Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Very Cool New Feature on TFG

See that orange and pink box under the all of the contact and link icons on my TFG page? For the professionals advertising on The Flirty Guide this is a waaaaaaaaaaaaay cool new feature you're going to love! It's a Buzz Box. What's a Buzz Box? It's where you can update visitors to let them know: to check out your latest press, that you'll be at a showcase or bridal fair or advertise your latest specials and promotions. You can go in WHENEVER you want and update the Buzz Box with WHATEVER you think your visitors and fans would love to know about you and your business!

This is a standard feature now included with each and every profile page on TFG.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Chicken Vegetable Pot Pie

So here's my latest... Technically it wasn't so much a pot pie as a cottage pie (I replaced the crust with mashed potato). Filled with baby carrots, pearl onions, potato, celery, chicken, thyme and cream sauce, oh my gosh it was so yummy! If you want the recipe let me know and I'll send it to you. It would be just as good vegetarian style, which I will try the next time I make it. My new sweet hubby made a Cesar salad and we were good to go for dinner!

Now that all of my kitchen equipment is moved to my new residence I am cooking again. There are some things in life I LOVE to do when I have the time. Reading, painting and cooking are among some of my passions that I've sorely neglected the past couple of years. While I still don't have the time for reading and painting, cooking is something that I am managing to make part of my daily routine again. I have killer cookware. From my Henkel knives to my All Clad and Le Creuset cookware I'm covered. While most women I know can't resist buying clothes and shoes? For me? Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table are the stores I can't resist.

Normally it would be difficult to justify spending a lot of $$$ on kitchenware and gadgets but years ago I was in not one but 2 car accidents within 3 months of each other, neither of which were my fault. Fortunately both cars that hit me were insured under the same company so the settlement part was pretty straightforward. After suffering from severe whiplash for over a year I decided to spend my entire settlement on something that would bring me as much pleasure as the accidents had caused pain... I decided to go on a kitchen equipment shopping spree that can only be compared to the one Julia Roberts experienced in Pretty Woman. It was great and I still have all of it to this day. I lovingly hand scrub and dry all of my pots, pans, gadgets and utensils. They are all in like new condition over a decade later.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The TFG Fansite!

So I created a TFG Fansite on Facebook.

Feel free to join to see some of my wedding pics and for announcements about the Guide in 2008.

LOL yes that's my dog who was our "Mutt of Honor" at the wedding. For some reason he looks like a hairy troll. Normally he looks like a scruffy dog. Not sure why he looked so "puffy" that day. Maybe it was because it was so windy :P

Friday, December 14, 2007

My FAVORITE Tea & Tofu Burger

This is an excellent tea. It's called Ryokucha and the only place I've ever had it is at the Samovar Tea Lounge in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Gardens. It's right behind the Metreon across from the reflecting pool. It's a genmaicha (with toasted rice) green tea that has a bit of matcha (powdered tea) mixed in giving it a beautiful bright green hue. It took 3 visits before they had the Ryokucha in stock to purchase and take home with me. The first container I bought I gave as a gift to my mom. Thankfully they had it the next time I went there for dinner. I bought a second tin and have been enjoying for the past few weeks. Aside from the health benefits from drinking green tea I drink it because I love it!

The second best thing at Samovar is their tofu burger. It's not like any other tofu burger. Don't think of a slab of white tofu. Nope, theirs is crumbled and mixed with bits of veggies and seaweed topped off with BBQ sauce of all things! It is amazingly great!

The other neat thing about the lounge is that it isn't just English or Asian tea. The menu boasts selections that vary from American, Chinese, English, Indian, Japanese, Moorish and Russian. So you can savor one of their many teas that accompany food from the same region.

This is the view from in front of the restaurant. There is indoor and outdoor seating available though I doubt the outdoor service is available at this time of year. The reflecting pool I saw once on an episode of Animal Cops SF. There was a seagull that had fishing line tangled around it's feet so the Animal Control officer had to go wading to catch and release the bird. It was a happy ending so that's all that mattered.

I forgot my camera the last time I went so a big thanks to my pal Carl for letting me use his to take the tofu burger and cityscape shots!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

When I was a kid...

