Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fat Ladies and Bananafish. by violet

In the interest of full disclosure, I’m a lover of literature. I think it’s pretty easy to trace back to the beginning of my life when my parents would read to me. Then it was an addiction to The Baby-Sitters Club, and then it was the wonderful and amazing world of advanced placement English – where other people cared about books too. And we got to talk about them for an hour every day.

One of my favorite authors, J.D. Salinger died today. Much like everyone who went through high school, I was introduced to Salinger through Catcher in the Rye during sophomore year English - Miss Keenan one of my favorite teachers. While I liked the book, there was something I didn’t quite get.

While talking about the book with my dad as we often do, and how I didn’t really get Catcher. He recommended that I give some of Salinger’s other work a try particularly, Franny and Zooey. It quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. The character of Franny really spoke to me. In the book Franny is trying to find her way in the world. She is looking at all the different paths that life is presenting her I wondering which one she can authentically take. She’s a young girl on the brink of becoming who she is. Probably spoke to me at the time I read it. I had dreams of staging the book as a play – somewhere off Broadway; clearly not happening since apparently he’s turned down everyone who has asked included the likes of Spielberg for the right.

I came to respect a man who had published so little. Whose books were simple white covers with black type (at least my versions. There’s a new fangled Catcher cover out there now). Whose characters may wonder off into the depths of Eastern philosophy but who cut through it all in the end.

So if you haven’t already, pick up a book written by J.D. Salinger and give it a try. I know I will be rereading Franny and Zooey this weekend. Or maybe Nine Stories. Maybe both.

There isn’t anyone out there who isn’t Seymour’s Fat Lady.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

new shoes. by violet

When your boyfriend is in “the business” it’s pretty easy to go a little crazy with the shoes. Most of the time I behave myself but every once in a while I just cannot resist the discount. The other day I stumbled across this pair of Guess sling backs. I hadn’t been looking for anything like it nor did I feel strongly that that they would fill some void in my wardrobe. Simply I wanted them and the price was right.

When I put my order in with J., he reminded that while clearance shoes have a $5 ground shipping cost but if I added and sale or regular price item it is free shipping. That opened the door to looking at some additional options. 

Well, I needed new black flats (I go through a pair every 9-12 months) and I hadn’t owned a pair of brown flats in a while and therefore I needed to have those as well. So the next thing I know, I have three pairs of shoes headed my way.

Over the past few days I have wore all three to varying degrees of success (don’t worry J. all this information is making its way on to the site in the form of customer reviews).

First, the Guess sling backs that caught my attention. I read the review that claimed they were comfortable enough to wear all day at work – not for my feet! The crisscross strap over the top rubbed my foot raw. I’m pretty sure that not everyone’s feet will have the same reaction to theses straps but mine sure did. They have been officially ruled out as a work shoe and will go promptly into my going out/dressing up category.

The Kenneth Cole black flats are simple and no fuss. Seriously, I don’t think you could get more boring but the leather is nice quality. And my Superfeet provide the needed arch support. The only problem is they are a little slick on the bottom. No biggie for regular around the office or on the street wear but I nearly ate it while walking over a slick plastic light fixture. Note to self, scuff them up a little bit.

The Jessica Simpson brown flats looked super cute and I was pumped to add them to my wardrobe. The buckle and the leopard print lining were icing on the cake. But after a full days worth of wear at the office the back of the heels were crying out for sweet mercy. I’m sort of hoping that they will stretch (there’s always hope). I would love to be able to rock there while running errands on weekends but for now they have been relegated to shorter trips.

Feeling under the weather today so it’s violet in UGG Classic Short in chocolate brown

Photo from Online

Thank You Notes. by orange

I'm very grateful for things, but not good at sending official thank you notes.  Ask some of the people who attending our wedding - I know!  I'm awful. 

This weekend when attending a "Babies, Brats & Beer" baby shower (what a great idea!) I discovered a very easy way to make sure those thank you notes get sent.  When entering the baby shower, there was a table with a sign on it that read "Place your gift here and put your address on an envelope."  How smart!!  On the drive back home from this event the husband and I wondered if we could take it so far as to have the sign say "Place your gift here and take a thank you card."  Thus having the thank yous already written and given out effectively.  Granted, this does cause "generic" thank you cards but at least a card is given?  I digress.

