Meaningful Monday…Friends…Roots

If you can find friends that are the root at the bottom of your tree…you are blessed…they’re not going anywhere

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Fun Friday…see a movie this weekend!

It’s raining cats and dogs in California, which is the best excuse to take shelter in a movie theater and catch up on those Oscar nominees before the big night, February 26th! I’ve seen quite a few in the past month or so and here are my critiques.

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LaLaLand…It’s a fun movie and I loved it more the second time around. It’s basically a Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movie combined with a bit of Casablanca. Lovely and just a nice way to spend a couple of hours. I’d highly recommend!

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Arrival…I really liked it, but I know some who didn’t like it at all. I’m not a huge fan of sci-fi, but this movie is more about communication and relationships. It is one of those movies that should definitely be seen on the big screen, so don’t wait for the dvd on this one.

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Fences…It’s intense!…and it’s a play made into a movie, which is hard to ignore. Lots of dialogue, not much set change…again, like a play. The acting is incredible to be sure, but again, it’s intense and not uplifting.

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Manchester by the Sea…nice scenery, good acting, but I hated the end and it’s a bit depressing….but definitely worth seeing.

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Hidden Figures...In my opinion, the best movie of the year! Uplifting, great acting, & true story. How is it that we haven’t heard about these women before??

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Lion…another big favorite of mine. Compelling, true story… really well done, great acting and thought provoking.

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Moonlight….this is the one I’ll be seeing this weekend during the rainstorm! Stay tuned

Hell or High Water and Hacksaw Ridge….no intention of seeing these, so you’re on your own!

…and lastly, it’s not up for any awards this year (I don’t think it was out in time), but I really liked A United Kingdom too…another true story!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Carpe Diem

Life is short.
Forgive quickly.
Laugh uncontrollably.
Love truly.
Regret nothing.
Dream big.
….oh, and eat french fries & chocolate!

Carpe Diem…Seize the day!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

In Situ

In Situ“in it’s original place”….. and such a brilliant idea for a restaurant within a museum. After being alerted by Taylor, I saw this story on the CBS Sunday morning show and knew I had to visit for myself. So, when I had an impromptu trip to SF a few weekends ago, the first thing I did was make reservations.

Okay, similar to Amass, which I visited in Copenhagen, it is pretentious food….but pretentious food is just fun sometimes and a dining experience. Chef Corey Lee thought ‘you’re going to a museum to see works of art from around the world, why not the best food in the world to go with it?’ So, the premise is that he recreates single dishes from some of the best restaurants (many are Michelin starred) in the world…a dish from The French Laundry in Napa alongside a dish from Amass in Copenhagen or Au pied de Cochon in Montreal. Brilliant!! Even the utensils are zoomy and cool!

 So, without further adieu, I give you some of the dishes from In Situ….

My niece, Clare, her friend, Ali and I laughed when we saw “lettuce sandwich” on the menu, so we had to get it. It was silly, but tasted good! ….from Relae in Copenhagen.

…from top left…basic rice; Creole Shrimp & Grits from Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, CA; The Forest (yes there’s parsley “moss”) from Mirazur in Menton, France; and Kalbi Jjim (braised short ribs) from L.A. Son (a book by Roy Choi), Los Angeles, CA. The braised short ribs were soooo rich and the combination of flavors in the other two dishes were yummy.

I was most excited about this dish, Plogue a Champlain with Foie Gras, from Au Pied de Cochon in Montreal, Canada. I love foie gras, but the sauces didn’t seem to match up with the dish and I was a little disappointed. It was good, but the ribs were our favorite!

Ali, left…me…and Clare

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails! last time…Shoreditch and Brick Lane

I decided to stick close to my apt for my final day in London and explore the Shoreditch area….but I had a quick stop to make. I had stumbled upon Cicchetti in Covent Garden and enjoyed pizza Monday in London, but it got me thinking. Is there a Raab, Egan, Brennan or Collery establishment in London that I could go to? I just assumed there’d be one of the latter three, being so close to Ireland and all…but, alas, the only one I found was Raab’s the Bakers. It was only a mile from my apartment, so I walked over there for a breakfast pastry before continuing my exploration of the Shoreditch area.
Apparently back in the day, as I’ve been told by many who lived here, Shoreditch used to be the sketchy part of London and not someplace you’d want to visit. Now, as in so many places in LA, SF & NY, it has been gentrified and the groovy, hippest place to visit. There are vintage shops, edgy places to catch a bite to eat and, one of the biggest draws (no pun intended) to the area, the street art.
I saw no less than three walking groups with a guide looking at the street art, a la Banksy. So, what makes it street art as opposed to graffiti, you ask? I happened to watch a show on it while I was relaxing one morning in the apartment. Graffiti is mostly associated with deviant behavior, marking your territory and graffiti artists have no interest in whether the public likes it or not. Street art, on the other hand, is specifically done as an expression of something to share with others. Street art has also become more main stream and, especially in Shoreditch, has been encouraged (sometimes even commissioned/paid) with some areas cordoned off for artists to create on the side of buildings. In short, graffiti can sometimes be a bit offensive & the person doing it does not have “art” on their mind, whereas street art is done by an “artist” to convey a feeling or story to be shared with passers-by.
gas station/car garage converted to an open air food market
I got this chicken with fried onions and spicy mayo on a bed of lettuce served in a cone (very low cal!)…delish
Didn’t have time to stroll around here, but it’s a whole market area made up of shipping crates…brilliant!
finished my walk with a stop in here to read and have a latte

