Chinese New Year

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Happy Chinese New Year friends! This is year 4712 in the Chinese calendar and it’s the year of the horse! I just learned the story behind the animal that represents each year so I thought I would share (drop some knowledge on you on this lovely Friday).

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The story is that a long long time ago, Buddha invited all the animals to his Chinese New Year party. But only twelve showed up, so he named a year after each one of them. Buddha also decided that the people born in those years would be represented by that year’s animal and have similar characteristics to it. It’s said that people born in the year of the horse are perceptive, witty, talented and good with their hands.

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In honor of the new year and in preparation, the SF Chinatown put on a flower market last weekend. Everyone comes out and buys their flowers for their new years celebration. Our Chinatown is the largest outside of Asia so you can imagine how packed it was!

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It was more like a street fair, with lots of booths filled with not only flowers, but good luck bamboo and festive toys.

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The flowers were gorgeous, so many different kinds of orchids in so many colors.

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Happy Friday and New Year – I’m celebrating with dumplings for dinner tonight!

Super Bowl Partay

All of a sudden we are hosting a Super Bowl party! I ain’t mad at it, I love planning and hosting (wish it could be my job). But I’m a little underprepared, so I called in the reinforcements (aka my friend Pinterest) and we brainstormed some good ideas for Sunday.

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First you need snacks in the cheesy/greasy/fatty/delicious/miniature varieties and beer (obviously in a genius homemade cooler like your sink) – check!

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{spicy beer queso with chorizo and black beans}

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{puff pastry jalapeño poppers}

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{spinach and artichoke dip cups – made these last year}

This is about as veggie heavy as we are going to get – it is the Super Bowl after all!

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Then you need decorations and themed utensils – check!

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Lastly, you need a couple good games. I created a pretty cool bingo game, similar to the one below, and we are going to do the betting squares game. We are also going to vote on the best snack at the party, winners will take home a prize (gotta keep it interesting).

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And you’re done – instant, awesome party! What are you all doing for the game, what are your favorite Super Bowl snacks?

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 3.05.26 PMPS. This is my 100th post! Before I started this blog I was worried I would run out of things to say, well I guess I haven’t run out yet! Thanks for reading friends!

Pretzel Knots

Breads are not my forte. I love to bake, but for some reason I have always been afraid of breads. Maybe its because I thought you needed a bread machine (amateur move) or the idea that my loaf would never look as perfect as the pain de mie in the window of Acme Breads. Whatever my weird hesitations were, they are gone now. I made dough, boiled it and baked it – my fears are gone!

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Pretzel knots you guys, pretzel knots. Ridiculously delicious, easy, fun to make and did I say delicious? These are a perfect snack for the Super Bowl, especially with the jalapeno cheese sauce (not pictured here, but included in recipe here). You can make them into whatever shape you want. I did knots for easy bite-sized pieces (and I love everything in mini form) but you can do the whole pretzel shape or bunnies or theme it up with football shapes.

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The process is fairly painless, you just need to exercise a little patience when letting the dough rise (another not forte of mine).

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Once the dough doubles (took about an hour for mine) then you can shape them however you like.

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Boil ‘em, bake ‘em – mark ‘em with a C, and put them in the oven for you and me!

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And TA-DA, tastey bite sized pretzels that will wow any crowd.

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Friday’s Favs

Short weeks are the best. The four days go by fast and then it’s the weekend again! One drawback of this four day week is that I have to do a little work this weekend. But all is fair in love and start-up work life so I’m ok with it. It’s been a busy couple of weeks with no end in sight and I’m trying to stick to the resolutions (the only one I’ve really put time into is the running) and enjoy the little moments as the time flies by (don’t blink, or it will be June already).

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{Nate and I rode our bikes to the beach}

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{bloody mary bar at Hobson’s Choice}

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{went with the girls to a Warriors game to watch a friend sing the National Anthem – she was amazing!}

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{remember my friend’s from C.A.N., they had another amazing show last night – See America}

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{have a lovely weekend friends}

House of Prime Rib

This place is famous for a reason. It’s not just because it’s beautiful inside, or because Anthony Bourdain visited here when he came to SF – it’s because it’s absolutely delicious. Simple, home cooked flavors done right, that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

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The atmosphere is set when you walk in. Warm wood-paneled walls, rich carpet and dimmed lighting. It’s instantly a date night with whomever you brought, and the meal is intimate.

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They start you off at the bar. We had some cocktails and then headed to our table.

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First course is salad and bread. Warm sourdough loaf with butter and a tastey salad that is spun and mixed before your eyes.

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Vegetarians be warned, this is a very meaty-licious post from here on out. And I am salivating just remembering it. After the salad you pick your entree. The menu is easy, you only have to choose 2 things: mashed or baked potato and how large of meat piece you want. They have four sizes ranging from smallest, to thin cut to king size (literally, it’s call King Henry VIII).

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The meat is slow cooked with a simple rub and cut by the master butchers in their magic bullets (or warmers if you haven’t been here). No matter the cut you get the meat melts in your mouth. I mean melts. Matched with the creamed spinach and potatoes you are in such heaven you don’t even converse with your table buddies.

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This plate basically says it all. Rich meat, with hearty sides. They don’t make much at the House of Prime Rib but what they do make is phenomenal.

