holiday weekend: giving thanks

I'm thankful for family living in another state, providing a warm and inviting home for us when we visit.

Dad + sister, here we come!  ...all four of us.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there celebrating the holiday!  I'll 'see' you next week. :)

{photo source: walking around where the sidewalk begins}


his + hers challenge

Alli over at hooray challenged her readers {me!} to join in on a little series she and her friend at pure and noble just started, called his + hers.  I have accepted the challenge and am providing my take on the topic. 

Movie character wardrobe lust:

his - Gabe totally freaks over Stanley Tucci's wardrobe in Julie + Julia, where Stanley plays Paul Child.  He loves his shawl-collar cardigans, suits, and loafers, and I can't blame him.  Stanley Tucci is so very handsome anyway.  That's me talking, not Gabe. He constantly reminds me to be on the lookout for a turquoise ring just like Stanley's in the movie {which actually belonged to Paul Child!}, and so I have been.  Other than finding a comparable looking one for the low low price of 5 g's, I have had zero luck. 

hers - I absolutely love Cameron Diaz's wardrobe in The Holiday, where she plays Amanda Woods.  Her clothing is impeccably tailored and all her coats are so sophisticated and cozy-looking.  The woman even makes pajamas look stylish. 

There you have it.  If I had put together this post a decade ago, you would be seeing a full-on spread of every one of Alicia Silverstone's outfits in Clueless.  I still sort of love sweater vests.  And argyle.  And knee socks. 

Play along, won't you?  And send me your links!

What a wonderful way to start off the week...

{photo sources: 1-mtv.com, 2-flixster.com}


muddy sports are the best

Tonight is the first playoff game for my ol' high school's varsity football team.  They are currently undefeated this season {10-0} and I haven't been to a game in nine years, so imma goin'!

It's about to seriously storm...any. minute. now...in the capital city, so I will have to locate my umbrella before Gabe and I head out to the game. 

I'm wishing I owned this beauty right about now:

asos waterproof poncho

Happy Friday.  Go Saints!!


reconnecting with my city

Although I love daydreaming of living in far away lands, spending weekends in nearby destination spots, and every book I have read as of late is about traveling, I really enjoyed staying locally this weekend. 

Friday kicked off with dinner at home with our friend Abby, which was a delight.  She just returned from a quick trip to NYC and brought us back some goodies from Mario Batali's Eataly!  We stayed up til after midnight gabbing and drinking wine, while Gabe kept the fire stoked and nodded off a few times... ;)

Saturday started with a baby shower for our friend Jill, who is due with her first baby {a girl!} in February.  The party went by pretty quickly, but there were good people, good food, great gifts, pink everywhere, and entertaining kids.  I was really bad and ate both a slice of super chocolaty cake and a strawberry cupcake.  Oink.

After I returned home from the shower, since it was still early in the day and I was all cute and stuff, I asked Gabe if he would like to go see a movie.  While he showered and got ready, I browsed the in-theaters titles and found nothing of interest.  Plan B.  We decided instead to park in the hub of downtown and take part in Sacramento's Second Saturday festivities on foot.  So fun!  And, while Gabe was putting together his outfit, he said to me, and I quote, "I can wear my Jack Tack!"  He too loves EmersonMade.  So, we both wore a Jack Tack.  Prepare to gag from cuteness:

The streets surrounding the main J St. were bustling with people; musicians played on street corners, artists peddled their goods, the weather was perfectly cool, and we could feel the holiday cheer in the air.  On various streets were vendor booths, one of which had handmade art from Ghana, where we picked up this number:
 love my Eataly tote! {thanks, ab}
Ten percent of the proceeds help fund the building of orphanages in Ghana, which made the painting even more special.  It now hangs as part of our growing collection, framing {read: distracting from}our flat screen.

We also scored a ton of CDs from this seriously bad-ass new music store.  Musician hubby even thought it was bad-ass, so you know it's good.  Yes, we still buy CDs; no I don't think they're old school.  Gabe was thrilled to find Nick Drake, and also picked up Cream, Sonic Youth, and Tom Waits.  I got The Helio Sequence, The Black Keys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and two Grant-Lee Phillips albums.
The guys running the place were totally cool {a refreshing change from the depressed emo clichés found in most other stores around downtown}, and thanked us a bunch for checking out their store.  Dude even gave us a muslin tote for our goods!  We'd picked up a flyer for this store a couple weeks ago at a downtown cafe and then kinda forgot about it until we walked by--and we're so glad we stopped in. If you are local, you have to check out this place.  They told us they get new stuff in all the time, so we're planning a budget to see when we get to go back...their prices are awesome...we just go a little nuts in music stores.

