Tuesday, August 26, 2008

the best kept secret

No, not the Colonel's secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices... nor the Joe Biden reveal on August 23rd.
Which only leaves... 

And who discovered this little gem of a daytrip...?

That's right! Nancy! 
Thanks Nancy!

On August 16th, a bunch of us L.A. locals took a roadtrip down to the LBC... destination: Kayaks on the Water. The little rental shack is conveniently located on the beach directly across from the famous Naples Islands canals. There are several different waterways and  canals you can explore throughout your trip. For starters, our group made the circular lap through the island and did some 'House Hunting,' where Jamie and I daydreamed about the day when we'll have a waterfront home of our very own. Jamie, Christine, Dave, Cat, Leah, Terra, Nancy, Becky, Melissa and I checked out the  boats and homes and waverunners of the lucky residents, as we drifted through their backyards. 

Next stop, Spinnaker Bay, home to several hundred
moon jellies. Here we were able to paddle the kayaks into a cove, come to a rest, and watch the translucent jellies rise to the surface.
While we were instructed not to harass the jellyfish, we were encouraged to touch them.  They were extremely slimy, and were completely harmless (no stingers on these pulsating jellies)...

...so we non-harassingly decided to pick them up. Pretty awesome.

After the interactive science lesson, we all decided to head over to the shopping center. Yes, that's right. The shopping center. We paddled parallel to the Pacific Coast Highway, and ended up on a dock that sits behind a bunch of shops, including Starbucks, Jamba Juice, and Ralph's, to name a few. We all made the requisite pitstops, in soaking wet shorts, mind you, and gave our muscles a much-needed break. 

Some of our fellow paddlers continued on to the Wildlife Refuge canal, but Jamie and I headed back to the beach.  Full of jamba juice and feeling blisters beginning to form, we decided we had had a full day already! We had a lovely ride back... and only interfered in one major fleet race. Whoops.

And so ends our kayak adventure. Like everything else Jamie and I grow to love, we want to keep going back, we want to get better at it, and we want to own our own equipment! (Though note to self: either get a closed cockpit kayak, or remember to use sunblock on your legs!!!)

Do you believe in magic?

Okay, seriously, if you take one thing from this blog...take this. I tried the Magic Eraser for the first time this weekend and was in shock with the results.  

Like many tile owners, we love the look and color of our beautiful kitchen.  But the grout is SO hard to handle.  So I thought, why not give Mr. Clean a try?  I've seen the commercials. I see their smiley faces after just one swipe of this magical eraser.  Maybe, just maybe I'll be smiling too.  

Well, it definitely didn't happen in one swipe.  I (jamie) scrubbed and scrubbed for quite a while.  But man was that scrubbing worth it...especially when jen walked through the door and her jaw dropped to the floor.  The kitchen looks like the tile-work was just done yesterday.  Here are some before/afters.  

I also used the magic eraser on the dingy kitchen floor, and started working on the bathroom. I'm on a mission to erase every piece of dirt from this condo. Wish me luck.

Do I believe in magic? You bet I do!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Let California Ring...

This commercial aired on NBC during the Olympics tonight. Wow.

Let California Ring.
And go Michael Phelps..
And Shawn Johnson...
Maybe they'll get married...
(in 5 or 10 years of course...)

dog days of summer...

jamie, katie, and i took a little trip up the coast on saturday. destination: Harbor Cove Beach in Ventura. it only took about an hour to get there, and it was such an awesome afternoon. we packed a few blankets, chairs, and watermelon and relaxed for a few hours alongside some other dogs, kayakers, and even some waverunners. 

here are some of my favorite moments of the day....

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Just because...

Did anyone else climb a mountain this evening and see what we saw?  
I hope so...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Is this fu-real?

Saturday night, our friend Caroline hosted a birthday dinner at Saaris, a Nigerian eatery in Inglewood. She had read an article about how America is turning to fufu, and well, how can you resist?  When jen and I received the evite, our taste buds were peaked.  Being the eaters that we are, we honestly thought we'd tried everything.  So finding out about this hidden hotspot was truly enticing.  

