Friday, November 30, 2007

We Live Here!

Every once in a while something random happens and you think oh that is just so awesome.

Yesterday I was changing upstairs in our master bedroom for my trainer appt (where he seriously kicked my butt with some traps and delts work til I swear I almost cried. Strong back, baby!!!)...and I looked out through one of the windows. With our new shades, they are the top down, bottom up cellulars in a cool shade of white linen...and we put the top down mostly halfway so we can see out into the horizon and the blue sky, since we have no houses that are as tall as our townhouse is. It is an awesome view that we don't really typically have time to appreciate...and now that it gets dark so early, we are hardly ever home when dusk falls. But yesterday I got home a little early to change and I looked out the window and saw this...

(you can click on it to see the larger picture, it's so worth it)

It was so beautiful! I had to get the camera and take a picture. It's times like this that I love our townhouse even more. I know that we don't plan to stay here forever but it's such an awesome place for us and this is just one of the reasons why.

Baby Fuzz.

I have a new 'first cousin once removed' ! Yep that's what it's called, I looked it up online. And the internet is ALWAYS right.

My cousin just had her first daughter last nite, 3 weeks early yet entirely healthy and ready to come out. The first great grandchild for my grandmother and the first baby to be born into our family for 17 years! As such there was a ton of excitement around the whole thing... everyone loves a baby to spoil, especially when that baby isn't theirs!!! Oh maybe that's just me. I just like being auntie Mara. Or in this case, First Cousin Once Removed Mara. FCOR. There's gotta be an easier term.

Photos below. It really scares me how happy Greg looks holding this baby. In fact, it scares me that I look happy too. Scared all around. But baby...Lily is her name, is SUPER CUTE. Apparently I looked like her when I was born. Which means Mara=Super Cute. I love math!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Deck the Halls.

Our first tree went up last Sunday. "First" meaning the downstairs tree that we bought last year, the 7.5" noble fir with pre-strung lights and little pinecones sewn in. Love this tree. Talk about ease of setup. Greg put it together in 5 minutes and then I was left to my own tree decorating devices which suits me fabulously as I get into 'The Zone'. Last year it was just gold but this year I supplemented with red as well and it looks awesome. Did about 1/2 the house decor on Sunday before I cried uncle.

Initial Results!

Next weekend we'll head out into the wild (tree lot on the corner) for our real 'family room' tree which is the one we spend all the quality time with..and the one under which Portia shreds presents while we are away from the house. What would Christmas be without having to re-wrap shredded presents continuously the entire month of December?? Really.

After the decorating I felt all inspired. So I made chocolate chip cookies, with oatmeal and mini chips and applesauce instead of butter and oil. Well I did use 1/2 a stick of butter but that was 1/3 of what the recipe actually called for. They came out fabulous and I liked knowing I wasn't clogging my arteries when I immediately consumed 4 out of the oven. HEY! It's the holidays.

Multiple Thanksgivings.

4 turkeys in 3 days. That has to be some sort of record right??? That was how our holiday went down last week...and man was it good.

There was a good reason for why I didn't post on here for uhh almost a week. It's called turkey coma. And it's dangerous. Leading to uncontrollable sleeping and continuous pumpkin pie eating.

So yeah...the first one was at our house on Wed night, our neighbors came over and I made our entire dinner including a 15lb turkey (okay in my defense, typically we buy a 10lb for us and we have a ton of leftovers..the whole foods guy said 15 was good for 4 people, LIAR. we had so much turkey it was coming out our ears), dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce with citrus (well i bought this from whole foods, i must fess up), gravy, and the most divine pumpkin cheesecake EVER from Sugar Butter Flour (See orgasmic dessert post below). And my neighbor got a mini pecan pie from WF which promptly made it's way into our kitchen, never to be seen again. Then we had the real holiday at our house with my family. On Friday we went to my uncle's house for a holiday with them and my cousin who flew in from LA. And my other super pregnant-about-to-pop cousin who drove up with us...I swear the whole way up there I was envisioning a delivery by the side of the road kind of thing. And THEN we came home that night and ate a 4th dinner with our neighbors who spent the day cooking THEIR dinner. Whew.

I gotta say that it was awesome to have 4 diff turkeys, 4 diff cranberry sauces, 4 diff stuffings/dressings, multiple desserts, multiple veggies. Not one dinner was 'the same'. Variety to the max. And I'm all about variety.

At this point Greg was ready to swear off turkey forever, but not me. I love me some high protein lean turkey breast. And our breasts on the 15lber were BIG. Portia wasn't left out, she got all the dark meat on the turkey, more than could fit in her little body for days on end.

