Sunday, November 4, 2012

Autumn in Healdsburg

Supposedly, its November in Healdsburg. Its 84 degrees out, the sky is blue, and the trees are green. On some level, I knew the palm trees wouldn't be going anywhere, but that doesn't stop it from being weird seeing them this time of year. And bumble bees. I don't think I've ever seen this many bees in November. My tomatoes are still ripening, and I am wearing a tank top! I guess this is Autumn in Wine Country!

I'm missing grey skies, yellow leaves. I'm missing black coats and brown boots, and I'm missing the cool weather. I'm missing walks through Georgetown and I'm really missing living in Glover Park! I'm left to manufacture my own Fall, with paper leaves, and playlists inspired from seasons past.

The first list my Halloween Playlist. My favorite song from here being My Body's A Zombie For You by Dead Man's Bones. Believe it or not, Ryan Gosling founded this band with Zach Shields.

The second is my Autumn Playlist. So many great fall songs, my current favorite being Your Rocky Spine by Great Lake Swimmers.

Both playlists are shared via Spotify.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

a patriotic playlist

This playlist has all of the classics for Independence Day. Beyond Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever, it includes Copland's Hoe Down (you know this one, it's the "Beef its What's for Dinner" Song), and my personal favorite, George M. Cohan's Yankee Doodle Dandy. The entire Yankee Doodle Dandy soundtrack is included starting at track 18. I'm especially excited for the first track on the playlist. While looking for a good recording of  "Battle Hymn of the Republic," I stumbled a recording that Judy Garland did on television. It's perfect. You can automatically access this Patriotic Playlist in its entirety on Spotify, or I'm including the entire list below: 

  • Battle Hymn of the Republic - Judy Garland 
  • Hoe Down from Rodeo - (Copland) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • The Stars and Stripes Forever - Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra
  • The Washington Post - United States Marine Band 
  • Semper Fidelis - John Philip Sousa 
  • Gladiator March - John Philip Sousa 
  • Liberty Bell March - John Philip Sousa 
  • El Capitan - United States Marine Band 
  • Taps - American Patriotic Music
  • Fanfare for the Common Man - (Copland) Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  • The Star Spangled Banner - United States Coast Guard Band
  • The Marines' Hymn - United States Marine Band 
  • The Army Goes Rolling Along - United States Army Band
  • God Bless America - United States Air Force Heritage of America Band
  • America, My Country 'Tis of Thee - The Band of the Corps of Royal Engineers 
  • Anchors Aweigh - Robert Shaw Chorale 
  • Keep Your Eyes Upon Me - Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • I was Born in Virginia - Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • Harrigan - Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • Little Johnny Jones Sequence (Give My Regards to Broadway)- Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • Oh You Wonderful Girl Sequence - Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • Mary (is a Grand Old Name)- Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • You're a Grand Old Flag - Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • Over There - Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • Strictly Off the Record - Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack 
  • Over There Finale - Yankee Doodle Dandy Soundtrack

red white and blue, how i love you

Every single Fourth of July, my mother and I watch Yankee Doodle Dandy, which is an absolute musical gem. It's on tonight at 8 on Turner Classic Movies if you are interested. Check out the trailer. Or skip the trailer, and check out my favorite scenes from the movie, posted below. I've got a soft spot in my heart for that song because my mother's name is Mary. Happy Independence Day! <3

Saturday, June 23, 2012

the significance of this weekend

I love everything about this photo. I took this on our way to a picnic lunch, in the woods near our places in Glover Park, some random Sunday afternoon last summer. To me, it embodies the calm happy vibe that Brandt and I have when we spend time alone together. It's an effortless joy. One of the best feelings I've experienced in my life so far. I love the feeling. I love him.

This morning, I am picking up my Fiance from the airport, and for the first time since we got engaged, we will have a whole weekend.  Alone. Together. <3 

Allow me to explain the significance.

We really haven't had a weekend of "us" time since since last winter, before we started the whole move process. Before the pre-move errands, and the packing, and the holidays. Before the move to the new place, the engagement, and the subsequent perfect storm of social - obligations?

