Showing posts from 2013

Christmas 2013

After my big lotto win ($1), it was time to hang out with friends from Texas who came back to California for the holidays. We started at P.F. Chang's and then headed to Bayside's Christmas Service before I headed to Chevy's with another friend for nachos and a burrito. I then went on a Christmas baking binge ... Reese's cupcakes with a peanut butter filling and ganache topping, Ghirardelli brownies with peanut butter ganache, peanut butter cookies with Hershey's Kisses (caramel and dark chocolate) ... notice a theme? Beyond the sweets I tried the new Bacon, Bacon, Bacon pizza from Papa Murphy's and celebrated a friend's 60th birthday at Claim Jumper's with a Meritage Steak (how could I pass up a steak when it has the name of my favorite resort?) and a triple chocolate cake.

On Monday I met up with the Executive Chef from The Meritage Resort and Spa at KCRA in Sacramento as he demonstrated how to take a couple store-bought gingerbread house kits and som…

From Napa to Sacramento, Lodi and a Redwood City Christmas

It was a busy three days that involved 446 miles of driving from Roseville to Napa to Sacramento to Lodi to Redwood City, but I wouldn't trade them.

Before starting my whirlwind trip I enjoyed a Christmas dinner celebration for Bayside's North Campus at Skipolini's ... I ate way too much pizza and other goodies, but got to try lots of items from their menu that I had never even considered before and cannot wait until I return in the future. My table also decorated a ginger bread house, although when I was at The Meritage Resort and Spa the next day I saw that the professionals are much better building and decorating them.

In Napa on Friday I attended the Visit Napa Valley Bi-Annual Conference to see how marketing and tourism efforts are going ... and they are going great. From media attention to people visiting, tourism is up, and cities and towns from throughout the Napa Valley have great plans for the future. After the conference I was able to meet many of the attendees…

Making a Difference this Christmas

First for the week in review ... my roommates bought me a McFlurry, evidently they thought I was eating too healthy and needed some more Reese's in my life. On Wednesday I met up with friends for happy hour at Islands before watching Hunger Games: Catching Fire (I suppose we didn't want to go to the movie hungry). On Friday I headed to Lincoln Brewster's "Joy to the World" Concert at Bayside and Saturday met a friend for breakfast at Peg's before heading to Bayside for church, their Christmas Tree lighting, ice skating and dinner with friends at Red Robin.

Now to the making a difference part. At the Lincoln Brewster Concert Covenant Kids Congo and World Vision were there. I already sponsor two kids through World Vision, one from Swaziland and the other from Ethopia, I thought that was enough, but then as I was thinking about it, I have so much to be thankful for and in this Christmas season I knew I could do something more to help one more child in need. So a…

Thanksgiving at the Lodge

My family celebrated another fantastic Thanksgiving at the Bradley Lodge. Needless to say we ate well and had a lot of fun. From prime rib to turkey with all the trimmings to lots of great wines, including bottles from Perry Creek, Pine Ridge and Bogle, to a few field trips to Bear Valley and Big Trees State Park there was always something to do. I also found time to run a few times and after our cooking success at The Melting Pot we decided to have a fondue dinner, where we cooked our food, my nephews even got in on the cooking action ... they preferred dessert though.

Although our Polar Dash turned into the "Polar Scenic Hike" at Bear Valley (because of the lack of snow) it was fun to see new parts of the mountain and to see how different it looks when there isn't snow on the ground. At Big Trees State Park we took a peek at the new visitors center and gift shop, it was beautiful and I actually learned a few things about the park that I didn't know before, despite …

Birthday Week 2

Well Birthday Week 2 (see Birthday Week 1) officially came to an end on Saturday, after a marathon of eating out for seven of the last eight days, plus a trip to The Meritage Resort and Spa to attend Flavor! Napa Valley. I enjoyed two complete Thanksgiving meals at Bayside while learning about its plans for 2014 and beyond at its main campus, the North Campus (closer to my house) and the hundreds of projects it supports in the region and around the world. Then there were dinners out with friends .... Happy Hours at Ruth's Chris Steak House and Mikuni Kaizen, appetizers at Mas Cocina Mexican and I even cooked some tasty pasta with vegetables and chicken to eat for lunch when I was at home.

