Archive for the 'Celebrations' Category

4 years from now…

I saw an interesting article about celebrating Leap Day by eating a meal you’d only have every four years. Unfortunately, I just read this article and Leap Day is nearly over…and I had your pretty generic run of the mill meals today. Nothing memorable.

I wish I had done something to mark this day…something I could reflect upon four years from now. Instead, I spent most of the day doing what I do most other days – working. But perhaps I can prognosticate about what I think our life will be the next time Leap Day rolls around.

Four years from now…

  • Micah and I will have a house!
  • We will still both be working for Nordstrom
  • We will have travelled internationally (I’m thinking Europe)
  • We will have another niece or nephew (not saying from who)
  • We will still be active and in as good of shape as we are today
  • We won’t be driving the same cars we are today
  • We will have gone bungee-jumping, skydiving – or something similar

It’s really hard to do this. What would you predict for yourself four years from now?

Our perfect staycation celebration

As you know, Micah and I just celebrated our 1 year anniversary. Woo hoo! We opted to spend the weekend over in downtown Bellevue…which is a mere 20 miles away. But it was the perfect setting to relax and celebrate!

Since we are quite familiar with that area of town, we felt no obligation to go out and sightsee. We already know the streets and general direction of things, so there was no looking at maps and figuring out where to go. We already knew the restaurants we wanted to try out, so there was no fumbling trying to determine dress codes, hours of operation, etc. We thoroughly got to enjoy our upgraded suite at the Hyatt – which is conveniently connected via skybridge to all the places we wanted to go. We never had to get in our car…everything was in walking distance. Again, totally perfect!

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Since the general setting wasn’t very new to us, we made sure to make it feel new by trying out all these great places around us.

Hotel: The Hyatt Bellevue in downtown is really nice. The employees are all very friendly, and if you go over the weekend – it’s actually less busy (since most business travelers will be gone). They were completely willing to give us a complimentary upgrade to a suite –which was sweet! They have an awesome gym and a heated lap pool – both of which we took advantage of.

Blue C Sushi: The happy hour here is great! And the green tea is amazing! We got here for early happy hour,  which was a late lunch for us. But had some delicious sushi at great prices.

Comedy Room at Parlor Lounge: We tried something new and went to a comedy show. The Parlor Room has a great venue for this. We bought tickets online, got a little dressed up, and had some great drinks and laughs.

Daniel’s Broiler: We headed here for late night happy hour after the comedy show. It was packed! But we found some tables and feasted on some raw oysters and steak bites. A great way to more affordably eat at this top steak restaurant.

Din Tai Fung: I was super excited to eat here. This place has been open for over a year, but the lines out the door and wait times have barely decreased. But since we were about a 3 minute walk away, we were able to easily get in line right before the restaurant opened for the day. We feasted on absolutely delicious wonton and dumplings. YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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These bad boys are pure bites of awesomeness. We ordered two of these – sooo delish!!!

Purple Wine Bar: After a good nap, work out, and general laziness – we headed out for happy hour again for our late lunch. (Another bonus of this area – so many places have awesome happy hours over the weekend). I’ve been to Purple several times before, but never for happy hour. We thoroughly enjoyed it. They have amazing food and wine pairings for a really decent price. Plus, they have THE BEST BREAD AND BUTTER EVER! We couldn’t stop ourselves!

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So amazing…we asked for a second round!

El Gaucho: This was the last leg of our feasting anniversary weekend. We went here for late night happy hour – and had such an amazing meal. El Gaucho is one of the premiere steak and seafood restaurants in Seattle (with two locations: Seattle and Bellevue). The food here ain’t cheap – and neither of us have eaten here before. But for happy hour – you can get some amazing drinks (I loved my dirty martini for $6) and amazing food (spicy, tender steak bites. MMMM!!). Plus, since it was for our anniversary, we had to try the banana bread pudding.

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So delicious! Even Micah was savoring every bite!

So that is the end. We filled in the times between eating with all sorts of lounging, shopping, TV watching, book reading, and sleeping. It was awesome! With our crazy and hectic lives of lately – this was the most perfect way for us to celebrate! Too bad that once we got home, I immediately had to work. Boooo!

One year already!?

anniversary

The year has flew by…but we have loved every day and every minute of it. Being married is awesome!

If only we could celebrate every anniversary by being in Hawaii or someplace else tropical…alas, that is not a possibility.

However, we are currently spending our anniversary lounging about, relaxing, and enjoying a good meal over in Bellevue. We opted to use some rewards points for a nice hotel and spend a couple days outside of our house. With our crazy life these past couple of months – nothing says love more than allowing yourself to be lazy bums!!

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Such a fun day for us!

P.S. In case you are wondering – that top picture is from some wedding pictures we had taken while we lived in Korea. I’ll blog more about that later.