The Sweet Smell of Christmas (Scented Storybook)We had a scratch and sniff Christmas book. One of my most favorite things about the holiday season now is that each holiday season, just in time for Christmas, Dreyer's comes out with their limited edition peppermint ice cream! I usually get it every year. Except for last year. Though I searched for it high and low it was to no avail. When I saw it at Safeway the other day I went giddy for a moment. The ice cream tastes exactly like how the peppermint in the book smelled. It's a special treat that I enjoy for the short window of time the flavor is available.

Try some. If you don't love it, drop the rest off with me!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New and Improved!

After receiving some feedback about the contact information being a little tricky to see on the professional's profile pages on The Flirty Guide, I redesigned them to include easy to see icons depicting among other things their website, email, blog, Myspace and Facebook page links.

I hope you find the change useful!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Ouch! That would have hurt!

I was out on the town tonight with a friend at a fun holiday event. We were walking back to our cars when we were almost run over in a crosswalk! Seriously! We were half way across the street and an oncoming car, driven by a man who shall remain nameless (because I don't know his name LOL) decides to pull into the intersection. We stop in the center of the cross walk between the two corners assuming he's just cutting us off. All of a sudden he turns his wheel hard to make a u-turn aiming directly into the crosswalk! There was no time to run and no place to hide, and he wasn't looking forward at all, just to his left to make the turn. I would have been hit first, so as my friend screamed at the top of her lungs I tipped my gold umbrella forward like a shield and waved it. I don't know if that was what caught his eye or if he just happened to finally look up but he slammed on his brakes and stopped about 15 feet from me. I swear 3 more seconds and I'd have had 2 broken legs at best or would have been squished under his car at worst. I guess I could have also been hit, breaking my legs then thrown from the impact landing on my head cracking my skull. The possibilities are endless and none are very pleasant. It was very scary to say the least.

So if you, Mr. Illegal U-turn Man, read this blog post, please in the future go to the corner and make a right, then a right, then a right, then a left. That would be the legal way to change directions. And you won't almost plow over some poor soul in the crosswalk almost smashing her to smithereens!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

When The List Doesn't Add Up

I'm assuming all of you know that when you RSVP to say you'll be a guest at a wedding the bride and groom then add you to their guest list.

But maybe some of you aren't aware that the list then goes through a metamorphosis becoming a seating chart and emerging as a head count to give to a caterer a few days before the wedding.

Once the bride and groom commit to that number they will have to pay for every meal whether every guest shows up or not. Of course there are always understandable and extenuating reasons why you may not make it to a wedding: illness, accidents, even work can impede into your personal time and cause you to miss a social commitment.

But there are those people who think that it's ok to rsvp for 2, then not show up, or leave before the reception, which basically sticks your host and hostess with footing the additional cost of the uneaten meals. Knowing most reception dinners range from $35 to $100 or more per head, that's an easy $70 to $200+ you just stuck your bride and groom with. Seriously, it's money down the drain.

I'm just saying if you know 3-4 days beforehand you can't make it or you're leaving after the ceremony, drop the bride an email or call her on the phone to let her know so she can make the necessary adjustments to her caterer'st list.

1 + 1 = 0
I know a bride who was more then speechless when one of her guests ducked out after the ceremony. The guest was a vegetarian, so the bride had ordered an entire vegetarian entree with her in mind. When time came for the guest's table to go to the buffet the bride went looking for her so she could let her know there was a non-meat entree for her. When she couldn't find her she asked around only to learn that the guest and her date had left! She heard later through the grapevine that it was because the date was bored and they were tired of waiting for dinner to be served. Mind you this was during a cocktail hour with an open bar and plenty of Hors d'Oeuvres, hand passed and a buffet, so the excuse was weak at best. In any case the bride and groom ended up paying an extra $100+ dollars for those two uneaten meals.

5 + 5 = 0
Another bride I know had over 10 guests in one family not show up because one person didn't feel well enough to attend. It was disappointing on a personal level not to have part of her family there and expensive from a financial standpoint since my friend was charged for all of their uneaten meals.

