Conde Nast wants me… really?

September 30, 2009

Last year I made the decision that NEVER AGAIN would I subscribe to a weekly magazine.  I just can’t keep up.  I accept this about myself.

But I did subscribe to a few other magazines.  And since then I’ve learned that I am not the right demographic for Ladies’ Home Journal and Better Homes and Gardens.  Nice magazines but not really for my life style.

I like Ready Made and House Beautiful.  And for some reason Martha Stewart Living still speaks to me.

The thing that kind of stinks about the current magazine subscriptions I have is that they come with new subscription requests.

If I subscribe to one magazine then I must want to subscribe to them all.

Conde Nast Traveler?  Really?

I don’t travel.  I may at some point decide to take a trip but really… what about me says TRAVELER of the Conde Nast variety?

Interview magazine?  ME?  Really?

I realize it’s just some mailing list and they must get enough bites from other people to make it worth while but all I do is look at the request and think… are you kidding me?



Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits

September 29, 2009

So on Saturday night I made Strawberry Shortcake Parfaits.  I’m not really sure why… it just seemed like something to do.

First I made a pound cake…. WOW is it heavy!

Debbie Greaves Pound Cake

I got the recipe from Allyn… she got it from the wonderful Debbie Greaves.  I don’t know if I’m allowed to share the recipe with all of you.  But any kind of cake will do.  I like HEAVY buttery cake, so this worked for me.  Once it was cool, I cut the cake into small cubes.

Then there were the strawberries…  Everyone had strawberries and I felt compelled to buy them.

slices of strawberries

Sliced them up and sprinkled them with sugar and just let them macerate by themselves.

And then whipping cream…. the real stuff with some vanilla and sugar.

strawberry shortcake parfaits

Layer after layer in my Picarde glasses.  Aren’t they pretty?  I had to drag people over to my place to eat them all.

I recommend this… it’s fun.  I might do it with different kinds of cake, fruit, toppings.

My stepmom has a recipe that she’s going to send me for a banana split cake type thing.  Seeing is believing on that but it makes me think of a banana split parfait…. hummmmm.


I was talking to Allyn last night and the topic of conversation floated to the term “fine”…. I commented that if a guy says “it’s fine” then you can kind of take it at face value.  But the more the phrase is repeated the less likely it is to be true.

And if you hear “It’s fine, it’s fine, it’s totally fine” then you should also hear a siren and see a big, red, neon sign that says WARNING.  Somehow the more you repeat the word fine the worse things actually are.

This is mostly seen in men.  I don’t know why.  I think it’s a Monty Python thing.  “It’s just a flesh wound” and all that.

Monty Python Flesh Wound

According to Allyn the flashing lights and sirens should also sound with the words “It’ll be fine.”  (i.e. Yes I can parallel park the SUV in a compact spot… It’ll be fine.  OR We don’t need to call the restaurant to see if they are open on Christmas.  We’ll just go, it’ll be fine.)  This is true for both men and women.  It’s a phrase that should totally come with a loud clap of thunder and multiple lightning strikes.

Consider this your public service announcement.

Do your own study.  But my bet is that Allyn and I are right.

Watch out, or it’ll all be fine.


Did you notice the commercials for the post office recently?  Flat rate boxes are the new big thing.  Anything you can shove into the box for one low rate.

Since I need to return the bench block to the heart of darkest Oakland I thought… I’ll use a flat rate box and send it back instead of going myself.

So I filled out the paperwork and wrote a note.  I even went online and printed out the postage so I wouldn’t have to wait in line.  Then I went to the local post office and guess what…

They don’t have the right boxes.  They are hyping this service on TELEVISION but they don’t have the goods.  Not cool.  The clerk said I would just have to use another mailing option but I’m shipping a palm sized piece of solid metal…. so NO.  I want the box that I printed shipping for.  ARGH!

On my way out to … who knows, walk all over Berkeley in search of this one little box… I ran into a carrier and I asked her if she knew where I could get the box.  She was amazingly helpful and kind.  She told me to try the mail depot store up the street and if they didn’t have it to come back and she would work something out.  Like I said AMAZINGLY helpful.

