Monday, May 31, 2010

sunday night dinner

After a rather idle Sunday afternoon at work, I jotted across the street in the drizzly rain to catch a bus downtown for supper. Whereupon arriving earlier than I had anticipated, I stopped into the local bookstore to explore new possibilities and summer reads. Douglas Coupland, several luxurious books on entertaining and the Sartorialist's compilation of beautiful fashion photography. All enticing, though I walked out empty handed.

I met A at a new restaurant, Mis Trucos, which specializes in Mediterranean tapas. What a delight this house turned restaurant turned out to be! Light, airy interiors with intimate table settings. Soft gray/blue walls complemented by white chairs and orange doorways.

As we shared Sangria along with many wonderful foods, we mused over the prospects of interior decorating in new spaces and becoming better cooks. Prefect flavors and textures collided with dreams and side thoughts. Goat cheese and flat bread. Creme fraise over top of risotto and lobster. A perfect sea scallop placed on butternut squash. Flavors so perfect for a Sunday and time spent together.

Table setting




Appetizer

Saturday, May 29, 2010

weekend chic



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 wishing you a weekend filled with pretty details. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

graduation


I feel that this is a particularly sentimental occasion for my blog. The whole reason it exists is because I decided to go to university in Canada. Now, it is officially over. Or at least the university part is. I am still here and probably will be for the next little while. Thinking back over the last four years, even reading old entries, I am extremely proud that things have changed is so many great ways. Today all of those little things, plus on big thing, will be celebrated. I will toss my hat up for all those things that have shaped me outside of my education.

 I hope you have a fabulous Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

cupcake goodness

summer treat

{photo by V}

I am a lover of cupcakes. I think it has something do to with their petite nature and sugary goodness. There are endless possibilities for wonderful combinations, but today I made my brother's favorite for his 20th birthday - vanilla cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. Simply delightful.

Monday, May 24, 2010

bits of happiness

A few things that will make this week perfect.

- Graduation from university - wednesday
- Baking a cake from my brother's birthday - tuesday
- Spending time with a new friend - friday
- Enjoying a Monday off from work
- Cooking a meal for my family while they are visiting - thursday
- Dressing up - wednesday
- Painting my nails a new shade of coral-ly pink; it is summer
- Organizing the house, though more specifically my room
- Taking a stroll to the beach - monday
- Planting a few more flowers


{photo by v}

Friday, May 21, 2010

peas in a pod


Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art . . . It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
C.S. Lewis


Last night K and I went to the trattoria near our house for a dinner date filled with gossip, white wine, delicious food and endless laughter. K is my sister. We are not linked by blood, but by time. Almost four years of a friendship that has endured so much. She has past the boundaries of friendship to become my family. As we sat at our table, which over looked downtown Vancouver, I was reminded that romantic relationships are not the only instances where the phrase "meant to be" should be used. Yes, you may build a new life together but there are times before and during that process. Those are the times when you build a family out of friends.

The Purple Satin Trench - A state of mind

I have always been a firm believer that in life, mental attitude is 85% of achieving what you want, or lack thereof. Having faith in yourself and your abilities is so fundamental. I mean, if you didn't believe something was possible, why would you bother?

One of my recent struggles has been finding a niche within my team at work. I was slightly discouraged because it seemed like every time I stepped up to the plate, those things got redelegated - and not to me. I thought, if this persists I will be utterly useless at work. Fabulous. But what bothered me more than anything else was the fact that my colleagues seemed to doubt my abilities and had not given me a chance to prove otherwise.

As I dwelled on this two nights ago, I similtaneously whined to K that I had no clue what to wear to work. She was prompt to bust open my closet, select the cream cashmere turtleneck and pair it with my purple satin trench coat. "There," she said. How chic, I thought, and why hadn't I thought of that?

Now, this trench is very special. I got it when I was home at Christmas, yet I today was the first day I wore it. Don't get me wrong, I'm a fashion junkie. But this trench coat does not belong in Vancouver and I wasn't strong enough to not care. But with the help of a friend, my mind received the overdue reminder that I've always lived a bit off the beaten path. Why should fashion be an exception?

When I stepped out my door that next morning, I kept my chin up and felt great about being fabulous enough to do my own thing. This sentiment carried over to work, though in a different way. I felt strong enough to step up and be a stronger leader than I had been. I was confident. And it all came from a purple satin trench.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

life outside of work

As I transition into a new place in my life, I must admit I'm struggling a bit. I think it is has to do with developing new routines and finding a balance between work and the rest of my life, whereas before it a balance between school and work and life. It's all much different that I had imagined. Not entirely in a bad way, however. Work is intense with lots of planning for the Autumn and projects taking shape, which is truly exciting. Unfortunately, I've been a bit fried when I get home. I'm not usually one to 'veg' out in the evenings. I used to come home, do homework, update my blog and read before sleeping. Lately that hasn't been happening and it's all unfamiliar territory, which makes me a bit anxious. In any event, I have a running list of projects that I'd like to finish, and now I'm trying to think of ways to get these things done in my free time. Here are a few things I've thought of.