When thinking about thank you notes/cards I always think of the Rockstar Diaries "little notes."  I love them and they make me so happy.  So, here are my "mini thank yous."

Thank you Pier 1 for having my favorite pillows on sale for $12.  This makes me so happy when Payton chews up 2 and it's only $24 down the drain and I can replenish.  (Though sadly, I think the husband and I have concluded we may be a pillow-free house).

Thank you Payton for snuggling next to me during the morning and making your sweet puppy sounds.  I appreciate the snuggling next to me a lot more than inbetween my legs.

Thank you Excedrin for 99% of the time curing my headaches.

Thank you piece of white bread last night at 11pm for helping me not be hung over today.

Thank you Gap dress that I'm wearing today.  I've loved you for 3 years and you hardly show it!

Thank you Sazerac (bar/restaurant in Hotel Monaco) for providng such yummy and affordable drinks and eats last night - I severly needed you after my loong day at work.

Thank you to my dear friend Shelby (of the Utter Ambrosia blog) for getting all us girls together this Friday for a spontaneous girls' night out.  I will need it and am so happy you offered up the idea.

Thank you to all my office supplies at work - my fun colored file folders, my fun mousepad, sticky notes, etc - when work gets tough you make me happy.  Mostly purchased at Moxie or Pier 1.

Thank you to The Bachelor, the husband and I had such a fun time together laughing (mostly at you) while watching you this past Monday.  btw - Jake: get rid of Ali!! - she's crazy!

orange in Guess Lawri gold leather wedges (again, I love them so much already!)

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Red Mill. by violet

Sometimes a girl just needs a cheeseburger. And the good news is that Seattle has plenty of places to find delicious options. One of my personal favorites is Red Mill.

The Red Mill - Phinney Ridge

And people agree with me, Red Mill has won Seattle’s best burgers 10 years in a row, been featured in GQ and on Man vs. Food – though not during the eating challenge portion of the show (that was Beth’s 12 egg omelet).

It’s difficult to talk (or write) about what makes a burger great mostly because different people look for different things. So you know where I’m coming from, here’s what I like to see and taste in a burger:

Red Mill deliciousness

Quality Meat: You know it when you taste it. Beef should have flavor and not be a cardboard hockey puck.

Fresh veggies: Crispy lettuce and juicy tomatoes can make a world of difference.

Bun: A quality bun can go a long way – if they are homemade on site that’s even better. One of the reasons I love In n Out is the bread.

Spreads and special sauces: While I love ketchup and mustard it’s always nice when a place puts its own stamp on things.

French fries: One of my favorite foods on Earth – deep fried potatoes. It can really make or break a burger experience, nothing worse than a good burger served with frozen, soggy fries.

The fries and onion rings at Red Mill

Location: While a fancy steakhouse can most certainly make an excellent burger, my favorites tend to come from places much less pretentious. It’s preferable if the place have the name “shack” or “hut” in the title. The less seating in a place, the better the burger, don’t ask me why - it just is.

Red Mill lives up to these lofty standards. There are two locations in Seattle, one in Phinney Ridge and one in Interbay. Both are tiny, both are order at the counter and keep an eagle eye out for an open table. And for some reason, we always seem to go to Red Mill after I’ve gone running, and burgers always taste delicious after a run.

And let me tell you, the only thing that got me through the last mile was the thought of this waiting for me at the end.

What’s your favorite burger place? A Five Guys just moved into the greater Seattle area that I’m dying to try. 

A happy and full gang
Violet in copper Seychelles wedges

Sunday, January 24, 2010

one blueberry press please. by orange

Even though I'm in my late twenties (sadly I think 27 counts as "late") I still drink like I just turned 21.  You might think from that statement I'm an acholic or have high tolerance.  Really what I mean is, I still like those really fruity and sweet drinks: Long Island Ice Tea, Black Opal, etc. 

Once you get into the working world and have 'classy' happy hours with friends, ordering a Black Opal doesn't seem quite right.  Especially when your friends are ordering the likes of a vodka soda or gin and tonic.  Just the name of the fruity drink ('washington watermelon' or 'blue karaoke') and/or seeing the drink (bright orange with a maraschino cherry and an umbrella) screams "can't handle the taste of alcohol/might have just turned 21." 

Recently, I went to a nice dinner with the husband and, per usual, asked the waitress what would be a good sweet drink to try.  She offered up a Bluebery Press. 

