Monthly Archives

December 2013

ps_menu_class_0
ps_menu_class_1
ps_menu_class_2
ps_menu_class_3

Happy New Year!

Holiday Card 2013 • littlegoldpixel.com

We didn’t get our cards mailed out yet. So in case you thought we forgot you, don’t fret. We kept forgetting to buy stamps. The idea of sending out e-cards is getting more attractive each year. Anyway, with love from our family to yours … here’s to a great 2014.

P.S. This is the photo we chose (remember these outtakes?). It was us just messing around after posing seriously. I always love the candids best. The blurrier, the better. I have a strange attraction to motion blur and overexposure.

And Now for My Book Report

Book Reviews • 50/50 • Little Gold Pixel

Read Part 1 and Part 2 and Part 3 and Part 4 on my quest to read 50 books.

This is my final reading report for 2013. The links lead to the full book reviews I wrote.

The Cuckoo’s Calling / Robert Galbraith aka J.K. Rowling » To quote directly from my book review: “I love mystery/detective novels. I do. I did NOT love this one. In fact, I struggled so much to stay awake through the first 100 pages that I ran out of time on my library loan and said, ‘Eff it. I’m not re-borrowing this one.'”

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock / Matthew Quick » Eh. I wanted to like this book more, but I felt like Leonard needed a good punch to the face. I did appreciate the message that happiness is something you have to work at, that it’s not just handed to you. Unfortunately I’m not sure Leonard himself got the memo.

The Bone Season / Samantha Shannon » When I first started reading this book about clairvoyants and an alien race, I thought it might suck me in like the randomness that was the Darkfever series. I’m not sure whether I’ll pick up the next installment, though, because it meandered so long toward the end that I started speed-reading and flipping pages just to be done with it.

Please Ignore Vera Dietz / A.S. King » Finally, a coming-of-age story that is perfect. It felt … true. I cannot do this book justice with my reviews. I loved it.

Etiquette & Espionage / Gail Carriger » Every time I read a Gail Carriger book it puts a smile on my face. Sarcastic, snooty, steampunk. All of the above. If you’ve never submersed yourself in this world before, I recommend the Parasol Protectorate series, though I must say that this book appears to be the start of a fun series, too.

The Book Thief / Markus Zusak » You would think I’ve reached my quota of World War II books for the year, but I’ll be damned if they haven’t been some of the best reads. This one? I think I can stop now and forever, because there will be no other WWII book that can compare with it. I felt absolutely gutted when I read the last page. The sky was chocolate brown.

Attachments / Rainbow Rowell » I felt like I was transported back to the first newsroom I worked at. The vibe was spot-on. A perfectly cute romantic comedy, asking the important question: Is it really stalking if it’s your job to read other people’s emails? Discuss.

The Returned / Jason Mott » A quiet, gripping read about how people would react if the dearly departed came back to life (and not in a zombie way). Poetry is the author’s specialty, and it shows in the lyrical prose that was simply entrancing. To be a TV series (called “Resurrection”) in the spring.

Island Girls / Nancy Thayer » I wanted a fun beach read. This was not what I was hoping for. Too whiny, too arrogant, too many inexplicably rich people with questionable money sources.

Eleanor & Park / Rainbow Rowell » You know, 1980s teen dramas don’t get better than this. I imagine Molly Ringwald as Eleanor and Brandon Lee as Park. You can sense the quiet desperation in the music they pass back and forth. There is some contention over the ending. I won’t spoil anything. I’ll just say I love it.

In this list of 10 books: three are about teen angst, four have some kind of communication with the dead. The three best: Please Ignore Vera Dietz, The Book Thief, Eleanor & Park

There you have it. I’ve read all 50 books! I think I’ll set my book reviews goal for 60 next year. Think I can handle it? Before I move on to 2014, though, I’m going to compile my top 10 list for the year. I think it’ll be difficult to whittle down because I’ve read some good ones.

Meanwhile, what have you been reading? I’m always on the lookout for a good read.

A Week in the Life: 52/52

Here’s what our Christmas week looked like:

Untitled
» Clouds climbing over the Hill.

Untitled
» Kinda like an oil painting.

Untitled
» A new (short as I’ll go) haircut.

Untitled
» Sunrise reflected in car dew.

Untitled
Untitled
» Waiting for my dad at the airport.

Untitled
» At Crafted. Underwhelming, unfortunately.

Untitled
» Alexa finally on the mend from her ear infection.

Untitled
Untitled
» The weather was glorious the entire time Dad was here.

Untitled
» Tackling a toddler.

Untitled
» Lunch break while doing some last-minute Christmas shopping.

Untitled
» I became obsessed with the TV show “Buying Hawaii” and binged-watched while propping my feet on the air mattress we slept on in the living room. Classy!

Untitled
» Christmas Eve drive to look at the lights. We stopped at Starbucks for some festive beverages. Alexa chugged chocolate milk, then passed out after a few blocks.

