Monday, March 28, 2011

Shh, We're Hunting Wabbits

March 17th, 2011, what a wonderful in so many ways! (1) St. Patrick's Day: Who doesn't love a reason to eat corned beef & cabbage and party 'cause/like you're Irish.  (2) March Madness Begins:  A day many people play hooky to stay home and watch college basketball!  Watching my bracket fail almost immediately.... not so fun.  (3) Our friends from Delaware, Quinn & Karen, arrived!

Quinn & Karen's flights weren't due in until til around 8pm, so Conor & I went back to Blue 32, the fun sports bar in Scottsdale we like, to watch the Gonzaga game.  The bar was packed: half full of sports fans, half full of people getting their Irish on.  We luckily snagged a table in the bar with a decent view of the game.  Zags, cider, & fried pickles....what a perfect combination!  Q & K called for us to come pick them up just as Gonzaga was clinching their first round win.  So we popped over to PHX to kick off a great weekend with our much missed friends, The McAllisters!

That evening, the four of us enjoyed catching up over a few cocktails.  And, of course, we played some Catch Phrase late into the evening!  The next day Conor had to go to work, while the rest of us slept in and had a lazy morning waiting for him to come home.  The weather was gorgeous (no clouds with temps in the lower 80s)!  The three of us enjoyed coffee and breakfast on the patio, while checking in on day 2 of March Madness.  Bloody Mary's & Blongo were next on the agenda....tough morning!

Finally Conor came home, and we all went out to lunch at a place called Oregano's.  I have received numerous recommendations for this place, so we finally were going to check it out.  The pizza was delicious; I can see why so many people like it!  However, our waiter was quite a boisterous, slightly obnoxious, 20-something who made for an interesting experience in itself!  Although he provided us with a little bit of entertainment, we were definitely ready to leave him behind at the end of our meal.  With full bellies, we headed back to our house for more....relaxing!

Q & K are some of the busiest people I know, so the main goal of the visit was just to relax and enjoy each others company.  And what better way to do that, than with cigars on the patio watching the sunset!  The rest of evening contained more basketball, more catch phrase, and more crazy antics into the evening.  We were even lucky enough to coax out Karen's Elmer Fudd voice out...."Shh,  we're hunting wabbits" became the new weekend slogan!

Per strict request by our visitors, Saturday was all about sun, beers, & baseball.  The four us went to Tempe to watch the Angels take on the Indians in quality spring training fashion.  This time we got lawn seats which were an excellent choice.  We arrived there a little early to snag a nice spot right in front of the fence.  It was a wonderful day!  While basking in the sun, we got to enjoy the game, munch on sunflowers seeds, and enjoy a couple refreshing beverages.  Absolute bliss!

On our way home from the game, we stopped at Whole Foods to get all the fixin's for sushi!  Since Conor & I were so successful the first time around, we decided to make it again and teach Q & K.  Once again, the rolls turned out great with the ahi tuna being everyone's favorite.  We all ate our fill and then changed into our "cozies" for a movie in the backyard.  It was a little chilly out that night and some of us were falling asleep, so we didn't end up making it through the whole film.  Is this a sign of age....?

Unfortunately, Sunday came around all too soon, and Q & K had to pack up and leave.  Their flight wasn't until late afternoon so we had time to do a little bar hopping before taking them to the airport.  First stop was our favorite wine bar, The Living Room.  At the rate I've been popping in here, I'll be a regular in a no time!  The place wasn't too busy, so we got one of the coveted couches outside.  The four of us enjoyed bruschetta, salads, sandwiches, and drinks as we relived our fun weekend... dreaming up plans for future visits!

The second stop was at SanTan Brewery, where we had a quick beer (or cider) and caught some of the basketball tournament.  One thing I love about this place is being able to sit at the bar and watch a game, all while being outside with a fan blowing on me.  Doesn't get much better than that!  All too soon, we reluctantly took our East coast friends to airport.  We said our good byes and promised to visit them out East as soon as we can....

Monday, March 21, 2011


Oh, the ridiculous entertainment Charlie Sheen has provided recently!  My parent's came to AZ for a visit last weekend, and if I could describe the trip in one word....WINNING!!!

My dad always has his camera with him, so finally we have a blog post with lots of pictures!  My parents arrived on Thursday night, just in time for dinner and a sampling of our many infused tequilas.  We had quite a fun night eating, drinking, and playing numerous rounds of catch phrase.  Conor even pulled his Hawaiian shirt out of the closet so he could be matching with Scott and his famous Tommy Bahama look.  As you can see it was quite a first night!

