Thursday, December 31, 2009

A very close call.

Today I very nearly murdered my husband. Internet, he dropped my iPhone in a tray of paint. Paint.

My iPhone.

It made me feel very stabby. Somehow, though, the paint was almost entirely confined to the cover. You see, that's how awesome an iPhone is. It even falls into paint the right away.

While we were cleaning it off, I petulantly informed him that I had just blogged about how much I love my cover. AND IT'S NOT AVAILABLE ANYMORE. You big hookerface. "Just think, now you can blog about this," he said. OH BELIEVE ME I WILL. I'll even diagram it. Behold:

I suspect the whole incident may have been payback for an earlier interaction.

The Man: Do you know where my hammer is?

Me: No. (Keeps painting door.)

The Man: (Rummages around the house for about 10 minutes. Ends up directly behind me.) It's right next to you!

Me: Oh. You didn't ask me to look for it. You asked me if I knew where it was. And I didn't.

My friends, this is the foundation of a strong relationship: accuracy.

But, the reason it took 10 minutes of rummaging to find a hammer located three inches to the right of my foot is that we are currently living in the toy/book/furniture equivalent of a junkyard. Just about everything in the house has been moved at least once in the last two weeks and very little of it is currently in the spot appropriate for it. This is quite certainly my least favorite aspect of painting.

It may, however, be the kids favorite part. They do no clean up clean up and don't get in trouble because Mom and Dad can't really tell the difference anyway.

Technorati tags: painting, marriage

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A little inspiration.

With all the painting going on Chez Sushi, I feel like life is one big color story these days. A mini color fairytale with pictures I'm loving on flickr today:

Clockwise: Phillip Klinger, Batikart, Phillip Klinger, Steve Took It. All on flickr.

Technorati tags: flickr, color story, pictures

I'm in love with my new iPhone cover.

I want to kiss it and hug it and get a silver bullet trailer with it, have a baby boy and safety pin his clothes all cool while it graffiti's up his tie.

That is all.

Technorati tags: iPhone,

Saturday, December 26, 2009

And now we set in to the Recovery Phase.

El niño keeps singing "Chinese, like a melody in my head that I can't keep out got me singing like na na na na na na na na...".

I finally decided to stop giggling at him and informed the tiny mondegreen maestro that the word is in fact shorty. Or, rather shawty. Of course he then asked me what is shorty? Well, shit I don't know. I suppose it isn't really any more nonsensical than Chinese, so hell, carry on.

Speaking of shawties, Cheeseball got a plethora of Barbies for Christmas. And she marched down to Target today with $50 in her sparkly, sweaty little hands courtesy of the GG's (great grandparents, let's not get into the whole hard ass Santa gang thing again.) Among other things, she picked out a little Barbie dress up costume with matching actual Barbie doll dress.

When we got home, I told her to go grab me a Barbie so I could put the matching dress on her and prime Cheeseball for some BY HERSELF PLAY at 7am tomorrow morning (please God, please). She brought out one of her Christmas Barbies and I shit you not in less than 24 hours, she has already dyed New Barbie's hair pink, glittered her forehead and painted makeup on and around her eyes. I haven't inspected the rest of her haul, but I suspect this particular New Barbie wasn't the only plastic princess in Cheeseball's makeover chair.

El niño hasn't glittered up any of his new stash, but he and I are both completely in love with a DS game he received. Scribblenauts is hands down one of the most creative games I've ever seen. The game presents you with little challenges ranging - so far - from getting your little Maxwell character up onto a ledge to collect his "starite" to protecting a picnic lunch from ants. At each challenge, you go to the notepad and write in a word, and that object then appears on your stage. You can use the object to solve your challenge and they have dillions of interactions programmed in! I love how it makes him think. On the aforementioned Get Up On A Ledge challenge, the obvious solution is ladder, right? I would write in ladder, it would appear and then I would climb up it onto the ledge. But, El niño wrote in kangaroo. Seriously. And it worked! Maxwell climbed up on the kangaroo and they hopped right up to stariteville. I LOVE that it rewards his imagination and creativity by allowing off the wall solutions.

I got some books that I will totally post about soon.

What is that? A warning? Ha ha, I guess it is. Consider yourselves warned.

