Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A very special happy 26th birthday

to my beautiful, sharp, talented, standup, witty, lucky, brilliant, impish, firecracker of a sister, Kate!

my college graduation/her high school graduation
photo by our stepmama, Amy Hutsell Kiefer

 She wrote a children's book!

she drinks old lady cocktails

she had the most beautiful wedding

and she married a pretty terrific guy
(also, she has amazing hair)

they are parents to a very big dog!
photo by my brother-in-law, Andrew Lee

and sometimes on New Years Eve, we are shimmery sisters

this is the Katest of all Kate looks

and this is the second Katest look


Monday, November 29, 2010

Oscar the Grouch

That's who I feel like today.  Are the rest of you feeling like it was so dang hard to go back to work bright & early this morning after several days off?  I spent the majority of the Thanksgiving break in my snuggie on my couch with hot coffee/hot cider/etc. watching football/knitting/etc.  When my alarm went off at 6 am this morning, I felt like someone had just threatened my life.  I told my 2nd period kiddos today that three days off was not enough to start missing them.  Ha. (I wasn't kidding).  

These factors are contributing to my Oscar the Grouch state:

1. I went for a jog yesterday and now my back is killing me;*
2. I can't find any creative, unique, and reasonable Christmas gifts.  Help me!!;
3. It was freezing this morning.  And early.  Early and freezing;
4. I have two ulcers in my mouth (bane of my existence);
5. WTF.

But here are some happy things!:
1. Micaela got married!  I've been keeping my lips sealed for the past couple weeks, but now it's official and she's announced her day-after-Thanksgiving nuptials to the world!
2. The sea salt caramel brownies I made are the best thing in the world.  Seriously, make them.  They're ridiculously good.
3. In just 20 short days I get to go home to Georgia for Christmas!
4. The Saints are playing the Falcons while I'm home in Georgia.  Rivalry!

*While on my jog/walk at Lake Merritt, I saw a dude running totally barefoot.  Now, I've heard rumors of this.  And I know they're now selling those running shoes that mimic being barefoot.  But TOTALLY BAREFOOT?  That is nutty.  Plus, there's duck poop all around the lake, geez.

Oh!  And my dear friend Cathy has a new blog!  Please check it out and follow her if you have any interest in growing your own food/healthy eating/gardening.  Or if you like to support people just starting out in the blog world. :)  I know she'd appreciate it!

Also, I heard today that this lady's wearing Reggie Bush's engagement ring:


Check out the story here.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Very Christmasty Night

Thanksgiving was great; low-key and filled with family (not mine, but family nonetheless) and food.  I cooked feverishly for about 8 hours and it was totally worth it!  My contributions included stuffing, gravy, squash casserole, cranberry sauce, sweet potato souffle, and a tofurky!  Ha.  (I may have been the only one who ate the tofurky . . . but everything else was a hit!).

And the icing on the cake?  THE SAINTS BEAT THE COWBOYS! (sorry Micaela and Marianne!).  Initially I wasn't worried . . . but then the good ol' boys fired their coach and started winning . . . but we still took care of them in the end.  Close game, though!  (Needless to say, my crush on wide receiver Lance Moore is deepening).

hottie with a body

Out with the old and in with the new, though, so I'm onto Christmas now. ;)  Tonight I decided to stay in and holiday-it-up:  I'm baking these brownies, listening to this Christmas cd, and I just put up my meager little Christmas tree:

I'm considering getting a real one this year.  I haven't in the past, cause I always go home to Georgia about a week before Christmas, and my parents have trees . . . but this year I'm feeling particularly starved for Christmas spirit, decor, music, cookies, etc. :)  Please share any craft ideas/recipes/music mixes that you love!

Have most of you started shopping?  I've done a little bit, but definitely nowhere near half.  Trying to think of some good gifts for little kiddos this year!  Any ideas?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tell me your favorite Thanksgiving dish!

