Summer To-Do List

I made a spontaneous summer goal list a while back, but now after reading Claire's summer bucket list, I'm thought my original list looked a little pithy. I think I've forgotten the simple fact that are there are in fact 3 whole months in a summer, so it's high time I beef up my list..

1. try paddleboarding
2. have my grandma teach me how to make lemon meringue pie
4. have backyard BBQ's
5. use 1 or more of my groupon / living social deals
6. take a ferry ride
7. paint our spare bedroom/office
8. spend a sunny day at Alki Beach
9. learn how to make jam with my mom
11. organize our basement
12. go wine tasting
13. have plenty of fro-yo nights with the girls at Menchies
14. take care of wedding bills/expenses
16. do yoga once a week
17. go through my closet and purge/giveaway/sell
18. take more pictures
19. make homemade popsicles

Dinner Last Night: Eggplant and Summer Squash

My inspiration for my dinner last night came courtesy of an elementary/high school friend's blog, The Sustainable Palate. Kate's blog focuses on cooking with local, seasonal ingredients, and I've bookmarked pretty much every recipe in hopes that I'll eventually try them all myself. Go see for yourself!

I followed this recipe for eggplant and summer squash verbatim and it turned out deliciously! The recipe calls to serve the spicy, hearty curry over rice, but when I peeked in my pantry, I had a paltry bit of rice remaining, so instead I served over cous cous, which was just as satisfying.

3 Years

3 years ago today we met. It was June 27, 2008.
It was a Friday night, Bri's birthday party, at a dive bar of all places.
I was there with my girlfriends, you with your guy friends.
An introduction was made. We talked all night...
About life and music and friends and family and everything else.
Phone numbers were exchanged. A few calls and texts ensued.

A week later, we went on our first official date to the Mariners Game.
And shared our first kiss just outside the stadium.
The rest is history.

And now 3 years later, we are engaged, and soon we'll be married!
Happy 3 years babe. I'm so happy I met you.
My world has grown infinitely happier with you in my life.
I can't wait to marry you,
And spend the rest of our lives together.

Weekend Baking: Blueberry Lemon Tea Cakes

Since I've discovered my artful talent of concocting decent recipes from what little ingredients I have on hand, I decided to try this magic yet again, this time in the form of a dessert.

The last page of Martha Stewart's latest Living called out to me, Blueberry Lemon tea cakes. Since I recently received a lovely little Le Creuset baker in springy "fennel" green from my friend Anna as a bridal shower gift, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to put it into action.

This recipe is definitely a winner, just the right amount of tart + sweet, with a pitch perfect sugary lemony glaze on top. Plus, it's adaptable, I was a little short on frozen blueberries, so I threw in some frozen raspberries for good measure, which I can oh-so-humbly say, only enhanced the flavor.

Food Memories

Do you ever make foods to recall a memory? I've only eaten fried zucchini blossoms once before. It was in 2009, and I was dining at restaurant in Piazza Santa Maria in the Trastevere neighborhood of Rome with my family.
I remember these were written on a chalkboard menu, and we ordered them on a whim, my sister scoffing at my insistence on ordering yet another fried food. I remember eating them while drinking wine and laughing while we sat underneath a painted mural of Christ with his hands together in prayer on the restaurant wall. We later took a picture of my mom mimicking this pose that same night.

Lately I've spied these bright, colorful zucchini blossoms popping up at my local farmer's market. So now I want to try my hand and make these myself, if only to remember that summer two years ago; the lively Italian streets, the amazing flavorful cuisine, the pure unadulterated magic of Rome.
What's a favorite food memory of yours?


Having a low key Saturday.
Listening to my new favorite song...
Online shopping here...
Getting excited for an overnight trip here tomorrow...

Dinner Last Night: Pea Pesto Linguine

In an effort to avoid going to the grocery store once again this week, I scrounged around my fridge and pantry in an attempt to create dinner from the ingredients I had on hand.

Thankfully, this pea pesto linguine was pretty easy to concoct with my food inventory. All you need is dried pasta, frozen peas, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and pine nuts. Next, just blend and serve over pasta and voila - dinner! Pretty easy! And it was a nice twist on pesto.