All this shopping made us hungry, so we discussed our options.  We wanted to be able to walk to a restaurant, since it was only seven o'clock and the weather was so nice, and wouldn't you know it, before crossing the street from the crowded rainbow district corner, we were handed a booklet by a woman wearing a large sign.  She told us the booklet specifies great vegetarian/vegan restaurants in and around the city.  Amazing.  She was like our vegan fairy!  We talked to her for a bit, about how we had just adopted a plant-based diet only a month ago, and she encouraged us to check out the Vegetarian Meetup Group because they have a great forum and do monthly events like potlucks and movie screenings.  I already had joined Sac's Vegan Meetup, but her group seemed better connected, so I will have to check it out. 

We crossed a few blocks, rounded a few corners, and made our way to Zócalo restaurant.  The place was so alive with a live band playing right inside the entrance, people seated at every table and swarming the giant bar, so we initially thought there was no way we were getting a table.  Wrong.  We were sat immediately and served quickly. 
I love this place.  The food is so delicious {consistently!}, the service is awesome, the decor and lighting are very warm and inviting, and it's just an overall hoppin' place.  We ordered a couple of beers and the guacamole to start.  Our server also brought us their housemade trio of salsas and beans with chips.

For dinner, we ordered what I thought was their only vegan dish besides the guac: a vegetarian burrito without cheese or sour cream.  {Note: as I am typing this and linking the restaurant's website, I found this article; good to know for next time!}  Since we were splitting the burrito, the kitchen had sliced it on the bias and placed each half in separate bowls, with fresh pureed salsa pooling at the base of the bowls. 
It also came with cilantro rice and black beans that we added to our burrito bowls, and heaped the remaining guac on top.  Seriously yummy.  Our table was located right next to the bar, so we were surrounded by large groups of friends meeting up, and even ran in to a few friends of our own.  We had clearly picked the right place to dine that night.

We were thankful for the long walk back to our truck after dinner.  The weather was still nice, albeit a bit chillier, and on the way there was still music playing at open-door shops and shoppers shopping on every street.  Second Saturday in Sacramento sees police officers strolling and chatting in small groups with coffee cups in hand, dogs {we saw a husky!} on walks with their masters, teenagers being loud and obnoxious in equally loud clothing + hairstyles, the smell of mj wafting through the air, music, food, and art...We need to go more often.  There's no excuse for not going.  It's free.  It's local.  It's fantastic.

Luckily we have a five disk CD player at home, because we couldn't decide which album to play first.  Since I loaded the player, I got to choose.  The Helio Sequence.  Blasting. 

Gabe made a fire in the fireplace and we both passed out in the living room next to it and the furry children. 

It's fun to go out, but it is always nice to come home.

We were the typical married couple on Sunday:  Gabe cleaned out the garage and emptied the pool while I lazed around the house, only getting around to washing one load of laundry, cleaning the kitchen, and surfing the web.  Leftovers for lunch and dinner.

And now it's the start of the work week.  Happy Monday, friends!  How was your weekend spent?


book love.

Remember when I gushed about this book?  Now, I am sharing with you THIS
Watch the video by Dallas Clayton.  It's hilarious. 
:::adding the new book to my wish list:::

Thank you, Joslyn, for the heads up!


i'll be back from düsseldorf on friday

A cyber-high-five goes out to the smarty who registers that reference!

While shopping at World Market {Cost Plus} with V the other day, we happened upon the adorably packaged Düsseldorf Mustard.  I'm thinking it would make a great guy gift for Christmas...you would definitely score extra points for baking him homemade pretzels to go with it!  And, you could use the glass stein for storing, I dunno, toothpicks in after the mustard's all gone. 

Who am I kidding, it would make a great gift for me!  A hot freshly baked pretzel, German mustard, and a nice cold beer--how yummy does that sound?! 

Have a beautiful weekend.  Auf Wiedersehen!


tasting along the wine road: revisited

I'm about wined-out.  Well, at least for another, say, day or so.

For the second year in a row, we took part in the Annual Wine & Food Affair:  a tasting event along the Wine Road, integrating the Dry Creek, Alexander, and Russian River Valleys.  This year, we brought along Gabe's mom and her boyfriend.

 sober @ Windsor Oaks Vineyards, our first stop

About ninety {90!} wineries participated in this two-day event, pouring their current releases, some reserves and library wines, and served food that paired well with their wines.  Many prepared and served their own homemade dishes, while others hired caterers.  Either way, the food was amazing everywhere we visited {several veg dishes}, and the best part is we each got to take home a souvenir cookbook containing all of the recipes from every participating winery.  We also got to take home our commemorative wine goblets that we toted to each place.

