Monday, September 19, 2011

An Open Letter/Prayer...

I will address this to the Heavenly Father, because when I was praying daily a few years ago, He is who I addressed.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Perhaps it isn't often enough that these thoughts are expressed to You, I feel it is necessary today, given the great blessing You've placed upon our families recently. Upon the completion of reading this article, I find it pertinent that we thank You (we, being me and Frank). I know all too well the struggles of losing a job, dealing with unemployment, and wondering how I would put food in my stomach to nourish not only my body, but also my soul.

Last summer, You blessed us both with great new jobs. I garnered a job in my field that has finally allowed me to use the skills You've so graciously blessed me with. I remain happy and pleased with this position, even though I'm sure You've placed a few obstacles in my path just to see how I would react, learn, and grow from such trials. I am now acknowledging this, and thanking You for your efforts to teach me new things about myself every day.

Frank was also blessed with a new job, one that would help us provide for one another as You would want us to. But the obstacles You so graciously placed in his path were, perhaps, a bit too challenging for him. Being the gracious Father that You are, You closed that door for him, but not before opening another. Today Frank began a new job, a position which I am sure he will be able to grow with and utilize the gifts You gave him.

I find it pertinent that we thank You because, well, You know, we haven't always placed you at the forefront of our lives. I know there have been plenty of times where You have been nearly absent from our minds, but the moment we need something to go our way, we ask You for help.

But now, You've helped us in ways far beyond my expectations, and rather than asking You for something, I just want to thank You. Nothing more, nothing less. You've provided for us so that we could provide for each other. It is a great feeling, for once, to know that we don't have to scrape by at the beginning of the month to pay the rent and the bills. We will be just fine when the rent and bills are due. When the holiday and birthday celebrations continue, we can be there to support each other, and our families.

You've blessed us both with wonderful families, and each of our families has welcomed the other with open arms, just as You welcomed us into this world. You gave us life so we could live it, and for this, we thank You.

I am ever-so gracious, and when my name is called, I will bow before You, because with out the guidance my grandmother always told me You'd provide, I'm not sure where I would have ended up. And so, once again, I say to You, Thank You. You know how much these blessings mean to us, as You're the one who sees our needs, wants, and struggles, and You're the one that eventually guides us home.

As You know, I've always said, this isn't our home, I'm just along for the ride. To quote a very intelligent woman, "When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'" - Erma Bombeck


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A new adventure... sort of.

So, with the aid of my sister, I've finally decided, on my own, that it's time for a lifestyle change. diets are viewed as a quick, temporary fix. This is not what I'm after. By this time next year I want to be OK with having salad for lunch almost every day and not feel so proud when I drive past the drive-thru while running errands on my lunch at work and not order something. I've started a food journal, i wear a pedometer every day, and I try to make it to the gym 4-5 days a week.

these ambitions aren't with out some extreme challenges, I might add. This weekend was probably more challenging than thanksgiving would be, but a little less than Balbiani Family Fun Day (a huge party with Frank's God parents where all you do is eat all day) will be this coming Sunday. I watched as my family and friends enjoyed fried artichoke hearts and zucchini, huge bowls of polenta topped with sauce and cheese, sfingis (Italian donuts), sausage sandwiches and ravioli. I, on the other hand enjoyed half a sausage link and some peppers (no bun) for lunch on Saturday, followed by a grilled eggplant and pesto sandwhich for dinner, minus half the bun. Sunday, I got smarter. I had breakfast at home and brought a snack with me. But by 2pm I was hungry. so I ordered tri-tip with pesto and tomato, and ate half of it, sans bread. Sunday night, in the comfort of my mother's home, I watched as my family ate 2-3 helpings of pasta with homemade sauce and bread and butter, while I ate a 5 oz piece of baked salmon, green salad, and some roasted squash. Good grief, what am I doing?!

