Wednesday, June 29, 2011

our new place

Located in the Potrero hill district, which lies just south of the SOMA district, which is where Danny's new job is.

The second question out of his mouth when I would tell him about a new apartment find was "can I ride my bike there?" (the first question being "how much is it?") It was funny to me because a) he does not own a bike, and b) because I have never heard him speak of having a desire to ride a bike to work, let alone ride one at all. I am constantly learning new things about my husband.

If I haven't said it yet, finding an apartment in this city is very effing hard. The thing that saved us, and secured our place in this building was a) our fair credit report and b) the fact that we have no debt. We have worked very hard to get to this point in our lives, and it feels really, really good. There is no way that we could do this if we had debt. Or if Danny didn't get a kick ass job. But, seeing as how our cost of living just went waaaay up- I'm in search of a job too.

Initially, we weren't even looking in this area. Every time I did, the cheapest places were $3000+ I just so happened to widen the search that night when I found this listing. They pulled this listing the next day- I couldn't even send the link to Danny. They only allowed 10 people to make appointments to see it. We were the first to ask for an application- I can't believe nobody wanted it at this price! My mom thinks it's because of the view. We are crazy lucky that we got this place!

There is an apartment in Jane's building that has almost the exact same layout- and they are asking $2600.

This is the view as you walk in- the 2 bed & 2 baths are stacked on top of each other with the loft part being the kitchen/living area.

I love the super high ceilings and windows. No, we don't have a view. That just means we get to walk around naked and nobody will see. And we get tons of sunshine without it being direct. Win-win!

No carpet in the sewing room! Yeaaaaa!

Our bedroom. We'll see how we like not having walls...

We have washer/dryer hookups in the main bathroom- super amazing bonus! And the landlord told me about a company that rents washers/dryers, comes and sets them up, then hauls them away when you move. Love it! No parking- but street parking is readily available in this neighborhood. Well, ok, there IS parking available in the garage. For $200 a month. Haha!

Oh! And! This is a live/work building, so I can have my rag-a-muffin business running out if it with no permits or zoning or whatever else!

Monday, June 27, 2011

pee-wee's big adventure

What a week it was last week! 5 days of apartment hunting in a fierce city, good thing my mom came with me!

(this is a little cafe called Piccino, just a few blocks away from where we stayed.)

We stayed at my friend Jane's (located in the Potrero Hill district) so that we could find a place to live. We learned how to get around town by bus and by train and by foot. We found some great restaurants and some not so great smelling street corners.

I had a pretty good idea of what to expect when we got there- I have been scouting craigslist ever since Danny's interview. I had a good place all picked out- a new building, built as condos, 2 bedroom, laundry in unit, a parking space, all for $2015/mo. But. It was located in Daly City, just on the outskirts of SF. It would have taken Danny 45 minutes by train to get to work. We saw the place last monday right after we dropped our suitcases off at Jane's. We got approved, and I wrote a deposit check. Awesome.

That night I looked again at craigslist, and found few more promising leads. The next day we hopped on a bus to the Mission district, where we saw an ok 2 bedroom, no laundry, but with parking place. The lady that showed it told us that of all the people that applied, none were being approved due to poor credit, no credit, too young, etc. So my mom and I booked it on over to their office, which was downtown- on a bus, that had to drive through a taxi strike as well as general traffic. By the time we got there, someone else had been approved. I was so mad. We were hot and sweaty, tired and annoyed. I even tried to play hardball and offer more money in an attempt to "steal" it from the other people. Rude hu? What can I say, I'm a hungry tiger when I'm overheated.

That night, I looked at craigslist when we got back to Jane's. I found a 2 bed, 2 bath, with washer/dryer hookups loft in Potrero Hill for $2200/mo. But. It wasn't available until July 15th, and Danny's first day of work is the 11th. I called and left a message. Then I emailed like 10 other people our applications and Danny's offer letter to try and get ahead of this nasty game.

On wednesday I got a call from the Potrero Hill place, and made an appt. to see the apartment for the next day. I also made an appt. to see another place after that. It was a really nice feeling that we had a viable backup- even though it was further away than we wanted, at least it was nice!

Then I got a call from my downstairs neighbors- the cops were there to impound our moving container. Awesome. I talked to the officer- apparently a neighbor (I still don't know who it was) had been calling them ALL day complaining about it. She said we were never home, and that it was blocking her driveway. Right. I don't have a job. I'm home all the time. Just conveniently not when you decide to call the cops on me.

Right as I got off the phone with him, the container guy calls me to tell me the same story. She had been calling them all day too. He personally came out to move it into our driveway- but it's too narrow. He felt really bad- he said that the initial delivery guy had done a terrible job and if he had done it right we probably wouldn't be in this mess. I had them just take it back to the warehouse. Since the neighbor lady made such a stink about the container, now I have to get a permit from the transportation office, and put plastic barricades all around it. Like that is less in the road, lady.

