Saturday, December 31, 2011

Best of 2011...

Yesterday, on a long drive to an appointment, I was listening to Weekday on KUOW (yeah public radio!). For the show they were asking listeners to call, write, or tweet in the song that was their 2011 anthem. It did not have to be a new release and the only thing it had to really be applicable to was the way each individual experienced the past year. The program made my 45 minute drive fly by and for hours after I was wondering to myself, "What song best sums up my 2011?" I could not really think of one singular song that really encapsulated my last 12 months. I was, however, able to think of a song that I was always happy to go back to. Before I embed it in this post I have to warn you it's not actually a happy song but it is one of those songs that just "gets me".

I had heard of the Avett Brothers plenty but it wasn't until April of this year that I actually took the time to listen. Since then it's been a torrid love affair between me and Scott and Seth Avett's music; "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise" has been the main recipient of my affection...




Now, despite the fact that I am 100% ready for 2011 to be over and 2012 to start, I do have to admit that the year had plenty of opportunities for growth (which I believe I took full advantage of) and many high points. Below are a few of my favorite places, moments and faces that I had the pleasure of capturing photographically in the year twenty-eleven...



Now go treat yo' self! Put your party hats on, throw a noise maker in your purse, and party like it's 1999!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Whistle While Your Work

After putting off laundry and cleaning on Wednesday night in favor of making a fool at a crowded restaurant it was time to finally pay the piper last night and get down to biz-ness. Luckily I had the foresight to put together a selection of tunes to keep me whistling all the while that I worked. Give it a listen if you're so inclined...

Yes, Maria, Yes - The David Wax Museum
Ce Jeu - Yelle
Up Up Up - Givers
And We Danced - Macklemore (***thanks Erin!)
Money Grabber - Fitz & the Tantrums
Kick Drum Heart - Avett Brothers
Came Out of a Lady - Rubblebucket
Danger - Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside



Tonight I have plans to get my craft on in preparation for New Year's Eve. That's tomorrow night people and please let me say "Bring on 2012! Enough of this 2011 nonsense!" If you too are saving your energy for NYE festivities than allow me to suggest spending the eve of NYE making some delightful hats to add festivity to whatever tomorrow night might bring!

{pictures and instructions from free people blog}

Happy Crafting!
Amanda

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Broadway Bound...???

A few weeks ago my friend Mari told me about a deal I could not pass up at The Five Spot. The Five Spot, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a Queen Anne dining establishment that not only rotates its menu but also changes the entire theme of the restaurant seasonally. In the fall it was Philadelphia and for the winter they have moved into a Broadway motif. Now here's the kicker... On Wednesday nights for the next few months you can "sing for your supper". It's exactly how it sounds. You come in. Sing 1-2 minutes of a Broadway musical song. The servers score you. And then, depending on how many points you receive, you get a menu item free.

When, before Christmas, we made the plans to meet up and sing to a full restaurant I had intended to spend some serious time preparing my performance and getting my showtime hair, makeup and ensemble together. But of course that did not happen. My day was busy and I was lucky to squeeze in a trip to the gym before heading over to meet Mari and her roommate Laura. When I finally arrived the last thing I was wanting to do was make the poor restaurant patrons watch and listen to my sweaty self belting out show tunes. I would let Mari go first with her rendition of "New York New York" and then break the news to her that I would not in fact be performing...

By the time she was done wowing the crowds with her spirited 14 point earning performance (which, it must be told, included jumping on a booth) I felt inspired and ready to sing. Laura gave it a go first with Edelweiss. Because it's a softer song it was hard to score as high as Mari and she walked away with a respectable score of 11.
Then I was up. I prefaced my performance with a "Hello everyone. I'm going to relive my children's theater days by singing the most annoying song in Broadway history." Next I started in on the most horrifying rendition of "Tomorrow" to date. The first verse and chorus were pretty strong but I started in a higher key than I should have. When my mistake became clear it was too late for the necessary key change and there I was belting out notes that not even a coloratura soprano should attempt. I walked away 12 points richer but without my dignity.

Was the embarrassment worth it? Well I used those 12 points on a Boundary Bay IPA... so yes TOTES worth it. Not sure the photographic evidence was necessary though...

