Sunday, June 28, 2009

Discovering the San Francisco Shopping Centre

For all of the two years that William and I have lived here in the Bay area, I have only been to the San Francisco Shopping Centre once before with my friend Lisa while we went to the huge Nordstrom there. William had never been there before, despite all of the years he lived in the bay area before going to Boston. We are actually SUPER impressed by this "mall"- it was quite upscale. They have this beautiful dome inside the mall- very spectacular. The centre has a great selection of stores, which we both managed to do some shopping (and spending) though I wonder why women's clothing is so much more expensive than men's. I tried on these $2 pants and realized that why they were $2- they literally looked like huge clown pants. But, our favorite part of the center was the food court. It was so upscale with a great selection of cuisine ranging from Korean bbq, Japanese, Mexican, seafood, and a burger bistro. We shared a Thai chicken burger (it was totally unqiue with peanut sauce and coconut- ok, but we won't get it again) and then some curly fries. I haven't had curly fries in forever. We then got some gelato and shared a white chocolate cupcake from this European style market called Bristol Farms. We loved the set-up of this market that had stations of hot foods, salads, desserts, and deli- it was about the price of Whole Foods so slightly expensive, but good. I'm sure that we will definitely be making return trips to this place when we are in downtown San Francisco.

Transformers 2

I was not a fan of the first Transformers movie. I was glad that I only paid a dollar to rent it from Redbox. I thought that the movie spent too much time focusing on the humans (and cheesy dialogue between them) rather than the autobots, which was the focus of the cartoon series. Needless to say, I had about zero expectations going to this show- I was mainly going since William wanted to. I have to say that the film exceeded my expectations- I think that this is because they focused more of the story on the autobots as well as some great action scenes among them. They also went to Egypt and Petra, places that I would LOVE to visit. The movie was too LONG though- about 2 1/2 hours. I think that they should have trimmed it down a bit because I was wanting it hurry up to the conclusion. The thing that William and I didn't like was that they didn't really give the autobots too many human emotions- they could have done a bit more character development in that department. But, then again, this really isn't a film with a deep story. But, it was entertaining and I have to say that this is one of the few cases where the sequel is better than the first film (I think that they actually listened to some of the previous criticisms). It still isn't the "greatest" movie of all time, but it was good enough.


One of my families favorite things to do is to go to Broadway musicals, especially since my sister Cynthia is actively involved with musical theater (she currently is in the musical "Miss Saigon"). And I have been a fan of the movie since I watched part of it in 10th grade history class. I also thought that William would enjoy this one as well. John O'Hurley was the star- he was Elaine's boss on Seinfeld and is the current host of Family Feud. This musical kind of reminded me of the Producers, in that it was able to poke fun at some of the traditional elements of musicals. For example, they have a song entitled "The Song That Goes Like This." Some of our favorite moments from the show- was "symbol", Will you please kneel- My name is Dennis, the holy grail hat dance, and remember to "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". Its a funny show that we both enjoyed with a very quick wit running thoughout, as well as a funny take on musical trademarks.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Icing on the Cake

My friend that I visit teach, Alecia, has been raving about her favorite bakery in Los Gatos called Icing on the Cake. We finally went with our friends Alissia and her daughter Elenoa and Kathleen and her little boy Matzen. We had some yummy treats and even better company. They have the most adorable logo.

And they definitely live up to their name- I love frosting, but they were almost too generous- I say almost. Their lemon cupcake was amazing- the frosting was heavenly. I had a mint chocolate chip cupcake too and it was slightly too minty for me. I don't have any photos of the cupcakes- I couldn't wait long enough to eat them. But the real superstar that cmopletely won me over was the Peanut Butter Caramello. It is a brown sugar shortbeard cookie base covered in a layer of caramel, then peanut butter, and then homemade marshmallow and all covered in chocolate. It is hea-ven. Just look at all that delicious goodness.

And if you thought it can't get any sweeter, take a look at this photo.

We ate our cupcakes in the park and it was so sweet that they gave each other a hug. I tried to capture the moment, but they ended up looking at me like "why are you pointing this camera at me?" Thanks for introducing me Alecia to such a sweet shop!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two Years Later . . . .

Two years later, we made a trip back to the special location in Boston where we went on our second date, where we got engaged, and where we took our engagement photos- the Boston Public Garden.

Two years ago in 2007

And back here in 2009. It was so great to be able to walk through this special place that holds so many memories for us.

And I am even more in love with you now than I was two years ago and cannot wait to experience many more years with you.


To celebrate our two year wedding anniversary, William took me to Nantucket. I have always wanted to visit the island, yet had never done so. I had visited Martha's Vineyard and loved it and so I was expecting something very similar. Nantucket has a completely different feel to it. It is smaller island and was the primary whaling center for several years.

