Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Cascal Restaurant Review

Downtown Mountain View has a ton of restaurants, but really not that much variety. Most of them are either Indian, Chinese, Thai, Mexican, or Sushi. There's a few exceptions, but for the most part that's what you've got. I'm a lover of savory food so I was pretty bummed to learn that there weren't a lot of more European influenced places (and the two I've been to weren't that impressive). However, when I learned there was a Tapas restaurant I nearly fell off my chair and practically ran out the door to go there for dinner. (For those of you who don't know, tapas means small plates. So think teeny tiny appetizer sized dishes that you can get a ton of and share and taste. Most places are Spanish, but there's also some other cuisines that do it too.) A few weeks later I had my first reservation at Cascal.

Since that first dinner there I've been back another four times and it has never disappointed. I've probably tried three quarters of the tapas menu and half the dessert menu (everything is great), but my personal favorites are the mushroom empanadas and stuffed dates (wrapped in bacon like most good Spanish food and stuffed with cheese). I also really like the goat cheese arepa (a corn cake with tomato chutney on top). Everything is rich and a great mix of flavors. I used to go a little crazy there because everything was so good, but usually my eyes were too big for my stomach so now I just eat two tapas and when it's dinner pray I've got enough space for dessert. I'm not always successful at that because their bread is also amazing and as a bread fiend I go a little overboard when I find bread that I like. I think the bottom line here is everything is delicious, so no matter what you order you will not be disappointed.

Whether you're there for lunch, a romantic dinner, or with a group of friends it's a great spot. It can get a little loud, which is sometimes annoying when you want to have a more serious conversation. But as an all purpose restaurant with great food, it's definitely high up there on my favorite places to go. Just make sure you get a reservation if you want to try it out. Any day of the week, once dinner time hits, there's a wait. Obviously everyone else knows it's really good too!

And now just a couple of pictures of the food from their website:

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

What did I wear Today? J Crew Edition

I'm doing this new thing where I attempt to smile at the camera rather than have a blank/deep concentration look on my face. We'll see how it goes, I'm really not a smiler.

So I have a confession, there's only one thing from this outfit that's from JCrew, but the mix of bright colors and plaid kind of reminded me of their window displays. They always have these overly colorful things going on and you wonder how those colors match or if you could pull it off without looking like an idiot. Here's my best attempt at not looking like an idiot...although I think the smile is not helping.

Jacket: Delia*s
Shirt: Anthropologie
Pants: J Crew (recent purchase)
Necklace: Anthropologie
Ring: Forever 21
Shoes: Modcloth

Believe it or not, these two Anthro things are 2 of the 4 Anthro things I owned before working there. Now...my purchases make up about half of my wardrobe. Haha.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Yesterday I...
1. Got so much homework and practicum application stuff done. Look at me being all productive and a good student!
2. Slept for 12 hours. Clearly I needed it.
3. Finished watching all of the Doctor Who reboot episodes. What am I going to watch now?!
4. Mailed the mix I made for Jen. Hope she enjoys it!
5. Listened to The Drums' self titled album about 10 times. Obviously I'm in the middle of a music addiction. Need more new-romanticesque music ASAP.

Today I...
1. Had class and learned all about Psychodynamic theory. It is one of the rare classes that I do not feel like spacing out for 3/4 of it. I think other people are not fans, but I love Attachment Theory and all things related to it. So I am loving all the things I'm learning and doing the psych-nerd thing of applying to EVERYONE I know.
2. Had a lunch date with Sahar, a friend from school. Everything on the menu of the place looks amazing, I may have to go 3 more times and then write a review of it.
3. Sent my brother a really long message about what I learned in class (see #1.) and it made me really miss him. He graduates from college this year. It would be really cool if I could convince him and my mom to give him $$ to travel with for his graduation gift. Maybe then we could go somewhere awesome this summer like Australia or Europe or something.
4. Will probably take a nap. I don't know what I like more than snuggling with the farm. Maybe if I do that but get to eat a cupcake at the same time?
5. Started a new self-care regimen. Teeth whitening strips, fancy face washing/moisturizing nighttime routine, moisturizing socks, booked a future massage that involves wine AND cheesecake for a friend and I, etc. etc...I'm starting to sound like a 40-something single woman...I only have TWO cats. Not twenty.

