Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Read This!

Last night I finished a wonderful book called Eat, Pray, Love. It's a beautiful memoir written by a woman named Elizabeth Gilbert. I really enjoyed her perspective on life and her journey through life. I found a sense of calm and peace with my own life after I was finished. I really reccommend it to any and everyone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Growing Up...

For my 25th birthday my parents took me out to dinner. During the conversation My mom said that she asked her mother (my grandmother) what the best year of her life was. Her mom replied the year she was 25 years old. I don't remember the reasons she gave for it being the best year of her life but it was an age that brought back found memories.

My mom then went on to tell me that 25 was her favorite year as well. She said it was before my parents had kids and they were still a young couple starting out. They vacationed together in Hawaii for the first time and stayed at a swanky resort. Hearing this caused me to wonder what the next year had in store for me. I dreamed up exciting possibilities and new experiences. I imagined adventures with new people to new places. I looked forward to the possibilities in the year to come.

I've always had a difficult time with birthdays. With the exception of a few milestone birthdays, namely 16 and 21, I have never looked forward to turning another year older. My earliest memory of this was when I was 8 years old and planning my 9th birthday. I'm sure I was excited for the party and the cake and gifts but I really dreaded turning nine years old. I felt like nine was a little too mature. At eight years old I felt like a kid and I loved the "cuteness" of being a kid. Turning 9 years old was like the exit of being a "kid" and the entrance to young adolescence and I didn't like that.

Each year had it's own set of problems, mainly new responsibilities and consequences that I never had any desire to accept or acknowledge. I've always craved freedom. When I look back on the mistakes I've made, most of them stem from this strong desire I have to be void of consequences and responsibilities. It's the nature of some individuals to be driven to achieve, others have tendencies to be sensible and balanced. Other people are content with their lives. I have always craved freedom.

The feeling of freedom is a little bit different than being a "free spirit." I remember moments of this feeling and I can only describe it the way addicts describe using heroin for the first time. Freedom has always been the drug I've craved. I remember as a young soccer player dribbling past defenders on an open field, delivering the ball to the back of the net and feeling free. I distinctly remember the first movie I went to unaccompanied by an adult. I went with my friend Claire Comfort and we saw The Net. That taste of freedom was so exciting. I also found it in roller coasters, heights, fast cars, college schedules when class was "optional."

I remember my first solo road trip. I was 20 and drove a rental car from my house in Seattle down to Santa Cruz CA. It was the most exhilarating time. No one really knew where I was and I didn't have a set destination. I just drove and when I was tired I stopped at inexpensive motels and I slept. I stopped at the beach on the Oregon coast line and remembered feeling free and at peace.

Had it not been for the structure and expectations of friends, family, and society in general I think I easily could have forgone education and made bigger mistakes and now in adulthood I would be facing consequences I tried to hide from during my youth.

Where all of this was going is... I think my 25th year has been my greatest year to date. Instead of bringing the adventure I had hoped for I've made peace with the maturity I've been dodging. It has finally caught up with me and I've found that I actually like it. I'm confident I can take care of myself. I've found happiness and contentment in my relationships. I'm embracing adulthood and I'm excited for the next chapters in life.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Emmy Fashion

My favorite looks of the night included:
January Jones in Versace

Heidi Klum had my favorite all around look of the night. Look at that silhouette! It doesn't get fiercer than that! She wore a custom made black Marchesa gown which managed to flaunt all the right curves and hide any imperfections.

Kate Walsh wore my favorite dress of the night. I loved the sweetheart neckline and the gorgeous draping. The floor length J. Mendel dress felt effortlessly formal and perfect for the night. The bangles and earrings are cute and the clutch was $30 from Aldo which is so fab. The only thing I wasn't too crazy about was the hair. I think a Grecian inspired updo with curls would have been pretty. I guess her hairstyle was chosen as part of a suave commercial where people voted so she didn't have a lot of choice.
Sandra Oh looked flawless in this gold floor length Marchesa gown. That dress fit her like a glove. I could have done with out the tassel belt though!

Olivia Wilde is stunner of a beauty. Usually I am not a fan of dresses that utilize nude netting. It looks a little too ice princess to me but I thought this Marchesa gown was pretty and the look was supported by flawless make-up.
I really enjoyed Blake Lively's Versacy gown. I have the feeling she'll be blasted by the fashion police but I thought the gown was very flattering and was young and sexy without being distasteful. I wasn't a huge fan of the uber long Fergie inspired braid though.

Kristen Chenowith. This 41 year old uber petite actress looks about 21 in this short sparkly Zuhair Murad designed dress. She came under criticism for being too casual for the Emmys but I love it and she seems to love it which is even more important. However, I would have added a bangle and swapped out those hideous shoes with a strappy nude heel.