All of that food was amazing, but attending Flavor! Napa Valley's "The Appellation Trail: Tasting Napa Valley" with the team from The Meritage Resort and Spa was simply incredible. The best way to describe it is to think of any "Best of" or "Taste of" event you h…

Birthday Week 1

Honestly, I don't really celebrate my birthday very often, but every so often lots of other events seem to creep up on it and it makes it a celebration that lasts anywhere for a few days to a few weeks. This year it will be a two week celebration. It started last Saturday with dinner at my parents' house (cioppino), cake and gifts. On Sunday we headed to The Melting Pot to use a Living Social deal (and celebrate). Monday I ended up meeting a friend at Chevy's to use my free birthday entree coupon, then I took a few days off from eating out and headed to Napa on Friday. At The Meritage Resort and Spa I enjoyed one of my favorite burgers at Crush Ultra Lounge and they surprised me with a beautiful chocolate cake for my birthday. Later that night I attended a screening of Philomena  as part of the Napa Valley Film Festival at the Napa Valley Opera House.

Although I hadn't planned to stay overnight at The Meritage overnight I was able to and wake up to a breakfast at Blend

The Last Few Weeks ...

It's been almost a month since I've been able to update my blog and it has been a busy, crazy, sad and exciting month. It started off with a tri-tip filled business round-table meeting with a few Placer County small business owners who all attend various churches in the area. Then I got news that my uncle's health was failing faster than we thought. Nine weeks earlier he was diagnosed with cancer and given just months to live. My parents had been once to see him and his family earlier, but with that news, we booked our tickets for that Saturday with plans to stay, visit and be with the family for about two weeks. Sadly, he passed away before we arrived, but I will always have the memories of trips with he and his wife, most recently our Pacific Coast Cruise.

My mom and I headed to my brother's house in the Bay Area on Friday, where my dad met us after work and we left from SFO to CLT and AGS early Saturday morning. The Charlotte Airport, complete with rocking chairs, w…

Concert, Brew Fest and Chili's

I started off my weekend with a salad from Taco Bell and a concert at Bayside featuring Jason Gray, Laura Story and Steven Curtis Chapman ... always fun to see some of the artists sing songs live that I hear on the radio, while also getting to see some friends too.

Saturday, after a waffle for breakfast, I was off to Napa and The Meritage Resort and Spa for their inaugural Brew Fest event. Although I didn't get to fully indulge (I had to drive home) I did get to sample a few of the beers from Napa Smith Brewery (their seasonal Crush brew will hopefully be available year-round at Crush Ultra Lounge), Samuel Adams,Hanger 24, Speakeasy and Lagunitas (the glasses were small and I didn't let them fill the glass all the way). Beyond the beer, the food was all amazing, I don't know the names of everything, but it was German and it was great from handmade pretzels to schnitzel and spätzle to dessert, strudel with homemade ice cream!

I ended the day with church at Bayside, a screen…

New Rooms, New Computer, New Friends, New Events

There's nothing wrong with old, but this week has been a week of "new." I started off by going to my favorite Napa resort ... The Meritage Resort and Spa for meetings and to meet with some reporters who haven't been to the property in awhile. They were able to see the new Vineyard Deck and take a look at what the rooms in the main building will look like in a few months as they are all being upgraded. Continuing with the new, we ate lunch at Siena Restaurant where their newest chef prepared a special menu for us including scallops, lamb chops and a dessert medley (to share). For dinner I went to Angéle on Napa's Riverfront for a rustic, yet gourmet French dining experience.

The next morning I woke up and worked for a few hours when my laptop screen decided to go black. I tried a few fixes, but nothing worked, so I took it to Office Depot, where after a few hours of resting they were able to get it to work just fine. I took it back and it went off again though .…

Anniversary Crashing and Meeting with Friends

After a going away party for a friend who is moving to the East Coast at The Park Ultra Lounge in Sacramento I met my parents for dessert (they had dinner too) at Seasons 52 to celebrate their 42nd Anniversary! Although 41 was celebrated in Barcelona and 30 was in Australia, I think they still enjoyed a nice dinner.

After a few midweek runs, Friday I needed to get out and went to Mikuni's for time with friends and sushi ... I actually had a Bento Box for the first time (at Mikuni), it was really good and quite filling. After being at Mikuni for a few hours we needed a change of scenery and went across the street to Crush 29 for their late night happy hour to enjoy a little more wine (and in my case a few chicken sliders).

Saturday, didn't quite go as planned ... my car battery died, but after getting it jumped by a neighbor I headed to Walmart, had a new battery installed (and ice cream while I waited), then headed to Bayside for church before meeting up with a friend for dinn…

Celebrate Farm-to-Fork with #PlacerGROWN Week!

On Tuesday I was invited by Placer GROWN to a lunch at Sinclair Family Farm to learn about some of the fresh produce grown and livestock raised in Placer County. We also learned about Placer GROWN Week, which kicks off on October 5 and wraps up on October 13.

