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visiting the CSA farm: year 2

Watari Museum
Last October I posted about visiting our CSA farm in Webster Minnesota. I distinctly remember asking where the pigs were and being crestfallen when Pete pointed to the freezer behind him. It did make for a funny story, though. So we were really excited to see the piggies this year! We gathered acorns to feed the pigs.

pig tails!


And we learned that Waxwing Farm is building a hoophouse, thanks to a grant they received. I like knowing that my farmers seek out grants since that's similar to what I do for a living.

Pete and the new hoophouse

They also have a drying shed with in-floor radiant heating! Love it.

drying onions

mamichan renovates: a kitchen

Watari Museum
Aaron and I moved into our condo in July 2006 and we're nearing 7 years of homeownership. It has a galley kitchen which was much bigger than the rental apartment kitchens we'd had before, but over time the restrictions of the space frustrated us. For example, the fridge. It's not counter-depth so it juts out past our counter, and if the fridge is open it means we can't open the dishwasher or oven. And the fridge doesn't even open all the way so I've never been able to remove and wash the left-side crisper drawer (don't worry, I use disinfectant wipes instead). We need more storage. It's nearly impossible for me and Aaron to cook together in the space. I decided to do something about it and talked to an architect acquaintance to get some ideas.

Here's our old kitchen:

old kitchen - side view

old kitchen - galley

old kitchen - fridge side

The plan:
Take EVERYTHING out of the kitchen - all cabinets, countertop, appliances, and tile floor
New cabinets, countertops, dishwasher, counter-depth fridge, microwave (we kept our stove)

The progress:

kitchen reno day 1 - no more cabinets!

aaron digs out nails

hardwood floors!!

The results:
Check back with me in a few weeks! It might debut on allaboutevelyn's modachromehome site!

product love: Japan edition

Watari Museum
Travel. Souvenirs. What sorts of items do you get to remember your trip by? Over the years my MO on souvenirs has changed a lot. It used to be silly tchotchkes but those add up and become clutter. Then it was postcards - I literally have thousands tucked away in albums. For a while it was jewelry and I still do that on occasion. Same with clothes. Basically, I wanted something I could keep forever. Now in my 30s I'm not so interested in admiring my souvenirs on display but in getting use out of them. Maybe they last a couple of months, perhaps a few years. Now I look for interesting products that are hard to find elsewhere.

Like these cat socks with an ankle band.

today's socks today's socks

Which go great with these funny cat butt harem pants that my aunt got for me!

cat butt harem pants!

Or a fun twist on a striped T. This particular one is Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo.

blue eyes see you

A panda bottle cover for my travel coffee mug.

panda bottle cover fits over my muji mug perfectly :)

I think this is so useful! During the warmer months I usually carry a bottle of water in my bag and I hate when it sweats and dampens my bag contents. Problem solved!

And fo sho a new bento box for the hundreds of lunches I bring from home every year.

side view - new bento box :) new bento box!

First lunch in the bento box!

bento 5.17.13

Also loving the two types of decaf tea we found: gobou (burdock root) and soba (roasted buckwheat) which I drink out of my new Japanese penguin mug :) Oh. That reminds me. I can't help myself from buying penguin things - especially in Japan, there are so many options! Picked up a penguin tea towel, two pins, a keychain from Sumida Aquarium, and a comic book series about a polar bear who runs a cafe whose regulars include a penguin and panda :)

more photos from the Watari Museum

Funny faces.

funny face

Aaron as hostage.

Aaron is a hostage

Aaron's poster falling from the ceiling... and him catching it.

poster falling from the skyaaron catching his poster


favorite pic from our Tokyo trip

Aaron and I were in Tokyo the last 10 days visiting my family - I hadn't been to Japan since February 2011 (a month before the earthquake) and Aaron hadn't visited since 2009. We first went to Japan together 10 years ago.

My favorite photo from the trip is from our visit to the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art which was showing the French street artist JR's Inside Out Photobooth Project. The Watari version exhibited photos of earthquake vicitims. He's currently doing the same thing in NYC's Time Square right now. The photobooth was included in the museum's admission fee so we both did it - and got to take home these ginormous photo posters!! I think we are going to hang them on the wall over our bed.

at the Watari Art Museum
photo credit: Akama-san

The photobooth sent us links of our individual photos - here's mine and Aaron's is over here.


2013: the first quarter

What I've been up to so far this year...

crafting & organizing
I discovered Smash books on Pinterest and knew they were the perfect option for me. Scrapbooking for the lazy! I started a travel version to consolidate our memorabilia.
making a smash book

farmers markets
Of course. So excited that Fulton and Kingfield Farmers Markets have winter markets this year! So fun to see our farmer friends in the winter and discover new vendors.
winter market february 2013

winter grilling
Grilled our winter farmers markets gets outside in the snow.
sno-b-q 2013

designing letterpress cards
At Lunalux during their Stationary Saturdays. Paper mail is gangsta. Last time Jenni let me arrange the letters on my own. Support your local indie businesses!
february stationary saturday at lunalux!

