Tag Archives: friends

Birthday Weekend & Holiday Decorating

9 Dec

We had gone through a rough holiday season last year in the middle of a double move, lost our cat Riley, had to miss out on holiday celebrations due to illnesses, etc. So with this being our first holiday season in our new home I wanted to make sure it’s full of fun, celebration, and lots of happiness.

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday in my typical style- casual and lots of good food! I went to brunch with my girlfriends, dinner at Paul Martin’s with my hubby and Madeline and then had lunch with my family the next day complete with mini cupcakes from A Sweet Design.

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After going back and forth about whether to get a real Christmas tree or to get a ‘reusable’ tree we decided to go with the natural option this year and I can say that it just smells so nice! With the Arctic front that is chilling the western states right now, it definitely felt like Christmas when we went to the tree lot- it was freezing!
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If you have read any of my posts, you will know that I love Pinterest and I use it to get great recipes I would have not otherwise seen and craft ideas, etc. I generally don’t do gifts friends for the holidays but I wanted to make a little something for my girlfriends so when I saw these two ideas I thought- that’s perfect! I love most things that are white a gold, so when I saw this idea to design a mug for my coffee and tea loving girlfriends I had to make it: Tidy Mom’s hand painted holiday mugs. And then I saw what turned out to me SO amazing, decadent and just plain easy- Peppermint Oreo Truffles! I had a couple snaffues with the white chocolate- it did not cooperate, so I did half in white chocolate and half in semi sweet chocolate, which ended up looking nice anyway. I love polka dots too, so I made the mugs with gold polka dots and wrote one of the pet names I call everyone “lovey”. I popped a couple of these in each bag and put them in the decorated cappuccino cups.
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I had so much fun making these gifts and was happy to have a couple left over to snack on (and so was my hubby). I am still working on decorating our little tree and will post on that soon! I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday season so far!

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Sunny Spot Birthday Fun

5 Dec

We recently had the opportunity to celebrate our good friend, Jeff’s birthday. We don’t usually ‘go over the hill’ to trendy places unless it’s to celebrate with friends and this trip did not disappoint. The location for the dinner was Sunny Spot in Venice near Abbott Kinney, a trendy hole in the wall type place with amazing Caribbean food and crafted cocktails.

Since we are not regulars in the Santa Monica/Venice area and construction on the wretched 405 causes such unpredictable traffic we left pretty early and ended up getting to enjoy a drink at the bar before the rest of the party arrived. On the recommendation of our talented bar tender, my hubby got a Rittinghouse Rye Whiskey and I held to my normal standard (when champagne is not appropriate) a salted rim margarita on the rocks. I must say that it was one of the best tasting I have had in a good while. We realized that we had been to this particular location back when it was a bar called Beachwood, which was a cool place, but Sunny Spot proved to be better in my opinion.

This was a great location for the birthday dinner since it’s casual, fits large groups of people, and has awesome food. We had mofongo (a dish made with plantains, bacon, fennel, garlic, Red Stripe, rum, herbs, and ginger oil), calamari, a delicious steak sandwich with avocado mash, jalapeno vinaigrette,  pickled red onions on ciabatta, and yucca fries – which were totally delicious! We ended the night with an amazing birthday cake that Jeff’s girlfriend, Katrina brought from the King’s Hawaiian Restaurant (I know, I only thought they made rolls!) which was lighter than air chocolate chiffon – probably one of the best cakes I have had lately. It was a great night out with lots of fun people and I am glad we were able to come out to celebrate Jeff’s birthday!

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Sunday Roast

19 Sep

We were lucky enough recently to have all of our schedules align so that we could have our good friends over for dinner this past weekend. I wanted to make sure to make something delicious and really special for dinner.
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I spent a better part of an afternoon figuring out what the perfect Sunday dinner would be for our guests. I settled on a recipe which I found on multiple blogs and every single one had nothing but rants and raves about how amazing Crock Pot Balsamic Pot Roast was. Now I am not one who typically uses my crock pot because I have this strange mistrust of it, like I have to watch it constantly to make sure that it’s not going to like burst into flames which I am constantly laughed at over. I know so many people who are in love with their slow cookers and use them all the time. I got mine 3 years ago and have only used it twice. Since I have been meaning to give it another try and have faith that it will not burn my house down if I leave the house while it’s on (I am someone who unplugs unnecessary things and turns everything switch off any time I am leaving the house) I thought this would be a great opportunity. I downloaded the recipe from My Chic Life With Rachel Hollis.

Balsamic Pot Roast

Ingredients:
4-5 lb chuck roast
2 cups beef broth/stock
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cloves crushed garlic
zest of 1/2 orange

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Directions:
Place meat in slow cooker, combine all other ingredients in a medium bowl and pour over meat. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
*I omitted red potatoes like the recipes call for since all recipes also listed that they served theirs with mashed potatoes so I did as well.
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While the pot roast was cooking away I had plenty of time to work on the other elements of my dinner: Roasted Carrots, Pioneer Woman’s Mashed Potatoes, and Rosemary Rolls.
The Pioneer Woman just knows her stuff- I have tried SO many of her recipes and not one has ever turned out less than perfection! Find her recipe here: Mashed Potatoes.