I have the feeling there was a collective sigh of relief when Drew Barrymore chose not to dress up in her roller derby punk inspired costumes. In reality she could have worn any pretty dress and would make any best dress list.

Not my Faves:
Christina Hendricks in L'Wren Scot. Ms. Hendricks has some killer curves and and a coke bottle body but this dress seems taught in all the wrong places The fabric wrinkles in her thigh area are not flattering. Plus the color of the dress is a little goth against her pale skin. Had she chosen a dress that flaunted her curves she could have been a show stopper among swizzle stick actresses.
I think Leighton Meester is a very pretty girl with a fab body but I am not feeling this look at all. The Botega Vaneta dress is not particularly flattering and the whole look is confusing to me. It's not "pretty" or "edge". It just feels a little messy.

Hayden Pannettiere looks very matronly in this J. Mendel dress. She's so young but nothing about this is youthful. The red lips, updo, and draping would be a much better fit for someone twice her age.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shopping at the Bravern

Last night my mom and I went to check out the new Bravern shopping center in Bellevue. It's so nice the Pacific Northwest has a Neiman Marcus with a Chanel and Prada boutique. Although I can't afford anything they have to offer it was nice to drool over the fabulous quilted bags. We checked out the Louis Vuitton store and I am convinced my next bag is going to be the Damier Canvas. An expensive classic that will last for ever. We also checked out Jimmy Choo and Anthropologie. They set up a few different outdoor fireplaces and seating areas. I think it's going to be a great hang out spot when the weather is warm.
For dinner I had a pizza at the Artisional Table. It's a great date restaurant where you can split a salad and pizza. I also brought home some cupcakes from Trophy cupcakes which I love!!
I'm dying to try the Artisional Brasserie and Winebar with my girlfriends. It looks yummy and super fun!

The Secret Life of Bees

Last night boyfriend and I watched The Secret Life of Bees and it was wonderful. It's a movie set in the rural south in 1964. It shows a community coming to terms with the newly signed Civil Rights Act and old southern traditions. The characters are quirky and have depth. Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifa are especially impressive in their roles.

I laughed a little and cried a lot and I would recommend it as a great weekend rental.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wine Labels

So Lately I've been on a huge party planning / hosting binge and loving every minute of it!!! On Monday I'm having my dear friend Kim over for dinner to celebrate her birthday. Here's a sneek pick of the wine label I designed that is going to be on our bottle's of wine!

Kim's Bday

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kelly's Wedding

This past weekend boyfriend and I took Friday off from work and drove down to Salem Oregon for my co-worker Kelly's wedding and it was so much fun. Her wedding had a Hollywood theme. They ceremony was held in an old school movie theatre. The groom walked down the aisle to the theme music from Top Gun and the bridesmaids wore Marilyn Monroe inspired dresses. On each place setting was a romantic movie quote. It was a really cute event!

The wedding party was one of the largest I've ever seen. There were eight groomsmen, 5 bridesmaids, 2 bridesmen (which I loved!), three ring bearers, and a flower girl. They looked so fab stading up on the theatre with the eiffel tower in the background.

Marilyn greated guests at the door and Boyfriend asked for her digits. I was cool with it:-)

Boyfriend and I with wonky eyes!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Read This!

A few years ago I read a great book by Anna Maxted called Running with Scissors. It was a fun summer read that I greatly enjoyed. It had a little more heart than most novels in the Chick Lit category but was still felt like a guilty pleasure read. I was really excited to read some other works by this witty English author. I purchased Behaving Like Adults to read on while I was on vacation in Mexico. I was anticipating a light summer read but after a few chapters I was really surprised by the intensity of the subject matter. I recently picked the book up again and was riveted. I loved the characters. They had depth and were relatable. It was the perfect combination of light hearted fun and exploratory truths that allows the reader to question their own values and explore how they would react if faced with similar circumstances.
I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nicole Richie Baby Names

So I love Nicole Richie... I think she's fabulous and it has been so much fun to watch her evolve and come into her own. Last night she just gave birth to a baby boy and named him Sparrow James Midnight Madden. I love it! It's creative and serene at the same time. Just like little Harlow Kate Winter Madden.

The Gorge In George!

On Saturday I packed up and headed to the Gorge with two of my good friends Taylor and Kim. It was a belated BDay celebration for Tay's bday in June. The ride up was super wet and rainy. We kept waiting for the rain to clear but it seemed like it had a mind of its own and was on some sort of drench mission.

My Hair did not take nicely to the rain!

