Friday, December 21, 2012

I'll be home for Christmas

Baby, it's cold outside.

I'm taking a BOY home with me for Christmas for the first time ever. This is a big deal. This is serious. I guess it goes with the whole engaged thing (which, I guess IS quite serious).  :)

I'm excited/nervous to incorporate Preston into our family Christmas. Will he have fun? Will he think it's weird that my parents buy 90% of the gifts that they give to my brother and I from Costco? (I NEVER have to buy shaving cream!!) Will he be as moved as I am by the candlelight Christmas Eve church service I attend with my mom? (Unlikely.) Will he survive the high pressured shower in the guest bathroom? Will we survive actual COLD weather??

I've been fortunate enough to have never spent a Christmas away from my family. I'm very grateful to Preston for giving me another year with them at Christmastime. 

This is also Preston's first time visiting my hometown :) I'm beyond excited!!

So, I'm leaving on a jet plane!! Let's hope it makes it to the east coast...what with the end of the world and Draco Malfoy's monster storm in the midwest threatening...just getting there at all will be a Christmas miracle ;)

Monday, December 10, 2012


My every day lunch. 

For true. I have eaten carrots and hummus nearly every. single. day. for lunch for the last 3 years. I mean, I eat other stuff too. But those carrots and hummus? Staple. 

I once read that Jennifer Aniston ate the same exact salad the entire time she was on "Friends" and I thought maybe she was crazy or something.

Maybe I'm crazy too, but know what I'm not? I'm NOT Team Aniston. She was never good enough for him!! 


Happy Monday!!

And yes, that star sticker in the background says Kelly is awesome. True story. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Blog Star

So, my fiance. We'll call him "Preston". Ok, that's actually his real name :P Well, "Preston" is legit upset that my blog is not entirely about him. Haha!! He says that he is an untapped resource. He says that he is like a beautiful violin left unplayed in its case.

I tried to explain to him that while (obviously) he would be featured heavily in my blog...that a blog devoted entirely to him, but written by me, would a word? Creepy. I'm not sure anyone wants to read my blog anyway, but even I wouldn't want to read that.



But, truthfully...Preston is a fantastic person. He's the best person I know :) He's insanely good looking, but humble. He is very funny and uses terrific metaphors about violins in cases. He is smart. He is ambitious and sexy and strong and successful at whatever he puts his mind to. He is honest and loyal and helpful and considerate and nice and hard working and animal loving and kid loving and good dressing and dinner cooking and can eat more ice cream than anyone I know (I think he converts it to muscle??).

Pizza Cooker Extraordinaire 

Child Tamer

Preston somehow missed the memo that most guys these days are jerks. :P One of the things that impressed me most about him when we first met...was that he kept his word!! He called when he said he would...he did what he said he'd do.  How sad for that to be SUCH a rarity in today's dating world??
Beach Chair Carrier
Surfing Champ

We've had a terrific love story. As if written from a book. But, that's a story for another day :) I consider myself insanely lucky and blessed that he's chosen me (ME!!) to spend his life with!!


So, here's a post all for one true love.  Now, shut it :P

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mario Kart Love

hehe!! My cousin sent this to me this morning. SO awesome and SO true.

I used to be obsessed with Mario Kart. In some groups I was referred to only as TOAD!! (I am ALWAYS Toad) Some friends and I almost failed out of college sophomore year because we were playing that more than studying for exams (my roommate and best friend=not a fan).

Rainbow Road is the worst!! It's sooooooooo long. It's sooooooo hard to see the track!!

Anyway, a great laugh on a frantic Tuesday in my crazy crazy company. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Seattle Part II

I think what impressed me most about Seattle was all the recycling!! When I first moved out to California, I expected there to be many more environmental and 'green' options, but it was not so :-/ I live in a building with about 8 apartments and based on the population of the recycling bin, I'm the only one using it. But, I digress.

Seattle was all over it!! Every place that we went offered a 'trash' option, a 'compostable' option and a 'recyclable' option at EVERY waste bin. Incredible and I loved it. Way to go Seattle!! I'm still not clear on which is which...but impressed nonetheless.

Even in the hotel room!! Color me amazed!!

Nikki was recently diagnosed with Celiac's Disease, which is basically an intolerance to gluten. And let me tell you, gluten is in EVERYTHING. EVERY. THING.

Anyway, this led us to to "The Biscuit Bitch" for breakfast on Sunday.  It was a cute little cafe specializing in...biscuits. I'm not sure if all the biscuits are bitches or if its just a few making a bad name for the many. Typical ;) The food was delicious. 

