Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Overwhelmed and over it

That is how I feel today. That is how I've felt since I got back from vacation! There's just too much to do and the minutes keep ticking by so very quickly! So yes, I'm overwhelmed and over it.

In fact, this is what I posted on my Facebook a bit ago:

Thank you to the lovely Tracy for reminding me to breathe. I kind of needed that. Seriously.

But still, I feel like I might pull my blondish hair out. So please excuse my absence? I will eventually be back, for reals.

Until then, anyone else out there feeling stressed like me? And what do you all do when it seems like the walls are closing in and there's not enough time in the day to get anything done, let alone eat? Any wisdom you can share is always appreciated.

And can you believe tomorrow is September 1st? Where, oh where, has the time gone?

Totally looking forward to Labor Day weekend! (How's that for a silver lining?)

Back to work but sending love and hugs for your awesome patience,

P.S. This is funny. And explains a lot.

Top photo via we heart it

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I'm back!

Hi everyone! I'm back from my vacation, have been for a few days now, but I'm busy catching up with work. You know how that goes! So it may be a few days before I get to share with you all about my San Fran adventures. I took lots and lots of pictures. Till then, here's a sneak peek...

Hope you are having a wonderful week so far!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Frisco, here I come!

The laundry is done. The bags are packed. The hotel is booked and the itinerary is loosely set.

Yep, that's right, I'm going on vacation, baby!

Pretty, amazing, huh? That is, for a workaholic-not-completely-by-choice like me.

As you probably inferred by the title and pictures of this post, I'm going to San Francisco! The foggy but beautiful by-the-bay town. I plan on eating lots of sourdough bread, visiting Chinatown, riding a cable car and getting a killer workout on the steep city streets.

I also hope to check in while I'm away, but if I don't, never fear: I'll be back in a week with a complete update and lots of photos.

You can count on it.

Ok, must go, I'm already running late! (Typical me.) We've got a long drive ahead of us...


P.S. Though I've been to Frisco a few times, I'd love any suggestions of great places to eat, drink and be merry. I know all the touristy locations and I plan to hit those up, but it'd be great to check out some only-known-to-the-locals places, too. Thanks in advance!

Images via we heart it, here and here.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Happy Friday + Happy Feet

Who knew new shoes could make a gal so darn happy?

Well, I guess Miss Carrie Bradshaw knew.

Yep, she had her priorities in order, and shoes (almost always) were at the top of the list.

When it came to saving money for rent or buying a new pair of shoes, shoes won, hands down.

When prepping to take Mr. Big out on the town for his last night in New York, what did Carrie have to have? Shoes. (Pink, ruffly and gorgeous shoes, if you recall. Hello, lover. That is, until Miranda's water broke.)

And even when getting mugged in the city what did Carrie want to save most of all? Her shoes. (Though she was still left barefoot in a back alley.)

So while they say a diamond is a girl's best friend, shoes come in at a very close second. They always fit and they always look good. What's not to love?

Now, while Carrie's shoe fetish focused on high-end designer heels with hefty price tags-- Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo-- I say there's no reason a girl can't get that same high from slipping on a pair of cute, cheap shoes. That's why I was absolutely giddy last Sunday when I bought three new pairs of shoes for the price of one pair I was contemplating purchasing online the night before. The math makes sense: three is much better than one. (Thank you, Target!)

I found an opportunity to wear my new footwear every chance I could get this week.

For my dad's birthday dinner last Saturday I donned my comfy and casual black flats with shiny detailing. For playing catch up with Abby on Sunday I slipped into my tawny, faux suede wedges that have a low heel height that is perfect for a Amazon woman tall girl like me. And to go to the office on Wednesday, I tied on my tan oxfords, which I paired with my new Ruche dress.

I swear, I had a spring in my step this week. And it was all thanks to my new shoes.

Carrie Bradshaw was definitely on to something.

P.S. Happy Friday! I'm going to be heading out soon to check out a summertime Jazz & Blues Concert Series (that I've wanted to go to for awhile now but never have been to) and celebrate the end of the week with a glass of wine. And you know I'm going to wear one of my new shoes! :) What's on your agenda? Whatever you do, I hope you have a wonderful time!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Playing catch up

On Sunday night, the boy and I met up for dinner with my big sis, Abby, and her fiance, Andrew. Don't let the fair skin and blonde hair fool you-- I didn't suddenly gain a sister I never told you about. But we are sorority sisters, in Alpha Phi.

