1.12.15 tricks

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Uhoh. Have I mentioned before how we have too many remote controls? Well, we do. And I did something wonky just now when trying to watch Brooklyn 99 on demand and now the TV is blank. 😮 All this would be fine if I only had someone else to blame for the mishap. As it stands, my honey is due home any minute and guess what he’ll first notice? Oops.

He’s got his skill set (remotes) and I’ve got mine. Mine is polishing up jewelry with just lemon and hot sauce! See that shine-y brass and copper cuff bracelet in the above photo? Five minutes B.R.C. (before remote cock-up) it was black. Then I sliced the lemon for the brass, grabbed my Tabasco for the copper, and went to work. Two minutes B.R.C. I had a beautiful brand new looking cuff from my mom. Apparently some boy gave it to her when she was twelve. Love springs eternal! Let’s just cross our fingers that it endures the Great Remote Lecture of 2015.

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12.18.14 fool’s gold

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Remember my love of Goodwill? If no, here is why- the middle wide ribbed cuff that I am wearing today. I bought it and it looked like this:

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Can you see that? Here’s the closeup:

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Hideous, right? Some numnuts splatter painted a cuff bracelet with ugly colors of acrylic paint. But, I’m proud to say, I saw the potential. The little chips showed something shine-y and for a few frantic moments I thought I’d found gold. GOLD! I freaked out, then soaked, scrubbed, and chipped at the paint. Despite the top photo with the jewelry cleaner this was mostly accomplished with my finger nails. I am a classy dame.

Alas, no gold. The easy test was holding a magnet up to it. Gold is not magnetic, brass and other metals are. But whatevs. Look how gorgeous it is, regardless of the material.

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Yay me!
Today’s bangles are: Astrologie from my honey, the Angela Cummings bangle that was a gift from my dad to my mom, my Goodwill find, and a silver Tiffany’s woven looking bracelet.

11.30.14 just can’t get enough

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Hey guys, is this enough bracelets for a person to wear?

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How about this? Is this enough? Just let me know when I cross that threshold of “reasonable quantities of bangles” and enter into “obscene quantities of bangles”, okay?

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Are we there yet? Let me ask you this, at what point would this no longer be considered bangles but a metal sleeve?

Today’s bangles: 4 brass garage sale bangles, Hemrès Astrologie from my honey, 3 gold color cheapo bangles I was wearing during my accident, brass cameo cuff, oneida spoon cuff engraved with the letter L, Hermès cream Clous bangle, flag charm bracelet, sterling ID bracelet engraved with Claudia, giant M brass cuff that I paid too much money for from Goodwill because I love my own initials. Claudia’s got nothing on me!

11.18.14 rhinestones are forever

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You guys remember that Bond film, right? Rhinestones are forever? If not forever, per se, they are at least decent amounts of time. “Rhinestones are decent amounts of time” doesn’t have the right ring, however. It’s not exactly catchy.

Today I’m wearing my Goodwill bow bracelet, my sterling knot from Hiho Silver, and a vintage rhinestone piece I was given for being a bridesmaid. Best yet?? Rhinestone panda clip ons. Now pandas, they are forever.

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11.14.14 back in the saddle

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Today I am back in the saddle, returned to work, with a butt load (yes, technical term) of shipments to receive. Christmas shipments. I apologize on behalf of all retailers. It is too damn early for Christmas ornaments and pine scented candles yet here I am, thrusting it all upon you, the consumers. I’m sorry!

Today’s bangles: plastic leopard print I found in my yarn stash- where’d this come from? Who knows!, horn bangles, brass garage sale bangles, and fake Cartier Clous.

I promise to wait until at least Thanksgiving to play this, my favorite Christmas song.

11.11.14 sunny San Fra-no-freezie

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It’s totally not freezie today, or at all, or maybe ever again even. SF is never cold enough to snow, but it does get charmingly brisk this time of year. USUALLY. But I don’t know, this drought and warm spell? It continues to stretch out before us now, making most SFers grouchy. It leaves my bedroom uncomfortably warm at night! Nobody knows how to deal with this! We aren’t equipped for warm weather. Should I wear sandals? Or will I get cold by the end of the day? I just don’t know!

Today’s bangles are: brass bow bracelet, silver bangle, Guadalquivir bangle by Hermès, seashell charm bracelet, Tiffany’s silver latch bangle, and my extra special Crazy Loom bracelet from my niece.

11.7.14 yelp and the anonymous reviewer

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As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts ahem, Full Dinosaur Disclosure I own a shop. One of the evils of being in a customer service business is Yelp. Most of the time I’m completely tickled by my reviews. Actually, most of the time it takes me three months to notice a review, and then I’m tickled. Every once in a while there’s somebody who’s annoyed with how I’ve handled a situation, and the lesson there is that you can’t make everyone happy. Hello? I’m not Nordstrom’s, I just cannot accept a return of a pair of PJs that has been washed, worn, and the size tags removed just because your grandchild no longer fits them. Regardless of rightness or wrongness I feel bad about this kind of Yelp review. But I brush it off. Yelp happens. I doubt it even effects my business.