Yes, yes, yes, I have a lot to be grateful for, and I promise to write down and/or vocalize all those things tomorrow.  But for now, I wanna talk food!  Thanksgiving is a very important holiday in my family . . . and sadly for me, they live all the way across the country.  I haven't been home for Thanksgiving in probably ten years!  (It's so close to Christmas that it just doesn't make sense to come home twice).  And so, for years, I've celebrated the . . .


a la Felicity circa 1998.  Remember that?  It was an important one.

In any case, I still make a lot of the dishes my mama and daddy and nana and aunties make.  Here is one thing that I decidedly do not eat:

or as I prefer to think of them,


Haha!  No hatin' on those of you who do eat the bird, though.  I respect tradition!  I just personally stick to tofurkey. ;)  Once, on a Thanksgiving day when we were little kiddos, my (younger) sister came up to me and announced "There is a dead bird in our fridge!"  I did not eat turkey that year.  Nor have I for the past 15 years.  ha!

But I'm still all about Thanksgiving and the delish food that comes with it.  I have two favorites, and I insist on making both of them every single year.  My daddy's stuffing (the vegetarian version, and I promise you'd think it's good!) and my mama's squash casserole.  Oh man.  

This year I am also making nana's cranberry sauce (which involves orange marmalade and crystallized ginger and pecans) and most likely her sweet potato souffle (with crumbled pecans and brown sugar on top, and absolutely no marshmallows!).  

So far on our menu:

macaroni & cheese
brussel sprouts
mashed potatoes
squash casserole
cranberry sauce
sweet potato souffle
green bean casserole
pecan pie
pumpkin pie

I'm dying to know--what's on yours?  What do you have to have every year at Thanksgiving?  Are you the chef, or is someone else?  My roommate and I split duties, and our friends are each bringing a dish.  My goal is to have everything ready and in the oven by 1 pm, when the Saints take on the Cowboys!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The proof is in the pudding.

My sweet cousin sent me the following picture in support of my Man Bun post yesterday . . . and I really don't think anything else needs to be said.

Tim Riggins with a man bun is my own personal heaven.

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Man Bun

Yesterday while I was drooling over the hotness at the American Music Awards (Usher, Enrique Iglesias, Gavin Rossdale . . .) I had a realization.

The man bun makes me weak in the knees.

Check out Gavin Rossdale, who was sporting one last night:

Now, it's partly just my generation.  I was a teenager in the 90s, which means that every single one of my boyfriends from age 15 to 21 had long hair.  Literally.  You've seen a picture of my high school boyfriend, and I could unearth pics of the three that followed him, all of whom had long, luxurious hair.

But it isn't the shaggy mane or the ponytail that gets me going . . . it is specifically the man bun.

Here are some more examples of hotties rockin' buns:

Casey James, from last season's American Idol.  He looked a zillion times hotter with the man bun than when he wore his hair down.  Man bun + drawl = xtra hottt.

RIP Heath; you sure did know how to sport the man bun.

my poet crush, Li-Young Lee--now this may not be a man bun PROPER, but I've seen him live & in the flesh with the man bun atop his head

These next two pictures are going to require a little faith.  Because while you can't see the actual man bun . . . you just have to trust that it's there.  It's just proof that the man bun looks hot from the front as well.

Hello, Orlando.  I love your locks.

Arguably the hottest man alive with the messy version of the bun.

So what do you think: Man Bun, yay or nay?  What quirky trend do you think is smokin' hot?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hola Amigas!

I've missssssed you!

We got back from Guatemala on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning at 1 am (to a flat tire and a re-chipped tooth, but that's another story), and it's been nonstop scrambling since then (fix tire/teach monsters/babysit monsters/dentist/etc.).  But here are some pictures from our amazing trip . . . suffice to say, I love Guatemala and seriously considered "missing my plane."

El Centro in Antigua, Guatemala
check out the adorable madre y hija!

my digs: my room, and anteroom con jacuzzi!  
Freeman and I enjoyed some awesome baths, that's for sure :)
the staff at our boutique hotel were so incredibly nice & helpful.  I love Guatemalans.

la familia before the wedding
(Jeannette, Freeman-aka-Mini, and Jon)
one of Jon's bffs from high school got married in an ancient ruin in Antigua

Freeman calls himself "Mini."  That's how he used to pronounce "Freeman," and it's just stuck.

