Bath Crashers

One of the things I was really looking forward to doing when we were looking for a new house was the opportunity to redecorate. I had been talking about redecorating my bathroom for a while but never actually got around to doing so, but with the new house, I knew I didn’t want to bring anything from the old house so let the decorating research commence! The bathroom was really gross so we pretty much tore out everything [the only thing that's original are the walls and the tub] and had the walls painted, replaced the mirrors, vanity, light fixture and added tile flooring. This renovation gave me the perfect empty canvas to work with. I didn’t really have much of an idea of what style I was going to try to capture; all I knew was that I wanted something modern and trendy but not too trendy. That was as specific as I got.

Normally I would have trolled through some design blogs for ideas but I didn’t do that. I guess since I kind of had a half-baked idea of what I was trying to achieve, I didn’t really need to check out those design blogs. For the bathroom, it all came together once I settled on a color scheme [it took more work for the bedroom but that will be a separate post]: purple, silver, and yellow. Sounds like a winner right?

It looked fantastic in my head but convincing Lindsey and my mom that it was fabulous took a lot of work. They didn’t believe in it until they saw the bathroom all put together. Lindsey hated it and openly protested my idea and my mom just was confused why I would glom those random colors together. But I had a vision and I could not be deterred, so I ignored their contentions and trudged ahead because I knew I was right.

This is how we bought it: kind of a hot mess

The main problem was that when they heard the color combination, they saw purple, shiny silver and school bus yellow but that was not what I envisioned. I had the walls painted a really delicious lavender color [Behr Silverberry 670F-4], and outfitted the visible fixtures [the faucet, toilet paper holder, toothbrush holder, standing shower caddy [even though that's technically not visible] and towel rack] in a brushed nickel and added small accents of a soft yellow for the pops of color in the bath rug and a picture I painted. We got the vanity and sink top at Lowe’s. My favorite thing is the sink; we found a rectangular bowl that swoops down!

The hardest thing to find was the perfect shower curtain. I don’t even know how many times I wandered through Target, Walmart [online at least], Bed, Bath & Beyond, CB2 and Ikea to find something that was just right. I goldilocked my way through shower curtain shopping. There were a lot of shower curtains that were almost right but not quite there. What made it so difficult was that I wasn’t sure what I wanted but I knew I would know it when I saw it. I couldn’t say I was looking for something specific since I only knew I was looking for something modern and contemporary and definitely not floral. After some random traipsing through Amazon and Target, I finally found the perfect shower curtain. When it was finally delivered, I was so excited. I loved how it looked and it definitely fit in with the look I was going for.

Now its a place I WANT to be in

While it’s far from the perfectly designed spaces on the design blogs, I’m quite pleased with how my bathroom came together. I smile every time I’m in there and it gives me hope that I’ll be able to decorate my future home. Now if I can only convince the bf to let me have accents of green in every room of our house.

Why I wish Tyler Florence was my friend

While I don’t watch Food Network as much as I used too [or SportsCenter for that fact but that's neither here nor there] I do usually stop to watch just about anything Tyler Florence is in because his recipes have been on point. Plus, I think he’s kind of cute. There. I said it. And I may or may not have had a dream in which I was actually friends with him  where he may or may not have cooked me lunch in his house.

I may or may not have woken up slightly disappointed after realizing it was just a dream.

Anywho, so I’m a fan and I was excited to hear he that he moved to Mill Valley and was opening a restaurant in Downtown Napa [I'm still itching to check out Wayfare Tavern in the City - any takers?]. I want to say that I was anxiously awaiting the opening but in reality I just plain forgot it was even happening. You know how long it takes for restaurants to be built? A while, plus, I don’t think they ever open on time in the first place so of course I was going to forget about all the exciting news swirling around.

But then my dear friend Christina from way back in the day [seriously, since the fourth grade!], writer of East Bay Dish and my partner in gastronomical crime, reminded me of it when we made plans to hit up Bouchon Bakery so she could experience the joy that are Thomas Keller’s macarons. Afterwards, we jetted down to Downtown Napa to check out Rotisserie & Wine. We didn’t have reservations and crazily braved a two-hour wait for a table by wandering around the block a few times and sitting outside on the patio [they had these cool rockers PLUS throw blankets to keep warm. Snazzy].