Maybe now that I know what it's all about I will spend this week making my performance pitch perfect in preparation for next Wednesday! See you there?

K.I.T.
Amanda

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Dinner Has Been Brought To You By Pinterest

Pinterest, for those of you not in the know, is essentially where social networking and virtual inspiration boards meet. Pinterest allows you to organize images in different "boards" for your own reference but it also allows you to share these images with other "pinners". Like so many internet-y things it is addicting and as a result time consuming. In my short time on Pinterest I have already "pinned" over 500 images and have no plans of slowing down. I choose images to pin on my boards for a variety of reasons but I mostly select pictures of outfits to copy, DIY projects to attempt, and recipes to cook. The problem that I run into, however, is that instead of spending my time trying out the ideas that I've already pinned I scour the internet for more things to pin and subsequently never actually try doing.

A side note: I am also this way with books. I will buy 4 books at a time. Read one of them. And then instead of reading any of the three remaining books I will head back to the bookstore to buy four new ones and start the process of not reading them all over again.

But back to the topic at hand... Pinterest and the problems it presents. Before heading down to California for the holiday I told my mom that I would cook Christmas dinner. I prepared last years Thanksgiving feast and this year, because there were so many other people who wanted to get their hands dirty, I missed having total and absolute control over the menu and preparation (you'll see this is a theme when you combine me and any sort of entertaining/cooking/decorating endeavor). I was having a hard time deciding what I would concoct for the family. I am mainly vegetarian (I eat the fishies on occasion) whereas they are carnivorous beasts and so finding something that everyone will be happy with can be difficult. I decided this could be a perfect time to actually try out some of my pinned recipes. And so I did! I like to call the endeavor "Christmas Dinner Has Been Brought To You By Pinterest". Here's what I decided to make...

no kneed bread
{no need to knead bread dough. recipe available at joie de vivre}

salad walnuts blue cheese pear arugula
{pear, blue cheese and walnut salad! yum!
maple syrup vinaigrette recipe available at drizzle and dip }

{butternut squash with ginger & cilantro recipe available at rachelraymag}

salmon pinterest
{simple salmon baking technique from the pioneer woman. I added a little dill and lemon to mine!}



With some patience (the bread takes 14+ hours to make from start to finish) and a little help from my sous chefs...

I have to say I was pretty pleased with the final product...
The bread was definitely my favorite part of the meal. For one it was SUPER tasty and for two I had never been successful at baking bread from scratch... UNTIL NOW! Taking that first bite of fluffy, carb-y goodness and realizing that I had in fact baked a real loaf of bread stirred up feeling of accomplishment paramount to those I had when completing my first marathon. Strange? Maybe. Factual? Oh yes.


Just looking at the picture illustrating the fruit of my labor is making me tired. I am off to finish my day at work and then take a much needed post holiday nap!

Contagious Yawn


Merry 2 days after Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Monday, December 26, 2011

And We're Back...

I know that I went MIA for a few days there. Christmas was a busy one and I just arrived home. I wish I had more time to sit and chat tonight but I have to go meet up with friends and show off my big Christmas gift...



In an effort to quickly sum up my past week I leave you with an image that does it quite nicely...


Be back tomorrow!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Great Journey South

This is going to be brief with the words. I am currently taking in the sights, sounds, food, and alcohol of Ashland, Oregon with two of my best friends. The "great journey south" as I like to call it began on Tuesday when I packed my car up and headed down to Portland for the night before making my way to Ashland. Here are a few highlights...

While Christmas shopping for my parents dog (yeah, I know, I know) I got to spend some quality time with this adorable beast.


The drive was a great mixture of eerie fog and much needed sunshine.


Santa hosted a spelling bee at Louie's Restaurant and Bar. Although our team name was "Californians Spell Better Than Oregonians" a local named Fran won the bee. Boo hiss.


Today we have done some wine tasting and some shopping around town. The picture above is of the store Prize which may in fact be my soul manifested as a darling treasure trove of trinkets and treats. I got in trouble for taking a picture but think about all the store traffic they're going to be getting now that I posted it here! (That last sentence was dripping with sarcasm. F-your-I.)

