Tuesday, April 30, 2013

a girls weekend: part two


I'm just recounting the events of the awesome visit I had with my mom this past week. In case you missed the first installment, you can read about the beginning of our weekend here.

Sunday morning, I wanted to take my mom to breakfast at one of our favorite spots: The Mission. The only catch here is that in order to not wait at least 45 minutes to an hour, you must arrive before 8:30 AM. I don't know why it's such a magic time... it just is. We got there just after 8:15 AM, and by the time the waitress had brought out our Mexican Hot Chocolates [believe it], the line was already out the door. We each enjoyed two of the house specialties: cinnamon bread French toast and chilaquiles.
What exactly are 'chilaquiles'? In a word: heaven. By definition: a traditional Mexican breakfast dish consisting of lightly fried corn tortillas (tortilla chips) topped with mole sauce and simmered down until the chips are just soft. The corn chip base is then topped with scrambled eggs and whatever other house toppings (in this case: black beans, cheese, roasted tomato ginger sauce & chipotle cream).

Though I didn't boldly reach across the table to snap a picture of the chilaquiles (though I wouldn't put it past me in any other circumstance), I did manage to get a picture of my French toast. This is another restaurant favorite! The side of berry puree is a must.

cinnamon bread french toast with berry puree. 
After our very filling breakfast, we decided to walk off some of the early morning carbohydrates with a stroll around Balboa Park. We were blessed with a gorgeous day! I showed Mom around some of the gardens and we decided since we still had several hours before we were to get Spencer from the airport, we might as well go check out a museum or two. We ended up at The San Diego Museum of Art, where we were treated to a one-weekend only annual event: Art Alive 2013. The premise of this exhibition is to have local area floral designers compete by designing floral arrangements that interpret famous works of art. I probably shouldn't admit this, but we had no freaking clue what was going on. It wasn't until several rooms later that we discovered the intent of this expo. From there, we could totally appreciate all of the hard work put into the various displays and not just "oooh, look at the pretty flowers!".  By the end of our exploration, it was clear that this was a major event and that people were lining up to come and see all of the beautiful arrangements. Luckily for us, we got there as they were opening so we were able to comfortably see every room. My little art history-loving heart was in heaven with works of art from Tintoretto, Monet, Degas, Renoir, Giotto, Fra Angelico, Veronese, Van Dyck, Peter Paul Rubens, El Greco and so many more... oh my!

love the solitary lilly pad flower floating in the water feature.  
fountain detail.
spreckles organ pavilion in balboa park.
bee in camouflage. 
love going to balboa just to see all of the beautiful blooms!
rotunda design in the san diego museum of art for 'art alive 2013'.
rotunda design in the san diego museum of art for 'art alive 2013'.
a stunning display of all purple flowers inside of the museum.
helllloooooo, cheesy tourist picture!
another stunning floral arrangement.
After our self-guided tour of the art museum, we deemed ourselves in a state of caffeine emergency. Despite the fact that our Mexican Hot Chocolates from breakfast were insanely delicious, there wasn't nearly the amount of caffeine necessary to keep us functioning for any extended period of time. So... we went in search of Diet Coke. We happened to find one at a nearby fresh-baked cookie bakery, which was... let's all agree... nothing short of a coincidence ;)

happy hour bubbly!
After our sugary-sustenance, we retrieved Spencer from the airport and headed back to the condo for a little happy hour of our own. Mom and I finished off the bottle of champs from the night before, while Spencer enjoyed a craft brew. We sat and chatted for a long while before walking to dinner at another favorite Italian-style tapas restaurant where we enjoyed a focaccia stuffed with soft cow cheese and honeycomb, another prosciutto and arugula pizza (no complaints here!), a simple pasta of pecorino cheese and fresh cracked black pepper, and a risotto carbonara that was to die for.
I will take this opportunity to interject and say that I'm fully aware that we've inhaled more than our fair share of fatty foods this weekend. That's what happens when you put three carb-lovers in the same room. Shit gets real. 

We had a great time at dinner--it was the perfect ending to a perfect long weekend with mi madre!

Sadly, our Monday was pretty short as Mom had a 1:00 PM flight back to Texas. She and I got to sleep in for a bit, then I made breakfast for us. We sat around reminiscing about the weekend and making plans for the next time we get together--hopefully later this summer in my home state!

I so enjoyed getting to spend a little uninterrupted time with my mom. I always love her company, as we can always pick right back up where we left off... even if it's been a year since we've last seen each other! Thanks for a fun weekend, Mom! See you again soon!

we even coordinate with our animal prints... adorable. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

a girls weekend: part one

Hi, friends!

