After participating in a wine tasting and attending the grand opening gala at the California Museum, I finally made it into an actual Fresh&Easy location today. The store was small (a good thing for me), prices seemed a little high, but I have been impressed with the quality of the foods, so I think that makes up for it, and there was a good variety, especially in the snack department. I really liked the half-price section of items that were about to expire. I ended up with a few salmon fillets and chicken-stir fry. I cooked them when I got home, ate some of the salmon already and will enjoy the stir-fry tomorrow or the next day. Other purchases included more pancake mix (I've been enjoying blueberry pancakes for a few weeks now), frozen fruit bars, peppercorns, a few trail mixes, some chips and my favorite ... two huge blocks of chocolate. The store also had a good selection of wines, including Trinitas Cellars (they have a tasting room at The Meritage Resort and Spa). Beyond shopping this weekend I went to the gym a few times, had fun with friends on Friday night and went on a six mile run. Needless to say, I think I deserved a few pieces of chocolate tonight.
It was a busy Saturday. I helped my parents do some spring cleaning in their yard (aka Camp Bradley). With 35+ trees there are a lot of leaves and pine needles to pick up when winter is over. We did some pruning, cleaned off the deck and pergola, then went to Hastie's to buy a few yards of bark. The idea was to use half at their house and half at my house. Ideas are great, but not always followed. We used two cubic yards of bark at their house and it looks great now. We then quickly went to Hastie's again, got a cubic yard of bark for Fort Bradley (my house) and I got to work making my yard look a little prettier. After some pruning of my own and having my mom and dad hang some wall art, it looks fantastic.
In what might be my final trip to The Meritage Resort and Spa before the expansion is scheduled to be completed I was given a quick tour of the progress. The first floor hallways all look great with decorative tile floors and beautiful tile and brick ceilings. Crush Ultra Lounge, with its six bowling lanes, double sided fireplace and huge bar is taking shape. Blend Cafe is starting to look like its future self, a gourmet coffee and gelato bar. The rooms and suites are starting to be finished, one suite is two floors, perfect for watching football or hosting a small group of business associates. The Carneros Ballroom and other meeting spaces are virtually finished, the catering kitchen looks like a kitchen and even the bathrooms have fun sinks. The courtyard looks just like it did in the virtual tour that my company helped make and I cannot wait to see guests walking around enjoying all of the new spaces.
Over the last few months I feel like all I have done is eat at restaurants for committee meetings; to hang out with friends; and for networking events. Don't get me wrong, there is no way I am complaining about that situation (although I have had to workout a little harder in the mornings). This week I headed to Claim Jumper for happy hour with a friend on Monday. With four drinks and five or six appetizers our tab was under $40. On Tuesday I was at the Placer Business Tweetup at Mikuni Kaizen in the Fountains at Roseville. The sushi was all priced at rollback prices to celebrate Mikuni's 25th anniversary. For two plates of sushi I paid $10. Thursday I'll be at The Meritage Resort and Spa in Napa, so guessing I'll eat lunch at my favorite restaurant, Siena (all the servers know me by name, so that's just cool). Friday, I am hoping to go to happy hour with a few coworkers.
With about 12 inches of fresh snow on the ground we celebrated my mom's birthday (she got an iPad 2) at the Bradley Lodge this weekend. We enjoyed lots of time relaxing, a few games of Pinochle and lots of eating. We started with blueberry pancakes that I got from Fresh&Easy about a month ago, then headed to lunch at Simply Delicious in Arnold before doing a little shopping at The Outhouse Collection. Dinner was pasta with shrimp, scallops, broccoli, basil and fresh tomatoes with a little red wine.
As we headed down the mountain today we made a stop at Gribaudo Farms in Lodi for a few vegetables to plant at my grandma's house, my mom's house and at Fort Bradley.
After having a few appetizers at Claim Jumper for Happy Hour on Thursday evening with friends I had the privilege of taking a tour of the Placer Food Bank on Friday. A few months ago I joined the marketing/communications team and although I had been to the office a few times, I had never been able to see where all the food was stored, sorted and sent out. It's not a huge facility, but it is stacked to the ceilings with pallets of donated food (I even saw a few cans of food from a client of AugustineIdeas). They do some amazing work for the community, including giving more than 300 students food to take home every weekend so they have something to eat and providing food for thousands of families in need through a variety of community partners throughout Placer and a few surrounding counties.
This weekend Bayside Church is hosting a food drive for the food bank. Just bring cans of food, set them in a bag behind your car during services and they will be taken to the food bank to help families in need.
It was a busy week and weekend for me. First, I was able to have lunch with friends that I hadn't seen in a while at Smashburger (twice) and The Counter. Friday, I experienced Bayside's Stations of the Cross. These stations allowed me to quietly reflect on what Jesus did for me and take some time to remember what happened 2,000 years ago. Since I was in the area, I decided to stay for the first of Bayside's 20 Easter Services (yes I went to Easter on Friday) supporting five important causes in the Sacramento region and around the world. The service was great as usual and most importantly allowed me to reflect on the sacrifice that was made and the miracle of the resurrection.
After a late night meeting with friends at Yard House, I had the same friends and their kids over for waffles on Saturday morning. Although I was too busy with cooking and hanging out with their seven fabulous kids to take pictures it was fun to have them over. When they left I quickly cleaned my house (although they're good kids, have a total of 11 people for breakfast isn't a clean endeavor) and headed back to Bayside. I was able to staff the Luis Palau Festival booth, letting many people learn about the festival and take promotional materials to let their friends and neighbors know too. As a side benefit I got to meet Luis Palau, so that was cool. When it was time to leave my friend and I quickly checked our phones for movie times and ended up getting to Hunger Games just as the previews were starting.
Sunday I was off to my parent's house, grandma's house and then to a family gathering in El Sobrante. It was fun to watch the kids (a total of six from three families, they're slacking ... I had seven from one family over for breakfast on Saturday) dye Easter Eggs and hunt for eggs in the yard. It was also great to see all of the family, celebrate a birthday and get ready to welcome my niece who is due in just about two weeks!
Easter 2012 at Bayside Church from Bayside Church on Vimeo.