to do.

Wallace Falls Hike

Now that we’re back to normal around here, it’s time to set some goals for 2015! Here’s what’s on the books for us:

Plan an epic trip to Eastern Europe AND spend the summer hiking in the PNW!
We’re pulling the trigger and are planning a maj three week trip to Eastern Europe this fall, loosely following my pal Rick Steves suggested itinerary. Europe has always been on both of our bucket lists so the time is now. I’ve planned many a vacations, but this one is going to be a doozy! In the meantime, we are saving our pennies and dimes so there won’t be much travel in the coming months. I’ve been geeking out on the Washington Trails Association app recently and have found this new, intense love for hiking. I already have a bunch of hikes bookmarked for the coming months. We kicked off 2015 by tackling Wallace Falls. Zero snow up in the mountains means many trails and clear and ready to be hiked minus the summer crowds. Gotta love that! If you want to hit the trails with me, lemme know! I might start an email group for it 🙂

Learn how to make kombucha at home AND fried chicken. Kind of opposite ideas, I know. I’m totally addicted to that fizzy, yummy goodness but at $4 a pop, it’s getting kinda pricy. Time to brew that ‘ish at home! Looking for inspiration here, here and here. And I’ve actually never attempted fried chicken before, but always like a culinary challenge. I’ve been watching Chef & the Farmer on PBS (nerd alert.) and she made it in one of her episodes. It was an “ah ha!” moment for me and something I’m ready to try!

Continue to be a bad ass gardener AND join a local fruit CSA. You know me, come April, this blog will be all about gardening! I’m even honing my skillz by taking a permiculture class as well as  an extensive 4 week gardener’s class through Seattle Tilth. So far, I’ve done fairly well by just winging it, but now I’m ready to take it to the next level. And although the yard is producing maj produce, our homegrown fruit is still lacking. Our poor lil apple orchard won’t be producing for years – sad face. There’s just not enough is ma yard to cover our fruit cravings so a CSA it is. Did you know that fruit only CSA’s even exsisted? I didn’t. Thinking we’ll go with this one. I can’t always make it to the farmer’s market so this will ensure weekly, local fruit.


So this happened…..

…..then this happened. Oh Seattle! And guess what? It’s going to be in the mid 60s this weekend. Go figure but we’ll take it!

The drive to work – WTF?
When driving in snow, one must stop for doughnuts first.

Bday bliss.

Had a lovely, long birthday weekend! I must say, turning 31 is not that exciting UNLESS you treat yourself to a new electronic device AND indulge in your favorite mall dessert – hello Cinnabon! Many thanks to those who participated in my special day 🙂

A Hello Kitty party with the Sugiura ConeCakes (thanks sis!)

A new iPad, Snood and a Cinnabon. Nothing gets better than this!

My weekend in review….

It was a jam packed weekend, so jammed in fact that I hardly had time to take any photos. Seems like every time I wanted to snap a shot, I was 1) in a sad looking church, 2) floating in a tank of salt water or 3) balls deep cooking 4 meals at once while simultaneously being a photographer’s assistant… know, the usual things people do on the weekends 🙂

Popcorn Friday!
I started off my weekend with a canning class on Saturday. I was all ready to get hands on – I’ve helped my grandma make jam before but she seemed to skip steps, which made me a bit nervous. I wanted to see what an expert had to say and learn a few tips on how to pickle vegetables.

Unfortunately, I didn’t pay close attention to the fine print and on the way to class, I noticed this was more of a lecture class and less of a demo class. Womp womp. Regardless, I was committed and made my way to class in an old church in SLU. Yeah, this class was nothing like I had pictured. Let’s just say it was a bit, um, ghetto hence the lack of photos – it def was not the scene to be busting out my phone. BUT, I did learn a lot and do feel comfortable tackling my first canning project: pickled green beans and/or asparagus. I know, I know….it’s totally out of season but I just want to try it once so I’ll be ready to really can come spring!

After the canning class, we had a late lunch at Brave Horse Tavern, one of Tom Douglas’ newer establishments. Yeah, yeah Tom Douglas blah blah owns too many restaurants in Seattle….but WOW. I loved this place – communal tables, 2 shuffle boards!, endless beers on tap AND the best warm pretzels around. This restaurant makes me want to move to SLU just so I could waste away my Saturday afternoons there. Nuff said.

