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a busy week “off”

monarch cafe

I had not intended to take a week off from blogging. I had plenty of things going on, and lots of stuff to blog about. Honestly, I had too much going on and as a result, I was too exhausted to sit down and write about it!

pallet flags

There will be recipes this week – Posole, Moscow Mules, Perfect Steamed Artichokes, and more. Then on Friday, I’ll be off to San Francisco to “Say Yes to the Dress” with Marissa, along with her maid-of-honor and a couple of her bridesmaids. We will be dress shopping, eating out, and having girl-time all weekend long!

cafe menu

But for today, I shall share images and notes from my busy exhausting week.

On Friday night, Dave took me to Café Monarch for an early birthday dinner. The Café has a prix fixe menu that changes weekly. The only thing you choose is your entrée. I had the trout and Dave had the filet. The ambiance, service, and food were all pure perfection. I highly recommend it!

After dinner, we drove to Sky Harbor to pick up Marissa. Having my girl home, making it the perfect ending to a perfect evening.


Saturday morning brought a shock in the bathroom. While in the shower, I looked up. There above the bathroom door – a scorpion! I got out, dried off, and yelled for Marissa. It was beyond hilarious as we tried to decide how to kill it without risking it falling on us. There is a video, but it contains too much swearing and screaming to share. Rest assured, the thing is dead and we were not stung!

Con and Maris Xmas card2014 copy

Later that morning, Marissa, Connor, and I went to El Chorro to meet with a wedding planner and to show Connor the wedding venue.

That evening, Connor went to work while Marissa, Dave, and I went to Steve and Tram’s annual Okbirthdayfest party. Steve’s birthday is October 9th, hence the “Okbirthdayfest” instead of the usual Oktoberfest.

menu board

But, as you can see, Birthday Boy-Chef Steve cooks up a traditional Oktoberfest menu. How about that gorgeous job Tram did on the chalkboard menu!?! Love me a chalkboard menu!

chef steve

Chef Steve with his prized heat lamp-board of outstanding tender and delicious Sauerbraten!

marissa and zoey

Plus a very happy Marissa – holding sweet Zoey!


Guests were asked to bring their favorite cocktail to share. I brought Moscow Mules. Recipe later this week.

night before

Sunday was our neighborhood Fall Fling. It was a blast! I spent the entire preceding week hunting and gathering items for the party.

hunt and gather

All patios and nearly every flat surface were covered with party fixings. This is the part of event planning I love.

party patio

I love the party part too. Over 100 neighbors had a great time.

restroom and more

Even the setup was fun.


We had plenty of things to do for young and old alike.


As usual, I didn’t take nearly enough pictures. Darkness fell quickly on a cloudy night. The cleanup consisted of getting everything off the street and onto my driveway and patio.

morning after

This is what greeted me on Monday, my birthday, morning. Thankfully, my kids and my fantastic neighbors also woke up early and helped clean it all up.


An added bonus – my beautiful friend and neighbor, Karin, brought me birthday flowers! How sweet and thoughtful!

birthday flowers

Before the day was through, I had flowers from not only Karin but also from Dave and from my beloved friend, Lori, all the way from Tokyo! xoxo


Connor took the day off work, which was a gift in itself. After cleanup, he and Marissa took me to The Biltmore Spa where the three of us had hot-stone massage pedicures! The perfect thing for weary legs and feet! We had a delicious early dinner at Pizzeria Bianco Town & Country.

salty sow

To end my “mom and kids” birthday, after we dropped Marissa off at the airport, Connor and I stopped by the Salty Sow and tried a bunch of different cocktails and had quality mother and son time.

Tuesday brought a birthday lunch with my dad, an HOA committee meeting, and work that night.

Anne and Cruz

Wednesday I spent most of the day trying to put away all the party stuff. As of today, it’s still not all put away! Maybe by the end of this week.

Peggy and Anne took me out for birthday dinner at Rusconi’s. We met at Peggy’s house, where grandson Cruz was visiting and Anne fell in love.

rusconi cocktails

If you haven’t discovered Rusconi’s American Kitchen yet – get over there and thank me later!


As you can see, we loved every bite and wished it was in good taste and manners to lick the plates.

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November 3, 2014   6 Comments