Friday, December 31, 2010


Happy New Year everyone!  Here's to a brighter tomorrow! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

he proposed...

and I said "Yes." 

The proposal was very sweet and a surprise!  It happened the day before Thanksgiving but I didn't want to post anything about this until I had a chance to let people know in person as much as possible.  But now Mark is wondering why I haven't posted anything about it a month later.  So here's the post because he wanted it.  We're thrilled to finally be getting married.  The ring is a peridot gem with diamonds on the side...sounds like something to eat for lunch!

Some people have asked me why it's not a diamond and the simple answer is because I didn't want a diamond.  The only way I would've considered a diamond if it were a conflict-free diamond or a CZ but it's nearly impossible to know if the stone is truly conflict-free even with the certification.   Anyway, I preferred color to a diamond anyway.  My favorite color is green and the peridot is the right shade of green.  It looks fresh, alive and it reminds me of new growth in spring that I hope our marriage will be for us. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

christmas cinema, honorable mention

These are movies that don't really have to do with Christmas but are fun anyway.   "Sound of Music" is good anytime of the year.  How could you not want to sing-a-long during the Christmas season?  To my memory "Beauty and the Beast" and "Anastasia" don't have overtly Christmas scenes but they have snow, so it counts.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

this is "christmas"?! (no, it isn't)

Jin mentioned on Sunday how he heard on a radio program how an Atheist caller commented that even though he didn't believe in a God he still thought the story of Jesus was the best story out of all the "Christmas" narratives available.  This was an interesting thought...let's do some deconstruction and see if we agree.

Santa Claus: "good" children will receive their toys on Christmas if you write Santa a letter to tell him what you want.  1. Sucks for all you kids ranked under the column titled "eh just average" 2. Sucks for all you ADULTS.  3. Sucks if you're homeless 4. Sucks if you can't afford the growing cost of postage

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer: a bullied and emotionally abused animal will only find acceptance among peers not by the quality of his character and integrity but solely by proving to be useful to them in a time of need.  Yea, that makes for a lasting friendship. 

Frosty the Snowman: a group of children magically make a snowman come to life by the power of a silk hat only to watch him slowly commit suicide by exerting extreme physical activity all the while knowing he would melt to his watery death...all in full view of the children.  "Don't you cry." 

Baby Jesus: peace and goodwill for all mankind declared at his birth.

christmas cinema, romantic comedy

Tom Hanks & Meg Ryan...c'mon.  "While You Were Sleeping" is another one of my favorites...lots of one-liners in this one.  Then we've got all the Brits and their rom-coms.  "Serendipity" was actually a pretty bad movie but Jeremy Piven did a good job I thought.

Friday, December 17, 2010

christmas cinema, family

These family films are heart-warming and fun.  "Hook" is probably one of my top 10 movies, such a great film in spite of Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell.  The 1994 remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" wasn't too bad either...what ever happened to that little girl?  And of course, "Elf" which has great one-liners and also has a great soundtrack. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

christmas cinema, kids

Fun for kids, fun for adults.  "A Charlie Brown Christmas" probably has one of the best Christmas soundtracks...classic.  I've opted for the original version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" because Jim Carrey in a grinch costume just creeps me out.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

staring at the sun

Just another day in Southern California.  Tomorrow it was supposed to rain but no longer and today the clouds have broken apart to let the sun shine.  I was driving on the freeway and it just took my breath away.  The light was just so brilliant and warm.  Hard to believe that it's almost Christmas.

Friday, December 3, 2010

christmas cinema, guilty pleasure

You might not rent these but if they were on TV you'd probably linger to watch a good 5 min. 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

sweet potato fries a la food blogga

Happy Thanksgiving!  For the past three years I've been spending Thanksgiving in Chicago visiting my beau.  This was the first year that we were orphans -  we'd be spending the holiday alone.  We wanted to cook dinner together but one of the hardest things is cooking for two people.  The side dish that I chose to make for us was Parmesan and Herb Sweet Potato Fries from Food Blogga's awesome book, "Recipes Every Man Should Know" published by Quirk Books and which you can buy on Amazon, here for only $9.95!  It's compact size makes it a great stocking stuffer!

Even though the book is designed for men it's definitely for women too.  The recipes are easy to follow and includes a useful introduction of kitchen tools and cooking terms.  Look how easy it was to make the Sweet Potato Fries!

Delicious and so easy to make...thanks Food Blogga for helping make Thanksgiving dinner fun and easy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

christmas cinema, the classics

The Christmas season is upon us!  My favorite time of year.  Music and movies definitely put me in the mood for Christmas.  Here are some classics to start off the Christmas season right. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

i'm on my way

I'm exhausted...aren't you?  I feel it in my shoulders...I can feel the furrow in my brow becoming ever permanent.  I'm thankful for a long weekend and I'm thankful to be going to see my honey in Chicago.  Have pity on me as I battle the Thanksgiving travel mayhem today. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

effing butternut squash.

This weekend I cooked dinner for some friends and one of the side dishes was a recipe for Warm Butternut Squash with Chickpeas from Smitten Kitchen.  I don't have any pictures of the finished can go to the Smitten Kitchen's website for those.  But I'm here to talk about effing Butternut Squash.  Oh sure, when you look at the beautiful pictures on Smitten Kitchen you think, "Hmm, I could totally make that."  But when you buy two butternut squash and begin to peel them you find yourself thinking, "WTF!"  Don't be deceived by the name: Butternut....there's nothing buttery bout this effin squash in its raw state.  I thought peeling would take 10 min tops...30 min later.....

