with labor day behind us, all my mind can think of is the transition into fall. although these 80 degree temps in the bay area are making it hard to believe we are transitioning…thanks indian summer!
growing up in southern california, i never really thought about the seasons. it was usually in the 70s all year round. then i moved to salt lake city for college where i was able to experience the joy of all four seasons. the weather cooling and leaves changing colors was magical. the first snow fall was dreamy. i remember looking at the sky as the snow was falling and couldn’t believe how picturesque it looked. i still can watch it snow for hours.
I really came to love the variety. i loved the need to have a different wardrobe for all 4 seasons because in southern california you really can dress for summer 90% of the time.
now we are in the bay area where we experience a little bit more of the chilly nights but don’t have to wake up early to shovel snow off of our car. that was the worst part of the snow — cleaning off your car and driving in it. i will have to insist on four wheel drive if we are ever to return to the snow!
these pictures are making my heart yearn for sweaters, pumpkins, apple cider and tights.
okay, i know i promised a city guide to palm springs this week but, i feel like i blinked and the week was already over. my day job has been taking it out of me these past couple of days. don’t you worry though, you will receive a much anticipated city guide next week, i swear.
on a brighter note, tgif.
i know i had a shorter work week but man am i glad it is friday. b and i plan to take it easy. maybe a little exploring berkley here and a farmers market there. i am ready to have b all to myself. the past 3 weekends i have had to share him with all our lovely visitors and i have loved it, but sometimes you just need some alone time. you know?
do you remember when there used to be a segment on abc called tgif? where new episodes of family matters, step by step and boy meets world were premiered? those were the nights. b and i really love tv shows (far more than movies) so we thought why not make our own tgif for this date night?
we air popped some popcorn (the way popcorn should be made in my opinion), threw some kale in the oven for kale chips and settled down into our cozy couch to enjoy some of our favorite tv shows that we are currently obsessed with. this got me thinking. what would we classify as the top 10 best tv series of all time? b and i have been going through tv series since we were dating so we have a good variety to choose from.
when b and i were dating long distance, we used to watch one episode of prison break a week and then talk about it on our skype dates. i loved it. it was almost as good as watching it together.
after much deliberation, we nailed down the top 9 tv series of all time. it was hard to pick a tenth. i wanted to leave it open in case a new mind blowing series were to come along.
what is your favorite tv series? what should b and i dive into next?
we are currently watching the second season of hannibal, which truth be told is a little too dark but b finds it intriguing.
tonight’s date night will be a 7 hour road trip to palm springs. and the best way to have a successful road trip is to prepare!
here are some of my road trip must haves:
1. as much as road trips are for rolling the windows down and blasting music, that can only happen for so long. and sometimes your travel buddy does not want to hear your podcast talking about bravo shows for 2 hours (a huge guilty pleasure). b listens to many audio books that i would prefer to be left out of. comfortable headphones are the key to keeping you both sane.
2. snacks, snacks, snacks. everyone knows during a road trip you have to stock up on some good healthy snacks so you don’t have to succomb to whatever is available in the middle of nowhere (mainly mcdonalds. yes, their fries are good but i can’t live off of fries). i usually head over to trader joe’s before our road trips to load up on almonds, granola, fruit (mainly apples and grapes which are easy to eat and store), vegetables (carrots, celery) and chocolate covered pomegranate seeds.
3. water! yes, you may have to stop more for bathroom breaks, but it is so important to keep hydrated while you travel. i saw this water bottle on laurenconrad.com and loved how it was made of glass and available in a variety of colors. somehow if the bottle is more pleasing to the eye i am likely to drink more of it.
4. this portable phone charger has saved me when traveling. i use my phone for entertainment, maps, camera and calendar a lot more while traveling and am constantly running low on battery. does anyone else have a battery problem with their iphone 5? Anyways this baby is a lifesaver and will charge your phone 7 times before needing a little recharge itself.
5. b and i love beginning our road trip around 8pm and driving through the night. it is great road tripping through the night because then you don’t waste a day traveling and you miss most of the traffic. b is trooper for doing most of the driving during our road trips because i am a liability when behind the wheel after 10pm. i don’t drink caffeine, but b needs it if we drive through the night. he prefers to dump a 5 hour energy into his mountain dew for an energy kick. you gotta do what you gotta do i guess.