So my mom and I scrapped the rest of the day and went to Ghiradelli square. There is this little shop called Crown & Crumpet- they do tea parties. With cute little candies and tiny food. Like in Alice. So cute. I decided right then and there that I want a tea party for my birthday.

And I want to sit at this table.

And have this fabulous felt "cake" as the centerpiece.

Oh yes. That's exactly what it looks like. A cookies n cream hot fudge sundae in a chocolate dipped waffle cone. Ghiradelli hot fudge. OMG it was to die for.

We then stretched out our pale legs in the sand- and rested. And digested.

We had to hop on this crammed full vintage street car that's part of the bus line to get back "home". We were so crammed and squeezed that you didn't even have to hold on.

Taking the "T" line to Potrero Hill. It was crazy crowded too- there was a ballgame going on and everybody was dressed to the nines in orange and black Giants gear. We had to wait for 4 trains before we could fit on. Crazy!

Technically, the part of Daly City we'd be living in (if we took that apartment) would be Sunnydale. Anyone? Anyone? I'm a nerd.

This is Unagi, one of the 3 animals we were petsitting while staying at Jane's. This cat loved me. I was so allergic to her though!

We went to see the Potrero Hill loft- I handed in our application and we pretended that we didn't love it. We didn't want to get our hopes up. Then we went to see another one- that turned out was a total scam. So we went to Paper Source.

We found this amazing little section on Fillmore street- gorgeous flower shops, cute boutiques...

...the Fillmore Bakeshop. A father-daughter owned bakery. I got a handful or 2 of these delicious macaroons. My fav were the salted caramel. My mom loved these vanilla ones.

We saw this amazing church on our way back to the bus.

Then the streets got wider, and the houses got slightly bigger (but still so close together) and we realized that we were going the wrong direction. So we got off and found the right one.

On our way to the "T" train- I snapped this night shot of the Bay Bridge. The fog had rolled into the bay, and you can kinda see it in this photo.

The next day I got a call. A 9 a.m. wake up call. We got the Potrero Hill loft! YEA!!!!! So we went and signed the lease, plopped down a $3200 deposit. Then we went to Chinatown in search of Bubble Tea. I was convinced I'd love it. However, I didn't really.

I saw Jack's name on the sidewalk and pointed it out to my mom. She didn't know who he was. I didn't believe her- who doesn't know who Jack Kerouac is? My mom I guess!

Then we went to the Mission district and shopped around and had some delicious thai food. We headed back to Jane's early so we could watch Harry Potter 7.1

For our last day- we slept in, cleaned up, played with the animals and went out for ice cream. OMG. So delicious. Lime custard with burnt orange caramel sauce. I hope they have this all year round. And- how lucky are we that we get to be Jane's neighbor, and stay in the neighborhood that we grew to love? So lucky.

This is sweet little teeny tiny Coco. She adored my mom, and had the cutest little wiggle in her step. I didn't get a photo of Choco- a black Chihuahua. He loved me too- and he never made a peep. Seriously. Not one bark, not even a yip.

Since we know very well by now that airports are not Dr Pepper friendly- we brought our own. We sat in the cold metal seats, chugging our addiction, happy to finally be headed home.

Home. Utah will always be our home. But we are so excited to start our new life in sunny California...

Friday, June 17, 2011

checking in...

I've started to pack. We have a huge pod type container in front of our house. It's like 3 feet away from the curb, almost in the middle of the street. Annoying, but there's nothing we can do about it- I tried to get the guy to get it closer. Oh well.

The cats are sad. Boxes make them sad- they know what's coming.

My mom and are flying to San Fran on Monday so I can look for an apartment. It's not very fun or easy to find an apartment in another city. They go SO fast, and if your not there with an application and your credit history in your hand you have no chance at all. So wish me luck!

I really wanted to take a trip with my mom this summer anyway, so this works out well! (we just need to refrain from finding any fabric shops!)

Monday, June 13, 2011

the story

Ever since we got married, I've been pleading and begging for Danny to get a job outside of Utah. "Wherever you get a job, I'll go. Unless it snows." I've wanted to move away since I was an angst ridden teenager. In my early 20's, I planned to move to Seattle, but it never worked out. Danny has already lived elsewhere in his life, so he didn't really care where we lived.

Last fall when we went to San Fran, we kinda fell in love with the city. The morning after we got back, Danny got an email asking if he'd be willing to move to take a job there. We were blown away- each of us had secretly fantasized that a job offer would come out of the trip but we both thought we were being ridiculous.

