Ten on Tuesday: Summer, summer, summertime

I'm a little behind today.  It was my last long day of work and I'm trying to get myself organized for the big trip (see #2 below).  I have who knows how many blogs to read and I need to work on packing.

This all means you don't get a fancy intro.  Join in on Ten on Tuesday, especially if you like summer this week.  Thanks Akirah for coming up with the questions!

1. From your childhood, what do you miss most about summer vacation?
I'm lucky in the sense that I've had a summer break every year except one in my life.  What I miss most from childhood was running around in a swimsuit no matter the activity, eating otter pops by the fist full, only putting on shoes when absolutely necessary, and feeling like it was light forever.

2. Are you anywhere on vacation this summer?
Um, yes.  Europe!  I'll be in Great Britain and Finland.  Hopefully I'll also get to the east side of the state later in the summer.

3. What foods do you like to barbecue?
The better question is what food I don't like to barbecue.  I love steaks, burgers, shrimp, chicken, salmon, and pretty much every vegetable imaginable.  Also, fruit can be pretty delicious as well.

4. How do you celebrate 4th of July?
Typically food with family and/or friends.  Time in the sunshine.  Watching fireworks after the sun sets.  This year I'll be in Finland and it's not really a holiday there.  Maybe I'll make the family some typical 4th of July American food.  What should the menu include?

5. What's your favorite beverage to drink in the summertime?
I love sun tea and mojitos and corona with lime and milk shakes (that's probably not really a beverage).

6. What movie are you looking forward to seeing this summer?
The last Harry Potter.  I just watched the first half, mostly because I didn't want to wait so long.  I'm thinking a Harry Potter might have to happen beforehand though.  I also haven't watched a lot of movies and I'm excited to use some of my free time to catch up.

7. In the car: windows down or AC?
I love having the windows down, but if I'm taking a long trip on the freeway or it's really hot and muggy, I'll take the AC.

8. Have you ever had a summer fling?
Um, yes, maybe, no.  I don't really know.  My high school boyfriend was basically over the summer before my senior year.  We only dated officially one week, but basically spent the summer together.  Does that count?

9. Do you wear sunscreen?
Absolutely, even in the winter.

10. Do you have any favorite summertime activities?
I live for summertime activities.  It's my most favorite season of the year, especially here in the PNW.  I like swimming, hiking, sunbathing, drinking icy beverages, inner tubing, concerts, the farmers market, time at the park or by the water, kayaking, barbecuing, and more.


This Weekend on a Plate

This weekend has been all about lawn mowing and planning meals, mostly for my dad and I.  Mom has been spending the weekend dizzy from who knows what.  She mostly focuses on staying upright.

Today's meal was especially delicious.  The line-up included barbecued shrimp, baked ribs, corn casserole, sauteed green beans with bacon, and sweet potatoes.  The sweet potatoes were a little undercooked, but otherwise it was pretty amazing.

The only thing that would have made it better is homemade ice cream.  Nothing can beat that.

Yesterday's dinner wasn't too bad either.  We had kabobs (green peppers, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, onions, beef, and chicken), roasted potatoes, and mixed greens salad.  I ended up combining everything into one big salad and drizzling a little ranch (to counter-act the healthiness of the vegetables).

If I were a better blogger I'd have pictures. And recipes.  But I'm sub-par.

And distracted by Harry Potter.  Priorities people.


Awkward and Awesome, 9 days and counting.

It's belated, but better late than never.

- finding out my boss never submitted paperwork for my raise, and that I might not get all the backpay.  Awesomesauce.  (SF)
- the number of salespeople that come up in Victoria Secret and ask if you need help
- my addiction to blended coffee drinks
- I still don't have a clue what bag I'm taking to Europe.  Whoops.
- the lack of words I have today.  We're keeping it short.

- My sister partying hardy right now in Vegas.  She's celebrating graduation with two of her closest friends from school.  They'll be headed to Disneyland in a few days.
- 9 days from Europe!!!
- Free 2-day shipping from Amazon via Prime.  I'm in love.  (Also, if you're a student, you can sign up for free!)
- Getting a bunch of errands done and not spending a bunch of money.  Winning!
- 3-day weekends. Enjoy yourselves.

If you want to join Awkward and Awesome, head over here!


Ten on Tuesday Randomness

A fun, random set of questions for this Tuesday.  Head on over to Roots and Rings to join in the fun.

1. Have you ever used Craiglist?
Yes, I've sold and purchased things.  I hope to find a job and place to live next year and Craigslist will be a main resource.

