Sunday, October 25, 2009

Making Zin in Sonoma!

My friend invited us up to make wine with her and her family. Her dad and his friend make wine together. They live in Sonoma county, in Healdsburg. My friend grew up there her whole life and I think they are so lucky to live in the heart of the beautiful wine country! It is especially gorgeous up there this time of the year...when the trees and vineyards are all the color of fire. Tons of reds, oranges and yellows. Super cool. They sell most of their grapes to Napa wineries, Clos du Bois is the main buyer, but some of the grapes they save for themselves to make their own wine and bottle for themselves. Seriously, is that the best way to retire or what?

We, of course, couldn't turn down a trip to the wine country and a chance to see the magic! After testing the sugar content of the grapes, her dad confirmed Saturday was a go. They had a crew out to pick all the grapes off the vines and then they stuck them all through a de-stemer. It's this machine that takes the first pass at sifting through the grapes and removing the debris and stems. Then, they had put the grapes in this huge plastic container (like almost as tall as me and big) and added an enzyme to the tub to make the skins super soft and it also started to start the fermentation process. At the point we arrived the grapes were mush, with most of the skins dissolved. Alcohol was already present as the fermentation process had begun.

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the men learning how the operate the wasn't a "stomp" like I love Lucy =)

Our job was as follows: take buckets full of the grape mush to the wine press, fill to the top, crank the press down and out flows the juice! Fast! We were running all over the place. At that point, two of us manned the bottom of the press and using strainers, strained the juice as it flowed into the ice chest. The ice chest was hooked up to a pump that pumped the juice right into these huge stainless steel tanks. Here the juice will go through malactic acid fermenting and turn into yummy Zin! The bottling process happens next, after they have tasted and tested the wine over several months to get it just right. (That's the next project we'll get to help out on.)

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Julie & me managing the straining process

We got our system down and were all running around making sure we captured every last drop of juice that was flowing out of the press. It comes out pretty fast as they really cranked the press down tight. We had to be quick on our toes and organized to make sure we strained everything going in the chest. The mush was a little extra "mushier" than they had planned and as we cranked down the press, sometimes, random chunks of grapes would come flying out of the top or side of the press.

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all the debris leftover in the press...grape skins, stems, clumps of seeds, etc.

It ended up getting Julie & me pretty good one time. It got me right in the face and was all in my hair and eyes. I quickly ran off to rinse my face because even though purple stained hands might be ok for work on Monday, a purple streaked face wouldn't be so cool. I found chunks inside my ears! We were completely covered with purple chunks by the time we were done. Luckily, Julie told us to wear all black or something that could get stained. We sported our "bank robber" outfits and were fine.

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Julie & me getting every last drip of wine pumped out of the ice chest into the tanks

Brian & Karl were working hard, lifting empty barrels and moving big things around. It was really fun seeing the magical process of turning grapes into wine. Definitely made me appreciate all the work and time that goes into it. Of course, the big vineyards have major equipment for this process and probably aren't using Bed, Bath and Beyond strainers to strain the juice, but our homeade version worked out well!

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The Sinclair's beautiful ranch and vineyard. Just some of their vines pictured here.

Her parents and their friends rewarded us at the end of the 4 hour session with a bbq in the middle of the vineyard. We were surrounded by huge, full vines, mountains and Mike's garden of all kinds of crops, on an absolutely perfect fall day. We drank their award winning Sauvagnion Blanc that recently won a Gold medal for best of class, as chowed down on BBQ. It was a great day! Later, he let me pick golden delicious apples from his apple tree since they had so many they wouldn't even get to them all. He had all kinds of crops- cabbage, pears, beans, tomatoes, artichokes, squash and even pumpkins. I chose two to take home for the front porch.

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Now, for the fun part--all the cleaning after we were done!

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did you know this is what artichokes looked like after they pass the point of picking? So cool!

At the end of the day, after cleaning every piece of equipment, bucket and tool, Julie's dad was very generous and gave us a case of their Zin we had sampled at lunch. Heck yeah! We'll work for wine anytime! Ah, the wine country. A perfect place to retire some day I think. And visit often in the meantime ;)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Farewell, Oprah & Food Network!