I jumped on that train so fast- I was emotionally fragile. I was upset that we weren't pregnant yet, it had been a year of trying. It seemed that everyone around me was getting knocked up, so why not us? So moving to a city that wasn't swimming in toddlers seemed like a good distraction. I just wanted to give up, and move away before the winter came. Emails inquiring about the job offer were sent. None were returned. Winter was coming, and I was bitter and resentful and mad at myself for getting so carried away. I started thinking of maybe going back to school so that I could get a job that actually earned money.

My one and only new years resolution was this: to accept living in Utah, and to learn to love it. Danny has a great job, both of our families are here, we are happy living here! We have a 3 bedroom house, I have a sewing room, why would we want to leave?

That's when I started to watch Van on a weekly basis. He was 5 months old, Nan wanted to get back to working out, and I had nothing better to do. We would go on walks, watch cars. When he started eating baby food- and I got to feed him sometimes. He learned how to roll over, sit up. I heard him call Nan mama. The winter flew by- and my usual seasonal depression never came.

I've never had a happier winter in my life.

Spring came, and so did a whole bunch of sewing orders. I was busy sewing, chilling with my mom and still watching Van twice a week. Utah started to turn green. Our anniversary came, and so did the trip to Portland.

When we got home, Danny had decided that he would actively start to look for a job in San Francisco. The earliest we thought he'd find something was 6 months. Then he got the email requesting a phone interview, and the rest is...history.

We were (and still are) shocked that it happened SO fast! In a month we will be living on the coast instead of the mountains, we will have sand instead of snow, and palm trees instead of pine ones. We'll walk to the grocery store every day instead of driving every two weeks, we'll be city dwellers instead of suburbanites. We'll trade 2 cars for one, 3 bedrooms for 1, (2 if we're lucky) and in house washer & dryer for coin-op ones.

When they asked if we could fly out for an interview, I had to consider that this could really happen. After Danny went to bed, I bawled in the bathroom for an hour. "This is what I have wanted. This is what I have been begging for. This is really happening, and I don't even know if I want it anymore." The thought of leaving my family, my bestest friends, my growing business, watching Van grow up in this ever changing time, not having Loo-loo days or sewing days with my mom- broke my heart into a million pieces.

This was not an easy decision to make. I had days where I thought it was the worst idea ever, and days that I thought it was the best. After the offer was given, and accepted, I felt at peace- finally. It was real. And from that moment on, I've been giddy.

This move means opportunities for both of us that aren't available here. For Danny it means getting his foot in the door in the hub of all things computer. For me it means being immersed in a city of art, artists, and stores that cater to handmade craftiness. I've always wanted to live by the ocean, and have a birthday that doesn't involve snow.

I'm not denying that it won't be hard. It's gonna be a very tough transition. Everything I do everyday will be have to be done differently. I won't be able to sit in my parents kitchen, with a delicious snack, sipping a Dr Pepper and chatting with my mom. I won't see Van take his first steps.

Not to mention the fact that Kobe- our older cat is sick, and probably won't make it to California. She's losing weight, even eating the most fattening and gross smelling food all day long. She almost gives herself a heart attack in the car to see the vet, so I don't know what a 12+ car ride will do to her. (okay- crying while blogging sucks. I'm done with the sad.)

I am so thrilled to be going on this adventure with my amazing husband. I love him so much- I know that this move will bring us even closer together (if that's even possible) and I will finally learn to appreciate my first home. It's all I've ever known.

It's time to stretch and grow... a lot.

I'll probably forgo blogging for the rest of the month- pardon me. I'll be so very busy figuring out what to keep, what to sell, what to take, and not to mention where to live. Nope, don't have a place yet...

Friday, June 10, 2011

the big reveal

It's official. We're moving to San Francisco.

I know, right?

How it happened:

Danny met some cool people on our Portland trip. After we got home he had a phone interview, then they flew us out last weekend. He interviewed on Monday, got the offer on Tuesday, and accepted on Wednesday. They want us out there the first week in July.

I'm kinda freaking out.

I have so much to say, but today I don't have time to put it into words.

It's a really cool company- with some very promising technology doing exactly what Danny loves doing, in a city that's steeped in great programmers. Danny is always telling me how much he wants to learn from greater programmers than he is. But hasn't had/probably never will have that opportunity here. And the opportunities for me? Well, let's just say I won't have trouble finding work doing exactly what I love.

So a little about our weekend:

We stayed right by the ferry building- so we walked over there every day. Look at these beautiful cake plates! Spotted at Miette's.

No offense SLC, but this is what a real city looks like. And it's by the ocean. And it doesn't snow.

Also from Miette's. The cake part was fabulous, but the frosting was...boring. Boring frosting? Yes. But their macaroons were heavenly.

The De Young. I'm not much of a renaissance fan, but there were a few awesome exhibits.

And a few more modern pieces. One of my fav artists- Wayne Thiebaud.

I love palm trees.

Our hotel was right next door the the YMCA. I'm such a tourist. For now...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

just a hint

An epic post is coming. Well, not epically written- just epic news.

