Thursday, June 30, 2011

Heading to Wisconsin

Tomorrow AM, bright & early, we are flying out to....Wisconsin!! We are meeting at my Aunt & Uncle's home where we will be with my cousins and Kimmy! We all haven't been together in Wisconsin since this photo was taken about....20 yrs ago!!!

It will be so much fun! We are going to spend time at the lake and hopefully see some fun things in Milwaukee including Summerfest.

Not sure if we will be riding on these water toys but we will be cruising around on the boat and doing some major relaxing. Our cousins, Brigid and Kaitlin, used to visit CT when we were all younger. Kaitlin actually has been living in NY and it has been fun to get to hang out with her again when we are home. We are all grown up now and have boyfriends/husbands but it will a lot of fun to be together!

Happy 4th of July!!

Off to Camp!

I don't know if Evie ate something or just isn't feeling well but on Wednesday night, she wasn't feeling so hot. She also got sick in the middle of the night. I hate bringing her to her camp when she doesn't feel well but I had to bring her this AM. We are leaving for 4th of July vacation tomorrow AM, before her camp even opens.

This AM, we drove down to camp and there was a surfboard in the car. I put her bedding on top of the surfboard and she crawled on top of all of that to lay down. Look at her. haha. She was looking out the back window. I was able to capture this photo because there was SO much traffic on the way to camp. There was an accident that backed everything up!

Well she was very happy to arrive at camp & ran away from me right to the camp staff, when it was time to say goodbye. Hope she feels better!

LA for the Day

Yesterday, I had to go down to the LA area for a client meeting. We left on a 930am flight, had two meetings, and were on a 3:45 flight home. We flew out of Oakland and into Burbank. I was so surprised that we exited and entered the plane in Burbank right out on the tarmac. It is such a tiny airport but I can't remember the last time I had to do that!

It was a very quick trip. We had a nice lunch at the Four Seasons and were able to sit outside in the warmth. I love the weather down in LA. I wish we had that weather! Here was the view from the deck at the hotel--there were this cool waterfalls outside.

We were able to hop on an earlier flight and were back in Oakland by 5pm. I love how you can get around so easily in CA!

Goodbye, Burbank!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Impromptu Monday Night Dinner

Last night, Erik and I decided to use a coupon and have dinner at the Curbside Cafe. It is a cute little french place on California & Fillmore. I noticed it awhile ago & thought it looked cute, then heard a friend went there and liked it a lot! When a coupon popped up on, it was time to try it!

Erik started with the French Onion Soup and then had the Smoked Mushroom Risotto with chicken. I had the Chicken Picatta over pasta. Both of our dishes were delicious! I loved my Chicken Picatta because it was not breaded & fried. The lemony sauce was soooo good!

I think we might go back to try something else eventually! It's in a great neighborhood to have dinner & then drinks.

After dinner, we went home and started our next series...Mad Men. We only watched about half of an episode but it seems like a good series!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Annual Hockey Picnic

On Saturday, we went to the Annual Bulldogs Hockey Team picnic. It was held at a teammate's house north of the city & it was so much fun!

We had SO much food. There was a full spread plus appetizers and dessert. There was a ton of beer and wine, too. Erik brought some of his homebrew which was a hit, too. Next year, he is going to brew a special batch for the picnic.

There were lots of babies but they all played with each other which was great. Look at Vic's new baby, Sydney. She is 10 mos old and super cute. She just smiles and is super quiet.

Here are the kids chowing on the Doritos. I was giving them some one by one. When McKenna asked me for a "Another chip, please", I made the mistake of saying - here just take the bag. oops!

Sean & Jesse

The bubble maker came out & got everyone excited!

Then, it was adult time. We played flip cup in the yard. haha.

Of course, the kids wanted to flip the (empty, beer-less) cups, too. Good practice for college!

The night ended by playing the Michael Jackson singing & dancing game for Playstation. One person sang and two people danced - kind of a mix of Karaoke & Dance Revolution. haha So fun!

Great picnic. Can't wait til next year!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Hour

Yesterday, we got out of work at 2pm for Summer Hours. It was sunny & warm out - wonderful! We went to a bar, Hillstone, with outdoor seating after work for a team happy hour.

It was awesome to just chill outside with a couple of drinks. Apparently, they have really good margaritas. I am not into margaritas but I did have a taste & can see how they could be deadly. haha.

