Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you and yours a happy, safe holiday.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

This has been such a busy month that I cannot believe Christmas is only a week away! Bry has spent the last few weeks finishing his MA program at SF State, applying for PhD programs, and still has yet to come up for air (the last paper is due tomorrow!!)

I have been busy with work, baking cookies for our wonderful Friendsgiving cookie exchange (pictures to come later), making banana bread, and eating cookies-gifts sent to our workplace (not to mention the endless boxes of See's Candy the seems to come in the arms of every visitor...I think I need to start locking the door...). I am looking forward to my college friends coming into town tomorrow for an afternoon of food and fun.

I was so excited when my boss came up the stairs yesterday with a Christmas tree for the office! Since our studio is so itsy-bitsy, Bry and I have not had a tree since moving to SF, so this was a welcomed surprise. We spent time at the end of the day decorating the tree with lights, a few ornaments, and some other silly things from around the office. It was just the thing I needed to get into the Christmas mood. 'Tis the season!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cooking With Love

There are few things as beautiful and delicious as a meal made with love. With just a few days before America's number one eating holiday, Thanksgiving, I look forward to the wonderful time that will be spent around the table breaking bread with family and friends. It is a precious time that I hold dear.

I feel so fortunate to break bread on a regular basis with my new coworkers; we sit down as an entire team and enjoy a wonderful meal together. Everyone takes turns preparing the meal, as well as covering the cleaning duties. It's a brilliant tradition.

Last Friday the lovely greek mother of a coworker prepared the most delicious meal for everyone: moussaka. This joy-of-a-women began this labor of love the day before our lunch and made an enormous casserole dish that, along with a crisp greek salad and home-cured olives, left our stomachs full and our souls satisfied. "Thank you, Sofia. It was delightful!"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Got Wheels?

I am thankful each and every time I get in my car, it starts, and carries me where I need to go. This weekend I drove over 600 miles roundtrip to see my family and visit my nephew, Kaiden. Shortly after I set out on my trip Friday after work I hit a milestone: 200,000 miles...wow! I was in Novato listening to Adele. I hope this little car makes it to 300,000!

Friday, November 4, 2011

T.G.I.F.

Dear Friday, I am immensely thankful for you. Love, me

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I Heart Warm

Tonight I am thankful for warm. Yes, just warm. I think in a different life I was a lizard that spent her day sunning on a rock, or a cat that slowly moved across the kitchen floor following the warm glow of the sunshine... Either way, I like warm. This has been highlighted today as we got a little rain shower and a cold, cold chill in the air. Are you a person who prefers summer or winter? While I appreciate winter and love the opportunity to get cozy, if I had to pick one of the 2 seasons, it'd be summer. Warm.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Comfort Food

Today I am thankful for comfort food. On those long days when you are tired, feeling under the weather, experiencing stormy weather, or just need a taste of home, the perfect remedy is often the simplest. In my case it's chicken soup; just like mom made it, just like grandma made it. Brian felt like he was coming down with something, the tell-tale tickle of a sore throat, and requested chicken soup. I made a big pot of this healing concoction which was good for not only last night's dinner, but tonight's supper as well.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Month of Giving Thanks

To celebrate both the joy of giving thanks and the month of Thanksgiving I would like to spend each day in this lovely November sharing the things that I am thankful for. On this November 1st, I am thankful for my cat Dodo, more affectionately referred to as Widdle Meeshwan. We adopted him as a young adolescent when the neighbors left him behind as they moved across the country. We were not looking for an addition to the family, but he has made a permanent home in our hearts. xoxo

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Non-Violent Revolution





This was a really inspiring interview that we watched last night with Brian Willson, a non-violent activist who has spent his life learning the costs of opposing the brutal actions of the United States government. Brian lost both legs during a peaceful sit-in that opposed the transportation of weapons to Central America:

"Today we spend the hour with a man who put his life on the line twice: once when he served in the Vietnam War and again when he came back. On September 1, 1987, Brian Willson took part in a nonviolent political action outside the Concord Naval Weapons Station in California. He sat down on the train tracks along with two other veterans to try to stop a U.S. government munitions train sending weapons to Central America during the time of the Contra wars. The train didn’t stop. Willson suffered 19 broken bones, a fractured skull and lost both of his legs."