(no, I'm not pregnant.)

But here are a few hints...

Our weekend involved an airplane...

Some rain...

Pineapple cotton candy...

Some art...

A bus...

A train...


And some gorgeous clouds as we landed safe and sound back home in Utah.

Monday, June 6, 2011

how I made loo-loo's princess cake

This is by no means a tutorial. I am not a professional, this is the first time I have ever made a princess cake. This post is more for my sake in case I ever have the crazy idea to do it again. And it's long, and has lots of photos. I hope you don't get bored.

It all started when Loo-loo requested a Cinderella princess party. I immediately thought- oh! I could make her a princess cake...

I found this tutorial online. It's great- it taught me an amazing smoothing technique that worked beautifully. And it shows you how to make the cake without the special pan. But I didn't want to make a 6 layer cake that didn't look perfect. You know?

So I went on Amazon and bought the special princess skirt cake pan. The tube in the middle works as a heating core to evenly bake the batter, and provides a small hole down the middle so that it's easier to cut out enough cake for the doll to fit in. Of course, if you use the legless doll that comes with the pan, you don't have to do anything else to the cake.

Loo-loo requested a raspberry cake. But all I had in the cupboard was cherry chip and chocolate. I used the cherry chip for the dome.

Since she wanted a Cinderella party, and the half doll that came with the pan was a brunette, I bought an actual Cinderella doll to use for the cake. Since she was a whole doll- the cake needed to be taller than the pan allows. So I made an 8-inch layer and a 9-inch layer just to make sure I had enough cake to work with.

That tricky heating core didn't work so well- the middle is very puffy. The cake needs to be flat on the bottom when you turn it out of the pan. So I had to improvise a way to level it off while it was still in the pan. I took a sharp knife and cut the cake into 8 slices, level with the lowest point. (the outer edges)

Then I used my short brownie spatula to scoop up the slices- it worked perfectly!! (sorry for the blurry photo.)

One of the most irritating things about making extravagant cakes is the crumbs from leveling. But with this pan, all the sides have an even, beautiful crust. Yea!

Leveling the chocolate cake layer with a long serrated knife, I do it while still warm, it's waaaay easier than trying to level a frozen cake. I promise.

I ended up using the 9-inch layer- it added the perfect amount of height. I popped all the cakes into the freezer for the night.

Ok, so she didn't really fit. So Danny folded her legs back and I wrapped her in plastic wrap.

Layer of buttercream...

Still frozen, I used the edge of the dome to cut the excess chocolate cake off and make a smooth edge. A crummy edge, but a smooth one.

I love the crumb coat. Sloppy is just fine.

Smoothed it out a bit, then stuck it in the freezer for a half hour.

Then I slapped on another layer of frosting and used the fancy paper smoothing trick from this video and it worked like magic. Why didn't I know this trick years ago? Then back in the freezer.

The directions that came with the pans suggests using fondant for the skirt to get a smooth look. Fondant makes me tear my hair out and it's gross. Who wants to peel something off a slice of cake before eating it? I will not sacrifice taste for style. My frosting is delicious, heavenly, and addicting, why would I use anything else?

I planned on making the top of her dress with my arch nemesis- fondant. I thought, "how hard could it be? It's only a fraction of fondant. I can do it!" Haha. NOT. The damn fondant wouldn't stick to the doll. Then it wouldn't stick to itself. I gave up before punching the cake or a cat or my nice husband.

So I went on to decorate the skirt. With swirls of glittery white frosting. From a tube. It's gross. While I swirled away, I decided to put Cinderella's dress back on, cover the skirt up with plastic wrap and put her in the cake. Easier for me, looks better than fondant, and saves my sanity and my mood so I won't be grouchy during the party. Cause that has happened before.

And then I stopped taking progress photos because a) my hands were covered in blue frosting, and b) I still needed to take a shower.


I piped little balls of frosting around the base and the top of her dress. I made the white circle things on her hips out of fondant. All I had to do was cut out a circle with a biscuit cutter and slap it on. That's as good as I get with that dreaded stuff.

Since there was added bulk from the dress, we had to shove her body into the cake pretty hard. The cake was frozen at that point, so it was fine, but as the day went on her skirt began to crack a little. I was far from caring, nobody noticed it but me.

My dad said that I really outdid myself- and all I could think was "Crap! What am I going to do next year?!?!"

And then Loo-loo declared that from now on she wanted different princesses each year. It'll only get easier and less stressful with time, right?

Kidding. It really wasn't hard- just time consuming. Having that tutorial video really helped prepare me for all the steps involved. And of course having the right tools helps immensely in cake baking/decorating. That lesson I have learned the hard way.

So friends- I have the special pan if you ever need to make a princess cake. It would also make a nice volcano or beehive. Or as Mr. Architect pointed out- a gigantic boobie.