I am officially a working woman again! On Monday I start working at one of my favorite companies! I am so thrilled and looking forward to working with a few former co-workers from my other favorite company. It will be a definite change in my daily routine of watching The View from my couch while sipping Starbucks, running errands in the middle of the day, working out whenever I wanted, watching Oprah & the Food Network, and day time drinking with my other unemployed friends, etc. Ah, at least I can say I enjoyed it while I could. In reality, I could only take being a stay-at-home-housewife for so long! I mean let's face it- without other living projects such as a pet or child, it was pretty boring. It was starting to get sad when the only people I interacted with in person each day were Home Depot employees and the mail man. I wasn't off too long since we've been back from our trip, only 6 weeks or so, but I was still getting very depressed with this job market. I know there are tons of people out there that have been looking alot longer than me and I feel their pain.

In preparation for my working woman routine again, I've started pulling out all the quick and easy, week day supper recipes. (Did that just sound really southern? Supper?) Anyway, we had one rainy, dreary day here yesterday and I got all excited for all the warm, comfort food possibilities. I've been wanting to make chili for a while so I thought this would be the perfect chance. Needless to say, as I headed out for the grocery, it was not cold out at all. Oh well, my chili was still delisshhh. Cold outside or not- you got to try it. The recipe is from the one and only, Joy of Cooking. I just grabbed it randomly out of my stack of many. Among a few other things, I collect cookbooks of all kinds and love reading through them to get new recipe ideas. It's so funny because every time I look through the Joy of Cooking, I always think of Rombauer Vineyard now. We were wine tasting in Napa a while back and in the Rombauer tasting room were shelves full of the the Joy of Cooking and I was really confused. Turns out, Erma Rombauer, one of the authors, is part of the Rombauer winery family! As a side note, if you haven't tried their reds you must! They are the most velvety, berries & cream reds we've ever had.

Ok, on to the recipe. So, this is Chicken Chili Verde. (Think inside yumminess of green enchiladas) It turned out amazing and so flavorful which is always a good thing. The other thing that I loved about it was how easy and quick it was to throw all these ingredients together. The grocery had all items except the canned tomatillos. My trick is this: grab a jar of green salsa at the store and substitute a cup of that in. (Turns out, green salsa is almost ALL tomatillos.) I just baked four chicken breasts in the oven while I worked on the other ingredients. The recipe "as-is" is not very spicy at all so throw in some chopped jalapenos if you want. I threw in a drained and rinsed can of white beans too. Corn tortillas would be perfect on the side like the recipe recommends, but I always serve soups, stews, etc with Karl's favorite- Crescent rolls. They really are heaven. What's so crazy, is that without even thinking about it, this is a healthy dinner too! (although, it kind of depends on if you down 3 crescent rolls on the side like we did.) I was thinking if you HAD to add something on top when serving it you could do a spoonful of sour cream and a sprinkle of white cheese of some sort. Ours was great as-is! Enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Half Dome hike at Yosemite!

Hello long lost blog! We're back from our trip around the world and I've been updating our trip blog lately with trip pictures, etc. so check it out! I've been adding our pictures on the right of the blog under "photo gallery".

In the meantime, we're back in the "real world" and getting settled in our new place. Karl has been pretty busy with school lately but has been getting to know some other couples that are new to the area. One of his new friends invited us to go to Yosemite this weekend and climb Half Dome with him & his girlfriend. Karl and I have lived here over three years and have yet to go to Yosemite so we were excited to finally go! Getting camping reservations for the park is extremely difficult and they open them up online each month and are completely booked in a matter of minutes. Our plan for the trip was to leave Friday after they got out of school around 2 and stay in a hotel in a town right outside of the park. The park's parking lot was an estimated 15 minute drive from the hotel and it would be about a 30 minute walk to the trail head from there.

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Half Dome in all its glory. My first thought: How are we going to get up that!?

I started reading more about the hike and what we should bring, etc and learned it was one of the most intense hikes in the park and round trip usually takes about 12 hours with a total of 16 miles of hiking! I had heard of a couple of friends who have done the hike so I thought- we can do it! This is not to say I was a tad hesitant as we've definitely heard of people falling to their death on this hike. (I think overall there have been around 5 deaths and supposedly these were people doing really stupid things such as the hike in the rain, hiking outside the cables, etc.)

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Snow on the ground!

