A Different Kind of Black Friday.

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I’m not totally sure who I am today.

I’ve been a Black Friday shopper for as long as I can remember – with my sister, with my mom, with friends, solo, truly with anyone who will say yes.  Black Friday has always begun my official mission to dive through racks, haul far more than I can carry, stand in ungodly lines and hover behind someone until they put down the thing I have my eye on to uncover the best, most creative, funkiest, most perfect gifts for everyone I know myself.  And over the years I’ve apparently gotten really good at the one for me. one for you buying method. But today, I wanted zero to do with shopping and the malls. Beyond zero.

So much so that I woke up late.

{and by waking up late I mean I woke up at 7:58am and snuggled another hour with the Mr. and the Homies.  Quite the opposite of getting dressed in the dark so as not to wake the Mr. as I prepare to door bust}

So much so that I took a leisurely – i.e. not turbo speed – walk to the Bagel Shop for a Sesame Bagel with Cream Cheese – a carb-tastic breakfast that almost always — leads to another few hours on the couch.

{my typical power shopper breakfast of eggs and banana with peanut butter wasn’t even a consideration}

So much so that I let the Mr. take my car on some of his errands {he’s doing some work on his}, pretty much guaranteeing that unless it was in walking distance I was not coming close to a mall.

{thought don’t despair.  I’ll admit I was taunted by my inbox and finally cashed in a JCrew gift card I got for my birthday.  With 40% off + another 15% off with free shipping when you spend $100, I pretty much scored.  $12. out-of-pocket and far too easy to ignore}

JCrew Collage

But by mid-day I was starting to feel like I copped out on Black Friday. No presents for myself, no armfuls full of deals and steals.

Then the Mr. called.

Not only did he have the best Surprise ever for me!!! {and I know don’t know how I’ve been living life without one for so long, so thank you} but he wanted some company to go rent his tuxedo for the Debutante Ball we’re attending tomorrow night.  It’s the same event we went to last year that is always so much fun and a perfect excuse to get dolled up.   Anyway, we’ve been toying with the idea of getting him a tux for some time now knowing that it’s a timeless piece that he’ll be able to wear year after year.   We considered buying him one before the wedding, but with all of the costs to throw a party as well as buying a new home, he wound up renting once again.

So today when we walked into the totally EMPTY men’s store to rent one – hopefully for the last time – we were smitten by a) the absence of a crowd b) the lack of complete and total chaos c) clothes all on the right ranks and d) a HUGE Buy One Get One Free Black Friday special.  Seriously huge score!  Honestly, for the price of a couple of all-in rentals, he now owns a brand new tailored to fit grey wool suit and a black tuxedo.

tuxedo

Electronics and Men’s Clothes.

Hardly the deals I thought I’d uncover {or be gifted with} today.  But pretty excited nonetheless.

Wondering if perhaps this means I might find some joy in a bottle of two buck chuck tonight?  Yeah, not going to push my luck.

What was your best Black Friday find? In store? or Online?

{MF Dre}

Moments of Gratitude

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I stumbled on this passage last night from an article in Writers Digest about being grateful for little moments of magic.

As the approach of Thanksgiving prompts us all to give thanks for what matters most in life—our families, friends, good health, good fortune—we should remember the gifts of the writing life, too.

And when we reflect on the joy and torment that a creative drive and a way with words can bring, we should be grateful not just for these perfect little moments where everything comes together, rare and fleeting as they may seem, but for all the blurry snapshots in between. Because they’re just as important, if not more so. They make us sit up, take notice and smile our most genuine smiles when we look over everything we’ve done and recognize, there in the midst of all our outtakes, a perfect little gem. And they remind us that we’ll never capture those moments of magic if we don’t keep trying.

This blog chronicles all of this for me as I capture The Adventures. The seconds. The Blurry. The Clear. The Good Fortune. The Outtakes. The Gems. and The Magic.

I’m grateful for it all.

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Happy Thanksgiving.

{MF Dre}

Another Reason to be Thankful for Rotten Bananas.

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You know how I feel about rotten bananas.
Ick.

In the midst of pre-wedding planning, I went and Costco-ed the heck out of some bananas and brought home two HUGE bunches. I easily dominate a bunch per week and figured with all the guests coming and going, I wanted to ensure that there would be enough for yours truly.

Whelp, figures. I didn’t eat one banana the whole wedding week. Its true, just like everyone told me. The harried rush of wedding week completely took me outside of my routine and by the time I realized I was hungry, I was famished and dominating pizza, cheese and crackers, cake batter, anything in sight but bananas.

