I guess our place isn't small.

I thought our place was small, but this takes the cake.

I don't know if we're going to downsize to 100 sq. ft., but sometimes smaller is not so bad.

Plumbing problem? Are you sure?

As many of my friends know, I am a night owl. I do a majority of my creative work at night. Something about the quiet allows me to be the most productive. This means I sleep in most days.... that is until my landlord decided to dig up the yard to "fix" a plumbing problem. First, he tore down the beautiful tree that shaded our bedroom. He stated that the tree's roots had wrapped themselves around the plumbing pipes and were causing problems with water pressure in the front house. Uh... ok. We were sad to see the tree go, but what can we do? We don't own the joint.

Apparently, that didn't fix the problem. So, Monday morning I was rudely awakened to the sound of workers outside. At first, they were just digging in the dirt by our bedroom. No biggie. I'll survive. Dottie was not happy about it and wanted to bark at every little noise. I went about my day the best that I could. Tuesday, I was jarred out of sleep by the sounds and vibrations of jackhammers!!! Yes, jackhammers. Our place is a poorly made shack. My bedroom reverberated as though Dottie and I were trapped inside of a blender. It was the worse possible way to wake up. The best part? They started this at 7:45AM. We took shelter in the living room which is on the other side of the house. This gave us a teeny bit of a sound buffer. We caught some more ZZzzzzs and went about our day. Yesterday, there was minimal digging, but we were informed they were turning the water off for a few hours. Okay no biggie.

We are on Day 4 of our Landlord's plumbing disaster. They gave us 5 minutes warning that the water was being shutoff. Rob was able to get a quick shower. Me, I wasn't so lucky. So, I'm off to the gym and will have to shower there. Blech:P

I am so annoyed. Rob talked to the laborers who stated they aren't certified plumbers?! WTF?! Apparently, they're just digging around where our landlord tells them to dig and supposedly they're going to help him "redo" the pipes. Good lawd! We are really in for some bad times.

Here's some photos of the disaster.



To get out of the construction zone, I've taken the dogs out for longer run/walks.

Don't they look like happy campers?

Here's the view that I've been treated to.

Let's keep our fingers crossed and hope that we won't have to look at this for too much longer.


Rob's Cooking - October Edition

Photo 3
Looking like a hot mess and playing with my food

Rob's been fairly busy this month. This means the gourmet meals at home have been few and far between. I have been left to fend for myself. {Throws self to the ground} Don't worry about me. I'll think of something.

Seriously, as much as I love my husband's cooking, it's a little too rich for me to eat on a day to day. Also add that his cuisine while delicious is not conducive to weight loss. He can eat his own cooking all day. Rob, like most men, has the metabolism of an army of hummingbirds. Contrary to popular belief, I can cook...palatable meals. I won't be cooking at the Emmy's, but it's good enough for me and when he's really tired edible enough for Rob.

Here are some of what he's prepared in the last couple of weeks. These weren't all cooked on the same day.

Pork Tenderloin with Mandarin Orange & Cranberry Chutney
served with brown rice and yellow and green beans

Crostini with Manchego Cheese, Spanish Dry Chorizo, and Sundried Tomatos

Mediterranean Inspired Salad with Artichokes, Hearts of Palm, Roma Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives and Red Onions topped with Bulgarian Feta Cheese

Bresola Rolls stuffed with Field Greens, Pine Nuts and Blue Cheese

This month also marks the first time Rob has participated in a food competition. He assisted his co-worker Cheryl in her entry to 4th Annual Smokin' in the Park in Viejas, California.

Cheryl is the owner of Auntie Shoe's Bodacious BBQ. Rob was her prep cook and assistant. Smokin' in the Park was a fairly large event. There were 52 teams in the competition. Auntie Shoe's Bodacious BBQ took 21st overall. They placed 9th out of 52 in the Ribs category. In order to have the perfect pieces for the judges to taste, they made A LOT of barbecue. A good portion of the leftovers came home with Rob. It was good, but I have to say that I won't be having any barbecue anytime soon. We had enough leftovers to last us a week and that's after we shared some with our neighbors and friends. There is such a thing as too much smoky goodness.

Cheryl preps chicken for the judges


9th place ribs

18th Place Chicken

Thanksgiving is coming up. So let's hope my personal chef will be available to cook our Thanksgiving dinner;)

In search of....

This morning I trekked out to my favorite part of town --the Flower Mart and Fashion District. I went to meet some clients friends frients( friends-clients?!). Carmela and Nina were on missions to find items for their upcoming weddings and I was along as a tour guide of sorts. This is not to say I wasn't on a mission of my own. Getting out and looking at flowers, fabric and notions gives me a lot of ideas.

While waiting for Carmela and Nina to arrive from the O.C., I perused the Flower Mart. I didn't buy any flowers. I knew I had a long day ahead of me and was afraid they'd wilt and look sad. I did pick up these.


I plan to use them for a project I'm cooking up. More on that later.

