Tuesday, August 26, 2014

San Francisco Weekend in a Nutshell

This past weekend was my first weekend away from my sweet babe, and on a plane no less.  I flew to San Francisco for a quick weekend away to visit my best friend Jody.  It was such a much needed weekend to relax, recharge, and enjoy some quality girl time.

Upon arriving, we met up with Jody's husband and some other friends at Homestead in the Mission, for a stiff cocktail (I had the Paloma) to celebrate in regale in our friends Alex and Kostas' recent engagement.  Followed by a modern Vietnamese/Thai meal at Slanted Door in the historic Ferry Building.  It was a seriously superb meal; even the rice is amazing!  {Try the stir-fried organic chicken, chili-coconut eggplant, and green papaya salad}.  Plus they boast the eclectic dessert of sculpted cotton candy - we were tempted to order this ourselves to satisfy our inner children, but were perfectly satiated it would've been difficult to eat even one more bite!
The next morning we slept in (!!) before dining al fresco at Kitchen Story, which quite possibly might have been one of the best brunches of my life, I opted for the eggs Benedict accompanied by bacon wrapped asparagus, let me tell you, it was A-MAZING!  We considered ordering the bottomless mimosas - apparently a new San Francisco staple, but opted for singles as to encourage our activity for the day.

After brunch, we strolled around the Mission, Castro, refueling with some coffee at Stanza, before playing tourist and channeling our TGIF roots with a stop by the Alamo Square Park for a touristy photo opp, Full House flashback anyone?
After stopping by Whole Foods to pick up some sustenance, and picking our our favorite stoops and houses along the way, we met up with our friend Andy at Mission Dolores Park.  Mind you, did I tell you it was a beautiful beyond beautiful day.  The sky was cloudless, the sun warm and inviting, nothing of the typical fog or overcast haze San Francisco is famous for.  We settled in for some quality people watching with a blanket, a crisp bottle of Rose, and our own makeshift fruit platter.  
After, we grabbed a quick snack at Regalio Rostecario - all the rose had me craving guacamole (and there's didn't dissapoint).  By now it was at least 7:00, and we slowly made our way back to Jody's house for a "homemade" Blue Apron meal, pinot, and a cheesy but hilarious at times romcom.  All in all a pretty perfect day!

On Sunday, after waking up early to an earthquake (!) - we cruised down to the Marina to explore a new nook of San Francisco, picking up a healthy breakfast and filling smoothie at The Planet Cafe, before enjoying yet another day of sun as we shopped Fillmore and the surrounding area.  I had a 3:40 flight, so we headed back to her apartment to pack, but not before another touristy stop to Tartine  -whose line moved surprisingly fast considering it snaked around the corner.  One pain au chocolat and a croissant to go, followed by a stroll back to her apartment in the middle of the road, courtesy of Sunday Streets.  We discovered this weekend street closure is an age-old San Francisco tradition where alternating neighborhoods close a main thoroughfare on Sundays, open only to pedestrian traffic.  The street was peppered with a few sidewalk sales, street performers with instruments, and children riding their bikes.  It was a nice change of pace and way to explore.

All in all - quite a full weekend of sightseeing, and so much fun catching up with my dearest friend!  Thanks so much Jods! 

What's your favorite thing to do in San Francisco?  Do tell, I might just have to plan a return visit soon...

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cookbook Crush

Another swoon worthy cookbook about to hit the shelves.  Dinner: The Playbook is the eagerly anticipated "sequel" of sorts to Dinner: A Love Story, inspired by the ever-popular blog of the same name.  While I follow many a food blog, and hopelessly pin away recipes I know I'll never make, I appreciate Jenny Rosenstrach's approach to cooking.  She's very relatable; she tells it like it is, an ordinary mom of two kids, on a quest to consistently bring a variety of delicious, interesting, and healthy dinners to her family's table.  Granted her kids are good eaters, though they definitely have their gustatory quirks, as all children do.  A few of her recipes I've successfully followed and delivered include a new fan fave, pork fried rice.

What cookbooks are you crushing on?


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Quote of the Week

"Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school."  

~Albert Einstein


Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Healthy Deodorant

Continuing in my quest to use beauty products free of parabens, toxins, and the like, I have a new product to share with you.  Behold, The Healthy Deodorant by Lavanila.  Deodorant it seems has become a hot topic among blogs I've read lately, namely because several studies have suggested that aluminum and parabens in deodorant could be linked to breast cancer.  Doing my due of diligence, I picked up current Dove deodorant, flipped it over, and sure enough, the main ingredient is Aluminum Zirconium Tetrachlorohydrex GLY (15.2%), sounds really natural, right?  Um..no.  

While this data is only pulled from a few studies, and perhaps is inconclusive, that is reason enough for me to seek out an alternative, healthier antiperspirant.  My thinking is, deodorant is something I apply EVERY SINGLE DAY.  If there is even the slightest possibility that any of these ingredients could be linked to breast cancer, that's reason enough for me to change my ways.  

A few other bloggers have reported success with Lavanila, so I bought it on Amazon (also available at Sephora) between $14-15 per stick depending on your scent.  I opted for Lavender Vanilla.  This brand boasts no parabens, sulfates, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals, silicone, or mineral oil.  Scents are derived from essential oils and anti-oxidants. Three days in, I'm quite pleased with this product.  There's no sweaty smelling odors late in the day, I've had no issues with staining on my clothes, and I feel it's held up with my level of activity and exercise.  

