Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Flower Power

When in doubt, send flowers. 

That's what I did for one of my best friends. Yesterday was Micaela's birthday. I had some really great ideas for birthday presents, but the timing on everything just wasn't working out. Luckily I have them stored away in my brain for future gift giving days, like Christmas, but I have a feeling I'll be sending her a "just because" present sometime this year because she's awesome.

Flowers were always on the list of possibilities, but I wasn't completely sold on it initially because she had given me flowers on my birthday last year and I didn't want to be a copy cat. Then, I thought of a wine gift basket, or something of the sort, but it seemed so impersonal. Almost like I was giving her a gift on behalf of a company as so many do at Christmas. Original plans A, B, and C were feasible at one point, but with each passing day, it soon became clear that they weren't going to pan out.

Plan A was great. It was something she could use (I tend to gravitate towards useful gifts), and I just knew it was going to be perfect. Unfortunately, everything I looked at just wasn't quite her. So I nixed that plan and went on to Plan B.

Plan B was still somewhat useful, but I knew she'd like it because it was something she had previously expressed interest in. Plus, I knew it would be pretty. So I scoured the Internet for the perfect item for her, but everything fell just a little short. Not to mention, it was a tad dicey when trying to determine authenticity over the web.

Plan C came way too late for me to do anything about it. There simply wasn't enough time for me to pull it off. It would have been a handmade gift and one that she would certainly appreciate, but there weren't enough hours in the day and I couldn't make it work in time.

So, I went with flowers. I wasn't sure what kind to get her and I flip flopped between a bright assortment of flowers, tulips, roses, and ultimately landed on an arrangement that was predominantly bright pink and purple. They reminded me of a "Kate Spade" bag she bought on one of our adventures in LA. She loved them. Thank goodness because I was really nervous when I sent them. Would she like the colors? Would she be allergic to any of them? Would it turn out pretty? She told me they were perfect, so I'm pretty sure everything is fine and she's not sneezing up a storm. In fact, they are sitting on her table in Oregon and I couldn't be more relieved that the florist actually left them on the doorstep as I requested. Way to go OK Floral of Forest Grove!


Friday, January 25, 2013

Simple Pleasures

This weekend I don't have any plans and I wouldn't have it any other way. This past week has been spent flitting around town from one place to another, and to be honest, I'm just not used to all of the activity! So, now that I have some projects I need/want to do, maybe I'll spend some of my weekend working on these...after sleeping in until at least 9AM on Saturday.


I've had my sewing machine for a little while now and I'm anxious to really put it to good use. This past week, my mom and I stopped at a consignment store that was going out of business and picked up a handful of patterns since they were only twenty cents a pop. Even if I only test out a few things, it's worth it. Eight patterns for less than two bucks! Can't really beat that.


I picked up this pad of watercolor paper on Monday from JoAnn's. I used a 40% off coupon to bring down the cost of the pad, but since I used a gift card to pay, it didn't cost me any "real" money. I have a set of watercolor brushes my parents brought back from their trip to China, so I'm hoping to use these for my creations. It won't be the first time I've used them, but I'm hoping to start using them a little bit more.


This is the yarn that my seester picked out while we were in Carmel. I've only just started knitting her loose knit scarf and the material has proven to be a little trickier to work with than I had originally anticipated. Nonetheless, I'll be powering through it and hoping my fingers don't cramp up and fall off before I've finished it!


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Glass Act

The weekend after last my mom and I finally made a trip to Half Moon Bay. I have been dying to go to search for sea glass for months and even though I could have gone alone on any given weekend, I've tried that before and it wasn't for me. I ended up driving back home after an hour or so because it was slightly depressing. So, I usually stick to glass hunting with my mom because we have so much fun going together.

The tide had been unusually high, but it was a beautiful day. Even though it was still more than a little chilly, the sun was out and there was hardly a cloud in the sky! I thought since there had been high tides the previous days that we might find more glass than usual, but that thought just wasn't meant to be. We still found a decent amount of glass, but it certainly wasn't like some of our earlier trips when we made out like bandits.