2. Can you sew?
Not really.  I took what was essentially home ec (mostly so I could take creative cooking) and had to follow dotted lines.  That's about all my experience.

3. Do you pour syrup on your pancakes or dip your pancakes in the syrup?
Pour, for sure.  The key to keep sogginess from occurring is to eat really fast.

4. Rain storms: love them or hate them?
Love them, even if they do happen a lot.  I find the sound of rain incredibly soothing.

5. Do you like swimming?
I do.  And I have since a very young age.

6. What kind of drink do you order at Sonic?
Cherry limeade all the way.  In fact, I have a Sonic Groupon I need to use.

7. Are you funny?
I think so.  At least I get a fair share of laughs, but maybe they are just pity laughs.  It's hard to tell.  Any funniness I have is biological, though.  I can't really claim it as a skill.

8. At what age will your kids get cell phones?
Kids, what kids?

9. What's your favorite vegetable?
I really love veggies and that's pretty hard to narrow down, but mushrooms are pretty high on the list.

10. Were you a Girl Scout?
No, not at all.  I was pretty busy without it, though.  And I picked up some good camping skills from the family.  I have a lot of Eagle Scouts in my family and my grandparents took the grandkids camping without parents pretty early on.


The Line-Up

I know I've been dropping hints about Europe, this amazing trip, yada-yada.  I promise I'm not just a big tease, but the details have been up in the air and changing constantly.

Now that we are only 12 days from leaving, I feel confident that this our itinerary, so I'm finally sharing it with you.  If you have any thoughts, suggestions, ideas, etc., feel free to let me know.  We want to make sure we see all the best stuff!

June 5 - fly to Shannon, Ireland (arrive June 6), we have a 6 hour layover at JFK (the joy!) but get to hang out in the first-class lounge.  It's the best alternative to actually flying first class.
June 6 - arrive, pick up rental car, and drive to Dingle, Ireland.  Cross your fingers that I can keep my eyes open and remain on the left side of the road.  June 7 is also in Dingle.
June 8 - drive south to Kinsale, stopping at Killarney and Blarney Castle
June 9 - drive east to Ardmore, spend the night in Thomastown
June 10 - drive to Dublin, staying until June 13
June 13 - fly to Edinburgh, stay to June 17.  We hope to make day trips to Inverness and St. Andrews.
June 17 - take the train to York, a roman walled city, and stay two nights.
June 19 - take the train to Cotswolds, staying in Moreton on Marsh until June 21.  We plan to visit Warwick and Cambridge.
June 21 - take the train to London for 7 fun-filled days.  We have some great plans including all the important stops in town and visits to Bath, Salisbury, and Brighton.
June 27 - I fly to Helsinki for a two-week visit; my friend continues on to Venice for a cruise with another lucky winner.

My family in Helsinki is making all the plans for my time there.  I can't wait to see what they come up with!  (Hint: I'm up for pretty much anything, including traveling throughout the region!)

So there you go.  I think I'm taking my laptop for the trip (chancy, I know) and hope to post infrequently about our adventures.


Saturday Trip South

My dad had to make a trip to Seattle Saturday and wanted some company, so I tagged along.  We had to take off pretty early and had a late evening mowing the night before, but we pushed through.

Our day consisted of shopping, eating, and driving.  I picked up a few things I needed for my big trip coming up (of which I plan to post more details this week.) and a few things for fun.

We hit up regular stores (you know, the overpriced ones), thrift stores, REI (during the sale---crazy!), and Nordstrom Rack.

We managed to find a Goodwill Outlet.  I had never heard of such of thing.  Basically, there were bins of miscellaneous items (clothes, blankets, etc.) to sort through.  It was total chaos.  And you paid by the pound.

People there were serious, with dust masks, rubber gloves, and super speedy sorting abilities.  My dad, the consummate thrift/garage sale shopper, even felt overwhelmed.

We moved on to Salvation Army, a.k.a. a regular thrift store.  We both had some great finds, including a never-been-used bread machine.  I can't wait to try it out next year.  And everything in the store was 50% off.  Yay!

I also was very successful at Gap, overwhelmed by REI, and found the perfect lightweight running shoes at the Rack.

We also ate food at some of our favorite places.  Taste of India, off Ravenna, has the best service I've ever experienced.  You literally cannot finish a glass of water or mug of chai before someone comes by with a pitcher and the prices are really reasonable.  We also stopped at Cristiano's, a little Italian restaurant, north of the city.  Yum!

There was also a Saturday market going on north of campus, so I had some pelmenis, Russian dumplings.  The perfect midmorning snack.

