by gwen harlow

love

Arbitrary Day 2010: Super kawaii fun pack!

Posted by on Jun 13, 2010 in love | 1 comment

I participated in the First Annual Arbitrary Day swap and received this awesome pack of Japanese goodness from my Secret Santa:

Super kawaii fun pack!

The KitKat is Sakura Green Tea-flavored chocolate. It came in two packs, very delicious. And the snail is a tape measure — how cute is that?

I think I will frame the postcard. It is always Delicious Coffee Time here.

Delicious Coffee Time!

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June 5-6, 2010: Carmel, Monterey, Asilomar

Posted by on Jun 11, 2010 in travel | 2 comments

Carmel was lovely lovely lovely. LOVELY! Chad was more relaxed that I’ve seen him in years. Seriously. The boy is always worrying about this or that he has to do. He swam with me and smiled at me and kissed me all weekend and was generally sweet and calm and happy.

Gwen & Chad Outtake #2

So we took this last-minute overnight trip to Monterey. We drove down 101, which goes through farmland and took a break at Mission San Juan Bautista [the climax of Vertigo takes place here] and saw more than a few hens and chicks and roosters and a wedding. We arrived at our cute little cabin —

22, front

An aside here, if you are going to be in the Monterey-Carmel-Big Sur area, you could do a lot worse than staying at the Carmel River Inn. It is not super fancy but it is the cutest little green cabins with cut-out shutters and they are very reasonably priced — ours was $110 for a summer Saturday night, which is chump change in that area. There are lots of flowers and frogs and crickets and the staff is nice and it’s a short drive from anything you want to do.

— which turned out to be the one I have been eyeing since the first time we went there, it is the most removed and sits at the edge of a field and has an enclosed patio and gets great light. We took a swim — it was a hot day but the water felt nice and warm — then we went down to Carmel Beach [white sand, pale blue-green water, very sexy!] to watch the sunset and another wedding. That’s *the* Lone Cypress out there on the point.

Carmel Beach Sunset #4

We tried to go to Vivolo’s for dinner — they have the most amazing clam chowder — but they close whenever they feel like it, which that night was just as we arrived, so we went to a BBQ joint and I ate SO. MUCH. MEAT. Then went back to our cabin for some stargazing from the hammock out back and went to bed early.

Saturday morning we woke up super-early — very unlike us, we can barely drag ourselves out of bed before check-out — and I went for a swim, then made a quick stop in Carmel-by-the-Sea to stop by the Cottage of Sweets, home of the World of Licorice, because we needed to stock up.

Lollipops #1

We had breakfast at Toastie’s in Pacific Grove and there was some kind of bicycling extravaganza that started with a race between a hundred or so children, followed by grown people doing a zillion laps around downtown for the rest of the day.

We headed over to Cannery Row in Monterey [yes, the Steinbeck one] to find the sea glass beach I’d read about. Turns out there is a little public access beach right in the middle, it’s a sweet little yellow-sand cove with tidepools, and on the south/east end there are quite a few tiny bits of sea glass.

Beach on Cannery Row

I met a woman from Arizona who was just beside herself with glee over this. I wanted bigger pieces so Chad and I ventured underneath the boardwalk — you can clamber over the old pieces of older iterations of the boardwalk, rusty old pipes and hunks of ancient concrete, almost all the way down to the aquarium. It was very dark under there but I found a few larger pieces of glass and gave the biggest to the Arizona lady since she doesn’t have her own ocean to explore whenever she feels like it.

We drove down Sunset, which goes around the point at the end of Monterey past a bunch of tidepools and a golf course and an old lighthouse, and stopped at Asilomar State Beach [check out the Julia Morgan Architecture just over the dunes]. Asilomar is another of those white sand, pale blue-green water beaches like Carmel. We had an hour or so of sun before the fog rolled in and lolled in the sand and it was really, really, really nice. Just super.

Crazy.

Chad went in the 55° water because he is crazy. We went for a walk almost all the way down to the next beach over, which is along 17-Mile Drive and a hop-skip from Pebble Beach Of Golf Fame.

I found some shells

We got a ticket because there is a sign that says “no parking between this and the next sign” then there is another sign five feet away but I guess that is not the next sign they mean.

We had ice cream at this wacky little parlor that is covered floor-to-ceiling with Beatles collectibles. We stopped in Castroville, home of the Giant Artichoke, on the way home and got the most amazing food, which is deep fried artichokes. Seriously good stuff. It was a very good weekend.

