Tuesday, December 3, 2013

That Moment...

Morning in the mountains
photo via alex mazurov

…when you feel on top of the world.

I'm eating lunch leftovers (an oily Chinese scallion pancake), watching my acceptance tests run and pass after a very productive day. Kind of making me feel like I've got this living thing down. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A few weeks ago I accepted a job offer in Mountain View that starts January 2nd. Signed a lease on a new apartment in San Carlos last weekend. And I'm still in denial about this actually happening.

Leaving my first real job, and first real home is so much harder than I've ever imagined. But I think this is a needed change.

I'm going to say it. 2011, 2012, 2013, you have been some trying years. I made more blunders that I can shake a stick at. And yet, these have also been good years. Maybe necessary years. I've worked really hard, learned lots (oh, god, I hope I learned lots). And I think it's time. I'm ready.

I don't even care what happens the rest of the year. Thanksgiving? Christmas? Bleh. I'm ready for a great 2014.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


photo via fast company
"Everything I believe in is reflected in this photograph of my work area: precision, simplicity, clarity. 
And your home should not be a presentation to your friends. Surrounds should relate to who you are, what you love, and to what you deem important in life."
- George Lois on his office (via)

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Thing That Made My Week

My brother and I were raised on pretty much exclusively Beatles, Queen, and Pink Floyd. We knew all the vocal sounds without knowing what they meant. It's kind of a special experience listening to this music now, and finally realizing the meaning of these songs that I've been singing before I knew a lick of English. :)

A few weeks ago Vova and I had a little jam sesh. (I posted about it here.) I had just watched Pink Floyd - The Wall, and was suddenly obsessed with the album. I learned how to play The Thin Ice, and Nobody Home on my guitar, and Vova quickly picked it up on the piano while he was visiting. It was so much fun that we decided we'd do a cover.

It sounds like a simple enough project. But given that we're siblings and butt heads on everything, it took us four long weeks. Vova finally put it all together a few days ago.

We threw in a little surprise also...

That Kind of Morning

Happy Friday, friends!

It has been kind of a rough morning. :) Extra time lounging in bed = no time for breakfast = cherry garcia straight from the tub. (I'm crossing my fingers I remembered to put it back in the freezer before rushing out the door.) Red beanie to cover up bedhead. Sharing tater tots with my QA guy as I write this.

But hey, it's Friday!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

New Tycho Track

Tycho came out with a new track recently!

Tycho was kind of my gateway drug to electronic music. (Btw, I just looked up the official genre, and it's IDM - intelligent dance music. Wat.) His most recent album, Dive, has taken me through many a line of code, and a couple of drives to the ocean. I can't wait to get my hands on some fresh tunes from one of my favorites.

P.S. I want to be this guy!
P.P.S. Another preview for the new album.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Great News!

Ermahgerd, 20x200 is back! And they've got shelves of inventory to prove it. It's a beta for now, but I could not be more excited to put some awesome art on my (new) walls.

Here are my first picks...

Color Challenge

I saw this challenge on Garance's blog yesterday, threw all the productivity nonsense talk out of the window, and decided to give it a try. (That's my score above.)

Apparently men and women have different sensitivity to colors. How odd? Let's see if it's true. Take the test, take the test!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Where Did the Day Go?

Have you heard of RescueTime? It a piece of software that runs in the background and collects data about your daily computer usage. (Anybody else a data nerd?) Basically, it helps you figure out your habits, so you can review and see if anything needs adjusting. It'll even give you a productivity score!

I've heard people rave about it, so, I thinking of giving it a try one of these days.

Who wants to start a productivity score competition?

Monday, November 4, 2013

On Napping at Work

yup. that's me in in the gray sweatshirt at entrepreneurship lecture (engr 111 @ ucla)

I did it. You guys, I've finally mastered the art of napping at work.

OK, you know how you start yawning after lunch? Your eyelids get heavy. You find yourself checking HN more often. I used to kind of slog through it and hope for the best, but no longer! I take a cue from my college days (when hours were long and lecture was boring) and assume the head down on the desk posish.     Turn down the volume, turn on your napping playlist (15 min // 30 min), and you are set.

Fifteen minutes later, when Tycho is finishing up their funky groove, you wake up... err, very squinty. So, turn off your desk lamp. After a few seconds, once your eyes have adjusted, you feel refreshed, and ready to get shit done. So, while your coworkers yawn and whine about needing sleep, you are snapping necks and cashing checks.

