Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Blame It On Your Selfie

On Saturday night we went to Kenny'n'Mike's for champers, bloody orange salad and lamb shanks and I was looking forward to wearing my grey cardy. I was aiming for that nubby knit with sparkly shoes look (that's a look right?) but after I took a selfie on my i-Phone I realised it was more Val Doonican on crack.

Val Doonican-aning of an evening

Stairway to Kenny'n'Mike's  house

The Fairisle cardy (part of my Barneys sale haul in New York) was Alpaca and turned out to be scratchy around the neck so I wore my white shirt collar up a la Carolina Herrera which is not really me. Still, I like the sweater but how to exorcise Val D? They should have an auto correct for this. Thoughts?

Cy, nine, and I "won" (paid for) a tour of Pixar (Brave, Cars, Monsters Inc. Toy Story, Incredibles) which is just down the road. Pete Doctor, the "head drawrer" as Cy would say, told us his current film (each one takes four years) is Inside Out, inspired by his wondering what goes on in the head of his teen daughter, Ellie.  All the characters are emotions, such as fear and shame.

We saw grown men on scooters zooming around with their drawrings under their arm and playing ping pong and fuseball to get inspiration. They let our kids have at it in the cereal room where shockingly they all chose to feast on cocoa pops.

Cy at Pixar

The weekend San Francisco Chronicle featured my article on a family who remodeled their Muir beach home for six years (!) while still living there (talk about Brave!)

House of angles, Muir Beach. Photo: Cesar Rubio

Also my article on Berkeley designer Erica Varize who is teeny weeny (106lbs and 4ft11) but is known for making clothing that is super flattering to all women, employing a cornucopia of tricks like rushing, draping and cutting on the bias. Erica had just got back from Uganda where she taught 20 young orphans to sew so they can get jobs later on. She told me: "I was amazed at their attitudes, not giving up, not playtime breaks and no whining." Wish my kids could learn from them... but as my friend says you can't replicate hardship for your own children...or can you?

My article on designer Erica Varize
Two of the children Erica taught to sew. Photo: Erica Varize

Loved Heidi's post today about her reno.... the wallpaper, people! We had considered two wallpapers when we reno-ed four years ago. Inspired me to get them out again. Too much? Too little? Too late?

Seating area in our kitchen. Whaddaya reckon about these two wallpapers?

The winds changed (talking of winds it's been dry and windy for months here, eerily so) and Kevin took out the slow cooker out of it's packaging (we bought it a year ago).  After eating our first slow cooked chicken meal, Cy said "You're a good cooker Dad" and (not being a smartarse, just enquiring) asked me: "Have you ever thought about doing one of those things called recipe, Mum?" I'm a confirmed chef de assemblage with only a limited portfolio of recipes (two here) but even I'm tired of myself. I sent out a plea for tried and true recipes that can be encapsulated in one line - the only kind I do.

Mike's Trio of Orange salad: blood, cara cara, and navel orange, green onion sliced thin, Marash pepper flake, orange vinaigrette and fleur du seil (whatever that is)

Have you got one for me?

50 comments:

  1. Looks like Cy had some fun there!

    Great article, Jody! Congrats! Your friends' house is great. May I have that space age kitchen, please?

    I tried to find a link to the other article, but couldn't. It seems like another interesting piece that I would love to read.

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    1. Hi Rose, there is no link to Erica article, sadlythey are not doing the East bay section online? (I know.) Old skool.

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  2. Thanks for the mention- glad I've inspired you to get out the wallpaper for another viewing! I think we need to see more of the room (and the wallpaper on the left) to see what it would look like. But as I said, artwork and wallpaper go well together if the colours work with each other.
    My kids would be beside themselves to get into pixar... lucky Cy! xx
    Dying laughing at Cy's comment on whether you've tried a recipe before. My usual every day dinner repertoire is very simple. The chicken in my post was very simple, but very tasty. I highly recommend the Ottolenghi cookbook. It will remind you of your time in London too...

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  3. Love Fair Isle but cannot have it near me, it's so so scratchy!
    What a stunning looking home, I absolutely love it. I always wonder how I'd cope without curtains at night with that sort of expanse of glass, does anyone ever do blinds/shutters or is that just a no no in houses like that?

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    1. Hi Tabitha, we don't have curtains either and it does feel too open when I'm here at night by myself (though we have black out blinds in bedroom) The neighbours just chopped down their tallest tree (at our behest) and now they can see quite clearly into our bathroom. Needless to say they keep all their curtains shut and will probably do so until huge tree is replaced.

