National Coffee Day! ☕️

Happy Tuesday and Happy National Coffee Day! ☕️☕️☕️☕️

I do love me some coffee so I just had to post! For the longest time I was a big SKVL (skinny vanilla latte) girl at Starbucks. However, I recently tried cutting back my Starbucks visits to save money…and I sure have!

Now, I drink coffee from our french press (coffee is from Starbucks) and just add my own creamer. I love, love the Dunkin’ Donuts Extra Extra or Original creamer.

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Every morning my hubby makes us coffee from the french press! He’s so sweet! I take my coffee to go in the cup below and drink it at work, while hubby drinks his at the house. Although I do miss my SKVL’s from Starbucks, it really has saved money by me not going there every day!How you do all like your coffee? Milk, sugar, creamer? French press? Drip? Espresso? Where’s your favorite coffee shop? I never thought I would be a drip coffee drinking after loving espresso drinks so much, but I do really like it.

Anyway, this is just a short and fun post. Hope you all are having a great week so far! Enjoy FREE coffee today…I hear lots of places are giving out stuff!

XoXo ☕️☕️☕️☕️

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Paint Nite 🍹🎨🍷

Happy Thursday everyone! Lots of blog post from me this week, hope you don’t mind.

Last night a few co-workers and I cashed in our groupon that we purchased a few months ago to attended Paint Nite at Billy Berk’s in downtown San Jose. OMG it was an absolute blast! If you’ve never done something like this I highly recommend it. We had so much fun…as these pictures clearly depict!

Paint Nite is all about mixing paint and cocktails for a “picture perfect nite on the town”! Sounds pretty good to me! They host the event at a variety of local bars and restaurants, so you get to pick where you want to go. When you sign up you pick which painting/location you want to attend. Makes it fun because you could totally pick based on your favorite happy hour spot or which painting you like the best.

In about 2 hours’ time, a master artist leads your party through the steps to create an acrylic masterpiece (all painting supplies included) that you get to bring home with you at the end of the night! What better way to spend your evening than having a few drinks, painting and enjoying some girl time! You have to check Paint Nite out! Seriously the most fun you can have! 

Everything about Paint Nite was so easy! We had fun getting a few drinks and appetizers before our event started and just winding down from the work day. We got to paint in this super cute private patio with about 20-25 other people. This made the paint party feel more private and special. All of the materials were already set up for us and the artist literally took us step-by-step through our painting. Clearly we had a blast drinking, painting and taking LOTS of pictures! 

These ladies make such awesome coworkers and I feel so lucky to get to work with them. They certainly make work more fun! Now we have an awesome painting to hand in our offices! It’s so cool to see how differently our paintings turned out. We all added our own artistic touch to the paintings and they really came out great! I can’t wait until our next after work adventure! Thanks for such a fun night ladies, you all are the best!

Hope everyone has a great rest of their week…it’s almost Friday which means it’s almost time for the weekend! Yay! Have a good one and be sure to check out Paint Nite! I’m ready to go back! 🍹🎨🍷

Vārda Dienas (Names Day)

Daudz Laimes Vārda Dienā man! That’s Latvian for HAPPY NAMES DAY TO ME! Yes, today (September 22) is my names day! And for those of you who don’t know, I am Latvian.

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Latvia is one the European countries that celebrates name days (vārda dienas). A names day celebration is pretty comparable in importance to that of a birthday. You can see my name officially listed on the Latvian calendar here. Growing up (especially with Latvian grandparents) celebrating our names day was a really big deal. We would get together as a family and have dinner, open presents, eat dessert and of course have yellow bread (klingeris). Klingeris a is a saffron-scented bread made of yeast dough with dried fruits and almond slices on top that is often shaped into a figure eight and decorated with flowers. One of the many things I miss about my grandparents is my Grammi’s delicious yellow bread (that’s what we called it). I have so many memories being at her house and watching/helping her make it. She was a really good cook and made so many delicious Latvian dishes. When my sister and I were younger, Grammi would always make yellow bread for us to take to school and share with our classmates and teachers (that’s what you’re supposed to do). She of course would also make us an extra bread to eat at home.

