Valentines Day Gift: For Her Edition

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1.Your Highness Container from Lulu and Georgia - Very versatile piece, can store little trinkets or turn it into a vase! $90
2. The Juice Vinous Vertias by Jay McInerney - Gifting a book to help broaden her exposure to the great wines, maybe follow the book with a wine tasting class! $14
3. Classic Wine Decanter from William Sonoma - Start exploring your wine palate by playing with wines in this decanter. $70
4.  Mini Railroad Spike by Giles and Brother - I've longed for this bracelet for months, there is something about the balance of masculinity and femininity that catches my eye. $60
5. Two of a Kind, His and Her Highball Glasses by Kate Spade - Ideal for the bar cart! $50
6. Posy Heart Jewelry Dish by Kate Spade  - Perfect for her bedside table or next to her sink! $20
7. Renewing Rose Massage and Body Oil by Aromatherapy Associates  - Help your partner destress with a romantic rose massage. $66
8.  Rose Candle from Henri Bendel - Whenever I am looking to buy reasonably priced candles, I am never satisfied with the scent, it's either too pungent or doesn't smell like the description. This candle smells pretty spot on to a rose and fills the room with a romantic scent. $30
9. Estelle Teddie by Eberjay - Perfect for a romantic night. $88

Valentines Day for Her: Monogrammed Edition

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Recently married, engaged, or soon to be engaged? Skip the flowers, chocolates and hearts. Surprise her with her new (or soon to be new) monogram! Here are 8 of my favorite monogrammed items that would be perfect for valentines day

1. Gisele Short PJ Set by Eberyjey - monogramming is separate but this pj's are worth it. $97
2. Monogrammed Flatware at Neiman Marcus - While this may seem a little odd, but ever since I saw monogrammed flatware at Hearst Castle, I have been dreaming of a set that I can call my own. $200
3. Sarah Chloe Leigh Personalized ID Necklace at Bauble Bar - Type up to 17 characteristics for a special date, time, place or name. $129
4. Modern Tote by Mark and Graham - This bag is perfect for any weekend day trip, whether you are going to the beach, to the park for a picnic or to the farmers market. This bag is durable and very fashionable. $129
5. Monogrammed Iphone Case by Pretty Smitten $45
6. Stationary by Paper Source - Who ever said Thank you notes were out of style? Every girl (and boy) needs to have some empty cards ready at a moments notice.100 for $94
7. Clutch w/ Gold Monogram from GiGi New York - I have been eyeing this bag for sometime now, and I believe it can be paired with almost any outfit because of its versatility. $165
8. Towels from Pottery Barn - I was 9 when I recieved my first monogrammed towel, it was so my mom could track who left their towel on the ground. Despite having to be responsibile for my towel on the floor, I find the monogrammed towel gives those who share a bathroom some personal space. $10-29.

Engagement Season

Engagement Season is still holding out strong. As fewer and fewer engagements are trickling in on Facebook and Instagram, it's hard not to imagine your own engagement and lust after gorgeous rings.
I recently stumbled upon this website called Trumpet and Horn, which sells rings that fall into the 7 major time periods. Albeit the prices can be pretty steep, its fun to "oh and awe" the different trends from past decades even centuries. While some of them aren't really my style, I can't help but fall in love with the beauty and characteristics of each unique ring. I admire that this company provides great pictures of rings, educates you about diamonds, and even sorts the rings out by era.

Recently I have found myself eyeing colored stones for engagements rings. There is something about Kate Middleton's ring that breaks the traditional diamond but instead carries on the family stone and history. Diamond engagement rings didn't become popular until the 1930's and about 80% of the engagement rings were diamonds by the 1990's thanks to De Beers! Ever heard of the slogan "Diamonds are Forever"? That's that tag line that changed the engagement game after the Depression and wars.

I have to say that I am loving these emerald engagement rings! Which one do you like the best?

These days I feel like there is a tremendous amount of pressure via Facebook and Instagram to have the "best ring" or "mine will be better than hers" attitude. I believe while some competition is healthy, this kind of attitude takes away from the reason if this proposal which is a commitment to a life together. Do you get that feeling too?

What do you look for in an engagement ring? Has your style changed over the years?


Monday, January 19, 2015

"If you can't fly, then run,
If you can't run, then walk,
If you can't walk, then crawl,
but whatever you do, 
you have to keep moving forward."
~Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is always held on the third Monday of January which is usually around his birthday, January 15th. President Reagan declared this day a holiday in 1983, yet all of the 50 states didn't observe the holiday until 2000. While Martin Luther King is one of the forefathers in the Civil Rights movement, we can't forget others who have helped lead America onto a path of equal rights.

