Welcome 2016!

Welcome 2016!

Happy New Year! I can’t believe it is already 2016! I feel like 2015 was just getting started. I also realized that I had yet to officially introduce you to our newest family member. If you follow either me or David on Instagram, you probably have a pretty good idea of what I’m talking about.

yorkshire terrier, yorkie puppy, yorkshire terrier puppy

Back in November, we brought home a little teddy-bear faced Yorkshire terrier puppy that we named Zoli. We had not planned on getting a new puppy, being perfectly content as a one-dog household but sometimes life has other plans. We had actually gone to look at a litter of puppies for my dad because he wanted to surprise my mom for Christmas and I had found a local woman who had an unexpected litter of yorkies. When we looked at the two little puppies that were left, they were both so sweet and we couldn’t stand the thought of separating them, plus the boys were with us and were looking up at us with their big pleading eyes. Before I knew what was happening, Zoli was ours. His sister, Maggie, was, as I said before, a surprise for my mom and the day that we brought the puppies over to my parents’ house, she was so sure that my dad would never want another dog that she assumed that we had gone out and acquired two new puppies for ourselves. When she discovered that one of them was for her, she was completely blown away (in a good way) and many happy tears ensued. I believe she referred to my dad as “Husband of the Year.” To say that getting my mom a surprise puppy was out of character for my dad would honestly be the understatement of the year. In fact, when my sister-in-law told my brother that it was going down, he din’t believe her.

yorkshire terrier, yorkie puppy, yorkshire terrier puppy
yorkshire terrier, yorkie puppy, yorkshire terrier puppy

We had forgotten how much fun (not to mention how much work) it is to have a new puppy. Solo was not amused at first, but now that he has gotten used to the little pups, he has come around and actually plays with them from time to time. He also steals their food, but that’s another story entirely. They boys have been extremely helpful and with two dogs in the house, there is no more fighting over who gets to hold the leash when we take the dogs outside. Even my brother’s English bulldog, Dexter, is starting to warm to the puppies.

christmas dogs
maggie and dexter

In the short time that Zoli and Maggie have been a part of our family, they have stolen our hearts and it is hard to remember what life was like without them.

A Birthday in Bed

A Birthday in Bed

birthday01

One of my sons had a birthday recently. Birthdays are a big deal when you are in grade school. At his school you get to be a sort of king for the day and have a mini party in your classroom. Each year he requests that we bring a different treat for his birthday. One year it was cupcakes, another it was cookies. He had this year’s birthday celebration planned for weeks. He wanted us to take sprinkle donuts in a variety of flavors.

The day of his birthday rolled around and he was sick. Really sick.

If you’ve been watching the news lately you know that the Norovirus is going around. It has been going through the boys’ school like wildfire. My son caught it big time and we hadn’t even eaten at a certain popular restaurant chain. Instead of laughing and playing with his friends on his special day, he spent the day curled up in the fetal position watching Last Man Standing on Netflix between bouts of being sick.

“This is the worst birthday ever,” he moaned.

I told him that I hoped that it would be the worst birthday he would ever have.

“That’s a terrible thing to say to me,” he complained.

“No it isn’t,” I assured him. “It means that I hope that every birthday from now on is better than this one. That you’re never stuck at home, sick on your birthday ever again.”

This made him smile for the first time that whole day. He then told me that there was one thing about his birthday that wasn’t terrible: that he got to spend the entire day with me. He then cuddled closer as we continued watching our show. It was incredibly sweet. The only thing sweeter was that he spent the entire next day taking care of me when I came down with the virus. We spent that entire day much like we had the day before: curled up in bed, watching shows on Netflix.

He did eventually get his class party with sprinkle donuts. It was just delayed by a couple of days.

Somewhere to Be

Somewhere to Be

somewhere to be

Today I had somewhere to be.

Big Guy is in choir at school and he asked me to come to chapel today to see him sing. Even though it was an informal performance, it was going to be the choir’s first of the year. I told him I didn’t think I could make it because of a standing appointment. My heart ached as I told him, but he smiled brightly and said, “That’s okay mom. There’s always next time.” He is such a cool kid.

I had somewhere to be.