Overall, it was a lovely trip to the big city.  My tummy came home happy, my bank account, a little so.


Awkward and Awesome: Sunshine Finally

I'm doing the awesomes first tonight.  Because I can and because I want to.

- Sunshine!  This spring has been rather halfhearted.  But this week, amazing.  Today was gorgeous.  I wore a sleeveless dress, mowed lawns in a sleeveless t-shirt, and basically loved my life.
- Tomorrow is supposed to be just as nice.
- Europe in 16 days.  Enough said.
- Trip planning.  There's nothing that makes me happier than creating a plan.
- An excuse to shop.

- Season finales. What am I going to do when they all end?!
- A springtime cold.  It just doesn't make life fun.  At all.
- Ripping my favorite pair of jeans this weekend.  It was awkward.
- The "accident" on our drive home.  Let's say that a duck family crossing the freeway is a bad idea.

That's all I got tonight.  I'm wiped and really need to shower.  Trust me on that.

Also, Sydney, the originator of Awkward and Awesome just announced her pregnancy this week.  So exciting!  Congrats!


Life: Bulleted

In the true spirit of lazy bloggers without a real post idea, I'm going for the list post tonight.  Please, hold your applause.

- I got a gorgeous cocktail ring from Anika Burke Boutique thanks to a giveaway by Louise at Coffee and Cardigan.  The ring is adjustable and gorgeous and basically living on my finger.  If I were a better blogger, I'd provide you with a picture of it.  Don't hold your breath.

- I have a cold.

- I'm on Pinterest and completely addicted.  Let's be friends.  If you're not on Pinterest yet, leave your email and I'll send invites until I run out.  So leave 'em quick.  I'm a nice person like that.

- I leave for Europe in 17 days. I'm excited, nervous, and slightly overwhelmed by the packing I have to deal with.  The lists I will make.

That's it for today.  I know, it's exciting.  But hopefully I'll be back soon.  Maybe even tomorrow.



This weekend was a exhausting, fun-filled celebration.  My sister is an official college graduate and I officially have a cold.  I think she won that contest.

Her college makes graduation a weekend long affair.  We attend different events on Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning and afternoon.  In between those school functions we were busy packing, eating, and dodging rain drops.

It was fun to party a little with the sis and her roommates.  It was good to see old friends and some of the family.  Mostly, it was a blast to make the drive across the state, especially since the road construction season has begun.  (I just told two truths and a lie.)

We actually walked away from the weekend without a single picture of my sister in her cap and gown, and no pictures of her with any family.  Overall, we were winners.  But I did have my camera the entire time.  High five!

Now excuse me while I go fall into a coma and prepare for 10 hours of work tomorrow.  Joy.


Happy Weekending!

I'm off on the east side of the state celebrating my sister's college graduation (which is crazy and awesome).

I'll be back with (hopefully) pictures next week and more random goodness.  For now, I'll leave you with a picture of my friend Chelsea and I.  I posted it to my Portland round-up a while ago, but I just love our faces so much.

This Friday night is brought to you by babies on a water bed.  (I'm the one in front.)


(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday

I've been doing a horrible job of keeping up to date on life and the pictures I've been taking (which haven't really been numerous).  So I'm doing a huge photo dump tonight.  Enjoy!
These flowers along the rock wall in our front yard are some of my favorites.
Oreos inside of peanut butter cookies...delicious!
The view from our house.
Mojitos--my favorite summer beverage.
Not just grilling, but grilling steaks.
Shep, my cousin's dog. He refused to look at the camera.
At the glass bridge in Tacoma.  This made me think of the rock candy we'd get from the candy store in the mall as kids.
Tree-lined campus (UW-Tacoma).
Up the hill towards the campus.
Union Station.
Enjoying the nice weather while waiting for the train.
Tacoma Dome.
The train arrives.

Hopefully I'll have many more pictures to share after this weekend.  My sister is graduating for college and we're going over to celebrate (and haul furniture)!


Ten on Tuesday: the movie edition

It's Ten on Tuesday and I'm actually taking part this week.  A novel idea, I know.  You can join in.  And if you want, stop by and say thanks to Nora for the questions.

1. If you could watch only one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be?
This is a hard choice.  For serious.  I always love When Harry Met Sally.  Life as a House is another good option.  I could probably come up with a couple more, but I'll just stop there.