I hesitate to use the word obligation, because in reality, we have had busy social schedules out of our own desire, not because of obligation. Maybe the better descriptor is non-negotiable? Two of our very best friends were having weddings this summer.  We wouldn't miss their big days for anything.   Nor could we pass up the opportunity to see our family and friends who were in town over the last few months, and the opportunities to visit them. We've seen both sides of our families, our DC friends, our childhood friends and our college friends. Basically everyone we know or have ever known. It has been awesome. With so many friends in different cities, these opportunities are rare, and to have all of them come up at once, has been a total blessing. We wouldn't trade a single second of any of it. 


We are exhausted.  We've had early mornings, late nights, long flights, and even longer drives.  Our schedules have truly been relentless.  Neither of us has woken up any later than 6:45am in recent memory, and honestly 6:45am is a "treat" compared to the 4am wake up calls that have been plaguing us the past couple of weeks. With our busy travel schedules, we're in our offices fewer days, but we've been working longer hours when we are.  We are exhausted.  Ready to rest.  

After months of our relentless schedules, I can't actually believe its finally here. It's just a simple weekend, but it is so long overdue.  As I write this post, I am already savoring our time.  Our happy, calm, "us"time. 

Happy Weekend, Everyone. Enjoy it! We'll see you later!

The Lumineers - Ho Hey (on Spotify)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

tuesday taste - music for your mouth

So I've been going a little overboard on the domestic front lately. New place, new enagement, and (let's be honest here) a lack of a Chipotle within a 45 mile radius, have all conspired to create a perfect storm of domestic efforts. 

I tend to choose recipes in pairs, which gave me the idea to share my recipe pairings in a weekly post, which I will now call, "tuesday taste." Pretty straightforward concept here. I pair recipes that I think will go well together, and modify as needed, then share.

I've picked Tuesday, because if you are like me, nothing productive ever happens on Mondays.  I find recipes on Tuesdays.  It takes me until Wednesday after work to remember to check the fridge and pantry to see what I've got.  Shop Thursday.  Cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday. Weekends are more elaborate, whereas the balance of the week gets progressively more simple and "survivalist" if you will.  But enough about me! Let's get to the food!

For today's post, I am sharing a recent favorite, picured above. Scallops in Spice Oil as shared by The Bitten Word, and Griddled Polenta Cakes from Food52. The Bitten Word is a favorite blog of mine, Zach and Clay always make me laugh, and as a bonus, they are in my beloved Washington DC! They try recipes out from all the food magazines, and share their favorites. 

Their scallop recipe gets the lead role in today's feature. It was amazing! Seriously, my mouth is watering just writing about it. Trust Zach and Clay, a little bit of the spice oil goes a long way. I doubled the spice oil recipe, took one taste and realized a single portion would have been plenty! The only thing I modified was the bed of greens. (just not the cilantro type over here!) Greens or no greens, the recipe was amazing! Highly recommend!

The role of best supporting actor goes to the Griddled Polenta Cakes. The recipe is actually for Polenta Cakes with Carmelized Onions, Goat Cheese, and Honey (yum!) but I just did the Polenta Cakes, as a Scallop Foundation/Spice Oil Sponge. Lacking a circular cookie cutter, I did heart cakes instead. Delicious and adorable.  

The two paired marvelously. Give them a try!

Today's Song: Fred Astaire - Cheek to Cheek (on Spotify) "Heaven, I'm in Heaven..."

Monday, June 11, 2012

commuting as an art - 10 songs to add to your commuting playlist

Precision Commuting. City dwellers, do you do it? In Washington DC, where I lived for seven years, commuting was a very orderly affair. If you've ever traveled there, you know that there is one golden rule, "walk left, stand right" on the escalators. But beyond that, bus riders line up at stops in order of arrival. Smart trip cards ready. Never hesitate. Before you pause, step aside. Never stop moving. 

It's a quiet affair, much quieter than any other city's metro that I have been on. Everyone is dressed well. Everyone is quiet. Some have headphones. Most are reading The Express. The rest are reading books. 

