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Christmas Wrap-Up, Unwrapped.

I can't believe it's been almost a month with no posting! Time flies when you're having fun, getting sick, celebrating, driving, visiting and becoming overwhelmed by holiday festivities.   I just wanted to post a little slide show of what I've been up to. From making my first escargot to picking up some Chinese food on the eve of Christmas Eve and all the champagne and Christmas cookies in between, I've been a busy lady.

Thank goodness all the presents are unwrapped and the god-awful gifts exchanged so I can go back to my slothful ways. . .


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Millions of Posts, for Holiday Hosts

Every year, the only thing left standing between Christmas and me around November time is Thanksgiving.  Having quashed that foe with my iron-chef fist, I have been free to unleash my Christmas madness around the house. 

It's not even December 1st yet and I already destroyed the house with my herculean Christmas cheer.  What fun! I swear, if only scientists could create a nuclear bomb and fill it with Christmas confetti I would be the first to press the big red button. That's right, I went there. Solution to world war? I think so.



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Happy Holidays.

   I need a hot-toddy and a claymation marathon.  This can only mean one thing: it is officially the holiday season. Seriously claymation Christmas shows are the best thing ever. Frosty? Rudolph? Baby Santa? You can't get any more classic than that. When I watch them, I feel like I time traveled back to the sixties and my mom is going to come at me for shooting my eye out with the BB gun I just got from Santa. She'll then go back to making liver with onions and drinking gin martinis while wearing a flower covered apron.  I'll cry, and then ask her if when I grow up I can drink gin too.

    The reality is that my boyfriend will probably be mocking my nostalgia and I'll be guzzling red wine. . . Oh the holidays.

  You really must try drinking and watching holiday shows, and if you're not into TV but you still need help taking a stroll down holiday lane. . . check out these songs
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The Thanksgiving Fairy Came a Few Days Early. . .

So in my pursuit to become to the next Food Network, HGTV, TLC, Travel Channel, and Good Morning America star I go to many lengths.  This includes attempting a scrumptious holiday meal long before the holiday arrives! This year I will be heading home to the San Fernando Valley to spend Thanksgiving with my mom, my new nephew and my extended family (aka best friend ever).  Since my friend is hosting the occasion and has everything under wraps and under control I won't be cooking anything for this Thursday's upcoming feast.

But since my gastronomic pride won't let me go without celebrating this holiday by cooking I decided to make a pseudo-Thanksgiving feast tonight for me and my bf.  Since I am a fan of all things cute I have been dying to attempt Cornish Game Hens and tonight seemed the perfect excuse.  Using a recipe from allrecipes.com for Rosemary-Garlic Cornish Game Hens I was able to prepare a meal fit for kings, or hungry post-collegiate bourgeoisie.

Served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes (gasp-- I know that's a lot of garlic, but damn good!) and a goat cheese with dried cranberries salad topped with balsamic vinaigrette this was one of my best meals yet.

Although it sounds very garlicky, I promise it's not.  The hens come out with the subtle but delicious flavor of rosemary, lemon, garlic and white wine.  When you eat them you don't think "garlic".  The potatoes hold a strong garlic aroma which is heavy and great paired with the light flavoring of the chicken and salad.   I served it with a Syrah, but don't quote me on whether that is the right wine pairing, I just really love Syrah.   Please enjoy the food porn below (for those shocked my the term, it's just really enjoyable food images- totally clean.)

Super easy salad, just a Baby Greens mix from Trader Joes, Dried Cranberries from Trader Joes and Goat Cheese Crumbles, also from Trader Joes

Garlic Mashed Potatoes, secret ingredient is Parmesan cheese. Yum!

So after you roast the hens in the oven, you take the white wine, broth, garlic, and rosemary that were in the pan and you saute them into a gravy. One word = amazing.

Set a nice patio table (or if you are lucky an indoor table) with some wine and candles. . .

Bring out the hens, potatoes and salad and serve. So enjoyable.

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Oh Won't You Be, My Neighbor.