P.S. More nap wisdom.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Things That Made My Week

photo via thru hiker

My week started off pretty rough with my (new and) only teammate quitting on Monday. He packed up his stuff the same day and left me to finish this project alone. I was pretty panicked at first, but every day I felt more and more sure that I could finish it before the deadline. So, yay, confidence. Tell me something good that happened this week, hm? (Or just show me a good cat gif.)

Here are a few of the highlights from my week:
- tj's apple cider
- new arcade fire album (especially 1, 4, 12, 13)
- this clever awareness test. i failed. did you pass?
- the best lifehacks ever
- despite my dislike for cupcakes, these pumpkin ones turned out pretty delish
- this map of the u.s. labelled by an australian (caution: copious use of comic sans)
- fun size twix
- finally having permission to leave without the drama (via emily)
- steven alan reverse seam shirts

Who has weekend plans?? I'm pretty sure my leftover pearl sugar (from this) is going down tomorrow morning. Also, this is my Sunday plan. (Yep. My weekend plans revolve around food.) Hope you have a delicious weekend!

a song for your saturday morning :) xo

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Graceful Quit

 L O V E
photo by nastya jour
A gracefully executed quit is a beautiful thing, opening up more doors than it closes.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rifle Paper Prints

I was browsing Rifle Paper the other day looking for "thank you" cards. (I ran out! I needed to replenish "thank you" cards. How adult am I?) Of course, I wasn't taking this card-restock responsibility lightly, so I had to look at the entire inventory. :)

That's when I stumbled on these cute prints! (Pictured: brush + bobby pins.) They'd look so cool hanging in a bathroom, no?

P.S. I know you're all on the edge of your seats about which "thank you" cards I picked. I settled on these and these.

Ive + Federighi

(source: mantia, via phil)

Somebody gets my weird obsession with Apple executives' hair. Jony Ive's eager face combined with Federighi's do is pure genius. File this under things that made me lol. 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

It's OK

it's OK!
chatting with parents sat morning

(I am going to say it. I'm sick of having yellow walls. If you get the urge to paint your tiny kitchen-that-already-gets-a-ton-of-light the color of a caution sign, I implore you to reconsider. Please, look into a less ridiculous color. How about eggshell white? Or light gray?)

I've been wanting to acquire this banner for a while. I thought I'd get around to making it one of these days months years. Alas, two years later and in need of a daily reminder, I broke down and ordered it. (I'm sure my mom is dying of embarrassment that I publicly admitted paying $68 for something she would've made in 10 minutes flat.)

It was totally worth it. I love seeing it when I'm stumbling into the kitchen to feed the cats in the morning, when running out the door without breakfast, when turning on the light after coming home from work late (again).

P.S. Speaking of art, did you guys hear that 20x200 is coming back? I am patiently waiting for them to reopen so I can have more grown-up walls.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wes Anderson Parody

(via our very own kevin!)

This is such a hilarious Wes Anderson parody. Ed Norton does a fine Owen Wilson, I tell ya.

Clair de Lune

...but not the one that you'd think of.

I had shared this song a while ago. But it has stood the test of time. (It's literally in every one of my playlists: coding, workout, napping.)  Plus I found the trippy/moody video for it, so I thought it warranted its own post. These cool cats make smoking, stealing and doing all sorts of stupid shit look awesome! :)

Have a great Monday!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Things That Made My Week

This week hasn't been nice to me. (Got sick, lost my sunglasses, found out my new retainer is worse than my old one, wahhhwahh.) But on a positive note, LA has been killing it with weather lately. It's like not actually cold, but cold enough for socks and birks and beanies. Best part of the week, obvi.

But here are some things that I'm grateful for this week:
- an awesomely fun weekend with friends, and wearing sandals in sf
- these words
- jay-z and his brand drops
- finishing an "impossible" ticket at work
- anna's hauntingly beautiful photos of fall in norway
- this photo combining my two loves
- nailing the art of taking a nap at my work desk
- corn dogs
- kids' reaction to healthy halloween treats

Any plans for the weekend? Decorating for halloween? Stocking up on candy? I'm going to practice making frosting roses on top of cupcakes. :) Have a relaxing weekend!

a dance-y song to start off your weekend

Dainty Ring

Found: another perfect dainty ring!

On most days I only wear this beaut. I absolutely adore it. But I recently got JZ hooked on stackable rings, and have been doing a little research for her (bahahaha).

I literally groaned when I saw this pop up on Of a Kind yesterday. How cool is this tiny band? Perfectly thin, rose gold, five teeny champagne diamonds. Champagne diamonds? Are you kidding me? If this has any chances of bumping me to a sophistication level of a champagne drinker, I'm game.

