ago; now I just love the internet!).

I like to think the same goes for my knowledge of architecture and interior design.

For years I have been collecting images of design and decorating ideas for when I finally would own a house. Anytime I saw a photo I liked online or a clipping in a magazine, I saved or scanned it and put it in my 'future house ideas' image folder. It has always seemed so far fetching and David loves to tease me about how crazy it is that I've been planning this for years.

Well, I'm hoping it has paid off. We're house hunting. Or, rather, we're townhouse hunting, as the California housing market makes me want to cry. We're hoping for a real fixer upper so we can make it our own. Right now we're keeping our fingers crossed and trying to take deep breaths and stay sane...

In celebration of the possibility that we may actually own a place in the near future, I though I would post some of my favorite designs from my 'future house ideas' folder. So, keep checking back for a new photo collage posted each day this week.

Posted on: Mar 26, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Season for fresh salads

(Recipe for Caribbean Salad here. Also delicious with rice!)
Happy Spring! The temperatures are supposed to drop down to the 60s next week, so we will be outside as much as possible tomorrow and Sunday!

Have a great weekend!

Posted on: Mar 23, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
On our run yesterday...
    Me: Ah! I keep getting bitten!
    David: I am sorry it's not me.
    Me: What, getting bit by mosquitoes?
    David: No, biting you.
    Me: I am so putting that on the blog tomorrow.
Posted on: Mar 20, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Shut up and sing

We finally watched the Dixie Chick documentary Shut Up & Sing-- it was fantastic (although I definitely liked it more than David)! What a fabulous group of sassy, interesting, intelligent, and talented women. I was so touched by their camaraderie, as well as their deep love and respect for each other. They just blew me away! It's so refreshing seeing superstars as regular people and people you could see hanging out with (in my dreams, right?!). If you are at all a fan of their music or if you want the inside scoop on the 2003 "incident," rent it!

    "My friends from high school married their high school boyfriends, moved into houses in the same ZIP codes where their parents live... But I, I could never follow... No I, I could never follow..."

    Oh, how I can relate to those lyrics. From New Jersey to California with no regrets.

I don't think of myself as a country music fan, but I also didn't realize that their new album isn't all that country... so, I've decided that I am going to put my money where my mouth is and buy their cd . I want to support them!

Posted on: Mar 20, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Gardening: your civic duty

We walked into the Picasso exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and everything looked so familiar. I had seen and hated that Matt Weber piece before... I recognized that sculpture... and suddenly it dawned on me... It was the same Picasso exhibit that I has seen in New York at the Whitney Museum in November.

Only I would unwittingly go to the same exhibit on both coasts. (Btw, it was so worth it.)

Anyhow, we loved SFMOMA! There were two fantastic temporary exhibits: photographs by Henry Wessel and the SECA Victory Gardens by Amy Franceschini. Amy's work focused on shaping agricultural and food policy and encouraging people to grow gardens for their food supply (learn more here). I am so excited about this! I had never heard of Victory Gardens before:

    "Victory gardens were vegetable, fruit, and herb gardens planted at private residences in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom during World Wars I and II to reduce pressure on the public food supply. In addition to aiding the war effort, these gardens were considered civil morale boosters in that gardeners could feel empowered by their labor and rewarded by the produce grown." (link)

How cool is that?! In the exhibition they showed historical photographs of the fields in front of City Hall transformed into gardens. What a shame these practices (and ideology) have fallen by the wayside! I am so hopeful for a resurgence.

One of David and my longstanding goals is to grow our own food and, as vegetarians, we feel we could maybe just pull it off. I really, really can't wait for us to own land. Before we redo the bathrooms or refinish the floors, we are going to sew our garden...

Posted on: Mar 19, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Laura's trip...

So we never made it to the barrel tasting. We got wrapped up in other activities: sushi at Ume, milkshakes at Taylor's Refresher, wine tasting at Grgich Hills and the reserve tasting at Chateau St. Jean, many dips in the pool, giant mixed drinks with foot long straws at the local Mexican restaurant, hightailing it around the Sonoma and Napa valleys and San Francisco, fabulous tapas at Andalu, lounging at the beach, walking along the Golden Gate Bridge, catching the ocean at sunset, and seeing the Picasso exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

A jam-packed four days. We had a blast!

We miss you, Laura!
A couple more photos are on Flickr (more coming soon).

Posted on: Mar 18, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Laura in wine country

We had a great time.
More about our long weekend coming soon.

Posted on: Mar 14, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
National Geographic Photos

Every few weeks I select a new wallpaper image from National Geographic for my computer's desktop. Over the past few years, I've enjoyed visits to tropical rainforests, desert landscapes, open air markets, etc... I love their images. I've just discovered that hundreds of stunning National Geographic posters are for sale! They are pricy, but the photos are stunning. Here are several of my favorites (click on each to learn more).

A Tree Floats in the Crystal-Clear Waters of Palmyra Atoll
Grasses Sprout up from a Desert Landscape
Silhouetted Joshua Trees at Twilight in the Desert
A Monkey Hangs from a Tree by His Tail
Laura will be here in a few hours. Tomorrow we are barrel tasting! ($10 to taste at 100 wineries -- we are so there!)

Posted on: Mar 9, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Spring in the garden

Yesterday I visited the organic culinary gardens at the Kendall Jackson winery. (I was probably the only person there who didn't enter the tasting room. And, yes, it was before noon.) They have a number of different garden plots organized in a variety of ways: by product (such as heirloom tomatoes or herbs), region (South America, Asia, etc.), and color (reds, whites...). Many of the beds were newly planted, with seeds just sprouting and plants just beginning to grow. I love that initial stage of the garden, with everything lined up and orderly before the weeds set in.

I like that the KJ gardens are working gardens not just cultivated for display purposes. The plots are farmed organically using integrative pest management techniques. Local upscale restaurants purchase produce from the gardens and cooks on site utilize the produce as well. While I was there, a cook in her crisp white uniform come out and grabbed a branch of bay leaves off of this enormous tree that was at least 20 feet tall! How cool is that?!

Yesterday I wandered around the plots looking for photographic inspiration and to also gather ideas for when we have a garden again. Incidentally, this weekend we picked up organic seeds to start a container herb garden; maybe I'll get to planting after Laura's visit. My favorite parts of the KJ gardens are the herbs, which largely grow year-round, and I love the citrus trees: lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange. To me, that is by far one of the biggest perks of living in California. I adore citrus.

Posted on: Mar 6, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Hot weather and cool drinks

When we moved here, I read about the Napa Valley Mustard Festival, when wild mustard plants grow rampant through the vineyards in the winter months of January through April. Last month, I was skeptical of the existence of these mustard plants, which evidently turned the valley floor yellow, because the fields were still completely green with no flowers in sight. This weekend, however, the mustard plants bloomed here in our Sonoma Valley and I am floored. Imagine fields of green covered with little yellow flowers. I know, it's the beginning of March, and if you don't live here you probably don't believe it either. I need to get out there and take some pictures! I do believe that spring is on its way!

We had a great weekend. After a drive in the country (looking at house rentals in Sebastopol) and a bike ride in Annadel State Park, nothing beats coming home to cool, refreshing (and strong!) mojitos. I've been craving them for a few days and yesterday we finally found fresh, local, organic mint and it made my day! Oh-la-la, with one sip I was transported back to happy hour at Aji (a fabulous Latin American restaurant in Boulder), sans ceviche and our Boulder friends. Our drinks were so terribly good, and we have so many mint leaves and limes left, that I think that I had better hide the rum until Saturday... Laura will be here in five days and then let the partying begin.

Posted on: Mar 5, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Escape to the park

Today I headed over to the park with my camera. (It so felt bizarre moseying around the lake without my running shoes on!) While I was out, I photographed beautiful blooming trees and green hills, and also snapped these pix of me.

Tomorrow I begin volunteer training at the Luther Burbank Gardens. I'm excited!
Have a great weekend!

Posted on: Mar 2, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Stranger than Fiction

Falafel dinner into the oven -- love those matching yellows

Every year I look forward to doing our taxes (crazy, I know!), which I do by hand with my trusty T1-83 calculator. I am almost done with our 2006 taxes; I just need to double check the good news (I think we're going to Hawaii and buying a washer/dryer with the refund).

