18 Years

18 Years

Jennifer Dolak, David Dolak

I have been with this man for 18 years. We met at a friend’s birthday party. Our friend Todd had actually been trying to set us up for months but he told David that I had an “awesome personality” and he told me that David was “the nicest guy ever.” As I’m sure you can imagine, we assumed that “awesome personality” and “nicest guy” translated into “not so great to look at.” If we had only listened to Todd, we could have had several extra months together but there is no sense dwelling in the past. After the party we were inseparable and we started dating soon after. All I know is that I wouldn’t trade these last 18 years for the world and I am so looking forward to spending the rest of my life with this wonderful man!

 

Europe Trip: És Bisztró Review

Europe Trip: És Bisztró Review

As I have been sorting through the remainder of the pictures from our summer trip in Europe, I’ve had a hard time trying to decide what to include here on the blog. I honestly hope that I haven’t bored you to death reading about our travels and I also want to include things that I think are interesting or that you might enjoy. It can be hard finding the right balance, but I hope that I’ve been doing an okay job. Anyway, I’m putting together a final look at Budapest and everything was coming together nicely except I wanted to write about this restaurant that we visited but it wasn’t really fitting in with the rest of the post so I have decided to write about it separately.

Image via the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus website

Image via the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus website

The restaurant is called És Bisztró and according to its website it is a “wine bar, beer pub, terrace, bistro, restaurant, brasserie.” Located in the heart of the pedestrian zone in Budapest inside the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus (the hotel also houses Nobu), És Bisztró has everything that you would expect from a trendy restaurant, but it also has a traditional twist that sets it apart from the other cool kids in the restaurant business. This is no small feat considering that És is just one of many hip restaurants in Downtown Budapest’s Gastronomic Quarter.

The embroidered napkins add to the overall atmosphere

The embroidered napkins add to the overall atmosphere  

I would love to say that we had done a lot of research that led us to dining at És, but the honest truth is that the boys were tired and hungry and Little Man saw one of the plates being presented to a customer and he insisted, “I want to eat there, right now!” It was a beautiful day so we opted to eat on the patio. The wait staff was warm, welcoming and conversed just as easily with Mat in English as they did with David in Hungarian. The thing that won me over with the staff was how they treated my children. The boys are extremely well behaved in restaurant situations but often times when you walk into a restaurant with little kids (especially a fashionable or popular restaurant), they not only give you dirty looks, but they relegate you to the furthest corners of the restaurant where you are often forgotten or at the very least treated insufficiently. This was not the case with the staff at És. After the warm welcome we were shown to a prime table at the center of the patio and our waitress made a point of addressing the boys as if they were actual people instead of talking over their heads. This is a rarity not only in trendy upscale restaurants, but in restaurants in general.

Traditional Hungarian food is the best!

Traditional Hungarian food is the best!

As their website notes, És serves “typical dishes of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy” but with a modern flair. És actually means “and” in Hungarian and the name is representative of the fact that fine dining does not have to be an either/or experience but can be all-inclusive. You can have traditional dishes AND modern interpretations; you can have a fine dining experience AND a relaxing meal with friends. You can be warm and welcoming to adults AND small children. As their website asks, “Why have ‘either-or’ when you can also have ‘ÉS’?” There are a lot of great restaurants in Budapest but it is hard (and before finding this one I thought impossible) to find one that is both trendy AND traditional.

Even the presentation is beautiful!

Even the presentation is beautiful!

Traditional with a modern flair doesn’t even do the food at ÉS justice. The chefs at the restaurant take everything that I love about Hungarian comfort foods and, through culinary innovation and ingenuity, they take it to a whole other level. Everything was cooked perfectly, the flavors melded together seamlessly and everything flowed together harmoniously. Whatever you do, don’t pass up the bread. They bring it out piping hot in terracotta pots and serve it with delicious butter sprinkled with black salt. Divine! It has definitely been added to the list of places that we must visit the next time we are in Hungary.

The bread was amazing!

The bread was amazing!