I've been known to make some of the best Hollandaise sauce in my family (thanks Betty Crocker!), so I've been promising Frank I'd make him eggs benedict. Well, I've been eating lots of egg whites and saving the yolks, so last night I caved and made frank eggs benedict. I, on the other hand, enjoyed a 110 calorie bagel-thin topped with a small piece of lean ham steak and egg whites scrambled with mushrooms, and a few roasted potatoes. This batch of Hollandaise sauce was probably some of the best I've ever made, so I'm glad he enjoyed it, with out me. while I watch. haha!

So what's it all for? During a recent visit to the doctor, I was informed that I have some all too common syndrome called PCOS (poly-cystic ovary syndrome). It's a catch 22, really. It can cause obesity and troubles losing weight, along with excess and dark facial hair and moderate to sever cystic acne. Not to mention ovarian cysts and troubles with fertility. But, it can also be cause by obesity. So which is it? Do i have it because I'm fat, or am I fat because I have it? We don't know. All I know is I have to be healthier if I want to treat it and have the symptoms fade. I don't know if it will ever go away, but it's being treated.

For the last 7 years I've toyed with the idea of getting more fit, back to the high school water polo player I was 10 years ago. But pot was my only drug of choice and Jack in the Box is open for an extreme sausage sandwich at 2:30 in the morning. So I smoked and ate and didn't care. I don't partake in fat talk. I've never stood in the mirror and picked out every flaw, I've never complained about being over-weight and I've said "I don't know how I got like this." Oh no! I'm well aware of how I got fat, and I'm finally ready to deal with it.

Best thing is, I'm not setting weight loss goals. I'm setting fitness goals. I want to do at least 5 burpees with ease by my birthday (don't know what it is? look it up. they're intense!) I want to RUN the willow glen 5K next May. I want to be as strong as I was when playing a whole water polo game wasn't THAT hard.

So follow me, cheer me on. Lord knows I need it!


The Lady

Thursday, August 11, 2011

College Student vs. Working For The Man

So, a while ago, I had a thought while I was going pee at work... I know, a potential overshare, but just hear me out... I was looking at my legs, and I was a little offended by the sheer white-ness of them. Now, every other summer, this has never really been an issue, because I've taught swim lessons, been a nanny, or, in general, was able to spend more time in the sun. Next Tuesday will mark my 1-year anniversary of officially working for the man. Herein, I will examine the pros and cons of being a college student, and working for the man...

Round 1: Scheduling:

– When you're in college, your schedule changes at the end of every quarter/semester, and chances are, you get a week off between them. This is great... sometimes. If you register too late, your chances of any time sleeping-in are pretty much gone, and you'll likely get stuck with a class at 7:30, which is half an hour to an hour earlier than most people start working. BUT, chances are, you only have classes m-th and get a 3 day weekend, which is great for tanning! But then there's homework...

– When you're a full-time employee, generally, work begins somewhere between 8 and 9. When I worked in Hollywood, I started at 10. I work 8 full hours, and leave when I should. I'm not married to my job, and I don't take my work home with me. There's no homework, but I also don't get 3 day weekends or the option to choose my schedule. But, if I take time off, it's approved, and I get paid for it.

Round 1 Winner: College Student

Round 2: Getting Paid

– Well, this should be a clear cut decision... When you're in college, it's pretty difficult to work full time and go to school full time. Don't tell me it can't be done, because I did it for 8 months. And don't tell me it's easy, because I did it for 8 months. BUT, at the same time, you're working to pay your living expenses, but you're also taking out student loans to pay for your education. So you're spending more money than you're making in the long run...

– Ha! There's a chance you could not make enough money to live at the means you'd like. Such might be the case for Frank and I right now, but mostly because I am the primary bread-winner and have student loans and a car payment that are continually weighing on my bank account. But, there are many more times where I go to the grocery store and don't count the cost of food down the very last penny, because if I spend a little more than I planned, it's not that big of a deal.

Round 2 Winner: Working for the Man.

Round 3: Days Off

– When you're a college student and don't feel like going to class, you just don't go. You might do the "right thing" and email your instructor and feign an illness or emergency, but you lay in bed and relax, go tan, run errands, have lunch with friends, whatever. But, you're paying valuable money for an invaluable education that's "supposed" to get you a great job with an earnings potential to pay your student loans off in a timely manner (Supposed is in quotations because, let's face it, right now, there are no jobs. For anyone. It's cut-throat for some of the most qualified college graduates.)

