Sunday, September 28, 2008
My dishes: revamped
My everyday dishes are Crate & Barrel's "Capri" pattern circa 2000. I do love them. Yellow is my favorite color, I love the high-light of blue, I love that it's a simple. Sadly, Crate & Barrel discontinued this pattern oh, 5 years ago so nothing can be replaced, and after 8 years, things are beginning to chip and break and need to be thrown out.

Crate & Barrel's Capri:

My idea to keep these beauts in rotation, and get the most mileage out of them that I can, was to find a complimentary pattern somewhere and then just go with two sets for a bit. Mix 'n match. Finding the perfect new pattern was proving difficult. I knew it needed to have blue and white. Imagine my surprise when I walked into Target and saw a gorgeous set ... with fleur de lis, blue, looking slightly Italian. Yay! I bought a set, and now we're mixing and matching.

Target's Medallion Dinnerware:

Mixing the two together!


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Saturday, September 27, 2008
A Shower for Cris
Our shower was today and it was quite nice. We rented out the Club House at my place, and had a few of Cris' family and friends over to celebrate! The theme, not really publicized, was "pink" - we kind of picked it because Cris is very feminine and it seems to match her personality and style. The hostesses served champagne when guests arrived, and then we took some time to check out the "Memory Tree."

The Memory Tree was something inspired by a post over at That Bride, but then I made it something special for Cris' shower. Before the shower, I emailed everyone and asked them to please send pictures of Cris, through the years. If they had a memory of Cris they wanted to share, I asked that they send that, too. What poured in was a set of amazing memories and photos. Some from her mother in law to be, some from friends, and lastly, her own mother was kind enough to pick out pictures from throughout Cris' childhood.

Next, I needed to find a branch from a real tree, and my friend Marc was kind enough to help out. After that, I color copied all of the original photos I got from people, and started printing out the digital ones. I glued each photo to a colorful (pink-centric) paper, and punched two holes in the top. Using purple, blue and pink ribbon, I made a hanger for each one. When each had a ribbon, I hung all of the photos on the tree, and it stood in the room with us for the shower.

It was kind of cool because it let us all check out fun pictures of Cris from throughout her life. People who didn't know her earlier in life could relive fun memories with us. And, we got to put some very funny photos up from college.

Lunch was salad, pinwheel sandwiches, and mini quiches. Matron of Honor, Lena, brought two games (purse scavenger hunt and "how well do you know Cris" trivia game), and they were good fun. Dessert was mini cupcakes from Sibby's (where Cris is getting her wedding cupcakes, too!), mini bite sized cheesecakes and home made chocolate chip cookies from her niece.

It was a nice afternoon, and a lovely way to celebrate with our bride to be!

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Some High Fructose Corn Syrup Facts
Since HFCS is one of my migraine triggers, I often find myself doing research on the topic. I found this article today on How to Avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup:

- "Be wary of the words "natural" or "organic" on labels. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate the use of the word "natural". Foods and beverages can be labeled as "natural" even though they contain high fructose corn syrup. The word "organic" is heavily regulated, but unless you are familiar with the following differences, check the ingredients list to make sure."

- "Only foods labeled as 100% organic can be assumed to be HFCS-free. Theoretically, a product labeled USDA 100% organic could contain HFCS if the HFCS itself was 100% organic, but no such product is currently available because the processing aids used in making HFCS are not organic. While there is organic HFCS available it is not 100% organic and therefore cannot be included in a product that is labeled 100% organic."

-" Buy soft drinks from across the border. If you must have your fix of certain soda brands and you happen to live near Canada or Mexico, look into buying in bulk from those countries, which use sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup" - my boyfriend swears that Coke from Mexico tastes better, and I think that is why.

- "Try to avoid energy drinks as 90% of them have high fructose corn syrup."

These were just some of the items I hadn't seen in print before. I had noticed on a bottle of Coke at our favorite Taqueria that it had "normal" sugar and wondered if that was standard for imported sodas. Sounds like it is.

Interestingly, you need to check labels on things labeled "light" and "organic" too, I've seen "light" bread with HFCS in it, and organic items with it too. Lastly, I avoid all pre-mixed alcoholic drinks because they don't list ingredients on their packaging. I think its because alcohol is exempt from the same labeling standards as other foods. But if its sweet and mass produced, I avoid it.

Does anyone know the story on alcoholic mixed beverages? And have you found anywhere to look up ingredients in mass produced food, other than hitting individual manufacturers websites?

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Sunday, September 07, 2008
Bridesmaid Chronicles

My friend Cris is getting married in October and she has asked me to be a bridesmaid. Of course I said yes! We have known each other since freshman year in college, which means ohhhh 18 years. Cris would come over to visit the girls who lived across the hall, and since we'd all lounge about with our doors open, she and I got to know each other too. After that we lived together (with 6 others) sophomore year, and we've remained friends ever since.

Cris has selected a fashionable palate for her wedding of brown, gold and green, which will be just lovely in fall. She was kind enough to allow the three bridesmaids the choice of what dresses we wanted to wear. As long as they are brown and match the swatch she gave us. So, mine is from David's Bridal and I'm sure it will be just fabulous (once it is altered for my 4'10" frame).

