Monday, January 31, 2011

Engaged Encounter...

...Because a Wedding is a Day, but a Marriage is a Lifetime 


Ryan & I attended our Engaged Encounter this weekend. The website advised to go as early as possible in your engagement so that you have plenty of time to work out any issues and you have loads of time to work on your marriage skills. I am happy to report that we are still happily engaged. Hehe.

Truth be told, we had an amazing experience getting to know ourselves, each other, and our views on topics ranging from insecurities to family planning to forgiveness and all sorts of stuff in between. We met other wonderful couples that we intend to stay in touch with who will help us remain accountable for choosing a life-giving marriage. And we came away from the weekend in an even deeper love than we started.

The wrap-up of the weekend is about how as loving couples we should share the good news about being in love and choosing marriage as a sacrament. Words cannot describe the value in attending a weekend like this past. There is no price tag on strengthening your relationship. It is one of those things that you cannot convince others they should do, but you so desperately wish all of your friends would attend so that they too can be as prepared as possible.

So I decided to do a little series this week on the topics we discussed. I hope that each of you will read along each day to learn a little more about yourself and use the insight that we learned to help your own relationship.

Each day, I will post a page from our workbook. The page has an initial topic and then questions that delve deeper into the issue at hand. I challenge you to take 20 minutes out of your day to answer these questions. Single, Dating, Engaged, or Married. Your relationship status doesn't matter. What is written in your heart is what I urge you to discover!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Love the Nightlife

In the spirit of trying to get to know the city better and living up to our adventurous reputation, I scheduled a little double date for Ryan & I on Thursday evening. Julie, our real estate agent (which sounds weird because she is young, hip, and fun plus we haven't "real estated" just yet), and her Scottish beau Stan met us for an evening of snakes, spiders, and scorpions.

The California Academy of Sciences showcases a Thursday night Nightlife event complete with live music, cocktails, and wildlife exhibits. We became lost in the tropical rain forests of Costa Rica & Madagascar, engulfed underwater with the baby octopus and his sea creature friends, fluttered with the monarch butterflies, and gleemed at the albino alligator.

My photog skills were not the best as I had a few cocktails; although I prefer to blame it on the camera and museum lighting ;) But I managed to capture a few cool shots to give you a feel for the environment.

A night out on the town

This is the Earth, round. 

Large, scary vertebrae of a dinosaur

Gorgeous butterflies at the top of the rainforest

Giant snake

Ryan, Julie, & Stan

Underground water tunnel

Momma & Baby 

Touching the lovely starfish

Friday, January 28, 2011

Devastation in My Life has Finally Struck

No. More. Gingerbread. Lattes.

Yes the day has come where the endless gingerbread syrup has squirted its last squirt. Devastated is an understatement. I mean I knew this was coming. Wednesday the barista told me that the teeny, tiny bit of syrup left was most likely going to another customer as soon as I left and then there would be no more until next Christmas. I chose to not believe him. There is always a pessimist or a grinch lingering around to ruin peoples hopes and dreams of warm, gingerbready delight. I simply thought I was meeting him on the sunny Wednesday morning of January 26th.

Much to my dismay, he was just a realist trying to break the news to me softly yet sternly. My head told me to listen, but my heart just could not let it be. So today, I found out the truth. So long little GBL...I will miss you! Stay warm, bold, and gingery until we meet again.

R.I.P. my gingerbread man

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A Sneak Peek...

For those of you interested,  I have a few snap shots of our engagement photos from this past weekend. Shana does amazing work and I highly recommend her (click on her name to check out her work). I might be slightly biased as she is my friend and former roomie. Honestly, we had such a wonderful experience and she is so much fun to work with. She did a great job capturing us as a couple in our everyday, silly life ways. We cannot wait for the wedding ;)

Here are a few of my absolute favorites (I apologize for them being so small). For more shots, check out the album on Picasa.

BR Cohn Vineyards

City of San Francisco


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

My First Day of "School"

This is why I love my future husband...he is always proud and never embarrassed to show his love for me!

In the elevator heading down...

Mission Street on the walk in

Fiances walking to work together

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

As I mentioned in my weekly recap, I can't quite figure our if I am drinking more or less coffee. With the specialty drinks going out of season, I thought the frequency of my Starbuck's morning rendezvouses was lessening. Accompanied by my desire to have perfectly white teeth for the wedding and the gift of my first ever teeth whitening retainer, I was determined to let my be-a-full-blown-adult-and-drink-coffee-each-morning attitude go.

