Olympics Link Love

+ The *coolest* Olympics party for kids (I will definitely want to host this for my kids someday)

+ Ever wonder where the athletes live during the games?  Take a peek!

+ "Call Me Maybe" a la the Olympic swim team

+ Did you see Aly Raisman's parents during her routine?  It's like an SNL skit waiting to happen!

+ Olympic body match - what event are you physically cut out for?  (My stats have me as a female boxer or a male football {soccer} player) 

+ Olympians diets aren't as healthy as you'd think...

+ The 411 on sex in the Olympic village

+ Royal silver: the queen's granddaughter medals in equestrian 

+ Top 10 Olympics movies

+ Don't you just love Missy Franklin?


Synchronized Diving

So you already know I am an Olympics enthusiast (to say the least), but seriously, can we talk about synchronized diving...  WHOA! AMAZING!  Did you watch it?  It is just crazy how synchronized these divers are, down to the last spin, turn, tuck, pike...you name it!  I mean, diving off a diving board, somersaulting 4-5 times in the air before seamlessly breaking the water is hard enough, but doing it in sync with another person, phenomenal!  I can barely manage an ordinary dive off the low board...

I saw a friend comment on facebook, something to the likes of "I wish the commentators would explain how these athlete got into synchronized diving!"  AGREED!  I just simply can't imagine my parents suggesting, "Okay kids, after soccer practice, we're heading to the diving boards, ready to hit the water?!"  

This event was fascinating to watch, and I was especially impressed with the Mexican team (who earned silver), their form was literally breathtaking!

Did you watch?


Olympic Memories

Happy Olympics everyone.  The summer Olympics may be one of my FAVORITE things ever, specifically track & field, swimming, diving, and of course, every girl's favorite event...gymnastics!  

I have vivid memories of watching Olympic gymnastics, perhaps since I have am fascinated by the sport and the physical strength and flexibility of these athletes!  I fondly remember the pizazz of the "Dominique duo" from the '96 Olympic team (Dawes and Monceanu).  And you can't forget Kerri Strug's amazing clincher of a vault, with the dramatic limp to the gold medal platform.  Seriously, we can always count on the Americans to pull off a show-stopping finale!  

I also remember watching the gymnastics overall competition from the '04 Athens games with my sorority sisters in their room at a UW fraternity, where they were living for the summer.  We were decked out in our party attire, as it was about 10 pm, ready to go out, but unable to peel ourselves away from the live gymnastics coverage.  I have this visual of us sitting huddled around a smallish TV, nursing strong vodka-somethings, while cheering on our girl, Carly Patterson to the victory.  I remember leaping up, cheering, and hugging one another other excitedly as Carly was crowned the individual all-around champion, narrowly beating our Svetlana Khorkina.  

There's just something about the Olympics that brings out that national pride in me, and I'm sure in others too.  So I ask: Do you have any memorable memories from Olympics past?  
Are you planning on watching the Olympics?  What is your favorite summer Olympic event? 


Weekend Link Love

Happy Friday!  This week has a beautiful one, with warm sunny skies almost day this week!  This weekend, I'm looking forward to watching the opening ceremonies tonight (!!!), BBQing with my sweet husband, and enjoying the company of good friends.  What are you up to?

+ Easy workouts at home, all my fb friends are "liking" this, it must be good!

+ Summer dessert to try, broiled stone fruit with cinnamon cream...looks delicious!

+ Travel fantasies; view the Northern Lights through a glass-ceilinged igloo in Finland.

+ Bring sexy back' with the backless dress.

+ Hometown pride for Michiganders - my husband would love this :)

+ Officially broke out the sewing machine, sewing projects #1, #2, and #3 to attempt here.

+ Two of my favorite flavors together = coconut crumbled bananas!

+ A new blog I'm enjoying, peruse at your leisure....


Wednesday Wisdom

"Think.  Travel.  Celebrate.  Charm.  Decorate.  Dress.  Live.  Colorfully."
~ Kate Spade

Rachel's Wish

"On July 23, 2011, nine-year-old Rachel Beckwith was killed in a tragic car accident on highway I-90 near Seattle, Washington. After her death, thousands of people all around the world started donating to her mycharity: water fundraising page, and over the course of a month, raised over $1.2 million in Rachel’s honor. That money is now helping 60,000 people get access to clean water.
It's been exactly a year since the accident. In honor of the anniversary, Rachel’s mom, Samantha, and her grandparents, Richard and Roseanne, visit Ethiopia with charity: water and meet some of the people Rachel helped." - quoted from Vimeo
I saw this video posted on facebook, and it immediately brought tears to my eyes.  It's an emotional, moving story about how one person can make a difference.  If you have 5 minutes, I encourage you to take the time to watch this.

Snapshots of Cork

After Galway, we headed South to County Cork to spend a few days in Cork City.  We really enjoyed Cork City, partly because it was sunny during our entire stay!  The city has a completely different feel from Dublin.  We spent our days walking along the river, shopping, enjoying the English market, excellent restaurants, in addition to our our fabulous B&B!  

Weekend Baking: Cherry Peach Pie

I've been inspired to bake lately, and this weekend, I baked a pie.  I haven't baked a pie in over a year, and the last time I technically assisted while my grandmother did most of the work.  But this time, I baked a cherry-peach pie all by myself; I made the crust, filling, and everything from scratch!  

I wish I could tell you everything about the pie turned out perfectly.  Ultimately, it looked great, and tasted great (crust and filling alike), but the fruit filling was definitely on the soupy side.  When I cut myself a slice, it definitely didn't hold its pie shape on the plate.  I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a "perfect" pie, and I'm wondering if that's the result of using all fresh fruit (as opposed to frozen).  I've only made apple pie before, and those always stayed pretty dense, so I don't have much to compare this baking experience to.

