Sunday, June 29, 2008

30 Birthday Get Away (Getaway)

I am turning 30 in four days. That is to say, I will be in my twenties for about 90 hours. Any way you slice it, I am actually doing okay with it. I have a lot to be thankful for - I have come a long way in these last 30 years. I have a great boyfriend, an awesome cat, a beautiful home, and great family and friends. Getting older has brought me more confidence and a better sense of myself. True, I do have a few more crows feet and gray hairs than I had last year, but even so. I am all about aging with grace.
So, to celebrate in style, my boyfriend Tim is taking me to
Solvang to ring in the big 3-0. We are staying at the Wine Valley Inn, which is a beautiful,
relaxing place to take a break from everyday life.
We are staying in a cottage at the Inn, which has its own private garden and jacuzzi. Aren't they just darling?
And the best part is that it is within walking distance from this little wine tasting room that we discovered during our last visit to Solvang. It is featured in the Sideways wine tasting tour, but it is not overly crowded or over run with tourists. It is a quiet place where you can pull up a chair and taste some of California's best wines...
Their red wine sampler option is our favorite...married with a cheese and fruit platter, of course.

I can hardly wait to drink a toast to my twenties - a decade filled with so many life changes! Here is to a great year ahead...

I heart Easels

My sister laughed at me the other day while we were shopping because I got so excited over some cream colored easels I found during a homegoods trip last week. She asked me what I was going to do with them and I said "The question is more of what WONT I do with them." So, this is for her, my $2.99 easel put to use in my kitchen with an homage to my place of work, Williams-Sonoma.
And you can even see my little Staub dutch oven peeking through, which Tim's nephew called "The Heaviest Pot he has ever felt." Isn't it a gem?

In Full Bloom

My trellis roses are in full bloom and the entry way to my house couldn't smell lovelier.
It seems everything is coming up roses here in Dove Canyon. We had a lovely weekend - it was our nephew Drew's 3rd Birthday and the Jacobs' threw a very fun party in the RSM park. There was a bounce house for the kids and plenty of great food to keep the adults happy. Erin made blueberry cheesecake bars (recipe on and they were simply divine. So good, even I on my strict diet had to break down and have a little taste. Today was so restful - complete with a morning of sleeping in, an afternoon at the spa, and now, my evening walk.
Hope things are rosy in your neck of the woods too, friends.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Decisions, Decisions...

I haven't had a dog since I was about 10. My mother always much preferred companions of the feline variety, opting out of the upkeep that comes with man's best friend. Ironically enough, Tim's mom feels the same way - so you put that together and have two people who really want to have a puppy to dote on.
Tim and I have been thinking about adding a dog to the family for a few months now, but weren't planning on getting serious about it for a few months. BUT, my friend Martha has a pure bred 13 week old maltese puppy that she is trying to find a good and loving home for.
We are weighing the pros and cons and making sure we have the time and patience to welcome a new "baby" into our home.
Do any of you have advice or experience with Maltese dogs? I would love to hear from you.

We'll always have Paris...

I found this great black and white print which I framed
and put out on my counter in my kitchen.
Isn't it lovely?
Oh to just be there sitting at a little bistro table waiting for my bread, cheese, and wine.

There was so much to do...

But somehow it all got done...
These are the favors - I think they turned out very cute, don't you?

Here is Ryan's present in all of its creamy glory -

Happy Saturday evening to you, friends.

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Easy" Entertaining?

Okay, so my friends and I are food snobs. My dear friend Jonathan definately has had a hand in making me a tough customer with both food and presentation. So, when I told him I was planning on doing pre-bottled Sangria mix at the baptism party on Sunday, he had a real problem with that. He had an even bigger problem with serving it in a big plastic punch bowl.

So, one glass jar, a few bags from Trader Joes, and a trip to later, we have this:

Martha Stewart's Classic Summer Sangria

oranges: 2 juiced, 2 halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brandy
1 bottle dry red wine, chilled
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 cups seltzer or club soda
Chilled ice cubes, for serving
In a large pitcher, combine orange juice, sugar, and brandy; stir well to dissolve sugar. Add wine, orange slices, lemon slices, and seltzer; stir to combine. Fill glasses with ice before serving. Serves 8.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Jesus loves the little children...

Look at this face...
We all know how hard it is to get a 2 month old to pose and put on a happy face for photos, but Baby Ryan came through! I think this shot will be the perfect pose for my baptism frame favors that I am putting together for Sunday's big day.
I just ordered the prints and had to share his sweet face with all of you.
Doesn't it look like he is saying his little prayers?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Motivation and Inspiration

I have been so motivated to exercize this week! I have gone on walks five days this week - I can hardly believe it. Where, you might ask, am I finding this motivation?
I found a little bit here... And here...
And a little bit here...

And right here...
I know, I am so spoiled to have this "little trail" also known as Dove Canyon Golf Course to walk on in the evening.

And I couldn't help but think, this would be the most amazing place for a little fall wedding. I can almost picture the pumpkins and fall leaves, can't you?

A girl can dream while she walks, can't she?