- Easing into it. Cooking a great meal, slowing down and then go again.

- Set a goal for the week. Sometimes for me, having a personal goal written down somewhere is the only way I get things done.


- Truly leaving behind work at work. What a concept, right? I wish it were that easy for me.


- Having plans after work that you look forward to


How do you mentally recharge to accomplish things outside of your work life?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

inspired work spaces

I'm working on fashioning my desk at work, and, I'm quirky enough to be really excited about this. Hard to believe, I know. But I believe that what you do and what your surround yourself has the ability to positively influence you. I'm an extremely visual person, so I like to have calendars, timelines and task lists on my walls.

I've seen the image of the colour organized bookshelf before, but I still adore it!
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Love the vintage look of this! The wire baskets. Photos slightly askew. The light blue desk.

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I'm a fan of whole wall shelving systems. I think that they can be functional and aesthetically pleasing because you can make them look artistic. The combination of organizing folders and objects is great.

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I love the carpet in the space! The pattern as a opposed to the minimal design of the desk. Lovely! I'm not so sure about the pictures resting on the desk. I feel like inevitably something would bum into them and they would fall forward.
{photo}

Friday, May 14, 2010

Notes from this week

New beginnings have many undefined variables. Be patient and, in time, they will be filled in.

Getting to know people always takes time. It's very rare that we are blessed with the pleasure of clicking with someone right away. Discoveries and connections take a certain amount of effort, and are all the more rewarding when you have to work a bit harder for them.

Team work isn't so bad when everyone pulls their weight.

Feeling the need to do something is great, but there's a time and place for it. And it is not once you're home from work. Relaxing is important. With time, I hope I'll learn how to do this.

My body has acclimated to accept that 60 degrees is dress weather in Vancouver.

After much anticipation and doubt, my little herb plans have begun to sprout. Patience, patience, patience.
What you are fundamentally passionate about never really dies. Sometimes it is clouded over by other interests or you get distracted. You will always circle back around to what you love, and I believe that is what you're meant to follow in life.

Tonight is BBQ and bowling night with the gang. It's the first time ever I'm able to do something on a Friday and not feel guilty about it.


When you move into a new phase of your life remember - you're still you, just in a different place. In no way do you have to abandon what you used to do or love, it can all be carried forward. They are the things that will bring you comfort in times of uncertainty.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

a new kind of life

Writing seems to have taken a back seat over the last few days in light of exciting new developments in my life. I've started a new job this week and it's fabulous. I feel so lucky to have such a great opportunity and I cannot wait to get into the swing of things next week. Although my official graduation isn't for a couple of weeks, I really feel like a grown up (finally).
It's a weird transition, but I think I am handling it well so far. I guess what is tricky about it is that I have only ever known myself as a student. I was defined by my academic interests. Whenever someone would ask me how I was doing, my answer was entirely contingent on how school was going. All of my free time was consumed by projects, involvement and assignments. It's not that I didn't like it, it just took over my life. As opposed to these past few weeks. Once work is over, my time is my own. I've been able to make some fabulous meals with my love. Do more crosswords and read. More than anything, I feel lighter somehow. I know that I will probably go back to school in the next year or two, but for now I am enjoying this new kind of life. I will have many new things to write about.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

perfect picnic for a friday

This past week has been a true blessing. I returned to Vancouver to a week of freedom. No school, no work and very few obligations. Friday was an impeccable end to my week. I slept in, just a bit. My love and I planned a lunch time picnic at the beach that far exceeded what I thought it could be - much like our relationship thus far.

It began with a bike ride. This was my first bike ride in Vancouver. Having lived in Vancouver, which is a very bike friendly city, for four years now I'm very disappointed I hadn't biked here before. As we pedaled down the tree lined streets of my neighborhood to pick up a bottle of wine, I was immediately transported back to California in my mind. I love riding bikes with my brother amidst the open fields and roads. I did not expect to reap that same kind of joy here in the city. It's always surprising to find out that you thought was misguided. We rode down the steep seaside hill that levels out with a gorgeous view of downtown and settled against a log on the beach. Our bikes propped up on the other side of it.

The big bay that feeds into the Pacific Ocean is sprawling in front of us. Mountains are held up on the other side, like wheel-away set piece from the theatre. Although I've spent much time gazing at this sight, I never reach the point of accepting that something so spectacular is right in my backyard. Just to the right is a range of glass and metal - downtown nestled at sea level. We both agree that it's impossible to describe, or appreciate, until you are sitting in its midst.

Sipping on rose wine, I dig my feet into the sand. I've never felt so lucky. An amazing man sits to my right and I am perpetually lost for words that voice how I feel. My mind imagines many great ones, but some how they've yet to be given a voice. In time they will.

Our picnic is far from ordinary. Beside the wine, there are baked brie sandwiches filled with fresh basil, lush tomatoes and procuitto. The ultimate summer fruit - strawberries. A homemade chocolate tart that lies in a shortbread crust. For once, I can take no credit for cooking. It was all him. We share bites of the rich tart and clues for the crosswords on hand. Once both are completed, we pop back on our bikes and head home. Both filled to brim with happiness.

