Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013: A Year in Review

Last year, we rang in the new year in Belize with the most colorful and awesome fireworks show on our little island in the middle of the Caribbean. Sure beats this year's end: horizontal on the bed/couch with maybe the worst flu I've ever had. As they say, man plans and God laughs.
But after a year full of tremendous adventure, countless blessings, and lots of fun, worse things could have happened. A look back at 2013:

We returned from an incredible trip to Belize and Guatemala just after we rang in the new year on
Caye Caulker. To date one of our favorite trips, and the most perfect way to start a year.

A short month packed with a whole lot of good. I started working with a new social media client, Justine. She's a phenomenal filmmaker and though it was a quick stint, I learned so much about how I work as a freelancer and finally felt like maybe, just maybe, I could do it one day. We headed home to Orange County to celebrate Danielle and Kyle's engagement, spent Valentine's Day at home with lobster and good wine, and welcomed good friends to San Francisco (Jessica and David).

The highlight this month was visiting Nicci in Portland. We packed so much fun and games into a few short days, and of course enjoyed every minute with my favorite gal pal. The Supreme Court took on gay marriage, and our little family launched another small campaign to find Dad a kidney in honor of World Kidney Day!

This month we celebrated the long-awaited end of grad school for Todd! We drove down the coast to Monterey for a quick getaway, checked out the aquarium, had an awesome dinner on the water, explored the local beaches, and enjoyed time away from papers and computers. We were also spoiled rotten with a trip to Napa with Thom and Diane to celebrate our 30th birthdays, belatedly. It was such a treat. Raffi visited us at the office, we enjoyed a delicious lunch at the amazing Twin Peaks one day, and tragedy struck at the Boston marathon. It was a crazy and emotional event, one that is forever etched in my mind.

We said goodbye to Kyle and Dani, who left San Francisco for good :( Todd finally convinced me to start Yiddish lessons with him, I got a quick visit in with Galit at the Ferry Building, and we traveled down south (once again!) for Kevin and Robin's wedding in Temecula.

One of my most memorable nights in San Francisco happened this month when the Supreme Court struck down Prop 8. We joined tens of thousands of people in the Castro for celebrations on the street, and I don't know if I've ever witnessed such camaraderie in one place before. We walked around for hours trying to find a place to eat and ended up a couple of miles away before we could get seated! It was a night I'll never forget. We also celebrated Father's Day in Orange County, and took a separate road trip down the coast to begin our adventure in Puerto Vallarta. The drive was invigorating, and an incredible reminder of how lucky we are to live in California. The scenery just blew my mind over and over again. Another highlight from the month was being given the opportunity to share our "Find Jeff a Kidney" campaign on Beth Kanter's blog, and educate readers about how social media is helping people find organs!

After a few days in Orange County to celebrate Mom's, Dad's, and my birthday (at Mastro's no less!), we enjoyed five blissful days in Puerto Vallarta for Kayla and Matt's wedding. Other fun summertime activities included a visit to Point Reyes (and Marin Sun Farms, where Todd bought goat for the first time - ew!), a Counting Crows concert at America's Cup with an old friend Becca, aaaaand that one time our work building was on lockdown thanks to a crazy killer on the loose.

August was a big month! Robby and Joe came to visit for a fun 48-hour adventure, we hosted Jen, Marsha, and Diane for an awesome weekend, Kerri and Lee got engaged (!) and we surprised them down in San Diego to celebrate. We also did an incredible hike along the Matt Davis trail in Marin, and swore to get in better shape after we limped around for three days following.

It's hard to believe we celebrated two years of living in San Francisco this month. We started the month still in Orange County at a Dave Matthews Band concert, hosted friends for Yom Kippur break fast, and I got to spend a few days at the Exact Target conference in Indianapolis. It was honor to hear Jim Collins and Condoleeza Rice speak there.

October brought the anticipated surprise visit to Connecticut to celebrate Grandpa Bernie's 90th
birthday. It was really a trip to remember. We also snuck in a couple days in New York to see friends and foliage, and got some really unique east coast experiences in -- like trips to family farms and a fun day of miniature golf with the whole Horowitz/Degnan/Lodge clan.