Anyhow, last night we watched Stranger than Fiction, whose central character is an IRS agent (and oh so much more). I really have no idea if I made a conscious connection (IRS!) when I picked up the movie. I think I was just so excited that it was available on DVD as we missed it in the theaters, but who knows. It could be coincidence. Either way, Stranger than Fiction was great.

We enjoyed the oddities of Harold Crick, especially his obsessive counting and his noticing geometry all around him (which we could relate to). We liked the underlying message that life must be lived to the fullest and the development of the romance in the film. We loved the rock-solid, phenomenal script, with a brilliantly-written narration delivered by Emma Thompson. We loved this movie.

We liked it way better than Little Miss Sunshine and we loved Little Miss Sunshine.

Now, we are not Will Ferrell fans. But this is not a typical Will Ferrell role. In Stranger than Fiction, he plays a straight-edge guy who happens to be really quirky and he nails it.

So, if you are at all quirky, get yourself to the video store and rent Stranger than Fiction!

p.s. Do you like my new wide angle lens attachment?
Fabulous birthday present from David!

Posted on: Mar 2, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
We made it to March

Wow, that is so much better. Please enjoy the March color scheme: now with double the Spritzer... My sister arrives in a little over a week and we are PUMPED!

Here's a picture of my hot sister from our road trip to Las Vegas in 2003. Yes, it's been way too long since we've vacationed sans parents together. I can't wait.

I've been busy planning things to do together and I hope that the weather cooperates. Thinking about a trip to the beach, wine tasting (love trying those $100 bottles of wine), whirlwind tour of San Francisco, and lots of chill time with good food and fabulous drinks and the best company ever...

Posted on: Mar 1, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Living the good life
I love this post by Felicia Sullivan featuring 25 ways to save money. In our house we do most of these already (except for #2, go through people's dumpsters, which I'm not sure I could ever do) and that made me feel good. I especially like Felicia's emphasis on cutting down on the crap in our lives (like cable and magazine subscriptions), stretching the life of clothing and household goods, and reusing everything from plastic bags to water bottles.

In an earlier post in this series, Felicia talks about Alex Beauchamp's method for allocating her money so that she can live the good life. Put those two posts together and you have us. We spend our money on quality goods that we feel strongly about (such as organic produce or Oakley sunglasses with UV protection that I have worn every day since 2002) and save for things that really matter to us and enrich our quality of life, such as our organic mattress (above) or David's mountain bike. To some people, those items may seem extravagant, but to us they are essential to our lives and our health and our wellbeing. And if that means we don't buy the latest gadgets and wear the same clothes and continue using our older computers, etc., that's just fine with us. It makes sense to us both fiscally and environmentally.

Posted on: Feb 28, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Thank you

Our Tribute to Audrey Hepburn MySpace page now has over 1,000 friends! How amazing is that?! People keep adding us as their friend and WE ARE THRILLED! Thank you, Audrey Hepburn fans, for being so supportive!

And thank you, wonderful readers, for putting up with this cutesy color theme. Only one more day to go before I unveil our March banner. Stay tuned...

Wow, three entries in one day! Now that's being productive.
Or something. I had better go eat breakfast.

Posted on: Feb 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
My dad and his kite

This is one of my favorite pictures of my father. Look at the glee in his face while flying that kite! I also love that he's not completely in focus, because even today my dad is always on the move.

Happy Birthday, Daddy! We love you!

Posted on: Feb 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
We're all about plants this week

It's raining outside (of course!), so I thought I'd post a picture from last week of the beautiful pink and white flowering trees blooming all over the park. Spring is on its way and I love it. Hope you all stay cozy and warm today. I am trying to psych myself up to go run in the rain. Now that's dedication.

We're going vegan this week. Dairy products are so expensive and, while I totally love them, I do think they are meant for fattening up baby animals (cows, sheep, goats) rather than feeding grown people. So we're having a bit of a change just for a week or two. I'm curious to see if we'll feel any differently. Last night I made a phenomenal (if I do say so myself) coconut curried vegetable dish. I used fresh spices and they worked so well that we've decided to through out those curry pastes in the fridge! Who cares if they save time, obviously they are more processed and they sure don't taste as good. Anyhow, I have a bunch of cookbooks that I've been combing through: vegan ones, Thai ones, vegetarian ones, and I think we're going to eat really well this week. At least, I hope so!

Please let me know if you have any great vegan recipes and remember we're also allergic to gluten and tomatoes! (I know, we are so complicated!)

Posted on: Feb 27, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Family photos

Above are my fraternal grandparents. The left photo is from my grandmother's college graduation; the one on the right is from their wedding. My grandmother passed away five years ago, my grandfather over thirty years ago and I never knew him.

I keep these photos on the bulletin board above my desk and see them every day. I love the sepia tint of the photos, the expression on their faces, the way the photos are worn, no longer crisp. I love seeing them when they were my age and seeing them together.

When I look at them it makes me feel both happy and sad. (Even now, in writing this, my eyes are filled with tears.) Yet I love that they are immortalized in this photo, and always here in me, and now--through these pictures--with you.

Posted on: Feb 23, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Pregnancy in America

Check out this fascinating trailer for the documentary "Pregnancy in America." The trailer touches upon on why David and I have no intention of giving birth in a hospital. Some parts that were especially interesting to me:

Doctor in the Netherlands: "We don't see [birth] as a medical thing. It's a natural thing and sometimes you need medical assistance."

Woman with European accent: "In America, it's not usual that you deliver at home?"

No, it's not usual. In America most babies are born in hospitals (in Europe most babies are born at home) and we have one of the highest newborn death rates amongst developed countries. You do the math.

(And we're not pregnant.) link via Elaine

Posted on: Feb 22, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Stop the Presses!

Congratulations to our dear friend Stefan on passing his comprehensive exam! Wish we could celebrate with you!


Don't view this page with Internet Explorer! Get yourself Firefox!
(I'll be fixing the layout for IE soon... Sorry about that!)

Posted on: Feb 21, 2007 | filed under: NEW
Rain blowin' in

It looked like it was going to rain all day today -- so beautiful. All the greens were vibrant and there was a lovely breeze. I got all bundled up for my walk, which involved putting on a Polartec. Above are some pictures from my stroll (it's my day off from running!). Isn't that sky so stunning?!

Because of the long weekend, my sense of time has been completely off. I kept thinking today was Monday instead of Tuesday... or maybe Wednesday though I cannot explain why. Tonight David has his yoga class and I shall continue setting up my newly reformatted computer (oh, how fast she is running! so nice!). I also have a date with the kitchen. Menu items for this week include spinach, garlic, mushrooms, and onion lasagna, enchilada casserole, curried noodle patties, and a variety of salads. Yummers!

Did you hear that Tori Amos is releasing a new album on May 1, 2007? I am curious about the sound she'll go for this time. I am partial to her Little Earthquakes and Under the Pink albums... haven't been as in love with her more recent stuff. Keeping my fingers crossed for lots of piano and soulful singing.

Posted on: Feb 20, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Day at the beach

75 degrees, sunny and beautiful out, so we headed to the beach today. As we were leaving, the fog was rolling in from the bay out to sea (right picture--goodbye blue sky!). Absolutely gorgeous.

Have a great three-day weekend, everyone!

Posted on: Feb 17, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Ever the biologist

It's been gorgeous out (think 70s!) and I've been running up a storm. I've actually been running so hard (and far) that I am now only running about five times a week, because frankly I am too tired to go everyday. Since I am running so much, I don't feel guilty skipping a day here and there... and I love it so much I look forward to going again. It's actually worked out rather perfectly.

Here are some pictures from my camera phone. They really don't capture how beautiful it has been outside. I think I may lug my real camera over to the park sometime, so you can see what it really looks like. I've also been trying to photograph the two great egrets that I've seen every day this week. They are so stunning. On Tuesday I stopped running and just starred at them for about 5 minutes completely in awe (right photo - good luck finding them!). Egrets in February a couple miles from my house... Just thinking about it still blows me away! Amazing!

Posted on: Feb 16, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
So damn cute, you'll wanna hurl

Since we both hate the idea of Valentine's Day, we don't celebrate it. Single people feel bad, couples feel pressured to celebrate with cards and sugar-loaded treats and expensive flowers. Oh, the commercialism! And how ridiculous that couples celebrate their relationship just once a year. I mean, come on! As far as we are concerned we celebrate Valentine's Day pretty much every damn day... and we certainly never waste money on cards or blood diamonds.

