All posts by Grey and White

GIFTING: Christmas 2012

I am big on gift giving. I don’t like junk or clutter, so I try not to give it!

A lonnnnnnnnng time ago I saw the following quote – and I thought it expressed my sentiments about gift giving to a tee and it has stuck with me ever since!

“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value” said by the honorable (?) Charles Dudley Warner.

Anyways, now that we are adults and get presents for all family members… I was struggling to get something appropriate/thoughtful/not wasteful for every couple, and it was tough.

And then, this exact chain of events occurred in early December:

-We received our quarterly shipment of our favorite wine from Laird (of which I have raved about before here…)

-Thought… a bottle of Laird would be a GREAT gift since we love it so much. I know it doesn’t sound like a unique idea, but to me – I rarely give wine as a gift (unless we are talking housewarming, hostess gift, etc.) because it does not usually fit the thoughtful bill. However, we love this wine, it is special to us, and we personally love discovering a great wine to add to our go-to repertoire – so if I got this as a gift, I would be thrilled! Their Napa Valley Cab is where it is at! It is our anniversary wine, date night wine, in home wine, I mean – we are basically a Laird cellar over here. It’s a little ridiculous, but once you find something great, it’s hard to stray!

-After this thought, I shot an e-mail to Laird to figure out logistics and… BOOM. Ordered up some wine.

Present compilation coming to life…

-I was going to give everyone a Cab since that is our main jam, BUT as people who do not enjoy white wine on the regular or basically ever (that’s us)… this winery’s Chardonnay is the only one we like and therefore thought it should be shared with the world.

Cards Against Humanity (game similar to a saucy Apples to Apples) was hitting the mainstream hard and became super hard to obtain. Waiting lists, the whole nine yards. We have this game ourselves and have been the weird couple who have brought it to a party… had a few weird looks but then all of a sudden, someone wants to play and…. BOOM, instaentertainment. So I thought this would be a good addition if we could get our hands on the game. Got on the waitlist, and was able to get them in time. WIN!

THEN…. this guy came to mind, and basically formulated the tone of the gift:

Voila. Gift. Done. Success all around.

BRIDESMAID GIFTING: Birds of a feather


[Bridesmaid Brady Bunch]

We have known who we wanted to be our bridesmaids and groomsmen for way longer than we have been engaged, as they are of course our nearest and dearest!  Because of that, and the fact that they all had the date on their calendars, I guess I took my sweet time in reaching the launch phase! #girlgottawork!

But I have an excuse! I started tossing around ideas in the back of my mind as to how I was going to ask my bridesmaids, and as recalled HERE, no gems worthy of my gals were coming to mind! Whyyyyyyy!

After drumming up a multitude of ideas that didn’t end up resonating with me, I was stumped and kind of bummed! So a few/many Fridays ago, I am working late. Like past midnight/it’s actually now Saturday late, and my pend list for the next day pops into my inbox as per usual and I decide to take a break from the monotony to take a look at what I had lined up for my productive Saturday.

While my work items are regimented and always have specific due dates, I also use my pend system as an artificial memory keeper- typing in any weird ideas that pop into my head and pending them for a random weekend day to remind me to explore/execute said idea. Needless to say, I never know what my own Ghost of Yet to Come is going to remind me of! Oh life.

Mid-list this little stunner appears:

Translation: A while back I randomly wondered if Oriental Trading Company was still in business, and upon a quick Google I saw that it was. Something about my memories of OTC, includes inflatable items. I don’t remember why, but a ton of years ago I found an inflatable parrot leftover from a party pack of inflatable animals (weird, I know) in our party supply closet at home and I felt compelled to inflate it and hang it in my sister’s room so she’d have a question mark face when she got home. That’s how I roll, I love a good question mark face.

Anyways, the light of my life (and now Maid of Honor!) my sister Elyse (“E”) is in college at the University of Texas in Austin, and I miss her dearly! I am always thinking of weird stuff to send her in the mail to let her know I am thinking about her, and that I am still the weirdo big sister she grew up with! So I hop onto the OTC website and am considering a pink flamingo and all of a sudden my brain realizes that this absolutely fulfills my requirements for a peculiar “Will you be my bridesmaid?” vessel.

