Saturday, July 27, 2013

Top Place to Work!

In just a few months, I will be celebrating 3 years at my current job. It's crazy to think that this is the longest I've worked for one company! When Nicholas and I moved to California, I didn't have a job and I took a risk by completely changing careers (from a Registered Dietitian... to Operations... and now to Training!) and joining the same company that Nicholas worked for! Lucky for us, we chose a great place to work. Our company just won the third best place to work in the bay area! Considering all the great companies in the area, it's a huge accomplishment. Now, just like any job, it's not just rainbows and butterflies all day long, but we do like to have fun! 

Remember when my team went skydiving and to the shooting range and skiing in Tahoe...

Yep.. lot's of fun.

To celebrate our recent win as one of the top places to work, we had a diversity fair where our employees could represent and show off their cultures! 

 The party was set up on the front lawn of our office:

I stopped by the India booth for some henna...

Once I washed off the ink, the stain lasted for about a week! I felt like such a badass with my henna tattoo. Love working for a company with the motto "work hard, play hard."

PS. I don't think I'd ever get a tattoo.... but if I did, it would probably be something like this. ;)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Exploring Palo Alto.

After 3 year living in the Bay Area, Nicholas and I finally decided it was time to explore up the Peninsula! (Better late than never, right!) We decided to start with a Saturday in Palo Alto. It is so fun playing tourist in our own area. There is still so much for us to see!

We started the day at Stanford University... we walked around campus and went to the top of Hoover Tower. It was a gorgeous day and we could see all the way to the bay from the top of the tower. Stanford is such a pretty campus. I told Nicholas that I would have been accepted to Stanford if I would have applied, to which he responded by laughing hysterically. OK, maybe I would have been wait-listed, but I wouldn't have traded going to TCU for anything.

Hoover Tower (above) and views from the top (below)

Next, we ventured to downtown Palo Alto for lunch. One thing I'll really miss about this area when we move (eventually... no plans to move yet!) is that each town has charming downtown areas with their own personality and independent shops with stores like Anthropologie and Williams-Sonoma sprinkled in.

After lunch, we visited the Cantor Art Museum on Stanford's campus. I am not sure how we didn't hear about this sooner, but it's an excellent art museum and admission is free! We learned all about the history of the Stanford family and the university here too which was fascinating. We spent a couple hours perusing the art and we enjoyed a coffee at the museum cafe. We couldn't believe that this was only 25 minutes away from home and we hadn't been here yet!

This piece looked completely different up close than it did from a few feet away. 
So detailed...

We made a quick stop for some frozen yogurt at Fraiche before we finished off our day with a movie at the Stanford Theater downtown. The theater first opened in 1925 and still plays classic movies from the 40s and 50s.

This is the movie we saw!

From the website, "The Stanford Theatre Foundation is dedicated to bringing back the authentic movie-going experience of Hollywood's Golden Age. Classic Hollywood directors never intended you to watch their pictures on a video screen in your living room (or while jogging). The magic of the movie depends on a larger-than-life image and the shared reactions of a larger audience."

When we stepped inside the theater, it felt like we stepped back in time (including the ticket and popcorn prices... unbelievable after spending $30+ for a movie date night these days!). The movie was cute and at the end, the red velvet curtain closed and an organ player rose from the theater's orchestra and played music in between shows. Such a fun and different movie experience!

As you can see, we had the most wonderful time exploring Palo Alto! We're lucky to have such amazing gems so close to home and need to remember to take advantage of what the area has to offer more often.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Royal Baby is here!

I know I'm a little late posting this, but when I look back at the year in December, I want to remember this!

I was one of millions of people glued to social media today awaiting the birth announcement of the royal baby. Nicholas and I had a bet going...
He bet it was a girl and she would be named Victoria.
And, my guess was a boy named Louis!

I should have put money on that because His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis arrived on July 22nd!

Little Georgie... so darling!

Photos from all around the internet.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Have you ever been to a Fermentation Bar?

Have you ever been to a Fermentation Bar?

I have!

"What the heck is it?!" you may ask.

Nicholas and I found this awesome bar/market/restaurant in downtown Healdsburg on a whim, called SHED, which is a first of it's kind to sell "unusual offerings by tap" including kombucha, hard ciders, kefirs, and vinegar drinks. We felt so cool just being there. Definitely a must try if you are in the area.

(Lots of information on kombucha and other fermented drinks over on Wellness Mama's site!)

Fresh produce market

Home goods

 Fermentation Bar!

