I Can’t Brain Today

So, you remember that thing I posted a while back, about how I feel like I have a limited amount of creative energy and sometimes that energy gets channeled into things other than blogging? Well, it’s happening again, only this time, rather than knitting, that energy is being channeled toward my job. Which is GREAT. It’s been a long time since I felt challenged at work, and I’m going to milk it for as long as I can. And while that’s happening, I may have limited interest in and time for blogging. Just so you know! I continue to be not dead … just a bad, inconsistent blogger.

Carry on.

Published in: on February 17, 2011 at 8:06 pm  Comments (2)  
Tags: ,

These Are The Buildings In My Neighborhood

As I’ve mentioned before, I live in Long Beach, California. As I’ve also mentioned, I love it, and one of the reasons I love it is that it’s full of old buildings. OK, OK, not OLD old. Not European old, or even east-coast-of-the-US old. But old enough to make me happy. Today, the Mister and I went on a small walking adventure throughout the area southwest of our apartment and took pictures of some of the cooler buildings we saw.

Be advised: this post is very long and EXTREMELY picture heavy. It focuses entirely on architecture, so if you find that kind of thing boring … prepare to get bored. Be also advised that I take credit for none of the photography here. The Mister took every last one of the photos (except two, and you’ll know them when you see them).

Let’s start off by heading down Ocean Boulevard, toward downtown Long Beach. Here’s a view looking west down Ocean. In most of southern California, the Pacific is to the west. But in Long Beach, just to make things confusing, the ocean is to the south–from this vantage point, to the left.

Here we have a Spanish-style fellow (there are a LOT of Spanish-style buildings around here). Note the enormous bougainvillea out front. We have a lot of that around here too.

And yes, the weather is nice. It wasn’t super warm today–maybe low to mid-60s–but warmer than apparently everywhere else in the country.

This particular area of the city has a great many smallish (say, 12-14 unit) apartment buildings. A lot of them were built in the late 1920s and have charming names.

Hard to read, but this one is called “The Empress.” Not sure what’s going on with the scaffolding back there. (It occurs to me that I should have left these photos bigger. Next time.)

The Art … Nouveau? Deco? (art nerds, help me out) one on the left is called The Regent.

Here’s a better look at it.

This one is called St. Regis. The Mister and I saw a commercial being filmed here in December (more on filming in a second).

Here it is from the front. Very San Francisco, no?

Next up, a couple of this area’s more famous buildings. First is the Villa Riviera.

The Villa Riviera has a pretty interesting history. It was the second-tallest building in southern California when it was built, and it housed a lot of naval officers during WWII. Long Beach has very close ties to the US Navy–my paternal grandfather married my grandmother (who lived on Ocean at the time) in Long Beach when he was in the Navy–but that’s a whole other post. I believe Charlie Chaplin also lived in the Villa Riviera at one point. The roof is actually copper. And guess what else it has up there?

See ’em?

Gargoyles! Woo!

Here’s another iconic one–the Long Beach International Building–that you’ve probably seen before, even if you weren’t aware of it at the time.

And where might you have seen it before? Well … ever seen “Anchorman”?

Or “Dexter”?

Quite a bit of filming goes on in Long Beach because it’s cheaper than filming in Los Angeles proper. In the early 20th century, Long Beach actually had its own film studio, called Balboa Studios. These days, the city mostly acts as a stand-in for other SoCal locations (San Diego, LA, Orange County) and places like Miami.

OK, let’s head north, or inland! Downtown Long Beach has lots of awesome old hotels, most of which I think are now used as apartments.

I don’t think this next one is actually a hotel, but it’s hotel-ish, so I’m including it.

One of the bigger old hotels is the Broadlind, so-named because of its location at the corner of Broadway and Linden.

In addition to the many old hotels, there are a few newer MOtels, some with outstanding sign design.

And we have a giant old bank building.

Now let’s head back toward where I live. The neighborhood I live in is pretty old and mainly residential (but with commercial areas a block or two away to both the north and the south). As such, there are lots of cool old apartments around for gawking at.

We also have many fine alleys.

This next one’s a good one. Called the El Cordova or the Rose Towers, it was designed by George Riddle, the same architect who designed the building I live in.