But I found a loop hole...gingerbread latte unadvertised. Yes that is right folks. Just because they do not advertise does not mean they do not exist. Sometimes all it takes is a little question. The gingerbread syrup is tucked neatly in a little cabinet only to be used on the most loyal GBL drinkers of which I am currently leading the pack ;)

So in theory, I am doing this...

Teeth Whitening to the Extreme

...only to enjoy this...

My boo the GBL

Sad and semi-pathetic I know. But can you blame me?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Birthday to my bestest friend Kelley P! Here's to turning 28 this year and letting you lead the pack ;)

The Week In Recap

A lot has happened this week. Nothing earth-shattering or life-changing really, but just some fun, random tid bits to share.

1. I started my new job on Tuesday forcing me from retirement of the RH of SF. The frightening parts of a new job have subsided rather quickly due to my already matured relationship with IMG. Think Memphis & Eleanor in Gone in 60 Seconds.

2. We had Josh, my good friend from grad school, over for dinner on Thursday night. He was in town for business, and so we decided to have a little dinner soiree. It was wonderful to be able to have a guest, cook, and enjoy company. I believe Ryan was secretly thrilled to have another male figure around for a night as discussions circled around sports, finance, companies, real estate, etc.

3. Our evenings have been filled with dinner & Aussie tennis. A perk of living on the west coast is the convenient time difference between Australia and SF making it incredibly easy to catch the action in the year's 1st Grand Slam. In additional news, Ryan has become an avid tennis fan staying up until 1am to catch the end of the Isner match Friday night.

4. Shana came up from SD for a visit and to shoot our engagement pics this weekend. Arriving on Friday night just in time to celebrate her 28th b-day in 2 different cities (such a diva ;) ), we had a girls' night dinner & drinks affair. We checked out Marengo on Union who's motto is Wine, Whiskey, & Sliders. Delicious food, tasty drinks, and delightful company.

5. I cannot decide if my consumption of Starbucks is slowing down or speeding up.

6. Another visit to American Cupcake proved to be successful. We treated ourselves to 3 to-die-for cupcakes: red velvet, black & tan, and lemon. Paired with a glass of bubbly and you can just call it dessert perfection.

7. Our engagement photo shoot took us around the world city. We shot on Lombard, in Chrissy Field, climbed the Golden Gate Bridge, waded on the docks of Sausalito, braved the winds of the Bay Bridge, treated our sweet tooth on Union, and displayed fan-fare around AT&T Park. Incredibly fun day.

8. We rounded out the weekend with a little wine tasting in Glen Ellen/Sonoma. Thanks to Kim's recommendation of BR Cohn, we headed out to Sonoma Highway for round 2 of engagement photos. In typical style, we tasted and fell in love joining the first wine club we wandered upon in NorCal. What I can I say? We know what we like.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shredding... noted by the locals; us commoners simply call it snowboarding.

Ryan & I in Northstar

When Ryan & I started dating in 2009, I we he decided to try to kill me via exhaustion by way of physical activity. I am convinced of this theory. He started our second date weekend with a small hike up Temescal. By small, I mean he thought it best to take me up the difficult route. I wondered why no one else was out of breath and why they were coming down the same side we were going up. I silently cursed him as my out-of-shape body could barely catch its breath. I had a slight issue with working out at that time. I preferred working my biceps by curling a beer to my lips rather than actual weights.

Nonetheless, I stopped cursing him in my thoughts and embraced the likelihood of getting back in shape. Plus wintertime was coming so I knew hiking would sit on the back burner until at least the spring (we all know how the story of our great hikes go now ;) ). Well, silly me thought I had caught a break. Oh no, not on Ryan's watch.

Meet my former nemesis: snowboarding.

Northstar's fresh powder

If we are sticking to telling the truth, I was over-the-top willing to take on this cold yet thrilling new adventure. I had always wanted to learn to take ownership of the mountain. Mainly because I thought girls looked cute/sporty in their onesies and anything to make me look more Cali worked for me.

A year ago this past weekend (MLK), we headed the 5 hours up to Mammoth from L.A. I was stoked to take a group lesson. Seriously, how hard could snowboarding be? Haha. Foolish me. I spent the first day falling on my butt, on my back, on my face, on my legs, on my head. You name the body part, I fell on it. I hurt in places that I never even knew existed on day 1. If you know about pain from injury, you know day 2 and day 3 are far superior on the pain-o-meter than day 1. I very loudly cursed Ryan during my first stint on the mountain.

