Home Sweet Sarah

Hair today, still hair tomorrow

About six weeks ago, I decided to stop washing my hair. It was a good time to experiment with "no poo"  (thank you Elis/zabeths for explaining to me that means "no shamPOO." I was clearly really informed about my decision going into this experiment) because I was pretty much only hanging out with one person each day and she doesn't really have a lot of opinions about my hair being as she EATS HERS (yes, this is a new fun thing. Yaaaaay kids.) so I could have gross-ish hair or wear hats during this time.

The point? I wanted lovely, gorgeous hair. And what better way to achieve that than by not washing it? you ask. Well, yes. Now, since I don't do things like research before I just jump in, I don't really know the science behind it, but what I've surmised is basically, most shampoos these days cause your hair to over-produce oil because the shampoo makes your hair think the oil will never come back, so you are basically forced to wash it every day to get rid of that extra oil. Lather, rinse, and repeat every day. Ostensibly, not using shampoo will cause the hair to adjust how much oil it really should be producing and thus you will eventually not need to shampoo. (Anyone who knows the actual science here, please chime in. I think I'm making most of this up.)

Beyond the science ("science"), I follow several Internet ladies who don't wash their hair and their hair is GORGEOUS. GORGEOUS. Look at Jamie's hair! IT IS GORGEOUS! See, I have seen it work (seen it through the Internet, whatever) and figured I would give it a shot. Here's a little backstory on my own hair journey, so you can understand where I'm coming from.

I used to have great hair that I only needed to wash maybe twice or three times a week. I could workout and not even get it wet and it'd still be clean! It was amazing hair. Then I went and had a child and I swear, my hair hormones got royally fucked up. Within the last year or so, I went from washing every-other-day to washing every day and having my hair be greasy before day's end. I tried dry shampoo (many different brands, some better than others), I tried dousing baby powder on my head (also very good for your Olde Maid Halloween costume), but the fact was, shit had changed and I was unhappy.

Armed with science ("science") and the clear evidence on the Internet, I plunged into my no-shampoo experiment. I figured I would try the free way and hope it worked and if it didn't, then I'd throw money at the problem. So, how'd it go? Well, I made it almost three weeks before I had to wash my hair. (I might have kept it going, but I got a head cold and I just felt so disgusting one day that I had to wash it.) Not gonna lie, it was a long and pretty gross road. I knew the first week would be bad. And it was. I was hoping the second week would look better. Some days I thought yes, it's regulating itself! This is working! And it wasn't. By the third week, I maybe could have made it. It was possibly getting better! Or not. Aaaaand then I just had to wash it.

(To allay any concerns, I did get it wet and massage it as though I was shampooing it. When I told Chris I was not washing my hair, he was like, "Like dreadlocks?" I think he was excited at the prospect of dreadlocks. NO. Also, since I got it wet everyday and slicked it back in a bun, I don't really think you could tell it was so gross. It more felt gross on my head. I'm getting itchy just thinking about it.)

Since throwing in the (microfiber, more on that later!) towel, I've been washing my hair every second or third day using Neutrogena T-Gel shampoo and no conditioner. The only reason I'm using the T-Gel is because I think it contains less sulfites (the "pooiest" part of shampoo, I guess?) than the other crap in my shower and I've been too lazy to go out and buy new stuff. This is also why I haven't been conditioning (but I have been applying Moroccan oil after washing, so that helps contain the static cling.)

About the towel, I'd been wrapping my hair post-shower in a microfiber towel, but I noticed late last week my hair wasn't as nice as it had been the week prior and that's when I realized I'd washed my microfiber towel and then put it back on the toolbench in the garage and had just been using my old terrycloth towel. I need to go grab another microfiber from the garage. For whatever reason, that seems to make a difference.

And that's that! I feel like if anything, going three weeks without washing my hair has given me a new-found appreciation of what greasy hair really is. Now when it's been three days or so, I'm like, hey! My hair looks goooood!

Re: products, I have natural wave/curl, so I might go with the products/methods Noemi uses (btw, I strongly urge you to read both her hair posts because she actually knows what the hell she's talking about), but if anyone has any recommendations for "low-poo" shampoo and conditioner for straighter hair, hit me. I should mention, I know some people wash their hair with baking soda, but I have tried that and it doesn't work for me. Also, baking soda gets on my face and in my mouth and *shudder* it tastes very gross.


