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WHERE TO BRUNCH & A GIVEAWAY

Hump Day!

I couldn’t resist.

As promised, we’re back with some very exciting news.

Do you visit Breakfast Banter for our Sunday Brunch posts? Are you constantly on the lookout for the perfect Brunch Spot? Great!

Not interested in scrolling through years of Brunch outings to find our favorites? We hear you. Loud and clear friend, loud and clear. So for those of you who are here for the meat and potatoes (specifically bacon and hash browns, as we’re talking brunch here) we’ve created a new page just for you: WHERE TO BRUNCH.

First things first, WHERE TO BRUNCH can be found under the “Sunday Brunch” Heading, smack dab in the middle of the menu bar. Yup… right up there.

On the WHERE TO BRUNCH page you’ll find our top five favorite spots in both Las Vegas (debuting today!) and Orange County (debuting next month!). They’ll be updated as we discover new spots, or return to old favorites. If we’re in a fancy brunch phase you’ll start to see some smart offerings… or if we’re in a casual frame of mind (Anyone else learning to brunch with your own version of The Potato?) you’ll see mostly neighborhood gems and family friendly spots.

TOPB

In case you were wondering… all of the locations listed under the WHERE TO BRUNCH page are accurate representations of the places we really love. No one has paid, bribed or otherwise coerced us to be on the list. As always, in the nature of full disclosure, any “freebies” we receive during a brunch adventure (or any other type of adventure) will be clearly marked c/o.

As if this wasn’t enough to get you all giddy (just me? Okay then…) how about a giveaway?

Oh yeah! (Kool-Aid Man voice)

In honor of our new WHERE TO BRUNCH page we’re giving away a $40 gift certificate to MTO Cafe located in Las Vegas, Nevada!

 

To Enter:

1. Check out MTO’s Menu HERE

2. Comment below and let us know what you would order off their menu if you win the gift certificate!

 

The Details:

- Giveaway open to all United States residents.

- The winner will receive one (1) – $40 Gift Certificate to MTO Cafe, located in Las Vegas, NV.

- One entry per reader is permitted.

- Entries will be accepted until 1:00 PM PST on Friday, April 18, 2014.

- The winner will be selected using random.org and announced on Friday, April 18, 2014 shortly after 1:00 PM PST. Once announced, the winner will have 48 hours to email goodmorning@breakfastbanter.com to confirm their shipping address (within the United States) so that the gift certificate may be delivered.

 

Don’t worry California Friends, we’ll be back next month with a special goodie for you too. Or perhaps this is a good reason to head up to Vegas? After all, if you decide to visit you’ll all ready know where to Brunch! Think about it…

 

STESHABYE

Work In Progress

It feels like everything this month is a work in progress and I’m just trying to hold onto each day for as long as possible.

Speaking of holding onto things…

Complete

Apparently not even my donuts are sacred.

Careful Baby, Mama knows how to use those elbows when it counts.

Back to my point… We’re knee deep in an exciting new element for the blog and preparing for an upcoming giveaway! So please excuse our virtual dust today. It’ll all be worth it. Can you say … “Free Brunch”… I know, such a tease.

What about you, itching to finally cross an item off your todo list? Is there fighting over pastries in your house? Would you believe me if I told you I organized my bookshelf by color in honor of Clear the Clutter April? It’s true, I love it, Can’t wait to share!

STESHABYE

SUNDAY BRUNCH: Healthy Junk

I took my first trip to Downtown Anaheim to have a taste of some Healthy Junk cuisine. The whole downtown was hoppin’. I had no idea I was missing out on such a hip scene. Seriously. What other environment would house such a place as Healthy Junk? I should have known.

Now I do and now I know to go back. Over and over.

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Healthy Junk, inspired by Lynda’s home recipes offers vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options.   She is such a funny, down-to-earth, and beautiful individual. She looks like a woman who would be the owner of such a fine establishment.

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With a multitude of pizzas, tacos, veggies, burgers, and desserts to choose from, it doesn’t feel like you’re eating healthy at all. Who knew vegetarian tasted so good. I can eat fries guilt free as long as I’m drinking water from a box (maybe it’s just a head game, but I think it did taste better). The guilt free feel might also come from catchphrases like “eat happy” and “first we eat then we do everything else.” The later being a perfect description of how we operate here at Breakfast Banter.

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I know some parents aren’t too sure how their little ones will react to a place like Healthy Junk. Do not worry, I can assure you that two toddlers gave it a big thumbs up. My friend Grace and her daughter joined me for the simple fact that Grace tells her kids they don’t eat junk. She thought they’d get a kick out of being able to eat some junk. Food wise though, my niece devoured the extra vegan garlic aioli I brought home. It was a winner in her “dip” world.