I am pretty sold on it, but still want to see what other awesome inflatable animals exist out there. Options have value. So I hit up Amazon and Google and come up with a few, but nothing is really trumping the pink flamingo. UNTIL I decide to search for a swan, you know, just to check it out since it’s kind of a universal wedding symbol. BOOM. Sauciest inflatable animal I have ever laid my eyes on! FFWD to me having MAJOR issues finding enough of these swans in the appropriate size (wanted it to have a sizable impact!), but finally do and order them. Plan it all out in the next 24 hours because I’m nuts like that and basically have everything ready to roll, just need the swans to arrive! Get a phone call from New Jersey on the following Monday that goes like this:

NJ POOLMAN: Hi, we received your order for a lot of inflatable swans over the weekend. We looked high and low in our warehouse and they are nowhere to be found!
ME: Wow, what a system you have over there! How long will it take if you order them directly from the distributor or manufacturer? I need these puppies ASAP.
NJ POOLMAN: Uhm, well…. it’s sort of off-season for inflatable pool items.
ME: So, you cannot get them?
NJ POOLMAN: I’m afraid not, sorry! What do you need all of those swans for anyways?
::CLICK::

I scurry off to man handle Google in a way that it wasn’t meant to be in hopes of finding these swans that in my mind are now irreplaceable. Finally find a bro with a shoddy looking pool supply website and pull the trigger. Who cares if he steals my CC info? I’ll leave that to AMEX, as long as I get the swans!!! Blind shopping rage is unmatched.

THEY FINALLY ARRIVE. Upon their arrival, I seriously drop everything to inflate them. I proceed to tie each one of them up with grey ribbon (wedding color integration, heyooo!) to attach the card I made, pop them into the boxes I had adorned with creepy question marks, affix the corresponding FedEx labels and ship them out! Henry Ford would have been proud of my assembly line action for sure!

SO – my favorite aspects of this idea are  1. It’s RANDOM! I sent it inflated in a box with question marks on the outside of it. So when they opened the box, it was basically like HEY! look at me! 2. It’s of course DEFLATABLE, so the 20 inches of awesomeness can be deflated and put away (…for a rainy day?) or tossed! So it’s not taking up a considerable amount of room for anyone! Which I love. Because I hate clutter. and I love storage.

The rest is pretty self explanatory VIA the pictures. The only thing left to add is that each person sent their picture to me within like an hour of receiving their package and it honestly made my life. It would have killed me if I had to wait in suspense any longer. They all know what an oddball I am, are all still my friends despite that fact, and all said yes!

Get Galleried Up:

BRIDESMAID GIFTING: What gives?!

I have been mulling over how the “Will you be my bridesmaid?” is going to go down.
So far, ideas are NOT turning up roses!

I initially thought, why not do a brunch! But everyone being scattered throughout the country & landing on a mutual date has a high potential of being difficult for at least some of them. Then I thought about flying out to each one of them to see them briefly, grab a bite and ask them in person! Due to myself being booked every single weekend for the rest of 2012, I had to quickly scrap the idea of Bridesmaid Tour 2012. BOO!

I am not wild about anything that I have seen people do to ask their bridesmaids, and I have got to tell ya, Pinterest is no respite from that, either.

According to the pins on Pinterest I have run across, here are your top two options:

1. Give them a card that literally says “Will you be my bridesmaid?” on it
Further findings: Maybe if you get it from Etsy you will feel less boring about it…?

OR

2. Compile a box of worthless items like: neon sunglasses, an itty bitty fake dress on an itty bitty hanger, a chocolate bar and a keychain. Oh, and include the question somewhere on or in it “Will you be my bridesmaid?”
Further findings: I saw many variations of this idea and they all ranked TERRIBLE on my scale of acceptability. Don’t get me wrong, I saw some decent looking boxes (when was the last time you heard someone say that btw?), but then sure enough they were chalk full of useless junk! I know the dollar spot at Target can be fun people, but don’t get someone who is supposed to be one of your closest friends a box full of dollar spot crap! Get it together America!

NO thanks!

The hunt for something great continues.

SOIREE: Wine Tasting Party

Have you seen those Groupon-like  in-home wine tasting dealios that pop up every once in a while? There was one on Bloomspot a while back and I snagged it. I honestly wasn’t sure what it was going to entail since it was absurdly cheap considering it included someone coming to you and bringing like 8 bottles of wine, but bought it I did!