Happy Spring and Blueberry Muffins

Happy Spring and Blueberry Muffins

Happy first day of spring! We are having a beautiful start to spring here in Southern California and we’ve already received several invitations to beach parties this weekend. I can’t wait! I’m finishing up things at work right now so I can get an early start to the weekend, but I thought I’d share this recipe that I made the other night when I had some leftover blueberries. These were eaten piping hot out of the oven and there were no leftovers, so I guess they were a success. I hope you have a lovely weekend!

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins *Hungarian Housewife*

Gluten-Free Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups gluten-free multi-purpose flour (like King Arthur)
  • ½ cup almond flour/almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 8 Tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line muffin tins with liners.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, combine flours, baking soda, xanthan gum, sea salt and cinnamon and set aside.
  3. In another bowl, cream together butter and sugar.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time until combined.
  5. Mix in milk, sour cream and vanilla extract.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.
  7. Fold in 2 ½ cups blueberries.
  8. Fill muffin cups with batter.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until tester inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
  10. Allow muffins to cool in the muffin tin (or eat them piping hot with butter!).
Europe Trip: Wine Tasting in Tokaj

Europe Trip: Wine Tasting in Tokaj

I only have a few more posts about our Europe trip, but they are all pretty special so I don’t want to leave them out. One of the most memorable nights of our trip was the night we took a journey into wine country. Dédi’s village is not far from Hungary’s famous Tokaj region so it wasn’t a long journey, but it was an exciting one.

Wine tasting in Tokaj

Wine tasting in Tokaj

Before I get too far into our adventure, there is something you must understand about consuming alcohol in Hungary. In the last few years Hungary has adopted a no tolerance policy when it comes to alcohol, meaning that you cannot have any alcohol whatsoever in your system if you are going to be driving. This isn’t a problem and is actually a good law, but it is the sort of law that makes it difficult to go wine tasting, especially in a country where wine tasting involves consuming several large glasses of wine in their entirety. You see, in Hungary when you are wine tasting, you don’t take a sip and spit it out like you might do in Napa Valley. Really, calling it wine tasting is a bit of a misnomer since you don’t simply taste the wine, you imbibe it. The process starts when they give you your first full glass of wine (and I mean FULL). You must consume the entire first glass of wine if you have any hope of testing any others because you have to use the same glass for each sample. There is also no nifty little receptacle in which to dump the extra wine so it is imperative that you dump any excess down your throat. Do you see where I’m going with this? To go wine tasting in Hungary means that you will be consuming copious amounts of wine.

The drive from Dédi’s village to Tokaj is beautiful

The drive from Dédi’s village to Tokaj is beautiful

Aren't those hills gorgeous?

Aren’t those hills gorgeous?

When we were invited to go wine tasting, David volunteered to drive because Mat had never been wine tasting in Hungary and the last time I went I was only able to smell the wine because I was pregnant with Big Guy at the time. Our hosts, however, were having none of that and wanted to ensure that everyone was able to partake. They told us not to worry about anything and that they would pick us up at Dédi’s house in a couple of hours. What they didn’t mention over the phone was that they would be arriving in a tour bus… a big one. You cannot even imagine the commotion a giant tour bus arriving in a tiny rural Hungarian village causes. To say all eyes were on Dédi’s house would be an understatement. The boys immediately dubbed it the “party bus.”

The "party bus" outside of Dédi’s house

The “party bus” outside of Dédi’s house

Our hosts for the evening are very good friends of David’s parents and they actually own a touring company, driving tour busses filled with tourists all over Europe. While we knew what they did for a living, we never imagined that they would use one of their tour busses to take us wine tasting. Let me just say that you haven’t experienced the small winding roads of Hungary’s wine region until you’ve done it in a giant tour bus. I had no idea something that large could make such small turns.

Do you think I was excited about our transportation?

Do you think I was excited about our transportation?

It's okay though because Mat was excited too.

It’s okay though because Mat was excited too.

Buddies

Buddies

Getting ready to depart.

Getting ready to depart.