I stopped by my parents’ house this morning after dropping the kids at school and casually mentioned that because of my appointment I would be missing Big Guy’s choir performance. They told me to skip the appointment and watch him perform. I could catch up with what I was missing at the appointment. I wouldn’t be able to do the same with the performance. Their nudge was all I needed.

I made it to the school just as the kids were filing into the chapel. I spotted Big Guy right away. He did not see me. I took my place in the back of the room. There were two other mothers there; mothers of older kids. We smiled at each other and returned our gazes to our children. I saw Big Guy look toward the door. There was an expression on his face that wasn’t exactly disappointed. It was somehow hopeful, yet maybe a little bit deflated. Then he turned slightly and our eyes met. There was an expression that crossed his face, an expression that I know is only for me. It is the same expression he has when he scores a goal in soccer and glances over to see if I noticed, if I was watching his moment of triumph. This kid manages to make my day every single day of the year but today I made his and all I had to do was show up. His expression said it all. It broke my heart because I could have missed it. I almost missed it. I had somewhere to be.

Moments like this remind me of how precious life is and how quickly it passes by. Just yesterday he was this tiny little wonder that I would gaze at for hours, amazed that he was mine and now he is quickly becoming a wonderful young man who is a joy to everyone he encounters. No one tells you how fast it goes by, or they do and you don’t listen. Being a mom has humbled me in ways I could never have imagined. Just today I was reminded that the things I do for myself will never be as vital as the things I do for my children; especially those things that show them how important they are to me.

Today I had somewhere to be: In chapel, watching my kid sing.

Maison de Luxe

Maison de Luxe

Greystone Manor; Greystone Mansion; Maison de Luxe; Luxe Magazine; Marcali Designs

Work has been keeping us extra busy lately but every once in a while all of the hard work yields a fun reward. Last night was one of those nights. David and I attended the V.I.P. cocktail party reception and preview of Luxe Magazine’s gorgeous Maison de Luxe Designer Show House at the historic Doheny Greystone Mansion (which you may recognize from a ton of different films. Greystone actually has a list of all of the films if you are interested. Find it here).  Our furniture design company, Marcali Designs, is one of the show house sponsors and we felt extremely privileged to be included in the festivities. I will post more about the night soon, but for now, here is a shot I uploaded from the party to Instagram. Happy Friday!

If you would like to visit Maison de Luxe (and you totally should), you can purchase tickets here.  If you do visit, be sure to look out for our Trieste stool – it is in the ladies’ lounge bathroom on the first floor.

Happy Friday!

Tracks – An Incredible Journey

Tracks – An Incredible Journey

The other night we were at David’s parents’ house searching for a movie that the whole family could watch together on Netflix. We settled on the Australian film, Tracks. Although the boys put up quite a lot of resistance in the beginning, wanting to watch How to Train Your Dragon or The Great Mouse Detective instead, they eventually came around and became absolutely engrossed in the movie about the “camel lady.”

tracks movie poster

Tracks, which is based on Robyn Davidson’s best-selling memoir of the same name, tells the story of Davidson’s 1970s solo trek across the Australian desert from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean with her dog, Diggity, and four camels. The perilous journey, which encompasses 1,700 miles of harsh Australian dessert, was partially sponsored by National Geographic on the condition that Davidson allow its photographer,  Rick Smolan, to meet up with her occasionally to document the trip. Davidson would go on to write the article in National Geographic that accompanied Smolan’s photographs (you can see Smolan’s actually pictures of the journey here.

tracks movie 02

The film stars Mia Wasikowska (of Alice in Wonderland fame) and Adam Driver (who I loved in This is Where I Leave You), is reminiscent of Wild without all of the sex and drugs (okay, maybe there was a little sex, but no drugs). It gets off to a bit of a slow start, but if you stick with it, you will not be disappointed. Wasikowska, who basically carries the entire film on her shoulders, delivers a ruggedly authentic performance that will leave you both captivated and emotionally drained. Adam Driver’s upbeat charm and optimistic outlook interjects bursts of energy in just the right places so that the oftentimes monotonous journey does not become overly downcast or dreary. The movie made us laugh and made us cry, but it mostly left us in wonder. The cinematography alone would make the film worth seeing. Tracks is absolutely stunning and will make you long for a visit to the Australian Outback.

