this weekend, i , along with a couple of friends, threw a baby shower for a dear mother to be. she will be having a little girl in two weeks and i couldn’t be more thrilled for her. i took on the task of party favors. i thought a lot about the perfect favor, researched heavily and spoke with friends.
and after much deliberation, i decided on popcorn treats. it was relatively quick & easy to put together and the result was both delicious and darling.
what you’ll need:
ghiradelli melting white chocolate
bags (from michael’s in their holiday section)
mini clothespins (from michael’s)
1. air pop your popcorn kernels (i am not a fan of microwavable popcorn so i insist you air pop)
2. spread the popcorn on cookie sheets.
3. melt the white chocolate for thirty seconds. stir. repeat till chocolate is smooth.
4. add a couple drops of red food coloring to the white chocolate (i did this so popcorn looked pink in honor of baby girl)
5. pour chocolate over popcorn and use your hands to make sure popcorn is coated.
6. cover with sprinkles.
* always use melting chocolate. chocolate chips don’t usually give the right consistency.
* better to have more chocolate than skimp on it!
* put together the bags the day of the event so popcorn is crisp.
*make sure your bags are completely sealed so sprinkles don’t fall out of them (learned this the hard way).
i have been walking by the stanford theatre for close to a year now and always stopped to notice how cute and classy it is but had never stepped inside for a show. last weekend, we decided to change that.
the stanford theatre (located in downtown palo alto) is a historic theatre that plays classic movies every thursday through sunday. when you step inside, you almost feel like you are in a time warp. there are old movie posters displayed around the walls, you can hear the faint sounds of the organist playing prior to the show and the prices for popcorn and soda are far cheaper than any new release cinema (we are talking $5 for popcorn and two sodas). it is a trip in the best possible way. i mean have you ever seen such a lovely theatre? i sure haven’t.
there is seating available in the balcony as well as on the main floor. we chose the balcony because it didn’t seem like the seats below were stadium seating so you may be looking in between peoples’ heads to get a good glimpse of the show. tickets go on sale only twenty minutes before the show starts and i suggest getting there right at that time because the seats fill up quickly and you must leave time to listen to the amazing organist. apparently, an organist would play prior to the show in the olden days. i wish they had kept this tradition alive at all cinemas!
b was worried that the picture quality would be poor since these were older films but to our surprise it was pretty darn good. we loved watching cary grant and grace kelly on the big screen. i love that era of movies. b and i both felt like acting was different back then and we liked the humor better than what is now in movies. we will be sure to return again soon because we enjoyed the stanford theatre more than a new release cinema. not to mention that tickets were only $7/person!
oh and one more thing, stanford theathre accepts cash only so come prepared.
what are your favorite old movies?
one of mine is charade with audrey hepburn so i hope they show that in the stanford theatre soon!
reading:i am malala. i actually just finished this book over the weekend and it was a great read. especially considering all that is going on with the taliban these days. i enjoyed learning pakistani customs / daily life, basic islam principals and how the taliban has affected pakistani citizens. malala is a fighter and a leader. she has inspired me.
now on to many more inspiring books. do you ever use good reads? it is like yelp but for books. you can see what your friends are reading and their ratings on books. good reads will recommend books based on what you have already read as well. i recently started using the app and love it. i especially love that my book list is all in one place and i can track my progress.
have my eye on: the perfect bar cart accessories. i recently purchased this bar cart from target (great price if you are looking) and am now on the hunt for accessories to jazz it up and make it more of a statement piece in our living room. any suggestions? i just found these drink stirrers and think they may be my first purchase.
watching: bbc’s broadchurch. have you heard of it? i hadn’t until our friend suggested it. it is a murder mystery set in a small coastal town in the uk. it is gripping and the character development is fantastic. another plus? the first season is on netflix and it is only 8 episodes long so you don’t feel like the story has too many outrageous turns. i highly recommend it if you like that kind of genre and are looking for something new.
craving:bountiful kitchen’s coconut cookies. truth be told i actually have never had a swig cookie. i know crazy. they really became popular after i left utah and i haven’t had a chance to try one on my many trips back to utah. so really i have no excuse but, i have made the copy cat recipe and loved it. they are simply delicious. a bountiful kitchen has many variations on the original swig cookie (including chocolate and lemon) but this coconut variation is pulling me in. who else is a lover of all things coconut? i know there are few of us.
coveting:beautiful art. i am trying to figure out where to put a gallery in our new home and how many more pictures i need to make it cohesive. stay tuned for the final result! as of now, galmeetsglam‘s home is really inspiring me.
remember my desire to try the cookie dough cafe after seeing it featured on shark tank?
i mean it just seemed like the perfect concoction. edible cookie dough (no risk of salmonella) and a clean kitchen?
sign me up.