One of my co-workers had his dog with him, Shorty. Shorty is a rescue Chihuahua mix and is so cute. He lets you pet him, pick him up, and he just likes to chill. Check him out!

"Ahhh I love lounging in the sun."

"I'm awake! Somebody get me a Corona"

After Happy Hour, I tried to make it home but Market St was a mess with no traffic allowed through & no buses. A bus hit a biker!! I saw the biker on the sidewalk with the paramedics. His face was bloody & he was going to the hospital. Scary! After finally getting home, I walked Evie and we ordered pizza for dinner. We watched some more...Dexter! We are half way through Season 5. I'm getting ready to just wrap Dexter up. Season 6 starts soon and I need a break before we get into that season.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sunny in SF

This week, it has been so sunny and in the 80's! I wore a dress to work both Monday AND Tuesday. It is so funny here because when it is sunny & warm, everyone breaks out the dresses and sandals. Considering the weather will turn back to normal & we will be bundled up thru the summer, we have to take advantage of it!

On Monday night, I did Bingo and of course, there was some drama. :-) There were TWO newcomers and they were jabbering the entire time. The main lady, Bella, was telling them (in Russian) to be quiet and they were arguing. Then, Miss Sunglasses(the lady who wears her sunglasses to every Bingo night AND gets mad when the same number is called too much) won a few games. So, she was happy and told me(in English) that it was her lucky day! These ladies are too funny!!

On Tuesday, we had a treat and went to get frozen yogurt during work. I got a yummy combo.

Half was vanilla with fruit and the other half was cake batter yogurt with CAPTAIN CRUNCH cereal. So yummy!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Father's Day

On Sunday, we relaxed, did some errands, and had our lobster dinner! Ironically, we went to Target and Home Depot on Sunday. Erik joked that he was doing 'Dad Duties' like going to Home Depot. ha! I also picked up some cute summer dresses at Old Navy for about $10 a piece. Yippee!

We had a lobster dinner on Sunday because my family has been doing this for years! Check out this funny photo of us on a Father's Day in the 80's:

For our dinner, we had lobsters, corn, brussel sprouts, and salad. Erik also made homemade strawberry ice cream!

The strawberries soaking in sugar waiting to become ice cream!

Lobster ready to eat. I have eaten lobsters for so long & haven't really thought about it. However, now I feel bad. I mean, ripping the legs off and everything just seems barbaric. I don't eat certain meats because of how it is killed so why would kill this and rip it apart? I don't know...

You guys are going to die over why we needed this hammer. We realized too late that we did not have any lobster cracking kits!! So, we used what we had which was a hammer. Simply wrap the claw in a towel & bang the hammer. Worked great! haha

Here's Erik sucking on a leg and drinking his homebrew

I'd say Evie is sitting here looking pitiful waiting for scraps but we all know she was really wishing I would hand the lobster tail over to her. She, of course, got some nice bites of lobster. The life this dog leads, I swear!!

Clean up time....

The aftermath!

The dinner was delicious plus, we had the strawberry ice cream for dessert. It was a fun, relaxing weekend! Wish we could have been with our Dad's in CT though!

BBQ and Lobsters

On Saturday, we drove down to the New England Lobster Company in South SF. They get lobsters shipped in daily from Maine. It is a Father's Day tradition in our family to have a lobster bake for dinner. We wanted to continue it this year to have a taste of home & celebrate Erik! He is a Doggy Daddy, afterall!

We picked up two 2LB lobsters and brought them home to make for Sunday dinner.

After picking up the lobsters, we headed further south to Pacifica. We wanted to check out a BBQ spot that was on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives on the Food Network. The name of the BBQ spot is Gorilla BBQ.

For around $12, you get one meat and two sides. It comes with rice & beans, too. For our sides, we picked Mac & Cheese and Corn on the Cob.

Overall, everything was pretty good. However, I like my BBQ sauce thick and this was more spicy & thin/watery. My fave BBQ sauce is Sweet Baby Ray's, so you have a comparison.

On Saturday night, our friends Tiffany & Brett came into the city. We went to dinner in the Mission for tapas at LoLo's. It was a super cute place with funky decor. We sat outside on the sidewalk & with the heater overhead, it was perfect! We also brought our own wine for a $15 corkage fee.

