Thursday, April 30, 2015

5 for Friday- We haven't actually left yet...

You know that whole "starting our next phase of our life" thing (aka move) that we've been talking about for the last couple months, well Day 1 has come and gone and we are still sleeping on an air mattress in our living room. Even with the best intentions, we couldn't make it out last night. So instead of the fun and quirky post I had pre-written for y'all about how I always act a hot mess before making a big move, I just acted like a hot mess. I sobbed in the drive thru line at Chik Fil A, I blubbered face timing my mom, and I whimpered on the floor of the apartment while spending one more night here. Moving kicked my ass, but after 27 goodwill and dumpster drop offs, we will be moving tomorrow morning! That being said, you'll get the funny post about me being a spaz about moves next week, in the meantime here are 5 photos of what life looks like right now!

Try only eating conversation hearts and drinking 5 hours for a day, it will rock your world. And by rock your world, I obviously mean give you the shakes, try to make you vomit, and not let you start your move across country. It's great!!!

Didn't believe me? I wouldn't lie to my mom about it- or would I?!? And note- I was not eating the bleach. Just heavily inhaling it and accidentally creating burn marks on my skin from spilling it while scrubbing the floor. 

No matter how good or bad your day is, you still have to pack your pod. On what WAS supposed to be our last night in CA Andrew and I spent a very romantic evening packing the pod... By the light of our headlamps. This should be a fashion blog, shouldn't it?

And speaking of packing, remember how organized I thought I was being? Well that's a pipe dream now. After about 20 trips to the pod, we are finally all packed! I wouldn't recommend opening said pod without a helmet on, but IT IS DONE.

Only the strong survive the move (and my mood). Our first dinner in this house was Chik Fil A and a beer, so obviously that needed to be the last meal too.

But TODAY we move and I have great vibes about this next adventure. There is a lot to be sad for and miss, but good things are on the horizon. So we are off to the Grand Canyon and by Monday we will be home in Houston!

Hope you have a great weekend,

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Roadtrip- Texas or Bust

Roadtrip!!! Anyone else think of this when they hear that?

Legally Blonde-Roadtrip

Just me? You are all liars and your mothers would be embarrassed. Just kidding, that is mean, BUT COME ON IT IS A 'CLASSIC' quote!

Anyways, I am officially avoiding all my real responsibilities and planning our 'Texas or Bust' roadtrip! You may remember I just got back from finishing a whirlwind of a 23 hour Texas roadtrip with my mamacita a couple weeks ago, but this one will be a little more laid back. Instead of just shy of 2 days, we have 4- possibly 5- days to meander on over to the Lone Star State. Instead of struggle bus-ing through the drive (like we are doing with our current move), Andrew and I get the awesome opportunity to enjoy the process, stop at ridiculous road side tourist traps, and enjoy not having a moving clock ticking louder and louder in our ears.

We leave late, late on Thursday night, but I thought you may enjoy hearing a bit more about our roadtrip itinerary- and even better yet ANY suggestions on places we should stop and see!

Day 1-

California Home to Phoenix, Arizona- Ok, you don't need to suggest any pit stops along this way! We will be heading out after a full day of work, meeting with our landlord, and GOODNESS KNOWS STILL PACKING. Hopefully this will be a leisurely (hahaha LA/OC traffic is the worst) drive to get to Phoenix and then we will just pass out within 10 seconds of closing the door. BUT if you know of any must-stop breakfast places in Phoenix lemme know!

Day 2-

Phoenix to the Grand Canyon- Yep, we are dusting off our trusty camping gear from our Chilean adventure and seeing the Grand Canyon for the FIRST time! I feel like this whole experience will be overwhelmingly amazing and possibly tinted by one of my favorite dad stories- his never ending wish to 'ride a jackass to the bottom of the Grand Canyon'- we all can have goals right?!? We will be camping on the South Rim and would love to do some day hiking. Check the photo link for 5 hikes I found in the Grand Canyon.

Day 3-

Such a sports fan!

