Our trip to Disneyland!

We were gone last week, and for a very good reason – Gran and Grandpa decided to take us all on a vacation to Disneyland!

My oldest made it clear upon arriving at the hotel room that he meant to have a ferociously good time!

He was also very happy to see the many Avengers posters around D’land and Downtown Disney 😀

Waiting in line for the Jungle Cruise – the boys’ all-time favorite!

My youngest loved looking out the hotel room window — we were on the third floor and he thought it was awesome being able to look down at all the cars and people 😀

My little guy wasn’t tall enough for Star Tours so Grandpa kept him entertained.

(yes, we are totally getting lots of ideas for a future birthday party or room makeover!)

More on our trip to D’Land in my next post!

Tangerine Tango @ Sephora

I saw this collection a couple of days ago and decided that I would stop by Sephora soon and see the colors up close, but so far, I like what I am seeing.  Pantone’s Color of the Year, Tangerine Tango, has been interpreted as a make-up collection at Sephora.

Now, I am not one for orange eye shadow or liner, but . . . nail polishes and nail glosses?

Oh, I’m there, sweetie. Back in a few to show ya what I got ;D

Cookbook Review: Chloe’s Kitchen

When I learned that a Vegan chef had won an episode of Cupcake Wars, I must admit I was intrigued.  I have dabbled in vegetarianism and veganism a few times but always fall back to my carnivore ways.  My husband and children are usually less-than-enthused by veg dishes and I end up demoralized and go back to our usual fare.

HOWEVER!  I went through the aforementioned chef’s website – ChefChloe.com – and her recipes seemed very doable and accessible. I’m already very familiar with non-dairy milks because of my son (and my own) lactose issues, so I decided to purchase her new cookbook and give some of her recipes a try.

The first one was a Bolognese sauce for my pasta-addicted household. Yes, we love our carbs over here. My oldest usually likes his pasta with just a little butter, but when he saw my husband eating his pasta with the delicious bean-mushroom based sauce, he asked for some. And then some more. My youngest cleaned his plate with no problem, and so did the rest of us. I liked that the texture of the pasta wasn’t slimy like when I try to make a Bolognese sauce with faux meat. Score 1 for Chloe, and for me!

The next recipe I tried was Chloe’s Fettuccine Alfredo. Now, my husband LOVES his Fettuccine Alfredo so I knew he might not be ok with a substitute sauce for one of his favorite dishes. He has been very good at trying new things, since we made a vow on January 1st to eat healthier. For the most part, we have kept our promise. Keeping it real here, he loves pizza and ice cream and I love chocolate, but I figure if we’re eating well most of the time, a little indulgence here and there isn’t a bad thing. So I made the vegan Fettuccine Alfredo and, out of the corner of my eye, watched him eat it. He loved it! The sauce was very creamy and flavorful, and I liked that I can get the ingredients at my regular store, unlike the ingredients for some other faux-cream sauces I have seen.

I have not been compensated in any way for this post; I am just super happy to have found healthier versions of some favorite recipes. If you’re looking for new, flavorful recipes to try, give Chloe’s Kitchen a try!

Things my kid has said

Yeah, this is going to be a “isn’t my kid funny?” posts, so if that sort of thing makes you want to gag, feel free to hit the Backspace button 😀

My oldest has inherited his daddy’s gift of gab (and of arguing his way out of situations!)  so since he started talking, he’s come up with some funny ways of expressing his thoughts with his limited language.

The first one I remember was “nose sauce” — back when he was 2, I think.

He was very aware of his body and things that happened and wanted to name everything. Since he didn’t know the term “runny nose” he came up with his own.

Another one was “sky car” — vehicles have always been important 😀

The funny thing is, he said “vroom vroom” for car, but an airplane was “sky car”. Our backyard is right under a landing path for the local airport, so in the evenings we used to go out back and just watch the planes go by. They still do, of course, but it’s not as important now, LOL.

One of the latest terms, and the reason I started thinking back to other stuff he’d come up with, is “armpit grease” — seriously, the kid runs around like a maniac most of the day, so of course, he gets sweaty. I am SO not looking forward to the teenage years with my boys, mostly because every friend I’ve watched Bridesmaids with points at me when this scene comes up. My only comment is, it’s “graduated FROM high school”, thank you.

Not looking forward to the blanket-cracking years.

Wedding guests

Our dear friends J&M were married on April 7th and we were thrilled to witness their two lives becoming one. I call J my husband’s “boyfriend” and M and I kid about their “man dates”, and M has become a dear friend, I must admit I teared up during the ceremony.

