the coffee house

November 29, 2011
When I first started this blog I worked at a coffee house on campus, but never wrote about it. I should have-- it's made a big impact. Stevenson is the reason I started baking. It's where I discovered Smitten Kitchen and where I started experimenting to make things like pumpkin roll cakes and chouquettes. Toward the end of the year I worked more shifts as a baker than as a barista.
matt and april
But even more than baking, the coffee house was like another home. My coworkers were like my Santa Cruz family that I baked too many things for. We had our own little staff table with notes and funny quotes just for us.
nice things
at first glance, i thought it was the moon
matt and camille
home in the kitchen
I still remember my first bake shift. I was nervous. Lily (a seasoned veteran) showed me around and taught me the ways of the small kitchen. (The oven had to be kept at 350, everything baked twice as fast, wear gloves when making fudgies.) I distinctly remember her pulling out the heavy, gray oven mitts and saying that their "home" was on top of the spices. They belong there.
a secret
the famous fudgie
I got to go back last week to meet Camille there. We both have graduated and being there was bittersweet because it was our coffee house but not our coffee house anymore.

I had my first-ever coffee house coffee (I didn't drink a drop while I was in college).
I indulged in Stevenson's world-famous Santa Cruz-famous fudgie.
I shared a new recipe with a new baker.
And I took photos that were long overdue.

Thankfully, my former coworkers Matt and April were still working there and made it feel a little bit more like home.

(thanksgiving) weekend

November 28, 2011
just a fraction of the mess
yams! yum.
these were the leftovers!
fam at starbucks
Lots of food.
Lots of family.
Lots of messes.
Lots of laughter.
Lots of lights.
Lots of love.

PS - A little gif of Raiza eating her cake pop.
PPS - Does anyone else think that Raiza looks like Toad with her helmet on? (She decided to put it on Thanksgiving evening.)

PPPS - What the heck was I thinking wearing red lipstick during Thanksgiving dinner?!

a birthday project

November 26, 2011
I just hosted a tea & coffee get together with my high school girlfriends and remembered a little birthday project I did for my friend, Michelle, when we were seniors. It's one present that I've always been proud of and I thought it might be nice to share with blogland.
ms. chassman
myle (mel + kyle)
mr. spence
1. Get strips of butcher paper/ use a chalkboard/ whatever you want.
2. Carry the supplies and writing utensils wherever you go for a day or so.
3. When you see one of the birthday girl's (or boy's) friends, have them write a little message for said birthday person.
4. Print each of the photos out and put them in an album/scrapbook/whatever you'd like.

It's quick, easy, and really funny/endearing to see what people write (see: my Calculus teacher who advised Michelle not to get pregnant).

And you get to see little high school me! (Although I think I look exactly the same. Ha.)

tradition (black friday)

November 25, 2011
I'm two hours shy of being awake for 24 hours, so proceed with caution: I'm tired, I can't tell if food will make me feel better or worse, and I'm all kinds of delirious.

My family doesn't have a lot of traditions. By the time I was 18, I had already lived in 18 different homes. Everything is always changing and a little uncertain. (For a while, the closest thing we had to a tradition was getting a French silk pie from a local restaurant-- and then they closed.)

A few years ago, Black Friday became a tradition. My sisters and I would wake up before dawn, shop like there was no tomorrow, and end the morning with a nice breakfast around 10am. Sure it was a little crazy, but it was something crazy that we always did together. A sister thing.

In the past few years, the sales have been getting earlier and earlier, until today, when stores decided to open at midnight. So us sisters, wanting to keep the tradition alive, went.

And it was awful.

I hated that employees had to leave their Thanksgiving dinners to get ready for work. I hated that there were probably twice as many people, because they were more willing to stay up a few hours than get up early. I hated that I was part of a community that was so easily manipulated by mass marketing strategies.

And worst of all, I hated that my sisters and I decided that this was probably our last hurrah. After spending an entire day cooking and then dedicating the evening to our family, the last thing we want to do get in a line of 500+ that wraps around the back of Target.

Black Friday has always been a day for crazies, but now I feel like it's infringed upon traditions and family time. Things that are actually important. So unless Target returns to its original 5am opening time, an era has ended today.

(I'll just keep my new immersion blender as a memento.)

Good night.


November 23, 2011
It shouldn't have been, but this was difficult to put together. Lately it seems like this quarter-life crisis has been getting the best of me. I couldn't be happier that Thanksgiving is here. It's just the reminder I needed.

(There are empty spaces because I always try to leave room for more things to be thankful for.)

Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

And a special thank you to Janis for sharing this font with me! It's my new favorite.

rue du thé

November 22, 2011
my idea of happiness
rue de the
gourmet chocolates
"parisian tea"
Rue Du Thé is a little tea and chocolate shop I visited in Burlingame for my work with Epicuring. Even though I was only there for a quick chat, I couldn't help but snap a few photos. Mindy and Will are so passionate about their business that it's evident in the quality of their teas and chocolates. The colors, the wonderful tea-infused chocolates, the macarons, the tea.* Everything was top notch.

*Not pictured: jasmine hot chocolate (which was even better than it sounds, if that's possible).

scenes from home

November 21, 2011
It occurred to me that by posting my Lake Como photos last week, a lot of people thought I was still in Italy (and in the sunshine). Well.. I wish, but no. All of my recent travel photos are from my trip in August (I just take a long time to post everything).

So to bring my blog back to reality I thought I'd share some scenes from home. They're just a few little things, none having much to do with the others. But I like them, because I'm happy to be home (ironically, none of these are taken at my own home).
the view
pfeffer nüsse
harry potter characters
from melanie's sun room
3-bean & beer veggie chili
purple skies
1. Just after sunset.
2. Pfeffer nüsse.
3. Harry Potter polymer clay figurines by Melanie. Aren't they ADORABLE?! She made me a little owl.
4. The view from Mel's sun room.
5. Our new favorite Sunday night activity. I got a turkey last week!!!
6. Three-bean & beer veggie chili, homemade by David and yours truly.
7. Raiza, adorable as ever.
8. The most perfect, purple sunset.

isola comacina

November 18, 2011
Isola Comacina is a tiny island right off the left leg of Lake Como-- probably less than 200 meters at the shortest distance from the main land. So we swam there.
just swimmin'
Just kidding. I can hardly tread water (much to the chagrin of my former water polo-playing boyfriend), but we did swim and I did consider the idea. Giacomo was the only one who swam to the other side and made friends with the kids jumping off the dock.

I alternated between swimming and sunbathing on a big rock à la The Little Mermaid. (See large rock above).
on the island
from the island
It was a peaceful little island with beautiful views of the surrounding lake. I don't think I could get tired of it. Tiny hill-tiered houses against a backdrop of the Alps and the bluest water you've ever seen? Nope. I'd never tire of that.
la chiesa
view of the lakeside town
just hangin' out
cute little family
So, for the concluding post of my mini Lake Como series, I'll leave you with this:
new life goal
If I can have a life where I own the tiniest of boats whose sole purpose is to serve as my buoy while I nap in the sun on the shore of somewhere beautiful, I'll know it was a good life.

PS - Kim has been posting the most beautiful photos of her and Andre's trip to San Francisco a few weeks ago. I make a little appearance in this post, this post, and this post! (We had a lot of fun together). Happy Weekend!