I am still working on the photos but most of them are up here.

They go in the sand

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Recommended: Sea Glass Designs

Posted by on Jun 11, 2010 in love | 0 comments

Rita in Nova Scotia has the best luck in her sea glass-hunting excursions — check out these lovelies …

found

… which she turns into the most exquisite statement pieces. Have you ever seen such a big piece of red sea glass?

red

There’s beautiful pink depression glass …

pink

…and a sweet sea creature …

sea creature

… and the most delicate piece of flowered sea pottery …

rooster

you can see more and buy some at Sea Glass Designs on etsy.

All photos and jewelry © Rita Laidlaw of Sea Glass Designs

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Things we ate this weekend

Posted by on Jun 7, 2010 in recipe, travel | 1 comment

ham and swiss croissants
fresh OJ
fair trade coffee
bagel
grapes
free bottle of merlot and a very nice note from the folks at the hotel thanking us for our return visit [i guess had our credit card on file?]
BBQed pork tenderloin, chicken, and tri-tip and some sweet island-style pulled pork
clam chowder
garlic bread
bacon cheese bread
strawberry blintzes
bacon
veggie omelette
lots of fancy imported licorice
caramel-wrapped marshmallows
a giant dark chocolate peanut butter cup
oregon bing cherry and coffee-truffle ice cream cones
deep-fried artichoke hearts
grilled meats
peach cobbler

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Gwen and Chad, Asilomar

Posted by on Jun 6, 2010 in gwen, photo, travel | 6 comments

Pretty much any time we go anywhere scenic, at least one person will ask me to take their picture. I take very nice pictures of them. Every once in awhile I will ask someone to take our picture. I say, push the button halfway to focus, then all the way to shoot. I only ask people who are carrying their own cameras and I am pretty sure this is how most digital cameras work, right?

Yet almost invariably, we end up with a completely out of focus, crooked, feet-chopped-off photo. So you can imagine how pleased I was when today’s shooter returned my camera to me. Look at that. Nicely composed with our whole bodies in, heads above the horizon [which, you’ll notice, is not at a 45° angle!]. Thanks, lady stranger, you totally made my day!

June 6: Asilomar

[Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove, California]

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Sparkleneely CD swap April mixtape

Posted by on May 27, 2010 in music | 1 comment

Ernie, Antoinette AND MOTHER-IN-LAW K-DOE

Photo taken at the Mid-City Lanes Rock’n Bowl in New Orleans. Original photo by Paula Burch.

I’m in this CD swap club and April was my month. My mix is awesome. Play it here.

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Take it easy

Posted by on May 21, 2010 in love, travel, wishlist | 1 comment

Musical accompaniment: Tinashe – Zambezi (Fool’s Gold Remix)

Summer is obviously coming, a bunch of my friends are posting open road-type photos. I am working every day and it’s going to be ages before I get out like that, so I am living vicariously.

by Kevin Collins, one of flickr’s finest and an island neighbor of mine.

by Gordon Edgar, author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge, which you should check out.

by harpy, queen of the polaroid and all things summer.

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Home inspirations

Posted by on May 18, 2010 in craft, love | 1 comment

I’m a renter and always have a hard time getting inspired to put a lot of work into doing decorating — even though everywhere I’ve lived, it always feels kind of fleeting because there isn’t the kind of commitment that you have with owning — we can pack up and move with just 30 days notice and then you have to start over.

Which is silly because everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve stayed for ages. And so what anyway! Half the reward is making something sweet and admiring it, who cares if it might end up being something left behind or changed. Life is too short! So I’ve been trying to keep an eye out for bits and pieces that I like to give me a little kickstart and am going to start sharing them.

Put this on while you’re admiring: Best Coast Should Be Your Sound of Summer. [And check out the whole Citizen Insane mp3 blog while you’re at it, it is full of sunny, poppy, fun summer music, which is my favorite kind. You can stream the whole playlist here.]

: : : :

Belinda’s March interior styling challenge at the happy home blog:

: : : :

Button Monday! with Lisa at Lil Fish Studios

: : : :

What are some of your home inspirations?

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Produce or produce?

Posted by on Apr 26, 2010 in photo, travel | 1 comment

Three more bits of sea glass. Are you sick of it yet? How was your weekend?

