Thursday, November 3, 2011

Giving Thanks: Day 3

'Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.'--Hebrews 10:35-36 

Day 3: 
Today I am thankful for my age. 
Funny thing to be thankful for, right? I am 32. I have learned quite a bit in my 32 years on this planet. With this wisdom comes a confidence that I wish I had 10 years ago. I didn't necessarily have awkward teen years (because really those are all a blur) but I could have really used the wisdom in my 20s. I look back on that time and am so glad that I am 32 today and not 22, I even look and feel better physically now than I did then. With some of the idiotic things I did when I was younger (sorry mom, hope you're not reading this and if you are just remember how great I turned out), I am surprised that I can stand here today as an independant, highly functioning adult. 
Although I do miss the faster metabolism of my youth...20s you can keep it. I like myself too much now to go back and retrieve it. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Giving Thanks: Day One and Two

'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.'--1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Life has been busy for me. This has to be pretty obvious because I keep promising to update more often and then don't post for a month or two. Hoping to correct this, I am taking on the  '30 Days of Thanks' challenge. The month of November is the perfect time to take this task on so here goes days one and two: 

Day One: 
I am thankful to get a paycheck. 
I know that money isn't everything but in this day and age I feel extremely lucky to have a job to go to 5 days a week. I work hard and put in lots of hours after work but there are so many in this country and in my local community that struggle to get a job and have carried on that struggle for years. Which brings me to day two....

Day Two: 
I am thankful that the Mr. has a job. 
I haven't talked about it too much (if at all) in the blog but the past few years have definitely been both the sour and the sweet. My husband has always been a very hard worker and has always taken tremendous pride in the work that he did. He worked in construction, with the same company for 11 years. He was awarded 'Apprentice of the Year' right before we met. He worked his way from apprentice to General Foreman in no time at all and was responsible for huge projects. He worked for a company that built schools so when (around the time we were planning our wedding) we heard rumblings that construction was on a downward spiral in our community and that the housing market was imploding, we were worried but thought that we were safe. The Mr. built schools not houses or commercial buildings, schools. There was always going to be a need for schools...or so we thought. 
In a years time my husband would be out of a job. The last school that he worked so hard on, a state of the art brand new high school, didn't open on its scheduled date. The city couldn't afford to enroll students into the school so it sat dormant for almost 2 years. 
The next few years were a very trying time for us. The Mr. was used to succeeding in a career that he loved to do. That career was no longer an option for him. It came at a time when we were just starting a new chapter in our lives, we were newlyweds. 
When something like that happens it starts to feel like that movie 'Groundhog Day'. You wake up everyday without a sense of direction because you are still hesitant to start really planning your future. Everyday is the same and you think it will end soon but then weeks turn into months and months turn into years. It truly tests the bonds of marriage because both of you are struggling to be the people that you promised you would be to each other. 
When you get through all of this, and dust from the storm settles, you look over and the one standing next to you is the one that stood next to you on the most important day of your feel absolutely empowered. 
The Mr. is working now and working hard. He has found a great job with a long standing company 10 minutes away from home. He is working 60 hours a week and never complains. We are finding our footing again and for that I am thankful. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Sensing Sunday: September 18, 2011

What I am:

Hearing: Heading up to the hills today, this came on over the radio. Of course I turned it up.

Seeing: Although 'Citizen Kane' is just starting on the television behind me, as soon as I finish this post I am going to watch 'The Company Man'

Smelling: The perfume that I created at the boutique event at my friend's salon. It has hints of vanilla, white tea, persimmon and pink peony. I love it. It makes me feel sassy.

Tasting: A slightly chilled glass of sweet red wine. Or I will be in about five minutes.

Feeling: Finally creative again. As you can see there was quite the lull in posts over the summer but I feel I am getting my groove back. This weekend I baked, crocheted and went on a little adventure. More on that soon....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Sensing Sunday: July 10, 2011

'Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.' --Mary Schmich

Hearing: After lounging in the pool on Saturday listening to the oldies station, I have had the Beatles in my head all weekend.

Seeing: 'Jerseylicious'. Don't judge, its close to midnight. What else am I supposed to have on in the background at this hour?

Smelling: Pecan and chocolate chip cookies. I have to make sure to get them out of the house as soon as I can. I think I might take the leftovers to work.

Tasting: A glass of organic pink lemonade from Trader Joe's.

