English Scones and Peonies Birthday Weekend

This past weekend I celebrated my birthday with those near and dear to me. Even the hot temperatures did not deter me from going outside and enjoy the sunny weather. Here is a few of the celebrations this past weekend.

All started with a wonderful dessert get together on the shores of Lake Washington. A wonderful friend of mine has a place by Lake Washington and for an evening she hosted a fun dessert party to celebrate another and I’s birthdays. Whole group enjoyed eating yummy desserts made with a wonderful view of Lake Washington and the sound of the waves splashing on the shore. All evening we played the game Taboo until all of us were stuffed with chocolate and ready to head home to digest it all.

IMG_0576

Following morning I headed to Edmonds to the farmer’s market to see what the vendors had. I ended up with bunch of peonies, raspberries and strawberries to take home. There were so many flower vendors with a whole bunch of peonies that really made it hard to pick which I wanted. I ended up with a pretty bunch in light pink with purple bell flowers to round out the bouquet. The market was hopping  along with the nearby restaurants full of brunch-er relaxing outside at sunny tables on the sidewalk.

Being a hot day and close to water, I decided to walk down to the waterfront to “cool off” by the gentle wind. As I walked along the boardwalk to Marina Park, I stopped for an ice cream cone at the Waterfront Cafe for a chocolate waffle cone. This place had been my favorite stop for ice cream since I was a kid at the beach here. Its real smooth creamy ice cream! As I was strolling along I cough sight of this strange but awesome boat docked in the harbor. Someone really went all out for the tropical theme for their boat.

Sunday after church Mom, Nana and I went out for a celebration of out birthdays. Being one of the hottest days so far in Seattle, we decided to do English style afternoon tea. You would think to only drink something cold when it is hot outside, but something warm or hot really does cool you down. There is a place we have gone in the past at Bothell Country Village called Village Eatery & Tea Co.  All three of us had the Cozy Tea for One which consisted of small garden salad, four tea sandwiches (mine was the tomato and pesto cream cheese) as a starter ( we gave each one sample sandwich to try), dessert plate with a large lemon grazed scone (with Norfolk Cream and strawberry jam), and assorted chocolate tea bites. All this with a mug of Bourbon Street Vanilla Rooibos tea. This tea is the best Rooibos tea I have had and I picked up four ounces of loose leaf tea of it before leaving to enjoy at home. After we headed home to cool off from the hot temperatures Seattle was feeling.

I am so blessed to have such wonderful friends and family to celebrate this weekend. I am so happy to had such beautiful weather. I hope all my readers had a wonderful weekend as well.

Thanks(Friends)giving Week Adventures

What?! No cookbooks this year?! This is what my dear mother said at Costco on Black Friday when she realized there were no cookbooks to be passed out this year. Honestly Costco you could have announced it to all your members before Thanksgiving. So another Thanksgiving tradition has come to an end after a few years. RIP Costco Holiday Cookbook, RIP. And that is just be beginning of the Thanksgiving week of disappointments. Yep after only having a laptop for three months before the dark screen of death happened,and the laptop gave out. Now into the final two weeks of classes, what a suck this is. Then again you get what you paid for, if it is a $200 Chrome book, then yes it is going to be a piece of crap! So I bought myself a proper laptop this Black Friday, and it is a Christmas gift to myself (also can write it off for taxes since it is a school expense). The third thing as the cherry on top of the above happenings, the FDA has stopped all shipments of English fruit cake from Australia. WHY?! It was the only fruit cake worth eating! Not the American disgusting, radio active cherries on top and what the heck filling type cake! Seriously why? No go on the only fruit cake worth eating during the holiday season. Such a disappointing realization.

But the weekend was not all gloomy and depressing…..

IMG_0138
Beautiful Thanksgiving Day!

I don’t know what compelled me to do this, but I blame it on Pinterest and reading a post off of Anderson Ever After. I decided to propose the idea of Friends-giving for our church’s young adult group get together. This meant rounding up people to bring stuff for the dinner and to make sure we had a feast at the end. It was. We ended up with sweet potato casserole, turkey, cranberry sauce, rolls, apple pie, pumpkin pie, mash potatoes, stuffing, and all the other fixings. By the end the night we all where stuffed and ready to go home happy-full. Next year there will be another Friends-giving, and it will be epic (do they still use this word?).