The drive out of town on Friday afternoon was pretty stressful since Bay area traffic begins at about noon on Fridays. It took about 4 hours from our front door to the hotel. We stopped at this awesome hole in the wall diner for dinner and all pigged out in preparation for our calorie-scorching- 12 hour hike the next day. It was fun to have a guilt free dinner of burgers, fries and onion rings!

We were all putting off talking about the plan for the next morning and what time exactly this entailed us getting to the trail head. We finally decided to leave the hotel at 5 am and be at the trail head by 6am. We didn't want to be hiking back in the dark at all and sunset was around 7pm these days. We were guessing we could do the entire hike in under 12 hours and possibly even 10. We packed our back packs that night and made sure we had tons of water, some cliff bars, trail mix, sunscreen, etc. We dressed in layers we could peel off as we needed.

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first view of the cables and tiny people climbing up

Saturday morning's wake up call at 4:45am wasn't too bad since we had all gone to bed close to 10pm. The guys were joking that was more sleep than they got on some school days after staying up reading all night. It was early. We drove into the park and had a 3/4 mile hike to the trail head- in the pitch dark. Karl was thrilled to use our head lamps to light the way!

The weather turned out to be absolutely perfect- highs in the mid 70's at the warmest and upper 30's at the coldest. I never took off my track pants. The hike was overall pretty intense. We gained a total of 4800 feet in elevation to the top of Half Dome which is 8800 feet. What this meant for the 5 or so hours up to the base of Half Dome was it was all up hill. The hike up to the base itself is a deterrent for most people. The trail was clean and very well kept up. There was a slight threat of bears along the way but there was so much commotion with hikers, etc I doubt they ever come close to the trail. There were two gorgeous waterfalls pouring down these cliffs ending in emerald colored pools of water. Spring is supposed to be incredible in the park with all the waterfalls at their peak and flowers filling all the meadows. The only thing I can compare the hike up to would be doing the stairmaster for close to 5 hours. INTENSE. We stopped to eat a granola bar once and were drinking out of our camelbacks the whole time. We made it to the base of Half Dome around 10:45am. The final climb up to the base was the most intense and hardest in my opinion. It is essentially sheets of granite rock at a pretty steep incline, with nothing to hold on to.

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We did it! View from the top.

Approaching Half Dome was somewhat intimidating. It is literally a granite cliff wall with 2 steel cables hanging down from the top. Almost completely vertical. Karl's friend's girlfriend chickened out and didn't even come any closer to check out the cables. I decided to at least check it out a little closer up to see if I'd freak out. It still looked just a vertical up close but I decided to give it a shot. We had brought gloves to get a better grip on the cables. I figured this was pretty important, since we weren't harnessed in, and our grip was all we had. One slip and you're a goner. The cables are about 2-3 feet apart and anchored in by poles about every 5 feet up. There are tiny wooden planks placed every 5 feet as well. I was pretty nervous at first but got in my groove and just focused like crazy on the next plank I could put my feet on. Essentially, this climb is 100% upper body strength. You have to be able to pull yourself up the wall since it is almost completely vertical. While your legs obviously help some, it's mainly your arms pulling your entire body weight up . My shoes would barely be on the wooden plank, about 2 inches wide, for a 2 second rest and then it was time to go again. Karl was behind me and a guy who had done the hike a hundred times was in front. They both encouraged me the whole time and helped me focus and take it one step at a time. The granite in between the planks is obviously pretty worn and slippery from all the hikers that have made the trek. We had our hiking boots on and I was just praying the whole time they would grip and not slip. At this time of day (around 11am) there were other people on the cables but it wasn't completely packed. As if dangling from this cliff wall wasn't scary enough, there were people coming down at the same time! So, we would have to carefully tip toe over on our 2 inch wooden plank and hold on for DEAR life as they squished past us, sharing the plank as they descended. That part was nerve racking for me. You never look behind you or down, obviously. I just focused on the guys shoes in front of me and getting to the next plank. We finally made it to the top! It felt amazing to say I did it and my strength alone was what got me up there!

