Thursday, May 30, 2013

Saying What Needs to be Said

I love me some Pink Floyd. I grew up on their music and have a huge sentimental attachment to a few of their albums. I've been listening to Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here non-stop this week and I think I'm ready to say this.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Breakfast Love

my breakfast this morning

Dearest Breakfast,

I love you.


Friday, May 24, 2013

Things That Made My Week

photo via wolf-teeth

This week, almost ten years after I first came to the US, I became a citizen. This is a little bit bittersweet (mostly sweet :), but it's safe to say this has been a huge milestone for me. I'm backpacking Big Sur this weekend with my brother and Forrest to mark this occasion. I can't wait to share some photos when I come back.

And here are some other awesome things that happened this week:
this app for helping me remember to rest my eyes every 20 minutes
- sun tea!
tutorial on how to draw a star and forrest following it to the tee (protractor and all)
  to finish my favorite birthday cake
- i adore these pretty window screens (via rmtl)
- arrested development's collection of recurring gags (for brushing up before sunday)
traveling alone is apparently fun (via emily)
- the crazy super shuttle driver that hauled ass so i could make my flight
  or he could get off work early. i'm not sure which

I hope you have an awesome long weekend!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Citizen Olga

photo by mark b

Oh, hai. I just became a citizen of the United States of America. What did you do this morning?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Camp Dress

clockwise from top left: gray | coral | stripes | black

The first time I went backpacking (as an adult), one of the girls on the trip told me to bring a comfortable dress. I was a little perplexed, but I brought my bright blue J.Crew loose-fitting dress. (I'd link you to me wearing it on backpacking trips if my ex-bf hadn't made them private :) Once we got to our camp-site all the girls busted out their dresses and started changing. Allow me pass on their infinite wisdom.

Scenario: you get to your campsite and want to change into your camp clothes.
Problem: it's too cold/you're too shy to strip down to your skivvies.
Solution: take off as many layers as you're comfortable with, then slip into the dress and change under the dress. BOOM.

I wish I still had my blue dress, but I took it on a trip to Russia and my aunt loved it so much that I had to leave it with her. So...I got to shop for another 'camp dress' for my backpacking trip next weekend!

P.S. I went with 'coral' :)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Summer Song

photo via theyard

Last weekend I got my first (mild) sunburn after a hike despite slathering on SPF 75. So, while the summer hasn't officially started, I think it's safe to say it arrived in Southern California. I've been compiling my summer 2013 playlist (do you guys do this?) and this song was my first pick.

P.S. This is my 500th post. nbd.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Scones & Clotted Cream


I woke up at 8 something on Saturday for some reason. Ballet wasn't until 11, but I didn't feel like lounging around in bed all morning. I schlepped out into the kitchen, fed the cats, and thought about breakfast. Usually I go for something simple like eggs, or german pancake. But this weekend was different.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Things That Made My Week

photo via thruhiker

On Tuesday about half-way through the day I happened to glance at my (oldie) watch and literally did a double-take. It's only Tuesday?! *groan* Another long week. Programming 16 hours/day is wearing on me. But hey, it's been fun too. I'm not complaining.

Oh, btw, in less than 7 days, I'll be out in beautiful Big Sur, backpacking to Sykes Hot Springs! Ermahgerd, so essssite.

Here are some things that made my week happy:
- finishing one of my side projects - yaaay!
- how well do you know the world? (one of my friends got 27807 points)
- an impromptu fudge popsicle at work (consider me inspired)
- listening/watching this at least once a day
- crispy potatoes for dinner
- this commercial featuring my favorite basketball player (durant)
- russians are (hilariously) terrible drivers
- Missy-dog's rescue mission off a mountain made me teary
- i feel like google glass owners need a background check :)
- the coolest cat! (double treat for you guys, the video is in french. enjoy!)

Hope you find some time to relax and breathe in the Spring air this weekend. xxOO

tycho is my drug as of late

Constellation Quilt

photos via kickstarter

How awesome is this constellation quilt?

