Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Throwing Fish in Seattle

Just a little something from the funny pages:


Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Tons of Bleeping Sequins!

When I saw this Jezebel story pop up on my newsfeed, I knew two things.

Warning! NSFW - F-bomb!





First, that Seattle is the greatest city in the world.

and

Second, that I wanted to go to the Glitter Sale!



So, I twisted my friend Heather's arm and we made our way down to the International District. First of all, they had an actual parking attendant showing people where to park. Like at a fair. Or a concert.


Even the parking signs are shiny!


Second of all, they had food trucks in the parking lot. We parked and walked to the entrance, where we were greeted by the friendly staff who gave us... badges! Very VIP!

The badges had our numbers. Heather, the odds ever in her favor, got lucky #666. I got the decidedly less exciting 667.

Along with our badges, we got instructions. "Don't feed your thrift shop finds after midnight." Sorry, no, that wasn't it. Oh, yeah, it was "Wait for your number to be called before attempting to enter the Glitter Sale."  But it wasn't all Glitter Sale!  This Goodwill Store is huge.  Ginormous. Bigger than ginormous. Probably, a million square feet, and I'm only barely exaggerating. Only a portion of it, about the size of a regular Goodwill Store was set aside for the Glitter Sale.

You could go in the regular (huge) Goodwill Store while you waited for your number to be called. They made announcements over the loudspeaker and... check out this technology... you could receive text message updates! When we entered, they were allowing 400-425 into the sale. So we wandered around the regular Goodwill Store for a while. And we found some cool stuff! A few shirts, none of which made it past the try-on phase. I got an adorable 99 cent costume for Olive for next Halloween. And a couple of little Thanksgiving host gifts for Karissa. (Does she read It's Always Sunny? I better not say what her gifts are, but I spent less than $3 on them.)  They had some Christmas ornaments that didn't make the cut, but I wished I had known that they had Christmas Tree Stands before I bought one for full price. Unfortunately, Miss Karissa was too hungover to join us, or she might have brought home one of these fabulous tables. (I like the frosted glass one, but Heather liked the vintage formica with... are they cherries?) 


But, in hindsight, maybe we spent too long in the non-Glitter part of the store. We were tired and thirsty and in need of caffeine by the time our numbers approached. So we decided to make a break to Starbucks to revitalize. Of course, just as we pulled into Starbucks, my phone dinged with a text message - we were allowed in the sale. A quick refreshment later, we were back in action... and in the Glitter Sale! 

Now, I should say that not everything in the Glitter Sale is glitter and sequins. Although, plenty of it is. It's also features many of their designer and high quality vintage items that they hoard all year for this special sale.  
Like, a set of 1950s Louis Vuitton Suitcases. No glitter or sparkles, but amazing nonetheless. All I want to know is, who the heck donated these?

There were a lot of fur and leather coats, evening gowns and dress shoes. Some people came prepared! There were women in leotards so that they could try on dresses right there in the aisle! 

Heather tried on this fabulous sequined cape:
I can only hope your screen size is doing it the justice it deserves.

There was also a separate jewelry section of the Glitter Sale. The numbers for the glitter sale were going a lot more slowly because they had a limited number of staff members retrieving the jewelry from the cases. They were in the 400s by the time we left, and I think we could have maybe stayed until closing and not gotten into the jewelry sale. 

Alas, we bought nothing in the Glitter Sale. I've got to say, I think we were a little burnt out by the time we got into it.  So, plans for next year: 
  1. Get there early
  2. Get numbers
  3. Sign up for the text messages
  4. Go eat breakfast somewhere (I'd like to say a diner, but this Jersey Girl has yet to discuss the Seattle diner situation.)
  5. Don't shop in the regular Goodwill. That is best left to another day.
  6. Pack light. We're going to be digging through racks, this is no time for a heavy handbag. 
  7. Wear clothes that are easily layered for trying things on. 
  8. Maybe go get lunch or take a coffee break and then come back for the jewelry sale.
  9. Hopefully we'll have some fabulous event coming up and be in need of evening wear. If not, we'll have to make our own event.
  10. Never ever end a list with only 9 items. C'mon now.
Curious about what other kind of good stuff they had at the Glitter Sale?  Check out some of these posts on the Glitter Sale blog. (Why, yes, the Glitter Sale does have its own blog! And I am in looove with that Orange suit with matching gloves. And red Prada top. And the Snowflake Pin. Looove with a triple o.) 

Ok, I've kept you hanging long enough... want to see Olive in her 99 cent costume?  Remember, it's for next year. I could withhold this another 11 months, but 1) I'm a benevolent blogger and 2) I do think it belongs here in the Goodwill post.  So, here goes:

She's a pirate wench! 

If she does not win the cutest dog costume contest at Jon's work next year, you don't want to be there to see how this stage mom reacts! 


In the end, we brought home no sequins. But we did bring home memories and plans for next year. This guy talking about sequins will have to hold us over until next year. 

Can you handle the remix? It's even better than the original! (But still NSFW.)


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh, Christmas Palm

Some years, I feel really into Christmas. Some years, not so much. I think, in my perfect world, Christmas might be every two years, because that's about how often I muster up the real Christmas Spirit.

Every year, though, I have two favorite Christmas commercials. I know, Christmas isn't supposed to be commercial, but when I see these two I get really excited.

First, the Hershey's Kisses handbell ringers.

Did you know that I played handbells when I was a kid? That might be why this commercial has a special place in my heart.



I've seen the Hershey's Kisses Commercials a few times already this season.

My most favorite commercial, however is a little rarer.  I feel lucky to see it once or twice per Christmas season and... I might be known to audibly gasp when I catch it on TV.



