Sunday, November 30, 2014

Glitter wine bottles



We saw these glitter wine bottles on Babble.com and were inspired to make them over the Thanksgiving holiday. We're really happy with the end result. They look just like the inspiration image!!

Step one: clean all the bottles

Remove all the labels with soap and water. Use Goo Gone to remove any sticky residue.

Step two: paint the bottles

We brushed on the paint. It took four coats to completely coat the bottles. We did buy a can of spray paint for the final coat. But not sure it was better than brushing it on.




Step three: add the glitter

We hit Michael's early on Black Friday to pick up the glitter and Elmer's glue. They had an impressive selection of glitter. We chose: gold, silver, chocolate and teal. We made a little wavy template to help us keep some consistency in the bottles. We used a pencil to mark the line, then used a paint brush to apply the glue. This was definitely the fun part!!



 This bottle got the full glitter treatment!


Step four: Add a clear coat of paint to the glitter

Cover the paint on the bottle with Saran Wrap so you don't get the clear coat on the paint. You just want it on the glitter so the paint keeps it's matte finish. Give the glitter a good coat. Otherwise you'll have glitter all over your house.

Step five: Add felt to the bottom of the bottle

Glue a small piece of felt to the bottom of each bottle to protect your furniture.

All done!

{what you need}
empty bottles
flat white paint
glitter
glue
paint brushes (for painting and applying glitter)
felt
clear coat spray
newspapers (to paint on)
paper and pencil to make a template (optional)




Saturday, April 12, 2014

Would you pay it forward?

I was talking to my parents last week when my mom told me she found $20 in the parking lot of a huge strip center. She felt really bad that someone lost it. The money was paper clipped to a shopping list. It had obviously fallen out of someone's pocket or purse. And now it was gone. There was no way to know who it belonged to, or where they might have been shopping.

Before I had the chance to ask her what she did with the money she said she "paid it forward." She didn't feel right about keeping it. She wanted to pay it forward.

Now it's not like she found a bagful of money, or even a $100. It was $20 dollars. Many of us spend $20 without even thinking twice about it. But something about this $20 and the note attached made this personal and my mom didn't feel right about keeping it. Maybe it was the handwriting, or the items on the list. Who knows.

My dad immediately chimmed in saying she didn't pay it forward to him. He wanted to add it to his Starbucks card, but my mom said no way. What if it was someone's last $20? She had to pay it forward to someone who really deserved it. Apparently my dad didn't fall into this category on this particular day. Poor guy.

She tucked it in per purse waiting for the right moment.

Having the $20 in her purse was a lot like having birthday cash to spend. She was anxious to pass it on. It didn't take long. They went out to dinner the next night and the server in the restaurant was fantastic. So my mom decided she was going to give it to her. When the server collected the check my mom told her how great she was and that she was giving her an extra $20 tip. She then explained how she was paying it forward.

The server smiled and thanked my mom and then surprised her by saying she was going to pay it forward to.

You don't know know my mom, but if she were a peacock she would have knocked that server over with her feathers. 

So it got me thinking, what would you have done?

Would you have:
1) tried to find the owner of the money
2) kept it
3) paid it forward

Friday, April 11, 2014

Performance Reviews at Home

I guess Elli heard me talking about my performance review at work, because she announced the other night she was going to review me. She had a list of pros and cons to share with me.

I'm not a huge fan of the performance review at work, so I really wasn't looking forward to this spontaneous review at home.

Of course Elli was grinning ear to ear. She couldn't wait to share her opinion of how I was doing.

She wanted to start with the Pros. I was quite relieved. Not that I think I'm a bad mom, but starting with the positives seemed like a good idea.






PROS
#1. I really like how you work as hard on projects at home, as you do at work. I know this is true because after one of your work events you complain about how tired you are. You do the same thing after my birthday parties, so I know you worked really hard.

#2. I like how you think of me when you're out shopping. You know I like those chocolate cookies (pointing to cookies on the counter) and you bought them for me without me asking. That makes me feel special.

#3. I like how you are your own person. You don't let others influence you.

#4. I like your sense of style and fashion. You have your own style and I think that's cool. I have fun talking about make-up and clothes with you.

#5. I like how I can talk to you about stuff.

CONS
#1. I don't like how you want the house neat all the time. No one else's house is neat. Our house looks just like everyone else's.

#2. You can be really strict. Like that time you punished me way more than the rest of my friends parents. (as my mom would say "too bad, so sad!")

#3. I don't like when you give me wedgies sometimes. (Ha ha ha!!!)

I think there might have been one more con, I don't remember. I was so blown away by how thoughtful her answers were.

