Wednesday, February 29, 2012

3 Steps To Perfect

I like coffee. Everything about it is appealing to me: the way it smells, the way it tastes, the effect it has on me. Sipping a hot cup of joe is the best way to start the day.

I have been drinking coffee for years, but my perfect cup has evolved during that time. I started out drinking very little coffee at all. It was mostly milk and sugar. Mmmm. As my taste for coffee changed, so did my cup. Nowadays, I like real cream and bold coffee with a wee bit of sugar. I have learned that it takes at least 3 steps to achieve the perfect cup.

Step 1. Pour hot, black coffee into a mug with half an inch of real cream. Stir in a wee bit of sugar. Drink half of it.
Step 2. Pour more hot, black coffee into the mug. Drink half of it.
Step 3. Pour more hot, black coffee into the mug. Drink all of it.

It takes at least 3 half refills to achieve the perfect blend of creamy, semi-sweet, blackish coffee. Why don't I just reduce the cream and sugar to make the perfect cup the first time? Well, I like how it starts out creamy and rich, gradually getting bolder and blacker. Plus, I like drinking 3 cups of coffee each morning. Drinking coffee this way is the best. How do you take yours?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Malibu

This weekend adventure actually happened on Wednesday when my aunt was here. I wanted to take her somewhere that I had never been before. So we packed a picnic and went to Malibu with some friends. We had a lovely time.

The California coastline is magnificent with blue water against cliffy backdrops. The route to Malibu did not disappoint. The water seemed a little bluer and the cliffs a little cliffier. And since I can't take a photo of the gorgeous coastline while driving, here is a picture of it on the beach.

I will never get used to seeing mountains and beach in the same scene. Breathtaking.

We went to Zuma beach. The best thing was the beachside free parking. Parking is craptastic here. If you can find a spot close to wherever your destination is, you more than likely paid for it. We were thrilled with our free spots.

It was a gorgeous day. Cool and breezy in the morning and warm and sunny by lunchtime. We dressed in layers and stripped down as the temps rose.

Stripping down...

And even more...

Other than a few trips to the potty, we never left our blankets. The kids ran and played and we scoped out the beautiful people in hopes of seeing a celebrity.

Malibu is home to the rich and famous. I knew that somewhere amongst the fabulous shopping and palatial homes there had to be my favorite delicacy: gelato! And thanks to my Urbanspoon app, we found Grom. We sat in the sun and ate my most favorite yummy treat. It was the perfect ending to a perfect adventure.
Aly's Bloggity Blog

 Link up!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not The Same, But Pretty Close

My aunt Pam came for a visit this week. She is my mom's twin sister. I haven't seen my mom in almost 2 months so it was really great having her lookalike here. We walked to the beach, we played at the park, we ate gelato in Malibu, we went to Beverly Hills, the girls got completely off schedule, and I got to sleep in. She loved and kissed on my babies for 3 days. They loved it and so did I. We are gonna miss her.

She's not the same as my mom, but she's pretty darn close. Love you, Pam-ela!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February Photo Challenge: Part 3

February is almost over! I'm still churning out my photos for the photo challenge. Here is week 3's installation.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Korean Friendship Bell

We had a very relaxed long weekend. We made fake blueberry muffins with real cranberries. We ate fried egg sandwiches for dinner. We took walks. We did laundry. We went to church. We wanted to go to San Diego, but gas is nearly $5 a gallon here and I didn't want to spend the money. Instead, we ventured to the Korean Friendship Bell.

The Korean Friendship Bell is this humongous bell given to the U.S. in 1976 as a symbol of friendship between us and Korea. It's pretty cool. A lot of kung fu movie scenes have been filmed here. It sits inside this elaborately painted structure.

A lot of tourists come to check it out. A lot of locals come to fly kites. We came for the views. It is located on a hilltop overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is beautiful.

Beatrice came for the playground.

Penelope came because she's a little baby and goes wherever we go. She liked the sunshine.

It was a fun adventure with a little U.S. history too.

What kind of weekend adventures do you go on? Is there an awesome riverbank close by? Enchanted woods for exploring? Is your mall amazeballs? No matter what is available to you in your area, I'm sure there is adventuring to be had. Do you guys want to play along and share your weekend adventures? If so, let's link up each week and share the fun. Grab the code and look for my next weekend adventure post to link up. Happy adventuring out there!!

Friday, February 17, 2012


I have a dilemma. It's nap time and I want to paint my nails. I need to fold a load of laundry, make a grocery list, and mop the kitchen floor. I only have about 30 minutes before Penelope wakes so it is imperative that I use my time wisely. Completing the household chores would be the responsible thing to do. But painting my nails would make me feel pretty and I desperately need a little me-time. Sigh. I'm gonna go fold the laundry now. 

I constantly feel this pull between doing the things that I need to do versus the things that I want to do. I seem to fail miserably at finding the balance between me-time and being a good time manager with my chores. While it's obvious that the chores are more important and benefit the whole family, the me-time is kind of vital for my mental health. Pretty nails go a long way when you're feeling lonely/tired/down.

I have always liked my me-time. It wasn't until I had kids that I became crazed about finding it, keeping it, and multiplying it. I do better as a mommy when I can indulge in my stuff. But the more kids I have, the less of it I seem to have available to me. I am constantly being encouraged to get a pedicure, go to Starbucks, or do something for myself. But the dirty dishes and hungry children don't wait for me-time. And once I get everything done for my family, the only thing there is time for is sleep.