unfortunately, at the time there was not a grocery store in the bay area that sold the cookie dough cafe and so i had to give up on my dream. at least for a little while.
yes, i could have purchased it online but all that is offered is buying all four flavors at once and it is completely over priced (we’re are talking $45+).
then b surprised me with with the cookie dough cafe for christmas! i guess fresh market in palo alto recently decided to carry the precious treat. he bought all three available flavors and so i thought it was perfect time to give you guys the low down.
the cookie dough cafe completely nailed it. i absolutely loved chocolate chip and cookies & cream. you really don’t notice the lack of eggs. both flavors completely hit the sweet spot and tasted fresh and delicious.
i will say that i would be able to tell the difference between home made cookie dough and the cookie dough cafe but it is slight and this way i can have cookie dough without the hassle of making cookies. i was surprised at how much i liked the cookies & cream flavor. b said he liked it more than ice cream!
the downfall with the cookie dough cafe is the monster flavor. monster is comprised of oats, peanut butter and m&ms. this mixture sounds like my favorite cookie but, unfortunately, i really did not care for the dough. in fact i had a couple bites and threw the rest of the tub away. it just did nothing for me and i hate wasting calories on stuff i am just eating to eat.
there are four flavors currently being produced by the cookie dough cafe : naked, chocolate chip, monster and cookies & creme. i am sure the naked flavor is exactly like chocolate chip but without the chocolate chips and would be delicious as well. best of the best award would have to go to chocolate chip followed closely by cookies & cream. i am crossing my fingers the cookie dough cafe comes out with a sugar cookie flavor next because making sugar cookies around the holidays made me realize how much i love that dough.
now that you know my weekend was filled with endless spoonfuls of cookie dough (to taste test over and over of course), how was your weekend?
b and i celebrated new years day with a new tradition we hope to continue for many years to come. besides writing down our new year’s resolutions, we decided to write down our wishes for 2015 and attach them to a floating lantern, which we lit and sent off in our backyard. it was magical to see our hopes and dreams for 2015 fly to the top of the sky.
& now it is up to us to make those wishes happen.
2014 was a big year for us with a new car, new house, new job.
i feel like living with b things are constantly changing but i really like the feeling and it is making me embrace change more easily. here is a look at what happened in 2014.
january – became proud owners / parents of our first plant. his name is steven and he is a dwarf citrus. february – headed to salt lake city to tube, explore ice castles and most importantly be a part of my littlest niece’s baby blessing. she was the first grandchild on b’s side and we can’t get enough of her. march – we toured the 49ers stadium as it was still being constructed & went on many weekend adventures to the redwoods & santa cruz. april – traveled up to sonoma for a weekend getaway at a darling four sisters’ bed and breakfast. it was delightful and it was there that we realized our obsession with cheese. we also flew to gilbert, az to celebrate easter and my mom’s birthday. not to mention we celebrated b’s birthday with a croquet party. oh & b and i got new jobs. wow april was busy. may – celebrated 3 years of marriage in sin city with b spears. also traveled south for a disneyland weekend with b’s family. june - summer officially began and we celebrated by going on a different summer inspired date every week (including strawberry picking in davenport). i also traveled solo to my hometown to celebrate my best friend and her new baby girl. july – celebrated 4th of july by glamping in pismo beach & b’s brothers + cousin came to visit us at the end of the month. august – started off my birthday month with a visit from my sister in law and her cute family. then headed south east to celebrate my day of birth in the desert. september – every weekend was spent at a park taking in the beautiful weather. & we also day tripped to watsonville to go apple picking. october – got lost in my first cornmaze, experienced nashville and dressed up as a bunny and a magician. november – moved into a home & leased a new electric car! we also traveled to colorado springs to be with my family for thanksgiving. december – traveled to park city to spend the holidays with b’s family.
wow i can’t even believe all that happened this year because frankly, this is not even the half of it. i really condensed everything as best as i could and that list still may be too long to keep your attention.
2014 was an amazing year full of ups and downs. i am so glad i was able to experience it all with my b.
& i can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store!
before moving to the bay area, i spent a good 5 years living in salt lake city, utah. i originally moved there to attend the university of utah and then stayed an additional year as a newlywed before heading west to northern california.
all of my extended family resides in utah and that was a big reason why i chose to attend the u. i really hated utah growing up because i always longed for the beach and perfect sunny days. but after moving there, i really grew to like and even love utah.
the beehive state will always have a piece of my heart.
it is where i met and fell in love with b.
it is where i would visit my grandma for a couple of weeks every summer growing up.
it is where b and i started our life together.
and for me, as a self proclaimed foodie, part of loving a place is loving the food. i feel as though i have tried almost every restaurant during my 5 year stint and i can honestly say below are the best of the best in salt lake city. this is where you need to eat if you find yourself in slc.
