Archive | March, 2014

My First Spring Break (Mexico!)

29 Mar

Guys! I went to Mexico for a week, and it wasn’t snowing there! I didn’t have to wear a coat or boots or anything! (well, I did wear something…but it was far far less than usual)

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We went to Puerta Vallarta with my parents and brother to a super beautiful resort. This area of Mexico is just gorgeous, with the mountains surrounding a bay, it’s all just so pretty. And we always feel really safe in this part of the country, which is nice because it means we can go exploring a little bit.
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Margaritas, obviously.

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Dad loves mom.

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I’m so short.

This was Brent’s first time in Mexico, and I was excited to share it with him. I’d been to this area twice before, so I really wanted him to see the things I had told him about. Here are the highlights: We went on a cool boat ride to a little “private” beach. Private, because it wasn’t open to the public. You had to buy tickets to go there – so fancy!

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On the boat!

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Mom “found” a starfish! I can’t believe she actually held it.

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The boys paddle boarding

Brent and I took a tour of the city and surrounding areas, something I had done before with my family. It was all of our favorite thing from the trip, so I really wanted to do it again! There is a small walking tour of the downtown area of Puerta Vallarta.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in downtown Puerta Vallarta.

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The boardwalk is full of statues and art pieces. This piece is the symbol of the city.

There’s a huge “handicraft” market, basically a tourist mecca with basically anything you could ever want made in Mexico. Beautiful ceramics and hand blown glass, blankets, clothing, shoes, vanilla, etc., as well as the little junky trinkets and shot glasses and other mass-marketed things. I wasn’t really in the mood to barter or get ripped off, and neither one of us really needed anything. All I wanted was this super high quality vanilla that we had bought from this market a few years back. I grabbed it, got a decent deal, and we headed over to a really cute little cafe and people watched.

From there, we headed up to the mountains, where we learned a lot about the city and how it came to be a tourist destination. Basically, it all comes down to Elizabeth Taylor’s affair with some movie star…I am not totally sure but the scandal brought attention to the city in the late 1960s and then Nixon came and visited…and boom, on the map.

A really unique part of this tour is that we get to stop at a traditional tequila distillery. It was a 3-generation family business that hand make severything, from cooking the agave in big fire pits, using a donkey to crush it into juice, and distilling it in small batches in copper stills, to developing their own flavored and aged tequilas. Last time I didn’t partake in the free samples…but I sure did this time!

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They have a citrus flavor, almond flavor, and a coffee-vanilla-chocolate flavor. They were so good. like…so good. Brent had to get a picture of me taking my first official shot! (Long story, but I don’t like when people tell me what to do, i.e.: “You HAVE to take a shot.” so I don’t take shots on principle…and I’m stubborn). Anyways. They also have a reposado tequila, or “rested” which means it was in the barrel for less than 8 months. The anejo tequila is rested for at least 18 months, and was smooth and slightly sweet. The family reserve was the best thing ever – smooth, sweet, and smoky, but very pricy. We bought the anejo, which was still expensive…but worth it!

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Obviously there was the beach and ocean, but I’m so fair (and so is Brent) and I get very grumpy when I’m hot. I need shade at all times or I fry. I used spf 50 all week. I still got sun burned.

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But I’ll gladly take that over boots, down jackets, mittens, and having the heat on, all things that happened this week at home. So. Over. It.

I’m happy to be home, though. I missed my kitties!

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Sunday Brunch Day (My newfound love)

3 Mar

Sundays are now officially my favorite day of the week.

I feel like most people don’t like Sundays. They’re like pre-Mondays, right? I used to feel that way. I used to just feel the time crunch bearing down on me…”Monday is coming! Are you ready for 5 strait days of work?” (that was Sunday talking to me.)

But now, it’s my favorite. I work Mon-Sat right now, so Sundays are my only days completely “off” work. They’re lazy. They’re fun. I usually do really mundane things, but it’s entirely enjoyable.

And recently, I’ve been really in to making us a delicious breakfast in the mornings. Our weekday breakfasts are usually just yogurt or a granola bar ( boring) and Sundays give me those extra hours to create something really delicious, most often involving bacon.
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This Sunday I pulled out all the stops. My dear friend Becky joined us for brunch and we had a very lovely time! Brent whipped us up some breakfast cocktails and I made tiny baby donuts. They are an almond donut with a cherry glaze, although the glaze definitely left something to be desired (very powdered-sugary) so I will be tweaking that one. but they’re so adorable.

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I also made an amazing Middle Eastern egg dish called shashuka, which is eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce eaten with pita. I forgot to take pictures because I was too hungry. I’m making that again for sure. I followed Deb’s take on this dish over at Smitten Kitchen, so head over there for that recipe.

Anyways, my point is that I wish every day could be like Sundays. Just taking my time in the morning, enjoying my coffee and whipping up a super tasty breakfast for people. I’ll be waiting all week for this Sunday morning – I’m thinking some breakfast tostadas are in order!