Every summer while growing up, I would always make it a tradition to go to the Orange County Fair. I loved looking at all the different exhibits, sizing up the livestock, riding the crazy (and dangerous) rides and eating the delicious deep fried food. After moving to Utah for college and first year of marriage, I continued the tradition by attending Strawberry Days and Utah State Fair . I love the sense of community that is associated with fairs. I love being a kid again. I love the bright lights and people watching.
This date night we are headed (for the first time) to the Santa Clara Country fair with B’s sister, brother in law and their darling baby girl. I can’t wait to see what Santa Clara brings to the “fair” table. I am crossing my fingers for deep fried oreos, live music and hypnotists.
I just read this article about the best fairs in the country. Part of me would love to attend them all in one summer and then the other part of me thinks that may be overkill. Maybe we could visit a new one on the list each Summer? Texas, obviously, would be my first destination since there in no doubt in my mind that the Texans know how to put on a heck of a fair.
Have you been to your county or state fair this year? If so, what was your favorite thing to do or eat there?
Sometimes a good way to mix up date night is by double dating or group dating.
We recently went to a dinner party with two other couples and it was a great way to socialize while still loving on your spouse.
I absolutely love dinner parties — especially when they end with a round of charades (or any type of game, but I dominate at charades). I think food and games are the best ways to bring people together and enjoy one another’s company. I often wish we had a bigger space or a garden for the sole purpose of putting on more events. I used to be a wedding planner so planning events is in my DNA. I love the little details that come together to make an unforgettable event. I love planning the event sometimes even more than attending (I am working on living more in the moment on this one). One day, I will have the perfect venue to host to my heart’s content. But for now you can find me scouting all our local parks to find the perfect setting for an outdoor dinner party.
A clam bake would be the perfect group date for these warm summer nights.
Did you ever used to watch “The Newlywed Game” ?
Although I have never watched a full episode (only small clips on youtube – it was a little before my time. give me a break), I love the idea of it.
I can be pretty competitive so a game to showcase your listening skills and learn about your partner in the process is right up my ally. There have been some modern spins on the legendary game. I have watched them and secretly always wanted to be a contestant. I don’t know why but, it sounds like so much fun. I love getting to know others (especially my B) and this game really tests how well you listened and got to know them for exactly who they are and not how you perceive them.
B and I used to play the question game while we were dating and still do now but slightly different version. The question game is where you have think of questions (deep or shallow) to ask your spouse and he/she has to answer no matter what and then you have to answer. It has sparked many conversations for B and I. I really like being asked the questions because often it is a subject I have never even thought of. It helps you to learn a little bit about yourself too!
So when I saw a take home version of the Newlywed Game from the Dating Divas, I knew I had to give it a go. And I was so glad I did. This is another cost effective and highly interactive type date. This game could be played after dinner, in the park, in your car, anywhere really.
Dating Diva supplies questions and the questionnaire. All you have to do is print!
Husbands out there looking for a simple yet sentimental date this is perfect for you! Playing this game + making her a dessert is money in the bank. You can thank me later.
This also doesn’t have to be a romantic thing. I think it would be fun to play with friends and siblings. It will test how deep your relationship is!
Confession… B and I have not had the chance to play the game yet, but we do plan on doing it this evening. I will let you know how it goes and what I learn!
This date night idea is an oldie but a goodie.
B and I usually cook dinner together, but are in charge of different courses. He prefers to cook the meat and I will do the vegetables. So to make it feel more like a date and as one, I found a one pan recipe. That way we were both looking forward to the same end result. It is so fun to cook with my love. I learn more about his food preferences every time. It is a great cost effective date that has a high interaction level and I love that!
I love finding new recipes on Pinterest. There always seems to be a never ending supply. We chose this recipe and also experimented with new ways to cook an artichoke. Usually B steams the artichoke but wanted to see how roasting an artichoke tasted. It was good but I think we may stick to steaming ( or grilling if only we had an outdoor grill!).
The pasta dish was pretty good but will probably not be repeated. B and I would rate it a 6.5 out of 10. That is my one beef with finding recipes on Pinterest. Everyone is getting so talented at photography that all the dishes look so tasty and doable. And then you start on them and it’s a different story…. Does that ever happen to you?
