Saturday, July 31, 2010

Finally Friday Video Challenge: Birthday Card

I always love when Kristina Werner uses stitching in her cards. It reminds me why I started cardmaking. With my uninspired mood, her card this week for her Finally Friday video jump started my creativity. What's weird is that I started making this card before her video came out. The candles on my first attempt turned out kinda chunky and ugly so I revised it so the candles were more uniform and clean. I then added a simple stamped birthday sentiment from my favorite stamp set. As I'm looking at it, it could probably use something more but I keep telling myself to leave it alone.

Here's another version I finished the next day.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cooking: Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken

From some of the ingrediants I got at this weekend's trek to the farmer's market, I cooked a Vietnamese Lemongrass Chicken recipe from I think I've become obsessed with getting this recipe so it tastes the same as latest and favorite Vietnamese restaurant. It's harder than you think. The first time I tried it, the chicken was bland and didn't taste anything like lemongrass. This time chicken turned out really yellow (from the tumeric in the impromtu curry powder I made). The sauce isn't even close either! I know the chicken at the restaurant is grilled but the recipe said to stir-fry it and also didn't call for it to be marinated. At the very least it's a pretty easy weeknight recipe and doesn't taste bad. Anyway.. back on the hunt for recipes. Well.. after I finish eating :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Farmer's Market & Paula

Today my sister and I went to Campbell's farmer's market which is supposedly the biggest in the area. We purused the stalls for ingrediants to make salsa & some lemongrass chicken. My sister ended up getting some heirloom tomatoes, cilantro and limes while I was only able to find garlic, green onions and shallots. It was still fun to look at the variety of specialty foods such as oysters and parmesan twists which were delectable.

After the farmer's market, we met up with one of my friends, Paula, that I haven't seen since college. We went to one of my favorite restaurants called Nam Vang which specializes in Cambodian noodles. I wanted them to experience my favorite noodles, so I ordered on their behalf which was simply a small #1. It consists of "dry" noodles, with some sauce, a variety of meats including liver and heart and a side of pork bone soup.

After a late lunch we went over to Valley Fair so I could return some Laura Mercier tinted moisterizer and to hang out at the wine bar in Santana Row. It was super chill and relaxed which is exactly what I needed after a crazy Friday night. I'm glad I got to reconnect with an old friend on a nice Sunday afternoon.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cards Blog Challenge: Pinwheels

Here's a pinwheel card I made for this week's Cards Blog Challenge. I didn't want to make a typical pinwheel so I googled how to make different kinds and settled on this style. I used Stampin Up's large tag punch and folded it so it resembled an origami style petal. Unfortunately it doesn't spin but I may make another one that will.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Awesome Care Package From Bri

It was just another day at work when I received a package from Bri. It actually arrived two weeks ago at my house but it was sent back to her since I wasn't home to sign for it. I felt really bad about it because it must've cost a lot to resend it but I am SOOO grateful she did.

Here's what I got.

- A bird pen which I'll use at work.
- A cute little tote which held all the goodies.
- Some fabric tape. When I saw this I literally gasped outloud because I've been wanting to use this stuff on my cards!
- A few very cute stamps which have actually renewed my inspiration for cardmaking.
- A couple packages of cute fabric flowers.
- A lovely handmade card :)
- A green tea face mask which I may try out tonight!
- One of THE necklaces that I've been wanting for a very long time. When I saw it I screamed haha.
- Some apple candy which I gave to Justyn.
- A swirley black frame.

Bri... words cannot begin to express how thankful I am to have you as a friend and to get this amazing package. Thank you sooo much! It totally brightened my day. You better brace yourself for what you're gonna get! I'm gonna go balls to the walls out on it hehe.

Smoke Eaters & SJ Giants

It's been a while since Justyn and I last went out on a random week night but we got free SJ Giants tickets from his mom so we decided to take Kris & my sister to go see the game. Before the game we stopped at Smoke Eaters for dinner. Between Kris & Justyn, they got three types of the hottest wings. I tasted each of the sauce with some celery and by the end of it, my mouth was on fire. Luckily I had some soda to put out the flames. They wolfed those wings down like it was nothing. From what I've seen on Man vs. Food, these wings can get super hot so I was amazed that they ate the wings like they jellybeans. My grilled chicken (California) burger was less that spectacular. I found it bland but that might've been because I had the beginning stages of a cold.

After dinner, I met up with my sister and we sat down for an "intense" game. The SJ Giants were playing the Stockton Plots (I think). Stockton ended up scoring 3 points in the 8th inning so we left early but it was fun hanging out and bull shitting. We ended up doing that more than actually watching the game.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cooking: Cowboy Spaghetti

I made this dish a long time for some friends and they really liked it. This is one of the few recipes that I've made from Rachel Ray's 30 Minute Meals but today I changed it up by substituting healthier ingrediants.

Her recipe calls for ground beef, cheddar cheese, spaghetti and bacon. I used ground turkey, reduced fat cheddar, whole wheat spaghetti & turkey bacon.

Justyn took one bite and said "YUM!". He rarely lets me know how my cooking is until I ask him so I know that he likes it.

