I'm headed out of town to spend some time by a lake.

My best friend's family has a summer home on a lake north of Couer d'Alene.  She twisted my arm for me to join her.

My life is rough, I know.

Have a great week and I'll be back on Monday to update you about whatever happens between no and then.  And some things I didn't get to from earlier this week.

Stay cool!


A Golden Day

It's my birthday!  My golden birthday!

(And now I want to break out in song from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Can you guess which one?)

It's been a great birthday weekend.  I did a quick camping trip with a couple friends (which I plan on blogging about more later).  I got some work in.  I had a great meal out and some great gifts.

I also have a planned trip to Idaho to lay by the water at a friend's lakehouse.  And maybe a few more gifts in my future.

One thing my mom gave me last week was a box with notes, letters and cards from when I was born.  It was a treasure trove and I thought I'd share a little of what I found.

There were cards (that accompanied flowers at the time) from my dad.  He had to leave the same day I was born to go work at basketball camp.  It's no wonder that basketball is in my blood.

There was a prayer from my grandmother, my mom's mom.  I ended up being born 3 weeks late and everyone was very worried in the days (and weeks) leading up to my birth.

My great grandmother, again on my mother's side, also wrote me a letter.  Even though she died a number of years ago, I could practically hear her speaking.

My Aunt Laurie also wrote me a letter.  It was just like her, funny, sarcastic and totally real.

And there were more cards than I could count, from friends, family member, and some from names I didn't even recognize.

It was cool to step back in time, 25 years, to when I was born.


A Love Affair with Heavy Cream

Blame it all on homemade ice cream.

Actually, my recent fascination really started with a cherry tree.  My best friend's family just had too many cherries in their lives.

I, of course, did what any good person would do and volunteered to take some off their hands.  After grabbing my first bag, I immediately had a vision of ice cream with chunks of cherries and dark chocolate.

Last night, the opportunity to make that dream presented it in the form of dinner (kabobs - one of my favorites) with friends.  I tweaked a recipe from Tasty Kitchen to create a vanilla ice cream with cherry and dark chocolate chunks.

It was so amazing that I had some for breakfast.  I just couldn't help myself.

Tonight I returned to the heavy cream with a couple batches of scones, based off a recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  And while I haven't actually tasted my creations, I think the pictures speak for themselves:

I had to use some more cherries.  I just couldn't help myself.  So I made these beautiful cherry vanilla scones.

I also created some lemon blueberry scones using some dried blueberries that my parents got me forever ago.  I'm not sure I added enough lemon, but I'm thinking they'll still be okay.

I compensated all this delicious (but not so nutritious) cooking with a dinner of salad straight from Trader Joe's cooler.  The container was so packed that I couldn't eat all of it, but what I did consume was delicious.

What I really should have been doing was packing and getting organized for a camping trip instead of baking, but I think it was worth it.


Just the 3 of us

I have been home alone with the dogs now for 4 days.  And I'm pretty sure the dogs are bored with me.

Every time I walk through the door the continue to look out as if willing someone else, anyone else to come home.

They also don't seem to believe in sleep.  The first night, Jamaica, our springer spaniel decided that 2:30am was an appropriate time to get up.  Last night she had no interest in going to bed.  What she did have interest in was being petted and laying on my chest.

Jamaica also is no longer satisfied with only having me to play fetch with her.  She'll go outside with a tennis ball, but it seems to be more out of habit than interest because rarely does she offer it to me more than once or twice to throw.

I arrived home this afternoon to discover someone, I'm not sure which yet, ate an unknown quantity of chocolate.  I'm less worried about their health and more worried about the hyperness I'll have to deal with.

That may sound callous, but we're no stranger to dogs consuming chocolate in these parts (without any adverse health reactions) and it was only Hershey's, which probably has more wax than chocolate in it.

All that aside, I really do love our dogs.  And I feel much safer at night with them here than if I were by myself.  Especially since everyone has left us, they feel the need to be on high alert.

If you hear barking, it's my dogs noticing some sort of potential danger (real or imagined).


Golden Year

It's my golden birthday this year.  I'm not really sure who came up with the idea of "golden birthdays" or how one is celebrates it appropriately.

I have to say that I'm thankful my birthday is late in the month.  I feel like at 25, when all I have to look forward to is renting cars and supposedly lower insurance, I'm more thankful for my life and all it holds than, say, when I was 12.

Then, I was probably more worried about my braces, applying sun-in correctly (worst hair choice ever, even that one haircut), and other very important topics.

