Monday, April 30, 2012

Kuekenhof

As if I could resist taking a cheese-tastic
tourist photo!

To cap off our holiday we headed out on Friday to the Kuekenhof, which is full of flowers, walks and touristy goodness that you would expect to find in Holland. There is the usual large wooden shoes, tulips, windmills and of course stroopwafels. This particular stroopwafel however was not your normal stroopwafel. It was fresh off the griddle warm and as big as my head. No joke. I would have taken a picture, but I couldn't stop eating it long enough to get out my camera. I have no idea how I will be able to eat store bought stroopwafels again (I am sure I will figure it out though). While that was a highlight the flowers and gardens on the property are truly amazing to view. Everywhere you look is saturated with bright vibrant color. Not a bad way to spend your day.

If you ever happen to be in the Netherlands in March, April or May I highly suggest going to the Kuekenhof. It is so big you can fill your entire day wandering the gardens, having a bite to eat and checking out the 100's of hybrids of tulips, daffodil's and hyacinth's. They even have a place for the kids to play and a petting zoo that I think it's safe to say I enjoyed as much as the children.

Purple and Yellow

All the flowers waiting to be picked

So pretty!

The windmill which is located on the property

Rows of flowers

Me and the pig. I wanted to take him home.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mini Break

With the kids on holiday this week the BF and I decided to head out towards the North Sea for a mini break. The place we are staying at has both a water park and an amusement park onsite which means that we have plenty of things to see and do. Since the weather calls for rain a few days this week we are making sure to explore outside whenever it's dry and head to the indoor water park when it rains. Works well for everyone. Now if only I could shake this jet lag all would be in order, but I am pushing through hoping it will go away!

This lovely picture below is of a little boy statue peeing. He swings from side to side like a sprinkler and the trajectory changes randomly so if you think you are far enough away to not get 'peed' on, you are mistaken. Only in Europe. Ha!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Extended

Last week I was lazy and posted this picture without too much information.



Well a few of you have guessed what it is, but I thought I would finally share the secret. I got lash extensions and they are FAB-U-LOUS. What you see above is without mascara and is how I wake up in the morning. How lovely is that? I sometimes just throw one some tinted moisturizer and call it good with so little effort that the cost of maintaining these pays off in ease alone. I love them so much that the thought of waking up with my own longish but blond lashes is just not going to happen any time soon. The lashes last about 4-6 weeks, but you can do touch ups every 2-3 weeks to keep them full and lovely all the time. Guess which route I am going?

If you are in the OC (or want to drive there) I suggest going to Lash Spot, which is where I went. The people were fantastic and the lashes are great!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Parched

I don't know if it's the traveling or the new cleansing product I tried from my BirchBox, but my face is DRY. What's worse is for once my trusty argan oil isn't cutting it. So I quit the cleansing product  (which this is the first thing in a year that I have tried in my BirchBox that has even hinted at not working with my skin) and have been putting everything from old lady moisturizer to argan oil every few hours to try and combat this with not much luck. Then I was on the plane headed to Amsterdam on Saturday and Duty Free was available on the plane prompting me to browse through the catalogue to see if there was anything that might be able to assist with the flaky lizard like state my face had become. Enter in Kiehl's. Years ago Kiehl's was my go to beauty regimen products, but if you haven't noticed I love to try new products and Kiehl's fell off my radar. When I saw that I could purchase the Midnight Recovery Concentrate, I knew that my skin was going to be healed. So in combination with the Ultra Facial Cream (also available on the flight) I woke up this morning to my skin visibly less dry and dramatically softer than when I went to bed. I still have a few dry patches, but a few more nights and I think we will be back to normal. Which is good, because right now I am looking a little tired due to jet lag and I can use all the help I can get!


I may have picked this up as well, but only because I needed to distract from my scaly skin. Really.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Cut

Remember when I was complaining about how long my hair was and how I was too chicken to find a new hair stylist? Well I sucked it up and got my hair cut about two weeks ago. It was not the best cut, but it wasn't the worst either. It lacked structure, but I figured I would just grow it out a bit and hopefully see my lovely stylist from Seattle at some point. Well as luck would have it she and I had a chance to catch up for coffee while I am here in town and she offered to take a look at my hair and see if there was anything she could do. Well she did and there was and I am super grateful she is so awesome. Never under estimate the power of a good hair cut. It can make your day, lift your mood and boost your confidence. I am officially out of pony tail mode. Yay!

If you are in the Seattle area, I can't recommend Jamie enough. She is located in West Seattle, but worth the drive from any direction. You can find her the La Petite Salon website or by calling the salon at 206-937-0886. Just don't make it totally impossible for me to get an appointment.

No smile, but the best photo of the hair that
I could manage last night.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Emerald City

Best door stop ever.

When I was young the Wizard of Oz came on once a year on TV sometime between my birthday and Easter. This was back in the pre-digital, pre-DVD and pre-VCR & Beta days (unless of course you were a millionaire which we weren't) so you didn't have the luxury of watching whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted (and if you were a millionaire in the way early 80's you were probably stuck watching The Sound of Music and M*A*S*H since not much else was released yet). The wait for it to be on TV was huge for me since it was (and still is) one of my favorite films. To this day I still think the scene where she opens the house door into Munchkin land, transitioning from black and white to a brilliant color filled world, is magical.

