happy holidays with rifle paper co.

Rifle Paper Co. Happy Holidays Postcards
I had seriously hoped to be awesome this year and order some Rifle Paper Co. customizable holiday cards with little painted pictures of J and Stella and me. Because that would have been awesome. Ah well. Maybe next year I will be a little more on top of my holiday card game. Instead of the customizable cards I snagged some of the Happy Holidays postcards. I don't love them as much, but still think they're pretty sweet. Seriously though, I can't get enough of Rifle Paper Co. Everything they create is pretty fantastic.

winter-perfect mushroom lasagna

My friend Melissa posted a photo/link to this New York Times-featured mushroom lasagna recipe on Pinterest yesterday and I had to stop myself from drooling on the screen. I'm adding it to my list of perfect winter foods. Yum.


happy thanksgiving

Photobooth shot from the ace hotel, ny

Happy Thanksgiving!

I am thankful for that little smiley face. She is my love. She is my heart.

I am thankful for my loving, supportive family and for my  friends, those who I see every day, and those who I don't see enough. I am thankful for my morning coffee (and the great guys at Boot & Shoe Cafe).  I am thankful for the endless pile of books on my bedside table. I am thankful that living in California, we have an endless bounty of fresh vegetables and fruit year round. I am thankful for tasty pie, and that in spite of my insane post-pregnancy sweet tooth that I somehow lost all the baby weight + ten pounds. Which means I'm also thankful for my afternoon  walks around our neighborhood with Stella. And the quiet moments everyday when Stella breastfeeds when she twirls my hair and tries to stick her fingers in my mouth. I am thankful that I live in Oakland, a city that contradicts itself daily, that is at once so ugly and so beautiful, and is always changing.

I am thankful for J, who is endlessly loving and generous and funny. I am thankful that we are able to give Stella *me* everyday. And I am thankful that I'm almost a year in to the best job I've ever had. I am thankful that I don't sit behind a computer all day anymore. And that every morning I wake up excited to spend the day with my girl, happy to be doing my best work and showing Stella this amazing world.

What are you thankful for this year?



Prior falling sick with a serious case of the sniffles and a fever and some big new teeth action, Stella was as happy as a monkey hat-wearing clam at the park yesterday. 

I have to admit that when I thought about being a mother before Stella was born I never imagined myself sucking the snot out her nose with a NoseFrida. Which, by the way is one of the best inventions ever, and one that Stella considers a torture device.



I'm half way through Wildwood by Colin Meloy (of The Decemberists) and Carson Ellis (illustrator) and LOVING it. I wish I had a few hours to become completely transported to this world they've created...


11.11.11, a very happy birthday

 Birthday 33 on 11.11.11

On every November 11, my parents like to retell the story of my birth. It was cold and raining in the Southern California canyon where I was born. My Mom woke up in labor and made me a carrot cake in between contractions. Their close friends came to help with the home-birth: one held a mirror, one held the video camera, one person looked after my sister and my sister's friend, etc... There was a fire in the fireplace, and Beethoven was playing on the record player. There was a midwife and a doctor came later. My dad caught me.

On 11.11.11 I turned 33. We celebrated the numerically momentous occasion by inviting friends and family to join us for live music (a ragtime duo!) nibbles and cakes (5 different kinds including carrot cake, death by chocolate cake, both made by my amazing mom, plus strawberry cake, lemon cake, and pumpkin cheese cake). I felt glamorous in my perfect party dress and the Coclico birthday shoes I scored at Anthropologie (last pair, on sale, my size).

Birthday Shoes

I was overwhelmed by all the love and messages from my sweet people close by and far away. As a special surprise treat my sister flew in from New York to celebrate.

I will never experience another 11.11.11 in my lifetime. And I feel like an incredibly lucky girl to have experienced this one.


visualizing bach

My friend Sam sent me this mesmerizing video.
baroque.me visualizes the first Prelude from Bach's Cello Suites. Using the math behind string length and pitch, it came from a simple idea: what if all the notes were drawn as strings? Instead of a stream of classical notation on a page, this interactive project highlights the music's underlying structure and subtle shifts.