40 + 40 = 90
Another time I was a guest at a wedding where more people showed up then expected. This caused a problem of not having enough chairs and tables for all of the guests. Especially because it was a sit down reception, not a buffet. So if you say you're bringing yourself and one guest, that means bring yourself and one guest. Not yourself and 2 guests. At least not without clearing the addition with the bride or groom. Most likely they'll say of course you can bring another guest, and can then let the caterer and facility know to add one more to the list. Since many places bring in rentals if 10 extra people show up? There are no tables or chairs to throw together. The delivery truck that could have brought them will have left hours earlier when they delivered the requested number of chairs, tables and place settings.

1+1 = 1
I happened to speak to one of our guests a few days before we turned in the head count to our caterer and he casually mentioned he was not bringing a companion anymore even though he had already rsvp'd for two. Did he call me? Nope. I just happend to contact him for another reason. So please, let your host or hostess know that you'll be coming alone if your guest or date cancels on you. I can't speak for everyone but I'd prefer a guest either let me know as soon as they find out or invite someone else as their date, as opposed to leaving a chair empty at the table and a meal paid for but uneaten.

At the end of the day being a gracious host and hostess curtails the bride and groom from chastising anyone for this type of unnecessary expense. But we as guests can be gracious enough to let our hosts know if we are not going to be able to attend, stay, or bring the number of people we committed to their list when we filled in our RSVP card and dropped it in the mail. Really, it's the least we can do.

Monday, December 3, 2007

My Fav Thai Restaurant in SF

If you go... Order the "Gai Prik Khing" crispy sliced chicken pieces & wok tossed string beans with sweet kaffir prik-khing chili. I did and it was the best! Next time I go I will try to order this dish with tofu instead of chicken. I bet it will still be fabulous.

Years ago, before I became allergic to shellfish and voluntarily gave up eating pork, my other favorite dish here was the "Basil's Panstickers" made of shrimp & minced pork, served with Thai style ginger soy sauce. These were to die for! The vegetarian "Pad Thai" is always a great choice as well.

I've been going to Basil for years and the service has always been professional, attentive and consistent. To me it's a gem. There are many restaurants with terrible service I'll still go back to because the food is so good. Or restaurants where the service is better than the food. But this place has performed 100% on both points every time I've ever been there.

Basil is located South of Market. It's not really walking distance from downtown but it's well worth the effort it takes to drive over.

1175 Folsom St - Between 7th & 8th St (street parking)
San Francisco, CA 94103

415 552-8999

Thursday, November 29, 2007

And The Awards Went To...

Are you going to give a toast at the reception? That's what my then fiance kept asking me week after week. Each time I would tell him "No" I don't like speaking in front of crowds.

He kept telling me the toasts would be "An opportunity to declare our love for each other." He had been working on his toast to me for months. LOL. Little did he know that I had come up with my own fun and flirty plan. Knowing he loves awards, he has three bowling trophies that he's quite proud of, I decided to order a trophy for him that said "Best Husband" and planned to present it to him during the toasts at our reception.

When the time came I was shocked at how inexpensive trophies are if you know where to order them. I found these Oscar style awards on marble bases at www.K2Awards.com. They were $15.99 each and I had one for each of the three stages of our relationship: Best Boyfriend, Best Fiance and Best Husband. The dates on each one corresponded to the dates of each phase.

So there we were at our reception and imagine his shock when our master of ceremonies announced that it was time for the "Awards" portion of the reception. I stepped up to the podium and did my best to articulate to our family and friends why John is just the best guy ever. My previous post where I mentioned he had given me a AAA card months after we began dating was just one of the many thoughtful things he's done for me since we've been together. He was very moved and now his new trophies reside proudly alongside his bowling trophies on our mantle.

On a side note he was slightly relieved that Kitai, my dog, didn't win the costume contest when we were on the TODAY show a few days later. The winning dog received a trophy that was at least 3 feet high! His concern? That he didn't want to be upstaged by the dog. LOL.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

A few months ago one of my closest online friends posted her wedding website. I was one of the first to view it and as such seized the opportunity to surprise her by being the first to send her a wedding gift. I wanted to get her a stainless steel steamer at Crate and Barrel, but it was sold out. Instead I chose a glass 4 part serving dish that was listed on her registry.