So, that was my little Valentine's Day rant. Now comes the part that is so cute, you'll want to hurl. Yes, this is one of those "we're so fucking happy" entries. Feel free to stop reading now and save yourself. Trust us; we know that Valentine's Day sucks.

And now brace yourself for sugar and spice. A few random things about our relationship.

1. We really only shout when one of us is in the shower and needs more soap. Or if we are on opposite sides of the house then "I love you" phrases are thrown back and forth.

2. Every night, all night, we sleep holding each other. Occasionally David sleeps on his back, in which case I sort of sprawl across him.

3. We hate getting out of bed in the morning. (Lots of snooze-button hitting and "I'm so cozy! I don't want to get out of bed!") This has gotten much worse since my grandmother bought us a primaloft comforter.

And now let's move the focus away from us, shall we. Enjoy these beautiful, love-inspired photos: heart kite at sunset, mirror view, stone heart, dancing, and sisters.

Posted on: Feb 14, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Raw Food/Real World Granola

This weekend we made phenomenal Cranberry Maple Granola from the awesome raw food book Raw Food/Real World. It is SO tasty and addictive and I cannot wait to make more. After a year of hemming and hawing, last month we finally broke down and bought a dehydrator and this recipe has already made it so worthwhile.

Cranberry Maple Granola (Raw)
From Raw Food/Real World, page 269
Yields about 10 cups

1 apple
1½ cups date paste (I used whole dates)
½ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons orange zest
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ cup sunflower seeds, soaked 2 hours or more
2 cups almonds, soaked 4 hours or more
3 cups pecans, soaked 2 hours or more
1 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked 2 hours or more
1 cup dried cranberries
1. In a food processor, place the apple, date paste, maple syrup, lemon juice, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and ¼ cup of the sunflower seeds and grind until completely smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl.

2. Add the remaining ¼ cup sunflower seeds, the almonds, pecans, and pumpkin seeds to the food processor. Coarsely chop the nuts and seeds in a few quick pulses. Add them to the bowl with the apple mixture, add the cranberries and combine well

3. Spread the granola on lined dehydrator trays and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 6-8 hours. Flip the granola over onto the screens and peel away the liners. Continue dehydrating for another for 8 to 12 hours more, or until the granola is crunchy. Break into pieces and, once completely cooled, store in a airtight container. To maintain freshness longer, store the granola in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.

Posted on: Feb 12, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Kenyon comes to wine country

Yesterday David and I had a fantastic time at a Kenyon alumni event up in our neck of the woods at the Dutcher Crossing Winery. I had forgotten just how awesome Kenyon alumni and parents are. What a smart, interesting, and fun group. We saw old friends, met wonderful new people, David drank fantastic wine (I was driving--I only got a few sips!), ate delicious food, and had an all-around great time! I almost felt like I was back at college for an afternoon! It was so nice having social time and doing something new.

Today the rains have parted and everyone has headed to the parks across the street from our house. This afternoon we were running our way through the masses. I love how Californians really take advantage of--and appreciate--nice days. We saw so many families out walking and running and biking. But as much as I loved seeing all this enjoying nature together time, I think I'm ready for the rains to come back so that I can have more quiet solitary runs with my husband. Terrible, I know.

Posted on: Feb 11, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
WIP (Work In Progress) Friday

Quilt project with squares from the charming Amy Butler Belle Jolly Pack.

Posted on: Feb 9, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Grapefruit and avocado salad

Grapefruit and avocado salad on a bed of arugula and cilantro with pear dressing served with last nights dinner. So simple! So yummy! We are SO going to make it again soon. (Inspired by this Domino recipe!)

Btw, check out our new love: Missy Higgins. David recently discovered this wonderful Australian musician. We've bought a cd and are so hooked. You can hear her most recent disc online at her website. Check it out!

p.s. What do you think of our new layout?! Expect lots of tweaking.

Posted on: Feb 9, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Settling in

We're adjusting to winter here. Rain, lots of fog, tons of birds visiting for the winter and chirping all over the place. It's really quite lovely and I am so thrilled there is no snow in sight.

Yesterday, David and I were totally soaked by the end (middle?) of our runs, despite cutting our normal routine in half. We came home and took hot showers, ate tempeh reubens for dinner, and enjoyed desert wine from Ravenswood. Very relaxed, very warming. I feel like we're hibernating.

Today I've been busy in the kitchen making corn bread, cranberry maple granola, banana bread, black beans, grapefruit and avocado salad, and enchilada casserole. What better way to spend a rainy day than to hang out by the oven?

Posted on: Feb 8, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Spritzer turns 27

Thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes! You guys blew me away with the cards, emails, messages, and presents! Thank you!

Yesterday we celebrated my birthday with Kenny and Yuni with tasty Indian food and a tour of the UC Botanical Garden. The weather was amazing --- just the right temperature for wearing t-shirts outside (a very good birthday present). We had a great time together and it was so fun to get out of town, meet up with friends, and see something new. My birthday celebration started the evening before (in true Spritzer fashion) when David took me out to dinner at our favorite celebratory restaurant in Yountville (with food that was to die for). We then finished up the partying last night with incredible pizza and a movie marathon. It was a perfect, relaxed, and fun birthday weekend.

Oh, and we had strawberry shortcake too! My favorite!

Posted on: Feb 5, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Winter colors

Beautiful browns and greens from my excursion yesterday across the street at the park.

p.s. I'm taking a break from email and the phone. Leave a message and I'll get back to you.

Posted on: Feb 2, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Daily tally

Reading Lucifer's Hammer - after watching Deep Impact, I couldn't resist reading a post-apocalyptic drama...

Listening to Speak for Yourself by the ever quirky and talented Imogen Heap...

Working on our Kenyon class 5th year reunion website, new jewelry designs, knitting myself a scarf (see left)...

Savoring my morning cup of English breakfast tea!

Pumped to go for a run (it's beautiful outside!)...

Excited about our plans for this weekend... we're doing dinner in Yountville on Saturday and then meeting up with Yuni and Kenny on Sunday!

So giddy (and sad at the same time!) about the final Harry Potter book coming out on July 21, 2007! (that's a Saturday, so plan accordingly!)

Posted on: Feb 1, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Mollie Katzen is a genus.

Please pardon my little Mollie Katzen love fest that has been going on for several weeks on this blog. I've been cooking my way through her cookbooks and I cannot gush enough. Every single recipe we have made has been phenomenal.

Last night was no exception. We made her lentil soup with a hint of fruit (i.e. dried apricots and balsamic vinegar) --- so delicious! We used our fabulous fifteen year old balsamic vinegar from Italy and increased the amount of dried apricots. Yum-o! This morning the leftovers thickened up a bit and it was even better. Thank you, Mollie Katzen.

Inspired by Helen Jane, we have started planning ahead and writing up our weekly menu. Coming up on our list this week: fried cauliflower cakes, spiced pineapple pilaf with spicy beans, savory apple casserole, zucchini-crusted pizza, and noodles with crispy green beans, garlic and chilies. Should be yummy! (I'll keep you posted!)

All this cooking is keeping me busy and, believe me, that is a good thing.

Posted on: Jan 30, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Upcoming Natal Day

David turned to me the other day and asked me what I want for my birthday in two weeks.

I replied without missing a beat, "Something from Tiffany's."

His response, "Ha!" (i.e. I don't think so. Nice try.)

(last year my parents gave me a beautiful "C" necklace from Tiffany's for my birthday--my parents totally rock!)

My husband is so practical and I really love him for that.

(But isn't my necklace so cute?! I wear it all the time. I could really use another. Maybe in a heart shape?!)

Posted on: Jan 25, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Everday life

I love these stamps. My grandmother and aunt sent them to me, along with 25¢ stamps, so I could use them for letters. One day last fall, out of the blue, I received a packet of hundreds of stamps of Martin Luther King Jr., endangered flora, the 1980 Olympics, pine trees, ancient pottery, owls, US architecture, and these beautiful masks... Aren't they lovely?! They are my favorites.