Technorati tags: Christmas, Barbie, Scribblenauts

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Weekly Etsy. I hope. We'll see.

I'd like to post some weekly fave finds on Etsy. But, I'm a bit of a commitmentphobe. If I say I'm going to start up a weekly Etsy post, dollars to doughnuts I'll start refusing to even browse Etsy. Just on principle. But, here's a bunch of Etsy finds I'm loving right now. No promises but, really I'm going to try to get this up weekly. Secretly. I DON'T HEAR ME, NO PRESSURE.

scarf by alonalona

brooch by mgmart

kanzashi by petal mix

ring by the pebble collection

ring by Pattycake's Plunder

bracelet by vivid colors

Technorati tags: Etsy, vintage, handmade

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sweet Sugar and Potatoes

Ok, I'm not going to lie. I make a killer sweet potato casserole. Among life's many talents, that has to rank somewhere between raising one eyebrow and picking things up with your toes - great for entertaining and a feat probably out of the reach of monkeys. Even with training. But, it's my big impressive talent. So, Internet, I share with you...

The original recipe.

8 cups sweet potato, cubed
1 cup white sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Put sweet potatoes in a tiered steamer and steam over high heat until tender.

This is the secret trick that makes this SO delicious.  No wait, I'm lying.  The secret trick is A SHIT TON OF BUTTER AND SUGAR.  But, also the steaming.  Totally preserves the sweet potatoes' flavor.

When soft, toss in a bowl, add butter and mash. Mash well but leave it lumpy. Mix in the sugar, eggs, salt, milk and vanilla. (Eggs second to last, followed quickly with the milk so the hot!hot!hot! sweet potatoes don't cook your eggs.) Pour the mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish.

In a smaller bowl, mix the sugar and flour. Cut in the butter until the mixture is coarse. (I start with a pastry cutter then say fuck it and use my hands.) Stir in the pecans.

Layer marshmellows over the sweet potatoes. Curse the ignorant louts who always request this. Sprinkle the pecan crust over this indecency.

Bake 30 minutes, or until the topping is all crispy and lightly brown.

A little tip from me to you: when you're measuring out your 8 freaking cups of cubed sweet potatoes (or anything else), aim the handle on your measuring cup like the hour hand of a clock to keep track of your count. Directly right for 3:00 when you're filling cup number 3, etc. Excellent for the mentally feeble.

Just make sure to place a paper towel under your cup so it doesn't spin around and make you lose track of your count so you have to empty your vessel out and count out the stupid cups again and then again and then maybe even one more time.

Internet, this is how good this shit is: this is the third time I've made it already this holiday season. And I haven't gotten to pick what I'm bringing to ANYTHING yet this year. Bring the sweet potatoes or stay home, Jen. Not that we don't love you. But, seriously. Don't show up without it. So, recommendation is to start making something that you will then forever be roped into making. I gives good advice.

Technorati tags: recipe, Christmas, cooking

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and OMG THAT FREAKS ME OUT.

You guys, I'm entering Defcon Level HOLYSHITHOWDIDCHRISTMASSNEAKUPONMELIKETHAT!?!?. While trying not to freak out that the presents I ordered online didn't materialize instantly at my door, I'm soothing myself with the gauzy, feminine, vintage Christmas stylings of suzanneduda on flickr.

Source: suzanneduda, flickr.

So pretty! I want to invite myself in, snuggle up in grandma's quilt and sip a cup of tea.

Technorati tags: vintage, Christmas, flickr

Friday, December 11, 2009

Bento in bed.

I'm blogging from bed, cozily ensconced in flannel and down and I suspect no other blogging will ever be the same.

Little Man's bento of the day: rice, gyoza, octodog, apples and oranges.

Technorati tags: bento, lunch

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Koko in the mix.

What one does with this Yatsumi Zuke of which I spoke.

Technorati tags: tsukemono, Japanese cooking, lunch

Monday, December 07, 2009

I'd rather be grounded.

You guys, I'm having one of those moments wherein one realizes that being a parent is really quite hard. And that no matter how otherwise convinced one may have been, being grounded for OMG EEEEEEVER and flinging one's self dramatically about the house because YOU GUYS ARE SO MEEEEEEAN AND MY LIFE IS RUINED! really wasn't the tough role in that gig after all.

