Sunday, May 31, 2009

Tearing up the surf

I find it impossible to not be transfixed by long board surfing. I love the delicate dance the surfers do up and down the length of the board as they ride a long, steady wave into shore.

While I've always dreamed of being an Olympic swimmer (medals don't matter so much; the experience of the international games is what does), if I could be great at another sport, it would undoubtedly be surfing. 

I've only surfed once; off of South Africa's coast. Man it was tough. What a workout....those men and women who wake up every morning to jump on their boards alongside waters cleaner and more excited than the Potomac ;) are brave souls. 

Saturday, May 30, 2009

The iPhone-created New Yorker cover

Spinning vinyl ipod app from Theodore Watson on Vimeo.

Last night my fiance was explaining the late night thinking he's been giving to the development of an iPhone app. Every time he has an idea, he finds that it's already been done. It's true; there are so many damn apps but these two, in particular, caught my eye.

The first one is the most recent cover of The New Yorker created by just an artists's finger and his iPhone. Using an iPhone app called Brushes, the artist was able to draw and paint as if his phone was a canvas. Isn't that unbelieveable? Who is an 'artist' anymore these days? I mean, look at the cover! It looks like he actually used a brush! Are we going to see the demise of painting now?? Maybe that's a bit rash.

The other cool app I stumbled upon mimics a record player. Check out the video to see how.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What I'm reading

One of my strange "rules" in life is to only buy one book at a time. I've found that any time I buy more than one, I never end up focusing and finishing any of those I've purchased. The most efficient way for me to reach the end of a novel or non-fiction piece is to start with one and only one. 

Well, I threw out that rule yesterday. I've got a nearly three week honeymoon coming up. It's been awhile since I've read a book cover to cover and I feel in great need of something enlightening, something smart to push my brain waves to a higher octave. (weird analogy, I know)

So I left Barnes & Noble with: 

The Omnivore's Dilemma, Michael Pollan
The Challenge for Africa, Wangari Mathai

I've started with Shutting Out The Sun and have already found myself highly disturbed by several of the disturbing social trends in Japan that Zielenziger describes, particularly hikikimori - young men who shut themselves in their rooms and withdraw from society. More on that later.

On a positive note, I'm excited to read all three - something I haven't felt towards books in quite some time. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Finishing touches

I should start off by saying that I made the goat cheese, asparagus and lemon pasta tonight and it was D.E.L.I.C.I.O.U.S. Thanks to my friend, Stephanie, I used loads of lemon juice and zest so it turned out zappy, just the way I wanted it. I also replaced tarragon with fresh mint and basil because (a) I forgot to buy tarragon at the store and (b) my Mom (yes, I called my mother for emergency herbal advice!) suggested that I incorporate those two lovely greens. Voila! It was superb.

I spent most of the remaining evening finishing up plans for our honeymoon. The good news is that I've got all of the accomodations booked except for our last two nights, which will end in Tokyo. It feels like such a relief to have knocked this off my 'to-do' list. My procrastination was unreasonable this time around and I've been trying to figure out why. I suppose part of it is my unfamiliarity with Japan altogether and the sheer length of our stay. The only other vacation I've had that's lasted nearly three weeks was my 2007 road trip along the South African coast with Stephanie....and she planned the whole thing :) Spoiled, I know. But seriously, planning 21 days of sightseeing, relaxation and coordinating the travel logistics is daunting. That being said, next time around I think I'll be less timid and far more 'take charge.'

I thought I'd end the evening on a fun note with little lovelies from around the web...little things I'd love to have or share with others. Enjoy.

(Via auto., Anthropologie & Pip-Squeak Chapeau, Etc.)

Something easy for this gloomy week

With all of this yucky weather staring us in the face this week, I'm determined to take advantage of the housebound time by charting new culinary waters. Shrimp and grits is on the menu for one night this week but so is this super easy asparagus, goat cheese and lemon pasta recipe from Smitten Kitchen. What would I do without her blog?!?!

Serves 6

1 pound spiral-shaped pasta
1 pound slender asparagus spears, trimmed, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon plus more for garnish
1 5- to 5 1/2-ounce log soft fresh goat cheese (the pre-crumbled stuff will not melt as well)
Fresh lemon juice to taste (optional)

Cook your pasta in a large pot of well-salted water until it is almost tender, or about three minutes shy of what the package suggests. Add asparagus and cook until firm-tender, another two to three minutes. Drain both pasta and asparagus together, reserving one cup of pasta water.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, lemon peel, tarragon and cheese in a large bowl, breaking up the goat cheese as you put it in. Add hot pasta and asparagus to bowl, along with a couple slashes of the pasta water. Toss until smoothly combined, adding more pasta water if needed. Season genersously with salt and pepper, and lemon juice if you feel it needs a little extra kick

Friday, May 22, 2009

Look on the bright side

I'm heading off to Seabrook Island today with my fiance. What are your plans for the holiday weekend? I hope whatever you do brings you as much joy as the sight of these flowers did for me this morning. I will forever love pink :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ellen DeGeneres inspired me

It's not often that you hear a commencement speech that stops you in your tracks AND makes you laugh AND causes you to reflect on your own life choices. 

