Monday, December 31, 2012

Samish Santa

Once again on Christmas Eve, we made the rounds on Samish Island with Santa (my dad!) to give all of the little kiddos a candy cane and add a little magic to their evening. The looks in their eyes was priceless. While the ride is cold (we stand right behind cab so we can wave at everyone as we slowly drive past), it's well worth it. I love the traditions of my home.

Stay tuned - I'll be playing blogging catch-up the next few weeks!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Oh, Christmas Tree

We were a little late in getting our Christmas tree due to work trips and a visit from the flu bug, but we finally brought it home last weekend. I knew it had to go smack-dab in the middle of the window because I love when you drive past homes at Christmas and see the pretty trees inside. Now whenever I drive home, I get a dose of holiday spirit the moment I park my car and an extra dose when I step inside and smell the Christmas pine.

Hope you are all enjoying the Holiday season with all of the smells, traditions and family time.

On the search for the perfect tree.

So many to choose from! But we ended up with a gem.

The kitties loved decorating time. 
Goose: "Why is there a tree inside?"

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Santa Bachelorette

One of my favorite traditions post-engagement and pre-wedding is the bachelorette party. It's our chance to celebrate the bride without competing with 100 or 200 other people at the wedding. It's our chance to meet all of the important women in her life that we may not know, so we can dance the night away at the wedding. And it's our chance of getting "Santaed" by a random stranger. (This man was hoping the hat would get him an invite to the party. Sorry, buddy.) Merith's bachelorette party covered it all. We ventured to Ballard for cocktails, a nice Italian dinner and a smidggen of dancing. A kick-back bachelorette party, but super fun nonetheless.

Now only a week and a half until Miss Merith Kallshian will become Mrs. Merith Hall. So excited!

P.S. We played the "how well do you know each other?" game, so I emailed Andy several questions beforehand and he sent his answers. We then quizzed Merith to see how many she'd get right - considering how tough the questions were, she did well :) But my absolute favorite Q&A was:

Q: What excites you most about marrying Merith? A: Knowing that the rest of my life is going be with her and that we are going to have so many fun adventures ahead of us!

Queue: Awwwww.... 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Simple Pasta and Sinful Drinks

A few weeks ago, Maddie and I decided that we wanted a night of good homemade food and drink. We scoured the food blogs for a relatively easy dinner option and only found a recipe for a delicious-sounding cocktail: The blackberry and meyer lemon gin and tonic. Since our focus turned to the beverage of the night, we opted for one of Maddie's quick, go-to recipes: Pasta with peppers, mozzarella and arugula. With only a handful of ingredients, this dish certainly packs a flavor punch. In fact, I liked it so much, I made it for Joe two nights later.

So next time you're looking for an easy meal or a fancy drink, I'd suggest both of these recipes, but the key ingredient: enjoying it all with good company :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Nutcracker

Once again, my cousins made me proud in the Nutcracker. This year, their roles were reversed: Miss Jenna was the lead as Clara and Miss Audrey was the Snow Queen. Both were absolutely stunning. These little ladies have serious talent. Since graduation is knocking on their door (where does time fly?!), I hope they are both able to continue to do what they love - dance. Lord knows, I'll be cheering them on from the audience!

P.S. The Nutcracker from last year.

The final curtsy and bows - both of them front and center!

The dancing queens with my grandma and me :)

Monday, December 10, 2012

The White House

One of the perks of my job is that our boss can move mountains. When we found out that our office tour of the White House wasn't coming to fruition, the boss man steps in, makes a call and within 5 minutes has us on the guest list for the very next day. Needless to say, we were all very excited!

Lucky for us, the White House was all decked out in holiday cheer. We learned it takes 150 volunteers several days to complete the decorations. Each room has at least one tree, wreaths, poinsettias and a Christmas smell that instantly puts a smile on your face. While I didn't have any run-ins with the man himself, a few of my coworkers spotted the first dog, Bo, sneaking out of top-secret territory before being taken away by the Secret Service. 

All in all, it was an incredible experience; you really do feel like you're walking through a little piece of history.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

My View

I'm working out of our DC office this week and am currently perched at a desk with a view of the Potomac River. While I do like the view from my office a little better, it's not too shabby for a visitor.

