Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It's Spring... right??

I feel like it's been raining the entire month of April. And this morning we woke up to snow... snow?!

Hasta la vista, April. We really haven't enjoyed you this year, and are looking forward to the month of May. And hey, May, can you please bring us some sunshine?  In case you didn't get the memo, it's Spring.  Thanks.

Snow in Snoqualmie on 04/30/2013

In other news, I think I'm going to try Jenni's Blog Every Day in May Challenge, just in case this blog is getting boring. Jenni has provided 31 daily topics to write about during the month of May... I hope you find our answers entertaining... wish me luck!
 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Bowling Birthday Bash


I threw together a little birthday bash for Stew, Crys and Matt this weekend at Adventure Bowling Center in historic Snoqualmie. Stew and I love bowling, so we were really excited to check out the local lanes.

But first we took Stew, Crys and our parents out for brunch at Mabel's, and I was happy to discover that they have fantastic Bloody Marys!




Then it was off to Adventure Bowling. And this place, my friends, is a classic, old school bowling alley... my favorite! No electronic scoring even; we had to do it by hand!











Afterward we headed back to our house, where we stood around the kitchen and looked at the space where the couches are supposed to be (maybe this is just my issue, because no one else seemed to mind!)



And Stew decided to bring out "spin the shot" to celebrate... probably not the best idea, but it was definitely a hit!

It was so much fun spending the day with everyone, and I loved playing hostess at our new house. One of the main reasons I didn't like our condo was because we didn't have the space to entertain. Now we have more than enough... albeit without adequate seating!

Happy birthday guys, we love you all!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Jersey Boys for the Birthday Boy

Stewart was super excited when he found out that Jersey Boys was coming to the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, and we got tickets immediately.

Months and months later, the day of the show (and Stew's birthday), I woke up bright and early to get ready for the day... I wanted to pick a cute outfit for the show after work, and I needed to set out a few birthday surprises for Stew. And as I finished up my makeup and prepared to head out with just a few minutes to spare I realized... eeek! The tickets!

Like I said, we bought them months and months ago. But I had been careful to keep the tickets in a specific drawer at our condo. And on the weekend of the BIG MOVE, I carefully transported them to the new house via the safety of my purse. And when we set up a temporary office upstairs while we were waiting to install bookshelves in the den, I carefully placed them on a shelf in that room. But then we moved the temporary office back downstairs. And somehow... somehow... yes... I lost track of the tickets. Eyeyeye...

So picture me, in the den, at 7:00 on a Thursday morning, frantically tearing open and dumping out banker boxes filled with files and miscellaneous office supplies. Freaking out, obvi.

Twenty minutes later I found the tickets, on the same shelf where I had put them originally. (Yes, it's the first place that I checked, but the tickets had gotten buried under some medical bills). But I digress.

Tickets safely in hand, we headed over to the theater following a yummy birthday dinner at Rock Bottom. The show was fantastic! Jersey Boys is the story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and their rise to the heights of stardom in the '60s. I'm sure you're familiar with songs like "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" (which for me brought back fond memories of Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You). And if you've ever been on a car trip with Stew, you've inevitably been treated to an extremely loud, singalong version of "Oh What A Night."

Who knew these guys had so many hits?! I knew almost every song! Surprising, since when I looked up at intermission we were actually the only people under age 50 in the entire theater. Jersey Boys is a fantastic show though, and I'd recommend it for anyone. Check it out if you can!

I think Stew had a really fun birthday evening, and we've got some more festivities planned for this weekend. What are you up to?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Happy birthday to the love of my life

Stewart is 32 today!
 
Happy birthday, babe.
I hope this year is your best one yet.
I love you so much!

Monday, April 22, 2013

I love a good engagement party

Engagement parties are so much fun and such a wonderful reason to celebrate. Our dear friends Matt and Alissa hosted a get together at their brand new house in Queen Anne on Saturday to celebrate finally getting engaged! We love these two so much, and couldn't be more excited for them!

After a couple glasses of wine I never did manage to get a photo of the happy couple, but we did get these stellar shots...


We can't wait for the wedding!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

34 years and counting...

Today is my parents' 34th wedding anniversary! I feel so lucky to have these amazing people as an example in my life. Following their lead, I'm sure our marriage will stand the test of time as well.

