Friday, January 28, 2011

An early Valentine's

Back in November I got this awesome deal on a private villa/spa package for South Coast Winery in Temecula.  We decided to take advantage of this beautiful January weather we have been having and have an early Valentine's weekend. Let me just tell you is was the perfect way to start 2011! Here's some pictures from our weekend.

Our first stop, Ponte Winery. We did a 6 flight tasting and it was yummy!  We left with a bottle of wine and a nice buzz!

I had been told several times that we had to try The Smokehouse restaurant at Ponte and let me tell you it did not disappoint! The food was unbelievable and the weather was perfect!

After lunch we took a walk through the vineyard and stopped to take a few pictures.

The sunset was so beautiful that night! A perfect way to end the day!

Because we had a villa at South Coast we had several complimentary tastings with them.  Two 6 flights, and two 3 flights, the wine was amazing and we were feeling really good! We left the tasting room with 2 bottles of wine and sass in our step.

After drinking wine all day we were craving a yummy burger, so Five Guys it was and it was the perfect choice!

We had fun that night drinking more wine, looking at the stars, talking and taking pictures.  Our villa was beautiful! Fireplace, great view of the vineyard and the mountains, jacuzzi tub, huge shower, and a comfy bed, we really enjoyed it, hence the no pictures....well at least none for the blog (wink)!

The next morning we headed to the spa for our day of relaxation. Here's the view from the veranda of the Grapeseed spa. There I am on the right taking it all in.  Snow on the mountains in the distance and 75' and sunny at the pool, it was heavenly!

Hot stone massages, wine on the veranda, lunch in our cabana next to the pool, champagne, chocolate covered strawberries, and a relaxing swim in the salt water pool.  Delicious!

After spending the day next to the pool we headed back home.  I don't know if I have ever had such a relaxing, rejuvenating weekend before.  It was exactly what we were needing, and a perfectly delicious early Valentine's weekend!


OMG! I can't wait to see Anthropologie's new wedding line.  It makes me want to get married all over again! Maybe a 10 year vow renewal in one of these dresses?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

California winter

I got off work early today and after running a few errands we picked up sandwiches from our favorite deli and headed to the beach.  What a beautiful day!  As the rest of our family freezes in Oregon, NY, and Boston, we spent the afternoon in the sun at the beach.  Gotta love these California winters!

Florence + the Machine

So in love with this album right now! If you haven't checked it out yet I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January's Craft

As a person who has always loved to do crafty things I feel like I never have enough time but always want to do more crafts.  I decided that as part of my goals for 2011 that I would do one new craft a month.  My husband got me this really cool book for Christmas called "P.S. -I made this..." by Erica Domesek.  It is such a cute book filled with fun crafts.  So for January we have Bright Bangles from this book and they came out so cute! Cant wait to wear them!

- Pipe Clamps
-Bright Ribbons

loop it

knot it


1. Get all you ingredients together and ready to craft.
2. Size your bangles by adjusting the screws on the side of the pipe clamps.
3. Loop your ribbon around the bangle.
4. Once you have wrapped several times around, knot it at the end and cut off remaining ribbon.  
5. Wear them!

Our Dad's are cooler than yours!

Brad's been scanning old photos and found these two of our Dad's.  They look like 2 of the coolest dudes, I would of loved to know them back then!

Brad's Dad

My Dad

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My beautiful nephew!

Happy Birthday Colin Michael McGrath!

 Welcome to the world my little peanut! Auntie loves you soooo much and can't to meet you!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


We had beautiful weather this weekend in California and we took full advantage of it! Sunday morning we woke up early and headed down to San Clemente for the farmers market. It's such an in between season for produce but I still love strolling through the market and seeing what all that the vendors have to offer. After the market we headed to Nick's for breakfast and it was everything I had been craving.  I think I could have breakfast for every meal! It felt just like a summer day and after fighting the flu for 2 weeks it felt good to get back to normal life.  We left San Clemente and headed over to San Juan Capistrano to check out the antique mall.  Over the last couple of years I have slowly been collecting old bottles and I had an urge that day to go treasure hunting.  We had so much fun spending hours walking through the mall and checking out all the old things.  We found some awesome bottles and I am so excited to add them to my collection! We had such a fun Sunday and I hope all of you did too! 

Monday, January 17, 2011

75' in January!

75' in January, California I love you! We spent our morning at the beach enjoying this beautiful weather. Can't wait for summer!

Giada De Laurentiis' Fennel Puree


  • 4 large fennel bulbs
  • 1 medium potato
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves


Trim the fennel bulbs of their stalks and bottom root. Halve the fennel lengthwise and slice each half into 1/4-inch thick slices. Peel the potato, halve, and thinly slice. Place the fennel, potatoes, garlic, chicken broth, and milk in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. If needed, add enough water to just cover the fennel. Bring the mixture to a simmer and continue cooking until the fennel and potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
Drain the fennel mixture. Place the fennel mixture in a food processor and puree. If necessary, place half the mixture in the food processor, pulse to puree, and continue adding the fennel mixture until all the mixture fits in the processor. Continue processing until pureed. Add the mascarpone cheese, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine. Add the mint and process until just combined. Add more salt and pepper, to taste.
Transfer the mixture to a serving dish. If the mixture is a little thin stir a few times and let rest for 5 minutes, then serve.

