Saturday, March 31, 2012

If you're ever in Sacramento...

I've got two restaurants you must check out!

Happy weekend everyone!

I just wanted to pop in on this chilly Saturday (at least it's chilly here in Tahoe!) to continue to share some of our photos from around California! Over the past few weeks, we've spent some time in Sacramento (it's about 2 hours from our house). When we first ventured to Sac after we moved in to make our frustrating Ikea trip, I'll admit, I wasn't super impressed with the city. We mainly checked out the Old Town area, and it seemed kind of touristy to me. But over the past couple of weeks, we've been able to explore more of the city and it seems like there is actually a fair amount to do (and much better shopping than we have here in Tahoe). Plus, when I went to NYC I actually flew out of the Sacramento airport and I was pleasantly surprised how nice it was. It was very clean and modern (with lots of great food choices), and it was not too big, but not small either.

So in case you ever find yourself in California's capital city, I wanted to share two restaurants we discovered recently that you just cannot miss...

We ate dinner at this place with some friends from college on our way to Napa last weekend, and it was AWESOME. One of Cam's friends found it on Urban Spoon so we decided to check it out. Like I said, I don't really know Sacramento, but when we got there on Saturday night, it seemed like it was in somewhat of a happening area. The restaurant had a very trendy vibe and it was was packed with lots of people hanging out at the bar.

We got seated in a round booth and everyone decided to try different drinks from their eclectic cocktail menu. I decided to go with their daily punch special which happened to be some sort of refreshing lemonade vodka concoction. 

I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of food, but I was super impressed by the creativity of the menu. The place had an eclectic, modern spin on farm-to-table fare and I literally wanted to order one of everything. 

I ended up going with the Lamb Bocadillas which were described on the menu as Little Lamb Patties, Harrisa Aioli, Manchego Cheese, Mint Chimmi Churri, Mache. Yum. Plus, any restaurant we go to I always like to ask the waiter what their favorite dish is and this is one that he recommended. 

This dish did not disappoint! The combination of flavors from the mint, the aioli, and the lamb was out of this world, like I am literally getting hungry just thinking about it. My concern with the menu was that it was going to be all these creative dishes that didn't taste as good as they sounded but everything we ordered was executed perfectly. As a group, I think we may have ordered about half the menu and literally every single item was so flavorful and delicious. The restaurant is more of a small plates style place and the prices reflect that, but I felt that the portions were very filling. One of the more creative dishes that was ordered by one of our friends was the Farm Animal Lollipops...check these babies out...

As a group we also ordered a bunch of different desserts and every single one was incredible. They were so good I didn't even have time to photograph any of them, that's how quickly they were devoured. Overall, I loved the Red Rabbit and I wish we had restaurants like this in South Lake Tahoe. The menu was imaginative and extremely well executed, the prices were very reasonable, and the atmosphere was really hip. Our waiter told us that the restaurant had only been open about 7 weeks, but you wouldn't have known it from our great service and overall fantastic experience. It was a fun place to go with friends, but Cam and I will definitely be making a stop here the next time we're in Sacramento! 

I was the lone girl at dinner...and Cam is growing a mountain man beard. LOL.
Another Sacramento restaurant we've recently discovered is Cafe Rolle. This quaint French gem was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on Food Network and that's how we first heard about it. Guy Fieri raved about how the owner prepared everything in traditional French style, but it was more simple, rustic food made with high-quality ingredients. Since we loved all of our food on our visit to Paris two years ago, we knew we had to try this place out. 

We stopped in for dinner on our way to San Francisco a few weeks ago, and although it's a fairly small restaurant, we managed to snag a table. 

The menu was fairly simple, primarily sandwiches and salads, but they all looked amazing. In the end, I decided to order a Croque Brie Monsieur which featured warm ham, brie, and homemade dill mayo on a baguette, served with a side salad. 


I seriously don't even have words to describe how good this sandwich was, it was honestly perfect. Cam ordered the traditional Croque Monsieur and it was fantastic as well. 

Cam has been really dillignent about sticking to the Paleo diet (aka no grains or dairy!) but even he made an exception for this place and it was totally worth it! Definitely a must visit if you're ever in Sacramento! 

(Also, my apologies for the crappy quality of most of these photos, the majority of them were taken with my cell phone in low light!)

On Monday, I'll be sharing where we dined in San Fran because we all know that restaurants/food is one of my absolute favorite topics to discuss! Until then, have a great weekend everyone! Xoxo

Friday, March 30, 2012

Eco-Friendly Friday #4: Natural Beauty

Happy Friday everyone!

I cannot believe that March is almost over, this year is going by so quickly! Because it's the last Friday of March, I wanted to do my final Eco-Friendly Friday post...for now. It's definitely not something I'm going to do every single week, but don't be surprised if you see more green living posts around these parts in the future! (And if you have a topic you'd like me to address dealing with living more sustainably, definitely shoot me an email!)