So I had a pile of brown bananas. At least 10. The Mr. and I HATE to waste food. Not an option in our house so I chopped them up and froze them, figuring I’d find a plan.   Part II of this little rotten banana problem is that we’re moving {and packing}.  I’m cleaning out closets, fridges, freezers and pantry and somehow also have a TON of extra coconut left over from our wedding carrot cake. Oh and why I have about 4000 muffin tin liners too?  Yeah, not moving all these things.

Insert what am I going to bake creativity problem delight here.

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Banana Coconut Muffins

yeah, that sounds like a reaaaaaaalllly genius idea

Here’s what you need to know. The minute these came out of the oven they were in my mouth. Like really that good.  Not too banana-y and not too coconut-y. Sweet Perfection.

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And then I crazily decided that they might be even more DT if I added a scoop of peanut butter to each bite. Or wait, COOKIE butter. YES, better with PB and CB. (and if you have not tried Cookie Butter you should check the link above – go. buy. now).

Anyway, however you enjoy them, just enjoy them. Please.  {you will say Thank You}.

Banana Coconut Muffins.

2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 sticks butter, melted
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ cup sweetened flaked coconut

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375* 25 minutes
Line muffin cups with liners.
Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk butter, bananas, sugar, egg, vanilla and 1 cup coconut. Fold mixtures together until flour is well combined.
Spook batter into lined muffin cups. Sprinkle top with remaining ½ cup coconut.

Bake 25 minutes until muffins are golden brown

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Enjoy Golden. and Warm. And Be Thankful for another Reason to Love Rotten Bananas.

{and if you’re looking for another INCREDIBLE banana recipe, don’t forget this one.  Might make the perfect addition to the Thanksgiving table for your non-pie-loving friends}

{MF Dre}

MF Movember

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 Seriously kicking and screaming that my MF Brother felt the need to challenge the Mr. to a #MOVEMBER contest this year.  Yep, the day after the wedding, the ‘stache growing began and the Mr. (and my brother) have looked like carnival ride operators (putting it lightly) ever since. The bets are on for who can grow the best Mo.

 During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital awareness and funds for men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives.  So far, over $299 Million has been raised to support the cause.  You can choose to support the cause generally via the Movember and Sons site or you can pick your my favorite Mo Bro and support him.

As much as I hate the ‘stache I am a cancer survivor myself, thus I am a firm believer in any research and support put towards this deadly disease… I just wish our men could figure out a subtler way to demonstrate their support.

{Then again, pink ribbons, and save the tatas tanks are not exactly subtle}

So cast your vote.  I want to know who you think is winning in this #Movember contest?

2012-11-06

{MF Dre}

Wedding Week: #Instagrammed

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We thought about having a photo booth at our wedding, but at the end of the day, we felt like perhaps they had become a bit too cliché for our taste. Our venue, the SmogShoppe, happened to have a small pink closet which screamed “use me” in some interesting way.   We considered turning it into a Signature Drink bar where guests could grab one of our infused cocktails, but ultimately decided it made a perfect kissing take-your-own-photo booth.

This decision inspired a DIY Project of sorts and the hashtag #petendre.  No Fancy Cameras, No Props, No Special Lighting.  Just a festive sign on the wall, a DIY backdrop, a pink closet, cell phones and a ton of moments, memories and details captured by our guests both inside and outside the booth!

here are just a few of our favorites check out the rest here

and if you were there, keep them coming!  Upload to Instagram with #petendre

{MF Dre}

Retiring from Racing

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It’s been a hell of a year racing.  I’ve run 3 marathons, 4 halves and a host of other races.  It’s been awesome.   But this past weekend I had a little heart to heart with myself.  It was time to call it — I’m retiring from racing

No More Running{Source}

for the remainder of 2012.

Actually perhaps it’s more appropriate to say that I’m taking a self-enforced break from racing for the remainder of the year.

You might recall that this past weekend I was tentatively slated to run back-to-back half marathons in Santa Barbara on Saturday and Malibu on Sunday.  And guess what??? I bailed on both.  Didn’t even pick up my bibs.

 Running is my drug of choice.  It’s my oxygen, It’s my sanity.  It’s my freedom from my own head.  Running is my guilty pleasure.  But I need to also be honest about my recent relationship with training.

Mid way into my training cycle for Chicago, I knew I needed a break and I fought really hard with my inner self to sweep these feelings aside.  The struggle to complete each long run and many mid-distance runs was ever-present and while my body continued to perform, I felt like I was running in between gears, grinding out the miles.   Mentally my marathon focus was as good as a pair of worn out shoes – unsupportive, dusty and filled with holes.

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Despite all this, I set a PR during Chicago, but I’m pretty confident that had more to do with race experience than actual training.   This being my 3rd 26.2 meant I knew better how to start, how to moderate, how to fuel and where I’d have to fight my head as it tried to sabotage my performance.

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With a new race looming around each and every corner these days – marathons, half mary’s, 10k’s, charity races, color runs, zombie races, 80’s runs, relays etc.  It’s so easy to get sucked into the race of the weekend and sign up to run all the races.

