Friday, February 26, 2010

Is it that time of year yet?

Victoria's Secret loves me. They send me catalogs almost weekly. They must think I'm pretty special, huh? No? No, you're right. It's actually I that loves Victoria's Secret. I shop enough online they see it fit to send me catalogs almost weekly to ensure I continue to spend my life savings through their website. I might have a shopping problem. I'm glad we were able to talk this out.

Yesterday I received a Swim 2010 catalog and it's a little different than the one I received a few weeks ago. There were a few new suits and I found a few more that I love. Am I imagining that perhaps the price of most swimwear has gone down? Or has my brain just settled on the prices and sees them as normal now? Either way, I can't say many of the suits were what I'd consider to be too expensive.

Normally I don't buy up on new swimwear every year. I live in Washington and there isn't swimming weather here often. When I was a kid, I'd argue that point, but the first 70 degree day of the year doesn't equal swimming weather. The waters around here are still freezing! I'll add this piece of wisdom to the list of why I enjoy being an adult. The suits that I wear every summer have been a part of my wardrobe since 2006. They're Victoria's Secret and still look brand new. I purchased them for my second trip to Vegas. I love them, and that's why I still have them. I even took them to Hawaii in 2007 without bothering to purchase something new. But this year I I've found so many new pieces that I love, I think I'm just going to break out and buy a little something new.

My reason? VEGAS! My fifth trip to Vegas is planned for this June with a group of friends, and I'm already counting down the days. I can't quite explain what it is about that place but I absolutely love it. I love the people, the weather, the entertainment, the freedom. I just love Vegas. I went last June with my sister-in-law and two other ladies and we had a great time. There wasn't enough pool lounging time, but that's what this trip is for.

After looking through my catalog yesterday, I've found a few favorites and I'm hoping to pick one or two up for my trip this year.

I'm not keen on showing my buddah belly, but I also don't want a one piece suit. This is almost the perfect combination.

I love the pattern of this suit. It's a great take on the classic black bikini, but the pattern isn't so far out there I couldn't keep a hold of it for a few years. The bandeau top is debatable for my smaller chest though.

Everyone needs an animal print suit. And I think I need this one. Benefit: this top works well with my smaller chest!

It's black (my favorite) and I love the stars. And bonus, my husband loves this suit too.

I'm loving the retro look of this suit, and I like that the bottoms have enough coverage that they might very well assist in blending my problematic love handles in to the overall look... Thought provoking.

I'm really loving this dress. Yellow seems to be a new love for me this year.

I wouldn't say any of the suits I've chosen are all that spectacular. But they're a little more daring, at least color wise, than I would normall choose. I'm a typical black bikini kind of girl. Even the yellow dress is a stretch for me fashion wise. I don't wear dresses often, and generally live in a tshirt and jeans. As I get older it seems my taste is becoming a little more feminine and I really care less of what others might think of what I'm wearing and concentrate on the fact that I alone love what I'm wearing. Above all though, I'm just really ready for some time in the sun poolside in Vegas.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

boys & brisket on monday

This new grill has changed our life, and it's only been a week. We had our friend Dave over Monday to hang out, enjoy some good food, good beer and a few hands of cards. Nothing beats indulging in some great food and beer. But we're eaters. We love to eat good food.

My husband got his butt out of bed at 3:00am to throw the brisket on the smoker. I was really impressed at his motivation to smoke up a good piece of meat that day. And the result was totally worth it. He put on a great beef rub, and slathered it with some tasty bbq sauce in it's last hours before pulling it off the grill.

Hello you pretty little thing! Now, I'll admit this piece looks very rare. However, what we've learned with smoking is that it turns just about everything red. It's called the smoke ring. This baby had been on the grill for over 12 hours and it was smoked through and through. The meat was done, but still very tender and had an amazing hickory flavor.

Oh my. Hello heaven!

This is a porter unlike any porter I've ever tasted before. It's rare around these parts, and it just so happened that our local specialty beer shop, Whidbey Beer Works, had ordered a few bottles in. My husband snatched them up right away. You can click here to read more about Anchor Brewing's Anchor Porter.

I made jalepeno poppers. Jalepenos halved, seeded, then stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped with bacon. We had them for the first time last year at a bar in Port Townsend and my husband asked if I'd make them at home. Thankfully they were as easy as they looked and I was able to recreate them at home on my own.

And here's my plate full. Beef brisket sandwich with italian pasta salad and my Anchor Porter there in the background. Yum! I also made salsa, which I've shown before and it was even better than last time. I didn't bother to partake in the poppers as I'm allergic to dairy products. But that's a story for another time.