So long ago I bragged about how many cool HGTV-esque things I would do if I had a place.  I planned, I coordinated, I schemed, I dreamed and I exaggerated.  I did all these things and I promised to show off the results.   Well I did get a place and it's awesome! It's still in need of those finishing touches (hey it's only been 3 weeks, which includes two birthdays and a bunch of work hours!) but I just couldn't wait to post some pictures to give everyone an idea of where I'm at now!

I apologize for the heinous amount of images, but I had a realtor moment and couldn't help myself, so check out this virtual tour I put together. . . 

Walk around the side of the house, our entrance is in the back.

Ring our doorbell! (yeah, we have one of those!) We're always home and you're always welcome.

Please ignore the monstrosity in the right corner, free parental leftovers are appreciated but have the potential to be eyesores. . .

and voila! what eyesore?

Meet John's favorite part of the house. It was my favorite until he covered the fireplace with a bunch of TV cords and stuff. lol. Apologies for the giant John Malkovich face my John was watching Con-Air (how do you spell that lol)

Because one of my many many aspirations is to be a chef, I love this modern oven.  Because I'm super lazy, I love the microwave!

Back through the doorway of the living room you walk into the bedroom. . .

Since the house was built in the 1880's it has a lot of cool features like this built in bookshelf

John's second favorite place in the house. Also where I escape to avoid hearing hours of soccer, video games, or if I want to watch a girly show like "Say Yes to the Dress" (no one laugh. seriously)

We want to put a fold out couch in this bedroom nook for when we have visitors. So come visit us! :)

So, like I said it still needs a few throw pillows, some wall art, some housewarming parties. But I love this place, and I hope you love it too. If you are in the SB neighborhood stop by.
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Veni, Vidi, Vino. . .

 I love wine. It's no secret.  If I could replace water with wine I totally would.  That being said I'm pretty serious when it comes to vino and its accessories.  So I had this idea. . . my mom has these old wooden soda crates that are really cool but kinda useless on their own.  I had more than an idea actually. Have you ever had one of those ideas that's almost like a dream, an epiphany, something you just know it will be amazing when you do it?

That's how I felt when I came up with the idea to turn this old crate into hanging wine storage.  I headed over to my local hardware store (Ace Hardware woohoo) and found a metal insert that has brackets for hanging wine glasses.  I just screwed the frame into the top of the crate and voila!  Like I said it was fated, because the metal frame slid perfectly into the crate.  The result is this vintage rustic and awesome solution for storing wine glasses. . .

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Champagne Wishes and Candied Apple Dreams

So please disregard my previous oh-so-cynical post.  We got the place!!! Hardwood floors, fireplace, ten foot ceilings and Victorian charm. Thus my lack of posts.  I've been super busy moving and reveling in the awesomeness of my new place.  But great craftiness has still been happening in my life and thus some post dated blog posts are badly needed!

Halloween this year was pretty hectic, since it was the day of the big move.  Also, I committed to making some deliciousness for my company's Halloween party in addition to putting my home made champagne bottle costume together.  It was a rough few days.  The outcome has been fantastic though. Everyone loved my pumpkin chocolate chip cookies the second time around ( I was specifically asked to make them again for the party, yay!) and were very impressed with these beautiful candied apples I made.  People couldn't tell if they were real or not and were very tentative in eating them. Finally after being assured they were indeed edible those who ate them raved that they were delicious.  While they didn't turn out like my inspiration apples (check out mattbites.com) I was able to salvage them and turn them into something really cool and creepy looking.

The process actually wasn't that hard, mostly sugar and corn syrup heated to the correct temperature.  Halloween turned out pretty great too, I wore my champagne costume to work on Friday and headed out Saturday night as a little wicked witch, accompanied by my sexy date Mr. Pink. . .

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Home. Sweet. Home.

 So the past few days have been a tortuous combination of anxiety and anticipation.  What you ask, could have me tossing and turning, tugging my hair, gnashing my teeth? The answer is housing.  In Santa Barbara finding the right place, for the right price, that doesn't look like a beach bum just stopped squatting in it yesterday can be quite a chore.  When you find these rare jewels you jump, you pounce, you bring cash and make promises.  Even then someone older than you and richer than you will probably take it.