Brat for days at Brave Horse.
We capped off the afternoon with a complimentary ‘float’ at our friend’s new business venture, Floasis, in Greenlake. Also known as floating, floatation therapy, sensory deprivation and/or isolation tanks, floatation involves lying in a super-saturated Epsom-salt solution about 10″ deep. The salt-water solution is heated to skin temperature (93.5°F). Once you are settled, it’s pretty hard to tell what parts of you are in the water and which aren’t.
The float tank looks like a large, enclosed bathtub. They are specifically designed to block out all external distractions, such as sights, sounds, tactile sensations and gravity. A private shower is provided in each room to clean yourself before entering and remove salt upon exiting the tank, which I did not seem to use properly. I kept finding patches of dried up salt on me the rest of the night. Note: always rinse well.

I must admit, I spent the first 15 minutes of my hour long session giggling. That complete feeling of weightlessness was strange at first, but I did finally settle in and found the latter part of my session to be quite relaxing. I can see how it would be really beneficial for people with chronic pain or high levels of stress.

The float tank, womb-like.
Sunday was spent at my parent’s house where I simultaneously prepped 5 dinners for my crockpot while also helping out my fav pet photographer, Jen Hutter, with her holiday shoot. We had lent her the garage space for the day so she could accommodate all of her clients for holiday card orders and such.
It was pretty freakin’ fun to watch all of the dogs parade through. French bulldogs, poodles, mutts, retrievers…they donned Santa hats and posed their mug shots. You think your dog is well behaved but once you get them in front of the camera, it’s a totally different story! Jen had to kick quite a few owners out of the space since they were too distracting 🙂 Of course, Stella got her camera time and did quite well. Obviously as soon as I get those pics, they will be posted STAT.

Hope you all had an enjoyable weekend! Was it as nuts as mine?


Fall Pinterest Challenge!

I may pin a lot of things, but I like to think that I try a lot of them out too. What’s the point of pinning if you aren’t going to create!? There’s nothing like a Fall Pinterest Challenge via my fav blog peeps at Young House Love to make me step up my game a bit! One project? Pish-haw. How about seven!

Recently Completed Pinterest Fun:

Fixing Broken Powder Makeup
This totally works, but I couldn’t get my powder super smooth. Regardless, it works all the same but just looks a tiny bit funky. NBD.

Lowfat Shepard’s Pie
I think I hit the money with this recipe, which I slightly tweaked a bit by adding more veggies. A total crowd pleaser and low fat 🙂 We ate like Irish kings last week!

Just a few months of marination and these babies will be good to go for baking!

Homemade Vanilla
I’ve had my calendar marked since the beginning of this year to try this out. I ordered my vanilla beans online and picked up some cute glass containers from The Container Store. I can’t wait to see how these turn out in a few months! These may or may not end up being holiday gifts…….

Peanut Butter Cookies
This was a solid peanut butter cookie recipe. Super easy to follow and memorize. A key to any great cookie recipe.

Halloween Popcorn Mix
I wanted to do something easy but festive for my work peeps and I this caught my eye. My mom makes a very similar popcorn mix for Christmas so I knew this would be a hit (adding Fritos makes it an even bigger hit FYI)!

All Hallows treats! These are too easy…..

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Three ingredients you say? Sign me up! I made these super easy cake-like cookies to go along with my popcorn mix for treats for my work peeps. I like to spoil, what can I say?

Year-end photo book
This is still a work in progress, but I’d say I’m 90% of the way there. I decided to go with Shutterfly and have got my photos through the fall organized and arranged in their premade layout. I have a few open pages left in case I have some good photos over the holidays.

Things on my short list to tackle in the upcoming month:

Skinny Enchilada Lasagna
I like enchiladas, but I swear they never stay rolled for me, which is very annoying. This might solve that problem. Plus, I can make it on Sunday and it’ll feed us for most of the week. I like that, I like that a a lot.

Homemade Caramels
Besides the usual hot buttered rum that I make every year, I’d like to take a stab at making homemade caramels for gifts. My bff from college makes them with her fam and they are to DIE for. I’m hoping these will come out just as good.

Chili Bar
I’d like to host one Sunday afternoon get together and thought this would be a fun theme to try out. It looks not very labor intensive, which I can dig.

What has inspired you lately on Pinterest? Are you in full on holiday pinning mode like me and everyone else out there?

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