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I peeled and cut up my carrots, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and placed them in a preheated 400 degree oven until tender- approximately 25 minutes.
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I made rosemary rolls out of fresh pizza dough (Trader Joes is the best) cut into fourths, sprinkled rosemary and kneaded, then I spread olive oil and crushed garlic on the top and baked in my 400 degree oven for approximately 15 minutes.
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The finished product was delicious and I couldn’t have been happier with the results. I’m working on my trust issues with my crock pot, but if it can produce a main dish like this- it must be doing something right!
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The Bestie’s Gettin’ Hitched

5 Jul

My best friend from college got married last weekend in beautiful Palo Alto, CA. I was so excited to be apart of her big day especially since I was unable to make it to her shower and bachelorette. I wanted to bring her something to help her out for the day of the wedding. As you may know about me, I am obsessed with Pinterest and had seen this great ‘bridal survival kit’ and knew it was the perfect thing to bring. I could remember when I was getting married, I was so nervous about every little thing that could go wrong so I knew that even if she didn’t actually need one thing it would calm her nerves just to have them there.

Here’s some of the items I put in the bride’s survival kit:
Chapstick, headache medicine, stain remover, static cling spray, travel tissues, mouth wash, wisps (travel waterless toothbrushes), lotions, nail file, lint brush, bobby pins, mini champagne & straws (I brought some for all the bridesmaids).

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The bride and bridesmaids ended up using almost all the items in the survival kit. I was so glad that I was able to help to alleviate some stress for the bride. And since everything was travel sized she was able to take them with her on her honeymoon.

Manifesto on friendship

3 May

I am sure I have mentioned my pinterest obsession on here at least a couple times, I love all the interesting things you find on there. I never would have found any of the cooking and DIY blogs I now frequent if it weren’t for pinterest. Of course pinterest can be a total time suck as it catches your attention for hours and sometimes it causes me to become very hungry as I see all these amazing recipes. As some of you may know you have boards that you post your ‘pins’ to and they are organized by categories so I have some (quite a few) board for food (desserts, breakfast, soup, thanksgiving recipes, vegetarian, etc) as well as house related, family related, fashion related etc. boards. There are also secret boards for things you don’t want everyone to be able to see (since all other boards are public), so I have a secret board with my girlfriends called “for the ladies” and we post hilarious things, inappropriate things, in-side jokes, wedding ideas for those who aren’t engaged, baby things for those who aren’t even trying, truisms about being a girlfriend/wife, but most of all pins about being friends. While pinning away yesterday with new pins about being girlfriends I started thinking about friendships that have been fostered and grown and those which have withered away or been suddenly ended. I started thinking about the ones which I decided it was over and ones where I was not afforded the chance to make a decision. Sometimes you don’t know that it’s coming and sometimes we see it coming from a mile away but aren’t ready to let go.

In my teenage years and earlier twenties I tended to be a person who would make friends fast and easily but didn’t do a fabulous job at screening the people I was bringing into my life. This has lead to some heartache over the years when I have become close with toxic people or maybe just relationships with perfectly normal people that for one reason or another expired. Sometimes situations change, sometimes people change, and sometimes it was bad to begin with but we just didn’t know it. I think that everyone can relate to having been involved with relationships that were one sided- we care more or they do, ones where we were/are being used for what someone else could get from us, negative friendships where we feel bad every time we come into contact with them. What I know now is that it’s important to select the people in my life carefully and holistically, and most importantly to define my expectations in a friendship. In knowing what I can and cannot accept in relation to the behavior of those around me, I know where to draw the line. I have realized that although the relationships we have with those we surround ourselves with are extremely vital the relationship we create with ourselves is even more important. Recognizing our self worth is paramount when considering the level of behavior and treatment we will accept. Treating ourselves right by eliminating negative forces in our lives is very important and advocating for the way we want to be treated is another way to treat ourselves well.

I also learned that it’s important to periodically ‘spring clean’ my life, meaning that I examine the relationships in my life and determine if they are healthy, need some TLC, need resolution over unresolved issues, or it’s time to call it quits. I am not someone who is a pack-rat by any means but I have been known to be someone who could be considered ‘a hanger-on’ when it comes to withering relationships. I may have known that this friendship wasn’t working for me, it wasn’t healthy and it was simply draining but I used to have a difficult time walking away from it, usually out of nostalgia  but that doesn’t mean that I should stay for that reason alone. I know now that I should avoid in friendships with: those who have ulterior motives, those who don’t believe in you, those who don’t raise you up, those who make you feel bad about yourself, and those who don’t value you. I realized that it is more important to me at this stage of my life to have a small amount of good very close friends than to have many mediocre friends. Those are the relationships which I will lend my time and foster their development and those are the ones that I cherish.

It would have been lovely to have known these things when I was a teenager, but then I wouldn’t have learned these lessons first hand to know their worth.

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*photo from HBO.com/sex-and-the-city