We signed El Niño up for a season of weekend basketball workshops with other five and six year olds this winter. And apparently, while we were busy doing that, the ratface lying liars at the rec center were secretly signing him up for a basketball league with seven and eight year olds. And apparently that's just how it is. No switchies no takebacks. Because, since he'll be seven HALF WAY through the season, he's too old for the instructional league. On what cracked out planet the midpoint of the season comes ONE WEEK BEFORE IT ENDS, I have no clue. But, I have a feeling that planet is inhabited by ratface lying liars.

And some of these seven and eight year olds walked right out of their moms' bellies dribbling a basketball, I will tell you. These kids were sinking baskets FROM THE FUCKING KEY. (The KEY! That's like 14 six year olds away from the crazy high basket!) El Niño, on the other hand, picked up a basketball for the first time in his life at tonight's draft. Yah, that's right. DRAFT. Apparently the ratface lying liars at the rec center are also insane and we now DRAFT seven and eight year olds to recreational league basketball teams.

Now, we have never believed in protecting the kids from failure. (And believe me you as not only the whitest kid out there but the whitest kid out there, there's going to be some big fat bowls of fail this season) And we are NOT raising quitters. So, proceed with The League of The Preternatural Ballers he will. And, to be fair, there were other kids with hardly a clue out there. He won't be alone with his tasty bowls of fail and he will certainly get better over the season. Also, he's freaking stoked to be playing basketball with some of his buddies.

But, Mom's heart hurts. I was SO proud of the kid who gamely stood all by himself before a court full of people and tried something he'd never done. I hope that kid gets recognized for his heart and too eager to win parents don't steamroll right over him.

Technorati tags: basketball, kids, parenting

Friday, December 04, 2009

Cooking and eating Koko.

One of the things I miss most about Hawaii is the food. I mean, you know, also this:

Rainbow Falls, Hawaii
Source: TerryMcT, Flickr

And my family. But very much so the food. I've learned to make a lot of it myself, much of that cobbled together with approximations of the actual ingredients and even those I have to run all over town to find and pull together. (Can you hear the tiny violins?)

There are a ton of Korean transplants here and therefore a ton of Korean stores and delicious, authentic Korean kim chee available. But, the Japanese version of this is a much more subtle and delicate pickled vegetable called tsukemono. We call it koko for short. Now, when I say we, I have NO idea if "we" is just my family and we're the only nerds walking around eating koko or if this is a collective "we" referring to all tsukemono loving speakers of the Japanese.

But, whatever the case, one of the things I really miss is a pickled cabbage dish called Yatsumi Zuke. My entire life, I thought my grandmother made this stuff, lovingly pickling the vegetables for her adoring family but it turns out THAT WAS A BIG FAT LIE. She bought that shit straight from the farmers market, brought it home and stuck it in old glass mayo tubs. I love my Baba, she was fucking awesome. And if, as it turns out, she was completely full of shit, I guess the Internet was going to have to come through for me. Except! Y'all! It would appear that we (and this "we" refers to my family and my family alone) ARE the only nerds walking around eating koko. Just try searching koko, you guys. Unless you're trying to cook a gorilla, you're going to be out of luck. (And even then, not a lot of recipes.)

Anyhow, blah blah blah...had to talk Mom into making a trip to the old Ward Farmers Market...blah blah blah...long story short...finally got the real name Yatsumi Zuke and found one lone recipe on these here Interwebz. Slightly modified, like to hear it? hear it go:

3 medium mustard cabbage
1/4 cup alaea hawaiian red rock salt
2 tsp grated ginger
2/3 cup shoyu
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup brown sugar
crushed red pepper to taste

Mustard cabbage is also known as mustard greens (although, not the same as what they call mustard greens here in the Souf), mizuna, gai choy and lord knows what else. It's a weird looking cabbage with a couple of giant leaves surrounding a teeny tiny little head.


On a side note, it totally stokes me out that the Korean grocery I buy my giant leafy leaves and little friends from grows them out back and thus makes this one of the few steps I can make in this area toward a 100 Mile Diet.

So, wash well, chop and sprinkle with the rock salt as you go.


With three heads of mustard greens, you'll end up with a giant bowl like this. Pictured here in human scale for perspective, because I'm helpful like that.