Corona calls it "Oh Tannenpalm."  Why do I love this one so much? Why is it so classic?  I guess I like to imagine myself celebrating Christmas down in Mexico, lights in my palm tree.  Surprisingly, we do have some palm trees here in Seattle, but not tall ones like that.

Palm tree on Alki Beach, West Seattle.

My parents have a fake Christmas palm tree down in Florida. I think it's pink. I, too, think pink and Christmas go well together. But this year, I've got to think about what will go well with evergreen because...   We're getting our very first live Christmas Tree this year! 

I'm really getting into the holiday spirit. We have some Christmas ornaments, but probably not enough to decorate a 5-6' tree, so I need to either think about hitting up the thrift shop, or maybe making some! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Overnight French Toast

One of the best things you can do is plan ahead for breakfast.  There are few things more enjoyable than waking up in the morning and thinking "I've already got breakfast covered." And we're not talking cereal here.

Case in point: Saturday night. We had a friend staying with us and I decided, late Saturday night, to would whip up some Overnight French Toast.

My mother has an Overnight French Toast recipe that she made for years on Christmas Eve so we'd have an easy but special breakfast Christmas Morning. This recipe is a variation on that, incorporating a few ingredients I found in other recipes and what I happen to have on hand. As with all recipes, feel free to experiment, add in what you like and take out what you don't.

Ingredients:

  • Half of a loaf of bread (about 8 slices).  I like to use cinnamon bread if I have some on hand, but white bread or challah bread work great. 
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (1/2 stick of butter)
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup (brown sugar can be used as a substitute)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup - please please please use real maple syrup and not that "pancake syrup" high fructose corn syrup with artificial maple flavoring stuff
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • Coconut Oil or butter for greasing pan
  • 1 cup of frozen strawberries or other berries, optional

I found the best pan for this is 8 or 9 inch square cake or brownie pan like this one.   This is perfect for 3-4 people, especially if you're making a side of bacon.  If you're feeding a larger crowd, you might want to use one of those larger disposable half-size steam table foil things and double the recipe.  (It's hard to clean, so despite my reduce-reuse-recycle tendencies, this might be a good occasion for the disposable pan.)

Grease the pan well.  I used coconut oil and rubbed it all around, including the sides, but you could use butter or oil.  In my opinion, coconut oil or butter are a little better than oil here because they enhance the flavor beautifully.

In a small sauce pan, heat 1/2 stick of butter. As it melts, add in 1/2 cup of agave syrup and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir and heat until butter is melted, then remove from heat.

Pour about 1/3 of the butter mixture on the bottom of the cake pan, doing your best to coat the bottom of the pan. Top it with a layer of bread, making an effort to make an even layer of bread, even if that means you have to rip the bread up into smaller pieces.

Add cream cheese over the the layer of bread. I don't make any effort to spread the cream cheese, I just put little pats of cream cheese spaced evenly in a layer.  They'll melt and ooze in there a little. Add another drizzle (about 1/2 of the remaining) of the butter.  Then add another layer of bread.  I try to make an effort to lay my bread in the opposite direction so I don't have "seams" without bread in the gaps.  Top with the rest of the butter mixture.

In a separate bowl, beat 4 eggs, 1/3 cup milk, a pinch of salt and maple syrup.  Pour the egg mixture over the bread, being careful to moisten all the bread with the egg mixture as much as possible (try to avoid leaving dry areas).  Cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover pan and bake 45 minutes.  If you would like, throw some berries or banana slices on the top before baking.  Some other ideas are to incorporate nuts or raisins, but that's really not my style.

The french toast is pretty perfect the way it is, but feel free to top with additional butter or warm maple syrup before serving if you're into that kind of thing. Brew some coffee, fry some bacon, and enjoy the benefits of being a pre-planner!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Happy Seattle-iversary!

Today we celebrate one year in Seattle.  It's been better than I ever could have imagined.



I learned at Klondike Gold Rush National Park that a person who survived a year in Alaska was known as a "sourdough."  I wonder what the term for a person who has survived a year in Seattle might be?  A salmon or a Sounder maybe?

During this year we have:

Found an apartment

Been to a Husky game and even got our photo with Dubs, the UW Husky mascot.

Adopted Olive

Made new friends

and had visits from old friends

Visited a volcano

Viewed all sorts of wildlife and spotted lots of rainbows

Drank a lot of coffee

and have been more to festsparadesdog parks, happy hours, and farmers markets in one year than in our entire lifetimes.

I have become a teacher and a glassblower (although not a glassblowing teacher) and been admitted to the Washington State bar.  And I've kept up with this blog somewhat successfully!

I'm reminded of an article that I read which asked, when does someone become a real "New Yorker"? Is it when they've lived in the city for a certain number of years? And, if so, how many - 1?  5?  10?  Is there a signature event, like being mugged or acting nonchalantly in front of a celebrity? Or some other status like having your own hot dog cart guy?

We have our own fish guy, that has to count for something!


And our own favorite graffiti artist! 

As for assimilating, we have learned to carry reusable bags everywhere, we never carry umbrellas, we know exactly what to compost, and we have proudly become "those people" who bring their dog everywhere.



Once in a while, things pop in to my head that make me have what I think of as "a real Seattle moment." A couple of weekends ago, I was in the car with Karissa and Heather when one of them said, "You should have seen it this morning. It was so cloudy, it was beautiful." And the other responded, "Oh yeah, I saw it, it was great." Is that Seattleite enough - admiring the cloudiness?

Whether or not we're official Sounders now, we've enjoyed our first year in Seattle and are looking forward to year two!