I really like birthdays.  Not because of the piles of presents or people spending the day granting my every wish, but because the gift of life is pretty awesome.

While I could argue that this past year hasn't been all that great, and believe me that the thought crosses my mind often enough, I know that I am blessed.  Well, maybe not as blessed as this time last year, when I was in Costa Rica.

I could go on with the gushy sentimentality, but I have a date with a couple girlfriends, pizza and drinks.

You can bet this isn't the last post related to my birthday this week.  I mean, this week is supposed to be about me, right?


Summer Fashion Week: Day 7

I can't believe the week is over.  Today has a little bit of the-last-day-of-camp feel to it.  I've had so much fun and certainly don't want it to end, but at the same time am ready for "normal" life to return.  I can't say how much I value all your compliments and the inspiration of you outfits.  And thanks to Emery for hosting!

I'm so glad you like the new header.  I knew it was time to change up the blog.  It's like leaving furniture in a room the same way forever, it just gets old.  I snapped picture at my cousin's wedding in June just as they were leaving the reception.  I believe I used one of Pioneer Woman's photoshop actions on it.

Now for today's outfit.  This was the one day I didn't really plan ahead.  But I had actually worn this outfit last week and decided to wear it again.  I often find myself wearing the same pieces of clothes over and over again.  I don't know about anyone else.

The temperature today seems to have dropped dramatically, hence the need for the cardigan.  Can't wait to see what you all are wearing!

Last Summer Fashion Week outfit:
The outfit fell together for me when I was at the outlets (again) a week or so ago.  And everything was on sale.  Score!
These are my go to summer sandals, cute and easy to slip on.  Although I wouldn't recommend walking long distances in them
I got the necklace as a gift from a family I house sat for when they were in Hawaii.
And finally, my cutest accessory (although she would much rather be playing ball at this moment) our springer spaniel, Jamaica.  She likes to think of herself as a lap dog.

The line-up:
shirt & sweater - J Crew
shorts - Levi's
sandals - madden girl
necklace - gift
diamond earrings - graduation gift from the parents

This week has been so fun and I can't wait to see what everyone is wearing one last time.  See you all in the fall!


Summer Fashion Week: Day 6

I folded and took pictures of Saturday's outfit the night before again.  I know, I'm a cheater.

But the reality is that I probably won't put it on until sometime mid-afternoon.

I have to mow lawns again in the morning (which means another cut-off t-shirt and basketball shorts combo) and then my grandpa is having a "party."  That means we're going out to eat at Olive Garden, his favorite place in the world!

My uncle is leaving Bellingham tomorrow.  He's been visiting from Finland and while he doesn't fly out until later in the week, he won't be spending the rest of the time with us.

I have two versions of today's outfit.  The only thing that actually changes is the shoes.  And I actually wore the more casual version to have martinis with my bff, CeCe.

Without further ado, here is Saturday:
While it may be cheating to take the pictures the day before, how can you fault the chance to catch the amazing setting sun.  We have the most gorgeous view from the front patio, too.
CeCe took the pictures for me tonight and she insisted on capturing the lace of the tank under my sweater.  Plus you get a better view of my shoes.  And the shorts that roll up and cuff, with a button on the side.
One more shot of the shoes, which for me have been the focus of the week.  Sorry Mom, I just couldn't do only flats/casual shoes tonight.  I can't help myself.
One thing I have really appreciated about this week is that I have rediscovered things in my life.  This jewelry is the perfect example.  I had totally forgotten about this necklace and ring (which is really awesome multi-stranded and can be "redesigned" however you like).

Saturday's line-up:
shirt - Banana Republic (as if it would be an outfit with out something from there)
tank - eyeshadow (Macy's)
shorts - J Crew
shoes - Report, from who knows how long ago
necklace & ring - family heirlooms, from my grandma

(I just realized how preppy all these brands make me sound.  Who knew?)

Thanks for visiting my blog and head on over to Emery's blog to see what all the other gorgeous participants are wearing!


Summer Fashion Week: Day 5

Today I'm cheating a little bit.  The only thing on the schedule for the day is working (a.k.a. mowing lawns), but I still wanted to show you a fun outfit.

This outfit was actually worn last month to my cousin Laura's wedding rehearsal and dinner.  But I had to show it, first of all because the shoes are AMAZING and because it was one of the outfits that came together without me even having to try.

I had the shoes but didn't have a clue what to wear with them.  But I knew I just had to wear them, especially since Laura's colors were blue (although a lighter shade) and silver.