Let the greens and salt sit for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, heat up the shoyu (a.k.a. soy sauce), rice vinegar, ginger, brown sugar and crushed red pepper until it boils. Remove from heat and let cool.

Here's where you better hope you've kept up on your hand moisturizing. After letting the greens sit with the salt, squeeze excess water out and pack into a jar. Dry skin + salt = OW SHIT OW. Believe it or not, you can fit that whole bowl into a much smaller container. Again in human scale:


Once the mixture has cooled, pour over greens, seal the jar and let sit out for 3 hours.

Refrigerate, eat, refrigerate, eat, repeat until The Man eats all the damned koko and you say WHERE THE HELL DID ALL THE KOKO GO and he says you ate it and you say oh then blame it on him on the Internet.

Oh! And! Perfect for bento. Anything with vinegar in it is a natural antimicrobial which is a great addition to a portable lunch.

Technorati tags: tsukemono, Japanese cooking, Hawaii

Sunday, November 29, 2009

All I Want For Christmas Is My Own Wishlist G's

El nino wants a bb gun (beebee? BBee? TOY OF DOOM?) for Christmas and all I can think is YOU'LL SHOOT YOUR EYE OUT! And also, FRA-GEEEEE-LAY.

Cheeseball wants Barbie So In Style and Style Something Barbie and Style Barbie Style and every other combination of Barbies Whose Hair Is To Be Messed With. Which is cute, but then I find myself hunched over the bathtub trying to wash the OOH SPARKLY GLITTER PINK PASTE OOH out of the woolly matted hair of a giant Moxie Grrrrl head. Which is both uncomfortable AND creepy. And then it's all Cat in the Hat and oh boy! what's this in the tub? It's pink and it sparkles and Mom's gotta scrub!

But, whatever. It's Christmas, right? Stop being such a grinch, MOM. So I dutifully built their Amazon wishlists with them and sent them off to the G's. (Which is The Grandparents, not some generous cabal of gift-giving gangsters although that would certainly be more interesting. And now that I think about it, there really SHOULD be a gang of blinged-out, Santa pants lowriding, hard ass wish granters. Because what would make Christmas even more fun than thugs with hearts of gold?)

Where was I? Right, wishlists. So, two giant Amazon boxes have already shown up. (Thanks, Nana!) After I sent off the wishlists, I got an email from Nana asking why my wishlist always has 50+ items and the kids only have about 10 each. Well, that's because I've been building mine since before they were born and because their interests change and things come off and go on and also because NO ONE EVER BUYS ME ANYTHING OFF MINE because no one lufs me and also thanks for pointing that out. Way to call yourself out, NANA.

Technorati tags: Christmas, wishlist, kids

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Bits and pieces and tools and kids.

Little Man has been enrolled in a Spanish Immersion program since kindergarten and he's gotten pretty bueno. Last year, he was still at the point where he would speak Spanish to us and we could figure it out. Now, I find myself telling him "Mommy doesn't understand, dude. Mommy doesn't speak Spanish." What's that? Yes, Mommy is a tool.

So, we went out for Mexican food last night for The Man's birthday. Or, I went out for tequila and they went out for food. El Niño loves it because the people who work there are not tools like Mommy and he can habla the Español with them. They get a real kick out of the tiny little gringo and his perfect pronunciation and he gets a real kick out of their reactions. Unfortunately, they assume Mommy isn't a tool and they start speaking Spanish to me, too. Then we have conversations like this:

Waiter: ¿Es todo bien?

Mommy: Oh me? You're talking to me? Oh, I don't understand. Wait, no...did you ask if I wanted more tequila? Because, yes I do. Thank you. I mean gracias.

El niño: NO, Mom. Duh. He asked if everything was ok. Something in Spanish that Mommy doesn't understand because Mommy is a tool.

Mommy: Oh, I'm sorry. Yes, everything is good. Except with regard to the tequila, which should be más. But, everything else is great. Thank you. I mean, gracias.

El niño: El rollos the eye-o's.

Waiter: I'm just going to talk to the kid next time.

Mommy: You mean when you come back with the tequila?

Cheeseball likes to get into the act because she knows how to count to ten in Spanish and also she knows her colors. In fact, she knows a little song with all the colors that she likes to sing at top volume no matter where we are. Which, normally is fine. I mean whatever, Mommy can walk over here and pretend we're not together. No sweat.

