The letter C

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I love initials. I love decorating with them, too! We have an "H" & an "L" above our bed. But lately I've been on the lookout for some "C"s... See my last name begins with a "C" & so does Luke's. So when we get married my initials are going to stay the same! :) I'd love to find something that I can incorporate into our gallery wall in the living room, or place on the mantel. I don't know what it is about these letters, but I just think it's such a fun touch to add to any space!

four | five | six

I left my heart in San Francisco

Monday, January 28, 2013

It's true, I did. I don't know what it is about this city, but I just feel so at home there. From the moment that we started our descent into the city & looked down below to the landscape beneath us... Those all familiar butterflies of returning to my favorite city leapt into my stomach.

Every time I visit, it seems that I purposefully leave out items that I have on my agenda, just so I have a reason to come back. (ride a cable car, make the trek up to wine country, visit the secret slides, bike/walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, visit the Ferry Building...) All must-do's in my book - but never quite enough time to do them all in one visit.

I visited a few years ago (after college) with a strong thought of moving here. The reality of not having any money, or a job in such an expensive city deterred me. Actually now that I do have a steady job, a savings account and a lot of stability - moving here isn't really realistic either. It really comes down to the money. Which breaks my heart. But at the same time I'm not exactly willing to trade in my two-story house with a backyard, two-car garage, plenty of street parking, & my front loading washer & dryer for a tiny 1-maybe-2-if-I'm-lucky-bedroom-apartment with no garage, no parking, & highly overpriced rent. The older I get, the more I realize it just isn't worth it. Even if I did make it happen, I don't think I'd be able to live the lifestyle that I would want. The dreamer in me can not stop plotting & scheming up ways to make a move to San Francisco a reality - then my logical side (heh hem, Luke) kicks in & brings me back down to earth.

As much as I love this city, I think I'll keep it for long weekend trips every few years or so. It will become the city that I visit & continually fall in love with time & time again. Each time I return its incredible views, amazing restaurants & steep hills will make me fall head over heels again.

I've reserved a special place in my heart, just for you, San Francisco.

You can check out what we ate during our trip - because a trip with me isn't complete unless you revolve your itineary around checking out the yummiest restaurants in the city. :) Le Zinc, Delarosa & Tacolicious.

And a few pics from some previous San Francisco trips... 2006, 2010

San Francisco: Le Zinc

Friday, January 25, 2013

Le Zinc French Bistro | 4063 24th Street, San Francisco, CA 94114
Well, we tried to go to Tartine Bakery but the line was wrapped around the building each time we drove by - so I quickly realized that it wasn't meant to be on this trip. After driving over to a different district, we literally stumbled into Le Zinc. And we're sure happy we did. We were all "ohhhing" and "ahhhing" over the French flavors. At one point Mike even said he might have just experienced the best eggs benedict that he'd ever had! That's saying a lot for a guy that only orders eggs benedict!

FRENCH OMELET: with onion, cheese, potato, mixed greens
EGGS BENEDICT: poached eggs, Canadian bacon, English muffin, hollandaise sauce
Just a simple fruit salad
VEGETABLE ‘BRIK’: crispy Moroccan crêpe with feta, red bell pepper, niçoise olives, tomato
EGG 'BRIK': crispy Moroccan crêpe with ham, cheese, egg & spices


P.S. - I promise we did more than just eat on our weekend in the city! It seems that every city we visit, I have to scope out the best food places - can't help it - I'm a foodie!

Check back on Monday for the best San Francisco shots - I'm saving the best pictures from our trip for last!!

- Photos © Holly Carman -

San Francisco: Delarosa

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Delarosa | 2175 Chestnut Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
I can't remember how I heard about this place - but its been on my list of must-go places for a few months. We got super lucky and walked right into an empty table for four. We were quickly seated & our food came out shortly after we ordered. It was so yummy! The prices weren't bad either - it was more Portland prices than San Francisco prices. If I lived here, I would obviously be here every week - I liked it that much!

Arugula & fennel, shaved parmesan
Potato, rosemary, gorgonzola & radicchio pizza
Classic Margherita pizza

- Photos © Holly Carman -

San Francisco: Tacolicious

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tacolicious | 741 Valencia Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
Right after we arrived in town & had a few cocktails at Mike & David's house, we took the bus/muni over to T-Lish for some more drinks & tacos! I follow a few people on Instagram that live in SF & every single one of them had posted pictures of their T-Lish tacos over the last few months - so I wrote this place down & vowed to go have a taco (or few) of my own!

House Margarita

1. fried local rock cod cabbage, tangy crema
2. traditional carnitas
3. butternut squash, poblano peppers, chicories, spicy pepitas
4. shot-and-a-beer braised chicken

If you live in SF & you haven't been... go! If you're just visiting, you go too! Get a seat outside & enjoy a pitcher of margaritas & a few platters of delicious tacos with some friends. You won't regret it!

- Photos © Holly Carman -

Bachelorette Party: Arizona Version

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A few weeks ago I went to Phoenix to visit two of my favorite girlfriends. When I arrived, they picked me up at the airport, we went to Pei Wei for lunch & they spilled the beans on a little secret that they were keeping from me.

That secret is that they were going to throw me a surprise bachelorette party - the Arizona version! How lucky am I that these are my friends?!

