Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mandela

Never underestimate the difference that one person can make. Rest in peace, Madiba.

Here's a flashback, from The Specials

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On the Surfas


Cold and flu season is in full swing, and one of the only upsides of being sick (apart from wearing your pajamas all day) is tucking into a delicious bowl of hot soup. Our whole family recently fell ill with a cold, but Baby Bee and I didn't suffer much. Hubby, on the other hand, was hit pretty hard. So, on the way back home after getting our flu shots, Bee and I stopped at Surfas to get lunch for her ailing father (and me). 

I'm a sucker for great packaging, and I just love their neat, simple, and fantastic presentation of a boxed lunch. Complete with a quote from the late Charlie Trotter on the inside of the box, I immediately felt like an insider in the gourmet world. The tomato and orzo soup was zesty, and the accompanying salad was almost too pretty to eat, with edible flowers sprinkled on it. We also picked up a crusty baguette, which Bee and I almost finished on the way home...

Surfas is a food-lover's paradise. You can go to the cafe for delicious food, and then into the store itself to pick up pretty much any cooking tool that comes to mind. The grocery section with imported pastas, cheeses, sugar, honey, chocolate, cured meats, dairy, etc. is divine.

What excuse can I conjure up so that I can go back? Do I really need one?


Friday, November 8, 2013

Your Child Does Not Belong to You



Yesterday, we met up with friends at the Getty Center and had a lovely afternoon, picnicking on the grass in the garden. Toward the end of our visit, we bemoaned the fact that our kids are growing up so fast. In a bittersweet moment of reflection, we acknowledged that the intense love that we feel for our little ones is how our parents felt about us, and that one day (before we know it), our sweet babies will be ready to go out into the world on their own.

So, how difficult is it going to be to let go? As Charles Blow puts it, children don't really belong to their parents because they truly belong to life. 

Oh, Baby Bee! I love you so! Stay this little forever...

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!


When was the last time that you were tremendously excited about a holiday? I'm talking excitement to the point that it was all you could talk about. Most likely, you were a little kid when the wonderment of special occasions took over.

We are just starting to experience this new level of excitement with Baby Bee. A couple of weeks ago, we ventured out to a pumpkin patch in Santa Monica. Bee knows her fruits and vegetables and loves to say "pampum," so when we told her that we were going to the pumpkin patch, she grabbed her Hello Kitty, Hello Fall! book and showed us the page with HK and her friends hanging out with the pumpkins. 

All afternoon, before we left, she'd say "Mama/Dada... pampum, go!" It was so incredibly precious and made us even more excited to take her out to choose a pumpkin to carve for Halloween. At the end of our fun outing, we came back with two pumpkins, two dried ears of wild corn, and one odd-looking bumpy gourd that Hubby thought was too ugly to bring home (but I couldn't resist it). All are now happily displayed on our dining table.

It was such a treat to watch Bee run around the aisles of pumpkins, peer in to the petting zoo (full of chickens, bunnies, and goats), and gasp with joy at all the festive surroundings. We're off to a great start for the upcoming holiday season! 

Happy Halloween, all!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Give Us Pause


It's very easy to lose track of time. You get caught up in the madness of life... It seems strange that over 30 days have passed since my last post. 

So much has happened, and much of it is very sad indeed. Within 1 month, three wonderful people in my life passed away. They were all good, kind, and well-loved. At first, I thought how unfair life is (it is at times) and wondered why these three souls had to leave this Earth. But, I came to see that they all lived full lives, regardless of how/when they ended. I suppose all we really can do is try to live our lives to the fullest, embrace our loved ones at every opportunity, and choose to be happy. It is not necessarily an easy task, but I think it's the right one.

On occasion life gives us pause... But we have to press on.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Little Pleasures: Birthday Edition


My favorite flowers, sweet treats, and a card from Hubby and Baby Bee


The fixation with Marc Jacobs fragrances continues. How could I pass on "Honey"? (A birthday gift to myself)


The ultimate in relaxation... Hello, Burke Williams!


We ended the day at a local Caribbean spot.

This was a good one! 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Peanut Butter Pizza?



Since Friday the 13th is the hallmark of all things bizarre (and scary), I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw the recipe above while packing up some snacks for Baby Bee. Whoever heard of a pizza made with peanut butter? I mean, there's cheese on it too, and not a banana in sight (not that I eat those)...

Anyhow, I'm too afraid to try such a venture. Yet, I'd love to know if you're game!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Abeille Cuisine: Roasted Garlic


Don't make the same mistake that I made. Costco is a wonderful establishment... bargains galore, but who really needs a 3-pound bag of garlic?

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Love Cheerios


We've all seen the adorable Cheerios commercial where the little girl pours a box of the cereal on her dad's chest, right? Well, the commercial received heaps of negative comments on YouTube, which stunned me. 

Click here to see how even though there are cruel people (read, adults) in the world, the new generation is  chock full of love. Kids are so pure of heart... We should strive to be more like them.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Abeille Desserts: Coconut Chocolate Mousse



I have a sweet tooth, and can easily overdo it if there aren't others around to share the treats with me. Recently, I got a craving for chocolate mousse (thanks, Pinterest!) and decided to try it with coconut cream instead of the traditional dairy cream. The end result was a thick, creamy, cool, light, and sweetly refreshing dessert.