We made this the other night as a side dish and it was so good I had to share the recipe. We made ours without the mint and I of course added an extra clove of garlic (I love garlic) and it was seriously out of this world! I can't wait to make it again!  We had ours with rock fish and sautéed spinach and mustard greens. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Brad and I have been fighting the flu since getting home from Oregon.  The one upside of being sick is camping on the couch with soup and watching tons of TV.  We have finally been able to get caught up on Fringe and I am so happy.  It is such a great show and if you have never seen it you have to check it out! I was a huge X Files fan way back when and this show definitely satisfies the sci fi geek in me!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Oregon I'm yours!

I surprised my husband for Christmas and got us plane tickets to Portland for New Years.  I was so excited to not only suprise him, but also to spend a little of the holiday with our Portland family.  I love them so much and we had, as always, an amazing time!

We got into Portland right at lunch time.  My sister and brother in law picked us up and we headed straight to grab a bite to eat and a drink!  We ate at the Chapel Pub and it was good!  Of course it was a McMenamins and I had to get a Ruby Ale, my favorite of their beers!  We ate lunch, had a few drinks, and headed across the bridge to Washington to see our nephew Vince wrestle in a tournament.

After spending a few hours at the wresting match we headed back across the bridge and down to one of my favorite parts of  town, the Hawthorne District.  My sister just started working at a new salon and she wanted us to check it out. The Red Velvet Parlor is sooo cute, and soo my sister.  I am so excied for her to build her career and clientele there. We walked around for a bit and did a little window shopping through all the great really unique stores they have around.  And of course after all that walking we had to stop for a drink.  We stopped at The Gold Dust Meridian and had snacks and champagne cocktails.  The Gold Dust Meridian is a really cool retro kinda place with food and drinks to match.  After having a couple drinks and some food we walked down to The Space Room and planted ourselves there for the rest of the night.  The Space Room is one of thoses old dive bars that I looove, black lights, paintings, christmas lights, and the lingering smell of coffee and cigarettes.  We celebrated there all night long the 4 of us, plus for a few hours a guy named Brad, and Kevin's brother Ray and his wife Renne.  We had a little too much fun that night (we drank as if it was New Years) and couldnt wait to get back to Tonie and Kevin's to crash.  

New Year's eve day we were all a little hung over from the night before.  We slept in late, Tonie made an amazing breakfast of biscuts and gravy (Brad's favorite), and we stayed in our jammies all day long and relaxed around the house.  I love that house more than words can describe.  There is definitely something magical about it and being there makes me feel like I'm at home and my heart is full!  Tonie made appetizers that we snacked on all day, and Brad made Old Fashioneds and Sweet Tea vodka drinks for us to sip on.  My nephews (Vince and Drew) loved having their Uncle Brad around and it was nice to just relax all day.  Poor Vince (pictured above) had a busted lip and eye from his wrestling match the day  before.  I cant believe how old and handsome they both are.  We made beef stew for dinner and relaxed in front of the fire all night long.  It was the most perfect way to ring in 2011 (still in out jammies BTW), and there was nowhere else I would rather be or with anyone else for that matter.  

New Years Day we went down to Grandmas house for my Mother in laws famous tacos! Aunt Cathie, Aunt Carrie, and Aunt Sue, Uncle Pid, Cousin Collin, Bob, Sharon, Grandma and the 6 of us ( Tonie, Kevin, Vince, Drew, Brad and I) had such a great day! Sharon's taco's are the best and it had been sooo long since we had had them!  We all hung out all day and enjoyed the family.  Sharon treated Tonie and I to a Scentsy candle for Christmas.  Aunt Cathy is a dealer so she brought all her stuff for us to smell and choose.  It was a lot of fun!  The sunset that night was beautiful and I couldn't think of a better way to spend the first day of 2011!

On Sunday the boys hung out at the house most of the day and Tonie and I went shopping.  We met Gina and Michael that night for dinner and drinks at Brad's favorite bar  The Highland Stills in Oregon City.  This is this closest to an Irish Pub I have ever been in since being in an Irish pub in Ireland (even though it is a Scottish Pub).  It was a cold damp night and perfect for some comfort food and beer!  We had such a fun time and it was sooo good to see Gina and Michael.  Gina and Tonie have been best friends since they were kids and she has always been apart of Brad's life.  She is more like family than anything and we love her as such!

 Our last day in Oregon we had family lunch and all went down to Old Town pizza and met cousin Sara and her ADORABLE daughter Mia.  Sara was always Brad's favorite cousin and we hadn't seen her or Mia since our wedding.  Carley also came to meet us and we had such a great lunch catching up!  After lunch the 4 of us (Tonie, Carley, Brad and I) went down to the Roadside Attraction for cheap beer and a good bonfire on the patio.  
I love this bar so much.  Its just everything I want a bar to be!  They also have a great covered patio and a roaring bonfire.  We love sitting outside drinking and talking.  Tonie's friend Marisa came down to meet us and we spent the rest of the day there.  On our way back to the house we made a quick stop at the Edgefield (where Brad and I got engaged/married/1st anniversaried) cause Brad wanted to pick up some of their whiskey.  I love that place and can't wait to be back there in the summer.