This Prelude to the first Bach Cello Suite used to be one of my favorites warm-up pieces to start off a practice session. Enjoy.


stella, 11 months

Stella, 11 months

Can it really be possible that Stella is already 11 months old? I think I ask this same question every month. Time is speeding by, and every day Stella grows, and changes, and masters something new.

It's hard to believe that at around this time last year I was preparing to leave my job at Chronicle Books, I was very uncomfortably pregnant and pretty apprehensive about giving birth. I had so many plans about what I would do with my "free" time. I look at that list now, and chuckle. Some of those things (making jam, pickling things, gardening, knitting) will just have to wait...

And so, here we are. A year later.
At 11 months Stella is a whirlwind of activity. If she's not climbing the stairs, she's pulling books off shelves and ridding them of their dust jackets. If she's not creeping along the length of our couch (biting it as she goes) she's exploring the contents of our cupboards looking for something to chew on. She is endlessly curious; it's one of my favorite things about her.

She's a helper. She likes to "help" me fold laundry. After we're done it looks like a tornado picked up all our clothes and dropped them randomly around the room, curiously enfolded.

Stella has mastered "bye," though it sounds a little like "bah biee." She says bye to anything, and throws in a wave for good measure like when we leave the house she tells it goodbye and waves at the front door.

She loves to be chased. By that I mean she loves to be caught and tickled and kissed until she squeals with laughter. I love catching her and smothering her with kisses and tickles. I could do it all day long. She is just so kissable.

Stella, 11 months
Stella , 11 months
Stella, 11 months


a few recent book buys

This won the 2011 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. I loved Arthur & George, and liked Flaubert's Parrot, and Love, Etc., so I have high expectations for The Sense of An Ending.

Kjell Eriksson's The Princess of Burundi and The Cruel Stars of Night were both strong page-turners. The third in the series featuring police detective Ann Lindell, The Demon of Dakar, was kind of a drag (as in it dragged and I didn't finish it). I'm hoping this is more in keeping with the first two books in the series.

I know, the cover is a little too cheesy mystery. But... the premise sounds entertaining and it was a pick on the 2011 Booker longlist. And, I admit, I love a good Victorian-era mystery, à la Crimson Petal and the White, Misfortune, and Fingersmith.

“Extravagantly entertaining . . . One of the great pleasures of this novel is how confidently [Paul Murray] addresses such disparate topics as quantum physics, video games, early-20th-century mysticism, celebrity infatuation, drug dealing, Irish folklore and pornography . . . Six hundred sixty-one pages may seem like a lot to devote to a bunch of flatulence-obsessed kids, but that daunting length is part and parcel of the cause to which Skippy Dies, in the end, is most devoted. Teenagers, though they may not always act like it, are human beings, and their sadness and loneliness (and their triumphs, no matter how temporary) are as momentous as any adult’s And novels about them—if they’re as smart and funny and touching as Skippy Dies—can be just as long as they like.” —Dan Kois, The New York Times Book Review
“The success of The Line of Beauty meant that Alan Hollinghurst’s next book was surely going to be eagerly anticipated. But the seven-year wait for The Stranger’s Child and the steady unfurling of its ambition over the novel’s 435 pages has had another effect too. It has dawned on people that Hollinghurst, the gay novelist, might also be the best straight novelist that Britain has to offer—that is, the writer whose talents sit most comfortably within the contours of the form. . . . The Stranger’s Child stands comparison to Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections for the way that the sweep of the narrative, its simultaneous flicker of comedy and drama, is matched and sustained by the precision and the leisurely economy of its individual sentences . . . The Stranger’s Child spans almost a century. And here, too [as in his previous books] sex opens up the novel, though the thing unlocked is not the small, cloistered world of Edwardian privilege but of all English literary history. The book’s sections are linked by two houses that, in their different ways, stand witness to social decline: Corley Court, a Victorian pile, home of the aristocratic young poet Cecil Valance; and the more modest Two Acres family home of George Sawle, his friend, and lover, from Cambridge. With [this] novel Hollinghurst imaginatively insists that our literary tradition would be unrecognizably depleted without the submerged current of homosexuality. And that The Stranger’s Child itself is the culmination of not only Hollinghurst’s ambition but that secret literary tradition to which it is addressed. It is a claim that is hard to dispute.”
—Geoff Dyer, New York Magazine

How about you? Any books you are dying to read?