1Q14 books

I decided to split this year's Books I've Read This Year list into quarters. I am just a reading machine here (hah), no, but really, I have read more than usual, so I figured I'd save us all a bunch of work come July and just split this up. Here's what I've read so far this year.

Lost & Found, by Chris Van Hakes
My Internet friend wrote this! It was a very cute story and I enjoyed getting back to it every night when I settled in to read. I loved the main character's best friends and also mentally cast Channing Tatum as the main dude character, so that's fun. I do wonder if the author is planning a sequel. I'd read it, JUST SAYIN'.

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson
Okay, so I think I've mentioned before that sometimes I don't get the endings to books. I am pretty smart, and enjoy reading, and can usually keep up with what's going on, but sometimes the endings to books stump me. I blame that, though, on the fact that I just read pretty slow. So, unless something major happens, I won't remember it at the end and sometimes you need to remember those minute details to get the ending, you know? Anyway, this book! This book was just confusing the whole way through. Oh, but it was so, so good. I really loved it. I wanted to immediately re-read it and take notes and make timelines so I could really get it fully. I wonder, though, if maybe I did get it. Or maybe it was so all over the place and confusing on purpose, so you could decide your own ending? (I doubt that.) Anyway, this is making it sound terrible. It's not! It's really good. Highly recommend. (Please read it and then explain it to me?)

Fly Away Home, by Jennifer Wiener
Oh man, I used to love Jennifer Wiener! I read her books all the time and then somewhere along the way I stopped, why, I do not know. Anyway, I saw this on the front table at the library and snatched it up. I enjoyed it, as I do with all her books. It's a mother-daughter(s) story (pretty similar to another book I read last year, actually -- two daughters spending time at the family beach house with their mom), although the mom's and the eldest daughter's storylines were way more interesting than the other daughter's. Still really good, though. Recommend if you like Jennifer Wiener.

The 11th Hour, by James Patterson
Can't stop, won't stop. I do wonder when, if ever, the Women's Murder Club will end. They don't seem to age, so I guess never. They're like the Babysitter's Club all growed up.

The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion
This was super cute and delightful and so well-written in this way that was very analytical and efficient (which makes sense, since our main character is very analytical and efficient himself) that just made the analytical and efficient parts of my brain very happy. It was funny and endearing and...I totally didn't get the ending right away. I hopped over to the forums, though, and found a lot of other people (most of whom could string together a coherent sentence or two -- you just never know with message boards) who didn't get it either. Some nice souls explained it to us, though, so I get it now. Recommend, despite all that. Like I mentioned before, sometimes I'm just slow.

Wish I Weren't Here, by Sandra D. Bricker
This was a random Kindle app purchase (I like to have a few Kindle books to read on my phone right before bed, so I don't have to turn any lights on and disturb Chris, where's my Wife Of The Year award?) and it was good. Fine. It was finegood. Minus a theme wedding taking place around the letter W (what is this, Sesame Street?), it was a cute little story.

The Panther, by Nelson DeMille
Have I told you Nelson DeMille is my favorite author? Nelson DeMille is my favorite author. He makes me actually laugh out loud. I spotted this on the front table at the library and grabbed it right up. It was large marge (600+ pages, woof), but definitely good. If you're familiar with DeMille, it's a John Corey and this one takes place in Yemen. Since finishing this book, I've developed a new-found fear of Yemen (yay!) and also fallen into a Yemeni Instagram rabbit hole or two. That's not weird.

Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell
Most over-hyped book ever. I know there's a huge following for this book and while I did not hate it, and while I did really like some parts/storylines, I did not think it was the greatest thing I'd ever read. This was my impression going in, though, that it'd be the greatest thing ever. About halfway through, when Rainbow Rowell started describing holding hands like Jennifer Wiener would describe s-e-x, I realized that was as good as this book would get. That said, I loved Eleanor's storyline (Park I found to be kind of BLAH; his mother, on the other hand, was a delight), and wish it could've just been a whole book about her.

What have you read recently?


Give me a hand…bag

My girl Lauren recently did the ol' Here's What's In My Handbag post, so I thought I'd follow suit. I believe I have done one of these before, but hey, everyone loves a good repeater (plus, I'm pretty sure I didn't carry diapers around the last time.)