Grand Canyon to Albuquerque to Lubbock?- This day is pretty uncertain. All that is certain is that I need to go see an especially-special cousin of mine (look at that gorgeous sleeping face) for lunch. He is charged for finding us delicious food (I'm going to guess that camping will not necessarily provide this for us the night before) and the entertainment (never fails). My cousin, Will, was a life saver in college and due to a certainly-special lady friend of his, we are so lucky to see him as often as we do.  After this last of what-seems-like-one-million-goodbyes, we will be back on the road to Texas. 

Day 4-

Lubbock to Home (Houston)- Going from one home and then coming back to our original homes (Andrew and I grew up 4 miles apart) will certainly take a while, but what a relief it will be to finally be back! Right now, it is so easy to focus on the sad, negative feelings associated with the move, but this WILL be a wonderful move for us. I think we will both release a big sigh and start focusing on all the positive aspects of the change after one Shiner beer into being a Texan again.

And I will get to see these two beauties when we get home, so what is not to love?

What places would you recommend stopping at? Any roadtrip secrets or candy I should try?

Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Packing Advice- Because Living It Isn't Torture Enough

Displaying photo.JPG
Our pod with 2 mattresses, 1 bed frame, 17 boxes, 1 couch, 1 armchair/ottoman, 1 dresser, 1 kitchen table w/4 chairs, and all the random stuff we could shove in. We still have WAY more to go...

Guys, I thought I would be so good at this. I researched, cross-referenced the research, bought supplies. I just KNEW that I would be an Olympic level packer. In my brain there were tight timelines, pristine counter-tops, and perfectly portioned number of crock pot meals- none of that happened. I'm currently STILL living through moving hel... (p me, please).

With 3 days to go, I'm spending my nights on an air mattress (yay- at least our mattress is packed) and my days frantically going through endless junk drawers. Also about 90% of my time is spent  convincing myself to sign up for the Hoarders TV show. We have a teeny tiny pod that will move all our belongings from CA to TX. It is more than fair to compare this to a life-size tetris game... sans the annoyingly catchy theme song.

But instead of just aimlessly whining, I thought I would share our experience so far. I have lots of ideas on what has (so far) worked and what has tragically and hilariously not at all worked.

What Has Not Worked:

My ridiculous ideas on meal planning- want to know what I have been eating... anything. Cupcakes from our party this weekend have been a staple that and conversation hearts from Valentine's day that I found in a drawer (do you need more convincing on the hoarder conversation...?)
Thinking I have actually accomplished anything- The second you THINK you finished a task, you find an extra lonely sock or one more pillow case. I haven't finished any task since 1992 apparently. Moving is hard, packing is hard, and my stomach hurts from all the darn conversation hearts I have been eating.
Boxes- This was something I thought we had done fantastically on. We started hoarding away a couple boxes at a time here and there and before we knew it- we basically live in a card board box. I kid you not, we have so many extra boxes... WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM! They are sadly going to be put in the recycling bin after our month long quest to accumulate every cardboard box in Southern California.

What Has Worked:

Color Coding Boxes- Each room has a specific color of tape put on the corners of the boxes... hopefully this will make the unpacking a little easier. 
Google Docs- We created a little index of what exactly is in each box (ok, I kind of quit that halfway through box 7208362 today, but at least 3/4th of the boxes are perfectly cataloged).
My Husband- He is earning so many good karma points.
Nothing Else- I mean that...nothing else

What Is Hilarious and if this Happens to You, Consider Yourself a Stepford Wife:

Everything you find on Pinterest Ever

So, here is my plea. Someone come save me from moving. I literally wished I was at work today instead of packing and sorting and lugging to the storage unit. And if you can't do that, please block all murder mystery shows and internet... the only thing worse than moving, might be moving while convinced that mass murderers are around every corner. And if you can't do that, send me a nice dry white wine,

The whining is done... for now,

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekend of Goodbyes

Last run on the beach...

Wow! What a different feeling at the end of this weekend... instead of going back to work tomorrow, this will be my first week of (f)unemployment. What will I do? Move. Oh... I guess that isn't that fun, but it is something different!

