Friday, May 22, 2015

over the river & through the woods

It's the BEST.DAY.EVER.
 
And "best day ever" equals any Friday before a long weekend where the mood is light, the smiles are everywhere and the atmosphere is generally one of pure elation.

My office closes early and when it does, we'll be quickly packing into the car and heading North, up the mountain and into the woods for a weekend at my Dad's cabin with some pals, some food and the dogs (my Chandler & we're petsitting the family senior dog, Maddie. Love her). Being up there looks a little like this:
^Chandler's first time at the cabin last year and his 15,000th time being staged for a picture.
^Jumping off the dock with my pal Lauren (Me-L, Lauren-R) & Jay playing with Maddie & Chandler
 
^Dogs encircling = my version of heaven.
^Standing on the dock of the bay.
^Me and my harem at the cabin in 2011
^Last summer at the cabin - Maddie a seasoned pro at the lake w/ Jay trying to prod baby Chandler in for the first time.
Wishing you a very healthy, safe, time-of-your-life this weekend! And be sure to give a nod to the reason we get the day off on Monday while you're at it. We're beyond lucky to live so freely.

Have a good one!

In the meantime, there's Instagram.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bachelorette Party in WA Wine Country

I took a hiatus from blogging most of last year because I was just so dang immersed in other things that I didn't have the will to even try to be funny. Or creative. Or amusing. Maybe I shouldn't even post that sentence as I'm not even sure I'm any of those things now. Except I do try at least! I try, I try, I try. And last year I didn't have the will to even do that.

However, it was an era in life that was jam-packed with a lot of memorable events! So revisiting some of them on here will make me a happy camper to reflect. Today I'm gonna highlight my lovah's bachelorette party that took place last spring (2014) in Woodinville, Washington. I'm not sure when Bachelorette parties became weekend parties vs. just a local night out but I'm all for this new normal.
Woodinville is known as 'Washington Wine Country' and is located about 30 min NE of Seattle. The neighborhoods are very affluent which is quite clear as you come into its jurisdiction and notice manicured lawns at the forefront of incredible palatial estates. Heck, even the "small" houses are a sight for sore eyes. For a 'classy' girl like Shanin, it was a gorgeous place to kick off her official outro of the single life.
^ First thing we did after the 3.5 hour drive & prior to heading to our vacation rental was head into the town and nosh on some local seafood and sip some wine with lunch. Vacation commences!
^Our meal was swiftly followed-by racing to the VRBO home and ooo-ing and aaaah-ing over all its touches. It looked even better than the online booking photos.
^Like this outdoor fire pit which had to have been designed just for Instagram, I mean, come on - look at that thing.
^And this gorgeous backyard and patio.
^And this d*mn fine eating, chilling situation.

After looking at all the space in this beyond lovely home, my brain began to attempt to delete all memory of my tiny, downtown apartment and the fact that it could have fit in the kitchen. This was unsuccessful but it was so very kind of my brain to try (what a little sweetheart). So after all the cooing and texting Jay pictures proving that we live in the same square footage that other people reserve for their mud rooms: It was back to party central which meant popping bottles like we were in a rap video. Okay, not really. But we did start off with some champagne.
^Bride last but not least.

After some gift giving, some wine sipping and a visit from a dream reader- we enjoyed a homemade dinner and settled into bed for the big day of wine tasting in the morning.
Waking up on a group wine tasting day takes you all the way back to Christmas morning as a kid. The excitement is real for a day of landscaped properties, serene vineyards, exquisite tasting rooms and yummy varietals. We couldn't have been more excited and quickly tried to get through our "necessary" (by girl standards) house photo shoot before we were on our way.
^I would like to explain that I woke up with COMPLETELY swollen eyes after a reaction to the pillow I slept on. Thus, I wore sunglasses for these pictures.

We finally arrived in wine country and wasted no time gettin' our tastin' on.

^The bachelorette and me!


^Sippin' on that local wine.
^The crew at Chateau Ste. Michelle.

After quite the day of walking, chatting, noshing and drinking wine- you know dang well what time it was: Time to go home and sleep. For those of you who don't need a nap after a day of wine tasting, I applaud you and I'm sad we can never be friends. Because everyone I know promptly needs one. We ended up having a grand ol' time at the little Mansion for the rest of the evening and before we knew it, it was time to arise and do our final send-off toast to the bride-to-be.
^Beautiful bride-to-be!
^Morning send-off champagne!
^Love her (my eyes were still egregiously swollen the next morning)
^Cheers to you, cheers to milestones.

The light was so pretty in the kitchen that morning that I couldn't stop taking photos and had a hard time whittling it down for this post! I also had a hard time saying bye to the weekend. I know bachelorette parties are organized on the foundation of being a little off-center and wild and fun. And that they are. However, after years of going out as single young girls with your friends, it's always fun to have one last symbolic party to recognize the transition of chapters. Love her so and was so happy to be there.

