Bleachers Concert

Bleachers ConcertWhile I was in San Francisco last week, I took some of my clients to see “Bleachers” in concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland, CA.  Two weeks ago, I didn’t know who they were until a co-worker told me about them.  They are an up-and-coming Indie-Pop band formed by the former guitarist from “Fun”, Jack Antonoff, who also happens to be Lena Dunham’s boyfriend currently (in case you’re interested in a bit of pop trivia). Their sound is reminiscent of 80’s pop and when we walked into their concert it felt as if we had stepped into a John Hughes film. So fun!

Bleachers

{Jack Antonoff}

Fox Theater

{Gorgeous ceilings at the Fox Theater}

Bleachers

{Charli XCX, of “Fancy” and “I Love It” fame, also played that night}

Confetti

{At the end of the Bleachers show, confetti exploded out at the audience}

Fox Theater

Kokkari

KokkariMy favorite restaurant in San Francisco is Kokkari. I’m not sure if it’s the working fire spit in the main dining room, the Oriental rugs on the wall or the the high ceilings that make the place feel so homey but the atmosphere feels so warm and relaxing. The food is authentic Greek and the home-made pita bread is so good that I could make a meal out of in itself.  Order the Tirokafteri, which is a feta-based dip made with peppers and lemon juice and I’m not sure what other ingredients but it adds up to pure yummy goodness.  The branzino (European sea bass) melts in your mouth.  Depending on the size of your party, you may need to make reservations at least three weeks in advance but it’s worth it.

Fire Spit

{they were roasting a lamb the night I went}

Kokkari ceilings

{high ceilings make the place feel open and larger than it is}

Kokkari Kitchen

{some tables offer views of the open kitchen}

Kokkari

{forgot to mention the lamb meatballs and the beet & yogurt salad. Both are a must}

Kokkari

Fishing & Dirtbikes

FishingI have been traveling for business a lot more than normal lately and missing my boys. Last week, Jeff took Luke out of Summer Camp for the day and went deep-sea fishing in the Channel Islands, off the coast of Ventura, CA. They both caught their limit in fish and Luke apparently was the star that day. I’m so glad they can have times like these together. I pray they will be lasting memories for Luke when he grows up.

Fishing

 

{I could not believe Luke caught this fish by himself, but that’s how the story went}

Fishing boat

{They said the boat was going “up and down” the whole time.  When they got home Luke said, “Dad, why do I still feel like I’m going up and down?” The joys of deep sea fishing…}

Dirtbikes

{On the way home, they stopped at Luke’s cousin’s house and a dirt bike ride opportunity presented itself.  He’s now obsessed with dirt bikes. Thanks Jeff!}

 

Turkey Burger with Hummus

Turkey Burger with HummusI get desperate for what to cook every now and then so I decide to mix things that don’t normally go together, like Turkey Burgers and Hummus, for example. This was easier than Hamburger Helper. Literally I used pre-made Jennie O lean turkey patties, pre-made Open Nature Hummus and a bag of pre-washed baby kale and spinach. This is what you call the lazy-gal’s burger. I pan-fried the patties because the rust on our grill led to its retirement a few weeks back. I spread the hummus on the bun, then topped with the patties and baby kale. Delicious. Semi-healthy and semi-home-made. But best of all, dinner was ready in 10 minutes and let’s be honest when it’s 100° outside, you don’t want to cook for long.

Rainy Summer Saturday

Rainy Summer DayIt’s not entirely true that it never rains in Southern California, although it is extremely rare that it ever thunderstorms or that it thunderstorms in July. Well, that happened on Saturday and it was such a fun day. After sitting outside to watch the lightning as a family, we spent the rest of the day literally lying down watching Netflix and eating junk food. It helped that our bedroom was being painted so our bed was in middle of the livingroom for prime TV viewing. I almost couldn’t remember what it was like to do nothing all day, so I was really thankful for the rain.

Rainy Summer Saturday

Rainy Summer Saturday

{no rainy day is complete without Grilled Cheese, so I made a grilled swiss and spinach sandwich to go along with potato chips}

Annenberg Beach House

Annenberg Beach HouseOn Friday we had a team building event at Annenberg Beach House in Santa Monica. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. The sun was shining, the breeze was just enough to keep us cool without being too windy and the atmosphere was glorious. If you’ve never been to Annenberg Beach House, I encourage you to make a day trip with the family. They have a swimming pool, beach volleyball courts and sprinklers for the kids to run through. It’s a great place to pack a picnic and bring the family.

Annenberg Beach House

Pool Annenberg Beach House

Annenberg Beach House

{There is also a beautiful indoor private event space for rent}

Annenberg Beach House

{Volleyball is a great team building activity too}

Jesus Calling

Jesus CallingSince Luke was about 4 years old we’ve included him in our morning quiet time tradition, which involves reading the Bible, journaling and prayer.  We’ve used various little children’s devotionals over the years with him but this year we’ve really enjoyed the Jesus Calling for kids devotional.  I forget it’s a children’s devotional in fact because so many mornings, reading that little book has spoken to the very core of my being, addressed the exact issues I had been struggling with and drawn me in closer to remind me that simply trusting Jesus, loving God and loving others as myself are my pinnacle responsibilities.  Lately, we’ve taken our morning tradition outdoors to the patio and gathered around the fire pit to enjoy our coffee and conversation amidst the early morning air.  It’s been in these times that Luke opens up about his own thoughts on God and the Bible and prayer.  We share praise reports of what prayers God has answered and we talk about the prayers He has said no to as well.