Here's the bag:

Michael Kors; a Christmas present from Chris. (I bought him almonds and licorice. He is clearly the better gift-giver.)

Here's the inside:

I like all the pockets (four total, plus a zippered pocket in the middle, which is where I keep the diapers and wipes so when I'm without my kid I can strut around, pretending like I'm just your average chic-as-shit lady, no diapers or pullups here, PUH-LEASE.)

Here's what I tote around:

Diapers and wipes (total badass), leopard-print card holder thingy that my grandma made me (good for toting gift cards, loyalty cards, our zoo passes, etc.), wallet, bag o' tricks (more on this later), sunglasses, assorted lip glosses, mints, and my earbuds. I also obviously carry my phone, but I was using it to take this picture.

More on that later, here's what's in the bag o' tricks, or as I sometimes call it, Sarah's Pharmacy:

Wine-opener, crayons, more lip glosses, various emergency makeup (eyeliner, mascara, concealer), hair ties and bobby pins, pens, nail file, A TAMPON, eye drops, lotion, drugz, MORE mints, bandaids, and glasses cleaner wipes. If I'm working, this is also where I'd keep my business cards.

So that's what's in my bag! Mickey Mouse diapers, size 6, are all the rage, didn't you hear? What's in your handbag? Do tell!


Three Thursday anecdotes

Today LG told me she could put herself down for a nap. She told me I could stay downstairs and then she walked upstairs (I followed her up -- I needed my cozy socks and also no, she cannot just put herself down alone) and then she went into her room and said she'd play and then lay down when she was ready to fall asleep. An hour later, I heard cries from her room. I went upstairs to find she had taken her socks off and couldn't get them back on. Little Miss Independent until she needs rescuing from her socks.


Chris's best friend and his wife came to visit with their three-week-old daughter earlier this week. LG was very, very attentive to the baby, making sure that she had a blanket at all times and a stuffed cat for naps. She rocked the baby in the Fisher Price Rock & Play Sleeper -- which she hilariously called the "You Put Your Baby In Dere" -- and generally micromanaged every aspect of the baby's care. When they drove to visit a family member for lunch, LG asked me where the baby was. I told her the baby was at lunch and LG asked,
"What's the baby gonna eat for lunch?"

(I didn't say "BOOBS!" so that better gain me some points.)


Our friends also brought their dog and while LG loves the idea of dogs, she was very skeptical of this one. When the baby was around, LG played it super cool with the dog, but when the baby wasn't there, LG would freak out. In an attempt to warm her up to the dog, Chris's friend asked LG to help him feed the dog. The dog (very well-behaved) was sitting patiently waiting for the command that would allow him eat. Chris's friend asked LG, "Do you want to tell the dog it's okay to eat?" LG responded, "I don't know, it's up to you."

Filed under: LG 3 Comments

LG at almost-three

Even though by Fridays, I am FRIED and OVER IT, I must say, almost-three is a fun age. While this time last year I was a little unstable, I think a lot of it had to do with age almost-two. There was no communication skill at almost-two. Almost-two was a lot of unexplained tears (and you should have seen LG, bah dum dum) because I just didn't know what she wanted. With almost-three, there is so much communication, and with communication comes memory, a sense of humor, opinions, and, most importantly, the ability to just give her what she wants. Here's the latest...

Very recently, LG has mastered the art of asking a question. So instead of "Milk pease, Mommy," I get, "Milk pea--can I have milk pease, Mommy?" YES. YES YOU CAN.

Her favorite book right now is Wacky Wednesday, which is so delightful to me because it was my favorite book as a kid. I can hear her reading it to herself during no-naptime: "Wacky Wednesday Dr. Seuss. ... A shoe on the wall?! ... Oh man! ..."

Today I thought I'd do a little yoga and since LG likes to do yoga, I thought maybe she'd do it with me. Instead, she spent the whole time telling me to move (off my own mat, rude!) and then deciding she was "all done" with yoga and asking me to put her socks back on. So, I spent much of my yoga time in replacetoddlersockasana.

She calls music "mugic," magazines "magagines," and pajamas "jamas."

She looks out her bedroom window all the time (little people watcher!) and noticed that Dad took Mom's car to work last week. "Daddy took your car!" she told me when I went in her room one morning. And then when Chris got home, "You took Mom's black car!" She also gets REAL concerned when Chris uses "my" computer on the weekends. Very serious, "That's Mom's computer, Dad." Cute, and also a good lesson in sharing.