Eventually you pick up strategy. Walking another 5 minutes up the route to ensure a seat before a particularly busy stop. Grabbing a spot that will ensure that you will be first to get off of the bus once you arrive at the Metro. (As a Glover Park resident, I was a D2/Dupont Circle North/Red Line girl.) The skip/run down the escalator. In heels. In the rain. The continual mastery of a subtle set of commuting skills. Shaking off your umbrella halfway down the North Entrance of the Dupont Circle Metro Stop. Closing it before you get to the bottom. The pride of being able to climb the entire set of stairs up at the end of your day. No stopping. 

Eventually you figure out where to stand, so that you are at the precise center of a set of doors of the next arriving metro train. Factoring in 6 or 8 cars, and which car you'd like to be getting out of for an ideal departure at your destination stop. (Hint: look at the cars on the opposite platform. Nine times out of ten,  where their doors land will align with where your doors will land.)

*image via

And finally, it grows in to an art. Eventually I had developed a playlist ideal for my morning commute. A perfect soundtrack, if you will, for the tourist dodging, train catching, zig zagging, quick paced movement of my daily commute. I loved it, and (I never thought I would say this) I miss it. My daily city commute. 

Click Here for the entire Playlist on Spotify (except Devotchka's How It Ends, above on youtube)   

How do you commute? Train, Bus, Bike, Car, Walk? What are your favorite commuting songs?  Leave a comment and let me know <3 

PS - For a good time in Washington DC, play Lex by Ratatat and time it so you hit the Dupont Circle North escalators at minute 2:35.  There is something so gratifying about running down the escalators at that exact point in the song. Try it. Just divine.  

Friday, June 8, 2012

magical medlock ames

Is there anything more atmospheric than gold globe lights at twilight? I snapped this picture with my iPhone on the grounds of Medlock Ames Winery a few weekends ago.  Medlock Ames is one of my favorite parts about living in Healdsburg. It has become our go-to hangout for Friday Night happy hours.  In addition to a vinyard, vegetable gardens, and a bocce court, Medlock Ames also has wine country's only speakeasy bar, officially called The Alexander Valley Bar. Food and Wine Magazine described it as utopian, and I totally agree. 

Fun Fact: our very first tomato plant was adopted from Medlock Ames. On our most recent visit, we were given an extra tomato start. I am so happy that we'll have a little piece of this place growing in our backyard! 

I can't think of a more perfect song to pair this photo with than Florence + The Machine's live version of Cosmic Love as performed for Seattle's KEXP Radio on 4/16/10.  Just like the above photo, this performance is nothing but magical. I first discovered this song (and this now very popular artist!) on a randomly downloaded KEXP podcast. This performance absolutely had me floored.  I couldn't stop rewinding the podcast to the start of this song.  I am so happy I am that they uploaded this clip on to YouTube so that I can share it with you.  Enjoy

Thursday, June 7, 2012

i've got totally enormous extinct dinosaurs playing in my garden

I am officially obsessed with gardening. I am also officially obsessed with Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs and their song, Garden (on Spotify) . It's perfect background music for gardening and other projects around the house and office. 

The garden that I started a couple of weeks ago is starting to sprout, and I am constantly running outside to check on them. I've got my seeds in starter pallets, with seed starting soil. Simultaneously, I've been prepping the soil in our yard's sunniest spot with compost and a little bit of fertilizer.

To keep things simple, I ordered a group of heirloom vegetable seeds and salad greens from Williams Sonoma's newest division, Agrarian. (my favorite new site) They work out to be less than $2 per seed packet, which is surprisingly great bargain for seeds. I also bought a few bags of organic compost from our local hardware store, and some organic vegetable fertilizer. I'm a couple of weeks away from transplanting my seedlings to their new homes. As soon as I do, I will post more pictures of the whole garden.  We don't have a ton of yard tools and supplies yet, so we're making due with what we've got.  As illustrated that first photo, an old wine bottle makes the perfect watering can.

Side note: It just so happens that Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs have a new album coming out on Monday.  I am quickly becoming obsessed with their new song Trouble on YouTube Check out the sneak peek on facebook.  