Now I need to go sleep off the wine from aforementioned tasting before eating more, drinking more, and showing Ashland, Oregon what karaoke is all about. (Cross your fingers they have "Christmas Shoes" available to perform!)

K.I.T.
Me.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Update

The weekend was great... way too short... but great. Saturday morning friends, Alexis and Mark to be exact, and I got up bright and early and headed 4.5 hours south (and a little east) to Scio, Oregon for the wedding of my very first college roommate Annie. After the festivities subsided we drove back up i5 and we crashed with one of my nearest and dearest friends Caitlin and her other half Jeff. There I watched my first episode of Community (oh how I laughed) followed by what is quite possibly the best concept for a show ever... Puppies vs. Babies. "What the what?" you ask. Well I'll tell you what is the what... it's the best viral videos of puppies up against the cutest videos of babies and a panel of "judges" decides who's the cutest! Yeah, another reason I should consider getting cable.

I had made a pretty sweet mix for the drive down to Oregon but our chauffeur did not have an auxiliary outlet in his Chevrolet Malibu (say it with me, "WHAT THE WHAT?!"). Luckily I got home with enough time yesterday to go on a walk and enjoy my craftsmanship. Here's what I listened to:

Knots - Jeremy Messersmith
Santa Fe - Beirut
Lonely Boy - The Black Keys
Silly Fathers - Rubblebucket (*my new addiction!)
Stranger - Dr. Dog
Fish Sticks - Heligoats
The Honest Truth - Typhoon
Little River - The Tallest Man On Earth


K.I.T.
Amanda

Oh an P.S. head over to a grimm tale and check out this week's photo swap! So excited to have participated!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Step Into Christmas

The Christmas Spirit took its sweet time getting here this year. I am normally ready and raring to go around Halloween and so when yesterday I was still not "in the mood" I was a little concerned and frankly really sad. Loving Christmas is something that I cherish about myself. A long time ago I came up with list of "lame grown-up things I'll never do" and have tried hard to not become a "lame grown up". The list is as follows:
  • Eat ice cream from anything other than a cone
  • Lay on the beach/poolside all day instead of actually swimming
  • Vote Republican (note: I had plenty of left leaning adults in my life... I don't know why Republican and adulthood seemed synonymous)
  • Not be excited about Christmas

It's a pretty short list but I have to admit they're tricky rules to adhere to (minus the whole Republican thing). Every year Christmas seems to take up less and less space in my winter. Being employed instead of a student means that I have no magical winter break to bask in festivity and so Christmas now has to sandwiched between work, travel to, travel from, and more work. Nonetheless I think I've done a pretty good job of getting in touch with my holiday loving... at least up until now. These past few months I have been feeling frazzled, run down, and highly emotional; Christmas 2011 was really taking a back seat. Finally last night I think I turned it around. My roommate left the apartment for her volleyball game and I told her I would put up some decor while she was gone -- she had been begging me to decorate with her but my melancholy just kept getting in the way. A few hours after she was gone I was still sitting on the couch thinking about how much I did not want to move. Eventually I pulled myself up and got to work. After a few strands of garland were hung I was ready to put on some of my most favorite Christmas tunes and actually sing along. Spirits feel brighter and hope seems to be sprouting now that there's some festive decor surrounding me.

If you too are needing a little push in the "Joy to the World" direction then allow me to introduce Sir Elton as he welcomes you to join in a Christmas dancing frenzy...


P.S. I just found an AMAZING gift for my sister! It's been ordered and my fingers are crossed that it will arrive in time. Sister if you are reading this... get excited!

Rain? What rain?

Over the past week I have basically been listening to "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys on repeat but I had not seen the video until today. Delighted! Simply delighted! Enjoy please...



On another note, Seattle is pretty nasty today. I have to remind myself that when I feel nasty inside, like I do today, that there's a good chance the Pacific Northwest weather is tricking me into feeling sad and gross and so I must make a mighty attempt not to succumb. To combat today's rainy day blues I think I am just going to keep watching smile inducing videos, lead a group at the senior center, and hopefully eat nachos with a good friend. Fingers crossed that my plan does the trick!