I sometimes use Yelp myself. To get a phone number or to see the reviews of a new restaurant. I prefer to read the bad reviews to see if the complaints are legitimate (food poisoning) or not (bad date, location is happenstance). But again, this is rare, since I’m a creature of habit and usually frequent the same five restaurants.

What bums me out about Yelp is this Hutten Jewelers page. I’ve mentioned Hutten Jewelers before. They are the most amazing jewelers for so many reasons. Izabella, the owner, is a 60 year old Brigitte Bardot type lady with a heavy Polish accent. Not like the current Brigitte Bardot, mind you, but if Brigitte Bardot had aged the way we all expected her to. This is a picture of her below, usually she’s got this giant contraption strapped to her head that magnifies the gem stones she’s working on.

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Izabella’s customer service is amazing. My husband shopped around for a jeweler when he was preparing to pop the question. He had some vintage diamonds and needed a jeweler to set them. Most jewelry stores charge a “corkage” fee for supplying your own diamonds. Not Izabella. But the greatness of Izabella is more then this. We bring everything to her: engraving needs, mending, designing, appraising. The other day I dropped in with one of my Goodwill finds to ask her what kind of material it was. (Agate, it’s an agate bangle. I am such a pest.)

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Her fees? So reasonable. Plus, as repeat customers she always knocks the price down for us to be even lower than reasonable. She nurtures our relationship. She can never retire, we need her too much!

But so what breaks my heart about Yelp is when Izabella, who is excellent at her job, but who does not use the internet, or really understand that a Yelp review is not such a big deal, when she gets herself all worked up over a bad review that is completely meritless in its criticisms. And she has no recourse to dealing with it. There’s no check and balance system in place where Yelp confirms “Yes, this is a legitimate complaint” or “No, this is a person who demanded the name of Izabella’s landlord and when Izabella did not feel comfortable providing this kind of info to a stranger on the sidewalk, they wrote her a terrible Yelp review.” She cares about what you think about her and her business when you read that review. She has three reviews. She really needs a freaking website already, but that’s a different pig to fry.

So I say fuck it! Fuck Yelp for making people feel bad about doing their jobs. Fuck the power of this anonymous stranger. You got a problem with a business, address them directly. Cut out this awful Yelp middle man. Yelp has far too much power for its own good. If you can’t cut out the Yelp? Then your complaint is probably ridiculous to begin with.

Today’s bangles are the North African hinge bangle, horn skinny bangles, Hermes Caleche in puke green (Just kidding! I think it’s Chartreuse), brass Goodwill feather which may or may not end up in my online shop, and four skinny brass bangles. I’m loving those guys this week, huh?

11.5.14 brunette ambition tour

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Today I wanted to write about creativity, and heart break, and Yelp. But that may be an overly ambitious endeavor. Because of creativity.

I don’t know how you work, but for me I carry a finite amount of expendable creativity around with me every day. I must use it, because, like cell phone minutes, it doesn’t roll over. But also like cell phone minutes, it runs out if taxed too much. So I have my creative outlet rotations: writing, painting, cooking, knitting, needlepoint. Every once in a while something else will enter the mix. Making a dress, say. Or spray painting some lamps from a garage sale.

Lately, a fair amount of creativity has been allocated to this blog. Which is highly satisfying. I’m also experiencing a small maelstrom of making knit hats. To what end, who knows? Do we even need hats in SF, not really! It’s 71 degrees today.

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Every once in a while I mix it up and knit a cowl. Can you guess what everybody is getting for Christmas?

Cooking is a recent add to my creative outlet list. It doesn’t come naturally to me. I grew up in a big family where food was all about function not skill. My mom is an amazing cook now, but back then, frazzled with her four pests running around and getting into the knives, cooking a chicken meant literally cooking a chicken. Chicken + oven = dinner. My dad frequently made dinner too, but he was all about the beans n franks or the spaghetti and meat sauce. Sometimes BBQ. So it wasn’t until my late twenties that I realized the kitchen was more than a storage area for cereal and milk.

My honey entering my life is what triggered this urge to cook. Which is ironic, because if you know us you know food is just about the only thing we fight about. I must have my meals or I go bananas, and he’s always “Oh I’m not hungry, I think I’ll just skip dinner.” Then I pull all my hair out and yell at the moon. I mentioned before what happened when this fight was compounded with Clomid like hormones. It was very ugly.

So despite not being a natural chef, I insist on cooking because otherwise I might never get fed. And then I would starve. Out of necessity I am the MASTER of the slowcooker. I recommend Slow Cooker: the Best Cookbook Ever which totally lives up to it’s claim. I can brag that thanks to this book I kill it making soups. Salads too, but I don’t think that’s “cooking” per se, and my chopping skillz come from back in the day.

Recently, though, I learned how to roast a chicken. 425 degrees, add seasoning and olive oil. Cook for 45 minutes or so. This may seem obvious to some people, but I’ve shied away from cooking chicken for YEARS. Because I was convinced I would kill someone. Probably myself because my husband had a big lunch and took a pass on dinner. So not only would I die, but I would die angry.

But then, creative cooking epiphany #2 occurred just the other night. It rocked my world.