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

tuesday twirl

How sweet is this photo?  My soon to be in-laws came to visit and we all headed in to town for a little after dinner gelato.  We took a walk in the town square, and soon my future niece had everyone twirling.  I couldn't resist sneaking a picture.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

la mer

It happened at Bodega Bay, just after three o'clock in the afternoon on April 29th.  It had been our very first day in our new home together, and Brandt got a call from work early that Sunday morning.  He explained that there was an emergency, and he needed to go in for a couple of hours.  Could he make it up to me by taking me out to Bodega Bay later that afternoon for lunch? 

I continued to unpack for the morning, and true to his word, he returned home a couple of hours later. We drove the hour or so out to Bodega Bay.  It was a gorgeous, sunny day out and we stopped for lunch at Spud Point Crab Company.  From there, we drove up to Bodega Rock, and went to take our usual walk.  Brandt led me in a different direction than our normal route.  He grabbed my arm, and lead me off of the path, towards the water. From rock to rock, we carefully balanced in the strong coastal winds, eventually getting to the water's edge. For a just a second, we took in the beautiful view. 

What's that? he asked me, and I turned around.  Immediately it was clear what he had spent the morning working on.

I turned around to see this scene: 

When I turned back around, Brandt was on one knee, gorgeous ring in hand, and asked, "Will you marry me?" with the biggest smile on his face.  I will never forget how happy he looked just then, and I will never forget how surprised and excited I was. I said yes, and we celebrated for just a little bit out there on our own little look-out spot.  By this point, the wind had picked up extraordinarily high, so we wrapped ourselves up in our picnic blanket, snapped a couple of pictures, and retreated back down the path towards our car. When we got back in the car, Brandt suggested that we listen to Charles Trenet.  La Mer was the perfect choice for our first song together as an engaged couple.  We made our way back to our new home, together, and ready to start a whole new chapter of our lives <3 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

our house, is a very very very fine house

So remember that fabulous lead on a rental house that I mentioned in my last post?  Well, we got the house!! We didn't think we would get it, as someone else had applied before us, but it turns out that it was meant to be! It is gorgeous, and we are beyond excited to get moved in!  

I could just hug that kitchen island! 

Isn't it beautiful? The best part for me, however, is the DISHWASHER!  It has been *years* since I have lived with a dishwasher.  When I had arrived in Washington DC in 2005, it never even occurred to me to ask if the apartments there included dishwashers. I assumed they were a modern day given.  6 and a half years of hand washing dishes later, lesson learned, and I am so ready to get back to modern times! I'm half tempted to label this as one of the best perks of our move to wine country... 

Modern amenities aside, we are also excited to be done living out of suitcases, unpack boxes, set up furniture and otherwise finally get settled. We are all set to move in this weekend!  I just can't contain my excitement.  

Credit to Brandt for today's song selection:Our House - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young 

It is a very very fine house :) 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

it's raining excuses

Eeesh! I am so overdue for a blog post! Forgive me.

Lots of happenings since I last wrote.

Traveling.  We did a weekend trip to Anaheim.  'Twas a business trip for Brandt, but we did manage to sneak an evening at Disney Land and we had an absolute blast.  First time back since the tenth grade for me, and first time ever for Brandt.  I will love that place 'til I'm 100 + years old. We had just enough time for Space Mountain, Fireworks, and the Teacups...

Brandt in Conference Mode
Me in Not Conference Mode- Teacups at Disney!

Entertaining.  Brandt and I had our first ever visitors in wine country!  Thanks to Danielle and John! We did our beloved Bergamot Alley, followed by dinner (finally!) at Scopa, despite the pouring rain outside.  Next day we did Bella, Rochioli and Hop Kiln.

March Madness.  OK, OK, I lied earlier. College basketball is probably 99% of the reason I fell off the blog horse in March.  We had a good run Cuse.

House Hunters Not So International.  We're looking for a place to rent in Healdsburg, which has turned out to be more difficult than we imagined, but we've got a fabulous lead.  Fingers crossed everybody.

Millions of Errands.  After two months without our own car, we built up quite a surplus of not-super-essential, but now totally essential errands that needed to be done. Such as... taking my bike in to the Windsor Bike Shop so that I can get above third gear once again! Woohoo!
All Better!
DIY Work Outs: Someone told me that March was the rainiest month that they've had in over 100 years, and I honestly believe it.  It has been raining an awful lot this past month, which precludes us from going for our usual bike rides, running etc.  Instead we fire up YouTube in the living room and do this workout. Bauer likes to participate as well - by repeatedly leaping over each of us as we complete the ab exercises.

