Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Stress Case. by violet

Work has been super busy. Like look at the clock at 4:00 p.m. and still have the “I just got work” feeling. Like my to-do list is longer at the end of the day than at the beginning. Like dreaming about work. Like waking up in the middle of the night to chicken scratching notes to myself so I don’t forget what woke me up. That kind of busy.

So after work the other night J. and I went for a long walk. Then, I came home and had a glass of wine while I checked off a few items on my list with Dancing with the Stars in the background. The next morning I got up early, bought myself a nonfat, no whip, pumpkin spice latte as a reward for getting into work at 7:30 a.m.

I seem to reward myself with exercise followed by food and booze. What do you do when work stress starts getting to you? Bubble baths with scented candles? Long runs with rocking tunes? Perhaps a session with a heavy bag? Love to hear from you.

Special shout out to Orange for doing some blog double duty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Carving. by violet

Last weekend J. and I hosted our second annual BYOP (bring you own pumpkin) bash. The idea is to get our friends together chow down on some yummy fall goodness and carve some pumpkins.
We learned a few lessons last year, the first of which is that newspaper is a sufficient floor covering when it’s just you on the kitchen tile but not when it’s 10 of your closest friends gutting pumpkins. So we purchased some plastic drop cloths from Home Depot and a festive plastic table cloth from Target to protect our garage floor and picnic table.
The second was that people appreciate stencils. Not that we aren’t a creative bunch but pumpkin carving seems to have moved out of the territory of free hand drawing and into a stenciled affair.

We had a great turn out – friends from Portland and Eugene were visiting for the Oregon v UW game the next day so the whole thing had the air of a reunion.
There were plenty of delicious treats, I made cheddar jalapeno scones which turned out well but had me wishing for more heat. Our friend Nick brought steak skewers that were excellent. There was pumpkin bread from Melissa, queso (of course) from Cathy and homemade cookies from Michelle. And plenty of the little pumpkin candy corns. Some lessons learned this year – pumpkins are very easy to both throw and catch but don’t push your luck. Carving the Oregon O is nearly impossible. We had a failed attempt last year and another one this year.
A $5 T-shirt from Target is just a good a place to get pumpkin design inspiration as any.

sick. ick. by orange

you know when sometimes you long for a sick day? i don't know if you have done this, but when things are crazy at work, a day in bed with a minor sickness sounds great. you think, i can just watch movies all day, get rested, maybe watch a "Hills" episode or almost forget that being really sick does in fact suck.

well my thoughts of a"nice stay in bed" day have made the carma gods decide to really stick it to me. i'm sick with what feels like cold, possibly flu symptoms. and, in all reality i'd rather be at work being productive.

here are my life savers (in order of importance):

oh and i shouldn't forget the husband, as he is the one to get me the goods. i learned yesterday, when i'm sick and try to get the meds, i end up buying nyquil instead of dayquil in the morning and almost end up falling asleep at my desk (before i went home sick). yikes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

grey, gold, metallic. by orange

as we all know, with the 80s back in style, sequins were bound to pop in at some point. well that time is now, and i'm a big fan. as the husband will tell you, i do like all things with sparkle so the sequin love is not that far-fetched. i like how some of the sequin tops can be worn muted by a blazer, whereas some of the dresses are an all out ice capades outfit.

sparkle, sparkle, sparkle:
Haute Hippie 'Illusion' Fringe Sequined Dress (my favorite of the bunch)
Cynthia Steffe 'Georgina' Sequin Skirt

since most of the above items are out of my price range, (ok all except the tank top) my go-to has been the following combo:

grey dress & gold leggings. still work appropriate with some added sheen.

what do you think of all the sparkle and sequins?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Duck in Enemy Territory. by violet

It’s tough being a Duck fan in Seattle. While technically University of Washington and University of Oregon aren’t either school’s main rival, it’s easy to forget that when the Ducks and the Huskies are headed for a showdown. I’ve learned after four years up here it’s best to keep my mouth shut than to try to start an argument with pretty much the entire city.

