Cast & Plow – Marina del Rey Ritz Carlton

Cast & Plow

I can count on one hand how many times I’ve stepped inside a Ritz-Carlton hotel, most notably in 1997 when my friend Amy absconded me for a quick road trip up to San Francisco to see Phantom of the Opera. Like most of my memories from Junior High, my brain protects me from remembering too much, so I only recall fuzzy edged remnants of my mini vacation. For me, Jr. High was the apex of social drama: lots of flannel and fishnets, an emotionally taut atmosphere, train wreck friends, and other trite cliches of teenage-hood. Now imagine that backdrop with the soundtrack of Marilyn Manson, Stone Temple Pilots Smashing Pumpkins, and No Doubt. Yeah, I was in serious need of a glam injection, thank you, Amy, wherever you are.

That impromptu getaway up north was magical. I was able to take a three day Time Out from my so-called life and spend time in two of the most majestic hotels I’ve ever stayed at to this day: The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, and The Ritz-Carlton of San Francisco. I still have my blue goblet and my bathrobe from the latter, two treasures from my whirlwind adventure that I’ll cherish forever.

Suffice to say, when Ritz-Carlton knocks on my inbox, I answer!

Cast & Plow, a farm-to-table restaurant situated inside the Ritz Carlton of Marina del Rey, specializes in community-made, locally sustainable cuisine. Inspired by Southern California’s small plate communal dining experience, Cast & Plow’s menu offers familiar and international dishes set apart by an approachable style of artisan cooking, and by a special array of signature dishes, most of which I was lucky enough to sample!

Let’s boogie.

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Quickie Review: Maybelline Gel Eyeliner

Long time no vlog, am I right? Not because I didn’t want to – trust me, I have a growing pile of items I want to reserve specifically for the Quickie Reviews – but because I’m just lazy about putting on makeup. I don’t like to put it on unless I’m going out, and sometimes I don’t go out until the evening, which of course I will never film during because I like natural lighting. Whatever! Excuses, excuses.

Today’s Quickie Review is all about the gel eyeliner that finally got me not only interested in eyeliner, but confident about using it. I think eyeliner only comes second to false eyelashes in intimidating makeup, so I’m glad to have stumbled across the specific eyeliner newb recommendation for Maybelline Gel Eyeliner. As always, my Quickie Reviews are just under 5 minutes and more info can be garnered in the description box on Youtube.

Enjoy and thanks for watching!

Example of use:

Look, Ma, I can apply eyeliner!

Do you use eyeliner? What is your preferred brand?

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Sunday Social

This week was riddled with topsy-turvy health and blessed with some nifty media previews, so you have more delicious food porn to look forward to next week. Yesterday, the most glorious of miracles happened: I cleaned my room.

Foolish younger me assumed I would suddenly have this magical “clean ALL the things!” gene that kicked in and made me motivated to pick up and put away all of my clean clothes, file my paperwork and organize my work space. Hahahaha. Yeah, wasn’t I adorable? I think foolish younger me also could not grasp the concept of depression or debilitating fatigue spells that plague my mind and body. Or the fact that I would possess the two most evil cats in the known history of domestic cats.

Lurking in soda boxes, waiting for unsuspecting victims

Regardless, I’m proud of myself for the pick up of my work space – namely because it makes me feel mentally de-cluttered as well. Let’s hope I can maintain it! Now, on with the questions in this week’s Sunday Social hosted by Neely and Ashley.

1. Top 3 things you cant go a day without doing:

snuggle my cats – chat with a friend – write in some capacity

snuggle attack as punishment for chewing my phone charger.

2. 3 things that scare you the most:

steep slopes – the grave – every living thing in the ocean

I legit can’t even look at this gif without breaking into a cold sweat.

3. 3 places you want to see before you kick the bucket:

Japan – Luxembourg – England

4. 3 movies you will always love:

The Goonies – Labyrinth – Pete’s Dragon

It’s a brazzle dazzle day, damn it.