Mini before the wedding
2. 5 years of CLASS ;)

la bella novia, Lucretia, y su padre

you haven't had tres leches cake till you've had tres leches cake in Guatemala!

el mercado
I think these are my favorite pics because of all the amazing, bright colors . . .
there is color everywhere in Antigua

me with Mini y su madre, Jeannette
we were on the rooftop of this restaurant in el centro where we had nachos that Freeman declared "GROSS!" in front of the camerero
(unfortunately, he was right)
see the volcano in the background?

my San Francisco familia . . . isn't Freeman amazing in his Guate overalls?

I'm on a boat!
(on Monday we took a microbus to Lago de Atitlan, and explored the surrounding pueblos via this barca)

el papa at the restaurant on the lago . . . would you believe the view?
also: best meal I had in Guatemala (papas y verduras)

Lago de Atitlan, y Jeannette con el volcan

I loved these ninos on San Marcos
they were pesky--just how I like them!
and check out el hombre de las verduras!
San Marcos was such a cute lil pueblo--grassy hideaways and trails everywhere

la nina
pictures like this make me regret breaking up with Jaime 
I want an hija like this!

We had such a wonderful time.  I loved spending time with Jon, Jeannette, and especially little Freeman--he and I had slumber parties in my room while his padres were celebrating out on the town with their amigos!  And the town was just as charming as it could be.  Everyone was so incredibly nice and helpful and patient with my slow & limited espanol.  

Happy weekend everyone! xoxo

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

{guest post from B is for...} Gal Pals!

Hello to all of the readers of Bicoastally.

I am Summer of {B is for}.
While she is off speaking another language, seeing new sights and chasing after little ones, I am stepping in to entertain you all. 

You want background, right?
Well, I don't have much for you.
I cannot remember how C and I first came across one another but I know that it has been fast and furious.

I am about to state the obvious but Claire is a dear, dear friend of mine.
I fell in love with Claire because she is real.
She stands for what she believes in.
She loves New Orleans and our Saints.
Claire cares with all of her heart. 
She won't take no for an answer.
She wants to make the world a better place.
She is passionate about her students, her profession, her poetry and her wine!

I did get the pleasure of meeting Ms. CK but it was the night of my Daddy's passing and it was nowhere near long enough.

So, I wanted to plan a do-over date.

I believe the perfect date for Claire and myself would be:

~ heading to a Saints game and standing on the field
~ we would have a spicy vegetarian spread in the locker room with Drew Brees
~ going cupcake and wine tasting - at.the.same.time
~ hugging and laughing till we pee'd our pants

Nothing too fancy, just fun. Right?

What would your perfect date with your perfect gal pal be like?

Rosy Designs Online

Monday, November 15, 2010

{guest post from Dolce Vita} how can you miss someone you've never even met?

hello claire's fabulous readers! 

it's Micaela from Dolce Vita, excited to be keeping you company while Claire's away in beautiful Guatemala City. She's having a wonderful time (one that includes the fancy Boutique Hotel Casa Santa Rosa in Antiqua and trying to get Freeman to watch Jersey Shore in spanish subtitles before bedtime... ha! only our claire). i can't wait to hear all about it!

i thought i'd be a little lovie dovie and tell you how me and claire "met."

it started with a music swap. it was claire's first time participating in a blog swap, and she found out about it through my blog. Even though we weren't paired together-- she sent me a copy of the cds she sent out (she's lovely like that). Through songs like this one... I know we were kindred.

we exchanged emails, and then little packages with gifts that  you could only give someone you truly felt close to. Like those baby shoes? I once told her that my favorite story is one that Hemingway was said to have written on a bet that he couldn't write a story using just six words. 