A few days later she brought the subject up in our private forum. There are only 10 members in our group so we're a pretty tight crowd. She commented that the next day she and her fiance were attending a wedding shower and that despite herself she had become obsessed with the gift registry. Her fiance told her not to look, that doing so would only lead to trouble but she couldn't resist. Here's a slightly edited version of what happened next:

Her: I know it's spoiling the surprise, but I can't stop myself!

And the worst part? They're getting stuff that we just added on for fun, not the stuff we *really* want. I'm checking the pages like, "No, dumba**es, don't get THAT... get the wine glasses!"

I'm horrible.

Me: Aw cwap. I got you something but it wasn't wine glasses.

Hope you feel EXTRA bad for saying that now. You should!

Her: Are you serious?

OMG, I'm seriously busting a gut laughing over here!!

Me: Could not be more serious!

Not going to tell you what I sent. You can tell me how much you really wanted it when it gets there.

Her: OMG, I feel bad but I'm laughing so hard!

And your SIGNATURE!!! You're laying it on THICK!!

Me: I'd changed my sig to: Buy someone a wedding gift and they call you a duma**

Her: I deserve it.

See? Told you I was horrible.

But, in all honestly, everything on there, yes, we want and we'll love!

It really is so nice of you.

OK, no more checking the registries for me. I've learned my lesson.

Me: Would like to point out that you are the dumba**es who asked for the other items. LOL.

I always enjoy learning from other peoples mistakes so..... Thanks for saving me from that one!

*Note to self* Do not blog about lame wedding gifts. You never know who might be reading your griping.

Her: Oh, now I feel really bad.

And gifts are NEVER disappointing!! I love them all, no matter what size or shape. Seriously, you could send me a pair of socks and a box of toothpicks as a present and I'd get excited.

Me: The cost of the gift was well worth the laugh you just gave me and now I fully expect you to exchange it for some wine glasses when it gets there.

I went for something heftier then a wine glass.... They break all the time. I wanted something that would remind you of me forever! Now you will feel guilty every time you eat carrot sticks, celery sticks, radishes, and broccoli or four kinds of crackers.

Her: OMG, the four-part dish!!!

Me: Yeah yeah.... Too late now. I know what you really think of my gift. *sniff sniff*

Her: What's extra funny is my fiance told me I was going to get myself in trouble checking up on the registries. Dammmit!! I hate it when he's right.

Seriously, I never expected any of you guys to send me gifts! I completely underestimated how sweet you are. You're the best.

Me: It's all in good fun. Plus that REALLY proves you weren't expecting gifts from us. Which is nice and shows you aren't a selfish person. Just a picky one. LOL

Her: It's totally true, wasn't expecting it at all.

But I think I've pretty much zapped my chances of getting any MORE presents from anyone in our group....

Me: Yeah if anyone else here sends a gift? I would strongly urge you to choose the wine glasses.

Her: We are having the presents sent to my fiance's work b/c he'll be there all day long to receive them. NO JOKE: He just texted me and said we got a gift today from Crate & Barrel.

I'll save him the back story tonight and just tell him what a wonderful friend you are.

Seriously, I can't believe the gift arrived today. That's just the icing on the cake. The bitter, crow-filled cake that I am now eating.

I have dug a hole, and there's no way out.. I'll just sit down here in my hole and eat veggies out of my new serving dish.

I think the moral of the story is clear. My advice? Seems like a no brainer but if you don't like a gift make sure you don't complain about it to the person who gave it to you. LOL. Unless they have a good sense of humor. Then it can actually turn into a pretty good laugh and seriously, most of us need all the laughs we can get! At least I do. My friend will never live this down. But that's ok because she's willing to laugh at herself right along with the rest of our little group.

My First Blow Out!

