Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Calistoga, Hot Springs, Girl Time.

Have I ever told you that I am just grateful to work with some of the best people? I love my coworkers, aka work besties. They make going to work not to dreadful and most of all, fun and that's a good thing!

 A few weeks ago, we took a mini trip to Calistoga, CA for some rest and relaxation. I can't believe I worked the night before and I was running on zero sleep the entire day but yet, I was wide awake because I couldn't just let the day slip by me. 

On our way to Calistoga, we stopped at a winery named, V. Sattui. I've always heard good things about this winery. It always seems to be hopping and bursting with tons of people on pretty sunshine days. But, it was just never on our list of wineries to go to. Finally, I get a chance to sample some of their wine and nom on some of their yummy food and cheeses. 

We shared a bottle of Gamay Rouge which was one of my work bestie's favorite. I thought it was okay. Tasted more like a wine cooler to me and probably would be great on a hot summer day.  

Once our tummy's were full of deliciousness, we headed on up to Calistoga. Calistoga reminded me of the Lake Tahoe mountains. There were so many trees surrounding the cute little city plus the downtown reminded me of an old western town that you forget where you are for a quick moment. 

There were tons of cute little boutique shops, wine shops, and oh,  an antique shop that I just had to duck into. Unfortunately, I left with nothing in my hand but it was fun perusing the sweet goods. 

 We stayed a night at the Calistoga Spa Hot Springs. It's not a fancy schmancy place, despite the cool name, but it's a good place if you want to take advantage of their several warm mineral pools, massages at a reasonable price.  

We plan on making this an annual trip in November and I can't wait until next year to return! Yay for work besties and relaxation! 


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tis' The Season....

Usually, I"m a traditionalist and wait to decorate the house and start Christmas shopping until after Thanksgiving. But the other day, I got the itch to decorate the house. 

Can I just express to you how excited I am to have a mantel this Christmas season? Last year, I was bummed that we couldn't hang up our stockings. It looked pretty ridiculous with the white 3M rubber hangers.  

I decided to go with a multicolor assortment of ornaments this year as opposed to the last two years where it's been a gold-bronze color. I am kinda diggin' the multicolor theme, I must say. It makes me smile. 

I got to use some of the ornaments that I purchased during the post Christmas sales last year. Like these bird cage ornaments.  Cute, yes?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Two Years Old Already.

This past Wednesday, our dear Maddie turned a whopping 2 years old. That puts her a full fledged teenager in dog years. Waaah. Where is all the time going? She's growing so fast. 

It seems just yesterday, she was this small.   Can you believe she actually fit in that weight scale?

In the morning, I quickly made a little birthday cone hat for her and with some stern talking, she managed to stay still and let me snap a photo of her, which pretty much explains the pissed look on her face. 

She went for a morning walk, had some extra treats, dined on some gourmet dog food and had some organic frozen yogurt for dessert. What a life, this dog has! She sure deserves it because she's a wonderful dog. Love her! Happy Birthday Sweet Maddie! I hope you enjoyed your day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mainland Hawaiian Restaurants not so Hawaiian?

A few days ago, I was craving Hawaiian food badly. I could literally taste the mayonaissey macaroni salad in my mouth. 

So, I up and ordered a mini meal at our local Hawaiian restaurant. It came with three pretty descent sized boneless bbq teriyaki chicken breasts, one scoop of macaroni salad and one scoop of white steamed rice. It was more than enough to fill one's need. I can't imagine ordering a full sized meal as it is double the size!

The food itself was your average tasting mainland Hawaiian food. What got me is that I noticed that it was Chinese people cooking our " authentic Hawaiian food" which makes me wonder do Chinese people also own this Hawaiian food establishment? Regardless if they own it or not, it totally took away the feel of the place. Made me not want to order from this place again because, well, frankly, they ain't Hawaiian. Am I wrong for thinking this way? 

I mean, I know that there are plenty of Korean places that are owned and cooked by Japanese people and visa versa and I really don't have a problem with that, oddly enough. Then there is Panda Express who have Hispanic workers making the Chinese food. 

Last night, we made homemade loco moco's. Totally worth to make this dish at home. Moreso because you can control what goes in the dish. I sometimes make it a bit healthy by using ground turkey meat and brown rice. But last night, I went all out and used ground beef. Oh how it tasted much better! 