Since the passing of both of my grandparents, we haven’t really celebrated our names days like we used too. Often, my parents will get us a card, send flowers or maybe even give us a small gift, but we definitely don’t celebrate like we used too. However, this past Sunday we got together as a family and celebrated my names day. My Dad and sister Ariana also made me yellow bread! This is probably the closest they have ever gotten to it tasting like Grammi’s. Here’s an awesome picture of the yellow bread they made for me. Yum, yum, yum!

To see more Latvian names and names days click here.

Just for fun, here are some facts about Latvia and me:

  • I’m 1/2 Latvian and very proud!
  • Sveiks means hello in Latvian.
  • Marisa means “of the sea.” According to urban dictionary Marisa means “A very happy, bubbly person who laughs a lot. Usually a brunette with curly hair. A Marisa is confident and has many friends.” Haha sounds pretty good and accurate!
  • My grandparents fled Latvia when the Soviets took over. Unfortunately, they were caught and sent to a DP camp (displaced persons camp) in Germany. My Dad was actually born in the DP camp in 1950. After a few years, my grandparents and Dad were finally sponsored by a family in Oklahoma to come to the US. Later they moved to San Bruno, CA where my Dad grew up.
  • We spent many Sundays and Holidays at Latvian Hall in San Francisco. My parents actually had their wedding reception there. o
  • When Chris and I got married we made little note cards that had different facts from both of our heritages. It was fun looking up different traditions. We also did a few Latvian things. Normally had weddings people hit their glass to make the couple kiss. At our wedding my Dad kept having everyone yell rūgts rūgts rūgts which means bitter. Chris and I had to kiss to make it sweet. So cool and fun! It’s also tradition to establish who will be the budget holder. My Latvian cousin Anda made us pīrāgs (basically a baked roll with bacon/ham/onion inside…so good!) which a coin had been baked inside. We split the pīrāgs and whoever got the piece with the coin in it would be the family budget holder! Guess who won…ME! This was so fun and made our wedding all the more memorable!180918_995197159787_1793286_n
  • Latvia borders Estonia in the north, Lithuania in the south, the Baltic Sea with the Gulf of Riga in the lg-areawest, Russia in the east, and Belarus in the southeast.
  • The capital of Latvia is Riga and is well known for its Art Nouveau architecture.
  • The Latvian flag is one of the oldest in the world dating back to the second half of the 13th century. The distinctive dark red color of the is sometimes referred to, by the rest of the world, as ‘Latvian red’.

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  • Almost 30,000 people of Latvian descent live in the U.S. (just like me!)
  • The national bird is the balta cielava or white wagtail (Motacilla alba) nationalBird
  • The national insect is the two-spot ladybird (Adalia bipunctata). nationalInsectThe insect’s Latvian name – marite – is a synonym for the ancient Latvian goddess Mara, who embodies the power of the earth.
  • The national flower is the pipene or daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) nationalFlower
  • nationalAmber Amber has long been viewed as a precious stone associated with the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. Latvians themselves have occasionally referred to the Baltic Sea as the Amber Sea (Dzintarjura), reinforcing the symbolic importance of amber (dzintars) in Latvian culture and history.
  • The Freedom Monument (Brivibas piemineklis) is the symbol of Latvias independence. It was designed by Latvian sculptor Karlis Zale. At the base of the monument sculptural reliefs illustrate different significant moments in Latvia’s history, while the very top displays the symbol of freedom. nationalMonu
  • The Latvian Song and Dance Festival (Vispārējie latviešu Dziesmu un Deju svētki) is one of the most noteworthy events in Latvia’s cultural life. The Song and Dance Festival has been held since 1873. During the festivals exhibitions of photography, art and folk craft, orchestra concerts, and a festive parade also take place. My grandparents would record the festival on tv and make my sister and I watch. I also recall that there was a big song and dance festival held in SF a long, long time ago that I attend with my Dad and grandparents. I think I have one of these traditional dress somewhere too! Pretty cool to have such rich culture!   mainimg2  9224449893_d445475452_k