We had a great time eating and visiting and finished the night off with more beer and a few hands of cards. I went to bed much earlier than the guys did, but I always like to give them a little time to themselves girl free. Our time off to visit with him is limited with our work schdules and it's alway nice to let the boys be boys.

And of course, the night wouldn't have been complete without Zoey fighting to be the center of attention. Thankfully she's small enough we didn't have a problem navigating our card game around her sweet little self.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Brady Boy!

Sunday was another busy day for us this weekend. We headed over to the peninsula to Port Angeles for Brady Boy's 1st birthday. Brady is my cousin Karissa's son. Again, we had beautiful Washington sunshine gracing us that day and we had the opportunity to take full advantage of it.

A view from the ferry line waiting to head to the peninsula.

View from the passenger deck above. This is the smallest ferry we'd ever been on.

Beautiful Puget Sound, I love you. You're the reason I stay here.

Once off the ferry on the other side we made the hour drive to Port Angeles. On the way through we saw beautiful views of Discovery Bay. It had been years since I had been any farther than Port Townsend after the ferry ride. The last time I had made my way through there was 11 years ago as a kid, and I'll be honest, not much has changed since then.

On to the baby's party! It was really quite cute. I've never been to party for a 1 year old (as an adult that is) and it was a lot of fun. He was such a doll. The personalities that grow in children as they get older are just fascinating. There was one present in particular that he loved above all the others and clapped when she opened it for him. Adorable!

On our way home we enjoyed the beautiful sunset in Port Townsend while waiting for the ferry.

It was a really fun day for us, and we were so thankful that we were invited to Karissa's big day for Brady. Looking forward to watching you grow another year Brady boy!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

The lovely Kate @ Momma Confessions has nominated for my first blogger award. Thanks so much Kate!

Here are 7 intersting things about me I may have not mentioned before:

1. I was born in Big Sky Country, also known as the state of Montana. My mom was a military brat and my grandfather's last stop before retiring was Great Falls, Montana where they chose to stay. When I was 3 years old my grandfather passed away, after that my family followed my grandmother to Washington State where we've been ever since.

2. I've never lived more than an hour away from my hometown of Mount Vernon where my parents raised us. As much as I tried to spread my wings and move to the "big city", I always stayed close enough to home. When it came time for me to buy my first house (at the age of 22) I moved back to my hometown to be close to my parents.

3. My husband and I met at work 3 years ago. We worked the same night shift and when there wasn't much going on out on the road he'd come in for a visit. We've been told we make quite the dynamic duo. He's a sheriff's deputy for our local county sheriff's office and I'm a dispatcher. Contrary to popular belief, law enforcement officer/dispatcher couples are incredibly common.

4. I worked as a banker for 3 years prior to starting my career as a dispatcher. I've not found a bigger night and day difference in jobs than I have between these two. Although I have to say, most money  matters are life and death emergencies to people. Just not quite like the ones I handle as a dispatcher.

5. I'd rather listen to music than watch tv. I find music is both relaxing and motivating.

6. I'm called a beer snob by most of my friends. I hated beer prior to dating my husband, but he taught me what to appreciate in a good beer. My husband is also a home brewer! Beer brewing is an awesome hobby.

7. Mashed potatoes and gravy are my all time favorite food. They remind me of being a kid and my grandmother. They're a meal all on their own, and I could eat a big heaping bowl of them every day if I had the chance.

And now to share the Beautiful Blogger Award with 7 bloggers that I enjoy every day:

Jennifer @ Blonde Ambition

I'm sure some of these ladies have received the award before, but these are my go to blogs every day. I absolutely love reading about them and really enjoy their personalities that they share. Thanks again Kate! It was a great start to my day.

a girl date with one of my favorite ladies!

Saturday was a beautiful day here in Washington, and I got to spend the day in my favorite town for it. I anxiously awaited the arrival of 7:00am for my work week to end and headed home for a short nap before I started my adventure that day. Once I was up and ready I headed over to Anacortes with sunroof open to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. It's too bad I only managed to get powerlines, instead of the beautiful trees that line the highway at this angle.

I met up with my coworker, Erin for our girl date of shopping, beer and a massage. We started our day off at the Anacortes Brewery & Rockfish Grill for a few beers. I indulged in my husbands absolute favorite; a Cask IPA. Heaven in a cup. He was bitter that when we had visited just a week before on Valentines Day, that they didn't have his beloved beer on tap.

