Hello, Jet Lag, My Old Friend

There is so much I want to share about our trip. But my brain is just not quite there yet. It’s been kind of a long time since I traveled abroad, and I’ve been hit pretty hard with jet lag on both sides. But that is a small price to pay for seeing things as majestic as we did, for experiencing life in thoroughly modern city that is also older than I can even fathom. Much more is coming soon, but for now, here is a little peek at the spice bazaar. I love this rainbow of soaps.

Back Home!

Eric and I made it safely home from Istanbul last night and are currently basking in memories and powering through jet lag. More to come, but for today, here is a shot of sunrise from the roof of our building on the first day we arrived. Just gorgeous!

Project Life, Week 12

It will probably be another couple of weeks before I have new pages to show (didn’t want the pictures to get scrunched up in the mail while we’re away!), so I wanted to post this most recent one. I love the look of summer neon against the floral background!

Summer tea has turned into summer lemonade, and I have no problem with that!

Continuing the beverage theme continued with my first pumpkin spice latte and attendant facial expressions! And, my favorite part of this whole page…fall as a very slow snail.

My sweet friend Lisa and I were the hat ladies at a bbq. I was bummed that Eric couldn’t make it, but grateful for the good company and comparatively cool weather.

And, finally, one of my favorite memories of this summer: an unexpected dinner in the library at the Athenaeum. Glorious!

Zig Zag Bead Loom Bracelet

Remember how my brother and his wife gave me an awesome stash of beads for my birthday? I decided I wanted to make something with them right away, so I set out on what was by far my most complicated bead loom project to date. And I did it! There were definitely some false starts, but I am really proud of it!

It all started with some sketching, and I was grateful to have my stash of graph paper on hand. It actually came from a notebook I used while working as a translator in Russia–graph paper seems pretty standard issue there, so I knew I’d find some in my Russia folder. The sketch on top is mine, and the one below is Eric’s. He is so sweet and helpful with all of my projects.

Getting started was definitely the hardest part, since I kept dropping beads and loosening threads. I was just beginning to wonder if it was actually possible to make a bracelet this wide on my little loom when I made it past that first row. Whew!

Once I got started, this project became so addictive so quickly! All of the little threads hanging off the sides are just part of the process. They get snipped off when you’re done.

I love love love these beads, and especially the yellow ones. They are so shiny!

One the last row was finished, I could take the whole bracelet off the loom. Now all that’s left to do is put on the clasps and thread those loose cords back into the bracelet. That is really the only tedious part of the whole process, and especially for such a wide bracelet, since there are so many to deal with!

My beading needle and I became very close friends while I was working on this project, but I think I may have bent it a little with all my weaving zeal. Time for a new one, I think.

This is the final step: putting on the clasps. Much easier than I thought it would be!

And this is what it looks like when it’s all done! This is by far the most professional looking bracelet I’ve ever made, thanks to this awesome tutorial.

Now that I’ve finished this bracelet, I am really itching to start another one. Thanks for the beads, hermano!

The Roots of Wanderlust?

I’ve loved to travel for as long as I can remember. There’s nothing I’d rather spend money on, since the memories last forever. I sometimes think the best summary of being married to me is this: “Hey, can we go here? Hey, want to go here?” Luckily, Eric is the greatest travel companion ever. When I found this old picture this week, I thought maybe it was a sign of things to come.

Zucchini Bisque

This soup is kind of a swan song of summer, but if you’ve still got zucchini on hand, you should make it tonight! It is so creamy and flavorful that it’s downright decadent. When I had all my dental work done, I was subsisting on soups, and I was really excited when I remembered that we had this one in our recipe box.

I went looking, and, sure enough, there it was, written out in the lovely hand of Eric’s mom!

Zucchini and basil are the stars of the show, and we were able to find some good looking specimens at the farmers market. There are actually still a lot more summer squash than winter squash out these days!

The soup starts with grating the zucchini, which I did in the food processor. A little tornado of zucchini! After that, it’s a simple saute and puree, and you’re done! Since this soup is pretty rich, I’d recommend starting with a small bowl. More leftovers!

Zucchini Bisque
Adapted from Taste of Home

4 medium zucchini, shredded
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2-1/2 cups water (or vegetable or chicken broth)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh basil, plus a few leaves for garnish
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

-In a large saucepan, saute zucchini and onion in butter for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Stir in water (or broth). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Cool slightly. (We actually put ours in a cold water bath for 15 minutes to cool it off. Liquids that are too hot will blow the top right off your blender! My husband has thoroughly explained the physics of this to me, and , believe me, it makes a big mess!)
-Transfer to a blender or food processor; cover and process on low until smooth. Return to the pan. Stir in the cream, salt, basil, pepper and nutmeg. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 1-2 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

Project Life, Weeks 10 and 11

I am having so much fun with this project. I make a huge mess every time I make pages, but that’s part of the draw. I love being able to see what I’ve got and play with different colors. Here are my latest two. I am still running a bit behind because it takes an entire week for my pictures to arrive after I’ve ordered them, but I actually kind of like that. When I’m choosing pictures, it usually feels kind of redundant, since I’ve recently blogged about those events, but by the time the pictures come and I’m working on the layout, I’m amazed by how much I’ve forgotten already. Just one more reason I’m really happy to be doing this project!

