Friday Faves

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{kate spade “one in a million” necklaces}

Happy Friday, friends! What are you up to this weekend? I’m still waiting for my baby nephew, if you can believe it.  At first I thought he was just fashionably late like his favorite auntie, but now I’m afraid he’s bordering on rude.  I had some fun plans this weekend that I’m going to have to miss, but of course it will be well worth it. I’m so excited to finally meet this little person, and to find out his name (my sister and her husband have it narrowed down to two and are going to flip a coin at the hospital – true story).  I have so many personalized and monogrammed items in my (virtual) shopping carts all over the interwebs, I can’t wait to finally complete my purchases with an actual name! Hint: it’s going to start with one of the letters above.

PSA: the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale ends on Sunday. So if you haven’t stocked up already, add that to your to do list for the weekend. My top five recommendations (aside from the Kate Spade necklaces) would be:

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{the beach this past weekend – this is literally a “#nofilter” photo}

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{new favorite face wash}

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{whale wins patio + summer white}

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{I put together this entire whale/beach/nautical themed package for Baby P, and intended for it to be a shower gift until I realized it needed to be “wrapped” in a Land’s End tote with his name on it – and of course we’re still waiting on a name.  And then I got impatient and gave it to my sister without the tote (which of course is in my cart, in two versions). But, isn’t it all just so cute? I’m pretty proud of the fact that I got every single one of these items on sale. The perks of having 20+ weeks to plan. Whale rattle here, beach towel here, all else long gone. Are you sick of all these baby clothes pics yet? At least we know there’ll be an actual baby by next week for sure.}

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Friday Faves: Austin

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{morning run along the river}

Happy Friday, everyone! I just arrived in Spokane, WA for my cousin Ellen’s college graduation and am going to attempt to get a quick post up while I sit in the hotel bar and wait for a girlfriend to pick me up for dinner. I lived in Spokane for three years during law school – so crazy how that seems like centuries ago, but at the same time it’s as though I never left. I’m enjoying a delicious glass of Adelsheim Pinot Gris and wishing I could still be satisfied with happy hour white the way I was in law school.

But I digress. This week’s faves are from last weekend’s trip to Austin, which was a whirlwind from which I’ve been recovering all week. Austin is an amazing city – young and hip and full of live music and amazing restaurants and bars.  And beautiful people, although what really stood out to all of us was how nice everyone was.  I literally didn’t open a door for myself from the time we arrived until we landed back in Seattle.  When we finished diner on Saturday night, our waiter told us “I’m worried you aren’t going to be able to get taxis, I’ve taken the liberty of calling one of our drivers who will fit all of you in his suburban and only charges tip, no meter.”  In hindsight, it sounds (a) like maybe he really wanted us out of his restaurant and/or (b) a little unsafe, but at the time we just chalked it up to everyone in Texas being so nice. 

As you’ll see from the pics, we ate (and drank) our way through the city.  Our condo had an amazing pool, so I was able to soak up a little much needed Vitamin D.  And most importantly, we were able to celebrate the bride, my very dear friend (from law school!!) Alison, who is marrying a really great guy in three weeks (!!!).  My bridesmaid diet starts on Monday (that’s totally enough time, right?) – between now and then, I’m going to enjoy catching up with old friends, toasting the graduate, and of course celebrating my mom on Sunday.  Wishing you all a wonderful weekend.

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{salsa and guac sampler at la condesa}

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{amazing sushi dinner at uchiko}

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{brunch beignets at annie’s}

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{baby p’s souvenir – might be regifted as my sister hates “anything with words on it”}

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, New Year’s Edition

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My Christmas cards ran into a few obstacles this year, but I love these backup “happy new year” cards from Minted.

Happy first Friday of 2014!  I kind of fell off the blogging wagon (again) towards the end of the year (I’m blaming it on the holidays), but being better about blogging is one of my (many) resolutions for the new year.  I have lots of healthy recipes on my “to make” list for the month, and Santa brought me a new MacBook Air (!!!!!), so hopefully this is a resolution I’ll actually keep.  Others include:

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Eating More Fruits and Veggies – easy to do when it’s satsuma season!