My grandma bought her a stuffed dog for Valentine's Day and she still calls it "My dog that Bammy got me." My mom bought her some new clothes and I asked her who bought them for her, to which she replied, "Grandma got them, wasn't that nice?"

One day we were walking upstairs to bed and LG said, "LG has a bed and Mommy and Daddy have a bed. That's two beds. That's a lot of beds," so naturally now we quote Love Actually all the time: "Eight is a lot of legs, David."

Last week, I was laying in bed in the morning and I kept hearing her open and close her door, so I called out, "What are you doing?" and she was like, "What are you doing, Mommy?" and I was like, "Come in here!" and she was like, "I can't open the door!" and I was all, "Yes you can, you've been opening and shutting it all morning." It was mostly funny because I think she thinks if we can't see her door opening, then we also can't hear it. Not the case, child.

She still loves anything cat-related, checking out new library books, huggies and kisses before bed, eating anything except tomatoes and onions ("I can't like 'matoes, Mommy"), and pretending to be asleep in random places. She gets that last one from me.

A rare picture of the two of us!

Filed under: LG 4 Comments

Product round-up

It's that time of year to talk about what products we're all using. I think I've done this before, but things change, so I thought I'd give an update. My skincare routine is very basic. Very, very basic. I'm sure your fancy products work really well, and god knows I need to probably invest in some because I am looking OLD these days and it's really sad, but I kind of can't be bothered.

My morning routine is to wash my face with whatever face wash is in the shower. Right now it's an Aveeno foam situation. I didn't take a picture of it, nor bother to find out its actual name, because it's fine. It doesn't change my life. I'll probably buy it again or maybe I'll buy whatever else looks fine. (I'm obviously really attached to face wash here.) Truth is, I sometimes don't wash my face. I don't wear face makeup, minus under-eye concealer and blush, and I remove both every night, so I don't feel like my face needs daily cleaning.

Moisturizing, though? My moisturizing routine is very important to me.

In the mornings, I use the CeraVe lotion (4 pumps.) It's SPF 30 and it doesn't sting, which so many SPF moisturizers seem to. If I'm feeling extra dry, I'll add a half-pump of the Cetaphil to the CeraVe. At night, I use the Kirkland (Costco) brand makeup remover wipes. These are the best I've found. If Costco is out of their brand, I will use Neutrogena, which they usually have in stock. After I remove my makeup at night, I use a full pump of the Cetaphil.

For the all-over moisturizing, here are my faves:

I saw this Jergens hand cream featured in Allure and grabbed it up the next time I was at Target. It was like $6 and I bought it back in December and I've used maybe 1/4 of it, so it wins all the awards from me. I put this on my hands right before I fall asleep at night.

I used to be really loyal to the Jergens body lotion, but they never have that at Costco and man, I am a sucker for a deal. I tried to the Kirkland brand lotion and I love it. It's got a nice plant-y scent (like, it doesn't smell fruity or floral, but it smells like plants. I don't know.) In the winter, I also use the Neutrogena oil because sometimes it's too cold for lotion (I remember saying this exact thing in the last post I wrote and someone thought that was weird. I can't be the only one who thinks it can be too cold for lotion, right?) Anyway, if I'm extra dry, I'll combo the oil and the lotion and be all slicked up.

So that's what I'm using these days! Anything I have to try? Bonus points if I can buy it at Costco or Target.


My favorite podcasts

I've been introduced to some new podcasts recently, so I thought I'd share my favorites here. My taste varies from very lowbrow to smarty-pants, so there's really something for everyone. I'd also love to hear your favorites, so please share them in the comments!

Watch What Crappens
About: I've only mentioned it one or one hundred times before, but this is my very favorite podcast. It's about "all that crap we love to watch on Bravo," including Housewives of course, but also shows like Top Chef. The hosts live in L.A., which makes the podcast even more interesting because they always have Bravo-lebrity sightings to share.
Length: Typically between an hour and a half to two hours long
Updates: Once a week, usually on Wednesday mornings