It was a winner in my love-of-food world.

Lynda, thank you for sharing your passion for healthy food with the world…

Like them on Facebook // Follow them on Instagram // Follow them on Twitter

R4

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF: Lindsey

I was on Spring Break last week. That was a disaster. I accomplished close to nothing. I was unable to muster up any ounce of discipline to stick to my time management goals. BUT the moment I walked back into the classroom on Monday morning, I was a machine of motivation. Inspiration spewed from my pores. I got stuff done.

I give all credit for this miracle of time management to the bell schedule. It’s kind of like a Mad Libs for my life; I get to insert the details but the basic structure is given to me. It’s a system I work very well in. Obviously teaching is a great profession for me.

With the magic of the bell schedule, my days go a little something like this…

6AM
6AM- Wake up, let Moxie out, shower, eat breakfast, feed Moxie, gather my supplies for the day, post on the blog, pick up coffee, and check emails/social media while waiting for my order.

730AM
7:30AM- Get to work, organize my thoughts & lesson plans, write the agenda on the board, and take a deep breath.

8AM

8AM- Greet 40 sleepy teenagers and teach, teach, teach Shakespeare’s Othello.

9AM

9AM- Reflect on my lesson, make changes for the next period, grade papers, drink more coffee, battle the Xerox machine, and use the restroom.

10AM- Greet 40 slightly more awake teenagers and teach, teach, teach Shakespeare’s Othello.

11AM

11AM- Brush up on my second piece of literature for the day, drink more coffee, check emails/blog/social media, grade papers, and brainstorm with my master teacher.

12NOON

NOON- Eat lunch, drink water, use the restroom, help students, and review lesson plans.

1PM

1PM- Greet 40 overloaded teenagers, teach, teach, teach The Great Gatsby, prepare for the next unit of study (The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde), grade papers, drink more coffee, pray to miraculously think of ways to grasp students’ interest, and complete my own homework for grad school.

430PM

4:30PM- Tie up loose ends in the classroom, prepare/tweak lessons for the next day, go to the bank/grocery store/gas station…any urgent errands, and check emails/blog and social media while in lines.

5PM

5PM- Unload the car, give my pup some much needed attention, change my clothes, laundry, and prepare dinner.

6PM

6PM- Eat dinner, feed Moxie, pack lunch for the next day, and dishes.

630PM

630PM- Most nights I head to class, Pilates, a walk, mentoring, small group, or a meeting.

9PM

9PM- Pick up any essential supplies I wasn’t able to get earlier in the day (like yesterday when I promised I would bring in treats for my 11th graders), wash my face, brush my teeth, and set out my clothes for the next day.

10PM

10PM- Check emails/blog/social media, watch a recorded episode of Law & Order, write, read a bit of what I want to read, and fall asleep fairly easily.

There you have it, a glimpse into my life. A life I love. A life that makes me very tired in the best way possible. A life that doesn’t seem like a have to but like a get to. A life that would be entirely unmanageable without some form of schedule.

What do your days look like? Any tips you can share with us?
R4

CREAM OR SUGAR: Clutter Free Closets

Cream or Sugar, This or That, To-may-to or To-mah-to… you get the idea. This week we’re each sharing our opinion on: How to keep your closet clutter free?

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Lindsey says…

I’m presenting my closet at it’s best. Bad news? It doesn’t always look like this. Good news? It takes me under 10 minutes to whip it into shape. This is how I do it:

1. EVERYTHING has a place. If the item doesn’t fit, I can’t keep it. No exceptions.

2. I use organizational bins/baskets/cubbies that are easily accessible. The less steps the better. Scarves, belts, purses, shoes, and even dirty laundry are in containers without lids. Easy peasy.

3. It takes too much time pondering the “when was the last time I wore this?” question for each article of clothing. At the beginning of the year I turned all of my hangers the opposite way. After wearing an article of clothing the hanger gets put back the “right” way. I can figure out what I haven’t worn in a few seconds.

4. When life gets really busy I assemble my outfits ahead of time. Sometimes I plan an entire week. I use the days of the week tags to keep them all straight. I like to think of them as a grown up version of days of the week underwear. This keeps my brain clutter at a minimum too.

There you have it. That’s how I keep my closets clutter free. Well, at least most of the time.

Stesha says…

I’ll be honest, I have a really messy closet. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the top five things about me that drive my husband nuts. I try on a shirt, another shirt, a skirt, those pants, oh not those pants… and somehow five minutes later I have a giant pile of clothes and no time to hang them all back up.