Once I finally set up a date that worked with the 12 people we were inviting, I booked the tasting and pended a note to self that I was going to need to get my plan on. Especially in the event that the “wine specialist” bro that this company was sending was a bore.

FFWD to an anniversary trip to Napa and an awesome private tasting at my all-time favorite winery, Laird! I love Cabs, Napa Cabs in particular – and Laird is where dreams come true for people like me! The Pyramid tasting was like no other one that I have been to, a really good combination of intimate, interesting & enjoyable. I could go on and on about why Laird is the little known King of Napa Valley…but that can be saved for another day. Anyways, after the tasting our driver took us to Rubicon (now called Inglenook which sounds terrible) to rendezvous with my Aunt & Uncle and we are telling them about the tasting and out of nowhere (yes, on the slow side that day) I realize that all of the thoughtfully chosen appetizers & wine pairings would be PERFECT for the upcoming wine party!

Here’s a quick pic of the apps from the Pyramid Tasting @ Laird:

From Left to Right:

Granny smith apple, triple cream brie & candied pecans. PAIR WITH: A citrusy Chardonnay *This one was easy to make and the ingredients were readily accessible, one thing to note is that sometimes it’s frustrating doing something as simple as spreading brie on an apple slice because it doesn’t adhere right off the bat due to the apple’s moisture. Slow & steady wins the race here.

Dried Turkish apricots topped with a substantial blue cheese & a macadamia nut. PAIR WITH: An oaky Chardonnay *A lot of people seemed to like this with reds better, all in all it worked with both, but would recommend pairing with a rich red.

Thin savory cracker, aged Parmigiano Reggiano & dried cranberries. PAIR WITH: Pinot Noir

Thin savory cracker, aged Comte cheese & a honey and balsamic dijon mustard. PAIR WITH: Merlot

65% cocoa dark chocolate. PAIR WITH: Cabernet Sauvignon *I opted for 65% cocoa dark chocolate with sea salt and it was full of win. Absolutely recommend going that route!

I replicated some of the apps above with a variation here and there, in addition to a few of my own. Also as you can see in some of the snapshots from our party below, I set up some of the apricot/blue/walnut bites & apple/brie/candied walnut bites and then scattered the ingredients amongst so that guests could follow the lead and make their own once they were consumed.

Here’s what I did for the party:

-Did a simple runner of chalkboard contact paper (that I had left over from Super Bowl) down the center of the dining table. Secured it with painters tape right onto the table cloth just so it wouldn’t slide around. On the runner (main appetizer runway) I scattered:

-5 big blocks of cheese. I love cheese, and so did everyone there. Best part was that I was prepared to go to Whole Foods to get what I needed, but on a routine Costco trip saw that they had EVERYTHING I WAS LOOKING FOR! WHAT! Costco, I love you. Here’s what I got, I personally recommend this exact combination of cheese types:

  • 2 different bries – 1 super common, mild one (Brie le Cremeux) and a triple cream one of amazingness (Fromager d’Affinois Triple Cream)
  • 2 different blues – 1 traditional crumbly, but still soft one (Point Reyes Original Blue), 1 brie/blue combo (Cambozola)
  • 1 hard – think parmigiano, gouda or other, but aged beyond regular grocery store standards

…stabbed each block with a cheese knife and then with chalk I scribbled (right as the first batch of crostini were burning & everyone was arriving, of course!) the general cheese type and if I had any brief adjective to help anyone unfamiliar out!

-Apps

  • Crostini with mascarpone & proscuitto
  • BITES: apricot/bleu/walnut & apple/brie/candied walnut
  • Watermelon/basil/feta/balsamic – would NOT recommend this for many reasons. Taste wasn’t superb enough & the feta (because I got the good Bulgarian stuff) crumbled so many times when I was assembling it was a joke.

-Smatterings

  • Baguette slices, apricots, walnuts, grapes, apple slices, sea salt dark chocolate squares, POCKY STICKS! (because I saw them at the store and couldn’t fight childhood nostalgia), homemade fig bars & bottles of water

-Nonedibles

  • Pens for rating, wine glasses (duh!), small cocktail plates & napkins

 

 

 

Happy Fall Y’all!

I LOVE OFFICE SUPPLIES. I even called them office supplies when they were still school supplies to me. Something about business and organization coming together gets me every time!