Eating Strawberry Shortcake.  We do it every night now.  It's officially a routine.  Sometimes we do it with those "dessert cups," sometimes with pound cake, most recently with angel food cake.   Strawberries and Brandt likes to add ice cream.  We've not been here three months, and we're already acting like we're retired.

So, how to tie together this mish mosh of a post together musically?  Here is my Rainy Day Cheer Playlist on Spotify.  After all,  rainy season will soon be coming to a close here in wine country (right...? RIGHT...!?) Ugh, I'm already turning in to such a Californian...

Friday, February 24, 2012

babysitting weekend recap

By all accounts, last weekend's babysitting extravaganza was a huge success! 

Despite it being Uncle and I's very first weekend of babysitting, we absolutely knocked it out of the park! We made Jell-o Play Dough, we listened to our adult friendly playlist for kids, we went to the park, we watched Caillou, we read stories (one of which required singing), we danced, we had tea parties, and we made plenty of kid snacks.

But wait until you hear what Uncle and I accomplished in the midst of all this.  We did some banking. Uncle brought his laptop to the tea party and he and I took turns logging in to pay our bills, while simultaneously sipping imaginary tea, and looking up Sesame Street clips on YouTube.  We also managed to buy a car.  Advanced parenting skills if you ask me! Friday and Saturday we researched, and test drove several different cars, one of which was the perfect fit for us. Then on Sunday morning, right after breakfast, we managed to get all three of us fed, bathed, dressed and packed for a morning at the car dealership.  Brandt did the paperwork, and I watched the Bebe.  I did eventually bring her in to the sales office - two year olds are, as it turns out, fabulous negotiators. We got a great deal!  Afterwards we rewarded our little one with a happy meal at McDonalds, and naps for everybody!

Now, it wasn't easy. Waking up before 7am on weekend days is no easy task. My attempt to shower before the Bebe woke up at 6:45am was foiled, by said Bebe waking up just as I was turning the hot water on... I had to abandon shower and go get her out of her crib. I did get to shower... eventually.  The next morning, there was a pancake incident which resulted in Uncle having to go out and buy more eggs mid-breakfast.  This one actually turned in to a bonus, as Uncle returned with eggs and Starbucks! For the first time in our lives, we found ourselves contemplating beer before 9am, and later that night, we found ourselves dead serious about going to bed at 8:37pm.  (Bebe had gone down at 7).

Despite the challenges, and the early wake up calls, we had an amazing weekend.  We had fun, and we got a lot accomplished! By the end of the weekend, I was even offered a promotion!  Instead of "Char," I am now referred to by the little one as "My Char." Brandt maintains that this designation was already taken, and that I am his Char. I'm going to leave it up to them to work this out.  He's got a pretty compelling case, but like I said before, two year olds are fabulous negotiators...

Le Petite Negotiator!
For today's music, I'm going to leave you with Rockabye Baby - our best kid friendly music find of the entire weekend!  This group does lullaby versions of just about every popular hit imaginable. We are talking the Beatles, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, even Radiohead! Totally amazing.  Best album covers, hands down, are the Madonna and Kanye Albums.  Hilarious. Brandt and I put ourselves to bed with Coldplay. Good night! <3

Friday, February 17, 2012

an adult friendly playlist for kids

In anticipation of the major babysitting weekend we've got ahead of us, I've created an adult friendly playlist for kids and babies.  I'm pretty excited about the results! 

After sifting through hundreds of terrible suggestions in a multitude of parenting forums, I decided to take things in to my own hands, and create my own.  I kept it lighthearted, modern, and catchy.  It's high on adult appeal, and I think the kids are gonna like it as well! As far as I'm aware, all songs are kid friendly enough. (disclaimer - I by no means sat down and analyzed every single lyric on this!) If you are particularly sensitive, you may want to skip the last track, "You and I" by Ingrid Michaelson.  There is talk of "spooning," (eating soup together!) as well as "doing what bunnies do"(hopping! obviously!).  You have been warned. Fair enough?