It couldn't happen in a 20 mph school zone, 5 minutes from home at noon. Nope the first time I blew out a tire it was an hour away from home, at night, on a freeway. I was on my way back from an industry event in San Francisco when all of a sudden my car started making a thump, thump, thump noise. I quickly realized something was very wrong and had two choices: Pull over on a curve on a dark highway with cars whizzing by at 75+ mph, or continue on to the next exit. I quickly weighed my options and chose the latter. When I pulled over this is what I saw!

I quickly called AAA. It didn't take long for the tow truck driver to show up and before I knew it I was on my way! It literally took him about 3 minutes to change my tire! He was awesome! I gave him a tip. Wasn't sure if you're supposed to tip a tow truck driver but I was so appreciative that he fixed my tire so quickly I figured it was the least I could do. My dear sweet hubby had added me to his AAA a few months after we started dating and got me a cell phone (LOL) so he could track me down when I was out and about. Both came in pretty darn handy that night. I'm happy to report that I made it home none the worse for wear.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Envy: Good or Bad?

Depending on your motivations, striving to be the envy of every other bride you know can be good or bad. To make people jealous? Bad. Because you were a great hostess and made the day enjoyable for your guests? Good!

Come on, admit it. Some of you would love for your wedding to be the envy of every other bride before you and every bride to come... Nothing wrong with that, it's human nature.

But what makes a wedding truly memorable? Truly special? I think nothing impresses guests more then a ceremony full of emotion with heartfelt vows. Between you and I? I love when a bride is sobbing down the aisle or a groom chokes up at the alter.

When it comes to the rest? Nothing creates a more lasting impression then being a great host and hostess to your guests. As much as rumor may dictate that it's a brides day to do what she wants... I think part of what she should want is the comfort and enjoyment of her guests. What better way to make your wedding the best your guests have ever attended then to make sure that their every need was met?

When it comes to being a fabulous hostess? Here are some great common sense suggestions to ensure your guests are comfortable and enjoying themselves as much as possible!

1. Be on time! I was once invited to a wedding where the bride arrived so late for the ceremony that we were not served dinner until 10:30 pm after her photos were taken. The cake cutting was at 11:30 pm. So being tardy is not the best way to go about creating a wedding others would envy.

2. In summer provide air conditioning, fans and shade. If your ceremony or reception are outdoors? Rent a tent, offer cute paper fans and/or provide paper parasols to your guests.

3. Include the option of Coke at the bar and/or with dinner and coffee during the reception to go with the cake. The lack of these basic caffeinated beverages have been the source of much griping by guests at weddings I've attended in the past.

4. Make sure your music choices are varied so that your guests, no matter what their age, will hear a few songs they recognize and can relate to.

5. Make sure there is enough seating. Feet get tired of standing and sore feet can ruin the best of parties. I once sent back my RSVP and attended a wedding where there wasn't enough seating available for the reception. There were about 10 of us who ended up sitting on a ledge watching the other guests at their set tables... We left before the meal was served. The worst part? That nobody, bride or groom, came to apologize. Everyone just acted as if we didn't exist. This taught me that "Graciousness and sincerity in moments of adversity can make the worst wedding day disasters tolerable."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

An Amazing Holiday Party

So the other night I was invited to a very special party by my friend Jewel Savadelis. Each year Anna Spraungel, the Catering Manager of McCall Catering, and her husband graciously host an annual holiday party that I can only describe as beyond my wildest expectations.

When I say expectations I mean in the sense that we never could have prepared ourselves for the amazing evening that was in store for us. It was such a treat!

As you can see from the photos we were treated to a winter wonderland. But the pictures don't begin to do justice to what we actually saw. The party was held at the most unusual venue you could imagine. Barrango is a display manufacturing company that specializes in holiday decorations and custom carousels! Their warehouse is like what kids dream about at Christmas time. We entered a maze of holiday lights, oversized ornaments, animated furry woodland creatures and carousel horses and animals of all shapes and sizes! There were soaring Christmas trees and spiraling topiaries, a beautiful gum drop tree, and two enormous cockatoos!