Untitled
» Christmas morning descent. I guess Alexa was a pretty good girl this year. Santa brought her Jake and the Neverland Pirates action figures and a toy stroller with a dolly.

Untitled
» Daddy-daughter date commences with Indian food for lunch.

Untitled
» A stroll along the beach, re-creating our photo from last year.

Untitled
» Chocolate gelato for the win.

Untitled
» Testing out the Whirley Pop my brother and sis-in-law sent for Christmas. (It was a hit.)

Untitled
» Alexa calls us out on not having a touchscreen laptop.

Untitled
» Is it just me, or did the season fly by without warning? Felt too fast this year.

Untitled
» Little Miss ate hot salsa and guacamole, much to our surprise. Although, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. She was the one who caused me all those Mexican food cravings when I was pregnant.

Untitled
» “Twinkle stars,” she pointed out.

Untitled
» Postcard sunset at the beach before driving Dad to the airport. It’s always hard to say goodbye.

*This is a weekly photo project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 51/52

What our past week looked like:

Weekly Photo Project • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» It warmed up, and the beach beckoned.

Weekly Photo Project • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» Shortly before she asked me to take off her shoes.

Weekly Photo Project • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» A rare crystal-clear water day in the South Bay.

Weekly Photo Project • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» Wet feet led to wet pants led to wet tunic led to … change of clothes in the car, thank goodness.

Weekly Photo Project • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
Weekly Photo Project • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» Alexa’s enthusiasm rubbed off on H.

Weekly Photo Project • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» I got wet, too, but only to my knees. Someone needed to stay dry to take all these photos!

Weekly Photo Project • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» Sunday afternoon in December.

A Week in the Life • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» A nasty fever took hold of my baby.

A Week in the Life • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» When it hadn’t cleared up by midweek, we went to the doctor. Double ear infection.

A Week in the Life • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» I had to use the fast setting on my wipers.

A Week in the Life • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
A Week in the Life • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» The whole office stopped to admire a rainbow that started over the Hollywood Hills and ended over downtown L.A.

A Week in the Life • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» Alexa tucked in her baby for night-night.

A Week in the Life • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» “It’s your turn to play puzzle, Unicorn.”

A Week in the Life • 51/52 • Little Gold Pixel
» I made some damn tasty chocolate chip cookies. Secret ingredients: gram flour in the dough and topped with Himalayan salt.

*This is a weekly photo project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 50/52

The chalkboard in our living room still says “11 Days” till Christmas. This is obviously wrong. It’s more like four (!), and I’ve yet to get these photos up from last week. To say this month is going by too fast is an understatement.

Here’s what the second week in December looked like for us:

Untitled
» Thinking inside the box.

Untitled
» Jet trail.

Untitled
» Swoopy bangs.

Untitled
» Top of my wish list. This candle smells ahhhhhsome. (Psst, Secret Santa: It’s at Anthro.)

Untitled
» Fancy parking garage tree.

Untitled
» What happens when you build a garage near the La Brea tar pits.

Untitled
» Always wanting to sit on the kitchen counter, this time to help me make steaks.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 49/52

Here’s what last week looked like for us:

Untitled
» Alexa recited “The Snowy Day” for us a bajillion times.

Untitled
Untitled
Untitled
» We took photos for our Christmas card. These are some outtakes; I’ll share the one we went with on Christmas Day!

Untitled
» The timer app I downloaded helped make quick work of our photoshoot. Yes, I took our Christmas photos with the iPhone. I am the only member of my family who has patience for the DSLR, so I am willing to compromise to keep the smiles coming.

Untitled
» H’s Sunday project: meat pies.

Untitled
» Pink sky.

Untitled
» Towering trees in my work building’s lobby. They smell sooo good.

Untitled
» Enormous snowflakes hang from the ceiling.

Untitled
» A cool front moved in. It was 57 degrees. The same day, my dad reported that it was in the single digits in the Midwest.

Untitled
» I found this color palette in the lunch shop as I waited for my panini.

Untitled
» The crisp air cleared out the patio.

Untitled
» My silly goose models her Lakers sunglasses while I cook breakfast. She picked them out herself with no help from her Daddy, can you believe it?

Untitled
» Long autumn shadows.

Untitled
» Alexa’s unicorn, “Sparklies,” wanted to wear the Lakers glasses, too.

Untitled
» Contents of my passenger seat: purse, lunch bag, mermaid.

Untitled
» A blast from the past.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 48/52

Have you ever listened to Brian Regan’s stand-up routine? I ask because I’ve had a tough time finishing this post, what with laughing my ass off every three seconds for the past hour. You understand.

A taste:
“They always say that Albert Einstein was a genius. Then how come when anyone ever calls you that, it’s an insult? ‘You don’t know where you parked the car? Good job, Einstein.’ I don’t think we’re honoring that man properly by using his name in vain in parking lots.”

Anyway.

Here’s what we were up to the week of Thanksgiving.

2013Nov23_0159w48
» I want all the scarves.

2013Nov23_0161w48
» Giving my wallet a workout.

