hens and chicks

I've been eating organic eggs from chickens that I have seen. How often does that happen? Not enough. How thankful am I for these eggs? Very. When I (my garden) produces veg and allows me to have a good trade off of veg for eggs I will be even more happy. Until then I'm thankful to be eating the eggs that I think our grandparents, and even parents ate. Eggs that aren't from chickens all cooped up, even if they are dirty animals who make themselves mud holes and sit in them.

so glad they're still blooming

during the fire i wondered about the roses. would they be covered in ash and suffocating? did they let people up there to tend to them? did they get watered? well, thankfully they for the most part I would say are fine and look beautiful.

It's always fun walking around the rose garden and I love taking some shots each year. Print the pics. Make notecards.

i madonnari

Each year I've been in SB it's been fun to go up to the mission and check out the chalk paintings for I Madonnari. This year was a good one- great company and nice art work as well.

I love the guy who always draws his kids. I'm sure he's not just named 'they guy' but for now, that is how I know him. Bright colors and pictures by kids and then more professional artists.

The day was followed up by a walk through the rose garden. A good time..

i come to the garden alone

Probably my favorite hymn of all time starts with "I come to the garden alone..." And so begins my summer. I took on the task of gardening and was more than happy for no work Monday. All Saturday and Sunday I was busy on my knees and sore in this plot. I had some plants donated to me (sunflowers, oh... a pinot noir vine) some seeds, and then ended up buying some flowers for the beds, dirt to help out the clay/sand-like soil, and a couple plants that have already started. Tomatoes of course- cherry, purple, zebra, an eggplant, verbena, zuke, butternut squash, yellow squash. I planted seeds for beans, lettuce of all kinds, arugula, onions, flowers, artichoke, peppers, cucumber, melon, oh and pumpkin.

I'll be happy if half of this produces. For right now it was a long weekend and yes, I'll be sad if nothing produces. If I get tomatoes and lettuce and yes- the green beans that claim to be easy to grow, I'll be happy. And if the plants that have already started grow, I'll be even more elated. If the flowers grow from seeds that'll make me ecstatic, and if the pumpkin or melon really take- watch out.

p.s. to make sure all bases are covered we've got mint. think mojito. i don't really like them, but I'm sure I could warm up to them if I had to...


I made pesto twice this weekend, for the same friends. I love that the basil has been doing so well- 2 cups basil, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 t. salt, 2 t. garlic, 2 T walnuts (or pine nuts) food process. 1/3 cup parm. roast tomatoes, add pasta. dinner.

the new digs

what i love: my reading chair. the perfect spot for classic pictures from notting hill. mirrors. stars. a room that i'm so happy about. finding my own style. discovering it. making a house a home. this is how i spent memorial day- getting this place organized.

Blossom Time

Every year, Memorial Day rolls around and I'd rather be in Chagrin. Really I'm not sure anywhere else in the country beats Blossom Time in Chagrin Falls, OH. There is a parade, there is a 5k race, there is a carnival, there is the town hall with alumni, there are old faces and new, memories of getting asked to Blossom before a soccer game at the park, riding on the ferris wheel, the Blossom Time Queen, the the early mornings on front porches watching the runners, if you weren't running yourself, the outdoor barbecues everywhere, the late nights and gossip that comes with a small town. Hot air balloons over head, and the gaurentee that every year you know where to park, whose house to go to the night before, and that really magic is in the air. The memories of a first kiss, or seeing an old friend who since high school has been to war and back.

I'm from a small town and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Some people get sad if they're not home for Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. I think I get most homesick when I'm not in Chagrin for Blossom.


My final night in d-town was wonderful. Kiks and I went out to dinner at an excellent little joint. I've passed Lola a lot and was excited when I heard they rave about their chef. Well, I'd rave about him too. I had a great rellena- not too cheesy- and we enjoyed catching up over the cuisine. After dinner it was off to a bar to finish watching game one of the Lakers and Nuggest. I was torn- in a city I love but finding myself more and more rooting for LA teams. SO- I guess my true colors came out when we (LA) intercepted a pass and I found myself with arms raised yelling "YES!"

