Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

another things i'm into right now

1)irish breakfast, chai:

tea continues to sponsor my day and may possibly, when i am sapped of vitamin D and feel like a less-than-great-mother, be the key motivator to me getting out of bed in the morning. right now my first-cup-of-the-day choice is irish breakfast, black with sugar.

aunt kamla, who is Indian, taught me how to make chai on her last visit and i find it to be a very soothing ritual with delicious rewards. i like mine with extra ginger and a sprinkle of black pepper for a little bite.


ah, winter brings glorious citrus to our markets and a special treat lately has been a half of a grapefruit, maybe a texas red, with breakfast and sprinkled lightly with sugar. also equally great served over winter greens with avocado slices and parmesan shavings--just cut out the slices around the pith and save the juice for a vinaigrette. (Naomi taught me that.)

3)3rd rock from the sun:

remember this show? it is so FUNNY. around the holidays i happened to catch a few minutes and i was busting up. then a few days later John Lithgow was on Bill Moyers' Journal, and i took it as a universal nudge. picked up the first season at the video store becuase i couldn't wait for it on Netflix. aliens disguised as humans--brilliant, stupidly hilarious. one cannot live on Seinfeld alone, you know.

4)finding the perfect pair of boots:

actually, nevermind this one. *heavy sigh*

5)aden and anais swaddling blankets:

i will admit it here and now--i still swaddle George at night, at almost 9 months old. he flails, he will wake lightly and start to rub his own face which wakes him up even more and makes him cry. so i wrap him in one of these special blankets and bind him with my favorite american apparel scarf, and he sleeps by my side so much better--plus he doesn't try and fond my boob. the blankets are special because they are made from a double layer of muslin, extrememly breathable, and are huge, almost 4 feet by 4 feet. i found a two pack on ebay in a cute camo print. it was the perfect answer since this big boy would bust out of traditional blankets by now. they are a little spendy, but worth it and would make an insanely great gift for anyone you know who is expecting. (i happened to run into a Mothering.com mom at the local cloth diaper shop, zoom baby gear, who had her 5 week old wrapped in one, so shout ot to you, mamanurse, for turning me on to the aden and anais wraps!


this isn't just me, blake and i are both borderline addicted to bi-mart. since we are in our survivalist mode, bi-mart has everything a paranoid prepared family could want, and for cheap. firearms, ammo, hunting supplies, camo clothing, flannel shirts, thermals, wool socks (surprisingly mostly made in the usa), tarps, tools, batteries...and its employee owned.

and if Blake could not love this store anymore (he goes at least once a week) he met Patrick Stewart's stand-in in the electronics department. Dennis Tracy, turns out his name is, was standing there commenting on George's cute hat, which I told him reminded us of Buck Rogers, and Mayan noticed the man's jacket had a Star Trek logo on it. she pointed it out to Blake who said that the man looked like he could be Patrick Stewart's brother (Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, people, if you weren't following) and the guy said "Actually, I was his stand-in for 15 years" or some length of time...and Blake just about died of Star Trek struck-ness. so they blabbled on for a while about conventions and the new movie, and I mentioned that I was merely a Trekkie-by-marriage. long story short, even though I, too, love Bi-Mart (mostly for the thermals and socks and kitchen items and the $4 Labyrinth DVD we scored) I sometimes tease Blake about his love for Bi-Mart and he says "Hey, if its good enough for Patrick Stewart's stand-in, it must be cool!"

7) American Apparel cardigans:

an extra layer to keep warm and easy to nurse in. the shape is not too clingy but just feminine enough to not hide my curves. easy to wash and the 25/25/50 blend comes in some really great colors. they will be great with dresses come spring.

8) winter salad greens

after reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle this summer I became more keenly aware of what it means to eat a popular produce item out of season. i have known that about tomatoes, how they really do taste more amazing in august than any other time of the year, why not indulge then and abstain during the months were they are subpar and shipped in from who knows where? then i thought about lettuce. a big leafy head of lettuce is not so natural mid-winter but what about salads? am i supposed to no eat salad when its cold outside. i might get sweet potoato and chard poisoning or something. so i began to look closer at greens section at the market--heartier winter salad greens and smaller petite greeens that could be grown quickly in greenhouses with little fuss. i grabbed a box of Epic Roots European Salad Mix and it has become a staple. My new favorite lettuce is mache, which is tender and delicious. Mixed up with frisee and radicchio it downright stomps on any "mixed spring baby greens" i've ever eaten. or i'll grab some baby arugala or watercress. add what ever is on hand--citrus, avocado, nuts, crumbled cheese, grated beets or carrots--and drizzle with a simple vinaigrette. i haven't bought a head of lettuce in months. next year i will be prepared to try growing my own.