I managed to actually get some workouts in during the days of gorgefest, and my Dad, Greg and I did the Turkey Troy on the big day, which was super fun. So I had NO GUILT on the 2nd meal at least. Don't know that it carried over at all to meals 3 and 4. Or ummm...when I finished off the pumpkin cheesecake on Sunday night.

Mashed Taters...creamy good and I capitulated and used real butter. Good times.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Sugar Butter Flour GOOD!!!!

Despite all my best intentions to be 'food good' in anticipation of some seriously crazy Thanskgiving consumption over the next few days, I convinced my coworkers that today was a good day to visit this bakery I'd been jonesing over since seeing it showcased on Yelp almost daily. It became an obsession. It didn't disappoint. They have a small lunch menu which is really just a thinly veiled excuse to visit the place to get DESSERT and yet still have something slightly nutritional as well. I got the Tuscan Chicken Sandwich which was tasty. Grilled veggies. Water.

Boom onto the dessert cases. It was hard to choose but I decided to focus and only get the breads and croissants this time. Save cupcakes, cookies for another visit. Picked up a slice of banana walnut bread, pumpkin bread, sour cream coffee cake. Oh my. We'll be eating yummy breakkie the next few days with some coffee. Then got a pumpkin cheesecake 8" round for dessert tomorrow night for our small early Tday dinner with friends. Coworkers got a bunch of things, we came back and sampled them. OMG good!!!! Really not much else to say other than we will be returning post-haste to sample more sweet treats after the holiday.

Chocolate Pyramid:


Oh and 'food good'? So not happening. I'm hitting the gym after work today for penance, it'll be sickly sweet.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Decadent Weekend...

Seems like all we did was eat this weekend. Oh that's not true. I got some shopping in!

Visited the new La Fondue on the place is amazing. I heard they spent a fortune redoing the new building and it shows. They practically had to roll us out of there.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving. We're hosting this year which makes me go HMM because really I should have done Xmas...our house will be so pretty and decorated and right now it's not. I mean what can you really do for Thanksgiving? Put some turkeys around the place? I'm creatively stumped. And unmotivated really.

Picking up our organic Whole Foods turkey tomorrow for it's new brining home in the bucket for 24 hours. Our neighbors are coming over for our mini-pre-thanksgiving dinner on Wed, then Greg and I are doing the 10k Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day. It's a family affair, everyone is doing it. I figure if I torture myself in the morning then I won't feel an iota of guilt eating dinner later. And multiple pieces of PIE!!!!

Our little home menu...stuffing, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, rolls, brined turkey, salad, punkie pie. Then the big day of...we have more of a potluck style with the family, so all of the above plus a new brussel sprouts with bacon recipe I am dying to try.

Mmmm. Then also, Mom's famous crockpot pinto beans, Grandma's famous spanish rice, more turkey (roasted this time), Mom's stuffing, a cake and a pie, gosh the list goes on. Gorgefest to ensue.

Also picked up some TASTY looking cranberry pumpkin scone mix at World Market for breakkie on Fri and Sat. I am like a kid in a candy store whenever I head there. I seriously feel my eyes glazing over while walking the aisles. And since all the stores already have their Xmas stuff out, I did a little pre-holiday decor shopping and picked up a few gifts too.

On a fun note, Restoration had their 25% F&F this weekend and I kept meaning to get into the mall but it's so not appealing at this time of year. So last nite at 10pm, I put in my online order. I snagged these faux votive candles that are supposedly going to look real. I am intrigued.

Friday, November 16, 2007


So my trainer did another body composition mass test on me on Monday but I had to wait til yesterday to get my results. The last time I did it was August 30 and I was 23.5% body fat, in the normal range for my age and weight and all that. My goal is 20.5% which is in the 'excellent' range for my age and weight and would make me really quite lean. I was so jazzed to find that my test on Monday put me at 21.2% which is awesome! I am really close to my goal. I can visually see I am carrying more lean muscle, but it's nice to have the #'s to validate the visuals as well. So YAY for that. Of course if they did the test yesterday it would have shown donut levels of body fat. Hee.

Speaking of donuts, I got a great workout in yesterday, we did pilates upper body for 40 min along with some seriously painful-yet-effective abs, and then a Zumba class which is so amazingly fun even for us uncoordinated types. You don't even care what you look like. Just dance around!!

Check out Zumba at . Warning: The music is seriously addicting.

On a fun foodie breakkie note...if you like oatmeal and you like protein powder (Well, I would imagine no one actually LIKES pp, but it does get you results)...I have been mixing my plain organic oatmeal with vanilla TJ's protein powder and it's quite tasty. Keeps the sugars low, protein high and it's got FIBER. Plusses all around. If I close my eyes I can almost imagine I'm eating french toast. Almost.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sugar Coma.