– Meh, I don't feel good this morning. I get up and go to work, but perform at half my ability, because, well, I don't feel good... I'm really sick, I call (or text, in my case) my boss and let them know I won't be coming in today, but if they really need something from me, they can call or text me and I will do my best to take care of it. And, if I have sick hours accumulated, I'm getting paid for recuperating. Or, I have a thing planned, and I need the day off, I take a vacation day. I've never been the type to call in sick to play hookey. If I'm out sick, it's probably because I spent the night with my face in the toilet, or I've got a fever.

Round 3 Winner: Working For The Man

Now, let's face it, a "real" job/working for the man isn't for everyone ( and I don't quite qork for the man because there are only 15-20 full time employees in my office on any given work day, and well, the owner is nearly 90 and he comes in every day...)  Some people might still tell me I don't have a "real" job, since I get to play on a computer all day and make Arsty-Fartsy crap. And well, while that might be true, I also have bosses, and a strict schedule, and deadlines, and last minute stressful situations, and a salary. It doesn't matter how early I come in or how late I stay, I get paid the same amount. The 15th and last day of every month, my check is always the same.

I didn't feel prepared for high school after middle school, I didn't feel prepared for college after high school, and really, I didn't quite feel prepared for a full-time job working for the man after college. 18 months ago, you could have asked me what scared me most in life, and my answer would have been, in this order: earthquakes, thunder & lightning, and whatever it is that comes after college. Well, now, for me, whatever it was that came after college was a full time job utilizing the skills I paid a shit-ton of money to learn. So it's pretty worth it to me.

But, I can't say I don't miss swimming till my fingers are prune-y, getting a great tan, partying on a Thursday night because I don't have to wake up and go to anything on Friday, staying up late because i have limited responsibility... But what's great about things like this now are that I can afford to go spray tan because I don't have time to get a real tan, I'm too old to party on Thursday and make it to work on Friday, so that's usually date night, and I have a real schedule that makes me feel like an adult.

You're supposed to grow up. Some people take a little longer than others (points at self!) But, realistically, you're expected to act like an adult, moreover, a grown-up. Not too long ago that word made me shudder. A swim student once asked me, when I was probably 21 or 22, if I was a grown-up. I told her no. I was an adult. But not a grown-up.

Now, I'm afraid, I'm kind of a grown-up. And it still scares the shit out of me!


The Lady.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finally... An Update!

When I last decided to blog, this is what I had decided to begin with "So, it's been almost 2 months since the last post. and there's nothing I can really say, other than, I'm lazy, busy, and a little more lazy. But, I've decided it's time to get back on the wagon, at least for now. And because soo much has happened, this will be done in a 2 to 3 part update." and now, I don't care. A lot has happened, and rather than writing it all out, I'm just going to list it, and move on, because there's a lot more coming up, and i want to get back to the real focus of what I wanted this blog to be when I started writing it... and that is, honestly, to share new recipes and log my weight loss. I've done neither one of those in the last 3 months. I'd apologize, but I don't really feel it's necessary. Moving on!

Since I last blogged, the following has happened:

- 4/17 | I purchased my first-ever brand new vehicle - a 2011 Subaru Impreza 2.5i premium hatchback - it's the car i've been creaming of for the last 2 years, and now, it's mine. well sort of. the bank "owns" it, but as soon as I pay them off, they mail me the pink-slip!

- 5/7 | My mother and I participated in the Willow Glen 5k walk/run. We finished in less than 50 minutes, a personal best for both of us, I believe. We also decided we're going to train so we can run/jog the whole course at next years event.

- 5/14-15 | The Relay For Life was a huge success. Our entire event raised over $150K and our Sicilian Sisterhood & Friends Team raised over $5K. Despite the rain, our team persevered and took many strides towards our goal: a time where the words "I have cancer" won't be so common, or even spoken.

