Saturday, April 30, 2011

Day 120: April 30, 2011

Today I am thankful for our new (almost complete) backyard.

We finally had some stellar weather and were able to spend some time enjoying the long-awaited backyard.  It was so relaxing sitting in the sun, puppies running around, delicious and refreshing white sangria in hand, good friends for company.
 Life is good.

Day 119: April 29, 2011

Today I am thankful for laughter. 

In the NICU, usually the babies are too small or too sick to laugh, but every once in a while we get a laughing baby and it's THE BEST! Right now I have a sweet little friend who gives me a super wide grin almost every time I laugh at her.

Then tonight Nick was on a roll and had me rolling around giggling. For some reason it made me think of laughter yoga. And that made me laugh some more.

Aah, really are the best medicine.

Day 118: April 28, 2011

Today I am thankful for quick and relatively painless HOA meetings.
Sometimes our meetings can drag on and on and on. Tonight's was short and sweet. Hallelujah. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Day 117: April 27, 2011

Today I am thankful for farmer's markets. 

With Spring comes awesome produce, and today at the Upper Haight Farmer's Market, Spring was in full swing. Beets, huge carrots, and strawberries...oh my! 

I love taste-testing my way through the market. This week the stars of the show were the strawberries (so sweet!) and the amazing caramels by Barbary Brix. The hubby brought me a bag of their vanilla caramels last week that did not last long, so this week I was dying to sample all of their flavors. Salted caramels (always one of my favorites) and a uber yummy caramel with anti-oxidant rich cocoa nibs=heaven.
I only wish it was dog-friendly and happened more than once a week!

Day 116: April 26, 2011

Today I am thankful for pay day.
I get paid every two weeks, but I never remember what week I'm in, so it's always such a fun surprise to see the bump in my bank account balance!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Day 115: April 25, 2011

I used to be a tea bag girl; now it's all about the loose leaf.
One weekend when my in-laws were in town, we popped over to Chinatown to immerse ourselves in the chaos and nibble on some dim sum. Between smelly fish stands and trinket shops, we found a little Chinatown gem: Vital Tea Leaf. I was immediately intrigued by the walls lined with canisters of every imaginable variety of tea. And a big sign said "Tea Tasting". I love wine tasting, so I thought tea tasting could be pretty awesome! 
As soon as we crossed the threshold into the shop, we met The Uncle. To be more specific, The Uncle shouted at us, "Sit down and drink my tea or I kick your ass!" 
The tea tasting was one part educational (I learned a lot about brewing loose leaf tea, drinking tea, the benefits of all the teas, et cetera) and one part Chinese comedy show. Uncle Gee, the owner of the shop, is quite a character. He berates his employees (who also happen to be his children---all in good fun of course!), he curses, he hits on all the girls, and he is just plain hilarious. Basically, he sold me on tea. And he sold me a lot of tea. 

We now have quite a selection of yummy teas that we can mix and blend depending on our mood. I have a tea of pine needles that supposedly will improve my circulation, we have floral teas, green teas, and some very delicious blueberry tea. 

Today, my hubby was feeling under the weather so I had the pleasure of his company. Seeing that it would be rude to be thankful for his illness (even though I was pretty happy to have an extra day with him), 
today I am thankful for my Bee House Apple Green Tea Pot.
It is the best for brewing pot after pot of our ridiculous selection of teas. It gives me heart palpitations. 
Or maybe that's just the caffeine. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Day 114: April 24, 2011

Today I am thankful for Easter eggs and Bunny ears.

Day 113: April 23, 2011

Today I am thankful for the five o'clock call. 

I don't like working weekends. I especially don't like working weekends when it means that I am going to be late for my favorite CPA's birthday pub crawl. When my phone alarmed this morning, I rolled over expecting to be forced from my warm bed. But then, the most glorious of sights: 
ICN calling

Me: "Oh my God. No way." (Tone: disbelief and utter joy)
Husband: "What? Yeah, it's time to wake up." (Thinking: Emily, get up already so I can go back to bed)

And then, I made the caller on the other line feel like Santa Claus because I was so happy and grateful for their call. Do I want the day off? Yes! Yes! And yes!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 112: April 22, 2011

In honor of Earth Day, today I am thankful for San Francisco's mandatory composting program.

I have been composting since I moved to the city in 2005, even before it was mandatory, and have found it pretty satisfying. Call me a dork, but I get excited when I realize that I haven't emptied my trash in weeks because almost everything we throw away can be either recycled or composted. Did you know that you can compost: egg crates, milk cartons, paper napkins, newspaper, brown paper bags, any and all food products, and all plants and yard waste? 
I am proud to live in a city that is taking steps to be more sustainable by mandating that residents compost. And they also banned plastic bags in grocery stores...only reusable bags for us! 