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    2. Plus Fair Isle! had no idea it was spelled that way. So there is something in the way it's knat that means its scratchy too?

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  4. J.- If those are my two choices of wall paper.... the brown w/blue squiggles (which may be stylized flowers or leaves?).
    disclaimer: I've never chosen wallpaper for our home. I like it. Just like artwork more and wrestle with spending $ on both.
    Googled Val D. - translation for others US born and raised, could be he shared Andy Williams wardrobe. YOU, did NOT. Funny though, that he came to your mind. Maybe he wore sparkly shoes in private?

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Hi Linda, I like that one too, it suits the best I reckon. YOur right, its pricey and tricky to spend money on two things on your wall....Andy Williams is the US sweater wearing crooner equiv as well as Pat Booone maybe?

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  5. This is one of the most delicious slow cooker recipes ever. I do it with a turkey leg which is quite cheap, and get the butcher to chop the end off so it'll fit in the pot.
    http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Slow-Cooker-Honey-Sesame-Chicken-470735

    The boys can't get enough of it. I serve it with pilau rice (with turmeric), but as it's shredded, it can be put in wraps and sarnies too.

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  6. Not at all Val Doonican: you look lovely. Love the juxtaposition of textures. Great articles. Love that the designer is using her unique talents to make the world a better place.

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    1. Yes she said girls there are not educated, they are expected to just marry very young and have children. So this is one skill they will have

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  7. That beach house is very Cali style - would make a great vaca home for most!
    What Erica is doing over there almost made me weepy and to see those girls so earnest and concentrating melts my heart...so heart warming Jody.

    Go with the David Hicks -esque wallpaper - yes I think Heidi should get a commission from the wallpaper council!!

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    1. HI, I'll say! The little children were left at the orphanage either because their parents had died of diseases like AIDs or even sadder their parents had to leave them there because they are too poor and sick to look after them. Erica said they handled big industrial machines most adults would be scared of.

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  8. great articles and congrats to you and Cy for winning the trip to Pixar! how neat!

    I too would have liked to introduce my children to hardship, though their autobiographies will likely prove that I was theirs!

    I love wallpaper. we tore so much off our walls when we moved in, and painted and now only have it in a couple of rooms, but I contemplate the hallway and kitchen again but it would involve giving Barry drugs...

    as for recipe:

    Kale chips - tear into bite sized pieces, toss with olive oil and sea salt, spread on cookie sheet and cook in 400 oven for about 10 minutes.

    pretty much everything else I have is way more complicated but if I think of more - they are yours!

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    1. Gosh that sounds amazing, crispy power snacks!

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  9. Oh damn blogger ate my first comment! so this will be brief now:

    Love the articles!
    yay for Pixar
    I wish my kids had more hardship though I am sure I am the source of it all!
    yay for wallpaper - I'd like more, Barry would need drugs!
    kale chips - tear kale into bit size pieces, toss with olive oil and sea salt, bake in 400 oven for 10 minutes. Light candle in house for whiners who don't like the smell of cooking Kale - you know who you are barry!

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    1. Yes I am the source of no hardship for my kids, I think about how much I will have to nag them...and then give in. We are allowing the two eldest to stay back from next vacay, just because I know they'll complain otherwise....Great comments both Wendy! (should I keep up this comment moderation or lose it along with anon? What has worked best for you Wendy?) Bazza, you are lucky not to be in our house, I left over-cooked broccolli out all night, not pleasant!

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  10. Congrats on the articles coming due
    Watching what grown men do at Pixar's zoo
    Must have been fun
    As around they drive instead of run

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    1. Am getting inspiration here at home
      while going nom nom nom
      Just as good as fuseball
      brain going full bore

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  11. I love that look - great 'column' dressing - read 'I won't wear sludge brown' - she'll endorse the look:) Was Val Doonican English or American? I remember his Xmas specials as a child! That beach house is stunning can I have it please? x

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    1. Sorry yes! Just realised cultural reference which will not register in Americans. He was lovely Irish bloke who sang on BBC in nubby jumpers (sweaters). Im sure he would be horrified to be mentioned on my blog...

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    2. Val Doonican is such a blast from the past ... my mother adored him (so much that I even referenced him in her eulogy last year!) He would often croon from a rocking chair and claimed that having money meant he could now look on the left hand side of a menu instead of the right hand side when in a restaurant. Sweet! I'm sure he'd be more than chuffed to still be remembered ... but possibly slightly disturbed at the inference from one of the commenters that he may have worn sparkly shoes within his own four walls!!!!! Great post x

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    3. Oh ... and re the cooking - you need Delia Smith's 'How To Cheat At Cooking' If the British Culinary Queen has approved all the short cuts, you know it's going ot be ok!