I heart this drink.

1) It's delicious!  It's not overly sweet but still sweet enough for me. It tastes almost like flavored seltzer water.
2) Much more sophisticated name then 'Black Opal" or "Purple Haze"
3) As all the liquids are clear that go into the one knows the difference between my sweet blueberry press and my girlfriend's vodka soda.

The magic:
In a vodka press, vodka is diluted with both a club soda or tonic and Sprite. You can order it with any flavor of vodka.  Hence, Blueberry vodka = Blueberry press.

Have I ordered this drink ever since that night out?  Yes.  Here is my most recent Blueberry Press at The Daily Grill in downtown Seattle.


orange in Guess Lawri - gold leather wedges

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two for One. by violet

After a long day at the office, an adult beverage is often necessary. During the past week I’ve found myself at two great spots with two great people.

The first was URBANE with Casey. I met J.’s coworker Casey at the holiday party. We hit it off immediately. She is the type of person that within five minutes of meeting her, you are somehow telling her all your secrets.

URBANE was Casey’s most excellent suggestion. It’s basically sophisticated bar food but the happy hour offers some great deals. A few wines are even just $4 a glass which is probably what lead to the multiple glasses.

We sampled the skinny fries, Wagyu sliders and carmelized onion grilled flatbread. The skinny fries, while very tasty proved difficult to eat – sort of like try to eat spaghetti with your hands.

The sliders were good – I mean who doesn’t love a good mini burger right? I would have loved if they would have given us the option to add some Beecher’s cheese to them.

The flatbread was my favorite, the combo with blue cheese and walnuts all drizzled with olive oil and balsamic it was a devour-able combination and didn’t stick around long.

Also, this past weekend I had my monthly dinner with Cathy. This time we went to Cactus on Alki. Cactus is one of my favorite Mexican places in Seattle, so it was pretty shocking to me that I had never tried their queso, even though I’m very familiar with the guacamole and margaritas.

Cathy and I jumped in on the goat cheese queso. It’s very different than your standard Que Bueno style cheese – there was an almost crème brulee type crust on the top that crackled when we broke through it. Using goat cheese rather than Velveeta gave it a nice tang. While delicious, my heart still belongs to Z-Tejas.

To round out the meal, bacon wrapped scallops and a Mexican chop salad. The scallops were a special and I would order them again should they be added to the menu. The salad was just kind of meh, avacado would have really made it better. 

I love the bar at Cactus – the blue tile and indoor fire pit make for a chic but not stuffy vibe. And in the summer the garage door style windows open up and let the sunshine in.

So if you are looking for a happy hour spot in Seattle, be sure to put Cactus and URBANE on the list.

Violet in Born Norelle - flat, black, knee-high boots

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Ferry Boats. by violet

Don’t you love it when you actually have something interesting to say when people ask you, “so what did you do over the weekend?”

J. and I have been on many adventures around the Puget Sound but until this weekend we had yet to visit Vashon Island.

For those of you who don’t know, Vashon is an island across the sound and south from Seattle with a population about 10,000 and accessible by ferry. It was once know for agriculture but it is quickly becoming an extension of the Seattle suburbs.

So early Saturday morning we found ourselves at the Fauntleroy Ferry Station in the fog without coffee because we had a place on the island to go.

I should say, much like Derek Sheppard, I have a thing for ferry boats. Few things feel more Seattle than riding a ferry. To me they have an inherent and charming appeal. It’s a quick ride over to Vashon, probably only 20 minutes.

Our first stop was the Vashon Roasterie. This little coffee joint was everything that I wanted Vashon to be. It had creaky old wood floors, regulars had coffee mugs with their names on them hanging from an old book shelf. The woman who helped us could not have been more nice. She even informed us that if we stuck around for a little bit we could hear the Geezers, a bluegrass band that included the company’s founding roaster.

People filed in and out and chatted with one another about their plans to go “off island.” My favorite was definitely the older couple who both filled mugs with their names on them and split their weekly cinnamon roll. I know that they do this every Saturday because they were talking to the guy sitting behind me. I pretty much feel in love with the place. I would have taken a million pictures but people could already tell that we were tourist and I didn’t want to push my luck.

After that J. and I headed out to Point Robinson Park. Even though it was grey and drizzly we walked along the beach for a little bit and checked out the lighthouse. Lots of stuff to take pictures of so both J. and I were busy.