P.S. The original dainty ring find.
P.P.S. CatbirdZoe Chicco, and Steven Alan are some other places to look, if you want to torture yourself are in the market.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Jugglers Take SF

10 year anniversary

('Tis the day of bad quality photos.)

When I was in SF last weekend, Vova and I got to meet up with some of our oldest friends. We met them at IJA '03 (a jugglers' convention) a few days after arriving in the US. That was a confusing time in my life. And I've been pretty successful at forgetting especially painful parts of it. (Choking on stage at that convention being just one of those painful experiences.)

Thankfully, meeting people like Selby, her parents, and other incredible people in America, remained one of the only shining lights of hope through the time when everything else seemed out of reach and hopeless. I know I sound pretty dramatic, and while I love to exaggerate, I'm really not here.

We had a lovely dinner reminiscing, and laughing about things that certainly weren't funny 10 years ago. Makes me wonder what we'll be laughing about 10 years from now. :)

Russians Take LA

lights, lights
Aghhhh IMG_1083

My dance teacher from Russia came to LA a couple of weeks ago. This girl is like a real life model now (no joke), and was in town for a show. I loved hanging out with her. Such a blast from the past. It's crazy to think that she was younger than my age when she was teaching me.

P.S. I was using manual focus in that first photo, so don't judge.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Be Brave

photo via ivanarevic

These days I have to remind myself to be brave. (Or at least fake it.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Real (Hairy) News

OK. So, we all watched the Apple announcement this morning. Yeah, yeah, computers are cool. I get it. But here's the real news that nobody seems to mention...

Dinner Lately


Did you know that tomato soup and grilled cheese is chef Ramsay's favorite meal? It's how I justify having that for dinner every other night in the Fall/Winter. :)

But really, it might not be the healthiest of options, but it's delicious, takes all of 7 minutes to prepare, and you can't mess it up. Make a small grilled cheese sandwich, heat a serving of soup, drop a dollop of creme fraiche (does anybody else think of the southpark episode?) in the hot soup, slice some fruit that count as salad (ha!), and you're done,

I usually only make one batch of my own tomato soup per season (this one). Shameful, I know. But that's only because TJ's roasted tomato soup is so damn good. Have you tried it? If you hate tomato soup or grilled cheese, I don't think we can be friends.

Monday, October 21, 2013

History of Typography

I saw this video on Garance Dore's blog a little while ago, and thought a couple of you might enjoy it. I'm sure this is all common knowledge. But I am way behind the times, so I learned a ton about fonts in 5 minutes. Plus, I love me some good stop motion.

Have a productive Monday! Yes? :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Things That Made My Week

photo via studded-hearts

There's nothing worse than weekend plans getting crushed, amirite? I was going to go to Festival Supreme (put on by the best band in the world -- Tenacious D). But... thiiiiinggs came up, and now I am heading up North on Saturday morning. Silver lining: quick stop for a bang trim at Dante's. :)

Here are some things that brightened my week:
- and i am not ashamed to admit i watched this video 4 times
- getting one of my holy grails: the perfect leather jacket
- another wes anderson movie! (via phil)
- the crazy story behind Maroon 5's iconic album cover
- stumbling on a goldmine of makeup/hair advice (that i probably will never use :)
- don't click if you're scared of heights

What are YOU up to? I hope you're not going to Festival Supreme orimighthavetokillyou. Have a great weekend!! xo
my short keep-it-in-perspective song for the week

600th Post

candles + cake

Apropos of nothing: this is my 600th post. I loathe birthdays. But celebrating sticking to a project (for an extended period of time) is something I can definitely get behind. Hooray!

P.S. 6 is my favorite one-digit number.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cats and Dogs

I don't have a dog YET. (gaahhh I want one so bad. can I have one?) But I have experienced the cats stealing my bed. They like to lay right in the middle, next to the pillow. I often end up carefully inserting myself in between the cats and going to sleep in the most awkward of positions.

Cats, man.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Shopbop // East Dane Sale!

Did everyone hear Shopbop and East Dane is having a huge sale? You get 25% off your order with the code INTHEFAMILY25. So, if you've been eyeing something that never goes on sale (ahem, equipment silk), now is the time to get it.

PS. I got these cuties.