Friday was my last day at work and it was a doozy! A lot of feelings were had (mostly by me) leaving after 2 and a half years. My (old) job was definitely challenging, but I will absolutely miss it. Not just the work, but the co-workers and mentors and incredible artists that I got the pleasure to work with daily. I was altogether an emotional mess; they're probably grateful I left!. So over the next few days instead of going to work, I have a couple sweet interviews lined up and look forward to finding the NEXT job that I will (hopefully) find just as rewarding. By the time I made it home on Friday, I was so tired that all we did was drink some celebratory champs, eat take out, and watch murder shows on TV while packing. LIVING THE LIFE, y'all. It is ok to think my life is incredibly glamorous.

Saturday was a rat race of major proportions... We started the morning by picking up a u-haul (glamorous) and moving all our furniture into a pod for moving. Then we got home. Do you know how large your house looks with NO furniture. It is crazy! You feel like its a mansion- albeit a very uncomfortable, barren, and not actually that large mansion, but a mansion! We didn't have time to lounge around in the lap of luxury though because our going away party was that night! I totally failed and didn't take ANY photos on my camera, but it was so much fun. A great opportunity to get our closest pals together for the emptying of our liquor cabinet making of memories. I snagged some easy party decorations at Party CIty in the afternoon and it was the least stressful party we've ever hosted. I loved it- no planning should go into any party. But we did run out of food. Oooops. Ok, maybe SOME planning should go into parties. It was a great night and I only cried once (that is good for me while saying goodbyes!). I am so grateful for these friends that we've made out here and feel lucky to have gotten one last celebration in!

Sombreros for the win! Also- nice staches.
The big balloons hid our sad, blank walls!

Sunday morning I didn't wake up quite as bring and chipper as normally, but nothing that a nice long walk and bagel the size of my face didn't fix. Andrew and I have had this routine every Sunday since we got married to head to early Mass then treat ourselves to bagels (calories don't count before 8am on weekends?). It was nice to have one last carbo loading session and even nicer when you can come back to your empty house, lay on an air mattress (the only furniture in the house), and watch Game of Thrones. A couple hours later I headed out to the beach to meet some of my best gals for a beach walk and brewery girl session. How did I get so lucky to convince these girls to be my friend? We ended up at Belmont Brewery. This was the restaurant Andrew and I went to on the FIRST weekend I lived in California, so it was great to be able to hit up the same local spot on my LAST weekend here. Nice symmetry and even nicer amber ales.

In the future, brushed air might be a good idea for public photos. Might be... No promises!

Emotionally exhausted- heck yes. Solution- fall asleep on said air mattress and wake up at 7pm completely wired. And that is where we are!  A weekend full of moving, goodbyes, good friends, and good beer. I'm`100% emotionally exhausted (part of that could be from watching the RHOA reunion), but so grateful for the wonderful whirlwind that was our last weekend in CA!

Off to finishing packing and cleaning our little home. Anyone want to switch lives (only if yours involves eating bon bons and watching TV all day- oh and I would like to bring my husband too)? Let me know!

Have a great week,

Friday, April 24, 2015

Party Prep AKA Last Minute Struggle To Make Things Look Intentional

I did it again, folks. I had grand plans for something extravagant and here we are 24 hours in advance and all I can do is sit paralyzed by lack of time/pre-planning/general laziness.

Our going away shindig is a day away and it is far from the perfectly planned soiree of the century that I have dreamed of. In fact, all that is planned is the time and date. 

Food, no.
Drinks, no.
Decor, no. 
Furniture for people to sit on, no.

Literally, we will have an empty house with nothing on the walls, no furniture, and no serving ware- not that that matters seeing as we have no food or drinks to serve. Oops. Moving brain has hit, and it has hit hard.

Andrew and I wanted to celebrate with something small meaning a guest list of just a few of our close friends to be able to properly say good bye in a fun and festive environment. Great! And then I decided that it couldn't just be a run of the mill shindig- it needed to be Texas themed. Awesome! But then that was the last planning I did. 