Happy Anniversary, Dad & Mom!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I felt like Belle in Beauty and the Beast

Last night I came home from work to find that my wonderful husband had picked up and built the library shelves in our den!


I can't even tell you how excited the book nerd in me was! I felt exactly like Belle in one of my favorite Beauty and the Beast scenes. I was absolutely thrilled to spend the rest of the evening unpacking all of my treasured books and placing them lovingly on the shelves (alphabetically by author's last name, of course). It feels so amazing to finally have them all in one place! And look at all that extra room, just waiting for new additions to my collection...


I honestly can't think of a better surprise! Stew knows me so well...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Boston

I just haven’t known what to write about this week.

Posting about trivial subjects like furniture, restaurants, and books has seemed inappropriate, somehow.

But I’ve been at a total loss regarding what to say about this horrible, senseless tragedy. My mind feels numb and I can’t begin to process how or why this happened.

Our good friend was there running the race, but thankfully he was uninjured. Others, of course, were not so lucky. 

I saw a photo this morning of the eight-year-old boy who was killed in the blast, and my heart just hurts. 

And I feel selfish. Because the overriding thoughts making their way through my muddled brain are how thankful I am that my own loved ones are safe and secure. 

Many in Boston are not so lucky. And I cannot fathom the depth of their pain. 

All I can do is remind myself how precious each and every moment is. Our time on Earth really is short… for some shorter than we ever expected. Take time today to tell someone how much they mean to you. 

That is all.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Maximize Your Life

When my friend Jessica asked me if I wanted to see Jillian Michaels with her this week, of course I said yes right away. I've been a huge Jillian fan ever since first seeing her on The Biggest Loser, and her 30 Day Shred DVD is one of the best workouts I've ever done. Plus I just love her positive attitude and hard core motivation techniques.

Since my knee injury I've really been struggling with my fitness goals and I've felt pretty depressed about that. But my physical therapist recently cleared me for some light cardio, so I'm ready to really get back on track now, and a motivational speech from Jillian was the perfect jump start.

For almost three hours, Jillian Michaels showed us how to harness our potential, kick-start our goals and live an exceptional life by sharing her keys to health, success and happiness. She focused on seven main aspects:

  • Lose weight and get in the best shape of your life: Learn what, when and how to eat so you maximize your metabolism and ignite your fat-burning potential. Comprehend the most cutting-edge fitness techniques to create dramatic transformation at an accelerated pace.
  • Live in your truth: Cultivate your passions and embrace your uniqueness to create a purpose-filled life — on your own terms.
  • Redefine your self-image and dramatically improve your confidence and self worth: Believe in the FACT that you are entitled to and deserving of happiness. Eliminate negative self-talk, attack inhibitions, and unleash your potential.
  • Create a winning attitude: Gain awareness, overcome fear, utilize failures, work through worry, and erase shame to blast through obstacles.
  • Establish Support: Channel your communication skills to get what you want by setting boundaries and articulating your needs in ways that work for you.
  • Build will power: Gear your environment for success and engage in behavioral exercises that manage impulsivity, gain emotional control, squash destructive actions and coping mechanisms.
  • Maximize Productivity: Create a roadmap for success that systematically and strategically facilitates the achievement of your goals.

I really liked Jillians no-bullsh*t approach... She acknowledged that we're not morons and that at this point everyone knows how to lose weight and get in shape — Eat Less... Move More. But Jillian still went over some helpful tips and tricks, as well as explaining how she incorporates health and fitness into her own daily life. She focused a lot on the benefits of clean/organic eating, which is always a helpful reminder for me.

After a quick touch on the most effective forms of exercise, Jillian launched into the main part of her presentation — how to maximize your life by changing your habits and attitudes. This portion of the program got a little too self-helpish for me and I found my thoughts drifting a bit, but overall I really enjoyed seeing Jillian in person and hearing her speak about her passions. And now I'm really motivated to get back at it!

Imagine. Believe. Achieve.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Take me out to the ball game.

Last night we joined the smallest crowd in Safeco Field's history to watch the Mariner's as they were brutally defeated by the Astros... the team widely regarded as the worst in baseball. I've never seen anything like this before, but rookie pitcher Brandon Maurer was actually pulled from the game before even making it out of the first inning, after giving up six runs in the top of the first.

