Bachelorette Recap

This past Memorial Day weekend was bliss! Eight of us flew down to sunny Palm Springs for my good friend Vanessa's bachelorette party. Her sisters planned an amazing weekend! We rented a gorgeous, sprawling house, grilled up delicious food, and relaxed poolside with margaritas in hand for the majority of the weekend. Of course there were a few serious dance parties, dress-up opportunities, and karaoke thrown in there for good measure! It was the perfect destination for a bachelorette party and a welcome excuse to flee the gloomy weather here in Seattle. Now, back to reality...

Girls Getaway!

Hello all - I'm so excited it's the weekend! I'm headed out tomorrow afternoon to beautiful, sunny Palm Springs for the long weekend, to celebrate my good friend Vanessa's bachelorette party! Can't wait for a weekend of girls, gossip, and good times! WOOT WOOT!


Book On Tape

I just checked out Julia Child's "My Life in France," book on tape from the library. I've been eager to read the memoir of the famed chef's years spent Paris & Marseilles since the movie Julie & Julia premiered last year. Yet despite my best attempts and efforts, I just couldn't seem get into the book.

However...the book on tape is a totally different story. The narrator has a pleasant, captivating voice, and I find myself making excuses to drive the long way home just so I can continue listening to her tale as she describes amazing culinary adventures in and around her Paris home.

Any of you fans of books on tape? What audio-tales are not to be missed?


Dream Job

What's your dream job? Don't get me wrong, I absolutely LOVE being a teacher. Elementary ed is fantastic; rewarding, pleasantly unpredictable, and I leave everyday with a pocket full of stories...but there are other occupations I think I would also truly enjoy... If I could try any job in the world, I'd be a travel correspondent like Samantha Brown. Wouldn't it be amazing to be paid to travel the world and then report about it to others?! Beyond the obvious parks (free lodging, food, + primo sight-seeing), would be the opportunity to experience so many amazing places around the globe. (sigh) I'm a sucker for the Travel Channel, it's actually a little embarrassing how many travel shows clog my DVR on a daily basis: Sam Brown, Anthony Bourdain, among others...I would LOVE their job! So I'm curious, what's your dream job? image/travelchannel

Napkins on a Roll

As I'm looking ahead to summer, I'm pondering what kind of summer shindig I should host... This being my first summer in the new house, I can't wait to host some fun some gatherings, and take advantage of my fabulous deck! Always a fan of the little details, I was very intrigued by these elegant paper towels by MyDrap, (and YES, they are paper towels, can you believe it?). A little fancier than your average Brawny roll, they're not only colored and supple but also reusable and recyclable . How convenient for a summer gathering!

via marthastewartliving

Dinner Last Night: Asparagus & Baby Artichoke Quinoa

My first experience making quinoa, and I'm happy to report it was simple and tasted good. Very similar to rice but a little fluffier and less dense. I made this recipe - Asparagus & Baby Artichoke Quinoa Salad from one of my fave cooking blogs - Closet Cooking.

But that's the one and only quinoa recipe I have in my backpocket. Anyone have any other quinoa recipes up their sleeve?


Farewell LOST

Oh LOST, it makes me sad to write about you in past tense. My little LOST group and I went out with a bang. We celebrated in style, watching our fave show on the Big Screen at Central Cinemas in Seattle. The theater was rented out specifically for LOST, so we enjoyed snacks and Dharma wine during the recap, and pizza, popcorn, and treats during the 2-1/2 hour series finale.

Here's our group photo at the Finale, like our t-shirts?
It was a such a great time! I even partook in the LOST trivia competition which got a 10-second segment on the Komo 4 local news - who knew my 10-seconds of fame would be while wearing a LOST inspired t-shirt naming Dharma stations...

I'm sad to realize this is the end, especially since watching this series has been a constant, an anchor in our ever-increasingly busy lives. I'm so glad we got to come together one last time to reminisce and bid farewell to a beloved tradition and show that always inspires curiousity and wonder.

I won't say I'm left without questions, because I do have many. Jacob's brother? Charles Widmore? Dharma Initiative? The sunk island? Are they really all dead? But the connecting stories did bring an element of peace and finality to many character's stories that was comforting.