I'm kind of a obsessed all things stars. I've seen the Griffith Park Observatory planetarium show twelve times now. And every single time I get teary when they first show the beautiful starry sky. It is absolutely breathtaking. (Btw, if you live in LA and haven't gone, you're missing out.)

Kind of embarrassed to admit this, but I have a nightlight that's a star globe. When you turn the light on, it gives off this soft blue light and shows the constellations. (One of my fellow star-obsessed coworkers gave it to me when he was leaving.) I feel like such a kid having it in my bedroom, but it's seriously awesome. Methinks I need the constellation quilt to make it a complete bedroom set. No?

Also, the video is really well-made. I had never heard of Haptic Lab. City maps on quilts! People are so cool!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Easy Dinner

potatoes w. sour cream and dill

Ever since Forrest made me this steak salad, I've been craving the crispy scalloped potatoes in it. (A salad with potatoes in it is my kind of salad :) Topped with sour cream and dill, it's the perfect mix of hot/cool/salty/tangy. And unlike the steak salad, this is a true 30 minute dinner from grabbing the cutting board to licking the plate.

Mama taught me how to make great potatoes, grandma introduced me to dill and told me that sometimes a cucumber is just bitter and you have to pick another one, and Deb showed me how to scramble eggs. Thanks to these ladies, an easy dinner was born.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Deer Beds

photo by seth smoot via joanna | photo by katherine wolkoff

Last year I was hiking back from the Boney Mountain overlook (photos) when I saw big patches of tall grass pressed down as if somebody slept there. I was totally perplexed. There were so many of them that I ruled out the possibility of animals sleeping there.

I didn't think much of it, but literally a few days later Joanna posted about deer beds, and the deer bed project by Katherine Wolkoff. It looked exactly like what I saw in real life! What a coincidence.

Then last weekend, I found myself standing next to a field of tall grass watching a mama deer and her two babies (totally not making this up, you guys. see for yourself). They quickly galloped away when they saw me, but then I thought. I'm here, it's beautiful out, there is some tall grass. Why not me?


...and I made my very own deer bed. Not bad a first time, huh?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

bkr Water Bottle

photo source kmiller via theyard

Doesn't water taste better if you drink it from a glass instead of a plastic cup or bottle? I really think so. A Nalgene definitely has its merits (mine glows in the dark!), but I adore drinking from my bkr.

Have you ever heard of these? It's a glass bottle wrapped in a silicone sleeve. It looks really neat, no? It's not completely leak proof like my Nalgene (if you turn it upside-down and shake, a couple of drops will escape), but I'll gladly trade that for great taste for most purposes. I wouldn't take it backpacking or anything, but I never leave for work/ballet without it.

I've had the red one for about a year now, and I absolutely love it. I highly recommend. If you're interested, you can find it at bkr or amazon. (God knows I don't need another water bottle, but I love the lush color!)

P.S. If you happen to break it within 90 days, bkr will replace it for free. Cool!

Wish I Was Here: Casting Update

Ahhh! Remember the Zach Braff kickstarter movie I wrote about a little while ago? They just announced that Mandy Patinkin was cast to play the main character's father! This is going to be awesome.

(I was leaving work last night, and reading my email on the way to the car. I literally gasped with excitement.)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Another Teaser

Did you see Arrested Development's Season 4 trailer? I'm so pumped.

Will you be watching it? The whole fourth season will be released Sunday, May 26th on Netflix. Are you going to watch them all at once or over time? (I'd love to spread out the goodness over a few weeks, but man, I don't think I'll be able to hold out.)

P.S. The hilarious deleted scene from the new season.

Dancing Video

I am consistently a year late to awesome things, aren't I? How sweet is this video? I like Edward Sharpe (although I'm not a huge fan of the latest album), but the video is amazing and full of dancing. I just cannot not love it.

You know what's funny? I could tell that the girl walking (@ 3:05) was a ballet dancer right away. (The halter leotard strap and the bun gave it away.) When I saw people standing in a modified fourth position, I was just beside myself with happiness. :)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Things That Made My Week

photo by fleur lux (via anna's pinterest)

This week has been the longest. I have nothing to say about it other than that I'm glad it's Friday. Who's with me?

