part 2: san diego & living in luxury

February 28, 2014 § Leave a comment

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There was so much I wanted to share about our trip to San Diego that it seemed like too much for one post. Hence post number two coming your way with a few more treasures.

There are so many little things that feel like indulgences when it’s the middle of February and you leave the snow behind. I noticed a few things instantly, that I didn’t even realize I was missing. First, rolling down the car windows. What a simple thing, but what a luxury too; feeling the cool breeze and listening to the sounds of the city. Second, sweating. I have been running all winter but haven’t sweat once. It’s somewhat disappointing to come home after working out and not feel like you really achieved anything. A big piece of this is sweat related. We went for a run in the rolling hills of Laguna our first morning away and I had beads of sweat within seconds. It made the run feel refreshing and tiring, in the good way. And third, taking a cold shower. Warm days just scream for a cool showers. Your warm, the water is cold, it’s just wonderful. Now these were the small luxuries that I loved in California, but we also had some higher-end luxuries that I am not usually use to either.

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We stayed at The US Grant in downtown San Diego. The beauty of this hotel speaks for itself, glass chandeliers in the lobby, large artwork over each bed, and corner rooms with big windows and views. But the service was just as impeccable. It’s the type of service that makes you feel important, even if you aren’t. I was even called Mrs. Tremblay at one time, which had me hiding a smile. Its funny how a beautiful hotel room to come back to each night and wake up in each morning can make you feel so much more relaxed.

There were a few other gems I wanted to share with you. The first being Stone Brewing Company. A wonderful spot, even if you’re not a beer lover. They have a beautiful outdoor space where you can walk around with drinks and relax in Adirondack chairs. We indulged in the stinky cheese platter, forgoing the really stinky cheese option. (I was a little afraid of it to be honest.) The cheese had just the right amount of stink with homemade crackers and crisp apple slices, it was the perfect mid-afternoon snack.

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If you find yourself in Coronado, please pop into The Attic. It’s a cute shop of household goods, jewelry, wonderful gifts and the prices are so incredibly reasonable. I picked up coasters and a new ring and was just delighted.

And if you find yourself in need of a pre-dinner snack, try Currant. This restaurant has a playful happy hour menu with gourmet popcorn and tater tots. A lot of indulgent fried food that was satisying but not heavy. The perfect combination with a glass of red wine.

And lastly, if you find yourself in La Jolla, check out the Legends Gallery. They house Dr. Seuss artwork, including some original sketches, like the Grinch! They also have some of his not so known work, that was quite interesting and very different from what we know to be his style. It’s a small gallery but a 15 minute walk through is worth it.

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All vacations can feel luxurious at times, your mind is usually at peace, its relaxing and different all at the same time. There are many things I will remember about our trip to San Diego, but its the small things that I know I will cherish for a long time. The best one being this kangaroo at the zoo. We spotted him right when we arrived, snoozing in the sunshine. Instantly, I knew this kangaroo was embodying Ross. If Ross could nap all day, he would, and he would love every minute. We looped back around to him before we left the park, hours later, and he was still in the same spot. Even when he had a scratch, he just lifted his head, not opening an eye, and got it. These are the priceless memories.

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san diego & cafe chloe

February 23, 2014 § Leave a comment

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When my latte arrived at Cafe Chloe, I’m not sure I could have contained my smile even if I tried. It was in a small bowl, lightly browned foam covering the top with espresso just strong enough. It was even big enough that I shared a sip or two with Ross. I thought our first breakfast in San Diego couldn’t get any better, but then the food arrived. I ordered a crepe oozing with mushrooms and tasting like truffle. (Side note, truffle is huge in San Diego, you can get it on almost anything. We enjoyed it on fries and popcorn while there.) Ross had a zucchini omelette where the chevre just melted in your mouth. We ate in the sunshine, savoring every bite. A light salad on the side almost stole the show, with tomatoes that tasted like they had been picked just seconds earlier. Sometimes you forget what fresh vegetables taste like when they’re off season. I won’t lie, we were so impressed with this cafe that for our last morning in California, I ran over early and grabbed croissants and greek yogurt and brought them back to the hotel for breakfast in bed with the paper. The greek yogurt was covered in dried apricots, hazelnuts and granola, and had a ginger kick that I loved. And the croissants were everything they should be, flaky and moist.

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Eating good food is one of my favorite things when on vacation. We rarely eat out at home, so when we are away its a treat to get our meals out. And we very much enjoy the relaxation that goes along with it. We sip our drinks slowly, we sit there longer and enjoy each bite. A lot of hours are spent eating on vacation, so why not savor it. Cafe Chloe may have been the stand out, but there were so many other highlights.

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Being from New England, sometimes I forget that California is somewhat of a desert state. Their shrubbery is so different from what I’m used to. And the fog that rolled in each day was always a surprise. It seemed everywhere we went the coast followed us. We spent most of our days hiking, running and even surfing. I haven’t been in the ocean in ages, and although I am a bit frightened of the water (I’m not the best swimmer), I enjoyed it so. I even learned something new about myself, I surf goofy foot. I also now know that I look ridiculous in a wet suit, ocean water is way too salty, and if you push yourself just hard enough you can pretty much do anything. I got up on my surf board for just seven seconds and couldn’t have been happier with myself.

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Vacation is a wonderful time to regroup and decompress from our busy schedules. But it’s also a great opportunity to try something different and learn new things. I am not a sit on the beach all day kind of girl; first off I’m Irish and burn in under two minutes, but I also find it quite boring. Somehow I have been lucky to find the perfect balance of relaxing but also doing a ton of things on vacation. It’s just how I like it.

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sundried tomato & cannellini bean salad

February 8, 2014 § 1 Comment

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Snow days. A childhood memory that everyone looks back fondly on. Waking up at the crack of down with enthusiasm. Running downstairs to check the news. Impatiently waiting for your school to come up in the alphabetic list running along the bottom of the television. Cheering and dancing in your pjs when it appears on the screen. The whole day is then spent bundling up in snow gear, making snow forts, winning and losing snowball fights. Back inside for a quick warm up and hot cocoa. Then out to the snow again until nightfall. Snow days were wonderful days.

Who knew we could still have them as adults. Boston has already been hit with a few big storms this year and last Wednesday was a “snow day”. Big flakes pounded us all morning and really only stopped for an hour around noontime before it continued into the night. The city shut down and offices closed. The day wasn’t like years ago though; I didn’t venture out into the snow and spent the day playing. I worked inside responding to emails and cleaning the house. But the joy I felt in the morning when I heard my office was closed, was the same gitty feeling I had as a kid. It felt good.

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As for the recipe this week, I wanted to share a simple winter salad with you. It takes less than 10 minutes to make and clean up is super easy. It’s great the same day, but also just as tasty as leftovers when the dressing really sinks in.

Serves 2
Inspired by Seven Spoons

Dressing
2 tablespoons good quality olive oil*
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad
1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese
Sprinkling of lemon pepper salt

In a small bowl whisk all of the dressing ingredients together.

In a salad bowl toss together the beans, sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs, feta and lemon pepper salt. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to coat. Enjoy at room temperature or cold.

*Note: Using good quality olive oil is really essential in salads like these. You will taste the difference. I was recently gifted with a bottle of Stonehouse and absolutely love it!

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