Friday, May 4, 2012

Stagecoach and the Man Cave

Well life has been hectic and keeping us busy. Work has been a whirlwind of changes and amazing opportunities. I've recently accepted a full time position at my dad's office keeping insurance a family business apparently (my dad, cousin, two Aunts, and brother all work in insurance, albeit it in different positions). It's been such a great opportunity and I feel blessed that it came to be in this whirlwind of life. my own agency is still in existence separate from where I work but focuses just on the specialty liability for fitness studios and instructors. Otherwise I'm a full time Account Executive (that just sounds fancy). It's  been great, and I've already learned so much and been so busy this past month!

Aside from crazy work schedules, Sean's been working like a madman on the garage making it into his own man cave. It really is amazing how different it looks and he's done such a great job. I wish I took a before picture, but I don't think I was thinking with that much forethought. The amazing hubby he is, caused him to stress out and work double time to have it presentable for a surprise get-together for my birthday last week. I come driving around the corner to find no parking (blamed it on the neighbors, sorry!), and after nabbing a spot find many of my close friends and family with wine glasses in their hands, and smiles on their faces all to wish me a happy birthday! The majority of the garage was finished and now he's just been doing some finish work.

Stagecoach, before I purchased my cowboy hat...

Last weekend we went to Stagecoach which is a country concert out in Indio for those of you who aren't country fans. We saw Jason Aldean, Sara Evans, Eli Young Band, Luke Brian, Blake Shelton, and Miranda Lambert. We didn't end up staying for Sunday though because us grown ups had to get back to work on Monday :( It was a great weekend with friends that was hot! and filled with lots of laughs and memories. We will definitely going back next year!

Now to tackle the next phase of our busyness full of weddings, bachelor/bachelorette parties, showers, and who knows what else!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Don't Worry, Be Happy...

Last week Sean and I took a much needed vacation. We had won part of the trip at a golf tournament and added a few more days on ourselves. We went to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and stayed at the Hard Rock down there - a ginormous all-inclusive resort. We had a blast, relaxed a bit, and got to see some of the local culture. The trip started off with an all day travel fest where we left from LAX at 7:30am, had a quick layover in Panama (by quick, I mean we got of the plane, power walked to our gate, realized they changed the gate and didn't tell us, so we ran back basically to where we were and I believe were the last 2 on the plane), and arrived in DR at about 9:45 pm and to our hotel by 10:30. The rest of the trip consisted of lounging by the pool, sampling the local shot concoction (Mamajuana - Let's just say, mama-don't-juana should be the name of this drink), going on an all day excursion, lounging by the beach, and then ending with another all day travel fest back home.

The beaches down there were amazing - the water such a beautiful blue, and a refreshing temperature - not too cold or too warm.

This picture does not do it justice (sorry for my creepy toes that snuck into the picture)
Our excursion was great, and we are so glad we went. It stopped of at a local school - all children are required to go to school, went through the local town center where we got to see the oldest church in DR and the basilica down there...

the local outdoor market
We also stopped of at a cocoa/sugar cane plantation and got to taste freshly ground pure cocoa, and some fresh brown sugar, then went to a ranch where we did a little horseback riding and had a homemade lunch (probably the best meal down there),  and then went to another beach that was equally beautiful to the one outside our hotel.

Pineapple! I don't know about you but I didn't know that's what it looked like!

after tasting some fresh cocoa

Looking at this picture I realize how small Sean's horse is...

Macao beach

The living down there is nothing short of amazing and eye-opening - driving in the truck (which by the way is a whole another adventure in itself) and seeing these bright little cottages with people enjoying their Sunday, children running out to wave past our vehicle whizzing by, and dancing to our blaring local music. Seeing how other cultures live makes you realize how lucky we are and how different places can be. Sean was nice and gave away his hat to a local boy, and mind blew off during the drive. We saw so many stray dogs, horses, cows, chickens, even pigs!
Yes that's a horse and chickens chilling in the front yard
It was definitely worth it to see everything we could that day, even though the driving down there made me fear for my life. The truck we were on first of all was crazy in itself...

