Friday, July 31, 2009

friends on friday

I have a new reason to love Thursday nights - mystery flight night at Vino Locale. It is like I am back in college again. Although in college, dollar bud night was Tuesdays at the Santa Fe. This week I went with Niki and Maureen and we had a great time.

Wine + friends + California weather... what's not to love?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

andrea getting married

Last Friday a bunch of us got together to celebrate Andrea's upcoming wedding. Shanna, her maid of honor, threw her a bachelorette party weekend. Friday night involved drinks, girlie movies, and silly games. Saturday night involved a flight to Vegas for a Sex and the City themed night of fun. I was not able to go to Vegas, but I had a great time hanging out with the girls.

Andrea's bachelorette gift from her sister and Shanna - white shoes for Vegas.

We ate Andrea's favorite foods prepared by Shanna - peach rings, sushi, and pumpkin pie.

We played silly bachelorette games - let's just say this is the before picture. It was a pin the tail on the donkey type of game...

Congratulations to both of you! Excited for the upcoming wedding.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

summer dinner

I subscribe to Bon Appetit and Fine Cooking. Most of the time, I am inspired by an recipe or a photo enough to try. This month's issue of Bon Appetit has a section called "Farm Fresh in a Flash."

Ingredients for orecchiette with fresh mozzarella, grape tomatoes, and garlic chives. I decided not to use the sauce they recommended, rather to use a basil pesto (not pictured) from the Afghani lady at the California ave. farmer's market. The East and West Gourmet Afghan food is amazing by the way.

We also made a chilled zucchini soup with lemon cumin shrimp and cilantro cream. It was really really good. Above is a photo of it cooking.

And here is our final dinner - a summer pasta, a chilled veggie soup, and fresh corn. All these recipes were super easy, very fast, and tasted great (and also kept well in the fridge).

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Charlotte Herb Guild

Remember how I was out of town last week? Well when I came back, I had a lovely surprise waiting for me! My friend Eli's mom had brought me a lovely cookbook from Charlotte, NC. I love cookbooks - especially the type where lots of different people have contributed family favorites. As a southern girl, it is even better when those collections involve some southern recipes! They have an entire chapter just for tea sandwiches! It's heaven.

I peaked inside the cover and Eli's mom Mary Beth has contributed many recipes. On the drive to the BBQ yesterday I got to spend sometime picking my favorites. It is like she read my mind - I love corn chowder! I think that Eli is one lucky guy! She has contributed lots of interesting recipes in the book.

Also, my fiance picked this recipe (below) as one he couldn't wait to try. We have LOTS of rosemary growing around our house (the one herb that hasn't died).

Once Alison comes back from China, I am planning on getting the four of us together to create a Charlotte Herb Guild dinner. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 27, 2009


Last night I had dinner at my fiance's parents house. My fiance's brother's wife's family was in town, along with a good friend of my fiance's sister. My future brother-in-law and his wife live in the Mission in SF close to the Tartine Bakery, so they bought this lemon tart and brought it to the BBQ. Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? It was not just lovely to look at, but tasted incredible as well.

This reminded me of a dinner we had eaten at their house in February, where we were treated to another Tartine confection - the chocolate souffle cake. You had to heat the knife in hot water to cleanly slice through the top layer. I loved the edible gold foil embellishment. I immediately looked it up online and if I ever make a decadent cake, I am going to look into adding a piece of gold.

My fiance and I made a bet once, and if I won I got a Tartine chocolate souffle cake. Well I won and I am still waiting! Although, I learned that there is a Tartine cookbook, so maybe a cookbook would be better than a cake!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

SF family vacation

My parents came in town last Wednesday and left this morning. We had them over for dinner on Thursday night - guacamole and chips, turkey burgers, and corn with oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for dessert. My brother Patrick and his friend Aidan spent the night with us.

On Saturday, my mom and I had a girls day. We went to three wedding dress shops, a stationary store, and the Ferry building farmer's market in San Francisco. For lunch we looked out over the bay and ate maple, chicken, turkey, sweet potato, and bacon sausage sandwiches from the farmer's market. So good!

The best part? I found my wedding dress and bought it with my mom!! It was a dress I tried on with my sister a few months ago, and bought with my mom yesterday - I was so happy that they could both be involved!

Friday, July 24, 2009


We just booked our honeymoon flights! One week in Fiji, and one week in Queenstown, New Zealand. I am SO EXCITED! As soon as I realized we were heading to New Zealand, I emailed my friend Kenny who had lived there for a period of time asking for recommendations. He sent back this photo (stunning!) as well as the recommendations below (in case you ever want to go).

"That’s fantastic you are going to Queenstown! I most definitely have been there. I love that area – been there several times. Here’s a picture I took from that area. You should go to Glenorchy, hike part of the Routeburn Track, go to Milford Sound (the sound is touristy, but spectacular enough that it’s worth it). I loved a hike I took right out of town up to the top of Ben Lomond (bring water and a hat though – it’s in the sun!). Going to Arrowtown is also really nice – it’s a cool little town. Whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, etc are all really big in Queenstown. If you’re looking for a similar place to Queenstown that is a little quieter, about an hour away is Wanaka, which is where all the kiwis go since it’s a bit quieter."