It was another long, wander-ous, day of walking and exploring, but by 5:30 I was back at my apartment, packing and getting ready for the plane flight home tomorrow. Another great country, another great adventure…

 Of all the books in the world, the best
stories are found between the pages of a passport

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Kindness

Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you…Princess Diana

You may not know, but Random Acts of Kindness Week is February 12-18th! So, you have a week to organize yourself. Start today by checking out this website and by printing out kindness cards on Parade’s website….then hand them out to a colleague, a friend, your barista or just a stranger. You’ll be glad you did!

…and if you really want some inspiration buy the book The Kindness Boomerang by Orly Wahba….and continue after the week is up. You have nothing to lose! Here’s the hashtag for the movement #RAKWeek2017

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Foodie Friday…Mr G’s and 4th Street Market

Earlier in January a few of my friends took me out for my birthday to a new restaurant on Balboa Island called Mr. G’s Bistro. It’s a cute little place, with lovely ambiance and the food was really good. We shared  a few appetizers…a caesar and spinach salad, pomme frites and some deviled eggs. I’m not a real big fan of deviled eggs, but these were so creamy and good.

spinach salad had a lot going on!

I had the Cappelletti with wild mushrooms and thyme…sooooo good!….and one of the other gals had Cacio E Pepe…also very good!

cute little bar table set up at the window
It was quite crowded later on in the evening. love the crackling fireplace on the screen.
the chocolate pot de creme was the perfect ending to our meal

Mr G was in the house and sent over some champagne…so we asked him to take a pic with us! Nice guy!
I honestly can’t remember what everyone else had, but I’ve heard the burger is really good. All in all, I’d recommend and I look forward to going back. They’re open for lunch and dinner.

my friend, Val, had a few of us over to her home for another yummy birthday dinner and I had to share this gorgeous cake she bought at Beverly’s Bakery in Placentia

The following week my friend, Mimi, took me out for a birthday brunch…the birthday that never ends..haha! I had heard about, but never been, to the cool 4th Street Market in Santa Ana, so we headed that way. We ate lunch at Eat Chow, (around the corner from the market..with another location in Costa Mesa) which is always yummy…I’d recommend…but the fun was discovering the few blocks of Fourth Street known at East End Santa Ana. Opened in February of 2016, 4th Street Market is, coincidentally, the brainchild of Ryan Chase, the son of one of Mimi’s best friends. It is such a cool concept and I loved the whole vibe of the place.
The main entrance seems almost like an old country market, with small batch, homemade food and textile items. As you venture farther into the space there is an eclectic mix of small shops, with everything from an old fashioned personal butcher (remember those?), to every sort of food delicacy from around the world…falafel, pizza, specialty coffee, pho, mexican, a brewery and, of course, a few dessert places.
It reminded me a little bit of the Ferry Building in SF and European food markets I’ve visited. The back patio has a mix of seating and ping pong tables, with live music to enjoy during your Sunday brunch and varied performances throughout the week/year. I’m sure the next First Saturday Artwalk tomorrow night, Feb 4th, would be a fun, if somewhat crowded, way to explore all this area has to offer.

cool back patio

One last really cool and inventive idea at 4th Street Market is a concept called The East End Incubator Commercial Kitchen. So, you make the best, bad-ass cookies or pasta or whatever, but in order to market them your permit requires you to use a commercial kitchen…not your home kitchen. What to do?? Rent space at this commercial market and your problems are solved! They have large ovens and work-space that would make any cook or baker drool. This sign on the door says it all….
I can’t wait to go back and explore the area! Bon Appetit!

Happy Super Bowl Weekend…GO PATS!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

46 hours in San Francisco…Coincidence?…I Don’t Think So!

Coincidence: a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection
“without apparent causal connection?” I choose to believe that there is a connection and it’s not a coincidence. You’ve all heard “things happen for a reason”…”it was meant to be”…”fate”….and I believe that’s true. There aren’t really any “coincidences.” Sometimes it seems like things, events, situations present themselves and then a string of events that are related come together.