12304090_10206095517401581_4460844647606122448_o
the whole group

Thanksgiving was a small affair since my Nana came up from Oregon to visit. Thanksgiving was at my parent’s house which meant we all chipped in to help with the small feast. Ham, turkey breast, cheese scalloped potatoes, cranberry sauce, salad, rolls, and sparkling cranberry juice for a feast. But…. we celebrate Thanksgiving with English Christmas crackers! Yep during desert we open or more like pop, crackers full of paper crowns, cheesey jokes and some surprise gift inside. I love wackiness of wearing a brightly colored paper crown and eating chocolate! Not the typical American Thanksgiving at all.

I have posted before I do not do the Black Friday thing at all. After spending three Christmas seasons in retail, I no longer partake in this crazy tradition. Black Friday is spent going to Costco for their free cookbook (which as you can tell didn’t happen this year), hunting for the famous European fruit cake (another disappointment) and relaxing. I did shop for a new laptop in the comfort of home, and will be getting a Surface 4 Pro tablet for Christmas.

Saturday morning I rounded up the gang and went to decorate the Church for the Christmas season. Like the two years before, our group was assigned front lobby tree decorating duty. This time we out do ourselves again with the trees.

12307386_10208536139907973_1077720039589476943_o
Church Lobby Trees

After tree decorating, I decided to make a huge batch of Butter Shortbread Cookies from a recipe I found on Pinterest. Oh my goodness the best homemade shortbread I have made and tasted! I will be using this recipe from now on.

IMG_0137
Homemade Shortbread Cookies

Later in the evening we all hopped into the car to stand in the cold to Edmonds Tree Lighting Ceremony to see the tree in the town square light up. I froze my butt off standing there waiting, and wishing I had stopped at the Starbucks on my way to the event. Oh well next time I will stop. Nice clear crisp day and evening made for a beautiful display for the lighting of the Christmas tree.

IMG_0147
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree!

Well Thanksgiving has come and gone! Now on to Christmas and seeing what the end of the year brings. Two weeks until finals, and three and half weeks until Christmas!! Time has flown by!

Did It For the Hot Chocolate- First 5K Run

Sweetest race on earth was in Seattle this past weekend, and I rocked it! Ok I rocked my first 5k run and that in itself is an accomplishment for me. Don’t judge. Having a huge mug of hot chocolate and all sorts of editable to dip in chocolate fondue was worth it. Instead of saying “I did it for a Klondike bar,” I more or less would say “I did it for the European hot chocolate.” To top it off, I did this all with two wonderful friends. After all the sore muscles and getting up early was all worth it in the end.

For the past six weeks I have been training for my first 5K race. Running around Eastlake/South Lake Union during lunch got me to where I needed to be able to run the whole thing without walking the whole course. Saturday afternoon before the race a friend and I picked up our racing packets and sampled what would be in our finisher’s mug. We did raided the Larabar stand of all the flavors. They are coming out with a new flavor, and it is a good one too.

Race day started with me getting up at 4:30am on a chilly 37 degrees clear Seattle morning to get ready to rock this race. At 5:30am hopped into the car and drove down to the Seattle Center. The 5K part of the race didn’t start until 6:45am and we all got there just in time to line up at corral E with all the other runners in high spirits.

11043000_10203485720975367_8068918806799742497_n
Chilly morning with the Space Needle. Photo Credit: Kristina

We started off, and down the street towards Elliot Ave towards Pikes Place Market. As I was traveling down the hill on Broad St, there was a aw inspiring scene of the Puget Sound below and the sun casting a beautiful sight on the Olympic Mountains in the background.Looking around while running the course made a wonderful experience.