Other favorites today: casseroles from Mollie Katzen, blue beads and beading projects, frozen mangos, homemade flax/almond/sunflower/apple/date fruit leather (we finally broke down and bought a dehydrator--it's great!), Pandora internet radio (thanks Paul and Mom!), orange slices, quilt pieces, lovely websites, and the latest issue of Domino magazine.


Several authors of my favorite websites are releasing books! I am so excited. Learn about Heidi Swanson's new vegetarian cookbook: Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your Cooking and craft blog author Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew.

Posted on: Jan 24, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
January 2007?!

I can't believe it's mid-January! I think it's time for us to take down the holiday cards on our mantle. (What you can't see in this picture is David's new mountain bike in front of the fireplace -- yes, it's in our living room. It's like a family member.)

Our colds are almost gone. We're still blowing our noses like crazy and I'm feeling oh-so tired, but otherwise we are on the mend. (It is so nice being able to sleep through the night comfortably!) In the meantime, I am enjoying my midday naps.

Yesterday Christana came over and I made a delicious cauliflower-cheese pie with a potato crust from Mollie Katzen's The Moosewood Cookbook (one of my favorite cookbooks). It was so simple to make and delicious! We had a great time together -- yay for fun social time. I love hosting friends at our house. This weekend we are planning a game night to try out some of our holiday game-related gifts. Should be fun!


By the way, I've been updating my links page on a daily basis. Check out my del.icio.us links section for interesting articles and blog posts.

I am also trying to update our photos page more regularly. Photos from Julia's birthday, April's baby shower, my bridal shower, and Biosphere 2 are now online. (Look for more photographs coming soon!)

Posted on: Jan 11, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Birthday surprise

Last week I flew up to Oregon to surprise my cousin Julia on her twenty-first birthday! My aunt Deborah-Miriam picked me up from the airport; we picked up party supplies from the neighborhood dollar store, and then snuck me into the house (unbeknownst to Julia). Julia read her birthday card from Grandma -- about how Grandma hoped Julia would like her birthday present because it was non-refundable and then I jumped in the room with balloons! It was great. (I totally cried.) Julia was stunned and so surprised and just thrilled. We had a wonderful three-day visit together eating ice-cream cake, opened presents, played Mad Libs, eating yummy sushi, touring around the area, going out for breakfast, watching movies, looking at family pictures, singing songs (we worked our way through Rise Up Singing!), celebrating a late Hanukah together, teaching me how to crochet, and even went hot tubing early in the morning with snowflakes fluttering around us. We had such a good time! Oregon was so beautiful: I loved the orchards and farms everywhere, the charming towns, and the people were so nice. I had a fantastic time. Click here to view photos from my trip!

Posted on: Jan 11, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Goodbye 2006, Hello 2007

2006 has flown by. So much has happened to us. What a year of self-discovery and self-growth! In April we took a huge leap and gambled our routine, comfort, and love of Boulder for new exciting adventures in California when David accepted his job here. We've moved, changed jobs and switched "roles" (I cook and do the laundry now!), met new people, and discovered new things (like knitting and mountain biking!). We've hosted friends and toured around San Francisco and Sonoma County. Thankfully David loves his job and we are both so happy. 2006 has been good to us.

As for 2007, my goals for the upcoming year are more continuations of our 2006 activities than far-reaching changes in our lifestyle. In 2007 I want to continue to exercise daily, practice yoga, expand my cooking menu, become a more advanced knitter, devote more time to photography, and keep smiling. The only really big and important goal for me in 2007 is to meet more people my age that are living here. I want more social time! I have high hopes for 2007.

What are some of your plans for the upcoming year?

Posted on: Jan 1, 2007 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Silver City Holiday

We had a wonderful time in Silver City. Spent lots of quality time with family and friends (we were oh-so social!), ate lots of green chile, toured the galleries, lunched in Mexico:

frequented several new pubs, baked yummy treats, and received some awesome (mostly handmade!) presents. We even got to spend time at our favorite cob house with Mel, Jeff, and Raf:

We're now back in California, exhausted and with head colds. Here's to long weekends to relax and get healthy. Happy New Year, everyone!

Posted on: Dec 29, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
The year of visitors

On Thursday morning I visited Muir Woods with Miriam and Ross, who were in town from Philadelphia! We had a great time gallivanting around giant redwoods while catching up. It was such a treat to see them.

What a year for visitors! As a goodbye to 2006, I thought it would be fun to make a list of friends and family members who've come to visit us this year, as well as document our out-of-state excursions.

Carrie's dad visits us from New Jersey to help us move from Boulder to Santa Rosa; we meet up with Carrie's family in Washington, DC the weekend before our move for Beth and Shaun's wedding.

Carrie's aunt Deborah-Miriam and cousin Julia visit us several times during the summer while Julia has an internship in San Francisco, Carrie's mom visits us from New Jersey, and Carrie's uncle from New York takes us out to dinner in San Francisco. Carrie goes back east for her mom's graduation. David also visits San Jose for business and Carrie tags along to see Monterrey.

David's mom Diana visits from New Mexico and later in the month cousin Rachel and her boyfriend Ed fly in from New Jersey. We also get to see Melanie and Jeff who are in town on their way back to Silver City, visit with Joe Tom and his family on vacation in Healdsburg, and say goodbye to Julia/Deborah-Miriam on their way back up to Oregon.

We tour the Napa Valley with David's uncle Mike and aunt Sherry visiting from New Jersey.

Carrie visits family and friends back east while David attends a conference in Colorado Springs and meets up with folks in Boulder/Fort Collins.

We meet up with Thorsten and Stefan (from Germany and Colorado, respectively) and Natalia (from Pasadena) who are in town for two different academic conferences, and Carrie gets to see Miriam and Ross at Muir Woods (see photo above). Carrie and David visit Tucson, Arizona/Mexico/Silver City, New Mexico for Christmas.

What a blast we've had! Please come visit!

Posted on: Dec 29, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments

Look who we got to hang out with! Last night we met Natalia Deligne down in San Francisco for dinner! (She flew up from Pasadena for a geology conference.) We walked around the streets of San Francisco, ate delicious Italian food, and had such a blast catching up. It was as if no time had passed (Natalia and I grew up together, but it's been 6 or so years since we've seen each other.) and David finally got to meet her. We had a great night.

I love that there are so many academic conferences in San Francisco! What a great excuse to see friends! (This month we've seen three friends for this reason!) Everyone, come visit!

p.s. What you can't see in this picture is that I am wearing flip flops. Yes, it's still warm enough for bare feet! I love it!

Posted on: Dec 14, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Living the good life

Lately we've been savoring awesome every day things.

We've increased our intake of raw foods/vegetables and are still working out every day. We are feeling great!

We've also started collecting wine. Anytime we taste a wine that we like, we buy a bottle. Our collection is growing! The labels are just lovely too, don't you think?

The rains have held off here in northern California and we've had a number of sunny, warm days. I've been running in shorts and tees. Love it!

I've finally given notice at my job in Colorado and am excited about increased free time to focus on other projects. (On a related note, I am looking for more website design projects -- if you know of anyone who needs help, please send them my way! Never mind about the design projects! We've decided I already have too much on my plate.)

I'm knitting up a storm trying to finish Leyba holiday presents. At the yarn store I treated myself to the most beautiful chunky white mohair yarn that I am going to knit with a thin blue yarn into a thick, warm scarf (for when the rains finally get here!).

There are so many fantastic world music CDs at our library. I've been listening my way through some awesome compilations including Nuevo Latino, Congo to Cuba, Women of Latin America, North African Groove, and Music from the Coffee Lands...

We are in the midst of Dungeness crab season and are taking frequent trips to the farmers market for just-off-the-boat crab! I do believe we'll be having more crab-stuffed salmon this weekend.

Yes, I lead a charmed life.

Posted on: Dec 6, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
The German Connection
Our dear friends from Germany (who we met in Boulder) Thorsten and Stefan visited us this past week! We had a blast hitting Chinatown (near the hotel they were staying at in San Francisco for a conference--the "real" reason they were here!), touring and tasting at wineries in Sonoma, watching movies, and hiking around some giant redwoods near our house. We had a whirlwind trip and great time together. Come visit us again soon, guys! And, yes, we will make it to your neck of the woods and visit you in Germany one of these days!
Posted on: Dec 5, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Jewelry Designer Christana Brown is now online!