The six words he wrote were: "For Sale: Baby Shoes, never worn." 

those six words mean something to my heart. 

i sent Claire the glass snail because in a VOGUE article she once sent me was the sentiment that "snails carry their homes wherever they go." Shortly after reading that article, i finished reading "Eat Pray Love" and wouldn't you know that exact sentiment was in the pages of the very book that changed my life? 

in fact, mine and claire's first phone call was after my life had fallen apart. And it was so natural, so easy.  We talked like we had been friends for years. That's how it feels like with Claire.

it's hard to imagine that i didn't even know her a year ago. it's hard to imagine that we met through blogging and haven't met in real life yet (though we are going to fix that pronto!) 

it's hard to imagine because i miss her when it's been a few days since we've last emailed/texted/called/gmail chatted. 

i love you Claire!!! 

thank-you for letting me be cheesy. Do you guys have anyone you feel this way with through blogging? i'd love to know! xo

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday I'm in love with Central America

It is Friday and I am very much in love with three things:

1. These shoes

I first saw them on this blog and my heart skipped a beat . . . I looked them up immediately, and am now mustering all the justifications I can for spending $178 on a pair of shoes right before Christmas (when I should be saving my money for gifts!).  I cannot get these shoes outta my head!  Just imagine them with black tights and a gray ballerina-esque skirt!  They are perfect.  They are exquisite.  I have to find a way . . .

2. My students' reactions to the West Memphis Three case
In class we read Damien Echols's memoir, Almost Home, and then watched the HBO documentary, Paradise Lost, about the West Memphis Three case.  My students are so into it, and it makes me happy, because trust me . . . this case is worth getting to know.  It's crazy to think that blatant injustice is still happening in our "civilized" country.

3. Leaving for Guatemala tonight!
 Freeman, his parents, and I are hittin' the road tonight and catching a flight to LA at 9:30, immediately followed by a flight to Guatemala City!  We'll head to Antigua bright & early tomorrow morning, and will stay there for the next few days.  We're all gonna be exhausted (hello, international red-eye with a toddler!), but it will be well worth it.  I've been battling wanderlust for quite some time now, and I think this trip might just take care of it.  For a while, anyway. :)  Check out these pics of Antigua, known for its volcanoes!

I'll be back Wednesday morning, so in the meantime, have a fantastic weekend!  

Have any of you been to Antigua, or Guatemala in general?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Scary morning

It started with a text from my sister (who lives in Georgia) at 7:41 am that said:

"Don't go anywhere near the Bay Bridge this morning--man with explosives!"

By pure fortune, or God's will/cosmic plan, we're off school today for Veteran's Day, so it was the one weekday I didn't have to cross the Bay Bridge in the morning.

Apparently, there was a "mentally unstable" man in an SUV threatening to either jump off the bridge or detonate explosives.  The standoff went on for two hours, and the upper deck of the bridge was, of course, closed down (which probably meant that like 50% of San Francisco employees were extremely late to work today).

He didn't have explosives, but he did have a gun (which he threw over the side of the bridge into the bay).  Check out this crazy article.  Thankfully everyone's okay.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Cute Baby, Poems, and a Giveaway!

Thanks everyone for humoring my over-eager "guest blogger" yesterday (I found him working suspiciously quietly on my computer, asked what he was up to, and he said "Oh, just writing an email" . . . twenty minutes later, 90% of his self-declared "Guest Post" was written--HA).  He loved the attention, and maybe he'll be back early next week since I will be in Guatemala!  

Yesterday after work I drove over the Golden Gate Bridge to hang out with the Freitags, and I know sometimes I tend to go overboard with the baby pics . . . but can you believe this sweet face?

