Sunday, July 14, 2013

Vive le Macaron

This morning, I got to spend a few hours perfecting my pastry chef skills with my very talented friend Andrea at Sur la Table. Our task: macarons. We were quickly corrected that American macaroons are the coconut desserts, where the French macarons are the shelled sandwich creme cookie. There's your lesson of the day.

Our creations included strawberry with Champagne (eh, sparkling wine, we saw the bottle) buttercream, bacon with maple buttercream, and mint with dark chocolate ganache. While I don't see myself making these very often--they are pretty labor intensive and apparently not for the amateur baker-I could see a batch for a special occasion as definitely doable.

A very fitting way to spend Bastille Day :) Vive le France!

Make way for baby

I'm trying to keep a pretty minimalistic approach to baby gear considering our sprawling estate and the space available. While some of the minimalistic suggestions have included keeping baby in a laundry basket and downsizing to one car, I'm not quite that extreme. The child will have a crib. And his own room. Space must still be made, thank goodness for Craig's List.

In the past week, I've sold my desk and set of dining chairs. Still have my grandmother's vintage sewing machine and cabinet up for grabs (and to any family reading, I was given the ok by my mom!) to anyone locally interested.

Come to find out I was strangely attached to the chairs, since they were a CL purchase and project. But, they are on to another great home and we are creating space for this child.

Since the desk sold, my plan to was to turn our front closet into an office closet. My desk primarily acted as storage and a dumping ground for bills; it was rare that I sat there to work. So, this past 4th of July, I did some major purging and organizing, creating the office closet, cleaning out the garage, and rearranging what will be the baby's closet. And then I took a lavender epsom salt bath.

The vacuum has to go somewhere. Somewhere is next to the party supply box.
These people require more space than a laundry basket.

Friday, June 7, 2013

6 Months

Six months ago we were traipsing our way around Peru, making our way to Machu Picchu. It provided a lot of thinking time. Time for me to plot and plan Scott's 30th birthday. I had it pretty well envisioned by the time we reached the ruins and last weekend, executed it.

The theme was inspired by "Downton Abbey," essentially an homage to the finer things in a gentleman's life, including leisure activities. Libations were enjoyed, cigars smoked, croquet and badminton played, and a photo booth enjoyed. It's safe to say that Scott welcomed his 30s with a well-dressed group of family and friends who love him.

And, I'm hanging my hat on the party planning until my own 30th, six months from now, as a major rejuvenation is in order after back to back weekends of baby shower throwing and 30th birthday party executing.

Also, I'm six months pregnant today. BAM!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Cheers to Moms

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms, especially those near and dear to me, particularly the two I'm blessed to have in my life!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

TJ's Womp Womp

Well Trader Joe's, strike three in the bread department. I've lost track of the count of times I've purchased bread, rolls, English muffins, bagels, and tortillas that have gone moldy in no less than two days. And, this is dating back to the days when we lived in Irvine and it was convenient for me to return the product (but honestly, not THAT convenient because Irvine is the land of no left hand turns so it still took twice as long.)

There is no Trader Joe's in my city. I drive nearly five miles (!!) to Brea or coordinate my shopping to align with the stores in Orange, and even Costa Mesa to stock up on everything else I enjoy there. Any remaining Catholic guilt I possess eats me up as it relates to my job and spending my money outside of my city.

So Trader Joe's, what's the deal with the moldy bread? Is it so fresh that an entire artisan French loaf must be consumed in a day? I surely can do this with a wedge of brie for breakfast, lunch and dinner but then I wouldn't have room for the peanut butter English muffins. I should note I always grab from the back of the bin too.

This won't stop my shopping habits but it does throw a wrench in my stocking of the bread. Do I freeze it and defrost it as needed? That's time consuming; like most Americans I like instant gratification and not extra steps just to make panini.

Am I alone in this first world problem?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Technology advances, society slowly accepts, and new norms are formed along with (in my opinion) grievous habits. The culprit: incorrect use of the hashtag/#.

I'm no social media guru but it's my general understanding (and reconfirmed by the excellent source that is Wikipedia-tangent, you won't find scholarly links here) that the point of a hashtag is to document, archive, and group discussions.

I want to put a hot fire poker through all of the Instagram photos, tweets, and Facebook users who essentially slap that pound sign on a sentence and call it a day. Few things annoy me more. Furthermore, the hashtag function is not supported on Facebook. While I get that Instagram and Twitter feeds auto post there for some, eyes are still rolling.

