Saturday, March 31, 2012

My 28th Birthday...


I turned 28 this year and I won't lie, I'm feeling a bit of anxiety with 30 looming so close in my future. Not because that is bad, but because 30 is a tough cookie, and she has her expectations! Know what I mean?  The thought of turning thirty causes me to analyze what I've accomplished so far and how well I've set myself up for where I'm going in life - you know, making my dreams come true.  Which I will, but I try not to let my expectations (and those of some others) get the best of me along the way.  After all, this is my life and I need to live it my way at my own pace.

Apart from thoughts about getting older, it didn't really feel like I got older.  No no, going to a rowdy movie or a hookah bar full of what now seem to me like "little" kids, or sitting in a class full of people that talk, snicker and mumble sarcastic jokes and imitations of our heavy accented professor is the kind of stuff that makes me feel older.  It makes me feel like an adult in a room full of children.  That stuff has already happened to Ivan and I several times and we just laugh and give each other that heavy sigh and bulgy eyed look, it's a funny sobering moment.  Anyway, apart from times like that here and there, turning 28 felt normal and I just wanted it to spend it with my love and my family.  I ended up getting a pre-dinner party on Saturday and then a wonderful home cooked meal on Sunday....


On Saturday night I was invited to dinner by my mother, aunt, cousin and a close family friend for a wonderful wine and tapas dinner at El Rincon Asturiano! We sat under their arched outdoor terrace and feasted on a delicious array of tapas made with red peppers, Spanish onion and potato tortilla with garlic aioli, sausage, shrimp and other seafood. I chose to order a sandwich called the Navarro, with paprika seasoned pork, Piquillo red peppers, and melted Manchego cheese on a warm fresh crispy baguette - it was pretty awesome! Oh, that's right, I almost forgot to mention all of the fresh cheeses, chorizo, and pieces of warm crispy fresh baguette I happily munched on before the sandwich. Mmmmm... I must go back there with Ivan!


After all the food and wine our good friend Jennie whipped out a secret little cake! Awwww, so sweet!  It slid over a bit in the box, that's why it looks off center on the base, but that didn't stop it from being moist and yummy! Thanks Jennie! xoxox


The night of my birthday was even more delicious, because my mother cooked for me! That's right, it was a kitchen labor of love that far surpassed any restaurant dinner we could have had. We started off with some appetizers, cheeses, meats, crackers, and various types of chutney and red pepper jelly... Mmmm....


Yes, Thai at my favorite restaurant would have been amazing, but nothing beats the shredded beef (similar to Ropa Vieja) that my mother makes in her pressure cooker! She has been making it for years because we're all addicted to the incredible flavor party that occurs when you stuff some of that shredded meat into a grilled flour (or corn) tortilla with cheese, lots of cilantro, sour cream and Sriracha sauce! Oh my.  I wish I had taken an up close photo of the meat but I didn't, it's in the big red cast iron pot below...


She also made a delicious yellow rice with peppers...



As you can see, we set up our formal dining table like a buffet. There were lots of little dishes with various toppings, such as home-made tomato salsa, freshly cut slices of lime, spicy Sriracha sauce, peppers, cilantro, cheese, and sour cream. 




I chose that gorgeous paisley tablecloth, it's a brand new one that my mother had in her hall closet, I bought it for her a few years ago at Marshalls. At the last minute, when I arrived at my mothers house with Ivan (we were at his house), I decided to use a few of my personal decor items to spruce up the dessert end of the table. This is my beloved brass peacock, found on ebay a few months ago...


Alongside the peacock are a grey soapstone incense tower, a vase of lovely flowers that my mother bought for me, and a beautiful hammered metal canister (from TJMaxx) that has a sexy Moroccan vibe to it.... 


Now for the desserts....


My cousin brought me a beautiful raspberry and almond topped cake...


...and my sweet talented Ivan made me a bunch of Guava Rugelach! He loves to bake and I love to cook, which we've been doing a lot of lately, so he made me a batch of the ones we experimented with and loved the most, the guava filled ones... 

Aren't they perfect? He is awesome...  Thank you baby, I love you!  ;)


As you can see, by the time dessert came around there weren't many left, thanks to my uncle, hahahaha... 


Wen it came time for the Happy Birthday singing we pulled the Key Lime Pie out of the freezer.  It was soooooooo cold, tart and YUMMMM!!!  I'll have to tell you all about that obsession some other time.... ;)


I'll end this post with another shot of my impromptu birthday table vignette and the beautiful pink, white and green flowers that my mother bought for me....  Thanks again for everything mom, it was very special....


Pink and white roses with some daisies and pretty green sprigs of somethin'....



I'll be back soon with photographs of the earrings I bought myself (shown in this post) and a few other amazing gifts that I received this year....


(All images in this post are my personal photographs, please do not use them without my written permission. Write to me at: InspireBohemia(at)gmail.com. Thank you!)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!