Here are some things that made me happy this week:
- this fascinating article about 150,000 year old ultra-conserved words
  no spitting in the ashes!
- eating really spicy authentic chinese food
- it's ok to feel happy and sad at the same time
  which reminds me of this banner (that i secretely want to have in my room)
- the funniest this american life i've listened to (via phil)
- the video of moos fetching the zoom-o toy (that i skillfully got up in the cat carrier) (by jason)
- this short documentary and the music in it (reminds me of kimya dawson)
- a cake recipe that i took the time to make twice this week
  i have yet to tell you about it (next week?)
- my old j.crew gingham shirt (for being light and compliment worthy)

This weekend I'm trying out this iOS debugging tool. It almost seems too good to be true. Did you notice their "this doesn't always work" disclaimer in the notification resend feature? It cracks me up.

Also doing some painting around the house for my mother from (hm?), and hopefully squeezing in a re-watch of The Royal Tenenbaums. Have a lovely Mother's Day weekend!

P.S. Has there ever been a Things That Made My Week post that didn't involve cats?

The Royal Tenenbaums

drawing by gemma correll

I miss this movie so much. Might have to carve some time out of this weekend to re-watch. Anyone else a Tenenbaum family fan?

one of my favorite songs from the soundtrack

P.S. The blog name I wish I had.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Smitten Kitchen's Mom's Apple Cake

Apple Cake

I have to say, I haven't been cooking that much ever since I took on some after-work projects. Nevertheless, I've been slowly cooking my way through Deb's cookbook (mainly the breakfast and dessert sections).

Deb's Mom's Apple Cake

I love me some apple cake. And while I have a perfectly great version of it from the old country, it's not the most attractive cake out there. So, I was tempted to try Deb's pretty tube pan variety. (Yes, I actually purchased a tube pan to make it. That's dedication, friends.) I had high hopes when I cut into perfectly browned beauty, but, unfortunately, I was disappointed.

It just wasn't right. The cake seemed dry, the cubed apples awkwardly chewy. The crust was the only redeeming quality. I brought it to work to be devoured the next morning. The craziest thing happened. People were raving about the cake. At first I thought they were just trying to cheer me up. (I told them I didn't like it.) But as more and more people were coming back for second slices, I decided to try it again.

To my surprise, it was absolutely deliciously moist, had the greatest crumb, and the crust was just as bomb. So, there you go. The cake that's better a day old.

P.S. Writing this post reminded me of this gem. (The day old baked goods bit :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Difficult to Love

photo via thebeautyofmarilyn
“ can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.”

New Low

photo by wiwwie

Friends, I reached a new low last night. I had orange Tic Tacs for dinner. (That's what happens when you're madly in love with your cats and insist on making cat food for them every month. It took up all of my free time between ballet after work and 9 pm programming time.)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Square Scarves

photo from boden

OK. I don't think people wear square scarves enough. I always feel a little bit self-conscious when I do, even though I really shouldn't. They're so chic and versatile.

I usually do the very basic square knot(Although I call it the "pioneer-knot". My mom taught me how to tie it, and she said that that's how she tied her red pioneer tie. Gotta say, those little communists are pretty cute.* :) But you can wear it a million different ways: around your neck, on your shoulders, in your hair, as a headscarf, to spruce up a boring bag. Sometimes I tie mine to the top loop of my backpack. (Weird.)

One day, I'd love to have a silk Hermes scarf, but for now I'm very, very happy with the beautiful cotton-silk one from Madewell.
upper left | upper right (no longer available ): | lower left | lower right

Here's a mesmerizing video of ways to tie a square scarf, if you're looking for inspiration.

* Disclaimer: I am not and have never been a member of the communist party, nor do I support communism in any way.