I'm hopeful that anyone new (toddlers, seniors?) to using these mediums might research the proper use (hah) of the hashtag, and Google might bring up this little exercise. I've heard the argument the great and mighty "they" have tossed around the idea of getting rid of cursive. While I don't agree with that potential decision, maybe a social media lesson is in order, as it's certainly not going away.

Exhibit A: A photo taken on the third best day of my life, meeting Ina Garten.

Possible hash tags for people searching to learn more about Mrs. Garten from the photo that I did Instagram: #InaGarten, #BarefootContessa, #FoolproofBookTour2012. All of these hash tags could be archived for someone just learning about the fabulous Ina, wanting information about her books, or a fellow fan(atic.)

Incorrect hash tags might be #InaandJeffrey4eva, #oopsmybrastrapisshowing, #TodayIMetInaGartenAndItWasAmazing, or #InLineToMeetInaGarten!. The latter two are sentences-just caption the picture that way! The first needs no explanation. Never do that and curse your 13-year-old self for ever writing in that manner.

Does every picture really require a hash tag? Break the habit.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Giving up the good stuff

In honor of the Lenten season I am giving up the good stuff starting today-wine, beer, and all libations. The last time I did a rather difficult sacrifice (Target in 2010) I almost made it the 40 days, but caved for convenience on a hectic day. In some ways, it sounds shallow to give wine up, but it is part of my routine and will be a challenge for my lifestyle since I so look forward to a pour after work.

So (sparkling water) cheers to March 31!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Chefs Haselton

Last night, a dream I didn't knew I had came true-a participation dinner at Mr. Stox.

My in-laws have done several over the years and gifted us the opportunity at Christmas of 2011. It took over a year for our schedules to align with the offered dates, and our evening fell on the final one. Sadly, after 40+ years, the landmark restaurant is closing. So, we were so happy to finale joy a final meal, and prepare it.

The entire group hovered around 28 ( about 10-12 too many I'm told) and we were broken up into groups that would tackle each course. Frank and Sandy were assigned to the fourth course, dessert- a banana tartin, while Scott and I worked on the first, jumbo prawn stuffed with crab meat with a jalapeƱo orange hollandaise sauce.
At first I was totally overwhelmed with seriously so many cooks in the kitchen, plus servers coming in and out running desserts. Our own servers came with and ensured our cooking wine was always filled and the kitchen staff whisked away cutting boards and knives for washing.
We grilled and chopped jalapeƱos, squeezed and reduced orange juice, separated eggs, stuffed prawns, and babysat/ whisked the hollandaise. The lobster was thwacked around us (and memorialized on the back of my dress) while others poached the beef and assembled a ratatouille.
The experience was amazing. I stepped in the line kitchen and was completely overwhelmed again by the amount of people, burners raging, and food flipping.
Once everyone was done, each group plated and served the meal. It was tremendously fun and extremely delicious. I'm only sorry that we were able to do it once.

Thank you, thank you to my in- laws for such a fabulous evening doing something I love and fulfilling one of my foodie dreams!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

January 31, 2013

My first thought waking up each day is: "is it the weekend?" Then, "what is the date?" Finally, my brain does a database scan of important events that might have happened on that date. Today is Justin Timberlake's birthday.

Why do I know this? Because I have a stupid knack for recalling important dates and factoids in history. And, I clearly put way too much energy into remembering most of NSYNC's birthdays back in 1999.

Yet, I often jest to myself that I need a poster-sized sticky note to reference important, recurring information I can't seem to retain. This is really neither here nor there, more of a reminder that at the very least I want to do this in a Google doc for my own (and rather embarrassing) benefit.

While I haven't forgotten to recount our activities in the past 31 days, I simply haven't had the gusto. We've lived life--going to the theatre with my parents, trying new restaurants, dates with old friends, celebrated just didn't make it to this little space on the web.

I am challenged to write in my professional life, both full time and a side gig, and lately I've found that sometimes my creative cup has simply been emptied. I've also taken on a new and more public role that's made me question how much information I want to willingly share, and that could also be part of the reason for keeping mum, especially when it comes to ranting.

So, we'll see the direction this 6-year-old public diary takes in 2013. At the very least I should update the header, seeing as I'm fairly sure we've expired our moniker as newlyweds.