The food was wonderful and there was so much to choose from! Lots of hot dishes, cold dishes, sushi and some wonderful dips and cheeses. I enjoyed everything have a nibble of many of the yummy offerings. There were also many fancy desserts but something about being in that room made me feel like a little kid again so I passed by the baklava and little cakes for one of my favorite childhood treats, a classic oatmeal raisin cookie. Turns out I made a great choice because it was the best ORC ever.

Not expecting such a fanciful venue I neglected to bring my camera along so these shots were taken with my cell phone. They didn't come out too shabby so I thought I would share them with you. Here's the thing, though they look like outdoor photos these pictures were taken indoors! So cool!

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Hotel Kabuki • San Francisco

A Joie De Vivre hotel, the Hotel Kabuki is a Japanese style hotel that delights it's guests with a soothing ambiance and offers it's patrons cultural lessons in: Bonsai, Ikebana, Japanese Calligraphy, Karaoke, Odori Dance, Origami, Sake Tasting, Sushi Preparation, Taiko Drumming, and the Traditional Tea Ceremony.

Last night I was invited to attend the opening of Hotel Kabuki and it's O Izakaya Lounge. That's what the invitaton I received said. But it was so much more then an opening! It was a cultural experience that took me on a journey back to my childhood and allowed me an opportunity to reminisce memories forgotten.

From Kabuki, Taiko, Tea Ceremonies, Mochitsuki and more I was quite simply transfixed by many of the demonstrations and performances we were treated to.

As soon as one walked into the lobby the delicious food, provided by O Izakaya Lounge, began with hand passed Hor d'Ouevres, and from that point on each room we walked into contained a delectable offering of sushi, soba, tempura, manju, cake from Satura Cakes, mochi, specialty cocktails, tea and sake.

I could tell right away that the hotel is a wonderful venue for weddings and corporate events. The staff was friendly, gracious and helpful as we casually meandered through the event room by room.

We also received a guided tour of one of the suites and let me tell you, you won't find another room like this. At least I've not come across another like it. Each suite comes with an ergonomic deep-soaking tub. The tub is different then a traditional western bath. It's more like sitting upright in hot, hot water where you simply sit to relax, not wash. The Japanese shower first before entering the bath water.

There is also a traditional communal bath, Kabuki Springs & Spa, located in close proximity to the hotel.

The hotel is located in the San Francisco Japantown which is full of shops and restaurants all uniquely Japanese.

Below is a piece of manju and freshly made mochi I brought home just so that I would have some photos for the blog. I couldn't wait to photograph them so that I could hurry up and eat them!

Thank you to Rick Bacon, their Director of Catering, for the invitation. It was such an incredible treat to be a part of such a wonderful celebration!

Monday, November 12, 2007

My new gift shop on Etsy.com

You may have heard that I've recently launched a spay and neuter fund on my dog's website www.CutestDogEver.com I will be partnering with the 1 year old Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority donating all of the funds raised to pay for spay and neuter procedures for low income and financially challenged pet owners who would not otherwise be able to afford having their pet altered.

One of the ways I'll be raising funds is through the sale of my miniature, gold, origami cranes on Etsy.com. The cranes will sell for $5.50 each with $5 of the proceeds going directly into the fund.

The SVACA opened a Low Cost Spay and Neuter Clinic last week which charges $10 to alter cats and $30 to alter dogs. Those are amazing prices! Currently there is $1750.00 in the fund. I'll be working out a program with Dan Soszynski, the executive director of the shelter, in the coming weeks to make sure the money goes to this worthy cause. Once we begin dispersing the funds I'll be posting photos of the pets helped onto Cutest Dog Everl.com so that any of you who donated will see the pets you have helped.

Our country's shelters are in crisis and need any help they can get in decreasing the number of puppies bred while increasing the number of adoptions taking place. We need to lower the number of dogs, many as wonderful as Kitai, who tragically become nothing more then another sad statistic in our nation's euthanasia totals at the end of each year.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Best Brussels Sprouts EVER!

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of dining at Firefly Restaurant, in Noe Valley on the outskirts of downtown San Francisco. My friend Helen ordered the brussels sprouts appetizer. I'd never eaten brussels sprouts until a few years ago and when I cooked them I oven roasted them with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. I thought they were good. Not great, not bad, just pretty good.