Jesus CallingThis weekend we got a “no” answer from God when He took little Bailey home.  We were praying for her healing and long life in the Earth for her, but on Friday we heard that she lost her battle with cancer.  In our quiet time I shared the news with Luke and told him that while we may ask for what we think is best for others, God ultimately knows better than we do and He is trustworthy because He loves us.  That’s when Luke opened up and said “sometimes I’m afraid of death.  I’m afraid that God won’t take me”.   We told him that he doesn’t have to be afraid because God promised a Messiah to save us from our sins and that Messiah is Jesus, He is the lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world. Jesus asks us to believe in Him and follow Him but we are not reconciled with God ultimately because of what we do, we are brought back to God because of what Jesus has done on our behalf.  The ultimate sacrifice for sin. Once, for ALL.  Then Luke said something that warmed my heart.  “yeah, I’m not afraid of death because God created me for a purpose and I’m not going to die until I accomplish that purpose”.  I thought about that in light of Bailey’s death and realized that while this broken world may have cut her life short, she did not die without purpose.  Her life glorified God. I hope our lives will do the same.

 

Pool Renovation

Pool RenovationWhen we moved into our house back in 2006, the pool needed to be re-plastered but we decided to paint it black instead.  For the past few years our black-bottom pool has been giving folks black-bottom feet.  We knew it was time for a fix and this year we finally decided to pull the trigger.  I’m excited that we can finally use our pool as a way to cool off during these valley-hot Summer days. Here is the before and after.  I used a ton of Pinterest inspiration to come to the final product and I’m very happy with how it turned out.

Pool Play Date

{This was our pool last Summer with the crumbling coping and black bottom}

pool gunite

{We stripped it down to the gunite. Pool thought it was a playground}

Pool Coping

{We went with a lighter color coping than our deck since it would keep cooler. We chose French Grey as the coping color}

Pool Tile

{We added 1×1 Peb Marine Blue decorative pool tile from Fujiwa Tile}

IMG_7127

{We chose “French Grey” colored plaster color for the pool as well}

Pool Renovation French Grey Plaster

{We debated trucking in water from Colorado to re-fill the pool, given the drought we’re having in California and resulting water restrictions, but decided it was cheaper to bite the bullet and pay the higher fees to refill it with the hose}

Pool Renovation French Grey plaster

{Finished product}

Pool Renovation

Pool Renovation

 

Austin in a Weekend

McKinney FallsLast weekend my best friend and I took a trip to Austin to visit our best college girlfriend to celebrate her 40th birthday. Austin is such a fun place to go for a girls’ weekend. We really had the most perfect days together. Here is my list of top things to do in Austin in a weekend.

McKinney Falls

{Hike McKinney Falls.  There are paved trail and dirt trail options.  We went with the paved option from the Upper Falls which about 2.8 miles}

The Salt Lick

{Drive out to The Salt Lick in Driftwood, TX for original Texas Barbeque. It’s worth it.  Bring cash, no credit cards accepted}

Salt Lick

{They have live music and a beautiful atmosphere}

Salt Lick

{Not to mention great food too}

Barton Springs

{Rent Kayaks, Paddleboards or just swim in Barton Springs, natural springs that are 68 degrees year round}

Book People

{Discover a new book at Book People, an independent bookstore downtown}

Garlic Bulbs

{Try the Garlic Bulbs at Moonshine.  It’s literally spreadable garlic. Amazing}

Cupcake Trucks

{Grab a cupcake from one of the various Cupcake Trucks, like Cupcaking Desire}

Mozarts

{Order an Iced Latte from Mozart’s and take in views of Lake Austin}

Mozart's

Lake Austin

Lake Austin

Kerbey Lane

{Have brunch at Kerbey Lane Cafe in Central Austin.  The Poppy French Toast is delicious. Ask for the lemon glaze on the side unless you like it extra sweet}

Dodger Baseball

IMG_1184Last night we went to the Dodgers vs. Phillies game at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Fighting the traffic to get there from the San Fernando Valley is no small feat, so we were Fashionably-LA-Late. We made a bee-line for the hot dog stand because let’s be honest, that’s the real reason I go to Dodger Games and we were all pretty hungry by 7:30pm. We finally got to our seats at the top of the second inning and they were awesome. Special thanks to our neighbors who gave us the tickets!

Dodger Baseball

{sweet seats close enough to see without my glasses on}

Dodger baseball

{Mom please hurry up you’re embarrassing me…}

Dodger Baseball

{washed down my Dodger Dog with these.. minus the jalepenos}

Dodger baseball

{I wasn’t the only one…}

dodger baseball

{Dodgers were winning 5-0 when we left after the 7th inning stretch to beat the traffic home.  That ended up being the final score}

Cotton Candy

{baseball isn’t complete without cotton candy}

Dodger baseball

{token Dodger selfie}