Wednesday, December 10, 2008

small dose of winter

Belated images from my trip back to Michigan over Thanksgiving. I miss winter and the less colorful, more textural landscapes it brings.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

lace and light

mom's wedding veil (from pakistan), and sunlit flowers from this garden.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

wedding photos

20081003-tellez023, originally uploaded by auxyeuxverts.

I'm trying out how to send photos to my blog from flickr. oh! this is neat :)

not sure about that gray outline though, we'll see if I can get rid of that.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

dos corazons (and more autumnal beauty)

It was a busy weekend, full of job applications for me and Andres, very draining I'm afraid. We did get to take a short walk through Elizabeth Gamble Garden in Palo Alto, though. If I could re-do my wedding with only 50 guests I'd consider having it here--I love the rows of labeled plants and the intimate courtyard. As you can see, despite the falling leaves the dahlias are still going strong.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

perfect fall breakfast

It's persimmon season! I didn't really know about this fruit until recently, long after admiring the mysterious orange orbs dangling from a tree in a neighbor's yard after it lost its leaves. It wasn't until I started buying most of my produce at the farmer's market last year that I really came to appreciate the persimmon, it has a pronounced sweetness and a very mild flavor, so it can complement many other foods. We got our first three of the season last Sunday and they've been ripening all week. I tried one yesterday for breakfast and was so pleased with the result that I decided to repeat the meal today and to document the deliciousness. Persimmon mush + yogurt (full fat, please) + pecans + flax meal = divine yum! (a cup of hot coffee is a nice addition).

watch me unravel

I discovered that one of my favorite sweaters needs some attention. Thought that the light on corduroy looked quite pretty as well and decided to document the day's outfit, basic black.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I just learned about this blog the other day, and it's been a good exercise for me to document daily life--also helps me get my day started in a pleasant way!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

early, austere

I got to work early today and had to wait for some scripts to run, so I decided to take some photos. I love the low morning light on those bench/cubes, so stark! They'd be good for me to draw to practice perspective and shading.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

weekend walks

Saturday we went for a walk around the reservoir by Highway 92. Gorgeous late-afternoon light on some golden California flora. Sunday afternoon we walked downtown for some yogurt and enjoyed some signs that fall is indeed here. I guess the maple trees know the days are getting shorter, even if it's still eighty-degrees out! I love the color!

Monday, October 6, 2008

a place for everything and everything in its place

Our apartment is quite tiny, and we haven't spent a lot of time maximizing the available space with "storage solutions". This is a small step in that direction. My favorite kind of decorating highlights existing, necessary, functional objects (e.g. books, cooking tools, etc.) and doesn't add a lot of superfluous stuff. I'm not sure if this little project falls into that category, but I made these little framed pillows for storing necklaces and earrings this weekend. I wish they were bigger, but perhaps they will help me edit my jewelry collection down to things that look beautiful enough (to my eye) to display.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


My sister and I are going to exchange photos this month.  Theme = autumn.  Here's my start: Narcissus bulbs from last Sunday's market.  I planted about eight of them, plus a few Hyacinth bulbs left over from my mom's visit last Easter, in a big pot on my front porch covered in about 3 inches of dirt from my building's front yard (according to the bulb purveyor at the market, potting soil isn't good for them, they prefer plain-old dirt for the sand and clay).  Like all my plantings, they're more or less an experiment.  I'm hoping they make it, but in the mean time I wish there was room for something else in the pot too since it's just sitting full of dirt on my little stoop. . .

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I like dresses

I have been trying to get out of my t-shirt and jeans rut, deeply established after working in a lab for the past seven (!(sigh)) years, so I was quite excited to receive this new dress from Patagonia in the mail yesterday.

I like Patagonia a lot. Looking at the catalogs they put out, full of fit, attractive people out doing physically challenging things in nature, has always inspired me. Granted, I tend to be impressionable like that (aren't we all, I suppose that's why advertising works), but these catalogs make me want to pare down my existence to a streamlined set of high-quality, responsibly-manufactured products, and then go out and explore the world.

Now Patagonia's starting to make more street clothes as well, and I love the pattern on this new, super-comfy, organic cotton dress!

in season

This is a truly special time of year in California, reflected in the fact that both apples AND stone fruit are in season! It has made for a week of delicious breakfasts for me. I've eaten a bowl of sliced peach, greek yogurt, flax seed meal, and pecans every morning!