Feeling: Accomplished. I walked away from the dreaded social networking for a week and I have finished 2 books ('The Paris Wife', soooo good which led me to 'The Dangerous Summer' where I spent half the week in the summer of 1959 in Spain. As traumatizing as bullfighting is, I have a new appreciation for it.), I got a tan, lost a couple of pounds, made dinner a few times this week, maintained some household chores and got a raise at work. Here's hoping I can continue to keep my superfluous internetting to a minimum.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

One Man Show

This week I look at things with a different set of eyes.
When I was a little girl my cousin had a friend that was our age. My aunt stayed home and would often watch my brother and I while my mom worked. She would sometimes watch my cousin's friend as well. As little girls we would color in coloring books with chipped crayons. The three of us coveted the Barbie coloring book. My cousin and I each had one. When one favorite page was colored, there was always the duplicate in the other book. Of course we played dolls, make-believe, on the swing set and dress up but it is that coloring book that I remember most.
One day at my cousin's, I remember a hushed conversation between the adults.
"I can't believe she's gone, and the kids too..."
I didn't understand it at the time. I didn't understand what death was. I didn't understand how a child could die.
A car accident.
My cousin and I were told that our playmate was gone, and she wasn't coming back. I couldn't understand because she was in my coloring book. The pinks, the greens. the lavender scribbles...all above where she scratched out her name with the apprehensive staccato of a schoolgirl.
Her name was still in my coloring book. I couldn't understand that she wasn't coming back. I kept that coloring book for years and would find it every once in a while as I was growing up. Sometimes I would forget why I still had it but after thumbing through it I would remember. I would feel the same confusion I had as a little girl. No matter how much I had aged, I still couldn't understand. Her name was still in my coloring book.
I feel that way again this week. This week a young mother, who I only casually know but is very close to a good friend of mine, was in a horrible car accident. She had her two year old and her four year old in the car with her. Her two year old, although badly hurt, will grow up in her mother's arms. Her four year now rests in the arms of God. She is in the hospital suffering from major physical injuries. Over time she will heal from these injuries but will be emotionally wrecked for life.
I don't understand it. I have seen people that I love leave this world too early and suddenly without warning. Although painful, over time I could at least try to rationalize it. I could try to understand. A child, I cannot. I can't even let myself try.
One thing I have learned this week, is that I am not a one man show. No one is. I cannot only rely on myself because the way I live my life affects others. There are people that care for me and love me. I care for an love  others. Sometimes I take that for granted. It is easy to let 'I love you' wander from the lips. Don't let it wander without direction. Don't say it without thought. Show it to those you love, show it every day. Accept it as well. One never knows what length of the thread of life has been spun for any soul. A person, no matter how much love is given or received, may be gone without warning. Everyday must be treated as a gift, lived to its fullest potential.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Party On

I love this County Fair themed party

Because I make cakes, I find myself growing obsessive about party planning. I get these wild ideas but have no children yet and no real reason to execute them. Instead they linger and stew around in my head. This little problem becomes worse when I end up blog stalking. I came across the following blogs and am inspired.

My first favorite, Party Perfect.

Sensing Sunday: June 26, 2011

My little weekend project....

Hearing: 'Feels Like Home'-Chantal Kreviazuk

Seeing: 'Marley and Me' on the television behind me. I read the book on our honeymoon cruise and made the mistake of reading the last few chapters while lounging on a deck chair in the middle of hundreds of strangers. I ended up trying to hide the sobbing behind a pair of over-sized sunglasses. At least I was among strangers and never had to face those confused people again.

Smelling: The collection of candles I have lit on the mantle.

Tasting: Ice cold water. I feel completely dehydrated this weekend and this water is really the only cure.

Feeling: Kinda sluggish. After the marathon baking session on Friday night/ Saturday morning; weekend yard selling; Saturday afternoon cocktails poolside (that went into the wee hours of Sunday morning), and walking the dogs with dad a handful of hours later, I laid down for what turned into a six hour nap. Now I am awake when I should be winding down for bed. Instead I am up trying not to think of the insane work week in front of me.
Hope everyone had a very happy weekend!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Lazy Saturday Blogging

This morning (because I didn't have a cake order to fret about) I was able to sit down, relax with a cup of my favorite coffee from the Blue Bottle Coffee Co., and tool around the internet catching up on some of my favorite blogs.
Here's the recap....
From A Cup of Joe

...and from Martha Stewart

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Versatile Blogger

("You like me! You REALLY like me!"-Sally Fields)

A few days ago I was awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by my dear (real life) friend, Ellen. She also happens to write the AMAZING blog, Life on a Real California Dairy Farm. If you already haven't done so, you should definitely check it out. She writes about her life as a dairy wife and mom. This is something near and dear to me since so many of my friends make their living in the mud and the dirt, at the crack of dawn until way after the sun sets, every day of the year, through rain and 100+ degree days, providing food for (not only myself and my immediate community) but the rest of the world. I am so honored to have received this award and it is a reminder that there are other people out there in Bloggerville that, not only take the time to read my lil ramblings, actually enjoy them enough to call me out. My cup runneth over! Thanks again Ellen.
With this award comes a great responsibility. It is my privilage to pass it on. 
The rules that come with this award are to thank the person who gave it to you, link back to their blog, and pass it along to other deserving bloggers. Then, you must reveal seven things about yourself.

All winners in my book...

I rarely pass up an opportunity to talk about myself (as you have seen HERE and HERE). Lets see if I can offer up any new information:

1. I have an entire shelf in my bookcase dedicated to all things Martha Stewart. The collection includes several cookbooks, craft books, holiday specific books and about two years of Martha Stewart Living (if not more). I also have years of Martha Stewart Weddings and a coveted Martha Stewart Baby from Spring 2001. To my knowledge, it is the only issue ever published of Baby but I would LOVE to see it come back. I adore every thing in that issue. Yes, I am obsessed.

