Thanksgiving in Tennessee

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the cutest sister ever!

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a bear footprint!

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This past week we flew to Tennessee to spend Thanksgiving with family. We all stayed in a big chalet at the top of a snowy mountain overlooking the town of Gatlinburg in the Great Smokey Mountains. It was fun to get together and eat green bean casserole and pie, watch movies, play poker, dodge snowballs from being thrown at each other, and just relax with the glow of a fire heating the room. While we were there we taste-tested authentic Tennessee moonshine and ate pizza in town. In the mornings we woke later than usual, lounged around in pajamas while sipping coffee and looked at the black bear footprints in the snow from the back deck (they came through the back yard over night!). We met a new wee family member for the first time and ate an enormous dinner with a house full of other familiar faces both young and old. We had a nice time, but are glad to be back at home snuggling up with Jack and Mila cat. Hope your Thanksgiving was as relaxing as mine. I can’t believe it’s already December…winter is here!

A New Whip

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Last weekend we got a new truck. She’s a 1987 Toyota Land Cruiser in the loveliest shade of hunter green. Name’s Lola. La-La-La-La Lola.

We’d been looking for an adventure-mobile for a while now. An old school one with character. One that we could throw a few surf boards on the top of and head down the coast, or lay a mattress in the back and go camping up in Lake Tahoe. An ad for this land cruiser popped up online last week and we collectively decided she was too rad to pass up. So we waited for the weekend and drove down to Santa Monica after work on Friday to check her out.

I’ve always wanted a truck. Something you could pile your friends in and drive up to the mountains, or haul a boat to the lake. I always liked the freedom that seemed to come with having a truck. The Kerouac of vehicles, you could say. But sixteen year old me did not get an adventurous jeep or truck, I got to kick-it with an old green saturn that was in need of a new starter. Later I’d graduate to a hand me down honda civic hatchback with no power steering. They were good cars that got me from A to B, most of the time.
So after a green tea latte and some delicioso food from Urth Cafe in LA, we bought us a truck. And that night I did what any girl with her first truck would do. I turned the heat on the floor board, rolled the windows down, listened to gin blossoms and other 90s greatest hits with my arm out the window and drove home up the coast.
And it was glorious.

DIY Copper Kitchen Rail

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I was at the hardware store the other day and saw some cool copper piping in the plumbing section. I’d been really feeling copper lately, especially in the kitchen, so I got one of the pipes cut down, brought it home, and made this little rail to hold utensils on in our kitchen. It was simple to make and looks pretty sweet up there, if I do say so myself.

Here’s what you’ll need:

18″ of 1/2″ copper piping

2  1/2″ copper plated tube straps

4  1/2″ 45 degree copper elbows

4  1″ phillips-head screws

Copper “S” hooks

A level

Drill

Here’s how:

Determine the length of piping you need for your space. I chose 18″ since our space was relatively small. I had someone at the hardware store cut down a larger piece of piping since they only came in lengths longer than what I needed. Once you have your desired length of copper pipe, connect two of the copper elbows to each side of the piping, creating a “Z” like shape on each end. This is so your pipe will stick out from the wall about 1/2” and allowing you to hang your “S” hooks on the pipe. Once you’ve connected the elbows, add one tube strap to each end. Using a level, hold the rail to the wall and draw a line where your screws need to be in order for it to be straight on the wall. Then, using a drill, secure the pipe to the wall with the phillips-head screws. I chose silver because I liked the difference in the metals, but copper screws would look good too. If you’re planning on hanging pots, I recommend using anchors to make sure your rail can support the weight. You can also add gorilla glue to the inside of the elbows before connecting them in order to add strength to your rail. Once you’ve put up your rail, add the copper “S” hooks (I used these), and you’re ready to hang your utensils! Good luck!

Around Our Home

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1. The lesser-known species of wildlandia / 2. For hot toddies / 3. Just hanging around / 4. Excited for scarves / 5. A new bench that we obviously have no idea what to put on / 6. A subway selfie / 7. The neighbor’s pup, from my window

And also…

Some music for your weekend

Hilarious, always hilarious.