We went back to Tonie's and Bob and Sharon came by to wish us off!  We had such an amazing trip and I can't wait to be back in June.  I am so lucky to have such an AMAZING sister in law who always opens her home to us and always shows us such a great time. I love My Portland family so much!  Being with them feels like we are always with them.  Its easy, fun, and so comfortable. Part of my heart is always there! Thank you Portland for showing us another great time and I can't wait to see you again! Oregon, I'm yours! 

2010 in Review

Before we get to deep into 2011, here are a few of our favorite highlights from this past year....

in January we started off with Brad loosing his job, a major rain storm, and an incredible vacation for a week in Ireland (a perfect way to start the year)

in Feburary we got back from Ireland, I got food poisoning, we went on hikes in the Ortegas and spent time with family

in March we celebrated Brad's birthday, headed to Oregon to celebrate my sister in laws 40th, went to a wedding, and celebrated St. Patrick's day with corned beef and cabbage and reminisced about Ireland

in April we had Easter with my parents and a huge earthquake which kicked out our power for 7 hours, Brad took a 5 week job in San Francisco, celebrated Nickie's batchelorette party in San Diego for the weekend, my sister in law came in to town for my birthday weekend and we spent our time drinking at the pool and collecting shells at the beach and crafting, I planted in my garden, Molly and I saw Conan O'Brien's stage show in San Diego, and Brad came home for the weekend for his best friends wedding in Pala

in May Brad was home for a long weekend and we celebrated the Hoover Wedding at The Condor's Nest, Brad headed back to SF for 2 more weeks and I drove up for a romantic weekend in San Fran, Brad came home and we enjoyed our time catching up with friends the rest of the month

in June we spent our Sundays sleeping in and snuggling with Penny, had a garage sale, celebrated friends birthdays, went to a beautiful bridal shower,  had Mexican Train dinner parties, Mom's roses were blooming, and we had great nights with friends, bonfires and cocktails

in July Brad started working on Unstrapped (a You Tube based reality show), we spent late summer nights with friends, caught up with old friends, I went to Oregon for the weekend, went to the Country Fair, bar hopped, celebrated the 4th of July with great BBQ and Dad's famous baked beans, Brad went to Comic Con, I added to my Sid Dickens collection, and we took Penny to the beach

in august we went to our friends beautiful wedding in Beverly Hills, Penny got cyanide poisoning (don't let you dog eat hydrangeas), had lots of disc golf filled sunday fundays, spent long days at the pool, took Penny on sunset walks at the beach, Brad got a new tatoo, we had dinner with friends on a boat at the lake, went to the Darby-Q at the Perry's and did karaoke, we ate a lot of Kogi BBQ, went to the Improv for a comedy show, and had the funnest camping trip ever with the Hoover's in the Sequoia's

in September my little brother turned 20, Brad started working on a new movie called Denim Heat (it's hysterical and I will post about it later in the year), we spent Sunday mornings at the Farmer's Market and had breakfasts at Nick's in San Clemente,  we celebrated friends birthdays, went on walks at the Island, the boys celebrated Pirate Day, we started juicing, after shaving my head 2 years before (September 13th, to support my Mom as she battled cancer) I finally felt like my hair was long again and I was feeling back to myself,  I made an amazing dinner for Mabon, and we went to Knott's Scary Farm

in October we went pumpkin and apple picking in Julian, Brad got a new computer he had dreamed about for months, My brother and his wife came to California to visit for the weekend, we had tiny friends come over, we discovered food truck row, had lunch with my darling friend I never see enough, went to Cabo San Lucas for our 3 year wedding anniversary, my nephew Vince turned 18, enjoyed beautiful sunsets, and we helped our friend have a killer Halloween Haunted House and all the boys dressed up

in November we started out the month by being American and voting, battled a 100' weekend at the pool, got the flu, saw the Conan blimp, went to Ina Garten's book signing with Mom, celebrated Mom's birthday with a picnic at the beach, had Thanksgiving, went to Roger's Gardens, had a dinner party with friends, got our christmas tree and decorated for the holiday

in December Brad started working on a new short film called The Juice (also hysterical, and another one I will save for later in the year), Mom and I went to New York for a long weekend, my In laws came to visit and we had such a fun weekend with them,  I cooked ALOT, we went to some really fun Christmas Parties, battled the rain but loved the falling leaves, celebrated my Dad's birthday, watched SO many Christmas movies, had an amazing Christmas with my family, and headed to Portland to ring in the New Year!

2010 was an amazing year for us! Personally, and professionally (mostly for Brad).  I think we learned a lot about who we are, what we want in life, and the relationships we have with our friends.  I feel very thankful and blessed that we were able to do some really amazing trips this year that I will never forget. As much as I loved 2010 I was very glad to see it go, and I am VERY excited for 2011!! Hope you all had a wonderful year and I wish you all the best for 2011!  

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