Life Lately in Photos

I learned to make tortillas! So much easier than I thought it was going to be. Now I just need to buy a tortilla press, so I don’t have to borrow my friends.IMG_1592 IMG_1593 IMG_1595

Went to the Gerald… One of my favorite restaurants in Seattle. Seriously, go and don’t order off the drink menu. Just tell the bartenders what you like, and let them surprise you. Chances are they will bring you something delicious that you would otherwise never have thought to order.

http://www.thegeraldseattle.com/

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Also, their grilled cheese with apple slaw, is to die for.

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T’s good friend from college was in town this past weekend, so I of course spent some quality time with those silly boys.

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Meet Millie! My new hat making friend. I’ve been meaning to try out making some new hair accessories, and Millie will be my new helper. Not gonna lie though, she’s a little bit creepy, especially when you walk around the corner in the dark, and there is a large styrofoam head illuminated in moonlight sitting on your ironing board.

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I made my first ever meringues! Filled with a lemon/orange curd, and sprinkled with powdered sugar. They weren’t very pretty, but they turned out really delicious. I was pretty pleased since I have never made anything like it before. Light and delicious, perfect for a summertime treat!

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Lately I’ve been….

Reading– Geisha by Liza Dalby, the only women of non-Japanese origin to become a Geisha. Liza’s book gives a fascinating look at what this world actually looks like, breaking down a lot of Western ideas and stereotypes of what this culture involves.

Listening To– A whole lot of country music. What can I say, it doesn’t feel like summer without country. Particularly  Cruisin, and Wagon Wheel, by Florida Georgia Line and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Watching– Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns…. it just doesn’t get old.

Eating– Boatloads of hummus and Castelvetrano Olives.

Enjoying– Sitting at my sewing machine again, it’s been too long since I had any weekend time to sew.

Looking Forward To– Fall! As much as I love summer, Fall is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the sweaters, the weather, the football (at least the idea of it), the smell of new school supplies even though I have no reason to buy them anymore, pumpkins, and boots! My beautiful boots have been gathering dust in my closet for too long!

Happy Monday!

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Home Again

Every once in awhile, it’s just nice to go home. I try to make it over the mountains to my parents once every few months, to get out of the city and really relax. Now normally I spend this time lying around, visiting with my parents, sister, and nephews, reading, and eating home cooked meals, but his time, I tried to make it a bit more adventurous.

I love that I can still find new things to do around my home town! Provided, it is a tourist driven town, so surrounding areas are always trying to come up with new draws for the people, so it’s most likely easier for me to find new things around Leavenworth WA, than other areas of the same size. Either way, I had a lovely weekend at home with my dear family!

First stop, Crazy Larry’s Berries, for some good ole fashioned blueberry picking. My mom usually goes every summer to pick enough to freeze and last her through the winter. I usually steal a few of these bags of goodness, but since I was home this year, I figured I would go along and pick my own. We made this a lovely little group outing by bringing along my Dad, and my sweet little 5 year old nephew.

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The little nephew was thrilled that they had a spiderman bucket  for him to use. Each childs bucket holds 1 lb and he filled two all by himself!

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Proper lessons in blueberry picking from Grammy!

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We picked about 30 lbs of berries. I only took about 5 home, so I may need to snag a few bags out of my mom’s freezer when I run out (wink wink ;)).

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The berries are so deliciously plump and sweet. I had to stop myself from eating just as many as I picked!

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We also tried out a new winery just down the road from my parents house, Plain Cellars. They are just getting the place up and running, as it has only been open for about a month, but it was well worth a visit. One of the owners was working the tasting room, and was perfectly happy to give my parents and I a plethora of info on the winery and the wines we would be tasting. I love when people are passionate about what they do, and this gent was so happy to have us and share his love of wine.

http://www.plaincellars.com/index.html

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My parents, still happy to share each others company :).

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I totally get my sass and sarcasm from them, and boy am I the happier for it!

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My mum insisted on getting a photo of me…. in all my too much sun, allergy glory. Oh well, at least there was wine!

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There is even a faithful/friendly watch dog to keep the customers in line.

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I came away with a bottle of the Petit Sirah and the Eclipse blend. They were definitely my favorites, though I was pleasantly surprised by the riesling, which is shocking as I have never found a riesling that I am willing to drink before. It’s good to know that there is a place for good wine, so close to home.