I have to say, I have a pretty awesome kid. She's 12 and on the verge of entering the seriously sassy teenage years. But I think we'll be ok. She and I have a special bond - more than mother and daughter.

I am so proud to be her mom.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Appetizer: Nibbi's Pimento Cheese Toasts

I was in the BevMo! in Walnut Creek last week picking up some wine on the 5 cent sale, when I stopped by their amazing deli to see what was new. Dave Drew, the deli manager always has new cheeses and gourmet treats just waiting to tempt me.

I picked up a tub of Nibbi's Carolina Pimento Cheese Spread. I was sold when he told me it tasted great on slices of baguette which are lightly toasted so the bread gets a little crunchy and the cheese gets all melty and bubbly. You can also fill a baking sheet and pop it in a 425 degree oven for a few minutes.

Ok. Don will love that.

I can't eat it, because I'm still on my diet (only 7 more pounds to go.) No wheat products for me for a few more weeks, but that's ok. I know he's going to like it.

Turns out Elli was the one who loved it. She had several slices with her Caesar salad and wanted more!

You can spread it on slices of fresh baguette or smear it on a cracker. I'm going to try it on a piece of celery after I finish eating some cheese which I scooped out with a spoon! The sharp cheddar mixed with a bit of spicy red pepper is deeeeelish.



Or toast it.



It's delish either way.

Don't worry if you don't live near the BevMo! in Walnut Creek. You can make this yourself. It's super simple. Click here for a recipe: Southern Pimento Cheese

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Lycra in blue jeans

Finding the perfect pair of jeans can be a humiliating experience for women.

One out of a dozen pairs may fit. Some are impossibly tight in the hips or the waist. Others are so slim in the thighs you can't pull them up much farther than your knees. And there's the pocket placement on your butt. Some are so low the pockets are on your thighs. Others have pockets so tiny they make your butt look twice as wide.

And then there's the final button. Do you have to suck in your gut to button it? I will admit I have put on a belt and undid the top button because my waist just couldn't take the pressure. It helped with the muffin top, too. There's nothing more uncomfortable, or unflattering than your gut poofing over your waistband. It's referred to as a muffin top which is an excellent descriptor. It also looks a bit like you have a pool noodle strapped on your waist.

This is where the magic of Lycra saves the day. This magical fiber gives good old cotton some stretch. You no longer feel like you are being strangled by your denim, which eventually does stretch and then sag with every bend. Lycra offers give and take. It stretches with you, and keeps it's shape. No more muffin top, saggy butt, and droopy knees.

I bring all this up because today I am wearing a pair of jeans without Lycra. They're an old pair I found in my closet. They were put away a few years ago, because I had temporarily outgrown them. But now that I've lost 15 pounds I thought, hey, I bet I can fit in those old jeans. And my other favorite pairs were dirty so I was a bit desperate.

They fit. Which is a miracle, but boy do they feel weird and stiff. No Lycra stretch. Just 100% cotton. I'll admit, I did the unbutton/wear a belt trick. No one can tell because my shirt flows over my waistband.

I feel pretty awesome for fitting in those jeans. But I do miss the comfort of Lycra. Time to do the laundry.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

HGTV Dream Home

See this house? It's going to be mine soon. Or at least that's what I'm hoping. No, I'm not buying it. I'm going to win it.

HGTV is giving away this "Dream Home" in Truckee, CA which is in North Lake Tahoe. It's two and a half hours from where we live in Mill Valley, and the town where many of our ski friends have their second homes.

I. WANT. THIS. HOUSE.

I've been registering for the contest every day. Haven't missed a day, because what if that is day from which they pick the winner. That would suck.

I fantasize about throwing summer parties, spending Christmas in Tahoe with my family, and letting our dogs run like maniacs in the woods. Our tiny little bland condo in Mill Valley is the polar opposite of this home. It has no personality, warmth and style. We don't belong there, but we're stuck there.

See how beautiful it is? I can smell the pine trees.......


I know I am potentially setting myself up for disappointment. I'm sure they get millions of entries. I am sending telepathic energy to the random number generator which they probably use to select the winner.

I did win a trip to Egypt once. I was the big winner from KLIT radio in Houston, Texas back in 1989. I ran around telling everyone how I was going to win because Egypt was the last place I ever wanted to go. And I won.

Wish me luck! Watch for a housewarming invite soon. I'm going to win this thing.




Saturday, January 25, 2014

2005 Silver Oak Napa Valley

I got the chance to taste this wine yesterday in a blind taste test. The nose was earthy, and barn-like, with hints of hay. Not exactly my favorite scent. The flavor was similar, with just a hint of blackberry fruit.

The wine smelled like a pinot noir, but looked like a cab.