Now, I'm way beyond the days of commencement is definitely done and over with and I doubt I'll ever go back. 

But that doesn't mean that I'm still not looking for some sense of clarity about what I want to do with my life and what I've already done with my five years out.

Ellen DeGeneres has done it better than most and of course, she gets away with some commentary that most commencement speakers wouldn't.

Forever the procrastinator?

I never thought of myself as a procrastinator but lately I'm beginning to wonder. We're less than four weeks out from our honeymoon and we've only planned the first four days of our trip, which will be in Tokyo. 

Imagining Japan and what we should do there feels totally overwhelming, as Namibia did. I don't know where to start, I don't know which reviews to trust and it's hard to imagine how much we'll want to visit or how much we'll want to stay still, rest and observe a place. 

The next stop after Tokyo is definitely going to be Shimoda, which is on the beach, hugging the Pacific Ocean. 

A quick search on Flickr pulled up some awesome photos. Maybe that's the push I needed to get this done...

Barack can't catch Bo

Absolutely adorable. I can see why my sister is completely obsessed with the dog.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Could Tom and I get photos of us like these?

God, I love these! What's with couples' love for balloons in pictures? Totally adds a 'pop' to everything and leaves you feeling like they're having the time of their lives. 

(Via Once Wed)

Song of the moment

It was one of those nights we still talk about.

Sophomore year of college, I was living in a house with twelve other women. (Not a soroity, mind you) We wanted to throw a unique theme party, something no one had done before and something that strayed away from the norm.

"What about a "Marvin Gaye Party?"" one of my friends asked. 


Soul, 1970s R&B and funk music....classy, but creative attire was encouraged.

Now the mix - that was the real trick.

If memory serves me well, not long after the clock struck twelve, Eric Burdon & War's song "Pretty Colors" from the album "The Black-Man's Burdon" came on and everyone crazy.

Download it. You'll see what I mean.

I can still see everyone erupting as soon as the beat picked up. I can see the faces of my friends depicting the joy of a private (yet very public) dancing moment. You know what I mean. You've been there. 

So there I was late last night, jamming out to "Pretty Colors" and reminiscing about the old times...hooked on memories this week, aren't I?

Monday, May 18, 2009

In my next life, I'll be an artist

Check out the incredible print show at artstream. You won't be disappointed. 

Think: a maze of unique prints from fifty different artists. 

(Via ~>O<~)

Moments. That's what we've got.

I took a trip to Rehoboth, DE with my friend, Roni, last weekend.

We showed up utterly exhausted from the week. Stressed out and emotionally spent, we were in need of several nights of good rest, away from the city.


My head hit the pillow each night before 10pm. Drool on the pillow type of sleeping :)

I woke up on Sunday morning feeling like a new woman - refreshed and rejuvenated.

But it was the time and the separation from home that gave Roni and me the space and opportunity to breathe together.

Doesn't life seem to move at such a rapid fire pace? Sometimes I think it creeps along and then POOF!, the year has slipped away. 

At times I've neglected to find and allow for opportunities for my friends and me to be together in a concentrated, meaningful way. Not a night out on the town but a few days away, lacking distraction and the day-to-day doldrums that keeps us from remembering how much we need and love one another. 

Those precious moments we have together are what we cherish when we're old and gray, physically separated or just....gone. 

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm hungry...and I want broccoli slaw

I need something refreshing and healthy right now. Doesn't this broccoli slaw look like the perfect afternoon snack?

Spotted at Union Station

As I was heading to the Metro at Union Station today I noticed this amazing artwork being done all in colored chalk. Beautiful isn't it? Who's he sketching?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Sartorialist turns his daughter into a budding star

Scott Schuman, blogger extraordinaire and photographer at The Sartorialist, may be turning his daughter, Isabel, into the next Annie Leibovitz of her generation. In preparation for a shoot for Style Piccoli, Schuman shot Isabel as if she was just learning to photograph. 