-5/20-22 | Frank and I broke in my new car with a drive to San Diego for his sister's graduation from San Diego State. We stopped and had breakfast/lunch with Lupe at Nat's Early Bite, one of my favorite haunts, on Friday. Sunday, on our way home, we stopped and enjoyed authentic burgers at the Original Bob's Big Boy in Burbank/Toluca Lake before jumping on the 5 freeway to head home.

6/5 | I helped give Katie a wedding shower, along with her mother, aunt and neighbor. I wanted to make the favors, and upon a visit to Starbucks, sparked the brilliant idea to make cakepops. While they turned out great and I would definitely make them again, they are not as easy as bakerella  lead me to believe. But, the shower went off with out a hitch and everyone enjoyed the favors.

-6/11 | Frank enjoyed his very first big-venue concert: Tim McGraw, Luke Bryan & The Band Perry at Shoreline. We even got to attend a special VIP experience where we saw Tim McGraw perform a few songs in a small tent before the big show.

- 6/19 | We celebrated a combined Father's day and Mother's day - Parent's day - at the Mansion with both our families, respectively. We reserved the big BBQ and had ourselves a little party.It was a little hot, and we were breifly "rained out" by the horribly positioned sprinklers in the area, but we had a good time.

And now that you're all caught up, I'm about done typing this post. I did, in fact, make a new recipe last night, that you can find by clicking here. It's called Shrimp with Warm Coleslaw. I followed the recipe almost precisely, save for adding the extra bacon drippings to the coleslaw mix and adding the red wine vinegar. I realized that it called for said vinegar, but I didn't realize we didn't have any, so I simply omitted it. Instead of fresh shrimp i thawed some peeled and cleaned shrimp i had in the freezer from one of our recent Costco excursions. I also seasoned the coleslaw with Pete's Salt and served it along side green onion couscous drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with Pete's salt. Overall, this meal was delicious and it attracted me because it had veggies and shrimp, which i love. I imagine it'd be great rolled in a tortilla as a wrap, too. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, fresh and healthy dinner idea.

In other news, i will very briefly tell you that I will be travelling to Seattle, more appropriately, Suncadia Resort, to spend the 4th of July weekend with my Godfather and his family. I haven't been up to the Pacific North West in a few years and I'm excited to catch up and spend time with this section of my family.

The Lady

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Happy Birthday Indeed!

It's not a secret... my life with Frank isn't romantic. But that's not in the nature of either one of us. We play around, bicker, poke fun and jab at each other all the time. It makes it fun, and it makes me love him. When anyone makes a remark about him not being romantic, he gets defensive, which I think is hilarious, because I'm not the romancing type of girl. Hell, give me a hot dog and beer at a Dodgers game over a fancy dinner any day, as long he's sitting there next to me.

I didn't know what I wanted for my birthday, so I couldn't even give him an idea, except for some Juicy Couture perfume I've been wanting. At my family party last Saturday he told me he hadn't gotten me anything yet, but that it wasn't my birthday. I of course told him it was fine. Tuesday when I got home a spied a small wrapped box on the credenza in our entry way.  I opened the tiny box, the box that looked like a ring box, only to find a note. A NOTE! A note that said I needed to pack a bag and get off work early on Friday because he was taking me away for my birthday. At dinner I guessed that we were going to Napa, and he was a little frustrated, but I didn't and couldn't guess anything else we were doing.

I anxiously waited the rest of the week, and at 3pm on Friday I was in my car headed home. We left our house around 4 and made it to our cute little inn around 6.15 called the Chardonnay Lodge. A tiny, 20-unit motel, with themed rooms and beautiful roses. We relaxed and decided on where to go for dinner. We decided on Black Bear Diner, an inexpensive restaurant we both knew would be just fine, considering all the things we would do on Saturday.

Saturday Morning we poured over a map and chose 2 wineries to visit before our lunch reservation at Michael Chiarello's restaurant, Bottega, in downtown Yountville. We ended up choosing Castello Di Amorosa, or, The Castle Winery, and world-famous V. Sattui Winery.

