Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apartment Therapy Los Angeles: Anthony and Gregory's 1912 Contemporary Craftsman (aka 'Yeah, I TOTALLY know these guys...')

Last week, best friend G (known to the world as Gregory Metcalf) and his boyfriend Tony (known to the world as Anthony Franco) were featured in Apartment Therapy: Los Angeles. I should say that their gorgeous house was featured. When G told me this I shrieked because I have been a huge fan of Apartment Therapy: San Francisco for some time now and knew that this was a huge deal. I have spent many weekends at this house and consider the downstairs office to be my own personal guest room at Ch√Ęteau Franco-Metcalf (look close and you can see my hidden contribution, a charcoal afghan that I made G years ago, hanging off the arm of the couch downstairs). These two boys have impeccable taste that carries an obvious artistic touch. Please check out their home tour and see for yourself. Make sure you take a double look at all of the fantastic pillows featured by G's endeavor, Gregory Keith.  

Sensing Sunday: October 31, 2010

The Mr. and Mrs....Halloween 2010

What I am:

Hearing: 'The Crazies' Hearing it because I refuse to watch it. I hate scary movies, I don't care what the day of the year it is.

Seeing: All the cute pics of all my friends that have kids that dressed up for Halloween.

Smelling: Pumpkin seeds starting to roast from the pumpkins I carved tonight.

Tasting: Chocolate.

Feeling: Between the leftover Halloween candy and the 'Witches Hats' I made today (normally known as Peanut Butter and Hershey Kiss Blossoms), I feel kinda sick to my stomach. I haven't had this much sugar in a long time.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sensing Sunday: October 24, 2010

What I am:

Hearing: The most adorable beagle howl, next to my own pup's.

Seeing: My transaction receipt for the ticket to La Soriee that I just purchased. So excited!

Smelling: A cup of Folger's with a dash of sugar and a splash of milk in my zebra striped coffee mug. I bought it on a whim from the dollar store about 7 years ago and has become my favorite mug to sip from.

Tasting: Oroweat Dutch Country Extra Fiber toast with a smudge of chunky peanut butter.

Feeling: It was a stressful week for me. Insomnia set in, handfuls of hair fell out in the shower and I seem to have lost my appetite. On the plus side the numbers on the scale are plummeting so maybe its more of a lose win situation. Hope next week is a little better.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Sensing Sunday: October 17, 2010

What I am:

Hearing: The second game of the Giant's and the Philly's on the TV behind me. The Giant's just walked a run in because the bases were loaded and its only the first inning...this is why I have a hard time watching sports, I get too riled up.

Seeing: The overcast sky of the first legitimate fall day of the year through my office window. I love it.

Smelling: My favorite apple pie baking in the oven. I am sharing it with my friend/cousin Andrea while we watch the final episode of Mad Men tonight.

Tasting: A tall glass of milk.

Feeling: Relaxed, it was the first weekend that I let myself enjoy being a bit lazy in a long time. Now I don't want to go to work tomorrow.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Go Fetch!