But, she decided one day while at the commissary and while in the cart I was pushing and thus clearly attached to me to launch into the song then get stuck in repeat mode on one line. Over and over. And over. AND OVER. And that line was "black is negro, black is negro". OMG WHAT ARE YOU DOING? Ha ha ha (nervous laughter), GOOD SPANISH, BABY. Good SPANISH. (Sing another line, omg sing another line WHAT ARE YOU DOING?)

Kids. So much fun, you guys! And SO good at helping Mommy look like a tool. Not that Mommy needs much help in that department.

And speaking of tools, we bought some paint for the living room today. We decided we need to paint it all before we put up the Christmas tree and then can't access a corner of the room for the next month. We were all geared up to sand and paint the trim and at least get that knocked out today but then The Man took the coat closet door outside to fire up his power tools and sand it and I started playing with the outside fire pit and an hour later he was covered in sawdust and I reeked of campfire and then we were pretty much done for the day. So I'm blogging instead of painting and that's much better for both of us, isn't it?

Technorati tags: speaking spanish, kids, family

Friday, November 27, 2009

Ready For Their Closeup

We woke up to a beautiful, sunny day this morning after what seemed like decades of rain and clouds.  That might be a slight exaggeration.  It's possible it was only a few years.  I'd really hate to overstate the case.  Exaggeration really isn't my style. Maybe it was eight or ten months. 

In any event, we decided to hold our annual Christmas card photo shoot today.  Handy tip for free: when it's 50 degrees out, sitting on a bench right next to a lake may not be the best idea.  I'm really glad I grabbed the kids' hats and gloves!  I was thinking of them as props, but it turned out they may have saved the kids' lives.  (True story.)

For weeks I've been hunting for cute, plastic Christmas mugs for photo props. (Ha, now you're wondering if that's even true.  It really, truly is.)  When I spotted these little tumblers at Starbucks, I snapped them up with the quickness.  Even though they cost about $68 each.  (Possibly exaggerated.)


Still lakeside

ADDED: Ha! I managed to grab the two pictures in which you can't see the cups at all!

She's (not) Crafty.

I love browsing the beautiful creations on Etsy - wishing I could buy most everything and wishing even harder I had half the talent and creativity of the broken hangnail on the pinkies of some of these sellers. Not that I think these ladies have broken hangnails, because that would be a weird thing to say. I'm sure they all have lovely nails on their crafty little hands.

More importantly, I'm going to stop talking and show you some pretty awesome things that are totally inspiring me. (Really it would take something more like a mack truck to inspire anything creative out the tips of my fingers. But, I likes to look.)

From cottonpurr.

Both from FaireHoure.

Just in time for Christmas, from PaperEclectiques.

Monday, November 23, 2009


I adore the idea of garage sales and thrift stores. I envision glittery piles of beautiful vintage jewelry and accessories. But, what I usually come across instead is stuff like this. Which, clearly is awesome but I don't want it. Of course, while in the heady throes of the thrift, I forget that I should only buy things I want. Maybe just appreciate but not actually purchase things that are only awesome. Here's a handy diagram illustrating this important point.
I feel like, while I'm out here on the East Coast, I should take advantage of the preponderance of antique stores and the fact that people have lived here for a really fucking long time. But every time I step into a promising new shop, I say wait, this shit is all junk. I already have junk, thankyouverymuch. I'm full up on junk. (Probably because I keep buying shit from the wrong side of the diagram. See above.) The days of my Amazon book selling and eBay store took me to A LOT and I really mean A LOT of garage sales and thrift stores. I'm not sure I'm accurately conveying JUST HOW MANY giant piles of junk-for-sale I've come across. Yet, I found Yard Sale Bloodbath via Bleubird Vintage's blog and suddenly, I'm certain - totally certain - that it's time to hit the circuit again. So, I downloaded the iGarageSale app. It's way cool. It mines Craigslist ads for garage and estate sales and pops them up on a handy little map for you. The husbands gonna be stoked.

A sweet new bento box and a very boring lunch.

This morning was one of those insanely hectic mornings when you have just exactly the same amount of time as any other morning but just. can't. seem. to fit all the same things in. I absolutely had to put my Little Man's new bento box into circulation today, so I threw together a last minute lunch - sloppily cut frog and mushroom shaped sammiches and cut apples soaked in orange juice.