We shared a bunch of dishes including...
  • Fried brussel sprouts
  • Pistachio encrusted salmon with wasabi cream sauce
  • Taco Tropical panko and spice dusted shrimp topped with a tropical relish and chipotle oioli
  • Ceviche Mirasol tuna, bay scallops, tomatillo marinated in mirasol chile and citr
We also had the soft shell crab tacos, which were a special that night. However, I only had a bite because it still had the legs on it. Ick!

After dinner, we went to Bi-Rite Creamery - a famous ice cream place here in SF. They have fun flavors and it is awesome!! Ironically, the weather got really cold and it was probably 50 out while we waited in line for the ice cream!! I had a small cup with two different scoops of ice cream:
  • Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodles)
  • Salted Caramel
The Ricanelas was ammmaaazing. It tasted like a Snickerdoodle cookie! The Salted Caramel was ok but it tasted burnt to me. Erik had the Roasted Banana which was delish. Brett got the Honey Lavender, which I tried, but it was a little too strong for me - tasted like I was eating Potpourri!

We also hit up a bar on our way home for a few beers before they headed back to the East Bay.

It was a full day & night of eating!! But, it was super fun and I love trying new places.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Movie Review: Conviction

Last weekend, we watched Conviction with Hilary Swank and Melissa Leo. It is based on a true story of a brother and sister, Betty Anne and Kenny. Kenny is wrongfully accused of a murder and is sent to jail for many years. Betty Anne knows he did not commit the murder & devises a plan to free him.

The plan is that she will go to law school, become a lawyer, and overturn the conviction of her brother.

We both felt this movie was boring. It was sort of long & drawn out. Hilary Swank has a terrible Boston accent, too. haha Ironically, Minnie Driver is also in this film with an American accent! She played the role of the supportive friend but she was really an unnecessary accessory.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this film. It's a good story but something about it wasn't executed right.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Evie in the City

When I picked Evie up from camp yesterday, we got this cookie to give to her Papa! Sunday is Father's Day so we gave it to him a little early!

Evie loves riding in the car. Here she is looking pretty tired!

We were all tired last night. We had dinner & watched some Dexter Season 4. With every seasons, I feel like it builds and builds and can be a little boring in some episodes. Then, with about 3 or 4 episodes to go, it gets crazy. Last night was the turning point in the series. I couldn't keep my eyes open to watch another episode even though I wanted to!


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Book Review: Girl in Translation

Girl in Translation is a great, eye opening book. It is the story of a Mother & Daughter who move from Hong Kong, China to NYC. They viewed NYC and the US as the place where they could have a good life but it wasn't easy for them at first.

The Mother's Aunt had been living in the US and brought them over to NYC. She arranged for an apartment and also work for a factory. They barely spoke English and had to suddenly survive in NYC in a crappy apartment and very hard work at the factory.

This story was eye opening because it talked about sweatshops right in Manhattan. I know there are 'factories' particularly that put together handbags right above Canal St. However, I didn't ever think that people would be paid soooooo little and that small kids would actually work there. I think a lot of us definitely take our freedom for granted and are reminded of this when we hear how others struggle to live here.

The characters in this story definitely go through a lot of growth and development. The book was a pretty quick & interesting read. I'd recommend it!

I did a quick search for sweatshops in the US and found these two articles about one in SF and one in NYC. I think this is a complicated issue...In these articles, it argues that it could or could not be a sweatshop. If you are not paying your staff minimum wage and adhering to labor laws, that could sum up a sweatshop. However, I have read a few articles on sweatshops in other countries and it basically says that the workers are just happy to have a job and make some money, no matter how little it is! For example, GAP and Nike get a lot of shit because their clothes are made in Malaysia or something (where EVERYTHING is made) but if you were to talk to a worker over there, they might tell you they are grateful for the work. So, I dont know - are sweatshops that bad?

Wonderful Weather

Check out our weather here for the next two weeks - beautiful! After all of that out of season rain, we are being rewarded with SUN and nice temps!!

