January 30, 2012

Fiesta Fiesta

Celebrated the husband's birthday this weekend
in true Mexican fashion. 

Great friends, 
yummy food,
and a few rounds of tequila,
always do a party good. 

Now let's get this Monday over with.


January 29, 2012

Oh Hana

Ello loves.
Happy Sunday.
I'm spending the day outside - 
taking in the California sunshine,
and catching up on some blogs and magazines.

I've been getting a lot of compliments about my hair lately,
so I'd like to tell you about some new products that I've been using.

I need to point out that I'm a creature of habit. 
When I find something that works well for my body, skin and hair,
I tend to buy wholesale amounts of that product.
My secret fear is that it will all get discontinued at one point or another...
Don't laugh at me,
this has happened before, 
and I was devastated!

I have been using Chi Hair Straightners on my hair ever since high school. 
They've been doing a fabulous job of making my hair look healthy, 
despite the constant damage I put it through while highlighting, teasing, and styling. 
To be honest,
I've never given much thought about the type of blowdryers that I've been using. 
I've had the same cheap Conair one for the past few years,
and felt like it was sufficient enough...
That was until the lovely people of Misikko sent me 
the best blow dryer evah!

I promise you I'm not exaggerating. 

I came home one night to find a box waiting for me on my doorstep,
and when I opened it, 
I squealed like a little girl on Christmas morning. 
Talk about a care package - 
I got so much cool stuff!

Paul Mitchell shampoo and conditioner,
styling shields,
and of course the big Kahuna-
the Hana Air Blowdryer.

I never realized how much of a difference the air flow makes. 
Ever since I started using the new products,
my hair is shinier and fuller.
And the best part,
is that it takes half the time for me to get ready now. 


January 25, 2012


This weekend I ran my second half marathon.
Sounds pretty hard core,

I'm going to let you in on a little secret though..
I hate running.
That's right.
You heard me correctly.
"Well, why would a girl who hates running sign up for a half marathon??"

because my name is Natasha,
and I'm a masochist.

Just kidding.

But seriously..
Every time I put on my running shoes I dread the next half hour, hour, two hours..
But let me tell you what I don't dread -
the nice shape that has developed around my legs and backside,
the surplus of energy I have every day,
and last but certainly not least,
the confidence I've gained since crossing that finish line. 

Running is all mental. 
I'm sure you've heard this numerous times before, 
and probably thought to yourself...
But it's true. 
I ran my first half in 2010,
right before our wedding, 
and it was the worst experience ever.
I didn't get the time I wanted, 
and instead suffered an injury on my knee (as well as my ego). 
So I stopped running all together. 
It took me more than a year to get back into running,
and when my pants started fitting a little more snug than I'd prefer,
I decided I needed some motivation.
So I signed up for another race.
I was intimidated to face my demons by myself,
so I made the hubs sign up with me.
I told him to stop me any time he saw me pushing beyond my means, 
because that's what I do.

I'm my own worst critic. 
I yell at myself to push harder if I feel like I'm not performing up to par,
and in the end,
that's what kills me. 
I'm glad I can acknowledge this trait about myself now. 
Because it took a while to get here. 

So anywaaaaay,
keeping this in mind,
I eased into training.
Four consecutive months,
and a clear head on my shoulders, 
is all it took. 

I finished this race in two hours and three minutes. 
My personal record.
I slashed over 20 minutes off my time from the last race,
and I couldn't feel better about it!

If you've ever considered running a race like this,
I seriously recommend it. 
No, I'm not going to tell you that it's easy,
but it really is like free therapy.

Trust me, if I can do it,
you can do it. 

So what are you waiting for?

Celebrating post race, with some friends and mimosas at 3rd Corner.


January 21, 2012

California Modern

F21 top & jacket, J Brand jeans, Kelsi Dagger booties, Givenchy bag
Sea Dew Collins - rosemary infused Stolichnaya vodka, Punt E Mes vermouth, lemon
Chanterelle Stew - 60° egg, roasted onion jam, potato foam
In my last post I mentioned that San Diego is in the midst of Restaurant Week. 
That's pretty much a holiday in my eyes. 
A multi-day holiday,
filled with dining deals up the wazoo.

A few days ago,
we celebrated the husband's birthday at Flemings,
which was just so-so.
It was just... 
I don't know,
Yeah, the steak was good, 
but that's about it. 
Just a little piece of tender filet minion in the middle of a boring plate. 
Sad sight. 

whatever creative juices I was missing at Flemings,
were definitely made up for last night. 
The husband and I visited Georges at the Cove, California Modern.
It. Was. Glorious. 

Now I know the picture directly above this text doesn't look too impressive..
What IS that?
I know. 
It was one of those instances when no matter how hard I tried I couldn't capture the exquisite taste that was in my mouth onto my camera. 
But please take my word for it,
when I tell you that it was probably my favorite dish of the night.
Of course everything else was amazing as well.... 

