Thursday, December 31, 2009

Up Up Joe Bro. by violet

For me, Christmas 2009 will be known for two things – sock monkey slippers and “up, up, Joe Bro.”  J. and I traveled down to California to be with our families for the holiday.

The tree at my dad and Kerry's

Festivities kicked off right away with large family dinner at my dad and Kerry’s house on Christmas Eve.

Grandma K, Grammy and Chloe

Chloe helping Pop Pop

"Umple" Mike and Chloe getting ready for dinner

After dinner we exchanged presents. Kerry suprised the whole family with sock monkey slippers for everyone.

Totally hilarious

Especially on my dad

My brothers and Jenn had worked with my niece Chloe teach her how to say, “what’s up, Joe Bro.” She really didn’t get the "what’s" part all the way. So it was, “up, up, Joe Bro.” A two-year old can really make the most ordinary things seem enchanting.   

The whole fam

Christmas morning brought more presents and more family time. 

A Wii for Dave and Jenn

Mike rocked the heirloom Christmas pants

Later that day it was off to the Pisanos for dessert and a rousing round of Catch Phrase. The rest of the time was a blur of old friends, Wii and more dessert than anyone person should actually eat.  I'll be back with more but for now,


Sunday, December 27, 2009

starting a new tradition. by orange

Around the holidays is when we are reminded of all of our family traditions.  When I think of holiday traditions, what comes to mind first is Amy Grant.  I'm not sure if it was a "tradition" per say, however, every Christmas we'd hear the likes of her belting out Emmanuel, Tennessee Christmas, ect. 

This year, the husband and I started a new tradition for us.  We spent Christmas Eve with his parents and sister's family, exchanging gifts, drinking mimosas and playing a couple rounds of Sorry.  Then, Christmas morning the husband and I exhanged gifts and then headed out to a cabin we rented on nearby Whidbey Island.  We've been here for 3 days now and it has been perfect.  So far the agenda each day has been a mixture of: sleep in, drink mimosas, play board games, nap, go out to dinner, watch movies.  Very relaxing which is exactly what we need.

Here are some photos of the cabin:

I hope you and yours have been having a fantastic holiday as well!!

in UGG Cardy Classic Knit Boots

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

bring on the shine. by orange

I love things that sparkle.  What girl doesn't really?  I've spoken of my lust after shiny, bright, sequin-filled things before.  Well today, I brought the sparkle to work.  I had heard from a friend before that even though sequins are all the rage right now, they are more for after work and on weekends.  For the past couple weeks I would look at my sparkly, sequin filled top and think - hmmm...will it work?  will it be too flashy?  As the holidays are right around the corner I thought it was the perfect day to try out some glitz at work.  If people think it's flashy...well, they might think I'm just being "festive."  This outfit also shows off my love of putting together grey and gold.  Probably 2 years ago I would have thought, grey really only goes with silver.  Well now I just can't seem to get enough of the grey/gold combination.

Here is what the outfit contained:

Kate Spade Dice Bracelet (pictured above is the earrings, I couldn't find a picture of the bracelet for the life
of me).  It's kind of like this, but with only a gold chain and gold dice.
Ann Taylor Loft Sequin Sparkle Tank in Gold
JCrew Mohair Souffle Cardigan in Soft Grey
JCrew Ankle Stretch Toothpick Jean, Twilight Wash
Juicy Couture 'The Beau' Boyfriend Watch
Miz Mooz 'Sunset' Pump (very similar to the grey heels I have from Target that I wore)
Marc by Marc Jacobs Macro Mark Leather Elettra Purse


Monday, December 21, 2009

My Two Pennies on Avatar. by violet

Over the weekend, I joined the madness and saw James Cameron’s Avatar in 3D. Going in, I wasn’t super psyched to see it. I think I was the only 14-year-old girl who didn’t go see Titanic 17 times. But I knew people who wanted to go see it and it seemed like a perfectly wonderful way to spend my Saturday night.

The effects were awesome. The world of Pandora looked spectacular and while not real, like it could be real, in 2054 and on another planet. The 3D was pretty awesome too. There were so many times when it unexpectedly added to the movie - small vines reaching out or seeds floating almost in front of your face. It all helped to create an unreal, yet real world.

I’m going to have to agree with most of the reviews I read, in that the story left me cold. I didn’t really care about what was happening to any of the characters. Little to nothing was done to develop the protagonist (perhaps that part was cut for time, since as is the movie is three hours!). Even though the main character, Jake, kept video diaries his progression to full-fledged member of the native tribe they were mostly perfunctory. His journey was never met with any kind of feeling other than a desire to be a part of the tribe.

