Tuesday, July 30, 2013

San Diego Eats :: Dinner at Bleu Boheme

Saturday evening, we headed down to Kensington to meet up with friends for dinner at the sinfully delicious French fare restaurant, Bleu Bohème

Immediately upon entering, I knew I was going to love this place. The decor is reminiscent of another era in France's history... complete with wax-dripping candelabras and exposed wood rafters. It's just the right amount of 'too much'.

The cuisine is even better than the decor. We mingled for a bit at the lounge area and enjoyed these appetizers with our pre-dinner cocktails:

Escargots à la Portugaise
escargot in red wine with tomatoes, chick peas, linguiça sausage, bleu cheese potato croquette 

Carpaccio de Saumon Fumé
rum cured-house smoked salmon, crème frâiche raifort, baby arugula salad with shaved fennel, lemon zest, Champagne vinaigrette and capers

Yep... I totally ate snail and LOVED it! Who knew?


After cocktails and apps, we headed into the dining room where we continued with more vino and a beautiful cheese board with unique, delicious samples served with my two favorite pairings--fig and honeycomb.

Les Fromages
imported French cheeses with a fig terrine and fresh honeycomb



Hard to believe we were even hungry for dinner, but we managed to stick it out :) We had four of the tastiest looking things on the menu: 

Boeuf Bourguignon
beef short rib simmered in red wine, mushrooms, house smoked bacon, carrots, baby potatoes and caramelized pearl onions 

Filet Mignon de Jumeaux
petite filet mignons , one with crispy shallots and red wine, the other with wild mushrooms, truffle butter, blue cheese crushed potatoes and asparagus

Confit de Canard
duck leg confit and house smoked pork belly with white cannellini beans, roasted Brussel sprouts, mustard sauce

Entrecôte de Porc
honey/curry marinated pork ribeye steak, spinach, bacon pommes purée , fig and port wine pan sauce    
    

Literally, everyone's meal was top-notch. But of course, there is always room for dessert. 

Pain d’ Épice
warm gingerbread with strawberry confiture and caramel ice cream 

*** yeah... no picture. this one went quickly :) ***

A wonderful experience and a great meal with great people. How could you possibly go wrong? We will be back... again, and again, and again. :)



Sunday, July 28, 2013

lately...

I realized it's been a while since I've written about what else I've been up to [other than glittering wine glasses and making jewelry]. Although, truth be told, these things take up the majority of my free time :)

I've also been working... like a lot. So many new projects, big projects, fun projects. Seussical qualities aside, it's been a busy couple of months. For instance, on Thursday morning, I had to wake up at 4 AM in order to be at a meeting that began at 6:30 AM. Seriously... who does that?! Oh wait... I do. The joys of working on medical projects, I suppose :) Anyone that knows me knows that I like to work. I like to be busy and am so passionate about my career. However, on my last doctor visit [to have my stitches removed] my blood pressure indicated a very large spike. Now, this could be in part to the fact that I was about to have someone remove 7 stitches from my still numb hand... or it could be something else entirely. Either way, I'm slowly but surely finding ways to relax in the evenings, let work be left at work, and the stress of the day melt away. Wine helps with this process, obviously :)

Tuesday evening, we had the rare pleasure to visit one of my favorite people and her little family visiting from Austin. We drank sangria, made s'mores, and completely obsessed over the cuteness of this little guy. I haven't seen him in almost a year, and holy cow... he's just as adorable (if not more!) than I remember.

that cup was empty.
he was covered head to toe in dump truck stickers.
the extended pinkie finger kills me.
there was no need for the spider-man helmet (he just wanted to wear it).he totally made my night :) 
bedtime stories :) 
I've also been obsessing about creating a 'dressing table'. Instagram and Pinterest [the banes of my existence] are littered with DIY solutions to jewelry storage; and with the growing collection of statement necklaces and arm candy I've been hoarding lately (it's so out of control), I both want and [dare I say?] need somewhere to showcase these pieces. So far my favorite 'look' has been the table with tabletop storage for bracelets, necklaces, etc. and framed wire mesh for hanging earrings. I also love the idea of hanging up cute and inspirational, girly quotes & monograms like this one and this one. I got home from work Friday afternoon, pulled out the 'extra' desk from the master closet, searched endlessly for the set of Allen wrenches to put it together, then moved it in and out of the closet four times, decided I didn't like it anywhere, opened a bottle of wine, and totally gave up. On to Plan 'B'... whatever that may be :)

This weekend, we went to an absolutely fabulous French restaurant with friends (which I'll give a full review on later this week!) and discovered, yet again, that our city is full of wonderful places to go and do and see. For all intents and purposes, my life over the last week, on paper, has looked pretty boring... but it hasn't been. It is so full and I never take for granted even one second how lucky I am to do what I love and live where I do. We are so blessed!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

craft kick.