Regardless of how many tumbled pieces of glass we find, it's really all about spending the day with my mom doing something that we love to do. Of course it doesn't hurt that she gives me all of the glass and pretty shells that she finds. She knows how jealous I'd be if she had more cobalt blue pieces than I had or if she had more pieces that had interesting shapes, lettering, or ridges. I currently have quite a collection going on, but I have yet to commit to a project for them. We shall see! In the meantime, I'll continue collecting these little treasures and stowing them away.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekend Recaptured.

This past weekend was not solely spent sitting idly on the couch catching up on television shows as it sometimes is. Although I did spend a considerable amount of time watching the Harbough brothers lead their teams to Super Bowl XLVII, which many people are already referring to as the HarBowl. Of course, I'll still be rooting for the 49ers and their Quest for Six, and even more so for Colin Kaepernick because the boy can play some serious football. Have I mentioned my school girl crush on him?

Getting back to the beginning of the weekend, Saturday was spent walking around the town of Carmel.  My sister and I tagged along with my parents, but we split off and did our own thing. I wasn't planning on buying anything, but I did make a few purchases. One of them being this adorable box of matches from Piccolo.

My sister bought three skeins of yarn at Knitting by the Sea. Since she doesn't know how to knit, I'll be the one making the scarf, but I don't mind. Anything for my seester. We must have spent a good half an hour in there talking with the owner, which was quite enjoyable because she was pretty cool.

My parents picked up this delicious bread topper, which we enjoyed on Sunday while we watched the San Francisco game, and it was divine. The vegetable spread that was set out was amazing, but this jar of goodness stole the show.

This is what the baguette slices looked like after being placed in the oven to warm and then under the broiler to brown a bit. I wanted to eat the whole plate of them. They were THAT good. 

Pardon the crumbs

The overall day spent in Carmel was fantastic. I really had a great time walking around to the little shops and stopping into a gallery showcasing Todd White's artwork. Lunch was spectacular at Grasing's where I ordered the Grilled & Marinated Vegetable Salad and discovered that I actually DO enjoy portobello mushrooms - when prepared in such a way that leaves them blackened and a little crispy on the exterior. 

We didn't spend much time at the plaza since it tends to have stores more stores that can be found at the mall, but we did conclude our trip there and I almost bought this pair of corduroy pants at Anthropologie. I may reconsider that purchase at a later date, but at the time I was content with my matches and the knit ear warmer/headband that I picked up in Adam Fox, another little shop, on our way out. 

Even though I wasn't able to meet up with one of my friends from school while I was down there, I was still really grateful to be able to spend the day with my family. And what a pleasant day it was. 


Friday, January 18, 2013

Simple Pleasures

I don't know about you, but for me, this year has been of to a slow start. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but I guess I was expecting a little more excitement. I guess I'll just have to create my own!

New Sheets
Seriously, I love my's so comfy and cozy.
Sometimes there isn't anything better than fresh, new sheets. What's even better is that mine make me smile as soon as I pull back the covers. Polka dots tend to have that effect on me. Usually I'm kind of a sheet snob and won't settle for anything less than say, 500 thread count, but I had to make an exception for this Kate Spade set because it was just so darn cute. And I needed a new set of sheets. Even at 300 thread count, they are still surprisingly soft and cozy and make getting up in the morning extremely difficult. 

The StyleMint Mystery Box

I have a serious problem with StyleMint's Mystery Box promotions. Every single time they have one, I have an overwhelming urge to buy one. I'm pretty sure I've skipped one of them. It's a little ridiculous, but the thrill of not knowing what I'm getting is too much for me to pass up. I just love surprises! This past time there were four items guaranteed in each Mystery Box. Apparently some people lucked out and got as many as ten items, but I've never been THAT lucky. There were three shirts and a dress in mine...not bad for $29.99! The best part was, they sent me my absolute favorite shirt that I had been wishing I had another of. Sometimes practicing patience works!

A Glass of Wine

This past week I've been wine. I think I've had a glass nearly every night this week! "They" do say that a glass of red wine is good for you, right? Well, I've been taking advantage of that fact and have been relaxing with a glass while catching up on my favorite TV shows. It's been a great way to wind down after a busy day, and that's exactly what I'm doing right now. A great way to welcome in the weekend!