No discussion of his guilt for the mission he was sent on, to get them to abandon their home. What did it mean that he was falling in love with a member of this tribe? What did it mean that he was learning all these skills with a body that wasn’t actually his? What does it mean to really be alive? His spirit was possessing two bodies, I think this would have sent any normal person into existential crisis. But not Jake, he just ran straight through all that deep and emotionally uncharted territory as, I guess, we would expect an action movie hero to. Don’t ask those complicated questions, that’s sissy stuff.

It could have been an interesting topic. What was he leaving behind as he became more and more a part of this world? This guy had a mother right? Or maybe even an old army buddy? A tether to the real world would have made his decision to jump into the avatar all the more compelling and grounding for the audience. It was what I was thinking about even though it wasn’t happening on screen

While I’m not sure it’s going to change movies forever, I certainly don’t want my money back. And if you think your bladder can take it, it’s worth seeing on the big screen and in 3D. And if it does change movies forever, you can tell your kids that you were there.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

o christmas tree. by orange

As mentioned in a previous post, the husband and I went all in this year and bought a real Christmas tree.  The day we went to go get the tree, trim the tree and put up lights outside I think my smile went literally from ear to ear.  Here's a small photo-documentary of the day. 

And the best news: Payton, our schnoodle, has not attempted chewing on the tree, jumping on it or climbing up it.

Yay Holidays!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Caramel Corn. by violet

There’s a few food blogs that I trust inherently. Smitten Kitchen and Orangette. These are two blogs that have never steered me wrong. When they tell me something is awesome and, that, I simply must drop whatever my plans were for dinner and make something, I do.

So when Orangette said she had been coveting this recipe for years and that she had become addicted to it. And I wanted something tasty to take into the office for people for the holiday. I knew that I had to try it.

Caramel Corn
  • 1 (3½-ounce) package plain (unbuttered natural flavor) microwave popcorn, or about 10 cups fresh popcorn popped by any method, lightly salted
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup light corn syrup
  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup lightly salted peanuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

If using microwave popcorn, pop the popcorn according to the package instructions. Coat a large mixing bowl with nonstick cooking spray, and dump the popcorn into the bowl, taking care to pick out and discard any unpopped kernels.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the brown sugar, corn syrup, butter, salt, and 2 tablespoons of water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Continue to simmer, whisking often, until the mixture reads 250°F on a candy thermometer, about 3 to 4 minutes. Immediately remove the pan from the heat, and whisk in the baking soda and vanilla. Quickly pour the hot caramel over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the caramel into the popcorn, taking care to distribute it as evenly as you can. Stir in the peanuts, and transfer the mixture to the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring and turning the popcorn with a spatula every 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, and place on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Gently break up the popcorn, and serve.

I was a little confused by the ingredient list. Didn’t I need caramel to make caramel corn? Apparently not, apparently I was making my own. I also used stovetop popcorn because I love it and think it tastes way better.

As Molly suggested, I measured the vanilla and baking soda before I stared and chopped the peanuts too. It’s like she knew I’m one of those people who does the chopping and the measuring as I go – guilty.

I had never attempted anything that required a candy thermometer before. I don’t even have one – I had to fake it with a meat thermometer.

I was really concerned about how the caramel would come together – seriously uncharted territory. But I melted the butter and added everything together. Next thing you know – boom – caramel.

I thought it tasted delicious before I even put it in the oven for another hour (I was confused why it need another hour to cook but again, I’m trusted my guide). Pretty soon my house smelled like the best part of carnival.

The verdict: Amazing, as always. It’s crispy, crunchy, salty and, honestly some of the best caramel I’ve ever had.

So drop whatever you had planned and make this.  Trust me. 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fondue Night. by violet

Right on schedule it was time for my monthly dinner with Cathy. While she and I met up for happy hour at Palomino we also scheduled a Top Chef Finale viewing and fondue party at our place with J.

Have I mentioned before that Cathy is amazing? Oh, yes? Well she is. She showed up with fixins for two kinds of fondue. We had cheddar beer and Swiss with white wine.

The cheeses

There was bread, apples, carrots, zucchinis, mushrooms, cucumbers, broccoli and sausage.

