Dinner at Takashi

Right now I’m not eating dairy/eggs/nuts (on the advice of our doctor since I’m nursing Mimi and she’s probably prone to food allergies) which meant that for our anniversary dinner a lot of cuisines were off the table, so to speak. We decided to try out Takashi up in Salt Lake and I’m so glad we did–it was AWESOME.

Left to right from top: pork belly with lotus root and purple sweet potato mash, wagyu beef nikumaki, clams with glass noodles in coconut curry, hamachi with jalapenos, the Imagine (tuna) and Spider (soft-shell crab) rolls, AND salmon tataki with some sort of citrus sauce that I would gladly bathe in. (Yeah, we went a little nuts.)

It was an excellent meal. No exaggeration, the wagyu nikumaki was one of the ten most delicious things I’ve eaten IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. The beef was super tender and intensely-flavored, not to mention perfectly grilled, and the thin slices of vegetables it was wrapped around were the perfect crunchy counterpoint. It’s a good thing it came with six pieces because ten years of wedded bliss aside, I’m pretty sure the fight for the last roll could have gotten pretty ugly. But fortunately such crises were avoided and we had a fantastic meal.

If you find yourself in Salt Lake City and like Japanese food I wholeheartedly recommend Takashi. Price-wise it’s more of a special-occasion place (at least for us) but it’s definitely worth checking out if you get the chance.

The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter

I read Tina Fey’s book Bossypants recently and loved it. I read it while I nursed Mimi in the mornings and it was fun enough that I didn’t mind hauling myself out of bed for the 5:30 am feeding because it meant I got to spend some time reading it. (It might be a while until another book has this effect on me.)

I wanted to share this excerpt I liked; you might have seen it around. As a new mother to a baby girl it Spoke To Me. (But it has a couple of sort-of-swears in it if that kind of thing bothers you.)

“The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter” from Tina Fey’s Bossypants

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.

May she be Beautiful but not Damaged, for it’s the Damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the Beauty.

When the Crystal Meth is offered, May she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half And stick with Beer.

Guide her, protect her

When crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from Acting but not all the way to Finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes And not have to wear high heels.

What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the Drums to the fiery rhythm of her Own Heart with the sinewy strength of her Own Arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a Tiger Flower blooming Magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait.

O Lord, break the Internet forever, That she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers And the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that S***. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a Mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.

“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a Mental Note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.


P.S. – I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day celebrating the women in your life and being celebrated a bit yourself.

I myself am keeping my fingers crossed for a lovely nap.


Thank you for the well-wishes and kind comments!

We are on the mend. Mimi is feeling better and I’m starting to relax about her breathing (or the possible lack thereof). One of the things that has helped quite a bit is the Nosefrida*, a nasal aspirator that you use by putting one end in your mouth and the other end in your baby’s nose and then sucking the snot out of their nose.

It sounds disgusting (both figuratively and literally) but it really is effective. And (very importantly!) there’s a replaceable foam filter in the middle to stop the snot so it doesn’t get into your mouth. I really prefer it to the blue bulb syringe you get at the hospital. I like being able to apply a long pull of suction instead of sticking the bulb syringe in and out of Mimi’s nose repeatedly which freaks her out, can make her little nose bleed, and doesn’t get as much mucus out.

I bought the Nosefrida on a whim before Mimi was born and I am so glad that I already had it when we came home from the hospital. In fact I’m so enamored of it that I might buy a couple for baby gifts. It’s not a very cute gift to receive but I’m pretty sure they’ll thank me later.

*That’s an Amazon Affiliate link

A Town Called Panic

We had a pretty quiet three-day weekend: E and N were both sick so we mostly just hung around the house and ran a few errands. We did however watch a fun movie that a friend had recommended: A Town Called Panic.

This stop-motion animated Belgian movie is delightfully surreal. The humor and the somewhat crude animation style might not be for everyone but it kept me giggling. The voice work was a big part of the charm for me; I’ve heard that there’s an English dub somewhere but it’s hard to imagine it could be as good as the original French version with English subtitles.

