Feels Like Summer: Parties

We have two parties to go to this weekend. One for a graduation and one is a birthday pool party at a nice hotel.

For the pool party on Saturday I’m thinking of wearing something like this:

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And this if I decide to get in the pool. And for the Graduation party I’m debating between this:

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Or this:

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Which would you choose?

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A Birthday Dinner Menu

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This week is my birthday and we’re celebrating with an intimate family dinner party at home. For the past couple of years we’ve gone to Palm Springs for a grown up weekend retreat but this year I felt like keeping it simple and special. Here’s the menu I’ve planned if your interested.

To Start

Bellini’s – Have you had them before? Oh deliciousness! These are simply champagne with a little peach nectar added in. We’ll sip these while cooking and chatting before dinner.

Ceasar Salad – I considered doing something fancier like crab cakes, which would be wonderful, but the truth is I love salad and it will be perfect with this rich meal. What makes this special for a birthday dinner is making your own dressing. A classic with olive oil, a little Dijon, a clove of garlic, an anchovy, a splash of champagne vinaigrette a raw egg for creaminess and whir it up in the mini food processor. Tossed with cold crunchy romaine, fresh grated Parmesan, and good quality croutons. It doesn’t get better than that!

For the Main Meal

Rib Eye Steaks with Herbed Anchovy and Lime butter – Granted that butter may sound a bit crazy to some but I like strong flavors and you would not BELIEVE how amazing this butter is with really juicy steaks. It makes them ten times better, and that’s not easy! Just combine an anchovy fillet or two, 2 cloves of garlic, softened butter, a handful of parsley leaves, a pinch of kosher salt, and one lime zested and then juiced. Whir it up in the mini processor and top each hot steak with a generous dollop before serving.

I’ll also be rubbing the steaks liberally with Santa Maria steak seasoning the day before so they absorb all that deliciousness and then (very important because these are thick steaks) bringing them to close to room temperature before cooking by taking them out of the fridge before I pour the first Bellini. 🙂

To Go With The Steaks

Sautéed until beautifully limp and carmelized: a mixture of mushrooms, onions, and red bell peppers. These we top our steaks with.

Broccolini sautéed separately from the other veggies until it’s bright green and still crunchy with garlic and lemon.

For Dessert

Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Cake!!! – Until just recently, when we stopped into a Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream parlor after one of our long beach walks, I had no idea they made ice cream cakes. Mind! Blown! Along with children everywhere, ice cream cake is one of my all time favorite desserts. Now pair that concept with Ben And Jerry’s crazy delicious and unusual mixtures and this seems like the perfect way to end this birthday meal.

Do you have any special meals coming up? Anything your planning? I love coming up with menus so if you ever want to brainstorm together just reach out in the comments.

Happy Birthday to any other Gemini’s out there! I am more aware than ever lately how precious life is and I’m well past the silliness of not celebrating at all (what was I thinking?!) or lamenting that I’m another year older. I am GRATEFUL!

Wishing you lots of love and yummy meals with the ones you love!

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J.Crew’s 2015 Fall Collection

I know summer is only a few weeks away but I couldn’t help ogling J.Crew’s Fall lineup for this year. Which looks are your favorites? I like so many, but 11 and 14 are standouts.

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Treats

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It’s important to give yourself treats. I went through a period in my life where I was pretty unhappy and once I became conscious of this unhappiness and was working to understand and dismantle its hold on me, I noticed that I had been withholding treats from myself. I wasn’t doing it consciously but I was allowing the sad, receding, angry part of me to call the shots. So when I wanted something, yearned for some small little treat, I would, like an overly strict and controlling parent, withhold it from myself.

I am in a happy place in my life now and I am cognizant of feeding and watering that happiness by being kind and gentle with myself. I hope you are doing the same.

What are some of your favorite treats? How do you take care of yourself and safeguard your joy in life? Share and tell me in the comments. After all, happiness is not merely the absence of sadness.