Out of sheer determination and a strong ego when it pertains to sports, I refused to quit and signed myself up for day 2. Still trying to impress this man, I grit my teeth and decided that I was going to be a snowboarder. End of story. The 2010 season ended with 2 more trips: one to Mammoth and one to Big Bear. By April, I could successfully get down without falling!

So as the winter approached this year, I was eager to get back out on the mountain to strengthen my skills and rise to another challenge with my love. Due to lots of pressing matters, engagements, holidays, and moves, this past weekend was the first time we have been able to get up to Tahoe. We opted for a day trip via NacSki to Northstar. We had an amazing time. 10+ runs for each of us. No tumbles. Warm sun and fresh powder. All smiles.

Shredding Bro!
Sick day on the mountain

We even captured some of the sick air on video. I might be the next female Shaun White. Heavily kidding.

Marengo on Union

Ever since 2 weeks ago when Ryan and I stumbled upon this hidden gym in PacHeights, I have been salivating over the idea. Marengo is tucked on the upper deck of a 4-store conglomerate of shops in the right side back corner. If you don't look hard enough, you could miss it.

Their motto is wine, whiskey, and sliders. It is a man and a woman's dream. How often do those two things coincide? Exactly what I am thinking...rarely if ever. From the outside looking in, it seemed the perfect place to take visitors. My itch to go became so strong that I incorporated it into my Real Simple yearly to do list. Shana suggested that we park at her aunt's house then walk somewhere to dinner. When we parked only to realize that her aunt lived 3 streets down from Union, I knew my prayers had been answered!

The kitchen was open and the place was vibin'. We thought for sure there would be a hefty wait, but after about 3 minutes, we were escorted to a counter top spot perfectly nestled in front of the chefs. The place has dim lighting yet a casual feel. For those opting out of dinner, they offer a whiskey bar in the back room. Scans of the menu indicated multiple juicy options and I settled on a black & blue and the Porky. Shana opted for the Schroomer. We each enjoyed a sophisticated cocktail: a Napa Chardonnay & a 21st Amendment beer.

For kicks, the waiter surprised us with a chocolate chip cookie ice cream treat to honor Shana on her 28th. He even put a little candle on it. Dessert was amazing (not shocking as everything else was too!). So amazing that I begged Ryan to take us back the next night too!

Marengo is a must do/must eat for all of our visitors!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

To: Work people in the SF office
From: Management
Subject: Beer & Bags- Friday 4pm

This is the general gist of an email we received on Wednesday. Interesting I thought to myself. We must be going out of the office to some type of pub to have a team meet & greet since it is the first of the year and a few of us are new. Certainly they do not allow beer to be consumed in our office right? False.

At exactly 4pm yesterday, everyone got up from their desks and migrated to the large open area in our office. Kevin set up the blue & white board on the north end while Brian propped the south end board up. Colin grabbed the Sierra Nevada's from the fridge, and Tarrah numbered small sheets of paper to draw for teams. Steve, the VP, came rushing over to jump in the action.

Team Good Guys (my team obvi) was victorious in not one but two games. 2-0 for my start is not too shabby. Best news of the day...this is a weekly ritual. Ah the perks of working in sports!



Good Beer


Happy Employees

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Recipe from the RH of SF's Kitchen (Part 2)

In Real Housewife fashion, I have been whipping up dishes left and right this week. Who says you can't work 9 to 5 and still cook?! Well while making our weekly grocery list, we decided to try a few recipes out of the Thin Kitchen Recipe Book Ryan uses to accompany his P90X program.

We chose 2 dishes for the week: a safe chicken bake to be served with asparagus and a caesar salad and a more sultry entree of sweet & sour meatballs to star with a baby spinach and almond salad. Sometimes it is good to cook outside your comfort zone.

Last night, I whipped up the meatballs which felt a lot like playing with play dough. Aside from being a mess (I rarely feel the need to wear an apron but this little act definitely warranted one), they were fairly easy to make.

What You'll Need (makes 37 small meatballs...I made 15 larger ones)

  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1 8oz. can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup green onions (optional)
  • 1 tbsp. light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. ginger
  • 3/4 cup reduced-sodium, low fat chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce
  • 3 tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger

What You'll Do
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine meatball ingredients in medium bowl and mix well.
  3. Line a baking sheet with foil (for easier clean up). Place cooling racks in foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Shape meatballs and place on the racks. Bake for 25 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  5. Transfer meatballs to a serving dish and cover to keep warm.
  6. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and stir until cornstarch is dissolved.
  7. Place over medium heat and stir intermittently until mixture comes to a boil.
  8. Reduce heat to low and stir for another minute until mixture thickens.
  9. Pour sauce over meatballs.
  10. Serve warm with toothpicks.
**If you are serving later, keep warm in a chafing dish or on a warmer.