This is what I earn for when I dine out.
Creativity and flavor. 
The presentation is just a cherry on top. 
Grilled Sardines - winter tabbouleh, pomegranate, yogurt
Prime Hanger Steak
Braised Lamb Shank - butternut squash risotto, sweet onion raisin relish, feta salsa verde
Chino Farms Carrot Cake - tangerine bubbles, salted pepitas, vanilla creameux, ginger florentine, candied carrots, marinated pears
Sneaky George...
just snuck onto the number one spot 
on my list of favorite dining establishments.


January 20, 2012

Since We've Been Back

Ever since we got back from vacation,
we've been having a good ol' time with our friends.
In fact,
it feels like vacation never ended for us. 
A main reason for all the gatherings
are all those January babies. 
Some of my besties,
as well as the husband,
were all born during the first month of the year. 

Just to give you a little background about these pictures,
here's what we've been up to:
-brewery tour at Stone,
-dinner at El Camino,
-and brunch at Mo's
This week is also Restaurant Week,
and we've been taking full advantage of some great deals. 
The husband and I have a romantic date planned at Georges at the Cove tonight.. 
Trying to "carb load" before our half marathon this Sunday (more on this later).

What have YOU been up to lately?!


January 19, 2012


I promise this is all I have to show from our last trip.
Just a few silly moments,
that capture us so perfectly.

In other news,
the next two trips have already been booked.
Tahoe in February,
and Miami in March.
Can't stop. Won't stop.


January 18, 2012

New York - Yummies

Country borsch with pirozhok
Seledka pod shuboi - multi-layered, herring-beet-vegetable salad
Vareniki with Cherries
Because we got into NYC a little prematurely,
we had to keep ourselves occupied for a few hours
before we could check into our hotel room. 
So we left our luggage with the concierge,
and embarked on a hunt to find some grub.

Immediately after turning the corner from our hotel,
we stumbled upon Russian Samovar
It was a little chilly,
and a hot bowl of borsch, along with some vodka shots would warm us right up. 

Now for some of you fellow Sex and the City fans,
the name of the above restaurant may sound a little familiar...
"It's very... red"
observed Carrie when Aleksandr Petrovsky asked what she thought of his lair away from home.
Red it was,
and the real Petrovsky, dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, is actually part owner of this midtown Russian hideaway.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while,
may already know that I'm Russian.
A very proud Russian,
who is very judgmental about Russian restaurant cuisine, 
since it's nearly impossible to compare to my grandma's home cooking.
So you can say that I was cautious when I careful selected to try out the meals above. 

I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised - 
although the borsch could use some meaty flavoring,
the seledka pod shuboi was very tasty,
and the vareniki were absolutely delicious! 

The restaurant also offers a wide variety of infused vodkas
and traditional Russian beers,
which we tried out, 
and I can personally vouch that the strawberry martini was potent (always a good thing for me).

Hirata Buns - steamed buns filled with pork or chicken, served with Ippudo original spicy buns sauce
Akamaru Modern - original "tonkotsu" noodle soup topped with Ippudo's secret "umami dama" miso paste, pork chasu, cabbage, kikurage, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil.
I topped mine off with kakuni, braised pork belly.
We were warned that the wait may be long at Ippudo,
but three hours?!
Three hours is a little excessive. 
So of course we put ourselves on the list. 
Any place with a wait that long is bound to be good.
Besides, we came here with one of my best friends,
who's Japanese, and is just as much of a food snob when it comes to Japanese cuisine as I am when it comes to Russian.
She said we MUST try it. 
So we waited. 
A wait that was alleviated with some retail therapy a few blocks away,
but I digress...

After finally getting into our booth,
we started off with some hot Asian buns.
Ohhhhh my gah.
These were SO good.
The only disappointment is that each serving only came with two, 
because the husband could have literally consumed about 45 of these things. 
And the ramen?
Oh, the ramen.
Whatever is in that "secret" miso paste,
must be made out of crack, 
because I gulped down the whole bowl in minutes,
and now I wake up in the middle of the night with cravings and withdrawals.

Yeah, it was that good. 
Nuff said.

BBQ braised short rib sliders - with sweet potato fries and smoked paprika aioli
bacon doughnuts - with dulche de leche, coffee ice cream
First and foremost,
is it just me,
or do I look like a vampire in the picture above?

Now let's talk about Traif.
Literally translated into 
"anything that is considered vile and non-kosher in the Hebrew faith",
traif is also known as pork and other delicious meats. 
To the husband and I,
this means that it's worth venturing out to Brooklyn for. 
We met a few friends here for dinner,
and proceeded to indulge in,
like, a fourteen-course dinner. 

My goodness,
everything was delicious!
If you're a meat lover like me,
you have to visit this place.
Some standouts were the
baked muenster cheese with smoked chorizo, golden apples and crostini,
sauteed veal sweetbreads,
and the bacon doughnuts.
Yeah I said bacon doughnuts.
Of course they're as good as they sound!

Member what I said about sweetbreads last time?
Reason enough to visit this place!

I'm just a sucker for all pretty French things.
I first tried Laduree macaroons in Paris,
and after tasting something SO delicious,
I simply couldn't just walk by a shop without picking some up.

So what if the line is ALWAYS out the door?
Standing there,
drooling over all the pretty things for a half hour,
is like waiting for a Disneyland ride.
But better.