Dédi and Ági en route to Tokaj.

Dédi and Ági en route to Tokaj.

Our evening took us to a small wine cellar where the vintner, a sweet man named Török Lajos (Hungarians always put the last name first), hosted a lovey evening at the start of which he told us that he hoped we had come prepared to eat, drink and be merry. We had. Hungarian wine tasting is never done on an empty stomach. Our first glass of wine was served along with Kalács, a Hungarian braided sweet bread (is extremely similar to challah). We were also treated to sweet cherries and meggy (sour cherries – which are not actually sour, but tart).

We enjoyed the first part of our tasting outside on the terrace.

We enjoyed the first part of our tasting outside on the terrace.

Eating Kalács

Eating Kalács

Seriously, we had the best time!

Seriously, we had the best time!

The vintner, Lajos, bringing out freshly picked cherries

The vintner, Lajos, bringing out freshly picked cherries

There is nothing like freshly picked Hungarian cherries

There is nothing like freshly picked Hungarian cherries

Meggy (sour cherries) are the perfect mix of sweet and tart

Meggy (sour cherries) are the perfect mix of sweet and tart

The Tokaj region of Hungary is quite famous among oenophiles and France’s Louis XV is said to have once called it “the wine of kings and the king of wines.” While it produces many types of wine, the region is most noted for its Aszú which dates back to the mid-17th century, making it one of the oldest types of wine in the world. It is a sweet amber colored wine produced from grapes that have been allowed to nobly rot (basically the grapes turn to raisins while still on the vine and start growing a benign grey fungus). It sounds gross, but I assure you that the resulting wine is delicious. Aszús are rated from 1 point to 6 points, 6 being the highest and most sought after rating (and the sweetest). Anything ranked higher than 6 points falls into the category of Aszú-Eszencia, which is quite rare and something that you don’t usually encounter on a wine tasting excursion. However, we were treated to the experience of tasting Tokaji Aszú-Eszencia (Tokaji Essence of Aszú) on this particular evening.

Our first glass of wine

Our first glass of wine

Lajos taught us all the Hungarian way of holding a wine glass

Lajos taught us all the Hungarian way of holding a wine glass

Our happy table

Our happy table

Big guy took a minute away from playing to sit with us

Big guy took a minute away from playing to sit with us

My handsome guy

My handsome guy

The Essence of Aszú has been described by some as the most exclusive wine in the world. It is EXTREMELY expensive (like thousands of dollars for one little bottle) and not something that you would just have sitting around to break out at a casual dinner with friends. I’m not quite sure how to best describe it to someone who hasn’t tasted it before. It actually can’t technically be labeled wine because it has such a high concentration of sugar. It is sweeter and more concentrated than honey and it smells like orange blossoms in spring. Honestly, months later I can still remember the exact smell and taste. It is not generally used to drink on its own but rather used in the blending of wines. It has a very low alcohol concentration (3-5%) and it is filled with probiotics. It will also keep for centuries without degrading in quality. Dédi never drinks, but she did sample the Eszencia.

The boys couldn't drink wine but they had lots of fun

The boys couldn’t drink wine but they had lots of fun

Bug guy climbing a tree and our dinner being carried inside

Bug guy climbing a tree and our dinner being carried inside

We were also treated to tasting a glass of wine that had not been fully fermented. Treated might not be the best term because partially fermented wine is anything but a treat. It was educational and I’m glad I got to taste it as part of the overall experience, but drinking partially fermented wine is a lot worse than you can even imagine it would be. Thankfully, we weren’t given a full glass of that one.

David enjoying his wine lesson

David enjoying his wine lesson

The photographer at work

The photographer at work

Lajos teasing that Dédi drank all the wine

Lajos teasing that Dédi drank all the wine

The boys all enjoyed playing with Legos

The boys all enjoyed playing with Legos

Another thing that sets Hungarian wine tasting apart is that the vintner often drinks alongside you and gets more generous with his/her pours with each glass. Of course, as the night wore on we also became more generous with our pocket books agreeing to take home several bottles of wine that we would later have to figure out how to get home into our suitcase. The wine tastings are also almost always accompanied by a large family style meal of traditional Hungarian foods and a tour of the wine cellar.