Fresh Air
About: Fresh Air is pretty much my favorite NPR show and since I so rarely sit down to listen to the actual radio on weekdays at 1pm (when Fresh Air is on my local public radio station), I subscribed to the podcast. This one features interviews with tons and tons of different people from all walks of the entertainment (and beyond!) world. My favorites recently have been interviews with Tim Gunn, Ann Patchett, and Matthew McConaughey.
Length: Around 40 minutes long
Updates: Every day, two podcasts a day. Because the show is on daily and usually includes a short musical feature at the end, I get two new podcasts (one with the main interview and one containing the musical feature) dropped to my phone every day, PLUS an extra weekend episode (the weekend episode is not new; I think it's just highlights of interviews from that week.) I try to go into this podcast daily to delete the stuff I don't want to listen to, that way the episodes don't stack up. This usually includes the musical features -- not that they're not interesting, but I put a podcast on so I have something to listen to for an extended period of time. The music segments are 5-6 minutes, which, no thanks.

Stuff You Missed In History Class
About: The stuff you missed in history class! I like this podcast because it's about really random stuff you probably wouldn't learn about otherwise or it goes in depth about some of the stuff you learned only a little bit about in school. I have heard the hosts now are not as good as the old hosts, but I never heard the old ones and I like the gals who host now. Their voices are very nasal-y (which people have actually written in and told them, oy!), but you get used to it. It's funny -- for being basically radio, podcast people often do NOT have good radio voices. Anyway, the recent podcast about Rosa Parks was fascinating. One of my favorites -- one that made me get on that Google machine right after hearing the episode -- was about the Nazca Lines.
Length: Usually about 30 minutes long; occasionally they run into the 40-45 minute range
Updates: Twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays

Stuff Mom Never Told You
About: A lot of stuff about the female body, historical stuff relating to women, feminist topics, etc. Chick shit, basically. Some of the topics are little...much for me, so I just listen to the topics I think I'll find really interesting. I liked the recent episodes on women in hip-hop and Dolly Parton and am looking forward to listening to the episode on Susan B. Anthony.
Length: Usually about 30 minutes long; occasionally they run into the 40-45 minute range
Updates: Twice a week, on Mondays and Wednesdays

Wine 4 Sophisticated Homies
About: This is my high-school friend Ben's podcast. Ben and his co-host are sommeliers in southern California and bring humor, as well as a ton of wine information. They also occasionally talk about non-wine topics -- I loved their podcast on the history of vodka and gin.
Length: Usually around 20 minutes long
Updates: Usually once a week

NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour
About: I enjoy this show because they talk about movies/tv shows in such way that they articulate a lot of what I think about movies/tv shows. Sometimes I think the hosts are a little too into it (bordering on condescension), but with four hosts, they bring each other back to reality pretty quickly. They're really just very passionate movie/tv watchers.
Length: About 45-55 minutes long
Updates: Once a week, on Thursdays

Totally Mommy
About: Forgive the name, but this podcast is great. (I've only listened to two episodes so far, but they both made me laugh out loud, so there you go.) I don't know much about the host other than that she is a comedy writer, lives in L.A., and is hugely pregnant. The show is newer (a spin-off of her show with her husband, Totally Married, see below) and features the host talking with different mommy friends about mommy topics. The guests seem to be on some end of the celebrity spectrum, which makes the podcast even more fun.
Length: A little over an hour long
Updates: Once a week, on Tuesdays

Honorable mention: Totally Married
About: As I have only listened to one episode so far, I can't give this a glowing review just yet. But, I have another episode queued up for tomorrow and I did like the first episode I heard, so I am sure this will make it into the regular rotation. I'll report back when I have formed a more solid opinion.
Length: A little over an hour long
Updates: Once a week, on Saturdays or Sundays

And that's that! What are your favorite podcasts? Do tell!


All in good fun

I listed to a podcast the other day that got me a-thinking (as so many podcasts do.) It was an interview on Fresh Air with Jennifer Senior, who wrote the book All Joy And No Fun (about parenting, are you shocked?) I haven't read the book, so I can't really talk about that, but I loved the interview. What got me thinking was something the author said about becoming a parent in your 30s (specifically stay-at-home-parents.) She said that for the last almost-decade we have spent most of our time [in the work force], talking to adults and having rational conversations. Now all of a sudden, we're talking to these people who don't get reason and logic at all and that can be frustrating (understatement.)