My question is, do any of you feel slightly cheated when you go into a certain ethnic restaurant and come to find out its not that ethnicity creating the food for you? 


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pottery Barn Inspiration

I received the Pottery Barn, " Give Thanks" catalogue today and found so much inspiration to decorate the house for the holidays.  Let's take a look, shall we?

These are so adorable and not to mention, easy peasy! All you have to do is gather a bunch of dried Indian corn and wrap it all together using raffia. Voila, you have an instant centerpiece to your dining table! 

If you get a fresh tree each year or a fresh wreath and trim it, you can use those trimmings to fill a clear glass vase and a candle in the middle of it.

Manzanita Branches
I've always loved the look of manzanita branches. Always. They just scream nature chic. So, why not use them to make them Christmas chic. Hang a bunch of ornaments on the stems and placing them in flower pot. 

Clear Bottles.
Turn those clear bottles into instant candle holders. Wouldn't these look darling over a mantel, a console table, or heck, even a dining table centerpiece lined along the middle? Romantic holiday
, yes?

An Aphrodisiac Weekend.

A couple of weekends ago, I planned a trip for my family and some friends to Tomales Bay Oyster Farm. I love oysters. I can eat them raw or bbq'd and love to have them with some spicy vinegar, or a squeeze of lemon, or some dashes of hot sauces. 

The day started bright and early for me and the hubs. The farm is a first come first serve basis for the tables. So, we wanted to ensure a a good spot for our party. We arrived at the farm at 8:00 am which is right when they open and we were seriously the first people to arrive to snag a table. There were some people that dropped by to pick up a bag or two of oysters, but that was it!

We knew that it was going to be a long 2 hours as our family wasn't going to arrive until 10-11am'ish and plus we had no cell phone connection.  Can I say bonding time?

From the looks of it, we figured out the best time to arrive at the farm in order to get a pretty good table is around 10:00 am which is just like many people said on Yelp. 

Going to the farm is somewhat similar to camping. You literally have to bring everything ranging from table cloths, utensils, cutting boards, towels,  charcoal, liter fluid, matches, cups, plates, drinks. The list goes on and on.  The farm does sell the absolute necessary items but they charge an arm and a leg because they can.

Finally, what seemed like days, our family and friends arrive and the fog finally burned off. Yay! Be warned, the trip up to the farm is a very windy road as alot of my cousins and friends got motion sickness. One had to even pull over and throw up! 

We get to  finally eat our oysters! They sell oysters ranging in sizes from extra small to large. We opted for a bag of 50 smalls ($40.00) and a bag of 50 mediums ($48.00). I personally thought the smalls were a perfect size for oysters. I really don't like it when the oysters are insanely huge. 

 It's good to have pretty good shuckers! We couldn't believe how expensive they were though. They can range in price from $9 to $12! Unfortunately,we found the more expensive ones to be way better. Ofcourse, right?

 Dogs are allowed so long as they are on a leash. Naturally, we brought Maddie and my other family members brought their dogs too. All together we had 6 dogs at our camp. We sure looked like a dog pound there.

 The day although long was a fun filled day spent with close family and friends. We all agreed to make this event a yearly event. Let's hope we can start this tradition. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Oh, Ludobites. You excite me!

Ever since I read about Ludobites 3.0, 4.0,  and 5.0 Weezermonkey's blog, I just had to have a reservation on the next adventure of Ludobites. Luckily, I entered my email address to subscribe on his upcoming events because Ludobites 6.0 is in a couple of weeks!

Obtaining a reservation was no easy feat, especially online. I'm not sure what is worse. Trying to call them and get a busy signal or trying to upload a page very slowly online. It was pure torture.  Unfortunately, I had no luck obtaining a reservation. I came pretty close, but my connection ended up being timed out. However, the husband was lucky enough to snag not one, but three reservations online. I swear, the man has the biggest luck when it comes to getting things online. He was able to snag my iPhone 4 in June online using his Dell computer while standing next to me as I was trying to get it on my Apple computer. Something is wrong with that pictures, yes?

We got one for October 22nd and will probably give it a fellow foodie friend. We also got two reservations on October 29th for 6:15pm and another one at 6:30pm. We plan on inviting 4 other friends to enjoy the delightfulness we are going to prey upon. I should mention that they will be offering a communal table for "walk ins" that seats a total of 12. So, if you weren't able to snag a reservation, you can always come way early and try and get a seat on the big table.