That's the tricky thing with me-time; it takes away from the other stuff I need to do for my family. I can't be a good housekeeper and have beautiful nails. I can't have a regularly updated blog and clean floors. I can't have it all. I have to choose. And I almost always choose the chores because that's my job. I'm not complaining about it, I just want to get to a place where I can have a good handle on my household so there can be time for an afternoon mani/pedi.

Today was not that day. It is now 10pm and I am still writing this blog. I managed to get the floors mopped, the laundry folded, and dinner cooked, but my nails are still not painted and this blog is still not posted. That's okay though. Tomorrow is Saturday and JD is home. It's a long weekend so there will be plenty of opportunities for me-time. I'm going to treat myself to Starbucks on the way to the grocery store tomorrow. I might even paint my nails.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Weekend Adventure: Beverly Hills

I have made some great new friends in my neighborhood. We meet up for coffee and picnics, walks to the beach, and other fun things close by in our town. It's fun and I totally thrive on our last minute get-togethers. But sometimes it's nice to go somewhere fancy. Since we live so close to so many amazing places, we decided to drink our coffee in style. Beverly Hills style. 

I have been to Beverly Hills half a dozen times, but have never walked around, gone in shops, or really explored. That was our mission: to be apart of the scene and to really get to know the area. We would have succeeded if we didn't have 4 strollers and 6 kids under 3. We were a sight. With 4 mamas and 6 babies, we were a caravan of diaper bags and goldfish crackers.

We did look in the windows of a lot of fancy stores and saw a paparazzo running in the opposite direction. If it weren't for my double stroller and small children, I would have followed him. I heart celebrity sightings. 

We did our research before and scouted a trendy cafe that served beautiful lattes with swirly shapes and designs in the foam. We were so excited to sit and sip amongst the rich and famous, but when we arrived we realized the place was not stroller friendly. Places in L.A. can be pretty small and Urth Caffe was no different. It would have been a miracle to fit one stroller in the place let alone 4. So we walked a bit further and found another cafe. They didn't serve latte art, but they did have a vacant sidewalk cafe area and the coffee was delish. 

We fed the kiddos and watched the Bentleys drive by. We walked to get cupcakes next. Sprinkles is famous for being the world's first cupcake bakery. It has been featured on many food shows and they are the creme de la creme of tiny cakes. Naturally, we had to check it out. 

Speaking of tiny places, holy moly is Sprinkles small. The shop is practically miniature with room for maybe 10 customers at a time. There was a line out the door so we had to tag team placing our orders because our strollers wouldn't fit inside. Once we got inside though, it was a wonderland of beautiful, tasty treats. 

I ordered 4 different kinds: cinnamon sugar, raspberry chocolate chip, salty caramel, and lemon coconut. I was devastated to discover the lemon coconut was accidentally swapped for a red velvet. I'm still not over it. 

Getting coffee and cupcakes took about 3 hours and our kids were quickly over our Beverly Hills adventure. We decided to walk a different way to our cars and stumbled upon Lisa Vanderpump's restaurant, Villa Blanca. If you're a fan of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, then you know this place. We held our breath as we walked past, trying to spot a celebrity or better, Lisa herself. The best we got was a glimpse of her car. It was fun knowing she was there, even if we couldn't see her. 

The best thing ever happened as we drove toward the freeway. We saw her!!! She was getting into her beautiful car with the help of Mohammed (you know him if you watch the show). My friend hollered that we loved her and she hollered right back! My life is complete now. 

Fun, fun day!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

February Photo Challenge: Part 2

I've been having so much fun participating in Fat Mum Slim's February Photo Challenge. It's really caused me to look for moments or objects to capture on film. Plus, I freaking love Instagram. Here are my contributions for week 2 of the challenge.

Link up and play along on Instagram!


Heart toast.

Cookie love letters.

Someone ate all of the Os.

The way to my heart.

My funny valentine.

My littlest valentine.

Happy love day, out there! xoxo

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Unless you are a dude or live under a rock, you are knee deep into Pinterest right about now. I have gleaned so much inspiration for fashion, decor, and all sorts of creative things from that site. But mostly, it has revolutionized our food repertoire. Every delicious thing ever published on the internet can be found on Pinterest. The only problem is, some of the recipes can be hit or miss. They all claim to be The Best whatever you have ever put in your mouth, when in reality some things are not very good at all.

JD is a little reluctant to new recipes so he gets pretty antsy when I say we're trying something new for dinner. I assure him that I won't make him anything disgusting, but with some new recipes you really never know how they'll turn out. So far, we have only had a few duds. Most of the yummy recipes I have found are just that - super yummy! Here are some winners that will stay pinned in my heart (and Pinterest) forever.

Enchilada casserole

I posted this in the February photo challenge post yesterday. It was so, so good.

Mini deep dish pizzas

This one didn't have an original source so I can't link it, but it is so easy. Roll out canned biscuit dough (crescent rolls) and press into greased muffin tin. Spoon in marinara sauce, top with mozzarella cheese and pepperonis. Bake at 400 for 10 - 15 mins. So good.

Balsamic pork roast

I made this last night - perfection. So yummy.

Lemon blueberry yogurt loaf cake

This is the best thing I've ever put in my mouth. Make this and change your life forever.

Chicken broccoli supreme

Really good, but it could use some rice in the casserole to bulk it up.

Maple pork chops with bacon cheese grits

I make this several times a month. I love a recipe that incorporates real maple syrup.

Lasagna soup

Really yummy and lasts forever. Perfect if you like leftovers.

Spicy chicken rigatoni

Source: via Aly on Pinterest

Very spicy! Very yummy!

Expand your food repertoire and make one of these recipe winners!

Follow Me on Pinterest