The Park – yes, the park is your only option for breakfast because nothing even compares. the park is located across from liberty park in a cottage style home with limited parking. and if you think the atmosphere sounds adorable i can’t even begin to describe how good their food is. from their french toast to their hash browns to homemade jam, this place is legendary. i used to take all my visitors to the park and no one could believe a) how amazing the food was and b) how affordable it all was (especially since the portions are on the larger side). come early in the morning if you can make yourself wake up because you may be waiting for a hour otherwise.
yes, you may hear that eggs in the city is amazing or blue plate diner or ruths is where it’s at but trust me, the park trumps all these recognized breakfast spots handily.
Franck’s – hands down my favorite place to dine in utah. it is the priciest restaurant on my list but boy is it magical. franck’s entire menu makes me go weak in knees. i love their lamb, duck, escargot, salmon, mousse, the list goes on. i have met franck once and he was just as lovely as his authentic french restaurant. oh and did i mention this is where b proposed? well it is one of the most romantic spots in the valley.
Gourmandise – i probably frequented gourmandise every week for a year and i wish i could keep up the tradition. gourmandise is a wonderfully authentic french bakery and cafe. their pastries are some of the best i have had and their cafe menu is delectable. i have yet to try a better french onion soup.
okay, i know i said that the park is the only breakfast option worth going to and i still stand by it but if i had to pick a second it would be gourmandise. their creme brulee oatmeal and grilled cinnamon bread is parfait.
Tulie Bakery – okay technically tulie may not be considered french but they do serve to die for pastries / baked good so i am gonna sneak it into this list. their plain or ham croissants are their specialty but really i love their scones and beignets. you must be at tulie at 8am if you want to try their beignets because they sell out by 8:30am. and do order a hot chocolate because it accompanies the new orleans treat just perfectly.
Eva – another great bakery / cafe located in the heart of downtown. it is picture perfect from the outside and only gets better once you try all their amazing pastries / bread / small plates inside.
Bombay House – is it weird that although we have 100x more indian people around us in the bay area, i still haven’t found an indian restaurant i love as much as bombay house? their lamb saag, chicken tiki masala, mango lassi and rice pudding are out of this world. the flavors cannot be beat. b and i are determined to find something similar in the bay area because i crave bombay house on the daily. and yes, this is your only option because it is that good.
Cafe Trio – great atmosphere and wonderful food for small parties (tables are narrow). i adore the rosemary flat bread appetizer and all salads. if you come in the summer, there is great outdoor seating under twinkle lights!
The Pie – okay this is the quintessential college hang out but for good reason (not just because it is open till 3am on Friday + Saturday). the pizza is heavy and loaded with toppings. i used to get the cheesy pull apart almost every weekend during my first year at college (talk about freshman 15) and it was amazing. because who isn’t craving carbs and cheese at 2am?
Vinto – this is another great upscale italian restaurant. i would go to cafe trio for flat bread + salads and i would go to vinto for pizza and pasta. oh and vinto also makes homemade gelato! and guess what else? vinto is also located in park city (this location is great place to host large parties).
Kyoto – i don’t think b would ever speak to me again if i didn’t include kyoto on this list. but i am not just adding it for his thumbs up, this restaurant is amazing. their sashimi is fresh and rolls are diverse. but what really stands above the rest is their tempura. i don’t know how they do it but the flavor and crispyness of kyoto’s tempura cannot be matched at all. believe me b has been on the hunt for 2 years now.
Naked Fish – my favorite place for sushi. i love sushi (i could eat it every day for the rest of my life) and will suffer through some of the cheaper places to curve my craving but naked fish is a cut above the rest in the valley. i also love the atmosphere and the service.
Cafe Rio – yes, i realize this is a now chain available throughout the west coast but if you have not lived in utah you may be missing out on this americanized mexican restaurant. everything is good here but cafe rio is best known for their barbacoa salads and creamy tomatillo dressing. i usually get a steak tostada with a large tomatillo dressing (the size it comes with is never enough) and b prefers the barbacoa nachos or salmon tacos. you really can’t go wrong with any item and the service is great!
Lone Star Taqueria - lone star is located in the cottonwood heights area so it may be a bit of a ways from the heart of the city but it is worth it. their tacos (fish or otherwise) are delicious and incredibly fresh. and their guacamole is right on the money. this is another great affordable and quick option when your stomach is craving mexican.