Getting ready for dinner

Getting ready for dinner

Examining a map of the Tokaj region

Examining a map of the Tokaj region

Sitting down to eat

Sitting down to eat

About to go down into the cellar

About to go down into the cellar

The cellar (or pince) is the best part of the whole experience. It is extremely cold and everything is covered with noble mold, of which the vintners are always quite proud. It is always fun to hear about where the various wines are in the process of their fermentation and to see all of the barrels neatly lined up. Mat was able to sample some wine straight from the barrel using a special wine thief (lopó).

The barrels of wine inside of the pince

The barrels of wine inside of the pince

Bottles of wine covered in "noble mold"

Bottles of wine covered in “noble mold”

Mold growing on paper money from around the world

Mold growing on paper money from around the world

We found a dollar!

We found a dollar!

Lajos pulling wine from the barrel

Lajos pulling wine from the barrel

Mat sampling the wine

Mat sampling the wine

Mat learned how to work the lopó

Mat learned how to work the lopó

By the end of the night, we were all three sheets to the wind and quite thankful that we had a bus to take all of us home. While Tokaji wine’s high sugar content makes you feel its effects sooner, and despite the fact that I consumed more wine that night than I probably had any other, I nor anyone else in our party had any adverse effects the following day. Many Hungarian’s swear that you will never get a hangover from drinking Aszú and judging by our wine tasting adventure, they may just be right.

At the end of the night  I clearly look as though I consumed my fair share of wine.

At the end of the night I clearly look as though I consumed my fair share of wine.

The Stressed Heart

The Stressed Heart

Solo before being dropped off on Friday

Solo before being dropped off on Friday

Last week was a bit more stressful than normal so when we went to church yesterday and the sermon was titled “The Stressed Heart” I started to wonder if my pastor had been spying on me.

Of course, there were the usual stresses of work and the kids’ school and the added strain of having several design projects culminating at the same time and the impending arrival (hopefully) of new equipment that we need to fit into an already cramped workroom. Those were all stresses I could handle. I can schedule out the design projects so overlaps are minimal and I like rearranging things in the workroom every now and then to make things more efficient. There was another stress, however, that felt more immediate at upsetting.

The main source of my anxiety in the last week was my dog, Solo, and more specifically his health. We took him into the vet for a routine exam and discovered that they needed to do a biopsy on a lump he has on his back. Of course, immediately my mind went to the worst. He’s eleven years old and everyone is always commenting on how peppy he is for a senior dog. I think deep down, I was waiting for the ball to drop. Then as the vet looked him over she said that he needed some dental work, which I had sort of suspected because his breath was unusually bad the last few weeks. This shouldn’t have upset me and it really shouldn’t have been a cause of anxiety, but it was. Dental work meant that they needed to put him under and that’s when I really started to panic.

He has had his teeth cleaned several times, so being put under wasn’t anything new but this time it felt different. The last time he was in for anything routine, which at that time was vaccinations, he nearly died. I’m not being dramatic when I say that. He had an extremely severe reaction and had to have two blood transfusions. I could feel my heart pounding and my ears started to burn. I knew these were early signs of an impending panic attack, but with David’s comforting support and yoga breathing, I was able to ward off the attack.

Once we got to the car it was a different story though. I was in all out panic mode. What if? What if? What if? I had a hard time even putting all of my what ifs into words. What if they pull his teeth and his tongue sticks out? What if he has a bad reaction to the medicine? What if his biopsy comes back and it is cancer? What if the absolute worst happens? I couldn’t even bring myself to say out loud what the absolute worst was. David knew exactly what I was thinking but he remained calm. He’s an eternal optimist not unlike Sonny (Dev Patel) in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel who says, “Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.” David kept reassuring me that everything would be fine.

