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Favorite Sites

Friends & Family

More of Me

Jamaica? Ja man!

July 30, 2012

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When we were invited to Paul and Amanda’s wedding in Jamaica, we said “Ja man!” Neither Adam nor I had ever been to the island, so in addition to witnessing the marriage of two of my good friends from SF, we decided this would make a nice vacation. The wedding was at the Couples Resort, Tower Isle, in Ocho Rios, a town in St. Mary parish. It’s located on the north side of the island, to the east.  I’m not usually a fan of all-inclusive resorts (I prefer independent, choose-your-own-adventure travel), but we only had a few days, and given our limited knowledge of the Jamaica and its rumored danger zones, this seemed like an easy choice.

What a fun little trip this was! We had a room overlooking the ocean, with a refreshing breeze and the soothing sound of waves. The resort has a small private beach, two pools, one with a swim-up bar,  and a tiny private island, which is for nude sunbathing only during the day, but can host private events, such as weddings, in the evening. There is also a long list of included activities for guests, such as kayaking, snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, tennis lessons, tours to town, and many more. We did the Dunn’s River Falls on Saturday, which is pretty touristy, but a fun and refreshing couple of hours off of the resort property. In our three days, we enjoyed the food at the various restaurants, tried a few local specialties, such as ackee and saltfish, drank lots of piña coladas and Red Stripes, lounged in the pool, worked on our tans, floated in the ocean, and generally relaxed. Paul and Amanda’s wedding on Tower Isle was a sweet, intimate affair, perfect and romantic, with lots of fun people. All in all, Jamaica was a fantastic summer vacation. Where should we go next!?

Jamaica
Romantic swan sculpture made of towels. Aww…

Jamaica
View from our balcony. This does not suck.

Jamaica
Another view from the balcony

Jamaica
Pretty macaws near the spa. Also very loud if your room was facing the garden!

Jamaica
This one was very chatty - he said “hello!” and “cracker?”

Jamaica
The groom and friends playing volleyball on the beach

Jamaica
Friday’s lunchtime view from the Veggie Bar restaurant

Jamaica
Coconut water, yummy!

Jamaica
Relaxing on the beach before the wedding

Jamaica

Jamaica
Waiting on the dock for our ride to Tower Isle for the wedding

Jamaica
This should be interesting

Jamaica
Choppy waters made for a rough, slightly splashy ride

Jamaica
Band welcoming us to the little island, which is a nude beach during the day (clothing NOT optional)

Jamaica
We were handed bright green cocktails when we arrived

Jamaica
Brave Amanda made it on and off the boat in her wedding dress and heels!

Jamaica
Here comes the bride…

Jamaica
Exchanging vows

Jamaica
Mr. and Mrs. Etter!

Jamaica
Crabs crashing the wedding

Jamaica
Mini pool with swim-up bar, even on Tower Isle

Jamaica
Top of the tower

Jamaica
Bride and groom admiring the sunset from the tower

Jamaica

Jamaica

Jamaica
First dance

Jamaica
Jamaican tradition: bride and groom exchange first bites of the cake by feeding each other with their mouths, like birds

Jamaica
Saturday afternoon - time to hit the gym. This guy was checking out the equipment.

Jamaica
Outside looking in

Jamaica
My view from the treadmill - this certainly makes running a lot more pleasant!

Jamaica
Reading my book, sitting poolside, and admiring this view.

Jamaica
The waves started getting really choppy

Jamaica
Sunday morning storm - perhaps we’ll have to stay?

Jamaica
Final ocean view before our ride to the airport. So much for that storm.

Congrats to Paul and Amanda, and thanks for giving us a great excuse to check out Jamaica!

Happy Birthday Nicki!

February 20, 2012

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Nicki’s birthday is exactly one month after mine. Unlike my elegant birthday bash, she opted for a quiet event. Heather and I had planned to take her to tea at a newish place in the West Village on President’s Day, but her day ended up a little too crammed with appointments and errands, so we switched it up for tea at my place. I had so much fun putting everything together! Happy birthday Nicki!

Tea Time
My version of cucumber sandwiches (over whole wheat crackers)

Tea Time
Clockwise from top: hummus, egg salad, artichoke dip, crackers, cucumbers, carrots

Tea Time
Dessert, courtesy of Bosie Tea Parlor: matcha (green tea) eclair, earl grey mille feuille, scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam, macarons (pistachio, jasmine, and raspberry with chocolate filling)

Happy Valentine’s Day!


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I am one of those people who thinks Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, so it was a low-key celebration for us, especially since Adam was flying out to LA on the actual day. We had a most relaxing weekend, mostly filled with yummy food. I made a lovely dinner for us on Saturday night before we headed out to a friend’s birthday party, and I followed it up with a tasty brunch on Sunday. Life should be delicious!