Well I went up to the mail depot store and even though it should have been open according to the hours on the door… it wasn’t.  I thought for a second about just wandering around Berkeley going from post office to post office but then I realized that I REALLY didn’t want to do that.

So I went back to find the nice mail lady.  And even though she was not a clerk and even though she had never seen the kind of box I needed, she searched for one in the back and then she convinced the head mail guy to let me use a priority box with my flat rate box postage.

That is a cool postal person.

And she is why I keep using the post office.


you must be kidding me

September 25, 2009

Head – Desk – Repeat

So I was talking to my stepmom tonight and she asked what was new.  I decided to tell her the continuing saga of the search for an anvil.  Especially since I picked up a bench block in Oakland thanks to a comment from the anvil post.  Always good to lead with a happy ending already, right?

To start the story I ask if she knows what an anvil is because just about all the hardware stores I called DIDN’T.

Instead of saying yes, why?  …  she says yes, your father has one in the garage.  Do you want it?

Yes – I would like it right now so that I can pound my head against it until I am rendered unconscious, thank you very much.

Turns out Dearest Dad o’ Mine has large vice grip with a bench block attached in the rafters of the garage.  Where it has been gathering cobwebs since they moved over a decade ago.  It’s perfect for what I want to do – namely hammer away at very large grommets.


I really wish I had known this YESTERDAY!  Argh.

Well – looks like I can return the bench block I bought today, at least according to the paperwork I have.  I’ll call tomorrow to confirm.  It’s another trip to Oakland but it saves me almost $30.  So, it’s worth it.

New rule… ask Dad first.


I Forgot To Tell You

September 24, 2009

So for some reason on Friday I was looking around Craiglist and ended up reading an ad for fabric in San Francisco.  There were no pictures but I was interested by the ad so I called the number.

I was the first person to call about the ad.  Turns out Glen is a fabric designer and he’s moving studios so he wants to get rid of some of his excess fabrics.  Since he’s so busy he didn’t have time to take pictures but we set up a time for me to go into the city and look to see if there was anything I might like.

I figured it was worth a shot.  So I wandered over on Monday, walking up to North Beach from Embarcadero.  Glen turned out to be the nicest guy.  He had this amazing 4th floor walk-up apartment that he was using as his studio.  The views were AMAZING!

And the fabrics….. made in Italy… they sell for over $100 a yard.  I could NEVER afford to buy this kind of thing.

Glen asked why I wanted the fabric so I showed him my bag and told him about my website and etsy store.  Soft goods is how he classified my works.  He liked what I was up to.  Although he, like Ally, thinks I should get a store and mass produce.

He let me paw through his fabrics and I picked the stuff I could really make something special with.

100_3932100_3937100_3938atomic snowflakes

Aren’t they stunning?  Isn’t he a great designer?  He said he’d keep his eyes open to see if he find anything else that I might like.

Sometimes it’s a great idea to answer a craigslist ad.


My Love of Sugar

September 23, 2009

A lot of finance blogs start by telling people to stop buying coffee out.  And they might have a point.

But as a VERY VERY VERY lazy person, making coffee in a coffee pot and cleaning it up or worse cleaning up a moka pot… UGH.

The price might be worth it.

Then I was in a very well paying market research thing and I got a couple hundred dollars all at once.

That’s when I bought Sugar.


Back in the long, long ago when I worked at Williams Sonoma I never bought an espresso machine because of money but ALSO because of space.

Sugar is a smaller model that I bought at Bed, Bath and Beyond with a 20% off coupon (the same discount W-S gives for electrics).  So it fits in my crowded counter top.

And now I can make myself an Americano every single day and not go buy one at Peet’s.

It’s smart, it’s already paid for itself, and it’s cute.

You don’t have to buy a huge machine.  You can if you want to but really, any machine can be a good machine.  Sugar is a Breville.  Breville has a great filter that provides the fabulous creme.  It’s not the pressure so much as the filter.  You have to make sure the grind isn’t too fine so it doesn’t clog the filter.  But since I did work at William-Sonoma, I knew about that.  So I keep the grind a little rough and it works like a dream.

I love my morning coffee.

and I love my Sugar.