Eventually, I met up with Carmela and Nina. We headed for Michael Levine's. Along the way, we looked at crystals and beads.


This block is fascinating. There are several fabric vendors on the way to Michael Levine. The fabrics range from who-did-it-and-why? to oh-so-chic. It makes for a good laugh and a good source of inspiration.


I found and bought these two pieces of fabric. Again, more info on their purpose later.

Joel Dewberry for Westminster Fabrics - Ginseng Collection

After 3 hours of meandering and bargain hunting, we headed to Little Tokyo for sustenance. We arrived at around 3. This limited our options since most of the restaurants are closed between 3 and 5pm. We ended up at a Korean BBQ/Sukiyaki/Shabu-Shabu house. I guess it's an Asian Barbecue house? It's a strange combo for a restaurant, but the food was surprisingly good. The portions were huge.

Carmela's Beef Barbecue

My Chicken Teriyaki

Nina gets ready to enjoy her lunch

Afterwards, we went and got some Mochi. Originally, we were going to get original style Mochi from Fugetsu-do, but it was so hot that we went for the ice cream variety.

My Green Tea Ice Cream Mochi

Carmela enjoys her Mochi

After lunch and dessert, we spent the next several hours gossiping and somewhat discussing their upcoming projects with me. I had a great time. I couldn't have asked for better company and seeing different materials has got the creative juices flowing. Let's hope my next couple projects end up as beautifully executed as they are in my head;)

Naughty Dottie

Dottie knows she is in BIG TROUBLE

I am happy to say I have completed Week Two of Running with the Dogs. Between Kevin's pushing and the dogs pulling, I've moved up to running 2.5 miles. It's not huge, but it's an improvement for me. I have also have taken to running with Dottie by myself. I have found that running without company allows Dottie to pay more attention to me and my control commands. Ergo, no pulling.

Today I ventured out for a nice run sans companions. I got Dottie geared up and we were off and running so to speak. After successfully completing a 1.5 mile loop, I decided that was all I could handle. I could tell Dottie was not tired. So, I extended our walk. We went another quarter mile when Dottie just threw herself to the ground. I was completely panic-stricken. I thought Oh God! My dog is having a seizure! She was rolling from side to side and finally stopped belly up. When I bent down to check on her, I realized what just happened. My nasty dog had decided to roll in fish fertilizer. I was unbelievably angry. If I could have beat my dog, I would have. (I kid, but I was crazy mad.) Meanwhile she is smiling and proud of herself. Does smelling like rotting fish give her street cred? We ran back to the truck. So much for taking it easy.

Rob didn't even get a opportunity to greet us because Dottie's stench got to him first. I illicited my revenge. Before her leash could even be hung up, she was off to the bathroom for a dreaded bath. 3 rounds of soap and rinse and she was squeeky clean... much to her dismay. Because she knows I am mad, she's been bringing me all her toys as a peace offerings. Naughty dog, that isn't enough. She's been exiled off the couch for now. Once she dries off, she'll be allowed back on. Underneath it all, I'm a softie. I'm relieved to have gotten rid of the dead fish smell. Blech!

Now, I just need to remember to steer clear of newly fertilized lawns!

A very Asian affair

This past Saturday I assisted my friend Paola of Just Chic Events. She was in need of a second assistant and I happily obliged.

Paola in action

Saturday's wedding was a multicultural affair. T+J are of Chinese and Korean descent. They had several activities that honored their cultural backgrounds such as a Chinese Tea Ceremony and a Korean Pyebaek in addition to a Traditional Western Wedding Ceremony.

The newly married T + J

My assistance was only needed for the reception. The reception was held at a Chinese Banquet Hall/Restaurant in Cerritos. The venue was surprisingly elegant with tall ceilings and rich wood paneling. This wedding was small by Asian standards with 180 guests. However, it was enough to keep Paola, Lindsay (her other assistant), and me busy. Dinner service included a 10 course Chinese Wedding Banquet served family style on lazy susans. The dance floor was packed with T + J's college friends and a few of their older relatives. All in all, it was a gorgeous event with many well-executed details.

I had fun working this event. Paola, if you need me again, don't hesitate to call;)

Here are some of my pics.

An overview of the room

Cake by Van's Bakery, Flower Decor by Flower Allie

Sweetheart Table- Florals by Flower Allie

Low Centerpiece with Table Number designed by a San Diego designer

Tall Centerpiece

Placecards designed by a San Diego designer & Guestbook Platform

My favorite kind of wedding favor - Candy Buffet

My workout has gone to the dogs...

I'm still fighting the good fight. I have blogged previously that my sessions with the personal trainer did not go so hot. Not to be defeated, I've found a new trainer.

Meet Piper the Shiba Inu.


Piper belongs to our good friend Kevin.

Cute isn't she? I know that looking at her evokes this kind of imagery.
I'm sure if she could surf the net and see this, Piper would be angry.