Please check out my friend Christana's brand new website, which I designed for her! Visit her online at ChristanaBrown.com!

We had a blast working on the site together and I am thrilled that it's up and running! Congratulations, Christana!

Posted on: Nov 30, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Relaxing Thanksgiving

We had a wonderfully relaxing and fun long weekend! Once again, we hosted Thanksgiving this year. Christana and Richard came over to celebrate with us on Thursday. The menu included: salmon stuffed with crab, garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, salad, and cornbread stuffing with pecans and wild mushrooms. The meal was phenomenal. We even served a local wine from Chateau St Jean and David cooked up Bananas Foster for dessert. It was a great day.

On Friday, we celebrated the anniversary of the day we met with an incredibly tasty and extravagant meal at Mustard's Grill in the nearby Napa Valley. Other weekend activities included lots of holiday gift making, runs in the park, swims in our pool, jewelry making and website design at the Woodward-Browns, wine tasting at Grgich Hills, movie watching, tasty Thai food, and lots of great down time together. David and I had a blast. (We are so easy to please: just give us time together!)

Posted on: Nov 27, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
East Coast Trip

I had a fantastic time back east visiting family & friends and enjoyed a jam-packed trip! Here's a sampling in semi-chronological order of my trip: attended a PFS benefit event in Princeton; saw the Puccini opera Turandot with Charlotte, Carol, and my parents; ate at Blue Point Grill (always a favorite) with my folks; met Oliver and Jackie for dinner and pool; met up with cousin Rachel and her boyfriend Ed for dinner; visited with Jan at the Princeton Public Library; lunched with my mom at Mediterra; hosted Lorry and then Nancy for tea; visited Aunt Sherry and Uncle Mike at their shore house with my Dad, finally met cousin Aaron and his fiance Melissa, walked down to Atlantic City and then cruised along the beach (see pictures), grabbed a delicious crab dinner with the fam; cooked for an intimate Fremon-Scutt/Bassett-Wilson dinner party; headed into New York City; toured the Whitney Museum with Aida and Mogan, then met up with Dan and friends for dinner (and margaritas) and some bar hoping; breakfasted and hit Macy's with Imani (who I hadn't seen since fifth grade!); took the train to Long Island to visit with my grandmother and see her new place (absolutely fabulous!); met up with my uncle for dinner; grabbed sushi lunch and coffee with Rachel (who I also hadn't seen in a decade!); spent quality time with Grandma; headed back to NJ; walked the canals with my dad; ate some Candela's and more sushi and then hopped on the plane back to California. I literally didn't have an afternoon off and the whole trip was out of this world!

If only I had taken more pictures!

Posted on: Nov 20, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Autumn days

I love fall and the days leading up to Halloween. I love watching the trees change color and the crisp fall days. Here in California the transformation to autumn seems to be taking weeks and I am just soaking it in. I've made lots of hearty soups and corn dishes; we've been eating lots of apples, persimmons, and roasted squash (locally grown, of course); and have started pulling long-sleeved shirts and sweaters out of boxes. I have been in a knitting frenzy, trying to finish gifts as well as warm socks and scarves for us. We've been watching a bunch of Halloween movies and celebrating the season with friends. I still enjoy my early morning tea ritual and go for my daily runs in the early afternoons. It is so nice having the time to enjoy the every day things. Truly, I have never been so entirely content in my life. We both feel so relaxed and happy. Life is good.

Posted on: Oct 30, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Beach trip

In celebration beautiful 80-degree days in late October (I love living in California!), David and I took a trip to the beach. We basked in the sun while lying on our beach blanket, each reading twodifferent Robert Jordan books. Pelicans flew overhead, kids and dogs were swimming, and we felt lulled into relaxation with the sound of the surf.

Today I have my last sock knitting class. While I am not sure that I will be able to fully knit socks on my own (without our fabulous instructor holding my hand!), I have mastered several essential skills in the past two weeks: 1) how to knit on double-pointed needles in the round (my goal for the class!), 2) how to read knitting patterns on my own, and 3) how to do a double cast on. Hopefully I will make enormous progress tonight on my sock. Regardless, I am having such a great time and am really enjoying meeting some new people and learning new things!

Posted on: Oct 22, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Cooking endeavors

I've been doing lots of cooking lately. Some recent highlights include Prawn, Lemongrass, and Coconut Soup (from Donna Hay's The Instant Cook); Paraguayan Corn Bread (from the Best of Cooking Light); and Seared Tofu with Spicy Black Beans and Mango Salsa (from Peter Berley's Fresh Food Fast: Delicious, Seasonal Vegetarian Meals in Under an Hour). I've cooked each of these a few different times and have been making adjustments to the original recipes. For example, I've added chopped scallions to the soup, jalapenos and chopped scallions to the bread, and substituted extra onion and orange juice for the tomato and lemon juice in the salsa (shown above). I've had so much fun playing around and making the recipes (in our opinion!) better. Either way, all of these dishes are to die for and I've been having a blast in the kitchen!

Posted on: Oct 19, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Lots of updates at my tribute to Audrey Hepburn
Blog Shop Main Site
BLOG: news and magazine articles, recent press mentions, book excerpts and reviews, website updates and news

SHOP: books, calendars, movies, soundtracks, posters

MAIN SITE:biographies, desktop images, films, photographs, movie stills, transcripts, tribute, trivia, quotes, links

Also, I was recently quoted in a Denver Post article about Audrey Hepburn. Read about it here.

Posted on: Oct 13, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Night bike ride
Every Friday, David and a group of guys from work go on mountain bike rides. Recently they have gone on two night bike rides up Mount Saint Helena. The route that they have taken is more of an endurance ride than anything else and David noticed it was much easier for him the second time around. I think it's so cool that they ride by the moonlight (and their headlamps on the way down). Pretty cool pictures!
Posted on: Oct 9, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Here comes the rain
After weeks of morning fog and clouds in the sky, yesterday we had our first rain of the season. It started raining Wednesday evening and continued through most of yesterday. Suddenly, in the afternoon, the sky cleared and I headed out on a walk. The freshly rained smell was heavenly -- not as special to me as the smell of rain in the desert, but lovely nonetheless. Already, green grass is popping up all around, leaves are changing colors, and fall is on its way.

We've also recovered from our first head-colds of the season. I plan to stock up on zinc lozenges and throat tea for the coming months. This weekend we plan to hit REI during their fall sale -- gotta buy David a rain coat and get me some warmer running clothes. It's rather nippy in the mornings!

In response to the change in the weather, I've revisited my morning cup of tea ritual. I love savoring something warm first thing in the morning. I am hoping to break myself of my English breakfast tea addiction soon and branch out in a more herbal infusion direction. Any recommendations? What are your favorite types of tea?

Posted on: Oct 6, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Creative juices

Lately I've been working on all sorts of fun projects: several beading projects (mostly necklaces and bracelets---see the in progress stretchy and sparkly bracelet at left), a fuzzy mohair-merino scarf (the perfect fall project), and a small quilting project with fabric by Amy Butler. I've had such a good time sitting at my desk, with classical music or a Robert Jordan book on CD in the background, totally absorbed in my project. The hours fly by and I feel like I am accomplishing something practical, while having fun. I like focusing on a "me" project every now and then. I think it's important. (And I certainly never had time for them in Colorado!)

Today David and I went for an awesome hike up Mount Saint Helena. We hiked through the forest up to the fire road where David night-biked with a bunch of guys from work a couple weeks ago. We then continued upwards and saw some beautiful views of the Napa valley. (I still feel so amazed by the beauty of northern California!) Afterwards we hit Taylor's Refresher for lunch and milkshakes. I really love those walks that end with treats!

I've also recently begun revamping my tribute to Audrey Hepburn page. Check back for more updates over there in the coming weeks.

Posted on: Oct 1, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Harvest time

We had a fantastic time with David's aunt and uncle last weekend. We visited four wineries and tasted countless first-rate wines, ate at two phenomenal restaurants in the Napa Valley, toured around, saw some giant redwood trees, and had a relaxing, fun time together. David even went to the Eagles game in San Francisco with Michael and had a blast! (Wonders never cease.)

This upcoming week Christana and I plan to hit another museum in San Francisco for free and I have several web projects to finish up. In the meantime, I've added more pictures to our Summer in California 2006 photo gallery. Enjoy!