We took him in on Friday and I did my best to keep myself busy to avoid excess worry. The vet told us she would call around three o’clock and if everything went well we could probably pick him up around five thirty. When David’s phone rang just after lunch, my heart sank. I was sure that something was wrong. David listened intently and it was impossible to read his expression. Finally he smiled and said, “That’s great news, we’ll be there.” I exhaled deeply feeling like I had taken my first real breath in days. He was waking up from his dental work, which went great, and the lab results came back and that suspicious lump was just a fatty deposit under the skin. Everything was fine. All the worry had been for nothing. The reason the vet was calling so early was that Solo is apparently a champ and he was done way ahead of schedule. When we went to pick him up from the vet, all of the veterinary assistants were raving about how sweet he was and how much they loved him. He was a bit dopey for the rest of the afternoon and he has to take medication and eat special food for the next couple of weeks (he did have to have some extractions but the good news is that his tongue is still perfectly contained in his mouth). I had worried for nothing. He’s even one of those weird dogs who have no problem taking their disgusting antibiotics (seriously you can put anything on his food and he will still eat it).

Anyway, at church on Sunday the pastor’s sermon reiterated that all of my worry had been for nothing. The sermon’s message focused on two verses from Philippians that say, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7). This week’s goal is to meditate on those verses and start worrying less.

Europe Trip: Košice Slovakia

Europe Trip: Košice Slovakia

I mentioned before that the village where David’s grandmother lives is not far from the Hungary-Slovakia border so whenever we are in Hungary, it is fun to take a day trip into Slovakia to visit the city of Košice (the Hungarian’s call it Kassa which was the city’s official name when it was still part of Hungary). Our main purpose for visiting Košice on this trip was to show Mat and the boys St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral (Dom svatej Alzbety in Slovak) because it is not only a really cool cathedral, but it is also the final resting place of Ferenc Rákóczi II whose sarcophagus lies in the underground crypt. The cathedral is the largest church in all of Slovakia and according to Wikipedia it is one of the easternmost Gothic cathedrals in all of Europe. We were joined on our adventure by our dear friends, Ági, Karcsi, Gabó, Peti, and Gabó and Peti’s sweet little boy.

St. Elizabeth's Cathedral

St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral

Angel bearing the coat-of-arms of Košice

Angel bearing the coat-of-arms of Košice

Another view of the cathedral and the boys posing with the angel.

Another view of the cathedral and the boys posing with the angel.

Part of our group in front of the cathedral

Part of our group in front of the cathedral

Ferenc Rákóczi II was a Hungarian nobleman and freedom fighter who took up arms and led the Hungarians in an uprising against the Habsburgs. He was also a prince (of both Transylvania and the Estates Confederated for Liberty of the Kingdom of Hungary which was the group who was trying to liberate Hungary from Habsburg rule) and a member of the chivalric Order of the Golden Fleece. Today he is considered a Hungarian national hero and when we visited Hungary with my parents in 2006 after a long day of wine tasting my dad announced that Rákóczi was his “guy.” For obvious reasons, we have never let my dad live this down and we take every opportunity we can to send him pictures of his guy.

I was in love with the Gothic architecture.

I was in love with the Gothic architecture.

Entering the cathedral

Entering the cathedral

We took a very interesting and in depth tour of the Cathedral and Rákóczi’s crypt with a Hungarian historian (David translated for those of us who couldn’t keep up). My favorite part was her explanation of the church’s fresco depicting the life of Rákóczi.

Fresco inside St. Elizabeth's depicting the life of Ferenc Rákóczi II

Fresco inside St. Elizabeth’s depicting the life of Ferenc Rákóczi II

Dédi praying and Rákóczi’s tomb.

Dédi praying and Rákóczi’s tomb.

