Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Holidays!

To our family and friends, thank you for being such a wonderful source of strength and support.  We love you.  Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I know, I know.  I'm late getting this post up.  Really late.  Nonetheless, I thought you'd like to see how we did Halloween this year.
Pumpkin carving is an essential Halloween activity. 

 Abby came hungry.
 My brother made this cool 7-eyed monster.
 Abby did a haunted house scene.
 Here's the rest of it.
 I did a Nightmare Before Christmas inspired face.

 Lorena's kitty sat high on the porch.
 My father did a friendly Frankenstein's monster face. (you can just barely see the signature scar)

 Here's the scene in its entirety.
 ....but not truly complete without my mother standing in the door.  She's the cutest.
 In the living room we had a screen set up where we projected Young Frankenstein.
 Happy Halloween, everyone!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meatballs Galore.

source: Bon Appetite

I love sandwiches.  It's a deep, deep love.  I eat them whenever I can.  Recently, during a weekend getaway with some friends to Leavenworth, I was sucked into an issue of Bon Appetit magazine with a feature on meatballs.  This reminded me how delicious they are on sandwiches, and then I flipped the page to the pork meatball bahn mi.  Cue the heavenly choirs.  Sunday I went to the store and got all the fixins so I could make it ASAP.  It.  was.  amazing.  I modified the recipe a little and used asian quick-pickled cucumbers instead of the radish, and did a lime-sesame oil sriracha dressing instead of the mayo-based one.  I liked it so much, I ate it again for lunch the next day.

Tonight?  Another meatball extravaganza:

source : Bon Appetit

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Adventures

The weekends have been wonderfully cool, crisp, and sunny recently and I'm taking advantage of early fall by doing some of my favorite fall things.  For one, walks around our neighborhood are wonderful this time of year.  It's an old Seattle neighborhood with great big deciduous trees that are just starting to turn and shed their foliage.
This is a photo of Andrew laughing at me because I kept trying to get an action shop of him walking, but he would stop and pose.  There was a lot of "ok now look at me," [Andrew stops, faces me in sort of a "ta-da!" stance] "No!  I need you to keep walking!"  This was repeated multiple times until I was crafty enough to catch him off guard before he could fully turn.

So then on Saturday, the weather was wonderful and I took Andrew up to the Skagit Valley to pick apples.  I'd been planning it for a few weeks as a surprise and it just happened that the weather worked out.

Yes, that's me in a cartoon barrel of apples.  I love stuff like that.

I made Andrew pose as the honeybee.

It ended up taking all of thirty minutes to collect fifty-five pounds of Jonagold apples.  They are delicious.  I gave a few to some friends and family, but I have grand plans of pies and cider.

I stayed to the low branches, and there were plenty of good-sized apples to choose from, but Andrew was reaching for the higher ones, just because he can.

It was a good time.  After we'd picked a wagon full of apples, we wheeled it back to the barn and bought some cinnamon doughnuts and fresh cider, plus a bottle of hard cider for later.

As part of our journey, we drove down the road to my aunt and uncle's restaurant, The Rhodedendron Cafe.  Uncle Don was working in the kitchen, so we called him out and chatted for a while.

Here's the thing I love about this place:  It's not what you'd expect.  It's way out in the country and looks like your grandma's home kitchen.  You might expect simple diner fare.  No, ma'am.  Don and Carol close the restaurant for several weeks in the late fall through the winter and go travel looking for cultural immersion and culinary inspiration.  We're talking places like Tanzania and Spain, folks.  Their menu is phenomenal.  I'm never disappointed and always impressed.

So in short, fall is in full swing here in Monicaland.  Next up?  Pumpkin patch adventures?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Delivery for Moi!

Look what came in the mail today!  300 yards of nautical ribbon!  My heart is filled with joy over these stripes!

Ok, now what to do with it?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Secret Weapon

Most women will admit to owning a secret weapon dress.  This is a dress that makes her look and feel great when she puts it on, no matter what.  She wears it on a first date, revenge date, when she knows she'll bump into a crush, and sometimes to work if she's feeling sassy.  For the last couple years, mine has been a black jersey sleeveless sheath dress with a turtleneck.  It makes me look ten pounds lighter and is appropriate for almost any occasion, provided I wear the right shoes.  However, I think I may have found a new one.  