tracks movie 01

[all images via imdb]

Fashion and the Kindness of Strangers

Fashion and the Kindness of Strangers

A couple of weeks ago I was in Target and I noticed the displays for Adam Lippes for Target so I made my way over to check them out. Adam began his career at Ralph Lauren (one of my all-time favorites) before making his way over to Oscar de la Renta (swoon!) and eventually branching out and launching his own brand. I am a huge fan of his overall aesthetic and there were a couple of sweaters that I snagged immediately. I was getting ready to walk away when a lady wearing one of the chicest outfits I have ever seen in the aisles of Target approached me (her outfit looked like it belonged in the pages of Vogue rather than in the suburban big box store).  This chic woman, whom I had never met before, thrust one of the pieces into my chest and in all seriousness said, “You have to buy this. It’s not impressive on the hanger, but trust me, we have the same build and this top is amazing.”

Adam Lippes Target 03

“Um, okay.” I stammered, not really sure of what to make of the situation. I mean, I love fashion and I can get as excited about it as the next girl, but I have never once in my life been so excited about a single piece of clothing that I would insist that a total stranger absolutely had to buy one too. The lady was holding one of the aforementioned tops in her hands staring at me, obviously waiting for confirmation of my answer. As soon as I made my acquiescence to buy one of my own, she seemed satisfied and trotted off to pay for her “amazing” new top (as well as several other pieces from the collaboration).

Adam Lippes Target

I stood there wide eyed for a moment and then shook my head and started to place the top back onto the rack but then I had second thoughts. What if it really did look as amazing as she said? I sighed and made my way over to the dressing room. The top really didn’t look very impressive (and looks even less so on the website… I’m not sure who styled the model in the shoot, but they did not do the model or the top any justice). The piece, the Shell Crepe Tank in Painterly Plaid Black, has a medium depth V-neck and long hemline with generous side vents.  These types of shirts are rarely something I gravitate toward, but I tried it on anyway. I have to say, I was impressed. Maybe not thrust it into the arms of a totally stranger impressed, but definitely impressed enough to buy it. The v-neck is just low enough to be flattering but not low enough that you feel like you’ll be giving strangers a peep show and the length is perfect to wear either tucked or untucked (though never tucked into slouchy jeans like they have on the Target website. What is that?). Either way, thanks to the kindness of a stranger on an average weekday afternoon, I now possess a lovely, flattering, versatile (and inexpensive) top that I love.

Adam Lippes Target 01

 

 

 

 

Weekend Update

Weekend Update

Hi Everyone!

I hope you all had a lovely Labor Day weekend! Ours was lovely! I hate traveling on holiday weekends and dealing with traffic, so we stayed close to home.

Saturday morning David had to run into LA to check on some metal bases that were at the platers for a project that is finishing up later this month. The boys wanted to have a lazy morning at home, so while David was away I decided to try out a new recipe for Kraut Bierok. Growing up, we used to purchase bierok from an awesome German bakery that wasn’t far from my grandparents’ home in Colorado. Unfortunately the bakery closed a few years ago and everyone in the family has been craving these little lovelies ever since. With a new recipe in hand, I set out on my mission. The results were amazing and I pulled them out of the oven just as David came through the door. Not only were they super easy, I had three very happy boys in my house.

Kraut BierokFliesch Bierok Kraut Burgers

Kraut Bierok/Fliesch Bierok (also known as Kraut Burgerts) fresh out of the oven

Sunday we had the boys’ Hungarian Scout Kickoff party at the beach in Huntington Beach. We drove down early so we could visit our favorite restaurant, Inka Grill, in Costa Mesa (there is also one that is equally good in Lake Forest). David, the boys and I all feasted on Saltado de Mariscos which I can only describe as a phenomenally delicious Peruvian seafood stir-fry. It might just be my favorite food in the whole world. David and the boys agree. Of course, no Peruvian meal would be complete without an Inca Kola to wash it all down!