For week 10 I went with a lot of stripes and borders–it seemed very summer appropriate!

I used a couple of stickers as highlights, and I really like that this week included a weekend adventure as well as some everyday stuff, like stopping by to see Eric at work.

I hardly ever take ice cream pictures because of the lighting situation in our kitchen, but I am happy I have this avocado ice cream sandwich because it’s so pretty and so unusual.

This is the card for the churrascaria where we ate with Eric’s uncle, and Eric in front of a giant bike shop. Very photo-worthy!

Week 11 was really photo heavy (even though there are no humans in the pictures!), but that’s in part because I decided to put some private journaling in an envelope. I like that it’s there, and I’m happy to be still getting some use out of Christmas stationery I bought at Ikea six years ago!

More fun with stickers here, and I wanted to remember this book, which was so incredibly hilarious, touching, and informative, all at the same time. One of my favorite sounds in the whole world is Eric laughing, and I have so many memories of us reading in bed and hearing him burst out laughing while reading this book. I want to remember that. Part of the draw of this book was that it’s by a Caltech professor, so I could recognize all the landmarks and the long nights at Palomar. Nothing quite like making the landscape of a book your own, is there?

Here is my envelope. And my dinner staple. And Eric’s Labor Day weekend French toast. It was a hectic weekend for him, so it made me happy to see him making time to cook and do something nice for himself.

And our finally finished couch pillows were also photo-worthy! I have all the pages loaded into the book now, and it’s so beautiful to flip through it. For the one thousandth time, I am so glad I am doing this project.

New Glasses

Yay, new glasses! I love the shape of these, and I think the color is a bit better for my face than the darker ones they’re replacing. The best part is that they came in three days early, so I had a few days to adjust to them before we left for Istanbul. That’s my new journal, just waiting to be filled with all kinds of happy scribblings. I think new glasses are becoming a new tradition for any type of international travel–I got my last new pair the day Eric left for Australia. I’m so thankful that this time we’re going together.

Here they are reclining peacefully next to a physics textbook. This is more or less the only spot where we get natural light in the house, so I’m especially grateful for it. And, during this hot summer, I have actually been grateful that we don’t have the skylights that make the hallway right outside our door an inferno. Every cloud has a silver lining, or at least that’s the way I prefer to think.

Off to Istanbul!

I can’t believe the time has finally come, but we are off to Istanbul tomorrow! We are so excited for all the adventures we’ll have, the beautiful things we’ll see, and the amazing food we’ll eat! We will be there for a week, and we are renting a little apartment (with a rooftop patio!), so we’ll be able to do a little bit of cooking with produce from the markets. Oh, those markets…I can’t wait! We’ll be back on Monday the 15th, and we’ll be pretty unplugged while we’re away. We’ll have our phones for email every once in a while, but we are really looking forward to some quality time with each other without our computers. This trip is kind of a second honeymoon for us, since we didn’t feel up to tackling international travel after all the craziness of the wedding. That said, there will still be posts here every weekday as usual–I’ve got them all written and set to publish! I probably won’t be able to get to comments until we get home, but please know that I appreciate all of you wonderful readers just the same. Thanks so much for being here, every day, even when I’m not! Hope you all have a fantastic week!

A Few Recent Adventures

I would never have chosen to go to the dentist as many times as I have in the past few weeks (I should get a punch card!), but the one nice thing about it is that it takes me over the iconic Colorado Street Bridge. I mapped this route to avoid freeway traffic (and it’s just as fast, I was happy to find), but I had no idea it would take me over the bridge, so I was excited when the road led me there. It’s such a gorgeous structure. And it is one million times better than Bay area bridges because…there is no toll plaza! That’s right, just a free, majestic bridge.

I’ve actually kind of been all over the place this week, taking care of last minute things before our trip. I stopped by the doctor’s office to get an old prescription refilled, and I passed by the Pasadena Museum of California Art. It’s pretty tiny, but they have great exhibitions, and they use the building’s facade as an extension of what’s inside. This is one of the first places Eric and I went when we moved here, and he took my first style shots up on the roof. It seems like such a long time ago!

This weekend we went out to dinner at Tender Greens, one of our first favorites in the neighborhood. Eric wondered why I’d chosen it, since I seem to be more enamored of Lemonade lately, but I told him I knew for sure they’d have soup! However, I am happy to report that I was also able to eat macaroni and cheese. Small victories!

After dinner we spent some time browsing around at Vroman’s, which probably really was our first love in Pasadena. They had this display out front and center, and I just had to laugh when I saw it. Is it fall yet, indeed?! It’s nice to know there are other pumpkin-obsessed people waiting for some cool breezes and pretty leaves, but I am also counting on the weather being better when we get back from our trip. Don’t let me down, LA! In the meantime, if you live somewhere that’s actually entered into autumn wholeheartedly, please jump into a pile of leaves for me! Unless you have allergies. In that case, just enjoy wearing a sweater on my behalf!

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