2. Let's say someone wrote a screenplay about you; what actor/actress would you choose to play you and why?
Oh goodness.  This is not an easy question at all.  I like Ginnifer Goodwin, but I don't really think she's the right person to play me.  I tried running a celebrity recognition program for details, but James Spader came up 5th on the list.  Not so much.  I blame the glasses.  Any suggestions, because I'm coming up blank???

3. What's the first movie you remember seeing in theaters?
Either the Little Mermaid or 101 Dalmatians, and I think my aunt took me.  I'll have to verify with my mom.  Mom?

4. Did you ever make out at the back of the movie theater in middle school/high school?
Definitely not.  That's a good "I have never..." to remember for future use.

5. Are you a Netflix-er, Blockbuster-er or a Redbox-er? (Or none of the above?)
Mostly a Redbox-er at this point, not that I actually watch movies all that often.  We used to Blockbuster it up, but they are kind of going out of business.

6. Name one actor/actress who you would give anything to have a dinner date with.
Ryan Reynolds, preferably with his shirt off.  If he's not available, I choose Sandra Bullock.  She's hilarious and amazing.  Or Tom Hanks.  Could I plan a dinner party for 12 or so instead?

7. What's the worst movie you've ever seen?
I know that a lot of people love Anchorman, but I just have never gotten into it.  I went to see in theater after a week of coaching at an overnight basketball camp.  I was too exhausted to appreciate it and it's never really appealed to me since.

8. Do you sneak snacks into the theater when you go?
Yes!  The overpriced offerings in theater aren't worth it.

9. Movie theater popcorn: love or hate it?
Neither, I just have to be in the right mood.  Usually I get it when I've earned free points for it.

10. What is the all-time best Disney movie in your opinion?
I love Finding Nemo a lot.  I also like the original Toy Story.  In terms of older movies, I always loved the musical options, though I did experience Mary Poppins overload and have never felt the same about the movie since.  The scene in front of the bank with birds especially bugs me.


The Road Well Traveled

I came across a list of 10 Places Every Kid Should Visit on Yahoo recently, and I'm sad to say that my childhood did not score very high.  Apparently I have some traveling to do to make up for it.

Places I have visited that are on the list: the National Mall in Washington D.C., Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and Alcatraz Island in S.F.

I hit the National Mall and Independence Hall on a summer trip with my grandparents and cousin.  My favorite cousin and I fought like cats and dogs when we weren't convincing people we were twins.  We also didn't sleep well sharing a hotel room with our loud-snoring grandparents.  But it was fun none the less.

I saw Alcatraz on a science trip in 8th grade.  I'm not sure why the trip was called a "science" trip, other than the fact that it was offered to students in science classes (a.k.a. all of us).  I do remember many games of chicken in the pool causing my neck to be too sore for the roller coasters at the amusement park and somehow ending up in a suite with my three roommates for the trip.  We were so cool.

The places I haven't yet visited: the Grand Canyon, the Redwood National Park, Ellis Island, Niagara Falls, Yellowstone National Park, Colonial Williamsburg, and Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve.

I basically drove by Yellowstone on my trip home from Colorado two years ago, but an impending snow storm kept me from stopping.  That and I was making the drive alone.  It just didn't seem as cool.

The rest of it, I haven't even been that close to, except I suppose, Colonial Williamsburg, which is close to D.C.  Even though I missed out on all these amazing locations, I still went on some pretty awesome trips throughout my childhood and not just the aforementioned trip to the East Coast.

I have a few favorite trips.  One of the top trips my family took was a camping trip across Western Canada through Banff to Calgary and south into Montana to Glacier National Park.  We went with family friends in vans pulling tent trailers.  We sang over CBs and annoyed truck drivers, stopped by the Calgary Stampede, pretended our lhasa apso was a puppy while going through a remote border crossing, and swam in glacier water.

Another summer, on a trip with the same family friends, we went to Palm Springs where it was so hot the pool didn't have "no running" signs.  We also went into Tijuana and my dad led us so deep into the city that we were the only white people.  I say that in the nicest (though most overwhelming) way possible.

Two years ago I traveled south to see some friends in Costa Rica.  That's not really childhood, but I'm counting it anyways.  I saw the beach and the rain forest.  It was amazing.  If you're looking for a good tropical vacation, I'd definitely recommend it.  The plane ticket was even pretty reasonable.

And this summer is going to be amazing.  Not only am I spending three weeks traveling around Great Britain with a good friend, but I will also get two weeks in Finland with my family.  I can hardly wait.

What have been some of your favorite trips, childhood or otherwise?


Awkward and Awesome: Friday Edition

This week has been a little bit crazy.  Or a lot.  Which explains why I haven't posted in days (again).  I don't know what is going to happen to this blog next fall when I'm going to school and working.