Lucky for me, I’ve got my own mini alumni association to roll to the game with come Saturday. At least I have a few body guards while I risk life and limb. Of course, living here, I have acquired a number of Husky friends too, including J. who took a few classes there.

There are clearly bragging rights at stake and this past year have been pleasantly quiet and I would very much like this year to be the same.

It’s a big game for both the Ducks and the Huskies. Here’s hoping for a great game. Go Ducks!

The gang last year for Ducks v. Stanford

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

new tools. by orange

way back in march i wrote about my war on wrinkles with this iron. basically - i won the war :). well now i'm taking my fight into bigger battles - aka the floors of the house the husband and i live in.

now let me tell you, our floors are not simple. we've got different textures - wood flooring, carpeting, area rugs and tile. oh and we have 2 dogs. and yeah, one of them sheds a whole coat of fur in a day (or at least it seems this way).

for a good 5 years i used "the green machine" - my handy $50 fun looking, light weight vacuum. at the time when i purchased it i felt oh so grown up. 1 townhouse and 1 house later the husband and i were talking about an upgrade.

in comes...the Bissell! and...the Shark!

so far, 3 vacuums and 2 steam mops in, i'm loving both the Bissell Lift Off Multi-Cyclonic and the Shark Euro-Pro Steam Pocket Mop.

i do have to say though, now that my vacuum is picking up so much more stuff - i now see all the stuff my old vac wasn't picking up. ick. i guess better late than never right?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Two of a Kind. by violet

I love Halloween and I love J. This time of year, however, we have the same disagreement over and over again. I personally think that one of the great joys of being a couple, along with the, you know, having someone to share your life with, is dressing up together on Halloween.

There are so many wonderful options. Orange and her husband are GREAT at this. White trash, douche bag and I can’t wait to see how this year’s costume turns out.

But J. is whole heartedly against the idea. Pretty much nothing I say can convince him otherwise. What do you guys think? Couple costumes: cute or cornball?

Alas, this year I will be Jackie with no Jack. Even without the presidential other half, I'm excited to see how it all comes together.

The inspiration:

Let's see if I can get my hair that big....

Some of my other awesome costumes
Jem circa 2005

That pink star didn't come off for days.

Flapper circa 2007

Debbie Gibson circa 2008

Saturday, October 17, 2009

rain, rain, go away (or stay!) by orange

living in seattle you have to be ok with rain, and quite a bit of it. this past week the rainy season began. and you what, i enjoyed it. it reminded me of some of the reasons i love the rain:

- listening to the rain hit the window panes
- galoshes
- seeing kids jump in puddles
- perfect nap day
- the sound of the windshield wipers (yes I may be a bit strange in liking this)
- rainbows

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Queso. by violet

I love cheese – unabashedly and passionately. I’m not a cheese snob either – sure I love feta, gouda and chevre (drooling already) but I also love American, string, Velveeta and one of my favorite cheese products of all time – queso.

Queso is an amazing cheese product. I’m pretty sure that it’s all fat and chemicals however I do not (DO NOT!) care. It’s warm, gooey and is best served with tortilla chips and shoveled into your mouth along with a margarita or two.

By far my favorite in Seattle is served at Z Tejas. The ‘Jas, as I like to call it, is a chain Tex Mex restaurant near where I work in Bellevue. For me, the Tejas Trio, which offers queso, guacamole and salsa on one plate, is the best around. Even if you didn’t get the guac and salsa, the cheese is an amazing creamy consistency with just enough spice. This queso has ruined my dinner too many times to count.

Another good queso offering in Seattle is Sonrisa in University Village. It’s got the right amount of heat to it and a great cheesy texture. However, if you aren’t fast enough it will return to hard cheese form at the bottom which might be heartening to since it means that there is actual cheese in it. Points also taken off because even though Sonrisa makes amazing tortilla chips for some reason they serve the queso with straight up tortillas.

I am not alone in my love for queso. My friend and co-worker Cathy appreciates queso and all kinds of Mexican food. There’s a new place in Lower Queen Anne call Laredos and Cathy invited be out to sample the two kinds of queso that they offer.

