Christmas Noodling. Winner.

Doh! I forgot to tell you. Congrats to Heidi, commenter #10 for winning that Cook without a Book book. Hooray! Hooray!

We enjoyed the hell out of our Christmas. We learned Santa was going to be at Gott’s so we walked over for a special Christmas Eve lunch. The girls were terrified, naturally, so we kept a safe distance.

Safe distance

But in a little bit, Nora Lea wanted to share her fries with the big guy.

Sharing her fries

My sister came up. She enjoyed some quality niece time.

Auntafee dance party

My sister made over a doll house she’d found on the curb for the girls (complete with disco ball). And they love it. And I have to squash all perfectionistic urges and let the nonbreakable ornaments coexist with the Pixie Hollow fairies and the Disney princess figurines.

Best dollhouse ever

We ate cookies for breakfast and burned a big fire.

Christmas breakfast

So extraordinarily lucky.

Holiday funtime

Next week, there are diets to launch and web sites to update and resolutions to keep. But this week, we munch on dry cookies and drink our calories and snuggle into each other all day long.

Happy holidays indeed.

Holiday gifts for my internet darlings

Hello, friends, I may be broke, but my imagination ’tis rich.

So in my mind, here are some gifts I would give my new internet friends this year. All of these folks I met in 2011 and my life has been so profoundly improved by their presence, it’s a wonder I haven’t known them all my life.

It sure feels that way.

AB Chao
Folke Ohlsson Lounge Chairs I’m far too confused that I only met AB Chaoin person this year. (March!) I feel as if I have known her since high school.She wants these chairs, so I want her to have them.
Joy the Baker

A subscription to the Acme Fine Wines Pulse Wine Club
Like the rest of the internet, I have fallen madly in love with Joy the Baker, this kind, productive spirit. She’s making some of the best web content today. She’s busier than the average bear and could use a shortcut to relaxing.For Joy, I get a subscription to the Acme Fine Wines Pulse Wine Club because the wines are comfortably ingenious, just like Joy.
Pamela Ribon

Mercury Head
Pamie, Pamie, joy of man’s desiring.
(Or something like that.)Pamela is successful and smart and grounded and has lived in more places than you. She’s one of those that’ll look you straight in the eye and tell you the truth. And I like her anyway.

For Pamela, I’m getting a magnum of Mercury Head Wine from Orin Swift.

Because it’s delicious.
And will make you giggle.

Tracy from Shutterbean

A four figure gift certificate Russel and Hazel.
Tracy is the kind of friend that when you say something bad about yourself, looks at you gently to ask, “So what are you going to do about it?” She’s stylish and pretty and organized.Her High Straightenance gift guide is the guide to a lady like me.

I’d get Tracy a gift certificate to my favorite office indulgence Russel and Hazel and this retro flip clock. Because she deserves it.

Amy Turn Sharp

A handmade ceremony stole
I’ve online-known Amy for years but never like, really, really known her. We hugged for but a minute this year at Mom 2.0 and are implementing plans to explode your brain with love in 2012.For Amy, I’m getting a custom made stole for all of her marrying needs. She can pick the imagery, we’ll all be grateful for her in our lives.

I imagine this is the worst kind of list, isn’t it?
The imaginitory gift list.

Sort of like a pretend charity giving list.
Or a nice things I imagine other people do list.
But you’ll indulge me this once.
It’s coming from a place of love.

Any imaginiatory gifts headed out from you this year?

Ben turns 30.

Happy Birthday BenWe attended a party this weekend thrown by one of the most stylish people I know. A designer and creative style maven, Elyse is director of marketing at a super-posh winery. She knows events, she knows food and gosh darn, she knows lovely.

Happy Birthday Ben

See she and her boyfriend have had a rough few months. Not like that, they’re fine, it’s that they’ve had some trials this year, trials they’ve faced together. The scariest ones. The toughest ones.

So when the man you love turns thirty,
and you’re Elyse,
you blow it out.

Happy Birthday Ben

What made this party run so smoothly was the judicious use of party rentals. From the chairs to the tables to the linens to the glassware (gorgeous!) there’s no way Elyse could have made dinner for 18(!) work by depending on her own resources.

Actually, don’t let me speak for Elyse, there’s no way I could have made it work depending on my own resources.

The menu started with butternut squash soup served with mushrooms.

Happy Birthday Ben

On to the main osso buco. I mean, just look at it.

Happy Birthday Ben

Polenta and marrow and gremolata oh my!

Crowd favorites were roast brussel sprouts and perfectly steamed broccolini.

To play along, make your way to the Napa Valley and eat at our favorite local’s restaurant Cook St. Helena. There you’ll  order their brussels sprouts and they make you swoon.

Happy Birthday BenNaturally she wrapped the whole elegant deal up with a hot diggity chocolate torte.

Elyse, I have no idea how you did it.
But you can color me impressed.

Happy Birthday Ben

I think you can color the kitty impressed too.


I’ve written a few thing you may be interested in.

Want to know how to give a successful compliment? I wrote an article for Style United outlining some of my tips.

Want to pack for the holidays? I can help you with that too! This one is mighty useful.

On top of that, well, you can imagine.
There’s a heck of a lot of entertaining.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And for a bonus giggle, I give you my sillyheads:

P.S. If you still want to enter to win the Pam Anderson book, I’m keeping comments open until tonight. I’m going through lots of stuff I have and finding some things I think you might like. That’s not weird, is it? Sending you my stuff thanks to the internet?

Cook without a book (from a book!)

Congrats to Heidi, commenter #10 for winning the book. Hooray! Hooray!

Meal planYou’ve seen my food planning.
You know what we eat.
A big hunk of animal protein, veggies and a starch.
But mostly the animal protein.
Just like mom used to make.

But if you look at my cookbook collection, you wouldn’t know that’s how I cook. There are vegan cookbooks, raw food cookbooks and all the juice fasts you can shake a dehydrated veggie cracker at.

To date, not one of these cookbooks have broken us from the mostly animal protein routine.

But then, Jane Maynard invited me to dinner at the hippest San Franciscan pizza place with some smartypants food bloggers and a famous cookbook author to celebrate the release her new book.

I may have had to promise my husband a full week’s worth of the good kind of favors —the toddlers, they are a handful these days — but it was worth it.

So what I’m saying is I have a book for you.

It’s called Cook Without A Book and it’s chock full of good stuff from Pam Anderson, the famous cookbook author. Not the other one. Although I hear that Pam Anderson doesn’t eat meat. So there’s that.

This cookbook makes me happy because it helps me sneak good meals in to creep our family closer to better health. To date, my manfriend and lady toddlers didn’t notice the vegetarian sloppy joes and well, let’s just not talk about the Great Fruit Pizza Overdose of 2011.

Would you like a copy of this cookbook too?
Leave a comment with your favorite one-word meatless ingredient.
(Bacon and codfish don’t count. Arugula does.)

I’ll pick a randomo and the rest of you shall weep bitter tears.
Just kidding.
The rest of you will get a Christmas postcard from me.
If you’re interested.

Pam Anderson and her daughter Maggy Keet are just the best kind of people. I’ve been searching the internet to try to find a way to join their family, but just not finding many options for me. This cookbook giveaway is as close as I can get.

Regardless. Comment! Meatless ingredient! Christmas postcard! Go!