2. I am extremely anxious and terrified of what will happen with Sweet Temper Baking. I am terrified of its potential failure. I may be more terrified at its potential success. 

3. I get ridiculously, grandiose ideas. I have recently determined that it is hereditary. My mother AND grandmother do the same. My mother and I will call each other with the latest hair-brained scheme and spend the next hour and a half on the phone completely dissecting it to figure out how we can make it a reality. Once that is done, the idea seems to pass before it ever comes to fruition. It drives the Mr. absolutely insane. I think he is figuring it out though. I think he realizes that this is just how my mum and I communicate.

4. The latest idea? It has been in my head the last few weeks to figure out how to purchase an inexpensive home in the foothills to make into our family vacation home. My theory is why wait if it might be manageable now? This idea will probably last all summer at least, then onto the next. (A couple of years ago I was trying to figure out how the Mr. and I could manage a 'live aboard' lifestyle on a boat docked in the Bay).

5. I had something a little too honest written out for this one but decided against it. What I was going to rant on about was something that I am guilty of doing as well. I didn't want to sound hypocritical so I left it out. 

6. Ok, ok, here goes. Sometimes I get so restless that I could scream! I don't know if its this town, or if it is indicative to women my age but its something that just drives me bonkers. It is this whole 'Stepford Wife' mentality. Its this image of a picture perfect life. All the play dates, perfect birthday parties, half birthday parties, 'Which formula do YOU use?' 'Oh I would never! I only breast feed', pedicures, weekend getaways, 'my husband grilled this tonight for dinner' or 'I made that tonight for dessert', taking the boat out for the first time this summer, and so on and so on. I brag about and attempt these things everyday as well (did you expect the complete 180 to come so soon after I shared my love for all things Martha? lol) but when I really start to think about it, who am I really trying to impress? When did it become a competition to just LIVE? I like to make things look pretty and perfect and we all have things that we are strong at and things we admire in others, but when did this admiration turn into envy? When did it become 'Look at what she did! Pffft...I know I can do better than that.' instead of 'Wow, she did such a great job. I am so proud to be her friend'? I know if I feel this way that some of my other peers feel this way too. Why, as women are we always trying to one up each other? Why can't we just be honest with each other without feeling as if we were we would be fodder for idle gossip later?
Hmmm... still thinking I probably shouldn't have 'revealed' so much.

7. I love to read and it has helped me through many hurdles in life. I should turn to the Bible more for help but I don't (I do listen for God to speak to me and rely on our 'conversations' to guide me through life though). I make the joke often that I read 'The Rules' and tried them on the first man that I met afterwards to see if they worked. That man was the Mr. I have recently started another book that I am hoping will be the punchline for another huge life decision. I don't want to say too much more on that, but look for that book review hopefully sooner than later. I know that this final revelation might have been a tad vague (ok, HUGELY vague). Sorry about that.

That was my seven things. You might have thought I was drunk or high when writing those out but I assure you I wasn't. Just perhaps a little too revealing. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How NOT to waste a day in the Valley....

(Pretty much...)

Friday night, the Mr. convinced me to unwind by throwing back what was only supposed to be 'a couple of cocktails'. Needless to say, the stress of work last week took complete advantage of me and because I thought that Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum had an adorable design on the front of the bottle (completely disregarding the fact that it was a very potent alcohol at 92 proof, in comparison to Captain Morgan only being 70 proof) I was paying the price the next morning.
I like to unwind a bit but the older I get the more I find that I no longer look forward to the weekend as a time of getting 'wasted on white zin' as I made a habitual practice of in my early 20s. Everyone has the same wistful story. The 'when-I-was-young-I-could-drink-all-night-pass-out-at-3-AM-and-be-fine-to-work-a-couple-hours-later' story. You know, the time in your young life when all you needed was a venti of whatever with an extra shot of espresso and a couple of aspirins to be right as rain? Oh get off your know EXACTLY what I am talking about.
Saturday morning, I couldn't force myself to get out of bed and  get dressed until noon...and that wasn't even a terrible hangover. Sheesh.
At this point in my life, I hate hangovers. Not necessarily because of how miserable they physically make me feel (just you body's way of paying you back for treating it like sh*t), I hate hangovers because they make me useless for the next 12-24 hours. I absolutely hate wasting a day off.
When I was finally feeling as if I could face the day, behind a dark pair of sunglasses of course, my mind wandered on what I could do to not feel as if I missed a day of my weekend. I settled on a little trip to my local used bookstore, Yesterday's Books.
Yesterday's Books is somewhat of an institution in my hometown. It was been in business since 1980 (a year younger than myself, if you are counting...don't try too hard to figure out the math) and has outlived many of its neighbors on the most popular strip in town. I have a feeling its in part to the ever changing, thought provoking quotes posted on the large wall on the side of the building. A favorite of mine from last month? 'A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit' (Richard Bach). I love getting lost in the aisles, always finding something unintentional. I found one of my most prized possessions there, a first edition reading copy of Fitzgerald's 'The Last Tycoon'. I always find something that I never knew I wanted but soon realize that I never could have done without.
Saturday I went in, thinking I would find obscure books on local history (which I did) but left with a handful of classics. 'The Bell Jar' (Plath), 'Death in the Afternoon'(Hemingway), 'The Dangerous Summer' (another Hemingway) and 'Philosophy in the Boudoir' (Marquis de Sade) made its way into my shopping bag for the bargain price of around $20. That's about as much as I spend on one brand new book.
After meandering around the bookstore for a couple of hours, I made my way to Old Plantation Coffee. Again, this is another long standing local business that has ten times more the charm than those cookie cutter coffee houses. I walked up to the counter and ordered an iced mocha. I was fully expecting to pay the already reasonable full price when I was gently informed that it was 'Happy Hour' and that my order would  be half price. Awesomesauce! I reached in and pulled out the ol' plastic swipe card but, because of the great 'Happy Hour' deal, wasn't spending enough to use it. 'No problem, I will take that delicious looking chocolate croissant you have in the case'. (By another sure to be a fast favorite, Pure Love Baking)
I sat down with my pastry in front of me, my mocha in one hand, the Marquis de Sade in my other and caught quick glances of the Giants easing their way to another win against Chicago on the television above.
I am so glad that I didn't waste my precious day off.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sensing Sunday: May 15, 2011