The happy hour at Laredos is a screaming hot deal. Cathy and I managed to get our order in before it ended at 6:00 p.m. – half price apps and $4 margaritas. We started with the chili con queso and a chicken quesadilla. The chili con queso was not what I expected at all. First, there wasn’t a lot of chili to it and the queso part was more like cream cheese or sour cream. But it was delicious. Bonus points for the chips too – warm, thin and just the right amount of salt.

Our second round of food was the more traditional queso – Queso Flameado and a Guerro steak salad. I was not a fan of the second round of queso. It tasted pretty much like melted, shredded Kraft cheese in a skillet. Don’t get me wrong, I still ate a lot of it.

Overall, I would totally head back to Laredos, happy hour was a great deal and it was a lovely place to chill out.

What do you think team, know any good Seattle queso that I’m missing?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chowin' Down. by violet

Over the weekend I headed over to the Mobile Chow Down. The idea was to park some of Seattle’s most popular street food vendors all in one place. We got there right when it opened – hoping to beat the crowds. It really was just trailers parked in an empty lot. Which was kind of odd but things looked like they were humming along. It was hard to pick where to start.

J. and the boys survey the scene

J. jumped right in and started with Gert’s BBQ. He got a hot link and some green bean casserole. Food wasn't warm, so maybe the grills weren't ready to go for the day – the food didn’t exactly live up to expectations.

Then, I decided to jump in the game. I had heard a lot about Marination Mobile and wanted to try it. However, by the time I went to get in line, it went across the parking lot. So I went for a pulled pork sandwich with veggie chips and ginger lemonade from Maximus Minimus.

The sandwich was great (note to self, next time add the Beecher’s cheese)but really the veggie chips and the lemonade were the stars of the show. The veggies chips were actual veggies – I could have eaten a whole bag should they have come that way. The lemonade had just a kick of ginger and refreshed even though it was overcast and cold. I carried the cup around and filled it up again with water, just to get all the flavor out of it.

J. and the rest of the boys went back for Thai food from Kaosamai’s Thai Food Truck which was a popular option at our table for the value and short line.

Combo platter

I only had bites but it was delicious. A special thanks to our random table mate who gave me her extra eggroll, a lovely little moment.

J’s sister Liz and Kristen hit up Skillet for burgers and poutine (fries with gravy). The burger was certainly enough for the two.

And fries with gravy taste pretty much how you think they would….awesome. Overall, it was a fun way to start the day, although I was expecting a heart attack at any moment.

I nearly dognapped this guy. So cute!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

kim can cook #1. by orange

alright friends, i've headed into the kitchen. and without a microwavable dinner. i was on a "last minute lasagna" mission...and it worked out!

of course there were some minor speed bumps. such as:

- can you use fresh spinach instead of frozen spinach?
- where in the store is frozen spinach?

I definitely had some Jessica Simpson "tuna" moments.

here's the recipe:

1 26-ounce jar pasta sauce
2 30-ounce bags frozen large cheese ravioli, unthawed
1 10-ounce box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed of excess water
1 8-ounce bag shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 350° F.
Coat a 13-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and spoon in a third of the sauce.
Arrange 12 ravioli on top and scatter the spinach over them.
Top with half of each cheese.
Cover with another layer of ravioli and the remaining sauce and cheese.
Cover with foil and bake 25 minutes.
Uncover and bake 5 to 10 minutes more or until bubbly.


the husband helping out. welcome to the gun show.

and the frozen spinach

putting on the 2nd layer

the end!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Wicked Witch of the Northwest. by violet

I wouldn’t call myself a big musical person but I do enjoy them. And every once in awhile one comes through town that just looks too good to pass up. So when Lacy and Liz of my friends wanted to go see Wicked I said I was in.

In case you didn’t know Wicked is the retelling of the Wizard of Oz from the point of view of the Wicked Witch.