My coworker brought a box of donuts to work today. They looked something like this. Pretty huh?

Hours later, I was crashing down from the worst sugar rush ever. Not even sure how many I consumed...there was tearing and demolishment and tossing of innards and frosting smearing. It was a massacre I tell you!!!

Here's the result...

Now I'm off to the trainer to suffer, cry, and be tortured to pay penance for my multiple sins. Then I'll do a Zumba class as additional penance. ZUMBA!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Fun Foodie Finds.

Since I'm all into the healthy lifestyle thing lately (okay does a year plus of doing it count as lately ? Not sure but hey...I'll go with it)...I have a bunch of fave finds that are staples in my life. I get bored eating absolutely the same thing every day, but I try to keep it within a range of 'goodness', so I mix it up a bit sometimes. I try to find more protein items with fiber and lower carbs for the most part. It's mostly about fuel for the body, but if it tastes good that's awesome too. It's amazing how many cool, tasty, yet good for you things are out there. I make it my personal mission to find them.

Here are a few of my fave 'good to go in your mouth' things for a healthier type lifestyle. No jokes please.

Lightful Satiety Smoothies. 90 cals, 6g fiber, 6 protein. The perfect thing for between breakkie and lunch or after a workout on the go. The straw thing is weird and does not work. Recommend using strange straw to stab hole in the top and suck like a vampire.

Frozen Yogurt. Wow Cow. Heard of it? 10 cals per ounce. It's non-dairy and it's pretty tasty if you are watching your waistline. I eat it a fair amount but sometimes I splurge and get the 'real thing' as in nonfat froyo. Gotta live a little ya hear!

Light 2% String Cheese. 60 cals per stick, 6g protein and no carbs. Win Win for the muscles.

Designer Whey Protein Powder. 90 cals for a scoop (mega scooper too), 18g protein, like 6g carbs. I love mixing this with low-cal almond milk and regular milk in a sports bottle and doing a little shakie shakie to get it all nice and blended. Pour over a bit of ice in a glass. It's almost like a milkshake. Without the ass-packing fat.

Luna Bars. Specifically the new flavor Chocolate Peppermint Stick. Like girl scout Thin Mints? Don't like how you can inhale a whole sleeve in under 5 minutes? Well me either. This Luna Bar actually tastes like the cookies but is a little more nutritious. 180 cals, 9g protein, 3g fiber. It does have some sugars but WAY less than a scoop of ice cream even. My nutritionist allowed me to have one a day on a lower sugar plan I did. Love them. Other fave flavors: Lemon Zest; Chocolate Raspberry; Nutz over Chocolate; and the Blueberry Yogurt Sunrise (my def fave for non-chocolate!).

Egg Whites. Okay I know this doesn't sound SO appealing so you might be like Whaaa? But they rock. I scramble up a few in the mornings with 2% shredded cheese, cayenne pepper, black pepper, salt..and put them into a Sonoma Tortilla Company Artistan Tortilla (60 cals, 8g fiber, 6g protein!) and whala. It's the breakfast of champions and nets me about 25g protein and I still get a healthy dose of fiber from the tortilla. The best thing about egg whites is that they take on the flavor of whatever you cook them it's easy to make them quite tasty with spices.

Vitalicious Brownies. and muffins, and cakes, and tops. The list is quite long. This company makes a very good faux-brownie..well that's what I call it. It is a brownie but it's not quite a brownie. 100 cals, something like 5g fiber and 3g protein. It's fabulous for heating up in the microwave and then putting a big scoop of slow churned ice cream on top with a bit of nuts and some fat free Reddi Whip. Like a Baskin Robbins sundae sans much fat and cals. I have a problem eating just one.

That's it for now but trust me, I have tons more nutritional goodness up my sleeve. Just gotta find the time to post. Stay tuned!

Oh and I gotta give some props to for her amazing website and blog on Yahoo! about similar kinds of finds. Many times I will find a favorite on her blog that I already know about but many times she turns me onto things I never even knew were out there. 100 cal M&M packs anyone?!

Ho Ho Ho...Hum.

It's that time of year again. Okay not REALLY. It's barely Thanksgiving. But I can't help thinking about Xmas. Because I love it. It's really my favorite time of the year. Food, gifts, home's all up my alley. I get drunk on it.

So because it's right around the corner, I only have two things on my mind. Decorating the house, and.....PRESENTS. Mostly presents. For other people of course.

But I'll force myself to focus tonite as I head over to the mall and look around for xmas gifts and home decor items for the upcoming holiday season. I am determined to not be at the mall on Dec 24 getting my last desperate gifts. Determined I say!

Thinking of these for my beloved husband..the Bose earbuds. They are smashin'.

