Thursday, December 30, 2010

Vinegar = Miracle Stain Remover?

If you know me, you know I'm a tad clumsy at times. Well, the other night was no exception. I was trying to cork some fancy new balsamic vinegar we received for the holidays when the bottle flew out of my hands and Balsamic Vinegar (you know the VERY dark colored one) flew every where - the table (no biggie), our cream colored linen West Elm chairs (HUGE biggie), Adrienne's grey knit UGG boots (even BIGGER biggie) and the light beige carpet.  Can you say freak out attack?  
I was calculating the cost of this spill in my head- one new chair $100 something, new boots for Adrienne $100 something, stains on the carpet that I have to look at until my landlord replaces it (you can't even put a price on that with my OCD) and then JILLIAN ROSE saved the day.  
"Just use white vinegar and it will remove the stains," says Jilly.  Thank goodness for Siri, blog author of Siriously Delicious I had white vinegar on hand from all the experimental cooking I've been doing these days with her fabulous recipes. 

White Vinegar I have a NEW found love for you!
(even though you stink)

 All we had to do was dab the excess balsamic and put some white vinegar on a towel and start spot cleaning the spots.  Other than everything smelling like an Easter egg dying fest, the chairs, boots and carpet are all clean. 

Here's Jilly assisting on a little more spot cleaning of the carpet. 


 If you know me, you also know I'm a total clean freak, so while we were on the ground spotting, I grabbed some Resolve and cleaned a few more spots. 

Phew, thank goodness for wacky remedies that work. 
Happy Cleaning!!


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Boys & Girls Guide to Getting Down

Yup that's right, that's the title of a movie we recently borrowed and watched twice already.

Leave it to Larry Castruita to know about this movie. 

If you have ever lived and partied in LA, especially in the 90s you will die laughing!


Ho-Ho-Holiday Highlights!

 Meeting Cooper...
and seeing Kether and JJ! (of course)

 Bloody Mary's at the Ritz in Half Moon Bay.
The start to lots of tasty beverages along the way!
 The Creedons. 
I love them ('nough said)!

Oysters at Willi's in Healdsburg! 
A must go to restaurant.

Our sweet, sweet Bed n' Breakfast.
 The Grape Leaf Inn is such a treat.  
Each room unique, with steam showers and soaking tubs, wine tasting in their cellar daily, homemade breakfast with every last detail.

 The Chiurcos.
Another amazing couple we don't get to see nearly enough.  :(

The kids/family!

Seeing Susie getting better each day! 
And watching Steve (Dad/D3) be the incredible husband and dad we all know and love!

Holidays 2010 complete! 
Now for New Years and 2011.


Monday, December 27, 2010

We're BACK! Phew!

Our Cali Tour has ended and we are back home! 
Hip hip hooray! 

Half Moon Bay
San Francisco
Santa Rosa
Back to Novato
Can't wait to post pics from my fabulous new camera (thanks to my loving husband).
We had a wonderful time visiting friends along the way and seeing Shane's family.
We were spoiled with good food and great hosts!
One car full of presents, wine, way too much junk food
(breaky burrito, laffy taffy, sour gummies, soy lattes, sunflower seeds, Cheetos, Twix to be exact)
tummy aches, 8 hours of driving and then needing to stop at Best Buy for more gifts for Shane's staff and we were home last night! 
I'd say, NEVER again, but I know come next  year I'll be ready to do it all over again.  
Hope everyone had a Happy Holidays!
I am feeling very blessed and thankful for mine. 
Looking forward to ringing in the New Year with the Peykoffs!


P.S. The cookbooks were a HUGE hit.  I highly recommend this gift.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

How cute is this?

I picked up this little ornament for our bowling team!

I put the year, each person's bowling name (Britney Spares, Daddy Dizzle, You Good, Z-),
and our Team Name (Spare Me) on the bowling pin.
Can't wait to get them in the mail. 
Go here for your personalized ornaments. 
coupon code: THANKS226
for 20% off your order

Happy Shopping!