This year, I decided I decided to make some Earth Day Resolutions to live just a little "greener". 
1. Decrease my use of disposable coffee cups. I love going out for coffee and grabbing a latte on the go, so I'm going to work on carrying my reusable mug with me. Or, even better, sit down and really enjoy the coffee at the cafe and utilize a good, old fashioned ceramic mug!

2. Buy in bulk more to reduce packaging. Those bins in the grocery store are filled with all the necessary items, sans packaging. Flour, sugar, oatmeal, rice, nuts, and even cereals. And I got some pretty awesome mesh bags a few months ago complete with a mini white board tag to write the bin number on! 

3. Visit the Hayes Valley Farm. It's a fully functional urban farm in the heart of San Francisco. Crops, bees, flowers, the works. They hold some great classes on gardening, composting, and even urban bee-keeping and have lots of opportunities for volunteer work. I can't wait to stop by!

Take a little time to embrace your inner "green"self this Earth Day. There are lots of simple things that make a big impact.

Day 111: April 21, 2011

Today I am thankful for any excuse to use my food processor.

It's one of my favorite kitchen appliances, but I don't use it very often. Today I made some yummy s'mores cupcakes for a meeting at work and I pulled it out for grinding graham crackers. I was also able to use my creme brulee torch on these cupcakes, which I am also quite fond of and rarely find a use for. 
The icing on the (cup)cake was that I got to eat the fruits of my labor as well! 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 110: April 20, 2011

Today I am thankful for small (and luckily also brief) views into the year 1969. 

I live only a few blocks from the infamous Haight and Ashbury intersection. For me, this is significant mainly because there is a Ben and Jerry's Ice cream store located there, but I also realize that it played a pivotal role in the "Summer of Love". The only time I even realize that I'm crossing through the famous intersection is when my path is interrupted by tourists taking their pictures in front of the street signs :)

Today was different. Today I knew where I lived. I felt it. I smelled it.
 I was at work for the majority of the day, with a bird's eye view of Golden Gate Park. In the morning I noticed quite a crowd in the park which I thought was sort of unusual for an overcast day. 
Later in the day I saw a steady stream of people making their way into the park.
Later even, I noticed a mob.
Hmm. Why are there so many people on the nicknamed "Hippie Hill"? 
And then it was 4:20. And there was a plume of smoke. Got it.

It was funny to watch my neighborhood be transported back to its hippie heyday. I am kind of surprised that so many people mustered up the motivation to get off the couch, put down the brownies, and get here!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Day 109: April 19, 2011

Today I am thankful for dandelions.
They may be considered a weed to some, but the little yellow flowers look pretty stunning spotted through the grass in the park.  And how many flowers look just as cool when they're dead? For me, they epitomize whimsy with their fluffy skeletons and offers of wishes to be granted.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Day 108: April 18, 2011

I made my recipe of the week today: a basic broccoli quiche. But (sorry in advance for the tooting of my own horn) the crust was Ah-mazing! 

For that, today I am thankful for the Tartine Cookbook

It's basically my baking Bible, with a bunch of "staples" and some fancy shmancy stuff as well. Everything I have made from the cookbook has been so, so yummy...but never looks like theirs. Oh well, I can't have everything :)

I feel a special connection to Tartine Bakery not only because when I crave a perfect cafe breakfast I think of their croissants and morning buns and lattes in bowls and everything else in their lovely display case of goodness, but because Tartine and I are probably more than seven degrees of separation.

Shortly after moving to San Francisco, my Uncle Ward emailed me about a bakery in San Francisco that one of his high school classmates owns, a little bakery named Tartine. Had I heard of it? 
Fast forward to the next weekend. 
The then Boyfriend and I were exploring a little shop in Bernal Heights when I stumbled upon the Tartine cookbook! I snatched it up right then, not even knowing what a find it was, simply because it was such a funny coincidence. 

And now I'm in love. So thankful for Tartine, so thankful for the cookbook, so thankful for a perfect pie crust.

Day 107: April 17, 2011

Today I am thankful for Sundays.

When I think of Sundays, I think about sleeping in, brunch, open houses, and-in a nutshell- wrapping up the week. This Sunday did not disappoint.  

The husband and I started the morning with a walk to one of my favorite dog parks, Duboce Park in the Castro.

Zoe had a fabulous time romping around, but I'm not going to lie, the real motivation for the walk was to visit Four Barrel Coffee in the Mission. A destination on the Big Eat list, I was more than excited to try their coffee and the donut that made the list.

Delish! I'm a sucker for a good latte!
The donut wasn't terrible either...

