Girl Starts Blog on New Year's (Eve)

This is exactly how I would like to ring in 2013. (But maybe wearing these instead ;-))

Back at the dawn of 2007, Joanna Goddard was "brave" enough to do what I'm sure many people would love to do on NYE: Stay in. She turned her night's activities into her first blog post ever: Girl Stays Home for New Year's, Bakes Cookies. Today A Cup Of Jo is not only my all-time favorite blog and a source of true inspiration for me, but also a Forbes Top Website for Women. I'm sure it must be surreal for Joanna to have seen those NYE cookies turn into what her blog is today. I'm using Joanna's "strategy" to jump into blogging at the start of this new year. I can only hope to attain a small amount of the success she has had, and to continue to be motivated by her (and all the inspiring bloggers out there!) to share my thoughts, feelings, and baked goods with those who care to tune in!

Later today I'll post my resolutions for the year ahead! 

Happy New Year!


{Photo courtesy of Pinterest}

Make Way For Lucky '13

As The Weepies would say, 2012 was Not My Year. It has been the hardest year of my life by far. One in which I've seen my family splinter, had a close friend diagnosed with illness, left my job, lost my home and dog, and on top of it all I turned a quarter century old!!  -->
(OK maybe that last one wasn't so bad.)
This is not to say there haven't also been many life-affirming and joyful moments in 2012. Usually spent with smile-inducing friends and family who I am oh so grateful for. Through it all I have turned to blogs for inspiration and uplifting. It has been my dream for many months (if not years now) to get my own blog up and running. I can't imagine a better time than the start of a new year! 2013 is truly a new leaf for me.
Last month my horoscope gave me this little nugget:
“Keep in mind that you bond with your fellow man through your vulnerabilities, not your strengths.”
 I hope that this blog can be a constructive outlet for me, as well as a means to connect to a strong and supportive community. 
Goodbye 2012...Here Comes 2013!
{Photo courtesy of Buzzfeed via Cake Appreciation Society}

Black Friday & Blogshop

I've never been a Black Friday shopper. On the contrary, I am hoping to do a lot of DIY gifts this year. However, when I get back from holiday shopping, my favorite part of the process commences: gift wrapping! 
1. Anthropologie Pompom Wrapping Paper.  2. Rifle Paper Co. North Pole Map Postcards. 3. Etsy Red Pin Stripe Washi Tape. 4. Anthropologie Tundra Mammoth Ornament. 5. Anthropologie Gourmet Gifting Tags. 6. Paper Source Santa Hat Dogs Wrapping Paper. 7. Etsy Red Stripe Italian Twine. 8. Urban Outfitters Wine Sock Monkey.

Using my new found Photoshop skills from Blogshop, I've gathered some of my favorite wrapping accessories from the web. I am ever so grateful to Bri and Angela for the knowledge they imparted in one weekend. It has increased my confidence to move forward with my blog and opened up so many possibilities. My Photoshop trial is up in just a few days and I need a copy of CS6! This is my entry to the Blogshop Photoshop contest!
Thanks Blogshop!!

A Different Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! Today I am thankful for Ruth's Chris Sweet Potato Casserole! And much more.

Today marks our first holiday season as a fractured family. My Mom isn't here. She is surely cooking dinner for her "new family." It has been an unexpectedly emotional week leading up to today, but I am so thankful to be surrounded by a wonderful and supportive family. And the things that are important to this family- great food and drink!!
Here's to a great meal and a great Thanksgiving weekend!
Bon Appetit!

oh happy weekend

I just pulled these pumpkin pie s'mores cupcakes out of the oven. I originally planned on making the sweet potato version, but I couldn't get past the boiling of the potato. In addition to a potato-boiling lesson I need a frosting lesson. Mine is sad.

I tuned into this inspirational live virtual chat yesterday! Thanks Joy!

What I learned this week: 6 realizations from dog siting.

Also, I have accepted this.

Now penning: 10 signs you're addicted to Thought Catalog. Just kidding. But it should be written.

Worst trick ever!

Mac Attack! I'm determined to conquer all of these. 

{Photo courtesy of How Sweet It Is}

oh happy weekend

For the next two days I'll be in blogging bootcamp at BLOGSHOP, hosted by Bri of Design Love Fest! I cannot wait to come out with whole bunches of inspiration and photoshop knowledge! I keep telling myself I want to get this (blog) baby underway! After Blogshop I'll have NO excuse!

I didn't eat a single piece of Halloween candy this year. But if I had leftovers, I would make this.

Congrats to Victoria who is getting hitched this weekend!

Need to go on a cupcake roadtrip!

Another thank you to Melanie for her great Alt class this week! I signed up for this too! It's free!

Pinning the heck out of fall food.

Amazing Manhattan skyline in the wake of Sandy.

Have a wonderful November weekend!

Photos courtesy of Blogshop.

Oh happy weekend

It's shaping up to be another beautiful fall weekend in the Bay. I could not be more excited that the Giant's are killing it in the World Series! Looking forward to Game 3 tomorrow!
Other plans include hiking Angel Island with a group of girls, baking pumpkin-y treats, and getting my costume on (to be determined)!

I want to start doing these fall challenges.

Making these for tomorrow's Halloween Party.

Retire home free!

Flexible family.

FREE things to do in SF!

Frenchie Love

Lovin' this look from The Rose Record! I'm dreaming of owning a Frenchie some day (hint hint wink wink) but until that day comes I will settle for this adorbs J.CREW sweater.
(Also featured here.)

Tepper Wedding Part II

The food was one just of the many great aspects of the Tepper Wedding. Just look at this dessert menu for the Reception! The mini donuts were a HUGE hit!
Probably my favorite meal of the weekend was at the Rehersal Dinner at Barndiva in downtown Healdsburg. Aside from the stunning venue, the food was phenomenal. The seasonal tomato watermelon salad was a refreshing and perfect starter.

But the clear winner of the evening was, hands down, the dessert buffet, which consisted of four mini treats that were devoured by the dozen. I believe my boyfriend had roughly 17 mini cheesecakes, give or take. I wish I was joking. The peanut butter blackberry brownie is my new best friend. The chocolate raspberry mousse cup and the gluten-free cake square were equally amazing.
The new couple did not let us leave town empty-stomached. Sunday Brunch at the Healdsburg Hotel was the perfect hangover brunch. Bagels and lox, fruit and yogurt, fritatta and bacon. Oh, and Bloody Marys and Mimosas!

Tepper Wedding Part I

On October 6th Gary and I attended the stunning wedding of our good friends, Mark & Lesley Tepper. They are a truly admirable couple who Gary and I strive to emulate. They are so in love with each other, and it showed in every aspect of their amazing wine-country wedding.
This is the actual spot where they wed, overlooking a vineyard. It was perfection. Healdsburg is perfection. 
 Don't these boys look dapper! Groom in the middle. That's my Gary on the far left.
I am in love with Les' Ivy & Ash dress! There are so many more details to post- namely, the food! I'll save that for tomorrow!
Best wishes to the happy couple (who are currently honeymooning in Italy!)

Oh happy weekend

It doesn't quite feel like fall here in Northern California. Despite the beautiful fall foliage it's still been in the 80s! Although I know it's on it's way...

-In preparation for the cool weather.... I'm lusting after these Tory boots
-It's harvest season in Wine Country and I'd love to spend a fall weekend following one of Alexis' itineraries

-sugar paper has some adorable stationary

-I cannot wait to start baking with pumpkin and sweet potato

Image via Pinterest

Leave a [Happy] Note

Tokketok | Camille Styles
Ironically, the same day I posted about happy thoughts, Camille Styles posted these adorable notes from Tokketok! I would get me some if they weren't sold out!

Happy Thoughts

Lately it's been tough to keep my happiness up. I came across this today on the Lululemon Facebook page. It's a great reminder to channel my thoughts in the right direction.
The other day I stuck a post-it on my desk. It simply says, Be Positive :)
I can't help but smile when I look at it.

National Champagne Day!

Yesterday was National Champagne Day and the girls and I celebrated here, poolside at Francis Ford Coppola's Winery in Geyserville.
Fittingly, the champagne above is made by Coppola, and is named after his daughter Sofia!
 It was a great day with the girls! Thank you Jeanine, Kari and Shayda! Let's go back soon!

Ironicaly, yesterday was also the wedding anniversary of two of my favorite Champagne's: Maggie & Gary! {33 years!} Congrats you two!
And to boot, I got the top photo from Taylor Sterling's site months ago, and yesterday was her wedding day! Congrats Taylor

Top photo courtesy of Sterling Style

Chocolate Muffins

Triple Chocolate Chunk Muffins
I had every intention of making these healthy muffins this evening. Then I didn't have any of the healthy ingredients. So instead I'm making these, by Nigella Lawson. I'm pretty sure she's fourth in line for unhealthiness, behind Paula Deen, Ina Garten, and Semi-Homemade Sandra Lee. But that's OK- I love them all.

Photo courtesy of Dashing Dish

Zippin' in Santa Cruz

 I highly recommend a visit to Mt. Hermon Redwood Canopy Tours near Santa Cruz. Jeanine, Colin and I had a blast, thanks to the beautiful redwood forest, the thrill of the zip lines, and our energetic yet chill tour guides, Jim and ... I forget the other guys name, but he was great! He took the great photo of us above by trying out lots of different angles. It was a photo shoot amongst the redwoods.
 Here I am zippin'. Colin really perfected the "leisurely zip."
 After all that exertion, we treated ourselves to a delicious slice at Pizza My Heart on Pacific Ave, Santa Cruz. Delish!
 Then for dessert, with much anticipation on my part, we hit up The Penny Ice Creamery! I read about Penny a year or so ago, perhaps in Sunset magazine, and have been waiting to try it ever since! The Bitter Caramel (the special of the day) certainly lived up to Penny's hype!
Colin got the special topping of the day: Toasted Marshmallow Fluff!