This is probably a better representation of Piper and her "preferred image"

With a perfectly wonderful and athletic dog of my own, why would I be using someone else's dog as my personal trainer? The answer is quite simple. I can't keep up with Dottie. Once we start running, my overexuberant 65lb. dog becomes a force to be reckoned with. Instead of getting a nice paced run, I am DRAGGED. It makes for a very poorly paced workout and very sore arms. This is not exactly the workout I was thinking of.

This past week I was told it was suggested that I take Dottie out for her daily walks. Dottie always goes for a walk with Piper. It was Kevin's brilliant idea that we trade dogs for these walks. Dottie runs at a pace that he likes and Piper, in theory, was a better pace for me. The walk isn't the right term. They are most definitely runs. I thought I was off the hook with Piper, but she is definitely a little powerhouse. She does not like to be left behind. This means that I have to keep up a nice jog lest she nip my ankles. Trust me when I say this is not pleasant. Piper has sharp little teeth. In a week, we've started to build a nice cadence and pace.

With a week under my belt, this isn't so bad. The first 3 days were rough --not want to vomit and die rough, but definitely challenging. I was cramped and sore, but I've kept moving. I'm also still going to the gym to lift weights. The goal is to eventually be able to run with my own dog. It sounds simple, but if you've seen Dottie in action you'd understand.

Dottie on the Trail

Now, I guess I'll need to stock up on dog treats;)

Something to Ponder

"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." - Aesop

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

I know that typically this blog is largely humorous and light-hearted. My life is complex, but I choose to leave the heavier topics for private conversations. Believe or not, there is quite a bit that I keep close to the vest. This is one instance where I'll take a break from the regularly scheduled programing.

A few months ago, I registered for Blog Action Day. This year's topic is Poverty. I initially thought. Geez! This is a tough and heavy topic. What could I say that would remotely make a difference. I thought I'd talk about the working poor and welfare reform. However, I don't know nearly enough about those topics to speak with authority or eloquence. Then, I was reminded that the even the smallest actions can make a difference. I decided that it was about time I made good on one of my New Year's resolutions. I registered as volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

I chose Habitat for Humanity because they seemed to have a tremendous impact on families that are trying to elevate themselves. Additionally, I wanted a tangible way of being involved in my community. Thankfully, I have spent many summers helping my dad repair and remodel my parents' rental property. Although, I am bit nervous about signing on for this because my constructions skills are rusty. I also signed on to help with office work and graphic design services. Here's hoping they're going to call on me more for the latter rather than the former. Either way, I'll be sure to share my experiences.

Not to be left out, Rob will also be volunteering his cooking skills to a local non-profit that works with the homeless. The details haven't been secured. So, I won't name the organization just yet. Although, he is adamant that I mention that he is not volunteering during the holidays. Not because it's hectic, but because we both feel that non-profits are more than covered during that time of the year. It's easy to remember "those less fortunate than us" around the holidays, but what about the rest of the year?

So, in the middle of your hectic life, give volunteering a thought. Because the little things make a difference and sometimes a little perspective never hurt. If you want to find something closer to where you live and your skills and abilities, check out www.volunteermatch.org.

Okay, I'll step off of my soapbox now.

The end of an era

When I first starting posting on the knot last year, Janice was also a "newbie" to the boards. She is a part of the remarkable group of women that I constantly talk about. She is the last among our group to tie the knot. We have all had the privilege of watching her plan her wedding and have waited in anticipation with her for her Big Day. I especially have had some insider knowledge since I helped design much of her paper accessories.

photo by Katie Ryan

The wedding was in Santa Ynez Valley, California aka The Central Coast. The ceremony was held at the Mission Santa Ines. Although Janice and J.D. had opted for a traditional Catholic mass and ceremony, they added a small personal touch at the end of the ceremony. They exited with Mikey and Minnie Mouse Wedding ears!

photo by Katie Ryan

The reception was held at the Crossroads Estate at the Firestone Vineyards. It was picturesque and nestled in rolling hills. The reception was filled with many unique details Some of these personal touches were Simpsons escort cards and table numbers, Simpsons cake topper, frog picture frames as favors, and a Grand Entrance through fog to "Vader's Theme" from Star Wars. Janice and J.D. conceptualized and planned all these details. This made for a reception that was very "Janice & J.D."

Since they were both so creative, the only things I had a hand in can be found here.

the new Mr. & Mrs. JD R.
photo by Katie Ryan

Janice Wedding-3
Keren, me, Ali, Jordana, and Paola

Janice Wedding-27
Me, Ali & Wendy

Since it was a winery wedding, we all drank to our hearts content. I think these photobooth pics give a little idea of how much of a good time we all had.

Janice Wedding-49

Janice Wedding-51

Janice Wedding-52

For the truly curious, here's a slideshow of my pictures and a few pictures taken by Janice's sister-in-law Katie.

It was amazing to see all of Janice's ideas come to fruition and celebrate with her and JD. It was, however, bittersweet at the end of the night. Our group didn't have any more weddings. Then again, I guess we'll just have to come up with new reasons to celebrate. Either way, this wedding was memorable.

Congrats again to Janice and JD!