Oops. So here are my 5 for Friday ideas on how to get a party planned in a day- all with recognition that very little 

1) Some Sweet Cocktails
My husband's family has a FANTASTIC margarita recipe that we can whip up... if someone is willing to bring a blender. Scratch that. No margaritas.
But we can do a cute blended drink in a dispenser for easy access with some beer. We can call a cute name like Texas Tornado or ... okay that is my only idea and it will seem thoughtful.

2) Tasty Low Maintenance Food
No pots, no pans- in some ways this has been a dream week! Having people over with no pots and no pans means that you're getting something easy and this is where my good friend Trader Joes comes in. Have you tried the Mac and Cheese Bites- that sounds Texan, right? Pair that with some chips and dip... we will figure our how to serve this later. Hopefully no one will even notice that this is the most gourmet thing we have eaten in a week.

3) Big Texas Hair/ Killer Mustaches/ A Metric Ton of Bandannas

So I don't think I will be able to muster up a mustache in time, but here is something that you can bet your (cowboy) boots that I will be doing my best to live up to stereotypes. And who knows? Maybe, the higher the hair the closer... people will be to ignoring the blank walls! 

4) Scrounged Up Party Supplies
Let me honest- I really can't not try to do a COUPLE special things! I love the big balloon letters and maybe some cheapo party supplies from a local party supply store (anybody have some hours in the day that they can share...) would make me feel a little more prepared. It is silly, but I would love to have a little something cute to make me feel like we are treating our friends. Even typing it seems crazy, but a girl can dream!

5) A Laid Back Attitude
Maybe it won't be the pinterest perfect (not the first time), but in reality that is SO FAR down on the priority list. We are so lucky to have a handful of friends that have made the past 5 years so much fun. Now we get to have one more hoorah of this before future shindigs require a flight plane and a lot more planning. So while I wish it would be a little more thoughtful, moving is hard! And as long as everyone has a good time- nothing matters!

What would you do with 24 hours till an un-planned party?

Have a great weekend,

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bringing Some CA Sunshine To Our Non-Existent Next Home

Pizza Sleeping Bag with Optional Vegetable Topping Pillows
I mean, I probably need to buy this for the house we don't have... 

This is a judgement free zone. This is a zone where we can ALL ignore that over the course of packing up our little Californian life, I've realized that we are basically hoarders and own all the things. We are just going to skip that fact. Because I found something new I want to buy... for our house... you know the one we don't have (here & here).

Good. I'm glad we can all be in denial about that.

We are literally DAYS away from leaving our home here and with as much excitement as moving back to TX brings, there is that twinge of leaving OUR first house. So after some Etsy window shopping (sorry, Andrew- eventually the boxes will pack themselves), I found a couple ways to commemorate our time and home here.

Don't y'all think it would be cute to include a latitude and longitude print as part of our next home's gallery wall? I'm in dire need of affirmation here seeing as how I'm totally crushing on these! My hope is that whatever we find can bring some CA sunshine to our next home and be a cute piece of nostalgia.

Here are my favs-
Personalised Coordinates Print  Our wedding coordinates, would be on Paper... which is the first anniversary tradition... YAY

A Custom Latitude and Longitude Print for your new home! Great for a Christmas gift, housewarming present, birthday, and many more! Such a cute way to remember a special place!

i love this London co-ordinates print... there's a New York version too...

What do you think? Maybe that I need a hobby or am doing everything to desperately ignore the massive amount of stuff I need to pack? Honesty hurts, y'all.

Hope you're having a great week,

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weekend is not done yet!

I'm writing this a hotel room in West Texas with an adult beverage in hand while staring at an atlas. Needless to say this won't be a long post...

My mom and I are about halfway to our destination of Houston, Texas with a carful of... anything I could shove in my car. That's right- step 1 of our move is underway! Because moving across country is so fun, of course, I have to do the drive 2x in 2 weeks with 2 different cars jam packed with ALL THE THINGS!