Your thoughts?

LOST: The End

It's finally here - the end of LOST. It's too surreal, I'm having a hard time believing it's all coming to an end. A group of 8-10 friends and I have been getting together once a week for the past 5 years to watch and discuss the show. We've affectionately referred to this gathering as "Our Little LOST group." It's been a tradition we've settled into, looked forward to, and will surely miss when it's over.

The 2-1/2 hour finale debuts tomorrow night at 9:00 PM. So many questions we hope to God are answered! Debriefing is sure to follow...

Any other LOSTie bloggers out there? How are you feeling about this end of an era?


Opening Wedding Season

Cheers to the dawn of Wedding Season 2010! My weekend is engulfed in wedding festivities; the day-before Mariners Game, the day-of festivities, and the day-after brunch, whew! Looking forward to seeing a longtime family friend tie the knot and celebrate with my family and his.

Any big plans? Has wedding season already begin for you?


Bringing Back The Bagel Dog

I was flipping through Martha Stewart Living the other day and came across a recipe for an oldie but goodie - the Bagel Dog. I can't believe I'd almost forgotten about this fan favorite! What an underrated treat!

As kids, on the days my Dad directed our trips to Costco, we stocked up on all kinds of less-than-healthy but oh-so-yummy goodies like...bagel dogs. There's just something about it, the dog alone might not inspire such nostalgia, but the dog in a blanket = pure deliciousness!

So...I've decided to pay tribute to all those fun and junk-food filled Costco trips with Dad, I'm reviving the bagel dog this summer! Watch out - first BBQ at my place, we'll be server burgers + bagel dogs. Admit it, you're kind of excited...


Brussels in Bloom

I love learning about new traditions around the world. Ever heard of Brussels in Bloom? Some history for you...every other year the Grand Palace Square is turned into the Carpet of Flowers. This Belgian square is literally carpeted with close to a million begonias! Isn't this beautiful and awe-inspiring? The big celebratory weekend is coming up, August 13-15, 2010. Another reason to go to Belgium...


Funky Vases

I'm kind of digging these funky, whimsical vases by Chive. Most of the vases I own are tall and sleek, which may serve as a beautiful centerpiece, but doesn't lend itself to good conversation across a dinner table. Trying to dodge a vase full of flowers to talk to your guests is never ideal. One of these low vases would be a perfect alternative. The best of both; flora and fauna and great conversation.


Watermelon Pie

The weather has been hot, Hot, HOT here in Seattle, and it's been amazing considering our chilly Spring. With the shift of warm weather, people are out and about, basking in the sunshine, pulling out the shades & sunscreen, and eating more ice cream. Doesn't this watermelon pie look like a fun warm weather dessert? A little creativity and a little sherbet can go a long way!



One of my best friends just announced she's pregnant! We've been friends since 7th grade and grown up together, so I'm incredibly excited for her, and to be an honorary "auntie."

P.S. I coincidentally found this card the day of the big bun-in-the-oven announcement!


Dinner Last Night: Apricot & Proscuitto Thin Crust Pizza

Usually on kickball nights, my boyfriend and I eat light and then head out for after-game food + spirits with the team. However, apparently our undefeated kickball reputation has preceded us, because the other team forfeited. And then, we were offered a "back up" game an hour later...and team #2 also forfeited. Man! lieu of kickball, we made a yummy dinner - Apricot & Prosciutto Thin Crust Pizza. I always keep a few make-this-week recipes on the fridge just in case. It turned out great, and baked apricots taste surprisingly good on pizza, tart and delicious! The recipe called for goat cheese, which I was out of, but I substituted Gorgonzola which worked great. Definitely making this one again!


Cheese Festival '10

Last weekend my friends and I went to one of my fave Seattle festivals - The Seattle Cheese Festival at Pike Place Market. And the weather made it all the better, Saturday was an absolutely gorgeous day; blue, cloudless skies, Seattle sun, and plenty of free cheese to go around!

This festival is comprised of vendors from all over Washington that bring their fresh cheeses to be sampled. The Pike Place Market corridor is brimming with fresh cheeses for the tasting, from bleu cheese to Gouda to Manchego and's AMAZING!