Old George was a big fan of Spanish-style buildings with courtyards. This photo of my building illustrates how similar it is to the Rose Towers, below.

He designed two or three other buildings on my street as well, including the Casa Nido across the street.

Even the boring public-service buildings in this neighborhood have personality. Behold the fire station (there’s an even cooler fire station in nearby Belmont Shore … I’ll take a picture of that one of these days too).

It usually has a life-size fake sheep out front (sometimes wearing a serape), but our theory is that they take it inside on weekends.

And our tiny, tiny library …

… with its extremely excellent signage.

And that, my friends, is why I love Long Beach. Sure, it’s got its scummy areas. Sure, I’ve been burgled here (not in my current apartment), and I’ve been attempted-robberied too. But it’s such a cool city, and the area that I live in has such a unique personality, that I’d have to think long and hard about moving anywhere else.

Published in: on February 5, 2011 at 8:13 pm  Comments (9)  
Tags: , ,

Cuteness Times Two

It’s been quite a week, ladies and gents. My work has gone batshit insane (in a basically good but stressful way), and it will probably get even crazier in the weeks to come. So posting might be kind of spotty.

I have two random and extremely adorable items to discuss today. One is the interesting thing I noticed about some bread the Mister was making sandwiches out of the other day.

We had to eat it before it ate all the lettuce. It was a Sandwich Showdown. Seriously, though … Cutest. Bread. Ever.

And speaking of cute, it’s apparently turned chilly at night again. You know how I can tell?

Yeah. Because of that.

Published in: on February 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm  Comments (11)  

Neutral Eyes: Cheap-Ass Edition

During my weekend sojourn to Rite Aid, I noticed that they’d restocked their Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon section. I’ve been impressed with the Color Icon line, so I picked up a couple of neutral-toned eyeshadow trios: Sweet as Candy and Walking on Eggshells (hey, for $2.99 a pop, why not?). These two trios are actually very similar, except that Sweet as Candy is cool-toned and leans pink, while Walking on Eggshells is warm-toned and more peachy.

I played with Sweet as Candy today, and it didn’t disappoint. As you might expect, this trio includes three shades: a pink champagne, a cool-toned taupe, and a very pale highlight color. I paired this trio with NYX eyeliner in Velvet, which complemented the taupe incredibly well.

Swatchery! In direct sunlight:

In indirect outdoor light:

And a flash photo:

(An aside: Velvet is somewhat reminiscent of Urban Decay Underground liner. It’s significantly lighter and browner, though, so I wouldn’t call it a dupe.)

The look I did was very simple. Wet ‘n’ Wild trios helpfully tell you what color goes where, so just follow the instructions and you’re golden. I used the pink on my lid, the taupe in the crease, and the highlighter, surprisingly enough, to highlight.

My bad photo juju continues, so no full-face shots today. Sorry about that.

Click the next one to embiggen!

Products used:

  • UDPP
  • Wet ‘n’ Wild Color Icon trio in Sweet as Candy
  • NYX eyeliner in Velvet
  • Maybelline The Falsies mascara
  • NYX brow powder in Brown

If you haven’t tried Wet ‘n’ Wild’s Color Icon shadows, I highly recommend that you get on it! I’ve been pretty impressed with them pigmentation-wise (much better than a lot of pricier drugstore shadows I’ve tried *cough*L’Oreal HIP*cough*), and at a couple of bucks a pop, you can’t really go wrong.

Published in: on January 31, 2011 at 9:38 am  Comments (3)  
Tags: , , , , ,

Spiteful, Spiteful Shawl

I finished my Aeolian last weekend.

Now, I’m the first to admit it. I did a sloppy blocking job. I was super excited to transform this rumpled mass of (extremely soft) knitting

into this devilish little piece of gorgeousness.

So, I didn’t pin it out quite as carefully as I could have. Given how uniformly atrocious the pictures of me wearing it came out, I can only assume that it gave me bad photo juju intentionally, as punishment for my laziness. In my defense, these photos were taken after dinner and at the end of a long work day, so I was both full and sleepy. But really, nothing can adequately explain how godawful they are.

The first half of our photo session took place in the courtyard behind our apartment. The light was dim, but workable. I proceeded to spoil all the photos by doing things like closing my eyes

or making my patented Vincent-D’Onofrio-in-Full-Metal-Jacket “Nobody likes me, Joker” face.

We moved out to the street side of our building, where the light was … different.

Either it was too bright …

… or it was nighttime.

Or, I was suddenly, inexplicably a redhead. Why not?

So, we moved out of the sun into an indirectly lit area, where, once again, I ruined photo after photo by accidentally blinking

or making whatever the hell face this is.

Sigh. Luckily, in the end, the finished object speaks for itself.

It was a surprisingly enjoyable and speedy knit, in large part because I left out the beads and hateful, crazy-making nupps. And I made it out of Malabrigo lace yarn (Olive colorway), which was so soft that I had a hard time putting it down. In fact, I enjoyed making this so much that I might start another one next weekend. Maybe it’ll have a better attitude than its predecessor.

Published in: on January 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm  Comments (13)  

In Which I Advise People Searching For Things

Once again, I have been trolling through the search terms that brought people to my blog over the past week. And once again, I have found myself wondering if those people found what they were looking for. I thought that today, I’d address some of these searches head-on and see if I can clear a few things up.

eshakti. It’s good, you’ll like it. Order some dresses. But I warn you, eShakti clothes are like Pringles. Once you pop, you can’t stop.

lop cookie. Sorry, can’t help ya!

whisky urban decay bourbon comparsion. I actually did this! Long story short: Whiskey appears to be Bourbon without the glitter.

boobs fit shirt. Can’t help you either, I’m afraid. Boobs not fit shirt, ever. Boobs fit knit shirt only. Very frustrating for Principessa. Principessa only wear t-shirt and cardigan. Never nice, crisp, professional button-down shirt. At least not with all buttons buttoned up.

wet n wild color icon eyeshadow single brulee. An outstanding drugstore choice. Dupe for MAC Blanc Type. Buy it.

stairs profile. I have drawn a diagram in Paint to illustrate this.

Hope that helps!

flapper makeup. This may or may not be somewhat reminiscent of flapper makeup, depending on whom you ask. Proceed at your own risk.

old fashioned hard cosmetic train case. One word: ETSY.

cool scarf pattern free black yarn: One word: RAVELRY. Also, if you get that “free black yarn” thing sorted out, come back here and hook me up.

too fat for that outfit. THIS PERSON IS ON TO ME. Quick! My vertically striped muumuu, distracting jewelry, and oversized handbag!

cq nail polish vintage gray. A nice, non-purple-leaning, pale gray. Sort of putty-ish. I like it a lot.

how to wear a pi shawl. So many options!

grassa. It means “fat” in Italian. Mystery solved!

jogging fat acceptance. The two are compatible. I promise.

how to get noel fielding hair. Well, you see, it’s your basic back-combed structure, slightly root-boosted and framing a cheeky fringe. Oh, wait, that’s Vince Noir hair. But is there a difference?

taupe nail polish. I recommend Sephora by OPI Metro Chic.

haus of gloi “didn’t like”. You may have come to the wrong place. Around here, haus of gloi “did like”. “Did like” quite a bit.

principessa rhinestone black t shirt. Fetch me my Bedazzler, for I have had … an inspiration!

flapper hat: It’s called a “cloche,” which is French for “flapper hat.”

drool homer and homer drool. These two warm the cockles of my heart. Whatever the fuck that means.

principessa grassa. I LOVE it when people search for me by name.

kombu. Come on, Mary. Don’t fear the seaweed.

urban decay 24 7 15. ONE OF US … ONE OF US … ONE OF US …

how to wear midnight cowboy eyeliner. I wear it on my upper lids. That probably makes me a weirdo, but I like the way it looks, so I don’t care.

turkey roast beef sandwich. Mmmmm … sandwich …

I mean, “drool homer”. I mean, “homer drool”.

dupe for mac blanc type eyeshadow. As mentioned above … Wet ‘n’ Wild Brulee, baby! Get you some!

lush skincare routine. Angels on Bare Skin or Buche de Noel cleanser + Celestial moisturizer. My skin’s never been happier.

wet and puffy. OK, seriously? This is the second time someone has found my blog using this search term. Which post of mine involves these two ideas? (Note to self: check to see if I wrote about taking baths during PMS week at some point.)

barefoot. As much as possible!

what are those boots that people wear over riding boots? I have no idea. That sounds like a lot of boots to wear at one time.