I SO love this box and the kiddo - while noticeably less excited - quite digs it himself.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Little More, A Little Less

Today's bento: Bulgogi (thin strips of Korean bbq beef), geometric shape onigiri, carrots, blueberries, broccoli and won bok kim chee. I did not pack enough kim chee. The child informed me that in the future he needs "enough kim chee for all the rice". Got it. Also, he'd prefer if I skipped the broccoli, carrots and blueberries. Not gonna happen.
I got my Little Man's awesome new bento box in the mail today! And some super cute cookie sandwich cutters. Someone will be super excited tomorrow morning!


Some thoughts. Cat looked adorable in her wee kidlet nightie last night.

Why does Nigel seem to hate Nathan with fire? I'm not buying the I'm hard on you only because you're so talented line as the sole (or even primary) motivation. I swear he seethes contempt when speaking to the kid.

Nathan and Mmmmooollleeeee, or however the hell she spells it, in the bottom three? I thought they were clad in teenage ZOMGSOCUTE armor.

I ran out of time this morning after the solos and didn't catch the judges comments or decisions. Still called the Kevin/Channing buh-bye. I'll watch the rest later and am dying to see if Nigel goes all RAAAAGE! on the kid again.

Well, we're past the they eliminated who? oh, I forgot they were even there phase. I'm not really bummed to see Kevin go, but at least I knew his name and face.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

He's a meat. ball. hero (with stars in his eyes).

This is yesterday's bento. Today, I was lazy and let Little Man buy pizza from the cafeteria. I was apologizing for not getting a lunch together as the child was skipping out the door, whistling and doodling Ipizza on his notebook. Actually, I kid. He's not quite as indifferent to the bento as I make him out to be. It's just that I've got the bento love dialed up to 11 and how's he going to compete with that, really? This is the first time I've ever made meatballs, and holy crap they're tasty. I guess we'll be making meatballs again. There were only a few left after we finished inhaling dinner, so I had to cut one in half to make the sammiches even. Symmetry is important in my world, and also just in reality.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rock STAR Bento

Today's bento is out of this world. It shoots for the stars. It's heavenly. A ha ha, ok I'm done.
Rocket shaped bologna sandwiches, cheese stars, moon shaped apples, blueberries, a bacon & fennel muffin and fruit snacks.

In other bento-related news, I finally ordered a real deal bento box and I can't waaaaait till it gets here!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mak-ing Muf-fins. With These Cup-sters.

Having found The Cutest Muffin Cups Ever Anywhere In The World, I had no recourse but to bake some muffins this weekend.
Fresh blueberries.
Bacon and fennel.
Sharp cheddar and cracked pepper.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Let's pretend these sad little bentos aren't the first of the school year.

I have no idea what's up with the bento bug - it bit me then it jumped ship. But I think it's baaa-aaack.
Yesterday: teriyaki burger, grapes, pickles and a tiny little monkey full of mayonnaise. Also, nasty cracking on the cheap azz gladware that is currently mortifying me. I really need to buy the child some actual bento boxes. (When I say buy the child some actual bento boxes, I mean buy me some bento boxes. To make me happy. Because that's how I roll with the bento. It's just good parenting.)
Today: tuna patties, fish shaped onigiri, grapes, broccoli, tiny chocolate action figures (that may well be made of rat poison and brown wax for all I can read the tiny kanji on the tiny packages), soy sauce and puffed rice:

I'm getting excited about it again! Little man: still ambivalent.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Like scrapbooking, but less dorky.

While I don't usually flip through fashion mags for crafty lifestyle tips, I found a lovely little gem in British Vogue.
...since high school, I've always kept a "date book". I put everything in it - pictures, plane tickets, concert and movie tickets. It's like a visual map of my life. - Charlotte Ronson, designer
I love this idea! I'm still an old school devotee of the calendar book and I shove everything in there. I've never thought to keep fun souvenirs permanently attached, though. I do have an almost pathological fondness for color coding. I can't wait to see what it looks like to add in more color and texture and memory! It reminds me of one of my favorite books of all time. The Journey Is The Destination: The Journals of Dan Eldon is the journal of a young man who was killed in the early 90's while working as a photographer/stringer in Somalia. His mother published his journal after his death. He collected pictures and all kinds of random things, pasted them in his journal and then painted over them. It's beautiful and creative and his life was fascinating.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Chicken Fried Sushi