Holiday Cards are out!

We aren't confused, I swear.
At least not about the holidays. 
To us, they are about food, family and presents!
We (I) decided to try and be somewhat original with our holiday cards this year.
So here they are!
Don't discriminate...
Celebrate it ALL!
We do. 
 These were our stamps, check out  this website for your photo stamps. 
I almost like the stamps more than cards these days.
Thank you to our good friend Jillian Rose for the fun and fabulous photos.  
Special thanks to my momma for the hand knit Santa hats that are too cute for words! 
The Balls

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A funny childhood story and then what today's kiddos are into!

When I was young it was ALL about Cabbies (Cabbage Patch Kids).  
I received my first one for Christmas from my dad.  
He went shopping Christmas day (in very typical last minute dad style),
so there weren't many choices of Cabbies left. 
For lack of better ways to put it my first baby had darker skin.  
She kinda looked like this
Her name was Pauline Essy. 
And I LOVED her more than anything. 
What I love more is that I was raised to be appreciative of ALL gifts and the color of her skin didn't even cross my little mind until I returned to school from Christmas break... 

The reason I even bring this up is because I was reminiscing about my childhood and dollies.  
You see, tomorrow night, one of my BFFs Kelly is arriving for a last minute visit with her hubby and little girl Ella and on Thursday we are headed to American Girl at The Grove. 
I don't know who's more excited, me or Ella? 
Probably me because she has NO idea what she's in for yet.
And I do because I was just online designing my very own American Girl doll that looks just like me (unlike you know who). 
It's Ella's 4th Birthday and what a birthday it will be. 
She gets to visit her Auntie Sam and Uncle Shane, go to American Girl and get a doll, see Bon Bon, then off to Disneyland for her first time with mommy, daddy and the Ange family.
She's one lucky chickie and I can't wait to share these special moments with her.

Can't wait for the Creedon family arrival tomorrow night!


Sunday, December 5, 2010

AMAZING tantilizing flavors, oh me oh my!

Do yourself a favor, do not stop, head straight to Trader Joe's and your local CVS, market...
and buy the above!
You will NOT be disappointed or be able to eat just one. 
To the left, peppermint pretzel thins oh my, these white chocolate covered pretzels with a hint of a peppermint candy cane crushed up, are TO DIE for!
To the right are white chocolate peppermint Hershey kisses, yummo! 
My mom and I are thinking these could be quite tasty pressed into a snicker doodle or sugar cookie?
Enjoy all the seasonal things big and small!
Happy Holidays!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Happy 3rd Night of Hanukkah and My Cookbook

Here's a little picture of our festival of lights!

So far so good in lighting our candles every night and opening gifts, lets see if we can make it to the end.

In a recent post, I blogged about the cookbook I made for our family with Blurb for the holidays. 
Yesterday, I received the final product in the mail and in trying to make myself feel better about it's miniature size I went and got out several of my cook books. 

You see mine is the blue one, so it's not the smallest I've seen, but...
It could be used for a cabbage patch kid or you can take it with you in your purse to the market, so you have the ingredients for the recipe you're shopping for.
At least these are the silver lining bright side of things I'm trying to see right now. 
Hopefully the family will love it non the less and not ride me too hard about it's wee size. 
I'm still trying to get them to forget my little Carlin/Lopez gift mishap a few years back. 
The moral of the story is maybe buying gifts is better/easier than making them after all!
And order 1 copy before ordering all 18. 
The end. 
Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hannukah!

I would really like one of these for our couch. 
It just makes me happy! 
(maybe I should break down and spend some of my Pottery Barn gift cards from our wedding that have been rotting in my purse?)