A very eye-opening testimonial that comes at a time when peaceful demonstrations across the country are meeting brutal crackdowns by local police units. It leads one to question the "democracy" and "freedom" that the US espouses to stand for.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Winds of Change


I feel awful for my absence... it's not because I don't love you! It ha been busy, but hopefully things will be smoothing out for me soon. Thursday was the last day of my old job; a place I had been for 6 years. It was hard to say goodbye to people who had become like family. Nonetheless, they are friends that I will have forever, and for that I am thankful. Yesterday marked the beginning of a new adventure as I began my other job at Fra'Mani as their Office Services Coordinator. I was seeking out a good-food job and I found one! I am already in love with this artisan salumi company and adore all the people there. I spent my first day trying to keep my head above water, really. So many things to learn, but I am beyond excited for the challenges that lie ahead.

Last night was my first company outing: we took part in the OcTCHOBeerFest event at the TCHO factory complete with chocolate, salumi, cheese, bread, and beer, oh my! We took a tour of the factory and learned the process of turning acidic cacao beans into beautiful, velvety chocolate. The tour concluded with, of course, eating chocolate the was literally just made that day... heaven! After that the Fra'Mani team went out for Chinese food and enjoyed (more) beer, dumplings, calamari, a whole steamed fish (YUM!) and many more dishes that went circulating around the table. I was so happy that my sweetheart was able to make it out to meet my new friends. I think I have found my happy place :)

image via {pinterest}

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Crazy


Crazy. That's been my week. I turned down a new job, I took a new job, I quite my old job, I started my new job. Phew. After 6 years with my current company I felt it was time to move on and try something new... it feels more like jumping off of a cliff, if you ask me. While I was set and comfortable in my ways, I felt that I needed a new challenge and honestly something that pushed me out of my comfort zone. It's important to do that every now and then, or so they say ("who's they?!"). Plus my new company is full of wonderful people and best of all, I am finally working in the food industry; artisan food to be exact (I will post more about the job once I am settled in). So here's to new adventures, uncertain outcomes, and a whole lotta fun!

In the meantime I am on a quest for cute work outfits. Any thoughts? What is your go-to style this fall? You can check out my Pinterest Style Inspiration here.

image found on pinterest via {hautemamasfaves}

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Occupy Wall Street!

thousands came out to protest as others assembled in cities all over the country
police brutality has been heavily documented on non-voilent protesters
big names help draw much lacking media coverage: Michael Moore, Tim Robbins
people recognizing the wide-spread effects of the Wall Street greed and corruption
arrests are rampant! 700 people arrested in one day on the Brooklyn bridge
the theme that has moved thousands and resonates with millions

genius; at the ready to document the revolution
Wow! Amazing things are happening all over the country in a unified voice of anger, disgust, and, as one 87 year old woman so aptly put it, a "mad as hell" attitude. This movement of solidarity is growing, gaining steam with the addition of a number of unions, and I believe this is just the beginning. As the people take to the streets to express their frustration, they are striking cords in the hearts of the "99%" living in this great nation who are suffering under the oppression of the 1% who own so much, have more than they could ever need, are the root cause of the economic crisis, and then turn around expecting the rest, who are already stretched thin or are crumbling, to pay the price. It's an unbelievable time we are witnessing; a time where feet are put to the fire and true character is, and will, be demonstrated by those in authority. It's a make or break moment in politics and our country. The movement of the 99% has begun and where it leads is unknown, but the path is exciting. The sleeping giant has awoken...!

To check out the most in-depth coverage of the protest (that you WILL NOT see on any corporate news station) watch Democracy Now. Amy Goodman is a champion of free speech media and gives voice to the voiceless. While you're there, listen to the interview today with Naomi Klein, an incredibly intelligent author and journalist. Also, you can see the movement that is growing in our beautiful San Francisco; a video of Occupy SF that my sweetheart shot from the roof!