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Out With the Old, In With the Subpar

My boss decided he was tired of paying for Starbucks every day, so he ordered a Keurig Vue V700 machine online using his bank rewards points. When the order was cancelled because they didn't have it in stock (Christmas was right around the corner), he ordered gift cards so he could pick one up. My mom and I were the ones who made the initial trip to Bed Bath & Beyond to pick up the model he originally ordered. Turns out, it wasn't the same one he had at home and he couldn't buy the Vue cups at Costco (only the K cups), so he said it wouldn't work and he took it back to get the model he has at home. Now we officially have an office Keurig machine and I absolutely hate it.

Why do I hate it? Well, to be honest, I haven't exactly tried it. Although the feedback I heard on the hot chocolate was not good. I took a couple of the Vue cups that were bought in anticipation of the original machine, poured in the correct amount of hot water, tasted it, and YUCK. If you enjoy artificial sweeteners like Sucralose, it's not a biggie, but I for one, don't care much for them. Trust me when I tell you that the Chai beverage I consumed was unpleasant. To be fair, the very initial taste was so-so, but within half of a second, the aftertaste turned sickening sweet. And not even in a real sugary way. In a chemical way. I've been ordering Chai lattes at Starbucks for the past few months and this particular variety doesn't hold a candle to my beloved drink. 

In all honesty, it's not even that the Keurig Chai is poor quality or that I may have to resort to drinking coffee again; it's that my routine is now spoiled. For the past two and a half to three years, I have been making daily trips to the famous coffee chain. They know my name. They know my drinks. I know the regulars because I am a regular. I let them write on my reusable cups because I go there ALL the time. Now I'll be stuck at my desk without my frothy Grande-six-pump-no-water-Chai. Do I care that my delicious sweet and spicy drink has 240 calories and upwards of 42 grams of sugar? NO! I just want the delicious hot drink on these cold winter days. I know Starbucks and grocers sell the Tazo Chai Tea Latte Concentrate, but it is definitely not the same. A good alternative? Perhaps, but still not the same. 

Ultimately, I'm going to miss the friendly faces. I'm going to miss the short, but sweet conversations. I'm going to miss walking into work with a tray full of drinks. I'm going to miss it all. I certainly cannot afford to go there every day, but I guess I'll be budgeting for a few drinks per month now to get my occasional Starbucks fix and see some familiar faces. So it's out with the old tried and true, and in with the new subpar brewing system. C'est la vie.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Blood Transfusion.

On Saturday I had a blood transfusion. 

The silver and black that had been coursing through my veins for so long just bled right out. 
The gold and red poured in. 

Now I have always stayed true to the fact that I am a Bay Area fan, meaning that I root for the teams on both sides of the bay. Oakland, however, has always been my #1 team while San Francisco brought up the rear at #2. Everything changed on Saturday. At least in terms of football.

It started out as an innocent Google search of the 49ers roster. Google does this great thing where they show the roster of a team at the top of the page complete with their photo, name, and position. Naturally, Alex Smith was listed first, but the photo next to his was the one that caught my eye. Colin Kaepernick. Little did I realize, he was starting the game that night. And what a show that was!

Photo found here
I was impressed. Granted, things didn't exactly start off well when he threw a pick six on the fourth play of the game, but Kaepernick redeemed himself. Over and over again. Watching him play was exciting! He set records! Colin Kaepernick single-handedly changed this Raider football loving girl into a bonafide Niners girl. I never thought I'd say the San Francisco 49ers were my #1 team, but they are now. Thanks to Kaep. 

I've already said it once, and I'll say it again - I totally have a school girl crush on Colin Kaepernick. 


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Basking in the Afterglow

Yesterday I had THE best time. In fact, I'm still experiencing the residual happiness from the night I had. I was finally able to get together with one of my best friends, Rachel. We haven't seen each other in far longer than either of us would care to admit, but it was like we saw each other only days before. It's always so reassuring when you know you can pick up right where you left off no matter how much time has gone by.