Ok, this post is way longer than I ever intended it to be. I just got carried away talking about all things Latvian hehe. Sometimes I forget how much a part of this culture I really am. My sisters and I both have Latvian names, we celebrate our names day, eat traditional food during the holidays and know how to say a few words/phrases. And…our Dad/grandparents immigrated here, so technically (on my dads side) we are first generation. Carzy!  I know that although I barely speak any Latvian, being Latvian is a huge part of who I am. I hope to continue some of the traditions I already practice with my own family and who knows, maybe my futures kids will have Latvian names! Visiting Latvian is also on my list of things to do! I would have loved to visit with my grandparents, but maybe going with my Dad and Latvian cousin will be just as fun!

Here’s one of my favorite pictures with my grandparents Grammi & Poppi from my college gradation in 2006. Es tevi mīlu (I love you) miss you both so much! 1909948_512346381617_7149_n

Paldies (thanks) for reading this long post everyone! Hope you learned a little something today and that you have a great week!

XoXo

Weekend Update: BUSY 

Happy Monday everyone! Hope you’ll had a wonderful weekend. Ours was fun, but oh so very busy! We literally had plans every day/night. Here’s the recap:

1. Friday 9.11 — DMB

FINALLY!!!!!!!! I had been waiting ALL summer for this concert! If you didn’t know already I am a HUGE DMB fan! I remember in high school I was going through my parents cd tower and came across a cd called ‘Under the Table and Dreaming’ by a band called Dave Matthews Band. Interested, I put it on and the rest is history! I have been seeing DMB every single year since 2002 and I plan on continuing that tradition! 🙂

The concert Friday night was at Shoreline Amphitheater, which is a great outdoor venue. We love getting there early and camping out on the lawn before the concert starts. This year we had a pretty big group which included, me and the hubby, my bestie Ashley and her boyfriend Anthony, Christina and her boyfriend Brett and then my co-worker/boss Sara and her hubby Joe as well as two other couple friends of theirs. Quite the group! WE had an absolute BLAST as you can probably tell from these pictures!
Ashley (my bestie) and I have been seeing DMB every year since 2002! It’s something that we both really look forward too each summer and I honestly can’t imagine not seeing DMB with her! Chris (my hubby) and I have been seeing them since 2006, again great concert going partner. I’m a huge DMB fan so going to these shows is seriously so much fun and I just love it! I’m sad it’s already over and done with.We had awesome lawn seats thanks to getting there early that we also had a great shot of the big screen! Love these photos of Dave! Always a good show no matter what the set list is.
This pictures is probably by far my favorite of all time! Thanks to Christina for the nice collage! We totally recreate a picture we took at Dave in 2013 and it turned out awesome! Seriously on point! Can’t imagine going to Dave with anyone else other than these peeps! We’re already looking forward to next summer. WE LOVE DMB! ❤ ❤ ❤
2. Saturday 9.12 — SJ Earthquakes

Chris scored some tickets to the San Jose Earthquakes soccer game Saturday night so we took advantage! One thing I love about his job is some of the free tickets he gets.

Avaya is a brand new soccer stadium and since moving to San Jose we have watched it being built. It was fun to finally go to a game and see the new stadium. Unfortunately, we didn’t partake in any of the eateries or adult beverages, but enjoyed our sweet seats and the soccer game. It got pretty chippy towards the end when the Quakes were up 1-0, but the game ended in a tie 1-1. Looking forward to maybe more free tickets in the future. Next time we are going to be sure to enjoy the eateries and adult beverages.

Previous to the soccer game we watched the USC-Idaho game and we got another WIN! All is well after a USC victory! 

3. Sunday 9.13 — Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves Pickup

After a few wine tasting trips in the Alexander Valley, we finally decided to become members at one of our favorite places, Bella Vineyard & Wine Caves. Bella is located in Healdsburg, CA and we just love everything about it! The location (quiet and off a small dirt road); the laid back atmosphere (not crazy busy like most of the places in the Napa Valley…although we do like some wineries in that area too); and the beyond friendly staff (everyone is so kind/nice and always let you sample some off the menu wines). These are just a few of the reasons why I love Bella.

