Category Archives: Orange County

Tommy Bahama Flavors of Aloha

One of my favorite things about dining at Tommy Bahama is their cool, Hawaiian vibe.  So when I was invited to attend the Tommy Bahama Flavors of Aloha event to celebrate chef Rick Rodgers’ new cookbook, I jumped at the chance to attend.

Flavors of Aloha is a cookbook exclusive to Tommy Bahama, and the recipes are all traditional Hawaiian-inspired dishes with a few unique twists here and there.  I’m personally a big fan of traditional Hawaiian cuisine, and loved how this cookbook paid homage to some of the islands’ signature flavors.

tommy bahama flavors of alohaOur evening started with a cocktail hour complete with leis, mai tais, and passed appetizers from the book.  My favorite appetizer by far was the Maui onion dip which was made with fresh onion, bacon and chives and served with taro root chips.

tommy bahama flavors of alohaSome of the other appetizers that were served included ahi poke in little cones, spam musubi (think spam sushi) and coconut shrimp.  I should also note that all these appetizers are in the Flavors of Aloha cookbook and can be found at Tommy Bahama restaurants.

Then it was time for dinner.  I had already informed the team of my food allergies so my meal was slightly different from everyone else but still quite delicious (also huge thank you to Orisi PR for helping me out!).

The first course that was served was a raw shaved papaya salad with chilled shrimp on top.  My lovely date for the evening Joelle was kind enough to give me her shrimp so I could taste part of the dish.

tommy bahama flavors of alohaI had a wedge salad with blue cheese and fresh tomatoes which was also quite delicious.

tommy bahama flavors of aloha For our main course, we were served two proteins: Kona coffee rubbed steak and grilled salmon.  I was served two pieces of salmon (minus the soy glaze) which ended up being quite fortuitous for this salmon lover.

tommy bahama flavors of alohaFor the grand dessert finale we were served either pina colada cake or my personal favorite, the vanilla creme brulee in a PINEAPPLE.  I packed up the pina colada cake for the Englishman, but the creme brulee was all mine.

tommy bahama flavors of alohaA big thank you to Chef Rick Rodgers and Orisi PR for hosting such a wonderful event!  I can’t wait to dig into the Flavors of Aloha cookbook and create some of the recipes for myself.  And make a return trip to Tommy Bahama for some more creme brulee.

Inner Thoughts of a Freelancer

For the past 10 years I’ve been working the agency life. I spent the first 5 years in LA working for entertainment and retail clients before I moved down to Orange County and got involved in the world of powersports. I was an interactive agency girl through and through…until January of this year. As of February I’ve been officially working for myself and diving headfirst into the world of freelance marketing. So consider this post my inner thoughts of a freelancer.

inner thoughts of a freelancerI should preface that I’ve only really been doing the freelance marketing thing for about 3 months now, so I still have a TON to learn, but I definitely feel like I’m starting to get my footing a bit.

So what do I do? I’m a freelance marketer and social media specialist. I work with clients to help them with their marketing needs and that ranges from brand strategy to content development and executing marketing tactics. And while this is probably one of the most challenging things I’ve done ever, it’s also one of the most rewarding. Here are a few thoughts:

  • The hustle is real: When I worked at an agency I already had my clients and didn’t need to go find them. This go around, I’ve had to hustle my booty off. This includes lots of emails, research, social networking, calls, etc. Lucky for me I grew up with a dad who was in sales so I already knew a bit about the art of the hustle before I even got started. But boy is it real, and yes, you are always hustling.
  • No two days are the same: Some days I work solely from home, some days I’m in meetings, and some days I’m at a coffee shop up the street. As someone who used to thrive on a strict routine, this has definitely been a big change, but I just find myself rolling with it.
  • I need human interaction: As much as I love and am grateful to be able to work from home, I realized I do need human interaction as well. I went from an environment full of people to one with just me and my cat. I found by simply changing my environment or being around people (ie: coffee shop) is a great way to keep the creative juices flowing.
  • I’m constantly learning new things: This new career path has me learning new things all the time. The newest apps, best ways to gain a social following, what email subject lines are most impactful, etc. It’s challenging and exciting all at once.

