Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weekend in Review, Vol. 93

I've enjoyed some time off from this blog, but every now and then I get the itch to post again. Did everyone enjoy the long weekend? Mr. Cool and I made the most of it by heading up to Santa Rosa on Saturday to celebrate my brother's birthday at Stark's Steakhouse. Everyone enjoyed their meals, and the birthday boy was excited to celebrate with his girlfriend and our family.

On Sunday, we came back to the city in time for Mrs. O's girl's night out/Great Gatsby party. Mrs. O kicked things off right with mint juleps and stuffed mushroom appetizers. I had a ton of fun putting together a 1920s-themed outfit, complete with knotted pearls, fishnet tights and a feather headpiece. We enjoyed a delicious Peruvian dinner at Fresca before heading out to the movie theater. The Sundance Kabuki theater near our apartment has a bar, so we were able to enjoy a couple of bottles of rose while we watched the movie, which was amazing. We closed the night out with more drinks at Wild Hare.

I spent most of Sunday recovering, but with Mr. Cool's encouragement was able to make it to the gym for a long swim on Sunday night. I managed to swim one mile without stopping - impressive considering the shenanigans I got into the night before!

Amazing creme brulee with caramel corn dessert at Stark's Steakhouse on Saturday

 A special dessert for the birthday boy

My mom and I did a bit of shopping in San Francisco on Saturday afternoon 


Hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Life Lately

My apologies for disappearing from the blogosphere as of late - work and life are crazy, but in a good way, and I've been enjoying every second of it. I thought about quitting this blog, but I missed it too much and couldn't quite pull the trigger. I'm not sure if I'll be able to keep up with my usual 4x per week posting, but I will try to make it back here as often as possible.

In the meantime, here's a glimpse of what I've been up to lately!

Enjoying deconstructed burritos with Mr. Cool at a new-to-us restaurant in the Sunset district:

Hosting Cinco de Mayo dinner for our friends and soon-to-be Mexico crew. A little over one month until our Cabo San Lucas trip, and I can't wait!

Hosting Mother's Day lunch for Mr. Cool's family at our apartment:

Cheering Mrs. O on as she finished her first marathon this weekend in Santa Cruz:

And finding time to walk along the Santa Cruz wharf to scope out kayakers and sea lions:

Dinner dates with friends (and wine!) are the best way to combat the Monday blues:

I'm hoping to get back into a regular blogging routine after the long weekend. In the meantime, I hope you are all taking time to enjoy every minute!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Cinco de Mayo 2013: Menu and Tablescape Inspiration

Mr. Cool and I are hosting Cinco de Mayo dinner on Sunday night, so it's time to kick the planning into high gear. I love that both St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo fall on Sundays this year. There's nothing better than whipping up Sunday dinner and inviting a few friends over before the start of a long week.

I plan to keep the table decor simple with striped linens and pops of bright color in the napkins. I purchased a few items of paper decor (fans and a papel picado banner) to dress up our dining area. I'm going to reuse my candle holders from Easter, and anchor the place settings with wooden napkin holders.

{Bottom Row}: Fiesta table runner, Hobnail vintage glass candle holders, Striped placemats

Now onto the main event - the food! The plan is to keep the menu somewhat traditional with staples like guacamole and margaritas (the cherry beer margaritas I served on Super Bowl Sunday were a huge hit!) Since we will have a few meat-eaters among us, I'm going to break out of my comfort zone and make grilled fish tacos. Vegetarian/vegan sides will include stuffed poblano peppers and tomato corn salad. I'm hoping to whip up a fun dessert, too, like these cheesecake flans!

  {Left Column}: Grilled fish tacos
{Middle Column}: Cheesecake flan, Guacamole
{Right Column}: Cherry beer margaritas, Stuffed poblano peppers in mole sauce, corn salad

Will you be celebrating Cinco de Mayo this year? 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

New Orleans Recap

New Orleans was everything I had hoped it would be: gorgeous architecture, delicious food, plenty of debauchery, and of course, the ABA Lawyer's Professional Liability Conference, which was my main purpose for being there. I was in the city for less than 36 hours, but I had a ton of fun soaking in as much as I could during my short stay.

The ABA Conference was held that The Roosevelt Hotel on Baronne Street. I was lucky enough to score a room there at the last minute, and I'm so glad I did. The hotel is in a historic building, and all the finishes and touches create an atmosphere of old glamour and decadence.  

I loved my room! The Salvatore Ferragamo bath products were a nice surprise:

A couple of hours after checking into the hotel, I joined several of my co-workers for a cocktail at The Sazerac Bar downstairs. I stuck with my usual vodka soda, but my companions took advantage of the large bourbon selection at the bar.

Later that evening, we attended the ABA Conference welcome reception before heading to dinner at Tommy's Cuisine in the Warehouse District. I decided to be adventurous and order the turtle soup. I had decided beforehand to eat fish and seafood during my stay, since I quickly determined that it's close to impossible to stick to a vegan diet in New Orleans. The turtle soup was served in a spicy tomato broth, and was actually quite good:

After a fun dinner with clients and people we ran into at the conference, my co-workers and I hit Bourbon Street for some live music, drinking and fun. A small storm had come through earlier that day, so the humidity in the air was thick and the ground was wet. This didn't stop me from venturing out in 4+ inch heels, though!

Notwithstanding the weather, we had a ton of fun popping into bars and listening to jazz music. The debauchery continued into the early hours of the morning, and I didn't make it to bed until after 3:30 a.m.

I woke up two-and-a-half hours later and coerced one of my coworkers into joining me for an early breakfast at Cafe De Monde on Decatur Street. My only set "tourist" goal for the trip was to dine on delicious beignets and cafe au lait at this cute, outdoor restaurant. My co-worker and I weren't in the best shape as we walked over, but the sugary-sweet breakfast breathed new life into us:

I stocked up on plenty of cans of coffee before I left, one which I wrapped in a bow and gifted to my cousin for her birthday. She and her boyfriend are traveling to New Orleans next week, so I thought this gift would get her into the spirit of things:

After attending the conference for most the day, I joined the ABA Young Lawyer's Division for dinner at Gautreau's in Uptown. The restaurant was selected for us by a local attorney, and it was definitely my favorite dining experience of the trip. The restaurant is located in an old French-style house, and the intimate atmosphere and extensive wine selection could not be beat! There were six of us at dinner, and it was great to connect with other young lawyers that practice in the same field as I do:


Later that evening, the same lawyer took us on a tour of her favorite bars in the area. I snapped this photo in the bathroom at one of the bars we stopped off at. I can't remember the name of the bar, but the blueberry mojitos were delicious, and the outdoor patio was cool and welcoming in the still-humid night:

The next morning, I took my own walking tour of the French Quarter. I fell in love with the wrought-iron balconies and old-world architecture that line the streets of this neighborhood. I also was determined to take a walk along the Mississippi River before I left. Jazz Fest was just kicking off the Friday that I was there, and there was plenty of love music and revelry that filled the streets.

I may have made a pit-stop along the way, for the second time during my short trip:

I ended the morning with the walk along the Mississippi that I had hoped to accomplish. Afterwards, I made it back to the hotel just in time for the noon checkout. And just like that, my trip came to an end!

I can't wait to return to New Orleans one day, hopefully with Mr. Cool. I was invited on this trip at the last minute, so he couldn't join me this time around. The conference was great, and I managed to meet a lot of attorneys and claims adjusters that I can hopefully work with in the future. Overall, a very successful trip!

 Have you ever been to New Orleans? What's your favorite thing to do there?

Monday, April 29, 2013

Weekend in Review, Vol. 92

As expected, I completely fell in love with New Orleans this past week. I met a ton of people, learned a lot and of course found plenty of time to eat, drink and celebrate during my first trip to the South. I flew back on Friday afternoon, and made it back to San Francisco just in time to crash for the evening. One thing I didn't have a ton of time to do in New Orleans was sleep.