K.I.T.,
Amanda

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Lipstick Update

I went out Christmas Partying over the weekend. I decided to try out my newest shade in my arsenal of lipstick: Mac's Cremesheen in "Lickable" over Mac's Lip Pencil in "Magenta". Yeah, you heard correct "MAGENTA!". There's only one word to describe the result... WINNING!

The only thing more winning than my lipstick that night was probably Matt's (pictured above) Christmas party. Fact. Oh and the human pyramid that I orchestrated but that's for another time!

K.I.T.,
Amanda


P.S. Enjoy the offbeat Christmas tune provided for your listening pleasure...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Celebrate Monday!

So yesterday was Sunday but today is SUNday. See what I did there? Did you see it? Miracle of miracles! It is bright enough outside that I actually put forth the effort required to locate my sunglasses (i.e. digging through the mess on the floor of my car)!

Moving on from bad "puns"... As I've mentioned before I don't mind Mondays as much as most people do. In fact I find them pleasant as they are the one day in the work week that I am not held captive by my cubicle. Today's been particularly pleasure inducing and here's a brief list of why:
  • I visited a client today who is 91 years old. She is the youngest of three children and both of her older siblings (ages 96 and 100) are still alive, kicking, and living down the block!
  • In between client visits I got to hang out at The Ridgeback Cafe on 65th in Ballard. I had a delicious wrap with roasted yams, black beans, cheese (yikes!), peppers, and spinach (leafy greens for the day... CHECK!)

Ridgeback Cafe Ballard 65th Street Seattle
  • My friend sent me a list of The 20 Best New Bands of 2011. Since I only know 5 of the bands listed I have some serious music listening to keep me busy for awhile.
  • I am going to go on a quick jaunt around the neighborhood this evening in my new hot pink runners (I'm speaking Australian today)!
  • The jaunt is going to be short because I'll be getting a workout at the Tractor Tavern where I will be square dancing the night away!

Leaving you with a video I'm loving of the Portland, OR band Typhoon. I'm a little bummed. They were just playing in Portland last week down the street from my friend's apartment. A friend who I am actually staying with a week from now. If only they could have scheduled around my overnight in PDX!


K.I.T. (no seriously, keep in touch... write a comment or something! pretty please?),
Amanda

An update: I had really better plan on cutting a rug tonight because my run lasted all of 10 minutes. I always forget that "sunshine" and "warmth" are not necessarily synonymous. My lungs are still burning and I am waiting for feeling to return to my finger tips. At least I got this picture?

Seattle sunset running

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dance It Out


Last night I went to see the local band Pickwick for my second time. My first time was over the summer (for FREE!) at the Seattle Center as part of KEXP's Concerts at the Mural Series. I was immediately delighted by the soulful fun that is at the center of their music (not to mention the ridiculously talented lead singer's hair). And what's more... tambourines were HEAVILY featured in the show both on stage AND in the crowd. Clearly I was sold...



Obviously when the opportunity to see them at the Neptune came up I issued a resounding "Yes please" and purchased my ticket. I had not anticipated yesterday being as draining as it was and for a few hours, much to my roommate/fellow concert goer's dismay, it was a little iffy as to whether I would pull it together and make it to the show or not. Fortunately I got myself out of bed, took a shower, put on my favorite sequined skirt (hipsters be damned!), drank a beer, and was ready to "boogie down" (as the old folks say). And thank goodness I did! The concert was all kinds of fun, my friends delightful, the music sensational, the venue charming, and there were OODLES of bearded hipster dudes to feast my eyes upon.


I tried to take a video but unfortunately the sound recording quality on the ole' iPhone 3GS just isn't what it use to be and so it's a little scary to listen to. Luckily YouTube pulled through yet again and I can post a few videos to show my readers how great this Seattle band is!

Oh... Pickwick does a cappella? Of course they does...


If you are work while reading this I advise you not to watch if you are employed by an organization that frowns on workplace dancing (note: video quality improves after first few seconds)...