Cards Blog Challenge: Monochromatic Card

I did a monochromatic window card a few weeks ago and I didn't want to use white on this card. For some reason blue jumped out as the perfect color to use so I went with an oceany/sea theme. I kept it pretty simple since I haven't been as inspired as I have been in the past but hopefully Paige likes it!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Richard Cheese in Vegas

The only celebrity I follow on Facebook is Richard Cheese and a while ago there was an updated posted that he would be doing a show in Las Vegas. We had seen him once in San Francisco and now was our chance to see him again. Justyn and I always said that if he ever performed in Las Vegas, that we'd go.

We booked a two night stay at Palace Station hotel. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of the room before we messed it up but here's a view from our window. We got to stay in a nice suite on the 18th floor which was nice. I'm not a fan of the $15 a night charge in the fine print but oh well.

The first night and the day of the concert, I had forgotten my phone in the room so the only pictures I have are the day after. The show itself was pretty tame considering it was in Las Vegas and Richard Cheese was a lot more fun to watch in SF. We still had fun regardless. We had reserved a booth and the usher let us sit by ourselves since part of the stage was blocked off by the wall. We felt like high rollers having a booth to ourselves meanwhile everyone else was crammed together on crappy seats and boothes.

The next day we went to the Wynn for a buffet brunch. I'm not a fan of buffets and never have been but this was by far the best I've ever had. Some things were better than others such as the flank steak. It was juicy and perfectly cooked. The pickled herring was also decent. I think it would've been better if it were cold instead of room temperature though.

Thai beef salad, BBQ rib (not actually smoked or anything and rather bland), pulled pork on a fluffy cornbread topped with coleslaw, green bean stir-fry with beef, pad thai (bland), grilled mahi mahi with pineapple relish, flank steak, eggroll, potsticker, a bit of hashbrowns that Justyn gave me, pickled herring.

For the second round I got smoked duck salad, cheese pizza, more flank steak, pasta w/ shrimp, kimchee, tuna hand roll (gross), California roll, veggie roll and squid ceviche.

For dessert Justyn got an assortment of desserts. I can't remember exactly what he got but an honorable mention was the bread pudding. It was very custardy and served hot from the oven. I opted for a Snickerdoodle & a Bailey's panna cotta (blech).

We spent the rest of the day hanging out in our hotel room relaxing. Towards the afternoon and evening we played blackjack. I don't remember how long we played for but it quickly turned from noon to night. Since we gambled so much, I asked the pit boss if he could comp our meal at the Oyster Bar. I still haven't found out if the meal ever got comped but we charged it to our hotel room so we'll see.. Earlier while we were lounging in the room, I was watching an episode of Man vs. Food where he visited a place specializing in BBQ'ed shrimp. That instantly made me crave some seafood so I went on Yelp to see where the best seafood place was. The Oyster Bar jumped out with nearly a perfect 5 star rating. I remembered passing by the Oyster Bar the day before so that's how decided we were going there for a late dinner.

We ordered a bowl of clam chowder, oysters & etoufee. Everything was fantastic albeit the etoufee was extremely spicy. Justyn reminded me that I ordered it that way despite me having no memory of it heh. The food definitely lived up to the high rating on Yelp and I would be more than happy to pay for a meal there any day.

Needless to say that I'm thankful to be home and for bay area weather. The coolest temperature it got in Las Vegas was 90 something!

Weekend SF Trip w/ Friends

On Friday I met up with Erik & Justyn at their work to carpool over to SFO to pick up a couple friends. We then left the airport to our the Baldwin hotel to meet up with a few more people. Erik drove us all to Papalote which is a Mexican place featured on Bobby Flay's Throwdown on Food Network. To be honest, I was thrilled with the food. I ordered the chicken burrito but later found out that their specialty is their salsa and a burrito called the Triple Threat which has shrimp, fish & carne asada. I had a bite of their carne asada from someone else's burrito and it was more like a juicy fatty steak which was unlike any other carne asada that I've ever had.

After dinner we headed back over to the hotel and walked over to the Irish Bank across the street tucked behind an alleyway for some drinks. Some of us headed over to Chinatown for an after party and some stayed behind at the hotel. I'm not allowed to show those pictures or videos so you'll have to trust me that it was a damn good time.

It was getting pretty late but I got hungry so Justyn and I split off from the group and went to Lori's Diner for some food. We ended up getting just about the least healthy thing on the menu which was fish & chips. It was surprisingly delicious and it quickly filled my belly up.

The next morning, we went to The Liberty Cafe for breakfast & mimosas. I ordered the Breakfast Basket which featured a selection of delectable delights. It had two mini croissants, scones & an apple pastry (which was my favorite). Justyn had the sausage and spinach omelette which was equally as good. Our waitress, Kelly, was amazing and extremely helpful despite the large group she had to deal with. If you go to Liberty Cafe, make sure you say hi. She's super nice and made our breakfast a delight. (If this sounds like a yelp review, it is!)

After breakfast, Erik drove us all to the Golden Gate bridge for some touristy stuff. I was amazed by the view and was almost blown away, literally. It was super windy where we were but it made things more fun.

We then headed over to the Haight district for some shopping before going to Calzone’s for some Italian food. After dinner, everyone went back to the hotel to get ready for clubbing. Justyn and I didn’t end up going because we had to catch an early flight out to Vegas the next morning. Talk about a crazy vacation right? I miss everyone so much and wish we had more time to spend together but I know we’re just a flight away and we’ll hang out again soon. Erik deserves special props for being our designated taxi driver and for taking us all over SF. Thanks man! We had a blast!