What are some things you into right now?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

the perfect boots, part 2

They came! I was so excited, I was taking deep breaths to calm down. Blake decided to photo-document the experience....

I look beyond the composite sole, the plastic zipper, that only goes halfway up the boot...all I see is the lovely, crinkly leather and worthy traction. I give it a go.

But alas, I am like one of Cinderella's evil step-sisters, trying desperately to make the glass slipper fit.

Here I pout and try and justify keeping them: I can have them stretched and hope the stitching around the top holds, I am sure the plastic zipper with hold up better than expected.....maybe they will fit next year if I ever lose this baby-weight...

They are really gorgeous, aren't they? Oh, well.

I spent this weekend hanging out on Hawthorne street. I have decided I am the only women in the metro area that does not have an awesome, sexy, stylish pair of boots. I tried some on at Imelda's, there were some beauties to be had for sure, but most had heels, or wimpy soles, or were too narrow in the calf. You know, I really might not be able to find a pair until I lose this 25 pounds from the last pregnancy. When does that happen again?? It gets harder the older I get, I suppose, and its not just going to 'fall off' they way it did after I had Mayan (although I had to cut dairy and potatoes from my diet which cut my calorie intake way back.) I don't want to get into a whole weight complex, I can be patient and I know I will have to put more effort than ever into it this time (and likely for the rest of my life) but as of now, I'd really just like some boots to fit, and I'd be happy working around everything else. At this rate, the weather will be warming up by the time I find something. I think I will continue to hunt second-hand for something do-able, and pick up on the search for the TRUE PERFECT PAIR (Camper Camper Camper) next season with slimmer calves and a savings stash. This isn't over!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

the search for the perfect boots

sadly, this i've been on this search for almost 2 months already. 2 months of rain, ice, snow, and general coldness. 2 months that i could have been donning my perfect pair of boots. that is assuming that the perfect pair exists, which now the doubt weighs heavy on me like a pair of steel-toed, lug soles.

it all started with this pair of camper boots. they had everything i wanted in a boot. not trendy, but classic, something that reminded me of a boot someone would have worn a hundred years ago. a capable pair of boots, ready to work, to walk the fields, gather firewood, and to carry buckets of...i don't know, something. ready to age gracefully. a boot that could be worn with tights and a skirt or a wool dress or with skinny jeans stuffed into them. just enough traction. quality materials. a dark brown that could be paired with black or any of color i threw at it. tall enought to hit at the point where the calf starts to thin before the knee. these boots had it all! they were inspired by the mexican industrial revolution and are called "1910 Mexico." these boots spoke to me. there was just one hitch. the calf circumference was 14" and i need 15". you can expect to stretch a boot calf 1" at the most BUT if it didn't work, then i would be out $275. the risk seemed too high. so i searched on, assuming there must be something out there that met my criteria.

next i came to these. i had some doubts. like "do i really like the laces...?" and "don't only ganstas wear timberlands....?" but after scrolling over the multiple views a few hundrend times, i decided they did look very rugged yet feminine, the laces would make them very adjustable and might be pretty darling with my whole tights and skirt look i had been visualizing. the price was only $145. i should have been suspicious right then. when they arrived the week before christmas (these wre actually intended to be my solstice gift from B), i mused at the lightness of the package yet tore the box open in anticipation. they looked...cheap. the materials now up close were flimsy, not the supple, durable leather i had imagined. i could see some glue in the construction. and the zipper...plastic. such a bust. zappos is so good about free shipping both ways, so off they went. now what? i asked myself

i am not exaggerating when i tell you that hours were spent looking at boots. i believe i have seen every boot available on zappos, j crew, the sundance catalog (thanks to a tip from my stylish friend rebekah!), boden, and frye at least 10 times....

ah, frye. this is a company that makes a boot to last. a boot i could trust! yet, it was not that simple. the biggest problem with the frye boots are the soles. they are slick, like a cowboy boots and i must have traction in this climate--i can't be slippin' and slidin' all over the place.

these are my absolute favorites...the tops are a sexy equestrian style, but look at the wimpy sole. rejecting this sole narrowed it down a lot, yet they do have a few selections with a decent rubber tread.

one was called the millie. great color, adorable pull-on styling...but the shaft was short, would hit right at the thickest part of my calf which is extremely unflattering. trust me. only gals with long skinny legs can and should wear boots that stop at the fattest part of the calf. shall we move on?