Beer Marshmallows

I love marshmallows.
I mean, how can you not?
They remind me of Easter baskets.
Chewy. Fluffy. Sugary. Sweet.

Until recently, I never knew you could actually make your own marshmallows. I mean, I guess I could've figured it out, marshmallows were obviously made somewhere. But in my world, marshmallows always came off of the shelf beside graham crackers and hershey bars at the grocery store.

I'm sure one day, I'll carve out some time to actually make marshmallows for myself. But until then, chew on marshmallows. Guaranteed these are not your average ordinary Easter basket marshmallows.

Is it weird that I'm really curious to try one...

Footloose Remake

Did you hear they are making a new Footloose?
In the new movie, Julianne Hough is the preacher's daughter and Dennis Quaid is the dad.

I'm torn about folks remaking such a great movie. How do you feel?
Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about a remake, but the preview isn't too bad...

Weeknight Baking: Salted Caramel Brownies

So I finally got around to making Olivia's famous salted caramel brownies.


While my version didn't turn out as aesthetically pleasing as the included image above, I admit I did hover in the kitchen shortly after the pan had cooled and swiftly gobbled up a plateful.

I highly recommend you try for yourself. Double yum!

First Day of Summer!

Today is the first day of summer...are you out celebrating?

I awoke to gorgeous sunshine streaming through my windows and a perky 75-degree day. Always a great way to kick off my favorite season.

What are your summer plans?

Salad Savvy: Green Goddess

I was feeling like a green goddess yesterday and decided to whip up a green goddess salad, having heard some buzz about this salad du jour from various blogs. When I went to google the recipe, imagine my surprise that there are a bazillion variations.

Ultimately, I went with ever dependable Ina Garten's recipe, which features basil, scallions, garlic, and lemon juice. I added a little parsley for good measure since I had plenty of it. This salad dressing is so fresh and flavorful, I don't know why I waited so long to try it!


Searching for the Perfect First Dance Song...

My fiance and I in search of a song for our first dance. We enjoy and appreciate good music but I wouldn't call either of us "music people." We listen to the radio or pandora, or occasionally an ipod mix, but we're not really up on what's new and hip in the music scene.

As such, we find ourselves 4 months to our wedding without a wedding song... Yesterday, we were literally googling "great wedding songs," and playing youtube clips and sharing our feedback; too fast, too slow, or not quite right... It was actually quite comical! Ultimately we agreed on the following; we want a song that's not too serious, upbeat, and maybe oldie or a classic, - but not a wedding song cliche.

We tossed around the names Billy Joel and Frank Sinatra, and even Taylor Swift. I know, I know...let me explain. On the night that we met, we talked for a long time, about nothing and everything, and somehow we got to talking about how much I liked the song "Our Song," by Taylor Swift. Surprisingly he agreed he also thought it was catchy, and even hummed a few lines to prove it. It was hilarious, I couldn't believe a guy would admit to liking Taylor Swift. We joked about having that song as our first dance, but thought it might be a little too cheesy...we'll see.

So...what was your first dance song? Any ideas/suggestions, I'm open to ideas!


Quote of the Week

"I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life ... to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Sweet Gift

Friday was the last day of school, and with the last day often comes the giving and receiving of tokens of thanks from classroom families. Thank you gifts from students or parents are never necessary nor expected, but always a sweet surprise.

Aren't these the sweetest teacher gifts? I especially love the slogans "thanks for being a great ade to our classroom" for teacher aids and support staff, and "thanks for quenching my thirst for knowledge" for teachers. So cute and clever!

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day, I love you dad!

School's Out For Summer!

Today is the last day of school! I can't believe it! It feels like this school year just began and *poof* it's already over. This final week has been a busy one; field day, our end of the year class party, the final assembly, and 5th grade graduation today. Yesterday we packed up all of our desk supplies and students carried their journals, dictionaries and the like home in grocery bags. Yearbooks have been distributed and signed... I feel like I've taught them so many things and I sincerely hope they carry those lessons with them into 3rd grade and beyond.

It's a bittersweet feeling to bid goodbye to a class, all of you elementary teachers out there can probably relate. I mean, I spend six hours a day, 180 days a year with these same twenty four 7 and 8-year olds. I know all about their lives and families, favorite subjects and least favorite subjects, likes and dislikes. What they struggle with, what they excel at, and what their goals are. I know their pets names, favorite foods, favorite sports, and what they want to be when they grow up.