So without any further ado, here is my list of adult friendly music for kids! If you are on Spotify, you can use this link to pull the playlist up instantly. If not, I'm including my list below so you can see my suggestions.

Dog Days Are Over - Vitamin String Quartet
Mushaboom - Feist 
Campus - Vampire Weekend 
Be OK - Ingrid Michaelson
Far Away - Ingrid Michaelson
Swing - Zero 7
New Soul - Yael Naim 
You Are My Sunshine* - Sleep Good
The Wrote and the Writ - Johnny Flynn
Never Had Nobody Like You - M. Ward featuring Zoey Deschannel
Rave On - M. Ward featuring Zoey Deschannel
Wagon Wheel - Old Crow Medicine Show 
Home - Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros 
Sticky-Sweet - Erin McCarley 
The Way I Am - Ingrid Michaelson
Little Too Much - Natasha Beddingfield 
1234 - Feist (obviously!) 
Banana Pancakes - Jack Johnson 
You've Got The Love - Florence + The Machine 
If I Had Words - Sally Harmon (my favorite kid song) 
You've Got A Friend In Me - Randy Newman (I'm allowed 1 disney song, right?) 
Us - Regina Spektor 
Quelqu'un M'a Dit - Carla Bruni 
Little Monster Babies - Kimya Dawson
Sweet Darlin' - She & Him 
Dog Days Are Over - Florence + The Machine 
Cosmic Love - Florence + The Machine
Bird Song - Florence + The Machine 
Everyday People - Sly & The Family Stone 
I Do - Colbie Caillat 
Bottle It Up - Sara Bareilles 
Love Song - Sara Bareilles 
Sea of Love - Cat Power 
French Navy - Camera Obscura 
Animal - Miike Snow 
You and I - Ingrid Michaelson (see warning above - spooning alert!) 

That's my adult friendly kid playlist! What do you think? Parents - any other suggestions??

*I literally listened to hundreds of versions of "You Are My Sunshine"  trying to find the right one for this playlist. I'm not 100% satisfied with this selection, but it was the best recording I could find before Brandt threatened to kick me out :) I'm still searching...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

this is not a drill

Ladies and Gentleman, please do not be alarmed if you don't hear from Brandt or I over the next three days.  Brandt and I will be babysitting his two year old niece for the entire weekend.  I repeat, this is not a drill. We have done an afternoon here and there, and a bed time or two, but this. is. serious.  B and I will be going full parental this weekend.

B's niece has been advised that Mommy and Daddy are going skiing, and "Uncle" and "Char" will be in charge. (We subsequently advised Mommy and Daddy to keep their cell phones on and in range AT ALL TIMES, ...and they laughed in our faces... )

Luckily, I've been diligently training for months now.  I've got 93 pins on my "Future Offspring" board on Pinterest. I'm also a loyal reader of "Parenting, Illustrated with Crappy Pictures." Brandt's experience sometimes looks more like a scene out of Three Men and a Baby, but only on certain "technical" skills. All kidding aside, the guy is amazing with kids.  "Uncle" and I are pretty pumped!  Niece is pretty fun to be around!  If you don't hear from us soon, it's because we're busy having fun! No need to send help. Maybe just send wine - bed time is at 7 :)

And with that, I'll leave you with one of my favorite song for kiddos, from the movie Babe, "If I Had Words."         If I Had Words - Played by Sally Harmon - On Spotify

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

will you be my sentimental valentine?

Happy Valentines Day from Healdsburg!  I hope everyone is feeling a little extra love today!

Valentines Day has been one of my favorite holidays since I was a child.  I loved the Valentines Day parties in elementary school, where we would all decorate little mailboxes, and then exchange valentines with the entire class.  There was something so exciting about picking out and addressing little valentines, and then so exciting to see which kinds you got from all of the other kids in the class.  Heart stickers, doilies, and all those cute little envelopes to open!

When I got home, I'd watch Valentines movies, my favorite being The Little Rascals. (see youtube clip below). 

I'd also read the Berenstein Bears Valentines Day Book, and marvel at the illustrations of snow for Valentines Day! In Washington State we never had snow on Valentines Day!  It wasn't until I turned 18 that I got to see snow on Valentines Day - something practically guaranteed to happen at Syracuse University! 