Thanks for the recommendations Kenny!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


I just returned from a few days in the Portland, OR area and it was absolutely beautiful. I already want to make plans to go back for a long weekend sometime soon.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the cheesiest

I have a weakness for Kraft macaroni and Cheese. Over the years as my tastes change, I have tweaked the amount of butter and milk produce the best result (the box calls for too much of both in my opinion). Like always, I can still put down an entire box with no problem - as I did this past Saturday afternoon. The only thing better are either grilled cheeses or roast beef, avocado, and cheddar sandwiches (a tie for my desert island food of choice). I love cheese and avocado, and true love lasts a lifetime. Lizard would back me up on this one I think. We had a grilled cheese and coke/diet coke lunch every day before doing the Cindy Crawford workout video the summer after 9th grade. We were working at Les Enfants in the mornings and reading too many long summer books for European history after swimming "laps" (if I am being generous) at the neighborhood pool. Summers are awesome.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Orleans auction houses

I have gotten a few questions about the different auction houses in New Orleans, so here they are:
My dad says the best deals are at Crescent (it is where he got us our bocce balls). A friend from high school (Adam Lambert - not the American Idol) also runs it with his family, so it is win-win. I wish that I lived in New Orleans just so I could get cool furniture at these auctions. Happy bidding!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

swim + bike + run

Today my fiance is doing a triathlon this weekend. Wish him luck!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

cake plate (+punch bowl)!

This weekend some dear friends were in town from NYC. I was so excited to see them, as they are expecting their first child in October and it would be the first time I would get to see her baby bump. Imagine my surprise when they arrived with a big bag from Williams Sonoma! They had brought us an engagement gift from our registry (our first registry gift)! It is a gorgeous glass domed cake plate that doubles as a punch bowl if you turn it all around. It is perfect.

I can't wait to make something to put in it! Now I just have to decide what to make first. I think it is most likely to be oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. So excited! Thank you so much!

Friday, July 17, 2009

must love dogs

Yesterday I learned that some dogs are marketed by breeders as hypoallergenic. I had never heard of such a thing - and I am not sure I believe it yet (wikipedia is skeptical anyway). My fiance is allergic to dogs, so a hypoallergenic dog would be a way around a lifetime of allergy shots if we ever got a furry pet.

Anyway, thinking of dogs made me think of my sweet niece Cecilia and her unconditional love of animals. She is fearless! Above you can see her with my family's dog Dodger (14 years old and deaf at this point - but no less adorable). Below you can see her with my aunt and uncle's dog Brulo. Judging by smell alone, I can guarantee that Dodger is not hypoallergenic. Judging by amount of hair, I bet Brulo isn't either.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

mystery flights

There is a little wine bar behind the Apple store called Vino Locale. They serve local bay area wines, and have a lovely outdoor patio. I had gone there several times, but a few weeks ago I went on a Thursday with a couple of friends. I was surprised to learn that Thursday is mystery flight night. For $15 you get four 2oz tastes of unknown wines and a mystery snack (last time it was goat cheese and bread). If you can guess the varietals of the four glasses correctly, you get the whole thing for free! It was so fun - way more fun than I thought it would be. I worked on my guesses with a couple friends, but in the end we only got one right! Turns out I have no idea what different varietals are supposed to taste like - although I look forward to trying to learn!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

green lizard's project

I introduced you to Lizard a few weeks ago when she brought me crawfish bread from Jazz Fest. Well I thought I would share something that she has been working on with the Green Project in New Orleans. By day she helps bring curbside recycling back to NOLA, and by night helps to organize kick ass events.

This coming Saturday they are helping to throw a fashion show event to benefit Recycle for the Arts. There will also be drinking, dancing (Lizard what on earth is recycled dancing?), and a silent auction. All this is happening at the Howlin Wolf. (I have a weakness for silent auctions, once I got $100 worth of coffee and coffee related stuff for $50!)

Because I will be thousands of miles away, I won't be able to attend - but I totally would if I was there! Lizard I love that you are working on all this green stuff, from the Green Project to the recycling program at the Boogaloo festival - keep up the good work!! Let me know how it goes! New Orleans definitely needs people like you.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rachael's list

Before Rachael left the Bay Area for greener MBA pastures in Louisiana, she left with me a list of things to send her. Although she left a few months ago, I just happened upon the piece of paper. In attempt to do right by Rach (a few months late) - here are all the things she requested.

1. Designer's website:
Before she left, I told Rachael how I had done a room makeover via the design service offered by one of my favorite bloggers. The blog is called Young House Love (formerly This Young House). It is written by Sherry and John in Virginia and I find it addictive to read about their DIY projects.

2. Poster in the bathroom:
Rachael loved the poster of San Francisco we had in our bathroom (see below) and wanted to know where we had gotten it. To be honest with you, we had seen it in Ross and Abby's SF apartment, fallen in love, and then tracked it down on the internet. It is made by Ork Posters and they actually make a similar poster for several cities and the heart.