Red Iguana – and for the best sit down mexican in the valley, i would have to give it to red iguana. this place is somewhat of a dive (especially since it is located west of the gateway mall) but it sure is delicious (and many people agree since the wait is usually outrageous). oh my goodness i really recommend every single thing on the menu. and please save room for tres leches cake for dessert!
ps don’t feel like sitting down and waiting in line? red iguana now has a to-go option in the city creek mall which is just as scrumptious (however, entree options are a little more limited).
okay and if you need some american food while in slc do stop by hires not only for their deliciously greasy burgers but for a root beer freeze.
best cupcake? check out mini’s. i have even tried some of their lunch box specials and was thoroughly impressed.
best shake? B & D Burgers. i recommend the oreo peanut butter yummmmm.
best ice cream? Nielsens. technically it is frozen custard but it is the best in the ice cream genre.
i was crossing my fingers for a white christmas in park city and guess what? i got it!
since being married to b, we switch off on which family to spend the holidays with and this year was b’s year. we headed to salt lake city (after being delayed 2 hours..typical) on tuesday night and right when we arrived b was whisked away to watch the hobbit with his brothers. i decided to lay low at their home with his mom where we chatted the night away.
the next morning was christmas eve. my mother in law, sisters in law and i started it off right by getting manicures and pedicures (i think i may have to add this tradition to my list when we have a family). it was a lovely morning spent with the girls and then we headed home for german pancakes and hot apple cider.
b grew up in salt lake city but his family owns a cabin in park city (about 40 min away from salt lake city). as a family, we decided it would be a fun to celebrate the holidays up at the cabin.
it was magical.
it started snowing in the evening on christmas eve and lasted throughout christmas day and the following day. it was how you always imagine a white christmas. we went snowmobiling, drank homemade eggnog + hot chocolate, played every game imaginable, went in the hot tub during the snow storm and cuddled by the fire. we even chopped down a live christmas tree!
oh yeah & i made my first snow angel!
i love b’s family and am grateful for the chance we had to be with them for the holidays. family is so important and i am so glad we could spend so much time playing games, laughing and getting to know one another even better.
i may have the biggest sweet tooth on this planet. i need something sweet after every meal in order to feel satisfied. i blame this trait on my mom and she blames it on her dad so at least i know i am in good company.
but even i can get a little overwhelmed with all the treats to be eaten this holiday season.
so when i was thinking of a treat to give my neighbors/friends i wanted to look past the traditional sugar cookies, fudge, peppermint bark etc. (even though those are all good options and i honestly love when we have neighbors / friends kind enough to gift them to us) and opt for something festive but out of the box and a little less sugar.
i found this clementine wreath tutorial last season and knew it was perfect way to spread christmas cheer this season.
you will need:
– a box of clementines (i got mine from trader joe’s for about $3)
– bakers twine (found in the baking section of michaels)
– roll of cellophane (available at dollar store or michaels)
– blank tags
– washi tape (found mine at michaels)
you should start by cutting strips of cellophane that are wide enough to wrap your clementines. always error on the wider side and it should turn out fine. don’t feel the need to shorten the length of the cellophane because that can be done at the very end (we made the mistake of shortening it because we were using less clementines than the original tutorial and it was a mistake).
i used 6 or seven oranges for each wreath but you can use more if you would like. i think 6 is the least amount you should use because any smaller and it may not have the nice wreath shape. line the clementines up a couple inches apart (the distance does not matter too much so just eyeball it).
then wrap the cellophane into a tube with clementines inside and secure the tube with clear tape. now, tie a piece of twine in a bow between each clementine. your almost there….
to finish tie the two ends together to make a wreath. ta-da!
you now have a clementine wreath to give to your friends, neighbors, family, coworkers, acquaintances, santa, frenemies, etc.
…and it is a lot less work than baking, which means there is still time to make these wreaths and deliver them before christmas!
i attached a tag that i decorated with washi tape at the bottom.
i loved how the wreaths turned out and received many compliments when delivering them. i think we have a new tradition in our home!
what are you favorite goodies to give to those you love?
weekends in december are even more of a blur than usual and this weekend was no exception with so much to do before the holiday.
we did sneak in our first nfl game in between christmas shopping, gift wrapping and delivering goodies to friends + neighbors. we rooted on our 49ers through over time but in the end had to hand it to the chargers for a great comeback. it was a a thrilling time with friends.
the new levi stadium is beautiful and modern. the food in the club level is quite tasty. i am crossing my fingers b gets more tickets to 49er games next season!
i indulged in gourmet mac and cheese with rotisserie chicken and garlic fries. yummm.
love this unofficial mascot of the 49ers. he roamed the whole stadium playing his banjo and pumping up the fans. that would be a fun past time!
sunday was my last time teaching my little 4 year olds before i get a new class in the new year. i love these little ones and the sweet spirit they bring. i taught them about christ’s birth and the reason for the season. it was a great reminder to me that christ is the greatest gift of this season.
the boys refused to be in the picture but i am so glad i was able to snag one with the darling girls. my heart is so happy being surrounded in their pure love and excitement to learn.
christmas sunday is one of my favorites. i love the singing and the merry spirit felt in the halls. i love how the children dress in their christmas best. i love wishing everyone i love a merry christmas.