My friends and I had a great time. We bought fresh baguettes at Le Panier to accompany our cheese selection, and popped into the wine tent for some vino as well. All in all - a great day out with the girls!


Dinner Last Night: Rib Eye Steak with Mushrooms & Bleu Cheese

Spring is finally in the air in Seattle, marked by our first dinner where it was warm enough to dine on the deck! We lounged out on the patio, enjoying the gorgeous sunset, entertained by my cat Jenga and my parents' dog Bear have an silent stand-off as to who should rule the deck. It was pretty hilarious!

Dinner last night - Rib Eye Steak with Mushrooms & Bleu Cheese and Smashed Potatoes, topped off with a bottle of crisp white wine. Perfection!



This week has been exhausting, more than usual it seems. I was at school from 7AM - 8PM yesterday, so by the time I got home, my bed was literally calling my name. I truly cannot wait to sleep in Saturday!

I'm secretly wishing I was this person in picture above, waking up in a hammock on a tropical isle somewhere, book and pina colada in hand...(sigh). A girl can dream!


The Rumors Are True

The rumors are true...I finally rented An Education this weekend, and yes, it's fabulous! This movie truly sets the stage, all I wanted to do after watching it was crawl into a time machine and zip back to 1960's Paris, for a glamorous evening of go wineing, dining, and dancing 'round the City of Light with my beau.

The music, the clothes, the glamour, the cast, I now know why Carey Mulligan won herself that Oscar nod. Two thumbs up!!


Go Glee

Did anyone watch Glee on Tuesday? This show just continues to get better and better. I absolutely loved the solo turned duet by Puck & Mercedes, Lady Is A Tramp! Anyone else enjoy?


What's In Your Crockpot?

I received this brand spanking new, shiny red crockpot as a housewarming gift back in October, and I hate to admit it but I've only used the thing once (gasp). Yes, crockpot has been gathering dust on my kitchen shelf ever since, and I think it's time I revive the crockpot as part of my dinner routine.

The problem: I don't know where to start. Anyone with a great go-to crockpot recipe or fave dish please send them my way!

Sorbet Pie

My Cooking Light came yesterday, packed with recipes for summer entertaining. On that popped out at me as being especially delightful and intriguing in the splendor of sorbet article was - sorbet pie. I'm a fool for ice cream of any sort; the real stuff, gelato, and of course, fresh fruit-laden sorbet. I searched endlessly for a photo but came up short. In lieu I'll include CL's how-to-make directions.

Make Sorbet Pies:
Spread slightly softened sorbet into a cookie-crumb or graham cracker piecrust; freeze until firm, then top with a thin layer of meringue or whipped topping. Fill a chocolate crust with strawberry sorbet, or use lemon sorbet in a gingersnap crust. Sprinkle the top with fresh berries or chocolate shavings.

I'm definitely going to try making one of these this summer!


Summer Reading List

Any other recommendations?

What's on your list?

Spring Flowers

What is your favorite flower? I've decided my fave flower changes seasonally. I'm always a fan of peonies, sunflowers, and tulips (among others) - but right now I'm ravenous for ranunculus! I just learned of the Ranunculus Fields and Festival in Carlsbad, California. Doesn't that sound gorgeous? A "spectacular sea of bright colors!"

Now, here in the Northwest, we may not be known for ranunculus, but we are famous for the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, in Mt. Vernon, about an hour North of Seattle. The day trip is so worth it! On a sunny Spring day, the views are simply stunning, and the tulip buds stretch on for miles. It's truly breathtaking. But I can only imagine how lovely field upon field of beautiful ranunculus must look on a Spring day.

Anyone ever been to the Flower Fields in Carlsbad?


Mothers Day Recap

We celebrated Mother's Day with a family feast at my parents house. We dined on delicious Kalbi marinated ribs, avocado, pomegranate, and feta salad, and baked potatoes with all the fixings at my parents house. After dinner, my mom and I went to a 7:15 showing of the new documentary Babies.