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Reading MoreMindy’s book is a re-read, but so much funnier than I remembered. And so nice to read an actual book rather than a screen for a change (don’t worry, I have some more substantial reading on my list as well).

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Trying New Places – in this case, delicious cocktails at the hip new(ish) Capitol Hill bar Witness.

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OK, this isn’t a resolution, I just really love the new SmartWool socks my mom put in my stocking for Christmas (yes, I still have a stocking!).  I’m generally not a sock person (I could wear flip flops almost year-round), but these keep my feet so warm and toasty, it’s impossible not to become addicted.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, and that the new year is off to a great start.  I’m looking forward to de-cluttering my apartment, hitting the gym with renewed vigor (despite the January crowds), and taking advantage of all the new beginnings this year has in store for me (I could definitely use a few).  Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014 for all of us!  If you have any book recommendations, recipe recommendations, or resolutions to share, I would love to hear them in the comments!

Friday Faves

Hello again, Friday. It’s gray and rainy here in Seattle, and I’m loving every minute of it (I can say that only after confirming the forecast predicts a sunny 75 for my friend Jody’s wedding tomorrow). I fell asleep to a thunder and lightning storm last night, and woke up feeling more rested than I have in weeks. I know fall isn’t here to stay quite yet, but I love these first few hints of it. Between two weddings, Husky football, my fantasy draft (ESPN gave my team an A, if you were wondering), and the birth of my good friends Wes and Kyle’s new baby girl, there was a lot going on this week. A few highlights:

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{brunch at the Agua Verde Paddle Club on Lake Union}

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{beet and veggie juice at Tom Douglas’s amazing new “urban marketplace” downtown Seattle}

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{nothing better than the Sunday sports page after a huge Husky win}

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{gluten-free baking experiment from Love and Lemons}

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{nothing sweeter than a brand new baby – and nothing more fun than putting together treats for her and her family}

Happy Friday, everyone! No Husky game tomorrow, so I guess all I can say is Go Hawks!!

Friday Favorites, Santa Barbara Edition

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I’ve spent the last few days in Santa Barbara with my cousins, and we’ve had a delightful time biking, eating, and drinking our way through the city.  I’m having trouble with my poolside wi-fi, so just a few brief highlights while I take a break from the sun.  It’s a rough life, I know.

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{bike ride to butterfly beach}

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{happy hour at the harbor}

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{new favorite juice bar}

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{wine tasting downtown}

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{delicious dinner at bouchon}

Happy Friday! I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine, wherever you may be. xoxo

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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

Friday Faves

Well, we made it through yet another week – I’m so proud of all of us. Despite the fact that work has been crazy for me lately, I love how weekdays in the summer just feel like 4-5 annoying days between one weekend getaway and the next. I’m off to Leavenworth tonight for my soon-to-be-sister-in-law’s bachelorette party, and I’m looking forward to some wine and girl time – although a little nervous about the 97 degree temps. The food is made, my bags are packed (kind of), the car is gassed up – now all I need is for 5 pm to get here. In the meantime, some highlights from the week:

This morning got off to a great start as I was uncharacteristically ahead of schedule, so I had time before work to go to my favorite neighborhood coffee place. So much better than Starbucks, if only I could get it together to make it there every morning.

I attended what I thought was a charity golf tournament for Treehouse after work last night – I had been really stressing about my golf game (and golf outfit), so I was pleasantly surprised to learn it was actually just putt-putt. Still a gorgeous night on the (mini) golf course though!

You can’t tell from the sign, but these are called “dinnerplate” dahlias and they are the size of my head. I cannot wait until I have a yard large enough to plant some. Love dahlia season!

Delicious dinner at Cactus the other night – what is it about summer that makes me want to go to Cactus every night?

“1” and wave cookies for my little cous-nephew’s first birthday last weekend (cous-nephew is the technical term for one’s cousin’s baby boy, in case anyone was wondering:)). I still have a ways to go on my frosting techniques, but practice makes perfect, right?!

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you’re all getting ready to head out somewhere sunny, too – make sure to pack your sunscreen!