If I’m feeling really guilty I’ll lay the discarded options in a nice pile on the edge of the bed so they aren’t wrinkled for next time I feel like having a what to wear meltdown.

The only two rules I have that I can really stick to regarding my closet are:

1. Purge frequently. I donate clothes on a monthly basis. I’m one of those people that stays within their comfort zone regarding clothes (at least for the most part). I know what I feel comfortable in and what I’ll probably wear again. Frivolous purchases and ill fitting items don’t last long in my space.

2. Organize by season and color. If you live anywhere besides Southern California (and other slices of the world gifted with gorgeous weather year round) you know that what you wear in winter is drastically different than your selections for summer, so save the room! When the weather hits ninety degrees, the sweaters are all folded up and stored until October. I love to store seasonal clothing in infrequently used suitcases, saves the room and money I would have spent buying more clear plastic boxes.

Do you sort your clothing in any special way? What about clothing piles? Most annoying thing ever or totally understandable?

Let us know!

SIGNATURES3

A DAY IN THE LIFE OF: Stesha

I remember my life pre-baby/stay at home/blog… I never understood how someone could stay busy all day without “working” in the traditional sense. I’m a pretty motivated person and all, but what would I possibly do day in and day out without mandated tasks?

ha. ha. ha.

All of you stay at home Moms are shaking your heads at my stupidity, while all of you working professionals are still wondering what the heck I do all day.

So in honor of “clear the clutter” April we’re each sharing our daily schedule to provide a little peek into how we organize our time.

Before we start it is important to note that…

Now I get it.

Between raising a child, volunteering, completing freelance projects, and blogging (not a “hobby” blog, although those are great! but more of a content everyday, updating social media accounts, uncovering fun things to do in your community and don’t forget writing about them type of blog) I just can’t seem to get it all done.

What’s that, you don’t just work during nap time?

… Oh that’s sweet.

Here goes nothing…

6AM

6:00AM – “Wake up” to the Husband’s alarm, say Good Morning to Addie, roll over and go back to sleep.

7AM

7:00AM – Wake up for real (generally to the Potato “singing”), make bottle, say Good Morning to Potato, diaper change, feed bottle, scroll through emails to ensure I didn’t miss anything important.

8AM

8:00AM – Playtime in baby’s room, head downstairs and heat up some coffee, eat Cherrios, play/entertain the Potato and dogs.

9AM

9:00AM – Prepare baby food, feed the Potato, Put the potato down for a nap, pack bag for outing, shower, make bed, chores.

10AM

10:00AM – Check emails, update Social Media accounts, ensure the blog is functioning okay, get Potato once awake, change diaper, dress for the day.

11AM

11:00AM – Eat lunch (typically leftovers from the night before) head out for our class (music! swim!), errands, meetings, etc.

12NOON

12:00 – Out and about!

1PM

 1:00PM – Return home, feed Potato, change diaper and clothes, put down for nap, start working!

2PM

2:00PM – Prepare blog post, process images, pay bills, respond to emails, start dinner prep, Potato wakes up.

3PM

3:00 – Playtime, try to keep sane while you’re climbed over, singing, crawling, etc. Run a quick errand, typically the grocery store, Target, UPS or the bank.

4PM

4:00 – Get desperate, turn on Mickey, prepare the Potato’s dinner.

5PM

5:00 – Feed Potato, change diaper, bath time, entertain, count down the minutes until…

6PM

6:00 – Dad-O comes home!, hand over child, pour drink, prepare dinner, breathe, make bottle, diaper change, Potato goes to bed.

7PM

7:00 Eat dinner, clean up, catch up with Husband, go for a run.

8PM

8:00PM Respond to emails, work on posts, read news, eat dessert (don’t judge), move laundry around.

9PM

9:00PM – Pour Beer, Watch Jimmy Fallon from the previous night on DVR, chat with the Husband, handle personal tasks (online shopping, pinterest, banking).

10:00PM – 1:00AMish – Get ready for bed, fold laundry, finish blog posts and site updates, work on freelance projects, catch up on volunteer responsibilities, respond to any lingering emails… Go to bed.

Rinse and Repeat.

STESHABYE

BREAKFAST WITH BABY: Easter Basket Goodies

We’re only twelve days away from Easter and this Mama has got her crap basket together! Inspired by our “getting organized/clear the clutter” monthly mantra we ordered all of The Potato’s goodies wayyy ahead of time and tried to select things that wouldn’t get tossed in the trash or a storage box the day after the egg hunt.