This is my first trip back to my Emerald City since officially having a new home in SoCal and while I love California, I miss Seattle. Nothing beats flying into SeaTac and seeing the lush green trees, lakes, mountains and the Puget Sound glistening from above. Yesterday was simply an amazing day to arrive because the sun was shining bright and the air had a hint of warmth in it. Days like these are the days that make it hard to live elsewhere, but I must remember that they are few and sometimes way to far between. However today I will take what I can get and enjoy my own little magical moment in the Emerald City.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

And She's Off

Welcome to my first post done entirely with my phone. It's done this way because after a day full of crazy I am just to lazy to go upstairs and get my laptop. Instead I am watching GCB and refusing to move from the couch. So hopefully the spelling and grammatical errors will only be slightly worse than normal. Tomorrow I head out the door for a super quick trip to the beautiful city of Seattle for some work related items and hopefully a few drinks or meals (or both) with my partners in crime. Unfortunately it is a super quick trip since I am headed back to the Netherlands to have some quality time with kids and BF. Someone really needs to work on creating a time and space continuum thingy so we can all have more time together.

Today I have discovered two things that I am going to keep in my arsenal until the end of time or the zombie menace happens, whichever happens first. One - I have reconfirmed that waxing sucks. Sugaring is truly the only way to go. For real yo. If you haven't checked it out. You need to immediately. Two - I will never be with out my new lashes. They are fabulous. I will follow up with details once I am not so darn lazy, but until then...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Magic Suitcase

You know the scene in Mary Poppins when she keeps pulling items out of her travel bag that shouldn't fit in it, but do? I want need that bag. I am a seasoned traveler and if you read this blog at all you know that I 'live' between the US and the Netherlands which means I have stuff in both places. So why is it so hard to pack when heading to one or the other? The weather in SoCal is pretty predictable and the standard for me is a dress or jeans and a t-shirt and when it's cold a cardigan or sweater. Really you don't need more layers than that and you definitely do not need Uggs (ever). The Netherlands is a bit more unpredictable and has highs and lows all over the place so you should be prepared for everything. Seems simple to pack right? Well the issue is I have my favorite things (sweaters, jeans and shoes) that I don't want to be without, even if I don't wear them to that location. Stupid? Yes. Going to change? Nope. This time though I am going to do it in one suitcase for three weeks. Except I won't. No matter how hard I try I am a two suitcase per trip kind of girl, prepared for everything and if not there is always American Express.

They may be beat up and I had to super glue a
part of one for this trip, but you can always
spot it when it shows up on the belt.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Office Space

Venice, Italy

I am leading off with this lovely picture of Venice because it's better than this one.

Can you tell which side is mine? If you look close enough you can
see that the pin on the wine cork board says Clinton-Gore '96.
Bill and Al look so young!

We have some lack of decoration in the office, don't you think? Not to mention zero personality going on with the exception of my zippy new phone cover and a cigar box full of post its. This needs to change ASAP or at least when I get back from Europe in a couple of weeks (yes we are off again at the end of the week). One of the major idea's (besides removing the children's flip flops off my desk that are on the left) are to hang black and white travel photos, like the one leading off this post and below, on the wall.  Between myself and BF we have traveled to a large portion of the globe and I thought it would make an interesting background and conversation piece, since I took the majority of the photos myself that I plan to use. The only problem that I am running into is that I need to add some color. BF is totally a monochromatic guy if you can't tell by the furniture so I need to find a creative way to add some color. Maybe the frames of the photos? I am just not sure. We can't buy new furniture because I care way more about getting a new couch then desk (and I must admit that the chairs are pretty comfortable and good for your back if not pretty), but I need to feel better in this space. Idea's? Thoughts?


California Central Coast

Warsaw, Poland


Prague, Czech Republic

London, UK

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fryeday! Fryeday!

While we were in transition between Seattle and our new house my stuff was in storage, in the dark and all alone for months. In the last two weeks we have opened every box, shook off the dust and put everything in it's place. We are still missing a few things around the house and the walls are still a little bare, but every room is set and can be used for it's intended purpose (including this room, thankyouverymuch I got it done). The next few weeks (or months) we will fill in the missing pieces and hang some pictures, but frankly I am all good with it for now and not to mention tired of decorating. Seriously it sounds fun in the beginning, but it is a lot of work and no one is paying me for it so I am over it. So to celebrate all of my things being let out into the light I decided to highlight a few of my favorite things that I am so happy to see again after such a long time apart.

I love my Frye boots and they are happy to be out!

My mason jars are all here and accounted for.
This one is currently being used to make
 strawberry vodka. Click here for the recipe.

Last weekend I received a bulb
for the camera. So excited to try it out.