Produce!

Green stopper

Pyramid sea glass

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Date Day: Natural Bridges, March 25

Posted by on Apr 20, 2010 in photo, travel | 0 comments

Finally getting around to the travelogue for our drive down to Santa Cruz a few weeks ago. I figured I’d better get to it because we went again on Saturday and I don’t want to be two road trips behind.

We started off with a stop at Wescafe here in Alameda. They make a mean americano and serve some extraordinary almond croissants.

Food stop #1, Alameda

We used to always take 880 down through San Jose and over the mountains to Santa Cruz, but got in the habit of the slightly longer but less traffic-y and more scenic route across the San Mateo Bridge [which, I have just read, is the 25th longest bridge in the world!]

The Mighty San Mateo Bridge

over the hills to Half Moon Bay then down Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean [world’s largest!]. The view is pretty spectacular and there are gorgeous beaches all along if you want to take a break.

Lone surfer

I prefer to have the windows down because of the delicious ocean smell.

Rearview Mirror

We often stop in Pescadero, which is a one-light town halfway between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.

Daisies in Pescadero

We picked up a to-go cream of artichoke soup from Duarte’s and a hot load of artichoke garlic bread from Arcangeli’s and had a little picnic right there.

Food stop #2: Pescadero

Another 40 minutes or so and you arrive at the western end of Santa Cruz — Monterey Bay is a big C shape, with Santa Cruz at the very top — which is where one of my favorite beaches is.

Lying in the sand at Natural Bridges

Natural Bridges has one of the two monarch butterfly sanctuaries on Monterey Bay [the other’s in Pacific Grove] and if you’re up early enough in the winter months, you can see the huge bunches of them hanging from the eucalyptus.

Monarch trail at Natural Bridges

We were there too late in the year and never get up that early anyway, so we walked down to the beach…

No Lifeguard

…where we spent some enjoyable hours lolling about doing nothing in particular.

Young lovers on the first of spring

Then it was time to dust the sand off and head home.

Chad, all sandy

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Date day in Hayward, the walk

Posted by on Apr 15, 2010 in photo, travel | 0 comments

Last week we had a date day and went for a walk along a path in a park along the San Francisco Bay in Hayward, California, a bit south of where we live. We were in search of a sea glass beach a friend of mine had been to. It was very windy but the sun was excellent, and the path from the parking lot at the far, far end of W. Winton Avenue is wide and paved — perfect for bikes but also nice for a leisurely stroll.

Path #1: Hayward Regional Shoreline

Near the beginning of the path is a hillside of of mustard hiding the bulldozers at the landfill on the other side.

Path #2: Bring your wheelies

It was very windy and I took a bunch of photos that were big blurs, so I cheated and had Chad try to hold the mustard still for one more shot. He’s just out of the frame here. I really like this shot so it’s big. It’s larger here.

Mustard

The path leads to what used to be a ferry landing back in ye olden times. There’s very little left except for little stubs of wood poking out of the mud.

Path #3, Hayward ferry landing

We did find a bunch of sea glass, I’m going to post those tomorrow. I will just say: there is a lot, though it is mostly not fully “cooked” [as I have seen it referred to while poking around the many sites that are devoted to sea glass, this meaning it is not as sea-tumbled as it could be and most of what we saw still has hard if not sharp edges and there are very few of the small pebbly bits that I’d like to find for jewelry purposes].

Isn’t Chad cute?

Chad, on a path

He is also eagle-eyed, he spotted this half of a robin’s egg on the path. It’s barely bigger than the end of my thumb and I never would have noticed it unless it crunched as I stepped on it.

Path #4: Robin's egg

So: there are paths along both sides of the slough but we took the wrong fork when we came back on the other side and ended up on the wrong path, which gets bushier and bushier and by the time you realize things are not as they ought, you are at a locked fence separating you from your vehicle and you have to crawl through all kinds of underbrush unless you want to walk the quarter mile back to where you should have gone to the right. It’s an adventure anyway.

Path #6: Wrong way

: : : Hayward Regional Shoreline

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Date Day: sea glass beach

Posted by on Apr 14, 2010 in photo, travel | 3 comments

The best thing I spotted on our date day at the sea glass beach in Hayward last week was an intact green bottle stopper.

Made in England/bottle stopper

p.s hi Paul, I found your dishes from when you were a boy!

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