Don't hate me but that is the only picture I was able to get of the wonderful time I had at the 3rd Annual Modesto Disc Dogg Competition.
I decided that I was leaving town too much in the past couple of months on my days off and really needed to stay closer to home so that I could tend to things more domestic on my weekends (laundry, dishes, dusting, vacuuming, et all) and the Mr. really needed to tend to the yard work. He is outside mowing the lawns as we speak while I am updating the blog (he is a much better person than I am today).
Just because I was planning on staying close to home didn't mean that I had to let myself stay cooped up in the house all day. I had been catching up on all my favorite design and DIY blogs and was bit by the 'before and after' bug. My plan today was to scour Craigslist with a budget of about $25 dollars and see what I could find to re-purpose for my own home. I am in dire need of a new entertainment unit for the television in the front room but still haven't found anything that I feel would be the best fit. I moved on to the local newspaper hoping to find something in the events calendar for this weekend. I know many people that live (or have lived  for that matter) in my community that constantly complain that there is nothing to do in this po-dunk town of almost 250,000 people. To them I say, 'You just aren't trying hard enough.' This weekend I found the perfect way to say 'I told you so'. After finding it on the events calendar, the Mr. and I headed out to the 3rd Annual Modesto Disc Dogg Competition. It was held at John Muir Park. I grew up in this town and had never been to this park. It is tucked away on High Street which is close to the downtown area and by the cemetery. It is an older neighborhood in town and I always believed it to be somewhat rundown that I never thought to venture further down the street. Big mistake on my part because at the end of the street is a picture perfect little park nestled in the middle of quaint, nostalgic houses. It was in this setting that the Mr., the Pup and I sat under ancient oak trees, in mild weather (finally) and watched other pups make amazing (and not so amazing) jumps and frisbee catches to score points to see who would be top dog that day. We headed out and I was able to get two pictures on the way there and one picture once we arrived...and that was it. Dummy Jen forgot to charge the camera and I couldn't coax anymore photos out of it. I was so disappointed and I know you are too.
These are the potential photo ops that were missed out on:
Baby crawling on all fours at the same level as some of the more well behaved pups.
Cute older couple that showed up to watch on their beach cruiser bicycles. (I love cute, older couples).
Dogs catching some serious air reaching for the frisbees.
Sammy Davis Jr, a dautsund that, for me, stole the show. That dog was hustling!
Eli. I wasn't sure what kind of dog he was but he was beautiful. He was brown with a white streak over his forehead that made him look a little like Pepe Le Pew.
A dog named Zip...only because he had the coolest name that day.
While there, the Mr and I had an opportunity to meet Jill. She walked over to introduce herself and to let us know more about the Disc Doggs. We let her know what a great time we were having but that our own pup was hopeless when it came to fetch. She gave us some tips and gave us some hope that maybe next year,  the Pup might make it to the novice competition. She let us know a trick to getting your dog to return the frisbee to you is to dab a bit of peanut butter under the lip. I said, 'Thats great to get her to go after it but how can I get her to return it to me?' Her answer was so simple, 'Have another one waiting for her and she will come back to you.' Brilliant. Like I said it gave us hope, now all we have to do is practice and maybe next year the Pup will be out there chasing frisbees and scoring points.
The Pup eagerly anticipating going to the park. Taking the Mr.'s seat while he was getting the car gassed up. 
Rare, although carefully cropped, self portrait taken today in support of two of my favorite people.
Not to brag (ok, TOTALLY to brag), the above flower was constructed of vintage fabric from my good friend (boyfriend to my best friend G) Anthony Franco. He is showing this week in LA Fashion Week and I cannot be there. G keeps giving me random updates; certain A-list celebrities are to be in attendance and at the after party, certain D-list celebrities (who are more A-list to me than the actual A-list celebrities) are promised to be there as well. I know he is doing this to entice me to make the mid-week trip but I can't and now its becoming more and more painful. I promise a full post soon after the event on Wednesday. Until then please check out Behind the Line with Anthony Franco. His show is sponsored by Cotton (Yes, THAT Cotton. The touch, the feel, the fabric of our know you know it) and they have followed him from the beginning of designing his Spring 2011 line. I will be there in spirit and will be watching a live feed at Behind the Line with Anthony Franco on Wednesday, you definitely should too. 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Riverbank Wine and Cheese Exposition 2010

Sunday we stayed close, very close, to home and went out to the Riverbank Wine and Cheese Exposition. The Mr. and I really could have walked there from our house but because we did tons of walking the day before, we decided to drive the three minutes and find a parking space. At first I felt pretty lazy but in the end I am glad that we did because we didn't stay that long. Its not that we didn't have fun, its just that we go almost every year and had seen most of it before. I was excited to find out that Cupcake Vineyards was showing this year. I hadn't tried their wine yet but of course I was intrigued because of the adorable name. When we reached the wine tasting area, the Mr. and I ultimately decided that we didn't want to pay the $35 dollars when we only wanted to try to few of the wines. I was disappointed that I didn't get to try the Cupcake wine but I think I would rather just purchase a bottle some other time. Last year we went to the free cheese tasting, but the community center (where the tasting is held) was too warm, too crowded and we ended with only a couple of morsels of cheese. This year it seemed we might face the same problem so we avoided that all together. This year the expo seemed more 'family friendly' with a carnival with games and rides for the kiddies and there seemed to be more festival fare geared towards the younger set. Because it was pretty warm, the Mr. and I headed to the beer garden. We walked the rest of the expo with refreshing beer in hand. I have to say, I am glad that we decided on beer that day instead of the that wrong?
 The tasting corral. 
Ginormous inflatable hawk advertising a local radio station. 
Celebrating fall even though it hasn't quite reached us yet. 
This was outside the community center. Downtown Riverbank has gone through a makeover in the past couple of years and the statue (along with other statues around town) is a new addition to the community center. 
This was the coolest thing for the kids that day. A mad scientist concocting 'volcanoes' made of juice and dry ice. 
Who could resist BBQ being sold by the Duke? 

