Saturday, December 31, 2011

Milo's Letter to Santa



Dear Santa-

Come down the chimney over the fire but don't get burned. Never!  Bring presents please.  Skiers and skaters would be great. Please bring presents for Jude too. You have to be Santa to come down the chimney.  And loved.  Enjoy the cookies, milk, and that's it.  Give your reindeer the celery and carrots. 

I love you, 

Milo

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Pics Part 1: Pre-Christmas

Goodness gracious alive, have I fallen behind as a blogger!  I've had pictures and stories for the past two weeks about which I've thought: "I gotta blog about that!," but in the end, I've been swept away in Christmas festivities and family time.  But I'm back at it, and have some pictures to share!  These are just pre-Christmas pics (before I came home to Georgia on the 20th); Georgia pics coming soon!

I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday.  Tell me about what you did/ate/gave/received!

me & Jen at the Union Square ice rink:
oh how I love San Francisco at Christmastime!

view of the ice from the top of Macy's (p.s. it's open till Jan. 16th!)

downtown San Francisco

Matt opening Christmas gifts from his mom :)

holiday crafts with Claire and Jude!

a very festive cable car: again, how I love SF at Christmas!

stockings at my house

stockings at Matt's house (I KNOW!  Some are for pets . . .)

I'm in Georgia for two more days, and until then, I'll be missing these three handsome boys something serious:


Merry Christmas, etc.!  I'll be back with pictures from Georgia ASAP.  Hope everyone else's Christmas was as wonderful as mine.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hello from the Trenches of Final Exams

I will return to the blog world (and the human world) after semester grades are submitted tomorrow at 3 pm.  In the meantime, a red pen will serve as an extension to my right hand, and while I'm grading said finals (and various other assignments I'm behind on), I will be simultaneously stressing about the fact that I haven't finished writing Christmas cards, still have shopping to do, and have to get my house in order before I leave for Georgia on Tuesday.

Hopefully by tomorrow my desk will no longer look like this:


Hope everyone is having a less chaotic holiday season!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why Am I Still Single + Giveaway Winner

Matt's roommate, Molly, has introduced us to a wonderful new world:


Gone are the days when VH1 simply showcased music videos that were slightly-less-edgy than those on MTV, as we are now living in the days of increasingly silly reality TV.  But the silliest thing about this show isn't its subject matter . . . it's the host's name.

I mean, either she seriously pissed her mother off while in utero, or maybe she intends to be an advocate for kids who will surely be ridiculed in school for their names.  Either way, how awesome is it that her name is SIGGY FLICKER?


Siggy's name isn't the only entertaining thing about the show.  There are hot twin stylists, sassy date-scouters, and uppity clients who can't be pleased no matter how hard you try.  Plus, last week's episode featured this guy.  I wonder why he's still single?


Thank God for mindless entertainment.  Sunday afternoon, Matt had the audacity to flip to the Discovery channel.  I immediately got all pissy and wanted to chirp, "TV is not for educational purposes!  It's for watching Siggy Flicker find dates for folks with ridiculous hair styles!"  

I mean, hey--I spend my days teaching high schoolers about the Prison Industrial Complex and its stakes in poverty, racism, and oppression in general . . . suffice to say I need some levity in the evenings.  Cue Siggy Flicker!

**Thanks to all who entered the Lilo Prints giveaway!  The winner, chosen by random.org, is . . . 


Emailing you right now with details.  Congrats!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hells Angels with Hearts of Gold

This weekend was brimming with excitement.  I had my favorite Burmese food, saw experimental art & music with Matt, attended a holiday party in Berkeley with dozens of my favorite people, and had two separate encounters with Hells Angels.  That's right.

Late Friday night, I headed to the Ruby Room with my roommate and some pals to meet up with an old friend of hers from high school.  Imagine my excitement when, upon leaving, I brushed past at least four Hells Angels at the door!  Of course I postponed my exit, and chatted them up about the authenticity of Sons of Anarchy for 20 minutes (they approve!).  One of these guys was the Vice President of the Santa Cruz chapter, and the other was the Treasurer of the Oakland Hells Angels.  Pretty bad ass.

Even more thrilling was what Matt and I did Sunday morning.  We headed to this divey watering hole in Santa Rosa:


where we attended the 13th Annual Sonoma County Hells Angels Christmas Toy Run!  The bikers collected toys from 9 to 11:45 am at the Wagon Wheel, and then commenced their annual ride, ending up at the clubhouse (where they invite the community and local underprivileged kids to come pick out toys for Christmas).  


Suffice to say, I was giddy the whole time.  They had a biker dressed up like Santa (!!!) and the sweet sound of Harleys in the background.

vroom vroom

I'm willing to post this terrible picture on the internet
since I'm posing with a Hells Angel

my favorite shot of the morning--HA cut!