It was a cab. In fact, it was the 2005 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a bottle which retails for $125.

The wine was a bit too cold when Wilfred opened it for us to taste. As it warmed up the flavor of the grape came through a bit more. Of course at this point he had also revealed what the wine was. I thought it tasted better at room temperature, versus when he first opened it. Or did I think it was better because it was Silver Oak? I don't know.

This is one of the important reasons wine judges taste wine blind, you don't want to be influenced by a brands reputation and what you think it should taste like.

Wilfred rated the wine 88 points, which is not as high as you would hope, or expect, for a Silver Oak Cabernet. The 2009 Silver Oak Napa Cab is getting released in a few weeks. Wilfred gave it 91 points. I can't wait to taste this one.

And yes, this is a regular thing at our office. #BestJobEver

The Cable Car Cocktail


Living in San Francisco you're introduced to all kinds of cool things - including interesting, and tasty, cocktails! Who can pass up one called the Cable Car! It's the signature drink from celeb bartender Tony Abou-Ganim.

The Cable Car is Tony's signature cocktail which he created in 1996 as a signature cocktail for the Starlight Room, a stunning nightclub and cocktail lounge atop the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. Its name comes from the geographic location of its house of origin … One of the city’s landmark properties, the Sir Francis Drake is located along the world famous Nob Hill cable car tracks, and its Starlight Room is affectionately referred to as the lounge that can be found “between the stars and the cable cars.”

Cable Car Cocktail
Ingredients:

Directions: In an ice filled mixing glass add Captain Morgan, orange curacao and fresh sour; shake until well blended. Strain into a chilled sugar-cinnamon frosted cocktail glass* and garnish with an orange spiral – (Orange spirals can be easily cut fresh using a citrus zester, also known as a channel knife). Mixing 2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice with one part simple syrup will easily make fresh lemon sour.

Hint: To sugar-cinnamon frost a cocktail glass, first chill the glass, rub the rim’s circumference approximately ¾ inch in depth with a lemon wedge, then dip into a bowl of superfine sugar – (regular granulated sugar does not adhere as well).


Friday, January 24, 2014

Body Scan, Body Fat, BMI


One of the perks to the Jump Start MD program is you get a body scan on your first visit to tell you just how chubby you've gotten. Everyone wants to know how much their torso weighs, right? And yes, this is a perk. 'Cuz you don't get this at Weight Watchers.
I got my second body scan at my 6-week weigh-in on Tuesday. The InBody machine can magically weigh your body limb by limb. I now know how much each arm, leg and my torso weighs. Mine weighs 44 pounds in case you were curious. It was 46 when I started. I also know my lean body mass, body fat mass (ick) and more. The good news is I've lost weight. The bad news is I need to lose more body fat, and add more muscle. 


I'm sure you know what that means.

I have to exercise.

Ugh.

I was really loving the first 6 weeks of the program where they told us we shouldn't exercise while our bodies adjusted to the decrease in calories.

I guess the party's over. I'm going to have to move my limbs.

I'm going to need some motivation. And a plan.

Stupid muscles.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Creamy Scrambled Eggs

I've learned a lot of things on my new diet. In addition to drinking water I have to start my day with breakfast.

You're probably thinking "Uh, doesn't everyone eat breakfast?"

Well, I am not one of those people. My poor mom used to try desperately to feed me breakfast in high school. I would grab the toast and toss it in the bushes every day. I'm sure the birds loved the cold, soggy, buttery toast.

I'm just not hungry first thing in the morning. Or at least I didn't used to be hungry.

I now have to eat a protein packed breakfast every morning within 30 minutes of waking up. My choices are:  2 eggs or greek yogurt.

I like Greek yogurt about as much as I like goat cheese. (Which tastes like dirty old goat. Blech.) I cannot stand how tart and sour Greek Yogurt is. I'm shocked it's so popular. So, that leaves me with eggs. I like eggs. So I'm ok with it.

Here's my favorite way to make creamy scrambled eggs. I can't remember who gave me the tip to add a dollop of cream cheese, but it's yummy!



Creamy Scrambled Eggs
2 eggs
2t. whipped cream cheese
1t. butter
salt and pepper to taste

1. Crack eggs into a small bowl. Whip with a fork.
2. Melt 1 t. butter in a small frying pan over medium/medium-high heat.
3. Add eggs to pan. Gently stir with the fork a few times.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Add the cream cheese when the eggs are about half way done.
6. Serve alone, or with one of the add-ins listed below.

Add-ins:
2 sauteed mushrooms
6 cherry tomatoes cut in half
A few snips of green onion
A spoonful of salsa
Lawry's Seasoning salt


Enjoy!