I've been having major accessory envy lately. 

Thanks to social media [specifically IG], I can't go a day without seeing a number of fabulous Anthropologie / JCrew-inspired statement necklaces and stacks upon stacks of gorgeous bangles & cuffs [AKA arm candy!]. Coincidentally, I've recently discovered the oh so affordable fashion-inspired, budget-friendly boutique sites like Very Jane, Groupdealz, and To Adorn

Warning :: Proceed to these sites with caution. VERY cute things abound. :)

However, I reached my limit last week when I purchased my fifth statement necklace in two months. It's getting out of control... and I must be stopped. 

But what's a crafty girl to when there are still so many cute jewels to be had?! The answer is always make your own!

This weekend, I pulled out my massive bead collection. The majority of said collection consists of broken necklaces, bracelets, and clearance sale items that I purchased with the best intentions to transform them into something beautiful. Much as I love getting my crafty on, I really don't like working with beads. They're little, and finicky, and frequently run away from me. 

And that's just rude. Jewelry making is a rude craft. 

BUT I do love the way a pretty beaded bracelet looks :) So, I'm forced to make some concessions. 

I found some memory wire and this great little beginner tutorial and decided to try my hand at a blue-green memory wire beaded bracelet. For someone who loathes working with beads, I was really pleased with how this little bracelet turned out. So much so... that I made two more. :) [They're like Lay's Potato Chips... you can't just make one!]. 



Since I already had all of the materials needed on hand, the total project cost was $0. [Woo!] These little guys are so easy to make and look great! I have my eye on a couple of other DIY jewels, but not before  I whip up at least a few more ;) 

Monday, July 15, 2013

{DIY} fancy party glasses


Even though we've been in California for two years as of this month [yay!], there are some things that won't break this good ol' southern girl. 

I still like big hair. 

I still don't leave the house without my mascara. 

I still say 'bless your heart' and 'how's your momma?'

I still believe that pearls and a pair of pumps are always appropriate. 

I still fervently believe that you should always make it pretty. 
Not even when it's 'just for you' but especially when it's just for you! 

That being said... I also believe in treating yourself to a happy little cocktail every now and then :) And because I think you should always make it pretty, I crafted up these adorable little glittered[!] wine glasses to put the proverbial 'cherry on top' of cocktail hour :) 

I followed the exact same steps as the glitter-podge terra cotta pot tutorial, except that I limited the glitter-poding to the base of the wine glasses instead of the rim of a pot. Easy peasy and oh so fancy! I am thrilled about the result and think you all should grab your paint brushes, mod-podge, and old wine glasses and give 'em a fancy facelift!

I won't re-illustrate the whole tutorial all over again [but look here if you missed it before!] but I will share with you some tips & tricks I've learned as a newcomer to mod-podge + glitter :) 

[1] Use a fine bristle, soft paint brush in lieu of a foam brush. [I like these by Martha Stewart -- available at Michaels]. I find that the bristle brushes get into all the little cracks & crevices created by the glitter. 
[2] Use a finer glitter for more sparkle. I used a 'chunkier' glitter for my terra cotta pot, [which was the look I was after!], but found that for the wine glasses a finer glitter works better to give optimal shine and fabulousness :) Side note: I used a different color glitter for each glass -- I like the idea of each of your guests having a way to identify whose is whose after a couple of glasses of chardonnay [ :) ] but think that a set of one color would be just as fab!
[3] You don't need to use anything fancy to create a good, straight line around the base of your glasses. Simply apply your thin layer of mod-podge around the base of the glass, add your glitter, shake the excess, and run a dry Q-tip around the rim to create a crisp, clean edge. 
[4] I can't stress enough the importance of using a thin layer of mod-podge... learn from my mistakes, people!
[5] Pour a small amount of the mod-podge into the lid and use that for dipping. Even after your glitter is set, and you have begun the 1-2 additional layers of sealant [I use 2 layers... to be on the safe side :)] some excess glitter will still find it's way into your brush. If your only pour a small amount into the lid, you can rinse & re-add as necessary without ruining your whole container of mod-podge... oh, the horror!
[6] Let your initial coat of glitter dry over night. I know it's hard to wait, but I found that the longer you wait, the stronger the adhesive and the better the product. It's worth it in the long run! I do the same for the second coat of glitter... then I let dry and add 2 more coats of sealant. 
[7] Remember that these glasses are hand wash only and I mean it! A little hot water and a squeeze of liquid dish soap do the trick!
[8] Having said that, as soon as the glasses have dried completely and are ready for use, wash them before pouring that first glass! They will turn a milky white color [every time you wash them]. Don't panic! This is totally normal, and they will return to normal sparkly goodness once they're dry!