With warm biscuits and teas in our bellies, we headed over to Pioneer Square for Bill Speidels Underground Tour.  It was highly recommended to us by nearly every thing we'd read or heard.  It didn't disappoint.  The tour takes you through doors that lead down into another world with sidewalks and store signs. It mostly  just looks like the basement of an old house. From old photographs, you learn that the 'door' you just came through was really a second story window.  Seattle was basically a city built below or at sea level and had constant flooding problems and thus a very unfortunate sewage problem (the toilets flushed backwards...and rather forcibly).

My grandmother's basement?

Below ground

Above ground

 After a fire in 1889, the city was flattened. The great idea to regrade and solve this problem was proposed, but with an anticipated completion in 7-10 years time. Understandably, shopkeepers refused to wait so long to rebuild and immediately rebuilt their shops. As time progressed, the grading eventually caught up to these new shops. Seattle, at that time, was laid out in a pattern just like a waffle. The solution was high streets with ladders to climb down to the front door. Predictably, this led to a lot of problems and was corrected by filling in the first levels.  Needless to say, the tour was an interesting history lesson.

After the tour, we strolled down the hill to board a ferry to Bainbridge Island. For only $7, you can take a round trip to Bainbridge, a cute little village about 45mins away by ferry.  The clear skies made for a beautiful trip across Puget Sound. We could see all of the Seattle skyline. Even though the weather was crisp, we sat outside the whole time. It was so worth it.

We walked through the little town and decided on lunch at a cafe. To keep with the taste of the region, we  both ordered the dungeness crab (me a sandwich and Nikki a salad). It was delicious.

Seagull getting his 15 minutes of fame.

We didn't stay long in Bainbridge, because we had a chocolate tour back on the mainland.  The ride back was phenomenal. For the first time, we were able to see Mt. Rainier in the distance. It is probably the most majestic mountain upon which I've ever laid my eyes. It looked like it was part of the clouds rising up towards the sky. It was also breathtaking to see all the other mountains that surround the city. Right at sunset, the ride was perfectly timed.

We took a cab to Fremont to tour the Theo Chocolate Factory. The tour was fun, very informative and provided LOTS of free chocolate.  Theo is a 100% organic and free trade operation.  The price of a chocolate bar? $5.50. That's order to ensure that your chocolate provides someone a fair wage, is free of harmful chemicals, child labor and human trafficking (that's right...they said HUMAN TRAFFICKING. For chocolate?! How crazy is that?!)...the bar costs $5.50. That makes me really pause to think about that $0.79 Hershey bar :-/

Bouffants!! Just like work :P

The tour took us through the factory, which was quiet since it was later in the evening  and out into the gift shop. I spent $50 on chocolate at the end, but hey...human trafficking?? They got me.

On our final morning, we stopped by another gluten free pastry shop that was highly recommended online.  The shop is called Coffee & A Specialty Bakery and it was awesome. A (what I think was?) husband and wife run this entirely gluten free shop. I don't have a lot of experience with gluten free foods, but Nikki assured me that the delectable pastries were NOT the norm. The owner explained to us that she was disappointed with the tastes presented in her culinary school when she was learning about Celiacs. While she does not personally have a gluten allergy, she wanted to do better by those that do. It was an inspiring story and their hospitality and free samples were a highlight of the trip.

From there, we headed up another steep and loonngg hill to the Queen Anne District. The views were, again, breathtaking.  It was a great way to end our trip to Seattle.

As always, trip ends with...a sad face!!

Goodbye Seattle!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Seattle Part I

I got to spend a long weekend in Seattle with one of my best friends Nikki. Nikki is great in that she's one of those people that doesn't just talk about doing something...she does it.

I made a pact with myself a few years ago to get a new passport stamp every year.  This year, that proved harder to do than expected...due to some unforeseen work stuff.  I figure as long as I'm out there exploring in a new place(stamp or not!! I mean, my passport is nearly full. Life goal achieved!!) wanderlust will be satiated. Nikki has been a wonderful travel partner in many of these adventures.

Since Nikki still lives back east where I grew up, we met at Sea-Tac.  My very friendly seat mate from the plane directed me to the light rail system which took us right into the middle of the downtown.  Turns out this seatmate is also writing the music for a musical about the comedy of Gallagher. That's right...the watermelon smashing comedian. I was intrigued enough to at least check out the website:  Gotta love LA ;) You just kind of grow accustomed to these kind of things: "oh hey. You should check out this musical I'm writing. Picture Gallagher. Picture Xanadu."haha. It does look kind of clever.

We arrived in Seattle in the POURING rain. Living in Los Angeles, I often forget what that can be like. Coming in on the plane, I thought to myself, "well this place just looks miserable", but honestly I couldn't have been more wrong. Seattle is such a lovely city.  Nikki and I dropped our bags at the as bundled up and waterproofed as we could and headed out to explore.  First stop: Pike Place.

