Sunday, December 18, 2011

Birthday Week

Tomorrow marks the official end of my totally ridiculous and delightfully perfect self-proclaimed "birthday week."  Also, it is SNOWING in Pittsburgh today. Just lightly though, and it is actually really pretty.  I am still thrilled to be heading back to CA tomorrow for 2 weeks. Woot.
Last weekend Van and I headed to NYC to celebrate my birthday.  We stayed in a clean and kind-of funky hotel in China Town and saw some friends, an amazing theater performance and ate some delicious food. 
My favorite restaurant on this trip was Mario Batali's Babbo in the West Village.  We didn't have reservations, but arrived at the restaurant right when it opened and were seated within 15 minutes.  I recommend that tactic- the bar is fun too.
Anyways, I ordered an arugula salad...It was HUGE. Almost a joke. So big, but delicious none the less.
And as my main course, I chose the beef-cheek  ravioli.  Definitely the best food choice of the night.  Van ate most of mine. Ha.  But seriously, literally probably the best pasta that I have ever eaten in my life.  And I've had a lot of pasta. You can't really beat handmade pasta, filled with beef-cheeks. :)

Van's main course was pretty too- a rabbit dish.
We checked out the MET and the Moma, we always walk so much in that city, which is nice. Cold- but we were bundled.  Below are some night shots.

Then, after we got home from NYC I had a pink red-velvet surprise waiting for me in Pittsburgh.  Thank you LISA SOLIER for my beautiful cake!! I LOVED IT!!

Yummmmm...yes, it was as delicious as it looks.   
Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes.  As I always say, I don't mind getting older- I just don't want to look any older. Ha. :) Universe, can we make some kind of a deal and make this happen? Please.
The countdown to 12.12.12 begins, someone recently pointed out that Dec. 12th, 2012 is supposed to be the last day on earth.  Let's go out with a bang then, shall we?
Peace, love and happy holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cuteness're welcome

I went home for Thanksgiving, back to beautiful sunny Orange, CA.  And yes, it really was 85 degrees in November, absolutely perfect.  Couldn't have asked for a better vacation.  :) Although I am thrilled that it isn't snowing yet in the Burgh- and it has been pretty sunny, it's just so cold, my god it's cold outside. Baby, it's cold outside.
Anyways, my parents hosted a lovely celebration at their house- that included 16 guests. Below is me with my Godfather Ric and brother Jack.
After Thanksgiving, Ric was headed to NYC (as the director of Mad Women,) that is now playing at La Mama in NYC.  Go see it friends, Van and I are going to NYC next weekend for my birthday, and are seeing the show, (me for the second time- on Dec. 10th.) Anyways, because Ric was going to NYC my parents were dog-sitting for him.  Sparky and Ric are like two peas on a pod...literally have not been separated for more than 3 days in 8 years...really. So, both were a little emotional about leaving each other for 10 days. 
The first night without Ric, Sparky pulled an all-nighter- and was very anxious, but after that he was fine and chilled a bit.
Below are Bru, (our doggie- Japanese Chin) with her cousin Royal, (Tiffany's dog- also a Japanese Chin) and Sparky, (Ric's dog- Chihuahua mix.)
And my mom with Sparky.
The Chin Cousins, Royal on left, Bru on right.

Bru's cousin Royal.  Looking rather regal. :)
Alas, Royal only joined us for the afternoon- while Tiffany helped with my wedding planning.  Thanks Tiff!
The next day we took Sparky and Bru to Laguna Beach, they loved it.  How could you not?

Me with doggies and my Dad in the sculpture garden.

Very fun Thanksgiving break- so happy that I was able to spend it with my family.  Also, excited to be headed back to SoCal in a mere few short weeks for the Christmas holidays.
Tis the season...and yes, I am listening to my "Mariah Carey- holiday" station on Pandora.  You know it's a guilty pleasure too. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wedding Adornments

Aight, so in honor of Van and I taking some Pittsburgh engagement photos yesterday, I thought that I would share the one bit of my wedding attire that I have with me here, in Pittsburgh.  My dress and veil are now in Orange County.  I haven't yet picked out shoes, Spanx, garter, additional jewelry, etc.  HOWEVER- I do have, my earrings! 
Earrings have always held a special place in my heart because my Dad took me to get my ears pierced at Newberry's in LA when I was 2.  Damn, am I aging myself? LA folks, do they even still have those? I vaguely remember being a bit frightened by the entire experience- but from then on I LOVED wearing earrings.
So anyways, my future mother in law alerted me that Gilt Groupe was having a sale with everything wedding-related.
I found these beauties- by Kenneth Jay Lane. 

Specifically they are the "Cluster Top Drop Canary- Yellow" by Kenneth Jay Lane. And they are CZ, I'm not balling that hard yet. Ha.
On my ear...
I think that I have an affinity for yellow- because of my beautiful engagement ring.
I'll share some of my favorite engagement photo shots once I get them back from the photographer.  Also, I'm so looking forward to trying on my dress/veil next week when I go home for the holiday.  Happy Thanksgiving friends!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Saturday Shopping Spree: a la Handmade Arcade

Ahhh- shopping and the holiday season, go together like vodka and soda. Ha...but seriously I love it- especially shopping for other people.  On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend my first Handmade Arcade at the David Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh.  Thanks again for the invite Heather!
This was a really cool, FREE event that featured several vendors, local as well as from other mainly Eastern states, that sold handmade wares. There was everything from jewelry, clothing to artwork and soaps.  Lots of vendors as well as patrons.
Heather and I both bought some gifts for others- as well as maybe one or two things for ourselves. :)
Heather found the cutest kiddie hoodies, (so cute she bought 2, for different gifts.)  The hoodies were designed by Diane Koss, you can find her Etsy site here.  The brand is: "Cutesy but not Cutesy." Ha!  You can see the hoodie for yourself below- furry hood- with the adornment of horns and a duck. So perfect- some of the toys were  fun too! I liked the cupcakes!