Rachel had the day off, so I left work a little early to get to her place at a reasonable time. We started our evening off with some fresh juice that we made using her new juicer. I've never made juice like that or had it for that matter, and it was quite the tasty experience. Not only did it taste good, but it was fun to make! It sort of makes me want to jump on the juice train!

Once we finished our glasses we were off to get pedicures at Bella Nails. I generally opt to paint my own nails, but this was a special treat and I needed the pampering. Desperately.

The spa pedi we went for was the Milk & Honey Glow. I thought I was in heaven. The description did not lie - it was truly an extraordinary 60-minute experience. We got the most amazing foot/leg massages and we were also able to enjoy a bottle of Prosecco, which we brought in ourselves.

So as we sat in our massage chairs, sipping bubbly, and getting the royal treatment, I couldn't imagine having a better Tuesday evening. Of course we didn't just stop at the pedicures, we went for the manicures, too. Rachel went for a muted, mossy green for her hands and a foresty green for her toes. I opted for more moody, gem tones with a deep, emerald green on my hands and a dark, navy blue (nearly black!) for my tootsies.

My nails already starting to wear from all of the filing at work...I should know better!
Once our nails had thoroughly dried, we headed over to Vault 164 in downtown San Mateo for drinks and a bite to eat. We each stuck with the Prosecco theme and ordered a Bonnie & Clyde and split an order of flatbread which came topped with figs, prosciutto, arugula, manchego, and balsamic. It was everything I could have hoped for and more. Seriously. Before we got to ordering anything else, Rachel's friend Chelsea came by! Rachel just knew I was going to love her...and I did! She was such a sweetheart and so easy-going. I was really happy that Rachel invited her to come out. Since Chelsea had just eaten, she didn't partake in the bread, but she did indulge in a Lychee Martini. Since I knew I still had quite a drive home, I didn't have one, but I did take a sip of Rachel's and the flavor was amazing. I'll be adding that to the list of drinks I'd like to have, or drinks I'd like to try to make!

After Rachel and I split the Parisienne salad, we jumped straight to dessert where the three of us split the Baked Alaskan. Delicious. And of course it was quite the show because who doesn't love seeing their dessert set on fire? It's almost like getting to blow out the candles on your birthday cake!

All in all, it was truly a fantastic evening. Chelsea still had other plans for the evening, so we parted ways and Rachel and I headed back to her place. I wasn't ready to call it a night yet, so I stuck around for a while longer, met her boyfriend, threw the ball Gizmo the cat who plays fetch, and just hung out. It was a MUCH needed night of friendship. I probably stayed out a little bit longer than I should have, but I don't often get to bed late and I was enjoying the company. Now that Rachel and I have finally gotten together again, I know that we'll be seeing a lot more of each other and I couldn't be happier because I've missed her so much! I'm looking forward to our next adventure...even if that adventure is sitting on the couch while watching movies and sipping our own homemade cocktails. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Buck Up Buckwheat

The pity party I threw for myself yesterday is over...for now. Maybe it was the song I heard on the radio this morning, or maybe it was the compliments I received on my scarf and faux fur vest today, or maybe it's because I have plans for this afternoon, but I'm feeling much more positive today than I was yesterday.

My Faux Fur Vest from Target...from the children's department.
Here's to trying to make the best of everything and looking forward and upward. 


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Welcome, 2013. 

Though the number thirteen is arguably my least favorite number, I have high hopes for this year. My best friend Micaela sent me a message first thing this morning acknowledging my disdain for the particular double digit and then went on to tell me that amazing things are in store for me this year. Another friend said this year is going to be my year. I won't argue with them. They're both wise individuals.

Initially, I was feeling a little blue because Christmas was over. December is always an exciting month because I love the Christmas season, but once all is said and done, it's almost hard to put away the decorations and take down the tree. Well, thank goodness for Micaela, because she reminded me of something important this evening - Christmas is the last thing we look forward to each year and when it's over, we have a fresh start. A brand new beginning for a brand new year. So, I'm staying positive, keeping my chin up, and looking out to the horizon for what lies ahead.