Do you have any pie baking tricks for making a pie less soupy?  If so, please share! 
I've got a few more weeks of summer vacation to perfect my pie baking techniques.

Dinner Last Night: Pasta with Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Creamy Lemon-Yogurt Sauce

Another pin turned reality - pasta with zucchini, tomatoes, and creamy lemon-yogurt sauce.  This recipe originally hails from the workout queen herself, Jillian Michaels, which I took as a pretty good sign it was truly a healthy dish.   I never thought to slice the zucchini lengthwise or horizontally, as the recipe directs, but it's simply brilliant!  This has revolutionized how I cook zucchini from here on out.  The thin, horizontal slices cooked quickly, and the flavors paired nicely with lemon-yogurt sauce.  Also, it reheats well on day 2, always a plus in my book!

Weeknight Baking: Peach Blueberry Cobbler

Last night my husband and I were invited for a double-date dinner at a friend's house, and I brought dessert.  With all the summer fruit in season peaking right now, I opted to make a peach-blueberry cobbler.  Being the right season for peaches and blueberries I was able to use fresh fruit which I think added that extra burst of flavor to the final product.  

We spooned it up a la mode with vanilla ice cream, and licked our plates clean.  Success!

Snapshots of Ireland: Galway & Around

We happened to be in Galway during the final leg of the Volvo Ocean Race, a 9-month long international sailing race around the world.  The celebration was a week long, and when we arrived in Galway, the festivities were already in full swing.  Galway's population of 85,000 swelled to just over a million for that week!  Streets were packed with people, there was dancing and drinking in the streets, and we found ourselves smack in the middle of all the action, it was crazy!  We woke up at 3 AM to cheer on the boats as they crossed the finish line for the final leg and docked in Galway Harbor.  It was quite an experience!
Foggy view from the Cliffs of Moher.
The race boats docking in the harbor after the final leg of the race.
The winning team of the Volvo Cup Race, celebrating at 5 AM!
The streets of Galway, packed after a night of celebrating.

Snapshots of Ireland: Dublin

So we've been home from our trip a week now and I figured it's high time I get to posting about our adventures in Ireland!!  My husband and I flew in and out of Dublin, and were in the country for 10 full days.   Here are some of our favorites from Dublin...
 Next up...Galway!

Dinner Last Night: Chipotle Fish Tacos

After dining on fish tacos in the Seattle sunshine earlier in the week with friends, I was inspired to try my hand and recreate the dish at home.  We used this recipe with mahi mahi, my husband grilled the fish, and I assembled the rest.  The result: some darn good fish tacos!  We pretty much stuck to the recipe, I didn't have tomatoes on hand, so instead we doubled up on lime marinated cabbage for a satisfying crunch.  Also added a splash of chipotle adobo sauce and an extra flourish of cilantro.   YUM!   And can I just say, my new favorite ingredient to use while cooking is plain greek yogurt.  It mimics sour cream to a T and is so multi-functional and delicious (how did I just realize this?!).  

We had planned on saving the extra filets for leftovers but alas...we ate them all!  
I guess that's a good sign of a recipe worth repeating, am I right?


July Weekend

This weekend my girlfriends and I saw Magic Mike - and all I can say is...WOW Channing Tatum can dance!  Damn...  We had limey margarita and delish Mexican food before hand at this cantina with a view.  Also happening this weekend, one of my closest friends was induced to have her first baby!   We're all anxiously awaiting a text or email to announce little baby G's arrival, so excited!!

In the meantime, here's a few links that caught my eye from around the web this week...

+ DIY herb sugar...must try this!

+ Seattle summer bucket list, I'm totally stealing some ideas from this!

+ Honoring Nora Ephron, her 10 best movie lines

+ Scuba suit for your iphone?  Um..yeah!

+ Bookends for everyone

+ Best playground ever - can we go play? 

+ Indulging in all seasonal summer fruit, nectarine pancakes, yes please!

+ Ever wanted to be a mermaid?  Here's your chance.

+ Enjoy porch sitting? Vacation here (this hotel has 100 rocking chairs for watching the sunset)

+ Summer lemonade stand anyone?

+ Cool look: ombre nails


Weeknight Baking: Rainier Cherry Crumble

It's Rainier cherry season around Seattle, and the bounty is plentiful at every market, farmers market, and fruit stand in sight.  Hence, it was the perfect time to try out this recipe, and I'm AMAZED how easy it is to make this rainier cherry crumble.  The most labor-intensive part was pitting the cherries.  I'm tucking the steps to make a crumble topping away in my memory bank to use with every other kind of season fruit throughout the year.  

It was delicious right out of the oven, and even better - it made an excellent breakfast this morning as well. :)

The Ever-Modern Kitchen

While I don't have an ounce of counter space left in our kitchen, I'm always intrigued by the latest and greatest kitchen tools.  Lately, these gadgets have caught my eye...
Keeps your eggs in order, a convenient way to keep your eggs sorted by freshness.
Boils, blanches, steams, and drains.  Use it for everything from broccoli to artichokes to eggs.
The green alternative to saran wrap, forms a tight seal on any smooth surface.
Cuts, pits, and scoops avocados, all in one.

What kitchen tools/gadgets have caught your eye lately?

Pen Pal

I love getting mail.  Somehow, receiving an email is just not quite the same as a good old-fashioned, stamped letter delivered to your home.  I'm looking forward to participating in the pen-pal project, organized by the lovely Elizabeth of E Tells Tales.  

Elizabeth matched everyone participating according to age, similar interests, and a few answered questions, and voila - I have a pen pal!  I've had a few pen pals in my day, but not since I was a kid, so I'm excited about a new correspondence with a blogger from afar.  I'm responsible for writing the first letter and we'll see how it goes from here!