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the guys out on the "diving board" at the top of Half Dome

The top is actually huge. Think a huge somewhat flat, rocky football field. The 360" view was absolutely incredible and I can say now- definitely worth the scary climb. Only the strongest survive and make it to this point so I felt accomplished for sure and was very proud of myself for not letting fear get in the way. We sat down and enjoyed some trail mix and lots of water as we took in the views. We had views of the park down below, tiny streams, meadows, streams of waterfalls coming down other cliffs,etc. Our photos almost don't do it justice. I tried to show perspective in my pictures of how enormous these granite mountains surrounding us were. Karl and his friend just had to go step out on the "diving board." It is essentially a thin rock plate dangling over the cliff. I guess they were pretty sure it wasn't going to tilt or shift as they posed for pictures. We spent an hour or so on top taking pictures, walking around and taking in all the views. Then, I started getting nervous thinking, I bet going DOWN is going to be even scarier! When we descend we stare out and down the whole time so I can't forget how high up we were and how vertical this cliff wall really is. EEEK!

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What a view!

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Slow and steady and again, just focusing on the little wooden planks on the way down, got us down. By this time the entire cables were jammed with people. I took it one plank at a time and got down. What a sense of accomplishment- I did it!

We took more photos before we started our descent. There was actually SNOW on the ground near the base of Half Dome. It snowed up there last Monday and was still there! The cables are seasonal and were coming down today- Sunday. We were very happy to have gotten up there and even happier we started the hike alot earlier than most people.

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We did it!

We were physically exhausted by this point and still had about 4 hours of hiking out. Going down hill is almost more painful than climbing up! My shins started killing me and my knees were slowly giving out. By the end of the trek I was hobbling and my left knee just couldn't take another step. It was very interesting to see how our bodies held up after 10 1/2 hours of straight hiking. My hips and knees were the first to start hurting. We got back to the car in exactly 10 hours and 35 minutes from when we started. We were happy to have made it back in less than the recommended 12 hours! Whoo hoo! Go us! We peeled off our boots and socks and couldn't move. Recap: 10 hours and 35 minutes of straight hiking. 17.5 miles. 4800 feet elevation gained.

The drive home felt VERY long and I started having cramps right way. We were too tired to even eat dinner and passed out the second we hit our bed. Today, I can't walk and it feels like I've been in a major car wreck. My knees are barely working and my arms hurt just typing this. All that and it was TOTALLY WORTH IT! We can't to hop in our hot tub tonight.

(View all of our pictures of Yosemite here)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

And we're off!

Here's our trip blog we'll be updating for the next few months as we travel. Stay tuned!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Flurry is in the news...twice!

Flurry has been getting great press lately! Check out both of the recent articles regarding their analytics tool that's taking off. Go flurry!

In NY Times & Forbes!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Ok, ok I know it's been a while since I've updated the blog. BUT, this time I have a good excuse and I can finally reveal our news! Some of you have heard already, but Karl and I are taking off and traveling for 4 months beginning May 1st! We've been super busy planning, packing, booking flights, getting vaccines, etc, for the last few months and are getting very excited! I've also created a trip blog that we will be posting to and updating from the road to keep everyone updated on our adventures. Stay tuned!

After spending weekend after weekend at home plotting & planning for the trip we decided last weekend to take off and go skiing at Tahoe this weekend. It was a great break and we're really glad we went since most of the resorts closed after we left. We skiied Alpine Meadows & Squaw Valley. It was Karl's first time to Alpine and even though it was a pretty small mountain he found some hard runs. My report: The snow was slushly and picked up the "Sierra Cement" feeling in the afternoon. Karls' report: This phenomena appears to only effect Jamie's skiing and Karl says "just ski!" If only it were that easy. My skiis literally stick to the snow making turns a huge effort for me. Karl just shakes his head...Oh, I feel sorry for the thousands of California skiiers that have never experienced Rocky Mountain champgane powder where your skiis fly through the snow with no effort at all! Alas, after some hunting around we did find some soft, normal snow (as I call it) on each mountain. There was hardly anyone at either mountain, probably because it was Easter weekend, so we had no lines. It was SO warm on the mountains and apres on the deck was awesome. It was hotter on the mountain than SF when we got back! Unreal.

We got some great pictures from the mountains.....until next year Squaw!

Sharp view from top of Alpine!

Self portrait on the lift at Squaw!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Girl's weekend at Tahoe!

