Book Club

Last night was my book club! This month, our book selection was The Summer We Read Gatsby, by Danielle Ganek. In a nutshell, we all pretty much unanimously disliked the book. Knowingly, Carol, our host, suggested an additional book as "extra credit," The Hunger Games. Skip the first book, and go right to that!

However, we didn't let a 'blah' book damper our evening in the slightest. Our version of book club is super casual, less of a meeting, and more of a social gathering to catch up with good friends over wine and sustenance. Carol graciously made us dinner too, Ina's tomato-basil soup and grilled cheese sandwiches on crusty bread, while we recapped the book and everything else under the sun. I can't wait for the next book!


Valentine's Day Cards

Loving these cards for Valentines Day. I didn't think it was possible, but Rifle Co.'s cards just keep getting cuter and cuter. If only my wallet was infinitely deep, I'd buy out the entire shop!


Quote of the Week

"Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you stray."

- Rumi


Happy Weekend

Happy Friday - phew, I am so looking forward to the weekend!
Looking forward to a weekend hanging with my girlfriends - hitting the town Friday night with college friends, followed by a belated birthday dinner with my girls on Saturday. On Sunday, my husband and I are expecting a furniture delivery, part of our living room makeover! Can't wait!

Happy Weekend!
What are you up do?

What's In Your Kindle?

Well, I finally caved and joined the kindle club. This is a big step for me, as I've always considered myself a "book person" through and through. First off, I love reading, I'm kind of a reading nerd - if you will. Plus, I love the tangible nature of books; the weight of a book in my hands, the smell of the pages, the quick turn of a page... All those little nuances that make reading captivating.

But, having said that, I can devour a book in a relatively short period of time. And books are not light, nor are they conducive to packing for a vacation. When it comes down to deciding what will ultimately fit in my suitcase; do I want to pack 3 books OR do want to bring those cute wedges and the riding boots... When it comes to vacation packing, books can be a pain. For example: I brought 3 books on our honeymoon for beach/poolside reading, which I finished on Day 5 of our 7 days. At that moment I remember pondering the convenience of a tablet reader and the ability to purchase a new story with the ease of a single click.

I casually mentioned this to my husband, and voila, I received a kindle on my birthday! While I'm still going to buy books in book form, I'm excited at the prospect of traveling lighter, while wetting my reading appetite.

So I ask...what's in your kindle? Or in other words, what are you currently reading? I need some recommendations as I have 3 flights in the next month, and I need to stock up on some good books!



Isn't this the coolest? Meet the corkcicle. This was made for me, the girl who always forgets to refrigerate white wine before serving. Is it wrong to start my stocking stuffer list for Christmas 2012 in January?


Blog it Forward

One thing I love about blogging, is that it is never ending. I'm constantly editing and revising my google reader feeds, whether thats counting the years I've been reading old favorites or removing sites that have decided to end their blogging run.

Discovering a new blog is like discovering that delightfully wrapped gift hiding in the nook behind the Christmas tree once you've thought all the presents had been opened. When I happen to stumble upon a new blog that is both lovely, entertaining, and keeps my interest beyond a single post, I add it to my "trying out," folder in google reader. Eventually I usually convert these new finds to favorites, but I give each blog a trial period. I feel it's a polite courtesy, because I know I've definitely had my moments of superb posts and witty writing, but I've also had a handful of not-so-inspiring, sub par posts that I'd love to forget if it weren't for the visual reminders via linkwithin.

Anyway, long story short; below I've listed a few lovely blogs I been enjoying the last few months, in no particular order. This is my attempt to "blog it forward," and hope you might discover an unknown gem for yourself from my list, that may in time become a favorite of yours.

Winter Weekend

After 3 -1/2 days without leaving the house, I was very, very happy to welcome the rain. Snow days are always enjoyable for a while, until cabin fever ensues.

Our snowy turned slushy turned rainy weekend was pretty low key. We had an impromptu birthday dinner with some friends at Crow on Friday night, when my plans for dinner with my family fell through due to snowy roads. Delicious dinner, followed by chips + guacamole, margaritas, and a few celebratory tequila shots among friends at a nearby bar - and all of a sudden, 29 doesn't feel so old after all. Happy Birthday to me.

How was your weekend?

It's My Birthday

It's my birthday!
I can hardly believe it is here again. Our snow adventure continues, and since our 6-ish inches have not thawed, and temperatures have plummeted - there is no school again today. This is a pleasant surprise, since I wasn't originally supposed to have my birthday off! It's funny because looking back, I've had a snow day on my birthday at least 4 times, all while living in a city where it rarely snows.

My husband has declared he will be making breakfast in bed for me - yippee! He also told me last night that he plans to bake me a birthday cake - this is a first! I'm hoping the slick roads begin to thaw, but if I'm house bound, a movie-marathon birthday wouldn't be so bad, right? In the evening, weather depending, we have dinner plans, just the two of us.

