Stocking Stuffer Ideas

I'm always on the prowl for a creative gift - here are a few unique stocking stuffer ideas I've stumbled across lately...
+ Scrabble tile coasters - amazing!

+ Air quote mittens - for the friend who likes to quote everything

+ The ultimate mug - cookies + coffee in one!

+ Dolmas? Chili Rellanos? Check out this stuffed pepper serving pan

+ Touch screen sensor gloves, I so need these!

+ Giant beer glass (holds 5 beers!)

+ Creative ipad case affectionately known as "Speck"

+ The Nuddle (the snuggie x 10, complete with a kangaroo pouch AND foot pocket)

+ Awesome tasting plate (for all your fave dips)

+ Sweet sparkly clutch

Weekend Baking: Apple Pie Cookies

This weekend in honor of my alma mater's annual rivalry game I made apple pie cookies via smitten kitchen. When it comes to cookies, I'm usually a unanimous fan of cookies containing some form of chocolate, so I wasn't quite sure if I was going to like these. While they were a bit time consuming, the final product was worthwhile. They're like teeny tiny apple pies, filled cinnamon-sugary, apply goodness (plus a pinch of nutmeg and cloves - which I recommend).


Quote of the Week

"When I see it, suddenly, in the air,
all little and white and moving;
then I am in love again and very young
and I believe everything."

~Anne Sexton, in a letter to W.D. Snodgrass (11.28.1958)


Restaurant #16 - Skillet Diner

I've realized that as we're about to enter December, I'm a bit behind on my restaurant posting. Fear not, I have been trying out many new restaurants, just slacking in the posting department. One new fave restaurant I enjoyed with two girlfriends was Skillet Diner - the stable, immobile spinoff of one of Seattle's favorite food trucks (Skillet).

This food is not for the faint of heart, it's rich, packed with creams, cheese, and rich sauces of all kinds. In a word - glorious! I enjoyed the burger complete with bacon jam, creamy bleu cheese, and arugula...heaven! Although I was quite tempted by pretty much everyone on the menu, especially the mac 'n cheese, southern fried chicken, and "ultimate" grilled cheese. See what I mean about rich cheesy goodness? My personal belief is life's too short, and you can never go wrong with comfort food.

If you're in the market for some down home (delicious) cooking - hit up Skillet diner or chase down the food truck. Believe me, you won't be sorry!!

25 New Restaurants in 2011

#16 - Skillet Diner
#15 - Revel
#14 - The Yard
#13 - Carmelita
#12 - Ravish
#11 - Luc
#4 - Po Dog
#2 - Nishino
#1 - June

Black Friday Link Love

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Here are some shopping links for Black Friday...

+ Beautiful lace necklace.

+ A new Thanksgiving tradition - gratitude rolls

+ Loving easy DIY yarn pumpkins!

+ Chunky necklaces, here, here, and here.

+ At home DIY cheese making kit!

Happy Thanksgiving

Our first Thanksgiving as newlyweds.
So much to be thankful for.
Hope you and your loved ones enjoy feasting and merriment together!

Dinner Last Night: Penne with Creamy Pumpkin Sauce

I guess you could say I was inspired by the cold, wet weather outside to make a meal that was warm, cozy, and comforting. Martha - you came through for me again! Penne with creamy pumpkin sauce was just the ticket! I didn't have half and half on hand so I used soy milk instead, which worked out just fine, and the red pepper flakes add a subtle heat that balances out the flavors of pumpkin and cream.

Friends Thanksgiving

For the past 5+ years, my close group of friends has thrown a "Friends Thanksgiving" party every year. Our group of friends is a hodgepodge of native Seattleites and transplants from other parts of the U.S., Canada, and England. Together we are kind of like our own little family. We celebrate birthdays, graduations, celebrations of all kinds together.

But Friends Thanksgiving is one event we plan and especially look forward to every year. This year we had a new location - our friends Vanessa & Nick bought a vacation cabin just outside of the Bavarian-inspired town Leavenworth - a 2-hour drive from Seattle, and generously offered it up to host Friends Thanksgiving, making it a weekend event. The 12 of us caravaned through the snowy pass to enjoy a cozy cabin weekend and feast together.

Our feast was monumental; everything from traditional turkey to jalapeno-corn casserole to my husband's famous "bacon explosion," and every Thanksgiving food you can think of in-between. Besides feasting, our weekend was peppered with snowy walks, cozying up in front of the fire, and plenty of games.

It was a blast! I love celebrating traditions with friends.
Do you have any traditions or events you celebrate with your friends every year?


The New Girl

My new favorite show this season is...The New Girl.
Have you seen it? It is totally random, and Zooey Deschanel is laugh out loud funny - (really, truly - I've caught myself laughing out loud upon many occasions). Her roommates also have very eccentric personalities that perfectly complement her quirkiness. Basically, if you have any any weird habits, enjoy talking in accents, or obsess about anything (as I - and the main character Jess does) - you'll love it!


