Tuesday, December 9, 2008

That really cool thing I did...

Last week, I went to a neighborhood tree lighting. There were carolers and cookies and cocoa and local choirs sang and the high school marching band performed... it was very, very sweet.

I know this probably doesn't sound like a super cool thing, but in Los Angeles, it's hard to find a neighborhood with that sense of community and it was really nice being a part of it.

Okay, who am I kidding?! As cool as the community at Atwater Village is, the COOLEST part of that ceremony (and of my whole entire week) was that I got to meet CATHIE & STEVE from CREATIVE JUICE! (I'm using a lot of caps right now because just thinking about it excites me!).

Meeting them was such a great experience! They are just so nice and sweet and friendly; just like they are on the show!

[and in case you don't know what I'm talking about - Creative Juice is a fantastic show on DIY Network featuring crafts, art, recipes and other generally fun lifestyle tips. It's like Martha Stewart, but more hip: it's the Urban Outfitters to her J. Crew. I love, love Creative Juice!!]

Here is Cathie, Santa and myself (Cathie and her sister were Santa's helpers for the evening):
A picture of the three of us (you like how I say that like we're friends? =P):And here's an extra picture of Steve and me (because as cute as he is on TV, he's even cuter in person, lemmetellya!). He's officially dethroned Ty Pennington on my list of favorite TV crafty men (yes, I have a list... don't you?).
Seriously, highlight of my week!

But coming in at a close second: last week, I was also sworn in to the State Bar of California - yay, me!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Me love COOKIE!

My contribution to Scrappy Jessi's 2nd Annual Cookie Swap are delicious, ooey, gooey, chocolatey, minty cookies that are perfect with a tall glass of milk. I unfortunately do not have any pictures of these cookies, but they look just like these cookies from Silvia's Sweet Delights (so I'm borrowing the pictures for drool-inducing purposes)!
Now, without further ado, the recipe for my SUPER EASY chocolate peppermint cookies (I know, I know... they don't even have a real name...):

1 box of Devil's food cake mix (I know, a mix is cheating, but I'm not using it to make cake, so it's not really cheating)
2 eggs
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 tsp. of peppermint extract (adjust to taste)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all the ingredients together to form a dough. Roll dough into balls about 1 inch across (you can adjust the size depending on how big you want your cookie). Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and flatten slightly with your thumb. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes (I prefer 10 minutes because the cookies are still soft in the the middle). Cool on a rack.


[note] This is a modified version of a cookie recipe that my friend Pam taught me ages and ages ago back in my Oregon days (her version wasn't chocolate or pepperminty). You can use any cake mix, any flavoring, and any mix-ins with this recipe. My other favorites are spice cookies (from a spice cake mix), lemon cookies (yellow cake mix + lemon extract) and s'mores (devil's food cake mix with mini marshmallows rolled in the middle; the whiteness of the marshmallow shows through cracks in the chocolate and creates a cool looking effect).

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mexico: the highlights

[Secrets Maroma Resort]
The resort is beautiful! When you arrive, you're greeted with a wet towel, glass of Champagne and a warm "Welcome Home!" (I wish my home looked like this!) (Also, there's no way our pictures will be as good as the professional ones, so you can check out their website here.)

[The staff]
The staff work so hard to ensure that every single guest has an amazing time. Not only was the service always with a smile but they really took time to learn our names and make us feel at home. Thank you Oscar, Lucia, Johnny and everyone else at Maroma!

[Swim up pool]
The back door to our room opened to our own swim up pool. We never actually used this because we were too busy running around to different restaurants the whole time, but it was really beautiful and kind of cool to have.

[Dinner x 2 x 4 nights]
Because food is included with the room (yay for all-inclusive destinations), the resort really could have just served us canned ravioli on a paper plate - but they didn't. There are seven restaurants at the resort along with daily BBQs at the beach, a poolside grill and 24 hour room service. A lot of time and effort was put in the decor and ambiance of each restaurant and into the preparation and presentation of the meals. Since we were only there for 4 days, I forced Mr. Blog to eat two dinners every night so we could sample all the food! Mm mm.

[Breakfast buffet]
Note the staffed omelet, waffle and crepe bars. Also pictured: juice (with 10 different freshly squeezed beverages) and Serrano jamon and smoked salmon bars. Not pictured: mimosa and bloody Mary bars. It was ridiculously good.

Every afternoon there was formal tea service in the Rendez-Vous bar (which was a perfect snack between lunch and dinner #1). They also served this amazing Mexican coffee cocktail flambe (yes that was a very long name I just made up) which is made by pouring various liquors between two ladles over an open flame so that your drink is burning as it's served to you. It takes about 10 minutes to make each one and just watching the ladies work made me sweat. Those coffee ladies work hard!

[Mr. Blog playing on three winning volleyball teams]
The resort schedules games and activities all day long, so Mr. Blog was able to work off those extra dinners I made him eat. I cheered him on from the sidelines where I sipped my pina colada.

[Cocktails x ∞]
Like the food, unlimited cocktails were included in the package. Fun-ness ensued.

[Mr. Blog dancing]
That's my baby!

and the best part of our trip
[a little us time]
Thank you Mr. Blog, for celebrating my bar passage with me; thank you for knowing back in June that I would pass and booking this trip; thank you for believing in me, supporting me and loving me, always.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tagged at home

Well, well... I was welcomed home from the Mayan Riviera (pictures coming soon) by a little tag from Miss Saucy of Bloggedy Blog Blog (who just celebrated 500 posts! Congratulations!).

So... having been tagged, here are a few random things about moi:

Un: I eat. A lot. I eat more than Mr. Blog.

Deux: I collect pigs (banks, stuffed, toys, books, anything...) because they're my Chinese zodiac sign. They've taken over the apartment (sorry, Mr. Blog).

Trois: When I was three I could speak three languages: Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese and a third Chinese dialect. I've forgotten two of them and learned only English in the mean time; I'm pretty sure this means I digress with age.

Quatre: I won a medal for being good at math. I use to wear it around the house. I'm cool like that.

Cinq: I love instant ramen noodles and I am very, very particular about how it's prepared (boil two cups of water with the broth mix; boil noodles in that mixture for 2 minutres 45 seconds with the lid off so some of the water evaporates; drain noodles by tilting pot over sink so that most of the broth is gone but there's still a little in the bottom; put half the noodles in a bowl; cover with slice of processed swiss or pepper jack cheese; pour rest of noodles and hint of broth on top; stir and enjoy).

Six: I can watch episodes of Friends and Daria over and over again... for pretty much eternity... and not get sick of them. I love those shows.

Sept: When I'm concentrating really hard on a task, I stick my tongue out... just a little, to one side... It amuses Mr. Blog.

Et voila!

The ever talented Miss Saucy also nominated me for this little gem, which I happily accept.

And in the spirit of the Superior Scribbler, I'm passing this award on to 5 very talented and inspirational bloggers I admire (also, you 5 have been tagged for the random fun above!):
[applicable rules: (1) Link back to me for nominating you. (2) Nominate five other bloggers and link to them on your blog. (3) Post these rules.]