The movie was a little different than I'd anticipated, but a good show nonetheless. I'd expected a narrator or some kind of voice over to navigate the audience through the very different lives of these 4 babies. However, there's almost no dialogue in the movie, aside from parent-infant chatter. It's interesting to see the similarities between parents and children from rural Namibia and Mongolia to very urban Tokyo and San Francisco. Also, many funny moments, including babies interacting with their local animals, and of course sibling rivalry; which is apparently the same 'round the globe, even down to the biting, hitting, and hair pulling.

Anyone else seen it yet? How was your Mother's Day?

Happy Mothers Day!

To the funniest, silliest, hip-to-the-real world mom in the world,
Happy Mother's Day!
You're the best! I love you!

Happy Friday

I am so ready to sleep in tomorrow! This week has been a long one, I'm excited for a low-key night tonight, a birthday party/Mariner's Game tomorrow, followed by a relaxing Mother's Day with my mom on Sunday. We're having a family dinner and going to see the movie Babies, which opens this weekend.

What are your big plans?


Toms Anyone?

Anyone heard of the recent shoe phenomenon, Toms? I admit I was a little out of the "shoe loop." While away on my Vegas girls getaway, 2 of my fashion-savvy friends raved endlessly about these shoes. Personally, I thought they were a little...well, not cute. But apparently what they lack in aesthetic appeal they make up in comfort.

I might just have to mosey on down to Nordstrom to buy a pair. Any Tom's fans out there?


Fave New Brew

I just made a fantastic discovery at the grocery store and I must share. Initially what caught my eye was the bargain price tag ($6.99 on sale), and of course the eye-catching waterfall label. This fave new brew of mine is Kona Brewing Company Limited Edition: Wailea Wheat. I was intrigued by the subtitle on the label "brewed with passion fruit," that's promising enough, right?

YES it is as taste tests later revealed...It's still a wheat beer but the fruity infusion lends it a light aromatic flavor that tastes delightful! I popped one open last night with dinner and was surely satisfied. I'd never even heard of Kona Brewing Co. before but I highly recommend you try one yourself!


Potato Perfection

My weakness...potatoes. I know, weird right? Blame it on my Irish heritage I guess. I absolutely love potatoes. Mashes, smashed, au gratin, roasted, toasted, baked, twice-baked, french fried, I love them all. Seriously. I think I'm the only person in the world who truly loves ALL forms of potatoes.

But the other night, I tried a new recipe which was a type of potatoes I'd never had before. Roasted Potatoes with Feta Cheese (& Rosemary). Super delish, and pretty easy. While I made these as my entree, they'd probably fit into a menu better as a super side. Enjoy!

image/raising foodies

Buy Local

I really like this print by Claudia G. Pearson on etsy. I'm trying to make an effort to buy locally, and made the realization that up until now, I haven't bought much locally out of convenience. I would prefer to buy all of my fresh produce and meats from local butchers and farmers market, but honestly a lot of the time I just don't have the time, and it's easier to swing into a local Safeway or grocery store on the way home.

Thus, I'm entertaining the idea of a CSA box. A few of my friends use this local producer - Full Circle Farms, and have had great success. I'm liking the idea of fresh local veggies magically appearing on my doorstep. I'm intrigued by the idea, but curious if it's worth the money. I'd hate to have too much produce and be forced to throw food away. Do any of you use a CSA box? Reviews?

via designsponge

Appreciate Your Teacher

In case you didn't know it's teacher appreciation week. As an elementary teacher, I can personally attest to all the hard work and effort we teachers do to help our students be successful in all that they do. Make sure you show your child's teacher appreciation this week!

Today, my students brought me fresh flowers today; lilacs, tulips, roses, peonies, and sunflowers, freshly picked from their yards. It was such a sweet gesture of recognition, and made for a lovely, fragrant bouquet that is perfuming my classroom as we speak.


Seafood Feast

My girls getaway was wonderful! A few days on shopping, dancing, and girl talk. I got home early yesterday afternoon, and was pleasantly surprised that my boyfriend (and new roomie) had a seafood feast planned. Blackened rockfish, fresh mussels steamed in white wine, and corn on the cob. A-Mazing!

It was the perfect way to come home and top off an already amazing weekend!