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All in all, a lovely weekend home! Hopefully i’ll find something new and lovely around Leavenworth next time i’m home as well.

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Baby Blanket Makin’

One of my dearest friends from childhood had a lovely little girl a few months ago. A bit delayed, as I don’t think I started the project until about two weeks before her due date, but I finally completed the baby gift and sent it off. Now that they have the afghan, I thought I would post a few photos of the completed project.

I used a pattern #2 Snuggle Time, from Terry Kimbrough’s Baby Afghan book. It was my first time using a baby yarn, and I love, love, loved, the Bernat Softee baby yarn in lilac.

http://www.bernat.com/product.php?LGC=softeebaby

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I think it turned out quite nice and i’m thrilled to have another afghan under my belt.

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Any other afghan books you would suggest?

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Until We Meet Again Hong Kong

All in all, I had a great time in Hong Kong! I hope that someday I have another opportunity to visit again. One of my favorite little sites that I saw there was the Wong Tai Sin Temple. Bits and pieces have been in construction since 1921, so it’s a bit of old mixed with new. I went on a sunday morning and it was already pretty busy with folk taking pictures and lighting incense. While I would have been thrilled to meander around the temple without the distraction of other visitors, I loved that actual worshippers still use the site regularly.

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Before you enter the actual temple, there are lots of stalls to buy incense and offerings. I loved that everything was red, gold, and teal!

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I LOVED the beautiful Chinese lanterns!

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Apparently, many of the worshippers take in tubes of sticks and as they are kneeling they shake the tubes until one stick falls out. These sticks are each numbered differently. After one falls out, they take it to one of the many nearby stalls of tellers, to have their fortunes told.

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Why are we so boring with architecture in the U.S.? Look how beautiful these color combos are!!!

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I went by myself that day, so I have lots of lovely (not so lovely) self portraits.

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Behind the main area of worship, there was a lovely garden with a koi pond and pagoda. It was a little bit quieter than the main temple, and I enjoyed sitting and watching the koi and turtles happily swim around the pond.

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These boots were made for walkin! These babies took me all around Hong Kong.

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I leave you with a few final photos from Hong Kong, that didn’t quite make it into any other posts.

Can you believe this is their scaffolding, all made out of bamboo? Let’s just say, I would have been afraid of climbing it, but clearly its working for them.

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I had the pleasure of several delicious meals of dim sum. This little treat definitely had the cutest presentation. Just a yummy steamed bun with an egg yolk inside, all dressed up like a hedgehog.

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And finally… Green Tea Kit Kats! I miss them already. I brought my sister some back, and it has taken every ounce of willpower I have not to gobble them up before they get to her!

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Workin’ It…. China Style

Ever wondered what a large scale textiles mill looks like…. me too. Since I was in Hong Kong and China for work, I thought I’d do one work related post. I know it’s a probably a little boring for some people, but as a lover of textiles, and working in the industry, I found it totally fascinating doing factory tours in my companies factories.

I know textile mills/sewing mills get a bad rap, what with all the fires in Bangladesh factories and accusations of child labor, but i’m so proud of the fact that I work for a company that gives their employees with dignity, respect, livable wages, and great working conditions.

The entrances to the showrooms in our corporate offices are like the starship enterprise. I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t find the door. If someone hadn’t come out of the door that is the entrance, I think I might have stood in the hall awkwardly for 30 minutes, and then given up.

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I finally got to meet some of my team in China. I’ve been e-mailing them for a year or two now, and it was like meeting long lost friends! I swear, they are so hospitable in China and they really want to make sure you have a good time. Mission accomplished.

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This photo doesn’t even begin to encompass how huge one of our buildings is.

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I could have spent days in this fabric library. Alas, I only had an hour to spare. Armed with a price gun type mechanism, I scanned so many fabrics for swatches it was ridiculous….. what can I say though, they were so pretty!

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The spinning mils tend to have fabric bits flying about, so all guests and employees have to wear protective gear. I looked pretty cool…. (aka pretty sweaty and nerdy).

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After a long day of touring factory spaces, a great meal was necessary. Seriously though, the food was amazing at this restaurant but the english translations were cracking me up. I ate the “mom braised eggplants” and they were delicious.

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After supper, I kicked off my shoes for a massage! Now I had heard about how cheap these massages were in China($20 USD for two hours), but nobody told me how gloriously relaxing they were. Seriously amazing and worth a 12 hour flight just for this.

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On my way back to HK, I made a trek into Starbucks for some green tea lemonade. Unfortunately I couldn’t resist the green tea roll. Now normally I don’t go for the Starbucks snacks in the U.S., but I would eat this again! U.S. Starbucks take note…. your treats are better in China.

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To Market, To Market

Now one thing I really loved about Hong Kong, was all of the outdoor markets (and a few indoor ones). Not only are the more well known ones awesome, like the Temple Street Night Market, but every little neighborhood is spotted with small open front stores and stands selling fresh veggies and snacks with the most intoxicating scents. While I had no need to buy much from these vendors, as I had no kitchen to prepare them, I was perfectly content wondering down the aisles of goods perusing the afternoon away.

It was a bit crowded in some of these areas, but I was in no hurry. Plus, it gave me plenty of time to snap a few good photos!

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Dried whole fish anyone?

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The smell walking by their fruit stands was simply mouthwatering. I’m still trying to figure out what kind of fruit a particular scent was coming from, as it wasn’t one I recognized, but boy did it smell amazing!

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The open meat markets definitely didn’t entice drooling, as I am a pescatarian, but I thought it was interesting to see every animal part up for sale. We could take a note out of their book, and find more recipes in the U.S. that use all of the different parts of the animal.

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Not only did I find the food markets in Hong Kong, but I also loved the fabric stores and the Jade Market! As a lover of sewing and design, I could have spent days sifting through stores of trims and fabrics. Alas, I limited it to one morning. I did come away with a few treasures though.

Look at this wall of sparkly goodness… who could resist?

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Now don’t be fooled by the name Jade Market…. you may not come away with any Jade. Actually, from what everyone has told me, unless you know without a doubt how to distinguish real jade from fake jade, don’t spend too much money on Jade here. Provided, the vendors are always up for bargaining, so if you can get them down to what you think a fun piece is worth, there are some lovely treasures to be found.  I came away with a few freshwater pearl pieces from a vendor that had been recommended to me, and let me tell you, you cannot beat the price.

Now the buildings don’t have AC, so they can get a bit stuffy inside, but it was totally worth it in my opinion.

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Such fun was had! I’ll be back later in the week with more on Hong Kong and a bit on Goaming!

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OOTD Fourth of July Style

Thought I would do a quick but belated outfit post in honor of the 4th of July! Now I haven’t always been big on dressing up in red white and blue on the 4th, but ever since my college roomate’s birthday was on the 4th, i’ve felt the need to celebrate not only America’s birthday, but my dear friends birthday as well by dressing up in Red White and Blue!

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top: American Apparel, skirt: Express, boots: Frye, clutch: Ted Baker

More to come on China and Hong Kong to come in the next few days! Stay tuned!

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Adventures in Hong Kong

For some reason, Asia, at least China, has never been on my list of places to explore. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I have always been more interested in the buildings, history, and culture, of continents like South America and Europe. Well consider my mind changed and my heart hooked. I’ve been to Hong Kong and Goaming….. and I WILL go back.

I’m fortunate in the fact that I work for a Hong Kong based company, and I had the opportunity to work from their offices for two weeks. Even though I was a busy bee monday through friday in the office, I did have the opportunity to eat some amazing food, and do some sightseeing! Because I was there for awhile, I will likely split this up into a few posts. So take a gander, let your mind wander, and consider taking a trip to Hong Kong!

Look, I packed light….. Well, I tried.

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Sorry for the foggy photo. Honk Kong is humid, and it fogged up my lens. It did give it a bit of an etherial effect though.100_3628

 

People in Hong Kong love to shop (I would totally fit in). Malls, malls everywhere. This one was in Times Square, and I loved the sparkles hanging from the ceiling. You could only see about 10 stories from the ground, but I believe it went up to floor 16….. This was not the only mall like this. In Hong Kong they don’t have a whole lot of space, so when they don’t have space on the ground, they build up, malls included.

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Don’t worry though, even though there isn’t much space, they still make room for trees.100_3635

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Hong Kong has some pretty amazing sky scrapers. If you want a good view, take the peak tram. It’s a bit touristy, but the view from the top is pretty amazing, and the ride up in the old tram is worth the fare itself!

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Make sure you go on a clear night or day!100_3669

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For today I leave you with this. Go to Hong Kong, eat some egg tarts! Clearly I’m a fan, and i am now on a quest to find some this good in Seattle!IMG_1390

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More on Hong Kong and China to come later in the week!

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