Of course in Healdsburg California, there is no snow on Valentines Day.  (It is sunny out today.) In preparation for Valentines Day this year,  I've been working on a Valentines Playlist of love songs from the 20s, 30s, and 40s, and a handful of songs after that.  Its got everything from Judy Garland and Shirley Temple, to Glenn Miller and Artie Shaw.  It's perfect for a romantic evening in, or if you and your Valentine are going out, it is fabulous getting ready music!  Please Enjoy my Sentimental Valentines Day Playlist!

On a somewhat more tangible note, I made everyone here in Healdsburg some Chocolate Speedy Oven Fudge from a tried and true recipe by Beverly Bernholtz that I found on  It is seriously so amazing and so delicious, and so easy! Its not too late to whip up a batch - or give it a try this weekend! 

I'm looking forward to going out to dinner with my Valentine tonight, but in the mean time I'll be listening to my Valentine's Playlist, and sneaking pieces of Chocolate Fudge here and there :)

Happy Valentines Day Everyone! :)

Friday, February 10, 2012

arts and crafts > being a good citizen

I had a job interview this morning.  My second since I've moved out here.  By all accounts the interview went marvelously... until they rounded out the morning by asking me to take a personality assessment.

A personality assessment for a design job!? By no means was this off base, but my experience thus far has been with small companies, none of which have had a formal interview processes, or really, processes of any kind.  Management tends not to be a strong suit amongst the creative set.

So I'm sitting in a conference room, looking at the computer.  It was one of those cloudy mornings, just perfect for focusing. Caffeine-fueled and left to my own devices, I really got in the zone.  We are talking serious concentration.  There were two parts to the exam.  The first part gave you four statements.  First you indicate which statement best describes you, then which statement least describes you, I think there were about ten of these.

The second portion was a bit more involved.  You had a list of 6 items.  You ranked those 6 items from most important to least important. Extremely mundane! There were 12 sets that needed to be ranked, which got old, real fast.  Eventually, one of the lists included "arts and crafts."  I love arts and crafts!  Boom! Ranked it number 1! All the rest were pretty boring, so I ranked 2-6 in the order of which I despised the least.  It was one of the last questions, so I was ready to get this thing over with!  As I hit the submit button, I scanned my responses.  I noticed that I had ranked "arts and crafts" over "being a good citizen."  Whoops!

Hopefully this assessment takes in to account that I'm a designer.  Creative tendencies are good for us! And its not like I am otherwise not a good citizen - I vote (gladly), do jury duty (not as gladly), and obey all posted traffic signs (apologies to those who have driven behind me on the 101). I just like crafting so much more than I like doing all of those things.  This is why I'm an interior designer, and not a police officer -- Nobody move! I've got a glue gun!

suspect is armed and dangerous

The Crafty Bitch - Howard Britz (on Spotify) Perfect jazz music for a rainy focused morning in the office! ;)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

a proper farewell to washingon dc

Dupont Circle

Healdsburg has been wonderful so far, but...

Washington DC, you will always be my first love.  For that,  I owe you a proper goodbye.

Washington DC, I first fell in love with you on an unseasonably warm October evening in 2002.  It was my sophomore year of college, and I was on a class trip with Syracuse University's Entrepreneurship Club.  We were in Georgetown, crossing over the C&O Canal bridge.  The sun had gone down, but the Patagonia store still had its doors wide open, and as I walked past, one of my very favorite songs drifted out in to the night air.  With the moon out, the water below, and the street lamps glowing gold, it was a perfect serendipitous moment. I knew instantly that we were meant for each other.
Autumn Leaves in Georgetown
Once I arrived, you endlessly charmed me with your museums, monuments, and beautiful city scenes.

The Willard Hotel

You sparked an passion for politics that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
The United States Capitol Building

You introduced me to one of my favorite spots on earth, Glover Park.
W Street in Glover Park
 And it was there in Glover Park that you first introduced me to the love of my life.
Brandt and I in front of the National Gallery of Art

 Washington DC, you have been nothing short of magical, and for that, I thank you <3

Connection between the East and West Wings of the National Gallery of Art. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

where is healdsburg california?

