Monday, March 31, 2014

March 2014

I've really enjoyed March - lots of stuff going on with various jobs, decorating around the house (nesting???), visiting with friends. I'm feeling great at this point in the pregnancy which helps, I'm sure. Though I do have that bloodhound scent detection thing this time, and it is the pits!

Heard: SO much good music this spring! New (to me) artist discoveries: Sarah Jarosz, Michael Kiwanuka, Lo-Fang, Yasmine Hamdan, Bry Webb, Jetta, and St. Paul and the Broken Bones. New music from Elbow, Lily Allen (single from forthcoming album), James Vincent McMorrow, and great random (compilation/soundtrack) songs from Vampire Weekend, Laura Mvula, and Dusty Springfield. I've been jamming to it all, but I loved almost the entire album by Lo-Fang (since when does that happen anymore?) and the album cover, so here's a song from it. I love the vein of music in recent years that is so complex in sound like Alt-J and this guy, among others. I'm crazy about how this song changes drastically half way through.

Watched: I can hardly believe I went to the theater TWICE this month! Jonas and I saw Her, which I didn't love as much as I thought I would. I thought the interaction between real humans in the movie was amazing and I loved the "feel" of the movie, but I did not love the main relationship or any parts involving the computers - honestly, they reminded me of regular long distance relationships, but I found them manipulative and less engaging than the rest of the movie. Maybe that was the point? We also saw the Grand Budapest Hotel with our friends Jon and Michelle and the other 15 hipsters in Santa Maria. It was a great movie, incredibly funny and full of that perfect Wes Anderson dark charm. I especially enjoyed the winter scapes throughout. We finally got around to watching the Artist with our friends the Youngbloods. I was skeptical that a silent film would hold my interest, but it totally did! It's a worth a watch, though I never felt a great connection to the characters.

Tasted: I'm back to cooking a lot and trying many new recipes, which I thing comes with the excitement of spring and not having school in my work mix for the time being. I'm also very excited to be food blogging for Edible SLO magazine and learning/trying new things as I do more and more Pampered Chef shows. You can follow some of my PC adventures and see pictures of what I'm cooking on my Facebook page. Some of my favorite things I made and ate this month:
  • A potato salad with salmon and dill (that I made up, no recipe to post for now!).
  • This Martha Stewart meal, particularly the clementine granita and curry noodles. I didn't have yellow curry paste, so I made it myself and it was WOW. I already had a home-made dry spice blend and just added it to some of the fresh ingredients suggested in that post. 
  • These simple lemon cookies with a knock-out glaze.
  • Yellow fruit salad which also made great smoothies when added to vanilla ice cream. 
  • Roasted sweet-and-spicy parsnips
  • My friend Danielle introduced me to this fabulous fruit dip
  • I whipped up a crazy-good beach picnic meal with pita sandwiches filled with curried chicken, tzatziki, and Israeli carrot-celery root slaw. Oh, and don't forget the Virgil's root beer! 
  • My mama made this Massaman curry and I made the accompanying papaya salad
  • My dad made an incredible Uygur pilo from an old recipe my mom kept from China and the help of this video. I'm dying to have more. I cruelly crave Uygur food when pregnant, and there are very few places on earth where you can find it. 
  • I was also craving tacos one day and we had killer ones at our local Vallarta supermarket, accompanied by TO-DIE-FOR pineapple agua fresca. Vallarta also happens to have fresh coconuts most of the time which hit the spot, every single time. If you're ever there, you must take time to gawk at their tortilla making machine (and grab a fresh bag, of course) and admire their displays of seafood and strange candy-colored puddings and relishes all encased in rows. 
  • And lastly, we had a blast making a French dinner to accompany our viewing of the Artist with our friends. Jessa made amazing beef burgondy and brioche, and I braised leeks and made "meh" blood orange creme brulee. 
Before we're completely off the topic of food, I'm not a big fan of the term "food porn" or any such similar terms, but I do kind of get starry eyed about websites like this.

Great tips on when to book flights.
Much of the country is still battling snow. If only we all got to see snow flower fields

I'm in the middle of about 10 books, plus a list as long as my arm of things I "should" read, but I must say I pick my list more like this than by any desire to read X amount of classics. 
I love this look at how the Chinese view America. "No fondling furnishings!"
My kind of "mom underwear". Swoon! 
I so much admire a perfect pairing, and this tumblr meshes fashion and every day life flawlessly. I could loose myself for hours here. 

Two other fashion images I've been gaga about this month, though so very different (1, 2). I'm contemplating piercing my nose again, I miss it!

  • We had our last GC (Bible study) meeting at the group we had been a part of, which was bittersweet. It was the right time for the group to disband, but we will miss it! Thankful for all we learned there and looking forward to the next step at our church.
  • I was able to help out with the second annual Cinderella's Closet event our church put on, which was fun, as always! It provides an opportunity for girls in high school to come pick out a free prom dress, and when all the girls are done, I get to pick out vintage (mostly 80s!) stuff that no one else would wear, which is a nice perk. More importantly, I think they gave away close to 200 dresses this year! Donations of your old prom, bridesmaid, or fancy dresses are welcome all year around. 
  • I got to attend a bachelorette party for one of Jonas' coworkers which was tons of fun and gave me ideas for my sister Annelise's eventual pre-wedding shenanigans! 
Ishmael: He's figured out how to smell things (as opposed to just licking them), and he can make about 10 animal noises when quizzed with their names or just seeing their pictures. Just as I was giving up all hope, he's decided on his own that he's interested in wearing shoes and often clomps around the house in only one shoe. He's able to mix sounds and hand-signs to be fairly specific about what he wants, and is better and better about saying the first consonant followed by an "owh" sound for his more commonly used terms like "more." He can wave and say "hi" to accompany his expert "bye"-saying now, too. He's also been throwing his hands out in front of him and freezing them in a karate chop move while saying "kaa!". We don't know what it means, but we all think it's funny. He's great about "helping" blow his own nose or wipe during diaper time (eek!) and is very cooperative when it's time to get dressed or undressed. He loves to throw his own trash away or throw things away for us if we ask him to. He was SO excited to visit our friend Amber who has 3 cats - he positively beamed the entire time he was chasing them around. Putting him to bed is generally a breeze (as long as he has a small blanket, though it doesn't have to be a particular one) but I still cracked up over how to put your toddler to bed in 100 easy steps. Baby Boy #2 is very wiggly, and I think that's about all there is to say about him at this point! He's basically a dream to carry for now, and he seems to like Thai and Mexican food.

Loved: Rain, time with girlfriends, Jonas' latest hobbies of building a koi pond and experimenting with copic markers, good talks on a date, having good talks with my mama, a clean-ish and decorated house!, and gaining confidence about presenting in front of other people. 

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