As you approach the castle at Castello Di Amorsa, it feels like Italy. The long driveway is lined with gorgeous cypress trees, surrounded by vineyards. You walk up several stairs and cross over a draw bridge, into a large courtyard. We just purchased a tasting, not the whole tour, and walked through the castle into the tasting room. We were treated like family, our server was Italian himself, and was very knowledgeable. We each chose a bottle of wine we couldn't leave with out and wandered around the grounds a bit.

We got back in the truck and headed to V. Sattui. A place that is literally everyone's speed. From the amazing BBQ to the tasting room and cheese shop. We tasted some amazing wine and wandered around the cheese shop and gardens. We ended up purchasing 4 bottles of wine and while I really wanted to get some different cheese, there wasn't any way for us to transport it and keep it cool since we were going over to Yountville for lunch.

We visited Dean and Deluca and wandered around in awe of all the amazing produce and delicious looking food they had to offer before heading to Bottega. We were a little early when we got to Yountville, so we wandered around NapaStyle. A little store right across from Bottega where Michael Chiarello features his wines for tasting it offers an amazing variety of rock salts and specially crafted meat rubs. We tasted the Roasted Garlic rub, and I knew I had to have it!

We had a 2.30 reservation at Bottega and were still a bit early, so we sat at the bar and had a drink and browsed the huge wine list. We were sat outside under the canopy and it was gorgeous. We ordered Polenta Under Glass for our appetizer and were still deciding on entrees when our server came over and offered us the special, a veal burger with truffle mayo. OMFG! I love truffles, so I jumped at the chance to order that. Frank ordered a raviolo made with potato dough and black truffles.

As i was starting to get really excited about my veal burger, a waitress came over to tell me they'd run out of the special, I was totally bummed, but went back to what I originally wanted before the special, red wheat linguine with veal and pork bolognese. Ugh! It was to die for. We both mmm'd and yumm'd our entire meals. When we'd finished, i had already decided this place was just too good to pass up dessert, so we ordered Tiramisu Profiteroles. Little cream puff shells filled with tiramisu ice cream and drizzled with freshly melted chocolate. Ugh again! Heaven on a dessert plate! (Frank's phone takes much better photos than mine, so you'll see a few more photos soon).

We headed back to our room as fat, dumb and happy as could be. We relaxed for a bit and decided what we should do for the night. We headed out to Downtown Napa and walked around, gawking at all the closed shops and debating about what small thing we should eat. We wound up at Downtown Joe's on Main Street in the heart of downtown. Frank watched the Giants lose, and I watched the Sharks win. We had some of the best bar food we've ever tasted, and had some great hand crafted, fresh brewed beers.

Sunday morning we knew we were heading to Downtown St. Helena to have a very early lunch at Gott's Roadside. Home of, literally, the best burger ever. We shared. Yeah, that's right, we shared. For those of you that don't know Frank that well, he doesn't share, ever. But I ordered a fresh ahi tuna melt, and he ordered the Bacon cheeseburger, and we shared. Ugh! great food. We walked around downtown St. Helena and wandered in and out of shops the whole afternoon before heading to Redwood City to meet my parents for dinner at the Old Port Lobster Shack.

And well, what can I say about the Lobster Shack? Quite possibly my new favorite seafood place. Lobster Bisque, huge lobster rolls, and even a WHOLE LOBSTER! Ugh! Frank and I shared again. We ordered the WHOLE steamed lobster, and a lobster roll, filled with huge chunks of lobster, mayo, green onions piled in a toasted buttery bun. I love lobster, and this place was phenomenal.

We left my parents and drove on home from our long weekend. we unpacked slightly, threw some clothes in the washer and fell into the couches. we were exhausted, and as Frank said, sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation.

But this was by far one the best birthday weekends I've had. Ever. Look for a new recipe coming soon and a video from this weekend.

The Lady

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

So Many Things Have Happened In Just One Year....