Hello Sweet...

Ready to Serve
...Meet Sour

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Love Drop

In a time when people are most vulnerable and in need, the least we can do is our small part in helping. The simplest donation of our time, talents, or treasures can make all the difference in the life of another. For my part, I am trying to help spread the word about Love Drop: a micro-giving network of people coming together as a community to help one person or family a month. So please, help do your part in the effort of making the world a better place.

LOVE DROP HAS LAUNCHED! Love Drop has launched!! 2 months and 100′s of hours later (no exaggeration), it is finally time to DO GOOD.  I can’t even tell you how excited I am :) Or thankful. More than 200 of you have already signed up to be a part of this, and we haven’t even gotten started!
Until now.
As you can see from Jill’s video above, there are SO MANY people out there that need our help. Every day people like you and me who are going through some tough times right now. It’s our mission to change the lives of 12 of these families for the next entire year.
Every month the Love Drop community will come together to raise as much support and awareness as we possibly can. It’ll start on our website –, get spread across our entire network of blogs, continue through our forums where all our members will be brainstorming, and finally land on the front steps of our recipients.  Literally.
At the end of every month, Nate (my co-founder) and I will show up in the town they live to deliver this pile of goodness to them.  The money, the gifts, the services, everything! It’ll all be on film, and it’ll all end with an amazing outpour of love. And then it’ll start all over again the next day ;)
We’ve partnered up with some great companies to help us get started (Groupon, Give Back, Hildebrand Creative), but the very first to truly believe in us was restaurant champs Kona Grill. They’ve been instrumental in pushing us forward, and we’re proud to announce them as our first sponsor. So be sure to show ‘em some love!

How you can help

This project is all about coming up with creative and fun ways to make a difference for someone. Here’s what you can do to make our first Love Drop special for Jill and her family:
  • Join the team – Become a member by paying whatever you want. Even $1.00.
  • Join our blogger network – Blog about our Love Drops once a month! It’s easy, it’s rewarding, and it REALLY helps spread the word (which in turn helps the families!). We’ll give you all the content you need.
  • Give a gift – Gift cards, clothes, a homemade scarf, a bike, whatev.
  • Provide a service – Web design, tax help, legal services, etc.
(Email all ideas/questions to team (at), we’ll make it happen)
That’s it guys. It really is that easy to help. Come join our mission and be a part of something COOL! It’ll be like Home Extreme Makeover, only different every month :) Love Drop starts NOW.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pajama Party

I am not generally so forthcoming with my actions or words that provide proof of my less than full-blown adult ways. Don't get me wrong...I would love to go back say 5 years with less wrinkles and higher energy. But in the spirit of trying to embrace adulthood, I rarely disclose my childlike antics.

Sometimes though, you just have to release that inner child and let it ride. So on Saturday afternoon, Ryan & I decided to have a last minute pajama party. Truth be told, we had no plans to venture outside (I had a long to do list of things around the house and on the computer but nothing pressing me to explore the city). He worked a ridiculous schedule the prior week of early mornings and late, late nights. Sleep was of top priority on the weekend agenda.

10am came and went. PJs on. Breakfast brunch was cooked and served. PJs still on. Laundry was done, and floors were vacuumed. PJs lingered. Sadly enough, pages were printed from the 3rd floor business center of our building, a.k.a. a public setting. PJs refused to come off. Don't judge me.

Around 5pm, we HAD to take the car for a spin to map out our route to the bus stop for our 5:30am departure the following day for Tahoe. Begrudgingly, we both threw on some jeans and a sweatshirt to make the dry run. Back home by 6:30pm, the PJs were eyeing us again.

PJs, you win.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Real Simple

Over the past 2 weeks, I must have seen this Real Simple cover a half dozen times. The main story just taunting me more and more: be happier this year. You see I do not believe in paying $6 to $10 for a magazine that has no real relevance in my life especially when I can just go home and google away at the content. So my newest trick has been frequenting Walgreens on the corner for a good 30 to 45 minutes. I need to pick up a few things, but before heading to the register, I make a pit stop down the magazine aisle to see the latest bridal trends and anything else that might tickle my fancy. 