 

PotatoEaster

 

Bunny Tee – GAP // “Noodle” the Rabbit – JELLLYCAT // Bowtie – JANIE AND JACK // Baby Mum-Mum // Easy Peasy Booties – JCREW // Zoli Cup // Baby Shades – RO.SHAM.BO // Beatrix Potter Complete Tales

I’m in love, (Those sunglasses! A bowtie!) if only they made those booties in my size.

STESHABYE

SUNDAY BRUNCH: Echo and Rig

It’s not hard to see why people love Echo and Rig. Housed in a large space near the entrance to Tivoli Village the restaurant is filled with gorgeous decor (think Restoration Hardware) and tons of natural light. Add in a cozy bar, butcher shop, fresh pressed juices and some mouth watering small plates and you’re almost guaranteed a successful brunch.

Plus it’s Spring and I’m a sucker for a great patio and boy do they have a great patio.

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We browsed the butcher’s offerings while we waited for our table and enjoyed watching as they “harvested” herbs from one of the planters outdoors. Talk about going local, it doesn’t get much closer than right outside your front door. Maybe they’ll share a few tips about growing herbs outdoors in the desert? Lord knows I could use them.

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My second favorite thing about Echo and Rig is the drink menu. There are SO many delicious options including my favorites the Echo and Rig White Sangria and the Gin Gin Echo Mule Mule.

“So if that’s your second favorite, what’s your first?”

Two Words. Portobello Fries.

These delicious little fungi are by far one of my favorite bites in town. There’s just something magical about the combination of their delicate coating and intensely flavorful dipping sauce. They make me swoon.

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White Sangria // Thick Grilled Bacon // Portobello Fries // Potato Pancake // Short Rib Hash // NY Egg Sandwich

While we’re truly smitten with their small plates, the rest of the menu is also spot on. Need a hearty dish to fill you up and still make your palate happy? Try the Short Rib Hash. Just don’t blame me if you eat all of it in one sitting and spend the rest of the day grumbling about how you should have worn stretchy pants. You’ve been warned.

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Echo and Rig has a little something for everyone, and is definitely worth the trek northwards.

Interested in learning more? Check out their Brunch Menu or show them some Facebook lovin.

Now if I could just get them to deliver portobello fries during The Potato’s naptime…

STESHABYE

CLUTTER

clutter

Amen, brother.

STESHABYE

 

CREAM OR SUGAR: Clearing your Thoughts

Cream or Sugar, This or That, To-may-to or To-mah-to… you get the idea. This week we’re each sharing our opinion on: How do you clear your thoughts?

Stesha Says:

CS1

I prepare food almost every day. But when I’m really struggling with something (especially if I’m having a hard time keeping it together mentally or emotionally) I make bread, from scratch, without any kind of machine.

It’s true, when the Potato was three to five months old and suffering from reflux, I made so much focaccia I couldn’t give it all away.

It may sound crazy, but the process goes something like this…

Step One (Distraction) - Prepare ingredients, activate yeast, read through recipe. A small error (like confusing the salt and the sugar) can ruin your bread, so you’re forced to focus on the task at hand.

Step Two (Release of Aggression) - Add Flour, begin kneading. A little physical challenge allows me to get out the frustration and tension I’ve been holding.

Step Three (Pause and Revaluate) - Wait. Allow the dough to rise. Rise times are almost never less than an hour. You’d be amazed what you can hash through in an hour. I usually force myself to avoid any action during the rise time. No emails, no calls, just thoughts. Time really does heal most things.

Step Four (Revel in Success) - Bake and enjoy. Besides the obvious benefits of having a delicious loaf of homemade bread there is a unique type of victory in creating something from scratch.

What do you think? Is it worth the effort for a confidence boost and a fresh baguette?

Lindsey Says:

CS2

 

I take a bath. The bathroom is free from technology, as long as you no longer think of indoor plumbing as technology, the door locks, and the sound of running water drowns out the world.

I fill the bath with scalding hot water, bubble bath, and lavender essential oil, light a candle or five, and brew some coffee (more likely heat up coffee from that morning). I sit and sip.

The process of preparing the bath calms my thoughts as self-care usually does. I feel proactive and nurturing. It’s like validating my thoughts before really knowing what they are. I spend the first five minutes gradually acclimating to the hot hot hot water. There is no room to think of anything else. My mind forgets all about what brought me to the bath in the first place.

Finally, I’m able to slowly let my thoughts enter by mind again. It goes a little something like this:

“Oh, hello thought. You’re not so scary. Thanks for stopping by. You can go now.”

And just like that, they’re gone.

How do you clear your thoughts?

SIGNATURES3