Since I am working today, I decided that tonight I will celebrate MLK Day by reading more about him and some other Civil Rights Activists. I plan to read about Rosa Parks, Betty Friedan, Harry Hay, John Peters Humphrey and Eleanor Roosevelt. Now, I picked some of these people at random, from names that seemed interesting, or had names I've never heard of. For Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt, these two women I have studied about in school. However, I think it'll be much more interesting and possibly have a larger impact reading about them again but years later.

What are you doing for MLK day?

                            "The time is always right to do what is right" ~ Martin Luther King Jr.


Hearst Castle

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The boyfriend and I kicked off the new year with a trip to Hearst Castle. This is our second time visiting the castle together and so far, each visit is better than the next.

The boyfriend, (here on out referred to as C), opted out of our midway cocktail break at Nepenthe  along Big Sur because everyone driving Hwy 1 had the same idea. We decided to grab lunch at the local restaurant adjacent to Hearst Castle. Since the last time we visited, the place changed quite a bit. They took out the funky random candy, sodas, and beer fridge and added a pretty nice mahogany wine bar. I know, I know, doesn't sound too appeasing. At first glance, I felt like Hearst will slap their  name on anything. However, I was completely wrong. We bought a bottle of the Hearst Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, and the only thing I regret, was not buying more bottles!

C & I settled on the kitchen and cottage tour, that also included a trip to the amazing and very secure, wine cellar. Fun fact: there are still full  bottles of wine in there today! However, since this is a government owned property; the Government owns the bottles but the Hearst Family owns the content inside because the Government cannot own alcohol. Pretty neat!

When touring the kitchen, we both were overcome with serious kitchen envy. This place had a rotisserie chicken section, tons of flat tops and gas ranges. I can't forget to mention the hood over their culinary cooking stations. I've never seen a range hood so amazing and huge before!

Along the cottage part, we were weaving in and out of guest bedrooms and bathrooms where in each room was getting better than the next. What I really liked about these cottages is that they have a communal living room, so when you would walk out of your bedroom to sit and chat with some amazing minds like Winston Churchill, Cary Grant, Greta Garbo and many more!

Since it's winter and the sun sets earlier, be sure to take a later tour. After your guided tour, you are allowed to roam around the outside property and check out the pools. Be sure to stick around for the sunset!

Kick off your adventure with some Cab Sauv.

Loving these old bottles.

One of the guest cottages.

  View of Hearst's Property from inside the sitting room of a cottage.

Kitchen Appliances

Julia's "Office Trailer"

Sunset Over San Simeon

Exploring the Grounds and Loving the Light Fixtures

Moon and Sunset over the Mountains and Envious Tennis Court.

The reason why I am so enchanted by Hearst Castle is because my personal hero and favorite Architect Julia Morgan was the mastermind behind this great architectural creation. Growing up in Oakland, being the only women in her school classes and having a passion for architecture is why I've admired her so much. I forgot to mention, she was also a sorority girl!

Start planning your trip!

Alternative Milkshake

Friday, January 9, 2015

This year I am consciously trying to make better eating choices and being more active. We've all heard the phrase "abs are made in the kitchen", well so is pizza and cake. For me, my taste buds and frankly, laziness overpowers me in the kitchen. One of my new years resolutions is to master 3 signature meals and getting creative in the kitchen.

Last night I was craving something sweet, I scoured my apartment for some sort of chocolate or candy only to come up short. I decided to make a smoothie but tried something different. I blended frozen strawberries and almond milk to create this glorious slushy. With a splash of vanilla extract, it became the healthiest alternative milkshake I have ever eaten. 

To make this delightful dessert, use 1 cup of almond milk, throw in 4 frozen strawberries, and a splash of vanilla extract. Voila! You have a perfect dessert under 100 calories! Make more and save it for tomorrows treat or even freeze it for a popsicle. 


iMessage Takeover

Currently, I'm attempting to detox from my texting addiction. I admitted I had a problem when I tried ending a work e-mails by double tapping the space bar and became confused when a period didn't populate.  Here are some things I plan on doing to minimize the time on my phone.

1. Check my e-mail at a computer - I send e-mails ALL day for my job, but when it comes to personal e-mails I prefer my phone. Sending e-mails through a computer,  not only helps my e-mail etiquette but will allow me to not get "text neck" as I am so worried about posture.

2. Check social media at a computer - Consciously checking social media only at a computer will most likely result in less social media. Sounds a little odd, but I often find myself  reaching for my phone if I have a free minute to see what is going on on Instagram or Facebook and then realize I have been on my phone for 10 minutes. I think I am missing out on a lot by burying my face into my phone any free moment I get when I should really be enjoying the world.