Today's topic is:

Natural Beauty

A few weeks ago, I talked about the many harsh chemicals that can be found in convential cleaning products. Today, I wanted to take a look at some more eco-friendly alternatives to traditional toiletries that are better for you, the Earth, and your wallet! Once again, I'm looking to Pinterest for inspiration and wanted to share some of  my favorite DIY beauty treatments that I've come across...

Tea Treatment for your Hair to Brighten Locks and Boost Shine
(Recipe & Info from Fitness Magazine)

What You Need
2 tea bags (chamomile, a golden mix for blondes; rooibos, a rich orange for redheads; or black tea, dark for brunettes)
2 cups water
1. Once a week -- or whenever you feel you could use a shine boost -- steep tea bags in boiling water for 10 minutes. Let the liquid cool to room temperature. (In a rush? Refrigerate it.)
2. Pour the mixture over wet, just-washed hair, rubbing it through the way you would shampoo.
3. Leave the rinse on for 10 minutes; wash and condition to seal in the silky, glossy results.

Beauty Benefit
"Tea lowers the pH of hair, closing the cuticle for extra shine, softness, and manageability," says Philip Pelusi, owner of Tela Design Studio in New York City. Tea's natural pigments can also neutralize brassiness for more flattering color.

Citrus Facial Scrub
(Recipe & Info from Whole Living)
Whenever you use an orange, lemon, lime, or grapefruit, save the peel, which contains skin-rejuvenating essential oils. Citrus does double duty: The acid in the oil helps loosen the dead top layer of skin, and the ground-up peels slough it off.

1 tablespoon dried citrus peel, chopped and finely ground in a food processor
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon pure honey
1/4 cup vitamin E oil
2 tablespoons cornmeal

Mix the ingredients until well blended and massage on a damp face. Rinse well with warm water and finish with a splash of cold. Though the scrub's nicest when used fresh, you can store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Vegetable Oil Nail Strengthener
(Recipe from the daily green)

Makes 20-30 applications

2 tsp castor oil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp wheat germ oil

> Pour all ingredients into a sealable bottle.
> Before each use shake well.
> Rub a small amount of the mixture onto your nails.
> Leave on for 3-5 minutes.
> Wipe off with a cotton pad.


Coffee Sugar Body Scrub
(Recipe and Info from Adelyn Stone)

Coffee and Caffeine are showing up all over in beauty products due to their tightening and antioxidant effects on the skin.

Caffeine, works on skin in the three primary ways:
as a vasoconstrictor, an antioxidant, and a diuretic

Applied topically caffeine helps to redistribute fat cells and decrease the formation of cellulite. It also acts as a vasorestrictor, tightening and shrinking blood vessels thereby helping eliminate varicose veins.

Guess what! It can make you feel more alert too,
because you associate the smell with the invigorating effects of drinking coffee.
(It's a learned response.)
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
What you will need:
1 C Sugar (white, brown, cane)
5 TBSP Coffee grounds
1/4 C oil
(veggie oil, almond oil, extra virgin olive oil, baby oil…)
1 tsp Peppermint Extract
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Mix sugar and coffee.
Add small amounts of oil to the sugar/coffee mix until everything is coated.
(You may not need the full 1/4 C, I didn’t use all of it)
Add any fragrance you like. I chose to use Peppermint and Vanilla and they blend well with the coffee aroma.
Mix well. and You’re done.
If you find it a little watery from the oil, just add more sugar and or coffee.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

This recipe can be tweaked to your liking.

A few tips:
◦ If you have sensitive skin, do not add coffee grounds and use brown sugar (as it is less abbrasive)
◦ If you would like a coarser scrub, try 1/2 C of sugar and 1/2 C of coffee grounds. 


 Winter Avocado Face Mask
(Recipe and Info from Freutcake)

Avocado Mask- recipe by Barbara Close “Pure Skin Organic Beauty Basics”
Makes- 1/2 cup of mask

1/2 ripe avocado
1 whole egg
1 Tbsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
1 Tbsp coconut oil (optional)

Combine all ingredients in blender and process for 30 seconds. Apply immediately to clean skin. Leave on 5-10 minutes until you feel mask start to tighten and dry. Rinse with warm water. Gently dry face and apply daily face moisturizer to damp skin.

* If you want extra hydration add the 1 Tbsp coconut oil
* Never let mask fully dry on skin
* When removing use warm water and finger tips to gently loosen mask before removing with washcloth. (Although washcloth is not necessary)
* This mask should be used immediately and does not store.

These are just a few of the many diy beauty treatment recipes that I found browsing around on Pinterest. I have not personally tried out these recipes, but I definitely plan on it in the future! Being today is Friday and all, hopefully this will inspire you to pampering yourself with ingredients from the kitchen this weekend!