Today, Evie is at her camp so she can run around and have fun. I look forward to our once a week trip down to camp during the week. I know she will be happy and have a fun day. I like getting her out of the house and it's nice to have a different routine during the week. She LOVES riding in the car and basically falls asleep as we drive to camp. It is also nice to pick her up and be exhausted!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Taste of Mendocino

Last night, Erik and I went to a fun event - The Taste of Mendocino. Mendocino is a county about 2 hours north of SF. The event had a TON of wine vendors, some food, some local products, and a Farmer's Market. We sampled a lot of wine! There was also a few beers but that was a very small piece of the event. For the price of a $20 ticket, we got a free wine glass and unlimited tastings of everything at the event.

Our favorite winery that was found was called Edmeades! They had a wonderful wine that is a Zinfandel, which I normally don't care for. I could not get enough of this one! For those of you who know us, you will know that we loved this winery due to the name!!

There was also some music and this girl, who was spinning from the ceiling!

We haven't been up to Mendocino, except for when we went to Humboldt for my Half-Marathon. Mendocino seems like a fun getaway with lots of locally grown food, great Inn's and of course, wine tasting. This county is also on the water, which I'm sure makes for a beautiful setting! I entered to win a few weekend getaways so maybe we will win & make a trip!

Besides wine, there was also a whiskey producer. Erik tried it and said it tasted very sweet!

Wine event on a Monday night equals giggle time!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Volunteer Reception

On Sunday, I went to a Volunteer Appreciation Reception. I volunteer for Bingo through the Jewish Family & Children Services of SF. However, I am not Jewish. I just found the opportunity through a neighborhood newsletter and it happens to be put on by this organization. I don't really think much of it even though the ladies I call Bingo for are all Russian & Jewish. However, yesterday, I realized that maybe most of the volunteers are Jewish, too.

I was sitting at a table with other volunteers who deliver food on the holidays. I asked which ones and they said, "Oh the major ones" which I sort of blanked on besides Hanukkah. Also, there was a Holocaust Survivor at my table!! I sat down as he was finishing his story & I heard him say "...and we hid during the war." Can you believe it!! I wish I had the time to talk to him before the presentations started.

Anyway, it was a very nice reception with food and drinks. There were a lot of awards given to volunteers who have been giving their time for 5 or more years. There was even someone who has been volunteering for 35 years - that is dedication!

PIcnic Saturday

On Saturday, we kind of just hung around. I tried to have tea instead of coffee on Saturday AM. What a disaster. I had such a headache by noon; it was horrible. I finally went across the street to Peet's Coffee and got a large iced coffee. It was amazing. I came back to life & my headache went away. It's amazing how addicted we are to coffee.

Anyway, we picked up my friend Sarah and drove out to Oakland to go to a picnic. My old boss had her annual picnic in her backyard. She has an awesome house and a great yard. This year, they had a jumpy house for the kids - which of course, Erik and I had to jump in. haha

Great food and it was fun to catch up since we haven't talked much since I left my previous company. When we got back in the city, the three of us stopped at Rogue for a beer before heading home. It was a late night for us & we got home at like 1am! haha

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Night in Treme!

Last night, Amy & I went to a fun Jazz concert: A Night in Treme!It was a sold out show at the Davies Symphony Center in SF. It was a very lively show and people were dancing in their seats. They even pulled people up on stage to dance! Wendell Pierce, who plays Antione Batiste(who is a member of the Brass Bad) on the HBO show Treme, narrated part of the show.

He would give some background on New Orleans or tell a story & then the brass band would play. It was awesome!

Here is the overview:

David Simon and Eric Overmyer’s acclaimed HBO series Treme (pronounced Tre-may) isn’t about the New Orleans music scene per se. But as a gritty, affectionate and ground level post-Katrina character study centered on the Crescent City neighborhood that gives the show its name, infectious New Orleans grooves tie the drama together and shine a welcome national spotlight on a place where music is inextricably woven into the fabric of every day life. “A Night In Treme” showcases several of the irreplaceable artists who have appeared on the series as themselves, including the powerhouse Rebirth Brass Band, an institution for nearly three decades. Rebirth will be joined by other New Orleans mainstays, such as vocalist and trumpeter Kermit Ruffins, clarinetist Dr. Michael White, Mardi Gras Indian chief and alto saxophone star Donald Harrison Jr. and trombonist Big Sam Williams. Wendell Pierce, who plays the smooth talking trombonist Antoine Batiste on Treme, provides narration on the neighborhood’s history and the struggle to rebuild houses and lives after Katrina. It all adds up to a vivid musical portrait of a city that has shaped American (and international) music for more than a century.