What the hell are you talking about Jeanine? Bear with me while I ramble…

I record, & eventually watch,  the CBS Sunday Morning Show every week (very interesting, I’d recommend!). About a month or two ago Taylor sent me a text with a link to a new SF restaurant, In Situ, saying “I think you’d love this place that was on the Sunday morning show” so I watched the show & couldn’t wait to go at some point. I knew this had to be added to the list of places to go in SF.

So…when the fare drops to $78/round trip, you have to go to San Francisco! Okay, I have a twitter account, I’ve never tweeted anything, but I do follow Jetblue in order to get their amazing Jetbluecheeps tweets on Tuesdays…which is where I got this deal a few weeks back. I looked at my calendar, had a random Friday off of work, so flew out Thursday after work and flew home Saturday night. A perfect little getaway thanks to the great accommodations of my childhood friend, Mary Kay and her partner, Laura.

JETBLUE…best airline & reward program… in my humble opinion!

I lived in SF back in the 80’s for about 5 years, been many times since and had no idea what I wanted to do on this trip, but things just fell into place.

Back in November I received OC magazine & the cover screamed “the Hidden OC”, then Austin and Kate gave me a book for Hanukkah called ‘111 Places in NY That You Must Not Miss” (some of them quite obscure/secret).  So I thought to myself, how about secret places to go in SF. I googled it and came up with a fun list of places I wanted to see/experience in my 46 hours in the city by the bay. Things were beginning to take shape.
I made a reservation at In Situ (review & pretentious food pics coming next week on Foodie Friday) and commenced the planning.
On another, different, recent episode of the Sunday morning show there was a feature about the photographer, Abelardo Morell, and camera obscura, that I thought was so cool. So, in my research one of the places to see that popped up was the camera obscura near Cliffhouse restaurant…what are the chances? …and then on my very long walk along the bay from the the Ferry Building to the Crissy Field, I stumble upon the Inaugural International PhotoFair…an art fair dedicated to photography….at Fort Mason. I thought, well if it’s less than $20, I’ll go….$17, I’m in! What was one of the coolest pics on view? A camera obscura tent pic by none other than Abelardo Morell…WHAT!!??
mind blown!
I spy a photography fair below right!!
picture taken of the ground reflecting the golden gate bridge through the tent camera…if you can zoom in you’ll see the artist info to the right of the pic
the view of camera obscura from my lunch spot at the Cliffhouse

this is inside the camera obscura…a picture of the outdoor scene taken through the whole in the roof of the building…hard to explain, but so cool to see
this is looking up into the whole in the roof that took the view of the water in the previous pic

So, to recap, so far…Taylor tells me about In Situ, fares go down to SF and I book my flight, I get a a magazine and book on “secret places”, camera obscura feature about Abelardo Morell on Sunday Morning Show, camera obscura pops up in “things to do”..and then I stumble upon a actual picture by Mr. Morell at this first ever International photography exhibit. CRAZY!! …and so cool at the same time!

…and there was one more random piece of fate that happened on Saturday before I boarded my evening flight for home. So, MK & Laura have an Amazon Echo with Alexa (I’m sure you’ve heard of it and can ask her anything) and we’re sitting at breakfast and decide to play the Jeopardy questions of the week game. There are six of them and one says something like “What is the first name of the mobile artist that begins with ‘A’?” We guessed and got it wrong.

Diane Arbus had an exhibit at SF MOMA and MK & Laura happen to be members so we decide to go see it. Again, I love photography, and therefore loved the exhibit of her works. I’m not otherwise that into modern art, but we were there so why not check out some of the other artists and exhibitions. You know where this is going, don’t you?! Yup…we walk into this big room and what do we see?… an entire exhibit of Alexander Calder‘s mobiles…that’s the “A” we didn’t know that morning!! SFMOMA just happens to have an entire collection of his works.

Come on, that’s just ridiculous! I think it’s so fun and important to follow the lead of those “cosmic” forces that present themselves to you. Who knows what adventures, experiences or relationships (hint, hint!) await you if you just stay open to the possibilities!! I was exhausted from all the “coincidences” in my 46 hours and slept on the plane home!

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Motivational Monday…Coincidence?

One of the great cosmic laws, I think, is that whatever we hold in our thought will come true in our experience. When we hold something, anything, in our thought, then somehow coincidence leads us in the direction that we’ve been wishing to lead ourselves….Richard Bach
….or in other words…
There really are no coincidences
You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!

Meaningful Monday…Books

Books… speak to us thoughtfully, one at a time. They demand our attention. And they demand that we briefly put aside our own beliefs and prejudices and listen to someone else’s. There’s one question I think we should ask one another a lot more often, and that’s “What  are you reading?” Will Schwalbe’s Books for Living

So..what are you reading? I’d really love to add more to my list of “must-reads!”

You cannot direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails!