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)  
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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)  
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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)  

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)  

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)  

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)  

My Weekend Plans

1. Make it be warmer outside. True, it’s warming up a little bit, and true, it rarely gets what I’d call “cold” here. However, according to the cat, it is cold, especially in the evenings. So cold that it is apparently time once again for her to wheedle her little cat self onto or inside of my sleeping bag at every available opportunity.

I was sitting on the couch last night, knitting, as usual. I had the sleeping bag over my lap (I use it instead of a blanket sometimes because it has a temperature rating of 15 degrees F and is therefore super warm) with the closed-up bottom part on the floor. I felt some activity and heard some rustling down there …

so I got up and investigated.

OK, CAT. WE GET THE POINT. IT IS CHILLY. You’d think for a cat from Colorado she’d be a little hardier than this. But, having lived here for almost 7 years, she is apparently a thin-blooded Californian weenie now. (I kind of am too. And the Mister totally is–he bumbles around in shorts and a t-shirt and then has the nerve to complain that he’s cold–but he was born and raised here, so he has an excuse.)

2. Cook food. We’re having Thanksgiving dinner again. This will be our third Thanksgiving dinner in as many months. I can’t wait.

3. Lock myself in the bathroom and emerge several hours later with raw, bleedy, swollen eyelids.

My Urban Decay 24/7 set arrived in the mail today. I’m not ashamed to say that I opened it immediately, at work, and commenced drawing on myself. What? Casual Friday! Don’t judge me!

Anyway, having this in my possession makes me feel like

So I plan to spend a lot of time playing with it this weekend.

Yes, folks, those are my plans. That’s the kind of glamorous, sexy, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants existence we live here at Principessa Headquarters. Oh! And don’t let me forget the grocery shopping that will also happen this weekend! Try to keep your jealousy down to a simmer.

Published in: on January 7, 2011 at 5:02 pm  Comments (7)  
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New Year, New Chopsticks

As required by law, the Mister and I had sushi (well, sashimi) for our New Year’s Day dinner.

We have sashimi pretty much every New Year’s Day, and it was extra fun this year because we got to try out a few sushi-related gifty items that we got for Christmas. Such as the pickle dishes and doggy chopstick rest from my sister.

How cute is that? I failed to take pictures of the pickle dishes before we slapped a bunch of pickles onto them. Believe me when I say that they are also very cute; one of them has bunnies, and the other one has a cat.

We also got to mix up our own wasabi from the Penzeys wasabi powder my mom got us. It was very, very good. I’ve been disappointed by powdered wasabi in the past, but this stuff is amazing. Hot, but not too hot, flavorful, and not gritty at all. Highly recommended. Oh, and it’s not dyed bright green like most wasabi is either.

And finally, we both got to bust out our fancy chopsticks. I opted for my Mr. Gently chopsticks, which were a gift from the Mister’s sister some years ago. They have the following information on them: “Mr. Gently. He is my best friend. He is gentle manner and heart.” Plus, they have a cat! Wearing a suit!

And, the piece de resistance:

Light saber chopsticks, Yoda flavored, from Think Geek, Christmas gift to the Mister from me. Light saber noises were made at dinner, and there was a reference to “the dark side.” I can see that these are going to have to be used sparingly.

I hope that you had a fantastic New Year’s too, and here’s to a happy, healthy 2011!

Published in: on January 1, 2011 at 7:43 pm  Comments (12)  
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The Christmas Knitting, Part One

Ahhhh … the week between Christmas and New Year’s. I love this week. Everything’s quiet, the insanity of Christmas is over, and the frantic beginning-of-year activity is still a few days away. It’s a great time to reflect on the year that’s passed and make goals for the year to come.

One of the things I’ve been reflecting on is what I accomplished knitting-wise in 2010 and what I’d like to make in 2011. I’ve noted before that I’m a pretty selfish knitter, so the vast majority of what I made over the past year was for me. But, as usual, I knit Christmas gifts for several people this year, and now that they have them, I can post pictures. Today’s episode of The Christmas Knitting features the presents I made for my parents.

My mom got two pairs of socks. One was just a standard plain pair, made in the very pretty (or, as the Mister put it, “pleasing”) Sailor’s Delight sock yarn by Hazel Knits.

The other pair was “Angee” by Cookie A, from her book Sock Innovation. If you’re into sock knitting and are looking for some fabulous, well-charted patterns, you need this book. (And also her new book Knit. Sock. Love., but that’s another entry.) These socks were right up my alley–simple but engaging, fun, and quick to knit. I really looked forward to coming home and sitting down with these after work.

Lace socks look pretty uninspiring when they’re just hanging around. Let’s see them on feet! The cat needed to be in the first photo. She frequently competes with my knitting for attention.

Cat action shot!

The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in Spring Tickle. I LOVE SMOOSHY.

For my dad, I made a pair of mittens. But not just any mittens, oh no. THRUMMED mittens.

You may notice that these mittens look rather puffy. That is because of the thrums, which are the little multicolored bits you see. They’re snippets of unspun wool (or “roving”) that are knit into the fabric every so often. They form a crazy, fluffy, wooly layer, which looks something like this.

This layer creates an insanely warm pair of mittens. Or so I’m told. You’d have to ask my dad to confirm.

My dad has half a thumb on his right hand. So I adjusted one of the mitten thumbs accordingly.

There’s no real pattern for these mittens. I basically combined this thrum FAQ with a generic mitten pattern and voila … thrummed mittens. Yarn and roving are from Knit Picks. And if I never thrum anything again, it’ll be too soon. It was frickin’ fiddly.

Being extremely clever and efficient, I failed to take pictures of the scarves I made for Jette and my sister. So I’ll have to wait for the recipients to take their own pictures. I did manage to take a picture of my sister’s hat, though.

Yarn is Malabrigo worsted in Polar Morn (that’s the blue color) and Natural.

The instant I finished the Christmas knitting, I went right back to knitting things for myself. I finished up my Pi Shawl and blocked it today, so photos should be forthcoming fairly shortly. I also have Baudelaire sock #2 on the needles, and I started another pair of Twinkleberries and a plain pair of socks for my mom. Plus a brick-red triangular scarf that I’m making up as I go along, plus a fairly obnoxious pink scarf that should be perfect for spring, which is about when I anticipate it will be done, given all the other crap I keep casting on.

In other, non-yarn-related news, because my mother and I have outstanding taste in Christmas gifts for me, I own 12 more eyeshadows than I did on December 24th. Eight are Urban Decay and four are MAC. I’m sure you’ll be seeing A LOT of them in future posts. I may also have taken advantage of Sephora’s “Sale on Sale” deal yesterday, because the thing to do the day after Christmas is BUY MORE PRESENTS FOR YOURSELF, am I right? Fair warning: I’m leaning very heavily toward neutrals, purples, and taupes/browns/grays in terms of eye makeup these days, so if you find that boring … well, I guess you’re gonna be bored.

Published in: on December 27, 2010 at 6:57 pm  Comments (7)  
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That Warm California Sun


We have a pond out front that I’m fairly sure wasn’t there when we moved in.

And a river flowing merrily down the sidewalk.

But at least my car is cleaner now.

Yep … days like this, it’s nice to be on the inside looking out.

Published in: on December 22, 2010 at 3:04 pm  Comments (4)  
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