Goodbye, Summer.
Today is the last day of summer. Tomorrow is the start of fall. As much as I am in love with fall, I am sad to see summer go. However, as my BFF Heather puts it, it is still summer in San Francisco — even when it is already fall.
I guess we are lucky to be blessed with beautiful, mild weather in the Bay Area.
Since my summer this year was focused on the family, I missed out on some yearly summer traditions. I made a Summer 2014 list but I just have to table them for next year, God-willing. I was able to check some  off my list. However, I guess I can try to do the rest before the summer is over:
Hiking at Lands End with a view of the ocean and Golden Gate Bridge.  CHECK
Visit the Tulip Garden at Golden Gate Park.  CHECK
Walk on Ocean Beach.CHECK
Visit and  take pictures of the Painted Ladies. CHECK
Wine tasting in  Napa Valley with my girls. CHECK
Enjoy the last of the summer fruits— peaches and nectarines. CHECK
Summer picnic with the girls. CHECK
Go to the drive-in movie.
Barbecue at home.
Have lunch outdoors while the weather is nice.
Eat ice cream at Fenton’s with the BF.
Make pesto using fresh basil.
Thanks, summer, for the sweet peaches and nectarines, fragrant basil and heirloom tomatoes; for the gorgeous sunny days but not too many hot days and for happy warm summer memories with my parents, friends and family. Until next year…..
Welcome, fall. 
09.22.14

Goodbye, Summer.

Today is the last day of summer. Tomorrow is the start of fall. As much as I am in love with fall, I am sad to see summer go. However, as my BFF Heather puts it, it is still summer in San Francisco — even when it is already fall.

I guess we are lucky to be blessed with beautiful, mild weather in the Bay Area.

Since my summer this year was focused on the family, I missed out on some yearly summer traditions. I made a Summer 2014 list but I just have to table them for next year, God-willing. I was able to check some  off my list. However, I guess I can try to do the rest before the summer is over:

  1. Hiking at Lands End with a view of the ocean and Golden Gate Bridge.  CHECK
  2. Visit the Tulip Garden at Golden Gate Park.  CHECK
  3. Walk on Ocean Beach.CHECK
  4. Visit and  take pictures of the Painted Ladies. CHECK
  5. Wine tasting in  Napa Valley with my girls. CHECK
  6. Enjoy the last of the summer fruits— peaches and nectarines. CHECK
  7. Summer picnic with the girls. CHECK
  8. Go to the drive-in movie.
  9. Barbecue at home.
  10. Have lunch outdoors while the weather is nice.
  11. Eat ice cream at Fenton’s with the BF.
  12. Make pesto using fresh basil.

Thanks, summer, for the sweet peaches and nectarines, fragrant basil and heirloom tomatoes; for the gorgeous sunny days but not too many hot days and for happy warm summer memories with my parents, friends and family. Until next year…..

Welcome, fall.

09.22.14

23rd of Sep 2014 •   Comments
franzterrenz: Going through rendom blogs across Tumblr and I saw yours! What a blog worth reading! :) Really nice

Thanks for the kind words. I visited your blog and yours is very nice as well. Great photography. :) And thanks for stopping by!

20th of Sep 2014 •   Comments

Life in Pics: 09. 08-14. 14

I am weeks behind in posting but for good reasons. Life is busy with friends and family.

Highlights:

W E D N E S D A Y :  This week did not really start until Wednesday when my eyeglasses broke as I was leaving for work. I had no choice but to call in sick to see an eye doctor which I put off for so long. Turns out I had severe allergies that made it not possible for me to wear contacts for over a month. She switched me to daily wear contacts but my glasses are still broken. BONUS: My eye doctor’s office is located at Costco in SF. I picked up a thing of Spicy Tuna Poke and had it for lunch when I got home.

F R I D A Y :  Girls Day Trip to Napa Valley! Yay! A beautiful day of wine tasting, shopping and picnicking. Too much sun and wine gave me a massive headache when I got home that I have not experienced in a loooong time!The BF ordered wonton soup for me since I could not hold anything down.