Pike Place is one of Seattle's most famous tourist destinations. It's the home of the yelling fish throwing guys (why are they throwing the fish? It must have served a purpose at some point. As one nearby shopkeeper lamented, it was "much ado about nothing" ha. I imagine it does get old all day every day.), a farmer's market/craft fair and the very first Starbucks. Starbucks before they took over the world that is. What DO they put in that pumpkin spice that makes you crave it as soon as the first leaf falls from a tree??

Even in the rain, we were so impressed with Seattle's charm. People were extraordinarily friendly, quaint bookstores are tucked away in nooks, coffee shops on every corner offer a cozy reprieve from the rain. I could completely imagine living happily there.

Cozy book store

There were more homeless people than I would expect in such a rainy climate, but they definitely add color to Seattle's gray tones.  I learned a new word from a lady screaming on a street corner. WHORECAKE!! I'm still pondering that one :P

Ahhh, rain.

When I travel, I like to walk. I walk and walk and walk and walk. It's the best way to really see a city. Nikki and I generally cover a lot of ground. We were blessed with amazing weather for the rest of our trip, but I did secretly miss the's such a rare event in Southern California.

Saturday led us to Seattle Center and the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum. A $20 cover charge led us through the aesthetically impressive museum. There were two main exhibits, one of which was dedicated to Nirvana. It took me back to 9th grade and was really the only part worth even close to the $20.  Ah, Nirvana how I loved thee.


I know those clothes!!

Jimmy Hendrix was the other exhibit. We strolled through, but I've never been a huge fan of his. Obviously I appreciate his contribution to music, but was never as gaga as I was over, say, Kurt Cobain ;) The greasy hair!! The ripped and tattered clothing!! The screeching lyrics!! Ay me, what a strange time adolescence is. In all seriousness though...Nirvana was and is forever amazing.

The top floor of the EMP was a music lab, but being that it was a Saturday, children had the rights to most of the fun ;)

The EMP sits on the same plaza as the famous Space Needle, so we strolled over to see if we could squeeze in for a lunch without a reservation.  We could!! It was a bit pricey for brunch, but completely worth it with the spectacular 360 degree view (the restaurant SPINS!!), mouthwatering food and included access to the observation deck.  I ordered clam and corn chowder followed by salmon and kale with macadamia nut/white chocolate bread pudding for dessert. It was simply, amazing.  This is a Seattle MUST.

Space Needle Views


We made up for our delicious lunch with about a 3 mile walk up to the Capitol Hill area and Lakeview Cemetery, where Bruce Lee is buried.  Turns out Seattle is a very hilly city (who knew?!) and the walk was a rigorous one that included the longest and most steep flight of stairs I've EVER climbed. I was regretting that bread pudding around this point ;)
Gah, I think this was not even halfway

Nikki and I arrived at the cemetery just as it was getting dark.  The sign on the gate said it had closed 10 mins prior, but the gate was still open. Did we risk it? We did!! Luckily we got to walk around a bit without getting locked in thanks to the friendly security guard.
Love this

We were treated to a delicious dinner in Edmonds (north of the city) by my fiance's Aunt. What a treat!! We even happily helped her decorate her Christmas tree.

Only great things to report from Seattle so far.  Stay tuned for Part II!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012


We had a Thanksgiving potluck at work yesterday. There is so much pressure associated with this kind of thing!! I always have these visions of impressing everyone with my culinary skills (b/c I can cook, wellllll, at least follow a recipe, I swear!!), but usually just end up bringing a bag of chips. This was our very first potluck double pressure.

So, I'm off to Seattle on Friday. It's my first trip there. I've been dreaming of going since my Nirvana grunge days ;) Yes, I had those. Didn't everyone in 1995?

I also had Thanksgiving dinner sprung on me on Monday. I'm making my first ever...sort of last minute. Hardly enough time to thaw the dang turkey!!

Needless to say, I have a lot going on this week.  I did manage to do a little better than a bag of chips, but certainly no mindblowing culinary feats. :)

My big contribution? Cream cheese. On a paper plate(made from recycled material!!). Dump homade (brand) chili sauce over the top. Stick knife in it. Serve with crackers. :P Actually wasn't bad.

Cooking my FIRST turkey (and probably last---not big on the meat thing lately) today. Fingers crossed!!

I am eternally thankful for the silly stress of having TOO much food to cook when so many have so little, for my wonderful and supportive friends that are always up for whatever, for my loving family who I am blessed to be very close with and my fiance without whom I would be lost.