The venue was the gorgeous Mission Ranch in Carmel — owned by Clint Eastwood — and the weather could not have been more perfect. Sunny but not oppressively hot, with a nice breeze to keep everyone comfortable.

Some wedding guests were uninvited, but very charming:

The rehearsal dinner was held at a local Italian restaurant — the food was amazing and my tiramisu was divine!

The wedding and reception were wonderful – I don’t like to “scoop” the bride and groom’s photos so I will wait for them to share their professional photos and/or the ones I took and shared with them, and then I’ll share them with y’all. My husband was a groomsman so I hung out with the men throughout the wedding day, even documenting the moment when the sandwich shop where they were going to get lunch at was closed, and we had to head to Safeway instead. It was a sight, 4 guys in tuxes and me taking pics like a paparazzo ;D

Hope this Monday is a beautiful start to your week!

Dreaming of Anthropologie

My sweet bloggy friend Michaela recently posted about some fabulous — and budget-friendly — gift ideas. She included items from Anthropologie so off I went to their website. Which is as far as I trust myself with Anthro, because if I were to walk in there, it sure wouldn’t be a budget-friendly visit for me!

I am currently into kitchen goodies, what do you think of some of my wish list items?

anthro kitchen

First would be a couple of adorable ceramic baskets, in turquoise, of course. On my counter, they would store some garlic or shallots.

I’ve been lusting after that milk bottle measuring cup set for ages. I know that 5 minutes after getting it in my house one of the cups would break, but still, I want it 😀

The pale turquoise tea towel would never be used, of course, but it has two things going for it – the color and the tea motif. I love me some tea on a cold morning. Revolution’s Earl Grey Lavender is by far, my favorite, but plain Earl Grey does the job as well.

I have one of the egg crates in white for teeny earrings, delicate brooches, etc. but I want a turquoise one as well. Of course.

This sweet salt-and-shaker set is just adorable. The warm orange/red/olive green palette makes it perfect for our kitchen/dining room.

Finally, I want these chalkboard-label spice jars but I’d use them for my craft supplies, I can envision a dozen of these holding various bits and bobs to embellish projects.

What do you think? Isn’t Anthropologie a great source of inspiration? I find myself coming up with projects every time I visit their store or website. Then I look back and see that I need to do laundry. Hope you liked some of these items — are you lusting after some Anthro goodness?

Girls’ Night Out

I spent Saturday evening with a fabulous group of women, eating amazing food, and having some great laughs. Our dear friend M was having her bachelorette party and I was happy to be along for the ride. Also, it was my first limo ride — I know, I’m such a peasant. We headed up to the city and had a gorgeous 5 course meal at one of Hubert Keller’s restaurants, Fleur de Lys.

To my surprise, there was some Peruvian flavor to be found at this French restaurant:

A lovely gazpacho on the left, it was so good and refreshing; on the right, a quinoa salad topped with prosciutto and aji amarillo, a typical Peruvian hot pepper.

The Appetizer Symphony included — clockwise from top left — tuna fondant with caviar, caesar salad with spätzle, foie gras, smoked duck crostini and a parmesan mousse. I loved all of them except for the foie gras, which I don’t like, and the parmesan mousse.

A lovely seared swordfish was next, it was perfectly cooked, and the asparagus, topping and sauce were delicious. I cleaned this plate for sure.

I chose the filet mignon with a lobster mac-n-cheese en croute – holy crackers, this was the best mac-n-cheese I’ve ever had. The filet was cooked and sauced to perfection.

Last, but definitely not least, was the dessert plate. So good!!! Chocolate and praline parfait with a marshmallow napoleon on the left, very light and crunchy, and to the right a chocolate tuile with lucuma ice cream. Lucuma ice cream is a traditional Peruvian dessert, and in fact, we make it at home in the summer, it has the texture of vanilla and a taste like vanilla and sweet potato. Sort of. It’s difficult to describe exactly, but it’s so good, I think most of the ladies liked it. The blackberry was perfect as well.

We also enjoyed several bottles of Cabernet with dinner, courtesy of the bride-to-be, and then it was time to leave. We had about an hour until the limo took us home so we went to the Waterbar. We chatted for a while and ordered another round of drinks — mine was a “grown up” hot chocolate made with Ghirardelli chocolate, of course, then some Kahlua added along with something else I forget. It was SO good.

The ride home was filled with more laughter and conversation, I had met a couple of the ladies before but it was nice to get to chat with them. We are all so excited about the wedding, the bride and groom are so dear to us and we can’t wait to see them saying “I Do”.