Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mother's Day Fun

Yes, I know everything is very late on my blog, sorry!

Instead of doing the usual go out to brunch, wait a long time, end up paying too much for not great food for mother's day we just hosted our own brunch.  The bf made all the food, although I did find some of the amazing recipes for him (like this french toast recipe from The Kitchn).  I made the mimosas and mock mimosas (with sparkling tangerine juice from Whole Foods).  The food and drinks were a hit! It was a little bit too much food for the average person, but it was all so delicious we ate almost all of it!

I made a gift for my mom, which I haven't done since I was a small child.  I was very proud of myself for being crafty and getting in touch with my creative side.  I got the idea from here (which I saw on here) and was inspired from here.  I didn't go for the exact straight lines or perfect measurements, but went for a more handmade look :)
I got a little overwhelmed when I walked into Michael's with a plan of what I needed to buy to complete my project.  When I saw that the canvases came is two packs I decided that if the first one came out the way I wanted, I would make a second (for myself)!  The other decision I had to make were the colors I wanted to use (I probably should've done this before I went since my default is always maize and blue and I'm trying to branch out).  So I spent quite a bit of time in the paint aisle deciding what kind/size of paint (I went for something cheap) and a good color (I ended up with a blueish periwinkle).  Then I walked to the fancy thick paper/cardstock and tried to decide on a complementary color, I ended up with dark brown.  I also needed Mod Podge (which had too many options so I went with matte) an exacto knife, paint brushes, and a paint holder thing (for all of these I just went with the cheapest option).

With all my supplies in hand I started by making evenly spaced lines on the canvas for the stripes, but of course I couldn't find a ruler so I just ended up using binder paper and made each stripe 3 lines long.  This left an oddly large final stripe so I fudged the lines a bit to make it look more even.  I then painted every other line and let it dry.

Next came the California shape.  I found a random simple outline of California online and printed it out.  Then I taped it to my fancy dark brown cardstock and using my exacto knife, followed the outline.  I then Mod Podged it into place (I had no clue what this meant, nor did I investigate it, I basically used it as glue and then as a finish, maybe I should've checked out this website first).  Lastly I cut out a little red heart and glued it where Lake Tahoe is.  End result: my mom loved it and here it is hanging in her bathroom!
Super blurry pic from my Mom, I think my sister's photography talents must be form the other side of the family
I also received a mother's day present since I am a mother to this adorable pupperz. 
I got the Memphis CD, and I'm pretty sure he had some help from the bf.  We just went to see the Broadway on screen version of Memphis and both loved it (although I think the bf loved it more, which makes me question the motives for the gift ;) Btw, the music form Memphis is great, and if you're into Broadway shows/music you should definitely check it out!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bike to Work Day x 2!

Last Thursday was Bike to Work Day for the San Francisco Bay Area.  This gave me a good reason to put air in my front tire (it had been acting funny) and ride my bike the long distance of 1.9 miles to work!

The only other time I rode to work (last fall) I was a little discouraged because the last 6 blocks of my ride were very frustrating.  There wasn't a real bike lane and lots of stupid stoplights, for these reasons I rode on the sidewalk part of the way, which really slowed me down and I think meant I hit more red lights.  This time I just rode on the road where a bike lane should be and made the cars go around me.  It's really not a very busy road so it wasn't a big deal and the ride was way better and faster!

I am awesome
Since it was a great ride on Thursday I decided to ride again on Friday.  Which was actually better because there was traffic due to construction and I got to speed past all of it!  I felt very cool and environmentally friendly :)

The bf says my goal should be to ride my bike to work at least twice a week, and I think I will take him up on this challenge!  Planning this week for Thursday and Friday again since there is rain in the forecast for the beginning of the week.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Killer Fruit Salad

This is probably as close as you will get to a recipe from me, since the bf does most of the cooking. I'm usually just the eater/dishwasher.  There have been a reappearance of berries at the farmer's markets, especially strawberries! I decided I wanted to do something besides just eat them plain (which is also good and I do often).  Here is the impossibly hard recipe for my awesome fruit salad:

1 basket Strawberries
2 Clementines
1/2 basket of blackberries
1/4 cup of chopped (ok who am I kidding, I just shred it with my hands) mint
squirt of lemon juice
dash of sugar

Most important thing is that its all very fresh and in season fruit.  You can basically sub in any kind of fruit you have, but the strawberries really pair well with the mint so I'd keep those in there.

Cut up the fruit into bite size pieces (I like to cut slices of clementines in half so you get some juice, and I left the blackberries whole)
Put into a bowl and top with mint, lemon juice and sugar.
Mix it all together.
Taste to see if it needs more sugar or juice and adjust if necessary.

I've been putting this in a big bowl in the fridge to snack on all week, but it seems to go quickly so I'm not sure how long it will keep.  It is nice to let it sit for at least a few hours before serving so it can soak up all the juices and mint flavor.
In a tupperware, on my desk, half eaten

Thursday, May 5, 2011

To all who come to this happy place, Welcome!