Happy Cakes

What day was it? Well the last day of the conference when all was almost said and done we took a $2 Tuesday cupcake break and made our way back to Happy Cakes. I like this place a lot- extremely cute inside, not overdone, and the cakes are good and not too sugar loaded. Next door is a cooking school and little shop they own too. Sign me up for this life. I got the snicker doodle cupcake and enjoyed sitting on the bench outside with Ana, Elena, and Silas. Last time we were here he was but a babe- now he's walking and making little words. So cute!

Director of Fun

Friday afternoon Ana and I made our way up to Ft. Collins to go to New Belgium. We went about 6 months ago but it's just so fun, we wanted it to be on the list of things to do while I've been in Denver. Once again, it didn't let us down. We got there and were greeted by the same happy man who had talked to us before. When I said I was from SB he got really excited and we talked about how well the "Beer Ranger" is doing out there given that their beers are in several restaurants, pubs, and local markets. He told us to fill out a postcard or two and send it to a friend at their expense. Fun. He then gave us "the last two" tickets for the tour that day and told us to make our way over to Odell's and then head on back. And so, we walked on over and weren't super impressed. Back to NB please.

We couldnt' decide if we should go on a tour, again, so got seats at the packed out bar for the tasting room and our friendly bar tender had us flip a coin, on his iphone, to decide. Turns out we weren't supposed to go on the tour but he gave us a hard time about that seeing as it was with the "first employee EVER" for NB. I of course didn't believe this nonsense and had to verify with other staff. When the fact was true, we hopped on over and took the tour. Turns out Brian Kalahan is in fact the first employee ever as he started in '92 bottling beer for the founders. Since he's been with them so long he was able to craft his job and is the Director of Fun for New Belgium. After the tour we made our way to the tasting room and then it was back to Denver, after getting some goodies for a co-worker who probably loves NB more than I do...

Beach Read

This book is the definition of a beach read. A friend lend it to me and I was able to get through it on the plane over the past week. Under the title it says, "three women, three secrets, one long hot summer." Original. And so the beach read begins. A little or a lot predictable but for times when you don't want to have to focus entirely, take a snooze, let the wind flip a couple pages and come back to the book, this is a good one.

long time no blog

I've just returned from the Mile High City and had a great time- much to catch you up on but until then much to do with the 9-5...err... 7-6.... whatever it is this job consists of... Stay tuned, I have not forgotten.

How Texas Are You?!

Wednesday night I decided despite moving, packing, cleaning, organizing, stressing, working, etc. I should make a stop by at some college friends' house for dinner. Each Wednesday the crew gets together, a meal is decided on, and everyone contributes. I knew I'd be there late and agreed to bring dessert. "I'm sure I can make something quickly yet delicious, no problem. Plus, it's been awhile since I've baked. It's about time." Well, of course I didn't decided on cookies or brownies or anything simple, I decided on Texas sheet cake- from scratch, with icing-from scratch. Who am I? I hurried home and started the process. Well, cooking to me is not only fun and creative, but a big stress reliever too. I told AP what I was making and was shocked to hear over her 18 years in Texas, she hadn't heard of it. What?! Texas Sheet Cake meet Annemarie. Annemarie meet Texas Sheet Cake.

I saw the cake on a blog and was excited to take a deep dive into making it. Memories of this cake are thanks to the ries family. Bev has a great recipe I'd love to get someday and I recall Anne asking for this cake on her birthdays. The cake was easy to make and the frosting warm and wonderful. I didn't get any of the second day tastings as I hear the flavors blend more then, but the initial results were lovely. I like the addition of chili powder- very Mexican hot chocolate-esque. Although Matt Saracen did not in fact show up to eat this cake, I'd make it again.