Hope you're having a great week!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Local 360

On Saturday, Joe and I had the opportunity to try out Local 360 in Belltown. As the name subtly implies, everything they serve comes from within 360 miles of Seattle. Sort of a fun concept, huh? And conveniently for us, one of the neighboring businesses was giving out $50 gift certificates. Hot damn! So we treated ourselves with a delicious pork chop and the most amazing risotto I've ever had. In fact, I've already been scouring the web for a similar recipe. Who wants to test this recipe with me? If it fails, we'll just have to head down to Local 360 :)

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cat Lady Returns

Steph introduced me to one of my favorite new iPhone apps: KittyBooth. All you do is upload a picture, then add all the cats you want! It's a surefire way to make you look like a total cat lady, if you don't already fit the mold. As you can see, I got a little carried away, but can you blame me? Fifi and Goose needed a few friends in their favorite window to watch the birds, squirrels and neighborhood cats outside.

Speaking of, here's a few recent gems of the kitties.

Contrary to what you might think, this wasn't just Goose rolling over. He was just resting in this position. In fact, I ran to get my camera and when I came back, he was still sittin' there, belly up. So nonchalant.

This is a familiar shot. Without fail, Fifi perches near our coffee table when we have something to eat. Wishing and hoping that maybe, just maybe, we will share or possibly drop a tasty treat.

Goose lets me make him dance. Yes, this happens a lot. No, it doesn't get old. 

Typical evening affair: "Let's play hide-and-seek!" "Ok, go hide." "What?! How'd you find me?" "The moving paper bag had nothing to do with it, Fifi."

Thursday, November 29, 2012


It was our second year hosting Thanksgiving with our parents (here's the first year!), and let me tell you, it only got better. The turkey was more moist, the stuffing blew my mind, my grandma's china sparkled and we all had some good quality time to catch up.

By looking at this post, one would think that I'm most thankful for food. In reality, I do love food, but the people in my life top the charts. They are as important as food, water and oxygen combined. But alas, I didn't take any people photos, so I'll share with you what I have :)

These are the pretty flowers I picked up at a cute little Greenwood flower shop

Here's our table, all set up and ready to go... minus a few chairs we brought in later.

I made miniature apple pies with a crumble top (the picture doesn't do them justice!). Served warm and topped with vanilla ice cream? Wow, just wow. I know it's weird to pat yourself on the back, but for these, I did. The leftovers of these little suckers alone make me want to buy a few extra pairs of elastic-waist pants. I wish I was kidding.

We also made some turkey noodle soup with the leftovers - we boiled some of the carcass, adding some reduced-sodium broth, egg noodles, turkey chunks, carrots, onions, celery, black pepper and parsley. Then we topped with some parmesan cheese, just for good measure.

As of last night, we were still eating leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner and the turkey noodle soup. As much as I love Thanksgiving food, I think I might just be ready for a change...

But overall, I'm thankful for a fabulous Thanksgiving with my Mom, Dad, Joe, Lilian and Joe (Joe's dad; it can get confusing).

P.S. The recipes not included above: for the cornbread in the stuffing, I used this recipe; for the potatoes, I used this recipe; for the cranberries, I used the recipe on the package; for the gravy, package again; for the turkey, we kept it simple by putting several tablespoons of melted butter, fresh rosemary (from our yard!) and garlic between the skin and actual meat (ahem, Joe, did this part) and cooked for nearly 5 hours, basting only once with chicken broth.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I covet

Wouldn't this just look perfect in our dining room? It fits the period of our home. It's not to gaudy, yet still has a classic look. And it sparkles. What girl doesn't like a little sparkle?    

Friday, November 23, 2012

Three Years

I met the love of my life three years ago today. Three years. I knew he was something special when after our first date, I showed a picture to my mom of the "man I'm going to marry one day." Sure, I said that once before to her - I was dead set on marrying Alex Rodriguez when I was ten years old. But this time was different. (Clearly different!) Joe was The One. He fit the bill. I'd grow old with this man.

Since then, we've had quite a few adventures. Road trips, Sweden trip, tropical trip, weekend trips. He started a new career. I stayed put in mine. We've hiked, we've biked, we've skied, we've run. We've tried new recipes and we've tried new restaurants. We've attended about a dozen weddings. He moved in, then we bought our home and adopted the most adorable little kitties. Essentially, we've had the time of our lives and it's only been three years. The best part? There are so many more to go :)

Joe, you mean the world to me. Happy Anniversary! I love you!