The movie stars three toys: Horse, Cowboy, and Indian. When Cowboy and Indian realize it’s Horse’s birthday they order some bricks to build him a barbecue as a present. But they accidentally order 50 million bricks which then show up on their doorstep. As you might guess, hijinks ensue. What you might not expect is how those hijinks include a journey to the center of the earth, a giant robot penguin, sneaky aqua-people, and a romance with a piano lesson-teaching lady horse.

If you like sort of silly surreal things, I’d recommend giving A Town Called Panic a shot. It’s available on Netflix streaming which is where we watched it.

Watching Veronica Mars

Since I’ve been stuck at home with the baby I’ve been watching more TV lately. In the first few months after E was born I burned through the complete Jeeves & Wooster (loved it!), Firefly (liked it a lot), and Gilmore Girls (sometimes I liked it but sometimes it made me want to smash my head against a wall).

Picking a show to watch when I’m up early with the baby is a bit tricky because it needs to be 1) something not horrible and 2) something that N isn’t interested in watching with me. Since we have fairly similar tastes it can be a little difficult to find something. Right now I’m working my way through Veronica Mars.

I’ve seen about 12 episodes so far and I’m enjoying it quite a bit. Kristen Bell plays Veronica Mars, a 17 year-old girl trying to solve the murder of her best friend. Her dad’s a private detective and she helps him out on cases and solves other mysteries on her own. The writing is decent and since Netflix has the entire series available via streaming I can watch an episode whenever I want which is convenient.

I also get a kick out of the face that Kristen Bell looks quite a bit like my friend and neighbor Stephanie.
Pretty similar, right? Stephanie is an intrepid Girl Reporter in her own right – she’s a Health Department inspector and gives us the skinny on the local restaurants to avoid. Apparently she’s going to be on the local news (FOX 13) tonight at 9 pm. Here’s a preview of the story.

Great deal on EW Subscription

We had a wonderful Christmas and I’ll get some pictures up soon but I wanted to quickly post about this deal since I don’t know how long it will be up for.

Right now On Amazon you can get a 1-year subscription to Entertainment Weekly for $15(!) N and I have subscribed to Entertainment Weekly for a couple of years and really like it. It’s fun to get a magazine every Friday and while I don’t always agree with the writers it’s a nice way of keeping up with movies, tv shows, and books. Plus our babysitters love reading it when they come over.

Our current subscription is almost over and the best deal the notices I’ve received in the mail have offered is about $80 for two years, so this is really a steal. I just signed us up for it. The subscription does auto-renew itself which for this price I don’t mind but you should be able to manage your subscription via your Amazon account.

Music and Crafts for Christmas

How is it that I’m both eager to get into the Christmas season and already vaguely panicky that I’m running out of time?

I received an Amazon gift certificate recently and I used it to go on a mini Christmas-themed spree. I picked up these two things to help me get into the swing of Christmas.

This Sufjan Stevens box set, Songs for Christmas*, is a good deal at Amazon right now ($14) and has nice alt-folksy versions of favorite carols. (And it comes with stickers!)

And I’ve been really enjoying flipping through this book, Fa la la la Felt*, and daydreaming of the cute Christmas ornaments I could make if I, you know, actually got my crap together. Amazon doesn’t have the option of letting you search inside but if you go here you can see the table of contents and a few sample pages. The ornaments are so cute! There are several that I want to make for our tree.

*FYI, these are Amazon affiliate links which means that if you purchase something through them I get a small percentage.

Tarte Cheek Stain

Growing up I was kind of a nerd. I was more into books and photography than make-up or fashion and as a result I sometimes feel like I’m still a bit behind the curve when it comes to girly things.

But I’ve been dabbling in makeup more lately. Maybe it’s something about turning 30 but I’ve been feeling like trying a bit harder might be in order.