( could have been with THESE guys today)

Hearing: Still on the Adele kick...I can't help it.

Seeing: Indulging in one of my favorite Sunday afternoon activities, real estate shopping on the internet. Note to self; look into getting pre-approved for a home loan soon, very soon.

Smelling: My 'Downtown Amber' candle from the Target Collection

Tasting: A 'Strawberry Short Kook' Otter of my guiltiest pleasures.

Feeling: Even though I didn't make it to the 100th Bay to Breakers this weekend (very sad indeed), I am still feeling somewhat accomplished. I made a little trip to the bookstore yesterday to stock up and I purchased another couple of books online. I finished 'Men and Dogs' by Katie Crouch in, oh about, 2 days! Next up 'Death in the Afternoon' by Hemingway. Walked the 6.5 miles with dad and the dogs this morning. The Mr. went to lunch and now I am blogging away. I have a couple of other posts to write up (about yesterday's trip to the bookstore and last week's trip to the baseball game) and then a little bit of laundry and begin prep for my gigantic cake order next Saturday. Wow, after thinking about all that, all I want to do now is take a nap....zzz....

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Sensing Sunday: May 08, 2011

There's a storm a comin'...

Hearing: After reading a magazine blurb, where the writer mentioned what was on her kids playlist at the moment, I have had Big Rock Candy Mountain in my head for the past two days.

Seeing: Headed over the Altamont tonight to take my brother back to the BART station for his train to San Francisco, we witnessed the most beautiful show of swirling dark storm clouds hovering over the mountain ridges. It was a sight to see.

Smelling: The Mr. just scrubbed down the counters in the kitchen. Its smells like some sort of cleaning supply, I just can't pinpoint which one.

Tasting: A lick of Dulce de Leche cupcakes I made my mum for Mother's Day...per her request of course.

Feeling: Strange, and exhausted (seems to be a theme on my Sunday posts). I had a Mother's Day heart to heart with my mum on the drive and it opened my eyes to things I am capable of and what might be in store for me in the future. Its strange to think in the terms that we talked about tonight. It wasn't a surprise though, I knew I would have to start dealing with some things that I have tried to manage through the motions of or ignored completely. I was just a little surprised that I was able to just take a deep breath and confront some reservations I have had. I still can't say what the future might hold for me but at least I feel I am moving forward again after feeling stagnant for so long.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sweet Temper Baking

(a cake fit for a princess)
I have a friend that, after much debate and personal soul searching, has decided to accept another position with another company that will give her more flexibility to spend time with her family. I am very much a firm believer that family and personal connections should come first and a career should come second. I have had money and have spent freely. I have made peanuts and have pinched pennies. When it comes down to it, you make do with what you have. When I think of my past, I remember the moments I shared with the people I loved. Not once does an eight hour shift pop into my head. I can't tell you how much money I have made and spent in my life.
I can't say that money doesn't matter at all, that would be silly for me to say. Without money The Mr. and I wouldn't have been able to spend a weekend celebrating our anniversary last year at the beach. Without money I wouldn't be able to buy my cake supplies to indulge in the hobby that I love. Which brings me back to my original story...
Today, when talking with my friend about the new adventure in front of her, we got into the discussion of where I see myself going, career wise. I told her that if given the opportunity I would go back to school, get my degree in business and open a bakery and cafe.
I have been trying to perfect sweet treats for about three years now. It all started when I took a beginning cake decorating course through the local community college and it took off from there. After spending a couple of years focused mostly on cupcakes, I have now turned my eye to tiered cakes, pies and cookies as well.
Lately it has started to take on a life all its own. I was compelled to take it to the next level.
Sweet Temper Baking was born.
Right now I am working on small batch, made to order desserts but my future goal is to turn it into more of a thriving business. I ultimately want to open a shop to include coffee service, a lunch menu AND a tea menu.
I am confident that one day soon I will pull it off and the line of making a living and doing what I love will be happily blurred.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Sensing Sunday: May 01, 2011

(crowds cheer tonight at Ground Zero)
What I am:
Hearing: When my brother and I were younger we spent hours and hours listening to my dad's records that he had left at my mom's house. We listened to Simon and Garfunkel and wore out the Bill Cosby comedy records. Our absolute favorite was Don McLean's American Pie. We committed every song to memory without fully understanding the true poetry of every lyric. We really impressed our father by being able to sing the entire version (all 8 minutes and 33 seconds of it) of American Pie. On the way to the store tonight, it came on over the oldies station in reaction to Bin Laden's death. I sang every word.