As I'm writing this, I've just returned home from dropping my mom off at the airport. I'm always sad to see her leave, but even more so after the insanely fun weekend we've had! Here are some highlights from the first couple of days :)

After a flight that seemed it would never be (three hours late!), I finally picked mom up around 11:00 PM from the airport. I had a couple of goodies waiting for her, and of course, she hops off the plane with a hand-crafted gift for me, too. I am so proud to say I get my creative side from her!

a couple of goodies I crafted up for mom's trip: a hand-painted ceramic mug and IKEA hacked slippers.

of course, my mother would get off the plane with a handcrafted gift for me, too.
see where I get it? ;)
coconut-lemon sugar scrub
Friday morning, I'd booked a culinary & history walking tour at Coronado island for the two of us. I wasn't totally sure if it was going to be lame or decent, so we were pleasantly surprised when we actually had a lot of fun! After downing a full pot of coffee at the house, we headed out. The purpose of the tour was to stroll through Coronado to some of the untapped, local scenes while sampling cuisine and getting a mini history tour along the way. The tour did not go to the Hotel del Coronado, since it was assumed that most folks coming to the island [which is actually a peninsula...who knew!?] would be making the trek for that very purpose. Instead, we saw some of the unusual spots. We munched on carnitas street tacos at Costa Azul, grilled foccacia and Cesar salad at Cafe 1134, had an olive oil tasting and sweet dessert at Coronado Taste of Oils, and finally ended our tour at WineStyles with a red and white wine tasting. The olive oil tasting was by far one of the neatest culinary experiences I've had. We learned all about the health benefits of fresh olive oil and got to sample all of the wonderful flavored oils. I am a believer! Thankfully, I don't have to drive all the way to Coronado to purchase the freshest olive oils (we were told most of which is on the grocery store shelves is at least 5 years old!)... there happens to be a similar venue within walking distance of our house. Win! Can't wait to check it out.

my cute momma at the tent city murals at the start of the tour.
*tent city was the name given to the temporary housing area that occupied Coronado in the early 1900's. 
a way cool authentic 1950's motel sign.
the home of l. frank baum
otherwise known as the author of the wizard of oz
allegedy, his 'emerald city' was based on the design of the hotel del coronado.
just some architectural detailing from one of the original buildings in coronado... a bank.
obsessed with these tree blooms flanking the boat house!
the coronado boathouse
built in 1887, it was used as a small scale model whereby unskilled laborers [commissioned to build the hotel del coronado] could "practice" their skills in building construction on a much smaller scale, in order to use the same style and method of construction on the hotel. genius, really.
the coronado boathouse
[present day] now a steak & seafood restaurant
After the tour, we took a stroll around the town a little more, before stopping at the hotel for some refreshments and more sight-seeing. We concluded our time in Coronado with a walk on the beach. The weather was perfect for it! That evening, we had dinner at Fidel's Little Mexico in Solana Beach... one of mine and Spencer's favorite stops for Mexican food. Being in the area of Texas that she is, my mom could easily get Tex-Mex at any place in my hometown, but not like it is here.
For the record: I like Tex-Mex better :) 

To be quite honest, we didn't do just a whole lot on Saturday... and it was awesome. We started the day with coffee, Greek yogurt topped with homemade granola and honey, and of course... more coffee! We took London for a walk around the community center by our house, and spent the next several hours just relaxing and hanging out. For an afternoon treat, I took Mom to Sprinkles Cupcakes in La Jolla. [If you follow my Instagram, you saw that even London got her very first pupcake! She loooooved it (duh!) She is my kiddo, afterall].

cupcakes & diet coke... nothing better. 
After we devoured daintily enjoyed our treat, I finally convinced her to try and teach for (for at least the twentieth time) how to crochet. Already being a knitter, you'd think this would be a piece of cake, but alas... it's quite the opposite. I don't get how to make the hook work, how to hold the yarn, or what the hell a double crochet is (or how it's done). Fortunately, after a lot of patience on Mom's end, I think it stuck this time. More that stuck... I am afraid it took off. What started as a little exercise in crochet, turned into the remainder of entertainment for the evening, resulting in two dishcloths(?), potholders(?), Barbie doll blankets(?). (What these are supposed to be, I don't know. I suppose I could always use them as dishcloths). Once I got the hang of it, I couldn't stop.
I know... we live big over here.

my handiwork.

That evening, I prepared a very girly dinner for us beginning with a cheese plate, champagne, and the darkest chocolate I could find. We sampled our cheeses (Spanish: iberico, cabra al vino, manchego, Italian: truffle, and French: wild blubbery vanilla chèvre), prosciutto, crackers, and dark chocolate while sipping champagne out on the patio.

Up next, I used our findings from the trip to Coronado Taste of Oils (six mini bottles of the store's most popular olive oils and balsamics) to re-create our little tasting session... this time with a crusty sourdough loaf. I then used some of the herb-flavored olive oil as a base to pizza dough, and re-created this pizza. It was every bit as yummy as I'd remembered.

coronado taste of oils goodies
I cannot wait to use that cookbook!
my tacky awesome wine shoe accessory from WineStyles!

As we made our pizza, we chatted, drank more champagne, and watched a Netflix movie. It was a very lazy day, but definitely one of my favorites from the whole visit.

In the next post: Sunday & Monday's adventures!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

wordless weekend.

...just a little taste of Friday through Sunday.