Anyway, we went up there to pick up our wine club shipments and made a little day out of it. We took our two pups and packed a little picnic (stopped at Dry Creek General Store for sandwiches-yum!). Although Bella is far away, it’s always so nice to get out and relax in wine country. And it’s always gorgeous! Despite all the terrible fires that are happening in that area, it was still so beautiful and really peaceful. Emma and Dash did a pretty good job with us and certainly made friendly with the staff. Can’t wait to go back later this fall to pick up another shipment! We sure do love wine and have a growing collection! Who wants to come over for a glass of wine?

Well that was our BUSY weekend! Almost a little too busy for us, but we had a ton of fun doing everything that we did. What did you all do?

Wishing everyone an awesome week!

XoXo

Today We Remember…

Today we remember and honor those that lost their lives 14 years ago. Last October I visit my college bestie and a few of our other college girlfriends in New York. You can read all about my trip here. One of the many things we did during out trip, was visit the WTC: 9/11 Memorial. I remember being so moved by the memorial and found it to be truly beautiful. I remember feeling a huge sense of peace and calmness. I remember walking in silence, taking it all in and reflecting on what happened on September 11, 2001…

My first visit to New York was with my family during the summer of 2004. It was a fun filled trip with lost of sight seeing, good food, and Broadway shows! During our trip we also visited Ground Zero. If I remember it correctly, it was still pretty much rubble and not much construction had taken place. It was a very sombering experience and we left still feeling pained by what happened only three years prior.

It was wonderful to not only come back to New York 10 years later to visit my college bestie, but to visit the newly constructed WTC: 9/11 Memorial. The place looked drastically different than my first visit in 2004 and I was blown away. The new Freedom Tower and water feature is absolutely breathtaking. You can’t help but feel moved while you are there. I still can’t even begin to imagine what it was like on that day in 2001…

During our visit at the memorial I remember my heart was heavy, but I also felt so much love, peace and a sense of unitedness if that makes sense. Walking around you could see all types of people of all ages, from possibly all over the country/world and from so many different backgrounds. We were all there paying tribute and reflecting on what happened on 9/11.

It’s just amazing the amount of work and detail that went into making such a stunningly beautiful memorial. If you have never visited NYC or the WTC: 9/11 Memorial, I highly recommend it. You will not be disappointed. 

I truly feel honored to have visited the WTC: 9/11 Memorial Site twice now. It’s stunning, peaceful, breathtaking and a wonderful way to honor all those who lost their lives and all those affected by such a tragedy. Today I am reflecting on that and sending lots of love to NYC and to everyone all around! We will never forget! 🇺🇸💙❤️🇺🇸

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

XoXo

P.S. This video is so precious and just made my heart melt. I was tearing up/crying at my desk.

Happy Tuesday

Happy Tuesday everyone! Hope you all enjoyed the looooong weekend! We sure did! Sunday just felt glorious knowing that we didn’t have to go to work on Monday. That 3-day weekend was so needed and it was really nice just relaxing around our place.

Saturday started with breakfast at Stack’s and then Emma’s vet appointment. She got her stitches out (YAY!) and should be good to go now. We hung out with my parents for a while before heading home to watch the (late!) USC game. USC got the WIN and it was a prefect start of the football season! Go Trojans and FIGHT ON!

We did a lot of bbqing, hanging out, swimming, gardening, lounging with our pups and just enjoying the long weekend. Sunday night we had chimichurri steak tacos…can you say delicious?! Yum! We also worked in our yard, planted two jasmine plants, and I made another succulent garden. It was so warm on Monday we enjoyed the pool again and tried a new tea place called The Tea Zone & Fruit Bar. We loved our drinks and they were so refreshing! I know we’ll be going back again soon!

It was a really lovely weekend, but I’m already looking forward to next weekend…

Because we are seeing DAVE MATTHEWS BAND on FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m beyond excited and have been waiting ALL summer for this concert! I absolutely LOVE DMB!!!!!!!!! Ahhhhhh! Nothing is better than a little DMB! I’ll be blogging about the concert and everything else we have going on this weekend next week.

Here’s to short work week! Have a great one!

XoXo