S A T U R D A Y : Finally! A proper Saturday Date Night! Well, it was still a quick bite at Buckhorn Grill and a movie "November Man" not far from home but still fun and less hurried.

S U N D A Y:  First time going to church as a whole family in years due to living in different continents. My brother, sister, their children and extended family were present. Very touching moment. Family lunch at Texas Roadhouse which is my dad’s all time favorite casual steak place.

E T C :  I harvested my ONE last tomato! I planted 3 tomato plants but I did not really take care of them. I got about 5 tomatoes and I think 2 were stolen! Boo-hoo!

A week blessed with fun, sun, friendships, fine wine, bountiful table and loving families! I am so grateful.

20th of Sep 2014 •   Comments

One Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal

image

A Book Review:

One Hundred and One Days: A Baghdad Journal

One Hundred and One Days gave me nightmare that I almost stopped reading it. I dreamt that I was in the midst of war. I am glad that one bad dream did not stop me from continuing to read this book.

One Hundred and One Days is about a journalist’s account of her experiences in Iraq before, during and after the war. Asne Saierstad is a female Norwegian journalist who decided to stay in Iraq despite the threat of the American invasion of Iraq during Saddam Hussein’s regime.

While almost every journalist left Baghdad, Asne bravely stayed along with the other war correspondents. 

19th of Sep 2014 •   Comments

Wine Tasting at V Sattui Winery

image

image

image

image

image

image

The girls and I are in love with V Sattui’s Gamay Rouge. Gamay Rouge is a rosé which is a pink wine the color of roses and tastes like sun-ripened strawberries mixed in with cherries. Gamay Rouge is a beautiful  summer afternoon in a bottle - refreshing, full of sunshine and full of happy girlfriend memories.  At least, this is how I feel whenever I drink a glass of this wine.

Our girls’ trip to Napa Valley is not complete without a stop at V. Sattui Winery.  While most wineries are posh and elegant, V Sattui is laid-back and down to earth. The picnic ground is the perfect place to unpack a picnic basket and enjoy a bottle of wine on a sunny day — just like the super-fun picnic that the girls and I had!

6 tastings are only $15 which is one of the best prices in the valley. Since I am member, our tastings were free and at the private cellar! (I bought a case of Gamay Rouge last January that automatically made me a member for free!) Score! :) Our faves are the rosé wines as well as sparkling and dessert wines. Oftentimes, we get to taste as many wines as we want until we have enough!

 Lots of fun memories of friendship at this place. V Sattui is one of my happy places on earth!

09.12.14

19th of Sep 2014 •   Comments

Girls Summer Picnic in the Wine Country

image

image

image

image

Delicious chaos!

After visiting a couple of wineries  in St. Helena, 4 happily well-imbibed  girls were ready for some yummy bites. Instead of having lunch at one of the Napa Valley’s famed restaurants as we have done in  the past, we decided to have a picnic instead.

Oh, what a fun idea! And what a perfect warm sunny day to have a picnic in the Wine Country. We brought picnic stuff from home but we stopped at Dean and Deluca for our main salads. Dean and Deluca is a cheese, wine and  fine food mecca in Napa Valley. If you want to experience California cuisine —deli style— this gourmet grocery/fine food store is the place. Visiting this place a treat for every foodie who craves organic, farm to table and truly delicious artisanal food. 

We drove across the street to V. Sattui Winery where we had a nice spread at one of the picnic tables.

Our Picnic Menu

From Dean and Deluca:

  • Farro Salad
  • Quinoa Salad
  • Sweet and Sour Tofu
  • Fried Chicken Tenders

From Home:

  • Smoked Oysters
  • Hummus and Pita Bread
  • Wasabi Peas
  • Apples and grapes
  • Edamame
  • Havarti and Cheddar Cheeses

And of course we had to wash everything down with a bottle of  V. Sattui’s chilled Gamay Rouge. Think roses, ripe strawberries and tart cherries! Oh, so refreshing and our favorite wine!

After picnic, we went for another wine tasting at V. Sattui where I am a member of. Tasting was delicious and free!

BFFs, wine, sun, picnic,  Napa Valley — a beautiful day full of blessings of friendship and life’s simplest but happiest pleasures!