3. Thomas Keller Chicken:
This one is easy as I have already posted about it - see this post from April.

4. Picture from frame store in NOLA:
Last Christmas I got the weathered wooden frame in the photo below from Mallory's mom Dottie as a gift. She knew that I loved weathered wood and this frame was made from recycled window sills. Rachael asked where it was from. It was a wooden frame purchased at the Art Mart in Palmer Park (which they have once a month in New Orleans). The artist is named Dave Bergeron and he makes tons of cool recycled wood stuff.

5. The crock pot chili recipe
The chili I like to make in the crock pot is from a cookbook called the Healthy Slow Cooker. I didn't feel like typing up the recipe (or violating copyright), but if you would like I can send the photos of the pages if you request them via comment.

There you have it - months overdue. Rach I hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 13, 2009

the spoils!

On Saturday Niki and I went to the Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival and it was awesome. She got a cute vase in grandpa green and fell in love with a few other pieces to be custom made for her later (a sweet little sugar/creamer set). I came away with three new pieces of pottery myself. I got this cool praying mantis bowl from Catherine Reece of Village Clayworks. I think that guacamole will look really good in it (we already have used it for chips and for strawberries)!

I also got this little bird bud vase from Joanna Mendicino. She had so much cute stuff! I could really imagine getting a cute baby shower gift for someone there. She had little birds, bunnies, and other whimsical animals and shapes.

I also got this soap dish from Rae Dunn. I really like her stuff and there were lots of interesting things to choose from (Niki loved this cake plate). I have seen her stuff used creatively in weddings before, like this wedding that used her little love rocks in the place setting.

All in all it was an awesome day. I was so tempted by Whitney Smith, but I kept trying to remember that I am planning to register with her for the wedding.

Friday, July 10, 2009

finally friday

I took this photo in Hawaii last week and I thought it would be perfect for a Friday post. I am beat after a long week of traveling for work, so I am definitely looking forward to some relaxation this weekend.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

whitney smith

Last year at the Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival, I fell in love with the work of a local bay area potter named Whitney Smith. I bought two pieces (see below) - I went back two days in a row, buying one piece the day after. I am on Whitney's mailing list and she let us know she will have some new pieces. So excited to check them out!

I have been looking forward to this year's festival more than I should probably admit. It will be this Saturday and Sunday (7/11 - 7/12) in Newell Park in Palo Alto from 10am to 5pm. I can't wait! There are other potters that I look forward to seeing too - but Whitney is my favorite.

my bird plate

my bird bowl
(my mom has it in brown and teal)

my fiance's mom gave my mom this
lovely pomegranate bud vase

p.s. Whitney Smith allows couples to register with her for their wedding... I am SO going to register with her (although my fiance thinks a $130 cake plate is ridiculous). I tell him that it is art! Lovely ceramic art! I am not sure I can wait for a wedding registry... it is too far away!

full disclosure - I took ceramics in college, and again in grad school... I know my love is not rational. It started after a trip to Italy in college on a study trip. Piles of pots!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

memphis + chocolate oatmeal cookies

Tonight I am in Memphis, TN. Although this is the second time I have been to this city, I always seem to be passing through and don't get to fully appreciate the sites. I still have to make it to Graceland and try some official Memphis BBQ. My hotel is right on the Mississippi river and I went up to the roof deck to snap these photos this evening.

Check out how many air conditioning units there are on this nearby building.

The night before we left for Maui, my fiance and I celebrated our departure with champagne and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. The champagne was a gift from his sister (thanks Annie!) and the cookies were a recipe shared by Philip (our house guest last weekend). Since these cookies are now my new favorite thing, my fiance made a batch last night and packed them for my trip to TN - I am enjoying one right now! I am trying to make my little bundle of cookies last the entire trip. Thanks!!

Pacific sunset

The sunset between Molokai and Lanai on our last night in paradise. No photo could really do it justice... although I tried by taking about 50 photos.

Monday, July 6, 2009

tropical flowers

I joke that I will never have a large blog following because all I write about is stuff I do, things I eat, and pretty flowers. True to form, check out these flowers from the last couple of days.

I am not sure what type of flowers are in the first two photos, but I know the photo above is of plumerias and the photo below show an orchid on the rim of my tropical drink.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

4th of July

If I was going to have a 4th of July BBQ, I would definitely want to make these sundaes with edible spoons for dessert.
Photo from Martha Stewart Living

Hope that you are having a great weekend! Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 3, 2009


I love a three day weekend! Don't you wish you were here?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


My friend Rachael's parents own a farm (Sasnak Farm) in Southern Louisiana. Knowing how much I love honey, last time I was home Rachael gave me a jar of honey made from bees kept at the farm. A few weeks later, my mom sent me a little surprise gift - a ceramic honey jar! Now I have fresh Louisiana honey in a sweet little jar with a real wooden honey spoon (not sure what that is called).

Tomorrow is also Rachael's birthday - happy birthday! Wish I could be there to celebrate.

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