That Day I Ate My Way Through California

A few weeks ago, I ventured off to Southern California for what was supposed to be a Christmas party but quickly turned into a couple of days of "quick! see how much amazing food you can shove down your throat! keep going and don't stop!!!"

Fortunately, I kick ___ at this.

First stop, sidecar doughnuts.

If you are a doughnut connoisseur or heck, even if you're not, and are traveling in the Costa Mesa area between now and forever, you must stop in and order probably one of every kind. My personal favorites on this trip were the maple bacon and cinnamon crumb. Just like butter, they melt in your mouth baby.

we're all smiles because dooooouuuuuugggghnnnnnuuuutttttsssssss!!!

From there, it was obviously time for lunch because lets be real - doughnuts are filling for about a whole 3 minutes so we ventured off to Taco Asylum for endless rounds of nachos, a beer or two and of course - tacos. I'll take 3 philly steak please! I did. I took them.

After we couldn't button our pants [which is turning into an everyday reality for me], we headed back to our villa for some champagne on the patio to unwind from the very stressful day we had before taking off for our cooking class. The sunset may have been 150% amazing as shown in the reflection of the windows below. Too bad we couldn't eat that up because Lord knows I would have tried.

Last event of the day, dinner. But not your typical go sit down, have somebody serve you and eat type of dinner - oh no. This dinner was going to be a product of our own hands [which in my case, scary]. We went to Surfas Culinary District where Chef Rose [microphone and all] led us in how to put together a meal complete with a frisee and apple salad with champagne vinaigrette, cocoa covered seared filet minion with a Bearnaise sauce, asparagus with chocolate salt and vanilla bean creme brulee for dessert. Basically it was disgusting. Not.

While the others knew what they were doing, little miss can't listen to instructions over here got yelled at for not rocking the knife through the onion correctly. A knife is for cutting, not rocking woman. If I wanted to rock I would jump into bed with my husband, not try my luck at it in the kitchen. Well, actually. Never mind. I swallowed not my pride, but more wine and continued on.

After creating the masterpiece, we all sat down together and ate our work of art in approximately 3, maybe 4 seconds. It was OMG so good. Also, that blow torch device is awesome and manly and everybody needs one to feel like a rock star.

Day two of California, I'm still trying to sweat you out.

ps. all photos were shot with my sony a6000 which transfers any photo that I wish directly to my phone via built in wi-fi and it's my absolutely favorite thing in the world. just thought you should know in case Santa forgot to deliver anything to you ;) It looks like it is currently $100 off! #nowisyourchance



2015 // A Year In Review

I'm going to go ahead and join in the masses of people saying "I can't believe it's 2016 already - HOW?!" When I think about 2015, it seems that it went so fast yet I can't remember what I was doing a short 12 months ago - this either means that what I was doing was so boring it isn't worth holding space in my brain or I was just on a lot of drugs back then. Because I don't remember taking any, we are going to go with the first option. #drugfreeisthewaytobe

Every year I love recapping all of the highlights from my year [take a look back at 2014 and 2013] and while they wind up being the world's longest blog posts in the history of ever, they are so much fun for me to compile and look through years later - so yes, this is a very selfish blog post. forgive me. 

While 2014 will forever reign as the best year of my life, or at least until another best year rolls around, 2015 was pretty fantastic as well - lots of places visited, lots of home projects completed, lots of laying on a boat and of course - lots of macaroni and cheese consumed. Lets jump right in! 

On the blog front, it looks like the only thing I really did in January was eat and drink based on the slow cooker party mix, hot chicken salad, jalapeno moscow mule and the ten great super bowl recipes that I posted.

On the home front we finally completed the last details of the guest bedroom which we utilized a whole one time during the year 2015. Maybe 2016 is the year we will break this baby in with a whole two stays from guests.

Personally, I was knee deep in learning how to use essential oils and opening up an etsy shop selling personal prints which I'm not really sure if it's still up and running? I think that's a sign of a good business owner. Side note: I just checked and apparently it's closed. Solid effort. Aside from opening shops that would soon close, we saw John Mellencamp in concert and stayed in a consistent state of freezing. 