I FEEL THIS so hard, guys. It is my natural instinct to talk to LG like an adult. Not necessarily because I am used to the workforce or whatever, and not even as a conscious thing; it's just what I do. And let me tell you, it does not always work. She does this thing (as so many threenagers do, I am sure) where she just FREAKS out about very little, dumb things. Like her chair won't push out from the table because the legs are stuck in between tiles. Or her books won't stack and they keep falling over. Or she puts her sock on backwards. These are things I can totally help her with, they are not emergencies, and yet she freaks the fuck out over them.

I try to be rational and explain to her that these are not things to cry about. If you're stuck in your chair, Mom will help you. If your books keep tipping over, Mom can show you how to stack them so they don't fall over. If your sock is on backwards, Mom can show you how to put it on so the heel is in the right spot. But, for the love of god, please do not scream about any of these things. Despite the fact that talking rationally to a two-year-old is kind of ridiculous, I am at a loss for what else I should do. I am certainly not going to swoop in and console her over spilled books. I am also not going to ignore it. I feel like it has to be understood that there are moments in which it's okay to get frustrated for a second, but then we move on. I am a grown-ass lady and I've been known to throw things in frustration, so I get it. Just, you know, not 30 times a day.

(Funny aside: I've been trying to get her to take a deep breaths when she's about to freak out and she does NOT like that. "No, Mommy, no breathe!" Okay then!)

Another thing the author mentioned in the interview is how we're expected to be our kid's playmate. Oooooh boy. I can't tell you how much guilt I feel for not actively playing with LG each day. There are plenty of times when I send her upstairs to nap and she...does not nap. She plays and and reads and I can hear her chatting away and part of me feels like I need to go be involved in her playtime. Like it's not fair that she's playing alone or something? Which is ridiculous because I loved being alone as a kid, so who's to say she doesn't also? She practically sprints upstairs after lunch each day. And beyond the fact that she appears to enjoy playing alone, I am not 30-going-on-3. I've got adult things to do and I do not need to play with an almost-three-3-year-old doing almost-three-year-old things. I wonder why I don't feel like it's enough that I clean/clothe/feed/read to/take to the park/cook with/set up with various crafts and art stuff. That is most certainly enough! And yet here we are.

Where do you fall on reasoning with unreasonable toddlers and playing kid games with your kids?

Filed under: LG 5 Comments

Smug lettuce wraps

I feel like kind of a cheater for posting this recipe because it's not even a recipe, really. But, I've made this many times now and so I finally figured it was time to share the method. It's stupid easy and it involves a bottled sauce SO SUE ME. It also involves quinoa and lettuce, so at the end of the day you can be very smug about having this for dinner. Unless you have it with potstickers, in which case...maybe never mind.

Anyway, I have done this lots of different ways, used different meats or added different veggies in, etc., so it goes without saying you can add in based on what you like or what you have in your fridge. Anything goes!

What You'll Need
2 chicken breasts, diced up into really tiny pieces (or save yourself the time and buy ground chicken or turkey)
A big handful of baby carrots, cut into small pieces
1 cup (dry) quinoa, cooked to package directions
A big healthy glug of Veri Veri Teriyaki (or your favorite teriyaki sauce/marinade)
Olive oil
Black pepper
Dried garlic
Dried onion

Toppings & Such
Lettuce cups
Sesame seeds
Green onion
Avocado slices
Chili garlic sauce
More sriracha
Hot mustard

What You'll Do
- If your quinoa isn't already cooked, start cooking it now; mine takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Add a drizzle of olive oil to a wok or pan and cook up the carrots for a few minutes, then add the chicken. I keep the heat pretty high so all the liquid cooks out, but obviously you don't want to burn anything, so, you know. I'm sure you know your burners better than I do.
- Add that healthy glug of Veri Veri; sprinkle some black pepper, dried onion, and dried garlic, plus a little sriracha. Just keep stirring over medium-high-ish heat.
- When the quinoa is done, add it to the chicken and carrots and mix it all up; at this time, you may need to add another glug of Veri Veri, as well as some more of the spices.
- I let all this cool until I'm ready to eat so as not to burn my throat like I did the other night. I recommend letting yours cool, too.
- While it cools, you can get your toppings ready, slicing and dicing and whatnot.
- Top your lettuce wraps (romaine is not ideal, but it's all I had this time) with the chicken and quinoa mixture, plus whatever other toppings you like. Eat three or four of them. Feel very smug.

This made 4.5 meals for us. Dinner for the three of us and lunch for two of us the next day. Viva la leftovers!