Faces of the Hunger Games

Have you seen these posters for the Hunger Games movie? I'm sure by now you've heard the hype, but if you happen to be one of the few who has not read this book yet - go now! Seriously, leave your computer this moment. Yes you, I'm serious! Get up, get your butt to a bookstore ASAP! And be sure to carve out a sizable chunk of time and proceed to devour this trilogy. You think I'm kidding...I'm not. You will not be disappointed, TRUST ME!!

I'm getting so excited for the movie, I'm even toying with the idea of rereading book 1 so it's especially fresh in my mind - I just can't believe we have to wait until March! Well, at least there's less than 1 week until my other book-turned-movie series, Twilight: Breaking Dawn.

posters via o captain

Weekend Baking

This weekend I channeled my inner Julia Child and baked up a storm. The dreary weather provided the perfect opportunity to muss up my kitchen, since it was blustery, rainy, and gray outside. Thus, it definitely merited an afternoon toiling around indoors. Plus, with the *husband* away on business, I had ample time to myself.

Here's what I whipped up -

Needless to say it was a weekend of happy eating. Both recipes were easy to follow and divine to devour. I baked so much this weekend, I actually ran out of flour! How often does that happen?? Well...hmm...don't answer that, just know, that was a first for me!

Squash Vases

A smattering of squash vases - how perfectly fall. Must try this!

Fall Weekend

This past weekend was a 4-day weekend for me thanks to our brave veterans and a parent-teacher conference day. I didn't make any plans sans lunch with a friend in town, and it was blissful! I've been feeling behind since I returned to work after my wedding, and this was the perfect opportunity to recharge, catch up, and feel rested and refreshed. Feeling especially fall - I made roasted butternut squash lasasgna a la Martha Stewart and burned my pumpkin spice candle down to the nub. I'd say it was a successful weekend.

Link love:

Love this candy button scarf.

Best pumpkin desserts in Seattle - spotted here!

Red velvet hot cocoa, doesn't this sound delicious?

How to make the perfect cheese plate.

Soft pretzel tots, a-mazing! (I just noticed most of my links are food...)

Loving the kitsch of this apple pie pan.


Scarf-Wearing Tutorial

Have you seen this? 25 ways to wear a scarf - fascinating!
I learned about 10 new ways to wear my scarves - sweeeet!

Fortune Cookie

Love this fortune cookie necklace - especially since the fortune (near the clasp) can be customized to your heart's desire.

What would your fortune say? I tried to dig up a few clever fortune sayings, (with the help of google...of course). Here's a few I might put on a fortune cookie necklace.

- Love always and deeply

- Your heart is a place to draw true happiness

- You find beauty in ordinary things, do not lose this ability

- Something wonderful will happen today

What would yours say?


Dinner Last Night: Pasta Carbonara with Leeks & Bacon

I apologize for being a major blog slacker lately. It's parent-teacher conference season, so my schedule has been totally wonky, early mornings and late, late evenings. But despite the busyness, I did have time to whip up this one night when I was tired of take out, pasta carbonara with leeks and bacon. In a word...delicious! I haven't done much cooking with leeks in the past, but they're pretty easy to incorporate. Definitely will be making this again.

Wedding Dress Preservation

I have a question for all y'all married ladies. Just curious, how much did you pay to clean and preserve your wedding dress? I'm trying to do my research and find out what's a typical or "average" price so I don't overspend.

I had such a fun time wearing my wedding dress, that I want to make sure it's preserved in great condition. It's hard to believe after one full day of wearing it (and a handful of fittings and trials), I'm packing my beautiful dress away in a box!

However, I plan on taking it out every year on my anniversary and waltzing around the living room...just for fun! Do you have any wedding dress traditions?


Holiday Tea

My new favorite before-bedtime beverage - Candy Cane Green Tea a la Trader Joe's. I just picked this up for the first time this week and I can't get enough! It's the perfect hint of mint and a welcome warm up to our recent blast of chilly weather.

Something about this time of year; the dark skies, crackling leaves, and whipping wind - all it makes me want to do is curl up on a cozy couch, toasty under a thick fleecy blanket, sip some holiday tea, and watch my favorite movies. Sounds way better than work, right?

Cake for Breakfast

Love this bag.
A motto to live by.


Restaurant #15 - Revel

Revel is one of Seattle's most talked about new restaurants, a casual "street food" inspired Korean restaurant. A few of my girlfriends had been before and raved about the experience and the affordable price tag for the superb meal they received. Revel has always been the recipient of rave reviews from pretty much everywhere, but most importantly by NY Times food critic, Frank Bruni. So given the press and rave reviews - we had to go!!

Revel did deliver and was quite the meal. My 7 friends and I ordered a smattering of plates, pancakes with pork belly, a sizable meat platter, pork belly noodles, rice bowls with spicy sauced up veggies, pretty much half the menu one could say, and devour it we did! The food was delectable, and a lovely mix of flavors, this is definitely not your typical Seattle Asian restaurant. I was especially impressed by the low price tag for the wow-factor food we consumed.

Definitely a must-try (and a repeated eatery) in Seattle!

25 New Restaurants in 2011
#14 - The Yard
#13 - Carmelita
#12 - Ravish
#11 - Luc
#4 - Po Dog
#2 - Nishino
#1 - June