 October 9th would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday. It is strange to think of him as an old man and I wonder what the world would have been like if he hadn't been senselessly gunned down. 
John watching over the Wine and Cheese. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sensing Sunday: October 10, 2010

'The Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria' Grame Wilkinson

What I am:

Hearing: Laundry tumbling in the dryer...more specifically, the buttons on the jeans clanging against the dryer drum.

Seeing: 'Columbus: The Lost Voyage' on the History Channel (Did you know that Columbus had an illegitimate child named Fernando? I had no idea!)

Smelling: 'Chance' by Chanel (Its what I wore on my first date with the Mr. and it is what I wore the day I married him)

Tasting: Just finished breakfast...homemade Buttermilk Vanilla Bean Pancakes, turkey bacon and coffee with Italian Sweet Cream by Coffee Mate.

Feeling: Satisfied, happy, productive, anxious, excited, in love...oh a bunch this morning! Hope everyone is feeling the same!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fleet Week 2010: The Pup's First Trip to San Francisco

I swear that I do more than escape to San Francisco.
I was confronted with a very tough decision this weekend. Do I go to the Riverbank Wine and Cheese Exposition, or do I go to San Francisco Fleet Week? "Why can't I do both?" I said, and that's what I did (or at this point, plan to do). I don't know why I never really thought to take the pup with me before, considering that SF is such a dog friendly city, but I decided that today was the day to make her official debut. The pup, the Mr. and I headed out early. Well...early enough. We had a late night with friends the night before dining on huge steamed oysters, hamburgers, sausage and drinking good, cheap beer. There was too much food, including pasta salad, an amazing sun dried tomato dip that I must have the recipe for, and a delicious Chinese Chicken salad. It was so good that I was sure I didn't like that sort of thing but have now changed my mind. We ate well and sat on the edge of our seats as the SF Giants let the Braves take the win last night in the 11th inning. The night would have ended earlier for us if the Mr. and his best friend hadn't egged each other on to rally on Mario Kart for the next hour or so. At that point felt I had to step in to put a stop to it. My tactic didn't work too well  because I found myself, with Wii-mote in hand, screaming at Toad to stop falling off the edges and putting me in last place for a couple more games.
I don't know how we managed to get out of bed but we did and were in SF by 11:00am. We stopped to visit my brother at Books, Inc. so that he could give his dog-niece a doggy treat (pathetic I know, don't judge me.) and then the Mr. and I walked on until we reached Barney's. I have been here before and knew the Mr. would love it. We took a seat outside so that the pup wouldn't go nuts (she has a little separation anxiety problem). The burgers are ridiculously large but hard to stop eating. I was hoping that if I ordered the BLT that the meal might be a little more modest. I was wrong. I had to leave the restaurant with half of my sandwich because the first half was more than enough for me. The Mr. had the Chipotle Burger. He loves spicy things and is usually unimpressed when a restaurant insists that a dish is spicy because for him, it usually isn't and he is disappointed. He wasn't disappointed this time. He said the burger had quite a kick.
Oh yeah, the sweet potato much the best thing ever and the reason I return to Barney's time after time. 
Guys from Cal Berkeley decorating the neighborhood for Fleet Week. Go Bears!
 After lunch we made our way down to the water. We walked along the 'St. Fancy Yacht Club' (St. Francis Yacht Club) and strolled through the Marina Green. We walked passed displays from the Marine's and of course the Navy. Walking amongst all of the service men and woman dressed in uniform made me feel patriotic and very proud of my country. These are men and woman, as well as the rest of our military branches, who are risking their lives for the freedoms of our nation. This is something that I couldn't step up to do. No matter what your belief is about the war that we are fighting, these men and woman are the true heroes of our country. Not the celebrities or athletes that we see in front of us everyday and definitely not the pseudo-celebrities on reality television grasping at their last 15 minutes of fame. 
The best part of the day was taking the pup to Chrissy Field and finding a spot to watch the Blue Angel's Air Show. We walked to the end of the beach and let her loose to frolic with the other dogs on the beach. It was the first time that she had ever been to the ocean and I thought that she would be fearful (see THIS earlier post) but she wasn't. She charged every wave until she was tuckered out. We caught only the first part of the air show before deciding to get an early start out of the city. What we saw was terrific. I loved watching the synchronized planes leave a trail of red white and blue behind them as they passed. There were jets that, when you heard the rumble of their engines, you looked up and they were already passed you flying faster than the speed of sound. It was insane! We loved it. 
Please excuse to excessive amount of photos of my pup playing on the beach...yes, I am THAT kind of dog-momma. 
Its not the best picture but this guy was gettin' it. He made me feel very lazy for sitting on my duff watching him cruise by. 
I am a pretty sad 'action' photographer so this was pretty much the only photo I was able to get of the air show :(