And the exciting long-term project - remodeling our kitchen! Thrilling and nerve-wracking at the same time.

mamichan makes: bento lunch

Another year of bento lunches!

I started photo documenting them in 2006 but my bento history goes back much further. Growing up in Japan, my mom would pack bento boxes for picnics in the park or kindergarten field trips. She lovingly made one every single day while I was in high school too. During my senior year, there was a period where she made two bento after she found out I was sharing my lunch with an athlete guy friend who had a huge appetite.

bento mosaic 56

see more bento from 2012!Collapse )

mamichan travels: Art Basel Miami 2012


For me it conjures three things right away: Will Smith's "Miami" song, Miami Vice, and Art Basel Miami Beach. Last week I went to the sunshine state to check out the art fair - my first visit to Art Basel Miami! The sheer amount of art can be overwhelming - and at times, I was. But it is amazing to see so much art in one place, and so much of it for free. If you're an art or design afficianado, Art Basel Miami needs to go on your bucket list. A word to the wise: be wary if crowds freak you out.

A selection of works from Art Basel Miami Beach

ABMB 2012 faves

A selection from Design Miami
Design Miami

Non-gentrified artists studio neighborhood on the downtown Miami side
artist studios

Around town

around Miami

Hello Kitty art
Hello Kitty fountain


our CSA: Waxwing Farm

Watari Museum
It finally happened. In our fifth year of having a CSA share we found our forever farm, Waxwing Farm out of Webster, MN. (Which, by the way, is in melonbliss's 'hood!) They're the third farm that we've had a CSA with, and while we've liked them all, we L♥VE Waxwing. Aaron and I met them last year during Fulton Farmers Market's inaugural season. Right off the bat we noticed they consistently had beautiful organic produce - unblemished with gorgeous colors, firm and ripe from being picked at the perfect time. Over time we learned that Anna and Pete (the farmers) are friendly, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. Last year, we repeatedly asked them for advice on what to do with the overgrown past-prime veggies that we sometimes got with our (old) CSA. They always gave us great suggestions and feedback. When we learned that they have a half-share that delivers just every other week, it was a no-brainer to sign up. So glad we did! Take a look at the produce we've received and the eats we've made with our CSA share this year.

A couple of weeks ago, Anna and Pete invited the CSA members for a farm visit and potluck dinner. The drive there was gorgeous with fall foliage and the farm is so pretty. Plus we had an amazing sunset.

waxwing farm

chickens at waxwing farm

The potluck was outstanding. One CSA member brought two types of homemade kombucha, there were desserts galore, and Anna and Pete made enchiladas. It was really fun to meet our fellow CSA members and glean new ideas for recipes, since everyone there had clearly been using their CSA shares to the fullest. In particular I was happy to meet Angharad of the Eating for England blog whose Houston style green salsa recipe forever changed my opinion of tomatillos for the better (read Angharad's write-up of the visit here).

CSA potluck

And once again it was proven to us that it's truly a small world after all. During the visit, we met Pete's aunt, a French woman who married a Minnesotan and has lived in the state around 20 years. I noticed she was speaking French to her daughter and asked if she was from there; we chatted away in French about living in Minnesota as expats. Later we learned that one of their kids went to college in Vermont, where Aaron is from, so we connected more on that. Pete's grandparents asked us where we lived and during that conversation, we learned that they used to live exactly two blocks south of us. That's not all we had in common - like me and Aaron, Pete's grandparents met at Macalester College and they regaled us with stories of Sunday night dorm dinners and socials at the college during the post-World War II era. So fun! We had a blast and I had absolutely no regrets about shortening my mini-vacay to NYC to spend the afternoon in rural Minnesota. Totally worth it.
Watari Museum

A couple of weeks ago, I found out about the October Unprocessed challenge through Nicole of Pepperoni is not a Vegetable. The premise is pretty simple: What would happen if I went for an entire month without eating any processed foods?

It's no secret that I like a challenge (even when others do it). Mostly I'm stubborn and love to prove people wrong. And I relish the break from my regular routine. October Unprocessed reminded me of the first year that I signed up for the eat local challenge back in 2008. I wholly expected that to be a month project, but we've stuck with it consistently and the experience forever changed how I look at food: it affects what I buy, where I buy it, and who I buy it from. I'd be ecstatic to get there with processed food too, so this seemed a great start. Join me for part of - or all of - the month!

I think I have lunches down...

bento mosaic 62

... it's gonna be a lot harder to give up my beloved potato chips and gummy snacks. But maybe I'll finally learn to bake.