A Few of My Favorite Treats

  • Long walks through the neighborhood
  • A delicious, cooked at home, bone-in ribeye steak served with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and steamed broccoli
  • A cup of coffee by myself in a bustling cafe
  • A run in the morning followed by an unhurried shower and dressing
  • An afternoon or evening sitting around chatting and sharing stories with family; parents, sister, brother, extended family if we are so lucky to be together…
  • Snuggling on the couch with my daughter and husband on a weekend afternoon with books and movies and cozy blankets
  • Taking piano lessons
  • A cup of hot tea with raw honey
  • Riding my bike down on the beach
  • A weekend away in Palm Springs with my husband
  • Swimming in the ocean or an uncrowded heated pool
  • Spending the whole day at the beach with husband and daughter and all the fixing: beach chairs, umbrella, big blanket, books, magazines, beach toys, food, and cold drinks
  • Getting into bed early
  • Starting the morning slowly
  • Making a yummy breakfast at home on the weekend
  • Exploring a new city
  • Trying a new restaurant
  • Getting a beautiful color of polish on my toes
  • Dancing in the living room with my little girl

Have a wonderful day!

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Summer Camping

Summer Camping

We’re camping at the beach this weekend. Grandparents, and sandwiches, sand and saltwater, little tanned legs and big cozy sweatshirts.

Hope you’re having a wonderful weekend too!

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Enjoy Yourself This Weekend

Enjoy Yourself This Weekend

Making a promise to myself to focus on fun and relaxation this weekend. Not too much online time. But some of course 😉 Aiming for a balance of alone and social, fresh air, sleep, play, laughter, art (always in the cards for me with little miss), and exercise. Wishing you the same.

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18 Ways to Soak Up Summer on the Last Weekend in July

  1. Go somewhere dark and lay under the stars
  2. Feed the ducks at your nearby park
  3. Ride the Ferris wheel
  4. Walk to the end of the pier early in the morning and watch the fishermen
  5. Go swimming
  6. Go bowling in the middle of the day
  7. Do  a few hours of gardening or yard tending until your sweaty and a bit stiff, then drink an ice cold beer in the front yard on your lounge chair
  8. Run through the sprinklers
  9. Lay side by side with a dear one in a couple of lounge chairs by the pool sipping iced tea, laughing and flipping through magazines
  10. Go for an aimless drive in the evening, then stop and eat somewhere you’ve never been before
  11. Take a book and a blanket to the park
  12. Read the newspaper outside at a cafe table in the early morning light
  13. Go home midday strip your clothes off, draw the shades, turn on the fan and take a nap
  14. Eat an ice cream cone with a special little person
  15. Make your own popsicles and eat them on the porch (I recommend sour cherry)
  16. Drink nothing but very healthy smoothies and pure water for a whole day.
  17. Throw the frisbee, play tennis, play smash ball, shoot hoops, play beach volleyball
  18. BBQ salmon and veggies while you sit back and relax.
    Here’s how: Make two large foil packets one for the fish and one for the veggies. Season everything with salt, pepper, generous splashes of olive oil and a pat of butter. Seal the packets. Cook over medium high heat for 25 minutes or so. Check for doneness. Eat!

Bon appetit this beautiful last July 2012 weekend!
Now I’m off with the family and friends to the giant sequoias for a weekend of camping!

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One brief but magnificent opportunity

I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking. The world is so exquisite with so much love and moral depth, that there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there’s little good evidence. Far better it seems to me, in our vulnerability, is to look death in the eye and to be grateful every day for the brief but magnificent opportunity that life provides.

— Carl Sagan

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Stepping Out

If you’re showing up as honestly as you know how to — you’re going to annoy someone. Criticism and counter opinions are part of dynamic expression and creativity. If you’re not generating some resistance, you’re probably not fully stepping out. For every seven people applauding, one person will hiss-boo, one will be indifferent, and one will be less than sane. Show up anyway. In public.

You won’t please everyone.
You won’t please one person all of the time.
Hell, you won’t even please yourself all of the time.”
~ Danielle LaPorte

*Danielle has some great stuff to say. Poke around here.

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