Once we were seated, we looked through the menu and began to plot our march  as we munched on the complimentary cornbread sticks with honey butter:

We started with the cheese puff and scrapple. The cheese puff was filled with a bacon mornay sauce of awesomeness, aged vella jack cheese and chives. I waffled a bit on ordering on but am so glad I did because there was no way we would have been able to share one of those things. One bite and we were both sold [we even scraped up the bits of cheese and bacon on the serving plank]. I can’t begin to describe the amazingness of that little puff but to say that I would go back just for that appetizer. If you go, order one for everyone. Seriously, even one is not enough. That little puff made me fall in love with Tyler all over again.

Cheese puff of bacony AWESOMENESS!

The scrapple with smoked honey mustard came next. Christina ordered this out of sheer curiosity. I wasn’t too hot on the idea having seen it featured on Food Network and knowing it was basically meat scraps smooched together. Our server even explained it like being almost like a hot dog. Uh, okay. After some convincing, I sampled a bit and promptly offered the rest of Christina. I was not a fan. It was kind of mushy and I’m not a big fan of mushy textures. The smoked honey mustard was light on the honey and heavy on the mustard and seeing how I’m also not a fan of the mustard, well, I think this dish was doomed from the start for me.

After a small break, our entree arrived: beef and bones (prime rib eye with bone marrow, yorkshire pudding and horseradish sauce), Hudson Ranch collards, and Arbuckle grits draped with lardo and “baked” peanuts. The collards were pretty good but they did taste very vinegary [they are dressed with hot pepper vinegar], the grits were absolutely divine and buttery, practically melting in your mouth though I did not enjoy the baked peanuts that are included. I just felt that they kind of took away from the smoothness of the grits. The beef & bones were delicious, well, the beef was delicious. I wasn’t so much a fan of the bone; the marrow was too mushy for me [though I did love the crispy crust on top]. The prime rib eye was cooked perfectly [the steak knife was seriously heavy! It felt like a kitchen knife] and the Yorkshire pudding was nice and airy. I wanted to eat both halves but alas, I had to share.

Overall, the food was pretty good. The service was really good, which was shocking considering it had just opened. I appreciated how my water glass never reached half empty since someone was always there to refill it, though there was some confusion about splitting our bill at the end of the evening. I would definitely go back to try something new and, of course, get another cheese puff. Mmmm, cheese puff.

The next day, I tweeted my love for the cheese puff and was excited to see this:

I die. Seriously Tyler, let’s be friends.

November showers…

About a month ago [yeah, yeah, I know I'm waaaay behind] I hosted a baby shower for my bestie, Jacki. It was a little bit stressful but a whole lot of fun. The moment I found out she was pregnant, I volunteered to host her shower, if her mom didn’t want to do the honors. Of course, I’m at a point where I’m incapable, or more accurately, unwilling, to do things simply so you know her shower quickly morphed into quite the production.

I quickly came up with the “Baby Circus” theme after seeing a fancy, schmancy circus themed shower on Hostess with the Mostess and the insanely adorable “Animal Parade” on Meri Meri. Seriously, how adorable are those little animals? And the carousel? EEEEEEEE! [Too bad we forgot to bring it!] The food was loosely inspired by carnival fair. We served mini steak and cheese sammies, florentine and swiss cheese and smoked applewood bacon quiche, mini chicken tacos, mini corn dogs and vegetable crudites. Tammy took care of the dessert table and served brownies, lemon tarts, red velvet and funfetti cupcakes, and caramel and pink popcorn.

Of course I wouldn’t bring this up without sharing pictures with the class!

The food and dessert tables

The food was one of my favorite parts. We were a bit late getting everything ready [seriously, people showed up at 1 on the dot! I was not prepared for that. Obviously my social circle tends to roll in fashionably late] so we were still cooking up a storm and decorating cakes when people started showing up. That was a bit stressful for me and I really wish I could have been done before then but oh well, can’t do much about it. I was pretty much excited to eat everything we made for this shower, especially those steak sammies. Oh so good. And don’t get me started on those mini chicken tacos. I was excited that we didn’t use the fourth box I bought so now I get to snack on them myself. And the swiss cheese and applewood smoked bacon quiche? Just lovely. I honestly believe bacon is a magical ingredient. Seriously, when was the last time you had something bad that had bacon in it?

The dessert table was other wordly. Tammy did a great job of making all the desserts [my hand was only in the pink popcorn - she did the rest!] and everyone raved over them, though the funny thing was that because the table looked so display worthy, people were afraid of taking anything from it! People would wander through the kitchen and help themselves to the desserts that were waiting to replace the ones on the table so we had to make a general announcement that it was, in fact, okay to raid the dessert table, and boy did they.