The next day Conor had to go to work, while the rest of us relaxed.  The temperatures were supposed to get into the upper 80s, so we took a walk early in the morning to try and avoid some of the heat.  Later, the plan was to drive up to Scottsdale for the day.  However, things didn't quite go that way. Right when we were all ready to leave, we realized Macy (one of our cats) was missing.  So we began a search of the neighborhood, jingling cat toys and all.  Let me tell you how embarrassing it is to walk around outside with a bright purple feather and bells attached to a stick...  Not my finest moment.  She was nowhere to be found, and the three of us were getting hungry so we headed to downtown Chandler for lunch hoping that she would be on the porch when we returned.

We had lunch outside at El Zocalo, a cute mexican grill, and then went to the SanTan Brewery for a drink before heading back to the house.  When we returned Macy was home, scared to death since she's never been lost before, but home.  Crisis averted!  We luckily didn't have to be those crazy people out searching for their cat all weekend. 

When Conor got home, happy hour began!  Margaritas & Blongo are the perfect match.  I decided to give my mom her birthday present early, even though it wasn't for a couple of days. I was just too excited about it.... I made her an apron, which was only my second project on my sewing machine.  I have to admit, Conor helped me figure out some of the directions since I swear patterns are intentionally vague.  It can be quite frustrating.  I wish I had taken pictures of the process, but I only have a shot of my mom wearing the final product.

That night we went out to Latitude Eight, our favorite Thai place, as my mom had been craving it since her last visit.  We are so pleased every time we go there.  I will never eat Thai anywhere else...well at least until we move.  Once back at the house, we watched the Huskies play in the semi-final game of the Pac-10 tournament and played a little more catch phrase.  Late into the night, the rounds got a little crazier and  my mom even got a word no-one had heard of...bri-berry.  You know straw/blue/black.....and now bri-berry.  Unfortunately for her, the word she got me to guess was not the mythical bri-berry, it was bribery!  Ha ha ha; that silly Shari.  Happens to best of us.  Winning!

On Saturday, the boys went for a hike on South Mountain and the girls did some shopping in Scottsdale.  While my mom and I were oogling over dresses and shoes and Nordstrom, the boys were doing this:

After they cleaned up, Conor & Scott met us in Scottsdale for lunch.  One thing I like about AZ: being able to eat outside in March!  I love sitting on a patio, in the sun, with a cold beverage in hand.  We all relaxed at a place called Culinary Dropout while deciding where to watch the Pac-10 championship game. 

After asking the locals where a good sports bar was, we headed to Blue 32 to watch the Huskies take on Arizona.  The place was packed, with many U of A fans, making for a great environment to watch the game.  Things started getting tense when the game went into overtime, but alas the Huskies won!   After cheering quite loudly to the dissapointment of the other bar patrons,  we paraded out the door to take our celebration party elsewhere....Winning!

That night we celebrated my mom's birthday at Cafe Boa in Tempe.  This was Conor and my second trip to this restaurant, and it was just as good as the first.  The only thing we've been disappointed with is the wine selection.  But that's probably due to the fact that we weren't ordering off the "fancy" list.  Nonetheless, it was red, so it was good.

On the agenda for Sunday: Spring Training!  Lucky for us, the Mariners were playing the Angels in Tempe.  It was a gorgeous day with temperatures upwards of 84 degrees.  We were a little sweaty sitting in the sun, but that made the drinks so much more refreshing.  There were many men who took their shirts off (really? i guess at spring training that's okay?) as most of these guys should have kept it on.  Hello beer bellies!  Conor got us great seats right behind the M's dugout and it was a really fun game with the Mariners beating the Angeles 2-0....Winning!  (It's not getting old... yet.)

After the game, we made a pit stop at the ostrich festival on our way home.  This is one of the strangest things I have ever seen... It was like a huge state fair, but the only animals there, were the ostriches. It seemed like most of the people were just there for the food and rides.  However, this was a big moment for Scott Simpson: his very first "senior" ticket!  I'm not sure how proud he was of this moment... But we, of course, captured it for him.

Since we were all anxious to get back to the house to watch Selection Sunday, we only stayed there briefly to see a few of the ostrich races.  If you blinked, you might have missed it 'cause the ostriches were fast and the race track short!  Everybody really enjoyed the event, however I kinda felt bad for the ostriches.  Although I will say they were cool to look at... and,  might I add, absolutely ginormous!

Back at home, we anxiously watched the selection show to see what seed the Huskies and the Zags were got....a #7 and #11 seed respectively, not too bad.  That night we made dinner at our place, assuming our traditional roles: Conor (The Cook), Laura (The Bartender), Shari (The Dishwasher), & Scott (The Photographer, Eater, Drinker, & Dirty Dishes Maker)!

Monday came all too soon...  My mom & I took a nice walk in the morning.  Then my parents packed up while I went to work.  Before we headed to the Phoenix airport, Conor & I took my parents to our favorite wine bar, The Living Room.  I love all the different wine, cheese, & bruschetta this place offers.  Here we shared our last toast and "Winning!" of the trip!

