Christmas Gifts

This Christmas was filled with family and fun. We got to spend quality time with loved ones and celebrate the reason for the season! This year my family decided to forgo our adult gift exchange and only buy gifts for the nieces and nephew. Also, Jackson & I decided no gifts and  planned special outings we had never done in the South Bay on Monday & Tuesday, after Christmas. It was one of the most enjoyable Christmas holidays! I’m just sad it’s over, it always goes by way too fast.

Day 1

On Monday we said goodbye to my parents, the last of our family to leave. Jackson and I started our special outings not too long after. We went to the new Starbucks Reserve Bar in Los Gatos, to get caffeinated for the day. The reserve brand is the best coffee     Starbucks has to offer. It’s a more relaxed vibe, while you can order from the coffee bar, enjoy your coffee, then the barista takes your payment. I got the butterscotch latte and it was velvety smooth.

From there we left to Woodside, CA and ventured on a new hike, Edgewood County Park. We parked right off the street and made our way to the marked path, to start our hiking adventure.

         

The paths were smooth and well marked. The views of the bay were beautiful, it was a cool, crisp, winter day. I love hiking and soaking in time with Jackson, to talk and exercise at the same time. We had fun talking about: 2016, our dreams and what we are looking forward to in 2017.

We were starting to get hungry, so we headed back to the car. To Yelp I went and found a lunch spot in Menlo Park. We went to Refuge, a gastropub with an amazing selection of beer & comfort food. We started with a Christmas beer flight, to share.

I ordered the barbocoa nachos and Jackson ordered the pastrami sandwich. Both were amazing, the pastrami melted in your mouth;  we will definitely be coming back!

We headed home to feed our dog and quickly became couch potatoes. Jackson & I are addicted to binge watching Suits…thanks to my sister. If you need a show, I highly recommend it! Stay tuned to day two, it started early.

Day 2

On Tuesday, we woke up before the sun had risen at 5:30, gathered our gloves & jackets and jumped in the car. BUT FIRST—COFFEE! You can always count on Starbucks to be open and after our coffee, the adventure could officially start.

The moon lit our path as we drove up the two lane, winding road, as we witnessed views of the bay with thousands of lights twinkling in the distance. As we trekked on, we passed many bare oak trees as the moon was disappearing in front of our eyes. We reached the top of of Mount Hamilton right before the sun was peaking from the mountain top.

It took us an hour to arrive to the top, where there is an observatory. We parked our car on the side of the road and got out to witness an awe struck beauty of God’s creation…the sun rising up from the mountain peak. The surroundings were incredibly peaceful, not a sound to be heard except the eagle passing by in the sky as it was hunting for the first critter to awake from the cold night. We braved the cold, taking our gloves off to snap some pictures and took in the romantic scenery as we kissed under the sun and ran back into the car to pump up the heater and start our day.

As we drove down we stopped to take a picture of the bay as the sunrise casted a beautiful sky scape. The mountains were rugged and vast, it’s crazy this surrounds our flat bay. The beauty wasn’t even captured in our amateur iPhone pictures, but we have stored those snap shots in our memories and it will be a morning I will never forget. The drive down was a lot faster and we passed all the live stock up for their breakfast and our dog loved barking at the cattle as we sped past.

We were very hungry, so we stopped at a new wellness cafe in Willow Glen called, The Source. We both ordered the tropical acai bowls, to go and enjoyed looking around at their shop. They offer a wide range of raw food, Chinese medicine, cold pressed juices and Verve coffee. The acai bowls were delicious and we will definitely be coming back!

After relaxing a bit we got ready and I dropped my husband off to swim at Stanford, as I ventured to the mall for the after Christmas sales. We met up for lunch at Fambrini’s Cafe; it was hard to find as it was not well marked, but a small sign at the bottom of the stair case. The cafe was at the top of the stairs; they must have had fifty different sandwich options and delicious sounding salads on the menu. Jackson ordered the Carlton chicken salad and I got an egg salad sandwich on their signature ciabotta bread. Both were great and a good find off the beaten path, away from the busy downtown of Palo Alto. *No pictures, we were too hungry!