Not included in the price of our tickets, however, were the eight bottles of wine we bought to enjoy during this upcoming holiday season at home.  Although it didn't seem like it at the end of the day, we had visited ten wineries, all within a five-hour time period.  Don't worry, we hired a chauffeur for the day!  We used the same company, Wine Country Chauffeur, we used last year on our honeymoon, and we were again very pleased.  I highly recommend them, especially Mary, if you plan on livin' it up in wine country in the future. 

Although all of the wineries we visited had perfectly drinkable wines, there were definitely a few that stood out above the rest.  These were the wines we bought.  Of course.
@ Kokomo Winery: {2} bottles of 2007 Pinot Noir, Winemaker's Reserve, Peters Vineyard
also @ Kokomo Winery:  {2} bottles of 2008 Chardonnay, Peters Vineyard
also also @ Kokomo Winery:  {2} bottles of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley
@ Papapietro Perry Winery:  {1} bottle of 2008 Pinot Noir, Leras Family Vineyard
@ Selby Winery:  {1} bottle of 2008 Selby Rosé of Syrah {on sale for only $9!}

We are so grateful to Mary, our driver, for understanding our taste in wines and insisting that we visit Kokomo and Papapietro Perry.  Their reds are big reds, which I love, and Kokomo's Chardonnay is big, buttery, clean, and phenomenal.  Mmm...

At Kokomo, we had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Randy Peters, of Peters Vineyard, and we were just as excited about his Reserve Pinot as he was.  That is another benefit of this event:  you get to meet the winemakers, and if you are really lucky, their dogs too.
I don't know which part of the day is my definite favorite--rubbing Lobo's belly at Matrix Winery, or going back for seconds {alright, thirds!} of four mushroom soup at Papapietro Perry's. 
 We also met Tucker, a Giants fan, at Wilson Winery.
 The view at Wilson is breathtaking. And the wine is good, too!

All in all, a very enjoyable event that you should definitely check out next year.  We could go the next seven consecutive years and still not hit every participating winery.

This year was their 12th annual.  Anyone ever been?


our halloween party: continued

I'm on to a new {major!} project that is taking up all of my free time outside of work, so it has taken me a week to post the photos I promised you...a week? I know!  That's an eternity in Blogland.

Our party was surprisingly low-key this year.  More kids than young adults {our age}, which gave our party a different kind of energy, but a good different.  Kids bring their imagination and ability to entertain themselves, which in turn, entertains the adults.  They participated in our games and turned the area underneath our bar into a 'secret fort,' providing shelter from their make-believe enemies.  It was great.

The games we had this year went over well:

blindfolded pin-the-widow-on-her-web
kids' fort

I made the spider web out of green duct tape, and bought a couple packs of Martha Stewart's paper spiders with sticky dots.  There was a little table set up by the web where the kids could write their names with silver sharpies on the black spiders, then I would blindfold them {with a quick DIY blindfold made from Gabriel's pants legs leftover from a recent cut-off-shorts-craze he was on}, spin them around once, and well, you know how to play.  At the end of the night, I gave out three prizes to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners who got closest to the center of the web.  Since we had a garden theme for the party, two winners received a cute gardening apron and a set of gardening gloves, tied together with Halloween ribbon, and the third winner received a small gardening shovel and two pots of vegetable garden kits, also adorned with Halloween ribbon.  Since all the winners of this game were girls, it worked out well.

The pictures I took of the other games unfortunately didn't come out.  We had a large mason jar with live earthworms that guests had to guess how many were in there.  Gabe used a large jar to mislead people, and it worked.  Looking on the sheet, since the worms only covered the bottom two or three inches of the jar, people were guessing around ten worms.  Only one kid {again, imagination!} guessed the correct number, which was sixty!  Remember Dino?  Yep, he guessed it, so he won a pack of all-black playing cards and a pack of golf balls.  He was ecstatic.  Not exactly garden-related gifts, but they were cheap and I was impulsive on my last trip to Michael's craft store...

There was also a kids' table set up with like twelve mason jars in varying sizes, filled halfway with warm water for the kids to drop little capsules in to grow spooky Halloween sponges.  This was the first place they all ran to when they got to the party.  There was also a coloring book and planting pot of crayons in case any of the younger kids wanted to color, but I think there was too much excitement for a dedicated task like coloring.  Some of the teenagers were glued to the couches, too cool to join the little kids' adventures, so I threw them a tube of glow sticks  and told them to crack/assemble/scatter them around the house.  This actually worked!  They were actually fighting over them.  Funny kids.

We also had the electronic dart board set up and of course, the costume contest voting station.  The three categories this year were as follows:  Sexiest, Most Bizarre, and Most Creative.  I included these categories on the invitations I sent out early in the month, to help guests decide on their costumes if they were trying to win the contest.  Some folks need competitive inspiration, you know.  I just look for any excuse to dress up, personally, and could care less if I receive any recognition.  But with these categories this year, I was secretly hoping people would put more creative thought into their costumes and perhaps DIY rather than BUY. 