Downtown Healdsburg
Just about everyone I know has asked me; where exactly is Healdsburg? Others have asked if I live on an actual vineyard.  (not quite, but close!) Don't feel bad, though! Last time I checked, there wasn't a "wine country unit" in any geography class that I know of.

I first visited wine country in the summer of 2010.  Two of my good friends Brie and Chris from Washington DC were getting married in San Francisco.  After their wedding, I met up with my Aunt Louise, and we did an epic road trip up the west coast, all the way up to my hometown of Bellevue Washington.
Passing through wine country in August of 2010
Up until that moment, my only knowledge of wine country came from the movie Sideways, (or if we're getting technical, I guess it would really be Lindsay Lohan's character, "Hallie", in Disney's 1998 remake of The Parent Trap.) I knew it was *somewhere* in California, but I had no idea it was further north of San Francisco!

As we crossed the Golden Gate bridge out of San Francisco, Louise (who had lived in San Francisco for many years) suggested that we stop in wine country for lunch on our way to Crescent City.  I was surprised and excited.  This was the first time that I realized how far north wine country is. I had always assumed it was somewhere in the depths Southern California!  Turned out, its about an hour and a half north of San Francisco on the 101.  (I know, I know, you are probably wondering how I went from not knowing where wine country is, to moving here in less than 1.5 years, but we'll save that one for another post) :) 

Historic Healdsburg Poster on display at Zin
Healdsburg is in the heart of Sonoma County wine country, at the convergence of three wine producing valleys: Alexander, Dry Creek, and The Russian River Valley.  As you can imagine from that description, Healdsburg is indeed mostly vineyards, valleys, and winerys. (and those awesome windy wine country roads like they show in Sideways.) Just being here makes me feel relaxed. 

Mustache Bakery
Healdsburg really seems to have a corner on that whole "rustic chic" thing. At the very center of Healdsburg lies a small town square.  It is filled with adorable boutiques, world class restaurants, tasting rooms, and several incredible bakeries.

You won't find many chains in Healdsburg, the closest mall is 20 minutes south of here in Santa Rosa.  The closest Nordstroms is an hour away.  (I'm coping).  There is, however, exactly one (1) Starbucks in town, which is precisely my minimum requirement for any town (no matter how charming) to qualify to have this Seattle girl as a resident.  There is also a completely lovely local coffee shop called The Flying Goat, which most locals understandably prefer. 

Outside of the town square are a handful of residential developments, which are immediately surrounded by all of the vinyards.  This is where we're staying while we look for our own place, and we plan to settle here.  So while we don't live on a vineyard, we are surrounded with them!  It's beyond amazing.

Now that I've answered your question, I've got one for you: When are you coming to visit?? :)
Today's song (ideal for getting lost on the back roads of wine country) is Far Away by Washed Out (linked here on Spotify).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

california dreaming

A week ago today, Brandt, Bauer and I boarded a one way flight from Washington DC to San Francisco.  Our final destination?  Healdsburg California in Sonoma County Wine Country.  It sounds simple, but with four checked bags,  three carry-ons, and a dog it was actually quite the project.  With the majority of our things en route to California well before our flight,  we weighed our first bag outside the terminal.  We saw that it was 67 (!) pounds. This required some immediate rearranging, as checked bags now carry a 50 pound weight limit or you have an additional $70 fee on top of the $25 bag fee.  You know, on top of airfare, and the $125 just to take the dog on board… But I digress.

We did some frantic rearranging in line for check in, and finally got called up by a ticketing agent.  We put our first bag on the scale…. 50 pounds,  exactly!  We cheered.  The ticket agent was nonplussed. Next bag up, 49(!) pounds.  We high-fived. The ticket agent finally cracked a smile.  We got all four bags successfully checked, and ourselves and our other bags through security.  ( Bauer was a carry on, but for the record he weighed in at a whopping 7 pounds, including carrier.) Once we were in the air, we could finally breath a sigh of relief.  A majority of hectic move was behind us, and together we handled it beautifully.  I am so excited for our new adventure!

The Mamas and The Papas –California Dreaming (on Spotify)