2013Nov23_0174w48
» H went on a quest to make the perfect burger.

2013Nov24_0142w48
» I drank decaffeinated coffee for three days before I realized the package said “decaf.” Suddenly the day I commented, “I just drank coffee and I’m still tired!” made sense.

2013Nov24_0145w48
» Alexa saw my bag of gift bows and begged me to have a “star” because there were so many.

2013Nov24_0156w48
» Alexa took this.

2013Nov25_0141w48
» Seasonal flowers at work.

2013Nov27_0130w48
» One of the most beautiful cloud formations I’ve ever seen.

2013Nov27_0133w48
» I braved the grocery store the night before Thanksgiving.

2013Nov28_0004w48
» The best thing about Southern California: Your friends give you free citrus off the trees in their yards. Smells soooo good.

Untitled
» My little helper. We made pumpkin cake and pecan pie.

Untitled
» My very first pecan pie from scratch. I think my mom would be proud.

Untitled
» Mmmhmm, this happened.

Untitled
» We really had more food than three people should be allowed to have. It lasted six days.

Untitled
» The menu: Roast Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing and Gravy, Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus, Rosemary and Honey-Roasted Carrots, Potato Gratin with Goat Cheese, Rolls, Pecan Pie and Pumpkin Cake for dessert. Woah.

Untitled
» Always have to watch up for Miss Grabby Hands, who did not wish for us to set the table.

Untitled
» Tryptophan coma, commence.

Untitled
» We added another strand of lights to our tree. We like the glitz.

Untitled

Untitled

Untitled
» Our first real outing since Alexa started potty training. She did fantastic.

Untitled
» Goofing around. We did a lot of that over the holiday.

Untitled
» I can’t decide if this is the creepiest or best ornament ever.

Untitled
» You can’t go wrong with the classic bulb.

How are you doing on your holiday shopping? I’m about halfway done. The month is already going so fast. I don’t know how we’ll cram it all in.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

A Week in the Life: 47/52

I still love this weekly photo project, but I have to say it’s getting to be more of a chore to post them on the blog. I might sideline this project into my personal folders next year so I can focus on getting back to what I like to do here: tell stories of our adventures and share things I love. Still thinking about it, though. I have a month to figure it out.

Meanwhile, here’s what the third week of November looked like.

Untitled
» Carnitas lettuce wraps.

Untitled
» Yes, we put up our Christmas tree on Nov. 16. That’s what happens when you’re inside all weekend potty training your toddler.

Untitled
» The day I realized my cardigan clashed with the rest of my outfit. Thank god for black & white photo conversion.

Untitled
» Rain! Puddles!

Untitled
» Sometimes in the parking garage I am tempted to hide behind a pylon and jump out to scare people. Not that I would ever, ever do that.

Untitled
» Orange clouds hanging over the harbor.

Untitled
» I love her hair so much.

Untitled
» Always something blooming around here.

Untitled
» “Wanna wear scarf, Mama.”

Untitled
» Polka dots.

Untitled
» I love how clean the city feels after a good rain.

Untitled
» The rainy season brings out the best sunsets.

*This is a weekly project inspired by Shutterbean. Shot on iPhone this week. See past weeks here.

$20 Holiday Gift Guide

$20 Gift Guide • Little Gold Pixel

The $20 Holiday Gift Guide is the last of three holiday gift guides for 2013. Previously: the $10 gift guide and the $15 holiday gift guide. These are things I’ve bookmarked throughout the year as items that seem like great gifts for people I know and love. They are from a combination of retailers and Etsy sellers, and I am not being paid to link to anyone.

Growing up, we would arrange homemade cookies (usually lopsided and ugly because we were kids) on a plate and write a note to Santa on Christmas Eve. Then Uncle Terry would take us kids for a ride around town to look at the houses aglow in light. We would sing carols and in general be merry, trying not to talk about what we knew was happening while we weren’t at home for that 30 minutes: Santa Claus was coming! He knows when you’re not home, you know?

Later my brother and I took over the responsibility of taking our younger cousins on a ride to see the lights. Keeping the tradition alive.

It’s funny how that diversion is one of my fondest childhood memories. I looked forward to the drive, to that anticipation, even more than walking in the front door to find out that we just missed Santa, darn it.

Now, in my own home as an adult, Santa comes overnight. He needs more time to put toys together … and stuff.

But I’d like to rekindle our old tradition of going for a Christmas Eve drive to look at the lights. Santa will still come overnight, but the Christmas Eve lights, man. That was magic.

$20 Holiday Gift Guide

$20 Gift Guide • Women and Men • Little Gold Pixel

GUYS // 1 // Superhero cookbook // 2 // Kitchen towel // 3 // Ipad sleeve // 4 // Record cufflinks // 5 // Flask
GIRLS // 1 // Leather bracelet // 2 // She Believed pillow // 3 // Cement planter // 4 // Eiffel Tower bottle opener // 5 // Bath salt // 6 // Tote bag