Inside the crypt

Inside the crypt

Flag of the freedom fighters

Flag of the freedom fighters

Following our tour of the cathedral, we walked over to the Opera House State Theatre (Štátne divadlo Košice). Between St. Elizabeth’s and the Opera house is a musical fountain where the boys played for quite some time before they wanted to walk over to the main street (Hlavná ulica) to get some ice cream from a local shop. Mat and Karcsi opted to go to a nearby pub instead where David said it was extremely funny to watch two men, one who only spoke Hungarian and one who only spoke English try to order beer from a bartender who only spoke Slovak. Apparently pointing and nodding won out because both men were able to get the beers they wanted.

The bell that used to hang in the tower and the tower itself.

The bell that used to hang in the tower and the tower itself.

St. Elizabeth's Cathedral and the Opera House

St. Elizabeth’s Cathedral and the Opera House and fountain

The boys enjoying the view

The boys enjoying the view

More of the Opera House and fountain

More of the Opera House and fountain

Boys playing in the fountain

Boys playing in the fountain

Walking down main street

Walking down main street

Getting ice cream

Getting ice cream

Sharing a drink in the bar

Sharing a drink in the bar

The next stop on our tour of Košice took us to the Executioner’s Bastion and the Memorial House of Ferenc Rákóczi which is a replica of the house where he lived during his Turkish exile. We were sure to all take pictures with my dad’s guy (a statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II that was donated to the city of Košice by the government of Hungary in 2006 in honor of the 330th anniversary of his birth) and the boys all had fun playing on the cannons.

Making our way toward the Executioner’s Bastion

Making our way toward the Executioner’s Bastion

Posing with the statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II

Posing with the statue of Ferenc Rákóczi II

Of course, the boys found a cannon

Of course, the boys found a cannon

Our final stop on the tour was to the OC Galéria which is one of the coolest malls I have ever visited. Honestly, it almost made me feel like I was home in the US! This was the children’s favorite part of the trip because they were able to spend quite a bit of time playing in the large play area.

Mat was impressed with the Galeria

Mat was impressed with the Galeria

The boys playing in the indoor playground

The boys playing in the indoor playground

Things I Love: March Picks

Things I Love: March Picks

2015-03-Jennifers March Picks

  1. Fixer Upper: My aunt, Sandy, turned me onto this show, which airs on HGTV, a while back and I am completely obsessed! The show follows Chip and Joanna Gaines, owners of Magnolia Homes, an interior design and remodeling business in Waco, Texas, as they help people find the right home in need of a little love and then renovate the home finally revealing the completely refurbished and fully decorated project in the end.  I love that the show presents the design process from beginning until end complete with triumphs and tribulations along the way but what I really love is that it showcases the dynamic between Chip and Joanna who are both immensely talented and are so stinking cute as a couple that it is almost sickening (and I mean that in a good way). I am also completely obsessed with Joanna’s blog, which showcases a lot of their projects and their life on the farm.
  2. The Geronimo Stilton Series by Geronimo Stilton: These are fantastic children’s books written by Italian author Elisabetta Dami under the pseudonym “Geronimo Stilton” (she also writes a series under the pseudonym “Thea Stilton” which follows the adventures of Geronimo’s younger sister). The books follow the many adventures of Geronimo, the editor and chief of the Rodent’s Gazette which is the largest and most famous newspaper on Mouse Island, and his many friends and family members. They are a cool hybrid of a chapter book and a comic book which helps keep my boys’ attention. The book are both engaging and wholesome with plenty of adventure and suspense to keep little boys (and girls!) interested in the story. On a side note, they aren’t always the best bedtime stories because the kids get so into them that they don’t fall asleep!
  3. Noosa Yoghurt: I have been eating this yogurt for years but until recently it was hard to find outside of Whole Foods. Now you can get it everywhere! Noosa Yoghurt is made in Colorado so it already has a leg up on the competition in my book. Then I find out that the company’s founders are Australian which holds a special place in our hearts because after escaping communism in Hungary, David and his parents were given asylum by Australia. Plus they use premium quality (made in CO) ingredients and they taste like a rich, creamy dessert. Seriously what is not to love? I have not found a flavor that I don’t love but my absolute favorite is the coconut. I love to throw in some ground flax seeds and rolled oats for a special breakfast treat. Delish!
  4. Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm: I love, love, love trying new products and I was eager to give this one a go because I am such a fan of the Dr. Jart Black Label. It is seriously neck and neck between the Premium and the Black Label Beauty Balm, but this one may just win out because of the higher SPF (45!!!) and because it leaves my skin looking and feeling dewy all day. This is a total winner and one of my absolute favorites.
  5. Red Wing Heritage Iron Ranger:  I had to throw this on here for David. He currently has two pairs, black and brown, and they are obviously his favorite shoes since all the rest seem to be gathering dust in his closet. I’m sure he’ll have more color options sooner rather than later. The Red Wing Heritage line is all made in the USA (in Red Wing, Minnesota) and they are premium quality work boots that are both stylish and functional (not to mention durable).  They look great both on the job and when going out with friends.
March Madness