Seeing: The horrible, ignorant reactions to Bin Laden's death online. Some coming from my close friends.

Smelling: Ugh, the acidic smell of vinegar and hardboiled eggs. The Mr. is making spicy pickled eggs and just finished the marinade they will sit in for about a week. Good thing he is keeping his little project in the refrigerator outside. I want absolutely no part of it.

Tasting: A little sip of Diet Mountain Dew. I am going to try to go off soda (and coffee, and alcohol...) starting tomorrow. Wish me lots of luck, I think I might need it.

Feeling: A huge mix of exhausting emotions. I am so proud to be an American tonight and beaming with pride for our dedicated, unrelenting troops and our stoic President. While watching a shot of Ground Zero on the news, tears welled up in my eyes at the sting of the memories I felt the day the towers fell and the collective fear we had ten years ago. We stood by each other then, hand in hand and stood strong behind our President and each other that day and the months following. We let the enemy know that we would not be taken down.
I am sad and disgusted today. The immediate response by many that I consider friends has been unnerving. Statements like ' would think that the President went in and killed Bin Laden himself.' or 'We got one terrorist tonight lets work on the next one, Obama' make me sad that some of my fellow Americans chose to use their freedoms that our troops (and our President) work so hard, and sometimes give up their lives to protect. I cannot imagine that they are proud to serve for the purpose of Americans spitting such ignorant commentary.
My response to those cackling voices tonight...
'Tonight goes above political party alliances. Tonight we should all be proud to call ourselves Americans and stand undivided'

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Written by God's Fingers

"Every man's life is a fairy tale written by God's fingers"--Hans Christian Andersen
I have no idea how I am still awake, let alone able to form enough sentences to get a new post up. Then again, this being the very start of the post, I am being very optimistic that it will all make sense once I am finished and not end up looking like Charlie Sheen's 'winning' stand up act.
Let me just start by saying, leading up to the Royal Wedding I had no real intention of staying up all night to watch it. I hadn't given it too much thought in the days leading up to it. The day before something seemed to have clicked inside my head where suddenly I HAD to watch it. I can't really pin point what it was. I have a suspicious inclination that anytime there is a huge royal British event, every Brit is programmed to submit to the excitement and pageantry of said event. The more removed one is from England, the less the signal. I am only one generation removed so I am pretty sure that is why I didn't receive the full signal until the day before. By the time I had left work that evening, I was intent that I would be staying up until three in the morning to at least catch a glimpse of the dress.
I made sure to prepare with the necessary rations. I popped over to Cost Plus to pick up my favorite digestives. I did this because I knew that McVitie's would be making Prince William's groom's cake and I was hoping that by eating a couple of cookies with a cup of my Typhoo tea (with milk and sugar, of course), that I would prove my solidarity to the motherland.
As the night progressed I became more and more fevered with the 'Royal Wedding Countdown'. I watched the wedding of Charles and Diana on one station and the story of William and Kate on another. I even watched the William and Kate Lifetime movie On Demand. I watched programs on the wedding preparations and one on weddings of the Royals from the past 100 years. I was no longer only anticipating the dress, I was fully obsessed with the whole shebang!
Most stations were starting their coverage at 1:00AM PST but I found that MSNBC started their coverage at  midnight!
I tuned in and immediately noticed that American commentators sounded a bit...funny. It took me a minute to realize what it was. It seems that when an American commentator crosses the pond, spends a couple of days in London, eats their cereal with yogurt instead of milk, eats mushy peas for dinner and spends a week drinking tea instead of coffee...they want to develop a false British accent. Every statement that came out of their mouths had a little lift at the end of it. As if every statement was a question. 'And here we have a shot of Big Ben?' Do you not know what Big Ben is? Are you thinking that big clock in the middle of the city might be the Eiffel Tower instead? Is there some confusion?
Luckily the TV host I was watching seemed to settle into her normal way of speaking after a while and gave commentary on every person that walked into Westminster Abbey.
The thing I noticed immediately about the guests was that all the women were wearing wonderful, glorious hats and fastinators. It was awesome! I keep hoping that American women will adopt this trend for special occasions but alas, I fear its not meant to be for us. I can still hope though.
The Abbey was gorgeous! It was like a dream! I loved the trees that lined the aisle as if the ceremony was taking place in an English forest. The scene was made even more romantic with the chandeliers that seemed to drip from the ceiling above the trees.
As soon as the procession to the church started I knew I was sucked in for the whole run. I am a sucker for pageantry and I appreciated the down to the minute ritual of getting everyone into the church.
When I saw William and Harry walk into the church, I cried.
The last time I had stayed up late to watch a royal event took place at the same familiar venue. It was the funeral for Princess Diana and I remember the solemn young men keeping pace behind the carriage carrying their mother to the service at the Abbey. My heart broke for them that day. I was watching them again, a dozen years later and now they were grown up and celebrating a happy day at Westminster. My heart was beaming for them.
I lost my breath when I finally saw Kate.
Her dress was stunning and exactly appropriate for a Royal Wedding. As she was chauffeured up to the church, crowds lined the streets. Union Jacks waved above the sea of people and draped from posts between the trees lining the streets. Although I wasn't physically there, I had a huge sense of pride for this country because it was bouncing out of my television from the people of Great Britain that day. The wedding had restored and renewed a sense of love and patriotism for the British monarchy, and excitement for the new generation and generations to come.
Now that is a fairy tale ending!