A cute story about a woman’s first few days with a fiddle leaf fig tree.

Speaking of which, I went on a quest for a fiddle leaf fig tree of my own since they are all the rage right now. I came up empty handed. I just love their big, protuberant leaves and maybe, just maybe, one will come into my possession soon. Let’s see…last night we went to a Hendrix gin tasting event and made blueberry green tea cocktails with some good friends, this weekend we’re heading to LA. You know, the good stuff. Happy weekend, friends.

Marin County

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This weekend we had planned to go south to hit up a skate park and hang out at the beach, but since Trey ate it on his skateboard last week and tore his hands up pretty bad, we decided to opt for some hiking along the beach in Point Reyes instead, sans-hands.

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A vole! ^

pointreyes21

Dairy cows! ^

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Jack, what are you doing up there? ^

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My first experience with Point Reyes was when I was working for a veterinary clinic that specialized in treating sick and injured marine mammals, mostly seals and sea lions, several years back. This particular year hundreds of seals and sea lions began stranding themselves along the California coast, disoriented and having seizures on the beach. The influx was caused by the seals and sea lions eating prey laden with domoic acid, a neurotoxin produced by phytoplankton which impairs brain function and causes seizures in marine mammals when ingested in large quantities. The facility quickly became filled to capacity with hundreds of young pups and adults that showed signs of the illness, and we worked around the clock to get the recovered animals back to sea. One day I was tasked with loading up two rehabilitated California sea lions and a northern elephant seal pup into the back of a pick-up truck and making the hour and a half long trek up the coast to release them at a protected area, Drakes Beach, in Point Reyes. The beach is a popular haul-out and rookery for seals during certain parts of the year, making for a good place to introduce the animals back into the wild (pic below). We backed the truck down onto the beach and unloaded the animals, watching them make a beeline for the tide and swim off into the waves. I came home that day and told Trey all about it. It was some of the prettiest land I’d ever seen and convinced him we had to go back. We’ve visited there a lot since then, sometimes to walk on the beach, other times to whale watch from the cliffs high above the ocean, and sometimes just to get away from the urban sprawl of the city.
This weekend we put Jack in the back of the car and set out towards Point Reyes, stopping at a cute little place called The Garage in Fairfax to look at some local made goods, then driving further north through the redwoods. We got to the quaint town of Inverness and stopped to have some lunch. There’s always a crowd of people getting lunch at the little town strip, but we like to skip the lines and head to a deli/grocery store a little further down the road. There’s never a wait, the sandwiches are on par and there’s always an open picnic table outside to sit and eat. We got to Point Reyes with nothing on the agenda. It was the kind of day where you take your shoes off and have no real plans except sitting in the sand and throwing drift wood for your dog to chase. Jack had a blast running down the beach and up the dunes. He smiles all the time, everyone says. He’s technically panting most of the time, but when he’s out there chasing sticks and running around and he looks up at you with his mouth hanging wide open, it’s hard not to think he’s flashing a big ol’ smile our way.
Which in turn makes us smile, in the best kind of way.

Forest Wanderings

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It’s Friday, ya’ll…

..this weekend we’re hoping to do some adventuring down south in Half Moon Bay or Big Sur and maybe catch Interstellar in Imax. There’s a new yoga class down the street I’ve been wanting to try, so maybe I’ll hit that up as well. Since daylight savings time is upon us, I’ve been waking up early and getting outdoors with Jack. This morning we drove up to the woods near by, listening to Ira on NPR’s Science Friday and sipping lemon tea along the way. We met some sweet pups and people out on the trail who had the same idea as we did. I found a few fallen pine cones and stashed them away in my back pack for a diy project I have in mind (more on that later).

Have a splendid weekend!