We went shopping in Scottsdale that day, looking for some fun clothes/accessories to wear out that night. And that night we checked into the Saguaro Scottsdale, got all dressed up & had a few drinks before headed out to Old Town. The girls surprised me with a veil & a bride sash to wear & a tickle feather to carry around with me! I was also given a deck of cards with crazy dares listed on each card - like get a guy to show you his underwear, get a guy to buy you a shot, etc... I'm a pretty easy person to embarrass, so this did just that! It ended up being such a fun night out dancing & drinking with some of my favorite girls.

The next morning I snapped a few shots of our awesome hotel - I'm kicking myself for not getting more shots, this place was amazing! Next time I visit Arizona, I'm definitely staying here again!

^^Some of the only evidence that I have from our evening out - my tickle feather!^^

City by the Bay

Monday, January 14, 2013

We're headed to San Francisco on Saturday! We've had this trip planned for a few months, but it just now hit me that we're going in less than a week & we haven't done any planning, except to find someone to watch Gracie while we're gone (thanks, Abby!). We're staying with Luke's old boss & his partner in the Noe Valley/Diamond Heights area & they already have a few fun things planned for us. Then I plan on spending the remainder of our time wandering around the Mission looking for yummy food. (Any recs? Send my way!)

My computer wouldn't let me upload pics from our last trip to the city, so here are a few snaps from 2006 when my cousin & I took a spontaneous road trip down to SF & stayed for a week. We were both bored & unemployed so we decided to drive down to San Francisco, just for kicks. I didn't have much money & was afraid to look at my bank account when we got there - when I finally did & realized that I had more money than I thought - we stayed a few extra days in the city. Oh to be young & in your early twenties again...

- Photos © Holly Carman -

Irving Street Kitchen

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Right before Christmas, our family got together with my aunt & uncle for a delicious brunch at Irving Street Kitchen in the Pearl District. Walking into this restaurant you're instantly overcome with a cozy sensation. From the comfortable living room set up to the tables tucked into little nooks & crannies - this restaurant makes you feel right at home.

We had what felt like a semi-private table, nestled in-between two bookshelves stacked with antique books & milk bottles with a living room rug beneath our feet. It was the perfect setting for a Sunday family brunch. And yes, we'll be back sometime soon.

Portland Monthly magazine voted this the best Bloody Mary in town!
Also, the chicken & waffles are to. die. for.
It was THAT good!

- Photos © Holly Carman -

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

I've been wanting to try a pulled pork recipe in my slow cooker for quite a long time now. A few Sundays ago while out grocery shopping I asked someone in the meat department what the best cut of pork would be to make pulled pork in a slow cooker (turns out it's pork shoulder).

I looked through a few different recipes online & decided to come up with my own variation. Six hours later we were eating some very delicious pulled pork sandwiches for dinner! We had a lot of pork left over for a few lunches & dinner in the week ahead.

This recipe was really easy & pretty much fool-proof! It's a fairly basic recipe, so you can leave out/switch out any of the spices to your liking. I added a Carolina-style BBQ sauce to the finished pork & topped each sandwich with cole-slaw - for a real southern pulled pork sandwich!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
[Serves 6-8]

1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup chicken stock or low-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 (4-1/2- to 5-pound) boneless or bone-in pork shoulder
1+ cups barbecue sauce (to be used at the end)

To start, place your sliced onions, sliced garlic & chicken stock in the crock pot.

Mix together brown sugar, chili powder, salt, cumin & cinnamon to make a dry rub - apply the dry rub all over the pork shoulder. Place in the crock pot over the onions, garlic & chicken stock.

Leave it alone for 6-10 hours (6 hours on high, or 10 hours on low). We cooked ours on high & it turned out fantastic! Once fully cooked, remove the pork shoulder & set aside. Strain the contents of the crock pot. Discard the liquid, but return the onions & garlic to the pot. Remove any bones or fat from the pork & place back in the crock pot as well. Use two forks to pull the meat apart. Then you can enjoy!

St. Honore Boulangerie

Monday, January 7, 2013

Happy Monday, friends! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend!

Yesterday Luke & I found little ways to thoroughly enjoy our Sunday. We enjoyed it so much that we dreaded the Monday return to work even more than usual.

We started off by visiting St Honore Boulangerie for a sweet treat & a cup of coffee. I purchased our treats with some leftover Christmas money from my dad. I've been selectively spending this money as I want it to go towards an experience, or something that I can keep & remember. Luke & I had a nice little chat & ogled over the delicious pastries & yummy sandwiches there. We chatted about what it would be like to visit Paris someday & treat ourselves to the little cafes filled with baked goods, pastries & coffees. Someday *le sigh*.

After the Boulangerie we took Gracie for a walk on 23rd & stopped in my favorite market to pick up some fresh pasta & sauce for dinner. We also hoped on over to Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co., an interior store I've been wanting to check out for quite some time now. I loved everything I saw, but unfortunately my wallet did not agree. A girl can dream.

- Photos © Holly Carman -

2013 Pantone Color of the Year

Friday, January 4, 2013

The Pantone Color of the Year has been released! Emerald green it is! When I first heard of the color choice, I was kind of on the fence about it. But after searching for items in that color I stared to kinda love it. I saw an emerald green sequins dress at Dillard's in Phoenix a few weekends ago & I was pretty much sold on it. One thing I have to be careful of is looking like a Christmas tree though. You know - red hair, green dress... Christmas tree! Last year's color was one that I usually tend to stay away from - but found some other ways to incorporate it into my life - so that's what I'm doing again this year!

New Years Giveaway

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Congrats to #16 Sarah!

There's no better way to start off the new year than a giveaway, right?! 
I picked up five of my favorite nail polishes from Julep & one lucky reader will win them all!
Enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway