Slow down, Summertime

photo-1451479456262-b94f205059be

When I think of summer, I think of long, slow days. Somehow someway though, this summer has been busier than years prior – by what seems to be a landslide. But not in a bad way. I was honestly dreading this season because of the lack of routine. But then, on the other hand, I was really craving carefree, unscheduled days and even a bit of adventure. I think we have managed to fall somewhere in between structure and total freedom. We have just enough going on to bring some consistency to our days and weeks, but we are also flexible and staying up much later than usual. Which brings me to my next point on busyness. Continue reading “Slow down, Summertime”

Behind the Orange Curtain

Last Sunday I drove up to LA for a bridal shower honoring a dear friend.  Driving those familiar freeways, the same thing happened that always does when that gorgeous Los Angeles skyline comes into view.  My heart does that thing where it practically skips a beat.  There is just something about that city.  Los Angeles will always have a special place in my heart – some of my fondest memories are from the years I lived there.

I love its diversity, art, food, architecture, culture, and people.  As averse as I was to moving to Orange County after I got married, I now realize there is no shortage of those very same attributes behind the Orange Curtain.

And the truth is, I really adore living here.  I never thought I could grow to love it so much!  It is certainly beautiful and scenic.  And if it’s one thing we have, it’s culinary masterpieces. It seems everywhere you look, a new restaurant is popping up by a renowned chef. Continue reading “Behind the Orange Curtain”

Top Ten Tuesday: August 5

1.  If you’re a Costco addict (like no one in this house), this is a great write-up on items that truly are cheaper there – including a Dyson vacuum, which has seriously changed my life this year.  Did I just say that about a vacuum?

2.  It’s our family picture shoot in a few weeks, so time for a refill on my Makeup Forever HD Foundation – never take photos without it!  Definitely going to re-read these tips for taking a great photo.

s1096908-main-Lhero

3.  Too lazy to stop by the jewelry store to clean your rings, like me?  Try this easy DIY method using dishwashing soap and a toothbrush.

4.  Sorry, but this pic is just amazing – we are planning a Fall trip to NYC next year…really wish it was this year!

5.  Today is the last day to enter the Lookbook Store contest on Andee Layne’s blog – would love to win one of those prizes!  But even without winning, the pieces at Lookbook are super cute and totally affordable.

6.  We’ve been soaking up the summer sun and going on many an adventure these last few weeks before school starts back up.

photo

7.  In doing that, I’ve been keeping this quote at the forefront of my mind.  ‘Cause inevitably, plans will end up changing with little ones in tow!

ordeal-adventure

8.  Can you say genius?  Need this ASAP.  I’m a bubble bath indulger – definitely part of my self-care routine.

9.  Despite my recent epiphany about social media, this was too good to not repin on Pinterest:

55635b3ca1929320f35822d518575f49

10.  So glad I came across this article from Women’s Health re: 7 Things No One Told You About Caffeine – they further support and justify my addiction.  Phew!

Hope everyone has a fantastic week!

XO, 

Monica

 

Summer, Summer, Summertime…

“Summertime is always the best of what might be.” 

-Charles Bowden

I keep saying, “Now that it’s summertime…” in my blog posts, but in reality, today marks the official first day of summer.  Today is summer solstice, the longest day of the year.  Good thing, because we have two birthday parties and one graduation party to attend! 🙂 Something tells me the five of us won’t make it to all three events today.  I feel like our weekends are already getting completely booked, which is both exciting and overwhelming at the same time.  I love summer and the “lazy” feeling it brings.  Beach bonfires, longer hours of play with the neighborhood kids, backyard barbecues, lots of pool time, and breezy days with the windows open (or maybe that last one just in Cali – A/C elsewhere – which I actually love too!).  There’s a lightness in the air that makes me feel more carefree.

We love entertaining and socializing with other couples and families, so my husband is often concocting fun drinks to share with friends.  As I’ve mentioned, summer brings to mind a tomato and basil love affair, so the next best thing to bruschetta is this beauty:

photo 5

I present to you the Caprese Martini.  Basically, bruschetta in a martini glass – it doesn’t get any better!  Disclaimer: this drink might not be for everyone…in fact, a few girlfriends have tasted it and weren’t too fond of it.  I can’t get enough of it though!  My husband actually went to Costco to buy special infusion pitchers to put the tomato puree into without getting seeds and flesh into the vodka.  He takes drink making very seriously.

The method: he fills the pitcher with Square One basil vodka and purees a few tomatoes with the magic bullet and inserts this concoction into the mesh strainer, letting it sit a day or two.  Then he pours the now tomato and basil flavored vodka into mason jars or back into the Square One bottle.  After it’s in a martini glass, add a splash of balsamic vinegar.  Garnish with cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls on skewers.  So good!

For those of you who don’t love savory cocktails quite as much as me, here’s another fun one my hubby enjoyed at Tavern on Rush on a recent Chicago trip.  This one also takes a few days to infuse, but the end result is worth it!  This picture of his attempt at re-creating it includes three whole pineapples sliced up with Grey Goose vodka poured on top.  After a few days of soaking, you don’t even taste the vodka.  Dangerous, so be careful!  But so yum.  These drinks should help beat the summer heat!

unnamed-2

Hope everyone enjoys the extra daylight today and celebrates the solstice accordingly.  Since it’s been running through my head, I now leave you with this classic to ring in the new season!

Happy Summer!!!