The house got a good deep cleaning, Nick and I went to a few open houses in the neighborhood, and we made some rocking pulled pork sandwiches for dinner. All in all, a great day that left me ready to conquer the week! Bring it on Monday! And I'm only saying that because I don't work tomorrow:) 

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Day 106: April 16, 2011

Today I am thankful for ladybugs. 
I think they might be one of the only bugs I can honestly say I like. 
As I was washing lettuce for our dinner salad, propped on one of the leaves was a ladybug! This has to mean I have some serious good luck coming my way because this little bug made it's way from the farm, was washed and put in a box, was delivered to my doorstep, spent four days in the refrigerator, and stayed alive to almost make it to my dinner plate. 
I released it to the wilds of my San Francisco planter box; I hope it hasn't already frozen to death!

Day 105: April 15, 2011

Today I am thankful for nail art.
I don't know what inspired me, (actually I do, it was my seriously chipped toenail polish) but I got the urge to paint my toe nails. I ended up not only painting them, but "bedazzling" them as well. And they look SO CUTE!!! It's a little bit of happiness every time I look down at my toes.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 104: April 14, 2011

Today I am thankful for my amazing oxo peeler. It makes peeling things almost fun because it is so uber-powerful. It peels a butternut squash like it's nothing, and if you've ever tried to peel a butternut squash, this is a big deal! It also has done a great job of peeling my finger more than once...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Day 103: April 13, 2011

Today I am grateful for things that make me laugh out loud. 

Day 102: April 12, 2011

Today I am thankful for the yummy Mexican feast my friend Claire prepared for us! So delicious!

And for my recipe of the week: Mango Cilantro Margaritas

And that it's apparently mango season because they were five for five dollars at Whole Foods!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Day 101: April 11, 2011

I have been serving on a jury for the last week; it has actually been sort of an interesting experience. The attorneys are long-winded and irritating to listen to, but overall, it's been relatively painless.

Today I am thankful for good-spirited Judges. The Judge assigned to the case is hilarious and clearly as annoyed by the attorneys as the jury is. He is constantly cracking jokes at their expense and pointing out their inexperience. It's pretty amusing watching them squirm!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Day 100: April 10, 2011

Wow! One hundred days! I feel like the year just started, and we're already in its fourth month- oh how the time flies by...

Since this is officially the one hundredth post, I was inspired to look back on past posts. Here's a quick recap:

Food and drink: 19%
Scenery: 14%
Travel-related: 10%
Books/TV/Movies/Internet: 9%
My Hubby: 7%

Animals: 7%
Weather: 6%
Friends and family: 6%
Work: 6%

San Francisco-related: 5%
Massage and Spa: 4%
Other: 9%

Food and drink were the clear winner. Sounds about right. But the best husband ever coming in at a mere seven percent? I don't want to gush all the time:) I was surprised at how many posts there were about work! It was fun looking back at my last hundred days "in a nutshell".

Today I am thankful for car rides with my Husband. For anyone who has ever been a passenger in Nick's car, this statement is probably coming as a shock to you. I would not call the car rides peaceful, or fluid, or safe (only kidding about the safe part!) but on long car rides we have some fabulous heart-to-hearts and play some cut-throat games of Twenty Questions...seriously, we pull out all the stops! He hates traffic, but for me, as long as I have an empty bladder, it's all about having good company!

Day 99: April 9, 2011

We enjoyed a fabulous dinner at Johnny's Ristorante with almost all of the Rose family and almost all of the Haskell family. Almost three years ago, the husband and I celebrated our engagement at the very same restaurant. And I ordered the very same meal. Why? Because it's amazing. 

Today I am thankful for calamari steak. Not the deep friend rings and tentacles that make up most calamari dishes (which I am also quite fond of), but the big, tender, slabs of pure calamari meat with a delicious, creamy lemon sauce. It's the stuff dreams are made of. 

And the company was OK too.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Day 98: April 8, 2011

Today I am thankful for goodreads. I was turned on to this fabulous website by my also fabulous friend, Brittney and I have been hooked since. Although, I'm a little bit bitter that I didn't start the website myself since I've been tracking what I have read since I was in middle school.

Goodreads is a tiny bit like facebook, in the sense that it is a social network, there is a recent updates feed, you have "friends", et cetera, but it's a network for fun is that? Or wait, is that nerdy? Hmm...anyway, it provides me a great format for tracking what books I read and how I like them, seeing what my "friends" (I only have four) read, and even makes suggestions on what books I may like.

It's hilarious how gratifying it is to change a book from my "currently reading shelf" to my "read shelf". And the "to read shelf" comes in handy at the bookstore and the library when I'm browsing the shelves thinking, "I know there was a book I really wanted to read, now what was it?"