So when her brussels sprouts came to the table we were all stunned by how amazing they smelled and the fact that they tasted even better then the aroma wafting across the table. The outler layers were thin and crispy and oh so yummy! As we all dove in with our forks we ALL commented at how they were the best brussels sprouts any of us had ever eaten.

They were so good I got an order to go and ate them cold out of the fridge the next day for breakfast.

We asked our waitress how they were prepared and tonight I did my best to replicate the recipe at home.

I'm going to share it with all of you because I think you'll really enjoy it.

• • • • • • • • • • • • •

The Recipe

I took one bag of Brussels Sprouts and trimmed the bottoms and removed the outer leaves.

I rinsed and drained them then tossed them in grapeseed oil, placed them in a stainless steel baking pan and popped them in a preheated oven at 400ยบ

I baked them for 15 minutes then removed them and added some salted butter, a bit of sea salt and black pepper. I tossed them back and forth in the pan until the butter melted and popped them back in the oven for 20 more minutes.

After removing them I sprinkled them with White Truffle Oil, tossed them and returned them to the oven for another minute. Note I did not buy pure truffle oil but rather the olive oil infused with truffle aroma.

This is what they looked like when I took them out of the oven.

I plated them and sprinkled them with a tiny bit of salt and grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese. Next time I'm going to try Pecorino Romano cheese.

I put the plate back in the oven for another minute just long enough for the cheese to melt.

I have to say I was pretty wowed at how great they came out for a first attempt.

The only other things I'll do differently next time would be to cut the sprouts in half before beginning. That way the flavors will soak through the layers of leaves. And instead of grating the cheese large like I did tonight I'll grate it fine into a powder. My new hubby doesn't have the most sophisticated cooking tools, but I do at my place. I just need to move them over.

Try them. Oh my gosh you'll love them! And be sure to go eat at Firefly. It's a gem.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Kitai the Cutest Dog Ever on the TODAY Show as The Dog Whisperer

My "Dog Whisperer" costume is why I was invited on the TODAY Show.

Best In Show Dog Halloween Costumes on the TODAY Show

A message from my dog:

Well I went to New York City!

As you may have heard... I didn't win the big costume contest. Truthfully I wasn't that disappointed. I mean it would have been WAY cool to win, but really what am I gonna do with a big gold trophy? There would have only been two options, pee on it or chew on it. Mom says both would be really wrong so I guess I didn't miss out on too much. The consolation prizes were great! Lots of treats and toys! I already shared some with one of my Dogster pal's whose mom came all the way to NYC from New Jersey to meet me. I sent Daisy my giant rawhide and a package of treats. I hope she enjoys them. I'm also going to offer my Pegetable to my pal Rosalita because I know she loves them.

Mom was thrilled I was on tv. As many of you know I am a volunteer goodwill ambassador for pet adoption through shelters and rescues. So as long as we helped to spread the word that there are great dogs waiting for new forever homes in shelters that was all that really mattered to her. They didn't mic my mom so if any of you were wondering what she said to Natalie when she asked why mom made me a Cesar costume mom told her it was because we admire Cesar for helping families stay together.

On a funny note I was treated like a star! A driver in a big, shiny, black car picked us us at the airport and we stayed in a swanky luxurious hotel. I could get used to being treated like a celebrity!

This morning before the show mom took me down for a walk in Central Park. I peed on so many trees and fire hydrants in NYC I lost count! Then we were whisked off to the NBC studios. A lot of people there really liked my costume. One lady even made Matt Lauer come look at me! He laughed when he saw my outfit. After the segment I got my picture taken with Elvira and football player Tiki Barber.

Mom was VERY proud of me. As some of you know I used to have a BIG problem being mean to big dogs. Well today I quickly became buddies with Miles the Rottweiler and after one little growl at Pasha, the gorgeous Husky who won, I was also pretty darn nice to him too.