And finally, here's a great article from the Daily Green about being a discerning consumer when it comes to buying beauty products...just like with food, just because something says "natural" on the label doesn't necessarily mean that it's good for you or the Earth! It's important to be aware of ingredients and not get bamboozled by a marketing ploy! (Yeah, I just said bamboozled...what of it?)

That's all for me today! I'm looking forward to a weekend filled with sleeping in, snow, skiing, some Trader Joe's shopping, reading, and snuggling with Cam and Lola. Have a great weekend friends! Xoxo

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Weekend in San Fran

Happy Thursday y'all...the weekend is almost here! 

The past few weeks/weekends have been super busy...but lots of fun. I feel like I'm still getting caught up on sleep/work/life/laundry/etc (hence why blogging has fallen by the wayside) and I'm looking forward to having a low-key weekend at home starting tomorrow. But I finally downloaded some of my recent pics onto my laptop, and I wanted to start sharing since I've got a lot from the past few weeks!  

Cam and I took a little weekend trip to San Francisco (which is about 3.5 hours from where we live in Lake Tahoe) almost three weekends ago now...crazy how time is flying! (Seriously, is it almost April?!) I hadn't been to San Francisco since I was in middle school, so it was great to come back and explore. During our visit we did a lot of driving around checking out different neighborhoods, and I think it's such a unique city with a lot of character. We tried to hit a lot of the main attractions this trip, but we definitely didn't see everything so I'm looking forward to making a return trip back's a glimpse of our weekend in pictures! 

(And by glimpse I mean a photo overload...)

We got into SF late on Friday night and while driving around the city we made a stop at Coit Tower
Such pretty views of the city at night!
We stayed at the Westin downtown on Market Street...the best part is it was pet-friendly, so Lola got to join us for the weekend! She was really confused having a blast chilling at the hotel, while Cam was thoroughly engrossed in the Hunger Games. LOL.
Saturday morning we had gorgeous weather, so did lots of walking to check out the city

There is a great farmer's market on Saturday morning at the Ferry Building on the waterfront, so that was the perfect way to start our day
There were lots of great tents outside with fresh produce...
...and pretty flowers!
Inside the Ferry Building (which was a really cool space) there were lots of neat mini shops selling all types of different foods


From the Ferry Building we walked up to Pier's extremely touristy...not too much to see.
Alcatraz! We didn't get to go this time, but I know Cam would like to check it out next time we're in town!
The famous seals at Pier 39

All the flowers were in bloom, which was great to see since there is still tons of snow in Tahoe!

Famous San Francisco Sourdough...we tried a sample at Boudin, but we didn't eat lunch here

The famous Fisherman's Wharf...also very touristy, but definitely a must see!

Ghirardelli Square
There's a cute little park in front of Ghiradelli Square where everyone was enjoying the beautiful weather!


Ghirardelli Square has some cute shops...obviously we had to go in here!
Look at what I found...Go Blue! (and no, I didn't buy it...)
Taking a ride on the cable car...
The old-fashioned cable cars from Fisherman's Wharf are only $2 (a great deal!) to ride and they took us right back to our hotel
Views from the cable car

Our retro cable car
After our cable car ride, we went to Alamo Square park to see the view of the famous Painted Ladies (aka the Full House house!)...unfortunately, at this point the weather started taking a turn for the worse and it started raining. Boo.
Lola having the time of her life despite the weather
Pouting because she wanted her frisbee thrown, not to take a picture. Such a diva.
I love all the colorful homes
Alamo Square is actually a leash-free park, and it was great to be able to let her run around and play with some other dogs for awhile
Later on in the day, we decided to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge...and got a taste of the famous San Francisco fog...

There was literally a dark cloud that settled over the city, it was crazy to see!

We decided to go check out Sausalito, a cute little town across the Golden Gate Bridge
Thankfully, the weather started to improve and we got some gorgeous views of the bay...

Sausalito is such a charming place that's definitely worth checking out

So many beautiful homes!
After Sausalito, we decided to drive up and check out the Marin Headlands...but it also started to get really cold and windy...
I retreated to the car to keep warm, while my awesome hubby braved the cold and wind to get some AWESOME pictures of the Golden Gate...his one condition? "You have to give me credit when you put them on the blog!" Deal :)
I didn't edit 99% of the photos in this post (because I just plain didn't feel like it...) and these three Golden Gate photos are all un-edited, this is exactly how they came out of the crazy, right?
Seriously, how beautiful is this picture?! Good job hubs :)
 Overall, it was a fabulous weekend! 

You might have noticed that I didn't include any restaurant/food photos in this post...I decided I'm going to do a separate post about where we ate, so stay tuned for that! I'm hoping to upload the rest of the photos from our travels this weekend, which means next week will (hopefully) include lots of picture-filled posts from both New York and more of California! Xoxo


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