The funny thing about my non-posting, I actually have a number of ideas started.  I just can't seem to muster up the energy to follow through.

Since I'm so behind, I've decided to throw up (not literally from my stomach) my awkwards and awesomes for the week.

(Spell check does not like the use of awkward and awesome as nouns.  Weird.)

Awkward and Awesome was started by Sydney over at the Daybook, though I haven't seen her post one in a while.  But I think it's a nice way to round out the week.

On to the main event....

- Not getting enough sleep.  I don't think any explanation is necessary for this one.
- Mosquito bites.  I obviously omit some sort of mosquito attraction signal.  After sitting in a friend's backyard for an hour, I ended up with at least 15 bug bites.  They all rub against my jeans as I walk.  It's lovely.
- Trying to catch up on blog reading.  After so many posts, I find myself skimming through only glancing at the pictures.  If a post doesn't have pictures, well, I'm probably not getting much out of it.  Sorry!
- Transcribing videos word-for-word ahead of time for classes.  The process is just so painstaking.
- My job means literally staring at a computer screen, which means I've spent almost 34 hours this week alone staring at a computer.  That doesn't count the free time I spend messing around.  My poor eyes.

- My trip to Portland and all the awesome pictures I found.
- The first Tuesday of every May is Dine Out for a local charity.  The 'rents and I got to have some delicious southern-style cooking.  Never has eating out felt so good.
- A friend's wedding this weekend!!!  Taco truck for food, lots of beer, and time with friends, a recipe for success.
- A normal, 5-day period.  After last month's 2-weeker, it's something to celebrate.
- The following text message conversation with my father (about Bin Laden and yes, sometimes my dad is ridiculous.  I love it!):

Me: Did you here (sic--I'm so disgusted with myself) bin laden is dead?
Dad: I got him myself.
Me: Congrats!
Dad: I'm going on David Letterman to talk about the sting operation.
Me: As you should.  That explains all the long hours at work i guess.
Dad: On behalf of Americans everywhere.  With liberty and justice for all!!!
Dad: The Criminal Minds people would have gotten him faster, though.

He makes me laugh so much!


Portland ahoy!

I'm sitting on the train, cruising along the Puget Sound, watching the sunset, and enjoying free wi-fi.  I had a lovely spinach salad for dinner (with a soda to balance out the healthy).  I'm pretty content with this moment.

There's something to be said for train travel.  I actually love driving, especially on sunny days with the windows down, the music blaring, and no agenda but to get there eventually.  However, the relaxing aspect of just sitting here and not worrying, at this moment, feels hard to beat.

And this weekend was, in a word, amazing!

Saturday my mom and I headed south to meet up with my oldest childhood friend and her mother for lunch.  I've known Chelsea since she was three months old and I was three weeks old.  We spent our first two years of life together on a college campus.  That's right, my first home was a college dorm.
Dad, me, Chelsea
My dad was in grad school and a hall director.  He would even take me with him when he had to confront the problem residents.  I was a super baby shield.  I mean, who would want to get angry at this?

After we made the plans to meet for lunch, Chelsea asked if I wanted to come back to Portland with them to check out a Timbers game and enjoy the awesomeness of their family.  Of course, I said yes.

We got back to Portland in time for a quick change before heading downtown.  The Timbers game was a blast and just made me more determined to go to a Sounders game.

Chelsea has season tickets in Timbers Army, the section of fans that stands and chants the entire game.  We got spots in the second row, with far more people than there was actually space.  The chants were varied and obnoxious, just as they should be.  We even sang "you are my sunshine" to the team.

The Timbers won!  Over Real Salt Lake, the last undefeated team in the league.  Probably because of my chanting whatever words I thought I was hearing.  I didn't exactly know what was going on.

The only downside of the game was the smoke bombs that were lit after the goal and the win.  It was a little bit difficult to breath.  Luckily I had a Timbers scarf to save me from certain death.  I wish I had a picture to describe how dense the smoke actually was.
This is kind of how the smoke made us.  By the way, we're on a waterbed.
After the game, we headed to Deschutes Brewery for a little post game snack.  Sweet potato fries (my new favorite) for all!  And hard cider.  Yum.

This morning we went out for a delicious breakfast at the Radio Room.  My plate was yummy and everything was incredibly reasonably priced.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Chelsea and I even managed to fit in a little shopping, though I walked away empty handed.

Now I'm just counting down the minutes until I can climb into my bed, especially since the train is running a little late.  And enjoying the train ride.