Just like it sounds. So many things have happened in the last year. Almost all of them good, but life has moved so fast over the last 2 years that I almost don't believe it.

At this time last year, I'd just returned from Los Angeles with Frank and a fresh tattoo. I'd endured 48 days of drinking nothing but water and tea. I'd just spent my first holiday away from my family with Frank's, and enjoyed a coca-cola classic for the first time in 48 days. Frank took me to San Jose Cafe for a birthday breakfast, where I enjoyed a full cup of Hot Chocolate topped with whipped cream. I worked that day and picked up the girls from school, where they were so excited to wish me a Happy Birthday. Later Frank and I celebrated with a birthday dinner at PF Chang's with my family and best friend.

And now, it's been a year.

It's been over a year since I got my tattoo and went to Disneyland. I did the same Lenten sacrifice, only this year I gave up the eff word too, and I'm still with Frank. But so much has changed! and it's, quite frankly, awesome!

I finished school, and had a fabulous graduation party filled with family, friends, food, and Bocce! I finished my work as a nanny, and went back to work teaching swimming lessons, which wasn't an ideal job for me, but it did yield a pretty awesome tan and some much needed time in the sun. I dove head first into helping out with the Aiuto Foundation's annual Sicilian Golf Festival and even landed myself a spot on the Women's Auxiliary Club board of directors as the Communications Director.

But August 13th, (which was a Friday, I might add), was probably one of the most life-changing days of the year. I got the call from Empire Broadcasting that they wanted to offer me a job as the new Creative Services director. I was so thrilled I could barely hold it together to call my mom to tell her. It was one of the most exciting days of my life so far.

2 months later Frank and I would travel to Reno for the Great Italian Festival and celebrate his birthday with a surprise trip to see his uncle conduct the nova vista symphony and attend a 49er's game in the rain with my dad the next day.

Thanksgiving we traveled to Paso Robles to enjoy an amazing weekend of food and wine with his family and even took a day trip to Moro Bay. Christmas Eve was spent with his family and Christmas day was simply spent with my little family at my sister's house in Clayton since she'd sustained a pretty gnarly car accident just 5 days before.

New Year's Eve was one of the best celebrations I've been to in a while, and I was sure to drink my weight in vodka and rum with some of my best friends and well, Frank. Haha.

At the start of the year we were itching to move out of the Box, so as you all know, on February 13th we moved out of the box and into The Mansion.

So now, an entire year has past, I'm 26, employed in my field doing a job a love, and earning a great salary.

We see my parents almost weekly, and have Sunday Dinner almost every weekend at his mom's house. Talk about some traditional Italians! We enjoy spending time with our families, and that's probably the one thing I missed the most while I was living in Los Angeles. Even though my friends were my family, there's nothing like joking around with your parents.

Frank and I are happy, and he's planned a weekend trip out of town for my birthday. I only know we're going to Napa, what we'll do there is still a total mystery to me. But since he paid for my tattoo for last years birthday, I guess he figured a trip would suffice. Haha!

Here's to another amazing year. We'll see what I have to say when April 6, 2012 rolls around and I'm 27!

The Lady

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Apologies (again), Valentine's Day, Computer Issues, Sur La Table, Bunny Baskets, Iron Chef: BACON! and Relay For Life. Wheew!

Ok, So, first and foremost, I apologize. As my mother so kindly pointed out, I haven't been blogging. It's been almost 2 months, and while I had visions of grandeur about what this blog would be and how it would lead to some amazing opportunities, this can only happen if I put the time into it. So now, I'm here, apologizing, though I'm sure most people didn't miss me, or even wonder where I'd been. But If you were one of the few (my mother), I'm sorry.

Now we'll discuss. Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, or fortunately, which ever way you'd like to look at it, Valentine's Day came the very day after we moved into our 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment. Affectionately referred to, as, The Mansion.  We we're stuck with no furniture, and the same rinky-dink triangle-turned-square table we had in The Box. But I had planned to make a little dinner and just hang out. We'd discussed, several times, I might add, that Valentine's Day was cancelled for us. We didn't have a lot of money because of the move, and we were pretty wiped out from all the packing and unpacking. So We weren't supposed to purchase gifts or anything.