Can you believe that we hadn't seen each other in four years-- since she graduated? I couldn't! Sure we had stayed in touch via Facebook and she sent me presents occasionally. (Such a thoughtful big sis!) But when she told me a couple months ago that she'd be in town (from Colorado) to attend a wedding, and that she would love to see me, I jumped at the chance. And it was so wonderful to actually see her again and catch up. Yeah, the food at Paradise Cove in Malibu was good-- with gigantic portions, mind you-- but the conversation was even better. It was almost like no time had passed. We both said the other looked exactly the same and we quickly clicked back into our old friendship. The night consisted of laughing and joking, swapping "how we met" stories, venting about work, chatting about girl stuff, learning we both share an affinity for Pinot Grigio and generally giving our boys are hard time.

We were at the restaurant for four hours-- the first one we spent at the bar, waiting for a table-- but the time seemed to fly right by, and at the end of the night it was bittersweet to say goodbye, not knowing when I'd see her next. Though I will, without a doubt, book a flight to Grand Junction and be at her wedding next June!

One of the things we did talk about Sunday night was how difficult it is to stay in touch with old friends after college (or high school, for that matter). It's not that you don't want to keep in touch but life sort of steps in and takes over. Following graduation, everyone goes their separate ways. One day, you're surrounded by friends; always have someone to talk to, go shopping with, eat lunch with. The next, you're in the real world. And if you're in my world, your good friends from college live hours, if not states, away, your bestie is just as busy as you are with not much time to hang out, and you work from home, which means no colleagues.

Suffice to say, I wouldn't be one to argue if all my long lost Pepperdine buddies decided to move back to California.

Until then, I will take advantage of and savor every chance I have to play catch up, to reconnect with those people who have left footprints on my heart. Because friends really are one of life's greatest gifts.

Are you good about keeping in touch with old friends? Have you reconnected with someone recently?

By the way, thank you all for being such lovely friends, and catching up with me in every post.


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Colorful summer bounty

It's true. Fruits and vegetables always taste better when they are in season. And summer is one wonderful season, don't you think? The warm sunshine offers up ripe freshness perfect and primed for picking. Goodies like cherries, tomatoes, oranges, peaches and strawberries. And that's just what I bought when I stopped by Francisco's Fruit Stand in Fillmore last Sunday. (I'm eating some of my cherries right now, in fact. They taste like little plums to me.)

There was an abundance of other vibrant fruits and veggies, too. If I had unlimited funds and an ability to make my selections stay fresh long enough for me to use them all, I would have bought more. As it was, I satisfied my urge to shop through photography, capturing all the colors of summer's bounty.

Crates of bell peppers...

A rainbow of peaches, plums, nectarines...

Don't you just want to take a bite?

Huge melons...

Sweet stacks of California berries...

This has me dreaming of apple cobbler.

Tomatoes, on and off the vine...

It's funny. A couple months ago, I wasn't a big fan of tomatoes. I mostly just liked them in cooked form: pasta sauce, pizza, ketchup. But recently, I have discovered that tomatoes are actually amazingly delicious, even in their natural raw state. I've been eating slices of them on club sandwiches and hamburgers, and I absolutely adore pairing them with fresh avocado, scooped right out of its shell.

Since I bought a vine of eight campari tomatoes from the roadside market, my task became figuring out what to transform the red beauties into. Luckily, while catching up on my blog reading, I came across this super simple bruschetta recipe from Analiese over at Tulips & Tea. All you need is tomatoes, a couple cloves of garlic, a few basil leaves, olive oil, salt and pepper.

A little chopping, a grind here, a drizzle there, a quick mix and ta da! Fresh and delicious bruschetta-- as good as the kind you'd get at a fancy Italian restaurant. Maybe even better. And I was so proud of my creation. I spooned mine atop thick, toasty slices of ciabatta bread. So good and good for you. I can't wait to hit up the farmer's market again.

So when's the last time you went to a farmers market? (This was really my first time ever buying anything.) And have you discovered a new food recently? Maybe one you hated that now you love? It's interesting how our tastes change over the years... that's why every so often I take a nibble of something I don't think I'll like. Because sometimes I surprise myself!

Well, I'm off to dinner to catch up with a long lost sorority sister. Hope you had a delicious weekend,

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Weekend recap

Ok, ok. I know it is Thursday and you are probably already thinking about what you are going to do this weekend, but I still want to share with you what I did last weekend! (It's the boy's fault. He took some of the pictures I wanted to share on his iPhone because I left my camera at home, and he finally sent them to me today!)