A quick stop at the outlets and magic happens.

Today's outfit (really from early June):
Don't mind me being blinded by the sun.  The good morning light happens here hours before I want or need to wake up.
All the goodies from the outfit.  I know, it's a little bit matchy-matchy.

The line-up:
dress - GAP outlet
belt - Wilson's Leather outlet
shoes - Seychelles (Piperlime)
necklace - Silpada, bridesmaid gift

And finally since work is what actually is happening today, I thought I'd show you that "outfit" as well.
Let's mow some grass!

Head over to Emery's blog to see what all the other ladies are looking snazzy in today.  Also, thanks so much for all the comments.  They have made the week absolutely amazing!


Summer Fashion Week: Day 4

Today has me working in the morning (i.e. mowing lawns) and running down to Seattle for an evening meeting.

Because of a somewhat tight schedule, I planned ahead and took pictures of my outfit last night.  Then I watched the news and saw that it was actually going to be warm tomorrow, with a high of 80.

So if I end up going with a different outfit for the meeting, I'll post that as well.

And I don't know if I've mentioned this yet or not, but I'm a shoe addict.  In fact, most of my outfits I'm more worried about what I'm wearing with a certain pair of shoes than what clothes I'm wearing.  And accessories are really only an afterthought for me.

Thursday "Nice" Outfit, Version 1.0:
Try to see past the various shadows to the clothes; the sun was in full "set" mode when these pictures were taken.  (Shout out to my mom for playing photographer this week!)
This is an awkward pose all around.  I'm trying to show of the shoes a little and keep the squinting to a minimum.

Also, this is the end of the day so my hair is grungy and my makeup is nonexistent.  Tomorrow I will probably have my hair down.
The crowning glory of the outfit (in my opinion), my shoes.  I love these babies.  But I think I've said that about every pair you've seen.
And finally, the lone accessory, filagree tear drop earrings.

Thursday's line-up:
shirt - Calvin Klein, gift from Mom
pants - Banana Republic
shoes - Steve Madden
earrings - gift from Mom


Summer Fashion Week: Day 3

I had a super exciting morning...a visit to the doctor for an annual checkup.  Although I'm pretty sure it's been more like 2 years since I last week.

Because of that I wanted an outfit that was easy to get in and out of.  No unnecessary layers, zippers or buttons.

So I went with a dress I got last week in my spree at Banana Republic (unlike many of the ladies taking part in fashion week, I have not yet mastered the art of thrifting).  I'm pretty sure this dress falls in the beach/cover up category, but I'll definitely be using it for more than that.

Also, I have an obsession with heels, but don't often get a chance to wear.  What better than a visit to the doctor's to bust them out.

Wednesday's outfit:
The quintessential self portrait in the mirror.  I was struggling to find shots I actually liked today.  Lighting and I were locked in some sort of mortal battle.
The earrings for the day (which are a light green-hard to see, I know.) and the side detailing on my glasses, which I love, love, love!
View #1 of my shoes.
A shot of my shoes and purse together.  The prints are so fun.  The picture didn't make it into the full-length shot I went with, but I definitely used it throughout the day.  Try to ignore the fact that my legs are in desperate need of lotioning.

The line-up:
Dress - Banana Republic
Shoes - Reaction by Kenneth Cole (from DSW, my happy place)
Earrings - a gift from my mom, I think
Purse - Hold My Bag (off of Etsy), my mom got it for me in a place of a bag she couldn't figure out how to make me

Head here to see what everyone else is wearing today.  Thanks for the comments, too!  And the inspiration you all are giving me.


Summer Fashion Week: Day 2

Today saw me getting up at the crack of dawn.  My summer schedule is pretty laid back, except for today, when I had to get down for a shoot for a PSA in Seattle for a charity fundraiser I'm helping with.  (I'm sure I'll be talking more about that in coming months.)

Somehow, maybe because of the threat of fashion week, I was able to put together an outfit this morning, get makeup done and walk out the door with time to spare.

Some days I amaze even myself.

I'm back home already, having spent more time in the car than I did in the city.  And I've already visited Starbucks twice.

A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

To be honest, I didn't actually wear the heels for my trip south.  That turned out to be a good thing, as I had to run (literally) to and from our car.

The only thing the picture doesn't quite capture is the color of the skirt.  It's just a slightly shimmery gold, silk-cotton blend, which I managed to spill on just minutes after taking the photo.  I'm smooth like that.