Cheers!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Rosé Summer Spritzer

Perhaps I should start this by stating that I'm obsessed with club soda. LOVEEEE the stuff. I could drink it in my sleep. And while it's great on its own as a mocktail (seen here) or just with a mint leaf floating around, it's fabulous as well mixed in with some adult beverages. So without further ado: Here's the easiest summer spritzer you'll ever make.
 What you need: 
  • Rosé Wine
  • Club Soda (best from a can for maximum 'bubblage')
  • Basil or Mint Leaves
  • Lemon
Simply pour the rosé into the glass, top with a generous portion of bubbly club soda. Add basil and/or mint leaves & drop in tenderly cut lemon slices.
 
Drink immediately.
 It's refreshing, light, super tasty and takes all but 3 seconds to put together. A very delightful treat on these sunny weekends. We enjoyed ours on Sunday on our patio after the meal prep was done and as the sun was setting on the weekend.
Cheers!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Brunettes, Leopard & Eye Shadow


I've grown to really like dark hair on myself for a variety of reasons. Chief among them is that it is far more manageable than my blonde ever was and my hair isn't breaking off after each bleaching session to my daily horror. But despite the 'good' reasons I dig the dark hair (cheaper, healthier, easier), I actually just love the color and enjoy my dark mop.

AND, as a bonus, I love how it works with how I like to do my makeup so much more than with the lighter shades. As much as I applaud Bobbi Brown's style of makeup or the whole natural, carefree look which so many girls PERFECTLY rock... my makeup heart definitely lies in another camp. I like bold makeup, I like vampy, I like it to look pronounced. And that works a bit better with darker locks as Priscilla Presley will forever remind us.
^Copied her look on Friday.
 So, last Friday night, after studying her image for a bit, I decided to actually try and copy her makeup techniques.

^Her look is basically what I would kill to do every.single.day. I LOVE everything about it. | All Priscilla Images VIA

 And after forty minutes of switching between a picture of her and staring at my face smashed up against the mirror as I sat on the bathroom counter desperate to imitate, I came up with this which I was pretty dang proud of when you compare it with her makeup.

^I swearrrr I rarely, rarely take selfies like this as I lay on my couch. But I was waiting for Jay to finish something so we could leave and go to dinner and I was pretty dang proud of my Priscilla recreation. So, there you go. But still, embarrassing.

So these efforts again just reminded me that dark hair is the look du jour for me and I'm really enjoying it. So soon after the makeup was done it was on to dinner at a new restaurant that opened five blocks away from us:

I don't know what this outfit was, but I liked it. It was super comfy for walking to dinner and back and had a little weekend flair that I dig. However, it will OF COURSE be something I cringe upon when I look back on it next year and reinforce my reasoning for never getting a tattoo.


I also discovered that though I've made my peace with my dark locks, not everyone feels the same. I had a hair appointment scheduled for Saturday which I told Jay about as we discussed our weekend plans. And with stars in his eyes and a glimmer of hope glistening from his smile as he asked me if I was going blonde.

"Nope." I replied. "I'm staying dark for at least another year. Why?"
"I dunno, you used to be blonde a lot! I just like blondes," he stammered out.

Real original, Jay. Real original.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Meal Prep: Greek Yogurt Chicken Salad

I really love chicken salad and I always have. However, I'm not the hugest fan of mayonnaise. I like it on turkey sandwiches and a few other places but thinking about it too much can easily make me do a bitter beer face in disgust. And on top of all of that, I know it's incredibly unhealthy. So thank you greek yogurt for eliminating the ick factor as well as amping up the protein for the meal. I know it may sound kinda weird but I really can't stress enough how much you won't notice the absence of mayo in this version.
  Ingredients:
  • Rotisserie Chicken
  • Red Onion
  • Fresh Basil
  • Crunchy red apples
  • Jalapeño 
  •  Grapes
  • Raw Almonds
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Lemon
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
As this is kind of a "throw all together and mix in one bowl" type of thing, I didn't put measurements because frankly, I didn't use them. Mix as little or as much as you want of each component. Here's how I put it altogether:
^Chopped, cut & diced all these bad boys.
^Dried cranberries are definitely a rare treat for me (I tend to avoid dried fruit due to added sugar).
 ^All that jalapeño makes for some mighty fine spice

^Rotisserie chicken, all the veggies & the gorgeous ruffage
 ^Throw the chicken, veggies into a bowl and mix around.
^Add the cranberries & chopped almonds.
^Squeeze lemon juice over the mixture.
^Top with Greek Yogurt and mix altogether. As this is not a measured out recipe, enact the safest policy: Start with a small amount of yogurt, mix and then see if you need to add a little more.
^Done!!! Just add some salt & pepper to taste. Again: I really, really promise, you won't even notice it's not mayonnaise.
^How I pack the salad for lunches: Chicken salad in to-go containers with Dave's Killer Thin-Sliced 60-cal Bread in saran wrap for easy assembly at the office.

Accompanying Snacks:
|Breakfast: Rolled Oats, Greek Yogurt, Almonds & Berries w/ a hard-boiled egg | 
|Snacks: Grapes, Apricot, Orange Slices & Broccoli Florets w/ Edamame.|

Happy prepping!