Taking Back My Twenties

Life

Birthday Weekend

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 | 0 comments

I had a fabulous birthday weekend – feels like each year gets better! Since the real day fell on a Saturday, Matt planned the day. I told him I wanted to relax and eat cake!

First, I took Matt to my favorite gym class at Equinox, and then we showered and headed out on foot for cupcakes. We stopped at two different bakeries and acquired 5 cupcakes for the evening. We also ducked into a fun salad place for lunch and did a little shopping at boutiques.

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After lunch, we got a couples massage! The experience was fantastic because we got a cold stone facial, foot scrub, and hot stone massage too! It was heavenly, and one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever received. Then we headed down to Bishop Arts for dinner at the very famous Lucia. We got in off the waiting list only hours before dinner. It was fate!

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We grabbed cocktails at Stock and Barrel before dinner – this was a lovely twist on a bourbon sour made with passion fruit.

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We kicked off dinner with a bottle of Argentinian wine – Lucia is Italian, but I couldn’t resist this recommendation by our waitress (and I believe it was a collaboration between two winemakers). Side note: the service was phenomenal! And, oh my goodness, the olives!!

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We ordered two of the foie gras stuffed prunes – who can resist a $1 menu item? I thought I had gotten adventure-some enough for foie gras, but no! I hated it and washed the bite down with wine:)

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Our first plate was pork belly with pear and gorgonzola – this was divine, and a generous portion!

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Next up, some sort of Italian pork with sautéed mushrooms – also delish.

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We ordered two small pastas: the squash risotto with rabbit meatballs and brussels (above) and an interestingly shaped pasta with squab ragu (below). Both were perfect and rivaled the meals we had in Italy!

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The real star of the night was the braised lamb with red pepper, cilantro, and an olive tapenade. The meat melted together with the sauces and it was seriously a top ten entree.

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Despite the cupcakes waiting at home, we had to try the Italian donuts with squash and caramel!

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Clearly, the meal was superb! And the restaurant is so romantic:) I’m already dying to go back!

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We ended the weekend festivities with Sunday brunch with some friends at Vagabond. We had [more] donuts – these were basically apple-stuffed fried dough!

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I had a grilled cheese benedict, but I also shared Matt’s burger and it was great! I hear Vagabond is quickly becoming famous for it.

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Thanks to Matt and my lovely friends and family for a wonderful birthday!

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Thoughts from a Thursday

Posted on Oct 16, 2014 | 2 comments

Current obsession edition:

1. I go through a chip and hummus combo every few weeks – right now it’s these pumpkin crisps with jalapeño and cilantro Hope Hummus.

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2. I got a new iPod after my nano from college stopped keeping a charge. It was a tiny one that couldn’t hold all of my songs at once. I put a bunch of old country music on the new one and I’m enjoying driving around with the windows, down pretending I’m in high school.

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3. Kath introduced me to this foundation a few months again and I just love it. It took a while for me to get used to it because I think my skin was addicted to Clinique, but now I’m really happy with the color and moisture.

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4. This weather. I know some people like to get right to boots and coats, but 70’s are just fine with me. Plus, when temps have been in the 100’s forever and ever, 70 feels pretty darn cold.

5. The stuffed squash at Origin Kitchen – this may been the best vegetarian dish I’ve ever had. Matt and I were both in love with it when we had it last Saturday night. Acorn squash, crispy kale, wheatberries, pomegranate, and a walnut syrup….

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6. Entering my 30th year. My 29th is this weekend, and I’m in a good place at this age. There have been so many transitions in my 20’s – grad school, moving for Matt to go to grad school, getting married, moving for Matt’s career opportunity, and a long, frustrating job search. But for the first time in a while, I’m just living my life, going to work every day, and not gearing up for any major change (knock on wood:))

Happy weekend!

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Thoughts from a Thursday

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 | 19 comments

-My car broke down at 5:55am on Monday morning. What a start to the week!

-I went to the grand opening of the J Crew in my neighborhood – the food was excellent, but everything was $89 or $98. When did sweaters and shirts become so expensive?

-Matt and I tried a new restaurant: Scotch & Sausage. Most of the dogs are $6 – $8 and the fries are amazing – giant and crunchy on the outside. Loved it!

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-We also tried a Spanish tapas place, and for the first time in my life, I didn’t like pork belly! It was fried and drizzled with chocolate, but too rich. Sounds enticing, right?

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-I led a parent presentation on student success tonight. I was super nervous beforehand, but was surprised at how at-ease I felt once I got started.

-Since I’ve started working in a nut-free environment, I actually think my cravings for peanut butter have decreased. I just ordered Nikiki’s Cake Batter Coconut Butter and can’t wait to try it!

-I think something is biting me at night. Could I have brought home bed bugs from Turkey?