We headed back to the main strip of downtown Vashon and bopped around a few shops – I can never resist a good book store, especially a used book store as well stocked as the Vashon Bookshop. I walked away with I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb and A Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Dideon. Both of which I had been meaning to read and you couldn’t beat the price. Again the women working at the store was lovely. We chatted a bit about Lamb’s first book She’s Come Undone and why, even though I generally avoid Oprah’s Book Club selections, she thought I would like this one.

After that it was lunch at the Hardware Store which had been recommended to us by friends. I was a bad blogger there and didn’t take any pictures, which is too bad because the place was really cute. I still have blogger shame attacks, especially in small places.

After lunch we poked around a few more places but since the weather was so crummy we decided to head back to the main land. While waiting for the ferry, we made friends with a couple black labs in the bed of the truck next to ours, for whatever reason they found J. and I totally fascinating. We had to resist the urge to take them home with us.

In the mean time, I’m keeping Vashon tucked in the back of my mind. Once the weather gets warm, I have dreams about visiting farms and taking a picnic out to the beach.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

pint o mimosa. yum. by orange

Now that we are a few weeks into January, I felt it was time to revisit some of my photos taken during the wonderful holiday break.  Oh how I miss those days.

During our Christmas getaway to Whitbey we spent one day in Langley.  Langley is a quaint town with about 1.5 blocks of fun.  We came across a very cute diner where we stopped for brunch.  What drew me in?  The pint glasses of mimosa of course!

the mango & "european" mimosa

my scrambled eggs, potatoes and toast - yum!

the husband's bacon, egg & cheese croissant

hope you are having a fantastic week so far!


Sunday, January 17, 2010

good bye holidays. by orange

The husband thought that I would resist taking down the holiday decorations until Feb. 1st due to my love of all things Christmas.  This weekend, the de-christmas-fication of the Nicholson household begun.  All things Christmas holiday, except for the tree, are put away in the closet.  And the tree, well I blame that on not enough time (not sure if that is 100% accurate).  We missed the boy scout tree pick we have to haul it to the dump.  And my in laws started the "you know you're a red neck when"...(your christmas tree is up...still.).  This week, or next weekend - I promise.

For Christmas I recieved a gift card from my in-laws to one of my favorite places - Pier 1.  So, with the holiday stockings down, the holiday pillows put away I thought it is the perfect time to put that gift card to good use.  Check out my findings...

pier 1 pillows that I've been eyeing for some time...on sale!

new piece to put above the fireplace

vase for the mantle - on sale as well!

some fun recycled magazine rubberband-like balls for the center of the dining table

not a new item...but from pier 1 as well, I "re-purposed" it to the fancy/living room area

the final look

retail therapy with a gift card really helped lift my un-holiday spirits

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This Year. by violet

Even though I don’t feel like I need a new year to make a change, there’s something about the turning of the calendar page that makes it seem natural to take some stock of your life.

First off, I’m totally with Orange, in that there are a number of these resolutions that have fallen by the wayside. And, I also love the VitaCraves and currently have a bottle of the sour gummies on my desk at work.

So I decided to aim for an accomplishable list of goals for the year.

Floss twice a day, every day
I started this one a little bit before the New Year mostly because I had an impending dentist appointment. The amazing news? After just two weeks of this plan, the hygienist said she noticed a big difference in my tartar build-up and gum bleeding. Talk about inspiration to keep going.

Some help to keep me going: Besides that awesome news from the dentist, I know carry floss in my purse and even have some chilling on my desk at work. I set up a recurring calendar appointment at 1:00 p.m. every weekend to remind me to floss. It’s actually a nice mental marker to get back to work after my lunch-time blog surfing.

Run a 10K in under an hour
After my last half marathon this past summer, my dad threw this challenge out there. I didn’t think very much of it at the time but it’s kind of stuck in my brain ever since. I’m not a very fast distance runner so some of you may be scoffing at this goal. But for me it’s enough of a stretch to my pace to make me nervous but not so much that it’s out of reach. I think the right training and the right race this one is totally achievable.

Some help to keep me going: My awesome running partner, Orange. I’m not sure if she’s totally on board with the idea yet but I’m working on it.