We spend all this uninterrupted time together and then suddenly it's over. Yes, I will see most of them again next year, but it's not quite the same. Classes and intermixed, students move away, or transfer to other schools. In reality, it's unlikely that that same exact same group will ever be together in its entirety again. I always end the year excited for where they are headed, but a little nostalic.

But the thing is, it's not really over. There will be a new group next year; new lives and families, new favorite foods and favorite sports, new likes and dislikes. And then it starts all over again. At the end of the day, I'm so proud of my class this year and all that their little hearts have accomplished.

Happy last day of school. And the best part....SUMMER!

Dancing Shoes

Check out my new kicks! These little guys are going to serve as my dancing shoes for the wedding. I've been on quite the shoe hunt for a while now, as you probably remember. As such, I still haven't quite figured out what shoes I'm wearing for actual wedding...

Who knows? Maybe I'll end up just sticking with these bad boys for comforts-sake. I'm definitely a wimp when it comes to uncomfortable shoes.

Regardless, I'm pretty excited about these shoes, aren't they darling?

Hello Wedding Dress

Hooray, my wedding dress arrived!!! It wasn't due to arrive until mid-August, so imagine my surprise when I got a phone call the first week of June announcing it was here! My mom and I went into the bridal boutique yesterday evening to try it on, and everything it was perfect! I'll go back for alterations at the end of the summer, but I'm relieved to know this a garment this important made it to Seattle in one piece...phew!


Dinner Last Night: Kale Pizza

My sister posted this recipe for kale pizza on her blog a while back, and I've been wanting to try it ever since. I admit, I was initially a little wary of kale at first. I'm not a huge fan of uncooked kale, I found it tasted a little grassy. But my family continued to rave about its health benefits, packed with vitamins and antioxidants, yadda yadda yadda...

Ultimately, I realized it was just too beneficial to pass up. I could always hide it in soup, right? I continued to use kale in this way for a while until I tried my hand at kale chips. With lemon aioli, these were awesome!!

Long story short, now I'm an advocate for kale. If you were like me and a little skeptical, try kale chips and this pizza and I bet you'll be a convert.

Summer Bike Ride

My sisters and I used to ride bikes all the time as kids. We lived in a neighborhood burgeoning with children and families, so we'd often encounter our friends riding bikes to and from swim team practice in the summer months. We knew all the shortcuts, which neighbor's property brought you from one street to another, the houses where the mean, cranky neighbors lived (whose yards you were obligated to walk your bike through in lieu of pedaling fast).
In those years before I ever registered the desirable freedom a learner's permit or a driver's license held, my bike held a freedom all its own. Being able to speed down my street, turn any direction on a whim, and pedal until our legs was so exhilarating! Katie and I taught ourselves how to ride with no hands, balancing the handle bars between our knobby knees. I of course was the cautious one, and reluctant to fall ever, but she did not ever demonstrate such a fear.

Now that I'm a grown-up, biking is less of a necessity and more of a leisure past time. I do currently own a bike, a $25 steal my parents scored at a local garage sale. Yet, I'm hopeful to acquire a beach cruiser in the next few years or so, hopefully by that time we'll live in a more bike-friendly neighborhood. But when I do, I'm going to invest in this clever contraption, ideal for those who enjoy biking and cold beverages.
What's your favorite place to bike ride?

image 2/etsy

Restaurant #10 - Umi Sake House

Umi Sake House may officially be my new favorite happy hour. I've been wanting to try this Belltown haunt for ages now, and I was not disappointed. First off, happy hour is from 4-8 Monday-Friday, that might just be the longest HH in Seattle!

My friend and I dined on spicy tuna roll, unagi roll, spider roll, and Seattle crunch roll (salmon, avocado, cream cheese in tempura) delicious! Capped off with cold sake and red wine, it was a superb meal. Now that's what I call a happy hour!

Can't wait to make it back here!

Restaurant Challenge so far
#10 - Umi Sake House
#4 - Po Dog
#2 - Nishino
#1 - June

* 10 new restaurants down, 15 to go!