First, place a 14-ounce can of coconut cream (any brand you like) in the refrigerator to set up overnight. When it's ready, turn the can upside down so that it's easy to drain the excess liquid. Whip up the cream with a mixer (it helps to put the bowl in the freezer for 5 minutes) on medium high, adding in powdered sugar to your taste, and about 1/4 Tsp. of vanilla. I used 3 Tbsp. of sugar, and soft peaks formed within 7 minutes. Just keep an eye on it, to make sure that you get the desired consistency. 

I scooped out a small amount to use as topping, and then mixed in 3 Tbsp. plus 1 Tsp. of unsweetened cocoa powder, until it was thoroughly incorporated. Place the mixture into four ramekins. You could easily eat this dessert right away, but resist the urge, and put the ramekins back into the fridge for a few hours (or overnight) for best results.

You might expect a strong coconut flavor here, but it's really quite mild. The chocolate comes through really well, and and the creamy texture is divine. I crumbled a vegan chocolate bar (going all the way with the non-dairy theme) on top, and loved every single bite.

Oh, and even though Hubby and I were "sharing" the desserts, I ate 2.5 of the 4 ramekins... I couldn't help myself.

Enjoy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

I've Been Scandalized


So, I just watched the first two seasons of Scandal in about 5 days... Now, I have to wait until October to get my fix again. Episodic tv in real time?  Oh man!

Are there any TV shows that you binge watch? Thank heavens for Hulu+ and Netflix! What should I watch next?

Friday, July 26, 2013

Little Pleasures: Lazy Weekend

Although summer has just kicked into full gear (hello heatwave), what I'm longing for these days is a weekend where I can just stay home, veg-out, and do absolutely nothing... 



I've been daydreaming about these comfy pajamas that I scored from the Beachmint sample sale. You can find similar ones here. Although these are of the long-sleeved / pants variety (not so great for summer), it's easy enough to split the ensemble into just the top. Or, I can just blast the air conditioning  and pretend that I'm Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night. Speaking of which, I should watch that movie again... it would be perfect for a lazy weekend! Netflix, here I come! Where's my bowl of popcorn?


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Trees and Flowers


When I was young, my family would often take walks around our neighborhood... usually after breakfast on the weekend. In my adolescent years, I always thought it was strange that my parents were so intrigued by the ways that people chose to landscape their front yards. Let me tell you, they can wax poetic about some trees.

As you might have guessed, I am now fascinated by all of the trees and flowers that I see when I take Baby Bee out for walks. "Wowa!" (read, flower) she exclaims, just as soon as I push the stroller past the Egyptian lilies outside our building. Something tells me that she will grow to love trees and flowers as much as I do.

Here are some shots of my favorites around our neighborhood:






Monday, July 22, 2013

They Don't Make 'Em Like That Anymore



We've been spending a lot of time in the San Gabriel Valley lately, and while we were on our way to dinner a couple of weeks ago, I spotted this gas station that looked as if it were straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. 

I asked Hubby to pull over so that I could take pictures of it. Upon closer inspection, I saw a small sticker in the office window which identified the site as part of the historic Route 66





Later on, we saw a charming true-to-period (40s/50s?), still operating coffee shop in San Marino. Our society rarely preserves structures from the past (however recent). It was such a nice surprise to find these gems among today's modern buildings.







Friday, July 19, 2013

Ice Cream Dreams


The sign is enough to make you hungry, right? Welcome to Fosselman's, the premiere ice cream parlor of the SGV. Located in Alhambra, Fosselman's makes all of their ice cream on-site, using only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients.

Take one look at the next photo (That is two scoops? Yeah right!), and tell me you don't want ice cream... STAT! It's been so hot lately, and you deserve a treat. Happy Friday!


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Salut to You!



The world of online shopping is virtually boundless. Many companies offer exclusively curated collections tailored to your specific tastes, and some even conjure up limited-quantity "micro collections" at an affordable price point so that you can throw on an ensemble without a second thought. 

While I have shopped the former for a number of years, I have recently ventured to try the latter. Enter, Popbasic. I first learned of this company through some of the blogs that I read, and after looking at their last two collections, I took the plunge with Salut.



They got me with the name. I am a Francophile (France, not James Franco, although he is super cool), and an iconic striped tee with long sleeves makes me feel like the chic chick I've always wanted to be.

To complete the look, they've added a pretty leather clutch in a neutral hue, and a simple gold chain necklace. 



Other than jeans and flats (a classic look), you could style this outfit with a pencil skirt, cigarette pants, denim cut-offs... anything! Your options are boundless.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Abeille Cuisine: Homemade Pizza



What do olive oil, whole wheat dough, fresh herbs, thin slices of prosciutto, and a mountain of grated manchego have in common? Well, they're the makings of a delicious and fast meal.