It's actually been a blast driving so far today and hopefully we have another safe and fun day tomorrow. 

I'll be back with more substantial (and warning- possibly sappy) posts later this week. Here are some snaps of my weekend so far...

Linds (my most loyal reader and chef de chicken salad) and I "hiking" in Griffith Park :)

Windmill city about 2 hours into our drive (note the clean windshield)

We made it... To the right state- 11 hours still to go!

Just your average Sunday Funday...

Hope you're jazzed for a new work week and good luck to all the Boston marathoners today!!!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Five for Friday- Book Club Edition

Woo hoo! It is Fri-yay! I'm genuinely happy that today marks the end of the work week, but that means only 4 more work days till I am (f)unemployed. It has been bitter sweet training people on what I have really enjoyed over the past couple years, but bitter sweet does not even START to reflect all the feelings I had a couple nights ago at our last book club night before I move.

sad animated GIF
I know, I know- it sounds so silly, but this all-girl 'literary' group has really been a highlight on my social calendar. It was circled, written in big letters, and bold-ed on my calendar because I knew book club was always a good time. There is no doubt that I married the most generously patient man in the universe, but sometimes you want to just do girly things with the lady friends to makes your heart happy. Growing up with two sisters, I definitely crave female company and surprisingly Andrew cares very little about... anything girly. 

Book club is what my group of lady friends found easiest, but it doesn't even have to be a book club, it could be a running club or yoga class or comrades at the office. What matters is the fellowship of other peers in a 100% supportive and loving environment- with wine. So grab a glass (or pretend because drinking at work is discouraged) and listen to me being a sad sap about 5 reasons why things like book club matter.

wine animated GIF
Comradery or Creating a Peer Group- This is a biggie. I don't know if it is just me, but once you get out of college or grad school and into the real world, it was hard to find a group of pals. Yes, you may meet lots of people, but finding the time and common ground to build relationships can be difficult. Having a book club created a peer group that was always there to support, laugh, and share in whatever your experiences may be. It is wonderful to have an outlet where, whether you need to belt out frustrations or 'ooh and ahh' over someone's next big life change, a kind ear is listening. I don't think that these women have even a small idea how much comradery they have brought to me. I will miss that.

Common Interests- So for book club, we had books (and wine) in common, but I think this would work for anything- a cooking club, running group, or painting class. Having a book to chat about every month was so nice to see how others reacted to the topic and how they connected to certain characters and situations. With a group of loud articulate women, it was always interesting to see what certain individuals had to say about topics that came up. I have been impressed by the level of honesty people feel comfortable with when the conversation starts from a situation in a book. Whether it is about Zadie Smith's under-age adultery or what the heck Scientology is all about- some of these conversations have shaped my thoughts on things in ways that are unexpected. Having a starting point for conversations deepened the honesty level. 

Delicious Treats- So sometimes Andrew just doesn't care about trying a new brunch food, he just wants to eat it. Scarf it down, in fact. On the most superficial level, I love having a group of girls to try some treats on. Some have been hits, some have been mildly embarrassing misses, but delicious treats and drinks make book club feel special. Some of my favorites include this, this, and this.

Laughter- So much laughter. Funny gentleman friend stories, laughter. Ridiculous things two year olds say, laughter. Wedding planning woes, laughter. I think it is pretty fair to say that the neighbors could hear when book club DID end because of the noise level. I appreciate this- sometimes you need a good belly laugh to make you feel that it isn't just happening to you. 

Role Models-  Now this is where I get real sappy, so I will keep it quick. What has been most meaningful about book club is how these ladies have shown me what I could be. There is the women who has the clearest sense of work life balance I've ever seen. I respect and want to be like that. There is a lady who gives and gives and gives and really never asks for anything back. I admire and would like to be like that. There is the wife who is so fun loving with her husband and they always seem to be up to something fantastic, although I know she can worry as much as I can. I love and want to be like that. These professionals, and moms, and partners, and friends have so much that I could grow and learn from. 