Like I said, I only have four goodreads friends and I would love a few more to swap shelves with, so check it out!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 97: April 7, 2011

Today I am thankful for green, rolling hills against the dark gray sky striped with a rainbow. Perfection.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Day 96: April 6, 2011

Today I am thankful for whipped cream. I actually used to say it was my favorite food; now I qualify it to say that it's my favorite condiment...but it's so much more. It makes everything yummy! Sometimes when I feeling like spoiling myself (and adding a few, decadent calories to my life) I add it to my latte. Delish! And for the minimalists, straight out of the spray can is also pretty fabulous. I don't keep the stuff around because I'd demolish the whole can in a matter of days, but we have some leftover from a dinner with friends and I've been sprucing up my berries all week. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Day 95: April 5, 2011

Today I am thankful for daffodils because I don't think there is any other flower that better represents Spring (OK, maybe tulips, but whatever) and because having a vase of them on my coffee table makes me smile. 

Day 94: April 4, 2011

Today I am thankful for romantic comedies. Silly and unbelievable? Yes. Cheesy and super predictable? Of course. Oscar-worthy? Never. But they also are usually uplifting, cute, and funny. I'll take it. Sometimes I just need some mindless, happy movie time.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Day 93: April 3, 2011

Today I am thankful for new challenges. Especially when they're fun and involve food. Last year, while waiting to have my teeth cleaned at the Dentist, I stumbled upon an article in 7X7 Magazine entitled: The Big Eat 2010- 100 Things to Try Before You Die.  I was immediately drawn to the article by the picture of fried chicken and waffles from Little Skillet. As a super fan of anything sweet and salty, the picture grabbed me by my growling stomach and pulled me in. My mouth started watering and my stomach started growling. And then the receptionist called my name and all thoughts of chicken and waffles were replaced with mint, mint, and more mint.

The husband and I sampled several of the hundred meals on the list last year, but we did not make a very big dent. Then today, as if sent from heaven, the 2011 list popped up as a result of a google search for something. Many of the items are the same from last year: Coffee-rubbed pork shoulder at Range, Secret Breakfast Cereal at Humphry Slocombe, but there are also some fabulous new additions that I can't wait to try. So, a challenge was born. We don't expect to eat every one of the meals by 2012, after all, we are starting three months late, but I think we'll have fun trying!

For our first items, we headed to the Mission District and stopped first at Little Star Pizza. I don't know why we started with something that we've already tried...OK, maybe I do...because it's AWESOME! I ordered the Classic deep dish pizza and Nick got the namesake, Little Star. I could eat the crust all day, everyday. It is perfectly crunchy, chock full of cornmeal, and so, so delicious.

Then we ventured to another Mission hot spot, Bi-Rite Creamery. Again with the sweet and salty addiction, when I saw Salted Caramel Ice Cream on the list, I had to have it. When we arrived there was a line wrapping around the building, not bad for a chilly San Francisco night! Lucky for us, the regular size ice cream allows you to try two or three different flavors, because they all sounded amazingly yummy. Before I made my decisions, I had to sample Honey Lavender and Orange Cardamom because they sounded so different. Both good, but the sample spoon was enough to satisfy my curiosity. I ordered Coffee Toffee made with Ritual Coffee, Vanilla with Peanut Brittle, and the famous Salted Caramel. The Salted Caramel was definitely the winner, but Coffee Toffee put up quite a challenge. Nick ordered Coffee Toffee, Ricanelas (cinnamon with Snickerdoodles), and Roasted Banana.

Currently at seven out of one hundred, I'm ready to conquer the list, one by one! Yum!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 92: April 2, 2011

Today I am thankful for Spring accessories. I got some fabulously bright nail polish and super fun orange sandals and my feet are looking pretty darn Springy!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 91: April 1, 2011

April Fools! There was nothing horrible about this day, it was great! I went on a field trip with Mrs. Fujii's English class to Steinbeck Country where we visited a farm and picked some seriously delicious strawberries, went to the Steinbeck Museum, and walked around Cannery Row.
I am thankful for my new found inspiration to go back and read some classic novels! My first Steinbeck on the list is Grapes of Wrath. I have a feeling that I'll have to have her English class tutor me on all the symbolism!

I'll leave you with my favorite quote of the day, posted in the Steinbeck Museum.
"When two people meet, each one is changed by the other so you've got two new people."- John Steinbeck

Day 91: April 1, 2011

Today was a horrible day. Nothing to be thankful for. Better luck tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Day 90: March 31, 2011

One of my friends said it best: today is the most beautiful day of 2011. Big claim, right? But true! It was hot, hot, hot! Just how I like to end March!
Today I am thankful for San Francisco heat. It is rare, but highly prized when it makes a visit. I am thankful for these sweltering days, not only because I like to bask in the warm sun as much as my kitty Juno, but also because I love to watch the city come alive. The streets bustle, all the restaurants break out the patio seating, the people dig out their summer clothes (that have likely been shoved to the back of the closet for a LONG time), and the parks and beaches are packed. Love, love, love it...even if they call it earthquake weather.

As this is the last day of the month, and quarter (already?!?), it's time for a resolution check-in:

Books finished: Three

New Recipes cooked: At least one per week...this week was homemade peanut butter doggy treats!