I read the book a long time ago. It was one of those books that I had heard a lot about and many people whose literary opinion I trusted said it was a good read but frankly I found the whole thing confusing. I was never sure what was going on and who was supposed to be what character from the Wizard of Oz. It might have done me good to watch the movie before I started reading.
So I thought the musical would do me some good to figure out just what I had missed. Come to find out apparently the musical and the book differ quiet significantly but, oh well.

Wicked was playing at the Paramount in Seattle. The Paramount is the great old theatre – I love to see shows there because it has a great old time movie house vibe to it. The history is really interesting, be sure to check out the link to read it all.

The show was great. It was a great one to see on the stage because there was a lot of great singing and spectacle. Rumor has it there’s a movie in the works – I can’t wait to see it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Love and Basketball. by orange

another sports movie...however with a fantastic love story: Love and Basketball.

If you grew up in the late 80s/90s and are a woman, I'd be surprised if you don't remember the scene where the couple in the movie finally make the move from friends to more after prom. The song from that scene is "This Woman's Work" by Maxwell.

Well one of my favorite artists Greg Laswell just (as in today) released a new EP called Covers. In this album he covers this song. See below for the comparison of them. (oh and the Maxwell video gives a fantastic montage of the movie!)

The husband asked me which version of the song I like better...and I just can't choose. The song by Maxwell just brings back how much I heart the movie, but I love Greg's voice and how he's changed the song. Purchase the cover here.


TBTL and Miracle Movie. by orange

who doesn't love a feel good sports movie? ie:

- Remember The Titans (oh Sunshine!)
- The Sandlot
- The Mighty Ducks
- A League of Their Own
- Rudy
- The Rookie


Miracle. Miracle tells the true story of Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell), the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Russian squad.

Well this week on the husband's favorite radio show (now podcast) of all time: TBTL (Too Beautiful To Live), showcased a 4 year old who fell in love with one of the main clencher scenes. Where Kurt delivers a motivating speech to his team before they take the victory. Check it out below. Too funny. The suit, the intonation, the accent - the kid is dead on!

Herb Brooks' pre-game pep talk before the famous 1980 "Miracle" game against the Soviet Union. as performed by "Rizzo" (4 yrs old)

after a rough, long day at work - this was the perfect pick me up.

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Walk in the Park. by violet

There are days when my job definitely doesn’t suck. One of my new duties is planning the end of year (holiday) party for the office. I, of course, don’t have total control over the party – there is a team of people who have to approve everything but I like to pretend I am master of the universe.

One of the spots I’m looking at is SoDo Park by Herban Feast. They invited me and my plus one, (you are welcome, J) to an open house to check out the space and try the food. Now you are beginning to see why my life doesn’t suck.

The space is awesome. Although it is a converted warehouse, it’s got all this reclaimed woodwork for the ceiling which gives it an almost rustic feel in the middle of industrial Seattle. And even though it’s one large room, there are plenty of little corners to hide away in.

And of course the food and beverages. We were greeted by a tree of grilled lemon-basil martinis that were delicious - sweet without being overpowering and tangy without being sour.

We did a lap with wine in hand to get a feel for the place and a layout of the food they had to offer. I tried to take little samples of everything so I could get a good feel of the range of their food.

In this photo: Cider glazed roasted vegetables, organic greens, pear and apple salad, savory herbed market fregola, crispy quinoa cakes, rosemary scented brown butter chicken, miso-soy marinated roasted black cod and herb crusted tender beef loin

In this photo: Brown butter potato gnocchi, butternut squash ravioli and mulled cider punch

The scene stealers of the night were the signature sweet potato and Dungeness crabcakes and the truffled mushroom mousse herbed choux puff. I didn’t get a picture of the crabcakes because I ate them too fast and the server who had them ran away. Well, she got pulled away, those puppies were in high demand.

And then, honest to goodness, the best cupcakes I’ve ever had care of Sugar Rush Baking Company. Clearly, I’ve been getting my cupcakes on the wrong side of California Avenue.

All in all, the venue, the drinks and the food totally won me over. Now, I just need to make my case to the rest of my team.