Stephanie and I met up today and got shoes ... they will be matching, even though that is not a requirement. We lucked out and both found ones that we loved. We also did some shopping for the shower we're having in a couple weeks. It should be great fun, and we have some exciting gifts planned. heehee.

Lastly, Cris did not want to have a formal bachelorette party. That's cool, but I think we've come up with an alternate plan that may be as fun (if not goofy) as any bachelorette party ever: The Golden Girls Party. There are four of us, and yes we each match to a "Girl." I won't admit which one I'll be, but in real life the actress was my same height. We're thinking a "formal" section for the dinner, and then a costume change to well, house coats for dessert. Complete with wigs and probably some of our favorite episodes. Awesome! And no, no stripper. No one needs to see "Stan" show up and dance. Honestly...

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Saturday, September 06, 2008
'Reason' and The Fountainhead
"Reason can be fought with reason. How are you going to fight the unreasonable? The trouble with you, my dear, and with most people, is that you don't have sufficient respect for the senseless. The senseless is the major factor in our lives. You have no chance if it is your enemy." - Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

This sentiment is really challenging to me, and perhaps that is Rand's point. To challenge. To question one's motivations, to get to the heart of what makes a person tick.

Being one who studied religion, I'm not sure if I fit into the "reason" or "passion" camp (I refuse to call religion 'senseless'). I'd imagine that Rand latch on to the side of me that studied religion and label me as an idealist, with my actions being based on thoughts that are illogical. However, there is the project manager side of me, that every day strives to simplify things into small and very logical steps. That side of me tends to be executional at the task level, driven by mostly logic.

The strange thing to me is that no one, ever is all reason or all passion. It would be impossible. Perhaps that is also what she is illustrating. At the outset of the book, Roark appears to be coldly logical, and fairly self centered. Things were black and white for him; either they fit into his simple understanding of the world or they did not. He lacked the people skills to vocalize his thoughts. He was seen as an animal.

However, Roark meets Dominique and that seems to change him. Dominique is a socialite, has an amazing way with words and people. She can sell people on just about anything. However, she is not governed by any sort of reason. One day she will praise one thing and the next she will loathe it, and all of this done publicly. She is clearly afraid of committing to any one thing or person for fear it will define her.

Rand does a nice job with the extremes, and when they meet, it is explosive. They seem to bring out feelings of hate and anger in each other. I wonder if this is because they can not understand the basis of the other's being. Pure passion doesn't take to reason. Reason will always fight passion. Maybe it is one's ego, hanging to either passion or logic, that fights being presented with the other.

I have not finished the book, but hope she gives a nod to the balance that must exist in each of us. I worry that because she is a fan of Objectivism, that she will ultimately point out the follies of passion and point the reader to the ultimate good of pure reason. At this point, I also worry that she labels reason as the greatest good, the only path for fulfillment, and the path of passion to be one without merit, that could never result in a person reaching their highest potential or achieving joy. I can't really agree with her.

I see that fulfillment is really the result of following one's correct and right path in this life. Following one's heart, without questioning if certain decisions are totally logical or within reason can often lead a person to what brings them fulfillment. In my own life, I can see that choosing Improv or Religious Studies or working in advertising do not follow a path of reason. There is no specific logic to those choices, they were decisions of passion and spirit.

I argue that each person can choose to be happy or miserable, whether they choose reason or passion. Depending on the personality and interests of an individual, each person experiences fulfillment or joy in different ways. Joy is rarely the objective, but the outcome of following your own correct path. I can't see that following pure reason would result in fulfillment. But to come full circle, I'm sure Rand would argue that it is because someone who does follow their passion (not reason) has fallen prey to the senseless. They've left the realm of reason, and therefore are the "enemy."

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Staycation for the Long Weekend
Over the long weekend, my family and I went to see the Chihuly at the de Young. Very cool stuff - really mesmerizing. It's amazing to see how he's incorporated Venetian glass blowing into different, modern styles.

We also went to the 49ers game (they lost) on Friday and scored some pretty cheap tickets on RazorGator, which is a ticket resale site I hadn't heard of before. Not that its a new science or anything, but they did a nice job of having tickets waiting under our name at will call.

Saturday we drove down the coast, and went to Bean Hollow State Beach. It's lovely, with free parking and nice views. Yelp says that it has great tide pools, too which is good to know for the future. I'll go back and be sure and check the tides. We also headed in to Pescadero to the very famous Duartes. I love the artichoke ravioli and the olallieberry pie. On the way home we listened to Garrison Keillor, which was amazing in that tongue-in-cheek kind of way, especially the "State Fair Hand Jive."

And finally, we went on a nice picnic in Golden Gate Park. The only tragedy happened when I managed to throw my dad's cell phone in my drink, and it promptly stopped working. I gave him an old cell phone of ours to take home, and we sure hope that his phone will dry out and work again.

All in all, a great "staycation." It was nice to see my parents, who'd come out from Kansas City.

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