I just got back from an awesome girl's ski weekend in Tahoe this past weekend with the ladies. We decided on Skiing at Alpine Meadows which is just one resort over from Squaw. Julie's parent's have the cutest ski cottage up in Tahoe-Donner and we stayed there. The drive up from SF took about 4 hours after we finally passed the traffic getting to the bay bridge. We picked up Julie's sister Noelle in Davis and then headed up to Tahoe. It wasn't snowing or raining so we made pretty good time. Julie's 4 wheel drive Rav 4 was perfect for the drive.

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Lake Tahoe in the background

We got up early Saturday morning and drove about 15 minutes to Alpine Meadows. I had only skiied at Squaw so I was excited to try a new mountain. Alpine Meadows apparently has the most extreme skiing in the area and I did see lots of double blacks on the map. (not up close and personal =) We stuck to the blues and easy blacks and had a blast! The resort wasn't that crowded at all and all the cars behind us that morning all pulled off into Squaw's parking lot. It was a perfect sunny ski day! The snow was packed powder for the most part but in the afternoon the snow turned to a soft slush. We skiied well together and at the same pace which was nice. After lunch, I decided to go to the peak on a different lift by myself. The other girls didn't want to go up because they thought it would be too windy. I knew what wind and whiteout conditions were *really* like (think top of Whistler, Val d'sere and Squaw) so this wind I decided would be nothing. When I got off the lift at the top I was so glad I went up because the view was amazing! You could see Lake Tahoe and all the other neighboring ski resorts - it was so pretty! (See picture below) I skiied down the bowl from the top and it was great. I never felt the Sierra cement this time like I did at Squaw. What a fun ski weekend!

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They also introduced me to sledding this weekend not believing I had never been! I have seen tubing on the resorts at night but have never tried it. We fired up a batch of margaritas and then head outside to the luge Julie's family dug on the side of their house in their yard. We used plastic sleds and hiked up one side and flew down the other. We dug out a few spots that ice had built up on and the finally got it perfect. We could start from the top (in their backyard) and make it all the way to their driveway. It was so fun! Of course it started snowing Sunday when we were leaving. We all agreed we had a great weekend!

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Saturday, March 7, 2009


Am I spelling it right? Not sure, but anyway, we went to our friend Chuck's surprise birthday party at the Schnitzel House in SF this weekend. Known to be a great German restaurant good for groups and drinking lots of beer, we all huddled inside at the big table we had reserved and popped out and scared Chuck. He, of course, in true Chuck fashion was in full motorcycle gear and *very* surprised to say the least. We all ordered different beer and Chuck drank his out of the cowboy boot glass they served him. It looked more like a lady's UG boot...

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I had never had true German food before like this. I ordered the "schnitzel" not even knowing what kind of meat it was or what it would look like and Karl tried some sausage of some sort. It was all very yummy! The German potatoe dumplings and sauerkraut on the side were my fav! About half way through the night the music changed from German jingles to full on Tejano/Mexican music and we all had a good laugh. Apparently, the owner of the restaurant, some old German dude, died recently and the Taqueria next door to Schnitzel House took over. Hence the entirely Hispanic wait staff talking about shots of tequila all night and the change of music half way through. Funny. Who knew we all loved German food so much!?

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what was named that night as "Heart attack on a plate" but oh, so yummy...

Later that night Chuck unveiled his latest project in his backyard- a former Radio Flyer red wagon that he welded 3 legs to which became a fireplace for smores that night. We all enjoyed lots of smores topped off with some paint fumes from the wagon.
What fun! Happy Birthday Chuck!

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Thursday, March 5, 2009


It's been a while. Not much new to report here. Karl went skiing with "the guys" last weekend in Vail and they had awesome snow apparently. I'm excited for the "girls trip" to Tahoe next weekend! My friend's family has a house up in Truckee and we're making a weekend out of it. We're not sure what resort we're going to yet-Alpine Meadows, Kirkwood, Heavenly, Squaw, many to choose from! Squaw has received 6 feet of new snow in the last 3 days! yes, FEET!! I'm telling you- out here they get HUGE dumps when they do finally get snow. What that translates to in the city is usually many days of rain, rain & more rain. It has been coming down here lately. So, it looks like we'll hit it just right next weekend. Can't wait!