Filed under: Food & Wine No Comments

A birthday story in two parts: Food and booze

My birthday was last week and it was my very favorite birthday in recent memory. I very rarely feel the need to recap my own birthdays, but this was a great one. The weekend before my birthday, I got to spend 48 hours with my favorite person ever, celebrating in one of my favorite cities. We went to San Francisco, which incidentally is where we spent my birthday four years ago, when we first moved to northern California, even staying in the same hotel (thanks to my favorite in-laws for hooking that up and also for flying down to watch LG!)

San Francisco holds a special place in my heart because it's kind of where Chris and I decided to "make this thing happen," if you will, and where he met my parents for the first time (more on this later.) This was all about a month or so into meeting each other, so forgive me, but San Francisco just brings back a bunch of warm fuzzies for me whenever I'm there.

Anyway! Onto the birthday recap. Once my in-laws arrived on Saturday, we fled the house whooping and hollering and made our first stop to Napa to pick up our champagne shipment and grab a little snacky lunch.

Rough stuff.

Then it was onto the ferry which was...stranded in the middle of some kind of body of water. No matter! We hopped on a bus (LOL LOL I don't do buses, but I survived) and got to our hotel.

First stop on the agenda was drinks at the Top of the Mark at the InterContinental. We've done this before and had a great experience, but this time it was just okay. Kind of shoddy service, a not-great view (not the Mark's fault; it was rainy), but fueled by gin drinks, we soldiered on...

Martini for Chris, French 75 for moi.

...Followed by dinner at my most very favorite restaurant in San Francisco. A blog reader recommended Osteria to me years and years ago, back when I blogged under a different name and when I still lived in San Diego. Since then, we've been back countless times because it is just. So. Good.

This salad is one of the greatest things I've ever eaten in my life.

After dinner, we trudged through the rain (I...might have been a touch cranky) and finally ended up at our hotel where we watched the Olympics and passed out like the 30-somethings we are.

On Sunday, I had high hopes of tracking down a croissant or other breakfast pastry, but after walking around North Beach for awhile , The Hangry hit and so we had to find a place to grab breakfast. Like, immediately. We stopped at Caffe DeLucchi and were quite pleased.

The eggs were poached so perfectly, I thought they were little dollops of sour cream.

The it was onto the Buena Vista for Irish coffees. When Chris first met my parents, the four of us hunkered down here and drank 18 Irish coffees in about two hours. Not to worry, we did also share a grilled cheese sandwich. Between the four of us.

Yes, sir, just another 17 more and I'll be set.

Then it was once again back to the hotel for some R&R before heading back out in search of Chinese food. Our hotel is very close to the entrance to Chinatown, so of course I insisted Chris pose with this lion:

For LG!

The we went to Hunan Home's (thanks for the rec, CH!) and ate way too much food.

This is not Hunan Home's. I ate way too quickly to take a picture. Imagine tasty green beans & pork and orange chicken.

After Chinese, we were in one of those states where we were too full to do much of anything but sit around, but it was too late in the afternoon/early in the evening to go take a nap/turn in early and so we powered through. First we stopped by Comstock Saloon for some craft cocktails:

Bourbon, gin.

Then we got a real hair up our asses and decided to recreate that first trip to San Francisco. On that trip, I had a guidebook that listed all of the diviest bars in San Francisco and we made it our mission to go to all the places on that list. Some of them were no longer dive bars and were instead other kinds of bars and some of them were very, certainly, decidedly divey. One was a bar/convenience store/recycling center. They've since revamped the place -- and yet didn't change the name; it's called Grasslands, if you're interested -- but when we stopped in for a drink this time, it just didn't have the same je ne sais quoi as the last time. (Yup. Just used French to describe a dive bar.)

We couldn't quite remember the name or location of one of the dive bars that really tickled our fancy, but checked out the maps on our phones and thought we'd found it. As we walked down the alley where we thought it was, hoping that it hadn't closed down in the last seven years, I heard the telltale sounds of Chinese karaoke. I knew we'd made it.

No filter needed -- the Bow Bow Cocktail Lounge is really that red.

We karaoked, drank g&ts, and had an all around fun time, culminating in late night pizza and popcorn in the hotel.

The next day it was time to head home. Not to worry, I did manage to get a croissant before we left.

Until next time, m' lady.