Merry Christmas

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Extreme gingerbread house makeover

To help jumpstart getting into the holiday spirit, the day after Thanksgiving, Micah and I, and some of our friends headed to downtown Seattle to check out the 19th Annual Gingerbread Village held at the Sheraton Hotel. 

graham cracker house

A fairly accurate example of what my “gingerbread” house would look like.  Just add a more dizzying array of sprinkles, and candy canes.

Unlike the shack you see above, these gingerbread houses mansions are gigantic and utterly amazing…and they’ve been doing this for 19 years!  In addition to it being a festive sort of thing to do, it’s also a fundraiser for diabetes research. 

From their website: “Each year local architecture firms collaborate with the Sheraton Seattle culinary team to custom design, bake, and build awe-inspiring gingerbread displays.”

Here are just some of the ones on display.

 

Kangaroo “reindeer” – very cute…and edible!

It’s a fun and quick thing to check out if you are in the downtown area.  It’s free, but donations accepted.  The lines are surprisingly quite long.

Micah, me, Charissa, Gabe, Naomi, and Vann

Is it a boy? A girl? Let’s ask the cake!

Last Saturday my friend Tarah and I threw our friends Aaron and Regina a baby shower.  Although this will be their second baby, they still wanted to have some type of event for their friends and family to partake.  I convinced them to have a Gender Reveal Baby Shower. 

I happened to catch a segment on Today about this new fun twist in traditional baby showers.  Here’s how it works:

  • When it’s time to identify the gender, the parent(s) go in for the ultrasound, but are NOT told. 
  • Rather, the gender is written down on a piece of paper and given to a baker (or nice friend who you trust) Smile
  • The baker then bakes a cake, coloring the cake to reflect pink (girl) or blue (boy)
  • Frost it with gender-neutral frosting – and voila’ – you now have a very secretive cake.
  • Assemble friends and family for the baby shower, and the parent(s) cut the cake – to reveal to themselves, and others – if it’s a boy or girl!  Fun, right?

So our friends were not willing to keep it a secret from themselves. (Boo…I tried hard to convince them!)  But they did agree that only them, Tarah, and I would know.  But all their friends and family would have to wait for the cake cutting.

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So here is the cake that I made for them. 

  • I made a vanilla cake from scratch (and just added food coloring).
  • I used a box cake mix to make the cake pops (the cute cake-on-a-stick that make up the ‘question mark’)
  • And homemade buttercream frosting to hide the cake color (and all the imperfections)

Sorry, I don’t have a picture of Aaron and Regina cutting the cake. But…when they did….the cake was BLUE!!

the girls

Congrats to our awesome friends!!! 

Prost! Prost! Beer! Camping!

We had such a fun weekend camping over in Leavenworth and attending the Oktoberfest festivities.  Since lodging for this popular event is hard to come by (and we definitely wanted to be in the free shuttle area), we opted to go camping at a nearby site.  P.S. “Prost” is German for “cheers!”

Our new German friends, Marc and Holger (both on short-term assignment at my work), joined us – and they definitely got to experience camping, American-style.  They were soooo amazed at how luxurious our camping is (and really, it’s nothing that spectacular or out of the ordinary).  Apparently, in Germany when you go camping, you can’t build a fire in your campsite and eating ravioli straight from the can is not all that uncommon.  Plus, they had no idea what SMORES were!

Marc and Holger are the two guys on the left.  They were quite excited about the chorizo egg breakfast burritos that Gabe and Charissa had prepared Saturday morning.

I’ll just give you some of the highlights of our very fun weekend:

  • Friday was the last day of September and also the last day of my no meat challenge.  How ironic that our neighbors (camping in that sweet RV you see in the background of the pic) generously gave us two massive T-bone steaks…that I did not eat.  I resisted.  But the boys did not. 

  • Five of the eight of us dressed up, in “true” Bavarian style!  Vann (far left) was mistaken all day as either a 1) hobbit 2) leprechaun 3) elf or 4) simply called “little feller.”  Naomi (next to Vann), she MADE her outfit out of green felt…it was seriously bad ass.

  • The boys – Oktoberfesting and loving it!

  • The girls – hokey pokey-ing and loving it!

  • There were lots of fun bands playing in the different tents. 

  • How could we resist this pic opportunity?

  • Smores!  Marc and Holger loved these!
  • Saturday was the first day of October, and thus, the start of my new 31 day no sweets challenge.  Thus, I could no longer enjoy any of this Smores deliciousness. Sad smile

 

We all had a really fabulous time!!  And although we were a bit slow and dehydrated come Sunday morning – it was well worth it!  Plus, we lucked out and didn’t get rained on.

Auf wiedersehen!!


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