Our first visitors

We had our first California houseguests this week. My mom flew out from Kansas and my sister came up from her new home in Orange County.

How gorgeous are these women?

We started with some bay area essentials.

First, breakfast at Bette’s Oceanview Diner. Since we went on a Monday we got a table right away, which is pretty much unheard of there. On Mondays their special is tangy sourdough pancakes. I tried them with sides of their soft cooked eggs and grilled tomatoes (subbed in for the sausage). They were really delish and unique.

My mom tried another special with poached eggs and spinach that looked yummy and healthy.

Tuesday we took them to San Francisco so we could catch the Ferry Building market. Only a few food vendors are there on Tuesday, but there’s still plenty to sample. I’ll just say that at this point all dietary restrictions went out the window, but I tried to be reasonable by splitting stuff and then walking all. day. long.

I finally tried the Blue Bottle caramelized waffle. It was so soft and yummy that we ate the whole thing before I could get a photo. Oops.

We also tried a Pepples Organic Donut in salted caramel. Again, yum.

I got some Miette gingersnaps to go. They are extra gingery and spicy, and so good with a cup of coffee.

We needed coffee because it was miserably cold that day. The weather seemed to change between cold and sunny to cold and rainy to cold and rainy and windy about every 20 minutes. I was definitely not wearing enough layers for that.

Next we hiked up to Coit Tower to see a better view of the city.

I was sad that I didn’t see any Telegraph Hill parrots. Maybe next time.

We of course had to stop at the hat shop. My mom got this one. I am in love with this one.

Before dim sum in Chinatown we had to show them our favorite bar, Vesuvio. Just love the signage.

Speaking of signage, several people had these cheeky signs on their garages.

We finally made our way out to the edge of Golden Gate Park to see the ocean. These crazy people were swimming in there. I repeat, crazy!

Later we drove across the Golden Gate to see it up close. It’s a sight that never gets old.

Do we look as cold as we were?

We ended their trip with dinner at Marica in Oakland. Though we’d been there before for seafood, we’d never had dessert. I decided one last splurge was OK (I’m definitely back to oatmeal now). So we had the “life-changing” chocolate souffle.

Des Moines-ians, you know I have high standards for a melty-centered chocolate dessert with homemade vanilla ice cream, but this one was by far the best I’d ever had. It was one of the best anythings I’ve ever had.

I am starting my bay area travel guide. More to share soon.

Loving: salt/pepper dish

Picked up this cute little salt/pepper dish at our Crate & Barrel Outlet the other day for I think $6. I had been keeping my salt and pepper in little Pyrex custard cups that, while functional, weren’t very attractive. This guy is just right.

Introducing: giant knits

At long last, I am finally ready to show you the knits I’ve been making with giant rolls of cotton rope. The testing process has been absolutely exhausting and expensive, far more than I ever thought it would be. But the end result is super fun, and I can’t wait to show it off.

I have two new items in my Etsy shop. The giant pouf, available in white or gray.

And giant loopy rugs in two sizes, 36 or 48 inches.

In addition to looking cool, these feel amazing underneath your toes.

This was definitely an exercise in persistence. I started off with dye experiments and found that one type of rope took it much better than the other. I tried every kind of dye I could find, some waaay more toxic smelling than others.

So I bought a bunch of that rope, dyed it to perfection, and then realized that it would never work for the knitting. It was also really expensive, hard to find in bulk, and twice as heavy as the other. Fail.

Just the right sized spool.

So I ordered the other rope and started testing the knitting. I can’t tell you how many times I did and undid a rug trying to get the perfect gauge. I made my own needles. Those didn’t work so I spent more money on better ones.

I had an idea in my head what sizes I wanted to offer and at what prices, but that went out the window when I realized just how many thousands of feet of “yarn” it would take to achieve those.


Then when I moved on to big-batch dyeing I realized too late that my dyeing bin was way too small, so I got a pretty uneven result.

It was one fail after another, but I’m glad I stuck with it. Now I just hope people think these are as cool as I do.


Back when I decided to do the cleanse, I also decided that I was going to focus 100 percent on food, and hold off on exercise until I felt I had the food part down. It turned out to be a good idea, because not only was the food part a monster in itself, but as I detoxed I often felt tired or headache-y or just generally not my best.

But by the end of February I felt like I was ready to start exercising again. I confess I have a hard time sticking to any one exercise for a long period of time, which has contributed a lot to my issues with the scale. So I decided to make some goals that had only to do with the amount of time I worked out, not what I did.

And because I am a super list maker (and a little OCD about organization), I took a tip from Maggie and made myself a little grid with boxes I can check off as the month goes on.

It’s worked really well so far. My goal is to get in 30 minutes of exercise per day, for a total of 2.5 hours per week. To me that is reasonable and sustainable in the long term. Most of the time I end up doing an hour at at time, and checking off two days worth. I’ve gone on hikes, walks, even runs (!!). I am excited for bike rides and yoga/Nia classes to enter the mix. I’ve gotten more fresh air and sun, and explored my neighborhood quite a bit. The dogs are getting more exercise, too. It’s all good.