I also bought these cool prints from my old co-worker Seth.  He created the mallard print, and his friend did the dog one.  The dog remind you of another dog I love?! Check out his blog.

And for the quintessential handmade gift, I found these hand screen painted dish towels, from Pink Bathtub Designs.  If you guessed that I bought the one with the black cat- you would have been correct. My fiance is severely allergic to cats- so no real ones for me, but I still like them, especially in my favorite color.

Next up, comes the jewelry- these were the gifts that I bought for yours truly.  I purchased one necklace, and two pairs of earrings- all from different vendors.
The necklace was from an amazing designer named Emily Biller, and her company is called Water and Salt
I chose a sterling silver necklace with black glass beads- beautiful! Below is me modeling the necklace, and actually one pair of the new earrings I purchased as well.
Heather bought a beautiful sterling silver and clear glass necklace from the same designer.
We love our new necklaces!  Here is another shot of some of their other items that were for sale.
Next up are the earrings- as I mentioned I bought two pairs.  The ones that I am wearing in the above photo are sterling silver, (although they appear to be darkened) with glass beads on the end.  Absolutely love them-perfect for the holiday season.  So light-weight and feminine, very me. They were handcrafted by Jill Popowich- "Designs in Metal".  Her Etsy website can be found here.
My earrings, and a few of her necklaces that I liked- but didn't buy.  I couldn't go crazy here people.
Finally, to be sensible- I also purchased these chic little pair of black ceramic and copper studs (with gold posts), by Lanyapi Designs- New and Repurposed Vintage Jewelry.  So versatile.  Love them!

Ahhh- are you seeing the diversity and immensity of all of the vendors?  I could go on and on- but just wanted to share a few of my favorites.  I was only there for 2.5 hours- but could have stayed longer.  Although this event is only once a year, I would urge you to check it out if you are going to be in the Pittsburgh area next year for the holidays.  I was blown away, and there is something that feels really good about being able to connect with the people who made the products that you are purchasing.
Happy (beginning) of the Holiday season.  Too early?! Haha- sorry.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloweenie!

If you happen to be wondering how Tepper MBA students get down on Halloween- I have a helpful sneak peek into the whole process. :) Ha! Well, kinda...because I attended the Tepper Halloween Party last year and this year, that was held at delicious, BRGR restaurant. Van and I randomly ate here last week as well.  It is very close to where we live, and as you can imagine by the name- serves pretty damn good burgers.  I had a Kobe beef one, and Van went with a pulled pork and onion ring burger concoction.  They also have alcoholic milkshakes- which I haven't been brave enough to try.  I value my waistline too much. Jk.

So yeah, I have to preface this with I almost didn't go out on Saturday night, because I had a horrendous headache all day- but luckily was able to get rid of it by evening.  We drove to BRGR, we could have definitely walked, but it was freezing, (literally snowing in the morning) and I would not have been very comfortable hoofing it.

We went as a Bavarian couple- and unbeknown to us another couple also had the same idea.
Lean like a...
These were some of my favorite costumes...Mr T!!
Kicking some ass...or Max as a football.
Arrested Development anyone?! So good!!
A league of their own...and Kenny Powers.
Yup, with the help of the drink tickets we danced the night away, and celebrated our German heritage all in the same night.
Score! Happy Halloween everyone.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

South of the Border- Pittsburgh Style

So, I have an affinity for Mexican food- in all of its glory.  So much so that I have chosen to serve it at my wedding in June.  Seriously. Do you get how much I love Mexican food? Obviously it was abundant in LA- not so much in Pittsburgh.  However, I recently learned about a super authentic Mexican grocery store in Pittsburgh, in the Brookline area.  I learned about it through a contact at work- I discuss Mexican food whenever I can, even at work functions.

Anyways, Van and I decided to travel beyond the city limits of the 'Burgh yesterday to check out this grocery store, Las Palmas Carniceria.  We wanted to stock up on some cooking items, and also had read that on some weekends there is a taco stand outside of the store.  We were thrilled to see that there was one this weekend!  We immediately checked out the tacos, and were pleasantly surprised by the authenticity of the stand. 

The meats were delicious and the salsas were fresh...really tasty.

I ordered one pork and one beef taco, and Van went with two pork.  Typical. No lengua unfortunately, but I won't hold that against them. We then piled on the toppings- at the DIY salsa bar.

Inside the store, were a ton of great Latin American products- very cool.  We checked out the vast array of Goya products and canned peppers, and Van picked out some limes and really spicy Habeneros peppers.

Then we checked out the meat selection, pretty intensely amazing.  We didn't buy any meat this time, but instead bought some insanely delicious home-made avocado salsa, (that we doctored up with some habeneros at home.) I like spicy!

Finally, I had to check out the vast array of religious-inspired candles.  I love religious inconography- I think it's beautiful.  And these candles were only $1.89, (they are only .99 in LA- but I take what I can get here.)  I chose the lady of Guadalupe, because I have always loved her story- and her day is my birthday, 12/12- so I've always felt a connection.
Loved Las Palmas! We will definitely add this shop to the rotation- and it's only 10 minutes away from downtown, not too far off the beaten path.  This store is really authentic.  It really reminded us of a small Highland Park grocery store- and the tacos were truly amazing.  I've heard that handmade tamales are sometimes available.  I can't wait! I don't think they sell cerveza- but I highly recommend this place for a real Mexican food experience.