Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Weekend Recap: Taste of Yountville

Image from Art and Living

I had my first craft show of 2010 this last weekend at the Napa Valley Mustard Festival's Taste of Yountville. This is only the second year they did a "craft" area but I think they realized that the combination of wine and shopping is a winner.

I got to share my outdoor 10x10 space with the very talented Kendra of Kendra Renee Jewelry Design, we shared laughs, snacks and booth tricks (Kendra had some awesome fabric hook thingy that she let me use). The show was a lot of fun and went well. The best part was it really got me excited about connecting with customers face to face again - which is good since I just found out today that I got into the Maker Faire in May...YIPEEE!!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekend Recap: Last Weekend

Last weekend, Mister and I went on a mini-break to Napa. I know it seems as though we go on mini-breaks all the time (Muir Beach), but really it happens very rarely because Mister works on Saturdays and because of our limited budget. However, when I was feeling spendy I found a great deal on Jetsetter for the Avia Hotel Napa (the bath tub totally sold me), so I went for it. But, that was in December, so we had to wait a few looong months.

Our trip was finally here (woohoo)!! Before we went up, we decided that we were going to stay in city limits, rather than venture about the Napa valley and focus on tasty relatively cheap food and wine (wine tasting can get pretty expensive when its $10-$20 at each winery).We headed up to Napa Friday night after work, checked into our hotel, and headed out for some dinner. We walked to the Pearl Restaurant - an Asian fusion spot frequented by locals. We read some great reviews on Yelp and were not disappointed. The owner greeted us at the door and was extremely gracious and attentive. To start, we shared a potato swiss chard sausage soup. For the main, I got the Chicken Chile Verde with homemade tortillas, creamy polenta and veggies. Mister got the Meatloaf with a Brooklyn style Red Gravy, mash potatoes and veggies. Both mains were great, but Mister and I both agreed that mine was pretty amazing. For dessert we shared the house made brioche bread pudding which was yummy. We headed back to the hotel, where Mister promptly fell asleep and I took a lovely bath.
The next morning we headed out in search of coffee, pastries and the Taste card. I found out about the Taste card, which gets you a taste at 14 tasting rooms in downtown Napa for $20 (all are walking distance from one another), while paging through a Budget Travel magazine. The card is a great alternative to the pricey wineries around Napa Valley. We got a bit off course in our early attempt to reach The Model Bakery at the Oxbow Market (I blame Google maps on our iphones) but it made our Coffees, Pecan Sticky Bun and Egg, Chorizo Breakfast Torta totally worth it. After breakie, we did a quick circuit of the Oxbow Market and I bought a few spices from the Whole Spice Company to try in soap. We walked off towards the rest of downtown to find the visitors center so we could get our Taste cards. We ended up taking the long way to get there and got a great tour of the down town transit station - really sweet. At least we got more walking in. With cards in hand and a plan to do a circuit of the downtown tasting rooms we headed out but got briefly sidetracked by a few antique stores (I couldnt help it - there were sparkly things calling my name. I found some fabulous earrings, old vichy springs mineral water bottles, and old soap boxes). We didnt realize it till we headed to our first wine tasting spot but the Mustard Festival was in full effect in Napa so it was crazy packed. Our first tasting room was the Napa General Store, which is in the old re-furbished red brick mill. After being denied at the neighboring tasting room because of the festival, we decided to get away from the festivities and found our way back to the Oxbow Market area. We went to Mason (which specializes in delicious Sauv Blanc), GustavoThrace (Gustavo inspired the movie Bottle Shock), and Taste at Oxbow featuring Mahoney Vineyards (the wine maker and owner were there pouring glasses of wine. We chatted up the wine maker for about an hour and liked everything so much we joined the wine club). By this time we were a bit tipsy and hadnt really eaten lunch yet and it was almost 4pm, so we headed to The Fatted Calf (soooo good) for some cured meats, got one last glass of wine in at the Wine Merchant, grabbed cheese from the Oxbow Cheese Merchant and a baguette from The Model Bakery and headed back to the hotel. After our snack and a nap we decided to make one last trip out for the amazing pulled pork sandwich at The Bounty Hunter. Back at the hotel, I took a bath and went to bed. It was an amazing day.

After a lazy morning we headed to the ABC Cafe and enjoyed home made biscuits and gravy, spiced apple and cream cheese stuffed pancakes and coffee...wow. We then said good bye to Napa and went back to the city.

As you can tell we had a very fatty delicious lovely weekend...I want to go back every weekend.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What is a solid lotion bar?

I get this question a lot when I'm at craft shows. Here is how the typical exchange goes:

Customer: What is a Solid Lotion bar?

Me: Well, its a convenient portable alternative to lotion. It's a combination of lip balm and body butter. I use a combination of Organic Cocoa Butter, Fair Trade Shea Butter, Organic Virgin Coconut oil and Beeswax. So, its super moisturizing. This also makes them more heat stable than a typical body butter, but not as waxy as a lip balm. They are great for moisturizing cuticles, elbows and dry hands. The tin they come in is light weight which makes them great for purses, desks, and travel. And you can reuse or recycle the tin.

That sounds kind of great.

Yep, they definitely are.

To get your own -go to my Etsy shop.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Aloo Palak

We have been inundated with spinach from our CSA for the last few weeks so I have been trying to find new recipes so we dont get bored. Of course, as always, I turned to Tastespotting and found this amazing Indian Dish, Aloo Palak (spinach and potato version), at Honey, What's Cooking. The recipe seemed simple and sounded delish - perfect for a weeknight meal.

You can find the recipe and instructions here.

The only changes we made were using a Pasilla chili instead of spicy green chilies, using 4 yukon gold type potatoes with skin on (there are lots of nutrients in the skins), using about 16 oz of spinach and doubling the amount of Turmeric (it has anti-inflammatory properties and my knees have been bothering me - yes, I'm old). It turned out pretty good. I think I would just add some hot chilies for some heat.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Business Time: Accounting Class

Image courtesy of my alma mater

Last weeks class at the SBA really encouraged me to start taking charge and educating myself in the areas of business where I am totally clueless...like Accounting. After doing a bit of research about online courses and city college courses I decided that the SBA's classes would work the best for me. So, this week I finally committed to the three part series of Accounting Classes at the SBA, and they start tomorrow! For the next three Thursdays from 1-4pm I will be taking copious notes and attempting to ask extremely sensible questions at the SBA's downtown office. Wish me luck!

What accounting questions would you ask?

Its back....

Start spring a little early with my uplifting Rosemary Lemon soap. My revamped formula has much more citrus punch with hints of herbaceous rosemary and moisturizing fair trade shea butter. Banish dry winter skin with the exfoliating properties of ground rosemary leaves and skin soothing calendula petals. This will definitely help with the winter blues.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekend Recap: Cookies

This weekend I finally made my way over to Anthony's Cookies in the Mission and it was fantastic. We walked in and were enveloped by the smell of fresh baked cookies. Neighbors of this little cookie shop must be in a state of bliss all the time! Of course Mister and I planned on only getting one cookie each but with flavors like Cookies and Cream, Toffee Chip and Semi Sweet Chocolate Chip with Walnuts we were forced to get a half dozen to share. The cookies were crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle...totally perfect. Good thing we had already walked a mile to get there...we might have burned off about 1 cookie each ;).

I highly recommend a visit.