I've never been a fan of my blog name. Actually, I always thought That Obscure Object of Desire was a hella cool blog name. Not having actually ever seen That Obscure Object of Desire was pretty lame, however. When Jen Picks Up A Pen was a quick fix when I just had to make a change. Also, pretty lame. With about three years of blog under my belt and approximately zero decent names to show for it, I enlisted the help of a dear friend with serious naming skeelz. And she totally came through! I love my new name! As a Japanese girl from Hawaii transplanted to the Dirty Souf with a foot in the poultry business, I AM Chicken Fried Sushi, y'all! Now, I just need to find a template. Sifting through the pile of awesome names from Lea, searching for a picture of fried sushi and writing this have pretty much tapped me out for now. Maybe tomorrow... P.S. The juxtaposition of Chicken Fried Sushi with the preachy, diet post below is cracking. me. up.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"So, you should post some recipes from the Fine in '09 Campaign. What were you eating?"

I started this as a comment in response to a comment on the post below. It got so unwieldy long that it's now a post. I'm not sure I'd recommend anybody actually follow my method for reasons I'll elaborate on later. But, at the height of The Campaign, I did go on a diet of sorts for about 4 - 5 weeks. I stopped eating full meals, and instead ate high powered snacks over the course of the day. Stuff like a boiled egg, nuts, yogurt, etc... Sometimes I'd splurge on a whole avocado or some tuna salad (heavy on the tuna and pickles, very light on the mayo) with whole wheat, high fiber crackers (industrial cardboard, actually). Then I'd fill in the rest of the day with fruit and cut veggies. At night - every night for the whole period - I ate a salad, mixing up the veggies for balance and interest and adding in grilled chicken and Parmesan cheese for protein. Needless to say, the kiddos were pretty freaking tired of salad by election day. The theory was to maintain a fairly constant level of input to spur my metabolism to operate at its most efficient level. In the evening, when my energy needs spiked - because that's when I worked out - I took in more food, but the rest of the time my caloric intake was pretty equalized. Also, I figured that without eating full meals, I'd avoid a lot of the extraneous crap we all usually end up eating. I didn't want anything coming in that my body couldn't or wouldn't use. There were a ton of unintended benefits of the diet. I ended up almost entirely eliminating carbs and animal fats from my diet, without making a conscious decision to do so. I'm fairly certain I would have mentally resisted such a decision. I ended up with whole foods making up a pretty significant chunk of my diet and raw foods not far behind. Meal prep time was cut down awesomely and there was absolutely no slaving over a hot stove in the middle of the summer. I think the theory is good. But, in retrospect, I don't think I needed to be quite as strict about it as I was. Toward the end of the period, I started to feel a bit weak. Actually, on the spectrum of a bit weak to straight passing out, I may have leaned a little farther toward straight passing out. Which leads me in to why I'm not sure I would recommend the diet. I don't know how healthy it actually was - feeling like you're going to pass out is probably not a symptom of optimum health. Also, while I didn't find it particularly hard to stick to the diet - my somewhat obsessive nature kicked in and I kind of reveled in the structure of it all - most people aren't weird like that. I think an extremely rigid diet only works for certain personalities. Lastly, a temporary fix like this isn't good if you need to make lifestyle changes. Luckily, my normal eating and general lifestyle are pretty healthy, so a temporary change and then a return to normal worked well for me. In fact, I've continued to lose weight in the weeks since I stopped the diet. I'm starting to cut back on exercise now, because I want to stay pretty much where I'm at. So, that's what I was eating. Or not eating.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Things I've learned on the Fine in '09 Campaign trail.

You guys! I'm ready to pronounce the campaign a success, pretty much back to my normal size and weight. Still working on firming up a few trouble spots, but just about there. I've never really tried to lose weight before, and did not have a clue what I was doing when I got started. So, here I am littering the Interwebz with what I've learned.

Exercise is key. Dieting alone will get you just about nowhere.