Published in: on January 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm  Comments (14)  

Weekend Foodery

The Mister decided we needed to make bagels this weekend. We prepared the dough on Friday night, and Saturday morning, we boiled and baked them up. The recipe makes 10 bagels. This is how many were left by Sunday evening.

THEY WERE GOOD. Ugly, but good. The recipe we use is by Lauren Groveman. It’s included in the book Baking with Julia, but you can find it on Lauren’s website as well. Homemade bagels are fiddly, but totally worth the several steps and 2-3 hours it takes to make them. Highly recommended if you have the time and inclination.

Then Sunday night, I decided to try out a vegan recipe that I’ve had my eye on for some time now: potato-kale enchiladas from Veganomicon by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Romero. I’ve said this before, but if you’re in the market for tasty, accessible, healthy vegan food, Isa Chandra Moskowitz is your woman.

This turned out to be another fiddly, multi-step recipe. First, I roasted some pasilla chiles in the oven.

These got blended with sauteed onions, canned tomatoes, and seasonings to create the enchilada sauce.

The filling was made from a combination of potatoes and kale. We used red kale, which worked like a charm. I love red kale. It makes excellent kale chips too.

The filling also included some seasonings, and one ingredient that I found somewhat surprising.

Toasted, chopped pepitas (pumpkin seeds). Interesting, no? They added a really unique flavor and texture to the dish.

Nice-looking ingredients, eh?

Once the sauce and filling were ready, the Mister and I formed an assembly line. He heated and sauced the tortillas, and I filled and rolled the enchiladas.

They were delicious, although I confess that I de-veganed mine by eating them with dairy sour cream. The Mister put vegan cheese on his. We’ll definitely be making them again.

To conclude: Here is a picture of the cat being shaped like a ball.

Published in: on January 23, 2011 at 10:24 pm  Comments (7)  
Tags: , ,

Seven Things You Never Wanted To Know About Me, But Now You Do

So there!

World-renowned ukulele player and incorrigible nail-biter Kathy Fucking Jacobs tagged me for this one. So without further ado … seven random facts about me!

1. The reason I moved to California was to get a master’s degree in criminology. Yeah … didn’t happen. But now I’m a technical/Web editor for a nonprofit professional organization, so, you know. It all worked out.

2. The Mister and I have no idea when our “anniversary” is, so we randomly settled on Valentine’s Day. One less thing to remember. It’ll be seven years next month.

3. I have to force myself to read or watch fictional stuff. Almost everything I read is non-fiction, and my favorite things to watch are documentaries and nerd TV like National Geographic. One of my goals for this year is to read some frickin’ novels for a change … I’ve started with Frankenstein.

4. I taught myself to knit out of a book when I was 10. I knitted off and on throughout my teens and 20s. Then a few years ago, I picked up the needles again and haven’t put them down since.

5. I love clothes and make-up (obviously), but I don’t really care about shoes. Mostly because I refuse to wear any that aren’t a) flat and b) comfortable. The Mister says if it were socially acceptable, I’d go barefoot all day, every day, everywhere.

6. I live in an apartment that was built in 1928, which is pretty old by American (and especially West Coast) standards. One of my favorite things about Long Beach is that it has old buildings. One of these days, I’ll take pictures of a bunch of them and do a photo post.

7. I really, really, really want a dog. A Basset Hound. Also, a Scottie. And a chocolate lab. Maybe a bloodhound too. OK, a few dogs. We’re gonna need a bigger apartment.

I told you mine, now you tell me yours! And if you already did this list business, post a link in the comments!