Posted on: Sep 29, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
David, shorn

For the first time in about 15 years, David has short hair!

We both love it!

I was surprised by how different he looks. I continually stared at his hair all weekend trying to get used to it and, let me tell you, it drove him nuts! :) I also took lots of pictures. Anyhow, I think he looks super hot!

We had a really fun and relaxing weekend: spent Saturday up in Healdsburg with Christana and Richard and yesterday afternoon at the beach! Also did lots of errands and cleaning -- David's aunt and uncle are visiting us this week!

Posted on: Sep 18, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Daily fitness routine

Nearly every day I run through Howarth Park and then around Spring Lake (shown at right). Some days I bike, some days I walk instead, and some days -- like yesterday -- I forgo the parks completely in favor of our yoga class.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Posted on: Sep 15, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
VIDEO: Wedding Reception

"You just want to get me trashed!"

Wedding Reception on Vimeo

I've posted a clip from our wedding reception in July of 2005. Watch David feed me vodka and rum infused fruit, with bridesmaid Kate-Robin, best man Gavin, and maid-of-honor Laura. Yes, a whole minute and twenty seconds devoted to our kick-ass and oh-so-strong punch! (And, yes, after this clip, more alcohol consumption, much dancing, and even more hilarity ensued!)

Posted on: Sep 13, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Summer in California

I've added some photos from over the summer. Enjoy!

Posted on: Sep 11, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Golden Gate Park

Christana and I stumbled upon the Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens on our excursion south on Tuesday!

(The museums are free on the first Tuesday of each month. We also hit the Asian Art and de Young Museums!)

The gardens were beautiful--such species diversity and what a pleasant surprise! We walked and talked and took photos and enjoyed seeing giant tree ferns, flowering bushes, sweet smelling trees, ancient agave plants, and gigantic flowers the size of a hat!

I was pleasantly surprised by some of the plants that can grow here in California and even wrote down the names of several species to add to my when-I-have-a-garden wish list. (Yes, ever the botanist.)

We had a lovely afternoon.

Posted on: Sep 7, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
VERY short hair

David (!) cut my hair super short over the weekend.

It's so short in the front and even shorter in the back.


In fact, I love it so much that I am planning on keeping it this short for a while.

Of course, I also love the idea of not having to pay for my haircuts. (Over the course of several years, that's some serious money saved.)

Thank you for the trim, David!

Posted on: Sep 4, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments

We had a great time with David's cousin Rachel and her boyfriend Ed who visited us this past weekend from New Jersey! We visited Muir Woods, two different beaches, San Francisco's Fisherman's Warf (we saw playful sea lions!), Healdsburg's downtown square (with fabulous fabric, antique and candy stores!), breakfasted in Glen Elen, and walked the Golden Gate Bridge! We had tasty food, lots of milk shakes, watched great movies, and had a fabulous time!

Since Ed and Rachel departed on Tuesday I've had lots more social time with Jacqui and Christana (two days in a row!). I've also begun making Hanukah presents (think hot pink and fuzzy), shot photos of Christana's jewelry portfolio, run around Spring Lake every day, continued my new gig as a computer tutor, and took a dip in our hot tub and swam some laps. This weekend we are having friends over for dinner, going for a bike ride and hike, and planning on resting up over a glorious three-day break!

Posted on: Sep 1, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
More, more!

The list of activities over the past month continues. Other recent happenings of note: fabulous farewell sushi dinner with Deborah-Miriam and Julia; early morning hot tubing; winery tours and tastings and garden tour with Diana, Christana (at left), and Richard; new (and free!) cell phones and updated California phone numbers (email Carrie for info); website planning and crafty shopping with Christana; sightings of pelicans, egrets, and a great blue heron; tasty sushi at Ume in Windsor (their special tiger tail role--a spicy tuna roll with mango, avocado, and salmon wrapped around it--was unbelievable!); episodes of the Colbert Report; lunches on our patio; blackberry picking; and oh so many runs around Spring Lake.

We also have a new pet: a carnivorous pitcher plant named Seymour. So far he seems happy on our patio and has grown quite a bit.

Also, Joe Tom's surgery in Colorado went very well! Please send healing thoughts his way! Get well soon, Joe Tom!

Posted on: Aug 20, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Visitors galore

What a crazy, whirlwind summer we've had! In the last month and a half, we've had a steady stream of visitors: my aunt and cousin (twice!), my mom, David's mom, my boss and his family, friends from Silver City, and now we have a bit of a lull before David's cousin and her boyfriend get into town. Let me tell you -- seeing so many family members and friends has totally rocked! Not only have we spent quality time with a variety of people, we've also embarked on adventures all over Sonoma county and I am really getting to know my way around... and really starting to call this lovely place home.

Here's a snippet of some recent activities: daily runs in the parks; weekly trips to the farmers market; many visits to Healdsburg shopping for fabric, touring the galleries, and spending time with friends; gallery hopping in Sebastopol, Graton, Occidental, Forestville, Bodega, and Bodega Bay; trips to the beach; tours of Luther Burbank's gardens and the Charles Schulz Museum; excursions into San Francisco for excellent tapas and Mexican food in the Mission and fine art in Golden Gate Park; delicious dinner with family friends in Vallejo; two great visits with Joe Tom and his family; sightings of hundreds of carnivorous plants; and we've eaten so much good food. It's been such a blast!

Now we've had a week on our own and are settling back into our routines of daily runs in the park, yoga classes on Thursday nights, David's weekly mountain biking excursions with the guys from work, my frequent trips to the library, and walks to Whole Foods. I'm also working on a new quilt, finishing up a knitting project, and halfway through stringing a necklace, as well as in the process of completing a large project at work. In addition, this past week we've started something new at the direction of our doctor: allergy elimination diets. In an attempt to sort out those pesky food sensitivities and jump start my detox regime, we are primarily eating organic vegetables, fruits, and non-gluten grains (like millet and quinoa) (basically we've removed both sets of our rotating foods, plus dairy). I've baked all sorts of yummy things like carrot cake and blueberry muffins and cooked various quinoa, millet, and raisin pilafs. We've been eating giant salads with lettuce, sprouts, apples, cucumbers, avocadoes, chickpeas, and tuna with dinner. Right now, thanks to the diet (and perhaps the increase in raw foods?) and exercise, we are feeling so healthy and so good. Obviously, California living agrees with us.

Posted on: Aug 16, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Excursion to San Francisco

We always have such a great time with Julia. Yesterday we had incredibly tasty broccoli with prawns and mu shu shrimp at Hunan Home's and enjoyed walking around Chinatown and Little Italy. Here are the cousins, looking cute while goofing off in Chinatown:

More photos posted at Flickr.

Posted on: Jul 4, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (4) - about comments
First Anniversary
Today is our first wedding anniversary! Amazing that it was only a year ago when we joined hands and married ourselves surrounded by our loved ones on a windy hilltop in Boulder. Here's to many, many more years like this one, happy and healthy and heads over heals in love with each other!
Posted on: Jul 3, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Busy, busy, busy!

Were did June go?! So much has been going on the past few weeks! David was in San Jose for a week on business and I joined him there briefly before heading off to the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, which I've wanted to see for years and years; I had previously seen their kelp cams online and felt so excited to see kelp in person for the first time! I had a fantastic time touring the place, catching feedings of penguins and giant tuna, watching presentations on deep sea fish, sharks, and jellyfish, seeing harbor seals, sea lions, jellyfish, etc. It was a great day.

We've also spent lots of time with family -- we met up with my uncle at the No Name Bar in Sausalito before heading over to San Francisco for Dungeness crabs! We've also seen my cousin Julia so many times this month both in San Francisco and up here in Santa Rosa (see pictures at right)! We even got to catch the preview of the play she's been working on at the San Francisco Mime Troupe. We've had such a blast! And the family keeps coming: both my aunt and mom are coming for chunks of July and David's mom is coming for the first week in August!