(Or for the shorter version of this post, C'est Manifique is pretty spot on with THIS)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sensing Sunday: April 17, 2011

(San Francisco Giants: World Series 2010)
Hearing: The Mr. and I watched VH1's '40 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 90's' and, after a couple of glasses of wine, I seemed to remember every one of them with drunk girl gusto. I might have let out a few embarrassing 'Ooh this was my jam back in 1994 (pretty much through 1999)!' With this one I remember being very disturbed that whenever it came on in the car my mother would crank it up....

Seeing: Finally something other than the Giants play in Arizona for four hours today. I think I might have taken not one, but two catnaps during the game that went 12 innings with the Giants losing 6-5. With the two pitches that doubled over both a Giant and a Diamondback, I think it was more painful to play today than to watch. I can't wait until Cody Ross gets back into the game. I miss my 'baseball boyfriend' (don't worry the Mr. knows all about it)

Smelling: My shampoo and conditioner. Still in my pajamas but at least I managed a shower.

Tasting: Nothing, yet. I am hoping to test out a new cupcake recipe that I have been dreaming about all week. Dulce de Leche cupcakes...mmm....

Feeling: Like the weekend was way too short this week. I feel as if I didn't get anything accomplished. I have to remind myself that I wasn't a complete lump. I did our taxes (ugh, don't ask), took a little drive to look at some potential property (since the Mr. is letting me indulge in my daydreams this week), did some grocery shopping at Trader Joe's (I LOVE that place) and tackled some laundry. I didn't have to clean the house this weekend, the Mr. did it for me. What a swell guy!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Night at Tresetti's

Last night, Cocodoodle (along with her 'fine food obsessed' sister) and I ventured out to my absolute favorite spot in town. Tresetti's.
I have lived in the same mid sized town for the majority of my life, only twice being able to escape. Once to Southern California and once to San Francisco. I have visited pretty much every eatery and bar in town. I have seen the good, and I have seen the downright deplorable. Over and over again I find myself returning to only one.
Tresetti's has been my go-to for the past ten years. I have seen the decorative changes but the atmosphere has always been the same, a mix of the young and old all with exceptional taste; smart, dry, wit and always with a relaxed smile.
I have returned so many times that I now have an absolute favorite waitress as well. Jessica knows my order by heart. Even when I pretend that I might change it, she always calls my bluff. She helped define my signature drink for me when only at Tresetti's. She pours me half vanilla vodka and half chai liquor over ice. And the figurative cherry on top? A dash of cinnamon scattered over the top of the concoction. If I am not feeling too decadent there is always a decent Cab being poured as the house wine or I stick to my standard, a gin and tonic (which is always crafted to perfection).
I explored the menu only a little bit before I settled forever on, what I consider, the two stars of the show. The 'Brie and Roasted Garlic' appetizer and I always finish it up with the 'Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee'.  When I dive into the brie and garlic, a instinctive reaction takes over at the memory of the all the times I have had it before. When I first had the creme brulee, I had thought it too fancy and too much of a decadence to not pair it with a glass of champagne every time I ordered it. I have since spoiled myself too much and sometimes only pair it with a cup of coffee.
I love the special occasions that Tresetti's pulls all the stops for. I have taken my mother there for a special mother's day brunch (which she still talks about to this day). I have been safely seated, watching the madness of XFest, while dining on another exceptional prix fixe meal. I think their best event is almost always what they prepare for Mardi Gras.
Last night, as we were getting ready to leave, I realized another reason I love this place. The music selection over the speakers took me right back to my younger days and made me feel like I did the first time I walked into the place 10 years ago. Can't beat a night of classy cocktails, fancy dessert and Snoop Dogg.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sensing Sunday: April 3, 2011

(a little part of what I was working on today...)

Hearing: I heard this on the radio yesterday and its been running on repeat in my head ever since. It reminds me of when I was a high school freshman sporting my black body suit, plaid shorts, denim vest and dangling earrings all purchased from Clothestime. Ah memories!