You also can't see my rings since I didn't take a close up, but they are family pieces.  I have the ever-present hair band on my wrist as well.  I didn't even think about it until it was too late.
I absolutely love these shoes.  They are by Seychelles, my all-time favorite shoe brand.  Adorable, super comfortable, and not ridiculously priced.
This necklace, which may actually be a little hard to see against the shirt was the only recent purchase on this outfit.  I got it last week at J Crew and am already in love with it.

The run down:
Tank - Old Navy clearance
Skirt - GAP
Wedges - Seychelles
Necklace - J Crew

You can check out the rest of summer fashion week here.


Summer Fashion Week: Day 1

I've been reading Emery Jo for a while now.  She's an amazing woman and blogger, and I admire her transparency in her writing.

As a part of her blog, she does seasonal fashion weeks.  And now is time for Summer Fashion Week. I thought I would delurk and join in on the fun.

Without further ado...my outfit for day #1:

The top I got at a local boutique; I love the detailing on the neckline, hem and sleeves. The shoes are grey suede Rampage flats.  The pants are Old Navy grey skinny jeans that I got super cheap on sale.

I didn't really accessorize, partly because I'm not good at it and partly because I thought the shirt provided a lot of interest on its own.


Summer Lovin'

Today is one I'm calling an ultimate summer break.  And I didn't even spend time laying in the sun/swimming in water.

But that didn't even matter.

I may have mentioned before that my uncle is visiting for a few weeks from Finland.  Which is kind of a long ways from here.

As a part of his trip to the states, he always tries to do a little shopping.  My dad (this uncle is his brother) comes from a family of large (giant) men.  At 6'7", my dad is the shortest brother.  Ridiculous.

Needless to say, it's always a little difficult for them to find clothing that fits well.

To "help" him with his shopping goals, my parents and I took him to the outlets just north of Seattle.  Today was supposed to be a record-breaker in terms of heat and I could imagine no better way of spending it than popping in and out of air conditioned stores.

Prior to shopping, we ensured high energy levels by taking a meal at a wonderful italian restaurant.  My mom and I shared a cranberry mimosa salad with pistachios, and a pizza.  I will definitely have to recreate that sometime.

At the outlets, I "helped" my uncle at Banana Republic.  All their dresses were 40% off.  I went a little crazy, but in a very cute way.

Plus, the new apparel was a motivator for getting me to the gym this evening when we made it home.  That and the fact that 90-ish degrees is a little too warm for an outdoor run.  I just had not consumed enough water for that kind of exertion.

Now I'm home, sweating and satisfied, sipping on a Corona with lime.

It's a good day.  In every way except in terms of my bank account.

And maybe if I get my act together I might even get some pictures of my dresses up on the blog in the coming days.

Don't count on it.


Obligatory Weather Post

I cannot even contain my excitement right now.

Even though summer officially started a couple weeks ago, it's been nothing like summer around here.

We've been bundled up in sweatshirts and socks.  My down comforter is still on my bed.  I kid you not.

I've heard rumors of summer in all other parts of the country.  And people have the nerve to complain about the heat.

But the sunshine is finally here!

You won't find me complaining about heat.  That's for sure.

The other bonus (at least I think so) of the sunny, dry summer weather is that the grass will stop growing so much.  That means I will actually have time for fun stuff. 

I plan to take full advantage of the sunshine.


4th of July

Let's get something out of the way...Happy Independence Day!!!

It feels like time is flying.  Somehow, a week has passed without me posting, but it doesn't feel that long at all.

Last weekend's basketball extravanganza was fun, but not as successful as a competitive person such as myself would hope.  Although, if I was playing basketball more often, I would feel a lot worse about it.

My uncle is currently visiting from FINLAND.  It's fun to have him here, especially for my grandpa who has been counting down the days.

Additionally, for the 4th of July (a mere 3 weeks from my birthday), my sister came home for the weekend.  It's fun to have her around.  She was also lucky enough to get to mow lawns with me yesterday.

And boy, did we have the time of our lives.  I spent the last hour weedeating.  So yeah, not so fun.

I'm currently dogsitting (just overnight) for a family friend.  I'm sitting at the computer and the dogs are out wandering around.  Last night they went for a bit of an adventure, but eventually meandered home on their own.  I was told that was normal.

Unfortunately, unlike most of the rest of the country, it hasn't really been summer here in the Northwest.  Today is overcast with a chance of rain and a high in the low 60s.  That's something to look forward to.

At least there is a small likelihood anything will burn down tonight.

I'm off (in a couple hours) to spend the day with family and eat a lot of food, just as soon as the dogs wander home again.