That said, what you eat is far more important than what you do. Think about it this way, it takes someone my size and weight about an hour of hard work to burn off 500 calories. So, that Big Mac meal you can scarf down in ten minutes...? You'll have to run pretty hard for almost two and a half hours to work that off. Want to walk it off? Get ready for a're looking at almost six hours. Much less time consuming to just not eat it in the first place.

To lose weight quickly and efficiently, recognize that your body is a furnace. Streamline your input so you maintain a fairly constant energy level, don't overload it three times a day. This makes it easier to avoid temptation and makes your metabolism work with you.

Bust. Your. Ass. I know they say to start slow and build up, but nothing is more inspiring than making serious progress. It's a lot easier to lose your focus and drift back to bad habits when you're trying to go slow.

I guess that's all I've got. Worked for me.


As requested. Excellent picture quality due to the fact that Baby A saw me trying to take pictures and insisted on wiping down the mirror for me. With a baby wipe. Ever the little helper bunny.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Bollywood is not coming to find *me*.

I mentioned to a friend that I was going to go Bollywood for Halloween this year and she sent me a link to this amazing site and specifically the beautiful dress below: I could have kissed her! How amazing is this!? Then, I could have kicked her. It's $599.95!! What is she doing to me!? Hey, this one is only $340.95. Sweet! I like it better anyway. I really need to get on the hunt for reality based items. Halloween will be here in like a minute.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

No shame in my game.

I've always found the topic of this post on Serious Eats interesting. Do girls really eat less when guys are around? It doesn't seem heterosexual men similarly constrain themselves. What about gay men and women? Do they also exhibit typical group-wide behavior? Does this mean gay women on a date generally both starve themselves? I'm curious. Apparently, I'm weird. I go the opposite direction. First, though, with the caveat that a man has to be attractive to me to in any way affect my eating behavior. I'll eat things in the company of men that I wouldn't eat by myself, with girlfriends or the fam. The last thing I want is to give the impression that I need to starve myself to look good. I want the package to appear effortless. I'm trying to decide whether that is more or less pathetic than the typical girl behavior. It may well be a wash, you guys.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Confronting the ridiculous and accepting the real.

Ok, everyone is talking about this and therefore I must weigh in. Because the collective cacophony of EVERYONE is clearly not enough.

Ok, I have to admit that when I flipped through my monthly Glamour and came across this picture, my very first (and totally superficial) reaction was holy shit, this post-baby pooch won't ever go away, will it? My second reaction was genuine surprise that a glossy ran this picture.

Clearly, Lizzie Miller is a beautiful and very sexy woman. Also clearly, her body does not represent the perfection we've become used to.

This whole confusingly controversial episode has made one thing very clear to me: I (and probably WE ALL) have body image issues. Despite the fact that I once again wear 4s and 6s, I still feel disgustingly far off from the public image we've all grown to accept as the ideal. Lizzie Miller here wears a size 12. That's 3-4 sizes larger than me. Yet, in my own head, I'm certain she looks better naked than I do. She's in a magazine, after all.

I don't think my own self image is all that far off from the average woman. So my question is this: what in the fuck is wrong with us? And how did we let the fashion industry work this number on all of our brains? And why do we continue to stand for it?

I say it's well past time that we all issue a collective fuck you and your freakishly flat stomachs and insist on accepting what is completely normal and healthy. Women have children. Subsequently, we no longer resemble 15 year olds. And we shouldn't. We can remain beautiful. And men aren't lying. It's only us that cling to this ridiculously pre-pubescent ideal.

So, stop. I'm going to try.

You Make Me Happy, My Eyes on Gray

I am suddenly and completely obsessed with gray. Picked up a pair of gray skinnies today. Am on the hunt for the perfect pair of gray heels. Want gray boots. The only place I don't want gray is my head. Unless we're talking gray hats. In which case, yes please.

If only these weren't $329. Because, they would match perfectly with this dress I picked up last week. In a size 4. Fine in '09 HELL YEAH.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New School LBD's

September issues are here...yippee!! And thanks to that, I've discovered a new take on the LBD. Forget black, hello Little Bright Dresses. Paired with black tights and boots, I'm almost excited about Fall!
BCBGMAXAZRIA Sleeveless Stretch Poplin Dress
Yoana Baraschi Pleated-Neck Silk Dress
Silence & Noise Strapless Tulip Dress
Anthropologie Musings Dress