I'm so looking forward for this delight. Honestly, I wasn't a fan of his food on Top Chef Masters nor was I a fan of his personality. But, something about his food and his inventiveness surrounding it intrigued me while reading about his infamous Ludobites. My palette cannot wait!gt



Did I scare you? It's been a long time since I've been in here... so I'm not surprised that I did scare you. Been hiding :) 

Halloween is in full swing at our house. I'm not one for Halloween, but I sure love the decorations. Recently, I spruced up our living room with just a couple of items purchased from the dollar bin at Target. 

I snagged these adorable ghost candy dishes for $2.50.  Halloween is a time when I wished I had a desk at work so that I can display these cute little things and let everyone help themselves to some candy. Isn't he a cutie?

They also have a candy corn shaped dish and a pumpkin one too! 

I also got these pumpkins made out of twig material that is a bit messy. Everytime you pick them up, they leave a little bit of twigs behind. Hopefully. they'll last a long time. At $2.50 a piece, I don't care though. 

Oh, and Maddie. Sweet Maddie. I picked up a costume for her. The hubs wasn't too keen on it, but to each his own. She's going to be a ladybug. 

She doesn't look too pleased to be in this getup, yes? 


Her face says it all! It's only once a year Maddie. So, don't worry. :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weekend Shenenigans

I live for the weekends. I think part of it has to do with me working every 3rd weekend of the month and usually when its my weekend on at work, something exceptionally fun is going on and I can't participate in the festivities. Boo. 

This past weekend, it was bitter sweet. 

Celebrated my BFF's 36th birthday by having a decadent soul food lunch at Sandra Dee's BBQ and then later on trekking down to Berkeley to just literally "hang." 

It's a good thing that we changed to jeans and a sweater because it was freakin' cold in Berkeley. The weather forecasters are not joking that the bay area is not receiving a good summer this year. It looks and feels like winter. What? 

 We perused one of our favorite stores, Anthropologie while we were down in Berkeley. Love, Love, their clothes, accessories, and shoes there. Why do they have to be so darn expensive?!? I'm waiting for these sunglasses to go on sale. Yeah, I know, they are only $24.00, but I refuse to pay full price at this store. 

In the evening, we dined at Cafe Rouge and noshed on Hog Island Sweetwater Oysters and minty mojito's. 

Love me some oysters. I'm hoping to make a trip to the Hog Island Oyster farm soon and bbq them there.

The Bitter {sweet}.
The next day, the family and I headed down to SF to visit my lovely grandma that passed away three years ago. It still feels like yesterday when we lost her and the pain is still there of missing her.  I'm so glad that she stayed with my mom the last three years of her life. Its because of that, I was able to grow even more close to her and spend good quality time with her. I miss you grandma and always will.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Summer Concerts.

Last month, I had the giddy excitement to attend the Rihanna + Ke$ha concert. When I accepted the invitation from a friend to go, I soley accepted it on the likes of Ke$ha. I'm a so-so fan when it comes to Rihanna. I blame the radio for overkilling her songs. Can I say, " ella, ella, ella, eh?" 

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, on the night of the concert, my feelings were the exact opposite. Ke$ha sucked. She sang songs that I hardly recognized. Dinosaurs? What? Oh, but Rihanna, she rocked it. I didn't realize how many hit songs she had and was happily dancing in the aisles with my friends to all of her ballads. 

Before the concert, we noshed at one of my favorite happy hour restaurants in midtown, Lucca's. I couldn't pass up their cucumber mojito. It screamed summer, hanging with your girls, and refreshing all in one!

Then, we noshed on prawn pasta in lobster sauces, grilled artichokes and fresh soup and giggled the night away. Our server was so kind as he made sure that we got out of the restaurant in time to make it to the concert with reasonable time. 

 I love these girls. They are my besties at work and always have a great time when out. No drama. That's how I roll. That's how we roll. 

Rihanna wore the most obscure outfits. Looks like she favored bodysuits, or what I like to call them, "onesies."
After the concert, all of us were on a Rihanna hight. Like, literally. We came out singing all of her songs and even listened on the way home her new song with Eminem. 

                                                                          It was a great night.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Coastal Camping

I've never really been a fan of camping up until this past weekend. I'm a newly reconverted camping fan! In the past, camping to me was dreadful. Dirty all the freakin' time, dry hot weather,  dreaded taking a shower in the less than clean showers, bugs, bees, bears, etc. But, I think I've found a solution to my camping dilemma and that is, find a campsite that is near nice places such as Pismo Beach. 

