Saturday, December 31, 2011

Seattle Surprise Party

After my sibling's improvised trip to Seattle I decided to surprise my friend Ryan for his birthday. Ry is honestly the worst person to surprise. He (self-admittedly) micromanages everything, making it quite impossibly to surprise him.Over our eight year friendship I have never seen him surprised. He is always in the loop and always guesses what's going on. Remember my outing with the Browns? He was supposed to join as a surprise guest for both him and her, but he literally stalked Facebook until he figured out what was going on. I still love him quirks and all. After my sister and I decided Thursday night that we were in fact going to be in Seattle. I set the plan to have our mutual friend take Ry out for birthday drinks. The girls and I would then surprise him shortly after. We were supposed to meet them at 9:00 but 9:00 turned into 9:45. Luckily Brandyn is a pro at redirecting Ryan's attention. Inside the bar we hid behind a wall and text Brandyn to start recording. He played it off like he was texting. :) Tiffany led the way and Ryan's reaction couldn't have been more perfect. Sitting on his stool he just blinked at Tiffany then Rona then looked at me mouth open and bewildered. It was only when we all said "hi Ry" that he came to.

After Elite we headed to Purr a Capital Hill favorite. We sang, danced and rocked the night away. This text pretty much says it all:

Have you ever thrown a surprise party? How did it turn out?

Happy New Year's Eve everyone!

A Day Trip - Part II

Following the market we each picked a spot to visit. Michael chose Post Alley to see the famous gum wall. It's pretty disgusting but a very traditional tourist attraction.

 My brother David adding his gum to the wall.

Next my siblings and I headed to see the Freemont Troll, my choice. Naturally, we just assumed it was underneath the Freemont bridge, it is not. It's under the Aurora bridge. Luckily we pulled over to look for directions because we ended up pulling onto a dock that had a glorious view of downtown Seattle and the surrounding areas. Sometimes getting "lost" has its perks.

Can you find me? I blended in pretty well. 

Following the troll expedition we went to the downtown Seattle library, my brother David's choice. The architecture and interior decor is extremely compelling. 

Next we headed to the Space Needle, my brother-in-law's choice.

We ended our night with dinner on the water at Fisherman's Restaurant and Bar; my sister's choice as it was her and her husband's honeymoon dinner spot.We all ordered clam chowder, a perfect end to the cold day.

Coming soon: Seattle Surprise Party

A Day Trip - Part I

Yesterday my siblings and I decided to go on a last minute trip to Seattle.

En route:

Once we got to Seattle we decided to make it a tourist day. We headed to Pike Place Market for lunch and overindulgent shopping. My siblings went to Michou for paninis and I headed to Piroshky-Piroshky for their potato-mushroom and onion prioshky. If you've never had a piroshky, you need one. They are heaven folded into a pastry. Seriously. The pastries even look like artistic halos, ok maybe that's a stretch...

After lunch we picked up snacks because when you come to Pike Place you can't leave without visiting/purchasing from their food shops. These are some of my favorite places: 

Chukar Cherries I admittedly have an affair with chocolate, especially dark chocolate. And this stand sells chocolate covered cherries. They are magical, like change your life magical. Having a bad day? Eat some of these bad boys and you'll be back to your chipper self in no time. 

The Confectional Speaking of halos and chocolate... They serve hot chocolate that is literally melted chocolate, not powder added to liquid. Not to mention their cheesecakes.... 

Beecher's Handmade Cheese They serve award winning grown up mac-n-cheese, enough said. OK so maybe I also have to brag about their Flagship Cheddar. This cheddar is currently one of my favorites. Made with cow's milk it has a nutty flavor and you can serve it either sliced or crumble it onto salads. 

Market Spice When I cook I spice almost everything. This market has insanely fresh spices and the variety is prodigious. A must stop for the cook in the family. 

Pappardelle's Pasta I love carbs, I blame my mother. If you're tired of regular pasta this is the place to shop. They sell the most usual but delicious variety of fpastas; from  toasted onion fettuccine to dark chocolate linguine. Yes, dark chocolate linguine. And they serve gluten-free pasta! (soon to come post)

Pike Place Fish Ok so I don't shop here, not being a fan of most seafood and all. But if you're a tourist it's a must stop. They throw fish around and sing songs and have been featured on ABC, NBC and other miscellaneous TV shows.

 Starbuck's Coffee For other Starbuck's enthusiasts this was the first Starbuck's to open up shop, in 1971 in case you were wondering. They don't serve a lot of specialty drinks but it's an interesting stop nonetheless. 

Also there is this one fruit and vegetable stand in the middle of the market that I go to every time and I can never remember the name. But honestly they are the best. 