That pretty much sums it up! :) I am completely obsessed with the glitter-podging technique and am sparkling up any and everything I find... much to boyfriend's dismay. Hope you guys will have fun with this technique and let me know what you think!

Cheers to a FaBuLoUs Monday!





Friday, July 5, 2013

avocados mean business

Let me start by saying, if you have a queasy stomach... you might want to check back in with me on another day :) 

Don't you just love when a story begins that way? :) 

This is a little story about how I ended up in the Emergency Room on a fateful Tuesday night, after having sliced my finger to the bone with a kitchen knife...and all the panic that ensued. 

It all started Tuesday evening after work. Spencer and I decided to walk down to our little community center to grab some fish tacos for Taco Tuesday. After we'd ordered, we sat down and he mentioned that he meant to order some guacamole but forgot. Already having schemed a plan that involved white chocolate coated, patriotic themed, Rice Krispie treats to take to my office the following day, I offered that we just grab a couple of avocados at the grocery store on our way back and make some guacamole at home. Perfect. 

Once we arrived home, he immediately took the dog outside and I got started on the guacamole. 
Warning: This is where the preachy side of me will be unleashed.
Has anyone ever pitted an avocado by slicing it in half, cupping the other half with your hand and whacking at the pit, in order to twist and remove it? They do this on Food Network all the time. I've done it a million times myself, as it's a super handy little trick. If you also currently use this method... please don't! I did just that--and as I did, the avocado slipped slightly and I completely missed the pit, exerting every bit of energy to come slicing down at the base of my index finger. 

At first, I didn't know what had happened. I dropped the knife, and pulled up my hand. As I did, I remembered that these were brand spanking new kitchen knives (never before used... resulting in a perfectly sharp blade) and wondered what exactly I would see when I looked down. This kind of thing always happens in slow motion you know :) When I set my eyes on it, all I saw was blood... and bone. 

I ran over to my purse for my phone to call Spencer. Luckily(!) he answered. "I've just cut myself pretty badly and I need you to come inside" I told him. Once I confirmed the validity that this was not a joke, he was back inside in a matter of seconds. In the meantime, I managed to make the floor of our kitchen and dining room look like an image from a first-rate crime scene. As soon as I hung up, I had just enough time to grab a wad of paper towels and collapse into the chair as black spots were threatening a complete black out. Spencer got inside, located the nearest ER, and before I could blink, we were speeding down the highway en route to the hospital. 

We both remained as calm as possible, even though minutes into the car ride I was starting to loose all feeling in my hand. We burst into the doors of the ER looking like a hot mess. Spencer was running ahead with my purse, I was in tow holding my bloody finger together while my legs, arms, and clothing were completely blood spattered. It was a sight to behold.

Once inside, I had to get checked into triage... then wait. Spencer was already on his way back to the house as I'd left my phone and wallet on the table. It felt like hours (though in reality it was probably only 20 minutes) before I could be taken back. They were completely booked. So much so, that I never got into a room. They'd lined beds up in the corridor and were treating patients right there in the hallway. By this point, I looked part-Smurf as my hand, from the wrist down, was a lovely shade of blue. Shortly after, I met my doctor who immediately did a nerve test (to make sure there was no permanent nerve damage). He then pulled up a stool, and put seven stitches in my finger right there in the crazy ER hallway, with patient beds whizzing by, nurses shouting out a language that I didn't understand (a lot of letters and numbers) and screams from the boy next door getting his wrist reset. It was intense.