This. Is. INSPIRATION!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

At the Market: Chard

Known by a number of prefixes, Swiss being the most common, chard has a known history that stems as far back as the hanging gardens of ancient Babylon, a once fertile ground where agriculture is said to have been born. This, of course, I did not learn until afterward. I was thumbing through an old October copy of Bon App├ętit and came across a dish that looked irrisistible: Swiss Chard Ricotta Gnudi with Fall Mushrooms. I was sold.




Gnudi are a type of large, ricotta gnocchi. The gnudi mixture had to sit in the fridge overnight, so start the prep for this cozy meal the day before you wish to partake. The resulting dish was different than I had anticipated, slightly Asian in its essence, with a strong mushroom presence. All in all, I enjoyed it and found the thin, shallow soup a welcoming accompaniment to the unexpected rain.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Meet Me, Meat-Free

Happy Monday, happy fall! Kim from the wonderful blog, simply blythe, so graciously opted to spend her morning with moi! Head on over here to read the interview, find out my favorite cheap date idea, and get the recipe for my easy vegetarian chili.


Thank you, Ms. Kim!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Travis Carl Mattson


Happy birthday to my cousin, Travis, whom I miss dearly. We would have the time of our lives playing, swimming, experimenting (he was a genius and amateur mad-scientist!), climbing trees, and getting into mischief. I will always remember his smile and he forever has a special place in my heart. Love you, cousin.

Looking at Pears


"To neglect a pear on the table and then return to find it ripe days later is merely a lucky coincidence. But to keep a pear in mind as it ripens is to practice cooking in its simplest form."

I am currently reading the amazing Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli and came across this quote. It so captured the art of simplicity that I had to share.

image from {educate your sofa} found via pinterest.

Babies + Camping

cake-pop baby cake: carrot and red velvet
 I spent last weekend at my parent's house on a visit that was planned around my cousin Michelle's baby shower. It was a sweet, sophisticated shower, held at a lovely Paso Robles winery, where I was able to hang out with my large, wonderful family, drink wine, and send out "ooh's" and "ahh's" over adorable baby gifts.

my nephew Rydin playing with his tractor... literally, his favorite thing in the world
Rydin with his faced pressed against the glass... this kid is so stinkin' funny!
the cousins: me, Michelle, Melissa, and my sister Shay (Rydin's mom)
After the shower we came home and headed right down to the lake to get in a little late-summer camping and to try out dad's new-to-us boat. It is a Sea Ray with a tiny little cabin underneath, but we managed to pile in 7 adults and 3 kids, no problem. San Antonio Lake is great in that it allows shoreline camping, so we were able to launch the boat, and anchor it right off shore. Dad, in typical fashion, was so excited to test the extent of his new toy that he slept on the boat that night. He makes me laugh! I am sure it was much more comfortable then the ground I was sleeping on!

mom tidying the boat after our day of tubing on the lake
a beautiful sunset as I headed out on Sunday, making my way back north

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Images of Italy: Venice

I realized that I still have so much to share from our trip to Italy that I just need to start posting pictures and let the images attest to the splendor of this boot-iful country (sorry, couldn't help myself...!). Even though Venice was a stop half-way through our journey, I will start here since I love the photos from this city.

The water levels fluctuate dramatically in Venice... they can set-up plank walkways instantly.
Piazza dining is a way of life.
View from the campanile.
The Venice market is legendary for its fresh seafood.
Amazing, intelligent, beautiful creatures.
Love a piazza filled with color.
LOVE this boat!
Gondolieri on a break.
Amazing villas along Il Grande Canale.
My love.
Outside the entrance for Harry's Bar, about to partake in the famous Peach Bellini!
Brian and a cool Roma band.
We ate an amazing dinner at this little unassuming restaurant off a quiet, side street.
Venice at night from the Rialto Bridge.