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And its not just me or my plate who think so, this article calls it one of the best steakhouses in the country.

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By the end you are so fat and happy that you go home and straight to bed.

Sterling Vineyards

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Some people love wine (me) while others are not too fond of it, and my parents are the latter. So naturally, I took them wine tasting when they came to visit. I thought it would be a fun outing, they had never been to Napa and after the visit they were wine lovers! Well not lovers, but enjoyers of un-oaked chardonnay and dessert wine, the starter kit. Taking them to Sterling Vineyards didn’t hurt either. This place is gorgeous!

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They have a charming gondola that you take up the hill (my dad’s favorite part). Up top you cruise through a self guided tour of the facilities with wine stops along the way. I loved that it was a ‘go at your own pace’ kind of tasting, you could chat with the staff (aka the cute little French old man) and take in the views as you go.

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The building on the hill is beautiful, it’s filled with art alongside the barrels and the tour ends on a huge patio overlooking the valley.

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If you get the VIP access, you go up to the very top of the hill to the tasting room. Here we sat on a different patio, in the middle of a forest, and tasted their select wines. All were delicious to me and my parents finished most of their glasses – victory!

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If you are looking for a vineyard in Calistoga, Ca I would definitely recommend Sterling. It was such a good experience all around – great wine, great views, easy tasting.

Friday’s Favs

Ugh, the week after a long break that also consists of the most depressing Monday of the year, no more holiday excitement and veggie only diets – needless to say I’m glad it’s over. Not that anything bad happened, it was just a long, kinda sad week. So in response, I’m just going to list some things to make me feel better and to celebrate that this week is over. I hope you guys have a great weekend and that you find peace in knowing the worst Monday of the year is behind us.

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{my 3 year old purse broke this week, and while I was sad to see that one go, I was glad because I picked up this gem as a replacement}

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{wine night with the ladies, turns out we all choose wine based on the pretty labels}

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{pretty chandelier from the Top of the Mark}

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{pretty sunset from this week, so it wasn’t all bad}

Bundled Up

Everyone needs to put a coat on, especially right now. I can’t even fathom what 0 degrees feels like, not to mention what -50 degrees feels like. Bundle up out there!! In SF, a light jacket will pretty much keep you covered and warm all year long. Winter coats are more about the ‘winter look’ than the warm factor here, but none the less I have been lusting over a couple coats what would keep me actually warm as well as ‘looking warm.’ You guys out there in the real cold should definitely get ones that keep you actually warm.

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{parka 1}

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{parka 2}

For the actually warm people – I will start with the parka (seems fitting). No matter where you live (ok, maybe you wont need this in Miami) the parka is a good wardrobe addition.

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Penfield has it going on in the coat department. I kind of got really close to a girl in Starbucks the other day, so I could read the tag on her coat. It was a Penfield, and I wanted it.

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I think capes are the most difficult winter look to pull off. Accessories are key – like a hat or fancy gloves or tall boots. This girl and her cape have got some sass.

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{stripes}

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{plaid}

I’ve never had a jacket with a pattern on it, I felt it was too much to wear all the time. But both of these patterns are so versatile I think I am going to take back my statement. It would be easy to wear both of these day in and day out, on the slopes or on the bus to work.

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{long}

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{short}

The peacoat look is timeless, you could have 10 of these in your closet and have all of them be very different. I have a couple… ok 4, but I still want both of these.

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The classic trench. A trench coat was the first jacket I got when I moved here (I still have it) and it was perfect. I wore it all year round. The one I have has seen better days, and my next trench buy will be waterproof, maybe I will scoop this one up…

Birthday

My blog turns ONE today! (Singing Happy Birthday in my head) I seriously cannot believe that it has been a year since I started this little love child of mine!

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This blog came about so I could share the things I love with you, the things I do and make and care about and it has been such a rewarding experience. I have connected with readers and I am looking forwarding to meeting and reading more blogs this year – and also looking forward to keeping this going for another year, and improving it! I read this article on reasons why new bloggers don’t make it, and I thought it was had some great advice. The rebellious kid in me is also using it as motivation to not do those things that make bloggers fail.  It gave me some things I need to work on and things I hadn’t even thought about, yet. Well Happy Birthday Love-Haight Cupcakes, and thanks to everyone who reads! Cheers to another year!

Resolutions

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2014 is here my friends! I hope everyone had a great New Year’s Eve night! Yesterday was a recovery day for most (myself included) and now it’s on to resolution time!

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My resolution from last year was to start this blog, and crazily enough I went through with it and what’s even crazier is that I am still doing it – almost a year later.  I don’t think I’ve ever kept a resolution that long, but my first resolution this year is to continue growing my blog (that’s an easy one).

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My second resolution, and the big one, this year is – are you ready – run the SF Half Marathon in July. How I am going to do this, I haven’t thought about it yet, but I’ve made the resolution and now I have to stick with it. I’m not the biggest fan of running (woops), swimming was my sport, but you have to start somewhere right? If you have ANY TIPS at all for what I should be doing, please pass them on to me, I’m in my research and beginner stages so any info is welcome.

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My third resolution is to say yes more. Someone asked me if I wanted to run the SF Half and I said yes! So I’m off to a good start. Those three are the big ones for this year, and along with those, I want to do a lot more of all of these things as well – what are some of your 2014 resolutions and plans?

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