Let’s just say there were no survivors.

Two of my pet projects were the personalized water bottles [yeah, I went there] and the favors. I made my trusty vanilla bean sugar cookies in the shape of little animals to mimic the Mothers Circus Animal cookies [I subbed blue frosting for the signature pink] and made my own label that was based off the Barnum Animal Crackers boxes. The water bottle labels were super easy thanks to Mrs. Lemon’s handy dandy template she shared on Weddingbee. It was super easy to do and made a big difference. Yet another reason to love the Internet.

Yummy, yummy in my tummy…

All in all, the shower was a success. Everyone who attended had a great time [my other partner-in-crime, one of Jacki's coworkers did a fantastic job at hosting the games]. Jacki was floored by the amount of effort we put into her shower and I’m glad I was able to gift her such a wonderful time.

A sweet beginning to the end of my 20s

Last Saturday I had my “Ice Cream Social” 29th birthday party and I had such a great time. Y’all know how elaborate I tend to get with my birthday parties and this was no exception. I had several different ideas of what I should do however, I had to pare it down a bit while I wasn’t receiving any checks and at first thought I wanted to do a bit of a mini eating world tour, with different food for different countries, like bruschetta, mondu, mini tacos and the like complete with decorations. It sounded awesome in my head but completely daunting to make happen roughly on my own. Then somehow I got in my head that ice cream would be the way to go.

So glad I went with that. I had a blast making all the ice cream [I plan on doing a separate post just on the ice cream and recipes] and now want my own ice cream maker. Everyone had a blast trying all different flavors: Cake Batter, Raspberry Mascarpone, S’mores, Nutella and Candied Bacon [yes, I KNOW!]. The Cake Batter was probably the favorite of the day though Candied Bacon was the dark horse. Several people were skeptical but they were totally on board after trying it. The bacon threw them off and I had to explain a couple of times that the bacon was merely a mix-in and not a flavor.

My mom was a HUGE help too, making the mondu, kimbap and these awesome chicken wings for the party. I rounded out the menu with mini calzones, beef and chicken tacos and pulled pork sliders. And for dessert, cupcake cones!

I was really glad to see everyone who was able to attend and we had a great time stuffing our faces with food and ice cream [and in Pat's case, a face full of cupcake]. It was very casual in comparison to my other parties but that’s probably because it was at home instead of out somewhere else. People were scattered all over the house chatting and relaxing and most importantly, eating. I had so much food that I told everyone their party favors were plates of food. For serious.

So a quick story: I was posing with Pat for a picture to prove that he actually attended a party [he was a pleasant surprise] and for some reason, I pushed my cupcake cone into his face. He’s a weirdly good sport with me and took it in stride only to reveal that he thought about doing the same thing to me. Good thing I beat him to it! So after he cleaned up, we finally took our picture and I made sure to keep my hands empty and where he could see them.

All in all, the party was a total and complete success. I’m already having people asking me what I plan on doing for next year. The expectations are high since it’ll be my 30th birthday and that alone deserves a big blow out. What to do…what to do.

How much do fireworks run?

Reflections of love

As part of the bf’s last visit way back in February, I arranged a photo shoot with Eddie as a surprise for the bf. Well, it started out as a surprise but I eventually had to tell him so he could dress accordingly. During my last Christmas visit in 2008 [I know, so long ago], I had noticed he was hovering around this photographer studio at Somerset Collection [yes, the fancy mall with two sides but only 3 jewelry stores. WTH?]. We didn’t take any pictures there but I thought it would be a great way to surprise him. In the five years we’ve been together, we don’t have that many pictures together and most of them are of the self-portrait variety. It would be nice to have professional pictures of us, so I floated the idea to Eddie and he was totally on board.

Fast forward to this year, we were able to score some time with the ever popular Eddie [check out his schedule. EVERYONE wants him!]. We met him on First Street in Benicia to begin our picture taking marathon. It was a little weird in the beginning, posing and being all lovey dovey in front of strangers who would stop to watch [one of the passersby actually congratulated us on our "engagement"] but after a while we forgot about them. We all had a lot of fun during the photo shoot, there were plenty of laughs and jokes all around. The photo cd actually arrived the day of my dad’s memorial service so it was a real extra joy on top of the day, and even though my family made fun of all the kissing and stuff, I am so in love with our pictures. I made sure to lay my claim on Eddie for our wedding. Again. And yes, it was at his daughter’s baptism on Sunday. I have no shame.