Here's to the last year of my twenties, wow does that make me feel old. It feels like it is going to be a good year!


Snow Day Realized

It snowed! A lot actually...we have at least 5 inches on the ground and it's still coming down. So I guess it wasn't an empty threat after all. Since I cannot drive with the amount of snow blanketing the ground - nor do I want to attempt this feat.

My snow day plan consists of the following...

+ Delicious breakfast. Husband (who is working from home today) made me french toast with apple compote - he's the best!

+ Episode 2 of Downton Abbey that I missed Sunday night

+ Finishing my book, and maybe this one too if there's time

+ Catching up on a stack of unread magazines: Real Simple, Cooking Light, Martha Stewart Living...the list goes on

+ Taking a walk with husband in the snow

+ Drink several steaming cups of this hot chocolate, gifted to me by a classroom parent

+ Picking out photos for our wedding album

+ Begin online shopping for a new camera...thoughts?

+ Begin to get excited that my birthday is TOMORROW!

Isn't it amazing how much you can get done on a snow day? Let's see if it all happens...


Snow Day

We've had on-again, off-again flurries since Saturday afternoon, and a good 2-3 inches that have stuck throughout the weekend.  There was even a handful of fluffy white flurries descending during school today - much to my second graders delight - so as you can imagine we got a LOT of work done.  Right....  

And now, we have the official declaration from the district - tomorrow is a snow day!  Despite the fact that it is not snowing...yet.  Let me explain... Here in Seattle and surrounding area, we are an it-snows-once-a-year-maybe-twice-on-a-big-year-kind-of-town.  Translation: natives of the area (including myself) are typically NOT everyday snow drivers.  Now, please know that much of this is due to the  fact that our city does not have adequate DOT snow plow equipment to clear the majority of our cities streets.  We're talking approximately 15 plows for the entire city of Seattle last time I checked - THAT'S IT, seriously!  As a result, this leaves most snowy roads to freeze overnight, making for even slipperier conditions in the early morning.  Seattle is also infamous for having way too many drivers attempt to drive up the city's many hills without the ability of 4-wheel drive - and then abandon said cars when their efforts to climb these icy hills prove fruitless.  

In a nutshell - we have strong reactions to the impending threat of snow, including delaying or canceling school.   All day long the local news online has been declaring this "Seattle Storm 2012," and predicting an ample 6-10 inches due to fall tonight. I guess we shall see! 

Happy Snow Day!!


Weeknight Baking: Apple Sharlotka

It has been snowy around Seattle the past few days, which has made me want to avoid icy roads, and instead camp out inside my cozy house with the heat blaring, and comfort foods a'cooking on the stove. Feeling inspired to keep up with my resolution to bake more, I attempted this recipe for apple sharlotka, a Russian apple cake. The cake is essentially a pan full of tart apple chunks, with a batter poured over the top.

Despite the fact that my version didn't turn out as compact and cake-like as Smitten Kitchen's, it was quite tasty! If you're a fan of tart apple pies - this is a dessert for you.

Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit

I tried a new dessert last night - brown sugar broiled grapefruit ala Joy the Baker. Always a citrus fan, grapefruit is a rotating staple of my breakfast routine. And when indulging in this tart fruit, I almost always add that sprinkle of sugar to sweeten it up. But I'd never even considered that one could bake or broil a grapefruit. The broiling works to caramelize the sugar to really infuse the flesh. Wowza, this definitely improves the flavor, and warm sugar-infused grapefruit is always quite tasty! Who knew?


Hair Do?

I am a big fan of the updo. Whether that be your basic ponytail or a twisty, messy knot atop my head, it is the convenience of being able to throw my hair up at a moments whim that helps me resist the urge to chop it all off.

However, I admit, I am no master of the perfect bun. Now, maybe I stand alone here, but the DIY updo ala pinterst may seem effortless it it's visual step by step guide, however by step 3, my hair never quite looks as it should in the tutorial. Am I alone here? I am envious of the messy-chic buns captured daily by some of my favorite bloggers - especially Naomi, her hair always looks effortless perfect, how does she do it??
The turning point for me, when doing my hair became an important routine worth cultivating, was during my awkward tween middle school years at a private-Catholic all-girl school. I soon realized, that hair, when styled correctly, could actually improve one's appearance and significantly enhance your chances of slow dancing with cute boys from neighboring parochial schools at middle school dances. Who knew?!?

During this era, my friend Sarah and I were notorious for the pull-through-bun, which at the time was the "cool" style, and frankly the only acceptable hairstyle we thought worth donning, during our ever-important seventh grade year. This "look" - if I can even call it that - was your basic ponytail, with the pony pulled through the band as far as humanly possible without making the actual tail. Basically you were left with a limp loop of hair hanging from your band. As I recall, this style didn't exactly hold up throughout the day, which be default meant many superfluous trips to the bathroom, with the sole purpose of reviewing said loop in the mirror, and redoing as necessary.