Published in: on January 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm  Comments (6)  

The Christmas Knitting, Part Two: The Scarfening

As you may recall, I did a crapload of knitting for Christmas. I showed you Part One a couple of weeks ago. Being that I forgot to document the scarves I made for my sister and Jette, I had to ask the recipients to take photos themselves. They obliged, and I finally got off my ass and resized the photos, so here’s the long-awaited Christmas Knitting, Part Two (I know you’ve been wringing your hands in anticipation).  The pattern is Just Enough Ruffles by Laura Chau, which both giftees requested specifically … it was The “It” Scarf this year, apparently.

This is the one I made for my sister. Yarn is Malabrigo worsted weight in Polar Morn.

And here’s the one I made for Jette out of Cascade Eco Duo in Almond Smoke. These pictures show what the reverse side of the scarf looks like.

While I’m at it, here are my first two FOs of 2011. First up is another scarf, a triangle with some purl rows interspersed among the stocking stitch for texture. I thought I made this up, but I found a couple of similar patterns on Ravelry, so apparently … I didn’t. As Elizabeth Zimmermann would have said, I unvented it.

Made from one skein of Malabrigo sock yarn in Tiziano Red.

And I finished the Baudelaires!

Pattern is by Cookie A, available free on Knitty. These are toe-up socks; I prefer top-down, usually, but this pattern was pretty fun. And they went really fast. The Yarn Harlot, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, says something in one of her books about how colorwork patterns seem to knit up faster than plain ones, even though they logically must take more time. That’s how I felt about these socks. The pattern wasn’t overly fiddly, but it was definitely more time consuming than just plain knitting. And yet, I finished these socks at what felt like warp speed.

Yarn is Louet Gems fingering weight in French Blue.

And finally, a look at the current WiPs lineup, because why not? This picture doesn’t represent the colors of the items very accurately, but them’s the breaks.

Clockwise from bottom left:

Obnoxious pink item is the Lettuce Leaf Scarf by Janice Lynn. Yarn is Knit Picks Shadow Tonal Lace Yarn in Summer Blooms colorway.

Partially finished sock is just that–a plain-ass sock, the first of what will be the 20th pair I’ve knit for my mom over the past few years. Yarn is Colinette Jitterbug in Sable.

Lavender socks are my second pair of Twinkleberries. Yarn is Knit Picks Stroll Tonal sock yarn in Blue Violet.

Big fuzzy green blob is the Aeolian shawl by Elizabeth Freeman, available on Knitty. I am madly in love with this pattern and am seriously considering knitting another when I’m done with this one. Yarn is Malabrigo lace weight in Olive, and it is an olivey green, not a foresty green like it looks here.

Smack in the middle is my first Vilai, from Sock Innovation by Cookie A. Yarn is Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in Oxblood, and it’s very, very pretty. I had initially used this yarn to start a plain sock while waiting with The Mister in urgent care, but I decided the yarn is interesting enough that it would look amazing in a pattern that uses biased stitches. So yesterday I frogged the Bad Juju Ear Infection Sock and I started the Vilais. Pattern promises to be very interesting and fun, if a bit of a pain in the ass, thanks to a “cable cross” that involves TWO cable needles.

Crafty people! What are YOU working on?

Published in: on January 16, 2011 at 11:53 am  Comments (6)  
Tags: ,

Some Of You Have Come To The Right Place

It seems that the more entries I post, the more entertaining the search terms that lead people to my blog become. The following recently used terms reflect my life and activities fairly accurately. Funny or sad?

  • “short and chubby” pics
  • i wear old navy
  • purple skirt
  • pink yarn
  • urban decay 15th anniversary 24/7
  • tiny kitchen
  • huge domestic cat

The following terms, however? Not so much.

  • the treacle people cow (um … what?)
  • tiny pore skin divot (see above)
  • last night it was so cold (HOW COLD WAS IT?)
  • lopsided boobs (hey, it was only that one picture, OK???)
  • fyrinnae velveet vampire (this is what happens when independent cosmetics companies meet the undead, and also processed cheese)
  • woman eyes down (that better not be a command, buddy)
  • alice in wonderland kitchen (this is an OUTSTANDING idea)
  • drawing on the right side of the brain shadow (the day my brain casts a shadow is a day I’ve got problems beyond search terms)
Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 6:36 pm  Comments (9)