And the winners were...
 Most Bizarre:  my pop.  an insane asylum patient all dressed up for the party

 Most Creative:  Dean.  a Pan's Labyrinth faun

Sexiest:  Me. a plastic pink flamingo lawn ornament. However,
I didn't want to recieve a prize, so I awarded the second place {secretly!}
winner:  new sister-in-law Sarah.  a 'sexy bitch'

My favorite costumes are the ones that involve face and body paint.  We saw a wood-nymph, Tony Stark/Ironman, retired leatherhead, retired cheerleader, and a kitty.  

The food was a hit.  Everything I made and bought was given a garden name, and I even used real garden tags to label the food.
We had:
  • pruners puffs  -  green olives rolled in puff pastry and baked; they looked like eye balls in puffy sockets, and were actually delicious.
  • compost cookies  -  homemade chocolate chip cookies with pretzels and tortilla chips shoved in the tops {inspired by these}
  • potting mix  -  chocolate pudding cups topped with crushed Oreo cookie crumbles and sour gummi worms
  • harvested hummus  -  just that, hummus
  • pumpkin seeds  -  again, just roasted pumpkin seeds that Gabe made using the guts from our friends' pumpkin carving party
  • overgrown vines  -  red vines
  • bones of the garden  -  my new obsession; Snyder's hot buffalo wing flavored pretzel pieces {seriously, try them.}
  • cultivated chili  -  homemade veg chili
  • compost tea  -  Kool-aid, ginger ale, + water; mixing grape and orange flavor packets together makes a brown/black colored drink
And others brought red velvet cupcakes, chips/bread, spinach + artichoke dip, and wine.  We had plenty of grub and plenty of libations.  There was vodka that the adults could add to the compost tea {although the vodka remained unopened, surprisingly}, lots of wine, sparkling water, and lots of beer.  We still have beer leftover, which is an entirely new experience for us after a party.  {P.S. We are not responsible for that bottle of Sutter Home white zin you see in that first pic. Just gonna throw that out there...}

Here are a few randoms from the night:
As you can see, our furry children also wore garden-themed costumes.  Bowie was our evidence-hider, and Ziggy was a pinwheel, which I made for her in about two seconds out of post-it notes and a thumbtack at my desk.

All of our costumes were pretty simple to make this year.  The only time-consuming piece was my flamingo wings.  I converted a set of fairy wings using 'pink flamingo' duct tape for the feathers and lemongrass for the feathers' spines {?}.  The third photo in my last post shows the green duct tape grass blades I made to wear around my ankles, suggesting I was stuck in the grass.  I bought the pink bodysuit from American Apparel, since I didn't have any luck finding one at thrift stores, and the tights I picked up at Target, and look forward to wearing them again this winter cuz they're cozy sweatery tights.

I attached an elastic band to a wig that matched Gabe's hair perfectly for his garden gnome beard {a friend + I picked it up at a yard sale years ago, joking that one of us would dress up as Gabe for Halloween one year}, and removed the white fur from a Santa's hat we picked up at a thrift store and made his gnome hat with a little added support from a thick-paper junk mail flyer.  The turtleneck and pants were also thrift store finds, and he already had the belt and boots on hand.

Regarding the first and fourth photos from my last post, I made little party favors for the guests to grab on their way out using  toilet/paper towel rolls, spray paint, a silver sharpie marker, and candy!

They looked like little bats with pointed ears. 
We handed out the leftovers to trick-or-treaters.

Gabe's decorations inside and outside of our house were, as always, the talk of the party and the town.  Literally.  On Halloween night when we sat outside and handed out candy, we heard several parents who were taking their kids around tell one another that they drive by our house everyday and slow down to look at all the decorations.  We go all out for this {and only this} holiday. 

Gabe made the Martha-inspired spider sacks out of nylons, batting, expando-foam, and fake spiders.  He also made the raven perches using chain, spray paint, paper rolls, and some leftover paper ravens from last year's party.  And, he made that silhouette of the girl {me!} holding a pair of garden shears out of foam board and spray paint.  On Halloween night, he set up a strobe light that flashed behind the silhouette, making it look like it was moving, which scared the hell out of both kids and teenagers that walked by our house.  Everything else we decorated with inside and out was junk we had on hand.  We hardly spent any money and had an excellent response.  That's our kinda party!

We probably would find our true calling in a town like Salem, Massachusetts.  Who knows?  Maybe we will someday...

...Now, back to my major project.  Have a splendid weekend!

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