Other than that, we've been busy working for our respective jobs (I've even been adding some exciting new web design projects to my plate!) and getting to know Santa Rosa. We've been trying all sorts of restaurants and enjoyed the best sushi of my life recently here in town (oh so smooth and tasty and they even had gluten-free soy sauce!). We're still running every day at the parks across from our house and going hiking with friends. I've been making weekly trips to our local library and we are both reading up a storm. I've been cooking a lot more recently and it has been so much fun. We've seen a string of movies: The Lake House (suspend your disbelief and enjoy it!), Cars (loved it!), Over the Hedge (just okay!), A Prairie Home Companion (good if you're a fan), and the Da Vinci Code (liked it better than the book). So many good things going on!

Coming up this weekend David gets a four day holiday that coincides with our wedding anniversary and his birthday! Plans currently include brunch at our favorite spot in Glen Ellen, touring around San Francisco with Julia, dinner at Cafe Japan (sushi!), seeing Superman Returns, and a picnic at the beach. Mainly I just can't wait for four days straight with my best friend! Now that is a treat.

Posted on: Jun 28, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
An Inconvenient Truth

Regardless of your political persuasion or feelings about Al Gore, go see AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. It is a truly phenomenal and thought-provoking film.

Information about the accompanying book is available here.

Posted on: Jun 2, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (3) - about comments
Beach trips
Yes, there have been more trips to the beach. Pictured above clockwise from left to right: Christana and David, cousin Julia, aunt Deborah-Miriam, and windblown David and Carrie.

My trip back east feels like it was ages ago. I had a fantastic time in New York and New Jersey: got to see many friends and family, eat at some awesome restaurants, stay up late watching episodes of the West Wing, and spend some time in The City with Aida! It was a total blast. Since then, Julia and Deborah-Miriam visited us (above!) and we had a whirlwind and super fun trip, we spent time with Christana at the beach and drove down the coast, and I got to meet many of David's coworkers at a rocking office Hawaiian-themed party at a nearby winery! We also now have California plates on the car and have seen movies in several theaters in town (X-Men 3, Da Vinci Code). Next up: An Inconvenient Truth at the independent movie theater near our house, hiking trip tomorrow, and lots of time poolside.

Posted on: Jun 2, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Hello. Goodbye.

Hello from California! We've been here two weeks and already love it!

David REALLY likes his job: all sorts of interesting, challenging things to learn, and he especially likes the people that he's working with. They have been so welcoming and supportive!

Our apartment is great: marble fireplace, kitchen bar, large open living room, and beautiful grounds at the complex. The best part though is the location. We live on the edge of town just a hop skip and a jump from David's workplace and directly across the street from a City Park adjacent to a County Park adjacent to a State Park. Every evening we walk over to the parks and hike/walk/run around the lakes and in the hills. It's been so great! What a beautiful spot! As for our place, we still have tons of stuff in boxes, but my desk is finally set up (a la apartment therapy) and I think we're about as unpacked as we are going to get for now.

We've have lots of social time: cooked dinner with our friends from Silver City Christana and Richard twice (they threw us a welcome to California dinner at their beautiful farm house in Healdsberg), headed to Berkeley to see my high school friends Kenny and Yuni who are getting their PhDs there, met lots of people at the pool/hot tub in our apartment complex, and went out with one of David's coworkers and his wife for dinner last week at a fantastic Italian place near the downtown area.

We've also visited the beach (twice!) and seen all sorts of wildlife, headed to Sonoma and Glen Ellen (the later we especially loved), and enjoyed our afternoon in Berkeley (Kenny gave us a great tour and we hit a fabulous bookstore). Next up: Muir Woods, Point Reyes, and Napa. We also have yet to visit a winery; we've just driven by dozens!

It's been great seeing friends and meeting new people and discovering new places. Northern California is really starting to feel like home and we are so happy.

This week I head to New York and New Jersey for my Mom's graduation (she's getting her masters degree from Rutgers) and I can't wait to see friends and family. Despite David staying behind, it should be a great trip--it's my first time back in over a year and a half.

Posted on: May 13, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (5) - about comments
Last Day.

Views of my gigantic office with its glorious wall of four windows.

Friday was my last day of full-time work. It was a bittersweet and long day, and a rather momentous event in my life. Slowly I am unwinding and already feel less stressed and sleeping better. I am wondering how long the vacation feeling will last before I start itching to begin work again, and if our plans go through I will be telecommuting part-time from California. In the meantime, let the packing continue and the partying begin!

Posted on: Apr 16, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (1) - about comments
Two weeks left in Colorado

This morning I got my hair cut short. Natalie Portman short. In celebration of my newfound buzz, we went to see V for Vendetta... again. I definitely enjoyed it much more this second time, because I could focus on the dialogue and characters, rather than the suspense and overarching disturbing themes of the film. I really hope Natalie gets an Oscar nomination; I thought she was absolutely brilliant and even more so this time around.

This past week I found myself, once again, out in the field observing water well drilling. There is something fitting--and full circle--about being out in the field with the drillers during my second to and last weeks of work. Luckily the wells are not 24-hour gigs, so I am working semi-sane hours and getting regular sleep. I enjoy the time outside and the meeting of new people. This upcoming week--my last week in the office--should be incredibly busy and stressful as I finish up several large projects and smoothly (fingers crossed) transition my clients to other staff members. It will be a long and emotional week, but I am hopeful that we will all end up in a good place... I am very looking forward to this upcoming break. Starting week after next, I will have a minimum of 53 more hours per week for myself for a little while, since I won't be working full time and commuting and (sometimes) taking a lunch hour. Oh, I feel so burnt out. I can't wait to sleep in past 6 in the morning every day of the week and have time for my photography, quilting, jewelry making, reading during the day, cooking, knitting, website design, swimming, yoga, long walks (and short runs), and trips to the beach. Isn't it exciting?!

In the meantime our time in Boulder continues. We keep packing and cleaning and organizing. We are spending lots of time with friends. Today I found a beautiful dress for an upcoming wedding, tomorrow we keep with the tradition of breakfast with Stefan (Thorsten has returned to Germany and we miss him!), and two weeks from Tuesday we head to California.

Oh, I am so excited.

Some of our guests at the last Spritzer Leyba wine and cheese party in Boulder; from left to right: Jenny, Joe, Dan, Oak, Tim, David, and Stefan. We had a great time!

*** Added some more link love, updated the archives, and found a most inspiring site.

Posted on: Apr 8, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (2) - about comments
Santa Rosa Countdown

We've lined up a place to live for when we move. I am so ready to enjoy the comforts of a dishwasher, walk-in closet, air conditioning, and fireplace for the first time in many years, not to mention amenities such as a fitness center and pool. Downsizing is worth it. I can't wait to swim every day all summer.

Spring appears to be on its way to Boulder with warm days this past weekend. I am SO ready to say goodbye to winter. I say yay for moving to a place without cold winters.

Oh, and we've also been battling hives galore brought on by gluten/rice (me) and nightshades such as potato and tomato (David) and exasperated by stress. A few weeks ago I made a long list of restaurants we wanted to eat in before we left, but now with all of these food allergies we've decided to just eat where we can, when we can. We enjoyed nachos at the Lazy Dog on Saturday and brunched at Sunflower on Sunday. I just want to get one last meal in at Trilogy Wine Bar before we say goodbye to Boulder and I'll be happy.

The house is slowly being packed away. We're in the process of gathering items for our yard sale. We've been getting together with and starting to say goodbye to friends. And I only have three weeks left of work. Time is flying by and we are so excited!

4/7 UPDATE: So much for downsizing! Evidently our new apartment is the same size as our current house. All right! We lose one bedroom and gain a walk-in closet/better floorplan and there you go.

David's new bosses sent him an iPod Nano as a welcome to the company gift! While I think it's fabulous, I am so freaking jealous. Good thing David is so generous and is willing to share.

Posted on: Mar 27, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (4) - about comments
Big News

Our entire world is about to be turned upside down. David has accepted a position in Santa Rosa, California, located an hour north of San Francisco in the heart of Wine County. The position and company were both top choices for David and he is so excited about getting to work. Despite our sadness at leaving Boulder and our friends here, we are thrilled to have an amazing opportunity like this in such a beautiful part of the country. We are ecstatic!

More details coming soon.

*** Some relevant links: Agilent, City of Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Sonoma County Wine Country.

Posted on: Mar 22, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (4) - about comments
Breakfast routine

We have a new wonderful weekend tradition that involves breakfast with Thorsten and Stefan. Always fun and interesting, I look forward to our time together.

Posted on: Mar 5, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Bye, bye February!