Monday, April 15, 2013

awkward & awesome

I was first acquainted with the whole Awkward & Awesome phenomenon a couple of years ago through my old pals over at Your Modern Couple -- one of my favorite blogs for all things design and DIY! The creators [Catharine & Derek] put a halt on their usual Awkward & Awesome Thursday posts for a while they were moving, changing jobs, in grad school, oh and planning a wedding. Although I've completely understood the precedence that other posts took in the meantime, I secretly missed the A&A posts and almost shrieked with glee a little bit this past week when I saw that (at least for the time being) they've returned!

Laughing through her last post, I realized that my own life has been it's own episode of Awkward & Awesome story clips lately. Below are just a few of the short tales as to why, for some ungodly reason, I am still allowed to take part in the rest of civilization. 

  • When I take the dog for walks and she decides she doesn't want to go where I do, so she lays down and plays dead. Then trying to fake her out by saying "let's go!" and take off running while she's still leashed and lain. Finally, attempting to pick her up [in all of her 75 lb. glory] while she scrambles and punches the air, Rocky style. This is all fine and good for me, but what does it look like to strangers passing by? Oh look, Mom. That crazy lady is trying to steal that dog. Please see air punching video below, because yes... it happens that frequently. 

    doin' her thing. 

  • Explaining to my boss that I really can't be there on the Saturday that our firm is scheduled to relocate, because there's a warehouse yarn sale in north county that morning that I can't miss. Trying to exacerbate my point by proclaiming "I mean, there's going to be some really high quality stuff here! All weights and fibers--fingering to DK to worsted, maybe even some BFL, I don't know!!" Her expression = not amused. 

  • Running into a fellow neighbor and dog-owner from our community at dinner last night. When she basically re-introduced herself and gave me her name [which I really didn't know] I quickly exclaimed "Oh I know!" to which she replied "Oh, well most people don't. I am typically guilty of just knowing the dog's names". I am too... yet I couldn't leave well enough alone and just had to word vomit, "I know... you're Puggles mom!". There was silence for a good five seconds before she said "It's Pebbles". What's worse? I couldn't just laugh it off. I got so embarrassed that I just spat out "Right, er, Pebbles. Get the chicken soup! It's really good... ok, well bye!" before scurrying off in the night, only to be seated at the next table over from her. Human fail. 

  • Getting fro yo after dinner the other night and as I was a liiiiiittle too excitedly squeezing the peanut butter topping from it's container onto my coffee flavored fro yo (who wouldn't be excited about that?!) when the lid popped off and peanut butter went oozing down container, all over my hands, and on to the floor. It wasn't awkward for me, or the entire little league team watching me, but it was apparently mortifying to Spencer when I tapped the 19 year old dude bro's shoulder working the register and stated "excuse me, but I made a boo boo". He didn't seem to mind that I'd just made a sticky spectacle, but the fact that I used the phrase "boo boo" was a "no no". 

  • Adam Scott won the Masters! This normally doesn't mean much to me, except for the extra coverage of those perfectly fitting white pants he [and I] are so fond of, but he's a Titleist boy and I am all for supporting such a great brand! Cheers, you handsome Aussie, you!
  • Getting not one, but two creative pay-it-forward gifts in the mail this week from my awesome pals! I LOVE THIS GAME. [Check my Instagram for my sweet loot! My phone has rudely discarded of most of my recent pics].
  • Alllllll of the friends that are having babies right now! Seriously, at least a dozen buns in the oven. I get to take full advantage and use this as an excuse to get crafty, and it's OK because most of the folks are mutual friends. This means I can hoard all of the sock monkey fabric and skeins of "rubber ducky yellow" yarn I want to right now... what?

a hand made baby blanket in the mail! 
3-burp cloth and paci holder set for our sweet friends

  • Tonight is MAD MEN night and that means two things... getting to dive deeper into the musings of Don Draper's life and [and!] old fashioneds. Boyfriend makes a pretty mean one, and I have really come to like 'em.
  • I just found out that I will be making a fortuitous, little day trip to LA in a couple of months to see my bestie who is randomly accompanying another friend visiting family! Bring it!
  • My momma is coming to San Diego next week for an impromptu girls trip! I'm ridiculously excited and may or may not have made an itemized itinerary that I painstakingly worked on for days. May, or may not.
  • Just all of the sheer gorgeousness that is spring right now. I mean look at these flowers we've happened upon in the last week... ridiculous! Those last ones look like something that belong in Alice in Wonderland! Also, all of the pink flowers totally makes my little inner preppy girl's heart go pitter-pat.

Here's to a speedy work week, dear reader friends!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

sock knitta


It's Sunday afternoon...highs in the low 50's...grey skies with drizzling rain. What am I doing?

Working out indoors? Nope.
Preparing a fabulous cold-weather dinner? Nuh-uh.
Fueling my intellectual with a good, thought-provoking novel? Nada.

Learning how to knit socks while watching a Paranormal Activity marathon? Absolutely.
...and I'm loooooooving it!

Happy Sunday!!

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