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    4. Oh please don't be disturbed by my sparkly shoes comment!

      It may have been lost in poor sentence structure... I meant that Jody looked great in the sweater (not at all like Val). So to be humorous, I added that maybe she was comparing her shoe choice to Val's wardrobe style. ha ha?

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  12. They ask everyday what's for dinner and i simply say "Slop". No matter what it is, it's not what they want. I'm making White Chili Chicken tonight..recipe on back of Bush's Great Northern Bean can. Congrats on the articles and wallpaper scares the hell out of me…too many choices.

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    1. Sounds like my house, which is why I've become the idle hostess. Will investigate said back of can, my kind of thing to do.

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  13. Wallpaper: go for it! Jody you must get Jamie Oliver's new book 15 minute meals, the recipes are so easy and delicious. The most difficult thing is getting the ingredients in, everything fresh, but you like to do a daily shop don't you? I'm telling you: you'll look forward to making dinner, yes you will!

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    1. Love The Jamies, my present portfolio of recipes are all Jamies' Must get that book and looking forward to making dinner, yes I promise I will!

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  14. What a busy girl you've been. Congrats on the publication of your articles. Pixar tour sounds like such fun. Would love to be able to sew, but retired after two cushions and half a pair of tracksuit pants. Less time consuming to buy clothes. I had to google Val, but don't think you look a thing like him! Heidi's wallpaper had me thinking about redecorating too x

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    1. Just realised there was no Val in the US, he was an Irish crooner who was on BBC, so sorry cultural reference for just the Kiwi and the Brits. Big wearer of chunky jumpers (sweaters) by the fireside, seemed a very nice man.

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    2. You didn't get the Val Doonican shows in Aussie?...oh I think you're too young, just us 50 year oldies got to watch him

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  15. A one liner recipe? Hmmmm... Banana peppers stuffed with hot Italian sausage & Parmesan, cover in marinara chuck it in the over at 350 for 40 minutes or until soft.

    Now will you take me on a tour of Pixar??

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    1. Sounds yummy, now googlising Banana peppers. I am just a rank outsider and purchased PIxar tour ticket in auction. Next playground workplace I'd love to tour: Facebook. Or Google.

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  16. Congratulations on your articles!! I think you look nice. I can't wear alpaca near my neck for one second. And yet it feels so soft to the hand!

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    1. Yes now I find out it's never soft, but they're such lovable animals why do they have such scratchy hair?

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  17. Great article - that house is amazing! Can't believe they lived in it for 6 years while the work was being done.

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    1. I know! I get annoyed enough when the handyman comes around to do a morning of stuff

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  18. I'm with you about the teeny tiny recipes ... that's the only way I roll! Here's one for you.

    Saute a chopped onion along with a can of tomatoes and chopped reconstituted wild mushrooms (I use warm red wine). Reduce until it's 1/2 it's liquid. Add in some pitted Kalamata olives. Add salt, pepper and a little Italian seasoning. Spoon over soft polenta and sprinkle parmesan cheese over all.

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  19. What a fantastic home, not sure if I could have lived in it with work being done. The apartment below me is having work done on it & it's been enough to drive me crazy all these months they've been there, haha! xx

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    1. Think work in some elses' place above or below you is almost worse, can remember that happening when we were in London

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  20. The house looks amazing and I really like your sweater!

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  21. Jody love your sweater and white shirt combo! That sweater will look good forever and I adore alpaca, albeit a bit scratchy...I am going to read your articles this weekend. You are up to some interesting stuff. Love your home and both of those wallpapers are gorge. I just worry about getting sick of them and they are so hard to remove...

    Wish I had a good dish.. I love the one pot meals, like pasta and arugula together. I'm lazy and getting worse. One thing I did try last week was a rub on chicken from the Napa Style store. Everyone loved it. When I'm dead bored I try to watch a cooking show or two to get fired up again..

    xxKim

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    1. And there's the rub. Haha! Pasta and arugula are our staples

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  22. I want to have Kenny & Mike's house! And the reference to Val Doonican made me laugh out loud! (and you don't look like him).

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    1. You would love it at K and m's house - the food is better than going out to a restaurant

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  23. "the can't cook book" ... you must get this.

    by jessica seinfeld.

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