Foodie Finds

If you haven't tried one of Sara Foster's recipes, I have to recommend that you
run, don't walk, on over to her website
and hunt down a treasured recipe for your next meal.
I recommend this one - perfect for that afternoon bbq.
Farfalle with Chicken, Tomatoes, Carmelized Onions & Goat Cheese
From the Amazing Sara Foster 2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
8 ounces farfalle
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup low-salt chicken broth
6 heirloom tomatoes, cored, chopped (about 5 cups)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken (from 1/2 rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup thinly sliced basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram
3 cups baby spinach
3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese, crumbled
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium high heat. Add onions; sprinkle with salt and cook until beginning to brown, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in vinegar and sugar; cook until onions are browned, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Transfer caramelized onions to bowl; reserve skillet.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.
Add wine to reserved skillet. Boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, 3 minutes. Add pasta, onions, broth, and next 4 ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. Stir over medium heat to warm through, about 3 minutes.
Divide spinach among plates. Spoon pasta over spinach. Top with crumbled goat cheese.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Father's Day

I have the best dad.
He is the master of giving us all second chances when we mess up.
He loves sweets and desserts way more than any adult should (Wonder where I got that from?)
He is a safety net we know we can rely on when we fall.
He taught me about hard work and even though I wished he had been home more, I respect now the sacrifices he made so that we could have the nicest things.
He bought me the brightest red race car I could have had when I turned sixteen (because I think he secretly wanted it for himself.)

Dad, you give so much and ask for so little.
I hope you know how much I love you and look up to you.
Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bit by bit...

We are starting to make our house a home. We are trying to knock off a project or a purchase each month so that we can feel accomplished as home owners. Also, we are planning on doing a housewarming party in the next month or so, and need some major seating to accommodate guests. This was our May purchase (partially thanks to my parents' contribution.) I think it is just the perfect fit for the space, don't you? The website I ordered it from is and I love it because it is completely free shipping! Awesomely packaged and best of all, really great quality. Here is Milo, testing out the quality craftsmanship. She has officially claimed this table as her own. In fact, she looks downright disturbed when other people sit there.
"Thanks for the table, mom"
"Anytime, Milo, Anytime."

This chair was my June purchase - a complete impulse purchase, I have to say. I found it and just knew it would be perfect in this little nook in the family room. What I didn't think about was how I would get it home (Tim was conveniently out of town!). You should have seen me cramming this poor thing into my car. Don't you think it was worth it?
My mantle also got a little sprucing.

All in a week's work...

Keeping up with the Jones'

Okay, I gave in, and got one of these... ...the highly coveted Dove Canyon liscence plate frame.
Oh and my neighbor just bought my same model of lexus for her 16 year old daughter!
We are definately not in Kansas anymore, Toto.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Godmother in Training

Tim and I went to Godparent class tonight at St. Killian's in preparation for Baby Ryan's baptism on June 22nd. I never had godparents and have never been a godmother, so I wasn't really sure what to expect from the process. It is a really big honor and a role I am excited to play in Ryan's life. Tonight at the class, the deacon encouraged us all to write a letter to our godchild to present to them at the baptism. I can't wait to do that and maybe I will share it when I am done. What I feel for him, and all of my nephews, is a sense of honor to share in their journey in life. I want to be a friend to them all, that person who sneaks them an extra cookie when their moms aren't watching. But even more than that, I want to be a person they can trust and look up to.
Here is a small print that I ordered as one of Ryan's presents. I thought it was fitting because the Lord's Prayer is something my mom and I said every night when I was little. Ryan's room also has a farmish theme, so these sheep will fit right in. Cute huh?
This and many other paper treasures can be found at Saratam's Shop at

Good OLD Days

I have a confession to make...I love Kenny Chesney. I've been a fan of Kenny for years and own every single CD he has ever put out. Two years ago, my best friend (at the time) Tonya and some other friends saw him perform live in Cleveland, Ohio during a work conference. It was such an awesome night with so many fabulous memories.
So, when Tim's friend Kevin got tickets through his company (Corona) for the show, you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that we were invited!
So last Wednesday, Tim and I joined Kevin and their friend Marino in LA for the big show. It was so much fun from start to finish! We got to join Kevin at the VIP pre-party hosted by Corona. The food was amazing, and of course, there was no shortage of drinks. The show was everything I had hoped it would be - a lot of great old songs that reminded me of so many good times and the people I shared them with. It made me miss my friend Tonya and realize how much has changed in two years. Kenny sang the song "Please come to Boston" which was my song with Sam, my very first real boyfriend. And his classics "Young" and "Back where I come from" - two of my very favorites. We all have songs that take us back to moments in our lives and for me, these are those songs.
After the show, Kevin took us to "The Standard" for an after party on their rooftop bar. This place has (by far) the most incredible view of the city I've ever seen. It was fun to see the elegant and sophisticated side of Los Angeles. I have to say though, I am either too old or too grounded for the party scene. Tim was yawning a lot and his friend and I were chatting away about the eighties sitcom "It's a Living" that was filmed at the Bonaventure Hotel. If there ever was a moment when you realize you are past your prime, this may have been it.
Oh thirty, you are looming, aren't you?!
Hope you are all having a good week so far!