The new dress, pictured above, is actually navy and it fits like a glove.  Today I'm wearing it with office-appropriate nude pumps, but I did take it for a test drive over this past weekend wearing my new cognac peep toes with the zipper detail.  It drew a lot of attention.  This also may have been due to the fact that I was with my best lady, Abby, who looked amazing and was getting drinks bought for her left and right.  It's hard not to notice two confident ladies in cocktail dresses and stilettos.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fashion Update: Casual Cognac and Navy

I noticed recently that many of the shoes I've acquired this year have been a cognac color.  Shoes I'd normally stroll right by have grabbed my attention in cognac.  It's such a warm casual look - lived in, natural, and comfortable.  I love it.  In fact, the dress I wore today was purchased specifically to work with my collection of warm leather boots and pumps. 

On another note, now that the weather seems to have turned, I'm feeling the urge for classic fall activities;  this morning I baked apple bread with cinnamon and nutmeg.  Once I get a free moment, I'd love to start quilting again.  Now that I have a new laptop (a generous gift from my loving fiance), the dinosaur of a cpu that used to take up over half of my desk can be put into storage and I will have a permanent place to set up my sewing machine.  Maybe I'll brew some pumpkin ale or hard cider this year.  I've been meaning to try that for ages.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Today is a Good Day

I feel great today.  Over the long weekend I got a lot done, including some bargain shopping.  I picked up this sassy little number at one of my favorite discount clothing store for a steal of a deal.  It's actually more of a charcoal gray on a light gray, and the  neckline is a cowl rather than a v, which makes it a fun dress to transition into fall.  Yep, it's rainy here again and I'm feeling the urge to get cozy.  However, it's not really chilly yet, so I can still wear this dress with bare legs and be comfortable.  I paired it with my favorite pair of nude rocha pumps.  Seems simple and maybe even boring now that I'm blogging about it, but because I have curves, it's "bla-dow."  Mama's workin' what she's got, ladies!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Did I Mention I'm a Shoe Girl?

I had to do it.  I needed them.  Few shoes call to me in the way that these did.  They are sexy, a little naughty, and oh, so delicious.

It's the zipper on the back that really gets me.  They could *almost* be trashy (and I'll tell you, the black ones cross that line), but I think with the right outfit, they are a great Saturday afternoon shoe.  Here's what I put together:

sources: top, jeans, bracelet

If they're worn with faded jeans, a slouchy casual top, and a funky wood bracelet, they take on a weekend-in-the-city sort of vibe.  Couldn't you see me in this outfit at King's Hardware?  Yep, me too.

Fashion Update

It's time for another fashion update.  I don't know what the weather is like in LA or SF today, but it's warm in Seattle!  Woo hoo!  I'm feeling summery and today's outfit reflects my mood (and my seasonal color trend).  Ladies, give me your updates!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Morning Music

This is one of my favorite pieces of all time, and the visual representation of it in this video gives me chills it's so good.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I'm Dressed Like a 1950s Housewife

Today was one of those days where I grab the first thing in my closet, throw it on, and run out the door. 

I've been wearing the same go-with-everything silver earrings and pendant for several weeks, now because I don't want to have to think about it, and they remind me of my trip to Cape Cod this summer. 

I have several black dresses I wear to work, and they are great for days like this because they go with everything.  I usually try to stay away from black daywear during summer, but this little number is sleeveless and lightweight, so I consider it a cross-over piece. 

The pumps I've chosen added a little bit of sassiness to whole ensemble.  I decided to complete it all by wearing make-up (something I usually abandon during the summer) and a berry colored lipstick.  I'm feeling very feminine today.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Summer Reading

I've been in the mood for a trashy romance novel ever since my trip to the east coast in July.  Preferably one with a fantastic cover.  I searched the shelves at every book store we came across.  Nothing met my criteria of $5 or less, a fantastic cover, and a sexy title.


There it was, sitting on the spinning stand of used books at the Anecortes - San Juan Islands ferry dock.  The price was a good fifty cents higher than all the books, but at $3.20, I figured it was worth my last four dollars.  Just get a load of that cover.  It's everything a romance novel should look like.  The best part?  It gets to the hot stuff within the first fifteen pages.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Guilty.

OK it happened - I got engaged and stopped posting on my blog because I was too busy researching venues, trying on dresses, and staring at my ring.  I never imagined myself as being a bride who gets engulfed in wedding planning, but I am living proof that it can happen to anyone if she's not careful!  It sounds like I'm apologizing, but I'm really not.  I'm loving this!  I just thought you deserved an explanation.  I'll try not to turn this into a wedding blog, but seeing as this is a blog of my own musings, wedding stuff may slip in every now and then.  Like right now.