A DIY Tripod Lamp

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The other day we dug an old surveyor’s tripod out of storage. We had picked it up a few years back from a Stanford grad student selling it on Craigslist. We loved the chipped old paint and wood and rustic hardware, and knew when we had more space we’d make it into a lamp. This past weekend we went to the hardware store in our neighborhood and bought an easy-to-assemble lamp kit and a large drum shade. I really like how it turned out, and the story behind it we get to tell. I’m a sucker for pieces that have a history. Now if I only knew what to name it…  My grandma used to tell me that if you give something a name you’re more likely to take good care of it. e.g also pictured: Blade the plant I strapped into the backseat of our car coming across the country, and Charlie the chesterfield couch whom I only met this past weekend but things are progressing nicely.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Surveyors tripod – Craigslist is riddled with them

Lamp kit – this is the one we used

Large lamp shade

Light bulb
Phillip’s head screw driver
Using the lamp kit is really straight forward and only requires a Phillip’s head screw driver to assemble. Depending on the size of your tripod and your personal preference, the lamp shade size and shape can vary. I chose to go with a large, 17″ diameter, 11″ height drum (not tapered) shade, that can be found here.

Fall Festivities

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October and November are my favorite months of the year. The leaves changing from vibrant green to golden yellows and reds, drinking fresh cider from the bottle while walking home from the market, watching spooky Halloween Dateline episodes, wearing flannels and boots and wooly socks. And balancing things on my dog’s head. Yep.

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Jack has this way about him. He’s calm and wise and really happy all the time. Like if buddha and yoda had a baby, you’d get Jack. I get asked a lot if he minds us putting things on his head, and he really doesn’t. He just goes with it, gobbling up the piece of turkey and praise we give him afterwards. It’s funny, having this little squatty sidekick that goes everywhere with you.  (Hu)man’s best friend and all. Here’s him being festive for fall and Halloween this week. And just incase you missed it, there’s more here and here.

…”AAAmmMmMMY…”

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I’m a Mummy.

… Happy Halloween!

welcome to the neighborhood

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Hello there. Apologies for the radio silence, we spent the week getting all moved into our new place and had to deal with some unanticipated moving drama. In the previous post I mentioned our car was broken into and laptop stolen. Well, this week our Uhaul truck was stolen. Yep, an entire large-sized moving truck. Trey’s vintage motorcycle was inside…the one he’d been fixing up for the past year. Luckily, we had unloaded almost everything else and just parked it for the night next to our place until we could return it in the morning (living in SF for six years had us weary of whether to leave it on the street or not, but Uhaul assured us it would be fine in Berkeley). It still hasn’t been found. So, it was a rough couple of days. Luckily the thieves targeted a couple of less-is-more kinda folks who don’t dwell in negativity…

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I wanted to share some photos I took while out and about in our new neighborhood yesterday. Despite what it sounds like, we actually live in one of the best neighborhoods in the area. We’re just a few streets over from a bunch of cute restaurants, cafes, shops, and an old school independent theater that I’m really excited to go to.

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Jack is already making friends with store-owners here. He thinks he’s invited inside everywhere he goes. He just swanks on in like a good friend you haven’t seen in a while, flashing that big ole’ toothy grin of his …“HEY!”…

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Table for two? ^

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Go Giants! ^

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I’m looking forward to exploring more around here and documenting the process of putting our new place together. We need a couch, for starters. Here’s my current seating situation:

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I am hopeful that as things start calming down we will regain some semblance of normalcy in our lives soon…(well, as normal as we get)… after 2 weeks on the road and 2 weeks in Airbnbs/hotels…we’re ready!

Ft. (Fun)ston

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This week has been eventful. We got the awesome place in the best part of town and are really excited to move in this weekend. After living out of suitcases and hotel rooms for the past three weeks, we’re all ready to move in somewhere more permanent. Then our car got broken into and that was crappy, but hey I’m excited to get my guitar and bike out of storage and actually eat food on real plates instead of plastic take out containers soon.
Yesterday, I took Jack out to Fort Funston, one of our favorite dog park/beaches in San Francisco. We were both in need of some time outdoors. He ran down the dunes and jumped in the tide, so stoked on life. I love how he sprints ahead and then turns back to make sure I’m coming too. Dogs really are the best form of therapy. I think I’ll keep him.