The spread

We sipped on wine and devoured the cheese. While sharing a meal is definitely a communal thing, there’s something even more so about fondue. Perhaps it harkens back to a time when we really did sit around a fire together cooking whatever had been hunted or foraged that day.

Some may say it’s an “cheesy” (ha!) 70s trend. But I thoroughly enjoy it. First off, there’s cheese involved so you know I love it. Second, you can bring in a bunch of different things to dip from veggies to bread that variety keeps things interesting.

Now I’ve been a big fan of Top Chef for awhile now and rarely do I ever feel what I’m eating measures up. While is certainly wasn’t Michael’s squab with mushroom puree, the fondue was certainly up for the occasion.

Thanks for Cathy and J. for a lovely evening. Can’t wait to do it again.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

jewelry wishlist. by orange

I think I'm a jewelry junkie.  Could also possibly be a shoe junkie as well?  One of my co-workers recently confessed to have 80 pairs of shoes...I don't know if I'm there yet.  My post aspiration tonight was to talk about my love of mixing grey and gold.  While looking for some photos of the gold and grey combination, I came across some very pretty gold jewelry.  So...change of heart...the post is a compilation of some of my most favorite things...bracelets, rings, earrings and necklaces.

Baroque Brooch Bracelet - JCrew

Crystal and Pearl Libretto Necklace - JCrew

Crystal and Pearl Pastiche Necklace - JCrew

Rosebud Ring - Banana Republic

Crystal Fireworks Earrings - JCrew

Long Pearl Tulle Necklace - Ann Taylor

Maiden Fabric Crystal Necklace - Banana Republic

Salong Necklace - JCrew

Starburst Tassel Necklace - Banana Republic

Ballerina Bracelet - Banana Republic

Company Party. by violet

As you know, part of my job description includes planning our company year-end party. While it’s a fun task, it’s also one that comes with a lot of work and a lot of stress. The fun part is I got to pick the venue, the food, the music and decorations. The not so fun part is I pick the venue, the food, the music and decorations and most of the company judges me for it.

Before everyone arrived

My fears and stress were for naught. I heard nothing but great things from people (some of whom didn’t even know I planned the party). There was plenty of food, plenty of drinks. And people seemed to be mixing mingling and generally have a good time.

My favorite moment of the night was around 10:30 when there wasn’t much left for me to do. I picked up a slider (or two) and sat down with some of my favorite people in the world with a glass of wine for a few minutes to bask in the glow of it all.

With Erin right about 10:35

A special thanks to the staff at Sodo Park/Herban Feast, especially Nola and Dana who were Ah-Mazing. Should you ever find yourself planning an event, give them a call. Thanks to my co-worker, Natalie who helped out, even though she didn’t have to. And the lovely folks at Butler Valet. To my friend Sam who was HUGE help with the playlist.

Thanks, Natalie!

What about you guys, are there company holiday parties to attend this year? Where do you like to have them? I’m already thinking about next year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

mimosa by the pint. by orange

For some very odd reason, growing up I wasn't a big fan of crepes.  I think it was because sometimes they can have a slightly slimey/gooey consistency to them.  Well, my palette has matured over the years and I've come to like things like asparagus, eggs over medium and crepes.  Maybe it's because my husband makes delicious crepes...

This past weekend my friend Kelli and I met up to catch up at a place named Citizen Coffee in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.  I've known Kelli for over 6 years, we met when we were both studying abroad in London.  Although we didn't stay in touch a ton after we arrived home after the quarter overseas, we ended up both working at Starbucks Corp after college.  During about her last year at Starbucks, we'd meet up for coffee every once in awhile.  She recently joined another Seattle mega-company -  Since she has left, we get together about every 3 weeks or so.  I'm very happy that we actually are the friends to really "keep in touch" after she left Starbucks.

So this weekend, we choose Citizen Coffee for our meeting grounds.  I was there for my first time about 4 weeks ago with my friend Shelby who introduced me to the place.  I'm the type that when I find out of a good place to eat, drink, shop, etc - I latch on and latch on strong.  No surprise then that I'd be back so soon.  The beauty of Citizen Coffee is the architecture of the building, the sweet and savory choices of crepes, the unpretentious environment and the best part: selling mimosas (with either grapefruit or OJ) by the Pint.  Yes, I said Pint.  Yum.

If you live in Seattle, quickly head to Citizen Coffee and enjoy.

pint o' mimosa and coffee

lemon curd with strawberries sweet crepe

  savory breakfast sandwich

wood, brick interior