When this past weekend rolled around and after the crazy, intense high of our wedding, I could not wait to spend both Saturday and Sunday morning doing one of the things I love to do most, running.  But the idea of setting an alarm and  doing it for anyone other than myself, anytime other than my time and anywhere other than the path, trail or road that I chose, was the exact thing I didn’t want.  I immediately realized that I had zero interest in 4am wake up calls, bussing to the start line, porta potties and point to point courses on either Saturday or Sunday – or quite frankly anytime in the next 6 weeks.  My racing days are done for 2012.  I need the space to run the distance, the time and the path that I want to run — with no race goals looming over my head.

Since I wasn’t formally training for SB or Malibu after Chicago, I was hopeful that my training would carry over.  That allowed me a total lack of running focus and a freedom to run without a plan.   And what I found was there are times when this works for me – It enables me to relax and simply run. {and interestingly simply running or running simply has resulted in some pretty speedy legs that failed to show up with any regularity during Chicago training}. Alas.  Go. Figure.

I’ll be a back racing in 2013, but for now I’m going to enjoy this sweet time off from training, enjoy putting in the miles on my time, still work towards 2012 miles in 2012 (I’m 214 miles away from my goal) running simply, and re-center my focus for hopefully another big year of running in 2013.

Have you ever taken a self-enforced break from competition?

{MF Dre}

DT Alert: Mas Malo

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More ridiculously good DT to tell you about.  It’s about T’nT again…. my FAVES!  I know you’re probably thinking  are the only things this girl eats and drinks Tacos and Tequila? kinda sorta yes.  I mean, if you planned my dream meal and any other random meal of the week, yes.  I’m like the Veruca Salt of tacos – Fish Tacos, Chicken Tacos, Beef Tacos, Potato Tacos, Shrimp Tacos – I want them all–give them to me now!  Side note: we even had breakfast tacos at our brunch the day after our wedding. Ob.Sessed.

I’ll admit I draw the line at late night drive throughs and Choco-Tacos, but truly I can dominate all sorts of tacos.   Some of my favorites are here in Venice,  here in Malibu, here and here in New York and now HERE in Downtown Los Angeles.

{I am a firm believer in having a go-to in any city I’m in — especially when I suddenly dying of hunger and need to be fed before I become the most painful person in the world to deal with…ask the Mr.  it’s true. very true.  he packs me snacks just in case}

Anyway, we were running some last-minute errands for our wedding a few weeks ago downtown including picking out flowers and picking up the Mr.’s ring and we stumbled upon Mas Malo. It’s actually right across the street from one of our other favorites, Bottega Louie.  It was only about 11am in the morning but they were open and serving brunch.

Yes, Please.

Mas Malo is an old jewelry building turned gorgeous Mexican Restaurant.  Huge Vaulted and Arched Ceilings, Marble Floors, Art Deco Inspired with Frescoes on the Wall.  Hardly your dive-y, cave-like Mexican joint.

Being that it was early Saturday morning and Downtown LA is not truly known for its weekend-morning vibe, we were the only ones in the restaurant! That was certainly a first, but kind of fun to have the place to ourselves.

{Side note: we went back a week later after this crazy midget wrestling and the place was packed}

The Mr. went with brunch – Huevos Rancheros and a Modelo; I got all Veruca Salt on the tacos and paired my Fish Taco Zucchini Blossom taco AND Ground Beef and Pickle taco with some Echo Park aka straight from the street cart Corn and a Michelada.

Shocker, but I strayed from the ‘nT at MM.

Not gonna lie.  I pretty much have been dreaming about these tacos since the minute I stuffed my face with them. {oh and the second time too since I ordered the EXACT SAME THREE TACOS}.  Creature Dreamer of Habit.  I kind of went out on a wire with the Beef and Pickle {and sure, the Zucchini Blossom too} – not your average tacos.  Actually way BETTER than your average tacos.  The zucchini blossom was every vegetarians dream come true in a taco and served on a corn tortilla, it brought forward all of the best of each of the flavors.  The combo of the pickle and beef taco far over-delivered on my expectations – it was simply outstanding and I laughed to find out its ever-so-trite origin

“It’s simple. I was twelve years old and my mom was prepping for hamburgers when she realized she had no bread. She took a tortilla and turned it into hard taco with the beef and the pickles. Since then I haven’t wanted hamburgers any other way.” — Malo and Mas Malo chef Robert Luna

The only thing that was a miss – the Migas.  They weren’t bad, they just weren’t anything special in comparison to the rest. Wavering thumb for the Mr…

Good thing I usually order more than I can eat!

Tell me – where are the best taco spots in your neighborhood?

Is there something that you could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

{MF Dre}