All in all it was a great day!

Babies, Brides and Bundts

It's been a busy week+ prepping for my presentation at work, but now it's over and I can get back to blogging!
There is lots to catch up on! I did tons of gluten-free baking over Father's Day weekend, and attended a beautiful bridal shower for a dear friend. One week ago my lovely cousin Liesl gave birth to an adorble little baby girl. Gary and I attended a swanky event supporting the American Cancer Society on Friday night. And then this past weekend Jeanine (Gary's cousin) and I started our summer of adventure by zip-lining with Colin in Mt. Hermon, near Sana Cruz. It was great fun!
Other summer adventures to come:
-Paddleboard Yoga
-Aerial Fitness Class
-Hike Half Dome!
-White water rafting and camping
-Intense 4th of July baking


Party Prep

Sweet & Lovely Flower Garden Birthday Party
I have big plans for the Fourth of July. I want to make a pretty dessert table complete with red, white and blue bunting, a flag cake, sprinkle-spangled cookies, and some gluten free options such a red velvet cupcakes or cake pops. Maybe even homemade popsicles. Oh and fruit skewers. There are so many ideas out there! I compiled a bunch of them on pinterest, of course.
red white blue cake fourth of july

Photos via Hostess with the Mostest and HGTV Blog

The Future Me

This is my future. Right here. This is what I want. In order, I want...
a. That Jadeite Cake Stand
b. A Frenchie!
c. A Yellow Lab
d. This entire kitchen - mason jar oats & honey and all.
Thank you Erin for the inspiration!
This is kind of embarrassing but this photo is the background of my work computer.
One day my friend Rebecca saw it and said that it looks like me- the hair, the body type.

Jadeite Cake Stand

Miette sells cake stands along with its sweets. Erin Lubin / Special to The Chronicle 
I am obsessed with Miette right one. One just opened here in Marin and I haven't spent nearly enough time (or money) there. I blame that on the diet (which ends this Friday). 

More specifically I am obsessed with this Jadeite Cake Stand. It is on my wishlist for whatever holiday is coming next. Birthday?! It's for sale here. I also saw it here. (This shop is so darn cute but I'll save that for another post).
I have been dreaming of bakeries lately and if I were to open one I would certainly use Miette as inspiration. It is so colorful and whimsical. I would go for "rustic charm." (Not unlike Moss & Daughters!) But with baked goods. Now I'm on to something...

Feeling the Neon

The day after the S.C.H.I.T we still hadn't had enough cornhole, so we played a few games in the yard. Turns out Ryan and I were an UNBEATABLE team! (I think it was my neon powers!)

The S.C.H.I.T

This year Gary and I (aka Baggin' and Braggin') participated in the 5th Annual Sausalito Cornhole Invitational Tournament (S.C.H.I.T) for our second year. Last year we made it to the semi-final round, and I was named the long-standing woman in the event's four year history. We had big hopes for this year.
 It was a beautiful day in Sausalito. About forty or fifty teams entered the competition, including Gary's parents, Team Holesome Couple.
 And my Dad and brother, Ryan- Team Bagadellic, Baby!
 Gary and I made it to the Sweet 16 round with a 2-1 record and one amazing nail-biter game finish in which Gary holed all FOUR bags in the final round (=12 points!).
 Here I am baggin'. Unfortunately in another close game we lost to Bombs Over Bag'dads. They went on the win the whole tourney! (That made us feel better). The same thing happened to us last year. We were eliminated from the semi-finals by the Cornfathers, who became the champions.
 Overall it was a great day and we were proud of ourselves! (But determined to kick butt next year!)

Animal Prints

I think this Anthro dress is super cute!
I'm a little worried I might be made fun of for wearing it though... 

What about the polar bears?
 So cute!
I still think the donkeys are my fave!
What do you think?
Photos via Anthropolgie

Trolley Time

Rebecca's boyfriend Joe also just turned 25 so she planned him a big surprise this year...
 A Trolley Party! 
She blindfolded him and walked him out after we were all positioned on board. When we yelled surprise he went nuts! Gary captured it on video. So cute!

 Our first stop was at Buckshot on Geary where I dominated at SKEE BALL and ogled their delicious menu.

Here Shayda is awaiting her juicy chuck burger and garlic fries. I got a boring 'ole diet friendly veggie burger.
Our second stop was El Rio bar in the mission. It has a great outdoor heated patio and made to order Italian fare.
However the most fun to be had was on the trolley itself!
Gary had a great time harassing street-goers and pole-dancing for strangers.

I highly recommend a trolley for your next bar-hopping party in the city! 

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