annual family winter brunch.


the first year daniel + i were married we decided to have both of our families over for brunch. we didnt then know that it would turn out to be a yearly tradition. every winter we have "annual family winter brunch" and this was our ninth year. (for year ten we will have to do something really off the charts!)

its an event we all look forward to more and more with each passing year. we get the apartment all gussied up and in the case of this year we gussied the patio as well. we borrowed patio furniture from my gram and daniel made an amazing "live edge" table out of a tree. he found this gorgeous piece of eucalyptus on his way home from work one day and thought, "i should make this into a table." then, he did, with the help of two friends. sometimes i wonder what it would be like to have a mind that worked like his. ;)

it was the perfect day for a brunch, not overly warm as it has been lately. the clouds smiled down upon me, they must have known i desperately wanted to have a fire. 
on the menu? smoked salmon tea sandwiches by my mama, orange-cranberry scones with orange marmalade by my grandma, daniels famous belgian waffles + berry compote and my sausage torta rustica. oh, and fresh squeezed blood orange juice and berries for mimosas of course! 
we ate and visited for hours and then gradually one by one our family left. i know we see each other often but i cant help but always feel a small tinge of sadness when its over. 

until next year!

(ps. my best friend that has been living in china for the past couple years came home for a surprise visit soo she and her family were with us as well -- making this year even more extra special. xox)

a few lovely things.


have been and will be living in these shoes.
lavender making our apartment a happy place.
a little empty space in our otherwise crowded space.
new blanket.
and these textures.

idyllic retreat.


idyllwild, CA: its the place dreams are made of. that is, the place my dreams have been made of lately. due to the year dubbed by local meteorologists as "the year with no winter," i have been dreaming of cabins, fires, cardigans, baking and thick wooly socks. flip-flops in january is wrong on so many levels. i refuse. 

idyllwild is about an hour and a halfs drive from where we live in northern san diego county. i booked our little place for two nites on (vacation rental by owner) and it was beyond perfect. we felt like it belonged to us. it was homey, welcoming and so cozy. (feel free to email me for cabin details.) after we arrived on friday nite and settled in we went into town (which is walking distance) to the local pub for a pint. they were having karaoke nite so that was of course entertaining to say the least. ;)

saturday we slept until we woke up. i said that to my mom the other day and she laughed at me. but you know what i mean, right? we made a fire in the wood-burning stove and just relaxed. i read a book. an actual book. you know, the kind with lots of pages with ink on them? glorious. and very different for us. daniel and i usually take trips instead of vacations. go-go-go, see-see-see until you drop from utter exhaustion. and i love them. trips to see the world with daniel are my passion. cities full of energy and pavement pounding -- my absolute favorite. in fact, i love it so much that i almost forgot what its like to rest when we are away from home. honestly, i think i had forgotten how to rest, period.

saturdays late afternoon was filled with meandering thru town, gingerbread squirrel baking -- in honor of all the bushy-tailed grey squirrels that were scurrying around our porch, and word games because we are nerdy. sunday daniel made bacon and eggs for breakfast and checkout was at eleven-thirty. we were so sad to say "goodbye for now" to our peaceful  hideaway. we headed over to a nearby meadow we had heard of and spread out a blanket in the middle of the clearing. there was no one in sight as a symphony of birds chirped in the trees all around us. we had a picnic, i read and daniel napped. it felt like a make believe place, like it couldnt possibly be real. as i contemplated this feeling i lifted my head and staring back at me about fifty yards ahead was a coyote. im sure he was wondering what we were doing in his neck of the woods. after we left the meadow we went back to town for a bit and grabbed dinner before we headed home. the sunset on our way home was the most beautiful end to our little weekend. and we were home just in time for downton. seriously hooked. ;)

so looking forward to the next time, idyllwild.

flu season is the pits.


these past couple months the flu has been making its rounds with a mad sort of fury. friends and clients of mine being hit one by one. reports of this nasty bug came from all around. it was a wonder to me how i hadn't yet been struck. it even hit daniel hard the week before last. i counted down the days. surely, since it horned its way into my family, into my home, i dare not escape. one day, two days, three days passes and daniels on the mend. i began to have grandiose thoughts about how valiant my immune system must be. i have avoided the plague once more! under the grimmest of circumstances! the unlikeliest of chances! i know you know where this is headed...

seven days. one week to the day. the sore throat crept up ever so insidiously that afternoon but by evening i could barely swallow. i knew i was doomed. strangely though, after two days of this, i started to feel better. others had warned me that it hangs on to suck the life out of you for days. again i was thinking i had gotten the better of it. i had won! this flu is no match for me!

fooled once more. that's its sinister trick. evil flu. back with a vengeance it came. congestion, aches, runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing... possible sinus infection looming before me. the threat of doctors and antibiotics were the key to causing me to press the pause button on life. i cancelled my work yesterday and today to rest and pump myself full of vitamins, orange juice and homemade chicken soup. i tried to take care of myself the way i took care of daniel. not the easiest of tasks when you feel like you are letting people down or when the dishes in the sink are staring you down. despite those variables i did a fairly good job (i did do those dishes though).

lets hope this thing is on its way to being kicked.
tomorrow its back to the land of the living. fingers are crossed for survival. ;)

what are your cold/flu remedies? any home remedies and trusty stand-bys are welcome here!


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