Looking through the pictures always makes me smile. I love just how natural we look despite being semi-posed in some of the photos. Though I think the best part are the pictures where we’re laughing because Eddie managed to catch us in a moment where we were actually talking or joking around.

So here are a few pictures from the day. Thank you so so so so so much Eddie!


This one is actually one of my favorites. You can see the wrinkles on my nose. I do that when I’m really happy.

Who knew love could be so tasty?

So do you remember when I teased you with that bottle of vanilla bean paste but didn’t tell you what I had planned for it? Well I finally made my secret treats and they were fabulous!

I was initially inspired by this recipe I found on Tastespotting. Then, a day or so later, I came across this and thought, THIS IS IT! I just loved the look of the frosted cookie and thought the x and o would stand out a lot better on that background. Plus, I was completely in love with the idea of a vanilla sugar cookie and extremely obsessed with getting a bottle of that amazing vanilla bean paste.

And that is why I went on a mad dash to track down a bottle of this stuff. After figuring it would be cheaper to just trek to the store to pick it up [after accounting for shipping and wait times], I went off to Williams-Sonoma to pick up a bottle, only to find it was closed for inventory! I was sad, dejected, upset because I was convinced I’d have to make yet another trip the next day to buy it but then I stumbled upon Sur La Table just around the block, who saved the day and my gifts.

I used Bridget’s recipe and decorated it like I saw in Meaghan’s original blog post for my Valentine’s gifts this year to the bf, my sisters, and my nieces and nephew. I was super excited to make these and now I’m super excited to make them again. And in case you were wondering, this dough freezes really well. I made one batch and baked up a dozen or so for the bf, cut the rest out, and then froze them until I needed to bake another batch right before Valentine’s Day. It did take longer to bake them straight out the freezer but the frozen baked cookies tasted just as delicious as the fresh baked ones so don’t hesitate to make and freeze for a later day!

This is seriously all the ingredients you need for this. No, really. I looked over the recipe a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t forgetting anything.

This is why I am so in love with vanilla bean paste: you see those little black flecks? That is the vanilla bean. Get a bottle of this stuff; it’s a lot more cost effective than buying vanilla beans. Sure I spent $11 for a 4 oz bottle but compare that to almost $3 for 2 beans at Cost Plus – where I would have used probably one whole bean for this recipe. See, math CAN be fun.

The finished cookie, fresh out the oven. I’m also a huge fan of parchment paper now because I no longer have to sacrifice a cookie to the cookie pan. If you’re still on the fence about buying a silpat [or don't know what one is], definitely use parchment paper whenever possible.

This was my first attempt at lining and flooding with royal icing. I love how easy it was and am already thinking of other ways I can decorate cookies. This has really opened up the possibilities! And see! More vanilla bean flecks! And the final product? Delicious AND cute. And utterly addictive. Just ask Lindsey, who nearly finished a dozen in less than a day.

Vanilla Bean Sugar Cookies
via Bridget at Bake at 350

3 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 c sugar
2 sticks butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (Bridget’s original recipe calls for 1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract and 1/2 pure almond extract)

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine the flour and baking powder, set aside. Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix.

Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom.

Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Royal Icing*
via Meaghan at The Decorated Cookie

4 tblsp meringue powder
1/2 cup water
6-7 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Crisco

Whip the meringue powder and water on high speed for a looooong time, several minutes, until it’s fluffy and peaks form.

Gradually add the rest of the ingredients to desired consistency.

Store at room temperature in a sealed container for up to a month.

*I halved the royal icing recipe and that was enough for roughly 5 dozen of these cookies with leftovers.

In the Kitchen: Orange-Glazed Salmon

And it returns! It’s been almost a full year my last weekend foray into the kitchen but since I put this back on my list of new year’s resolutions, I’m hoping to get more in the groove of cooking. I’m pretty much on the clock in terms of living at home and I’m going to have to cook for myself and the bf and eventually our kids. I might as well get more comfortable in the kitchen where I can still ask my mom for help if I need it. I did make a couple other dishes before this but nothing really to write home about. Okay, so there could potentially be a story. I’ll work on it.