10407316_10203485720495355_5107460631315928393_n
Running down the hill. Photo Credit: Kristina

In the Battery Street Tunnel was the hard part of the race for me. The claustrophobia feeling, the loud noise from all the people running through along with cars passing overhead and the heat from all the bodies in motion made it one part of the run I really wanted to turn on the after burners, but could not. I walked/jogged/run through the part trying to get out of the enclosed space in a short amount of time as possible. The only fuel stop had lemon flavored water and chocolate chips. I will be honest I stuffed majority of the chips in my pocket and kept on running. I think I wanted the lemon water more than chocolate at that point and trying breath and swallow at the same time just wasn’t happening. Having all the spectators, volunteers, and even the Seattle Police cheering you onward was crazy in its self. People you don’t even know are telling you how proud they are of you and you have just one more turn left until the finish line.

I never thought I would ever finish a 5K race, let alone run 3.1 miles. This has been a goal of mine for a while now, and when I crossed the finishing line there was this amazing feeling of OH MY GOODNESS I DID IT!  I finished a 5K, I finished 3.1 miles, and I accomplished this goal! Something three months ago I though was a crazy idea and not possible for me. Complete excitement and one massive runner’s high! I completed this with two amazing friends who also were their first 5Ks too. End result of the race, I ran the 5K in 37.12 minutes at a 12:00 minutes per mile pace. I am very happy with this result!

10947185_10203485720175347_3429233698491144995_n
We did it!

Since this was the 5K race instead of the 15K, I didn’t get a medal, but I received a finisher’s mug with an overload of chocolate after running 3.1 miles on a chilly day. A banana, hot chocolate, rice crispy treat, marshmallow, cheese crackers, pretzel and dark chocolate fondue to dip all the stuff in. OMGoodness it was the best thing to eat after all that training, and a great breakfast!

11021236_10206503506853417_4985996668889234073_n
Finisher’s Mug

Going back home we all three were in high spirits about accomplishing the race, and decided to rock out in the car in downtown Seattle traffic. To onlookers it must have been quit a show, but to us it was letting loose and celebrating to old school music (circa. late 90s early 2000s). I chalk it up to the runner’s high. For the rest of the day it was taking a nap, and just relaxing (pigging out on chips).

After this experience I am running more races. I have found another hobby, and the runner’s high is the best feeling ever!

Advent Merriment, And The White Elephant

http://christopherflowers.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/130220_0203mohai.jpg
Photo Credit: Barbie Hull Photography http://christopherflowers.biz/tag/museum-of-history-and-industry/

One stormy night in early December M and I made our way down to South Lake Union to Museum of History and Industry for my company’s holiday party. The night started out with a storm that knocked out power in some area neighborhoods of Seattle and north. Getting there was a little bit of a challenge since we could not take I5 since it was all backed up. So down Aurora (SR99) we went, and it was smooth sailing from there.

The party was swinging by the time M and I walked through the door. There was signature drinks to be tasted and heavy hor d’oeurve to be sampled. I really like the lamb burger slider and the yummy lettuce wraps they had. I didn’t taste the signature drinks but I heard they were great. The three were Icicle Blue, Fireside and Holiday’rita. Around this time I realized how much of an introvert I really am. Large crowds of people bring this out not only in me, but in M as well. Having another introvert as a date becomes tricky since we both stand there like an island in the middle of the room unsure of ourselves.

After all the toasts were made, M and I made our way through the museum galleries to check out the history the building held. In the Klondike Exhibit M and I decided to see what our prospects were during the gold rush. Our results where night and day. Michael ended up with a person who mined $2,000 worth of gold, looses all of it in a night of gambling and then was jailed for jumping the man who won his gold. Not much of a luck strike! For me I got John Nordstrom and I went on to building a fortune off of the miners coming through and opening a shoes store that one day have a mark of fashion in the Pacific Northwest.

One gallery M really liked was the sports memorabilia on display. On display is the Seattle Super Sonics Basketball team’s NBA Champion trophy from 1979, along with the second base from the last Mariners game played in the Kingdome. The base on display has all the signatures from all the players on the team who played in the last game.  But it was the display with the Mariner game score book belong to Dave Niehaus that was the highlight of the evening. Niehaus would keep sore of every game the Mariners played in a spiral bound book while he was the announcer. Just seeing this made the night for the both of us.