Seeing: 'The Shawshank Redemption' over my shoulder on AMC. Although I love this movie, AMC this is no apology for your delay of the next season of Mad Men. Everytime I think of what you've done, only a stream of obscenities want to leave my mouth. What the $#&@ am I supposed to do until 2012?!?!

Smelling: Coffee, my lifeline.

Tasting: A ghetto s'mores. Graham cracker, Nutella and Marshmallow Fluff. On second thought, maybe just the opposite of ghetto, maybe a classy s'mores?

Feeling: Physically and creatively drained. Yesterday I tortured myself and took on three back to back classes at the gym (side note: I am in LOVE with the last one I took. I will be returning over and over again to the Burn Out class at Full Force Personal Training!) and I exhausted myself creatively today working for hours on launching Sweet Temper Baking. Full blog post on that to come soon!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Makin' Whoopie

I had begged G for the better part of the month of March for the recipe for his Key Lime Pie. I figured it would be perfect for this month's pie because it was fresh and best of all 'St. Patrick's Day' green. He attempted to give it to me over the phone this weekend but I was completely ignoring him when he was, I may have been preoccupied with nonsense internet browsing.... I missed the recipe. It being the 27th, I was running out of time. I had plans to bake at my mum's house today and then I realized that the item I was testing in the kitchen today would conveniently fit in with my need for a pie this month. This month's pie....whoopie pies! Petite whoopie pies to be exact.
For those that aren't sure what a whoopie pie is, it is more of a cake sandwich. It is typically chocolate cake with marshmallow filling. I chose to make the typical whoopie pie today and had wanted to experiment with other flavors today as well but ran out of ingredients and lost track of time.
Mum, grandma and I made sure to test them out and they were excellent. Although a whoopie pie is very much like a cupcake, I think I might have enjoyed them more because there was more cake and less frosting. Just to be sure, mum and I had one (ok, maybe two...) more and this time paired it with a cuppa (cup of tea, English style).
I think I am officially, chocolate wasted.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Date Night: Bowling and Wings

(Uh oh...doesn't look good...)
When I got home from work on Wednesday I was fully prepared to slip into my fuzzy pajamas and hunker down to watch a the latest from Redbox (tonight's selection, Due Date). I walked in the door and the Mr. had other plans.
Every Tuesday night, the Mr. and four of his friends, play in a bowling league. At first he was doing fantastic. He would come home afterwards and brag about his score and each week he seemed to be besting his score from the week prior. Lately though, it has been like pulling teeth to solicit more than a grunt from him after he bowls. His game was obviously not going all that great.
Wednesday night, he thought it would be a good idea to get some practice in and off to the bowling alley we went.
I am not particularly fond of bowling so he compromised and took me out to dinner first. For Christmas, we had been given a gift card to Buffalo Wild Wings and decided to try it out. It was the first time we had been to that restaurant and I have to wasn't the greatest of experiences. The waitress ignored us half the night, they didn't have the Boca burger I ordered (that was offered on the menu) and replaced it with a bean burger that I wasn't too fond of, and the fire alarm was pulled in the middle of our dinner by some mischievous patrons. The Mr. liked the food alright (he especially liked the hot sauce for the wings), but overall wasn't impressed either. I will give them this...they had bar trivia on the television and had these super cool interactive devices to play with. As we walked out of the restaurant  I strutted  by the big television that projected my name as the big winner that round. I was beaming. I supposed it wasn't all that bad....
After 9:00 on Wednesdays at McHenry Bowl, shoe rental is only a dollar and each game is only $1.50. The Mr. talked me into four games. It took a little bit to get warmed up (the Stella, or two, helped things along) and by the end of the second game I had mercilessly beaten my dear husband.
Read em and weep....
(ending with a score of; The Mrs., 100, The Mr., 87)
He tells me that he was only practicing certain tricks this round and wasn't trying for a big score. I hate to admit it, but I fully believe him. But shhhhh...don't you dare let him know. 
Not all that romantic (you better believe he owes me big time), but still lots of fun for a random weeknight.
Oh, and don't ruin Due Date for me...I still haven't had the chance to sit down to watch it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sensing Sunday: March 13, 2011

(Ski Day at Bear Valley Mountain
What I am:
Hearing: I am absolutely in LOVE with Adele's new album '21'. Her song 'Someone Like You' gives me chills and I have had it on repeat all week long.

Seeing: The pictures that 'Camo' took today of our ski day.

Smelling: The faintest whiff of Clean: Shower Fresh. I spritzed my hairbrush with it and ran it through my hair this morning. I like to wear perfume this way because I love to wear perfume but try not to make it overwhelming to others who are sensitive to it.

Tasting: My biggest indulgences today, Cadbury Mini Eggs and Fat Tire Amber Ale. Just not at the same time.

