How “The OC” Does Holidays

Newport Beach has a funny tradition of dressing up their boats with all kind of holiday lights and parading around so everyone can gawk at the yachts. I’m sure it all started in jest, showing off our nice SoCal weather and such (Rose Parade Style) as the rest of the nation is covered in a blanket of white snow.  But now, it is quite the affair.  I love it, Continue reading


A “Scent”-sory Story

Alex and I spent the first week of December in Napa Valley.  Whenever I teach in Northern California, we try to make a weekend out of it.  We just happen to hit “the valley” at the perfect time.  There was a chill in the air, and no tourists in sight (except us, I suppose).  We got a beautiful room at Southbridge in St. Helena on the main road, complete with a fireplace, 135 degrees of windows, overlooking our favorite Continue reading


Alex’s mom makes the BEST tamales. They are made with multiple dried chiles, which are soaked overnight, ground, and then stewed with pork, wrapped in masa, and sprinkled with two secret ingredients. It takes three days to make them. Tamales are a tradition of the Christmas holiday for countless families. It’s a tradition for the families because it literally takes an army to make these tasty treats, between stewing the meat, making the masa, and spreading the masa. Continue reading