We stayed in Hyannis since is was much less expensive and we could also leave our car in the hotel parking lot. Since we were fairly short on time, we opted to spend the extra money and take the fast ferry to and from the island, making it a hour hour boat ride each way instead of a two hour one. We arrived and for most of the morning and the whole sky was cloudy and overcast. But, after a few hours, the clouds literally parted and we had clear blue skies for the rest of the day. We were shocked about how it literally made a straight line dividing the light and blue sky.

I've always had an afinity for libraries and I love the stately look of the Nantucket Atheneum.

All of the main roads in the heart of downtown are cobblestone roads.

And all of the buildings are so quaint and charming, and many have a nautical theme to them.

We stumbled upon this shop called "Cheryl Fudge" but the sad thing is that they don't sell any fudge! Just clothing and other miscellaneous items. But don't worry- we were able to find another fudge shop to satisfy the craving brought on by the sign.

We also went to the Whaling Museum. They have a huge skeleton of a 46 foot sperm whale and can you believe that they caught these things using the small boat pictured below!

They had lots of other artifacts including some of the candles that they made using the oil from the whale. We also head a ranger talk about the Essex, a ship that had been attacked by a whale twice and eventually sunk the ship. But, the few that were on the life boat ended up resorting to cannibalism to survive. This real life account was the basis for Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

the view of the town from the observation deck atop the Whaling Museum.

Since it was such a beautiful day so that we walked for several miles around the island. Even their graveyards have a nautical theme with masts.

We also saw the oldest house on the island, the Jethro Coffin House, built in 1686, on Sunset Hill.

But our favorite part was walking along the beautiful beach.

I've never seen so many shells in my entire life. We found perfectly intact clams and bay scallops along with mussels, whelks, and slipper shells. Imagine miles of beach lined with this huge amount of shells- so incredible.

William along the rock jetty

One of the small sand bars along the coast

I absolutely loved the Brant Point Lighthouse. We couldn't go inside, but had great photo opportunities outside.

William took this incredible photo where the seagull dropped a crab onto the rock to break it open. I had no idea that seagulls were so ingenious.

Overall, it was a perfect way to celebrate two years with my perfect husband.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

An Unexpected Reunion

Tonight I went to the baby shower for my visiting teaching companion. I was expecting to see several people from the ward as well as her family, but I cannot even begin to tell you how surprised (and happy) I was to see one of my friends from my freshman year- Anne!!! We had one of those girl reunion moments where we squealed, laughed, and excitedly talked nonstop forever.
I haven't seen her since college and I had no idea that she was even in the area. And it turns out that she has been here for several years now while her husband is going to school. She's pregnant now with her second child- another boy- that's due in September. She got a masters degree from U Penn in education and is now working part time at Stanford admissions. I filled her in on many of you from freshman year that read the blog and so if you are interested in contacting her, let me know and I will re-connect you. I am so happy that we are reunited and I am looking forward to seeing her now that I know we are in the same area :-) I feel so lucky to have lived near several of my friends from freshman year later on in life.

The baby shower was super cute with a nautical theme. I particularly liked the ocean wave cupcakes.

And the house has the best location nestled in the Los Altos hills- I loved the rock path, wrought iron gate, and iron table set. It was definitely an appropriate place to have the nautical theme shower with the pool down below

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Dad's Alma Mater

My dad did his undergraduate at Brown University. He absolutely loved the time that he spent here. His first visit back to the campus was back in 1997 when we were doing a back east college tour. Since we were in the area for my graduation, we decided that we needed to make a return visit, particularly so that my mom could view the place where my dad's glory days occurred. William and his mom were nice enough to indulge this visit.

We were there for move out weekend and so there was trash everywhere, so much that it spilled out all over the containers.

But for the most part, the campus still looked pretty good. Here's my dad in the main square. And I love that he wore his Brown sweatshirt especially for the occasion

The campus kind of has a Harvard like feel to it, especially with my dad in front of this building

My dad worked as a waiter for several major events at the alumni center- this is the site of the infamous spinach juice story where he spilled a tiny drop of spinach juice on the carpet and I lady started yelling at him for doing it.

My dad was surprised at just how many businesses and restaurants now line this street right by the campus.
I really enjoyed walking around the campus with my dad while he walked down memory lane and shared some of his favorite stories. I'm going to make a book for him with the photos and the stories so that these classics can be preserved for all time :-)

Only in New England . . .

Only in New England would you see a WALK-UP window for Dunkin Donuts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Candy Review

William and I have tried some unique candy lately- some great and some ok. Our new absolute FAVORITE is the Reese's Big Bar. We wanted to try it and so we bought one of them and had a taste in the car and then I immediately sent William back in to get some more.