Anywho, we had some salmon that my mom was going to cook so I decided to find a recipe and make it myself. I’m not sure what made me look for an orange glazed recipe but I suddenly wanted some. I found this recipe through the wonders of Google and it’s delicious. I’d definitely make it again. Not only is it super easy but you can essentially use this marinade for other meats. Mmm, meat.

Asian Crispy Orange-Glazed Salmon
via Tastebook

2/3 cup orange juice
3 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp lite soy sauce
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 (1″ piece) fresh ginger grated
4 (4-6 ounce) salmon fillets
2 tbs olive oil
salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper
2 tbs honey

1) Stir together orange juice, rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, crushed red pepper flakes, and ginger in a bowl.

2) Drizzle 1 tbs olive oil into a baking pan. Add salmon and turn to coat.

3) Pour liquid mixture over salmon and let marinade for 30 minutes or more.

4) Remove salmon from dish and reserve marinade. Season salmon with salt and pepper.

5)  Heat a large nonstick skillet over Medium High heat and add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil. Cook salmon 3-4 minutes per side and remove from pan.

6) Pour reserved marinade into skillet and add honey. Heat for 3 minutes or until syrupy. Serve over salmon.

A November in Michigan

It’s been years since I was last in Michigan in November. It is usually just starting to get cold but the snow is still holding off for the time being and there is a crispness in the air. It’s the typical midwestern fall feel: the chill in the air, the leaves changing colors, hoodie sweaters and scarves and white hot chocolate from Caribou Coffee. Ahhh. I always enjoyed the Michigan fall.

IMG_3281Somewhere over Illinois…

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip with the bf, yes as always. It felt like it took forever for the 13th to come so I could finally go to the airport. Thankfully the flights were uneventful except for the fake Gucci bag lady [I mean, who do you think you're fooling with that purse?] who thought she could stuff her carry on suitcase under the seat. Um, no you can’t. Thank goodness the flight attendants saw that epic fail and took her bag to stow underneath. Because if I had to use the bathroom but couldn’t because her bag was all in the way, I was NOT going to be a happy camper. And last I checked, airlines aren’t so understanding about mid-air altercations.

Anywho, I was just glad to be back in my bf’s arms. As typical of our trips, we spent some time in Ann Arbor wandering around campus just because. I actually had to get used to there being students actually on campus. It was kind of weird, to tell you the truth. Especially since we were both older than everyone else. We spent Saturday afternoon on campus as well, taking in a somewhat warm day. The sun was out people! The sun! After coffee and scones on the Diag, we played a few games at Pinball Pete’s [where I was totally cheated out of tickets from the Skee-ball machine. WEAK], we made our way to North Campus in hopes of finding the Wave Field.

IMG_3286Brunch on the Diag

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After a few wrong turns [and a delightful trip through a random engineering building], we finally made it. While I have only been to the Wave Field I think once while I was a student, I hadn’t been there during the day so I wasn’t exactly sure where the field was located, except that I remember walking with a group of people from my floor down a street and turned a corner. Not exactly helpful [but I did eventually lead us to the general location!].

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Some of my favorite moments of my trip were the little moments: moments like sitting on the mound and talking about what we were going to do later that day and more talk of our future together [oh, so no there wasn't a proposal or talk of a proposal so don't get too excited], stealing kisses in the afternoon sun, cuddling and holding hands, playing with the little toy we won with our tickets at the arcade. There’s something extraordinarily special about being an ordinary couple.

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Oh the toy?

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Meet my newest addition to my growing collection of stuff: Pete, the eleduck.

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I’ve decided that Pete will be our official traveling buddy. He’ll be joining us on every trip we take from here on out and I’ll be taking his picture. I know it’s silly [and completely something I'd do] but I like it. So here’s his first picture.

We spent the rest of the weekend at the house with his family. He always apologizes for there not being much to do in Flint but I don’t mind it at all. To be honest, sometimes I really don’t want to do anything but just hang out, even if we’re just hanging out at home. I don’t always have to be doing something. That and I really love his family. They all make me feel so loved and welcomed every time I visit and I sincerely enjoying spending time with them as well. I feel very blessed that I can settle down and have a honest to goodness conversation with his mom. Yay for not having to deal with the in-law crunchiness that some people have to negotiate. And can I say just how much I adore his maternal grandparents? They are a hoot! Especially his Grandfather. I adore him, he’s so fun to talk to. I’m still amused how hard he is campaigning for me to move to Michigan.

