Thursday, January 31, 2008

Valentine's Day Gift Swap

Kailani over at An Island Life organized a Valentine's Day Gift Swap! I signed up a couple weeks ago, and today she emailed me with my swap partner, Naomi of superdumb supervillain.

I love swaps - I did one back in 1994 or 1995 with a woman from New Zealand. It was organized on and the idea was to trade foodie things from your local area. I know I sent her a copy of San Francisco a la Carte, created by the San Francisco Junior League and chock-a-block with interesting recipes. I know she sent me a cool pen with a train that went back and forth at the top, a jar of New Zealand Honey (incidentally, I saw the same jar at a fancy schmancy food place in Berkeley not too long ago) and an Edmonds Cookery Book, which I now notice she inscribed - To Gudrun, Have fun cooking, Heather from Plimmerton, NZ! Cool.

To help Naomi with this swap, I am supposed to answer these questions:
  • What is your idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day?
    • My husband coming up with his own romantic idea, without me having to "suggest" anything
  • In reality, what is your Valentine’s Day really like?
    • Kids to school, me to work, plans for fun ways to celebrate the day with the family, special dinner that I take time to cook and is eaten in 5 minutes, shower night, books, teeth brushing, and then a little reading for me before bed.
  • If you could have a lifetime supply of your favorite sweet indulgence, what would it be?
    • Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate a la Mousse au Chocolat. Or any of the German or French cookies that have one side coated in chocolate, dark please. Or really any dark chocolate, I prefer 62% or 80+%.
  • Is there any sweet treat you absolutely do not like?
    • Dinner mints, white chocolate anything, licorice, fruit filled chocolates.
  • If you fell into a pool of chocolate, how would you get out?
    • Why would I want to get out?
Feel free, if you are one of the two people reading this, to consider yourself tagged. I would love to hear what my friends think is romantic for Valentine's Day.....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Day of Beauty: Queen for a Day

Back in December, I was the lucky winner of the Silicon Valley Mom's Blog Makeover Contest. This entirely random event has been such a source of excitement over the last 7 weeks, culminating in yesterday's Day of Beauty (said in a deep voice, with much drama!) It picked up steam in early January with the article in the Menlo Park Almanac (who knew so many of my neighbors read this weekly?), and finished spectacularly with a new hair cut, relaxing spa treatments and wonderful new additions to my wardrobe - here is the story:

I began my day with a workout at Fitness101 - I started my 3 month membership earlier this month and had met twice with personal trainer Jennifer. She developed a couple programs for me, so depending on my mood and interest in breathing hard, I had some things to choose from. The gym is nice, with several different kinds of cardio machines, many weight lifting and resistance machines and a nice selection of fitness classes. After I exercised, I hit the showers in preparation for the rest of my day. BTW, the owner, Gordon, is also a blogger, visit his site for a post about his New Year's at Disneyland.

Next stop was Thermae Spa in Menlo Park, with a relaxing massage and facial. Walking into the spa is like being transformed to another place. It is so quite and peaceful, and the Zen-like waiting room just beckons to be visited. At one point, as I waited between my treatments, I was enjoying a magazine and so comfortable in the waiting area, that I almost did not want to leave! Fortunately, I did, as both of my treatments, the massage with Snjezana and the facial with Kasia were both wonderful and left me feeling rejuvenated. Which was good, because the day only got busier!

On the way home for a bite of lunch, I stopped by Calla Kicks to check on a pair of shoes. My size 11 feet are hard to fit, but low and behold, they had a super cute pair of Sloops by FS/NY in chocolate brown suede! I am already planning to buy a second pair in bronze. Earlier in the month, I had stopped into Calla, the clothing store, and met with Maggie, Libby and Linda. These three women exercised tireless patience with me and helped me select several items, including a knit poncho by Echo, a pair of wide leg jeans from isda&co, a snappy green sweater from Vince and a pair of black jeans from Not Your Daughter's Jeans (NYDJ) with an excellent Tummy Tuck panel, pretty much what every mom needs!

After lunch and a little bit of work, I headed off to my afternoon appointment with Sammy at 1258 Salon. When I arrived, it was raining cats and dogs (and probably other furry animals) and I arrived at the reception looking bedraggled and wet, not a pretty site. I was whisked to the back, and after changing into the required salon haircutting gown-thing, was settled to read a magazine with a hot cappuccino. Definitely helped me relax!

Sammy sat me down in his chair and looked at my hair and said "Color, we need some color, just for movement, not much." I was surprised, having not had color for about 5 years and thought my service was only to be a haircut. But he is quick, and before I knew it, his assistant was by my side with the foil squares and the bowl of goo. Meanwhile, the manicurist Susan, arrives and begins my manicure. 30 minutes later, I am sitting under the steamer, percolating away while my nails are buffed and polished. Then the makeup artist arrived and for 45 minutes, I sat still while she performed her miracles. I mean really, look at the picture, miracles were performed!

After makeup, it was back to Sammy for a cut and blow dry and then the grand reveal. Check it out, hard to believe it is me!

Afterwards, I boarded a train north to San Mateo to meet my husband for dinner...a beautiful finish to a wonderful day. Thank you to all the wonderful sponsors of this day of beauty, I appreciate all the kind words, thoughtful gestures and the exquisite pampering I received. Special thanks to Beth and the SVMoms who organized the contest. I really do feel as though I was queen for a day!

Yesterday was also the 17th anniversary of the death of my Mom, who died on January 25, 1991 of complications from breast cancer. While yesterday was a day of beauty for me, it was also a chance to remember my Mom, who would have been as surprised as I was by all the hoopla. Love you Mom.....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pet Peeves

Gudrun's Pet Peeves

1. Drivers who drive in the pouring rain without their lights on.
1a. These very drivers who talk on their cellphones at the same time.

2. Drivers who talk on their cellphones while driving (without using a hands free device). Yes, I know that this will soon be illegal, but it seems as though some people are getting in all they can before the deadline.

3. People who call San Francisco "Frisco". Ack, I really hate that. The proper terms are San Francisco or The City. It makes my skin crawl to hear Frisco, really.

4. My husband looking over my shoulder and "helping" me with my Scrabulous game. Hey, it is not my fault his company's firewall has blocked Facebook, get your own game!

5. The house across the street runs a business and all their workerbees and clients park in front of my house, because they cannot possibly use their own driveway (this one is a weak one, I know, it is more of a vent).

I will be back, as I am sure I have many more to share :-)

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

I am famous

well, only really in my own mind. But yesterday, the Almanac, our local paper, posted a brief article about my contest winnings. Very exciting, a couple friends have emailed me and I feel very much like a celebrity :-)


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Traditions

I think we might have found our new Christmas Eve tradition - without going into a lot of detail, we have been trying to find a dinner/gift opening plan for Christmas Eve that is a mix of DH's traditions and my own. This year we seemed to have hit the nail on the head. In the afternoon, we made tamales (see previous post for details). At 5pm, we went to a children's Christmas Eve church service. When we came home, we ate our dinner of tamales and green chili potato soup, along with margaritas. Then opened all our Christmas presents from relatives and friends. Great night!