Food

A Dash of Paprika

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I love my iPad. Truly, I use it for so many things. It is great for working on the go, easier to travel with than a full laptop (but still allows me to blog and stay connected on trips), it keeps my littles entertained with movies on long flights, allows me to read books on my Kindle app, taking an entire library with me on the go, and so much more. But, this post isn’t really about my iPad. It’s about the so much more. (more…)

Merry Christmas to Me!

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Hubs and I are really into coffee. Part of it is due to my my friend Pauline’s influence, as she encouraged it by giving us her old espresso machine when she upgraded to a new one. I think it really took off to new heights, however, when we lived in San Francisco. SF is coffee-crazy and incredible artisan coffee abounds there, so we were a little spoiled with options and our standards raised in proportion.
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We LOVE Casanova

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It is no secret that I love Carmel, California.  It is absolutely gorgeous with stunning cypress trees, a rocky coastline, beautiful ocean views and stunning vistas everywhere you look.  Not only does it have natural beauty, it is home to many great restaurants, fabulous shopping, quaint streets and lovely art galleries. Speaking of great restaurants, one of our absolute favorites is Casanova.  The atmosphere is old-world European, reminiscent of France or Italy.  There are lovely indoor and outdoor seating areas and the many rooms make the large restaurant seem small and friendly.  The food is outstanding.  Every.  Single. Time.  I have been to the restaurant many, many times and have never not liked what I tasted.  It is always absolutely delish! (more…)

Our Rodeo Adventure

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Yesterday, we finally fulfilled our promise to our boys to take them to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo.  Bean has been dying to go since Go Texan Day and since a “real cowboy” visited his preschool. Both of the boys looked absolutely precious in their jeans and boots and Bean looked extra cute in his hat.

First, we stopped by the Mutton Bustin’ tent.  I seriously love this “sport.”  It’s so cute.  Little kids (around five years old) come out riding a sheep and try and hold on for eight seconds, like the bull riders do.  It is absolutely adorable.  One kid we saw absolutely would not let go.  That sweet boy held on to the side of that sheep as it ran for so long – it was really impressive.  What a little rock star!   (more…)

My Favorite Things of 2013: Kenya Edition!

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The following is a guest blog post written by a friend of mine (and fellow English major) from college, Manya Andrews Dotson.  Manya now lives in Africa with her husband and daughters, who are pictured above.  She has an interesting life and an even more interesting perspective.  And today, she is sharing with us her very favorite things of 2013 – the Kenya edition!  I’ve already tried several of the things in her post (the Clinique primer, the Dior mascara and serum and the Urban Decay eye shadow palette) and I have to say, I’m hooked.  Can’t wait to try the rest of these… (more…)

Grgich Winery

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On our recent trip back to San Francisco, we made a little time for a day in the wine country.  (No surprise for those of you who know us well!)  We hit two vineyards that were new to us and the first one was Grgich Hills Estate Winery.

Mike Grgich (pronounced Gur-gitch) made history back in 1976 when his chardonnay was chosen in the now-famous “Paris Tasting.”  Then, he was with Chateau Montelena (another fun winery to visit) and they literally put Napa on the map, causing people to start taking California wines seriously.  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you should definitely read Judgement of Paris or watch the movie Bottle Shock, which I found highly entertaining. (more…)

Hot Chocolate at the Houstonian

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Tonight, the fam packed up and headed to The Houstonian hotel for some hot chocolate by their giant fireplace.  They have huge gingerbread houses surrounding the top of it with a train that drives around them, so we knew that would be a huge hit with the boys.  (We weren’t mistaken on that one.)   It was so much fun to sit by a roaring fire, sipping on hot chocolate, while the boys ran around and marveled at the train.  The Houstonian’s decorations are absolutely stunning and put us all in the holiday spirit, for sure. (more…)

Sam’s Anchor Cafe

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After a super fun day hiking in Muir Woods, hubs and I drove over to Tiburon to hit Sam’s Anchor Cafe, where we enjoyed a few cold beers and some seafood fare while soaking up the sun (the redwood canopy in Muir Woods keeps it shady, cool and often foggy) and noshing on some seafood.  While I can’t say that the food was anything outstanding, it tasted great to us after a full day of hiking.  Honestly, you go to Sam’s more for the views – and they are totally worth it!  Our afternoon felt like a mini-vacation and this stop made us feel like we’d taken a detour to Key West (well, without the Jimmy Buffet and partying craziness – just the relaxed oceanside atmosphere part.)  If you’re in the area and are looking for a little relax time with a cold beer and gorgeous views, this place is absolutely worth a visit! (more…)

Secrets from a Sommelier

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You know those friends that you bond intensely with over a major milestone in your life?  The ones that become fast, but also deep, friendships because you go through something together that absolutely bonds you for life?  For me, the friends that I met through our playgroup (organized by GGMG here in San Francisco) were just like that.  We bonded over having our first babies together and I think because most of us are raising them far away from family, that bond is intensified even more.  Amy is one of the moms from our playgroup and she and I were friends from day one.  Amy is the kind of friend that will literally bend over backward for you in your time of need.  She will stay up all night working on something for you, answer your phone calls at any time of night and generally has your back, no matter what you need.  She’s a fantastic mom, an organized person…oh, and a sommelier. (more…)

b. patisserie

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Oh, dear.  I’ve discovered yet another adorable coffee shop in San Francisco and this one’s got amazingly delicious pastries.  And worse, its right in our neighborhood – just a few short blocks from my house.  Yikes!

The other day, we walked over to b. patisserie on California and Divisadero with the kids.  The shop was opened by quite a pair.  Belinda Leong was formerly the pastry chef at Gary Danko (one of my favorites!) and Michel Suas, a native of France, started his career as a pastry chef in Paris.  Not only is this place gorgeous inside, but it is filled with a delicious aroma and equally tasty treats!  They serve Four Barrel coffee and espresso and it is delish as well!  This is a fabulous place to sit, take a breath and contemplate life or to catch up with friends over a steaming latte.  The setting is crisp and serene and the food may have you heading back through the line more than once! (more…)