5. 3 favorite current songs:

Venus by Lady GaGa – Guren no Yumiya by Linked Horizon – Offering by Black City Lights

And with that, I bid you a good week!

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Hornblower Cruises Champagne Brunch

Hornblower Champagne Brunch Cruise - Newport Beach

Hornblower Cruises

This post was a year in the making and for the good people of Hornblower Cruises, I apologize. Shortly after I completed this assignment for my former place of employment, I wound up in the hospital. Directly after my discharge, the company was sold, making most of us lowly writers redundant. As this was one of my last assignments with the company, I had to get beyond the point of feeling a touch bitter before I could blog about it. You know what I mean, unless you don’t. It’s that one job you just can’t help but wrinkle your nose in dismay whenever you think about it because things went so horribly wrong. OK, I know, take it to the therapist not my blog. Anyway. Time drags on, yadda yadda, here we are eleven months later.

Hornblower Cruises and Events offers up several kinds of waterfront activities: The Dinner Cruise, Champagne Brunch Cruise and holiday cruises like their upcoming Easter and Mother’s Day Cruises. Their fleet is offered for corporate and other private events for Marina del Rey, Newport Beach, San Diego and plethora of other ports around the U.S.A.

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Sunday Social

This is a week I would like to definitely put behind me. My health issues are far from over, but this bumpy beginning can at least seep into the ether of the past where it belongs. Time for a little fun and blogging basics, back to the Sunday Social hosted by Ashley and Neely.

1. How much time do you spend on Social Media a day?…be honest

Does tumblr count as social media? I suppose it does. In that case, too much time. I’ve quite a bit of time on my hands and a knack for social media, though, so if anyone out there wants to fit me into their business budget, drop me a line. *insert shameless eyebrow wiggle here*

2. How long were you reading blogs before you started a blog?

Define blog. If we’re talking about personal websites, about real people and not fictional ones…I uhm. Look. I operated my first Geocities website in 1998, and I’d been active on the web since 1997, but it was all mostly fandom based websites I trolled way back when. I started my first Livejournal in 2000 and followed my friends. I think this counts. So I guess the answer is not long…? Kind of around the same time.

3. What is your favorite kind of cupcake?

Pumpkin and a really moist, rich chocolate based cupcake from My Sweet Cupcake.

Nutella Cupcake

4. Do you eat fast food? If so what’s your favorite?

I’ve eliminated most fast food from my diet, but I still indulge in a little El Pollo Loco once in a while and on the rarest of blue moons, an egg mcMuffin.

5. What is the most random thing someone would find in your purse?

Disabled parking placard. I don’t use it often, but on the days when my ticker is giving me trouble, it comes in handy.

6. What is the weirdest TV show you watch?

Weird is relative; what is considered weird for most people easily seems normal for me. Out of the history of TV shows I’ve watched the “weirdest” would be Sex and the City, maybe? Since it was so popular and normal and seemingly not my thing. I love it and own all of it. Now, the traditional weirdest TV shows I’m into, but once you know me they are not weird but actually quite fitting to my personality and character? Easily:

The above image is from a New Zealand TV show called The Tribe that my friend Jen got me sucked into circa 2006, well after it stopped airing. I own all five series in region 2 and managed to spread the virus to my friend Jimi, who is as equally nuts for The Tribe as I am.

Have a fabulous Sunday!

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The Derailment of Life

It’s been quiet here, and if that has given you cause to worry, I am sorry. There is a reason for my silence, and unfortunately it is my health going sour once again.

Once upon a time, I discussed my heart condition here and then saw it becoming its own cyclonic beast, inspiring me to move house to a congenital heart defect specific blog. I lost momentum for that, mostly because it depressed me and drained a lot of my energy discussing my health so bombastically.

However, this course of action sanitized Glass of Win from the realities of my life; realities that are now too big to brush under the guise of guest posts and empty apologies. If you don’t want to read about my health and life, by all means, wait until the next post. I don’t mind.