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Let's talk about water

One of the hardest parts of my new diet is the amount of water I have to drink each day.

We are supposed to drink 100oz of liquid - most of it water.

Prior to this diet, I didn't drink 100 oz of liquid in a week. Ok, that's a slight exaggeration. But very slight. I would have coffee in the morning and a glass of water with lunch, and a glass, or two, of wine when I got home. How was I functioning?

The first few days of drinking gobs of water was a major struggle. I felt like I was drowning! Plus the water bottle I was using was made of aluminum and I couldn't see how much I was drinking. I need to see progress. I guess I'm really goal oriented. And just slightly competitive. Give me a challenge and I am all over it.

I got a nice little surprise from Don at Christmas. He gave me this nifty new water bottle which holds 32oz. and ice (big plus) and I just have to fill it 3x each day. My daily goal is to refill it at 10am, 2pm and 6pm. Otherwise I won't make it.

There are some benefits to drinking this much water. You get regular exercise walking to the bathroom. If you're like me, that means a trip to the ladies room about every hour. Apparently all those years of not drinking water has caused my bladder to be the size of a pea.

The funny thing is, now that I've been drinking water like a crazy person for six weeks I'm actually thirsty for it! I'm pretty sure I have been completely dehydrated for most of my life.

My boss is also trying to follow the diet on her own, which includes drinking more water. She too, was like me, and thought wine was a great hydrator. She glares at me every day as she marches past my office with her water bottle. hee hee hee.

She won't hate me when she's skinny.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My new diet with Jump Start MD

I blamed my weight gain on being busy, too much alcohol, and menopause.

What I learned after joining Jump Start MD was that I was eating way too many carbs. Every meal included foods which were making me fat! Things like rice, carrots, bread, tortilla chips, popcorn, acorn squash, peas, corn, and potatoes. Ok, I know tortilla chips are not good for you, but I had no idea popcorn and carrots were on the naughty list.

This is me last November. Argh!
I managed to gain 20 POUNDS in two years. I had every size black pant in my closet to deal with my expanding torso! I finally couldn't take it anymore. I was busting out of my largest slacks, and I refused to buy the next size. It would be really embarrassing coming to work in my pajama pants. Especially since I had maxed out the elastic on them too. How is that even possible?

I joined Jump Start MD right before Christmas out of pure desperation. I heard my favorite radio DJs on KFOG  talk about the program every day, raving about how easy it was to lose weight, because you get to eat real food. It sounded good to me. No funny pills, powders, shakes or cabbage soup.

Of course I had no idea "real food" would mean I would be snacking on cottage cheese and celery every day, and that bread would not touch my lips for a very long time.

The good news is the diet really is pretty easy. And it's working! You eat a lot of meat, veggies, dairy and no carbs. At least not in the weight-loss phase. You get to add some back in the maintenance phase - if you want. The diet is all about feeding your body more often and using the correct portion sizes.

I go to their Walnut Creek office for my weigh-in every Tuesday. Each week I sit down with a counselor and talk about how I'm doing, any struggles or events I'm anxious about. I get a B6 shot, they take my blood pressure and I get weighed.

I anticipate I'll hit the -12lb mark today. Not bad for 6 weeks!

I have some great tips and food ideas which I'll share in future posts. My sister and boss have each started the diet on their own and they've lost 10 pounds!!! (yay, Kathy!)

Want more info about the program?  Click here: Jump Start MD Website

And......this ends my infomercial.

ps. Had my weigh-in today. I'm down -12.2 pounds. YAY!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Let's have some sparkling wine. In a can. Try Sofia Blanc de Blancs.

I bet you've been wondering where the heck I've been this past year. Well, I've been a busy little bee writing about cocktails, and wine and hanging out with Mr. Clooney. Yes, George! And Jeff Arnett who is the master distiller for Jack Daniel's, and Tito, of Tito's vodka. It was a crazy (fun) year.

I guess I had so much fun I forgot about the old blog here. 'Cuz I didn't write one single word. Not one. Not even. "Hello, still here. Just busy drinking wine."

So rude of me! It's like the neighbor you were friends with who suddenly went away. But was still there.

So let's have some bubbly to celebrate my return!

Here's a sweet little treat I discovered from my friends at Coppola Winery. It's sparkling wine in a can. With a straw. It's delicious and so fun for parties, hanging out at the beach, or just enjoying at home when you want some bubbly but don't want to open a bottle. It didn't bring me any luck yesterday with the Niners. But I don't think my choice of beverage had anything to do with us NOT CATCHING THE BALL IN THE END ZONE! Oh well.



Of course you know where to buy it (BevMo!) but I'll make it easy, just click here.

Happy New Year!

I'll be back soon.

Promise.