I posted this picture on Facebook as I enjoyed my beer in the sunshine saying "Anacortes Brewery Cask IPA + Sunshine = Heaven" and my husband's response to that was, "WOW.....that is painful to see. I feel like I am being cheated on. How dare you bring pleasure to others palate my dearest Cask IPA!" He's so cute.

After we finished our beer we headed over to Maison et Jardin, a little shop next door that I've loved for years. They have the most unique stuff in their shop, and I was thrilled to find that they had birds galore! Did I not notice this before because I didn't like birds a few years back? Or perhaps this is new for them. Either way, I picked up the cutest silicon wisk sporting a little green bird, and a cute vintage apron.

We were each scheduled for a swedish massage at the Chrysalis Spa located inside the Majestic Inn across the street from Maison et Jardin. We headed in to lounge comfortably in our fluffy robes and enjoyed a snack and a glass of wine while we waited. This was my first massage and it was incredible. I've been having major problems with my neck and shoulders and it's been causing terrible headaches. I'm more than positive it has everything to do with the chairs we sit in at work for 12 hours at a time. She said I'd need 2 or 3 more session to really get everything to release, but I feel a million times better after just that first session. I'm a fan and I'll definitely go back.

After our massage we enjoyed another drink at the bar located in the Majestic Inn. We shared a couple appetizers and took our drinks up to the top of the Inn. This building is a stunning 7 stories high and the view from the top was amazing. You literally could see a 360 degree view of the entire island, seeing the water on almost every side. It was beautiful. They've done a great job of making downtown Anacortes so inviting and I couldn't help but snap a picture of the view.

We finished the night off with another drink and dinner back over at the Rockfish Grill and went on our way. I was so happy to enjoy the early Washington sunshine with a great friend. We're looking forward to our next girl date! And after the amount of time I'd been up, the wonderful massage, the great food and drinks we enjoyed, I swear I haven't slept that good in a really long time.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dear _______,

Dear 0700,

I expect your arrival this morning to be expeditious. I have a 4 day weekend waiting.

Faithfully yours,

Friday, February 19, 2010

the weekend update

For the life of me, could I just once go an entire weekend without making any plans at all? I'm going to safely assume the answer to that is no. Today is my Friday (weird, it's everyone's right?) and I'm very happy about it as I'm starting my 4 day weekend. I don't know what I'd do without them. But given the nature of the beast, I've got plans 3 of 4 days and I have no idea when I'll manage to accomplish anything around the house. But I know I'll have fun in the mean time.

Saturday I have a girl date. I'm heading over to my most favorite place in the world, Anacortes, for a massage at the Majestic Inn & Spa with my coworker. They have the popular Chrysalis Spa inside their renovated inn, and her and I are well overdue for some pampering. And when I say overdue, I mean well overdue. Mostly because I've never had a massage before. And I don't know if she has either. Cross your fingers the experience is pleasant and that I don't die of anxiety or complete embarassment.

Sunday we're headed over to Port Angeles for my second-cousin's 1st birthday. I hate saying second-cousin, it's awkward. But it's my cousin's son so that would be correct, right? I know my cousin is extremely excited that we'll be there for the little man's birthday party and I'm pretty excited to give him his gift. You see, his grandpa is a huge Steelers fan. We live in Seahawk country, and even though I'm not a huge football buff, little man needs a Seahawks something! His daddy would want it that way (Daddy is in Iraq)! So I got little man his very own Seahawks warm up suit. It's super cute (and I'm lucky his mommy doesn't read my blog).

Monday we have my husband's best friend here to stay with us. He lives in the Seattle area and will be up to visit his parents who still live on the island. Their place is small and given he was also once husband's roommate, I never mind allowing him to hole up in our spare bedroom. We'll be grilling, drinking wonderfully home brewed beer and enjoying the company. And a house guest always gives me a reason to cook. New recipes this weekend!

Tuesday is my free day. No plans and I hope we keep it that way. Husband and I usually try to just make that our one on one day depending on how plans work out, and I'm hoping we'll get a few hours in downstairs in the master. I got started last weekend, but it's going to take some time to sort that mess out. But listen, I have picture frames from the dollar store that need to be painted and hung, so I just need to get on it.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Hubby got a new toy

Two years. Two years my husband and I have been without a grill. Two years we've disagreed on what kind of grill we need. Two years we've been cooking steaks, chicken, burgers and kabobs stove top via cast iron cookware. Well friends, I'm happy to say a decision has been made and hubby got a new toy over the weekend!