Moos + Tig Lately

belly scratch

I have spent two years and one month with these monkeys. And I cannot imagine what my life would be without them. (Although, I have a feeling it would probably include vacuuming less frequently than once a day, and a cleaner apartment :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Failing Toward Success

i actually took this photo :)

OK. I admit I'm kind of an inspiring-article junkie. I.eat.this.shit.up. So, when I say that this is the most encouraging/insightful piece I've read this year, you best believe I mean it. Almost every sentence in it is quotable. But this is my favorite part:
To put it bluntly, goals are for losers. [...] For example, if your goal is to lose 10 pounds, you will spend every moment until you reach the goal—if you reach it at all—feeling as if you were short of your goal. In other words, goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary. 
If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize that you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction. Your options are to feel empty and useless, perhaps enjoying the spoils of your success until they bore you, or to set new goals and re-enter the cycle of permanent presuccess failure. 
Had I been goal-oriented instead of system-oriented, I imagine I would have given up after the first several failures. It would have felt like banging my head against a brick wall. But being systems-oriented, I felt myself growing more capable every day, no matter the fate of the project that I happened to be working on. And every day during those years I woke up with the same thought, literally, as I rubbed the sleep from my eyes and slapped the alarm clock off. Today's the day. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Goodbye, Pagoda

I just found out Kumar Pallana, the actor who played one of my favorite characters in The Royal Tenenbaums, died last week. Did you know that he owned an Indian restaurant (that Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson frequented) when he was cast in Bottle Rocket? What a cool life!

I'm sad that he won't be appearing in any future Wes Anderson films. :( But there is still Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, and The Darjeeling Limited. I think a viewing of one of those is in order this week.

from the royal tenenbaums soundtrack

Soup Sampler Dinner

So, last night it was getting pretty late and I still had a ton of kitchen cleanup to do after this delicious disaster. The last thing I wanted to do was dirty up more dishes making dinner.

I needed to go to Whole Foods to pick up some chicken, but, on a whim, decided to swing by the hot food section of the store. Most things were already closed or closing (~8:30 PM), but this soup isle caught my eye. Of course, I couldn't settle on one kind of soup. (They all smelled so good!). So I got three half pint containers.


I am used to making one kind of soup and then having to eat the same thing for several days. How awesome is it that we can get, oh just 3 different kinds of soup and eat them in one sitting?! Call me crazy, but it kind of blew my mind.

P.S. Minestrone was the best of the three. Thai carrot was spicy. I'm yet to try white bean + kale, and chicken tortilla.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Things That Made My Week

Throwing leaves

I've been missing out on quality home time the last couple of weekends. I couldn't be more stoked to stay home and just kick it sans a cramped airplane seat. What are you up to this weekend? Doing anything fall-y? Apple picking? Baking? Corn mazing? Pumpkin carving?

Here are some things that made me happy this week:
- making mama proud by honing my manicure skills (and navy nails!)
- excited for cinnamon-cardamom buns this weekend
- finishing breaking bad
- baggu/west elm collaboration looks cool
- holy baselayer!
- the importance of "i love your shoes"
this great post on staying focused (accompanied by one of my favorite songs)
- two words: birks and socks
- some of these made me laugh so hard, I cried

I hope you have a fun weekend! <3
favorite music find this week (sad, but not mopey, song - best kind :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Coolest Cake

They Are Coming

I made the coolest cake the other day (said the baker to herself :). It had deliciously fudgy chocolate layers and chocolate buttercream filling. It tasted really good, no doubt. But that's not what made it the coolest.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Angie + Seth

FD peeps and the happy couple

I got to go to my dearest friends' wedding last weekend. It was tons of dancing fun.

But the crying! Oh, the crying. It started as soon as I saw Seth with his mama. They shared such a sweet moment before they walked the isle. I was just a crying fool through the ceremony. (What's my deal?)

Here are some photos, if you'd like to see...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Slow Motion Cat

Forrest took this video with his new iPhone 5S. How cool is the 120 frames per second feature? I gotta say, my cat looks infinitely more impressive in slow motion.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Project: Learning to Draw

this one is called "waiting" :)

A couple of weeks ago I decided I'm going to learn how to draw. Enough is enough, I have been wallowing in my non-artistic misery far too long. Wahh wahh, I can't draw.

I've always been annoyed at people who say I can't do math. And, totally hypocritically, I've been insisting that I cannot draw for longer than I can remember.

I think this goes back to having to take required art class every year in Russia. The teacher never failed to tell me how much I sucked at it. So, of course, I had my mom do my take-home projects, and stuck to the classes that I was good at.