Two-O at Duo

Last night I made my effortless arrival into Denver. Flying out to Santa Barbara should really be my new thing. No stress, a simple 10 min drive to the airport, and we're off. Gotta love small airports. I got in around 8 and it seemed like a good night to not cook, but head out to a restaurant. We walked over to Duo and had an excellent meal. Only a few restaurants in Denver pride themselves on serving all local, all organic, and this is one of them. The menu looked excellent and we ended up splitting Gnocchi with asparagus, peas, and pecorino and a lamb dish with mint, farro, and fennel on top. Really great flavor combinations. Our super-Colorado waiter tempted up to order some salad- arugula, pine nuts, light lemon vin.- excellent. We said no to dessert but if money grew on trees you probably could have talked me into their homemade buttermilk or prickly pear ice cream. Apparently their brunch is excellent so if I'm back again, I'm up for a round two at duo.

Campbell's Farmers Market

Sunday morning we headed to the market. I love markets (this doesn't need repeating) and was happy to walk around Campell's. It's fun to see the stands people like and the classic market people. "World's Best Hummus" etc. They had a lot of plants and flowers but I had to hold back the urge...with a trip to Denver tomorrow it's too soon to purchase without being able to plant and care for them. I found it interesting how much asparagus there was. It seems the SB climate is over asparagus and onto other veg. We made our way around, got a fresh pastry, and enjoyed it with local coffee shop vibe and brew. Great company and good times then it was back to SB to assess the damage and get settled a bit more before starting the week.


Look at me being all last minute and impulsive. After a couple days in the house, closed windows, no fresh air I was ready to get out and after an email of excitement from Auds, her blog post, and then a response from CT telling me to 'live a little' I was in. I mean, we all know I do live a little, but sure I'll prove it. And so began the trek up north to Campbell, CA. Cute little town outside of San Jose and new residence of the da da dunlops. I made it up there in time for Josh's dream pizza and some fro yo. The next day was sleeping in, ahh and off to Los Gatos for the biggest breakfast of your life at Los Gatos Cafe and a walk around the cute little town and into a lot of stores Josh just couldn't get enough of. Who doesn't love little trinkets and mirrors and furniture, oh my. Based on Josh's handy work it was fun to look at a $500 piece of furniture and ask how much it would really cost to make it. Los Gatos is super cute. Very much Chagrin like. I'm a fan of the bay area and it's antique mixed with new architecture and charm. The rest of the afternoon was followed up with an IKEA trip after drafting up my new room and deciding on where things should go. You just can't pass up their items and I'm excited about my classic timeless purchases. More to come on those once said new room is set and pics can be taken. The night had us at Aqui for their signature margs and then to a pub. We're pub girls- sure, put us in a pub. Oh wait, here comes the dj and creepy kevin, and...we're out. (Note- these bottles were never consumed. Promise)

Blondie Blondie

My mom tells of when she was in Europe, probably about my age, and the men would all yell "Blondie Blondie." Well, we're not in Europe toto but I do like this variation of a blonde. Once again I was on the hunt to make something that would not require too many trips to the store so I went with Blondies. I had some semi, milk, and white chocolate chips and did not use as many walnuts as the recipe called for because some people don't like the crunch. Overall, success though I admit I might not run back to this recipe. Or, I'd make it again with only semi and white chips.


Thanks to this blog and a suggestion from Les, I made Carnitas about a week ago knowing it would yet again be a great reason to bust out Dutchie. I unfortunately failed (failed, failed) to take pics while cooking and my idea to take a picture of a taco all glammed up the day after failed when the fire came and well, I haven't returned to said fridge in about a week. All that to say, this was a pretty easy and cost effective meal. The pork was cheap and if you have time, it's a great recipe. You start off by throwing the meat into the dutch oven and then putting in the oven for 2 hrs. From there you take out the meat, and broil it for about 5-8 min to get the edges crispy. While you're doing this you discard the onion and orange and reduce the sauce in dutchie. Take the pork out, put it in a bowl, and put the reduced sauce over it. Get a couple forks and a friend, and shred the pork. The sauce really helps the flavour and moistness of the meat. Heat your tortillas and add on the fixins. Delish. This made a lot and happily fed 4 of us with a little left over for lunch the next day. (not my picture)

road trip

do i stay inside, watch the news, and get fixated on something i can do nothing about, or get in my car, drive north, and spend the weekend with audrey and josh with a visit from ct? i head north.