Birthday Yummies

It’s Food and Wine Wednesday! Welcome!

I know my birth month’s come and gone and I’m way behind on this, but I just had to share what Mr. Alexander made for dinner that night:

Why’s this such a big deal? For so many reasons, but mainly because he’s not a huge fan of salmon (more for the rest of us!) and he chose my birthday to grill one on a cedar plank. Was it ever delish!

The best part? He’s discovered a way he can enjoy one of my fave fish!

Do you remember what your last birthday dinner was?

Happy eating,

Fortune Cookies and Caviar Dreams

Do you believe in the power of a good fortune? The lollipop and rainbow kind that’s delivered all wrapped up in crunchy, flavorful yumminess at the end of a meal? The heart-racing kind that has you mentally spending your imagined wealth on the great pair of Christian Louboutin black high heels you’d salivated over for years. . .. And years. . .. And – yeah, you get the picture. (Well, okay, so maybe that fantasy’s limited to just me, but still. . ..)

I admit, I love fortune cookies. Not to eat, but for those tiny promises that come in them. This recent one was at the end of a birthday dinner for Niece at her fave Asian restaurant. Frankly, despite the haul she made that night, I think I ended up the real winner – even if I did pick up the tab! Check it out: P1170046

You know what, universe? A pair of Christian Louboutins would sum up my definition of success. Just sayin’!

How would you define yours?

Have an awesome week,

The Male Observation Lab: Hello, Kitty

The dudes at The Male Observation Lab are a multi-talented bunch. Not only do they build bridges and roadways, subdivisions and football stadiums, but they lead interesting, passionate lives outside of the day job, too. Coaching little league football and leading Boy Scout Troops come to mind, but baking cake? Wasn’t prepared for that one, but here’s how it went down.

One of the dudes got a phone call from his granddaughter the other night. Why? To remind him that her birthday was the next day, and she wanted her grandfather to bake her a cake. Not just any cake, but a Hello Kitty one. This particular dude is a pipe superintendent – brilliant at it, actually – and not the kind that easily capitulates to requests (trust me on this!). But what did he do that night? He got in the car, drove to the store, and bought stuff to make his granddaughter’s birthday wish come true. (Awwww. . ..)

Check out this cake:

DSCN1116Turns out he loves cake decorating. Been doing it for years. Seriously. And he’s pretty great at it, too! Which just goes to show, talent can be found in many forms, whether laying a complicated pipe run in the middle of winter or baking a special birthday cake. Which once again reinforces my belief that dudes are multi-layered and harder to understand than we ladies give them credit for. . ..


Best. Birthday. Evah!

Birthdays are kind of like family holiday gatherings: you either love it and look forward to baking your specially created pumpkin cheesecake, or you call in at the last minute (’cause Mom would never believe you otherwise) to cancel.  (That stomach flu thing’s going around, you know. . . . Ummm. . . Not that I’ve ever done anything like that, of course. . .. )

Me?  I love birthdays!  Cake and presents?  Oh, yeah.  I’m all for that.  But there was something about this year that was different.  Not that the usual cake and presents is a bad thing, but I had this urge to run away from home as well.  Seriously.  So I developed my own special recipe for a great birthday weekend:  IMAG0690

1.  Start with one fantastic dinner shared with a very special man.  🙂

2.  Pack a bag.

3.  Drive a couple of hours away from home.

4.  Meet friends to plot next book.  (Thanks Lily Santana and Linda Mercury!)

5.  Get back in car and drive further away from home.

6.  Meet littlest sister (who I haven’t seen in YEARS).

7.  Take photos at a local park.  DSC_1224

8.  Talk littlest sister into spending $8 on an “alligator on a stick” (Note: It doesn’t taste like chicken.  At.  All.)

9. Try to capture the breathtaking majesty of Mt. Rainier while blasting  photography skills – or lack of it, really. DSC_1283

10.  Laugh nervously at a mean-looking raccoon.  Might even be the same one seen chasing a grown man earlier.  Seriously.

11.  Spend the night at the Ritz Carlton.  (Hey, I’m a writer.  I can pretend, can’t I?)  Try desperately not to stay up all night ’cause sister’s got to go to work the next day.

10.  Drive home at 7:00 AM the following morning.  (Did you know the roads are basically empty at that time on a Sunday?)

11.  Arrive safely home to have another fabulous dinner with that special someone.  🙂DSC_1302

12.  Feel like the most blessed person on the face of the planet.

13.  While reflecting on the last year, look forward to the next one.  🙂

So.  How’d you spend your last birthday?  What plans do you have for your next one?  Please share!


Happy Birthday to Me

Instead of some overly serious post on the joys of turning another year older, I decided to show you my *cough* *cough* birthday weekend in pictures!

It started with three of my favorite writing peeps — my CPs. (Sydney Bennett prefers to be behind the camera, but I swear she’s real!)

Me with the uber fabulously talented Meredith Clark and Lainey Rogoza

And, of course, there was CAKE!  Gluten-free Strawberry Lemonade Cupcake with a gluten-free chocolate cookie — HEAVEN on a plate!


Met one of my besties and a couple of other friends afterwards for a stroll through Saturday Market.

Garlic whistles!
Peas and Carrots — Organic Style!

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a birthday without a visit to a lingerie shop! 🙂

Much Fun to be Had Here!

Later, Hubby and I were blessed with an opportunity to witness history being made by some incredible athletes.

Entering the 2012 Olympic Track and Field Trials
View of Hayward Field From Our Seats
Me and Hubby!
A friend wore his 2012 Rose Bowl Championship ring — a bit huge on my hand, huh?

I realized later that evening that I greeted my birthday wide awake instead of fast asleep.

Officially Turning Another Year Older

Why? I blame it all on Laura Kaye and HER FORBIDDEN HERO! Incredible chemistry between the hero and heroine, making it oh-so-difficult to put down!!

The Reason I Was Up Until 2 AM!

And when I woke up, there was MORE CAKE!! (Thank you, Jenna Bayley-Burke!)

Grain-Free Coconut Cake With Lemon Curd and Strawberries!!

After Mass that morning, where Father David’s Homily focused on the importance of remaining flexible human beings (was he talking to me?!), I settled onto the back deck with a good book, and the company of two of my boys.

Alexander James, aka The Prince

The weekend was capped off with dinner with friends at a local hang out.

Me and one of my besties!
Steak Salad with a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon — perfect combo for *THIS* birthday girl!

All in all, it was a pretty tame weekend. Notice what wasn’t on the list of things I’d done? Yep. No writing. That’s for tomorrow morning. At 4:02 AM. Sharp.

G’night, all!