I am not a movie line quoter, nor really a movie buff at all, but You’ve Got Mail is absolutely my all-time fave. That and Home Alone. Judging from those two titles, you would think I stopped watching movies after the nineties! Whatever! ANYWAYS. I love Fall, but I love office supplies more. So this time of year and the start of Fall always (well at least since 1998) reminds me of one of my favorite You’ve Got Mail clips!

“I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”


THINGS TO DO: San Diego

America’s Finest City means weather and views, but not always food – here’s a quick list to steer you in the right direction!

Donovan’s (Downtown) – Steakhouse fare, old school top notch service. In my opinion, this is the best steak AND service in San Diego. They also have a La Jolla location.

Valentine’s (Downtown) – Mexican dive, best carne asada fries ever! SO GOOD.

Searsucker (Downtown) – I’m going to be honest, the food here is no longer amazing. Their menu is written a little new age style (think ONE word descriptions that despite their lack of detail are confusing) – However, this is a great place for out of towners, especially if they are a Top Chef fan. With that being said, if you’re going to go… look into rezzies NOW (they are on Open Table) Top Chef finalist Malarkey opened this place in like… 2010. I have been here nine million times because every time people come into town or I’m trying to close a deal, I just bring them here and they are pleased as pie. Good service, also has a great bar/lounge area – so it’s the best to go there for dinner, grab a drink at the bar before, and then you can socialize and drink at the bar afterwards if you want to stick with just your date or have people come meet for drinks there after. Works GREAT! Plus they rope off the front around 9 and a line forms, so you’re already in, no lines (which we all know I don’t believe in anyways!) Win! Note: This is in the heart of the Gaslamp, so if you are going out in the area afterwards, this is a great pick.

La Playa Taco Shop (Mission Beach) – Mexican dive, great tacos!

Isola Pizza Bar (Little Italy) – For gourmet pizzas & salads – chic, upbeat atmosphere. Good service.

Bencotto (Little Italy) One of my favorite restaurants in Little Italy (check out their website to get the vibe- modern Italian chic if you will) – no view, but good Italian that is streamlined. Well known place.

Davanti Enoteca
(Little Italy) – Good. Not your typical Italian pasta restaurant, has more regional specialties that have been cleaned up for your enjoyment. Has an open air setup if the weather permits. All around good service and food (just had the mushroom truffle pizza the other day… very good), plus I JUST discovered that they carry one of my favorite wine labels (Sean Minor, Cab Sauv)

Cucina Urbana (Banker’s Hill) – Fun and inviting atmosphere, with quality food, great service and their wine list is market price + $7 (I think) always. So only a $7 markup with the best wines in San Diego. That’s not a joke – they have Nickel & Nickel, Silver Oak, Heitz Cellars just to name a few!

Banker’s Hill Bar & Grill (Banker’s Hill) – American/farm to table-ish. Started out great, but I haven’t been wild about their seasonal menu changes (i.e. lack of).

Whisknladle (La Jolla) For lunch or dinner – new American cuisine, open-air dining when the weather is nice. Food & service are both great, and so is the atmosphere.

George’s at the Cove (La Jolla) – great view of the water, and goodish food (I’d stick with the burger). Sit on the rooftop for lunch on the weekend. Even if it’s a little chilly they have heaters and blankets for the ladies.

Jake’s (Del Mar) – For brunch with an ocean view – suggest the eggs benedict with the breakfast potatoes that you will love forever. I have never felt so strongly about breakfast potatoes. They are like potatoes au gratin or something from the gods, but for breakfast! YES PLEASE!

Chocolat Cremerie (Downtown) – Go here for dessert, straight up best gelato in the area. Nutella gelato (like you have ever had bad nutella anything?!) and more (lots more).

Lucha Libre
(Mission Hills) – good for lunch. Take someone here if you want a fun place. Tacos & burritos and a really funny interior. Look at their website to see what I’m talking about.

1-ON-1:

Top of the HyattRight on the water. Great for drinks and sometimes dessert at night. Really fantastic views. You can see the Coronado bridge, and even Mexico! Who knew! Take a cab to the Manchester Grand Hyatt, take the elevator straight up, good way to end a night.

DRINKS/DAY DRINKS/NIGHTLIFE:

Altitude (Downtown) – this is one of your best bets day or night – REALLY great view from Petco to/over the water. Located on the rooftop of the Marriott Downtown (Gaslamp one)

Basic (Downtown)fun for pizza & drinks – I usually suggest going here for Saturday/Sunday funday or before a Padres game!