This month was all about family and celebration. We took a trip down to Orange County (notice a theme here?) to attend Todd's graduation ceremony, and then took the whole family out for an awesome meal to celebrate. We felt so proud being able to do that for everyone. We also hosted a huge bunch of college friends (and babies!) for a BBQ in Irvine which was such a blast. So great reconnecting with everyone in person. And then came the best week of the year, Thanksgiving at the cabin, where I promptly caught a bad cold and was mostly miserable, give or take a few games of Cards Against Humanity and Mexican Train :)

Aside from all the usual holiday merriment -- work parties, lights galore, and latkes, we spent most of the month counting down to a two week vacation at the end of the month! My dear coworker Molly left San Francisco for greener pastures, Shawn came to visit for over a week, and Todd and I spent an entire week curled up on the couch with bad flu. It certainly wasn't what we had planned for New Year's Eve and the start of a new year, but life goes on... looking forward to our biggest adventure yet, Thailand in 12 days!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Love/Hate Relationship with Matt Davis

On Saturday, after a bit of a rough week on the homestead, we decided it was time to get the heck out of dodge and hit the sunny trails of Marin County for some sunshine, exercise and fresh air.
We had no idea what we were in for when we parked the car at the head of the Matt Davis trail but four hours later, we emerged. We were sweaty, exhausted, sore, and craving frozen yogurt. Ha! The views were beyond breathtaking and the time outside in incredible weather was the best thing ever, but 48 hours later we're still limping around like old farts.

we can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

adorable Stinson Beach!

eeee a snake!

California. Ain't nothing like it.

when nature calls...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Paleo Sometimes: Thai Summer Salad

I dabbled in the paleo "lifestyle" for a solid few months before the summer, but it wasn't until we returned from our trip to Puerto Vallarta in July that the hubby was sold on it too. He sat by the pool, sipping on cucumber margaritas, devouring lobster burritos and fries, and read The Paleo Diet for Athletes under a cabana for days. Oh, the irony of staying at a luxury, all-inclusive resort and planning a paleo lifestyle for when you return home to detox. But the book was a life-changer in so many ways.

We came back from the trip and got down to business buying fresh herbs, new spices, grass-fed meat and fish that could feed an army, farmer's market produce, coconut everything, and so much more. We've had so much fun trying new things (hello, okra! Chinese eggplant! Gray oyster mushrooms! GOAT!)

So for as long as I can make it last, I thought it'd be fun to start a "paleo sometimes" series. We're realistic about doing this thing, and about the fact that we live in one of the greatest cities ever for foodies like us. So for the sake of keeping our sanity, keeping cravings under control, and still enjoying the best of what the San Francisco restaurant scene has to offer, I'm calling our new diet paleo sometimes. We still eat out once or twice a week and allow ourselves a splurge here and there. Life's too short to say goodbye to french fries forever.

On tonight's menu was fish burgers, Chinese eggplant... and this easy, summery, deliciously made-up recipe that I didn't think to get a photo of until the leftovers were put away.

Thai Summer Salad
1/2 bag of Trader Joe's Broccoli Slaw
As much fresh mint, fresh cilantro, and parsley as you want.
Juice of one lime
1 teaspoon of melted coconut oil
A few pieces of chopped pickled ginger
1 can of bamboo shoots
1 cup of tomatoes

I used a mortar and pestle (because they're fun) to mix the mint, cilantro, parsley, lime juice, and ginger... and then just added the mixture to all the other ingredients. It was so flavorful, fresh, and super healthy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

When you don't know where to start, start with Thai red curry shrimp.

It's been almost a year since my words have graced the pages of this blog... eek.
So just to break the ice and get myself back on the bandwagon, I present to you...
Thai Red Curry Shrimp.
Coconut milk. Red curry paste. Cilantro. Basil. Mint. Mushrooms. Bok choy. Tomatoes. And on and on and on until you get a flavor that is just simply unreal! Add a little Instagram filter and it looks like it just flew right off the pages of Bon Appetit, does it not?
I'm back in action and ready to write. For today.