Inka Grill Costa Mesa

Me and David at Inka Grill

Inka Grill Costa Mesa

And the boys sitting across from us

After lunch we made our way to Huntington Beach for the scout kickoff. The boys had a wonderful time frolicking in the water while I reclined on the beach catching up on my reading list by finally getting started on Candace Bergen’s latest memoir, A Fine Romance (her first memoir, Knock Wood, which I read in high school, is one of my all-time favorite books).  As the sun set, the party really got started. We ate a lovely dinner of lecsó (which is sometimes referred to as Hungarian ratatouille) and started the tábortűz (campfire). We all sat around the fire singing Hungarian songs and watching the scouts perform skits. It was a lovely night and now the boys are super pumped for their next scout meeting.

Family beach time

Family beach time

Candice Bergen A Fine Romance

Catching up on some reading

With my boys

With my boys

David and Little Man

David and Little Man

Me and Little Man

Me and Little Man

The Hungarian Yellow Peppers used to make lecsó

The Hungarian Yellow Peppers used to make lecsó

Yesterday was another laid back day. We watched Hungary face off against Northern Ireland in the UEFA EURO Qualifiers (it ended in a tie after Northern Ireland scored in the 93rd minute). Then we met up with my brother, sister-in-law and nice at my parents’ house to hang out by the pool. Our day ended with a lovely evening going out to dinner with David’s parents. Overall, I would say that the holiday weekend was a success!

David showing his support for the Hungarian national team

David showing his support for the Hungarian national team

LA Galaxy Sideline Photographer

LA Galaxy Sideline Photographer

I have made no secret of the fact that we are huge LA Galaxy fans in our household (which you can read more about here and here), so when David was presented with the opportunity to shoot Sunday’s LA Galaxy match against NYCFC he jumped at the chance. Getting to shoot the game on the field alongside LA Galaxy team photographer, Robert Mora, was a dream. David picked up some great tips and invaluable lessons in sports photography, but more importantly, he had an absolute blast snapping away as the Galaxy beat New York 5-1. The rest of us had a great time watching the game at home and looking out for sideline sightings of David (we were able to make him out three times). Below are just a sampling of his shots from the day. To say that I am proud would be an understatement.

David in an empty StubHub Center before the game

David in an empty StubHub Center before the game

La Galaxy Juninho Steven Gerrard Robbie Rogers Robbie Keane Omar Gonzalez

Players Juninho, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Rogers, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez during warm ups.

LA Galaxy Team Photo

LA Galaxy Team Photo before the game

NYCFC Andrea Pirlo LA Galaxy Robbie Rogers

Shaking hands before the game

LA Galaxy Omar Gonzalez

Defender Omar Gonzalez

NYCFC Josh Saunders

NYCFC Josh Saunders making a save

Steven Gerrard Robbie Keane Gyasi Zardes Omar Gonzalez after LA Galaxy Goal

Steven Gerrard giving props to Gyasi Zardes and Robbie Keane

NYCFC Andrea Pirlo faces off against LA Galaxy Giovani dos Santos

Pirlo and Giovani dos Santos facing off

LA Galaxy Robbie Rogers

Robbie Rogers on a breakaway

Sebastian Lletget and Gyasi Zardes celebrating an LA Galaxy Goal

Sebastian Lletget and Gyasi Zardes celebrating a goal

LA Galaxy Steven Gerrard Celebrating with Sebastian Lletget

Steven Gerrard celebrating with Sebastian Lletget

LA Galaxy Steven Gerrard Robbie Keane Gyasi Zardes Sebastian Lletget

Steven Gerrard and teammates celebrating after one of the Galaxy’s five goals

LA Galaxy Gyasi Zardes

My favorite shot of the day. This is Gyasi Zardes doing his hero walk after a goal

 

Tasty Tuesdays: Cinnamon Roll Macarons

Tasty Tuesdays: Cinnamon Roll Macarons

My niece had a birthday recently and I helped out with a lot of the food. A few days before the party I spent an entire day just making macarons, which are always a huge hit at a party. While I have a tendency to stick to my tried and true recipe (which you can see in this post), since visiting Paris earlier this year I have become a bit more experimental and enjoy testing out new concoctions. For this party I made my basic macarons, chocolate macarons filled with Nutella, apricot macarons, tiramisu macarons and cinnamon roll macarons. They were all a huge hit but my brother and I agreed that the hands down winner were the cinnamon roll macarons. These were such a huge hit that they will definitely become part of my permanent rotation (especially since they are gluten-free which means everyone in our family can eat them).