Please meet the Traeger Lil Tex. This is a true BBQ machine. Not only is this a grill, but it's a straight up smoker (and that's necessary in the Pacific Northwest, we've got salmon!). My mouth was watering at the possibilities before we even left home with this thing. He smoked up brisket the day we brought it home, and he made us some delicious grilled chicken for our lunches this work week. I married a grilling fiend!

It brought the biggest smile to my face to see him so happy this weekend. He's truly proud of his new purchase. I'm happy we'll be spending more time cooking together. Combine my favorite hobby with my best friend and we've got some great memories ahead of us.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

DIY: Floral

My weekend thrift store (and dollar store) finds set me up for a pretty cute floral arrangement for the house. Since we've been in the process of remodeling for so long, we haven't been living with anything more than the basics. No extra color or personalization, so I figured a floral arrangement would do me some good.

I started with the yellow hydrangeas, the onion grass and the glass bottle.

Next I took the onion grass and attatched it to the stem of each hydrangea on the little nub the leaf was on.

Next I placed the first stem in the bottle with onion grass in the middle.

Here I placed the second hydrangea in the same way, with the onion grass in the middle. Here you begin to adjust the grass between the flowers so it's spread throughout.

You could use as many or as few sprigs of onion grass depending on how much greenary you want in your arrangement. I used 3 more sprigs.

I placed the three along the outside of the hydrangea in a triangle like pattern and spread the sprigs among the flowers.

And your arrangement is complete!

I love it! Now it's just a matter of finding where to put it. Right now it will sit on the top of our wood stove. After realizing how easy it was, it gives me more motivation to keep the vases I have downstairs that were purchased over two years ago while wedding planning. Hopefully my creativity continues and I'll have more arrangements to brighten up the house in the future.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Weekend thrift store finds

Last week I had posted my desire to hit the thrift stores to start looking for finds for my new master-in-progress. Plans changed to spend time with family but this weekend was a success! I found a lot of great little things that I loved, and didn't spend too much along the way.

My day started off with a trip an hour and a half north to see a good friend of mine. Our lives changed 3 years ago and we only see each other about twice a year now. We were married to best friends, and worked for the same company. We are no longer married to those best friends, she moved home to her hometown and I moved to the island for a new job. I went up yesterday to see her new house, we enjoyed lunch out at my favorite Thai restaurant and then we did some shopping. We had a lot of fun.

Our first stop was a little shop was a quiet antique shop off the beaten path.

I picked up this bottle with the intention of putting flowers in it.

These dishes match a set of peach/pink depression glass serving dishes my mother-in-law gave me for my birthday last July. The print is the same, but they're only the clear glass here. Either way, I loved them.

I've been looking for a little glass dish to hold my jewelry. I only have a few pieces that I wear every day and I can't tell you how many times I've dropped my diamond earrings down the drain of the sink because they are just sitting on the ledge of the medicine cabinet. This should help solve that problem for now.

Our second stop was at the Dollar Tree. I was told there was an abundance of picture frames there, and that sold it for me. I picked up 7 frames and will repaint them a satin black for the photo collage downstairs.

(I picked up 2 of these)

We finished up a few errands my friend had to run, and visited one more thrift store where I purchased my best find of the day. It's still in my trunk and needs some work, so no photos yet, but I'll post the refurbishing process. After that I was off to my next stop. I drove in to the next town over to visit my friend Meg! She also has a new place and I had to see it and her before I left. We haven't seen each other in months, and we text each other daily. I missed her and was happy to see her.

Meg had a few coupons to Michael's for their President's Day Sale. She insisted we go, and so I went.

I've grown to love birds. My mother-in-law has a ton of little trinkets to look at all over her house when we make the long trip to southern Oregon to visit her. She has so many cute little birds and I'm very fond of them every time I see them. I couldn't pass up these adorable little things.

This little guy will be set aside to go downstairs in my black and white bathroom when it's finished. He'll look cute on a little shelf against the black and white floral wallpaper I've picked out.

This little guy is blue. He's for my kitchen. Blue isn't my favorite color, but my kitchen slowly became blue without even realizing it. My granite counter tops are dark with mostly blue flecks and the Kitchen Aid mixer my husband bought for my birthday is Martha Stewart blue.

Lastly I picked up these bunches of yellow hydrangea. They're pictured with the onion grass that was bought at the dollar store.

Overall I think I came away with some good finds. Though I may be a little ahead of myself when it comes to decor for unfinished rooms, it was a nice trip. It helps bring my vision alive for each room. My husband was pretty impressed with the cute things I came away with. I'm looking forward to next month's trip up north and visiting a few new shops.