...and it's a darn good one so far!  What can I say, it started a bit early, hehe...  Happy Birthday to me!  I'll be back soon to share all the juicy details with you.  I hope you're having a wonderful weekend so far as well.

In the meantime, check out the gifts I bought for myself - two pairs of amazing Turkish earrings full of sterling silver, gold, turquoise, pearl, ruby, garnet and sapphire stones!  Oh yeah baby, I don't mess around!  I'll share better pictures and full details on these lovely jewels as soon as they arrive....




(First image is my personal photograph, please do not use without my permission - write to me at InspireBohemia(at)gmsil.com.  Images of earrings via Etsy.)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Flowers Flowers Everywhere


Hello hello!

Spring is here and the garden is squealing with happiness! My last garden update post was at the end of January and a lot has happened since then. Well, let me be more specific, I have taken a ton of photos since then! Yes, a lot has happened in the garden, but I've taken tons of photos! Yes, I just said the same thing twice.

Anyway, the time has come for me to further break down the categories of my garden posting. My garden has become much larger, not only because it fused with my mother's garden early last year, but because my love for succulent and cactus plants causes me to acquire more and spread them everywhere! Therefore, I can no longer share everything in just one monthly garden update post... No no, I need to do several. Otherwise, we're talking 150 photo posts! That's not too wise, and it's very overwhelming. So, in one small attempt to reduce my tendency to get overwhelmed with photos (and hit a blogging slump), here is one of many garden posts to come.  This one features flowers because they are bloomin' everywhere!

Any flowers blooming in your garden?  Have you planted or bought anything new for the garden lately?  Let's chat about it...

All posts on:
My Mother's Garden
My Grandmother's Garden
My Garden



This is the first flower to bloom on my mother's Desert Rose plant this year.... it has been a few days since I took these photos and at least five more flowers have bloomed since then, I will have to take more photos for you to see, they're gorgeous!




Pretty awesome huh? Ahh nature, you get me every time! :)




This is one of my mother's many Orchids throughout the yard. Orchids seem to be her specialty, every time I've bought one I usually enjoy it until the flowers fall off, then I give it to her! She has the patience and gardening knowledge to nurture Orchids during their ugly time, you know - months without flowers! Anyway, I suppose this floral dormancy does allow for a nice surprise when the flowers finally bloom again!



My mother likes to tie most of her Orchids to trees around the yard (see one of those in this post) because they do better like that.  I'll have to recruit her to help me do a post on caring for Orchids one of these days....





Don't mind my little piglets, apparently they were dying for a cameo in this shot! :)



According to my mother, this is a very rare Orchid, not sure what the name is though... She was really happy when it bloomed, these photos are rather dark and don't do these flowers justice!





This is Euphorbia milii, commonly known as Crown of Thorns, a woody succulent species native to Madagascar. This monster is my mother's work of art, a product of many nurturing years! She has others as well, many of which I've shared in my garden posts, usually the ones with the white or creamy pale yellow flowers. It has grown a lot since this post!




See more Crown of Thorns from our yard in this post, this post and this post.





The variegated coloring of the flowers is stunning in person...




This is my Crown of Thorns with pale yellow flowers, it was one of my first plants, given to me by my grandmother as a small piece in late 2009....




Oooh la la, roses... This rose bush belongs to my mother and she has nurtured it for many many years, ever since I was a kid. They aren't your typical roses - the rosette is not very tight, but they're roses, I just don't know what kind. You can see more (older) pictures of this rose bush in this post.




Correction:  this is not Gardenia, it is Night Blooming Jasmine....







This is a ground Orchid, though it's not growing in the ground, it's planted in a terracotta pot. Ground orchids are awesome, they propagate easily (with just a small piece!) and they grow like crazy! Just take a look at this other potted ground orchid from our yard that I posted a while back.




Ooooooooooooooooh.... Yes, this Orchid is a real beauty, the creamy white, cranberry pink, and curry yellow make for such a nice color combination! The shape of this small orchid flower makes it extra adorable...



See more of my mother's beautiful blooming Orchids in this post from a while back.





My mother recently bought and planted two of these in pots and they are pretty weird looking! I don't know the name, maybe one of my readers can identify it for me. All of its flowers dramatically droop when it needs water, it's pretty comical - sorry mother nature!
UPDATE:  Thanks to my dear reader Pam and another anonymous person for the name of this plant - it's called a Cyclamen!




This is another orange colored ground Orchid, this one is actually mine. This was also one of my first plants and given to me by my grandmother, check it out here in its younger days on my highrise balcony patio.



Incredible huh?! Again, nature really blows my mind, hehe ;)



This last beauty is a Purslane, I love its salmon pink color! They love lots of sun and water, and they bloom every day, mostly early in the morning and mid-afternoon. Other colors include white, yellow, fuchsia pink and maybe others that I have not seen...



All posts on:
My Mother's Garden
My Grandmother's Garden
My Garden

(All images in this post are my personal photographs, please do not use them without my written permission - I can be contacted at InspireBohemia(at)gmail.com. Thank you.)