Those are just a few of my thoughts in this wild new world of freelancing. Taking the leap from a steady paycheck and leaving an awesome company to do my own thing was hard to do, but I know ultimately it was the best choice for me.

inner thoughts of a freelancerI’m also thinking of starting a freelancer series on the blog so if you have any questions/thoughts/comments please share! Is anyone else out there part of the big crazy world of freelancing?

Dinner at Cucina Alessa

Four years ago, I first wrote about Cucina Alessa (please excuse the rough photography).  I loved all the food and yet somehow I never went back.  When my mom was brainstorming ideas for her birthday dinner, we agreed that it was high time we returned to Cucina Alessa and I’m so glad we did.  So consider this dinner at Cuinca Alessa part deux.

When I dined at Cucina Alessa the first time, I wasn’t following a gluten-free diet so my entrée choices revolved around pizza and pasta.  Since I am more on a gluten-free/paleo diet now my food choices have definitely changed and I’m happy to report that Cucina Alessa has plenty of gluten-free options if you want them.

For our appetizer course we decided to go with the calamari (the Englishman’s personal fave) and the fresh burrata.

Cucina Alessa Calamari

Burrata is one of my favorite cheeses in life, and this one did not disappoint.  It was all the creamy perfection you would expect and more.  The calamari was also a big hit among the table and it was devoured in minutes.

Cucina Alessa Burrata

For my main course, I ordered the grilled salmon with broccoli and a side of roasted rosemary potatoes.  Since I am currently obsessed with all the salmon, I was excited to try this dish.

Cucina Alessa SalmonThe salmon was grilled perfectly and came with a lemon garlic sauce that wasn’t too heavy or overpowering with the dish.  If you are looking for a non-pasta option at Cucina Alessa, definitely go for this (and get some potatoes on the side).

The Englishman went with the gnocchi which he greatly enjoyed and would recommend to any gnocchi lovers out there.

Cucina Alessa Gnocchi

My mom got a shrimp pasta in a lobster sauce – I only tasted the shrimp but the sauce on it was fantastic.

Cucina Alessa Lobster SauceMy dad went with the chicken Parmesan, which is one of the best classic dishes on the menu. Chicken, pasta, cheese; what’s not to love?

Cucina Alessa Chicken ParmAnd because we were celebrating a birthday, some gelato was required at the end of the evening.

cucina alessa birthday gelato

I’m thinking it won’t be four years before I return to Cucina Alessa again.

EKAM Yoga

I’ve had a complicated relationship with yoga over the years.  I always loved yoga and my body definitely reaped from its benefits, but I had a hard time finding a studio that I could call home.  When I lived in LA, Liberation Yoga was my go-to for a while but when I moved to back to Orange County 5 years ago, I found myself bouncing from studio to studio but never really feeling a connection.  Until I stepped into EKAM Yoga.

EKAM YogaEKAM Yoga is a small studio located off PCH in Newport Beach.  The studio is small with just one room to practice in, but the warmth and friendliness you feel when you walk in can’t be beat.  One of EKAM Yoga’s main objectives is to foster a strong sense of community in all of their classes which I love.

When I practiced yoga in the past, I always would go maybe once a week, maybe skip a week here and there and then go again, but since I started taking classes at EKAM, I’ve been craving my weekly yoga sessions.  I’ve even been going 2-3x as week, which is totally unheard of for me.  But honestly, I feel SO much more grounded and relaxed after practicing at EKAM, which I love.

EKAM Yoga AsanaI also think that yoga has been a great compliment to running and crossfit.  I love the intensity of those workouts and I think having yoga to balance that is great.  Besides, a lot of the vinaysa classes have been kicking my butt!

If you are an OC local, I can’t recommended EKAM Yoga enough.  The instructors are lovely and the classes are appropriate for anyone at ANY level (believe me, I’m not flexible at all and I feel comfortable there).  And if you are not in OC and haven’t found your “yoga home” yet, keep looking!  The right studio is out there and when you find it you’ll be so grateful that you did.