I <3 Disneyland so very much! Yes, I am 26 and there are no small children in our family, yet it is still possible to have a fantastic time there. 
My Happy Family
First you ave to understand that Disneyland isn't all about the big rides, its about the overall experience.  You should go see shows and attractions that aren't rides to give you a full magical experience.  Some of my family's favorite non-ride attractions:

Animation (in California Adventure) - First, you walk into a big room with scenes of Disney animated movies playing and music from those movies. There are comfy benches and it is very relaxing.  There are two "shows" you can go to here, turtle talk with Crush and Animation Studio (or something).  Turtle Talk with Crush is so cool for kids and adults. Crush (the turtle from finding nemo) shows up on the screen as his computer animated self and interacts with the people in the audience.  My sister answered a question from him and he gave her the nick name Kickin' it Casey! The other show isn't quite as cool, but you do get to learn how to draw a Disney Character (and compare it to your family's interpretations :). The last part of the animation attraction is a walk through type of thing where you get to do cool things like see which Disney character you are most like (I was Jane from Tarzan) and put your voice to a Disney song or scene (we did Hakuna Matata).  I think we spent about 2 hours here and it was so fun, as always!
Blue Sky Cellar (In California Adventure) - This is a small room that talks about coming attractions to California Adventure and information from Disney Imagineers.  There are some really cool models and videos of plans for the new rides.  This time it was focused on the new Little Mermaid ride (opening in June) and the new Cars Land (already in construction and opening in 2012).  You learn some cool stuff!
Fireworks (Disneyland) - Nothing beats the fireworks in Disneyland, they are coordinated to music so well and always have a theme. We watched them from the middle of main street in good view of the castle.

Fantasmic (Disneyland) - A great 20 minute show with cool effects and lots of Disney characters, its shown on the rivers of America by New Orleans Square and you can sit down to watch the show.  Sadly, we didn't watch it this time but I usually recommend going to the late show.

Tiki Room (Disneyland) - A classic animatronic show.  The birds sing, the flowers sing, even the totem poles on the wall sing! And while you are waiting you can get a pineapple whip, yum-zo!
There are also some fun rides that aren't "thrill" rides, that contribute to the overall experience.  Here are some of my favs:

Toy Story Mania (California Adventure) - its a 3D video game on a ride!  So fun, and if your family is competitive (who us?) its even better.  Unfortunately, I got last in my family first time we went, but improved and got second to last the second (Ha, Dad, beat you!).
Astroblasters (Disneyland) - Same idea, but you don't wear 3-D glasses and you are shooting at moving targets, I do much better at this game, for some reason.
Peter Pan (Disneyland) - Yes, its a kid's ride, but it is such a good idea for a ride it still remains one of the best!
And then there are the thrill rides and ones everyone knows about like Space, Thunder, and Splash (closed while we were there) Mountains, Indiana Jones, California Screamin and Soarin, and the Tower of Terror.

One disappointment from this trip, World of Color.  Its a water, light, music, animation show on teh big pond in California Adventure.  It was so hyped up, and we got our fastpasses, like we were told to.  But we really couldn't see the animation projected on the water and we had to wait and stand an hour in our area before it started.  They really need to fix the viewing area...put in bleachers or risers that come out of the ground (you're Disney, you can do it).

The only other disappointment was that we really only spent 1.5 days there :(  Just one more night and half a day at the park would've made all the difference and we could've gone back to the hotel and napped without feeling like we were missing anything.

Ok, last disappointment was that we didn't stay at the Grand Californian.  If they are having a special, stay there, it's worth it!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sonoma + Pupperz!

A couple weekends ago the BF and I went to Sonoma (yes, again).  He gives a pretty good rundown of our trip here.  One of the big differences in this trip was that we brought the dog with us! He is a great car dog but can be quite a handful when interacting with other people.  One downside was that we had to find a place to stay that allowed dogs and we were trying to stay on the cheaper side so we ended up at a Travelodge, which was pretty much as expected, bare bones but clean enough and only charged a $10 dog fee.

The main purpose of our trip was to pick up wine from our wine club, Hook and Ladder!  They had a pick-up party which included tasting any of their wine they had open, food, and a fun party atmosphere.  They had some good snacks and great wine (as always).  We walked away with 8 bottles and spent under $100, and even though we were pretty late for the party we still felt very welcome while we were there.

Since we had Angel with us there was a dog winery I had heard about and wanted to check out.  I couldn't remember the name and when I googled "dog wineries in sonoma" about 50 different wineries came up!  Apparently you can take your dog to many tasting rooms, but we just went to the one I had previously heard about, Mutt Lynch.  It was small but very dog friendly (they had a bed for Angel) and they support many dog organizations.  Their wine was better than expected, reasonably priced, and cutely named (Merlot Over and Play Dead).  They also shared their warehouse with another winery, Deux Amis, so we walked over two steps to try their wine, too.
Princess and his Daddy
The last dog friendly thing we did was check out a nice dog park near the city of Glen Ellen.  It was part of the Sonoma Valley Regional Park, called the Elizabeth Perrone dog park.  Sadly, there weren't many dogs there but it was a nice sized park with benches and grass for Angel to run and play.  It was also close to a few other wineries we tried, check out the bf's post for that info.

This is a picture of my breakfast in Healdsberg, I just forgot to mention it anywhere in this post, oops!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Waterfall? In Berkeley?

My work is doing a "build a better you" challenge and employees are encouraged to form teams of 5-10 members and compete in any of three categories: weight loss, pedometer steps, and minutes of exercise.  The team I joined is a very active team and set minimum requirements and if you don't meet them you have to buy the team pizza!  This has led to many weekend activities that involve being, well, active!  One weekend we hiked to the only waterfall in Berkeley.  It is very much an urban hike since its in a neighborhood.  One of our team members lives in the Berkeley Hills so we started at her house and walked from there. 

A little teaser
The waterfall is technically on private property, but the owners allow people to walk to the waterfall as long as they are courteous and responsible.  We went through a random unmarked gate, on the side of a trail, in the back of a park to get there.  We first saw little waterfalls/streams, and thought that was it, but luckily it wasn't.  When we reached the waterfall we were pleasantly surprised, it was a pretty little waterfall and so cool to just be naturally occurring in some one's backyard.  It's now on my list of things I want in my dream home/yard!
The BF being a fool