We did catch “Where the Wild Things Are” and I was a little let down. I know there isn’t much to the book [which I still love] but the movie felt a little thin to me. The bf did not enjoy it at all. I looked over at him halfway through and I just KNEW he didn’t like it. Oh well. Not like I’ve never picked a movie he didn’t like before and I’m sure it won’t be the last time either!

On my last night in Michigan, we went out on a nice little date to a sushi restaurant on campus. We got dressed up and everything and had a nice time out. After sushi we ended up downtown at a Starbucks enjoying the last few hours of the night before turning in for an evening of Family Guy, The Office, and a new episode of The Seeker. What can I say? I’m a bit of a lazy homebody.

We’ll just say that Tuesday was the hardest day. I’ll have to wait a bit to elaborate on that because I still get a little teary thinking about it. Sigh. I love my boyfriend and I miss him every day.

But soon, soon we won’t have to say goodbye anymore.

Los Angeles, the finale

After trekking home early, early Sunday morning with our heads still buzzing from experiencing  the awesomeness of GhostRider, Lindsey and I finally made it home. She was lucky enough to be able to sleep while I was stuck hanging out with Thomas Dolby and whatever entertainment I was able to find on the radio.

So here’s when that day’s fun starts. It’s Lindsey’s birthday and I had ordered her a birthday cake as a surprise. Of course, that meant that I had to devise a way to get out of the house without arousing too much suspicion. Pretty easy right? I thought so. In fact, I prepped her for it by telling her that I was meeting a friend for breakfast to cover for my disappearance. All went well until she started complaining about me going out to eat without her on her birthday.

Yup, that was pretty inconsiderate of me isn’t? You know what else is wrong? How that little white lie SNOWBALLED into how inconsiderate I was. For real. Lindsey was understandably hurt that I was abandoning her on her birthday to gallivant around with some friend while she was stuck at home with nothing to eat. So she told Tammy what an inconsiderate thing I was and somehow that got back to our parents! So while I’m down in Santa Monica picking up her cake, the rest of the family is clucking around wondering what the heck did I have to do to leave my baby sister on her birthday.

So while the maelstrom was growing, I was happily sitting at Vanilla Bake Shop waiting for the cake to be decorated and munching on a fresh set of cupcake babies.

Oh yeah, you knew I was gonna eat cupcakes for breakfast. Actually, it was the second time I did that day. Remember those cupcakes I bought the day before? Well I didn’t get a chance to eat them so I ate them that morning before I left. And I figured I should give Vanilla a better shot of getting a decent review and when I saw the strawberries and cream cupcake I was already picking out the other two I wanted to sample:

And really, how can you say no to these little cuties? Exactly.  This trip I picked up a Strawberry and Cream, Mom’s Birthday Cake, and Blackberry Passionfruit. And they were so delicious! I am officially a fan of Vanilla Bake Shop. They’re a close second to Cupcake Royale and completely blew Sprinkles out of the water.

Anywho, Lindsey’s cake. I retrieved it and strapped it into the car [seriously. I seatbelted that sucker in!] and made the quick trip back to the apartment to surprise the heck out of her. And my thanks? Being called a jerk.

You’re welcome Lindsey. I love you too.

Are you gonna eat that?

After a night’s rest and a fairly productive yet slow morning. We spent at least an hour sitting and debating whether or not we should go to breakfast. Well, I sat and watched Spongebob and Food Network since I no longer get those channels at home and am going through some major withdrawals. Seriously, it’s so bad I actually watched Rachael Ray! I know! I haven’t watched her show in YEARS.

Anywho, since it took so long to make a decision, we ended up sitting around and waiting until it was time to meet Bubba for lunch. And where did we end up lunching?

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Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles!

Oh yeah. I didn’t have a chance to make it down there the first time I was in L.A. but I was determined to make it there this time around. Luckily for us the wait wasn’t long. We pretty much had enough time to walk back outside and for Jon to sit down before we were called in. And extra points to the security guard at the door who called him “Bubba.” Poor guy; the longer he hangs out with me, the more he loses his name.

Anywho, so my thoughts on Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles?

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Oh my goodness, I LOVE THOSE WAFFLES!! They simply were some of the best waffles ever. So light and cinnamony and…what? You say there was also chicken on the plate? Three pieces of chicken? Oh yeah, about that. The chicken was…okay. I don’t usually eat the wing part as a whole so I wasn’t really feeling this chicken. It was a little dry as well. I much prefer the leg and I didn’t realize I could have just ordered the leg and waffle by itself. Had I known I totally would have gotten that.