In painting, you never want to use the paint straight from the tube. I spend a lot my time mixing color. To bring harmony to a painting, often I’ll introduce the same color throughout. I work with a lot of complimentary colors, so even though the image is primarily blue there is actually orange pigment mixed in with the blue. It complicates the color, adds more qualities to it. It’s a bit hard to explain, but if you look at many pictures, Edward Hopper for example, you’ll notice the complimentary color palette. Even the neutral tones tend to be part of the spectrum. It’s fascinating and subtle and it makes paintings very magical. The amount of effort I spend specifically on paint color relationships? Well that’s the entire painting process.

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This painting was inspired by the movie Drive, which you may notice is entirely blue and orange. It’s a beautiful (and brutal) film. I’m not particularly proud of this painting, it’s just illustrates well my point about complimentary colors. Orange is mixed into all the colors throughout the painting. Even the orange 👻

But back to my cooking epiphany, I realized to create harmony in a meal, you bring the same element throughout the entire dish! So I roasted chicken, but first marinated it overnight. In the marinade was Worcestshire sauce, lemon olive oil, Rosemary, salt, white wine. I was also planning to roast fennel and cauliflower. So I tossed them in Rosemary, lemon olive oil and salt. To bring harmony to the food in the same way that I would a painting!

“Duh” everybody is probably saying. But listen, my world has changed. The very foundation shifted. I feel so proud of myself for this discovery! And dinner was pretty good if I do say so myself. My honey had seconds!!

So what else do I need to know about cooking, huh? Tell me your tip/trick. I can promise it will seem like NASA level brilliance to me.

Today’s bangles are: red coral bangle, rhinestone bangles from India, 4 skinny brass bangles.

11.4.14 the Gilmore conundrum

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If I were a graduate student studying modern American television (people totally do that, right? TV Studies? No?) I’d write my thesis on the Gilmore Girls. Specifically the dynamic between Lorelei Gilmore and Rory Gilmore. The title would be Lorelei & Rory: the role of the dominant and the submissive in family dynamics. And then I’d write about that. But since this is a blog, I get to cheat and invent imaginary thesis titles without actually needing to do any leg work.

Ugh! I can’t even explain the insidious addiction of this show. I never watched it first time around. Then when it became available on Netflix streaming I figured I ought to give it a shot because people I respect love it. It turns out it’s awful. But I can’t stop watching!

I hate Lorelei. She’s so smug and self absorbed. Basically selfishly forcing her daughter to be her best friend. I just can’t get behind this whole mom + daughter = best friend thing. It’s weird! Yo. I talk to my mom every day, I see her in person multiple times per week. I have a great relationship with my mom. But she’s my mom, not my best friend. Side note, I also find it creepy when spouses call each other “best friends”. Anyway, Lorelei is so intent on being “cool” and quasi witty that she’s awful and obnoxious to her entire community. Including her own parents! Come on already, grow up, Lorelei!

Oh, and the theme song? It’s the worst. THE WORST. For all the effort the show goes to name dropping bands (Belle & Sebastian, Metallica, I heard some Rammstein, Otis Redding) you’d think they would have a decent theme song. But no. It’s the worst. If you’re curious what song it is it’s Where You Lead by Carole King. Listen, I may be down with Linda Ronstadt but no thank you, Carole King. You can take what you are selling elsewhere.

Oh, hello broken English Korean mom. What are you doing here? Why? Why must Mrs. Kim speak broken English? Her grammar is nearly impeccable but the writer’s love dropping the verb every once in a while. It’s so inconsistent! ESL people tend to be consistent in the idiosyncrasies of their speech. The Vietnamese family down the street sell “gingersnappers” at their sandwich shop. Which I think is ridiculously cute, BUT it’s always gingersnappers. Well, except when it’s chocolate chip cookie day. Then there’s no gingersnappers. Consistency.

Besides, I can hear Mrs. Kim’s American accent behind the awful fake Korean accent. Why must they do this? There are so few Asians on TV to begin with, must the token ones be such a stereotype? I’m looking at you Two Broke Girls. You’re part of the problem, too.

So there’s a lot, A LOT that I dislike about this show and yet…. I can’t stop watching it. Where you lead, I will follow, apparently. Like a lobotomized rat, I hate the maze but I can’t escape it. Poor rat 😦

It’s Rory. She is the cheese that makes the maze worth while. But now she’s getting all mixed up with this bad kid, Jess. I’m worried she’s going to cheat on Dean. Stupid Lorelei almost had a decent moment of parenting, nearly pointing out this kid Jess’s many flaws, but then she blew it. As usual. So right now I’m just so concerned for Rory and her future. Oh, yeah, I like Paris, Kirk and Suki too. It’s these characters that outweigh the general awfulness of the show.

Now hush, Jess is cleaning the gutters and I know he has that bracelet of Rory’s. I just hope she figures out he is terrible before she jeopardizes her relationship.

Today’s bracelets are assymetrical brass Goodwill find now up at my shop, tiny HiHo Silver knot, cream Clic Clac, chain of silver hearts, and silver ID bracelet that read WWRS from Goodwill. I’m guessing that R is for Rita since she ‘loves ya’ on the flip side.