I hope to find this in Texas- other than the wine and good times, these are the things that I love most from book club. Ok, that was a lot for a Friday morning. Be warned packing up our little house and putting things in moving boxes is only making me more emotional than usual, but today is FriYAY and that is a lot to be thankful for.

What is your favorite part of book or running or cooking or whatever club?


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chile con Kulhas- Recaps Part 1

Wow- I don't even know where to start, y'all. Our South American adventure was just under a month ago and it was truly an incredible experience. The country was beautiful and the scenery exceeded (even) my expectations. Breathtaking views from these places you wouldn't even expect around every corner. Small Chilean town? Beautiful views. Terrifying, smelly bus ride? Beautiful views. Jet lagged induced euphoria. Beautiful views. By the end of the trip we were spoiled and coming back to smoggy Southern California... yeah, well vacation doesn't last forever.

But that being said- I have no idea where to start on the recaps for this trip! You may recall, we decided on our Chilean adventure because we were looking for a trip that would challenge us mentally and physically- so really an expecting or 'once in a lifetime' trip.  Our trip was centered around a five day backpacking trek (no, not the drunk post-collage European kind) hiking across a national park in the Southern tip of Chile. And it was hard. However, we loved our experience so much that I wouldn't be surprised if our future wanderings include some of the more rough and tumble elements that we struggle-bused through on this trip. That being off my chest, I guess we can start with the recaps. Yes, the whole recap session may be as jumbled as the last 2 paragraphs. I decided to split the recaps up by chunks of time- so here we go with the beginning! 

After working all day, Andrew and I met at home for a last minute check of our packing and headed to dinner with friends and a midnight flight out of LAX. Of course being the overeager travelers we are, we got to the airport WAY too early and hit up the airport bar.No judgement zone-this was all with the hope that we could get on the flight and pass out. It worked. I couldn't even stay awake till the free meal service. I was OUT to the world. If you know me, you will know I believe in utilizing all the free things offered- so this was a big deal. My husband, however, was eating like a king, drinking wine in the middle of the night, and even took a little nap just to wake up to order some more of the free whiskey. Maybe he was trying to get out of the trip? He will never tell...

Then the next thing we knew, breakfast was being served and we landed in Lima, Peru. You may remember that we had an eight hour layover in Lima and up to a couple days before we headed there we had zero, zilch, nada plans on what to do. Well, it was a good thing that we eventually came up with a significant list of all the things we wanted to see, because travel in Lima was more challenging than expected. Over enthused and under hygiene-nated, we popped over to get a taxi from the airport and, I kid you not, disgust was on their face when we said we DIDN'T want to go to Miraflores. To be expected, Miraflores is a tourist hub in the suburbs of Lima and is supposed to be beautiful! But this was our down and dirty adventure- we didn't want to go to a suburb (that was Andrew's whiskey talking)- take us to the center of town!

Once we got in the cab, hilarity ensued. Our cab driver was wonderful, but (probably rightfully so) incredibly safety conscious with the two of us gringos in the back seat. I remarked in MUY broken Spanish about how beautiful the buildings were and he proceeded to pull out the translate app on his phone and inform us "the building that you adore cannot sleep outside in." Ok. Promise. Won't be doing that anytime soon. Also your punctuation is almost as bad as mine. The translate app made another couple appearances especially when my camera was out and pretty much laid it out there that apparently hoodlums will come out of the trees, gutters, and are costumed as old ladies to tackle me until they steal my camera and dignity. Happy vacation!

Didn't detour us though. We had our sights set on visiting Plaza Mayor with its beautiful architecture, some church sights, and pisco sours! And we were not disappointed! It was really an interesting place to visit. Known as the birthplace of Lima, the large square had these beautiful yellow buildings with a grassy square in the center. We popped into the Archbishop's Palace of Lima and it was overwhelmingly decadent. The building had beautiful high ceilings, an incredible staircases, and a chapel on the second floor that could rival most churches I've ever seen. Also, there were guards everywhere. And we may or may not have gotten rushed out of the chapel for accidentally taking selfies with the flash on. I won't admit to anything- it was altogether embarrassing and an accident. But I'm not admitting it!