When we arrived at the campgrounds it was still raining and the grounds were overflowing with hardcore DMB fans. We entered the gates and drove past honey buckets, tent-like sleeping contraptions that were a little foreign to me, and super deluxe campers that caused me to have an extreme case of RV envy! We kept driving as directed and the campgrounds attendant opened up one of the gates where there was a pasture with grass up to my knees. I was very skeptical as this did not look like the other areas of the campgrounds. We then realized we were sharing a pasture with cows and we had been herded into some sort of overflow camping area!

After we positioned our car Kim put us to work! Thank goodness for her and her camping knowledge. If she hadn't been there to run the show Taylor and I would have been some wet and miserable campers. I was not really able to contribute much. In fact Kim sent me to "Yonder" to gather rocks. When you're in the country yonder is pretty close. While I was completing my chore some girl loudly whispered, "Why is that girl picking up rocks? That's so weird." I tried in vain to explain myself but it was to no avail. I got labeled the "weird" girl in a sea of extremely weird people. I felt like in a line up of me, the women at Pacific Place who wear burlap, don't shave, and dance with full body movements to music that no one hears but them, I would have come out weird.... Like that kid in elementary school who forgoes recess to pick up bugs... I pick up rocks!

The concert started after some of the rain died down and Dave played a lot of his bigger hits which I really enjoyed. It was fun to watch the people who were smoked out of their minds passed out on the grass. I'm not sure how it's possible to be so stoned out of your mind that you fall asleep on a wet muddy hill with an extreme incline, where music is blasting, and you're surrounded by crazy crowds of people but to each their own.

When I got home Boyfriend went to give me a hug and then said, "Maybe you should go take a shower boo." I tried to protest but my attempt to sit on the couch was met with, "We need to put protective covering down before you sit on the clean couch... iloveyou." Apparently I was a little stinky:-)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Goat Cheese Ravioli

Last night boyfriend and I had two of our friends over for dinner. We were celebrating some good news and I tried a new recipe. I've been dying to make home made ravioli for the longest time. I found a great goat cheese ravioli recipe on line. It wasn't too difficult and it turned out delish!

For the filling mix together:

3 oz fresh goat cheese
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp shaved parmesan cheese
1 pinch of nutmeg

I am still waiting to purchase the ravioli maker attachment for my Kitchen Aid. so I used wonton noodles for the wrappers. Boyfriend was super skeptical but they turned out great. I was able to find the wonton wrappers at Whole Foods and the Uwajimaya store in Bellevue.

To finish the ravioli you place a tsp of filling inside the wrapper. Dip your finger in a cup of water and wet the edges of the wrapper. Fold it over to creat a little triangle and make sure to seal the edges.

I finished the goat cheese ravioli with a parsley sauce that was also super easy.
2 tbsp of finely chopped parsley
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of shaved parmesean cheese
1 tsp of sea salt

I served this with foccachia bread and asparagus that was grilled with shaved gouda cheese.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Santa Cruz Wedding

Over the weekend my mom, Aunt Bernadette, and I flew to Santa Cruz for my cousin's wedding. Our first stop was Gilbert's Seafood Grill on the warf. I had a yummy crab bake and was able to see surfers on the beach and in the water.

That night we went to the rehursal dinner and I was able to meet relatives on my mom's side who I had never met before. I had an awkward moment with my four year old cousin when I asked him what his favorite super hero was and he looked at me and said, "That's an innappropirate question!" I guess he's a little sheltered... but still a little awkward.

The next day we met my Aunt's grandson and great grandson for breakfast. They were very nice and brought her a beautiful bouquet of roses.

The wedding was at a gorgeous venue outside of Santa Cruz. It is called the Byington Winery and had views over looking Monteray Bay. The groom is Scottish and had relocated to South Africa with his family. He wore a kilt and so did the best man and the ring bearer. It was really cute!

The next morning we had brunch and headed out to the Wincester Mystery House. This home was built by Sarah Wincester in the early 1900's. The legend says Sarah Wincester lost her baby in infancy and her husband who was the heir to the Wincester Rifle fortune passed away a few years later. She went to a psychic in her state of greif and the psychic told her that rifle was responsible for her fortune and her misfortune and she was being haunted by evil spirits who had died at the hands of the rifle.
The fortune teller told her that to ward off evil spirits she had to build a house that was so posh and welcoming it would invite nice spirits and they would overrun the evil spirits. The fortune teller also said for her to achieve eternal life she was to never cease building her home.
She inherited $20 million dollars and had an income of $1,000 / day. This was in 1906 and was a lot of money. She moved to San Jose and continue construction on her home for 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The construction never stopped for 32 years. She built the home to confuse evil spirits so there are weird things like staircases that lead to the ceiling and doors that open to 8 foot drops. It was a beautiful and interesting place to visit!