Lately, my time was cut too short and Real Simple was left to glare at me until another day. Alas when I went for my facial at Cocoon Urban Day Spa, a fresh copy of the delightful orange sunflower cover lay quietly on the table. My esthetician was running a few minutes behind. No problem. I am hap-hap-happy to read for a moment. Aside from learning about how to maintain my happiness through daily routine chores, exercise, and food chocolate, I stumbled upon this wonderful Ultimate To Do List tool.

I could barely type fast enough on my iPhone's notes feature: real simple to do list. I immediately raced home to print the pdf from our business center. Immediately meaning after my deluxe facial of course!

Ryan and I both are using this handy dandy tool for micro and macro tasks in the year 2011. You should too; it takes the stress out of organizing. Cheers to being organized in the new year!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Happy 26th Birthday to My Sissy Kendahl!

Boating on the Ohio

Bishop's 1st Baby Shower

The DeZarn family

Saturday, January 15, 2011

American Cupcake

On a lazy Sunday afternoon while out-n-about for one of our famous mini-dates, Ryan & I grabbed Starbucks and walked along Union Street (not to be confused with Union Square). The joy of already having 3 visitors booked is my preparation of lining up a good ole' fashioned itinerary for their visits.

Being new to the city, research is key to the success of my planning. As we strolled hand in hand, I eyed each little sign, knick-knack, advertisement, menu, and decor I could see. I was mentally taking notes of places that would be friendly to our first visitors. My mind was racing with ideas and scenarios knowing the desires of my mom's heart and knowing the interests of Kara & Emily.

After grazing the left side of the block, we crossed the street to head back to the car. Not before examining the other side first though. Lost in my own thoughts and plans, I almost missed the delightful little surprise. Almost. But my nose never fails me...nor does my sweet tooth!

Inside this tiny shop was heaven with icing. Cupcakes. Cupcakes galore. Regular sized cupcakes. Mini-cupcakes. Red velvet truffles. Mimosas, correction, bottomless mimosas. Bubbly.

Mimosas, Cupcakes, and Bubbly, Oh My!

Ryan took one look at me and knew we were going in. I attempted to politely decline as I clung tight to my gingerbread latte, but he is no fool. "We'll take a red velvet cupcake and a red velvet truffle please." Oh how I love this man for so many reasons...

Heaven- dessert style

The experience was wonderful. The place felt homey yet hip. I could just see my girlfriends and I sitting on the swiveled bar stools sipping champagne, stuffing our faces with goodies, and gossiping about our college days.

So excited to take our visitors there next month! If you're a local, this is a MUST see & treat!

American Cupcake - Just like your mother never made
American Cupcake - 1919 Union Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
American Cupcake - Savory Suite
American Cupcake - Sweets
American Cupcake - PBJ
American Cupcake - Beer and Wine
American Cupcake - Candy Cocktails
American Cupcake - Cupcake Flights and Pairings

Friday, January 14, 2011

Recipe from the RH of SF's Kitchen

Not to toot my own horn, but I have become quite the cook in recent history. There is a slight possibility that my cooking skills could be confused with the deliciousness of ingredients as well as my stellar ability to simply follow directions. Nonetheless, we are having some killer meals here at the Infinity's 5F Bungalow.

Most notably, I slaved in the kitchen for hours as this chicken dish simmered and sauteed. Ok, slaving is an overstatement. I spent about 5 minutes prepping and then let the crock pot work its magic. Shhh, let's just keep that little secret between you and me!

If you are looking for an easy yet healthy meal, try this one out!

Slow-Cooker Salsa Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
1 cup salsa
1 package low sodium taco seasoning
1 can reduced fat cream of mushroom soup (condensed)
1/2 cup reduced fat sour cream

Add chicken to slow cooker
Sprinkle taco seasoning over chicken
Pour salsa and soup over chicken
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours
Remove from heat and stir in sour cream

Serve with rice or veggies.

Tidbit: I skipped the sour cream and accompanied this with roasted broccoli and mushrooms. 

And viola:

Yummy to my tummy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Movin' On Up, To The North Side

So for many of you, including my father and brother and fiance, this picture is frightening...

Hello UHAUL to San Fran!

For me, this picture is was frightening...

Hello tiny space to fit a LOT of stuff :(

Here are a few moving day pics that I have been meaning to far, so good. Ryan & I, both, are still alive!

He wanted to drive so sorry big guy!

Goodbye 3671 Midvale...

A little tired, a little stinky but happy as a clam to be in SF

Right before he made his secret escape to surprise me with Chipotle!!