Yesterday my drawing teacher brought us apples from her tree, to use for subjects or for eating. I ate mine immediately :) I still can't believe how much better apples, and all fruit, is when it's eaten ripe right off the tree. It's literally a whole new world of fruit compared to what I grew up with. It turns out red delicious apples--all bitter peel and mealy flesh when they come from the supermarket--actually taste like their name implies.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

lingering summer hues

Oranges and pinks seem to be congregating in my life at the moment.

1. A bouquet of farmer's market flowers. I fell in love with the large pink dahlias, and the safflower's tiny orange bursts of petals seemed to complement the golden cores of the dahlias.

2. A pile of thank-you notes ready to send out to wedding guests.

3. The fabric that will hopefully become my first sewing project, an apron, one day. I sewed the cut edges with a zig-zag stitch, and put it through the wash last night. Tomorrow night in class I will iron and start cutting the pattern pieces.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

welcome fall

Well, our wedding has come and gone, and we are enjoying married life so far. It feels like the quiet after the storm. Planning a wedding was a lot of work, it turns out. There is plenty I would do differently if I could do it again, but it was a perfect day for us.

I hope to post plenty of the wedding-related photos that I never got around to between my last post (in May), and today--the first day of fall--my favorite season!

There is lots of change brewing this season. I'm taking a drawing class and a sewing class and am already enjoying the opportunity to use new parts of my brain.

Above are some new linens, from Alex, new wooden spoons, and my kitchen's dirty floor.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

belated cake update

Well, I've got a whole folder full of photos to post since I haven't had much time for blogging this past month. Wedding planning has been put on hold for now since we've gotten the big-ticket items sorted out (venue, caterer, dress, invites, etc.) and will probably start devoting more time to the details (decorations, play list, . . . ) once the summer starts. But I never followed up on the outcome of our quest for yummy cake, so I thought I'd share that we ended up going with
Satura Cakes in Palo Alto, much to my surprise.

When I first saw this place I thought it was a bakery that specialized in Asian-style cakes, which tend to be not as sweet as American cakes. This actually isn't the case at all (although the cakes were not overly sweet, they were very Western in flavor). The owner is a Japanese man who apparently he visited the states many years ago and noted a lack of French-style bakery shops where one could pop in and order a pain au chocolat in comparison to Tokyo (which has a slew of pastry chefs trained en France). He decided that if and when he made his millions, he'd come back and start a bakery.

In addition to their fabulous product presentation and packaging, their cake itself does not disappoint. It is delicious and the tasting was a real pleasure to attend--ample servings of a wide variety of cakes, and no pressure to make a decision. Their cakes are all very unique, we ended up selecting four for our wedding. The main wedding cake will have 3 tiers and 2 different flavors--red velvet (dense rich cake, with cream cheese frosting between the layers with fresh blueberries and raspberries to add a touch of tartness), and a very light white cake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. In addition we'll have a tray of tiny cake "squares" made of two torte-like sheet cakes. The "Yuna" is a chocolate hazelnut confection, and the other is a coconut cake with layers of mango creme. Mmmm!

Flavors aside, what won me over with this bakery was their great ingredients and commitment to freshness. Our cake will be made the afternoon before our wedding and frosted/decorated the day-of.

Monday, March 3, 2008

the whiter the bread, the sooner you're dead

Michael Pollan visited Stanford today and Andres and I went to hear him speak. He was scheduled to begin at 7:30pm, and since the event was free and open to the public we showed up almost an hour and a half early (ironically, or perhaps appropriately, with "to go" burritos in tow).

By 7pm all the seats were gone and people were starting to fill the aisles. Michael's host, Christopher Gardner, a professor of nutrition science at Stanford, informed us that it was "not illegal" to have people in the aisles, provided no one brought any additional seating into the hall, but urged everyone to be mindful of the obvious fire hazard. I heard a few folks behind me grumbling about the reality behind this statement, but I'm guessing that in the end they would have felt it was worth the risk.

Michael gave a great talk. What a pleasure for me to discover that not only do his ideas about food and the politics that surround it resonate with me in a deep way, but he seems like a cool guy as well (check out his sneakers in the photo!) He's smart, articulate, funny, and has a compelling, though not at all strident, humanist message that comes out through his lucid and fresh prose.