The Field (Downtown) – Irish pub with the best Irish Coffees south of San Francisco. Maybe they are better, I don’t know, but I know that I love them. I usually drag the group here whenever I’m out DT because it’s random and the Irish coffees are really great.
Jbar or also called LoungeSix apparently (Downtown) – Located atop Hotel Solamar (rooftop bar). Just an all around good spot. Easy to get drinks, you get to enjoy the chic open-air rooftop, no cover, no lines usually.

Quality Social or Analog: Both lively bars (both also have food) with dancing – good switch up if not looking for a full on club.

The Ivy: Located at the Andaz. Specifically the rooftop bar is where it’s at. That is actually where it’s at in most of San Diego if the weather is decent. Open and not too cramped and good views of the city. If you hit up sushi at the new restaurant downstairs, this is a solid next step.

Bare Back: I love this place. They have a wheel you can spin which determines the beverage you are going to consume, life sized JENGA, shuffleboard (which is a perfect table for flip cup) – super friendly bartenders and fairly reasonable drink prices. Also they have randomly REALLY good burgers. Like grass fed stuff. It’s random, and great!

Craft & CommerceThis place is a little hipstery, but it is an okay concept. Boho chic industrial is I guess what you could call it. Really good burger. Super artisan concocted drinks. Bartenders wearing flannel (eh).

The Waterfront – apparently the oldest bar in San Diego, honestly one of my favorites in the Little Italy area. It’s small & on the divey side – REALLY good burgers and an all around friendly crowd.

DAYTIME:

Seaport Village (Downtown) – for eating, shopping, walking along the water (there are some mildly entertaining performers scattered along the embarcadero)
Hop on the trolley at one of the stops downtown and head to Old Town for Mexican food & margs!
Hotel Del (Coronado) – S’mores on the beach in the evening or go for Sunday brunch!
Seaworld (Dine with Shamu, heyoooo!)
San Diego Zoo Or Safari Park (if you go to the Safari Park – do a Caravan Safari!)
Balboa Park – tons of museums, live music: Spreckels Organ Pavilion, 3D/IMAX theater, etc.
USS Midway or Star of India (ships)
Hike Torrey Pines
Kayak in La Jolla cove

VIVA Mister Rogers

I grew up with Mister Rogers, when I saw this I had to watch. An immature hemisphere of my brain was expecting something funny – I was surprised that it wasn’t funny at all. A musician mashed up brief one-liners from Mister Rogers to music – Nostalgic and melodic and honestly, cool.
Mister Rogers promoting curiosity, thinking & learning since 1968!

There are so many things to learn about this world, so many people who can help us learn.

It’s good to be curious.

Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind? You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind.

REAL ASS VOICEMAIL

So I’m going through my e-mails this morning, just like every morning, to see which early riser clients were trying to ruin my day from the very start. I get through the majority of the correspondences and I was pleasantly surprised to see that no one had yet to rain on my parade! FELT GREAT ABOUT IT. Then I see one that snuck in last night, with the VMAIL KISS OF DEATH label (label indicating it’s a voicemail), which for some reason borderline enrages me because I just hate voicemails. It’s like someone is making me do MORE work than ever necessary.

To me, the king of communication is E-MAIL. If we are e-mailing, and you CALL me, I am either expecting to be:

A. Alerted of an emergency – examples of this include: hostage situation, death, awkward social situation, etc.
or
B. Irrationally irritated throughout the whole conversation that I am convinced could have transpired VIA e-mail.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the phone needs to be utilized. I voluntarily dial out around 5-10 times a week, usually for one of the following reasons:

1. Calling my assistant’s extension to tell her something I need done… that for my own reasons could not be adequately conveyed VIA the written word
2. Speakerphone office party with a gal pal
3. The need to verbally scold someone so they know I mean it
4. Talking about anything illegal.

If you really had the need to call someone, and you arrived at their voicemail – I really wish it was standard protocol to just hang up and send an e-mail about what you have to say. Or try again later if necessary. ANYTHING BUT LEAVING A VOICEMAIL!

Anyways, back to my point – this voicemail was really left last night by someone who dialed the wrong number and I cracked up listening to it this morning!

VOICEMAIL: “I’m going to tell everyone I know”