Anyway, I want to share because I'm still sort of amazed at all the things I did Friday through Sunday. Unfortunately, my weekends can be pretty uneventful sometimes so it was such a treat to really get out and make the most of my stress-free days off.

First up: Friday. That night I went out with a group of pals to the North Hollywood location of Big Wangs, a packed sports bar with a juice head (yes, that's a Jersey Shore reference for you) rooster as its mascot, slogans like "Size matters" and "Don't feed the chicks," and large flat screen TVs wherever you looked-- all tuned to, you guessed it, sports. We were there to celebrate a male friend's birthday and I found out I can hang pretty well with the guys. And for those of you who are my Facebook friend, you know that I came to the realization that night that, while I do love the vino, I also am, in fact, a beer-and-wings kind of gal. (My beer of choice was Stella.)

See, Big Wangs' claim to fame, as its name might suggest, is its chicken wings. I ordered nachos-- which were okay but nothing like the ones I had in Vegas-- and the guys took care of ordering the wings. Oh yes, they ordered "the three some." With 50 wings and three pitchers of beer, it can feed far more than 3. My boy wasn't digging the hot hot sauce and the other guys gave him a hard time about it at first, but pretty soon they couldn't stand the heat either. And there I was, the girly-girl I am, chowing down and lapping up the extra sauce with french fries. Classy, I know. All in all, it was a great night. And hey, sports aren't that bad when you've got a glass of beer (and maybe a shot of Patron, too).

On Saturday, I woke up surprisingly early given the previous night's festivities but I didn't get out and about until later in the afternoon. First stop: My bestie's house to pick up my cell phone. I left it at the bar! I told you I had a shot :)

A little while later, I met up with the boy. I had high hopes (no pun intended) of going to a hot air balloon festival in Santa Paula but it didn't quite work out since we had Hazel with us and we were told no dogs allowed! Boo. So we ended up driving back through Fillmore where we stopped at a roadside farmers market. While it may not be as large or glamourous as the ones in Los Angeles, I was super excited because I really have never been to or bought from a farmers market! In between snapping photos (which I'll share more of in my next post) I picked up fruits and veggies.

For $20, I got three pints of strawberries, a bunch of campari tomatoes on the vine, two oranges, one peach, a bag of cherries and a sack of caramels-- obviously the boy's addition to the basket.

Once we got back to the boy's house, I was starving, so we soon left again to go to dinner at La Cocina Bar & Grill, a Mexican restaurant that is a local fave in Santa Clarita. For dessert, we stopped at none other than Baskin Robbins where I got single scoop of pralines 'n' cream in a cone. So good.

On the drive home, between licks, we saw a concert in the park going on. I convinced the boy to stop and we did. Central Park, as they call it, was crawling with families, teens and dogs, and nearly half seemed to be playing a game of catch. My favorite part is when the band performed Cheryl Lynn's "Got to Be Real." It always reminds me of the Sex and the City episode where Carrie is asked to be a runway model and she falls flat on her face. Why? Because at the end of the show, as the credit role, "Got to Be Real" comes on as Carrie sashays into her bathroom... you know the part?

Well, as the band played the song, I sashayed around the park, singing "woo hoo, woo hoo, woo hoo" much to the boy's chagrin.

Now onto Sunday. As is classically us, we got in the car late in the day unsure where to go. And then decided on the Queen Mary in Long Beach. I'd never been so why not? (Well, the ticket price may be one reason, but nevermind about that.) We had a lightning fast lunch so that we could make the 4 o'clock Ghosts and Legends tour. It was so un-scary it was hilarious! And our tour guide was creep-tastic. I couldn't help but laugh at his monotone voice, silly jokes and failed attempts to make us jump, or me, anyway.

Then we explored the ship, though we abandoned the self-guided route and took our own path-- and randomly found an old school telephone booth. Did someone say photo op?

We wrapped up the day with a hour-long pitstop at Ikea-- I bought a new pillow and pair of cute bowls, but my kill joy sidekick talked me out of buying anything else-- and a pass through the Krispy Kreme drive-thru (maple doughnut, yum!).

Oh, and then I made bruschetta with my campari tomatoes at 9 o'clock at night. But more on that later.

So now that I've told you all about my past weekend excursions, tell me, do you have any plans for the weekend up ahead? If you haven't noticed by now, I'm not much of a planner. I kind of just wing it... and see where the wind takes me.

Weekend image via we heart it
Big Wangs image via its website