Jude:  The Good Egg

Goodness that is one sweet baby boy.  And speaking of good things, my oldest friend Lesley (she was at the hospital waiting for me to be born--she was only 6 months old and knew we'd be best friends since our mamas were!) is hosting a special Christmas giveaway from my sister's vintage etsy shop!  Click here to enter, and grab the button on my right sidebar if you're so inclined.  This is what's up for grabs:

Today is my Cobra day and my poem is due in a few short hours.  I always have the most trouble writing when I'm responding to one of my own assignments (we take turns giving assignments, then have dinner & mini poetry workshops every other week or so).  This time, it's write a poem that addresses your greatest fear.  Pretty terrifying, huh?  I have a few fears and phobias to work with, ha, so I'm not sure which one I'm gonna tackle yet.  Maybe developing paranoid schizophrenia or some sort of psychosis . . . that scares the living daylights out of me.  I'm shuddering just thinking about all my greatest fears . . . 

What would you write about?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Guest Post #2 (This is getting awkward)

This is getting awkward...

I got up with the sun this morning.  I took a train far away. I'm literally riding wild horses, eating beans out of a can, and singing on prairies. i'm yodeling on plateaus and making peace with mother nature. i'm a cowboy and i wear boots. i did bring my iphone 4 though.  Claire has been texting me saying people are responding positively to my first guest post.. lots of encouraging and fun words.  "Claire, great guest post". "funny stuff". "legit"

this is embarrassing for me because we all know that Claire went out on a limb to have a guest poster on bicoastally.  so as fans, you kinda feel compelled to support the guest post.  i'm like the bowler who has pads in the lanes.  (i even brought my own ball and bag and still bowled a 67) and maybe even training wheels on my adult tricycle.  well godspeed to you all.  fucking roses on a tuesday. big fun red ones on your desk as you bump "toot it and boot it" on your laptop working on spreadsheets, and order forms and marketing packages.  (i know roses, so cliche..but they are neglected nowadays and i want to keep up with my theme of mentioning flowers..tiny angels from heaven. perfectly shaped. perfectly formed)

on another note I have two topics of the day.  Man Diapers and Protective Alcohol Gear

Man Diapers:  sometimes i am literally so lazy that i can't even get out of bed to go to #1. is it so shameless to wear a man diaper?  i wouldn't wear it all day...and it would be designed to be comfortable for an adult, regardless of saturation.  they could come in different styles, shapes and colors.  somehow become party chic. work chic.  entrepreneurial chic. i really want to wear it in public.  bend over at a department store and have people see the edges of it as if i was a teen baller who was sagging..look back and be like "what?'.. wear it to bars and holiday parties and wholeheartedly sell the idea without flinching or any shame..

Protective Alcohol Gear:  Lets be honest Claire loves shoes, babies and wine. and people and the arts and care of course, but lets stick with the big 3..A. i've told her she needs to wear solid athletic shoes. like the totally blase ones nurses wear. all white reeboks or something.  solid framework. good athletic support..traction etc..heels are dangerous when partying...and with what happened in napa with her tooth and lip is it too much to ask for her to party in Protective Athletic Gear?  elbow pads, knee pads, face mask..light weight helmet..and of course solid shoes.. potentially channelling Mike Myers in SNL without the chocolate all over his face and in sensitive taste.  i even went further to say that maybe it could always be halloween for her and she could dress up as a New Orleans Saint.  and just tell people she can't get over halloween and her saints..they would shake their head maybe, but go on with the night, and Claire would be safe in the process...Perfect! or even go a step further and she could have a fake doctor near by who could tell people she has a degenerative memory lapse with certain holidays and its important to play along that it is in fact halloween again tonight.

and who's with me that French Toast sounds AMAZING right now? its been so long since i've had it / made it.  i learned how to make it in college and made it so often. its so easy. an egg, some cinammon...milk..bread..syrup..butter..So FUUUUUN!!

ok everybody thanks for your kindness, have a great day! life is good!

Summer has passed, Fall is here
Everyone get ready for some Holiday cheer

Guest Post here

Claire: I trust that you can put up a post that is okay.
Eric: Yes, of course I can, I'm not a..what's the word..um..I'm not a sabatoger.
Claire: I don't think thats a word.
Eric: Whatever.

Claire said her greatest fear is seizures. She has a phobia because she saw a kid have one when she was 9.  It's hard to get over.