Showered with Love

Here are a few snapshots from my bridal shower last weekend. My mom's best friend Jana hosted this lovely event at her home that boasts sweeping views of the Cascade mountains, to which we took full advantage. It was an gorgeous sunny day in Seattle!
Check out my bridal Barbie cake!
Some of my best girls...
My flower girls...
My family - four generations.
It was such a fun day, though opening presents is an exhausting business, let me tell you! Everything was perfect; from the glorious sunshine to the delicious lunch and creatively clever cake...And of course, being surrounded by my loved ones from near and far, I'm feeling the love. Thank you to everyone who made this day wonderful.

Quote of the Week

"No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many."

- Kevin Heath


Breaking Dawn

Sneak peek trailer of Breaking Dawn: Part 1. It's gonna be good! I've got a lot of exciting dates ahead of me this fall including...bachelorette party, my future sister-in-law's wedding, our rehearsal dinner, OUR WEDDING! why not add November 18th to the list of excitement, shall we?
Any other Twilight fans out there - are as excited as I am?

Happy Friday

Hooray the weekend is here! Only 6 days left of school, I can't believe it, time flies! My students amped up as ever over the impending summer vacation, they can hardly sit still!
This weekend, I'm looking forward to a few things:

* Tonight, I'm headed to a rainbow potluck dinner party, ever been to one? Here's the deal: everyone is assigned a color and you bring a dish that somehow incorporates that color food. My color is red, so I'm debating between these recipes.

* a much needed haircut and color

* relaxing with my fiance who has been away most of the week for work

* An engagement celebration dinner. My cousin Michael and his *fiance* Tamara got engaged two weekends ago, and are in town this weekend for a gig.

This weekend is looking pretty sweet EXCEPT one major bummer - finishing my report cards. Major boo! Hopefully I can get these done before Sunday? Wishful thinking I'm sure...

Kickball Champs!

Last night was our kickball championship and....WE WON!! Yes, back-to-back kickball champions! We were champions last year and held onto the title again this year, Woohoo! The game was pretty close (7-6) and it really could've gone either way since we'd lost to this team before, but we prevailed, champions once again!

The bummer of it was, I arrived late and didn't warm up, so I pulled a quad muscle on my first run to first base. LAME! Fortunately it's feeling slightly better today, but still sore.

Can't wait until next season!

You're Toast

Aren't these toast coasters cool? Have your morning coffee with a slice of toast...literally.

Snapshots of Rhode Island

The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, my youngest sister graduated from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. One of the signature graduation festivities at the school is the procession through the Van Winkle gate. As freshman, students enter the campus through the gate, and upon graduation, the new class exits through the gate as college graduates. It's quite a tradition, I had no idea! First come the professors, who all looked very Harry Potter-esque in their colorful robes and funny hats. Followed by the Brown University band, and a slough of doctoral and masters candidates.
And then, before the Class of 2011, came literally thousands of alumni. It was truly impressive! All the way back to the class of 1930! Alumni carried banners celebrating their graduation years. The best was the 25th reunion class of 1986...
The parade of graduates ends with the new graduating class of 2011. I camped out in front of the gate for over 2 hours to get a picture of my sister the graduate, but it was well worth it. Afterwards, graduates and family alike relocate to the Brown University Green for the actual graduation ceremony where...Jack Nicholson spoke! He was an honorary graduate, among some other famous people including Arianna Huffington of the Huffington Post. He wore his signature shades and was just as funny in person as he is onscreen.
What a graduation day, huh? Neither my undergrad nor graduate ceremony could hold a candle to these festivities!

Weekend Baking: Chocolate Chip Coconut Banana Bread

My fiance and I went for a run around 8:30 last night, and by the time we got home, 9:15 ish, when we'd normally be going through the motions to get ready for Monday morning, an adrenaline rush from the run gave me a delayed burst of energy.

So there I am, wired, at 9:45 PM, and needless to say, going to bed at my normal time is not a reasonable option. So what did I do? I decided to bake. Yep. Weird, I know. Why not I guess? I shuffled through my to-bake folder on my web browser and landed on chocolate chip coconut banana bread. Of course 60 minutes of cook time left me full by the time it finished baking, but I'm excited to dive into it for breakfast!