After the palace, we were in dire need of some food. And ceviche had been calling our name. We walked through endless side streets until someone spoke magic to my jet lagged ears- free pisco sour with ceviche. Ok. Vacation win. And for a dingy side street with an easy ploy- it was literally the most incredible ceviche I've had in my whole life. And it was served on a sea shell. Delicious.

On a raw fish high, we headed out to do some more walking and seemed to be surrounded by some German dignitary group that was coming out of every government building we walked by. It was like a clown car- more and more people were streaming through doors, windows, who knows! It was  a beautiful walk around town and on certain blocks you could feel the socio economic level change within a few houses. It was surprising and very real to experience this as an outsider who didn't speak the language or know the geography of the area, but you could feel the shift. What I respected and admired from the city was the vibrancy of the life everyone lived so fully. The buildings were painted the brightest shades- even without windows or (what appears here) to be basic needs. The people lived loud and laughed hard in streets and restaurants. And the city felt like a unique place- not that it could be any city, but that it was Lima.

Our wanderings were cut short by the need to rush back to the airport for our next flight, but other than thinking our cab driver was trying to kill us due to some... interesting driving choices we made it back in plenty of time. Although we didn't have enough time to properly explore Lima, it was a nice break up to the 18 hours flying madness. I wrote for too much already (and didn't even get to talk about the BLOCK LONG dentist chair store front) but Lima was just the first stop on our adventure.

Can't wait to share more,

Monday, April 13, 2015

Wine-ing Weekend

Don't let the title scare you, not whining! I promise, you can keep reading. Our weekend had a lot of  wine-ing as we explored Temecula with friends. It was a blast, the weather was beautiful, wines were a-pouring, and great company to boot. AND it was one check off our California Bucket List. Another great weekend for the books.

Andrew and I drove out to Temecula on Friday night to the house that our gang of 10+ were sharing for the weekend. The house was so nice- it almost made coming home to our little bungalow a little depressing. The house had a koi pond, a rock-walled (and HUGE) spa, tons of shared space, and enough bedrooms for all of us- I don't know how our friends found it. So Friday night was spent lounging around the house and catching up.

Saturday the real trouble started...

But Saturday- Saturday was for wine tasting. And we succeeded. Time and time again. We started off by carbo loading on my Mom's breakfast casserole (I will share sometime soon) and this breakfast cake from Lisa Loves John. After we were full, we popped into some Ubers and were on our way for the day. Seeing as how most of the wineries open at 10am and we had such a large group, we were anxious to get going. But, for the record, it was was definitely different than what we are normally up to before noon on Saturdays. 

Our group of 12 was able to make it to 5 wineries before 5pm (I feel like this is impressive for a group of this size) and some of the places were great and others a little more meh.

We started at Chapin Family Vineyards and were lucky enough for Steve, one of the owners, to be our wine guide for the tasting. Out of the 5 I tried (not including Andrew's- sorry love) I definietly liked the Vognier and the Syrah. They did have an Orange Muscat that I was kicking myslef for not ordering- in large part to the cute half bottle. So the bottle comment probably outed me, but you are warned- I'm obviously not a wine expert- just a fan. Chapin was one of my favorites for the day and had a great tasting room balcony with a lot of individual attention.

After Chapin, we headed to Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards, which was gorgeous, but not my favorite. The place was HUGE and although they had some cool add ons like live music and a full restaurant, it didn't feel very personalized. Due to our group size we weren't able to get into the tasting room, but had a great time chatting outside while the boys played bocce ball. I did REALLY like their white cabernet (so weird-right?) and others in our group were raving about the almond champagne.

Judge all you want... it was delicious
From Wilson, we headed to Wiens Family Cellars. This place was also beautiful, but much larger than the places we loved in Napa. We bought a few bottles and ate delicious pizza (I told you I was not a wine expert- just a fan) on the patio. If I got to come back, I would definitely go for the tasting to get the personal touch, but large groups... and hunger made the patio seem very inviting.