Friday, May 07, 2010

waterfront


Standing on the concrete patio between Canada Place and Waterfront Station, I realize that the other bay is lined with fantastically vintage buildings. Old, red brick. White stone trim. A muted yellow building. It presents itself as a snapshot right out of the 1930s. At their base, train tracks twist about in a linear fury, although the trains are all paused. There is no sign of life from where I sit, but I appreciate all that stillness.

Inside the station is a different story. People are in perpetual motion. Disembarking trains, boats and buses. It is the noon hour on a Thursday and they all appear to have to some place to be. I, on the other hand, have 33 minutes before my friend arrives for our picnic outing.

Just two young girls keeping up to date on each others lives. They nurture their friendship over homemade delicacies. They take the time to find solutions for the problems, and celebrate the small victories in their lives.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

small gestures of affection

Love is not about saying it. It's about what you do. Its meaning comes from actions. - From my Nana.


I rarely write about love and its meaning, or what it is, because it's tricky. Purely subjective and situational. But what my Nana said to me while we were in Carmel last week really resonated with me. She's completely correct. Language is empty in the modern era. What gives it life, is our actions.

Any relationship, be it friend or family, is defined by what we do, or lack thereof. It's accumulation of gestures over the years. It sounds a bit cliche, but really those are things that you remember in the long run. And that is what defines one's love for another.

Some things that resonate in this new love. Making meals for one another. It takes time and a bit of you goes into everything you produce. Voicing affection in a small ways that aren't so pronounced. The suggestion of plans for coming months, which has a lining of commitment. A sign of a shared vision. Always holding hands. Spending our week off together, enjoying each others company and doing things we enjoy. Simple, small notes of expression. Purely acknowledging the joy we have for each other and our relationship.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Mantra for May

This life is yours for the taking. Go.

A beautiful start to the week

Plant life at my house. Fresh tomatoes and herbs for the summer.

Trying new recipes. Penne pasta with sauteed butternut squash in a sage brown butter sauce. Italian sea bass complete with olives and capers. Vanilla and Lavender cookies.
Unpacking and reorganizing.

Deciding on some goals for the month and for the summer to come. A small entrepreneurial
venture. Long afternoons reading. Spending time in the sun. Being a roaring success at my new job.

An elegant shade of sheer rose on my nails.

Spending long days and evenings with those that I missed the most while on holiday.


Sunday, May 02, 2010

if lost - don't return

Not all those who wander are lost

J.R.R. Tolkien





I've realized there is some value to not having plans. Throughout my life, I have been a steadfast planner and doer. I immensely dislike spontaneous, last minute changes and (mostly) reject flying by the seat of my pants. How I arrived at this place I'm still not entirely sure. But, in the past few weeks where there has been no school, no work and abolished travel plans, I have come to embrace a more relaxed lifestyle. Although I embrace structure in my days, I'm hoping that as work begins again I remember what these much needed break was like and try to incorporate snippets of it into my daily life.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

ambushed at the makeup counter

I've never been much a foundation girl, in terms of makeup, until recently. I was shopping with my mom and she pretty much ambushed me while we were looking at lip colours at Chanel. "Oh my gosh," she gushed, "Let's find you a foundation!" Next thing I know, I'm in the ominous black chair where an older woman with crazy red hair and matching red lipstick tries to give me a new and improved face. After asking me twenty questions about all the products I use on my face, she then tell me why they are all wrong. "Clinique! Ha! That toner robs your face of moisture." Mind you, part of this shopping trip was to pick up some Even Better from Clinique. Scratch that.


"So what do you think?"
"It looks good." I wanted to lie and say it didn't look good, but truth be told, this might have been the first time I've ever look in a mirror and thought my skin (appeared to) look good. "Oh my god, what a difference!" my mom chimes in. Oh mothers. Sometimes I feel like once you've left high school and there are no longer certain girls who make you feel bad about yourself, our mothers take over role.
"Now, dear, how adventurous are you when it comes to colour?"
"Very!" This is much more my comfort zone. Who could possibly deny a fun, flirty lip colour? My lower line was rimmed with a vibrant peacock green, complimented by my lighter lids. For my lips - gorgeous pinky gold that reminds me of summer. So perfect!

After this little ordeal at Chanel, my mom and I walked out with little black bags with that indistinguishable bold, white font. We shared a sandwich and mentioned that I had (ironically) never bought into beauty industry gimmicks when it comes to makeup. All she could say was, "Oh, but I wish you could see a before and after!"

a few discoveries from my holiday


my allergies to all animals that my family owns have not subsided.

i have more initiative than i give myself credit for.

i'm much more critical of myself when i'm at home, and it's annoying.

i don't dislike it here. i merely like other places better.

my dad is much more supportive of my arbitrary goals than i realized.

i miss out on so much by being so far away.

Vancouver really is my home now.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
Mark Twain