Around 10:30pm we made our way to the door to go home and get ready for work the next day. As a small party favor, my company game each person a portable cellphone charger. The next day people who could not make it to the party the night before wanted one and the extra ones were gone by the end of the day.

A week later the research group I am a part of went out for our Holiday Group Lunch at Purple Cafe in downtown Seattle. All sixteen of us had a privet room reserved for our little late lunch around a long oak table surrounded by wine bottle from every wine region around the world.

We started off with three appetizers, the Baked Brie, Bruschetta, and Spicy Prawns with Shoestring frites. The Baked Brie and the Bruschetta where fabulous and there was more than enough of it for all sixteen of us. the Spicy Prawns had a kick of spiciness that after two I really couldn’t take the heat. Plus prawns have never been a favorite seafood of mine, so I rarely eat them. I will admit the prawns were meaty, and not those skimpy ones you sometimes find in the grocery store.

For an entrée I had the famous Classic Steak and Frites. Nine of us in the group all had this same dish and after thinking about it, I could have gotten away with having the Lamb Burger instead. Oh well. The steak was cooked medium-done, and the fries were nothing like a big fat greasy steak fries you get at some restaurants. To wash it down, a tall glass of squeezed lemonade.

For dessert, a Chocolate Truffle! I’m all for anything chocolate, and I don’t share my chocolate truffle with anyone. One of my co-works like to joke about bread pudding and why I don’t like it. I’m not a fan of the texture is all. On the menu under cheese section there was a cheese called Humboldt Fog. Either it was a wine or lemonade talking but I thought it said Humboldt “Frog” instead of Fog. I bet you get the picture why I needed a double take on that.

After waddling-yes I did waddle a bit out around 3.45pm to catch the bus back home, I felt like I had a food baby and in a food coma at the same time. The bus ride home was very uncomfortable and for the rest of the night I didn’t even what to look at food since I was still digesting all the goodness of lunch.

Advent started off with a breakfast high on the sugar scale mix with some caffeine Some church mornings need a little more boost then others. Our church decide instead of a Christmas Nativity play this year, why not have all of us come together as one big congregation (we have two Sunday services) and celebrate the coming of Jesus’s birth.  The service and the party was one of the best the church as put on in recent, and I will say even better than last year’s Advent party.

The White Elephant part of the story happened on the same night as the Advent party. Started out with me picking up a fruit plate since the deli forgot to make my pin wheel sandwiches! Oh well, fruit is better for you. The “white elephant” for those who do not know is where you bring a gift that you already have (ex: box of cereal) and exchange it for another gift someone else brought. There are many variations to how it is played, but the version played was anyone can steal your gift from you at anytime. The gift I brought was a commercial pot holder that has been hanging around the apartment since I have a whole bunch already. The gift I ended up with was a Starbucks thermos that no one took from me! I’m happy.

After all, this is only the beginning of what merriment waits come by the end of this month and year! By the time I’m done, I will be needing to go on a detox diet for a while in January.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Last Two Months of Summer

Wow! Where did the time go? It’s the end of August and I still haven’t posted all that has happened in the month of July. I better start…

 Decorating the new apartment

While decorating my new apartment, Mom and I went to the Goodwill in Shoreline looking for an old mirror to do up. We ended up with a mirror along with another find I never expected. There sitting in the middle of the store was a perfect conditioned microfiber love seat for only $45.00! I ended up snatching that couch up on the spot and called Dad to come with his pickup to haul it to my apartment. I guess it was a day the gods of couches was looking down on me, or I would still be looking for a couch.

IMG_0887[1]

 Mini adventures during the week

One day I decided to take a little trip to Golden Gardens to take advantage of the sunshine. I have been so use to the beaches up in North Seattle area, and so I decide to need explore more of the parks around Seattle.

On the nice sunny days during the work week I would take a 30 minute lunch run around South Lake Union park. Mostly there are other runners, walkers, bicycles, and summer campers in the park. This makes a fantastic people watching moments and you could see all the tech workers hanging out on their lunch break.