One last fun note. Below was the most random, but quintessential San Francisco, photo op of the day...
Peace and Love Man! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The 'Allllll Baaaadddd' Sunday

Sorry again for the delay between posts. Events have been happening but I have been horrible about writing them up. At this 'new' job (not so new anymore), I sit in front of a computer all day. By the time I get home I do a quick check of my emails and designated social networking site and then I try to stay away from it. This last weekend was quite eventful in fact.
First up, my good friend had her baby girl 2 weeks early on Friday morning. Both baby and mama are happy and healthy. She is too cute for words and I find myself 'cyber-stalking' her pictures online (but not in the creepy or pervy way). Congratulations T on your little OG!
I camped out in my kitchen for 2 nights working on sweet treats for the bake sale that I mentioned before. For the Saturday delivery I made, what I call, Dirty Southern Red Velvet Cupcakes and Grasshopper High Hat Cupcakes. I have almost perfected my red velvet cupcake recipe and topped it with a whipped cream cheese icing that turned out lighter than most cream cheese icings I have used before. I garnished these with homemade, chopped pralines. I mentioned these in the last post and was excited that they worked out to be the perfect topping to a cupcake favorite. The Grasshopper High Hat was a devil's food cupcake and buttercream lightly flavored with peppermint piled as high as I could get it. After setting these puppies in the freezer for a bit, I dipped them upside down in a chocolate opera glaze. I was trying to get them to taste like a peppermint patty but ended up tasting more like a Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie (which, in my opinion, was a better turnout). For Sunday I stuck to our traditional 'Monster Cookies'. This is a recipe that was handed down from the Mr.'s grandmother and I make them every year as gifts at Christmas. We also included these in our wedding favors as his childhood cookie (mine was chocolate chip and walnut that my mother used to call 'Frog Leg Cookies' to try to keep us kids from eating them. The 'frog legs' were the walnuts.) The recipe is meant to make an obscene amount of cookies and I had dough left over. I finally got around to baking the rest of them and now they are in my house looking for a home.
After dropping the cookies off at the bake sale on Sunday, I stopped to visit with my grandmother. The visit was pleasant. I left and was in a little bit of a hurry to get out of town to SF to make it to my french macaron class (taught by the same instructor at Baking Arts where I learned the opera glaze used on the High Hats) that I had been anticipating forever. I realized I forgot my phone at home and made my way there to pick it up before getting out of town. On my way there I got into a little fender bender. Everyone was alright but after the police report was taken and all was said and done I was running really late. I made it into the city 30 minutes late and could not find parking ANYWHERE! I finally gave up, called my instructor and hoped that he would call me back so that I could reschedule the class. I met up with my brother at the 'Secret Starbucks' in the Presidio. Walking out of the Starbucks we saw, hand to God, a three legged dog!! My evening was starting to look up slightly. We had some fantastic seared ahi sandwiches at Pacific Catch and we had dessert at the Grove Cafe. The Grove Cafe was adorable, when we walked in it felt as if we were in a ski lodge in the middle of the mountains. It was the perfect setting for my cheesecake and hot apple cider. I dropped my brother off and started for home.
The reason I couldn't find parking anywhere when trying to get to my class was because it was the last division game for the SF Giants (Go Giants!). I have nothing but love for the Giants, but the Giants fans in the city that evening...well...that is a completely different story. These guys had no clue how to drive in the big city. It took me 2 and a half hours to get from my brother's apartment to the other side of the bay bridge. I was beyond irritated. Oh it was alllll baaaddd.
The next day I ended up getting sick, but that is for another blog post later...
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