Friday, August 17, 2012

10 Things I Did This Week

1. I made a spontaneous decision on Saturday to pick up a copy of The Cinch Plan and give it a try.  I am one more meal away from surviving the insane "five day, five food" fast forward and beginning the real plan.  I feel great, but hungry... and if I eat one more spoonful of plain, nonfat yogurt I might hurl.  Oh, and don't be fooled.  It's four foods, not five.  Basil and cinnamon do not count as food.
2. Made some plans to see a few friends when we're in LA for Barri and Greg's wedding over Labor Day weekend.  I always look forward to these short, but friend-and-family-filled visits!
3.  On Saturday, we went for a great hike with friends in Palo Alto.  I love that the Bay Area has an endless number of incredible places to explore the outdoors.  It was a hot day (yes, we have summers here despite what everyone else loves to think), but we were fully prepared with ice cold water and delicious sandwiches from a new favorite local Palo Alto market.
4. I was having a little chat with Dani as I walked home from the bus to find this leaf just sitting there waiting to be instagrammed.  Wait, instagrammed is underline... does this mean it's not a real verb yet?  Ha. I was amazed that technology allowed me to take the picture, instagram it, and text it to her, all while we were having a conversation on the same phone.
5. We already started talking about plans for Thanksgiving this year.  It's crazy how time flies... we're coming up on a year of SF living next month!
6. Sent another Festival of Children Foundation newsletter off to the printer!  Rewarded myself with spinach and almonds... and basil.  Ugh.
7. We spent many hours on the couch pouring through Mad Men episodes on Netflix (says the girl who NEVER, EVER watches TV), and am still left dumbfounded by it all.  Still not sure if I actually like it or am just intrigued by the character development... and the fact that they're drunk at 7am.  Everyday.
8. Passed on two invitations from friends to go to happy hour this week because of #1 above.  Then made the decision to never put spinach before my social life ever again.
9. Made some good progress on work projects that have been brewing in my mind for a while now... feels so good to be creative and productive :)
10. Went to the gym four times in just as many days. Hollaaaa!  Thank you to the Glee, Rent, and Rascal Flatts stations on Pandora for getting me through it all.

Friday, July 13, 2012

10 Things I Did Last Week

I saw a series on an old friend's blog and was inspired to try it out, considering I continue to fail miserably at blogging.  It's an eternal debate in my head about oversharing and getting too personal, while longing for a place on the web (or anywhere for that matter) to document bits and pieces of my life.  But this I can do.

So here goes.

10 Things I Did Last Week:
1. Welcomed my best friend for a week-long visit on her way to Portland, her new hometown. :)  We had THE BEST time and it was an extremely special thing to spend so much quality time with someone I love so much!  We did San Francisco proud.
2.  I turned 30. Yowza!
3. I hosted about 14 friends for a really awesome birthday soiree.  I felt really blessed to fill our apartment with so many warm and friendly faces, so soon after moving to the city.  We went all out and made amazing appetizers, desserts and cocktails.  Having Nicci there to help (and a talented hubby!) made things possible in the short amount of time we had!  The only thing I failed to do was take pictures to document it all.  Boo.
4.  I opened more than 30 cards and 30 gifts from Todd... but what got me the most was how much time, thought and effort he put in to the whole presentation.  I'll never forget it!
5. Nicci and I hiked Cataract Falls in Marin County and it was BEAUTIFUL.  It was so serene and scenic... and the weather couldn't have been better.  It felt good to sweat out all the crap we'd been eating and drinking :)  We drove through the town of Fairfax to get to the trails, and I had visions of raising a little family there.
6.  On the 4th, we rented bikes and rode across the Golden Gate Bridge with Nicci's friends, Rachael and Joe.  It was a tradition Todd and I started when we were first dating and came up here to celebrate my birthday.  Never in a million years did I think we'd be living here, together, and doing the same thing four years later.  We had the most perfect day, including many stops for photos (and sangria) along the way, delicious burgers and fish tacos in Sausalito, and ended it with fireworks at Dolores Park.
7.  On Friday night, we finally tried Dosa with a few friends and it was delicious.  We ended the night at Zeitgeist, a San Francisco favorite (for the beer drinkers in my life, at least).
8.  I had my six month review at work, and it went really well.  I'm really happy here, and it was nice to hear some positive feedback for the work I've been doing.  Looking forward to growing and taking on more responsibility in the months ahead!
9. I made cheesecake for the first time, in the form of little cupcakes.  I covered them with red and blue berries (hello, patriotic) and they were delicious.  Cracked and all.
10. I booked a flight to OC and San Diego at the end of the month.  Can't wait to see my college pals for Barri's bachelorette party!

Monday, March 12, 2012


I'm averaging about a post a month these days.  Huzzah!  I love that I've spent the last three months convincing my full-time work, my clients, my friends and anyone who will listen that they need a blog, yet here mine sits.  Sad, lonely and stale...

Speaking of blogs, let's talk about the Internet for a hot minute.  This might be a little hard to read, but I think you get the picture.  We. Consume. So. Much.