But the waffles, they were delicious. So delicious I even wondered if they sold waffle mix. They totally should. I was so in love with these waffles that I gave my last chicken wing to Lindsey so I could finish my waffle. And then I helped Bubba finish HIS waffle. Yes, I ate the waffle from his plate. They were that good. And thank goodness we’re such good friends that he didn’t stop me from pillaging his plate.

After lunch Lindsey and I made our way to the Santa Monica Third Street Promenade to just wander around and do a little browsing [and also to look for purple leggings. Can you believe American Apparel wanted $26 for a pair?! SERIOUS!]. From there we made a stop at Vanilla Bakeshop for cupcakes. Naturally.

We both picked up three cupcake babies. I ended up with vanilla bean, red velvet and a black and white. I didn’t take pictures of those cupcakes [for shame] because I was too excited over the dessert shots we impulsively bought after paying for the cupcakes. How can you look at these and say no:

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I know. Buying only one each took a tremendous amount of willpower. I think Lindsey had the Chocolate Dirt Cake and I had the Banana Pudding. And it was not enough. A shot is such a tease.

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With our bellies full we had plans to head back to the apartment for a quick nap before heading down to Knott’s Berry Farm but after driving around the building for a while, we decided to just make the trip down earlier than planned. Good thing we did because we sat in traffic just getting to the off ramp. And then I spent another 30 minutes completely frustrated as I tried to figure out how to find the parking lot. I couldn’t see any signs and when I drove through the park, they decided it would be a funny joke to NOT place a sign letting drivers like myself know that the left lane directed you to the parking lot and the right lane was for drop offs only and would eventually spit you back out into the street. The only sign they had was “Use Both Lanes.” Ugh. So then I followed what I thought was a sign for parking only to find out that it was for the hotel and was given directions to another lot. Except the lady didn’t tell me that the lot would require a left turn so I drove right by it! Let’s just say by the time we weren’t exactly in the best of moods at that point.

We finally make it in and I remembered why I don’t really enjoy going to the Halloween themed nights: the random scary people. You know the costumed people who wander throughout the park scaring everyone they can? I don’t like them. I just don’t like getting scared like that. I spent the entire night not making eye contact and hoping they would leave me alone. Thankfully we were pretty much left alone. I think because when we were walking around, one of us was always eating and I like to think they’re told not to scare people with food. Good thing too because if one of those costumed folks scared me while I was attempting to eat my funnel cake [which was completely disappointing and overpriced! Definitely not as good as I remembered in high school] I would have dragged them back to the funnel cake place and demand a free one.

I had two objectives for the night: 1] get funnel cake and 2] ride GhostRider. We stood in line for GhostRider for five minutes before bailing since it was insanely long but only after I got the assurance that we’d make it back there at some point during the night. I picked up the funnel cake on our way to Silver Bullet. Lindsey wasn’t in the best of moods and I was worried that the night would be a bit of a bust but thankfully it started to lift once we finally made it onto the Silver Bullet and she had a chance to eat. And then for the crowning moment: GhostRider.

This wooden roller coaster is quite possibly the BEST ride at that park and I’m not ashamed to admit that riding that thing was my sole motivation for driving all that way and dealing with the massive crowds and touchy-feely teenagers who like to stand in line and heavily pet each other while they make out, just so I could get back on that ride. And you know what?

IT WAS SO WORTH IT.

Sure I had to convince Lindsey the line was worth it but there wasn’t much I could say because there is no way you could properly explain the experience that is the GhostRider. You really need to ride it to get it. While the funnel cake was disappointing, GhostRider was the exact opposite. In fact, I had forgotten just how violent that ride is. Well, violent isn’t the right word but you move around in the seat a lot. Lindsey kept yelling at me about talking her into the ride and when we finally started to slow, I had the distinct pleasure of pointing out the second half of the ride. Yes folks, the ride is THAT long. As much as I like to ride roller coasters with my arms up in the air, I was only able to do that for about a quarter of the ride. Oooh I’m getting excited all over again!

And Lindsey’s reaction? She turned to me when we were done [for real this time] and declared: That was not okay. But I know she liked it. She just had to process the whole thing. But ultimately she enjoyed her time there, which was really the point.

But riding GhostRider again after 10 years? When can I go back?!