March Madness

marcali01

Some of you probably saw the title of this post and thought that I was going to write something about basketball. While basketball is extremely popular in my household and I’m sure we’ll be watching our fair share of the March Madness college basketball tournament, the title is actually referring to how insanely busy March is already shaping up to be. And by the way… how is it March already? I feel like it was just Christmas!

The above photo is from a recent photo shoot we did with some fabrics from our line of Marcali luxury textiles. The blue and yellow fabric on the pillows is actually from our outdoor fabric line and it is seriously the coolest fabric ever and I’m trying to convince David that I need some of it at our house. So far he isn’t biting, but I’m persistent. I’ve been in heavy photo editing mode in the design studio working on new website graphic and promotional items which is a bit tedious but exciting at the same time. We also have some big hospitality projects in the pipeline that have us looking into purchasing some new equipment for the workshop. All exciting stuff, but as I get measurements for the new equipment that David wants, I’m scrambling to figure out where exactly we are going to put everything. Oh, and I have a new interior design project on the horizon. I’m sure I’ll be able to share more of that project as the installs get closer, but we are still in the preliminary planning phases, so it will probably be a while. Yikes! I still have to work out how I’m going to figure in time to sleep. It’s all fun though and I’d rather be busy than not have anything to do.

Weekend Reads for February 28, 2015

Weekend Reads for February 28, 2015

weekend01

How is it the last day of February already? I’m still having a hard time remembering to write 2015 on my checks! Well, this week was certainly eventful on the internet – especially Thursday when we all debated just what color was “the dress”, then  we watched escaped llamas takeover the news and after all of that we were finally given a verdict on net neutrality. Then yesterday, we all learned the sad news of the passing of renowned Star Trek actor and all around cool human, Leonard Nimoy, who reminded us all to “Live Long and Prosper.” We will miss you, Mr. Spock. 

As for other news and happenings, here are some things that caught my eye this week:

  • Have you ever wondered what the ocean would look like if it were a giant slushy? Photographer Jonathan Nimerfroh got some great shots of the semi-frozen ocean waves off the shore of Nantucket and they are insane!
  • And finally, in Hungarian news, Bloomberg Business ran a story this week featuring 8 of the world’s next big wine regions and Tokaj, Hungary was at the top of the list. Anyone who has had the privilege of sampling a bottle of Tokaji wine knows that it totally deserves this distinction.

 

Have a safe and happy weekend!

Throwback Thursday – Malibu 2005

Throwback Thursday – Malibu 2005

I’m swamped at work right now and I’m trying to get everything finished as quickly as possible so I can go home early because my aunt, Sandy and my uncle, Big Bad Jack, are arriving from Colorado today!!! I seriously can’t wait to see them! But, I couldn’t let the day pass without a post, so here is a throwback to 2005 on while taking a walk on the beach in Malibu with David and my dad (my dad was the one taking the picture).

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It was high tide and David and I thought we were far enough from the water to avoid getting hit. We were wrong. My dad knew what was about to happen and he caught us right at the moment that the frigid pacific ocean water hit our legs. We had to drive home with wet jeans but it was totally worth it because nearly a decade later, this is still one of my all-time favorite pictures.