Yeah, well, clearly that didn't happen. Frank is generally very matter-of-fact. Sooo, when he said there would be no Valentine's Day, I believed him. I was wrong. The receptionist in our office rounded the corner towards my office as I was standing in the hall way with a large box and said "this is for you." I said "are you sure?!" and she said yes. So I took it from her and opened it very slowly. Inside was a teddy bear, and  vase full of a dozen mixed roses. It was one of the best surprises I've had in a long time.

 Ugh, and now, onto computer issues. So, VERY unfortunately, my computer at work died about 3 weeks ago, and man oh man, I was NOT a happy camper! I couldn't work, I couldn't access my files, and I was having the wrath of nearly everyone in my office come down on me because it was my machine and files that EVERYONE needed weren't backed up anywhere. I've been working on my personal machine since it happened, and while that's all well and good, I still don't have a computer. Our amazing IT genius has ordered me a brand new machine, and I should have it fully loaded by next week.

Now I understand that's not an excuse, but that has been stressing me out, like to the max, and that's one of the main reasons I hadn't been blogging.

Sunday afternoon Frank and I ventured to Santana Row so I could spend a gift card for the amazing kitchen store, Sur La Table, only to be stopped by all the traffic on Stevens Creek. So I said forget it, but he said we could go to Palo Alto. I was a little surprised because he was driving, and we all know Frank doesn't really like to drive or run errands, or any of that. So we made our way to Palo Alto and even took the scenic route on 280. Once I walked in, I wanted EVERYTHING in site! I ended up purchasing a rolling pin, a pig-shaped cookie cutter, a Shake & Chop garlic chopper, a "prep taxi" (see photo) and a nice bottle for Olive Oil. 

I wasn't planning on the rolling pin or the pig-shaped cookie cutter, but my office has an "Iron Chef" competition each month, and this month's secret ingredient was Bacon, so on Sunday, I decided to participate. The event was so take place on Tuesday, and I had a meeting Monday night for the Women's Auxiliary Club. It wasn't a meeting I could have easily skipped, since we were making Easter baskets to give to the Children's Shelter for Child Protective Services. This charitable cause is so important to me that I put off making the cookies till Monday night. 
I planned to make roll out sugar cookies with bacon inside and a maple glaze on top. And while that's the type of cookie I made, the dough was very soft, and I didn't want to wait until midnight for it to harden. So i made drop cookies dipped in the maple glaze, and I thought they turned out pretty darn good. I didn't win, or even place, but I thought they were pretty creative. 

Our women's club does great things. I mean, really, we do some amazing things, and there are some amazing women involved. Monday night we made 53 Easter baskets and today they were taken to the Children's Shelter. That's amazing to me, given the idea that some of these children were taken from their parents and probably won't ever see them again. 

On another note, there are only 45 days left until The Relay For Life. Wow! I can't believe it's so close. My sister and I some-how decided we would take on this year's Silent Auction and become co-chairs. As if we both didn't have enough to do. But still, this cause is one that's very close to my heart, and I'm SO PROUD of my amazing team. To date, we've raised $2,010. That's just $490 short of our goal of $2,500! I'm so proud of our team this year. We'll be hosting a fundraising event at the Pasta Market in the San Jose MarketCenter on Coleman Ave Thursday April 14th! Print out the flyer to the left and please, PLEASE come out and support this amazing cause. I will be there, along with several other members of my team. If You'd like any information about the Relay For Life fundraiser at the Pasta Market, don't hesitate to email me at

I hope to become a regular blogger again, and post a video of our new apartment/The Mansion. I'm also going to try to be diligent about posting a new recipe each week. I printed one out from Yahoo! Shine for a chicken burger, so maybe I'll make that next week. At this point, though, I'm certain that this blog has been sufficiently long enough given my extended absence. 

The Lady

The Day Of My Birth is less than a week away! If you're racking your brain for a gift idea, I can always use some if this!