I've been thinking of other recipes I whip up during the week and I totally forgot my staple- Chicken Stir Fry. It's SO easy and healthy. I love how I say healthy and lately we've been chowing down on all the Girl Scout cookies my mom sent us...dangerous! Anyway, Karl just informed me that we are officially mailing in our taxes tomorrow. Hooray! (not that taxes are exciting but it's been eating up alot of evenings around here lately) After many late nights of working on them after work Karl has officially put the stamp on the envelope!

.......Good nite!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Recipe & stuff

This is another good one that's easy and healthy- Honey Mustard Chicken. We both love asparagus and couscous so it has everything you need for the meal all in one. And, since I'm procrastinating going out and running errands at the moment, I've spent the time to publish it for everyone to click on to check out. Feel special. =)

On another note, I am completely beyond sore today after 3 consecutive days of Bar Method. Yow! I came home the other night and was showing Karl some of our "moves" and he couldn't even do half of them! According to our instructor, all the running I've done has actually made my hamstring tight and not flexible at all. I've been hoping that Bar class will help them become the lean, long muscles our instructor talks about in class every day. Although I'm still not at the point of doing splits (far from it actually) I am able to see a difference in flexibility in just a couple weeks. We'll see...

And, before I sign off I wanted to share a cute article Karl sent me today. It reminded me so much of the book/movie Marley & me. Warning - it can be a tearjerker but it's so cute. Stories like these continue to remind me how I didn't grow up in a home where I was ever that close to our family dog. I can't say I know completely how these people feel but I can imagine. Hopefully, some day we can have a pup in our family........some day. =)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Our project...

If you've ever been over to our apartment you have seen the huge glass vase in our kitchen we've been collecting wine corks in for a while now. We brought some corks out from Texas that we had saved and we've added to those quite a collection from wine we've had here in California. Well, it started overflowing recently so we decided to create the framed corkboard we've been meaning to make. It was fun to dump them out, go through them one by one and try and remember where we drank the wine. There were only a handful that we could pinpoint exactly where we had it and for what occasion. It was also fun to see how much our taste had changed from the bottom of the vase to now! I guess frequent trips to Napa and exploring new wine at home with dinner helped with that! Not too long from now we'll probably have enough to make a second one! Here's the final product. It will now hang on our kitchen wall.


Valentine's Day!

So my awesome husband continued his tradition of spoiling me AGAIN this Valentine's Day. The winery that we are members at, Pine Ridge, has two major events for their wine club members- Lobster Fest in the summer and Cave Dinners. We LOVE Lobster Fest so we decided to try the cave dinner on Valentine's Day. The "Sweetheart Ball" was hosted inside the wine caves at the winery. As we expected, it was awesome! The invitation let us know the theme was a Black, White & Red Sweetheart ball and to wear our finest in any of these colors. The caves were lit entirely by candles and they had a live band playing Big Band and Swing music all night. We enjoyed seared Scallops, Duck Confit and then a Filet Mignon steak. I had been craving a steak all week so I was thrilled to see Filet on the menu! The menu was paired with Pine Ridge wine, of course, and there were waitors walking around topping off our glass all through the night. Dancing was fun and we definitely made room for the Chocolate Cake filled with caramel & marshmallow at the end. Our favorite wine we had that night ended up being the Cab Franc. Everything was great and we were happy to have tried another one of their awesome events while we can. We learned that there will be another Cave Dinner in May so maybe we'll have some visitors in town we can treat ;) Any takers?

Here are some "not so great" pictures because of tough lighting and using my point & shoot camera but at least you get the idea.....



Sunday, February 8, 2009

A movie weekend!

It was due to be a rainy, cold SF weekend so we thought we'd catch up on some movies we've been wanting to see. Saturday we took a long walk around the neighborhood (as in the hilliest neighborhood in SF so I didn't feel so bad for not running because it was definitely a workout!) then we decided to go to breakfast at IHOP on Lombard. Yes, a total tourist trap but who cares. Yes, the most non-SF local brunch place in the city but sometimes we just want a cheap breakfast within 20 minutes of walking in, instead of waiting in long lines outside for the tiny local bruch spots in our hood. It was just what we wanted and we left stuffed. Yey for "Never ending pancakes!"