'Til next time...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My Funny Valentine

With Valentine's Day falling on a Monday this year, Conor & I decided to make a fun weekend of it.  We aren't that into the holiday, but still use it as an opportunity to go on some fun dates.  That Saturday morning, we went out to breakfast at a new place that Conor discovered.  It's called Morning Glory at The Farm at South Mountain and is literally a farm-to-table restaurant.  When we first pulled up, it was a little more rustic than I was expecting, but once you walk onto the property, you see how beautiful and quaint it really is.  The seating is completely outdoors with the tables covered in white & red checked cloths.  I aabsolutely loved this place and will hopefully make it back many more times.

Conor & I lost our photos from this outing, so I stole this picture from the website to show ya how cute it is.

After breakfast, we ventured down to Maricopa to play a round of golf at Southern Dunes.  This was a tougher course, but I actually played pretty well.  Definitely still had some whiffs in there, but I also had some really good holes, even made par a couple of times.  Pretty big deal for me!  Conor did an awesome job as always!  Maybe one day I'll be able to give him a run for his money...

Here's some pics from the course, and the sunset we saw on our drive home.

Typically, Conor & I go out to dinner the day before Valentine's as to avoid the crowds.  But this year we changed things up and went to a drive-in movie!  I got the idea from my friend Andrea who had just recently been with her husband.  We had never been before, so we were pretty excited to check it out.  Of course we had to add our own touch to the adventure, so we loaded up the car with cheese, crackers, & a bottle of red wine.  No plastic cups for this girl, oh no, we brought along all the necessary glassware.  We saw The Dilemma which was sufficiently funny...I pretty much love anything with Vince Vaughn.  The whole experience was great, and we already can't wait to go again.  Now that the weather is getting warmer we'll be able to bring lawn chairs and sit outside, maybe even bring a small BBQ...probably not allowed, but how great would that be?!

For our Valentine's dinner we had king crab legs, yum yum yum!  Conor did pretty much all the cooking, so I got to sit back, relax, and enjoy the champagne.  I am so lucky to have a husband that is a wonderful cook.  It's nice to have someone to share the duties with.

We had way more crab that we needed, so the next night we made crab ravioli with a vodka sauce.  I saw "we" but really Conor took control of this meal too.  While I was at my Tuesday night wine date with Andrea, Conor was putting it all together.  I got home just in time to snag a picture of the process and final product.  Mmm mmm mmm.

Next up, the crazy adventures from my parents visit!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Greatest Show On Grass

No, this post is not about a Willie Nelson concert...

But it is about one ridiculous golf tournament in a place where the beer flows like wine, and the women flock like the salmon(/cougars) of Capistrano. Yeah, I'm talking about little place called Scottsdale, AZ, during Waste Management Phoenix Open week. Despite being sponsored by trash, this weekend was far from it!

As you can probably guess, we had another round of awesome company for the weekend! Jen and Holt flew in from Delaware to spend a few days away from the winter's chill and boo Boo Weekley around the short grass with us. We got caught up on what's been happening in each other's neck of the woods over some freshly marinated carne asada and chicken tacos complete with margaritas and beer and formulated our plan of attack for the next day's festivities.

It was an unusually cold weekend in the desert and TPC Scottsdale was plagued with freezing overnight temperatures which resulted in lengthy frost delays pushing back the morning tee times. This threw a bit of a curve ball on our plans as we were expecting to see the 3rd round of the tournament. However, we got to see a good portion of the second round and the very beginnings of the third after the cut was made. We likely got to see more golfers than we would have otherwise. So I guess it all works out.

Of course, we spent some time soaking in the atmosphere of the loudest place in golf, the stadium hole - # 16. We must have slipped in right in time to get good seats, because soon after Holt and I passed the point of no re-entry, heading for more beverages, we spotted a line of people snaking around practically half the hole waiting to get to the grandstands... No problem, we just got an extra one for our wait to get back in to meet the girls. Didn't want to stand there with an empty hand!

After spending some time at the 16th, we headed off to see a little more of the course. Since everyone seemed to be around the stadium hole, we were able to pretty much walk right up to the ropes to get a great view anywhere we went around the course. We watched a few holes of the usual characters: Freddy, Phil, Singh, Lehman, etc. and caught up with some of the younger guys: Alex Prugh (fellow Husky; Go Dawgs!), Dufner, JB Holmes, Fowler, Johnson, etc. I am always in awe of their swing tempo (well, most of them...) so solid, controlled, smooth... There is something to be said about seeing it in person. I would have loved to have spent some time just watching on the range (one of my favorite things to see), but with the tee times all messed up we never had a great opportunity to do so. Still, we had an absolute blast! The sun was out and things warmed up pretty quickly after the chilly start to the morning. We spent a little time checking out the vendors and things that were set up in the main pavilion areas as they prepared to start the 3rd round, then decided to call it a day and head into Scottsdale for dinner.