Isn't Matt such a good sport for indulging me in my obsessions?  He even admitted that he had fun. ;)  And see--goes to show you that just cause someone's a 1%er outlaw biker doesn't mean he doesn't care about the children.  Right???  Heehee.

p.s. have you entered my giveaway?  Only one more day to enter!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Giveaway: Lilo Prints

In the timeliest of manners (just in time for Christmas!), my dear friend Lindsay has opened up an Etsy shop!  She makes subway art-inspired prints and other original, gicleè prints, the proceeds of which will go toward college funds for her adorable twin babies.


Lindsay's description of her prints:

"All giclée prints by Lilo Prints are printed on high-quality, eco-friendly, acid-free fine art paper. Printed with professional archival pigment ink."

Lindsay has generously offered one Bicoastally reader a $25 shop credit.  You can choose from one of her designs, or request your own quote/kids' names/etc. in the color of your choice:



Lindsay sent me a print with one of my favorite quotes, and I can't wait to hang it in my office:


Here's another of my favorites:

if I had a kid, I'd hang this print in his room!

And one for couples/families:


Aren't they neat?  And if there isn't one that suits your fancy, you can request your favorite quote/saying and Lindsay will whip it up for you.  Perfect for your home/office, or if you're feeling generous, as a Christmas gift!

Each of the following counts as one entry:

1. Be a follower of Bicoastally 
2. Follow Lindsay's blog, Undomestic Chica
3. Tweet about this giveaway (@clairekiefer, @undomesticchica)
5. Favorite Lilo Prints on Etsy
6. Blog about this giveaway/Lilo Prints

Pretty please leave a separate comment for each entry, so that I may be able to use random.org to pick a winner.  I'll post the winner a week from today.  


Lindsay is offering 10% off anything in her shop with the code CLAIRE10 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chewy

I have an obsessive personality.  I've been known to listen to a song on repeat for a month, google every minute fact about a celebrity crush's life, binge watch whole series of tv shows.

One of my obsessions is Jude Freitag, son of my friends Cari and JJ (and whom I babysit, along with his brother Milo).  Witnessing him discover language is amazing and hilarious.  Most recently, he's been saying a word that is SO FUNNY.


These are Jude's vitamins.  He calls them "chewies."  And when he says "chewy," I crack up.  Here are some of the many videos I have taken of me trying desperately to get him to say it:






Prettttttttty adorable, right?  Luckily, Matt is as obsessed as I am.  Therefore, we've basically been saying "chewy" (or as Matt thinks is the most accurate spelling for Jude's pronunciation: "chwee") to each other for the past week, sending each other tweets, audio notes, emails, etc. all referencing this one, toddler-uttered word: chewy.


PS: stay tuned for a giveaway tomorrow!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tree-hugging & Egg nog-guzzling

Yesterday, the first of December, something beautiful happened: we got our Christmas tree!  Jen and I had her brother RJ and Matt over for a properly festive evening, complete with spiked egg nog, jazzy Christmas tunes, gingerbread cookies, & lots of decorating (and we ordered Thai food, since I'm still not ready to cook yet after the Thanksgiving marathon kitchen sesh).

there it is!  I think that's the one, anyway . . .

all done up

Matt doing the honors

close up

I'm so excited!  And I've loved reading all about your Christmas trees, too.  Keep 'em coming!

For the next month or so, you can find me on my couch, gazing at the tree.  My dear friends Heather and Serkan (+ baby Rowan!) are coming over tonight to hang out with Matt and me for some long overdue catching up, and I'm so excited to show off the new fir.  It's Christmas on 55th St.!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I still don't think I believe it.

My friends Cari and JJ have been watching Simon Cowell's latest singing contest show, The X Factor.  Because I spend so much time at their house, I inevitably caught some clips of the performers.  I had all the typical reactions: he's amazing, they're annoying, she's another Mariah Carey wannabe, blah blah blah.  But then I saw this guy:


I can't even pay attention to his voice, because I'm too busy being shocked by the fact that he is sixty years old.  60.  WHAAAAAAT?  How is that possible?  Is there really such thing as a fountain of youth?  What is his secret???  He says that if he reaches 100,000 twitter followers that he'll post his birth certificate as proof.  But even then, I don't know that I could really believe it--I mean look at this guy:




I mean, 60.  Seriously??

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Morning After

The day after Thanksgiving is almost as wonderful as Thanksgiving itself, cause you get to guiltlessly lie around and eat delicious food without having to cook anything!  It's already 12:30 here and Matt's still sleeping--neither of us have a thing to do until this evening.  Which is blissful.