Now, years later, looking back at pictures of ourselves, we laugh uproariously at this hairstyle we swore by. We even affectionately refer to this once beloved loop as "the bag of poop" hair, as there is an utterly uncanny resemblance between the that loop of hair and those compostable baggies that accompany walkers to the dog park.

Do not worry though, once I am able to master the messy but effortless chic chignon bun I will surely post it - if only so you can honestly break it to me, that all these years later, I'm still wearing the bag of poop hair. :)

image via pinterest


I've made the recent discovery that Felicity is accessible on netflix streaming. I admit, since my discovery, I've spent way too many hours reliving the beloved series. Felicity reminds me of watching TV in my parents living room, affectionately called "the den," where I'd feel the anticipation of college as I watched Felicity and company navigate through the beginnings of college life in New York City. I remember it sounded so adult and far away, I mean it was 1998 after all and I was merely a sophomore in high school.

Do you ever pick up watching old shows from your past, just for fun? I was surprised how many episodes I had no recollection of, but once the tape began rolling, I remembered all of those moments I once lived vicariously through. Remember the big Ben vs. Noel dilemma? Ah the memories...

P.S. I totally rooted for Noel.

Dinner Last Night: Brown Sugar & Balsamic Slow Cooked Pork

This is a recipe worth writing down...immediately. Brown sugar and balsamic slow cooked pork. After marinating in a crockpot for 7 hours, all I could say was yum! While my version didn't turn out as aesthetically pleasing as the picture above, this dish is decisively delicious. It also keeps well so I've been indulging in pork sandwiches that continue to exude flavorful, sugary, balsamicy goodness. Whoever said school lunches were boring was seriously mistaken! So now, seriously, GO! Bookmark this recipe, write this down...for real! You won't regret it!


Last Great Book I Read

I brought this book on our honeymoon for poolside reading and devoured it. Season to Taste is a very unique, interested read. I'd heard about this book via another blog, and I'm glad I decided to pick it up.

The premise is this; an aspiring chef looses her sense of smell in a horrible car accident. Having to shelve her dreams of culinary school for the lack of having an ability to smell and therefore taste - the book details her journey through coping with this loss, and understanding how to live a life without smell. It is a very engaging story, unlike any other I've read. I had never ever contemplated NOT having a sense of smell, so it was very interesting to read about this experience is like firsthand.

It was a quick read - with some science woven in (but in an interesting way - I swear!)
Check it out!



Reading this and this...

Looking forward to this premiere tonight...

Enjoying a lazy day.


Happy Birthday Blog!

Happy Birthday blog!
I can't believe you are 4 years old today, wow how time flies!
This blog has been a creative outlet for me to air my thoughts, share little bits of my life and loves, and get to know others out there in other parts of the world. I love being able to look back through old posts and see a snapshot of what I was doing, thinking, and spending my time doing many moons ago.

Happy Birthday blog, these past 4 years have been quite memorable, I'm eagerly looking forward to those to come!

2011 in Review

Can you believe it's already 2012? I feel like we just partied like it was 1999! That was 11 years ago, crazy, right?!

2011 Goals in Review

+ Travel somewhere new (always the top of my list)
YES! New destinations: New Orleans, Denver, and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
Join a yoga studio and go consistently
Um...not quite. Went to a few hot yoga classes, but definitely didn't go "consistently..." Next year?

+ Take another sewing class
YES! My friend Philly & I took a sewing class and followed a pattern to make pajama pants.

+ Dine at 25 new restaurants (new in that I've never been to them)more details on this goal to follow...
YES! See posts here.

+ Throw a party at our house
Sort of...we had people over for a BBQ this summer and had a casual pre-wedding pumpkin carving get together.

+ Bake more
YES! Evidence here, here, and here.

+ Make date night a weekly ritual
Yep! We usually make dinner together or go out to eat at least once a week.

+ Pull off planning my wedding without getting too stressed out
I actually think I did pretty well at this!

* * *

Now, onto Goals for 2012

+ Drink more water

+ Travel somewhere new

+ Do a better job at separating work and home

+ Continue to try new recipes and bake consistently

+ Try and eat more locally, organically, and sustainably

+ Only buy clothing I love and enjoy wearing (not simply because it's on sale)

+ Try and do some of the projects I've pinned on pinterest

+ Make soup on Sundays

+ Spend as much time as possible with family and friends

We're Back!

Happy New Year!
We're back from our honeymoon, relaxed, rested, and a little reluctant to get back of the hang of the real world after chilling on a beach in the Dominican Republic in 82 degree sunshine for 7 days straight.

I have many posts to catch up on including 2011 in review, and New Year's Resolutions. Hopefully I can get my s*&@ together and post all by tomorrow!

Until then...HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Quote for a New Year

"Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you!
Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing."
~ Oscar Wilde

Cheers to all the excitement, adventure, and surprise to come in 2012!