So what is "fufu" you might ask?  The doughy starch looks and feels a lot like play-doh. (And who hasn't, at one point in time, wanted to eat play-doh?)  They basically bring a big blob of it to your table, you pinch off a bit, roll it into a ball, and then dip it in different flavors of soup or stew. (With only your right hand by the way...I guess in Africa, your left hand is commonly used for something you wouldn't want to mix with your dinner...)  It's all a little hard to imagine, right? We thought so...so Jason & Joe made this handy how-to for fufu:  

We were interviewed afterward (by each other) about our overall experience at Saaris.  This is how it went down.  

Jamie:  So jen, what did you think of the atmosphere?  
jen:  the neighborhood was super cute. you could tell as soon as you walked in and met Jo-Jo that this was the type of place where like, a couple women were just cooking in their kitchen. real laid back. 
Jamie:  Yeah... so laid back they had a "B" rating.  Let's just say, they definitely do more cooking in the kitchen, than cleaning.  But regardless of my reluctance to eat at "B" restaurants, I'm glad I made an exception for fufu.  But I digress...
jen:  haha. i thought the music was good, too. i noticed a lot of SYTYCD songs... and oh! the olympics were on for me to sneak peeks at (men's gymnastics!). but before my eyes started wandering towards the television... i was studying the menu. and the bowl of steaming greens the gentleman behind me was eating. i wanted some of that!
Jamie: Yeah, me too.  Although I'm not really sure what it was.  I have to admit, I don't think Jo-Jo explained the menu very well.
jen: you mean like when the 'vegetarian' stew came, it had chicken??
Jamie: yep.  But I think she was thrown by having 15 white women & jason & joe sitting in her restaurant calling out their preferences & dietary restrictions.  I'm sure her regulars come in and simply eat what they're given.  But not a group of 15 lesbians.  And jason & joe.  
jen: okay. so we decided to go 'family style,' and share a little bit of everything: fufu (obvi), three different kinds of soups (for fufu dippage), and some vegetarian options (delicious black-eyed peas/rice/spinach/plantains). 
Jamie:  I thought the food was amazing.  I loved all the rich flavors and tender chicken.  But in the words of Jason..."the fufu wasn't very fu-filling."  Is that the fufu's fault?  Or ours for not ordering more?  We may never know...
jen:  yeah. don't blame the fufu. well, shoot...  i'll blame the fufu. Sorry Saaris, but i have to be honest: there were some flavors and textures i was unsure about. perhaps my friend holly was right when she said i have an "unsophisticated palate." 
Jamie:  Unsophisticated is right.  Jen doesn't eat Thai or tomatoes.  Can you really trust her judgement?  I think not.  I loved the food.  I welcome texture in my diet.  And I especially dig the idea of trying something new... which is why I give Caroline major props for thinking outside the box.  
jen:  oh, i'm right there with you - i'm down for trying new stuff too! (In fact, there's a new pizza place i've got my eye on ;)  But let's not forget my favorite part of the night -- Amanda's HOMEMADE red velvet cake!!!  yeah, no. from scratch.
Jamie:  yeah, that definitely took care of our over-zealous appetites.  

So, how did Saaris stack up?
Jamie: Total thumbs up! Loved it, and can't wait to go back and try more things on the menu!
jen: i enjoyed a couple of things A LOT. but some of it (the melon soup?) was just not fit for my consumption! and while the okra soup was tasty, the residual slime was a bit odd. i need to try some more stuff, i think. and i'd be willing to. i give it a thumbs sideways.

But regardless of our rating, I'm sure it'll be no time at all before fufu becomes 
stuff white people like.

Friday, August 8, 2008

The aftermath...

Well, it's over.  The sytycd finale was last night, and not to contradict previous posts, but America got it RIGHT!!!  I won't give away the ending quite yet, just in case any of our loyal readers haven't watched the episode...but alas, we are happy with the results.  