I love this photo of her, lens in hand, totally in control. With good genes and opportunities to shoot people all over the world, I expect that we'll see more of her in the coming years :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Should we think about wallpaper?

I've never seriously considered putting wallpaper in our house, until Joanna Goddard made me think twice. What do you think of these samples from Rose and Radish? Would you put any of these on your walls? Do you have other suggestions for cool wall decorations?


Friday, May 8, 2009

Michelle Obama looks like a rock star

Stunning. Can you believe she's in her forties? She looks my age! Inspiring.

(Via Mrs. O)

Obama and Kennedy

Enough said.

Food photography

If you are a devotee of Gourmet then you've likely run across Roland Bello's exquisite photography.

This is one of my favorite spreads that he did on site in Puglia, Italy. It may be early in the morning right now but I'd gladly have whatever they're eating right! :)


I wouldn't mind cuddling up inside this hideaway if an ocean surrounded me. 

Next weekend I'm heading to Rehoboth Beach, DE with my friend, Erjona, for a little girl time and faux bachelorette party. I didn't want something big to celebrate my engagement - no crowns and bar crawls for me. Just a simple weekend with one of my dearest friends.

I can't wait. 

Wedding inspiration

I totally agree with Joanna Goddard from Cup of Jo - this is one of the loveliest brides I've ever seen!

Doesn't she look so perfectly unique? Not knowing her at all, I can still tell that she picked a look and a dress that matched who she is in her day-to-day life, instead of looking 'bridal.' No offense to those who want to look bridal but if you have such a distinct flair then why not play to it?!\

I adore her simple hair and colorful shoes.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Trust your gut

Last night I left work around 6:15pm and headed out with the intention of catching the bus. I had to swing by my old apartment on 16th Street to pick up some mail. Traffic was abyssmal. Cars were blocking most of the main intersections downtown and nothing was moving. Turns out that the President's motorcade left the White House at this time, and like they always do, DC police had to stop traffic to ensure that he had the open road.

Giving up on the bus, I walked from downtown to my apartment, picked up my mail and headed back out into the wet weather. There were no buses to be found. I only had another mile walk to go before reaching home so I decided to hoof it.

At 16th and Newton St NW, I made a right. No more than ten steps later I felt someone walking awfully close behind me. Peering over my right shoulder I could identify that it was a man and he was indeed quite close to me. 

Now, the reality is that I, as many of you may be as well, am hyper-aware of my surroundings when walking around the city, particularly at night, by myself. I've felt pursued before and I've been wrong. 

Not wanting to assume the worst, but be proactive, I hugged the left side of the sidewalk - the side of my body that my purse was on - and picked up my pace. Unfortunately, so did he. 

I felt an overwhelming and convincing sense that something bad was going to happen to me at any moment. I could feel him right on my heels. Running, at that time, seemed like a terrible idea, as if it could potentially turn the situation into something truly awful.

As soon as I reached the gate in front of our rowhouse, he grabbed my purse off my shoulder. I turned and screamed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!" and tugged back at my bag. He pulled back and I let go. He oddly looked petrified and unsure of his next move. 

And then, as if he snapped back to reality, he took off heading eastbound on Newton Street as the rain began to unleash like a waterfall. 

Standing there soaked to the bone, I watched him run halfway down the street before I felt an incredible surge of anger come over me. 

I took off after him.

As soon as he reached the end of Newton, I shouted, "STOP THAT MAN!!"

I rounded the corner and crossed onto Monroe, heading westbound and there he was again, stopped, rumaging through my bag!! As soon as he saw me, he took off down the street. 

I called the cops and they arrived within minutes. We drove around Mt. Pleasant on the rare chance that we might spot the guy. (Of course, we didn't)

I was lucky. Very, very lucky. 

If you check out EveryBlock Washington, DC, and my zip code alone, you'll see many, many cases of robbery with a weapon. If the guy who took my purse had a weapon, he never brandished it and he never attempted to assault me. 

He got a nice leather bag, a pair of Ray-Bans and my credit cards. My iPhone, house keys and SmarTrip were in the pocket of my trench coat. 

An assortment of awful things could have happened to me that I feel relieved, in a strange way, and blessed. The least of my worries was cancelling my credit cards and mourning over the loss of a few possessions. It could have been a lot worse.

That being said, I took away a big lesson from last night.

Trust your gut.

If you feel like you're being followed, protect yourself as best you can - run, cross the street, head into a neighbor's yard.

If you feel unsafe, get in a cab immediately. 

You are your own best protector. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Something yummy to break up the work day

A couple of my colleagues and I headed over to Tangysweet in Chinatown this afternoon for a little break in the day. 