I think the next thing that would be fun to cook together for a date night would be homemade pizzas!
So I don’t know about the rest of the country but the Bay Area is obsessed with bocce ball as of late. Many companies are adding bocce ball courts to their office space as an extra amenity to their employees. There are also a number of bars dedicated to playing bocce and it is used frequently as an activity during corporate parties. I have loved bocce since elementary school when my family and I used to play it at the beach so I am fully on board with the craze.
B and I recently inherited a bocce ball set and love to play with it at a park near our house.
It can also be the perfect date night!
Did you know bocce ball developed into its most present form in Italy? Learning this, I decided to keep with the Italian theme for our date. We had a picnic full of pizza & Italian soda and a rousing game of bocce ball of course!
Last Saturday, B and I ventured up to Muir Woods for a hike in the wilderness. Everyone must have had the same day date idea because it was packed! But, we didn’t let that stop us from taking in the beautiful scenery and exploring the forest. It was the perfect activity to enjoy the weather and each other. We were lucky enough to have B’s BFF, his wife and their cute little babe join us for a day to be mesmerized by the stunning redwoods. We only walked a couple miles around the park but what we saw was majestic. Fun fact! Did you know redwoods can grow as high as 394 feet? Also, redwoods are fire resistant! This is due to their thick bark that holds lots of water. Some redwoods live as long as 2,000 years!
If you are in the Bay Area and interested in seeing the redwoods this is a great spot to go but I think Big Basin (located approx 25 miles from Santa Cruz) is even better. There are more trees and the trees appear to be bigger. Also, there is usually far less people! Muir Woods is beautiful and has more greenery but I would choose Big Basin given the option (although the road is very narrow and windy on the journey).
I used to really really hate hiking when I was younger. I am not really sure why but I think some of it had to do with how long my Mom wanted us to hike. It always seemed never ending. She would literally stop at every tree/bush/rock/flower and take a picture. However, as I grow older I understand why she did that (I mean it is a little excessive), but this world is so beautiful and she wanted to take it all in. I am still not a fan of strenuous, backpacking type hikes but the day hikes that take us away from the cares of the world are good every now and again. It was fun to just hold B’s hand and explore aimlessly.
Take a hike this weekend and lose yourself in the beauty of this world.
Where is your favorite place to hike?
This week’s summer date night is brought to you by B and inspired by Arrow.
Have you ever seen Arrow? It is a superhero series on the CW. I was a little skeptical at first but have been getting really into it lately. It recently wrapped up its’ second season and was renewed for a third (first season is currently available on Netflix). Anyways enough about my current tv obsession…
B invited me on a surprise date night last week and it was so creative I thought I would share. The date began with dinner at Vaso Azzurro (a local Italian restaurant located in downtown Mountain View). The food was delicious. I chose Picatta Con Erbe Aromatiche and B chose the salmon. The flavors were fresh and authentic. The live jazz music contributed to a great meal. I hear their pasta is homemade so I will have to give it a try the next time we come. The dessert menu was diverse and lust worthy. Overall, it was a lovely experience and I would rate Vaso Azzurro 3.5 out of 5 stars (it really was quite tasty but as I mentioned before I come from a family of food snobs).
After dinner we raced over to this warehouse looking building in Palo Alto. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. B had taken me to Palomo Archery where we would learn the art of archery (I knew B loved Arrow from the beginning but had no idea it would inspire him so).
We had a hour long archery lesson (archery is actually more tiring than it looks). Our instructor, Peter, taught the very basics and then let us try it out. I was pretty nervous and a little intimidated. The bow was harder to pull back than I thought it would be. I just tried to remember everything I learned and had fun with it. Now I know why Katniss was so praised for her skills. It would take a lot of concentration and practice for me to ever shoot something that is moving.
B was a natural. He was shooting the farther target the second he was able to practice on his own. He could have been Arrow’s sidekick. B encouraged me that we needed this skill in case the zombie apocalypse ever became a reality.
Then B insisted that we must become like Robin Hood and wear the arrows on our back with the hat on our head. I will tell you I did feel a little BA (especially with my hair in a braid like Katniss, which was not planned). We both love learning new things so it was a great time had by all.
The night ended with ice cream and an Arrow episode of course.