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i have been to san francisco a number of times, but have never really gotten a chance to be a true tourist.  i sailed competitively all thorough college and one of my favorite places to race was city front in san francisco.  butterflies would fill my belly with excitement as the breeze would pick up and the halyards would clack against masts faster and faster.  i got to know the wave organ well at the end of the peninsula.  we would post up there, watch the racing, eat a lot of peanut butter sandwiches, and try to soak up the sun before we had to go out for the next race.  but, that’s really all i got to spend some real quality time experiencing.  we, of course, hit the usual suspects: the golden gate bridge, the exploratorium (even better as an adult), coit tower, ghirardelli square, peir 39, chinatown (to pick up a friend’s dry cleaning, no less).  i’ve never taken BART, i’ve never been to alcatraz, i’ve never been to the farmer’s market, i’ve never been to a giant’s game.  all of these seem so quintessentially san francisco.  all of which i probably need to do, seeing as i live in california…….but, THIS was the attraction that really struck my fancy, above and beyond all of the previously noted: san francisco’s camera obscura.   how cool is this?!?

 

from their website:  “The camera obscura is a rare device,based on a 15th century design by Leonardo da Vinci.It produces 360 degrees of spectacular Live Images of the Seal Rock Area. Call the operator today! (415) 750-0415”

images via: one // two // three // four 

AND for your listening pleasure:

 

“french navy” ~ camera obscura

the indie pop band from scotland – not bad.

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dude.  check out these reimagined duck bags for baggu.  they partnered up with mer bags in brooklyn to create this “waterproof vinyl coated nylon.” sounds like just the ticket as we get into these dog days of summer.

i have their classic canvas duck bag in red and it has gotten me through many a beach cruise, drink & draw nights, and photo adventures.  can’t wait to get my hands on one of these puppies.

$82.00 (youch) here.

we are venturing out on a mini vacation to palm springs to stay at the saguaro for a night.  i’m REALLY looking forward to all of the old lady lounging, drinking, reading, floating.  aaaaand if i had an expendable income these would be the things that i couldn’t pass up for a little palm springs getaway:  a sweet little hat from j.crew that i can’t seem to get enough of (see spelunking) // braids! // some veuve // little white jumper // some light reading with herman wouk’s don’t stop the carnival // a getaway bag // some neutral sandals (now a ridiculously good price) // some serious nail polish to match the saguaro’s paint job // and of course the saguaro pool view.

 

i dove into j. crew’s sale dept yesterday……wow.  amazing summer stuff right now.

baja tunic // seersucker one piece bathing suit // color block skirt // sweet little hat // chambray tunic // leopard print shorts

adding any of these to my wardrobe right now would hit the nail on the head.  i have been trying to deep clean my closet – which i do, and then then the bags sit in my trunk awaiting their next destination….which who knows will ever come……poor old clothes.  check out second hand challenge.  shayna gives all of those poor old clothes a new lease on life.  i should get on the bandwagon…..stat.

 

one / two / three / four / five

i have a friend with a soft spot for llamas.  and to say that is an understatement.  in another life she was a llama.  the long billowing eyelashes, a particularly stubborn nature, predictable eating habits.  my friend and llamas, really one and the same.  here’s a little tribute.

how cool is that pinata anatomy poster……..

photo from bigBang studio  – wish i had a photo of my own……

So, about two years ago I stumbled across bigBANG studio.  Subsequently, I have revisited almost every day hoping for a new post.  Lily Stockman ~ the founder/writer/artist/slang enthusiast/wanderer/experimental cook/avid litterateur/abandon farm house luster…….is well, just, all of those things.  The peeks she allows us into her life make me dream about what it might be like to walk a day in her fantastic shoes.  Her stories make me feel like I know her, with obviously never shooting for a conversation (I’m too nervous!).  I’d be starstruck I think…..Anyway, if I could dream about what I would love to be doing in my fantasy life, a lot of adventures I have read about on her blog would be in there somewhere.  Gah, enough of the gushing…..onto the BREAD!

This, Stockman claims, is No-Knead bread…..I might beg to differ with this, but I grew up with my mother’s painstaking perfection involving bread – meaning perfect kneading folds, with a calculated dusting of flour….etc.  This bread is more my styyyyle.  It’s a recipe you can memorize and only need a few ingredients and BAM – you have bread.  The first time I made this bread, it was “winter” (in southern california) and my apartment has no insulation (drafty) and no heater (i’m scared of the repercussions of turning it on – carbon monoxide poisoning, fire, you know the usual).  What are the two things a great bread needs besides choice ingredients?  A draft free, warm environment.  All I can say is that, even in my cold and drafty abode, I made pretty bomb bread.  Anyway here is a version of Lily’s bread (def read the post that accompanies the recipe).

MAPPED’s of the No-Knead Bread

(please keep in mind i have never actually used this recipe exactly, i’m always missing a little of something.  so, i end up just adding a little of something else, like rosemary or olives, or honey, or strawberries….you know)

3 – 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon instant yeast (i’ve used the other kind on accident and it worked fine, just took a lot longer to rise, but whatev)

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 2/3 cups water

and a little extra flour so that dough doesn’t stick to all the things you don’t want it to stick to.

1 tablespoon olive oil

1.  so here we go.  mix all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl (just not aluminum or plastic – these have never really worked for me).  dough should be “shaggy” – word according to Lily.  cover with plastic wrap and then a dishtowel.  let stand overnight or 12 hours.  i always put my bowl of dough in the microwave because it’s the least drafty location of my house, but my mom always used to put her dough in the oven.

2.  after 12 hours the top of the dough will be dotted with bubbles.  dust your kneading surface (i’d choose one that wasn’t wood or with grout…..that stuff really sucks to scrape dough off of).  scrape dough out of bowl onto your surface.  coat your little hands with flour and begin to knead (here’s a snazzy video about how to knead bread – please just put it on mute – you’ll thank me later).  but don’t get to aggressive – this is NO-knead bread remember.  you really just need to fold it over a few time so it comes together and isn’t so “shaggy”.  once you’ve accomplished this just let it sit on your kneading surface lightly covered with a kitchen towel.  let sit for about 15 mins.

3.  at this point you will notice that the bread has increased in size slightly (woo hoo!).  dust your surface again with a little bit of flour and knead for juuuust a bit again until it stays into a nice ball.  take out a new heavy bowl and coat it with a little bit of olive oil.  place ball of dough in bowl, cover with plastic wrap and kitchen towel and put that puppy back in the microwave to sit peacefully for another two hours.

4.  meanwhile preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  also place a pyrex pan in the oven while it heats up.  (all i had was a square pyrex pan but Lily has other recommendations, so whatever floats your boat i guess).

5.  after you’ve waited those two hours, take the pyrex pan out of the oven….CAREFULLY.  then take your huuuuuge ball of dough out of the microwave and roll it straight into the pyrex pan.  it should sizzle – it’s making a crunchy crunchy crust (oh yes).  shake the pan around so the dough is as even as possible.  bake for about 45 minutes.  when you think the sucker is done, tap on the top a couple of times – if it sounds hollow, yous a done!  cool on a rack or you know, whatever you got.

 

cut that puppy up and savor ever last morsel.