Happy Friday, December 9, 2011. Make it awesome and dance a little!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Internets

It's been a long and frustrating day. One great thing that happened though was being dismissed early from work which was just what I needed. To replenish and renew I got in bed as soon as I arrived home and got to work digging around on the old interweb in an attempt to distract and relax. Here are a few tidbits that have definitely distracted (not so much relaxed) me this afternoon:




And last but not least a video that keeps entertaining me. I'm pretty sure if I had more energy tonight I would be doing this to cheer myself up...


K.I.T.
Amanda

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Weekend Photo Diary. All pictures. No needless words.


San Francisco SF Alcatraz Bay Bridge

Fell Street SF Golden Gate Park San Francisco

Guitar San Francisco SF

Vespa San Francisco SF

Fish Chinatown San Francisco SF

Northbeach San Francisco SF

Pier Sea Lions San Francisco Pier36 Pier 36 SF Fisherman's Warf

Lagunitas IPA HopStoopid Hop Stoopid Petaluma

Lagunitas Dogs Beer IPA

Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco SF Alcatraz Bay

K.I.T.,
Amanda

A Little Eye Candy To Tide You Over

I'm working on getting SF pictures up. In the mean time check out Warren Beatty back in the day... I knew he was a looker but I had no idea he had a beard...


What the what? Could then be now and could he be my boyfriend and could he not be a womanizer? Not too much to ask.


If that image didn't satiate your need for a new post perhaps this video will...

Monday, December 5, 2011

Song of the Moment

I had planned on posting some pictures from my weekend today. But alas that doesn't look like it's going to happen. In the meantime enjoy the song that I've been mildly obsessed with for the past week...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Delicious Idea...

Last night my traveling companion Tanya, my childhood friend Rachel, my sister Courtney, and myself headed to the boonies of San Francisco known to some as the Outer Sunset to dine at a small corner cafe called Outerlands.


The journey and subsequent wait (1 hour!) were totally worth it. The food was delicious and the ambiance even tastier (to the eyes, ears, and nose!) I'm not a food critic and will not pretend to be one in this post. If any of my Bay Area friends are reading this, though, run (do not walk) to Outerlands and order the delicata squash.

While we were eating I kept thinking about how rarely I ever eat anywhere "special" in Seattle. Now, I'm not saying the weekly Pho date that I take myself and my book of the moment on isn't special...

Pho Viet Ahn Seattle Queenn Anne Sriracha

Pho Viet Ahn
and I have a good thing going on. When I say "special" I mainly mean that I haven't been to the restaurant so many times that I don't need to see the menu to know what I'm going to eat.

So today, after an afternoon on Alcatraz Island, I decided I would start having a few more "special" meals in Seattle. (A quick aside: How many times can I write "special" in this entry? Special. Special. Special.) The deal I made with myself is that every pay day (so 2 times a month) I will choose an eatery that I've never been to and go there. If nobody else wants to go with me I will go by myself.

Pay day is tomorrow and so I decided that Tuesday I will take myself on my first "special" dining experience. My first choice was to go to Nettletown in Eastlake. Click on the link to Nettletown. I dare you. Oh yeah, that's right, it's closed! Oh the humanity!! It took me awhile to recover but it did happen and so instead of Nettletown I decided I will dine at The Walrus and the Carpenter in Ballard. Foodies flock there to taste their Oysters and so I, along with a good friend, shall put on my best foodie face and have a very "special" dinner!

Return flight is beginning the descent now. Hope everyone's weekend was splendid and sunny (mine was! mine was! mine was!)!

Friday, December 2, 2011

SF Day Uno

Fell Street San Francisco Golden Gate Park SF


I called my mom, known to some a Ca-Ray-Ray, at 10 am this morning. The conversation went like this:



Me: I think this trip might have been a bad idea.
Ca-Ray-Ray: *sounding genuinely concerned* What? Why? What happened
Me: I just had the best hour I have had in a LONG time just walking around the park! I don't know if I can go back to Seattle.



It is a glorious day in the Bay Area. High 60s and oh so sunny. I could feel the vitamin D fixing everything little thing that's wrong with me and a drive up 101 to the Lagunita's taproom and brewery sent me soaring! Other than basking in the delights of sunny weather and beautiful surroundings there isn't a ton to report other than a couple random thoughts I've been thinking:




  • I'm staying at my sister's near the Golden Gate Park pan handle. When she lived in Seattle she lived in utter disarray. Her place here is charming and tidy. She is much more organized than I ever suspected and certainly much more organized than I will ever be. Perhaps that's why she's going to be a doctor when she grows up and I'm going to be... ... ... ... ... TBD.


