Monday, June 28, 2010

On Vacation


I'm on vacation this week,taking some time to relax before I start my new job on July 6. I usually refer to time off from work as a "vacation," however it seems that some people refer to it as a "stay-cation," especially if they aren't traveling anywhere in particular. I think that this term really became popular when the economy took a turn for the worse awhile back and people began spending less money on travel and vacations. While I would certainly have enjoyed going out of town this week, after much thought, I decided that staying close to home and planning some day trips around the Bay Area would be perfect.

So far, my "stay-cation" has been wonderful. On Sunday, I spent the afternoon at Santana Row in San Jose. It was the perfect afternoon to stroll the "Row" - the weather was sunny and warm...actually it was quite hot. The best remedy for the heat was enjoying a frozen yogurt at Pinkberry. Hands down, I think Pinkberry has the best frozen yogurt - and I've tried a lot of frozen yogurt over the years. I discovered Pinkberry in Southern California a couple years ago, and now stores are finally opening in the Bay Area. Not only does their frozen yogurt taste great, the prices are reasonable, too. If you enjoy frozen yogurt and have an opportunity to try Pinkberry, I guarantee that you will like it!

As you might have noticed in the "My Favorite Things" list (on the sidebar of my blog), I enjoy baking. Earlier this month I took a class at Sur La Table in Palo Alto to learn how to make French macarons - a cookie that is quickly becoming quite the rage, much like cupcakes have become popular over the past few years. I enjoyed the class and during the past couple weeks I have been gathering the necessary supplies and ingredients to make my own batch of these cute cookies. Today was baking day, and I am thrilled to say that the macarons turned out spectacular, and quite honestly, they really are not too complicated to make. I am glad that I did take the class because the instructor provided some great tips, which certainly made a difference as I was making the macarons. Some of you won't be surprised to know that I chose to make raspberry macarons. Why raspberry you might ask? Well, my favorite color is pink - enough said!

Unfortunately, as you can see in the photo above, my raspberry macarons have a slightly peachy color to them. While they were a wonderful shade of pink prior to baking, I believe the heat had an effect on the food coloring. Next time I will modify the amount of coloring to achieve a deeper pink. Regardless of the color, these little cuties still taste delicious!
And what better way to display the macarons in a photo, than on the beautiful glass serving stand that I recently purchased at Marshall's...for $4.99! I could not pass up this stand. While it might not be apparent in the photo, it's actually a small serving stand, which is perfect for cookies and other petite sweets. This has become one my favorite "kitchen" items and I am so happy that I came across it at the store - it was the only one left on the shelf.
So, although I am staying close to home during this particular vacation, I was able to experience the excitement of baking something that I would certainly have come across if I were visiting a French patisserie. Speaking of which, I'm hoping to travel to Paris early next year so I can visit some French patisseries and also see the Eiffel Tower in person while experiencing all of the exciting things that Paris has to offer.

Without a doubt, most of us treasure our vacation time, whether we travel to a far-off destination or stay close to home. For me, having one "travel" vacation and one "stay-cation" each year is the best of both worlds. Speaking of vacations, here's a quote to think about:

A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in.
-Robert Orben

Friday, June 25, 2010

A New Journey

Some people believe that when one door closes, another door opens, and I also happen to believe that this is true. Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that the first half of 2010 did not go as I had anticipated, however I am hopeful that the second half of this year will bring many good things to me, as well as to my family and friends.

As some of you know, I started a blog with the same title, "Sweet Paper Dreams," in February 2009. While I originally created my blog to showcase photos of cards and other paper crafting projects that I created, the blog ended up including entries that captured things from my entire life. For a variety of reasons, I decided to delete my original blog, however as you can see, I am returning to "blog land" with a fresh start. The title to my blog is the same, but the web address is slightly different. I am excited to get back to posting entries and including photos, too. Like before, I'll include entries related to my paper crafting projects, however I think it's quite likely that you'll come across a lot more entries about the other bits and pieces of my life.

On that note, you might have noticed that the title for this entry is "A New Journey." That title is appropriate in so many ways. This is the first post to my blog and I'm excited about the posts yet to come. And going back to the reference about one door closing and another door opening - as I mentioned, the first half of 2010 has been difficult because it resulted in the loss of a significant relationship in my life (one door closing). This made me feel very sad and disappointed. However, another door has opened in my life - I've been offered a job in the field of public relations and marketing, which I am very excited about. This has been an area that I've always wanted to work in, ever since graduating from the University of Arizona with a degree in journalism. I am very thankful for this opportunity and I know that I will gain a lot of experience in my new position. I also believe that it will lead to some other wonderful things in my life.

As some of you know, from my previous blog posts, I enrolled in a digital photo class earlier this year. Due to things going on in my life, the class was challenging, however I am proud to say that I completed the class and learned a lot more about photography than I expected. I think it's appropriate to include one of the many photos (a Sprinkles cupcake) that I took during class with this first blog post. I am looking forward to taking more photos and posting them for you to enjoy.

I'll wrap up this post with a quote that I came across recently:

Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open.
-Johny Barrymore