This is definitely a higher end version of their peanut butter cups. To me, it tastes like the new Ghiradelli peanut butter squares, but for a lower price. Warning- these are quite addictive, as we have discovered. The only benefit is that we found them at a Walmart pretty far away from us and that's why we stocked up.

I thought that the next item sounded intriguing, so we had to try it. Its' "Strawberrified Peanut Butter M&M's" that they had made for the 2nd transformers movie. I'm glad that I just bought a small bag of these because they weren't our favorite. They were ok, but I would prefer to just have a peanut butter m&m or just a strawberry one- not one with the muted, combined flavors.

And we just thought that this was a cute, clever idea. Our friends in our ward just had a baby girl and we had taken them over dinner and as a thank-you, and a congratulations, they gave us each a chocolate "cigar" from See's candy. I love the pink "It's a girl" sticker on it.

So this is what have been fulfilling our need for sweets lately. I haven't been to get cupcakes in over 3 weeks- I've been enjoying candy like this instead. But I'm thinking that I will need to have a cupcake sometime this week, especially now that I have a gift certificate!!!! :-)

Card Crafts

I am trying to utilize all of the many scrapbook items that I have, since I now blog instead of scrapbook, on making cards. I went on a card making frenzy the other day since I feel so loved and appreciated by my friends that I need to send them cards that I had made especially for them. So one of these might be appearing in your mailbox . . .

Graduation Party

My sweet friend Dyan threw me a graduation party last Tuesday. She is definitely a mini-Martha Stewart. She MADE these delectable desserts- strawberry country cake (Ina Garten recipe), chocolate brownies, and zucchini bread- plus fresh fruit and Martinelli's. And these desserts ALL tasted just as amazing as they looked.

Dyan told me that I could bring some candy, so of course I brought a whole table full. Plenty of gummy candy- (bears AND swedish fish), rainbow twizzlers, and my pride-and-joy- the candy graduation hats.

I cannot take credit for coming up with this idea- Bakerella is the one who I got the ideas- and directions from. She calls them her "Candy Cup Caps" and I just thought that they were so adorable and that I had to make them since they were my FINAL graduation.

I was quite happy with how they turned out, although they had initially caused me some work. I searched for the godiva squares and could not find them, even after going to 4 stores so I had to settle on these mini-Ritter bars since they were the right proportion. However, unknown to me, I had to cut them in half since they still had part of the squares on them. I also could not find the sour airhead belts and so I cut up some colored twizzler pieces, which took awhile. After I had done this, I had gone to Walmart for a last minute item (I'd already been there looking) and I was in the checkout line when I saw the sourbelts with the other candy there. So, check there before giving up. I have to admit that it was worth all of the effort though for just how cute they are. I made one with a blue tassel since that is one of the main colors of Brandeis.

I was so touched and excited by how many friends came to my party that I completely FORGOT to take photos of my beloved guests :-( But your images will forever remain in my mind. I'm so lucky to have made such wonderful friends here in Cali who have enriched, supported, and encouraged me throughout the long process of my dissertation. THANK-YOU ALL!!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Evolution of Chia Head- Professor Edition

A long-running joke in my family has been about this classic, best of Saturday Night Live sketch called "Chia Head." The premise for the sketch is that now those who are going bald, now have a great alternative with Chia. I unfortunately couldn't find the video clip, but some classic scenes show a teenage with longer chia type dreds saying "Going bald at 16 was hard for me, until I found Chia head." Another guy then picks a flower out of his head and gives it to his wife. I had a friend back in Boston who actually did this as a Halloween costume one year- he was "Chia- the Club for Men" and took a swim cap and covered it with alfalfa sprouts. Since this has been a joke in our family, for my graduation, my sister bought me a real "Chia Head- The Professor." And it even came with a stuffed chia bear- who really doesn't look anything like the chia.
I waited until after my graduation to start it and I have a mini photo essay below chronicalling the process specifically for my sisters. You soak the terracotta head overnight in water as well as some of the seeds in water. Next you spread the seeds (it makes this gross jelly like consistency) into the groves on the head in a single layer. Then, you daily fill the chia with water and watch it grow. I was afraid that since we live in an apartment that doesn't get any natural sunlight, it wouldn't grow but the artifical actually has obviously worked out ok. It is starting to get completely out of control since we moved him around so much to watch the shoots grow towards the light within a period of hours. He has a mass of sprouts on his head and ones randomly growing different lengths all over the place. And check out his new "bangs" made of the roots coming down from his hairline. The whole process has taken nearly two weeks to get this much growth.

William actually finds the whole thing kind of disturbing. But I have long had a friendly affinity for head creatures, such as the plastic shrunken head that used to hang from the mini-van I drove in high school and now for little Dr. Chia, even though his hair is 100% out of control.