We then continued our walk around the neighborhood while we talked (compromised) about what movie we wanted to see. As we were approaching our street and starting our ascent up the steepest part of the hill, we see 8 cop cars parked haphazardly around the neighborhood and a fire truck attempting to make it's way up a hill so steep I think it's not going to roll straight backwards down the hill. Cops were walking all around one block and all staring up at one of the enormous 4 story Victorian houses on the street. I, of course, as a "concerned neighbor" have to ask a cop what's going on. Apparently, someone called in when they saw someone sneaking into one of the attic windows on the very top of the house. The police couldn't crawl up that high so the fire truck was in the process of sending out the ladder to the attic window. We had to stop and watch the entire procedure and "robbery in progress" as the cops called it. Just as the ladder almost reached the attic window it stopped and retracted. By this time, there was a group of us watching so I didnt' feel like the nosey neighbor. Other people were interested too. We waited and waited and nothing happened and then the family comes out of the house. A mom, a dad, who had just got home from a bike ride and about 4 boys about the age of 10. The family was home while the burglar was breaking in? Oh my gosh! Cops eventually started dissipating and no one was around to give us any answers. Well, after watching this long I had to get some answers! I called the neighborhood Police station and the dispatcher told me one of the family's sons likes to climb on the roof and is often seen going in and out of the attic window of that house. Karl called it when he saw the kids come out of the house. So, after basically causing mayhem in the neighborhood and shutting down 2 streets with about 8 cop cars and a fire truck, it ended up being a boy playing in his own house. Only in Pac Heights.

On with our day. We decided to see "Taken" since it was one of the only movies we agree on. (Side note- most of the time we never go to movies because we never really want to see the same thing and we agree to wait until we can Netflix it and then the same standoff occurs at home ;) This was actually a movie that looked interesting to both of us. Liam Neilsen played a great ex-Special Forces, protective dad but there were definitely some pretty disturbing scenes that I'm still trying to get out of my head. Overall though it was very intense and kept me awake so, good show. After the movie we went to dinner with friends at an "old school" favorite of ours that we used to eat at with the flurry team when we first moved out here, Brother's Korean BBQ. It's a fun, family style place and each table has a grill in the middle where you cook your own meat (Bul go gi) which is Korean marinated chicken and pork. Yum...It also comes with about 50 other small, Korean side dishes that are all pretty interesting. The meal is always topped off with individual bowls of cold, sweet rice water as a treat. Fun!

Sunday, we agreed, would be my day to choose the movie and I of course opted for "She's Just Not that into you" which came out Friday. All the small theaters around us had been sold out since Tuesday but I figured a Sunday matinee wouldn't be so bad. I was wrong. After meeting our friends at the theater we had to search other SF theaters for one that wasn't sold out. Good thing we had Karl's Iphone to look it up! haha. We raced to a theater downtime and bought tickets off Karl's Iphone on the way down there. Ok, ok, I'm starting to see how the Iphone is useful. (According to my husband, I still have to practice my two thumb texting skills and frustration that comes with it before I can buy one.) Fair enough. So, onto our movie rating......we're sticking with it was "just ok." It wasn't near as funny as the previews make it out to be. Sadly, the funniest moments of the movies are the ones you see in the previews. And, some parts of the movie are just sad and depressing. Think cheating, breaking up, divorcing....sorry if I ruined it for anyone but as you follow about 8 different couples, it's bound to happen, right? Overall, pretty good cast & I'm still glad we saw it.

It was fun end to a good weekend until we came home Sunday evening to find that I did indeed (sitting through the movie thinking I might have) leave the left burner of our gas stove on. I now have one, not happy, pretty cross husband :( I guess I can't even hack it as a housewife.........

Thursday, February 5, 2009


I am feeling the BURN today! After an awesome outdoor lunch (pretty rare in SF, especially in the winter where it's normally raining & cold) Dara & I went to this new crab shack on Union and it turned out to be a treat! We shared this crab & artichoke dip that was heavenly and definitely NOT healthy but who cares when you're splurging. I had an awesome shrimp salad with avacados, grapefruit and the best beets I've ever had...who knew yellow beets would be my new favorite veggie? Are they a veggie? Anyway, paired with an awesome white wine it was definitely a meal appropriate for "lunching ladies" catching up. It is so fun to have a city friend to hang out with during the day now!