From there we headed to Willow Glen to try a new ice-cream shop, Icicles. The line is always long, but we had nowhere to be, so we waited for 45 minutes until it was finally our turn. You pick your ice-cream flavor, we picked Nutella and Chill and they pour fresh milk on a cold plate, mix in your ingredients, chop them up into little bits and then they roll the ingredients flat on the cold plate and then roll them into icicles. Once they put the icicles into the cup, you can pick unlimited toppings. We went for: a toasted marshmallow, Oreo, toasted coconut and carmel drizzle. It was amazing, would I wait in that line again…maybe but you would need to go before the hanger dessert demon kicked in. The guy that worked there said the line at night can be up to a two hour wait, so best to come in the afternoon.

We were both dog tired from our early morning and called it an early night. I hope you can find time to venture to the best spot for a sunrise with your significant other or enjoy a day trying all new things in your city. Those two days, trumped any Christmas gift you could possibly give me. I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, until next year! XO

Continue Reading

12 Days of Christmas Cookies

Kisses Candy Cane Blossom Cookies

These cookies are easy and they make a ton because they are so tiny. They have a sugar cookie dough and a burst of candy cane from the kisses.  A must try for the holidays! Click on the cookie title for the recipe link.

Neiman-Marcus Squares

These bars are so delicious: gooey, soft, and rich; the only thing is you can’t just stop at  one! This recipes is from our aunt and my mom makes them every Christmas. This needs to be a Christmas baking recipe to add to your repertoire!

  

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Clusters 

These cookies are so easy, just microwave and stir. They are crunchy, creamy and fluffy all at the same time. Try them, they take minutes & are worth it!

Santa’s Suicide Bars

These multi-layer bars will satisfy any chocolate cravings. I added Recess Peanut Butter Cups amongst the Christmas red Oreos & broiled marshmallows on top.

 Snowball Cookies

These semi-homemade sugar cookies add an extra Christmas flavor with: peppermint extract, crushed candy canes & powdered sugar. Enjoy!

Cinnamon Roll Sugar Cookies

These cookies might be my new favorite winter treat. I might have eaten one for breakfast!

Continue Reading

Holiday Glam Guide

image

The holidays mean parties, from office to ugly sweater & who doesn’t love to dress to impress?! Holiday parties are my favorite, I’m just sad they only happen once a year! Here is a gift guide, everything under $100 & ideas for every holiday party. Click the links below & shop or click til you drop!

1. Vince Camuto sequin skirt.

2. J. Crew Factory holiday plaid button down.

3. Kate spade bow belt.

4. Kate spade wristlet.

5. Lauren Lorraine plaid pumps.

6. Cristabelle collar necklace.

7. Lulu red backless dress.

8. Cozy Zoe holiday sweatshirt. 

Last weekend I went to my first holiday event, the Nordstrom private holiday shopping party. Hey, with an open bar, appitizers and a dj playing holiday music…I’m down to party & shop the night away!

imageimageimageimage

Continue Reading

Husband Gift Guide

image

I’ve made a gift guide of my husbands favorite things he has worn or used this year. I hope you find this helpful as the holidays are quickly approaching. Click on the links below & happy shopping!

1. Noise canceling ear buds from Nordstrom, we can’t fly without these!

2. Roka Kona sunglasses that are trendy but great for sports as well.

3. Herschel toilette bag from Nordstrom is a great bag for everyday and travel.

4. Yeti tumblers keep ice or hot drinks cold or hot all day. We tested them out pool side in Hawaii and our pina coladas stayed cold all day!

5. Oppo suits sold at Nordstrom, a complete suit for $99.00 and you can find one for just about every holiday.

6. Cologne is the best for men to wear, I got this one at Nordstrom Rack. I found it on Amazon for a comparable price, it smells really good!

7. Happy socks are funky, fun and fashionable. My husband gets compliments all the time for his crazy socks.

8. Bear claw slippers are fun to put on after a long days of work; they make you smile!

9. Garmin Vivoactive watch is fashionable but functional, my husband wears his everyday.

10. Qalo ring is great for working out with comfort and flexibility.

 

Continue Reading