Pismo Beach was my saving grace. We were able to hang out in cool, breezy weather, and then return to our campsite in the evening hours where it was finally in decent weather temperatures and lounge for the remainder of the night. It was the perfect combination! 

This past weekend, we drove down to the Central Coast and camped out at one of the KOA campgrounds in Santa Margarita. I have to give much props to KOA as they were exceptionally good at making sure the bathrooms and campgrounds were clean. Heck, even their porta potty was clean. Well, that's what I heard from my fellow family members. I didn't have the heart or the courage to go into the porta potty. My rule, go in a porta potty unless its absolutely necessary. 

This time around, the weather was perfect to set up our tents. Last year, it was so windy making it difficult to even hold down the tents to stake them. Below is our humble abode for 4 days/night. Inside, we had cots that took up majority of the room inside and made me a wee bit clausterphobic. I thought I was going to have a panic attack. 

The next day, Friday,  we all decided to head to Pismo Beach. I was very excited because I've never been to Pismo Beach. The weather, at first, was foggy and cold, but the sun began to come out mid afternoon making it perfect to walk around and explore the little beach town. 

We encountered the infamous Splash Cafe that my lovely Facebook friends kept telling me to check out. The line was super long, but fortunately, it went by fast! We ordered a bowl of their award winning clam chowder, with seafood topping and a loaf of sourdough bread. (Thank you V for giving me this tip!). It was very, very, delicious and needless to say, worth every minute of the wait. 

Noshed on a seafood platter combo which was next door to Splash cafe at a place called Brad's Restaurant.  that consisted of clam strips, shrimp, halibut, and calimari and oh, some good ole' chips! It was oh-so delish!

Then on Saturday, we headed over to Grover Beach. This was my favorite part of the trip! We were able to drive onto the beach and have a little tailgating beach party all day long.

Dogs are allowed on the beach, so long as they are leashed. Fine by me. Maddie is a rebel when it comes to being off leash on the beach. The last time we off leashed her, she went ballistic. She started chasing a bird and kept going farther and farther into the ocean. We seriously thought we were going to lose her because she wouldn't respond to our voice commands. 

I can't wait for next year to camp again! It truly was a enjoyable weekend! I heart summer days.....

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's July Already and Summer Curls.

I swear, with each year, time just seems to go by faster and faster. Remember when we were in highschool and we just couldn't wait for the time to go by fast? I know that I just couldn't wait to get to the age of 16, then to 18, then to 21. Now, I'm hoping for the reverse. 

A week ago, I decided to jump on it and get a Japanese Digital Perm. I made the appointment a month or two in advance at Star East Hair & Beauty Salon in SF. To sum up my emotions that day, I was really nervous because well, it's a freakin' perm. The last time I had a perm, err, a spiral perm, was back in 1990 and I absolutely hated it even though every single girl around me had one. I vowed since then to not ever get a freakin' perm ever again. See exhibit A below. I know, right? What the hell was I freakin' thinking????

I picked this particular salon solely on the well received reviews it had on Yelp, coupled with the fact that it seemed a bit more reasonable in price. The digital perms can go as high as $300+. 

So armed with a good book, snacks and water, I came into the salon fully prepared to endure the 4 hour time frame it will take to get my "perm." Oh, but it's a digital perm. That's what I kept telling myself to keep sane. 

I cam in at 10:30am and my hair was literally done within 4 hours, 2:30pm. Here are the initial results. I had to ofcourse, fix my bangs myself because he had all of my bangs going to one side that didn't really compliment my face structure. Oh, and we both agreed to not curl my bangs as well. Great idea, that was!

The next morning, after a big ole' water spray, some curling cream product and anti frizz spray, and some twirling with the fingers, it came out like this. 

It's been a week so far and I'm loving it more and more. I have to be completely honest with you. It really took me awhile to get used to it since I had straight hair for more than 15 years. The curls are relaxing more and getting more relaxed which is making them appear bigger. Would I do it again? Perhaps. I only say this because it takes a butt load of time to have it done. But, it is very low maintenance. No blow drying required! Just put in product, twirl and let it air dry. Sure, at first, you feel like a wet dog after getting out of the shower, but once it dries up, you are good as new!