We had a ridiculous spread yesterday.  My Filipina roommate's family came over with all kinds of Filipino food in tow (none of which I ate since it was all meat stuff, but which looked incredible nonetheless), and I cooked my tail off (making traditional Thanksgiving fare).  I made macaroni & cheese, greens, stuffing, vegetarian gravy, squash casserole, and sweet potato casserole.  Seriously, look at this:



I couldn't even get it all in one picture--you can't see my cranberry sauce! :)

I miss my family in Georgia a lot at Thanksgiving, but we had a quick skype session yesterday so I got to see all their faces. :)  And it's just one short month till Christmas, when we'll all be together!

Today, I'm focusing on leftovers & avoiding anything Black Friday related.  Mobs of crazed shoppers give me anxiety.  In fact, I think I'm going to have a piece of apple pie & crawl right back into bed.  Happy holidays!

(link up with Meghan, et al!)

Monday, November 21, 2011

My Sister, the TV Star

This is my sister, Kate, and my brother-in-law, Andy:



And this is Kate and Andy with their giant dog, Leon:


Tonight, they're gonna be on House Hunters, and it's gonna be awesome.  Their episode airs at 10 pm Eastern time . . . not sure what time it's coming on in California, which is why I'm recording all episodes until I get to see this one:


HAHAHAHA!  Kate and Andy are already pretty disgruntled that they're being described as difficult "Atlanta hipsters," but I for one cannot WAIT to see this shit on national tv.

Set your DVRs, folks!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tell me about your Thanksgiving plans

What are you doing for Thanksgiving??

Source: etsy.com via Nico on Pinterest


I always have Thanksgiving at my house (probably because I become an obnoxious control freak around the second week of November as people start talking about what to cook for Thanksgiving).  Maybe it's cause I'm so far away from my family in Georgia, so I want to replicate everything I grew up with . . . but I get on my high horse when it comes to Thanksgiving dishes!

I'm responsible for:
stuffing
macaroni & cheese
squash casserole
cranberry sauce
greens

and possibly sweet potato casserole since I like it just like my Nana's. She makes it with sweet potatoes, butter, and crumbled pecans/brown sugar on top . . . which means I look down my nose at a sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows.  Ha.

My roommate Jen is making the green bean casserole, and we're figuring out the rest (Jen's brother is a great cook, and Matt's willing to make whatever is delegated to him).  


What are your Thanksgiving traditions?  Essential dishes?

Happy Friday. :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thankful for the Blogoverse

Meghan & co. are spending two weeks blogging about thankfulness (here are their specific topics).  Today's is Why-I'm-Thankful-for-the-Blogoverse, and I knew I had to post, because Lord knows it's given me much to be thankful for.

Since I started blogging nearly two years ago, I've been lucky enough to meet several lovely bloggers in person, some of whom are now among my closest friends:

in New York with Summer

with Marianne, Jessie, and Micaela in Napa

at lunch in Berkeley with Leeann

at Folie a Deux/Napa Cellars in Rutherford with Shelly

in Atlanta with Katie

**plus, I ran into Camilla at yoga once :)

Had someone told me that this would happen--that I'd come to cherish friendships with people I'd originally met "on the internet"--I would have surely scoffed.  Maybe it's the changing (increasingly internet-reliant) world, maybe it's a case for open-mindedness . . . but my life is fuller thanks to some of these girls, and I'm thankful.

I'm also grateful for blogging in general.  It's so immediate, like news: we're catching up with people, events, lives--and all in the moment (which is why I'm not into reading bloggers who schedule posts WAY in advance, since it takes away the newness/immediacy).  I've discovered blogs that have introduced me to new ideas & concepts, perspectives, recipes, workouts, companies, and stories.  Thanks to this blogger's advice, for instance, I got a plane ticket for almost $100 cheaper the other day.  See?  My life is constantly enriched by this community.

click here to link up

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Rituals

They're so important to me.  Spontaneous as I can be, I'm also a creature of habit, and I'm really attached to rituals.  Here are a few of my favorites:

~stopping at Cumaica (formerly known as Martha & Bros) every morning for my coffee.  The ladies who work there are so nice.  They always shout, "Good morning, Clairita!" when I walk in the door, and they have my large coffee waiting for me by the time I get to the register.

p.s. do y'all know about Stampt?  It's a free "loyalty card" iPhone app.  I love it!  It detects all the businesses around you that use Stampt, and basically, it keeps all those buy-10-get-one-free cards on your iPhone.  I've already gotten a few free coffees since Cumaica uses it!  




~stretching.  I do it all the time.  Feels so good.  Butterfly (hip) stretches are my fave.

~Tuesday night Sons of Anarchy-watchin' with my roommate.

our living room tonight. excuse the strange black thing in the top left.

We look forward to it all week.  I almost cried 2x in tonight's extra-long episode.  Kurt Sutter is a genius.  I don't know anyone who has started watching this show and not gotten hooked--it's that brilliant.

Tell me about some of your rituals!

Also, sweet Christianna featured me in her Any Friend of Mine blog post Monday--check it out here!  And then check out Matt's cute post.  See why I like him?  . . . Kinda?  ha!