3. Bathroom with no phone - I know this is gross and kind of taboo to talk about but A LOT of people, including myself brings their phone into the bathroom. There are ladies at my office building who sit in the bathroom for 15 minutes (not joking) scrolling on their phone.

4. Don't Text and Drive - Everyone says it, not everyone does it. The PSA for "It Can Wait" is true, things can wait. While the PSA is heavily focused on the safety of yourself and others, it brings up the point that if it was an emergency or something that "can't wait" - freaking call them already! I can chat on the phone while driving and fully have my eyes on the road and both hands on the wheel. I pledge to CALL people when driving (I'm looking to you, Siri, for help) instead of texting. I may be hypocritical but I really am going to try and break the habit.

Those were 4 steps to try and stop my phone from becoming an appendage of my body. I'll keep you posted how it goes. Do you have any great ideas or tips I can adopt?


Hello Twenty Fifteen!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

After debating for a week, I have decided to share my New Years Resolutions on my Blog. Last year I did not achieve ANY of my new years resolutions. I set goals for myself that were not easily attainable, and frankly not fair. Losing a set amount of pounds doesn't resolute to being healthy. Additionally, the resolution of "read more" doesn't motivate, what I should have said is "Read Two Classic Novels", that would have been easier attainable and more specific to what I really wanted to come out of the resolution, which was to open myself. Last year I challanged myself to "eat more fruits and veggies", which is wonderful, and I think I did a pretty good job, but how do I show that? Here is what I resolute to doing in 2015

1. Pay Off $4,000 of Student Loans
2. Be Active at least 3 Times a Week (Challenge me on Fitbit!)
3. Start Investing
4. Learn some French
5. Limit/Eliminate Alcohol Consumption during the Weekdays
6. Master 3 New Meals in the Kitchen
7. Spend More Time Catching up with Family and Friends Far Away
8. Practice Yoga
9. Practice Patience
10. Clean one thing in my apartment every day (i.e. table, sink, toilet, tub, sheets, rug, etc)
11. Find ways to help others in any way possible (and journal about it)

Rounding out 2014

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Looking Back at 2014

New Apartment, New Furniture {January}
 New Orleans Oldest Bar {February}
 Street Signs in NOLA {February}
 Project Starting at Apple {February}
New Bedroom Furniture {February}
Cooking Lobster for Valentines Day {February}
 Oyster Shucking at Hogs Island {March}
Baseball has started {April}
 Celebrating 1 year with Him with some Yurman {May}
 Best Anniversary Cake from Gary Danko {May}
Mary Graduated College {May}
 Summer is upon San Jose - note the 80+ temp {May}
Memorial Weekend in Aptos {May}
 Urban Hiking in SF {June}

Typical Day on the Job {June}
 Exploring  the Beauty of new and old SF with Allie {June}

Wine Tasting for Independence Day {July}
Exploring little California Beach Towns {August}

Bachelorette in Montauk {September}
 Wine Tasting in the Hamptons {September}
 Cheryl's Wedding {October}
 Most Beautiful Wedding Weekend at Leonard Lake Reserve {October}
 Beating my Previous PR for a Half Marathon {October}

4th Row Seats watching the Sharks {November}
 Crabby Christmas Eve {December}
 Walking the Bridge with the Family {December}
End of the year Lunch with Dad at Clove and Hoof {December}

 Happy 2015! Warm wishes to you and your loved ones. Here's to an even better year!

Twenty Fifteen

2015 is off to a pretty good start. I ended 2014 with a severe rash/infection on my face. The infection caused my face to swell and forced me to stay home from a highly anticipated trip to Park City, Utah. Luckily, my face is on the mend.

The boyfriend and I ventured down to San Simeon to visit Hearst Castle via Highway 1. We made our usual pit stop at Gayles Bakery in Capitola, where we filled up on breakfast burritos and lattes. We couldn't have picked a better day to travel along the coast. The sun was shining and the air was crisp. We made the brilliant choice to take a cruise along the 17 Mile Drive. Boy was it beautiful. Believe it or not, whales were in full force! we got to see a few spurting water out of their blow holes and even one breaching! Oh, seriously, you must go!

17 Mile Drive
17 Mile Drive
Hwy 1
Hwy 1

Here are some must-do's while driving down the Coast from Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo.
Burritos and Lattes at Gayle's Bakery
Drinks and a Snack at Nepenthe
Massage and Facials on the edge of the Coast Esalen Institute (book in advance!!)
Take a Hike at Pfeiffer State Park
Visit a Purple Sand Beach at Pfeiffer State Beach

Have any other places you love alone Hwy 1? Let me know!