The afternoon started with a green salad tossed with feta cheese and pomegranate seeds, followed by homemade beef stew and paired with a selection of wines from Viña Castellano. During a very educational talk by the Placer County Agricultural Commissioner, we enjoyed apple cobbler with just the right amount of vanailla ice cream on top, and, of course, a little more wine.

It was fun to learn about the rich history of agriculture in Placer County, including the fact it used to be one of the world's top tree fruit producers and I had no idea that rice was grown near the city of Lincoln. After lunch and learning about Placer GROWN Week, we got a tour of the Sinclair Family Farm, including a sheep dog demonstration (that dog was a…

PB&J Milkshake and Pizza

I was doing so well with actually cooking a few meals until I got an advertisement for Texas BBQ Pizza from Pizza Guys. On my way home after going to the gym and grocery shopping (a little ironic), I stopped at Pizza Guys to buy the BBQ Pizza. It was great, complete with BBQ Sauce, Chicken, Bacon, Onions and Cheese.

On Saturday I was finally able to try the Peanut Butter & Jelly milkshake from Smashburger and use a Groupon that I purchased. The milkshake uses Nutter Butter cookies and strawberry syrup to create the flavor ... delicious is about all I can say. I paired it with a Truffle Mushroom Swiss Chicken Sandwich (I added lettuce and tomatoes to make it a little healthier) and SmashFries (fries tossed with rosemary, olive oil and garlic).

The plan after that was to head to the airport and pick up my parents, but their flight was delayed by a day (in their favor, they got to visit my aunt in Dallas for the night). I still ended up going to their house, but brought with me the t…

The Freedom Project and Bayside's North Campus

I've been attending informational events and preview services over the last few months for Bayside Church's new North Campus. Eventually there will be a new church in Roseville at Blue Oaks and Highway 65, but for now the church is meeting at Whitney High School in Rocklin until its official temporary location opens near William Jessup University (Sunset and Highway 65). There was a walk through of the new official temporary location in June and another informational night with dinner at Bayside in Granite Bay that provided lots of great information about the future. Finally, last Sunday night the new campus hosted its first regular Sunday service.

Today, however was the official public launch of the new campus. It also launched a new sermon series ... The Freedom Project ... that will transform the lives of  many who attend church by helping them develop a personal mission statement and put their faith into action, while also freeing hundreds of young girls in Cambodia with …

Peanut Butter, Ice Cream and Pizza

After flying back from Austin, I knew it was time to head to the gym, Bayside's new North Campus in Rocklin and to visit Fresh & Easy one last time before it closed. Visiting the store was sad, the shelves were nearly bare, but the staff still had a smile. Yes, I got some good deals on what was left, especially on Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter and a few Weight Watchers ice cream cones, but some of my favorite things were gone. The wine, the beer, the ready to cook meals, the pancake mix and the giant chocolate bars.

There was also time to connect with friends after being gone for a few weeks. I used a Living Social at Leatherby's for some of the best ice cream in the region (Farrell's is good too, but it's very loud, Leatherby's is better if you want to actually talk to the people you're eating with). Ice cream, especially when it involves a peanut butter sauce, for dinner and french fries for dessert might be a new favorite, if it didn't involve so…

San Antonio and Austin Visit

After Camp Bradley officially ended, I stayed at my parents house for a few days (so I could get a ride to the airport) and so we could eat at Fins Market ... it was a fantastic meal, I cannot wait to go back.

After my road trip to Austin, it was a nice change of pace to fly ... only took four hours instead of four days to get here. I arrived in Austin on-time (as did my bags ...  I was worried since I only had 20 minutes between connections in Phoenix). Right when we arrived we headed into Downtown Austin for Happy Hour at a Texas classic ... P.F. Chang's.

The next day I headed off with Ray from RazorSharp PR to San Antonio for the Live and Invest Overseas "Retirement Overseas Conference." It was fun to learn about the many options for retiring overseas ... everywhere from Belize to the Pacific Coast of Mexico, Ecuador, South East Asia and many more. I could see myself in Belize ... one new community has balconies on the front and back of the house for views of both the…

Camp Bradley 2013

After the projects were complete at Camp Bradley it was time to open the camp to the public. Over three days we had 37 guests, about half of which were five and under, at one time there were 11 kids in the "Lake Bradley" (the pool). We ate well, with pancakes, breakfast casserole, wraps, sandwiches, tri-tip, BBQ chicken with baked potatoes and desserts galore, including s'mores. This years field trip was to the California Automobile Museum, where we had a private tour done by my parents' neighbor ... always fun to see old cars worth $150,000+. Next year we will add one additional camper when my cousin has her baby girl, we hosted her first baby shower on Saturday. Luckily the rain waited until after everyone had left and everything was put away. It made for a great backdrop to our fish taco dinner though.
To see photos from your iPad click here.