Tomorrow I...
1. Have a job interview. I really hope I do well and get the job. Can't beat a great opportunity with the obvious perks of being employed.
2. May have to work at Anthro. Can't decide if I want to go in or not. Making money is good. Waking up at 5:30am to do so is not so good.
3. Will be stopping by Anthro regardless because we are having a super sale for employees only. I think some sale items may be calling my name.
4. Am also stopping by the soccer story with Mike. Must replace my soccer bag that Batman peed all over before Saturday's game.
5. Speaking of cupcakes, I'm planning on going to Sprinkles and buying myself a box. I am skinny and I work hard at life. I deserve a treat...or a box full of them sometimes.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

What did I wear Today?

I know you've recently seen these pants, but I am really digging them right now and figured I could tell you about my new found love of colored denim.

Colored denim has been big for awhile now but it wasn't until November that I went out of my comfort zone and bought a pair. If you know anything about what my wardrobe has generally looked like over the last 10 years you'll know as much as I try to be seasonally appropriate with how I dress and pick up some of the California influences recently, I am very much a NYer. I routinely have to tell myself to stop buying black, grey, and navy blue clothes and get more color in there. So had these purple pants not been on super sale for us employees at work I'm not sure I would have had the guts to get them (I kind of wish I had also gotten the red ones at the same time. Oh well, live and learn). Some of my more close minded friends have poked fun, but most people love them and several at work followed my example and got them too. Definitely glad I made the purchase, although now I have the challenge of trying to create outfits with them that don't only feature neutral colored shirts...

Pants: AG @ Anthropologie
Tank: H&M
Blouse: Forever 21
Necklace: Modcloth
Cardigan: The Limited
Shoes (being blocked by 2/3s of the farm): DSW

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

When friends ask you to make you a mix...

One of my best friends of all time, Jen, and I have a relationship that is based on music. When we were 10 we met during flute lessons at school and we were stand partners in one ensemble or another all the way through senior year of high school. We suffered through our awkward phases on stage front in center of our middle school concert band and forged a really close bond by the time senior year came around sitting in the back of the high school's orchestra chatting about boys and life. Around that time we also started driving to the mall and aimlessly wandering around nice neighborhoods afterwards until the wee hours of the morning. I always supplied the tunes and Jen was always impressed with my knowledge of artists.

Once we went away to college we kept up our music traditions by talking about what my school's radio station was getting in the new bin (I was a DJ there) and I often made mixes for Jen. Once in awhile I'll still get requests. "You need to make me a mix! I'm dying for some good music and you have such great taste!" This week one such request arrived and of course I complied (within a few hours) because what music nerd doesn't like to make mixes for people? Anything to show off what we're listening to and rearrange the songs perfectly to suck people in and tap their feet to the beat.

And just in case you were wondering, here's what I came up with this time:

When I'm With You by Best Coast
Book Of Stories by The Drums
Bang Bang Bang by Mark Ronson And The Business Intl Featuring Q-Tip
Secret Lover by THAT WORK
Indestructible by Robyn
Cough Syrup by Young The Giant
Them Kids by Sam Roberts
It's A Lie by Fiction Plane
Hearts And Bones by Paul Simon
Carnival by The Cardigans
Goin' Out Of My Head by Little Anthony & The Imperials
Ferry 'cross The Mersey by Gerry & The Pacemakers
Past The Sleep by Company Of Thieves
West End Girls by Pet Shop Boys
Fantasy by Earth Wind & Fire
Blue Ridge Mountains by Fleet Foxes

Friday, January 20, 2012

Restaurant Review: Joanie's Cafe

My mom recently came to visit and on her last day in town we only had time for a nice breakfast before I had to take her to the airport. I had recently had brunch with a friend at another restaurant and suggested that, but after Googling "breakfast spots in Palo Alto" we found Joanie's Cafe and opted to go there instead just to try something new. (The promise of breakfast crepes also kind of won us over too.)

As their website boasts, Joanie's Cafe was voted best breakfast in Palo Alto. When we first arrived at the restaurant we were pretty shocked at how packed it was for a weekday morning (there were only two tables available, one of which we snagged). But if there's people there obviously had to be something to the website. Yet I remained cynical. The first thing I ever learned to cook was breakfast foods so I am a stickler when eating breakfast out, especially when it comes to eggs. Joanie's serves up a lot of traditional food (eggs benedict, omelets, french toast, etc.), and I must say does it really well. We each opted for a crepe with hash browns. The eggs were not too dry and the hashbrowns were crispy and buttery. Between bites we both kept saying how good the crepe was and ate every last bit of food on our plates (well...I helped my mom finish hers off). Either way, we both left overly stuffed and very happy. Needless to say I think I've found my new brunch spot, and considering I can afford to eat there even when my mom doesn't pay, I will definitely be going back.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Movie Review: Friends with Benefits

I never realized it until recently but I am a movie buff. I may not know tons of pop trivia as I do with music, but between dating two movie nerds and Netflix I have seen most things work seeing from the last 60 years. And while visiting my aunt this winter break we watched A LOT of movies, one of which was Friends with Benefits staring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis. (As a side note that break I also watched the similar themed No Strings Attached with my mom. Friends with Benefits was MUCH MUCH better.)

