The cherry blossoms have peeked open here in San Francisco. I think both of us are confused because it should quite be spring yet. Nevertheless, the season is upon us and I felt inspired by the florals floating around the internet and on the streets.
We've established that I'm a crazy cat lady. If Mr. P would agree to let me get a dog, then I'd be a crazy dog owner too. If it were completely up to me, we might just bring up this average single handedly with a small farm of rescue animals. Whether we have 20 or just 1, we're doing our part to contribute to the trend. And if you ask Oliver, he would say he's just fine being the only "baby" in the house.
This snuggle bug developed the cute habit of finding his way under the covers.
It can be a throw blanket on the couch. Or under the sheets on our bed. Or whatever pile of sewing fabric I happen to have laying about.
He's pretty sure the whole show is about him and his toastiness levels. And as someone who is perpetually cold, I cannot complain about my personal space heater. :)
It might have taken a few extra hours in traffic, but the drive up to Tahoe was so worth the scenery and skiing. It was my first MLK Jr. day off since my very first job out of college. While not exactly historically apropos, the trip was a celebration of the American landscape and beauty in the world. This blue sky and blue lake is unfiltered!
After a full day of skiing, this old gal was feeling the burn. I haven't skied since we got engaged (4 years ago - crazy!) and while it took a run or two to find my ski legs, I definitely tired a lot quicker this go around. The views were spectacular and the weather was perfect. A few weeks prior, Tahoe got a couple of feet of snow. The base at Squaw Valley was solid and all of the runs were nicely groomed. Perfect for the first time back in the saddle.
To stretch out my sore legs and keep on moving, we strolled around the lake near Tahoe City, taking in a bit of a history lesson on the settlement and damn.
I didn't take my big camera, but thought i could catch a few glimpses of the beauty with my cell phone. I'm more than impressed with the quality from my new Razr.
Though we stayed at a townhouse rental outside of Tahoe City, we made it around the lake to Incline Village, Stateline, and South Lake Tahoe to test our luck at the casinos. I was super nervous to sit down at a black jack table, but after my initial fears were calmed by the best table mates ever, I more than doubled my money! Of course, I kept on playing and didn't quite walk away with that much, I did make money and won a bottle of wine for hitting a same suit black jack :)
What are some of your Tahoe favorites? Places to stay, places to eat and places to ski - all recommendations welcome! We're already planning a return trip to take in as much winter fun as possible.
Now that I'm working from home, my lunches are much more interesting than the constant soup/sandwich routine I had while working downtown. For starters, I love fresh and/or hot lunches. A simple fried egg with avocado toast hits the spot all of the time. And salads! It's like living at a salad bar. Only what I want, and chopped seconds before I consume it.
I had a gorgeous grapefruit fennel salad at Plant that inspired this mix that I whipped up the other week.
It was appealing enough for a few kitty licks! The salty cheese and peppery arugula cut the sweetness. And while I loved the pow of the acid in the vinaigrette and grapefruit, I have a hunch it's what sent Oliver packing.
You know how we like to play tourist in our hometown. We were at it again with an adventure in urban hiking. I saw a Google Offer and couldn't resist the chance to schedule the inaugral hike for Mr. P's new hiking boots. (I got him Merrils, similar to mine, for his birthday.)
We scheduled a nature's smorgasbord tour with Urban Hiker SF. Alexandra, the founder, led us from the Castro to the heights of Twin Peaks and back around through the eucalyptus forest. Except for the center of the Castro, everything was new to me!
Alexandra pointed out edible flowers, rosemary and lavender along the way. Mr. P didn't partake of the flower, but I took a chomp at the peppery petals. Tasted just like arugula!
At the top of Twin Peaks, we stopped for a bathroom, picture and snack break. Alexandra had made rosemary cheddar biscuits and lavender scones as a nod to the wild herbs lining our hike.
We snapped a shot of one of the most used views in television commercials. Anyone recognize this view from car commercials or the T Mobile commercial?
Sadly, it was a bit on the hazy side when we went, but in SF, you enjoy what you can. I don't see the ocean that often - casualty of living closer to the bay side - but the light reflecting off of it that day made me have one of those, "I'm glad we live here" moments.
This was my favorite stairway that we scaled. It looks like a stairway belonging in Hobbiton, right? The moss and worn/weathered look. But it's right downtown in San Francisco.