  • It's the worst when you're trying to get out of your parallel parking spot and the owner of the BMW parked behind you is in car. You can't use your bumpers for what they're actually made for... bumping... lest the owner of the vehicle you "gently" tap gets perturbed.


What's in store for funtivities tonight? Off to the "Helper's Boutique" near Ghiridelli Square, dinner with 10 of my nearest and dearest at the Thirsty Bear (SF's first and only organic brewery... not sure if that's a good thing or not), and then hopefully to the Wayfare Tavern



Pictures to follow... obvi.



Have fun wherever you are!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm On a Plane

So I'm 30,000+ feet above ground right now. If you know me, which most of my readers do, then you know I'm not a huge fan of flying. I am, however, a huge fan of going places and so here I am hurdling through the air in a giant aluminum tube. The good news is within 40 minutes I will be touching down in San Francisco.

I am taking time out of my nail biting flight anxiety to update my readers on my quest for a colorful pout. The verdict is in. I'm pretty pleased with my finds and fairly confident in my ability to sport a stylish lip.

I marched to the drugstore after work yesterday and after 20 minutes of waging an internal war over shades I finally decided on 3. I know 3 might sound a little excessive considering my trepidation around lip color but Bartell's was having a 30% off sale on any Revlon lipstick. I really had to acquire the goods while they were so cheap! I ended up getting the Revlon Super Lustrous in "Love That Red", "Wild Orchid", and "Stormy Pink". I think "Love That Red" is my favorite in terms of how it wears but it's pretty shocking in terms of shade. "Stormy Pink" is my favorite color but it is matte finished and I think my lips are a little too dry to pull this look off.

Since starting this blog I've been trying to take more pictures of myself for the sake of posting. It appears that blogging requires one to take themselves a little more seriously than I am accustomed to. Every time I edit these pictures for posting I feel ridiculous with my stylization and "me-me-me"-ness of it all. But despite my embarrassment here is a look at some iPhone shots I took while modeling my newest beauty purchases!

Lipstick Collage

Okay! There they go telling me my electronics need to be shut off! Turbulence in the landing forecast. DRATS!

Ciao! Chow!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sticks To The Lips

I have a confession to make...
...
...
...
... wait for it...
...
...
...
... continue waiting...
...
...
...
... ok, ready...
...
...
...
Lipstick. Scares. Me.

There I said it.

So here's the thing. I LOVE a brightly colored lip. It screams "fabulous" "confident" "fun but at the same time a grown up" and "adventurous". I'll go through phases where I decide, "Yes. I shall become a lipstick lady." I'll wear it for a few days and then suddenly realize (or begin to believe), "Amanda you look ridiculous. You look neither fun nor grown up. You just look sloppy and slightly crazy."

But that admiration of painted lips never dies and here I am today in the same spot I find myself in so frequently. I want to be a lipstick lady! So many of my bloggers sport it so seemingly effortlessly. I want to be like them!

{Keiko Lynn}


{The Daybook}


<3 <3 <3 {Atlantic-Pacific} <3 <3 <3
Note: It's also abundantly apparent that if I wore lipstick like her I would acquire delightful fluff ball to pose with me in pictures while wearing incredible jackets and bangles. Abundantly apparent.

Knowing that in a few days time I will probably once again become disillusioned and begin to doubt my ability to rock a fuchsia lip, I am going to give it shot. Unfortunately when the aforementioned disillusion sets it I throw away all of my brightly hued lipsticks in a fit of fury due to feelings of inadequacy so I need to go out and buy a new shade or two. I'm thinking I'll go the drugstore route as my lipstick wearing mood is fickle. I'm going to try and seek out Revlon's Wild Orchid, Maybelline's Fuchsia Fever, and a red that I haven't quite decided upon yet.

Wish me luck. Photos to follow perhaps.

In the mean time lace up your roller skates and get your groove on to this little number:

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