If I Went to South Africa...

...I'd dream to stay at the Singita Lebombo Lodge on the Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Isn't this remarkable? These 15 suites are built into a clifftop overlooking the Nwanetsi river, with sweeping views of the Lebombo mountains and surrounding bush. You could literally spot the wildlife from your bedroom window!
An African safari is a dream trip of mine.
What's your dream trip?*
*A trip you must/need/wish to make in your life


Fitting Day

Today is my first wedding dress fitting! I'm so excited!! All the pieces of the wedding planning puzzle are starting to coming together. Now the countdown is on, less than 2 months to go, ahhhh I can't believe it!! :)


Baguette Vending Machine

Have you seen this? A baguette vending machine! "Jean-Louise Hecht, owner of multiple bakeries in Paris, first got the idea for the baguette vending machine as he dealt with customers who would chase him down at his apartment above the stop for fresh baguettes after hours... (After) trials and errors, Hect built a machine that turns precooked bread into steaming baguettes." Read more here.

While this is an intriguing idea, it makes me a little sad. In the US, we are so accustomed to life in the fast lane; drive through cuisine, easy checkouts, everything is so utterly accessible at the touch of a button. I guess I just sincerely hope some things stay the same. While I wouldn't be against purchasing a baguette at 2am if a craving struck, a true freshly baked baguette is still worth the wait in my book.


Fill in the Blank Friday

1. One of life's most simple pleasures is enjoying a gorgeous sunset with my sweetie

2. Rude people (especially rude drivers) make me want to punch someone.

3. I like coffee in the morning because, it wakes me up for the day

4. Spatula is a funny word.

5. If I had to choose one beauty product to use for the rest of eternity it would be MAC tinted lip conditioner.

6. I'm happy that I'm getting married in less than 2 months!

Have an awesome weekend!

My Day Job

I'm sorry dear blog and wonderful readers, I've been neglecting you...it's true. While I wish I could make a living via blogging alone, I make the *big bucks* during my day job, teaching elementary school.

This week has been jam packed with back-to-school seminars and classes to bring all of us teachers up to speed on new curriculum. So, instead of blogging I've been getting my classroom ready for the impending school year.

I can't believe school is starting so soon!! My summer literally flew by, mostly because I taught summer school, so truly I didn't get much of a vacation. However, despite my shortened summer, I'm looking forward to a new academic year, a new crop of students, and all the learning that lies ahead.

I fully intend on committing myself back to the blog after the hustle and bustle of the new school year settles. Thanks for sticking with me. :)

image via etellstales

Do You Doughnut?

Doughnuts seem to be all exploding across the blogosphere these days. Is it just me, or are doughnut shoppes are taking over? Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, Top Pot in Seattle (my local fave), and a smattering in bigger cities like NYC, including Doughnut Plant which I can personally attest to. I happen to fully support the trend, I love a good doughnut, even if it's not within my healthy-wedding-eating parameters.

My personal fave is a sprinkle doughnut or a pink feather boa (pink icing with coconut).
What's your favorite kind of doughnut?


The Belt Twist

I feel so behind on the trends. Does anyone actually buckle their belts anymore?
Everywhere I look the belt twist is happening.
And I feel a bit dorky admitting this, but as easy as this looks, I've found this stylish look is not so easy to replicate. Weird, I know. I've tried twisting, flipping, and curling various belts within my own wardrobe, but it never looks quite as effortlessly chic as these ladies...

Do you rock the belt twist? Any tips? Do tell..

images via

Asian Dinner Party

My fiance and I attended an Asian-inspired dinner party on Friday night. We ate enormous quantities of tasty food, drank good wine, and played board games including Anything Goes, a game I'd never played before, but found hilarious! Basically you act out ridiculous scenarios and then everyone has to guess what you were doing... ultimately everyone ended up laughing hysterically due to the sheer absurdity of it all.

Our dinner included spring rolls (pictured above), pork shoulder noodle soup with fresh cilantro, beef with broccoli, sesame noodles, and chow mein. It was delicious!