I don't think this was our tour company but it looked just like this one!
They drive sooooo fast down there, honk other cars off the road, and basically play chicken with oncoming traffic to pass slower cars in front of them. I buckled up, held on, and prayed the whole time. I was happy to be back at the hotel after on solid ground!

All-in-all it was a great trip, but great to be with the pups at home (with plumbing problems and all!! - our kitchen sink started draining into my shower last night - got that fixed, but gross!). Hopefully my tan doesn't fade too fast, and I can't wait for our next adventure!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Busy as a bee...

Sean and I have been soooo busy this year already. I can't believe the end of February is already here, but that also means Sean and I go on our vacation next week. We've been busy with lots of fun things: OAR concert, Dinner with friends at Club 33 at Disneyland, my father-in-law's wedding, a great relationship seminar at our church, starting a financial class at our previous church, book club, baby showers, bunco, Wicked, spin classes, kitchen/dining room painting.... just to name a few. March should start a little bit calmer of a time for us- we still have things coming up but I'm hoping it's not so jam packed so that we can breath and veg out on the couch- also, give our poor dogs some more attention... as if they don't get enough already.

At O.A.R.

Club 33

Outside the Pantages for Wicked

I mentioned baby showers- I had two friends with baby showers on the same day, so unfortunately I only made it to one of them, but I found the cutest pattern for these travel diaper pouches. I had enough fabric for both so I whipped up a couple of holders for both ladies, and put some newborn diapers and travel wipes in each of them. I also made a couple of burp cloths out of cloth diapers and fabric strips for them as well. I used this pattern, and followed the directions and they were pretty easy to do! Here's the only picture of them that I got (no picture of the burp cloths).

I've been working on a couple sewing projects recently- I'll have to do a post on them! Also, before and afters to come of the freshly painted kitchen and dining room - I still have some touch ups to do and haven't tackled the cabinets yet... but I will get it done soon!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Monday...

Nope, no recipe... I'm not very good at this blogging thing, oh well. This weekend was fun. Friday, I ended my work day a little early in the afternoon and Sean and I got ourselves some Costco cards and stocked up on meat for the garage freezer, and some other random non-perishable necessities. We have a new Costco coming in just down the way from us soon, and we are excited! We do really well with our finances, but are trying to find that sweet spot of savings vs spending, so we're giving ourselves a more watchful eye on our spending habits.

Saturday Sean worked but I enjoyed a rainy morning, gave the dogs a bath when there was a break in the rain, and then pretty much spent the rest of the day fixing the curtains in my office. We have curtains up in front of what used to be a closet before the previous owners converted the 3rd bedroom into an office/library type room. I brought out my sewing machine back in Sept and made curtains, but they needed to be widened a bit, so I spent hours with my seam ripper (I hope I never have to rip another seam again), and added panels on both sides of each curtain. I must say I'm pretty happy with my handiwork, and am happy that you can no longer see our stuff peaking behind the curtain! I went to our friends Beth and Brian's house for dinner and some good conversation and stayed up late finishing curtain #1.

Yesterday (Sunday), there was a break in the rain which was nice since Sean and I went to church, then got him a new computer. I spent the afternoon finishing curtain #2 and then we went to our friend's engagement party. Always fun to get dressed up, spend some time with friends, and laugh a lot. No I didn't take any pictures, I suck.

Next on my round of craftiness/home improvement - painting the kitchen/dining room (I WILL take before and after pictures), sewing the dogs a new dog bed for the living room, making a cushion for the wall between our living and dining room for some extra seating when guests come over, and making some accent pillows. I'm feeling crafty in 2012!!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Meals

So I'm going to try this whole weekly alliterative post thing. On Monday I'll post a yummy recipe that I made the previous week - not promising that I won't post recipes other days, but at least once a week I will. It will help me keep track of our favorite meals, and hopefully give some ideas to other people.

Anyway, Saturday, Sean was paint balling for a bach. party all day, and I hung out at home, got my hair trimmed, and got some other things done. I was watching tv that morning and a pizza commercial came on. After that, I didn't want anything else for dinner. Not wanting to go completely off the deep-end, I decided to get us some Boboli's with toppings so we could make our own. I did splurge a little though because I really wanted garlic brand, so I made an adaptation of these, mainly because they looked really easy to make. The only thing I did differently from the original recipe is used the crescents instead of breadsticks because I couldn't find them at my grocery store. I must say they were delish, and just as good the next day with my leftover pizza!