Discovery Park adventure

10492135_10204607376531344_6478657593486603032_n

For a while I have been wanting to explore more of Discovery Park. M’s apartment is just walking distance to the park, so on the hottest day in Seattle we headed to the park for some lunch and to explore a new part of the park for me. I have seen the West Point Lighthouse before, so I wanted to see a part of the old Fort Lawson and see the old buildings that are left over from when the officially closed. Being the hottest day in Seattle, poor M started melt in the heat and sun. I feel sorry for dragging him out during the hottest part of the day with not much shade to be had. I ended up getting very good shots of the old falling apart buildings of the former base.

Lab Monkey Strikes!

10479694_10204679092244192_2134514753329450178_n

Funny thing to put “I love lab monkey” on my bio safety cabinet window, only to come in the next morning to someone drawing a picture of said monkey. Science is not all seriousness. When you have an awesome team of people we just are like family playing practical jokes on each other.

First Mariner’s game with M and his friends. See post: Play Ball Boys!

IMG_0958

 Adventures with Megan.

When Megan is in town things become more like a non stop fun fest. This girl is a kick in the pants to be around and you never have a dull moment with her. Case in point the Happy Meals On Crack. Why did Mc-D’s decide to put a very scary happy face on the side of a children’s food box? Was someone very-or should say a team of creatives/marketing high when they came up with the idea?

Megan:” is it my hangover making this box look creepy?”

Me: ” Nope, the box is creepy.”

Megan: “Looks like it is on crack.”

Me: (putting the psychedelic glasses it came with it on it)

Me: ” More like on acid!”

Just look at the pictures. One friend on Facebook wrote “Holy cow!”  Then you have to ask why two adults be buying Happy Meals? We were hung over and tired to care about what form our food came in.  Maybe creepy faces are our punishment for thinking we are kids when we are not.

10552600_10204736696964274_6584049003141113686_n

A few days we checked out my apartment’s pool and sauna. Conclusion, decent enough to swim in, and lay beside. After sunning ourselves, we decided to head to Roy’s in Edmonds for a Mac and Jacks and a burger before she left for Pullman for one last year of college.

BBQ Galore!

August was the month of BBQ! I guess with all the great hot weather Seattle has been getting lately it was time to get serious about BBQ-ing. At work we had a total of two BBQ done of the sun deck with everyone attending. A huge success since many of the social events fail terribly. M bought a Weber BBQ a year ago and never had used it until now! Our first BBQ adventure was making hamburgers and then moved on to hotdogs. Both times turned out well, and M’s BBQ-ing is up there with how my Dad does it, so M is a keeper.  At the end of August the church I attend puts on a community BBQ called Grill and Chill. This year there was BBQ hotdogs and a lot of entertainment. The bottle rocket station was one of M’s favorite things to watch, and I am guessing if he could, he would have been up there with the kids letting them off.  After the Grill and Chill BBQ, I have eaten my last BBQ hotdog for a while.

Summer Movie Nights

Saw a few new and old movies this summer. The church puts on a free movie night in the back parking lot of the church for a family movie night. This summer it was the movie Frozen, and all snacks had the Frozen theme. I’m a sucker for Disney movies (grew up on them) and was in heaven to just to be a kid again laughing at all childish jokes. Two weekends later I went and saw Guardians of the Galaxy at the Majestic Bay Theater in Ballard with M and M’s friend Al. The movie was good and would say more of a guys movie then a girls one. I love to watch the Marvel Comic movies, and at that point I feel like I’m a bro-girl when I go see them with M. I would recommend seeing the movie if you like misfit superheros, but it is not really for kids since there are adult jokes that will go over any kids heads.

Oh, and the Seahawks are back to defend the Super Bowl title.

On a group lunch date I had the 12th Man sushi roll at I Love Sushi in South Lake Union. Go Seahawks!

IMG_0988[1]

12th Man x 4 = Super Bowl 48!

Blue and Green! Go hawks!