He explained that the motivation for his most recent book, In Defense of Food, was that after writing the Omnivore's Dilemma (an exploration of where food comes from in America, and what it implies about our society) he kept having readers come up to him and complain that they weren't able to finish the book out of fear that once they did, there would no longer be any food that they could eat in good conscience. So he set out to deliver some broad principles for eating. He also examines (and criticizes) "nutrientism", what he sees as a western reductionist approach to eating, and offers instead a handful of heuristics to help guide our food choices.

All of the rules he offered, e.g. this post's title and, "Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food", have the result of emphasizing tried and true "whole" foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and of urging us to trust in our tastebuds.
I have some more thoughts about how many of his complaints about nutrition science apply more widely to the medical sciences, but will have to save them for another day. All in all it was so exciting to see that a someone could (over)fill such a large auditorium with a book expounding the virtues of produce. Hooray for the yam!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

let them eat cake! (part 1)

No doubt that cake tasting is the part of wedding planning I have been most excited about. I've had a sweet tooth since forever (I used to eat crazy amounts of sugar after swim practice in high school, e.g. half gallons of Breyer's mint chocolate chip and row upon row of double stuff Oreos), and now that I've more or less purged sugar from my pre-wedding diet I was all the more ready for a sweet treat. So last weekend we had a tasting at The Prolific Oven and today we tried the offerings at The Palo Alto Baking Company.

I wish I had my camera with me--the PABC had six beautiful little mini-cakes for us to try. I've been a fairly loyal patron of this place since I moved to the Bay Area b/c they have some of the best croissants in town (it was previously owned by a French couple, and the new owner, Charles Whelan, has kept their recipes alive) but this was my first time trying the cake. It was extremely fresh and light, and the fresh fruit, buttercream, chocolate ganache and whipped cream were all excellent. However, the cake itself was almost too airy and light for my taste, I prefer a denser cake, and the flavor was quite mild so it was really more about the fillings, which were home-made (except the raspberry filling which is imported from Sweden or something) and tasty. I got to try fondant for the first time too, which was neat. I wasn't a fan of the sugar stuff, but the white chocolate fondant was really good and surprisingly chocolate-y (for white chocolate, which apparently doesn't even contain cacao, but does have cocoa butter I believe).

Overall I'd say that the cake at Prolific Oven is more my style, which is to say, dense and sugary. They only use cream cheese frosting which is creamy, rich and delicious, but you really can't eat a ton of this stuff b/c it's soO sweet. The cake itself at Prolific Oven is really unique, it's light and dense at the same time, and very flavorful. Our top choices there were the carrot cake and the chocolate rum cake.

We've got two more shops to try, one of which is the top-rated cake place on the Project Wedding forum. Right now we're thinking we'll do a Prolific Oven cake and supplement that with a few tarts/tortes from Tartine, a great place in the city but they don't do wedding cakes).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

rain rain go away

This weekend was cold and soggy, which was frustrating because my internet doesn't seem to work when it rains. This must be a physical issue with some wire getting, well, wet or something, no? Still, the indoor weather was a good excuse to upload some recent photos from our trip to Long Beach to visit Bets and Brad.

I love the textures in the tree and side walk that the rain brought out. Also, next time you find yourself in Seal Beach, save some room for breakfast at Nicks:
The breakfast burritos here are DELISH. Again, I think the texture is key--the insides are all chopped up and interspersed into a tasty egg/chorizo/bacon/potato/cheese amalgam, then the package is neatly wrapped in a homemade tortilla. By far the best breakfast burrito I've encountered (and apparently I'm not alone, so be ready for a line)!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I'm facing so many these days, including the beginning of the end of my time at Stanford and my career as a neuroscientist. All this flux is both exciting and scary to me, and I'm trying to spend time focusing on the former adjective. I hope to use this space as a way to exercise my creativity and to document the changes I'm facing, the plans I'm making, and the stuff I'm enjoying along the way*.

I'll start with this photo, in tribute to my title, which means "Sweet Potato" in Japanese:

* Note: For the next several months many of my posts may be wedding-related. I'm a bride-to-be whose head is spinning (with glee!) at all the beautiful choices I get to make. However, in general I expect this stuff to focus on fabric, photos, food, the occasional fact or two, along with various other assorted fluff.