Feeling: Tired but not nearly as exhausted as I thought I would be. This weekend has been go go go since the moment I left work. First the nine hour marathon cake making session that produced this:
(oh yeah, I TOTALLY made this...jealous?)
Then onto the domestic duties of cleaning the house and doing the laundry. I attempted my long run at the gym  on Saturday but only made it about a third of the way through before I felt a huge wave of nausea (my body forcing me to take it down a notch I suppose). Onto today where I spent the day dominating the intermediate runs at Bear Vally Mountain. I had so much fun today and it made me realize two things. 
1. I am not nearly as exhausted or sore as I thought I would be and I attribute that directly to my training for the half marathon. 
2. I miss skiing. Before today I hadn't been in about 8 years and was fearful to make my way back to the mountain. So glad I did. I miss skiing with better skiers than myself...they always pushed me to go harder and  do better. If I go back, I am going to need that push. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011


(Japantown, San Francisco)
A couple of weeks ago, I got the wild hair to make another trip to San Francisco. The weather had been terrible in the valley and I was just itching to get away. I called my brother and as luck would have it, he had a rare Sunday off. The Mr. and I got an early start and made our way into my favorite city.
I love being a tourist in this town. I love it because every trip you can be a different type of tourist. I have loitered around the Marina with the Pup and the Mr. pretending to be one of the hoity toity. I have taken shots with a drag queen in the Castro with G by my side. I have cruised around the dilapidated buildings and taken in the reverse view of the city on Treasure Island. I have been the only female on a deep sea fishing boat and caught the biggest salmon of the day on rough waters right outside the San Francisco Bay (My proudest moment that day? Making sure that I didn't lose my breakfast burrito in front of all the guys...that and my fish of course!). The list really does go on and on and on....
This trip we trekked over to Japantown.
I had forever been wanting to make my way to Soko Hardware. I had heard fantastic stories of teapots, chopsticks, rice cookers and all things Japanese. This was the main purpose of my wanting to go to Japantown. We arrived and the very first place we stopped at was Soko Hardware...only to be completely and utterly disappointed to find out that the place is closed on Sundays. Arg! I was almost set to turn around, get in the car, and drive all the way home. I stuck it out and we made our way to the Japan Center. It was early and many of the indoor shops were still closed. I couldn't control myself when we passed by Andersen's Bakery. I was starving! The Mr. wanted to keep exploring and wasn't quite ready for breakfast yet, but lucky for me my brother is cut from the same cloth and will always stop for something sweet with me. We decided to be thrifty and agreed to split a pastry and we each had a cup of coffee. We split the cream cheese and walnut brioche and it really hit the spot. We leisurely ate our snack and did some serious people watching. Everyone was in costume, everyone was a walking anime character. No, there wasn't a parade. No, there wasn't a festival. This was just their normal Sunday garb. More power to them. Only in San Francisco will you be able to find a place where, if you want to stroll around in costume and do some casual Sunday can. As my brother and I sat, the Mr. continued to explore the shops around us. After we ate we joined him and headed to the second level. We passed a crepe counter and I wished I hadn't already had my breakfast. The Mr. decided that he wanted a crepe and ordered a savory one of ham and cheese. It looked great and the art of making the crepe was even more impressive to watch.
After we had exhausted Japantown, we decided to make our way to Chinatown.
The Mr. and I had been here on one of our last trips but as we walked through the gates I quickly realized that this trip was going to be different. We had walked right into the middle of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The streets were packed with people, vendors and a wash of bright colors. The brightest being of course red. It is the year of the rabbit and everywhere you look you can see it. It was amazing. I tried to call my dad to have him meet us there because I knew he was in town. I knew this because; number one, he told me he was going to be there with my stepmom, the nieces, and his pup Sam... and number two, he was driving right in front of us when we were making our way down Lombard to pick up my brother. What are the odds of that?? I was driving and the Mr. says 'Why is this old man driving so slow?' I took a closer look and replied 'That old man is my dad!' Small world.
I wasn't able to reach him, and after hitting up a couple of the shops (where I scored a teapot on clearance for only $1.99!), we decided that it was getting close to lunch. The Mr. had done some research and found what he thought would be the perfect place to get some oysters on the half shell. We started for the Waterbar on Embarcadero, right beneath the expanse of the Bay Bridge. Everything on the menu looked appealing and interesting. It was hard for me to settle on what I wanted. I ultimately decided on the grilled cheese with a black truffle spread and cauliflower soup. I knew I would be sampling some of the oysters that the Mr. would be ordering so I paired it with the drink special, a Moscow Mule. My brother ended up with a somewhat deconstructed cerviche and the Mr. had a spicy tuna sandwich with sweet potato crisps. Looking around the Waterbar, I had a sense of deja vu even though I had never been there before. Then it dawned on me why the place seemed so was featured on the Real Housewives of Orange County when the housewives took a 'girl's trip' to San Francisco. It is the one where they had one of their many explosive arguments. Luckily the joint was way classier than it appeared on TV. Our last stop was the Ferry Building where I was able to make sure to get my obligatory macaron from Miette (ok, ok, my obligatory handful of macarons).
At this point we were all tired and getting a little cranky. We hopped on Muni to make it easier on us to get to the car. We dropped my brother off at his apartment in the woods and the Mr. and I were on our way home.
Another fantastic trip to my favorite city by the bay.
(Andersen's Bakery)


The Waterbar
...this was the last of the picture that day because, of cousre, this is the point where the battery died. 
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