"Pour me some red wine, Claire, if I'm going to write, I need some liquid from the gods."

(we just argued for 10 minutes b/c she thinks i have to write my name at the end of this.  and she wants to read it as i'm doing this.. i said hey, just relax, let me do this . . . don't try and own it . . . don't need info right now, you are compromising the integrity of the post. if you know the flow of this, it will affect the post . . . in my opinion.  Come on now, you don't mess with a bratty cocky spoiled delusional fed artist."

This post sucks. I hate this post. Writing is shameless and cocky and self indulgent. Oh look at me and my fancy fun words and charisma and chill jokes that I try to make come off casual but I really care about them.

Readers: Claire, your guest is negative, he's lame, he sucks.
Other readers: Yeah, F that guy, he's lame.

Does anybody ever look at a flower. Like really look at one.
They are SO beautiful.

Favorite shows:  Eastbound and Down, Breaking Bad.
Other shows i happen to watch: Mad Men, Friday Night Lights, the Office, Family Guy, soft core porn.

Who else is excited about the holidays and fall being here? I am.  I am an uncle. I'm the fun uncle and my sister's baby is a gift from the gods.  A precious baby angel that is beyond words.  Having children or caring for them, or knowing them, is very good for adults.  IMO.

You are all great.  Claire is really a great person. If you need anything i can help you.  Email Claire with your problem, and i will fix it.  

Toodles and kisses and hugs and love!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Too much Napa + concrete floor = busted grill!

Lordy.  So, bright and early Saturday morning, Anna and I drove up to Napa to meet my daddy, who was in town for the annual culinary conference at the CIA in St. Helena.

I couldn't quite capture the CIA in all its glory--it is such a gorgeous building!

We stopped at the conference and picked up Daddy, then drove to the house he and his colleagues were staying in . . . I don't think I can adequately describe its splendor, so here are some pictures of our weekend crib (owned by San Francisco fashion designer Rebecca Beeson):

lounge area/formal dining room

pool & hot tub--see the stone hot tub at the far end of the pool?

chicken coop where you could fetch fresh eggs every morning

looking out from the back patio the morning we left

I'm clearly not kidding when I say that this place was palatial.  It was 5600 square feet, complete with every luxurious amenity you can think of, pomegranate & Meyer lemon trees, a garden from which we picked vegetables, spans and spans of land, and a sprawling industrial kitchen overlooking the exquisite wine country landscape.  Unreal.  

Daddy fed me an heirloom tomato sandwich and some choice Gewurztraminer before we headed out to some wineries.  He kindly served as our guide and chauffeur.  First stop (after Cakebread, where they were kinda snobby and told us we needed an appointment) was Sequoia Grove, where they totally hooked us up with some fancy reserve wine:

Daddy and me outside Sequoia Grove winery

After which we continued onto Provenance, where dad slept in the car while Anna and I went into the tasting room!  We were just tipsy enough to buy a bottle of expensive Merlot before heading out and back to the house, where we poured some of our newly bought wine and got into the hot tub.

Somehow, between not eating much all day (no dinner is always my downfall), drinking a few too many pours of vino, and dehydrating ourselves by lounging in the hot tub, things took a turn for the crazier (by this point, my dear daddy was long asleep, leaving Anna, his two colleagues, and me to our mischief).  My share of the shenanigans was perhaps the greatest, because I ended up tripping and falling onto the majestic concrete of our palace and busted up my grill!

not good, y'all

But thanks to my lovely & talented dentist, Dr. Ann Donnelly, DDS, my smile was officially back to normal as of today at noon:

would you believe she did it on my lunch break so I didn't even have to get a sub??

But it was totally worth the chipped tooth and punchout lip, cause I've never seen anything like this place in my life.  The wineries were delightful, the weather was perfect, and we even stopped at the BCBG outlet on our way home, where I bought a darling winter sweater.  

Now, returning home to a flooded apartment was a different story.  YIKES.  At least the Saints crushed the Panthers yesterday (like there was any doubt)!  Hope your weekends were just as fantastic as mine!