this left me with the new veronica slouch. very popular new boot, very. probably the most coveted frye boot this season. i envisioned this boot on my foot many, many times. i even placed it in my basket just to see how it felt. what was holding me back?....well, the buckle at the bottom. too tough, too motorcyle for me. and what about this so-called "slouch"? i don't mind a soft wrinkle but will they drown my ankles? AND they're $330. my budget was around $250 which especially now is a LOT OF MONEY. i am not saying that a good boot isn't worth that, in fact, as we learned before, a boot is priced accordingly and anything decent that will have that looks-better-after-some-wear quality should cost anywhere between $200 to $400. but to go over budget by that much for a look that i don't LOVE....i had to step back and assess.

one of the main problems i was having was that there were some boots that i liked a lot, and fit the traction, color, circumference, and quality standards were met...but they were lined in sheepskin. that is great and all during the cold months, at least half the year, but it seemed a shame to invest in these boots and not have them be year-round, like the Campers. oh, Campers, damn you!! like this ugg boot, so simple, sturdy...but i had big doubts about the sheepskin.

the site i mentioned before, sundance, had some boots that were also very tempting--crinkled leather, rugged sole, a optional turn-down-or-up cuff. the best look by far but also had the sheepskin conundrum. and the price was over $300. but ooooh, made in italy. italians and boots go together like....oh, shoot, something that goes together well. they were also off the list....unless....what was this? on my tenth visit to the site, suddenly the boots are over half off!! my mind begins to spin and calculate.....if they are only $140 (down from $338) then it might be worth it to have them only be cold weather boots, and i can just deal with a warmer-weather boot when the times comes, maybe find something on consignment...then i remembered that when i returned my zappos boots, i opted for store credit (so that i could get free overnight shipping, see...) and now my funds were all tied up there, and yes, i could call them and change it, but i would still have to wait a few days for the bank to process it and by then would they even have my size left.....are you still following me? life should not be this complicated!

i resigned myself back to finding a pair on zappos. meanwhile, life is rolling on, the holidays pass, the snowdrifts melt, the rain comes and floods, and subsides, then threatens to flood again. i lay in bed with visions of boots marching by, some for their beauty, others for their functionality, never quite attaining a perfect blend of both. except for the Campers--the perfect boots with the not-perfect measurements. i finally began pouring my woes to blake, even though i knew it would all be way over his head. his look of bewilderment confirmed this, but i pleaded with him to focus and hear me out. "i need your help making a decision." and as a man who is also picky about his shoes, he listened. once i had it all out, i proposed the risk--how about i just get the Campers and have them stretched and hope for the best? we calculated this together and thought that yes, it was possible, if the zipper is metal it should be able to handle the stress. he had my back.

i ran downstairs, happy to have just made the call, consequences be damned, one cannot live in this boot-shopping purgatory forever!! i found my "favorites" tab, loaded my cart and hit the check out button.

we're sorry these are not available in that size and color combination. but here are some other options....

i don't want black. i can't wear a 36, i need a 37. fucker. give me my goddamn boots.

i quickly moved through the disappointment, and decided that it was important to just make something happen. i quickly navigated to my second choice--the ugg broome, sheepskin be damned, i'd cross that bridge when i came to it.

not available in my size either. not even close to my size--they had like 5.5 and 10's left. well. then. if you are starting to think this story is getting to be too long, then i'm with you.

finally, last night, i floated back to the sundance page, and those gorgeous italian sheepskin lined boots were still there. blake stood stirring our pasta and homemade spaghetti sauce....was this some sort of sign? i made one move foreward to see how it felt, clicking on the "online help" button and i was connected to michele instantly. i had never done this before and it was exciting. i asked her if she had a pair in my size and what the calf measurement was.

Michele : Hi Leah. Do you know the item number?
leah : yup hold on
leah : 47294
Michele : We have one pair left in the size 37. The circumference is 15"
leah : ooooh wonderful!
Michele : You can order them online if you want.
leah : what is your return policy if they dont fit?
Michele : You just need to mail them back to us and we will give you a refund for the price of the boots.

i give blake the blow-by-blow and he says "just go for it. we'll do a money juggle tomorrow." i felt like i was bidding on something coveted during the last 30 seconds of an ebay auction, i was all adrenelined out. when i put them in my cart they came up as only $119! plus shipping, but geez, that was over $200 off.

i am awaiting the boots with my fingers (or toes) crossed. either i scored an awesome pair of boots that will last me through many stylish yet rugged winters, or they suck and i send them back and the saga continues. i called zappos today and they are transferring my store credit back to my debit card. the guy mentioned that someone was in the process of returning a pair of the Campers in size 37 and that i can check back every day. we'll see. its not like i have 200 and something dollars laying around for shoe purchases. i promise, dear readers, to share the ending with you, whether its happy or not...

but tell me....what is the best pair of shoes or boots you ever scored?