On Saturday, Mr. Cool and I traveled to the East Bay to celebrate my cousin's 30th birthday with her closest friends. We had a fun night barbecuing, playing games and sipping on St. Germaine cocktails. Sunday found us in the East Bay again, this time with my law school friends to enjoy another barbecue and the Warriors game.

Friday afternoon walk along the Mississippi River

Seriously some of the tastiest coffee ever - Cafe Du Monde's Coffee & Chicory

Work catch-up on Saturday afternoon

 Happy Birthday to my cousin!

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Happy Friday: Catch-Up and Relaxation

Today is my last day in New Orleans! I'm writing this post in advance, so I can't yet share my thoughts on the city, but I can tell you that if it was even a fraction of how amazing I expected it to be, I had a wonderful time. With any luck, I'll be sinking my teeth into some delicious beignets and washing them down with a cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde this morning. I did some recon before I left, and found that the restaurant is less than one mile from my hotel.

As you can imagine, I have a ton of work to catch up on this weekend, since I've been gone for the past three days. I'm looking forward to getting back into my usual routine, and relaxing with Mr. Cool this weekend.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

In My Suitcase: New Orleans Bound

With any luck, by the time this posts I'll be well on my way to the airport to attend the American Bar Association conference in New Orleans! I've never been to the South before, let alone New Orleans, so I'm very excited for what the next three days have in store for me. I won't get to do a ton of sightseeing while I'm there, but I'm attending the conference with several colleagues and we have a few fun lunches and dinners set up between now and Friday.

For this trip, I was determined to pack light. Everything I'm bringing will fit into a carry-on rollerboard and a large tote bag. I love seeing what others pack for their getaways, so I thought I'd share a post of my own.

Category No. 1: Day Dresses

I'm going to New Orleans mainly to attend a professional development conference, but the conference is a huge networking opportunity as well. I want to look pulled together and professional each day, without wearing a suit in the 80-degree, humid weather. My solution: day dresses. I have tons of these in my closet, and they are wardrobe staples for me on the days that I can dress more casually at the office:

Category 2: Evening Dresses

The nighttime events we have planned will be slightly more dressed up, so I've packed two evening dresses that are still work-appropriate, and one party dress, for "just in case" we end up somewhere really fancy. The two dresses on the left have pencil skirts, while the dress on the right is definitely more of a "party dress" due to the flared skirt:

Category No. 3:

Jewelry is key for taking basic dresses from day-to-night. In case I don't have an opportunity to change from my day dress to evening dress, I can always carry a statement necklace or pair of earrings in my purse to throw on at the last minute. Of course, I'll be wearing my wedding rings no matter what outfit I have on!

Category No. 4: Business Basics

Every girl should have an amazing black blazer in her closet. I purchased this one from H&M for $39.90 a few years back, and it has been one of my most versatile wardrobe pieces ever since. It goes with skirts, day dresses, evening dresses and jeans. I can throw this jacket on over any of the dresses I've packed, and my look will instantly become more polished:

Category No. 5: Miscellaneous Accessories

Of course, I can't leave my accessories behind! I plan to pack a fun scarf, one pair of heels and one pair of sandals in addition to the ballet flats I'll wear on the plane. My fringe purse has a strap, so it can easily transform into a clutch for evening events:

Category No. 6: Fun Outfit

My flight leaves in the early afternoon on Friday, so Friday morning will be my "free day" in New Orleans. I have big plans to tour a few of the cemeteries in the French Quarter, and to stop by Cafe du Monde for some beignets and coffee afterwards. A maxi dress and cropped sweater will fit the bill for my morning of fun:

Category No. 7: Carry-on Tote

I won this tote last summer when Mrs. D, Mr. A, Mr. Cool and I traveled to Las Vegas. Banana Republic had just partnered up with Virgin America to design their flight attendant uniforms, and I won a contest at the gate for having an item of Banana Republic clothing in my bag. This tote is roomy and soft, so I plan to stow a sweater, my wallet and a few other "extras" in here:

And that's it! I'm excited to travel light, for once, and hopefully have everything I need when I get there. If not, of course there will be stores in New Orleans!

What are your favorite "packing light" tips?