Cinnamon Roll Macarons

Cinnamon Roll Macarons

Ingredients

  • 225 grams powdered sugar
  • 125 grams ground almonds
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for dusting
  • 110 grams egg whites, aged for at least 48 hours in the refrigerator and brought to room temperature
  • 30 grams granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a pencil, draw one inch circles about 1 inch apart (I actually may have left even less space). Flip the sheets over and return to baking sheets. Set aside.
  2. Heat Oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Sift almond flour, powdered sugar and cinnamon into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat egg whites on medium speed until they start to foam. Add in the sugar and increase the speed to high. Continue beating on high until stiff, shiny peaks form.
  5. Gently fold the almond flour/powdered sugar mixture into the egg whites until the mixture is just incorporated and you can see no egg whites.
  6. Transfer the batter into a piping bag fitted with a large, round tip, and pipe the batter onto the cookie sheets, using the templates as a guide.
  7. Gently tap the cookie sheet against the counter to release any air bubbles that have formed in the dough (be seriously gentle, it doesn’t take much force to dislodge the air bubbles)
  8. Lightly sprinkle each macaron with cinnamon.
  9. Set aside for 1 hour so that a “skin” can form on the cookies.
  10. Using a wooden spoon to keep the oven door slightly ajar, bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on cookie sheets.
  12. Spread about ½-1 teaspoon of cinnamon cream cheese filling (recipe follows) onto a cookie and then sandwich together with one that is similar in size. Continue until all cookies have been filled.
  13. Refrigerate for 2 hours or longer so that flavors can meld. Bring to room temperature before serving.

 

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Filling

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together the butter and cream cheese.
  2. Add the powdered sugar in batches and continue mixing until smooth.
  3. Add the vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and salt and mix until combined.
  4. Use immediately.

I like to double the frosting recipe so that there is some leftover the next day to smooth over toast (or graham crackers or whatever else is laying around).

Friday Five – August 21, 2015

Friday Five – August 21, 2015

2015-08-21-FridayFive

  1. What I’m Reading: The American Heiress – This delightful novel has been on my to-read list forever and I finally got around to reading it on our trip. The story is about an American Heiress who travels to England in search of a titled husband. It is a quick, interesting read. If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, you’ll love this.
  2. What I’m Eating: Laura’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge – Every time we are in Colorado, I make a visit to Laura’s Fine Candies to pick up a pound (or two) of Laura’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge. I’m not a huge sweets person, but this stuff is addicting and I’ve just discovered that you can order it online. I am in so much trouble!
  3. What I’m WatchingDear Frankie – I honestly think that this is one of the most underrated films I’ve ever seen. My mom introduced me to the film years ago but it has recently been added to Netflix, so I’ve just watched it again and I am every bit as in love as I was the first time I saw it. In the film Emily Mortimer plays a single mom who, wanting to shield her nine year old son, Frankie, from the truth about his father, poses as the boy’s father in a series of letters about life at sea serving on the HMS Accra. As Frankie tracks the ship’s progress, he is elated to discover that it will be docking in his hometown and he cannot wait to finally meet his father. His mother panics and convinces an alluring stranger (played by the always charming Gerard Butler) to play the part of Frankie’s father while the ship is in town.
  4. What I’m WearingPlaid Button Down Shirt by Mossimo Supply Co. – When we were in Colorado I was in need of a light weight shirt that would protect my shoulders from getting burned while we were exploring Papa’s ranch. After checking out several outdoor and sporting shops I was discouraged that most of the women’s offerings were bright pink or purple and the men’s offerings didn’t fit properly. I gave up on my search and made my way to Target to pick up some sunscreen and found these great light weight plaid shirts by Mossimo.
  5. What I’m listening to in the car: Song for Someone by U2 – This song feels like Bono and the gang are getting back to their roots. Definitely a new favorite.