Monday, July 30, 2012


I needed this recently. I figured other people might to. 

Man, oh man this is hard to do. 

Somehow, it's the right things that always are.  


Friday, July 27, 2012

Finding Beauty

A good friend of mine used to work at the high end beauty store and spa, Blue Mercury.  Whenever I went in, she was sweet enough to toss a few samples in my bag.   

This act of kindness has been detrimental to my wallet.  The only item I haven't purchased yet is the Darphin oil which is quite a splurge.  I'm still squeezing the last few drops from my samples each night.  It's a bit like Hanukah, really.  Will the oil last one more night?!

4 - skinceuticals sheer physical spf 50 | 5 - mario badescu drying creme (miracle creme for pimples!)

I'm still in need of a good moisturizer.  I've tried everything from Oil of Olay to Chanel.  All suggestions welcome!

*this post is not sponsored by Blue Mercury, it just happens to be where I buy most of my products

Thursday, July 26, 2012

La Rusticana D'Orsa {The Tour}

Yesterday I posted about the awesome cooking class I took over the weekend at Rusticana D'Orsa.  I thought today, we'd tour the property.

They had a vision of Italy when they built it, so that as soon as you enter the gates you think you're in Tuscany surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, gorgeous gardens and 2 beautiful villas.  It was breathtakingly gorgeous. 

Wouldn't you love to have your morning coffee here?

The property was completely built from the bottom up.  They brought in the vineyards and olive trees to create the atmosphere that they envisioned.  And you can tell they did an amazing job because everything looks so authentic, like it was always right there, in that spot, and meant to be there.

Like in Rome, you rub his nose so that you come back here :)

The grill and brick oven...

...which the men couldn't stop staring at and taking pictures of.  {What is it about men and fire?}

I think my favorite part of the property was that every where we walked there were these little vignettes set up.  No matter where you walked to, you'd find a table and chairs there for al fresco dining, or just sitting and relaxing and taking in the gorgeous views.

{How cute is this guy?!}


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cooking Italian at La Rusticana D'Orsa

Aside from Pacino's surgery {here}, I had such a fun weekend.  We're still celebrating Dan's mom's big birthday {as posted about here}.

At a recent fundraiser, Dan's Dad surprised Chris, his mom, by bidding on a 10-person cooking class given by the wonderfully talented Franca Colleta at La Rusticana D'Orsa, which we attended this past weekend.

The property is built so that you can imagine you're in Tuscany as soon as you've entered the gates.  It truly felt like we were in Italy.  {Property tour}  

Let's get down to the fun part, the cooking!

We cooked in this amazing kitchen, one that your Nonna might have, if you had a Nonna, which I don't.  But after this weekend, I may need to get one!

Each recipe had a cooking station set up with a cutting board, baking sheet, various ingredients and the recipe printed out.  They had baskets of fruits and veggies and fresh herbs grown on the property for us to choose from.  And while we minced and julienned and stirred, Franca's adorable grand-daughter Nica made us pizzas to snack on.

I helped make the Antipasto di Prosciutto e Fichi.  It was surprisingly delicious with so few ingredients.  And it was really easy and quick so I got to spend lots of time drinking wine and eating pizza taking photos!

Recipe:  Antipasto di Prosciutto e Fichi
 - 1/3 cup creme fraiche
 - 2 tsp fresh mint, julienned
 - 2 tsp lemon juice
 - about 2 tsp milk
 - pinch of salt
 - 12 fresh figs
 - 5 oz thinly sliced prosciutto
 - sprigs of fresh mint for garnish

In small bowl, stir creme fraiche, 1 tsp mint and lemon juice.  Whisk in enough milk to produce a thick sauce, you may not need all of the milk depending on the consistency of the creme fraiche (we didn't use any). DO NOT over mix or the sauce will be runny (but still good).  Stir in the salt.

Cut the figs in half lengthwise, wrap with a slice of prosciutto.  Arrange attractively on a shallow platrer.  Drizzle with the creme fraiche sauce, sprinkle with the rest of the julienned mine.  Decorate platter with sprigs of mint.  Serve immediately.

Everything was so delicious and fairly easy to make.  More recipes coming soon!


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Smitten for Summer Series

I'm over at Debby's today sharing my summer favorites. 

If you haven't visited Debby's blog Inspired Design, you're in for some beauty.  

Grab a cuppa tea or some coffee and settle in.  You'll need a bit of time for all the gorgeousness.

Thanks for having me, Debby!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Planning a Nursery

A good friend at work just announced that she's pregnant (Eeeee!) I love when other people have children :)

After the obligatory conversation about when she's due (January), the sex of the baby (still too early), how happy her husband is (estatic!) we got down to the important stuff - how she's going to decorate the nursery! {We work at Resto, this is an important question.}

She has a few things in mind, which keep evolving the more we talk and shop online. :)  She likes the idea of red, white and navy, for a boy.  And something similar for a girl, but perhaps a bit lighter, like white, navy and coral. 

Just for fun, I scoured the internet and put together a couple of nursery ideas.

She's fallen in love with a super cute rocking chair from West Elm so I included that in both collections.