Orange and I after the Seattle Rock and Roll Half Marathon

Improve Posture
I’ve always had horrible posture. By the end of the day my shoulders are usually up to my ears and my chin is practically on my keyboard. The last time I went to get a massage the therapist actually gave me some exercises to do. Really I’ve been trying to be more aware of it to help make it better.

Some help to keep me going: I’ve got the exercises ready to do. But I get the feeling that this one is going to be tough.

Go to London
Two of my favorite people and former roommates have been living in London for the last year and a half. I’ve been meaning to get over here but between work and the cash it just hadn’t happened yet. I’m going to change that this year.

Some help to keep me going: Katy and Danny are probably coming back this summer. It’s kind of now or never.

So that’s my list. And now it’s out there for all 7 of you who read this. But maybe putting it out there will help keep be accountable. What's on your list?

Violet, in Saucony ProGrid Ride 2 in white/black/coral

yummy resolution. by orange

Do you have a list of things that you would like to do, perhaps old resolutions that never came to fruition?  I do, a long list.  Including, doing sit-ups and push-ups every night, taking my calcium chew once a day, drink more water, never being late/tardy to an appointment, this list goes on.  Well I think I've tackled one - hopefully.  This would be taking a multi-vitamin once a day.  And let me tell you this has been a challenge since I was a little kid.  You know those flintstones vitamins?  When I was younger, my mom would give it to me, I'd pretend to eat it, then spit it out into a napkin and hide it in my caboodle.  Gross.  And when my mom found that caboodle years later with all my icky flintstone vitamins - disgusting.  I digress.

Recently, One-A-Day came out with "Vitacraves"

Supplement Facts

Serving Size: 2 gummies

Amount Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories 10
Vitamin A 4000 IU 80%
Vitamin C 60 mg 100%
Vitamin D 400 IU 100%
Vitamin E 40 IU 133%
Vitamin B6 2 mg 100%
Folic Acid 400 mcg 100%
Vitamin B12 10 mcg 167%
Biotin 150 mcg 50%
Pantothenic Acid 10 mg 100%
Iodine 80 mcg 53%
Zinc 5 mg 33%
Choline 60 mcg
Inositol 40 mcg

They come in sour chews as well.  They are like fruit snacks and don't have a bad aftertaste.  So far, the husband and I have been successful in eatting them every day.  Woo hoo! 

orange in grey heels from target

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mobile Chow Down Part Two. by violet

Back in October, I tried Seattle’s first Mobile Chow Down. The event must have been a success because they held another one this past weekend.

The crew hungry and ready

We learned a few things the last time. First, get there early, the lines are long. Second, the Marination Mobile line starts out long and stays long. Third, go for smaller portions to be able to taste more things.

Taking our own advice, J., Eric, Liz and I all arrived around 10:30-10:45. We immediately got in line for Marination. Even still we were probably 7-10 people deep in line. Ben and his mom were behind us in line. He provided the entertainment while we were waiting.

Ben. Don't you love his hat?

J. and I ordered pork sliders, beef tacos and a quesadilla to share. The sliders and the tacos were by far my favorite. The kalua pork topped with slaw on the slider had great flavor and although it was tender it wasn’t shredded beyond recognition. The kalbi beef taco was similar – tender meat without being unidentifiable with more of the tangy and crispy slaw.

Sliders and tacos


I had trouble deciding which one I liked better. Maybe next time I will try the SPAM slider.

After the mini feast from Marination I was pretty full. But I did have room for a gordita form El Camion. The cranitas gordita had a thick handmade tortilla which was crispy on the outside and topped with grilled onions, Cotija cheese, salsa verde and avocado.


To finish things up, a rainbow sprinkles donut from Top Pot. Top Pot donuts are amazing – heavy and cakey with an almost crackly bottom and an excellent frosting to cake ratio. I would call them my favorite of all time but that honor goes to this place back home– plus they have the special power of vivid memories – balancing a warm box on my knees on the way home in my mom’s Volvo, the sweet smell of filling the car. Love you, Top Pot but nothing can beat Stan’s.

Rainbow sprinkles make me happy

I was little sad not to see Maximus Minimus at the Chow Down this time around. I loved the veggies chips and ginger lemonade from there last time around. But the addition of Top Pot was defiantly appreciated.

Seems like these events are taking off and I’m sure me and my appetite will be ready and waiting.

Violet, in the Hush Puppies Hattie - black knee high boots with patent trim

Hilarious.  I must remember this.