My love for Trader Joe's is well documented... It offers a wide range of organic produce, meats, cheeses, and other pre-packaged sundries for truly affordable prices. Here's an interesting side-note: they even have a cookbook of recipes featuring TJ's-brand ingredients!

Back to the topic at hand. Baby Bee and I went grocery shopping yesterday, and I wanted to make something simple and tasty for dinner. Years ago, I tried their pizza dough, and I thought that now would be a good time to pick some up again. While they offer plain, herbed, and even garlic dough, I went for whole wheat.

All you have to do is let the dough rise for 20 minutes, and you're in business! Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes, and enjoy the fruits of your labor. 





YUM!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Hello?



I've got a lot on my plate for the next 2 weeks, but I will try to post here and there...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

3 Years Strong


Three years ago today, I married the kindest, loving, thoughtful, patient, positive, hard-working, fun-loving, even-tempered, wise, and handsome man. I thank God every day for the blessing that my husband is in my life. He is a devoted father to Baby Bee, and my best friend. I love you, Hubby!  
Happy anniversary.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Little Pleasures: Purple and Pink

Nighttime moisturizer




Pretty tools



       Egyptian lillies... I'm jonesing for nail polish in this shade. 
(Any suggestions?)



There's nothing like an afternoon snooze in the car.



Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

One and Only?


One and Only is a new book about parenting and the questions surrounding the existence of an only child.

It is a deeply personal choice to decide to have a child at all, and the fact that there is still a stigma regarding families with one kid is saddening.

Kids are a LOT of work. While the joys of parenting are tremendous, one's inner and financial resources can be dramatically strained by the responsibilities that come with having multiple children. 


The author, Lauren Sandler, explains:

Here are some things I want: I want to do meaningful work. I want to travel. I want to eat in restaurants and drink in bars. I want to go to movies and concerts. I want to read novels. I want to marinate in solitude. I want to have friendships that regularly sustain and exhilarate me. I want a romantic relationship that involves daily communication beyond interrogatives and imperatives—I want to be known. 


Hubby and I are dealing with the decision to have more children. I am a sibling, and I love my brother dearlyit has been wonderful to have that indescribable bondwe are essentially built-in best friends. I would love Baby Bee to have a similar experience. On the other hand, Hubby is an only child, and doesn't feel like he missed out on anything. He's extremely well-adjusted and one of the happiest people I know.

I think you just have to know what you want for your life, and follow through in kind. If you're prepared and willing to make sacrifices, then go for it Duggar-style. If not, then stick with one (or none). The choice is yours.




Monday, June 10, 2013

Mental Floss: For the Grammarian in You


Last month, Hubby came across this YouTube video and thought that I would like it. He was wrong... I LOVED it! If you are a word nerd, it will make you double over with laughter and cause you to do mental fist bumps. Grammar know-it-alls like me can't get enough of this kind of stuff. It's a bit on the lengthy side, but well worth watching.

Enjoy!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Crowning Glory?



Back for another installment of "trends I can't get behind"...

Floral crowns. Is it 1969? Why am I seeing them everywhere these days? A hefty bloom or two in a woman's hair is lovely. Look to Billie Holiday for inspiration on that score. But, I just don't understand the crowns on anyone who isn't a flower girl. Flower girl, yes! Flower child, no!


The crowns come in a multitude of varieties: real flora, silk, metal, paper, etc. Now, I tried this out. As with all posts of this ilk, I won't say "no" to a trend unless I have actually tested the waters. I bought a floral crown/headband to wear to a wedding. My mistake was making the purchase online. I had no true idea of how large or small the flowers were. As soon as I placed the glittering band onto my head, I looked like my 8-year-old self at my cousin's wedding, in which I was (you guessed it) the flower girl.


Help me... Is this a summertime trend that you're wearing with abandon, or is it not your style either?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Summer Reading

video

Although I'm not sure when I'll have the time to lay out on a beach towel and read for hours on end, I really want to read these books before the summer is over:

The Casual Vacancy, J.K. Rowling
      (I've had it for months now!)

Inferno, Dan Brown
     (The DaVinci code was excellent, and I took a class on Dante in college.)

The Devil Wears Prada, Lauren Weisberger
     (10 years later, the sequel is out: Revenge Wears Prada, but I want to read the original first.)

What will you read this summer? Here, 12 writers talk about their most memorable summer reading.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Solo Vacation



Have you ever taken a vacation alone? I did exactly that for my best friend's wedding last year, and while it was tough to be away from Baby Bee (for the very first time), it was great to have a few days to myself. Although, I must confess that I found it challenging to think of something to do on that first evening, since I didn't have to feed or put my little one to bed by 8pm.

The concept of the "mom-cation" is not new, but I don't think that it has to be only for mothers who need some personal time... doesn't everyone need personal time? Think about it: what better way to get all of the benefits of doing whatever you want, whenever you want, than on vacation by yourself?

Would to take a solo vacation, and if so, where would you go?

Friday, May 31, 2013

Little Pleasures: Good Stuff


1776... Good number.



Manchego. Try it.



Tempting combination



Having the playground all to yourself 


TGIF!