With trusty vegetable peeler in hand I commenced peeling but it could be better described as whittling hard oak wood with a butter knife.  The first thing you realize while peeling is that the skin is like titanium.  The next thing you notice is that the squash juices that dry on your skin creates some kind of impenetrable film on your skin that won't come off with soap but only with salt and steel wool...yes, STEEL WOOL!  Augh.  And it's not like peeling a potato where one swipe of the peeler does the job, no sir, you must keep peeling and peeling the same area to make sure you're getting past the thick titanium skin.

Was the final product worth it?  Yeah, it was tasty and people seemed to like it.  But I think next time I make this I'll be mentally prepared to attack the effing butternut squash.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

my first pie!

Oh I'm so proud...I made my first pie this weekend.  It's was a recipe for Cranberry Blueberry Pie that I saw on Annie's Eats. Unfortunately I didn't make the crust from scratch but maybe when I get a stand mixer in the future.  The simple filling is what sold me to try out the pie.  I was cooking dinner and had like four other dishes to worry about so I didn't want the pie to be too complicated.  It was a bit on the tart side for my taste but I guess that's what I should've expected with the cranberries.  Haha the lattice top was done a little sloppily but I'm still proud.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

bruxie gourmet waffles....ya heard?!

Bruxie (gourmet waffle sandwiches) in Old Towne've gots to go.  Walk don't run.  The Monday crew was celebrating C's first sale as a real estate agent (on a Tuesday haha) and we headed to Bruxie's.  Our friend Nadia, who has a wonderful blog, has been slaving away with the two founding partner's of the store to get the place up and running. 

We tried 7 out of 8 of the savory sandwiches and 3 out of 6 of the sweet sandwiches...we were in heaven.  I only got pictures of the first round because once we started eating there was no time for pictures.  But if you want to see some killer shots check out the Bruxie website.  Here were the night's winners:

Top Savory
S voted -  bruxie burger
G voted - bacon, egg, cheese
A voted - smoked salmon
C voted - prosciutto & gruyere
Hannah - bacon, egg, cheese
honorable mention: mushrooms with goat cheese (not on the menu but is a special sometimes)

Top Sweet

S voted - nutella & bananas
G voted - s'mores
A voted - s'mores (nutella close second)
C voted - lemon cream and berries
Hannah voted - s'mores (nutella close second)

If you go you MUST have the waffle fries and the frozen custard for dessert (thanks for the tip, Nadia!).

Friday, November 12, 2010

tips for outlet shopping

Last Saturday my friend Charles and I made our way to the sunny locale of Carlsbad to battle the Premium Outlet found in that fair city.  For some peculiar reason I seem to have developed a reputation of frequenting said outlet.  Why?  I couldn't tell you.

However, I thought with the Christmas season ahead of us many would be tempted to find a good deal and head to the outlet malls in our area (Cabazon and Citadel to name a few).  With that in mind I have put together a few tips for the brave shopper (who will spend within their means).

Tip #1: Make a list and budget
If you're shopping for others carry a list of things you should keep and eye out for.  "Pearls for Mom, Golf Hat for Dad, etc."  If you do not you may be distracted by all the shiny objects and come home with a heap of stuff for yourself but nothing to cross off your Christmas list.  It's also a good idea to keep note of correlating sizes for your size, dress size, shoe size, ears pierced?, men's shirt size, etc.  It should also be mentioned that it would behoove the savvy shopper to know what stores will be at the outlet before arrival.  Set a budget and stick to it, 'nuff said (so hard to do!!).

Tip #2: Check for discounts
Some places will give an additional discount for AAA members or students for example.  Also, check online to see if there are any special sales/coupons going on to ask about or print out and bring with you.

Tip #3: Leave early
You'd be surprised how much traffic is on the road even on the weekend. 

Tip #4: Bring a bottle of water
Hey, shopping is hard work and the last thing you want to do is spend $4 on a bottle of water. 

Tip #5: Wear or bring socks
Should you happen upon a pair of shoes for yourself you'll want to try them on with the thickness of the socks you normally wear.  The grandma stocking-like socks stores provide might give an inaccurate assessment of the shoe fit. 

Tip #6: Don't shop alone
It's always a good idea to have a friend with us to tell us something doesn't look right or the price is too high or to simply drag us away from spending our entire life savings.  It's also worth noting that you might want to shop with someone who will keep pace with you, if you know what I mean.

Tip #7: Walk away
Don't be afraid to walk away from something and come back to it later.  Time might remind you that your cousin actually does have a similar shirt.  Time might also affirm that the price you saw was in fact a good deal compared to other stores.

Tip #8: Have fun
This is the time of the year when it should be a joy to find a gift for a loved one.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

you can never have too many...

...pens!!  Among many other things you can never have too many pens, it's true.  Here are some recently acquired pens made by Stabilo.  Their pens have a new look and I'm loving the color options.  It was hard to decide and harder to stop with just three but I took home a sea foamy green and two different greys to add to my ever growing pen collection.  I know, it's a disease...

Friday, November 5, 2010

what i'm working on

The past two weeks I've been working my little fingers to the bone with craft projects that we're showing to Michael's, Inc.  Here are some of the ones that I worked on.
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