Looking forward to lighting the candles tonight and celebrating the first night of Chan with Shane and Jilly! 
1st Wednesdays at The Brentwood, can't wait to see what it's all about. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

First Annual SC Motor Home Tailgate

We (the Balls) and friends really know how to party!
Let's take a trip down memory lane. 
Friday afternoon we decided, let's do it, let's just go down to USC and try to camp out. And that we did. 
We parked in a line of trucks/RVs in a zone that said No Stopping (guess there is an exception for the night before football games, as cops were patrolling and no one said a thing). We stayed there overnight till they let us in around 4:45 a.m. Yep, that's when I woke up to break lights and saw the line was moving.  I hopped out of bed, leaped over Shane, nearly stepping on Larry and got into that drivers seat.  I put the motor home in drive and took off.  I wasn't about to let anyone cut in front of us.  I was on a mission!  We got the second to best spot in the house (a sea of RVs, in Lot 2 near the Coliseum). 
The adrenalin was high and there was no turning back now, it was time to set up camp and await our friends to come and join our tailgate.  By 8 a.m. we had the satellite working, games on the TV, corn hole and beer pong ready to play.  Larry was set up to DJ and throw down the jams all day and night!  
By game time, we probably had 40-50 friends come through, some to say hi and some to stay.  It was an absolute blast.  We BBQed two meals and my entire USC 7 layer dip was takin down.  The rain didn't stop the party either.  Everyone huddled to watch the end of the game under the awning.
Unfortunately the Trojans lost, but we won at officially having the best tailgate I've ever been to!

Looking forward to making this our little Trojan tradition!


Friday, November 26, 2010

Ho, Ho, Ho!

 Finally finished Our Family Cookbook
Can't wait to receive all the copies, wrap them up and give them as holiday gifts. 
If you've ever wanted to publish a book, check out blurb
It's an amazing publishing site and tool. 


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gobble, gobble, gobble...

 Classic Shane story...
If you know my husband, you know he has an opinion, which I love/hate!
I am the worst story and joke teller because I don't remember important details, but here's what I have for you. 
Shane sometimes tells/reminds me that I have a double chin (aka. gobble).
He's not being mean (just honest), sometimes when I'm laying down my gobble gets gobblie. 
Ya know?
One night we were out to dinner with my dad's side of the family and he noticed and whispered to me OMG, your whole family has gobbles.
So in honor of Thanksgiving I'm sharing my proud to have a gobble story.
So long as I don't ever get as gobblie as the pic above and my husband still loves me I won't get plastic surgery!
Happy Thanksgiving!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fa la la la Lifetime

It's my favorite time of year!!
All I want to do is curl up in one of our many cozy blankets, light a fire, eat soup/hot cocoa or drink wine and watch the one and only
Fa la la la Lifetime.
Can I please retire till January and do this? 
I just googled it to get a pic for my bliggity blog and there's even a community and facebook page for this great TV tradition!
If you don't see me much in December, now you know why!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Santa Monica's BEST!

Pico Barber Shop and Rae's Diner

Located just west of Bundy on Pico Blvd.  you can find this quaint barber shop. 
$15 will buy you a hair cut.

Rae's, right next door, has changed little if at all over the years. 
Inside this diner you'll find original worn orange pleather booths, wait staff and cooks that have been there most of their lives if not careers, families, hung over patrons lining the bar and all walks of life. 
The food is simple, tasty and the orange juice is fresh squeezed!  
For $20 you can buy two people breakfast, coffee, OJ and tip. 
(an unheard of occurrence in LA)
These are two of our favorite places in SM. 

The Balls

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Happy 23rd Birthday Wes!

Happy Birthday to the most loyal, loving, sweet, ghetto (just teasing), funny... brother a girl could have!
I am so thankful we've grown so close over the years.
Bowling every week with you is truly the best!
I hope you have the happiest birthday EVER Wesser Boxer Walker Talker!


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Me = Rolly

 This is how I feel right now!
"I'm hungry mother..."
Love this movie, need to watch again soon!

Rolly Sammy

Hosting my first Shabbat!

Shabbat is observed a few minutes before sunset each Friday evening!
This Friday, we're having friends over and attempting to host our very first Shabbat!



