Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Barrel Thief, Hommage, and the undomestic goddess.

I know I say this ALL THE TIME, but I need to say it again: the weekends just aren't long enough. To which Michael will always reply, 'Well, it is only two days.' That may be true, but I wish it were longer, and the week days quicker. I am seriously going stir crazy with my upcoming trip just around the corner. Like, why can't it be here already?

Okay, enough of my complaining and back to my blog post. This weekend I got to check out some new places, but I must have had a brain lapse or pre-vacation fever because I took zero photos of it, so I've linked their websites.

On Friday I hung out with my friend Lisa who recommended 'The Barrel Thief' in Fremont. I'd never been, but immediately liked it upon entering. It had a really dark and cozy vibe that made me feel like I was in some sort of UK pub rather than Seattle. They also had a coravin which made their wine selection diverse. Not to mention they had fresh air-popped truffle popcorn. YUM.

On Saturday night, Michael's parents took us to Hommage. Hommage used to be called The Book Bindery and was my favorite Seattle restaurant. For my post on The Book Bindery, click here. I was a bit apprehensive, thinking that maybe Hommage wouldn't live up to The Book Bindery. But with the new che, I was in for a surprise: it was better! Looks like I have a new favorite restaurant. What made me like it so much was the atmosphere, service, and the creativity of the menu. Everything tasted so damn good. Every little bite took me by suprise. So instead of just delivering great food and great services, they took it even further by getting us excited about the meal. If you are ever in Seattle, check it out. You won't be disappointed.

Again, I'm really sad that I missed out on taking photos. However, photos I do have are from my cooking attempts these past two weeks. This is kind of a big deal and blog post worthy because if you knew me, you would know that I hate to do all sorts of domestic things: cooking, cleaning, etc. But because Michael has been working a lot, I've taken over the cooking, meal planning, and grocery shopping. Nonetheless, the photos are not the best quality, rather they are proof that I have made some tasty stuff thanks to some food bloggers!

Butternut squash soup, Annie's crackers, and lemon pepper green beans.

Alfredo pasta not made with alfredo, also pictured below. Toppings inspired by Simply Clean Cooking and sauce by Nutrition Stripped. 
I paired it with a herb salad with a lemon vinigeratte. Though I learned I'm not much of a sun-dried tomatoes person


Pinch of Yum's enchilada casserole. I paired it with greek yogurt as a sub for sour cream, avocado, and limes!  

Pinch of Yum's Alfredo pasta bake using Nutrition Stripped's Not Alfredo Sauce and NS's Carrot, Orange, Ginger soup!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

IWSG: Inspiration via personal experiences versus imaginative

One of the first pieces of advice I had ever gotten was 'write what you know.' I'm sure many of you guys have probably gotten the same advice yourself. It's good advice to a certain extent, but it can also be very limiting to your potential.
Starting out, 'write what you know' is legitatmite advice. Grounding yourself in reality and developing your eye (how you see the world) is critical in improving your craft. By training yourself to be present in your surroundings, you're able to be create visceral scenes through the use of words.
But if you only limit yourself to reconstructing reality, you will limit yourself by containing your creativity. So what to do? Well, with your developed eye and a dash of imagination, you can then train yourself to be present in your mind. And if there's something you don't know, you do research until you become knowledgeable. Thus, reality acts as a springboard for something else.
That's not to say that reality and writing what you know is not imaginative. With a unique perspective, sometimes the most imaginative things can be right in front of you.
To quote Shakespeare in Hamlet, 'Though this be madness, yet there is method in't.' I like to think of writing what you know and writing what you don't know as a method for madness.
When inspiration strikes, via reality or in your own imagination, that is considered madness, and only when you apply a method to it can it be translated across the page. If you don't like that saying, then perhaps bringing chaos to order will resonate with you.
I am writing this post merely as an observation of my own experience with what I've written. When I started with M1, I stuck to reality, contemporary if you will. I didn't finish it. I got bored. Then I was hit with inspiration of another realm, and I wrote M2, and I'm still in love with that story. It challenged me creatively, and that's when I realized it's okay not to write what you know, because it's the process of figuring it out and learning your way through that makes the journey worthwhile and exciting.
Now I'm writing M3, going back to contemporary. This time, however, it's loosley inspired by my time in high school and the people I've known throughout the years. But it's also an issues book on body dysmorphia and self-worth, something that I struggled with a lot in my college years and something my main protagonist will go through in the span of a year. In a lot of ways, M3 is harder than writing M2 because I'm writing through personal experiences rather than imaginative inspiration.
I've been rereading a lot of my old journals, which really makes me shy away from writing sometimes because somehow I feel myself transplanted right back to my adolescent years. Not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. All I know is, M3 will definitely be more of a struggle to finish, but somehow I think I'll get a lot of meaning out of it.
How about you? Where does your inspiration come from your current WIP?

This post was in participation of ISWG. Thanks to

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Imitation Game, 80th Birthday, & the Super Bowl

So Michael and I finally went to the see The Imitation Game on Friday. We've been wanting to go for a while, but the first time we tried, we missed the showing. The second time, we got too caught up in the season finale of The Taste. Now the third time, after a mad dash of a dinner, we finally ended up making it.

And let me just say, I was blown away! It was such an awesome movie, well-paced, poignant dialogue, a note of humor with some intense emotional scenes, and just well done cinematic and music-wise. I really hope this movie, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Kiera Knightley all get an oscar!

On Saturday we celebrated Michael's grandmother's 80th Birthday. It was definitely a great time hanging out with Michael's whole family from his father's side. I can't imagine what the world will be like if I ever get the chance to live that long. I asked the Birthday girl if time seemed to go by quick or if it seemed like a long journey to get to this point. She answered, "Quick, too quick."

The grandchildren plus Tim & I (PC: Cristine Peters)

Delicious red velvet cake! (PC: Cristine Peters)

Michael & I (PC: Cristine Peters)

The next day was the super bowl. This year I wasn't stuck in a hotel in the suburbs of Boston, thank goodness! So I got to watch the Super bowl with Michael's family. All in all, it was a great time: the food, the company, the fluffy dogs.

PC: @benlowy

The only downside was that last play (let me just say, the city has never been so quiet, grey, and rainy like it is today).

Alas, there's always next year, right?