So, let’s just go with the cut and dry version of this story.

Back in October, my pacemaker was swapped out for a new one – the battery, anyway. The surgeon went against my advice to have a lateral incision, favoring opening my pre-existing vertical scar – already opened four times. The surgery was a success and I healed up a lot faster than I initially thought I would.

Or did I?

Around January, I noticed a strange growth poking around where my bra rests under my tits. The top end of the scar (the part that was opened for this recent surgery) was still a bit colored, not fading to white as the rest of it had. My clothes weren’t fitting correctly, wearing a bra became painful. The protrusion became bigger, and after a CT scan turned up zilch, I went in to have TEAM RACHAEL! look at it.

It’s a hernia.

What is a hernia? Weakened muscle, worn and torn from a variety of causes, but mine is mostly attributed to too much poking around in one spot along with fluctuating weight.

In my mind, hernias have always been associated with older people who never took care of their bodies, like my dad. It was nearly inconceivable to think I would develop one – but after understanding what a hernia actual is, it makes sense. It’s also not uncommon for heart patients like me with multiple surgeries under their belt to develop hernias.

Now what?

Well, the long and short of it is – another surgery. A mesh will be secured to the muscle and a life of obsessing over my weight in a near unhealthy fashion, if the ill-bedside mannered surgeon I spoke with today has anything to do with it.

Now, when will this surgery take place is the real question. I honestly do not have six to eight weeks just sitting around waiting to be taken up by healing at home. For being unemployed, I’m actually quite busy. I have three weddings between May – August, not to mention maid of honor duties and house/dog sitting duties in June. Unless it were scheduled for next week, this surgery has to be postponed until September. Which is annoying as hell, considering the hernia has obstructed my ability to fit into my clothes – including my maid of honor dress; I don’t imagine David’s Bridal Wear to be a very forgiving company on exchanges.

So this week was filled up with a special sort of misery specifically reserved for medical drama, and I couldn’t fake being excited over the marginal silver linings of this week. My life is being derailed once more. Although maybe this is my main life – and the derailment is when life moves smoothly with no complications? I haven’t quite figured that part out.

Either way, this is what is going on and why I have been extremely quiet. I’m uncomfortable being seen as fragile or weak, of being pitied and avoided simply because my health is scary and confusing. However, I’m trying tp push myself out of my shell in the effort to connect with my readers and keep them informed.

So, what is on the horizon for Glass of Win? Well, I have a healthy pile of material, for both the blog and my Youtube Channel. It’ll all trickle in as my energy and mood stabilizes.

That’s all. Thanks for listening.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

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Brunch at Bagatelle – West Hollywood

Brunch at Bagatelle - West Hollywood
Brunch at Bagatelle

First of all, shame on all of you for not telling me that Kee Wah Bakery in Monterey Park sold my favorite Portuguese dessert, Pastel de Nata. I first came across these delicious morsels in Ossington, Toronto while exploring and happened upon a Portuguese bakery. I fell in love, especially with Pastel da Nata, the egg custard tarts. The closest Portuguese bakery is in Sherman Oaks – which may as well be Toronto for me. Ah, well, right? WRONG, apparently. While picking up supplies for karaage chicken at the 99 Ranch Market, Nani and I popped in the Kee Wah Bakery to discover a wonderland of sweet and savory baked goods. The regular custard cups weren’t anything special, but the Pastel da Nata was tasty. Not the joy I experienced in Ossington, but pretty damn close.

Pastel da Nata is where it’s at

Anyway, I was invited to sample brunch at Bagatelle to experience the premiere of “Saturday Brunch LIVE.” The new addition to the food-infused weekend programming will feature an eclectic rotation of live musicians every week. Bagatelle first came on my radar at the 24th annual Beverly Hills Vintage Bouquet Food & Wine Event. A clean, bright and thoroughly chic establishment in West Hollywood, Bagatelle specializes in contemporary French cuisine, with a kitchen helmed by Chef Robert Liberato.

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