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Life in Order

Posted on Sep 9, 2014 | 2 comments

I’m about 4 weeks into work and I’m finally starting to breathe. It’s been both wonderful and challenging to create my role – I have so much flexibility yet there are so many questions and things to figure out along the way. I’m really trying to get some organizational systems in place to make my job easier down the road. Simple things like trying to figure out how I want to organize my spreadsheets of students and if I want to take meeting notes and student updates on my iPad versus pen and paper have been challenging because I keep going back and forth and need to just decide! I used to rely on a planner, but I’m trying to use an electronic calendar now. Despite the little things, I can’t believe how much I’ve accomplished in just a few weeks and I’m so happy to be using the knowledge I gained in grad school. It’s slowly coming back to me and now I’m in the swing of things. I’m still feeling so lucky to be working in such a supportive and creative environment. After so much uncertainty over the last year, I can’t tell you how good it feels to know I’m in the right place.

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I’ve had lots of fun weekends this summer, so last weekend was dedicated to getting organized. After being out of town and putting everything on the back burner since starting work, I really needed to get my life in order. I’ve never been so excited to sleep until 7:30, eat nut butter, and go to bootcamp on a Saturday morning! Oh how life has changed in the past couple of years. I also cleaned, did laundry, roasted vegetables, filed receipts, organized my tangle of jewelry, and paid the bills. Saturday night, we grabbed dinner at the bar across the street with friends and spent hours talking. Matt and I split a few things, including a huge, juicy pimento and bacon burger. I feel rejuvenated!

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See ya.

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Sonoma Photo Dump

Posted on Sep 4, 2014 | 3 comments

Hello!

How is it Thursday again? The work weeks are already flying by! We had our open house tonight – lots of nervous parents and lots of questions. And man, people sure dress to the nines for open houses these days:)

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But on to the fun stuff. We were lucky enough to get to spend Labor Day weekend in wine country. My sister and I have been planning this trip for well over a year – I can’t believe it’s come and gone already. Kath and her husband are Sonoma experts, so we were glad to have them show us the ropes!

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We rented a wonderful little house near the Sonoma Square, complete with a backyard and hot tub. I wish we had been able to spend more time grilling in the chilly (!) temperatures, but it was a short trip and were busy tasting pinots and zins!

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On our first day, we headed straight from the airport to Sausalito for lunch. The bay breeze were soo incredible – I miss water when I’m in Dallas. Then we ventured on to Lagunitas for beer! What a cool spot. I ordered a kombucha since I was the DD for the day, but I had a few sips of IPA.]

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For dinner, we walked to the famous Girl and the Fig, where I had a lovely fig bourbon drink. We shared a cheese plate, and Matt and I ordered pork belly and quail.

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I didn’t snag pictures of our dessert and port, but everything was wonderful.

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Our second day was spent in the Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys with a picnic mid-day.

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Chalk Hill was one of my favorite wineries of the trip!

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We made our way to Healdsburg and ended at the La Crema tasting room – another favorite in terms of wine!

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We killed some time shopping for dessert and walking around the square and then landed at Chalkboard for dinner. Oh my goodness – this was amazing.

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I think we ordered 10 small plates?

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Highlights were the pork belly cheddar biscuits, the beef sliders topped with short rib, and the crab tater tots.

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Saturday was a big day because we did a wine tour – I would highly recommend Dean from Woody’s Wine Tours!

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The highlight of the day was definitely a lunch at the owner of Montemaggiore’s home!!! When Dean told us he’d be arranging for lunch at a winery, I had no idea it would be a private tasting with incredible views in someone’s home. Boy, were we spoiled!!
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At the end of the day, we ventured to a pub for a casual dinner.
We were a little tired of drinking by Sunday, so we took it easy and just visited two wineries before retiring to the house! William Hill over in Napa and was another favorite because of the views!

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We had one last dinner in the town of Sonoma at La Salette. It was Portuguese and the food was delicious! I had a stuffed pork tenderloin paired with a Sonoma red!!
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We bought ten bottles of wine while we were there and I can’t wait to drink them over the next few years and think of this special vacation!

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It was the trip of a lifetime and I am so thankful that we were all able to go together. And a very special thank you to my parents who took care of little Mazen (my nephew) so that we could make it happen!

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Last Chance for Year of Surprises!

Posted on Aug 26, 2014 | 0 comments

“I participated in an Ambassador Program on behalf of Millennial Central Consulting for Marriott Rewards. I received Marriott Points to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.”

Hi Guys,

Remember my other posts about the Marriott Rewards® program and Year of Surprises? Well, this is the last of a series of 3 posts because the third nomination period ends August 31st!

If you’re just tuning it, Marriott Rewards is celebrating its 30th birthday by throwing surprise parties for people who deserve to be celebrated. Whether it’s your parents’ golden anniversary or your best friend’s graduation from a PhD program, I bet you can come up with someone or something to celebrate!

When I first heard about the contest, I know I was curious to see the winners and their parties. Marriott Rewards has already announced 8 winners from the first two nomination periods and you can see videos of the surprise parties online.

Check out this video – the bride had to miss her wedding because she had brain surgery and then a stroke, so a friend nominated her and Marriott Rewards surprised her with an engagement party once she was back on her feet!!

Nominations are reviewed based on creativity, uniqueness, and feasibility of the party. You don’t have to be a Marriott Rewards member to submit a nomination, but I highly recommend the program! You can sign up for the Marriott Rewards program online at Marriott.com/rewards. And don’t forget to enter at yearofsurprises.com – if you want to know more about how it works, you can find the rules at yearofsurprises.com/rules.

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