Have you ever thrown a themed dinner party before?
Now that I've attended a few (remember the rainbow potluck dinner party) I'm eager to host my own.
What's your favorite kind of dinner party to host?


Restaurants #13 and #14 - Carmelita & The Yard

This time I managed to tackle two birds with one stone, a.k.a. two restaurants in one night. First, for girls dinner, my friends and I headed to Carmelita, a vegetarian restaurant in chill Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. We picked this destination, partly because we were feeling like we craving a lighter, healthier meal, and partly its location. Carmelita is located on Greenwood Ave. a street peppered with a casual bar/pub scene, equating to walkable fun for us! Dinner was good, but nothing had that standout *wow* factor. Funnily enough, all 6 of us ordered entrees that were all green in color - very fitting for a veg restaurant.

However, the highlight of the evening was our jaunt down the hill to The Yard, a casual outdoor cafe with quality Mexican food and a stellar beer and cider selection. We nabbed the "nook" table, which was perfect for gossiping and girl time.

Restaurant Recap. 14 Down, 11 to Go!
#14 - The Yard
#13 - Carmelita
#12 - Ravish
#11 - Luc
#4 - Po Dog
#2 - Nishino
#1 - June

images 1&2/phinneywood

Something Blue

Isn't this a darling idea for a bride's "something blue?" What a lovely little detail, the date of the happy day embroidered on the inside hem of the wedding dress. Love!
As of late, I'm still trying to figure out my something old, new, borrowed, and blue... My front runner for the blue category is a few pairs of sexy chic blue undies I received at my bachelorette party. Ooh la la!

What did you do for your something blue?


Summer Reading

Here are a few books I enjoyed reading this summer. Usually I devour a whole carton of books during my summer down time, but this year, between teaching summer school and wedding planning, my reading time has been cut a little short. However, I did manage to finish these few...
Two Kisses for Maddy - a memoir written by a widower whose wife dies shortly after giving birth to their baby daughter. This is definitely a tear jearker, but an honest, heartfelt memoir about loss and love. Note to reader: keep kleenex close by.

The Paris Wife - written from the perspective of Ernest Hemingway's first wife, who stood beside him as his non existent career took off, and their adventures th
rough Paris and beyond.
The Middle Place - a memoir about a young mom's battle with breast cancer; it's a story about learning to be a parent and daughter in the midst of the challenges that can face a family.

As I'm making this list I'm realizing a few of these books sound sad, but they were all very well written and captivating to read. And now I'm onto a new book for my book club, One Day, a journey of two people's love story for 1 day every year over the course of 27 years.

The Bachelorette is Back

I'm back!
My bachelorette party was amazing, sooo much fun!
Thanks a million times over to my best friends who planned a fabulous weekend in Vegas!

We had the best time;
Friday night, cruising the strip in a pink hummer limo that after a broken AC incident was upgraded to a party bus,
dancing the night away at Marquee,
indulging in late night eats at the ever-delicious-at-3-AM Grand Lux Cafe...

Saturday, private cabana and pool party at Encore Beach Club,
A drive thru In-N-Out burger,
Dancing and champagne at NYNY,
Ending the night with a stellar view from the Foundation Room.

Finally, Sunday recovering poolside all day
before taking in the lovely Bellagio fountains,
and the familiar lights, sights, and sounds that accompany a walk down the Las Vegas strip.

The best time! Pictures to follow shortly...
Now it's time to get married!!

Outta Here!

And I'm out!
Tonight, I'm off to enjoy my bachelorette weekend with my favorite ladies.
Excited for some fun in the sun!!