I’ve had my eye on these Tarte cheek stains for over a year and before we went to Korea I finally picked one up in “Tipsy.” It’s more than I normally spend on makeup but I love it! It blends really easily and looks more natural than the powder blush I used to use. It seems to last all day and smells delicious. Also, I can tell that the container is going to last a long time; I’ve been using it frequently for a month and the stick still looks like new.

I had to try on a couple of shades to find one I thought looked natural so I would recommend trying it on in person if you get the chance.

Vegas, baby, Vegas!

Sorry for being MIA lately. We got back from Vegas early Monday morning and ever since then I’ve been rushing around like mad trying to wrap things up for our trip to Korea. It doesn’t help that my monthly reports for work are due before before we leave so I had to spent about 6 hours yesterday on them. BUT, that’s not what this post is about.

This was the first time N and I had gone away together without E and it was so much fun. I’ll leave it to N to discuss in detail the concerts we went to but I will say that for me the highlight of the festival was seeing Belle and Sebastian play. Stuart Murdock was ADORABLE and the show was great.

Belle and Sebastian

The two other things I wanted to do besides going to the shows were to sleep in and eat some great food. I had mixed success with sleeping in (due to my pregnant bladder and some vague anxiety about E being okay/the upcoming Korea trip) but got the chance to take a few naps which was great. But the food, well, the food was delicious.

One of our goals for this trip was to go back to Lotus of Siam which has the reputation of being one of the best Thai restaurants in the country. They specialize in northern Thai cuisine and have an extensive menu. We had been before and really enjoyed it and this time was just as good.

Pregnant me ready to eat some Thai food!

Nam Sod Salad

Crispy duck with Chu-Chee sauce (by far my favorite thing–SO good.)

If you like Thai food I’d definitely recommend checking out this place the next time you’re in Vegas. It’s fairly well-known (When we were there Mac McCaughan from Superchunk was at the table next to us.) and pretty busy so you have to make a reservation at least a day before. The restaurant’s located in a dicey Asian strip mall but the food is fantastic and reasonably priced.

The Way of Kings

I’ve been reading more than usual lately. I polished off three or four novels when I was up in WA and since I’ve returned I’ve been staying up later than I should churning through best-sellers. I read the first two books of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy* (a bit uneven but gripping) and this weekend I gave in to curiosity about what everyone on Facebook was talking about and read the Hunger Games Trilogy trilogy (fun and engrossing but not amazing).

But the book that I’ve enjoyed the most recently was The Way of Kings, by Brandon Sanderson. (Disclaimer: It’s hard for me to be totally objective since N and I are friends with Brandon and his charming wife Emily BUT the only reason I’m posting about The Way of Kings is because I really liked it and think that you {or a fantasy-novel-reading nerd you love} might like it too.)

The epic novel is set in a world where ultra-violent storms scour the land which has lead plant, animal, and human life to develop in unique ways. It took me about 40 pages to really get engrossed in the world Brandon’s created but once I was there I was there. The setting and the world’s history and culture are essential to the story but don’t feel obtrusive or awkward like they sometimes do in fantasy novels.

The point-of-view rotates through three main characters: a slave, a scholar, and an aristocrat. Brandon does a nice job of controlling the pacing and each individual plot so there are multiple cliff-hangers that keep you turning the pages. At times (mostly when it’s past one in the morning and you’re tired and need to go to sleep) it can be a little frustrating to have the book jump to Character X when you just want to know what happened to Character Y but it makes for a good page-turner.

A note on the physical book itself–it is nice. Full-color maps begin and end the book and full-page illustrations are found every few chapters. I don’t buy a lot of hard-bound books but this edition is really lovely. (And Amazon has it for $15 which is a great deal.)

The Way of Kings is the first book in a planned 10-book series, The Stormlight Archive. I’ve read my share of epic fantasy series (nerd!) and this is one that I’m very excited to follow.

(*FYI, these are Amazon Affiliate links which means that if you click on it and order something I get a tiny cut.)