Hat boxes and purses! Yay! Love all my hats
and purses, but you can only take so many
on the road.
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Loaf of Meat



One morning at 3:00am about two years ago I woke up on the couch with the TV on HGTV. The show was just ending, but was doing a recap of the items that were being made and there was this turkey meat loaf with spinach that looked so tasty and as a bonus is pretty good for you too. After I got up the next morning (I turned off the TV and went to bed at 3:00am) I tried looking for the recipe online, but couldn't remember the show and couldn't find a recipe that was like what I had seen on TV. So I decided to experiment and make my own. The recipe has had some tweaks depending on who I am making it for, but this is the basic recipe that is easy to make and reheats well for lunches. You can use any ground meat, but to keep it on the lighter side I used turkey. You can add different spices or condiments to suit your taste, but this is pretty tasty on it's own!

Cheesey Spinach Stuffed Turkey Loaf


Ingredients
            1 1/2 pound ground turkey
            1 small onion finely chopped
            3/4 cup bread crumbs (you can use plain or Italian seasoned)
            1 large egg (slightly beaten)
            salt and pepper to taste
           
            Filling:
            1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach (defrosted and drained well)
            2 cloves of garlic (minced)
            1 Tbs of olive oil
            1/2 cup of shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese (I used parm)
            1 tsp Italian seasoning
            1/4 tsp salt
            1/8 tsp garlic powder
           
            Topping:
            Mozzarella sauce (homemade or from a jar)
            1/4 parmesan cheese

Directions
1.     Heat oven to 350.
2.     In large bowl, combine meatloaf ingredients, mixing lightly, but thoroughly.
3.     In medium bowl, combine filling ingredients; mix well. Set aside.
4.     Place meatloaf mixture on waxed paper and pat into a rectangle. Spread filling over meat leaving 3/4 inch border about edges. Starting at one end, roll up jellyroll fashion, pressing meat mixture over spinach filling at both ends to seal.  Place seam side down in pan.
5.      Bake in oven 1 hour. Spread marinara sauce over loaf and continue baking for 15- 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

To serve, cut into 1 inch thick slices and top with extra marinara sauce.

 Enjoy!


A key Ingredient

Turkey Rectangle with Spinach
Turkey Roll
And Done!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Last One

The hold out

You know that room. The one that is the last to get done, the one that you just don't seem to get around to finishing and setting up? Well that is the one I am tackling today and it is hard to want to do it. That last bit of unpacking just seems so tedious at this point. When the rest of the house is only missing things on the walls it is hard to get motivated, but I am going to get it done today. Even if it kills me, which I understand is a tad dramatic.

In other news I have 3 lbs of strawberries that I have no idea what to do with. Any suggestions? I might head over to Pinterest to see if anything super cool and neat is being done with them, but if you have a go to recipe or idea I would love to hear it.





Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Life and Lemons


This weekend for Easter we went to my parents for a festive brunch at the beach. The weather was sunny and warm, the company was great and the food was fantastic. I contributed to the table with asparagus wrapped with prosciutto (yum) and a lemon olive oil cake. The cake is so easy (although it can take a little time) and good that it is a go to recipe that is sure to be a pleaser every time. I used this recipe and this time around I had regular lemons on hand (which is just as tasty as the Meyer lemon version) and while I don't always use 100% organic ingredients I do always use as fresh as I can get. The one thing I always make sure to do though is use good (which usually means a little more expensive) olive oil. It makes such a difference in the taste that I really think you have to. I also like to add a side of berries with it, just because berries are awesome. Give this recipe a try the next time you have a few lemons hanging around. You won't regret it.






Monday, April 9, 2012

Home Sweet Home

I have been absent the last week or so because I was either jet lagged or crying tears of joy over seeing my shoes for the first time in 6 months. Seriously important stuff. I was pretty much gone from all forms of social media, the blog and kinda in the dark about the world news, all so I could get the house and myself in order. This week that has all changed. While the house is not 100% put together, we are more there than not so I can get back to my Internet way of life. I am sure you all have missed me as much as I have you. If not I will continue to believe it anyway.

While unpacking I discovered some things I forgot I had, found things broken that I wish weren't (why can't the dollar store dish break instead of the one that was 60 years old and packed so carefully? I bought the dollar store glass just so it could break. Isn't that the whole point of the dollar store? Other than buying the strangely fluorescent orange Cheetos that aren't Cheetos and you would never eat, but they are a good conversation starter. Or is that just me?) and things I can't believe I packed in Seattle only to throw away down here. In my defense I was sick when I was packing up the condo and can't be held 100% responsible for my actions. Now that that part is over there is lots of new stuff to share from here in the OC, but until then I will share my favorite part about living here in the OC.

Birds are making noise early in the morning, but these were
just have fun flying around the canyon.
This is right outside our front door. It makes breakfast that much
better when you sip your coffee and get to enjoy this.
Plus the amazing weather we have been having makes breakfast
 on the porch amust do everyday.
This is a path into the canyon that I take every morning on my run.
I see about 10 - 15 bunnies, lizards and lots of birds every day.
One day I will get a picture of a bunny!
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