P.S. Year one and year two.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


A few years ago, I learned that taking the week off between Christmas and New Year's was pure bliss. After today, I'm thinking that taking the day before Thanksgiving off is also quite nice. Today has been a combination of relaxing and getting stuff done. I made the mashed potatoes so I can easily throw them into the oven tomorrow and even prepped the stuffing. (The recipe requires you to let the french bread and cornbread stay out for 24 hours, so it gets a little crusty.) Next up, play with the kitties before I get the carpet monster (i.e. vacuum) out and they run away.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Secret Message

Remember when we started remodeling our bathroom back in SEPTEMBER? Well, I'm pleased to announce that it'll be finished soon! (It'll be nice to use the sink again - brushing our teeth and washing our hands/faces in the kitchen has been interesting) And a blog reveal will most definitely happen. But let me just tell you this: It's turning out to be gorgeous! It may be my favorite room of the moment. (Well, second to this room, obviously.)

In the process, I left a secret message for the people who remodel this bathroom next because it sure as heck won't be us; we'll either be gone or hire someone next time! We also put a dollar bill in the wall because it's honestly one of my dreams that good ol' Judy (former owner) left a giant stash of money somewhere - she was elderly so you never know, right? And I realize that a dollar wouldn't be considered a "giant stash" by any means, but sorta fun!

Oh, and we found more evidence of different wallpaper. Judy just loved her wallpaper.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Patty Cake Cats

Cats playing patty cake? Yes, please.

P.S. Thanks for sending, Olita!
P.P.S. I'm going to teach Goose and Fifi to do this.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Double Rainbow

There have been a whole lot of rainbows outside my office window lately. You walk from one side of the office to the other and you can see the start to finish. Now where is that pot of gold?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Kam!

Is there anything better than pretending to be a kid again? A chance to forget about work deadlines or household chores, and just play and eat pizza. That's exactly what we did for Kam's birthday this weekend. We all brought out our inner 10-year-old and played game after game after game. (Shoot, I'd consider this for my 30th birthday.) After we played all we could at Gameworks, we headed to our house for pizza and the Game of Life. All in all, a quality birthday party. Happy Birthday, Kam! I love you.

Mom and Richelle...

... took on the undefeated Kam and Erika :)

Kam adores Joe. In fact, apparently when Richelle asked if he wanted to bring a friend, he said, "No, it's ok, I'll just play with Joe and Grandpa." 

This boy is amazing at basketball. 

The whole crew for a beer/rootbeer break.

 A snippet of a conversation while playing Life at home:
Mom: "Geez, this game is confusing."
Kam: "That's because life is confusing, Grandma."
So wise at such a young age.

P.S. I still have about a centimeter on him. I wouldn't be surprised if the next time, he's finally taller.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Turning Ten

I can't believe my little nephew is turning 10 years old this weekend! To celebrate, we're hitting up Gameworks and then picking up some pizza to take to our house so we can just chill as a family. He's at the age when gaming sort of rules, so I'm sure there will be some Kinect challenges at night. A little virtual tennis game or maybe some Dance Central? I'm game. Bring it, Kam :)

P.S. Picture from Great Wolf Lodge three years ago. Like Autumn's students, I think that place is AMAZING. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Quick and Easy Sugar Fix

Remember the diet coke brownies? Well, courtesy of my mother, I learned about another quick and easy, two ingredient baked good: The Angel Fruitcake. A box of angel food cake, a can of pie filling of your choice (you can also choose less sugar, if you so desire) - mixed together and baked according to the box and you've got yourself angel fruitcake. I was quite impressed with the outcome - I'm not gonna lie, Joe and I both got seconds. Next time, I think I might give apple filling a try. 

What do you think - would you give this a try? If so, what flavor?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Obama and Kiddos

If you want your heart to melt, you must check out Barack Obama being adorable with adorable children. Whether you're voting for him or not, you can't deny he's adorable with children. 

P.S. I get zero points for originality for this post because Mads already posted about it, but after she sent it to me yesterday, I can't stop thinking about how cute our President is!

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Full Extent of Crazy

I tried to explain this phenomenon before, but didn't think you could fully comprehend the crazy without seeing it for yourself. This is what you'd find if you looked through the photos on my phone. I was looking for a particular photo and kept finding photo after photo of the kitties. Who have I become? It takes a lot of self-restraint to not just turn this blog into "kitty pic of the day." But I'll resist for your sake. But don't worry, I'll still give periodic Goose and Fifi updates. You know you love them too.

Speaking of crazy animal people, look at my Mom's amazing Halloween costume. They have a Halloween Parade through downtown Edison where people on the streets throw candy at the kids! Brings back fond memories of my childhood. My mom went as the ultimate crazy dog lady, Cruella Deville. Pretty good, huh?

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