Today I had a free moment at work (it's actually been really busy for me these days, which is another reason why I haven't had time to post), and decided to browse wedding invitations for inspiration.

Then,  I came across this gem:

Oh. My. God.

Hilarious!  I will not be having spoof invitations like that one, but I can appreciate it for what it is. Well executed, Rae and Adam!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm getting mawwied!

So it turns out I have a sneaky man in my life.  He orchestrated a secret trip to LA to enlist the assistance of my best friend in choosing a ring, chartered a sunset cruise on the sailboat my parents owned when I was growing up (skippered by my godfather), and planned a family party after the boat ride, all without me knowing!

Andrew, you were so romantic, it blew me away.  Thanks for a fantastic evening, and I'm looking forward to a wonderful future with you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Birthday Dinner

Today is my 29th birthday, and my wonderful boyfriend is taking me out to that French restaurant I've been eying since it opened this spring.  The reservations are early, so I dressed for the occasion and for the office today.

Don't you love those shoes?  They're new.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Westport, MA: This Girl's Heaven

I'm just starting the second half of my mother-daughter holiday on the east coast.  We're currently in Westport, MA, on the cape not far from Rhode Island.  The house we're staying in is absolutely wonderful.  Above is a picture of the harbor, not far from the house.  Not bad, eh?

Pretty much all of the homes look like this:

And this is what the weather is like:

And this is what everyone eats:

I think I want to move here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th, and One More Thing About Pie...

I'm off to Baltimore in about five hours.  Have a fun and safe holiday this weekend, and have a slice of rhubarb pie for me! (the kind without strawberries, of course)

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I've been obsessed with pies lately.  It happened when my talented baxtress friend Abby mentioned she hated making pies.  I happen to love baking pies and offered my services as an overflow option if she ever needed it.  I usually try not to do this because there are few things more annoying than someone trying to weasel her way into your culinary project.  In fact, I'm a firm believer in staying out of another cook's home kitchen entirely.  That being said, Abby is my PLP and I know she would feel comfortable saying, "Monica, stay the eff out of my biz," if she had to.  So I offered, and then stayed the eff out her biz, but I made pies anyway.  For myself.  Of course.

So Abby got pies back on my brain, but with a twist.  I'm usually an apple pie baker with a full top crust, but she got me thinking about galettes - rustic topless pies.  Pretty sexy, eh?  Indeed.  My first go was a mixed berry version, which Andrew still requests.  It was great.  I'm a big proponent of lemon in pies, so any pie I make will get the juice of at least 1/2 lemon.  It's just for some extra zing.  For me, a berry pie/tart with no hint of tart zing is a failure.  I hate failing.

Then, a couple weeks ago I got up at an ungodly early hour on a Sunday morning while spending the weekend at my friend Sabina's place in Gig Harbor.  I raided her kitchen for pie ingredients and threw together this:

Okay so it's not rustic, but it was delicious and simple to throw together - literally.  I put six eggs, some provolone, ham, zucchini, dill, and a shallot int a bowl, stirred it up, and threw it in a pie crust (which I half-baked ahead of time). We ate it like this:

While we ate, I had this in the oven:

This one is indeed a rustic pie, which just means I pay more attention to the way the fruit looks and forget the top crust altogether.  It was scrumptious.  We ate it like this:

The secret's in the crust.  I am fortunate enough to come from a long line of pie-baking women who have a tried and true crust.  I'm sure it dates back before Grandma Miller, but that's as far as I have ever bothered to ask.  That was four generations ago and out to the plains of Kansas, a generation before the Great Depression.  It's damn good crust and even if she didn't create the recipe, she gets a nod for keeping the pie tradition going, as does Gma Benton and Gma Shank, and especially my mama.

So I've been making these galettes since Memorial Day weekend and I just can't get enough.  It's a lazy way to make pie without compromising on any of the deliciousness or presentation.  Last night I made a recipe I saw on Smitten Kitchen for a zucchini ricotta galette with some of my own mods.  I plugged the recipe in HERE so I could calculate the nutrition info per serving too, because I like to do that.  We all loved last night's galette so much, I made it again this morning for lunch/dinner tonight, plus a peach one with lemon-scented ricotta.  My car was extremely fragrant.  Here they are in my back seat:

Happy July to you all!