Timberlake plays Dylan who is persuaded to take a dream job in New York City by a head hunter, Jamie, played by Kunis. As Jamie teaches Dylan about all the amazing things the city has to offer, the pair become fast friends and continue to hang out after Dylan movies to the East Coast from L.A. But of course a movie is not a movie without a little bit of complication, so the friends eventually lament the perils of being single and decide to do something about it. Hilarity (and lots of it) then ensues.

Also, a fair warning, if you are squeamish even the slightest bit about sex, this is not the movie to watch with your next generation family member. There's lots of sex, lots of sex talk, and lots of strategically placed doors, sheets, etc. hiding lots of sex body parts. Eventually you get to a point where you want to scream at the TV, "I get it! You have a much better body than I do!!" Bottom line, don't watch it with your Grandma.

This movie is not meant to be a deep exploration of the pros and cons of casual sex. It is meant to be fun. Therefore the fun scenes are hilarious and extremely well acted by the two stars (who have great chemistry, I could see why there were lots of rumors around the time this movie came out). On the flip side, when things take a serious turn and periphery characters are introduced things feel a little muddy and awkward. But at the same time, the plot (or at least the basic aspects of the plot) are somewhat believable. Friends start off being friends, then you get drunk and deciding hooking up would be a great idea, but in the process of this and getting to know each other you form an emotional bond with the person and want more. The questions these friends then face are: Save the friendship, save your heart, or throw caution to the wind? Funny enough, despite the fact that the serious parts of the movie drag, when Timberlake and Kunis are alone and serious with each other, talking about their feelings or relationship their chemistry is so strong it picks the pace up and pulls you back into the movie. Maybe not the best rom-com ever, but definitely up there because of that. I'd love to see another movie made by these two again when they're a little bit older just to see if they could do it again.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What did I wear today?

Another clinic outfit. A girl who used to work at the store had a very 70s esthetic that I loved and after watching her outfits and reading lots of Harper's Bazaar I finally got enough courage/inspiration to make my own outfits. This has become one of my favorites and I always get lots of compliments on it (or at least I hope that's what they are and I'm not secretly being made fun of for my totally rad bell bottoms. Whatever, some people just don't have any sense of style.

Pants: Pilcro @ Anthropologie
Blouse: Anna Sui @ Anthropologie
Long Necklace: Anthropologie
Short Necklace: My birthday present from my Granny when I turned 5!
Ring: Forever 21
Shoes: Steve Madden circa 2006
And the every trusty Blazer from London

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Monday, January 16, 2012

An Outfit so Good, we Wore it Twice

A bunch of us went to Santa Cruz on Saturday to celebrate a friend's birthday by watching the 49ers game and then having a bonfire on the beach. Since I knew we'd be gone all day and I needed to be dressed for a sports bar but also be warm at night (it may be in the mid 60s during the day, but at night it's in the low 40s), I just wanted to be kind of blah and wear bluejeans and a t-shirt. Throw on a sweatshirt and be comfortable. But the one pair of jeans that fit me right now were still wet (I air dry 85% of my clothes to prevent shrinking and fading) so I had to actually attempt to make an outfit that wasn't completely horrible. I had been so dead set on my baseball tee and jeans that I a really hard time dressing myself. I rarely spent more than 5 minutes thinking up outfits and getting dressed, but for whatever reason I spent about 45 minutes figuring it out. Trying one thing on, discarding it, trying something else on, going back and forth almost like a logic puzzle. Sometimes I can't help but be a girl.

This is what I ended up coming up with:

I gotta say, I was pretty happy with the final product and thought to myself, that as simple as it was I would wear it again some time in the near future. Then I thought, "you know what, Sam has the purple pants too. And she's got combat boots. Maybe I'll change the shoes just in case she wears the pants, this way we're not exactly the same."

Well then this happened...

I guess that's how you know we're really good friends. We show up at a party wearing the same thing, completely unplanned. At least our shoes were different.

On me:

Pants: AG Jeans, the Stevie fit @ Anthropologie
T-shirt: H&M
Scarf: H&M (recent purchase)
Ring: Forever 21
Bracelets: Forever 21 (recent purchase)
Boots: Nine West @ Lord & Taylor
Flats: The Loft
Purse: Lord & Taylor

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Please Watch this Video

(and fall in love with this song)

I am obsessed.