So why am I (jamie), sad today? Because the end of sytycd also marks the end of summer.  But in my eyes, summer hasn't even begun.  I've only been in the pool a few times. We've only watched one sunset at the beach.  We've only been camping once. Hell, I've only worn shorts once!!!  Jen will disagree with this post.  She's under the assumption that since we live in California, summer lasts until October. But I know the truth.  It's over.  And I have worked it away. 

So, you better believe we're going to have a summer-filled weekend!  Reading by the pool...firing up the BBQ...shoving our face with watermelon...and relaxing at the beach.  We're going to take Katie up to this dog beach in Ventura that we heard about.  Arthritis-schmitis...she'll be surfing in no time! Here's a sneak peek of her and jen training for the adventure...

Stay tuned for stories...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

What a week it’s been.

Executive summary:
Power yoga, the earthquake, The Bowmans, so you think you can dance, and facebook.

Moksha Reaching
I’ve been on somewhat of a health kick lately. Nothing terribly impressive – mostly trying to avoid processed foods and getting at least 3 days of exercise in each week. Monday night I felt like doing
something, but didn’t want to go to the gym… so Jamie busted out the power yoga. It was over an hour of Bryan Kest’s audio conveniently stored on itunes (though we also have his VHS video). It wasn’t long before I was a sweat factory with sore wrists and aching hamstrings… but I stuck with it. Despite Kest’s constant reminder to listen to my body, I’m pretty sure my ego was the (louder) voice of reason. I pushed myself pretty hard and my muscles suffered the consequences all week. But truthfully, I guess one would have to be sore after holding poses your body doesn’t experience on a regular basis… I just need to find a happy medium. Or stick with Wii Yoga.

Seismic Waving
Oh, the earthquake. Now while I can appreciate
those making jokes about the 5.4 earthquake (seriously – read that article. it’s effing funny), I was pretty scared. Shaken, in fact, if you don’t mind the pun. I understand it did not cause any damage or serious injuries, but for this east coaster to feel her first “big one” from the 15th floor of an office building, it sucked! My adrenalin was pumping for quite a while! Cool thing was, we got sent home at noon that day.

Americana/Pop/Indie Singing
Jamie and I (along with friends Caroline, Jason, & Joe) discovered
The Bowmans on our Caribbean cruise in February 2008. They are two sisters who actually won a contest and got the opportunity to play alongside the super impressive acts that headlined: Lyle Lovett, Emylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Patty Griffin, and the one and only Brandi Carlile.

Sarah and Claire Bowman were such a highlight of our vacation – and we were lucky enough to see them one month later, as they played a set at Room 5 on La Brea. After that show, they were headed off to Europe for a summer tour, but we knew they’d be back in July for a one-month residency at the
Hotel CafĂ©. After patiently waiting (and exchanging some fun myspace emails with Claire), July had finally arrived. We saw them perform twice, and man, did they kick ass. They sounded better than ever, and gave us “boat people” some personalized attention. I’m not sure this time when they’re coming back, so here’s a video of one of my favorite songs – we can all enjoy it together.

Dancing and Voting
The finale is here. It always comes too quickly, if you ask me. But this year it’s especially bittersweet.

For the first time in
sytycd history, I am undecided. I have been going back and forth between Joshua and Katee for weeks now, and I can’t imagine I’ll be any more clearheaded by Wednesday when they both perform for the last time. Joshua has been my favorite since night one, but Katee has been so beautiful, that I’m completely and totally won over. Ugh. I’m sure that I’ll vote for both of them… but one of them will have to receive that one deciding vote from me. Wish me luck. (Oh! and them too!)

Social Networking
I finally and reluctantly signed up for
Facebook this week. Best decision ever.
Jamie still needs convincing, so I think I’m going to put on a PowerPoint-type presentation this afternoon for her.

I have reconnected with high school people that were so instrumental in my self-discovery, and for that alone, I love you facebook.
Shout out to Buddy. I’m so glad I found you.

Well. that was my week in a bloggy nutshell.
We’re off to go hike Wildwood Canyon in Burbank, followed by a trip to the farmer’s market!
Happy Saturday!