So during lunch Dara convinces me to try the "Bar Method" class which I've been hearing more and more about from friends in SF. Both studios are within walking distance of our apartments so I said I'd give it a shot. WOAH! Was I in for it. One intense hour of nothing but toning EVERY muscle in your body. Even the ones that you don't know exist until the next day. We use small weights but go for time and lots of reps and then use the bar to tone the lower body. I'm definitely NOT the ballerina or coordinated by any stretch of the imagination but it doesn't take much talent to do 5 minutes of straight squats holding on to the bar. I couldn't play dumb here. It reminded me alot of Pilates but without the machine. I loved it! Lots of abs, legs and of course the dreaded PLANK. ug. The hour flew by and I'm extremely sore today so I obviously did something right!
Well, our night didn't end there. Wednesday night is also the nights we hit up free Yoga at Lululemon. They rotate in new instructors from different studios each week and who could turn down free yoga? We arrived a little early to find out that free Yoga now includes free wine when it's over! Whoo hoo! Wine doesn't necessarily seem like the obvious end to Yoga but it was awesome and we were very relaxed after. Then, to top it off I had to hike up the Fillmore steps home...the never ending day of excercise!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Yummy Recipe Share!

I'm always on the look out for new, healthy recipes for our family of two so I thought I'd share my latest concoction. (well, really, someone else's that I found in the Express News while I was in Texas) It's called Healthy Cajun Chicken Pasta. I'm all about high flavor & low fat and sometimes those types of recipes are hard to find even though you can Google just about any recipe these days. What we (it got Karl's stamp of approval too, even though we know how easy he is to please in the food department ;) loved about this recipe is that it did have a *ton* of flavor, not too spicy but a little bit. And, it has alot of veggies so it's a great all in one type meal!

Also, this post has inspired me to start a list of my favorite weeknight recipes on the sidebar to the right. We eat alot of chicken, so watch out. I'll start with a few of my staple meals for during the week. I try and stay quick, low fat & tasty! Enjoy!

(Back to that Spurs game now.....) Go Spurs Go!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Family Pic!

I can finally post our family picture! I've been waiting for my Mom to get the card I sent her with this picture on front and didn't want to spoil the surprise.

Since we're all living in different cities now and it's so rare that my Mom has all five of us kids together, I thought we better get a family picture while we were all in town. We were racing sundown but were able to get a few good ones. Our cousin, Stephanie, was so great and patient with all of us. I was able to set up the shot and hand over the camera to her to snap away. They turned out great! Nothing has really changed since we were kids posing on the exact same bench at the McNay. One of us was always blinking, moving, sneezing, griping, etc. Ah, the joys of a big family! Here's my favorite from the session. I hope Mom likes it!

Family Pic 700

Monday, January 19, 2009

Winter Wineland 2009!

We had so much fun this weekend in Sonoma Valley for the annual Winter Wineland. There was a group of 15 of us that all went in one van both days (so nicely driven by Brian, our Designated Driver for the weekend ;) We toured 7 different wineries each day! I think that was a record for Karl & me! When we're wine tasting on our own, alot of times we're on bikes and only make it to maybe three. The special deal with Winter Wineland is that they pair food with the wine they're tasting for the day. We had some yummy little apps and even desserts paired with some of the dessert wines and ports at the end. Yum! Julie's Dad is in the wine making business and took us to their warehouse where they make the wine and bottle it. It was super cool to see how tedious the whole process is. He sells his grapes to Clos Du Bois, a well know winery in the area and also served in alot of bars and restaurants. I can't say what my favorite wine of the weekend was but I feel like most of my favorites were Zins. Acorn winery was a surprise and actually had a great 2005 Zin but I could just be remembering that one because it was the last stop of the weekend. Some of the views from different winery grounds were amazing. The vines have no grapes and no leaves at this time of year. They are just bare vines neatly lined up row after row. It's pretty interesting watching the vines change all through the seasons. We got some great pics too....

Acorn Winery Vineyard

The Gang

Acorn Winery

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Welcome Baby Jenna!

And Congrats Steve & Amanda! I'm just now going through my pictures from my visit. Already 2 weeks old now, Jenna was born on December 30th. She came early just so I could see her before heading back to SF! Perfect timing little lady! I did manage to get a few good shots during my visit and below are my favorites. I love how she's all curled up and snuggly in these. I'm thinking she looks alot like her Mama. Enjoy!



Xmas 2008.2 237600