Oh February, the month that everybody falls into a deep depression because it's negative 30 degrees outside, we are knee deep in snow, grey skies are everywhere and Spring seems light years away. 

I wrote about 10 ways to overcome the February funk when really all one needed to do was make these cookies and the happiness would emerge immediately. Because our house was feeling way too put together and dust free, we decided to have both of our bathrooms remodeled at the same time causing us to move out of our house and into my parents for a few weeks. I felt like a senior in high school all over again, it was great.


After moving back into our home after weeks away, we cleaned up the piles and piles of dust and broke out the Spring decor to celebrate

While I was in the midst of debating whether or I liked blogging anymore, I up and left for Kansas City to attend Go Blog Social with my fellow Pollinate confidants which totally restored my love for this awesome blog/hobby/job/whatever the heck it is. I may have eaten everything in the entire city while there. 


It was about this time that Indiana decided to show us some love and blossom a few flowers here and there. I must have been busy smelling the roses because I didn't document really anything else that happened this month, other than participating in a local amazing race with fellow co-workers which was 200% fun.


Following the weather trends, my personal life started to heat up with fun activities by flying out to Arizona to attend Mom 2.0 Summit despite my lack of motherhood. Fortunately, moms know how to get down so I was in good company.

I returned home from Arizona to find our boat in the backyard which kicked off the first ever boat ride at the new house and they didn't stop for months on end.

While I was blogging about the importance of telling your story our guest bathroom was 100% completed and baths became a regular thing again in my life.


The excitement of Summer continued on as we headed off to Nashville with friends for 4 days of country music goodness at CMA Fest.

From Nashville I flew directly to Myrtle Beach to spend a week with my mom, sister and nieces for 7 days of nothing but sunshine, heat and our toes in the sand.

Once back home, I taught myself how to make a bomb meat and cheese platter for the heck of it, Shawn turned 31, our landscaping got completely torn out and replanted, and my grandpa got married at the young age of 88!

I think I was tired by the end of June.


No time for sleeping though, we rushed off to Indianapolis to see Ed Sheeran in concert which will forever be one of the best shows I have seen.

Back just in time for the 4th of July, we hosted friends and family for time on the boat and sparklers in our hands.

Sometime during this month I turned 29 which called for a celebration with friends and a weekend away with Shawn to Chicago for massages and steak dinners. Those birthdays certainly have their perks. 

July ended with our local county 4H fair which meant 3 nights in a row of country concerts, fried food and dirty feet. 


Aside from spending all of our free time out on the boat, we finished up some projects on the home front ranging from the master bathroom to my office. I also confessed the real reason why we can't have children.


With football season in full swing, we spent several weekends tailgating over at Notre Dame, running in a color run with friends and sharing my two cents on how to grow your Instagram following while taking better photos. I'm pretty sure I was working out consistently during this time thanks to the #1800MinuteChallenge.

It was in September that we also learned my sister is having a little boy come February which had us all sorts of freaking out about him peeing all over walls. Or at least me freaking out. 

September ended with one of the most amazing sunsets known to mankind and one too many photos of it to prove it.


Between my mom turning 60 which ended in the most epic kitchen dance party with my family, having my nieces over to spend the night for the first time ever, celebrating our nine year anniversary and traveling to Florida with our friends - October was one of the better months of the year!


November started out with a ton of laughs thanks to our Goodwill date with friends. From there Indiana returned back to its classic Indiana state by dumping piles of snow on us. To take our minds off it, my sister, mom, aunt and I loaded up on bus trip and headed to IKEA for the day which is what one should always do. In the midst of the fun, I wrote a post expressing my beliefs during times of grief, I hosted my first ever indoor garage sale which was so much fun and we capped off November by having our family over for a giant Thanksgiving feast. 


December started out the way it always should - with a trip to sunny California for my Christmas party with Pollinate Media.

As soon as I got back, I rushed off to see Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett in concert. All of the fun landed me a fun cold that is still hanging on.

The remaining weeks of the month were spent soaking up the twinkling lights, hosting Christmas on Christmas Eve with Shawn's side and ending the Christmas season by surprising my grandma with caroling at her house Christmas Day. 

2015, you did me well my friend. Until next year...