Then Mom's Dogster.com pal and her daughter met us back at the hotel and we went for another walk in Central Park and grabbed some lunch off a street cart. I saw LOTS of carriage horses. I was minding my manners really well. I almost barked at them once but when mom told me to settle down I did. I was the model tourist. Well except for the peeing on everything in sight part. BOL.

So all in all the trip was a blast! We had a great time meeting and hanging out with all of the other pups and their owners that morning and I am now an official jet setter. Mom says I did great on the plane. I was in cargo since I'm too big to fit in the cabin, but I did just fine. Mom made sure to get a direct, non-stop, flight so I would be less traumatized and to remove any chance of us being seperated on the flight.

Well I have to run. I've got toys to squeak and treats to eat!



KItai the dog with Elvira at the TODAY Show in NYC

Kitai with Tiki Barber on Halloween Day 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Yup that's right! Kitai and I are flying out to NYC this afternoon to be on the Today show tomorrow morning! He was selected as one of 6 finalists in their pet Halloween costume contest! We'll be in NYC for less then 24 hours because I've barely spent time with my new hubby since we got married last Thursday!

Oh yeah, I have a TON to blog about the wedding.... It was Fun, Flirty and Fabulous!

Luckily my new hubby is so proud of Kitai being on TV he doesn't seem to mind that he's been upstaged for a bit.

When I return I'll tell you all about the wedding. LOL.

WIsh us luck!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Funny how you forget...

After receiving my gorgeous hat from my friend Corinne Okada the other night it reminded me that 5 years ago I modeled her second hat for her in a photo shoot. WOW 5 years ago! I love this picture yet I'd forgotten all about it. It's amazing what professional hair styling, make up and photography can do to make a girl more photogenic. LOL. Since then Corinne has made some truly extraordinary sculptures.

Corinne's "thing" is that she uses recycled materials to create her wonderful art. Mostly she uses Chinese and Japanese candy and food wrappers but also incorporates Asian news print, comic books, salvaged scraps of fabric from local fashion designers and anything else that suits the theme and purpose of a given commission. Then she sets to work with wire and pliers and creates a frame that she will cover with her mixed media selections which vary from project to project.

Have you ever seen anything else like it? I haven't. Her work has sold coast to coast and beyond. She's the most prolific artist I know, always working on a new commission every time I talk to her.

She's amazing!

All photos copyright © George R. Young

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Want to Vote for my Dog?

So I've entered my pooch in the Dogster.com World's Coolest Cat and Dog contest. If you have a minute and wouldn't mind voting and giving him some 5 paw ratings that would be fantastic!

Normally I limit his participation in contests to once a year at Halloween but I've finally realized that the more exposure he gets, the more exposure his website www.CutestDogEver.com gets. Why does that matter? Well it's because his website is all about letting people know what great dogs there are, just like him, sitting and waiting for new homes in animal shelters everywhere!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I LOVE my new hat!

Who says a bride has to wear a veil when she and her gal pals go out to celebrate?

So instead of having a bridal shower or bachelorette party I decided I wanted to celebrate my upcoming nuptials with a simple girl's night out. We went to a fabulous restaurant, Zibibbo in Palo Alto, and just had fun. My friends Christina and Corinne arranged a wonderful evening for all of us.

Normally the bride to be wears a veil to such an event. While I had plenty of veils in my own showroom I didn't wear one. Why? Because my very dear friend Corinne Okada made me one of her beautiful, original design, Flower Hats to wear for the evening. It even lit up in the middle! It was so fun wearing it! I felt like SJP from Sex in the City in my oh so chic and unique creation. I even wore it home in the car, lit up, so I could show it to my fabulous fiance the second I walked through the door. LOL.

He thought it made me look very Japanese. Maybe in part because my blouse was of a kimono style.

I had a great time enjoying a wonderful French cheese plate with fresh honeycomb and a fig pizza for dinner.

I can't wait to wear my hat again! I think I'll wear it to the next Martini Madness event I go to. They're at night in dark swanky lounges. The perfect place to wear a hat that lights up. LOL.

I swear I have the best friends ever!

Christina made these cute table decorations. She even learned how to make origami hearts just for me!

Photos by: Corinne Okada, Christina Dominguez Chapman and Mwa