We then headed to my absolute favorite place of the trip, Vindemia. We definitely had some wide eyes going on when our Uber rolled up a dirt road and dropped us off with no building in site, but this charming family winery was so perfect. The tasting room is outdoors with a couple bars parked under the shade of some trees and ample seating if you want to relax. The sauvignon blanc and syrah were my favorites and I really wish I bought a bottle of the sauvignon blanc. I know others in our group were not the biggest fan of the outdoors (and... porta potties), but I totally recommend the place.

Then because we were lushes we hopped back in the Uber and headed to Hart Family Winery. By this time if I kept with a full tasting there would have been trouble, so Andrew and I shared one with him getting about 90% of the wine. Sharing is caring. I liked how small and cozy the place was and liked the 2012 Zinfandel. 

So yeah, a lot of wines were had by 5pm. On Saturday night, we got back, ate some lasagna, and had some hilarious conversations. This morning happened too quickly and I may have napped all afternoon. Another weekend closer to being kicked out of California, but this is one that we will absolutely remember for a long time.

What do you think your winery tap out number would be? In Napa, we were able to fit 7 into one day, but this weekend 4 was good for me.

Hope that you had a wonderful weekend,

Friday, April 10, 2015

Five for Friday- Pinterest Recipe Wins

Is it Friday yet? Thank goodness. This week has been hard. It has been exhausting. It has been day after day of being tired with a vengeance. But it is Friday and that is great because now I can exhaust myself with a whole other set of activities- fun ones.

This Five for Friday post is brought to you by my intense exhaustion-induced anger when the only pan left for cooking last night was one of those non-non stick ones (double negatives never killed anyone). I turned around for one Real Housewives cat fight and the meat I was browning was 90% stuck to the pan. Yes. You can judge me, I forgot the Pam. It is fine. We still ate it. I hope the Teflon particles don't carry too many carcinogens. #wifeforthewin

But anyways, Five for Friday- Pinterest recipes! I am so on the Pinterest bandwagon. I check it in the morning, I check while my heating up my leftovers (usually Pinterest made) at work, I check it at the bank, and at the grocery store- there is entirely too much Pinterest-ing in my life 99% of the time. My addiction is pretty much just to the recipes, but there are thousands, millions, I don’t know probably BILLIONS (it is ok to cringe at my lack of deductive math reasoning here) of recipes out there on Pinterest and I want to look at all of them.The best are the ones that look fancy, but are actually not that fancy. The worst are the ones where they tell you that you can make 7920461418 dinners for 100 bucks in your crockpot.

Here is a list of my top 5 total WINS of Pinterest cooking. Maybe even you will be interested in trying one of these out sometime soon! For all my Pinterest recipe tries, click here!

Great! We went to this place and had this in Napa! Next time- a little less cream
Here is an amazing tomato soup that we had at a bistro in Napa. It is a total winner; I’ve made it for book club, for the in laws, and for anyone else that I feel like faking fancy for. Please note- it is not by accident that I have never made this just for Andrew and I.

Good! Must marinate overnight- great marinade!!! Grilled Honey, Lime,  Sriracha Chicken Skewers
Delicious dinner right here for you folks! It is light, summer-y, and tastes so fresh!

Made for superbowl! Very delish- time consuming, but worth it!!!
Here is a great appetizer to bring to a casual party! Everybody loves pretzels and bring some queso or whip up a batch of honey mustard and you will be everyone’s favorite party guest.

Good! Spicy, easy, and filling. Makes lots! Black Bean & Corn Salad
Love to make this spicy bean and corn salad as a side dish and then use it the rest of the week on salads (so good) or on top of a baked sweet potato. The recipe makes so much!

Really great! Make again!!! Zucchini Tots by raylynntexas
Ok, this is not fancy, but it is like being a kid with tater tots. Do it. You won't regret it. The first time we made them... we re-made them within 3 days. Just tasty.

TGIF, y'all. TGIF! What are your thoughts on Pinterest cooking?