A shot of their selection:

Outside the Market: 

I have a train to catch so the rest of the trip is to be continued...

Monday, December 26, 2011


Christmas was wonderful. I could not have asked for a more amazing day. Alex and I met his parents for mass. It was my first mass as an adult and I found it very intriguing. Afterward we had brunch and his brother, sister-in-law and niece met us for gift exchange. We then migrated to his aunt's house to have dinner with his extended family. We finished the evening with my family; exchanging more gifts and playing games. 

His parent's tree: 

My gifts to Alex:

A Christmas kiss.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

My family and I went hiking around Lacamas Lake this afternoon. A small lake 10 minutes from our home. That's what I love about the northwest, you can literally walk to beautiful waterfalls and groves of towering trees. The landscape is breathtaking and beautiful.

My dad and I goofing around, I wonder where I get it from?

Our hike turned into a zombie walk...

My youngest brother and I goofing around on the tire swing.

And his epic battle between dinosaurs and the army.

In my parents' home Christmas Eve's night is entirely focused on eating and reading the Christmas story. This year we changed the menu to lasagna, a welcomed change for me! Usually my Mother makes baked ham which means I go vegetarian for the night. Let's just say baked ham and I have had too many awful past experiences so we broke up years ago. My traditional role during the holidays is to set and decorate the table. 

My brother, the alcoholic. (Don't worry it's only sparkling cider.)

The family (minus Daniel, the boy behind the camera):

After dinner we read the Christmas story and discussed the wise men. It was a beautiful Christmas Eve. I hope everyone has a fabulous Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011


My entire family has not been together in over three years. Today my sister and brother flew in for Christmas. I could not be happier that they are here! I am the oldest of six. Which, to many people that is just a ridiculous amount of kids but it works for my family. We joke about having two families as the oldest three are all 1.5 years apart (very planned) and then there's this gap before the youngest three (vacation babies, no joke!). Being part of a large family has a ton of perks and although I'm not sure about how many little ones I want running around someday I adore my siblings. Today I felt blessed and reassured of how much I am loved. 

After all the hellos were said my uncleand his family met us along the waterfront of the Columbia River to watch the Christmas ships sail by. We were that  family. The ones who are loud and said inappropriate things, continually cracking jokes and pretending to throw each other into the river. And I loved every minute of it. I forget how much we all thrive when we're together and how hilarious everything is. We are never serious and always ruining photos with odd faces. I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Jello Shots

Yesterday I made Jello Shots for my friend's ugly sweater Christmas party. Although Jello shots are generally thought of as college drinks you can easily spice them up for post-college parties by adding fruit or candy. Albeit, the shots I made last night were the basic ones.

These instructions are on how to make cherry bomb Jello shots.

Items you will need: 
From the Liquor store - Your liquor of choice, I used Vodka but Rum is also a great base. A flavored liquor, I used sour apple and watermelon. Jello; there are so many combinations, this is really about personal preference. A container or multiple containers depending on your serving style, I prefer individual servings. And a can of maraschino cherries.
From the kitchen - a measuring cup, a pot, a stirring utensil, and a bowl with a spout. 

The night before you make the shots drain the maraschino cherry jar of the liquid and replace it with your liquor. If you want even more of a punch let it sit for a couple of days. 

Boil 2 cups of water. After your water reaches the boiling point add in the Jello. Stir until the Jello is completely dissolved then let the mixture cool off slightly. Once it stops steaming add in 1 cup of your base liquor and 1 cup of your flavored liquor. Mix well. Transfer your mixture into your bowl with a spout and then pour into your individual cups/molds. Add a cherry to each of your cups then let the Jello set by placing it in the fridge. A little hint if you bought the plastic individual cups with lids; leave the lids off until the Jello is set. And there you have it folks! Cherry bomb Jello shots.

Ugly sweaters

Friday we had an ugly sweater contest at work. My co-worker Dean won. His sweater was pretty atrocious. After work I headed downtown with Alex, Yara and Dustin to Kells Irish Pub. We spent the evening laughing while eating delicious food. Who could ask for more?

Saturday was an adventurous day. I made Jello shots in the morning. Went shooting with Alex in the afternoon. And ended the night with an ugly sweater party.

My now famous jello shots:

(My next post will be how I made my Jello shots!)

The sky was cloudless but it was really cold! So I borrowed a bunch of Alex's clothes.:

The sweater before the additions: 

 The final product: (I added bows and hand sewed on sequins.)

I love these photos!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Graduation

One of my dearest friends Brittany graduated from nursing school tonight and I had the privilege of attending her pinning ceremony. The nursing program made it fairly entertaining with a light show, fantastic playlist and a very interesting version of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah. After the ceremony I joined Britt's family for cheesecake before stealing her for a celebratory drink.