For the locals, have you been urban hiking? What are some of your favorite routes?
I'll be back soon with one of my favorite loops here in my neighborhood of Bernal Heights!
I've been neglecting my apron recently. Let's blame it on the amazing access to over 300+ delivery places available to us at the click of a mouse.
The other week, I had a bit of avocado leftover from a gorgeous citrus salad. It was the morning after the salad and I need to use that avocado up before, well you know how leftover avocado gets. So I had some on toast. It's like the California version of beans on toast - a little savory topper when the harvest is plentiful. If you want a heartier version, try this one that popped up on my radar. Talk about standing up to some chili. But this version is unsophisticated, no more work than a bowl of cereal, and feels very Californian.
1/2 Avocado mashed
1 half hearted sqeeze from half a lemon
Sprinkling of salt
Grind of pepper
2 slices of wild SF Sourdough (or whatever nice bread your local grocer carries)
I might have squeezed my lemon a little too enthusiastically, because this really needs just a few drops to brighten the flavor.
And when the morning fog has settled over and you think you can get a few pictures on your phone if you turn on all the lights, don't fool yourself. You can't. And you must watch out for the little grubber who thinks he might like avocado for breakfast too.
Step 1: Take $20 in your pocket! (Yeah West Coast!)
Step 2: Photograph Your Spoils
This was not my most successful thrift store run. I only spent $7 of my dollars, but that's sometimes how the thrift store shopping thing goes. I found the purple glass jar on the far left and the aqua glass on the inside right on this trip. The other two vessels were actually thrift store finds from earlier and were about another $1.25.
The thing I love most about these guys is the interesting messages on the bottles. The darker aqua piece says, "My Wife's Salad Dressing" and the purple one is a presidential tribute to George Washington.
I added these to my glass collection on the window sill of our bathroom. Our kitty toilet brush holder still stands guard!
Step 2b: Photograph what almost went home with you
This step is something I made up, but I wanted to show you some good finds that ultimately didn't come home with me.
- Unframed oil painting (the weird arc scrape on the left kept me from buying)
- This wood leaf bowl just needed a good cleaning and some mineral oil. I could see using it to display small collections like antique drawer pulls.
- 8 matching glass cut punch cups! Cute for parties and punch, or creative dessert serving dishes.
- A pretty yellow and pink botanical print. I wish there were a few more for a set!
- I had these in my basket the whole time I was thrifting, then at the last minute decided against them. There were 4 but some were cracked. Somebody call me a wambulance!
- I was so excited to find this silver Pottery Barn frame, then I realized that "Betty and Vince" might not fit with my decor.
- Gah! If I had a kiddo this would have been my choice for sure! The paint was in good shape, the bell worked and the color is vintage awesome!
Step 3: Find an item referenced in the song and snap a pic
I was shocked at how much I found!
Telescope - check!
Broken keyboards - semi check! There were 4 electric organs!
And a bonus item - some vintage vinyl with an apropos title!
Step 4: Show off your big a$$ coat when you meat J-Boom and $her-dog in person!
This is also a totally made up step, but I was pretty psyched to go to the Young House Love book signing at West Elm in Palo Alto. I waited about an hour and a half, but we were kept entertained with all of the merchandise, mini milkshakes and house/heart cookies.
Meeting Sherry and John was so fun. They are exactly the type of people you'd expect from their blog. They're down to earth, funny and incredibly genuine. Instead of flashing my West Coast W, I flashed the heart in my big a$$ coat.
Later, while walking around downtown after eating a late brunch, I saw Sherry and John on the opposite side of the cross walk. I really wanted to say something, but was like, "Melinda, play it cool! They deserve to have lunch too without drivelling fan crazies drooling on them." As we crossed paths, Sherry recognized me and said, "Heeeeyyyy!" in her usual peppy/excited way. I was super thrilled as I waved back.
I’m a Defense Consultant with a tendency towards pulling office pranks, taking lunch breaks, and drinking Wawa shakes. I’m also an English major with a serious obsession with alliteration and rhymes. While I’m not keeping America safe, I’m priming, sanding and painting. Or increasing our fresh veg intake. Or pontificating on my newly minted status as a wife. All the while, I’m getting myself into Lucille Ball-esque scrapes and making Jim Carey-esque faces. Post-wedding, I’m bringing blogging home to explore renovations, recipes, and reflections.