They are bringing the Challah and Kosher wine, while I'm going to attempt a few recipes I've been dying to try out myself.
  • Butternut Squash Soup (my Susie's recipe)
1 Tb. Olive oil
1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds),
halved and seeded
¾ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
6 cloves garlic
4 thyme sprigs
3 Tb. Unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 shallots, chopped
4 C. chicken or vegetable broth
¼ C. heavy cream
Preheat an oven to 375º. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub the olive oil over the cuts side of the squash and season with a ¼ tsp. of the salt and 1/8 tsp. of the pepper. Place the squash cut side down, on the prepared pan. Tuck the garlic cloves and thyme sprigs under the cavity of the squash. Roast the squash 50-60 minutes, until soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reserve the garlic cloves and discard the thyme. Scoop the butternut squash flesh from the skin, coarsely chop, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a dutch oven or soup pot over medium high heat. Saute the onions and shallots for 7-10 minutes, until they begin to brown. Add the roasted butternut squash, the reserved garlic cloves, and the remaining tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper and sauté for 5-7 minutes, until the squash begins to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pan. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Puree the soup until smooth with a hand held blender or a food processor. Return it to the pan if necessary and stir in cream. Taste to adjust the seasoning.

To serve, ladle hot soup into warmed shallow bowl, dollop with ½ tsp. crème fraiche.
  • Warm Quinoa & Apricot Salad (Estancia Spa in LaJolla recipe) 
2 cups quinoa, uncooked
1 cup cashews, toasted, coarsely chopped
6 tbsp crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup apricots, dried, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup orange juice, fresh squeezed
1 cup baby spinach, packed, stemmed
2 tsp salt, kosher
1 tbsp black pepper, fresh cracked
2 tsp cardamom, toasted, ground fine
3 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
1.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
2.  Add the quinoa and cook until the grains are translucent and tender (there should no longer
be a white dot of uncooked starch in the center), approx. 11 to 14 minutes.
3.  Drain thoroughly in a fine-meshed strainer.
4.  Spread the quinoa out on a large platter to cool.
5.  Once cool place quinoa in bowl and add cashews, ginger, apricots, raisins and baby spinach.  Toss until well mixed. 
6.  Stir in orange juice and season to taste with salt, pepper and cumin. 
7.  Drizzle with olive oil and stir well.  Serve warm
  •  Some sort of special white fish- Sea Bass, Halibut or Sole
Looking forward to embracing my Jewish heritage and enjoying good food with good friends.


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Chasing Ellie

Full of energy and life.
Here are a few more fun shots from the weekend!
Rhodes and his puppy Ellie.


Monday, November 8, 2010

My lil Ro Ro

I just got home from visiting my family in Palm Desert!  
Lacey and Rhodes were escaping the Seattle gloom and rain for some Cali sun!
I decided to have a little fun with the camera!
As you can see Rhodes is an adorable subject!
(wearing Aunt Bon Bon's knits)

Rhodes will be 3 in January.
Can't wait to meet his new little brother or sister this May!


Friday, November 5, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

I guess I've always loved my birthday!
Prezzies, loved ones, birthday dinners, parties, non cake cake (ice cream, cookie, carrot, cheese...  I've never been one for the typical white or chocolate cake)
Looking forward to seeing what 31 has in store. 


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sniff, Sniff, Blow...

Without fail I get sick around this time EVERY year!
I'm a snot nose kid with a head that feels like it's going to explode at any minute. 
Silver lining Sam does not exist when I'm sick.  
I'm a total brat and feel terrible for my amazing husband that has to put up with me.  
I hope to be better quick or at least by the weekend so I can enjoy my birfday with my hubby and friends.
That's it for today!


Thursday, October 28, 2010


I've always LOVED Halloween.
Dressing up, candy, parties, who doesn't love it! 
You start as a child wanting to be your favorite character...
Or for me, some awkward flower, WHAT?!&#*$!

I was trying to be original and creative and well the pic tells it all! 
(thanks mom for assisting me in my creativity all those years and even today!) 
As a teen and into my 20s I wanted to be something scary or a group costume and then it was all about being something sexy.