Just a few more weeks to find out the sex, then the real shopping begins :)

Update from Friday's post:  Pacino's doing much better from his surgery Thursday night.  He's a bit groggy from the medications, but each day he's a little bit more himself.  Thanks so much for all the love and prayers for him!


Friday, July 20, 2012

I had this really cute post with some really great news all set to go this morning.  But last night Dan called and told me he was at the emergency vet with Pacino.

Apparently he'd gotten sick a few times yesterday morning and had been lethargic all day.  Dan took him in that evening when he got sick again and still hadn't eaten anything.  He ended up having to go into surgery late last night to remove an obstruction in his GI tract.

I talked to the vet this morning and he's awake and a bit groggy.  They're keeping him all day today for observation just to make sure everything's okay.  It seems he swallowed some sort of rubber stopper from a toy or a door stop, they think.

Pacino's been at Dan's all week and I've stayed at my house so I haven't seen him at all.  And I really just want to go pick up my pup and let him know everything's okay.  

So please excuse this little love fest of photos.  I was looking through them last night when I was waiting to hear from the vet and couldn't be with him. (I do realize this is a lot of photos to see of someone else's dog.)

I'm not sure what I would do without this lil guy.  

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hermosa Beach Cruise

A few photos from the weekend in Hermosa Beach

Mr. Pacino Man and I woke up early Saturday morning before everyone else and took a walk on the beach. 

I hope I always live near the ocean.  There's something so calming about it for me.  Even on the grey days, the beach is just gorgeous.  

I might even like it better on the grey days, but maybe that's 'cause I'm from Northern California and that's what our beaches always look like.  :)

Brunch in Huntington Beach at Zimzala

They had a "mans best friend menu".  Only in LA.

Family Photos
{with a drenched little Caperberry}

{Pure exhaustion after the beach}

{Boat cruise}

{Sunset from the boat}

No trip down I-5 is complete without In N Out

Happy Birthday to these two!  Thanks so much for having us.  What an awesome party!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Roadtrip Playlist

Back from Hermosa Beach.  What an awesome weekend! 
Brunching at Zimzala in Huntington Beach

We got stuck in a bit of traffic on the way home last night.  But being stuck in the car isn't so bad when's there's good music on and you're with the ones you love.  I pretty much left my phone on shuffle but here are a few favorites that played.

 1 - Erase Me - Kid Cudi
 2 - Paper Plane - M.I.A
 3 - Honey Bee - Blake Shelton
 4 - Firework - Katy Perry
 5 - Gimme More - Britney Spears
 6 - Small Town USA - Justin Moore
 7 - Wild Ones - Flo Rida & Sia
 8 - Run This Town - Jay-Z, Rihanna & Kanye West
 9 - Call Me Maybe - Carley Rae Jepson
10 - Lights - Ellie Goulding
11 - S&M - Rihanna
12 - Light up the Sky - Yellowcard

I love road trips so much.  You always end up learning something new about the people you're with.  For example, did you know there's a male voice in the chorus of Britney's 'Gimme More'?  It's pretty subtle but if you listen closely you can hear it.  He says "more".  Turns out Danny knows this part perfectly.  :)  It completely surprised me!  And I could not stop laughing for the entire song.

Pacino did great on the 6+ hours in the car.  
This was pretty much how he looked for the entire time.
I think beach time with his cousin Caper tired him out!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

Packing for Hermosa Beach

We're heading to Hermosa Beach for the weekend.  A friend's turning 30 and having an awesome boat party with about 50 of his closest friends! I cannot wait.
I'm not sure I've mentioned it before but I'm an accountant. {Please keep reading.} There is a bit of a coolness factor though, since it is for Restoration Hardware.  But other than that I'm kind of a numbers girl and quite fluent in financial reporting jargon and excel formulas.  I know, I know it really doesn't get any cooler than that.

Also, I love making lists.   So with all that combined and the fact that I sit in front of a computer all day, whenever I'm taking a trip someplace I usually create a packing list. 

Anyone else make packing lists? 

I make mine in excel {I told you I was cool}.

I thought I'd show my list for this weekend.  

I don't always make one, but it's especially helpful when I'm confined to just a carry-on and I'm trying to get as many outfits as possible out of it.  Using excel I can just copy / paste things into new outfits.  Luckily, this is a road trip so I'm only limited by what the car can hold :)

At the top of the list I put where I'm going and the dates of the trip.  I usually list out the days as well and add any significant things we're doing on those days so that I can make sure I have an outfit for those things.

For each outfit and list out just about everything I need for it, shoes, pashmina, bag, etc.  It helps me to remember all the little essentials that I wouldn't have thought of.  There's nothing worse than having the perfect white maxi dress to wear and only having brought black bras. {I think this is referred to as a first-world problem.}

For jewelry, I usually pick it out while I'm packing.  I like being able to see it all once, but I really try to ask myself what I would wear it with before I put it in the bag.  I've lost pieces before so I try not to overpack it.

I usually list miscellaneous items too: things I know I want to bring but don't specifically fit into an outfit, like pajamas, or, like this time, we're bringing puppy treats for Caper {Pacino's cousin}.

What's funny, is that I rarely remember to print out the list of made.  But somehow, just the act of consciously thinking about it and making the list is helpful for me. 

So am I a complete freak, or does anyone else make packing lists?

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Road trip!
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