I came back and saw this picture of figs and cheese and felt....hungry again! Wish every meal I made looked as ethereal as this one.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

JT @ the Costume Institute Gala

Tonight, I told my fiance that I wish I was born a truly great dancer so that I could fulfill my desire of becoming Justin Timberlake's back-up dancer.

Don't laugh. We all have our silly little dreams.

So how ironic was it that he happened to be a co-host at this evening's Costume Institute Gala, of which I knew nothing about? Looking nothing but cool and handsome, it was actually his girlfriend, Jessica Biel, who stole my breath away in her striking red Versace Atelier dress.

Killer couple aren't they?


A shout out

(Via Ork Posters)

If you're staying in Seattle

It's all about the Ace Hotel.

When my parents lived in Victoria, British Columbia, I had the chance to spend a few nights in Seattle one spring break during college. Despite the rain and the doom and gloom of it all, I dug it. Best pint of Guinness I've had in the country since my semester in Ireland. Great record stores (and I do mean albums...yes, the old school kind). And damn good pubs with patrons that talk about things other than work (that was a bit of a swipe at DC, I know).

But I must admit, it was a bit tough leaving the Ace Hotel. At that time, I'd never stayed in a boutique hotel so me being wide-eyed and bushy-tailed back then, I soaked up the experience.

Every room maintains a unique aesthetic. And while they're all different, as you can tell from the photos, they each maintain a starkness that is certainly part of the Ace's style.

If you go, let me know. I'd love to hear about your experience.

Spruce it up

Ya, it would be really nice to make our home look like this. And of course, I'd like to think that I'd follow the designer's advice on how to make everything look cool on the cheap but let's get real here for a second. That's just not me. The cheap part - that's awesome; I'm down with it. But doing research to find the best way to cover up walls and make everything look super unique, well, that's what I'd rely on a professional for.

If you're a better person than me, I highly recommend checking out Victoria Smith's blog, SFGirlByBay, for neat ideas on how to spruce up your humble abode. You'll find yourself going, "Ohhhhh.....ahhhh...yes! That's what I love," over and over again.

(Via poppytalk)

Condi Rice witnesses the power of citizen journalism

At a gathering at Stanford University on April 27, students Jeremy Cohn and Sammy Abusrur asked Condoleeezza Rice tough, pointed questions about her role in the Bush administration's decision to use waterboarding on detainees and other politically charged and ethically important questions related to her tenure in the White House.

Her surprisingly emotionally charged and condescending remarks contrast, as TechPresident pointed out, with how "this civil, mildly persistent questioning from college students generated more pressure - and answers - than many of the professional television interviews Rice has done." 

I was, not surprisingly, infuriated with her answers. Waterboarding IS TORTURE. Claiming that there has been no torture in Guantanomo is a lie. The unfortunate truth, however, is that after eight years, I'm used to witnessing a waterfall of lies from Bush Administration officials.

There is still a light at the end of the tunnel.

Look at what these young people did. They stood up to a famous, public official. They asked her smart, tough questions. They taped the interview and posted to YouTube. The interview hasn't been cut into bits and pieces and edited to over-accentuate Rice's rude remarks. The video stands as it is - and there's no commentary about what she said at any point along the way. You can take it for what it is and draw your own conclusions. Oh wait? What does that process seem to resemble? That's right - sound journalism.

We're living in an age in which we're witnessing the fall of great newspapers, both large and small. We fear what will happen to our news consumption. And often times we assume the worst. 

But look at the other side of the coin.

Three young college students witnessed more than 160,000 people view their video, traditional media and bloggers pick up the story and bring it into the forefront of people's minds. 

Would this have been possible fifteen, even ten years ago? No.

I believe that the more citizen journalists we have hitting the pavement, particularly those pursuing truth and justice, will only serve to enhance journalism. No, the medium itself won't resemble what we've all known all our lives, but in many ways it will be better than before.

Congrats to these young men for having the courage to ask Rice questions and leave it to the public to interpret. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

The perfect Sunday meal

With the onslaught of gray, rainy days, a hearty Sunday lunch was in order. Roni came over yesterday for a little girl chat and catch-up, while my fiance brewed his first batch of home-brewed beer.

The rain continued its steady drip. Most of the city stayed home. Out came a great meal because when it's gloomy, eat as the Italians would, right?

Prosciutto, Fleur Verte (cheese), kalamata olives, fresh sourdough bread, hummus, tomatoes and cucumbers marinated in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, and finally, pineapple. It was delicious. Restraint was tough but being that it was Sunday and a lazy day, no guilt was involved. In fact, it was just what the doctor ordered.