Mixing up a Strawberry Rose Vinegar

Enjoying my Kombucha!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Dry Creek Valley Wine Tasting

We've been lucky this year in that we've had family visit us here in CA more than once! Nick's brother, CJ and his friend Allison spent a weekend with us in July. We explored Fillmore St in San Francisco and shared tapas at a really delicious Peruvian restaurant, Fresca. The next day, we drove up to Healdsburg for a little wine tasting!

Wine tasting in the Dry Creek Valley is much more low-key than wine tasting in Napa. Sometimes its nice not fighting the crowds and experiencing more rustic wineries. We first stopped in downtown Healdsburg, which is a really cute area, to pick up a picnic at Oakville Grocery (it's one of our favorites!). 
I was in charge of picking out mustard and jam...
I had a really hard time because there were so many options - haha. I finally decided on Strawberry-Rhubarb jam and Meyer Lemon Wasabi mustard. Both were excellent choices. ;)

Our first wine stop was Preston, an organic winery. We purchased a loaf of house made sourdough bread here and learned all about biodynamic farming. In this article from Food and Wine, biodynamic farming is considered the next trend: 
"Where biodynamics differs from other forms of organic or sustainable agriculture is in its idea that
farming can be attuned to the spiritual forces of the cosmos
This might mean linking sowing and harvesting to the phases of the moon or the positions of the planets; it also might mean burying cow manure in a cow's horn over the winter, unearthing it in the spring, diluting a minute amount of the substance in 34 liters of water, "dynamizing" it by stirring it by hand in alternating directions for an hour or so and then spraying the mixture over one's vineyard.

Fascinating, right? And, we liked a few of there wines here, too!

Next, we visited Truett-Hurst, which is so welcoming for those wanting to enjoy a little picnic with their wine. After our tasting, we purchased a bottle and found a cozy picnic table to dive into our goodies.
There was lots to look at while exploring the grounds at Truett-Hurst.... roosters, sunflowers, strawberries, goats and lots of other flowers.
Such a fun, warm summer day in Dry Creek Valley!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

This and That: Summer Weekend Edition

1. Even after almost 3 years living in California, I am still not immune to the gorgeous flowers that are EVERYWHERE. Check out these perfectly pink hydrangeas in our neighborhood.

2. Summer weekends in Northern California still include scarves (and sometimes jackets!)... yep, even in June and July!

3. I love our weekend morning walks to Starbucks for an iced latte and then a stroll through the Egyptian Museum grounds or the Rose Garden.

4. We are still taking full advantage of my impulse buy from target last year... our inflatable pool!
    And, now, we have upgraded to these fancy wine tumblers from Vino2Go.

5. We went up to the city to meet up with our friends Patrick and Alisha before they move down to LA. If short ribs are on the menu, I will probably order them... it just melts in your mouth.... SOOO good.

(at Ristobar in the Marina)

6. Music in the Park in Los Gatos is a summertime ritual. Free concerts in the park every Sunday... Love getting our friends together, usually with a bottle of wine and a picnic, to catch up and enjoy the cool summer evenings in the park!

7. And last but not least, catching some rays in the backyard and reading the Harvard Business Review. 

(I'd probably be reading something a little closer to this...!) 

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Secret Beach in Santa Cruz.

We spent the last day of our four-day Fourth of July weekend exploring Panther Beach in Santa Cruz. It's off the beaten path, and kind of hike to get to, but once you are on the sand, it is so beautiful. Huge rock formations with an arch cut into one enclose you into a private beach alcove.

The Texan in me finds it hard to believe that you'd need a fleece or sweatshirt on the beach, but sure enough it was overcast and in the 60s down by the water the day we were there. (Yep, in July!)

We stayed for a bit and had a picnic, took pictures and walked up and down the beach, but then my ears were going numb so we decided to call it a day early and head into town for a warm cup of coffee.

^^^Attempting a little free style rock climbing

We would love to go back when the sun is shining and the weather is bathing suit appropriate! (I suppose we should have checked the weather before we went last time... thankfully I'm accustomed to keeping a fleece in my car for our chilly California nights.)

If you're in the area and would like to check it out, here are the directions to Panther Beach:

Northbound from Santa Cruz on Hwy 1, look for the elevated dirt parking lot off to the left between mile markers 26 and 27. Park there and cross the railroad tracks toward the ocean and you'll see a sign for Panther Beach. Follow the trail to the right of the Panther Beach sign down to the sand. Be careful - the trail is uneven and very steep. The arch is down on the left. If you decide to go through the arch to the beach on the other side, be sure to keep an eye on the tide. At high tide, the water will come up past the arch leaving you stranded on the other side.

^^^The railroad tracks are between the parking lot and the trail.
 ^^^The trail down is to the right of the sign.
^^^ Very steep trail down to the beach.

I guess this secret beach isn't so secret anymore! ;)