Where did February go? Somehow it got lost amongst long hours at work, lots of yoga classes, head colds and assorted sickness, acupuncture and chiropractic appointments, trips to the library, and David's many job interviews. For the most part this month has been exhausting and stressful for me, although overall we are both feeling happy and doing well and excited about the many possibilities for the future. Right now David is on his way to northern California and will be heading to the east coast several times later in the month for on-site interviews. Keeping our fingers crossed.

I have a feeling that March will be a catch-up month for me in which I tackle the 400+ emails in my inbox, return the 19 messages on our answering machine, and hopefully organize a yard sale (in a futile attempt to get rid of the clutter!).

What are your plans for spring cleaning?

Posted on: Feb 28, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Sabrina Fair

I am a huge Audrey Hepburn fan. In high school I was one of the first people on the web to create a Tribute to her. I own many of her movies, have read dozens of books on her, and often receive Audrey Hepburn themed gifts.

The last few days, I've started to introduce David to her. We started with Sabrina in all of its 1954 black and white glory. This is one of my favorite Audrey Hepburn movies as much for the stunning costumes as for the fantastical nature of it. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to watch the modern Sidney Pollack adaptation with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond. It was great fun comparing the two versions, especially in terms of how far feminism has come since 1954. They are both charming films and I recommend them to every true romantic.

What film should I introduce next to David? I am thinking either Breakfast at Tiffany's, Roman Holiday, or My Fair Lady (if I can get him to sit through a musical)... Drop me an email with your suggestion.

Posted on: Feb 9, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
New Knitting Addiction

In some ways I feel like I am the last person to jump on the knitting bandwagon. Obviously it's really popular, but I never really was all that interested in getting back into it (I learned how to knit as a child) because I simply don't wear that many knitted things and already have plenty of scarves and hats. Then I saw the projects that my good friend Bridget was working on and everything changed. She knits colorful socks and legwarmers, lacy scarves, and beautiful hats. Her stunning projects and love of knitting changed everything for me. Suddenly, I wanted to give knitting another shot. I, too, wanted to make one of those cool felted bags, damn it.

David and I spent the last week of December in Silver City, New Mexico, with David's family. For Christmas they bought me a gift certificate to Yada Yada Yarns, an adorable knitting shop located in the heart of the historic part of town. Together with cousin Rachel and Tanta Sherry, both of whom are avid knitters, we explored yarn colors and textures, read many of the hundreds of knitting books in the store library, and got me set up with my first project: chunky, light green, soft yarn for a long skinny scarf. I finished it in a day and was hooked. Since then, I've knitted a hat (which I make take apart for the yarn) and am in a mad rush to finish a scarf (in Tweed) for my Dad's upcoming birthday; I've found some funky, fabulous knitting guides including Teen Knitting Club: Chill Out and Knit Some Cool Stuff, Last-Minute Knitted Gifts, and Weekend Knitting: 50 Unique Projects and Ideas; And developed a fun, creative new hobby.

Posted on: Feb 7, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Birthday Morning

This morning I woke up to the smells of french toast, homemade raspberry syrup, and English breakfast tea wafting from the kitchen (all my favorites!). David surprised me by framing the beautiful Penelope Dullaghan print that I received for Christmas, my parents gave me a beautiful "C" necklace from Tiffany's, and my in-laws got me the most stunning blue-green yarn and a Mexican style mug, which will make a great vase. All thoughtful and perfect gifts. A great way to start off my 26th birthday! Thank you, family!

Check out pictures from the evening festivities at Flickr.

Posted on: Feb 4, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Hammer and a Nail

"I gotta get out of bed
Get a hammer and a nail
Learn how to use my hands
Not just my head..."

This morning on my drive into work I took a break from the usual classical music interlude to listen to KBCO ("world class rock") and their A-Z countdown. I listened to the transition from G to H and the Indigo Girls' "Hammer and a Nail" came on the radio. Immediately I thought about our blog and how I needed to post about our perpetual daydream of building our own house.

In preparation for this endeavor, we're been reading books galore on the subject (from the library!). We've been reading about houses made out of tires, aluminum cans, adobe, cob, and straw. I've been reading up on passive solar design, rain catchment, storage facilities and graywater reuse, radiant heat, and greenhouse construction. Granted, we probably won't put all this theory into practice for several (many?) years, but we're having such a great time getting prepared.

Of course, we have the ultimate inspiration: our friends Melanie and Jeff, who built their cob house from scratch by themselves (with some help from friends!) out of renewable and recycled materials (see photos above).

Two alternative building books: Currently reading: The Good House Book: A Common-Sense Guide to Alternative Homebuilding. Next up: Building Green: A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods. Both by Clarke Snell of Think Green Building.

Posted on: Feb 3, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Happy Birthday, Lee!

Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law Lee! May you have an awesome natal day! XOXO

The above photo is from our excursion to Mexico last month for yummy margaritas and Mexican food. One of the many benefits of being just an hour north of the border in Silver City, New Mexico, for the holidays is that you can travel to exotic places like Mexico for lunch and, while you're there, enjoy fine cigars (which even I loved!).

Posted on: Feb 2, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Boulder Public Library

As avid readers, David and I read dozens of books a month. We read each night before bed, often read in the morning over breakfast, and frequently spend large chunks of our weekends pouring over novels, memoirs, biographies, scientific journals, natural living magazines and cookbooks. In an attempt to economize, we've downsized our book buying and upped our library usage. Instead of our regular dates to the Boulder Bookstore, we've been frequenting the library and it's been great! The main branch of the Boulder Public Library is a quick ten minute walk from our house. Located over (yes, over!) the Boulder Creek, the design of the building is stunning with many windows, curved walls, high ceilings, and open spaces, not to mention plentiful cozy chairs to read in. It warms my heart to see people savoring books at every turn.

In the last few weeks, we've borrowed all sorts of interesting books ranging in topics from natural home design and raw food lifestyles, to social commentaries (such as Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America) and practical knitting guides. I've loved and looked forward to these trips. Having grown up in a variety of libraries (my mom is a school librarian) and having spent hundreds of hours in my high school and college libraries, being surrounded by thousands of books at a library feels so natural and comfortable to me. This switch this month has not only helped our pocketbook, but has increased the variety of our reading materials and introduced us to a lovely new routine.

Posted on: Jan 31, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Raw Food Introduction

For many (biological and health) reasons, David and I have switched to a mostly raw food diet. For over three weeks, we have eaten plentiful amounts of dried fruit (dates, figs, apricots, currents), nuts (almond milk, cashews, sunflower seeds, pine nuts), vegetables (many different types of lettuce, fennel, cauliflower, avocados, green beans, mung beans, snap peas, alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, spinach), cheeses (blue, cheddar, etc.), soaked and sprouted grains (oats, quinoa, buckwheat, chickpeas), and fruits (apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, pineapple, kiwi, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries). We've (un)cooked all sorts of interesting recipes from a variety of raw food cookbooks and made fabulous smoothies. In this time period, we've also discovered that I am sensitive to barley and gluten (goodbye raw cereal and bread until we make some from scratch!); we've now eliminated both from my diet and the constant fatigue has disappeared. Thanks to the raw foods and regular yoga practice, our energy has doubled (at least) and we are feeling great.

Read more about raw foods: Raw Food/Real World: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow, Raw: The Uncook Book, Rawsome!: Maximizing Health, Energy, and Culinary Delight With the Raw Foods Diet.

Posted on: Jan 29, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments
Mozart at 250

Today music lovers worldwide are celebrating Mozart's 250th birthday. Colorado Public Radio has dedicated a significant chunk of their airtime this week to Mozart: playing his music, discussing special events in Mozart's hometown of Saltsburg, and commentating on his life. I've been listing to their tribute practically non-stop: during my morning commute and at work (thanks to their live feed). I've loved it! I have learned so many fun factoids about Mozart the man, composer, and legend. It's been very enjoyable.

If you are a Mozart fan and haven't been fortunate enough to join in the festivities, I recommend putting in your favorite Mozart CD and spending a moment celebrating this musical genus. Some of my favorite pieces include: Le nozze di Figaro, Requiem and Piano Concertos Nos. 24 & 25. Enjoy!

Posted on: Jan 27, 2006 | filed under: NEW | Comments (0) - about comments