Recap when I return. Have a fabulous, fun-filled weekend!

image via labellevie

Salad Savvy: Kale Caesar

I jumped on the kale caesar bandwagon, courtesy of this adapted recipe via Simply Scrumptious - another fab food blog! Now I'm not gonna lie, I was a little skeptical of the raw kale salad.. I'm a huge fan of kale chips / cooked kale, but my experiences with raw kale have been minimal and not exactly what you'd call *wow-factor.*

However, that has all changed, because the kale caesar salad was awesome! No...seriously! And believe me, I would tell you if it wasn't. The salad was definitely jazzed up by adding fresh croutons to the mix, but it was quite good, fiance and I ate the entire batch I prepared. One recommendation, which is echoed in the recipe I used, I'd recommend making the dressing first, and toss the kale in the dressing. This will help this tougher green soak up some caesary goodness, which softens the leaves just enough.

Picnic in the Park

Saturday night we decided to have ourselves a last minute picnic in the park. The overcast morning burned off to reveal a gorgeous, sunshiny day, and it was just too nice to spend the evening indoors.

We decided to the head to our favorite park - where we got engaged just a few months ago. En route, we picked ourselves a Little Caesar's Hot-and-Ready pepperoni pizza, brewskis for him, and cider for me. We spread out a blanket, laid back and relaxed, all the while enjoying our dinner + drinks and basking in the setting sun. What a great way to end an amazing day.

Salad Savvy: Mango & Black Bean Quinoa Salad

After a few days of heavy eating, I was feeling in dire need of a healthy salad. I came across this recipe on Closet Cooking (one of my fave food blogs) and it was just the ticket, mango and black bean quinoa salad. The recipe was quick to make, and most of the ingredients you probably have on hand, except mango in my case. After I returned from the store, I then realized I only had red quinoa on hand, but luckily it substituted well, and tasted just as good. Personally, I think the red quinoa actually made the salad a bit more colorful, don't you think?



Have you seen this yet? Not gonna lie...I'm a tad envious of this guy's travels. I want to be here..

MOVE from Rick Mereki on Vimeo.

Guest Book 101

To guest book, or not to guest book...that is the question. I'm trying to figure out what to do exactly for our wedding guestbook. I haven't written off the traditional "book," where people sign and write cute and clever messages. But...in the interest of inspiration, I'm seeking other creative ideas. So I ask, what would you do for a guest book?

In the mean time, I'm enjoying these ideas...
Pass a note to the bride a groom
Type a note to the bride and groom
Guests find their birthday and sign their name
"Send" a postcard to the bride and groom

photos via myeventdesign

Adventures in Jam Making

Yesterday mom and I had a jam session, raspberry jam that is. My mom is the "jam master" if you will, she makes jam every year; strawberry, marionberry, blackberry, you name it! It's kinda her thing. This jam session was extra special because jars of this raspberry jam will be the favors at our wedding - pretty sweet, huh? Here are a few pictures from our jam session.
In a funny way, making jam reminded me of that episode of FRIENDS where Monica makes jam as the "jam plan to get over my man," and Joey totally devours it all, and has jam all over his face...remember that one? Love it!

Thanks Mom, plus I knocked another thing off my summer to-do list. Yes!


Dinner Last Night: Lemony Zucchini Goat Cheese Pizza

I was in the mood for a pizza, but needed a wave of inspiration, so what did I do...google "Summer Pizza Ideas." And what popped up, lemony zucchini goat cheese pizza...BRILLIANT! This recipe was unbelievably quick and easy to make. Added bonus: the goat cheese/lemon spread was divine and the perfect salty-and-tart compliment to the crunch of the zucchini and squash slices. Definitely will be making this bad boy again.


Whirlwind Wedding Weekend

Phew...this past weekend was a busy one! We had back-to-back weddings, first my fiance was a groomsman in a wedding on Friday, and then on Saturday, my good friend and coworker got married. Busy busy! I've never done back-to-back weddings before, and while we had an amazingly fun time, it was also utterly exhausting.

Sunday morning, we grabbed brunch at this new brunch spot, and relaxed for the remainder of the day. After two nights of nonstop dancing, drinking, and celebrating, it was pretty awesome to kick up our heels and relax.