17th of Sep 2014 •   Comments

Girls Napa Day Trip: Hall Winery

Wine Tasting at Hall Winery (St Helena)

image

image

image

image

Girls Day Trip to Napa:  Wine Tasting at Hall Winery

The second winery we visited in Napa Valley was Hall Winery. The giant rabbit sculpture from the road was what enticed us to check out this winery.

Hall Winery is posh, very modern and huge. The building had wraparound glass walls and contemporary art. We drank our wines while admiring the breathtaking view of the vineyards.

Wine tasting was $35 for 4 pours. The girls and I actually enjoyed the  wines but not the experience. Although the staff were nice and welcoming, we felt neglected by our pourer while attending to the busy wine room. We paid for what we tasted and left without finishing the tasting.

Since we liked the view and the wines, we will give Hall Winery another try on our next trip to the Wine Country.

14th of Sep 2014 •   Comments

Olivier Napa Valley

Girls Day Trip to Napa: Olivier

image

Olivier is a foodie heaven in St. Helena. After wine tasting at Orin Swift, we did a little window-shopping. Well, let me tell you a little secret. If you need a little snacking while in downtown St. Helena in Napa Valley, just enter this gourmet shop.

image

image

Olivier is snack-place galore. This spacious fine food store is pretty generous with food samples. You can taste almost every item.

image

And that was what the girls and I did. We sampled almost every flavors of mustards, caramels (yup!), dips, olive oil, lemon curd, jams, etc.

image

Pretzel sticks and bread cubes were provided for sampling. I think we made a meal out of the samples. Ha! Ha! The staff were cool with it!

image

Well, in the end, we touted a few jars of stuff — Alexis bought a fig balsamic vinegar, Heather got a couple of jars including a thing of caramel. I know that J got something and I brought home a jar of nuts in honey! Now I regret not getting a jar of caramel as well!

image

This has not been our first time here. In the past, the BF bought me a few bottles of olive oil that you get to pour yourself from the vats. Pretty cool.

image

 A must visit when in Napa Valley. (Your inner foodie will thank you.)

09.12.14

14th of Sep 2014 •   Comments

Girls Napa Day Trip: Orin Swift Cellars

Orin Swift Cellars (Napa Valley)

image

image

image

image

image

First wine tasting during this trip was at Orin Swift Cellars. My gf Alexis really likes Orin Swift’s Palermo (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc) that she suggested that we try their other wines.

Orin Swift is a wine tasting room that is located in Downtown St Helena. The place is small but very contemporary. The bar is dark wood and pages of books were used a floor tiles. We also admired the very cool wine labels — dark and gothic.

We had a very enjoyable experience during our tasting. The tasting room was busy but our pourer was very friendly, kind and just plain down to earth. None of the snooty  and pretentious service at other bigger wineries.

Another big plus is wine tasting was only $10 for 4 pours including a dessert wine. This is unheard of in Napa Valley where the going rate for tasting is at least $35! He even let us have an extra taste of the another wine that had an intriguing name, Veladora. It was a light Sauvignon Blanc. It was not our favorite but we found out that 100% of the sales of this wine goes a local charity.

We found the wines to be delicious that Alexis and I ended up taking home a very interesting smokey red each, D66 for $41 (after tax), and very pleased with my purchase. J bought a bottle of the dessert wine.

My girls and I were happy to have found a new cellar in Napa that we like, and will most likely visit again next time.

Note to Self: Get the Mannequin which is a very nice refreshing white.

13th of Sep 2014 •   Comments
100 Blessings
      17. Girlfriends who are like sisters
A beautiful day of wine tasting, shopping and picnicking in Napa Valley with my three best girls. I am so blessed to  know these three amazing women who are strong, intelligent and beautiful inside and out.
09.12.14, Napa Valley

100 Blessings

      17. Girlfriends who are like sisters

A beautiful day of wine tasting, shopping and picnicking in Napa Valley with my three best girls. I am so blessed to  know these three amazing women who are strong, intelligent and beautiful inside and out.

09.12.14, Napa Valley

13th of Sep 2014 •   Comments