Friday Faves

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Tulips at the market

Happy Friday, friends! All of the tulips, daffodils, and crocuses popping up in the markets and yards make me feel like spring is finally here! Just last week I was scraping ice off my car, yet next week’s forecast is in the 70s.  Such a crazy time of year!  Some fun inspiration in honor of the season of renewal:

And then, some not-necessarily-springy highlights from my (last few) week(s). Have a wonderful weekend!

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Delicious meal at Grassa in Portland (don’t worry, this was just the first course).

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Bundt cakes (lemon poppyseed and rum) for my dear friends’ wedding last weekend – in lieu of having a traditional wedding cake, the bride asked about twenty of her girlfriends to make their favorite bundt cakes. Tragically,  my cakes and I ended up missing the wedding due to a terribly-timed bout with the norovirus, but all reports said the bundt cake table was a hit!

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Champagne cocktails at Tallulah’s in Capitol Hill – so hip.

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My new baby nephew’s first stationary from my new Etsy fave.  I’m going to try really hard not to overwhelm this blog with pics of all the baby things I can’t seem to stop buying, but I thought these were extra cute! And what unborn baby doesn’t need personalized thank you notes?

Friday Faves

So I realized last night that we’re halfway through August, and thus two weeks away from Labor Day. Can someone please tell me how that happened? Where did the summer go? Fall is my favorite season, so I’m not too sad, but it’s always a little scary to realize how fast time is flying by. It was almost dark at 8:30 last night – as excited as I am for sweaters and boots and football season, that kind of made me want to cry. Next week I might have to focus on more “summery” highlights, but for now, some randoms:

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Coffee and breakfast treats at my favorite Madrona café on Sunday morning, after dropping off my Glassybaby rental (let’s pretend that peach scone is a tofu scramble, Carrie Underwood-diet-style).

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Thank you gift from my friends Ellie and Charlie after our play date last Saturday night. Babysitting used to pay five dollars an hour, and I would do homework once the kids went to bed – this time I received a lovely “sussie” instead, and I got to pour myself a glass of wine and watch Mindy Project reruns after the babies went down.

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Falafel salad – my new obsession from Harried & Hungry, my favorite grab-and-go workweek lunch place. Healthy(ish) falafel recipe coming soon – such a great vegetarian (and gluten free!) option that I often forget about.

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Happy hour at Bottlehouse, my new favorite summer/deck/happy hour hang out in Madrona (where I spent a lot of time last week).

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Some of my favorite pics from my brother’s wedding last weekend (at least, from those that were on my phone) – clockwise from top left: terrible angle for me, but somehow the only picture I have of me and Joe; my hair, which I was obsessed with – after countless weddings with “meh” bridesmaid hair, finally a “messy side bun” that turned out like I wanted it to (and on a related note, anyone planning a wedding in the Portland area should call Portland Makeup and Hair immediately); the beautiful bride and groom; killing time pre-ceremony  with the adorable flower girls.

Happy Friday, everyone! Enjoy these last few weeks of summer while they last!

Party Planning: Rehearsal Dinner for my baby bro

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Shortly after my brother got engaged last summer, I asked my parents if I could take over “their” responsibility of planning the rehearsal dinner. I’ve always loved weddings, and any sort of event planning, so this seemed like a perfect opportunity to help my parents, do something nice for the bride and groom, and indulge my inner party planner at the same time.  I had so much fun choosing a venue, invitations, the menu, etc. – if only I could figure out a way to do this for a living.

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Simpatica is a catering company and “dining hall” in Southeast Portland – I love the simplicity and casual elegance of the room, and of course the food is to die for. Hilary, the woman who coordinates their private events, was so great to work with and took care of all of the important stuff – all I had to worry about was the fun little details like flower arrangements and decor.

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Anyone who knows me knows I’ll use any excuse to decorate using Glassybaby. I rented “Elephant” and “Sweet Pea” to coordinate with the gray and lavender color scheme for the wedding, and the white and lavender dahlias – and fresh lavender – were the perfect accent.