Are you up for the deodorant challenge?


Friday, August 8, 2014

Dinner Last Night: Seared Scallops with Pea Puree and Beurre Blanc

Just call me Julia Child, friends!  A few nights ago, after that annoying Iggy Azalea song had me singing "I'm so fancy," on repeat, I decided it was high time to put the fancy back in dinner.  After a sweep of the ol' pinterest board, I selected this elegant dish; seared scallops with pesto pea puree and beurre blanc.  Not your average Monday night, eh?  Well, it was surprising easy - for real, thanks to Trader Joe's frozen scallops, my Nutribullet, and a whole lotta butter!  Butter really does make everything better…Julia was right all along.  Although I was channeling the culinary genius, I'm not sure I came even close to mastering beurre blanc (basically butter, heavy cream, and white white stirred and reduced), nor was it finessed in the same way, however the final dish did to match the picture surprisingly enough!  Victory!

image + recipe/bakedbree

Monday, August 4, 2014

Last Great Book I Read

I don't think I can say enough good things about this book, Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  When I sought out book recommendations a few weeks ago, a few of you suggested this title.  I'd never heard of the author, and to be honest I was really not impressed by the cover art (yes, I know, don't judge a book by its cover and all that, but sometimes it's hard not to…).  

Anyway, I bit the bullet, and bought it on my kindle.  The first chapter didn't instantly captivate me, however a few pages in something happened; characters developed, plots thickened, and this beautiful, unusual story unfolded before me.  I found myself eager to read, seeking out free minutes to pick up where I last left off - always a sure sign of a genuinely good book.  And lastly, once it ended, I found myself still continuing to think about it.  In a nutshell it had all my hallmarks of a must read: thought provoking, moving, memorable.  Go for it!



Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Mid-Week Link Love

+ Reading this book per your recommendations

+ Loving this motherhood series (I look forward to Mondays to read each new post)

Thinking about (and channeling my art history degree)

+ A new documentary about the US surge of C-sections

+ Watching this documentary while house hunting


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

10 Reasons I Love You: 8 Months

{8 Months}

1. You waved bye bye to me at day care!  It was more of an elongated flick of your fingertips, “Miss America” wave, but nonetheless, wave it was!  Just as the door was about to close you lifted up your tiny hand, tipped your fingers upward and shrieked your sweet baby squeal.  Made my day!

2. Perhaps you are preparing for new teeth, but you’ve started this new habit of sucking on your gums.  Every so often we hear this slurping sound, which I assume is anything but you, sucking on the inside of your cheek or gums.  Self discovery, I tell ya!

3. You have inherited a trait of your grandpa Bud - the point.  Bud is famous for his point, thrusting it across many a family member in order to ensure that they don’t miss a thing!  Lately, you are pointing at everything; airplanes, birds, kids, helicopters, leaves even.  You often accompany an enthusiastic point with the word “dair” which Nana swears once came out as “airplane” plain as day.  

4. We took you in the ultimate bath tub - the pool!  Daddy and I took you to your first swim “lesson,” more of a water babies class, but you loved it.  The pool was a touch cooler than I’d anticipated, but you handled the temperature like a champ.  You kicked your feet, and splashed around, and even floated on your back with your ears underwater.  At the end, you were kicking with such gusto, it was obvious you weren’t ready to get out!  Yet, you didn’t seem to mind the relaxing dunk in the hot tub shortly thereafter.  You are a born swimmer girl!

5. We took you on your first zoo outing.  It was a beautiful sunny day, the stroller wheels newly inflated with air, it was quite an adventure!  Now, mom and dad might have enjoyed the animal experience a tad more than you did, however, you were smitten by the duck sighting in the giraffe, lion, and zebra habitat.  Yes, it was those common Northwest bird ducks, not those wild safari animals that captivated your attention as you gleefully cried, “Du!”  “Du!”.  Just another reason why we love you.

6. A big girl you are, as you’ve decided sippy cups are for babies.  After experimenting with several sippy cups, I just tried the cup sans lid, and voila!  You loved it.  I hold the cup up to your lips and you eagerly lean forward opening up your mouth to drink.  You always seem thirsty and Mommy is perfecting the art of tipping the water ever so slightly as to not douse you with cold water (since that’s happened a time or two).

7. You’ve started to enjoy peek-a-boo played around the corner of the bathroom mirror.  Here’s how it goes: we stand at the edge of the wall separating the bathroom and the hallway.  I lean into the bathroom, and look at myself in the mirror and you slyly follow with your eyes, delighting when you see your reflection.  It’s a game of cat and mouse, hide and seek, as I hold you intentionally away so you have to slowly lean to peer around the corner. You love it and giggle endlessly every single time.

8. You are all over your crib these days, flipping on your tummy, propping your feet up against the rails, I think we’ve reached the end of the predictable back sleeping era.  Oh boy!

9. Your love of airplanes has only increased exponentially!  We often go to the park, lay down a blanket, and watch for the path of airplanes crossing the sky. Turns out, we might be living right underneath a popular route, as you’ve now picked up on the sound of the airplane from inside our home, and you often gesture towards the window when a passing airplane passes overhead.  Do I see a future pilot in our midst?

10. You are so anxious to crawl!  Daddy crawls around the floor, and you excitedly slap the ground and rock forward, as if to take off after him.  I can see the wheels turning in your head, as you carefully observe, and mentally make note of all the steps to complete the process.  I think it will only be a short while before you’re ready to move!


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