Unfortunately I don't know much more about the New York based That Work (the band featured in this video). All I can do is Google and hope more information springs up the longer I wait.

Friday, January 13, 2012

What did I wear Today? New Year's Outfit

So unfortunately I had to work New Year's Eve which means by the time I was done I was too tired to go to anything. That was fine with me, though. I had a few invitations and I just wasn't in the mood to be up late and party. Especially because I had plenty of things to do the next day and I needed to be up early and have energy for that. Brunch with my friend Kevin, SF for the day to explore with Charlie, and I had to be back in time to cook a quick baked brie for dinner with my friends Samantha (Sam) and Sophia.

Now if I had the energy to go out for the night afterwards I thought it would be fun to dress my work outfit a little bit and show you what I might have done to transition it. So here are my day/night looks.

Pants: BDG high rise skinny jeans at Urban Outfitters
Tank Top: The Gap
Blouse: Forever 21 (recent purchase)
Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell circa 2007
Necklace: Anthropologie
Bracelets: Gifts from my Granny and Sam

Shoes: Steve Madden (recent purchase)
Blazer: a shop in England

Not really as fancy as one might like for NYE, but good for a bar date or something.

And just a couple of pictures from our excursion to the city Sunday afternoon. Charlie and I walked around North Beach which is the Little Italy section of San Francisco. Tons of Italian restaurants (obviously) and cute little shops. After walking down the main road we circled back on the side ones and saw tons of cool vintage shops, vinyl stores, and a couple of cool bars too. Definitely a place I want to go back to with some friends.

Charlie checking out the view.

His view.

Hope you guys did something fun too!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Album Review: Torches by Foster the People

I think by now just about everyone has heard "Pumped Up Kicks" on the radio and "Don't Stop" in that car commercial on TV. No matter what you can't get away from this band and "Pumped Up Kicks" is probably one of the most overplayed songs on the radio from the last 6 months. That being said, I almost didn't even bother giving this album a listen to because I am so sick of that song. But then a coworker at Anthropologie played a few songs off the album in the stock room one morning and I was hooked. The album was added to my "must buys" the next time I splurged on music. Come Cyber Monday Amazon took a lot of my money, this album obviously being one of my purchases.

Over the last few months I've been really into dancey pop-rock and rock with a soul/funk twist on it. Torches by Foster the People met those requirements. A little bit poppier than the electronic heavy Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix by Phoenix that was released a few years ago so more of the album is accessible, but otherwise the two bands sound extremely similar down to the high-pitched female-range male lead singers. At any rate this is definitely the album to get you in a good mood on a Saturday night or a sunny Spring morning and several of the songs would be great for a party or work out mix. Hipster, music nerd, wannabe, or not this a great happy album that just about anyone can appreciate.

Standout Tracks: I Would Do Anything for You & Houdini

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What did I wear Today? Back to School Edition

Back to school means back to the clinic. Last quarter I wasn't very good about capturing my professional attire...or posting in general, but I'm going to try to be better about that over the next 3 months as I only have 3 months left in the clinic before my tenure is up. Got to get those outfit posts in while I can!

This is the outfit I wore on one of my first days back.

Skirt: Express circa 2007
Shirt: Express
Cardigan: Forever 21
Shoes: Forever 21
Ring: H&M (last year)
Belt: Banana Republic (recent purchase)

Definitely have that librarian look going for me.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Topnotch Topshop

Every time I go home I have one regret, something I didn't have enough time to do, someone I didn't have enough time to see. This trip I don't know how I did it, but I managed to squeeze in soooo much into 5 days. I ran around like a crazy person seeing friends, lounged around with my brother, ate at all my favorite restaurants, saw tons of family. I was there for 5 days but it seems more like 2 it went by in such a blur. However, I do regret not going into NYC earlier my last day there so I had time to go to one of my favorite stores, TopShop. While there are tons all over Europe, the US only has one in the Soho area of New York City. That makes it a shop I must stop at if I'm ever doing serious damage to my credit card there. Although, as I said, I didn't do either this last trip. My credit card probably breathed a sigh of relief.

Out of curiosity last night I checked out the store's website to see what I missed and it only further fueled my regret. Unfortunately I have no money, nor do I know how the store is sized well enough to order anything off of their website so I won't be ordering anything. But if I could, here's a few of the things I might consider.