 Halloween 2008

I had more fun with Shane's costume this year than I did my own.
Last year we were newlyweds so with our RAD last name, I came up with...

 The Balls 2009

Who would have thought we'd run into a large penis (one we even knew) that night?
Now I just want to be something cute and comfy that doesn't show my hu-ha!
After lots of deliberation, we came up with Tennis Pros.
Pics of the final product to come!  


They say it's her birthday...

 There's no better way to celebrate than 
Susie Cakes Cupcakes!
Holly Yummo Batman!!
But more important than the delectable treats is the reason we're indulging...
Happy Birthday to my best friend, most beautiful and incredible woman I know, MY MOMMA!
See below.

I only grow closer and more fond of you each year (day) that passes.
I can only hope that I am half the mother and wife you are in my lifetime. 
 May this year be filled with all you wish for and more!

(Shane loves and wishes you a Happy Birthday too!)

P.S. Scorpios Rule!


Monday, October 25, 2010

Love this time of year!

Mini pumpkies and Volcano Candles, oh my! 
I love everything mini! 
And everything that smells delicious. 
Volcano candles are our favorite! 
We light them all year, but I love the red in the fall and around the holidays.  
They come in a variety of colors and can containers and can be found at Anthropologie, they make the PERFECT gift!

One haunted mansion, an owl (or peep) and scary black kitties (that resemble skulls). 
Hey, we tried!
Great weekend filled with good friends, pumpkin carving, pumpkin ale, pumpkin pie, and house heating. 
Next stop the Magic Castle this Saturday!
So excited, now for finding a costume. 


Friday, October 22, 2010

Carlin vs. Lopez

This post is for my hubby!
See it was our first Christmas together,  I bought George Lopez tickets for Shane.  I was so excited.  We were going to see George, his favorite comedian.  I bought them and made adorable stockings for his entire family filled with thoughtful fun.  Shane opened his last and there were the tickets.  I was so excited and yet he seemed less than over joyed.  I just figured he liked em, but wasn't going to properly thank me until the show.

A few months pass and it was time to get dressed up and ready for the George show at the Nokia theater. We arrived and noticed an interesting crowd to say the least.  We were definitely the minority, but still I thought nothing of it, even when we got to our seats next to a guy sporting a tear drop tatoo on his face (don't people get those in prison).
The show started and I turned to Shane and said, "you actually like this?"  It took him a minute and he said, "did you mean to buy me George Carlin tickets?"  Oops!  We stayed for part of the show and ended up going out for drinks and laughing about it. 
The saddest part of the story is that George Carlin died a few months later and I was never able to take him to a live show. Sad face.

This Guy!
I mean there really is NO comparison!

Cheers to silly mishaps that make you laugh years later. 
Don't think I'll ever live this one down. 



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Brazilian Blowout vs. a Good Ol Blow Dry

Meet my T3, one of my very best friends!
The ever popular Brazilian Blowout!

So my T3 and I go back a little over a year and what I can tell you is that this blow dryer ROCKS. I was a little skeptical about the pink when I got it, but it's grown on me!  It's light weight and powerful.  I may be crazy, but I also don't think it damages my hair much less than previous blow dryers.
In the competition between the brazilian blowout vs. a Good Ol Blow Dry, the blow dry wins!  It's more work, but here's why. 

Ya see, I was expecting to have longer lasting results from the braz blow.  I got it a few months ago and it lasted couple, maybe a few weeks.  Not going to lie, it was amazing at first, I barely had to blow dry my hair and didn't need to use a brush at all.  I could use my fingers to straighten it (Note: I have kinky/curly/kinda frizzy hair naturally).  My hair has completely returned back to it's original texture and state, which stinks, but is good to know.
I've been back to drying out the moisture on low and using a round brush to get the straightness I desire.  For the price and the length of time it lasts, I don't think I will do it again.  HOWEVER, I've heard the one with Formaldehyde lasts a lot longer, but I can't bring myself to put burn chemicals into my hair.  No thank you. 
That's my take. 

Happy Hair Day!