We stopped into the R&R in Old Town to have a cocktail and decide on where to go for dinner. Although we haven't spent a great deal of time in Scottsdale, we have been to this place a few times. A great place to grab a drink in the early evening as they have a nice, big patio with couches, flat screens, and a decent look west into the setting sun. We made the call to head to Humble Pie next, not too far from there, to mow down some 'za before we headed home for the night.

We hit the games pretty hard late into the evening and woke up bright and early (maybe...) the next morning for egg and chorizo tacos; just wanted to make sure that Jen got her Mexican food fix before she left.

After some good Sunday relaxing, we took our friends back to the airport for their flight home. Although we did get a pretty good golf fix, Holt and I were unfortunately not able to fit 18 in before they left. He'll just have to make it back out soon. There are many Top 100 YCP courses to cross off the list so come back soon you two!

I wish I had more pictures to share but during some late night droid-ing I managed to format my internal phone memory instead of the memory card... so my phone is about 250 photos lighter now... including those we snuck when the PGA volunteers weren't looking. Back up your files regularly people... I guess nowadays that includes your smart phone...

Another great weekend in the books!
Laura is up next to see if she can finally get us caught up to present day...

Thanks for stopping by,


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Payback: Hanson Style

Well, it has been about a month since we last updated the interweb of our doings. In an effort to stay out of the doghouse, I had better get after it...
January 21-23: The weekend of Hanson

Good friends, TJ and Erin Hanson, arrived late Friday evening after having driven over from San Diego after work. The lady and I had just gotten home from a fun dinner date, pint, and a run-in with a one Robby Fox (whom you have already been introduced). After hitting the store on the way home for a RedBull (sugar free...) we were officially... Ready to party!

It was about 4:00AM when TJ and I looked across the couch at each other and realized: A) the girls had gone to bed, B) it really was 4:30AM, and C) We were in roughly the 37th minute of an intense (albeit practice) round of the Carcassonne in which I was trying to teach him how to play while he was intently trying to beat me. Given the fact that during the 6 or so hours before that point we had seen a constant supply of beer, wine, cocktails, and snacks... you can only imagine how finely prepared our minds were to be teaching/learning a board game full of rules and strategy. Perhaps we should have thrown in the towel after catchphrase with the girls.

Saturday morning reared its ugly head much too soon. And we were sternly instructed by Laura NOT to have "any fun!" She stumbled upon a job posting earlier that week and was called in for an interview that Saturday morning. So as to not miss anything, she didn't want us to do anything while she was gone... We agreed, with fingers crossed behind our backs, and saw her off to her interview. Before the garage door stopped rattling closed, the bloody mary bar was in full force, the cats were lunging after hummingbirds, and we were preparing for a serious Blongo-a-thon in the backyard. For the record, we had absolutely NO fun...

Laura called on her way home, giving TJ just enough time to make some last minute preparations.

TJ's redemption.

If you caught the post on our visit to TJ and Erin's place in San Diego, you'll understand why this was a little long-overdue payback on TJ's part. Laura took it in stride and quickly released the Fun-Ban she had previously instated.

Hoping to show the Hansons around the Phoenix area a little, we hopped in the car later that afternoon and headed up to Tempe to see what was happening on Mill Ave, the main drag for ASU in Tempe. This was the first time we had been on Mill Ave during the day, and we were unfortunately pretty disappointed. There really wasn't much going on and most of the fun places we had been to before weren't even open. We tried one more place, Four Peaks Brewery, and found a lively crowd of college basketball fans and lunch-goers. But alas, they made a totally unnecessary fuss about TJ's temporary California ID (as it apparently takes up to 6 weeks to receive in CA once you declare residency...), jabbered on about something random like him needing a "parental guardian" as I pointed out the couple of 6 year olds sitting having lunch with their parents, and we took our business elsewhere. Now, really needing some lunch, we stopped at a taco shop in the way out of Tempe for some delicious and much needed cheap mexican food and headed home where his Temporary would readily be accepted for entrance.

After a quick run to the store, Laura and I threw together some of Shari's world famous raspberry daiquiris and we sat outside with cigars around the fire-pit for another relaxing January evening in AZ.

After a delicious shrimp and fresh pasta dinner, it was back to the couch for The Game of Things and round 2 of Catchphrase. We didn't quite make it to 4:00AM that night but we definitely had an equal fill of great fun and company.

Sunday morning greeted us with omelets on the patio and we saw TJ and Erin off much too early for their trip back home. Thanks for coming friends! We are really looking forward to seeing them again sometime soon either in San Diego or Las Vegas. I'm sure you'll hear about it when we do...