It took a long time for me to get discharged. Once my discharge nurse came to get me cleaned up and my care instructions for the next couple of weeks, she asked for at least the fifth time "so, you're sure you've had a tetanus shot in the last ten years?". Once I thought about it, I admitted that I probably hadn't... so... here we go again. As she was giving me the shot, I asked what the side affects were. "Well," she said, "we are going to keep you here for observation just in case". Oh! Neat! :)

After about 20 minutes, we were finally free to go. We returned home to what looked like a horrible murder scene, so thankful that neither of the pets went to investigate and tracked bloody paws all through the house :) Needless to say, the next day I started my 5-day vacation early (in lieu of a 4-day) since the shot in combination with the finger episode were rendering my arm completely useless. I hate missing work--but I was going to be no good :)

It's been three days now and the swelling has gone down enough that I can semi-bend my finger. I am still numb in the pad of my index finger. It might last a few more days, it might last forever. Either way... I still have my finger and it still works, so I'll take it! In the meantime, I'm doing a lot of catching up on the DVR. I even started a new series on Netflix--Revenge! I am hooked on it. I have attempted knitting, though it's slow and frustrating :) I'm sad that I'm not getting to do any of the fun crafting I had planned for the long weekend, but am using the time to take it easy--an intentional vacation. It could always be worse! :)

Let this be a lesson to all of you! PLEASE be careful in the kitchen :)

PS--The two pictures below are in black and white and do not show anything yucky! I have those, but will refrain from sharing :)

right after i shed tears of joy upon seeing spencer :)

he was gone for so long, and i didn't have a phone, and knew he was driving fast.
in an ER hallway, looking at all of the crazy things around, my mind was going 100 mph.
so, i burst into tears when i saw him :) weenie!

all cleaned up and ready to go home!

future tim burton cast member? i think so!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

[happy hour] blackberry minty mimito


Pop! Fizz! Clink!

It's Wednesday!

Not that I need a reason to celebrate... but tomorrow kicks off a 4-day weekend for me. What what! Anyone else out there taking advantage of the July 4th holiday and coasting into the weekend a little early? I hadn't planned on it, but our firm offered us the day off, sooooo... I'll take it!

I'm celebrating the end of two, hideously long weeks with another cocktail concoction! Who knows... I've been such a little mixologist lately, the trend may stick throughout the summer ;) Speaking of summer... I love a crisp, refreshing bubbly in the summertime... don't you!? This recipe today was born out of an impromptu game of i-need-a-drink-now-what-do-i-have-in-the-fridge. Cousin to the popular what-the-hell-is-for-dinner-i-wonder-if-cheetos-would-work-for-breadcrumbs game.

Just kidding. Cheeto crusted chicken would be gross.

Or would it...?

...pondering...

It would. 

Anyway, I needed wanted a cocktail and happened to have a handful of blackberries, a few sprigs of mint, and a chilled bottle of champagne in the fridge. Sounded good to me. A few minutes later with a little mixing & shaking, I was pouring myself a fizzy little glass of [what is now deemed] blackberry minty mimito. It's a hybrid between a mojito and a mimosa since it's made by muddling together blackberries, mint, and a twist of lime (like a mojito) but the juice mixture is paired with champagne as you would a mimosa. Thus... it's a mimito!

Or a momosa... but then it just looks like you don't know how to spell ;)


blackberry minty mimito
yields: 2 cocktails
[ingredients]
5-8 blackberries (rinsed!)
3-4 mint leaves (rinsed!)
2-4 sugar cubes
juice of one lime
champagne (whatever is your favorite!)
champagne flutes
additional berries & mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)

[how to]
[1] Start by muddling together the berries, mint, sugar cubes, and lime juice in a small dish. 
*For my own personal taste, I like to use 8 berries, 4 mint leaves, and 2 sugar cubes (since I don't like a really sweet drink--but make it your own!)
[2] Transfer the berry liquid to the empty champagne glasses, dividing equally. 
[3] Slowly add champagne, little by little, until you've reached the top. 
The fizziness will cause a 'berry overboard' if you pour too fast. [4] Plop in a berry (it will float to the top) and add a sprig of mint and you're ready to enjoy!
.....
I recommend using a dry champagne and adding the sugar in yourself, as opposed to a prosecco, but if you like your sips on the sweet side, by all means, go prosecco! You could probably opt out of the sugar cubes with this option. 

I also love the extra pulp from juice blends (any other high pulp fans out there?), so I prefer the berry seeds floating around in my drink, but if you have a texture issue or just flat prefer a smoother sipping mimito, strain the berry liquid after step [1] to ensure the only thing floating to the top are berries & bubbles :) 

I hope you guys enjoy! This is really quite an easy and tasty summertime sipper! It comes together in a flash and would make a beautiful addition to a girly brunch or a refreshing afternoon treat on a hot day.

Hope you all have a safe & happy 4th of July! 

Cheers, ya'll!