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Deciding on a menu was a bit of a challenge, due to the fact that my brother has the palate of a picky five year old, and this is a hip, “foodie” (and very Portland) type of a restaurant. I don’t eat red meat, so I’m never entirely confident in my meat selections – but I feel like you can’t really go wrong with steak and salmon. My mom and I had fun picking out apps and sides that sounded delicious but would still pass the “Joe test” (nothing too exciting/exotic, and absolutely no beets). Most of the guys were skeptical of the gazpacho shots, and I’m pretty sure my grandparents thought they were alcoholic, but aside from that I think the food went over well with everyone.

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Gazpacho Shots with Radish Salsa – fun fact about me, I adore soup in shot glasses

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Tomato, Mozzarella, and Basil Pesto on Crostini – so simple but somehow so delicious, I’m now on a mission to make my pesto this good

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Blackened Chicken Skewers with Sweet Pepper Marmalade

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Heirloom Baby Romaine Salad with Bing Cherries, Grilled Walla Walla Onions, and Red Wine Vinaigrette

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Applewood Smoked Ribeye with Garlic Herb Butter

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Cedar Plank Salmon with Italian Salsa Verde – literally melted in your mouth

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Grilled Summer Squash, Walla Walla Onions, and Green Beans with Romanesco

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Crushed Yukon Gold Potatoes with Fresh Herbs and Olive Oil

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Baird Family Farms Peach Cobbler with Vanilla Ice Cream – clearly I waited too long to take this photo

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Drink Menu/Wine List – yes please

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I was so happy with the way that everything turned out, and I think my parents and Joe and Rose were too – everyone seemed to have a lovely evening, and there were barely any leftovers (true sign of a yummy dinner, right?). The bartender even told me this was one of the funnest (and loudest) groups she’d had all summer. As it turns out, throwing a four course meal for 36 is easy, so long as you have a professional coordinator to help, and someone else’s visa to pay for it all! Can’t wait to plan my next event!

Friday Faves, Portland Edition

Happy August 9th, everybody! Today is my brother’s wedding day, so it’s an extra exciting day around here. I spent a lot of time in Portland over the past week, in preparation for the wedding festivities, so please enjoy some of my “Portland Faves” while I’m off to get my hair and makeup done (and have a mimosa):

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My all time favorite food cart, from the city that made food carts hip. My perfect lunch: “bambino” size Whole Bowl, hold the sour cream and olives, for $5. I’ve been saying for years that I wanted to bring WB to Seattle, but I recently discovered the “GFF” cart and its a pretty close second.

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Stumptown coffee at Petunia’s, my favorite vegan, gluten-free cafe in the Pearl – I didn’t realize when I ordered my Americano that “vegan” meant no half and half, just almond milk – only in Portland! (also: reasons I could never actually be vegan).

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Pre-wedding brow wax at Blush, my first stop whenever I’m in town.

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My Grandpa Nelson passed away fifteen years ago, but during his life he had the most amazing (and enormous) garden and orchard. Rows and rows of tomato plants, corn, carrots, potatoes, tons of berries, plums, apples, pears – I could go on and on. One of the saddest things to watch after his death was the deterioration of his garden. It’s only taken 15 years, but this year my dad planted his first tomato plants.  I even got to make a yummy pasta with the first red ones!

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Last Friday night I drug my mom, aunt and cousins to dinner at Simpatica, the restaurant where my parents hosted the rehearsal dinner for my brother’s wedding last night (blog post coming Monday, get excited).  I wanted to see the space, taste some wines, and do some last minute layout-planning for the rehearsal dinner, but as a perk we all enjoyed an outrageous four course meal. 1st: fried squash blossom stuffed with herbed chèvre on a buttermilk dipping sauce; 2nd: baby mixed greens, grilled haricot verts, blueberries, chopped almonds, red wine vinaigrette; 3rd: fennel-crusted Oregon Albacore, sautéed padron peppers, cherry tomatoes, corn, basil, green goddess dressing; 4th: peach crisp, crème fraîche ice cream.

I hope everyone is looking forward to something fun this weekend.  Wish me luck on (co) writing my best man speech – nothing like waiting until the very last minute! xoxo