Garlic Knots

3-4 garlic cloves (the orig. recipe calls for chopped... I used the mincer on my garlic press)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil (the orig. recipe calls for fresh, but I just decided to reach into my spice cabinet)
1 teaspoon dried parsley (again the orig. calls for fresh)
1 can Pillsbury crescent rolls (orig. calls for breadsticks)


- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- In small microwavable bowl, microwave butter, garlic and olive oil on high in 30 second increments until the butter is melted. Stir in basil and parsley
- Unroll dough, and separate. Twist each individual crescent (or breadstick) into a knot and place in an ungreased 9in round cake pan
- spoon butter/garlic/herb mixture over the knots
- Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Years!

Happy New Year's everyone! Say goodbye to 2011 and hello to 2012. Today will be mellow yet busy for me. Sean's working so I'm going to go to the Laker game with my parents- I'm bringing my friend Kaylin as my date since the hubs can't come. Then since today is also my brother's birthday, I'm going to stop by his place in Long Beach and say hi, Happy Birthday and eat some food. It will be a relatively early night for me- I'll probably celebrate the East Coast NYE but most likely wont make it to midnight here on the West Coast.

Yesterday Sean took a break from his new found love of spearfishing and decided to go free diving for lobster instead. He brought back a good sized lobster as well as some scallops.

I cooked them up for him and he had a lunch of fresh lobster tail and pan seared scallops. I'm not much of a seafood person (although I do enjoy the fish he brings home), so I didn't eat any of it, but did cook it up for him.

Hope you have a Happy and safe New Years Eve, and see you in 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas

This weekend was pretty mellow yet eventful at the same time.  Sean worked a 72 from Thurs thru Sat so I got some of my last minute shopping done, had dinner with a cousin in town from Colorado and cleaned the house and got it ready for Christmas Day. Christmas Eve I went and had dinner with my Grandma. My brother went to his future in laws to celebrate and my parents were in Cabo, so I decided to make the short trek up to Culver City so that my Grandma didn't have to spend Christmas Eve by herself. We had pea soup and tamales (her neighbors dropped some off just as we were sitting down to eat so we had to give them a try!). I was in charge of bringing dessert so I made some lemon bars that my Grandma gave me a recipe for years ago which were delish! Christmas Day we spent part of the morning with Sean's mom, then came home, made breakfast, exchanged our own gifts and took a nap and had an overall lazy afternoon. Around 4 Sean's dad, his fiance, my brother and Nicki came by and we had dinner- pulled chicken tacos. It was a great night- all that was missing from this Christmas was my parents, but they were sitting on a beach in Cabo, enjoying a Christmas margarita I'm sure! It was a great little Christmas- only one hiccup- at around 10pm, Sean and I came down with some food poisoning till about 4:30 that morning, so needless to say, the day after Christmas was a lazy one. Hopefully everyone had a great day with their family and friends. Next up, New Year's!

Luscious Lemon Bars

Luscious Lemon Bars

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 up Kretschmer Wheat Germ (if you can't find this, crumbed graham crackers work as well)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) margarine, softened

2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose four
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1 3/4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
Powdered sugar for dusting

Heat oven to 350. Lightly spray bottom of 13x9 inch baking pan with no-stick cooking spray. Combine crust ingredients in large bowl. Mix on low speed of electric mixer until well blended (mixture will be crumbly). Firmly press crumbs onto bottom of pan. Bake 15 min.

*note: make sure the butter is softened and well distributed in the crust or you will end up with dry patches in your crust and it will fall apart when you cut the lemon bars*

For filling, combine sugar, flour, and baking powder in large bowl. Add eggs, blend well. Gently stir in lemon juice and peel. Carefully pour over hot crust, and bake 25-30 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and filling is set.

Cool completely. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, and cut into squares. (if not cooled completely, it will not cut well).