Happy Mother’s Day!

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Gratitude

I have been so busy getting everything together for my trip that I haven’t had much time to stop and think, but when I do, my thoughts more often than not turn to gratitude.  I have so much to be thankful for right now and in the stress of homework, work, doctor visits, getting passports, etc. it’s easy to forget that and just feel frustrated.  So I would like to give a shout out to everyone and everything that is in my life right now, in particular (though in no particular order):

  • The professors who wrote me my letters of recommendation for the Italy trip.
  • The state of WA, WCC, and the U.S. for giving me a student loan large enough to go on the trip.
  • My boyfriend, who not only encouraged me to go but who is staying home to watch my doggy while I’m away.
  • My parents for helping me (in so many ways) with the trip.
  • My bosses for not only encouraging me to go on the trip and letting me leave on 3 weeks notice but for allowing me to return to work after it’s over.
  • My awesome friends for supporting me.
  • My pets for getting me through the more stressful moments with their soft, luxurious fur.
  • The passport office for getting me my passport so very quickly.

Steampunk

I had quite the weekend, cleaning and cleaning and cleaning.  Mostly.  And it only took so long because our dryer is totally awful and takes 5 hours to dry one load.  I’m not even kidding.

But in between making delicious food and cleaning the apartment and taking the dog out I found some time to go out.  I have a confession to make.  I’m a bit nerdy.  What?  No!  Yes, I am a nerd at heart, and I suppose that’s what reading, writing, and being on the high school speech and debate team will do to you (I haven’t been in high school for quite some time but that sort of thing sticks with a person).

Over the last few years I’ve gone from being interested in steampunk to actually finding ways to participate in it.  It started, as most of my interests, with a book.  In this case, it was Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, which is fabulous, by the way, and you should definitely read it if you like steampunk, vampires, romance, mystery, and the like.  After reading several other books in the genre I began to write one (which I am still currently working on, and if school and work will leave me alone for just two seconds, I might actually finish).  Anyway, I found out through pure coincidence that there is a Steampunk Society here in Bellingham!  I was ever so excited, but it was a bit of trouble to find a way to actually meet them.  In another stroke of luck, I found out about a steampunk masquerade party at the local bookstore Village Books (follow the link for pictures).  I dressed up, attended, and lo and behold, the Steampunk Society was there!  I made their acquaintance (it was really quite a pleasure) and just yesterday attended my very first society meeting.

It just so happens that the Steampunk Society holds their meetings at one of my very favorite restaurants here in town, Skylarks.  The decor and atmosphere there are amazing, as is the food.  Below is the Macadamia Nut Mousse I had after my Gourmet Spinach Salad.

So I had quite the entertaining night indeed, and even managed to pick up a few extra doodads for my outfit.  [And oh, by the way, if you’ve no idea what steampunk is, as I suspect many of you might not, here is a link to an explanation, which is actually a report I did for my Children’s Literature class last spring quarter].

*Also, if you’re wondering why this appears under a relationships tag, the answer is simple: I am an introvert.  It is extremely difficult for me to put myself out there to join clubs and make new friends, so one of my goals for this year is to join more groups and meet people. 🙂

Ultimate Godiva Day Part 2: Seattle

On Sunday my girlfriends and I took a ferry from Lopez back to Anacortes and drove straight on to Lynwood. Alderwood is our favorite mall, housing several of our favorite stores that unfortunately have yet to come north. The two most important of these stores of course being Nordstrom’s and Godiva.

There was plenty of shopping done before lunch, too much, really, and it’s a good thing I’d just gotten my tax return or I’d be in some serious trouble. I did get some fabulous new shoes in the process though, so I consider it a win. Speaking of spending money — the pictures most likely make it look like we have more than we actually do, we were, in fact, only able to stay at the hotel because we found a good deal online and split it four ways. The service at the hotel was impeccable though, and worth every penny.

There are a few more pictures on this post than the last one because I simply could not stop taking them. The city is gorgeous at night and even though we didn’t eat anywhere particularly special (perhaps I should do a blog post on my birthday — I wasn’t blogging in December so I haven’t yet shared my thoughts on that amazing Seattle restaurant) I still got a few food shots in.

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Ultimate Godiva Day Part 1: Lopez Island*

If you don’t know what Godiva Day is, see my earlier post here.  Because there would be far too much to describe, I’m limiting word count and letting the pictures speak for themselves.  This was a truly decadent weekend filled with amazing food, a gorgeous home, an island getaway, a five star hotel, fashion, shopping, and fun.

This first post is of Friday, the night before we left, and Saturday, which was the day we took the ferry from Anacortes to Lopez Island.  We were so grateful to be able to get away, truly away, for a day where we experienced an amazing breakfast in Bellingham and some delicious home cooking on Lopez.  I haven’t slept that good in ages — it was so serenely quiet and totally dark it was unlike anywhere I’ve ever been.

Because we stayed at someone’s house (which was truly gorgeous — we all agreed that if money were no issue we’d buy it in a heartbeat) and I don’t want to invade their privacy I’ll refrain from posting pictures of the inside of the home, however I will let you see some of the beautiful views we experienced, and of course the food.

Friday

Thai House (Bellingham)
Thai House (Bellingham)
Thai House (Bellingham)

Saturday

Avellino (Bellingham)
On Lopez Island
Raspberry Framboise
The View From The House
Lasagna & Salad

*This post has been pre-dated because, of course, I was predisposed on Sunday evening.

Homemade Snickers Bars

“A Simple I love you means more than money.” — Frank Sinatra

As part of my continuing effort to celebrate friend’s and family member’s birthdays, I needed a good recipe for a coworker’s birthday on Tuesday.  Thankfully, last week I joined Pinterest and I immediately located the perfect treat: homemade snickers bars.  Let me just say that, not only did I get people asking for me to make them again but I was told more than once that they were better than the real thing.

This is a pretty simple recipe, if a little time consuming (because you have to wait for each layer to cool before moving on), and one of the benefits is that you can eat the snickers bars frozen, refrigerated or at room temperature, so I was able to make them on Sunday night and freeze them until Tuesday.

You can find the recipe here and I’ll give you my notes:

  • I don’t know if I did something wrong or what, but my nougat layer was coming out more peanut butter colored than white, which I found disappointing.  As a result, I ended up adding roughly 3x the amount of marshmallow fluff the recipe calls for to get it whiter (it ended up a little creamy off-white).  This did not prove detrimental to taste.
  • I used caster sugar for the fine consistency.
  • I used my food processor to chop the peanuts.
  • The top chocolate layer for some reason did not melt correctly and became like a dry chocolate peanut paste (I used my makeshift double boiler method).  I don’t know what happened, because the bottom chocolate layer turned out fine and they are made the exact same way.  To remedy this I ended up adding whipping cream to the chocolate/peanut butter mix until it became the consistency I wanted.  This also did not prove detrimental to the taste.
And if you’re wondering what happened to recipe’s 21-23, they’re on the Valentine’s Day posting, I just didn’t label it as such. 🙂