So has been my thoughts the past few days as my cynicism rages freely and I await news on whether or not I snagged one of the few habitable places around in my price range.  Fireplace, check.  Wood floors, check two.  Victorian house converted to duplexes, stainless steel appliances, I could go on and on.  If you are reading this before Friday, send some good Karma my way. I need it!

  In the delusional anticipation of acquiring my dream home I decided to take inventory of a few choice pieces I own (That are here in Santa Barbara. Thanks Mom for storing all my furniture at home!) I've also been online window shopping and bargain hunting, which as any good bf or hubby can tell you is a dangerous, dangerous pass time. . .

Reason number one for a new place, I need a closet! How cliche, no? But seriously I'm using a clothing rack, which while cool in a kitschy way is not very practical for those of us who tend towards the messy side

What would look oh so inviting on hardwood floors? Why this lovely sheepskin rug I bought at Marshall's for $40.  (That secret has been haunting me for too long!) This could compensate for the fact that I can't get a dog at the new place. . .

If allowed I would fill my home with chachkies (spell check? lol) Right now this is only allowed to exist in a tiny corner.  Soon, soon it shall spread with a scary swiftness :)

The piece de resistance?  The little liquor table, which I will make much much larger when given the space.  Get excited!

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Alice in Wonderland

 How do you get to Wonderland? Over the hill or underland, or just behind a tree. . .

Anyone within a ten mile radius of me during the first few months of 2009 will know how excited I was to be planning my best friend's baby shower.  My elation was doubled as it was a time for firsts; my first time planning an event and my first little baby nephew!  Well I'm happy to report (many months later) that it was a success! With everyone's hard work it was a truly special event full of unique details and personal touches.

I wanted everything to feel whimsical and magical.  I mean that's what pregnancy feels like right, RIGHT?!

Because we wanted to ensure that la petite pomme frite has plenty of clothes, we made some handcrafted onesies for little Michael to don. . .

We celebrated with a little tea for two, and two or three (or fifty) for tea. . . .

There were friends, gifts, happiness and love.  But nothing can compare to the happiness brought about this fall by a certain little pumpkin for a certain mama and friend. . .

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Champagne and a Rosy Glow

While based on this blog it may seem like I spend my time either consumed by the computer or cooking in the kitchen, that is so not true.  Occasionally I actually venture out into the world to indulge in a little joie de vivre.

This weekend was one of those precious times.  I was lured out by my good friend in order to celebrate my recent promotion. Yay! No more "assistant" in my title. Now, time to drink.

Already in possession of a lovely bottle of champagne the task at hand became to find a fitting location.  After much debate we settled on the new, and extremely sexy Blush restaurant and lounge downtown.  Now while Blush is pricey, (and with some good reason like I said, veeery sexy.) we managed to settle our tab at a mere $21.00.  Amazing.  How did well pull of this little heist?  The oldest (and most bestest) trick in the book; corkage fee.

Upon arrival we were able to snag a table at the outdoor fireplace.  By snag I mean be pushy and help separate what was a four person arrangement in order to have more comfortable tete a tete. Totally worth it.  We then proceeded to order San Pellegrino, request a bucket to chill our champagne and commence the festivities.  What is the point of this little story? IT IS POSSIBLE TO HAVE FUN CHEAPLY IN SANTA BARBARA.

While it takes some craftiness and perseverance ( no Mr. Waiter I do NOT want to order anything, for the 20th time, thanks) the payoff is well worth it.

Now if money weren't an issue I would soon be buying this extravagant creation

Based off the saying that champagne should be sipped from a beautiful woman's slipper, this tongue-in-cheek vessel is made by none other than Louboutin in collaboration Piper-Heidsieck champagne.  It makes me feel like a drunken Cinderella which, me likey.  A more feminine counterpart to the Das Boot you can't go wrong either way because honestly, what's better than drinking out of a shoe?

Nothing my friend, the answer is nothing.