We were really excited to kick start spring with an evening at the ball park in my company's extremely good seats, but what a disappointment. No wonder I don't follow baseball. What happened to the days of superstars like Ken Griffey Junior, Edgar Martinez, Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner... the "my oh my!" players of my childhood? America's pastime has always seemed like a dull sport to me anyway (way too much standing around for my taste), and last night's game just confirmed my previous opinions... The most exciting thing about a baseball game is the beer garden.

We stuck it out until the bottom of the fifth inning before calling it a night and heading home. It sure wasn't a perfect game like last time, but we still had a nice evening together and the seats were fantastic.


Are you a baseball fan?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Book Review: The Distant Hours

This month's office book club pick was The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, and it earned a coveted spot on my "favorites" list.

Even though I've read some good books lately, it's been a while since I got caught up in one that was this engrossing. I literally couldn't put it down and found myself thinking about the story and characters all the time. I almost missed getting off the bus for work on several occasions, which has definitely made for a nice quick commute lately.

The Distant Hours starts with a letter that has been lost for half a century that is unexpectedly delivered to Edie's mother on a Sunday afternoon. The letter leads Edie to Milderhurst Castle where she meets three elderly, eccentric, spinster sisters and where, she discovers, here mother was billeted during World War II. Since that time the older twin sisters have been caring for their younger sister, who went mad after her finance jilted her in 1941. Inside the decaying castle Edie searches for her mother's past, but soon learns that there are many secrets hidden within its ancient walls.

This book was a perfect blend of mystery, suspense, and lost love. It also had complicated mother/daughter/sister relationships woven throughout that I found particularly intriguing. I borrowed this book from the library but it was so good I'm definitely going to buy myself a copy, and I also want to get my hands on Morton's previous book, The Forgotten Garden, as soon as I can. I hear it's also amazing.

Oh, how happy it makes me when I discover an amazing book like this! I'm really sad it's over; I would love to be able to experience it for the first time, again. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dinner Break at North Bend Bar & Grill

With the goal of preserving our sanity, Stew and I turned down several wonderful invitations this past weekend in lieu of tackling a monster to-do list at our new house. To be honest, I was kind of excited to spend an entire weekend hibernating and hanging out with my husband... we're always on the go and don't get to do stuff like that often enough. Even though we were doing boring chores like sealing grout, reading user manuals, and installing towel racks.

After a long day of domesticity, Tony and Nikki stopped by to see the house, at which point we decided that we deserved a reward, so we joined them for dinner at North Bend Bar & Grill.

My friend Amanda had recently been telling me about this place and their wonderful comfort food menu, and I definitely was not disappointed. Stew and I weren't starving, so even though there were about ten different items we had our eye on we decided to share the Super Nachos with BBQ pork. They were absolutely delicious, and I also got to sample the Scallop and Crawfish Mac & Cheese and the Homemade Chicken Pot Pie, which were both super yummy as well. Stewart was also very excited about the extremely cheap draft beers.


The restaurant itself is very homey and welcoming... it even has a fireplace surrounded with board games and has lots of TVs and antlers on the walls. Very mountain lodge-ish. We loved it and will definitely be back.

The rest of the weekend was fairly uneventful. My bro stopped by on Sunday and we grabbed breakfast at Mabel's, which is quickly becoming one of our favorites, and then he hung around to watch the (disappointing) end of the M's game. We checked some more items off the to-do list and I even managed to cook and prep a bunch of food for the week. We also found out that we owe more than $3,500 in taxes this year. That seems like a little more than your fair share, Uncle Sam.
How was your weekend?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Dinner at Tutta Bella

Instead of happy hour this week, Amanda and I decided to let the boys in on the fun. The four of us met up at Tutta Bella in Issaquah after work last night, and I was so excited to experience what Amanda had described as "almost like Italy." According to the web site, the inspiration for the restaurant stems from a passion for the authentic, fire-roasted pizzas born in Naples and found throughout Italy... YUM.

The entire experience was super fun and delicious. The restaurant is comfortable, bustling and noisy. We were seated right away at a table between the patio and the bar and our waitress brought out wine and beers right away. The food also arrived shortly after we placed our order and oh, how dreamy. Words won't even do it justice so here are some eye candy photos.


I would say I want to go back to Tutta Bella very soon, but since Amanda had a list of about a dozen other delicious restaurants near our new house that we need to try, I think we'll be visiting some of those first. But we highly recommend Tutta Bella for authentic Italian dining!