I think this kind of accurately reflects my style right now which is a mixture of all over the place and a little bit of a modern glam take on the 20s. I blame my recent trip to the Chicago Institute of Art, Midnight in Paris, and Fashion Zen blog for that. It'll be interesting to see some of the outfits I come up with starting next week when the clinic reopens.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Patience is not a Virture

I realize that my impatience is not so much a flaw, but a product of a philosophy of how I live my life. If I were to die tomorrow, I'd rather die happy knowing that I got a chance to do all of the things I ever wanted to do than be miserable in a constant state of waiting. This is why I spend my money, rush around, and push people to do things. I just want to fill what little time we have with good things.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Best things about 2011

Seems like everyone is doing one of those "best of" lists so I figured I'd throw one together too. This, though, is not a best of one kind of thing list but more of a best of my entire year list.

Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes - A mixture of Simon and Garfunkle, CSNY, and the Beach Boys, Fleet Foxes has become one of my favorite bands ever. I absolutely loved their first album and scooped up their second the moment it was released. As far as I'm concerned it's a neo-folk classic. The songs have amazing harmonies that all pull from influences of the 60s. A great chill-out album, if you're into music at all you will not be disappointed. I saw them live in the Spring and the music translated perfectly. These guys are extremely talented musicians and I can't wait to see what they do in the future.

Rolling in the Deep by Adele - I know every other person on Earth is talking about Adele right now. She has single handedly kept the music business alive this year and given people hope that there is real talent still out that to be appreciated by the masses. With a song like this one, though, how could you not love this girl? A powerful song about being scorned by an ex-lover, the driving beat and vocals are infectious. And she looks like something from another, more glamorous era! I love that she tries to look as fabulous as she sounds. I hope she wins every Grammy she's nominated for.

Midnight in Paris - Set in both modern day and 1920s Paris, this movie is part fantasy part coming of age film. The main character, a writer, has to chose between his current life and one which he has always dreamed of. A scenario sometimes we are confronted with, the character's choice is somewhat unexpected but still reflects who he is as a person and who he wants to be. Shot beautifully, this may be my favorite Woody Allen film (not that I've seen all of them, but I've definitely seen a ton). And Owen Wilson is the perfect replacement for Woody Allen starring in his own films. He plays the awkward, slightly neurotic character perfectly and he's much better looking too.

Once Upon a Time - If you are not watching this show yet, let me ask you a question. Is there something wrong with you? This show is amazing. While I do admit that it inherently appeals to girls more because of the fairy tale theme, it truly has something for everyone. Action, swords, spells, romance, drama, mystery, awesome costumes, death, you name it. Brought to you by some of the people who were behind LOST, this is LOST-light. Told with a series of present-day and flashback scenes, you only get part of the story and are constantly left wanting more without the confusing randomness of polar-bears on a tropical island. Definitely my new favorite TV show.

Quandry Wine by Trefethen - Not that I know a lot about wine (I've been to Napa a handful of times now, so I'm really only at the novice level. I can really only tell you what I like and don't like), but this wine is delicious. I'm not sure where you can buy this besides at the winery or the website, but for lovers of sweet, crisp, light white wine this is a must. Better than Reisling as it doesn't taste as sugary, it's my go-to when I want to crack open a bottle for dinner or just to relax. I've gotten several bottles so far and will probably buy more until it is sold out (it's a limited edition vintage). Then I'll go back to Trefethen to find a new favorite, as I've never had something I didn't like there.

- How could I not include this little guy on the list? Granted it took me months to house train him, he has chewed tons of my stuff including a brand new Blackberry, and made the cats lives hell for awhile, but he eventually won us all over. Loyal, loving, and attached at my hip he may be the only dog I will ever truly love. I call him cat dog because he loves to sleep and his temperament matches Lulu's; I think he thinks he's really a cat (even though the real cats know better). He's definitely an integral part of the farm and provides everyone with hours of entertainment and affection. We've had our bumps in the road, but at this point I'm not sure what I would do without him...maybe have cleaner carpets?

Friends - Ok, so I know I said this on Thanksgiving, but really, 2011 will go down as the year of the friends for me. Last winter I made my goal for the quarter to make some friends and be a more social person. I started going out to anything and everything the kids in my class put together and in the process met some awesome people and have found a ton of best friends. We do things like:

Go bowling wearing dumb tshirts.

Celebgrate my birthday 80s style.

Get wasted in Vegas 6 hours after we're done with finals.

Buy my brother shots for his 21st birthday.

Pretend we're an episode of the Jersey Shore.

Put up with each other when we're cranky, smelly, and gross after walking around during 90 degree weather. These two put up with me for a lot of other reasons too, they're definitely my favs.

2011 was pretty good, but I'm sure 2012 will be even better!
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