Monday, May 6, 2013

High Waisted Pants

photo via wit and delight

I have a confession. I'm totally into mom jeans now. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Things That Made My Week

photo via attackofthecute

Above all, my week was quite overwhelming. My journey to become an American started over a decade ago. And as this train is slowly rolling into the final station, it's a little bit bittersweet. I haven't had very much time to reflect on what this all means and how it affects my identity. But I do know I have many thanks to give. My beautiful parents, for raising me and giving me everything they had, my brother, for sharing this journey with me, and the many, many welcoming people in the US who supported us (and, frankly, deserve their own post).

On a lighter note, here are some things that made my week:
- finally, a study that explains for why vova and i balling so hard :)
- the smell in my apartment as i was drifting off to sleep monday night
  because one of these was cooling on the counter
- this dreamy sweater (just as inspiration)
- waking up next to moos curled up with her favorite toy
- this album (via forrest)
- this inspiring article about y-combinator
- getting my first roll of film developed

Have a lovely weekend, everyone. (And stay cool and safe, Southern Californians. Let's get some rain on Monday!)

First Roll of Film

Ranunculus Ranunculus

My friend, Anna, takes amazing photos. See for yourself. (I was going to pick my favorites, but I really can't settle on one or two.) She swears by film. So, of course, I had to give it a try. I'm borrowing a Nikon FE camera with a 50mm lens from a friend.

The first difference I noticed was the time that it takes me to take a photo now. Because you only have so many tries, you take your time with each shot to get it just right. Also, you don't take 5 million photos of the same thing, like you (or at least I) do with a digital camera. (I can't tell you how annoying it is to go through many photos of the same thing to try to pick out a couple of best ones.)

And then there's the anticipation. I dropped my film off on Friday, and I had to wait all weekend to pick it up on Monday. I had such high expectations. I thought my photos would be a masterpiece of perfect framing, and the just-right amount of grainy. Not so, friends! Most of them suck. (Like the one where I mistook setting the shutter speed for shooting in shutter priority mode, and didn't close down the aperture. Not going to make that mistake again.) But I really like these two, and a couple of others. What do you think? Am I silly for liking film? (My brother would say yes.)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Making Memories

Some people have daily-life journals, some people have dinner journals (I'm envious of them), some people have outfit journals. I like to record what I was wearing if I had a particularly I-feel-good-wearing-this day. Or the opposite, you know the days when you're uncomfortable all day long? No? Just me? Anyway, I record those too. And, of course, I remember important events by what I was wearing, as well.

Some are totally un-intentional (and make me cringe), like the track pants and red sweatshirt I wore to my first day of school in the US, the jeans and dark green shirt I had on when I got the letter saying I could afford to go to UCLA, the dress I wore the day my first boyfriend broke up with me.

But others are carefully planned because I want that memory to feel good. (It's also why I agonize about what I should wear for weeks ahead of time.) I remember the dress I wore to every single school dance, to graduation, the khakis and shirt I wore to first day of work, and now, the beautiful navy silk shirt I wore to my citizenship interview. (It was one of those I-feel-good-wearing-this days. :)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Arrested Development Deleted Scene

gif via vulture

Did you guys see the deleted scene from Arrested Development's new season? It's hilarious. And it's deleted. Could I have higher expectations for the fourth season? Nope.

PS. Season 2 has the best blooper reel, no?

Citizenship Test - Passed

Ron's Flag.
photo source: freedom flash

I passed the citizenship test!

It was easy. They ask 10 questions, but you only have to get 6 right. Since I answered the first 6 correctly, they didn't ask me all 10. :(

Here are the questions that I was asked:
1) Name one war fought by the US in 1900s. (WW1)
2) What's the name of the Chief Justice? (John Roberts)
3) In what month do we elect the President? (November)
4) For how many years do we elect a US Representative? (2 years)
5) How many members are there in the House of Representatives? (435)
6) Who is the founding father of this country? (George Washington)

What surprised me was how many people (young, even!) needed somebody to translate just in the waiting room. Also, my case file was soooo thick (~10 cm). I was really curious about what all was in there. One of the things was the cutout of the front of the envelope in which I mailed in my application. (Complete with the Valentine's Day love stamps. :)

I'm supposed to get a letter with the address and date of the Oath Ceremony soon. Yaaaaay!