_DSC0048

All started right after the win. The boys looked at each other and said now on to the Super Bowl for the win of a lifetime while dumping Skittles over themselves. Next morning, a co-worker of mine started planning the whole building’s Super Bowl Tailgating party. Within two weeks all of Seattle and the country was a buzzed with speculation on the two teams (from the only two states with legalized marijuana use) in winning the Super Bowl. It has been a very exciting two weeks, and the whole of Seattle with a non stop party for the team who has taken the NFL by storm this season. Also this is the season I have become a Seahawks fan all over again. And I cannot complain!

Tuesday before the Super Bowl our work had a tailgating party in support of our Seahawks. The tailgating party ended up being over sixty plus people showing up and precipitating in what we like to call “team building” activities together. Took a lot of planning in a short period of time to grill fifteen pounds of hamburger and hot dogs for all of us. Even after all that we had lots of left overs! But we did get the Costco sized boxes of Skittles before the “great” shortage of Skittles happened on Sunday.

At most tailgating parties we had beer and soda, but the one thing we did decided to do was the Skittle Jell-O Vodka shots in the Seahawks colors. I will admit, we used cheap vodka for this, and so the blue had a taste of cough syrup and the green had a very strong lime vodka flavored that I almost choked on with the Jell-O.

Taking a shot for the team
Taking a shot for the team

One very fun thing we did was have a pinata that was made into a Denver Bronco (ok it was a My Little Pony Unicorn one….we had to improvise!). The day before the party the My Little Brony was ok, but some how between the afternoon of hanging him up, someone as a practical joke on the Hawks fan put a yellow rubber chicken with the 12th Man logo on the chest and put it in the mouth of the Bronco. The Bronco had turned into a vampire bronco with fangs and blood all over its mouth for added effect.

Too bad My Little Bronco did not survive the destruction we all took out on it. Poor thing did not have a chance at all!

IMG_0650[1]
Has no legs now!
Super Bowl Sunday came and I was ready for the intense game starting at three West Coast time. My boyfriend and I were invited to a small friend’s Super Bowl Party at his house. As a team, we both made Buffalo Potato Wedges ( recommended dunking them in Buffalo sauce before baking them-it taste really good!) and Jalapeno Popper Dip. Both had rave reviews from the party.

Game time came and boy were we all surprised at how the score turned out! Most of us thought the game was going to be a close one with the Broncos putting up a fight at least. The first 12 seconds of the game was a big surprise! The ball went whizzing past Payton Manning’s helmet! And the look on his face through the whole game was just complete shock. The whole game the guys were down in the Man cave watching on huge flat screen while all of us girls were upstairs watching it in the living room. You can say it was male bonding moment down stairs and girl time upstairs. Through the whole game, the downstairs TV had a thirty-second delay, so when there was a touch down, they would see it thirty seconds after us. At times there were funny moments because you would hear them downstairs laughing at an ad right after us. I guess you had to been there to know. My excited boyfriend had to run up the stairs every time we scored a touch down with the Skittles. Towards the end of the game we had to be rushed out one Skittle because we started running out of them.

Then it was the moment of truth…….

Photo credit: New Pittsburgh Courier

The Seahawks won the Super Bowl! The whole party erupted into cheers and you could hear the firework exploding off the Space Needle from where we were. A victory for Seattle! The score was unbelievable, and the whole city of Seattle parties well into the night.

As we were leaving my boyfriend’s friend’s house up along Queen Ann, there was lots of people in the streets celebrating like crazy. Just seeing how joyful of a celebration of a super bowl win on the city was apparent on the local news.

Two hours later my boyfriend was super excited over the win that he went out to the local Sports Authority and bought himself some of the Super Bowl champions gear they were starting to put out. Too bad the shirt he got me did not fit, so he will be taking it back to exchange it for a size that will fit me. How thoughtful of him!

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks and all the 12th Man fans for winning the 48th Super Bowl! You all worked very hard for this. For the Denver Broncos, you had an amazing season as well. Congratulations on making it to the Super Bowl again and winning the AFC championship title!