Possibly along with some beautiful blue cabachon cuff links that I found on Red Envelope. But I would love to find something that has cuff links AND the button ties as well for the tux shirt. So far no dice.

Already have picked up a few goodies here and there for people on the list. Gotta figure out our Xmas cards. We always talk about doing a photo of us with Portia but the fact is...we're lazy. And then suddenly it's time to mail the cards. So I grab a box from the local store and dash out a message and mail them. Yep, holiday card slacker...that's me! Sometimes I feel like I'm just lucky to get them in the mail before Dec 25.

On a super cute puppy note...we have been seeing this ad everywhere in mags and on TV and we love playing it for Portia, she goes NUTS when she sees it on the screen!! Fun times.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Slacker. Diamond Travels. Holidays?!?

Wow, it's been a week since I posted? I'm a slacker. I was out of town a few days last week so work was notably insane before the trip.

Where'd I go? Houston baby!!! I met up with a girlfriend who lives on the East Coast and we did the bling thing with our jeweler, WhiteFlash (!) yet again. This is becoming an annual thing! As usual it was a ton of fun, tried on a 5c again, man that thing was so meant to be mine, along with my wannabe NYC penthouse living life. I've got some pictures on my digicam so I'll upload them at some point.

Didn't come home with anything new, though they are scoping out a few things for me in Antwerp this week. Xmas pendant fun is coming to a stocking near ME!

Speaking of Xmas, just started to do my shopping...why does it seem to get harder every year?? Either that or I get less and less creative. I'm sure it's the former. Oh, and on the same holiday note, we somehow got suckered into hosting Thanksgiving...can you believe it's only 9 days away???

This year, I'm responsible for my famous mashed potatoes, a veggie (glazed lemon carrots baby!), and the famous pumpkin pie from The Creamery in Palo Alto (mega yums). And Greg and I also have our own mini Thanksgiving the night before which I love. I'll be brining our turkey again this year...gotta place my order with Whole Paycheck for our small 9 lber. Maybe with this recipe...

Cedar Brined Turkey:

And I might try the new Williams Sonoma foccacia bread looked super tasty in the store. We'll see how perky I feel about going to the mall and buying it in the next 7 days. Esp since it's not online. Argh!

Speaking of the MALL (boy I can just digress for days), did you get the 20% Restoration Hardware Friends and Family coupon in your inbox? If not, get your paws on one. It's awesome. I am already planning our home decor for the holiday season, to my husband's everlasting storage chagrin, and every little discount helps. Ho Ho Ho!

On a final note, I'm currently reading a really good book. I picked it up at the airport...I swear I find great things there. It's called Rhett Buttler's People and it's fairly new, and it's the Gone with the Wind story from Rhett's perspective, really mostly about his life and his stories. So far it's quite hard to put down. Highly recommended. Buy it.

Rhett Butler's People:

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Birthday Celebration.

Yes, it happened yet again. My birthday. This year we were in Acapulco when it went the celebrations have happened hodgepodge intermittently all week long kinda thing. Last nite we had dindins with my parents and I ended up scoring a sweet iPod Nano in ProductRED style...spent way too long last nite and this morning loading all my goodies into it. It even holds pictures. Welcome to 2007, hanging with my husband has turned me into a luddite.

New Toy. Along with a fab cup of espresso my better half made me while I was playing around with the Nano.

During dinner numnums.

We have eaten at this place a few times in Los Gatos and this time it just was seriously sucking..the food wasn't as good and the service was horrendous. So we probably won't go back. I'm glad I didn't do a Yelp review yet on the place, for whatever reason I was waiting til last nite.

We did get the most amazing gelato at...of course, Powells, after dinner. They have PUMPKIN right now...hopefully for the rest of the month. Just divine.

Ghosts and Goblins...oh...and a Portia Witch????

Belated Halloweenie post...but here are our pumpkins in all their drunken carved glory. Just kidding, actually we were stone cold sober when we made these masterpieces. I actually loved how the mouth turned out on mine this year and since that is typically where I start to go seriously wrong, I was jazzed. Maybe after 32 years of carving I am finally getting the hang of it. Call me a slow learner.



We also had one for Princess P but the photos didn't come out so good this year.

Speaking of Princess is the most tolerant dog in the world in her Ween-getup. When I see these pictures I can't help but day she is going to snap. And then who's going to get it? Us. That's right. There will be no one to blame but ourselves when we wake up one morning with extremities missing.

After the consumption of WAY too much mediocre Hershey's owned milk-chocolate this year...I am okay with seeing Halloween pass us by. We did have amazing caramel apples from Schurra's which I have convinced myself are health food. I mean after all the Kit Kat's I apple with some caramel on it and nuts has to be health food RIGHT???