Happy Valentine’s Day
Fennel salad with citrus (fennel, oranges and grapefruit)

Happy Valentine’s Day
Pan-seared sea bass over mushroom farro risotto

Happy Valentine’s Day
Red velvet cake dipped in white chocolate (from a cute little bakery around the corner)

Happy Valentine’s Day
Brunch: Huevos rancheros with homemade pumpkin chili

Happy 9th 32nd Birthday to Me!

January 22, 2012

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A few days ago, I stepped into the next decade of my life. I had been dreading the idea of being 40, but there’s no stopping the clock. In the end, it turned out to be one of the best nights of my life. There was no better way to celebrate than with a little bit of fanfare, surrounded by my nearest and dearest in NYC, little treats from my CA friends, and a sweet message from Corin. Here’s a recap of my 40th birthday.

It started off with a special delivery to my office - a lovely bouquet of orchids from Alisha and Nick in Los Altos. What a nice way to start my day!

Happy 40th!

Nicki and Adam had organized a dinner party for my big night. Gradisca, a sweet little Italian restaurant, turned out to be the perfect venue for the party. The guests were friends from various parts of my life here in NYC: Bay, Michelle and Lisa from my restaurant club, which has been going strong for about 6 years now. Midori, who I’ve known since we were 14, and with whom I traveled to NYC for the very first time (for both of us) back in 1994, right after we graduated from college. Kate, a friend I worked with in SF around 2001, who has become my yoga buddy here. Heather, Nady, Nicole, Emily, Paige, Jessica, and Angela (who traveled from DC to be at my party!), my Camp Fern girls. Joe, who I worked with at DFCB last year (we bonded over a challenging account). Alan, a friend of Adam and Nicki’s, who I met that night, but wanted to join the party. And of course, Nicki and her husband Jeff, who celebrated his own birthday the day before. It was extra special to have all of these friends from different parts of my life together in one place, helping me celebrate a big milestone.

The servers started us off with glasses of champagne, and Adam announced that it was from Nikki Jong, who couldn’t be there, but really wanted to participate in the festivities from afar. Apparently she had called Adam and secretly coordinated that with him. What a fun, thoughtful surprise!

Happy 40th!

Dinner was a pre-set, 4-course menu, served family-style. Here’s what we had:

Antipasto:
Combination platter of piadina – romagna’s flatbread filled with arugula and soft cheese with fior di latte mozzarella, tomato, basil oil; seasonal salad, extra-virgin olive oil vinaigrette

Primi (Pasta):
Cavatelli con Pomodoro, Melanzane, Spolverata di Ricotta Salata – cavatelli pasta, tomato, eggplant, basil, grated ricotta salata

Trofiette al Pesto Genovese con Patate e Broccoli – trofie durum wheat pasta, basil pine nut pesto, potatoes and broccoli

Secondi (Meat/Fish):
Tagliata di Manzo all’Aceto Balsamico e Patate Arrosto – sliced grilled ribeye, modena balsamic reduction, roasted potatoes

Filetto di Branzino Spadellato e Caponatina di Verdure – pan-seared sea bass filet, greenmarket vegetable caponata

Dolci (Dessert):
tiramisu, tortino di cioccolato, panna cotta

Happy 40th!

All the food was great, and the restaurant did a fantastic job with service. My only regret is that we did not take any photos to document this amazing party. Nicki did such a great job organizing and making all the arrangements, and between her and Adam, all the little details were perfect. It was such a great way to celebrate, surrounded by good friends and good food. And at the end of the evening, I got another great gift from Corin!

So now I’m 40, and life goes on…

NYE Week in SF

January 12, 2012

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My second week in CA was socially packed - a day with my mom, girly stuff with the girls, and lots of dinners. Adam flew out to spend NYE with me, so we roamed the city, had happy hour with my SF friends and a few of Adam’s, took a little trip up to Healdsburg for wine tasting, a double date with another Jen and Adam, and capped it off with a fabulous NYE dinner party at Nikki and Todd’s. It was a perfect way to close the door on 2011!

NYE in SF
This view from the top of Lombard never gets old

NYE in SF
View towards the Bay from Pac Heights

NYE in SF
This is the view that the 1% get to enjoy at the top of Pac Heights

NYE in SF
Adam’s first Pancho Villa experience - carne asada taco

NYE in SF
Jen’s and Adam’s double date at Hyde Street Seafood

NYE in SF
NYE dinner party at Nik & Todd’s

NYE in SF
The morning after…