Now, when you look at this first picture I drew, you might say. Yeah, you really can't draw. And you're right! But I'm going to take a few minutes every day to practice, and see how I improve over time. Until next time!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Things That Made My Week

photo via theyard

Oh hai, Friday! I'm flying up North (again) for my friend's wedding tomorrow. I'm super stoked for Seth and his incredible fiancée to become a team for life. But I'm also pretty excited to have an occasion to wear this dress.

Here are some things that made me happy this week:
this girl and her re-interpreted movie posters
starting on a project i've been meaning to start for years
cooler weather, obvs
finding a trustworthy mechanic, and finally fixing the shaking/rattling issue with my old car
this post reminding me to savor the weekdays too
brushing up my bash scripting skills

What are you up to this weekend? Perhaps making one of these? :) I hope you have a relaxing weekend!

my morning getting-ready song (sleepy to busting-a-move in ~ 55 seconds)

Fall bkr Colors

bkr came out with new colors for fall recently! I love the swampy yellow. Is that weird? Though bitten looks like the perfect fall color.

This is really silly. But I'm seriously considering getting a new sleeve to switch out my red one. Which one would you get?

P.S. The reason I love drinking from my bkr.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Grapefruit Olive Oil Loaf Cake


File this under way overdue. I promised to tell you about this cake... um, in May? But you know what, at least this is in time for fall. The smell of this cake is the best smell my kitchen has ever had (especially after some of the squeezed grapefruit goes through the garbage disposal). And if you're still not convinced, consider the following fact.

The first step in this recipe is to rub sugar and grapefruit zest with your fingers.

Yeah, I thought so.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Photos from Last Weekend


As I mentioned earlier, I visited my brother in Sunnyvale last weekend. I flew into Monterey. It was gorgeous, but I was too absorbed in my book to take any photos. But I did take some while we were hanging out, if you'd like to see...

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Good Book

photo via theyardpdx

Last weekend I started reading this book called The Psychopath Test. En route up North to visit my brother, I pulled out my kindle as soon as I got settled on the plane. And from page one, I was hooked. It was so fascinating that I hardly minded the 2 hour flight delay.

I'm almost finished with it now, but I'm looking forward to the author's segments on This American Life. (Here's just one of many.) Apparently he has a very mesmerizing voice. If you're looking for a book to read and don't mind non-fiction, I highly recommend this book. It's funny, and informative, and definitely attention-grabbing (even for somebody who is easily bored like me - the 3rd item in the psychopath checklist :).

Have you read any good books lately? I get a lot of great suggestions from this lovely lady.

Monday, September 30, 2013

White Sneakers

white vans   happy socks

My love affair with totally impractical white sneakers started this spring. And it has only gotten worse now that I'm transitioning from a couple of leather strips attaching my feet to soles, back to real shoes.

I'm wearing Vans (w. happy socks :) in this photo, but I also have a pair of low-top Converse. I'm not sure which style I like better, but I have to say that white Converse are definitely more practical. They have that rubber toe which cleans really easily, whereas Vans are all canvas.

Is white sneakers a girl thing? Do you have a preference for Vans versus Converse?

P.S. My shoe-laces are insecurely tied in this photo. If you're curious about the right way to tie your shoes (and you should be), you must watch this video. Changed my life.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Things That Made My Week

So, it's Friday. I'm flying up to the Bay area tomorrow morning for a quick one day visit with my brother! I'm super stoked to see him two weekends in a row, but not so stoked about leaving home and my cats. Any exciting plans for you?

Here are some things that made me happy this week:
- pulling my red beanie out of storage
- and my ridiculous collection scarves
- sleeping with my nose chilly in the night breeze, and body warm under a down comforter
- peppermint tea
- listening to Haim's new album
- early mornings
- seeing "cooler than yesterday" every day of this week on wunderground

I hope you have a lovely Fall weekend!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Everlane Fold-Over Wallet Review


You didn't think I would just keep quiet about my new everlane wallet, did you? Nope. I love this thing, and here's why...

Flowers and Music


Happy Thursday! How has your week been? I am exhausted this week. But life's good! There's flowers, simple dinners, and cookies at home. And puzzles, challenges, and good music at work.

I've been listening to this album lately. It's definitely programming/thinking/working music, so nothing deep. But I wanted to share anyway.

It's hard to pick favorites, but... I'd start with Above the Middle, Tutus, and If You Don't. Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Try Harder or Walk Away

photo by amorrr burakova

One of the hardest decisions you will ever face in life, is choosing whether to try harder or walk away.
- anonymous

Is this really profound, or am I just being weird? It seems like every difficult decision I've had to made falls under this choice.