Tuesday, March 31, 2009

My Best Girls

I finally got to spend some time with my best girls this weekend, and let me tell you, it was long overdue. I met the ladies at Vessel on Saturday night for a cocktail before we headed across the street to Benihana for dinner. I think I’m one of the only people who has never been there before, and I can’t believe I’ve been missing out… This restaurant is so fun! It was the perfect venue for a Girl’s Night.

I ordered some delicious yakisoba and splurged on a couple mango mojitos. We caught up on a lot of chick chat while the chef prepared everything right in front of us. I felt like a kid at Chuck E Cheese – there was so much going on I couldn’t even concentrate on eating my food. I ended up taking a pretty hefty doggie bag home with me.
Afterward, we headed back to Ballard to end the night at a dive bar down the street from my house.

The Ick Factor: This was my first time drinking in any significant amounts since the year began, and the results were no bueno. After two glasses of wine, two mojitos, several Bud Lights and a shot of something that tasted like coffee, all on top of Japanese cuisine, I was not feeling so hot. (Although I did eat my leftovers for lunch and they were still delicious). I spent the entire day on Sunday in bed with my boyfriend, who was in the same sorry state from his night out with the boys. I’ll say it again… God I’m old.

But thanks again ladies for a wonderful evening!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Star Student

Antsy to find out how I performed on the final exam for my litigation class, I emailed my instructor to pacify myself. Even though I figured I did pretty well on the test, I was still moderately shocked by his response:

"Not only did you pass, you got the highest grade in the class on the final... 98. Congrats! That is very, VERY impressive work!! A pleasure having you, and I'm looking forward to next semester! Keep it up!!"

WOW. I was ridiculously excited to get such positive feedback. I worked really, really hard to prepare for that exam, and even though the program is designed for "working professionals," many of the people I am competing with don't have jobs. So it felt amazing to have all of my hard work pay off. And now I can't wait to get the test back next week with my instructor's silly "Star Student" stamp on it. I am such a nerd.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Happiest Hour

Since I’ve been on Spring Break this week, I’ve been able to indulge in some social activities like HAPPY HOUR. And let me tell you, since I’ve been off the radar, some very fantastic new opportunities for after work socializing have come up.

Last night, I went to one of my company’s local haunts, Troiani, with some of my co-workers. Since this is my boss’s favorite restaurant and it's a block down the street from my building, we tend to go here a lot for birthday lunches, holiday dinners, and after-work drinks. And until recently, we were usually the only people in the mostly empty restaurant or bar.

Boy, have things changed.

Troiani has now extended happy hour to closing time, and the happy hour crowd can spill over to the dining area when the bar gets packed. Not only did we not have to rush down there by 4:30pm to get a seat at the bar, we could take our time ordering delectable appetizers and delicious cocktails… because it’s happy hour all night, my friends!

Talk about a genius marketing tactic in a tough economy. The entire restaurant and bar were completely packed. I get extremely sick of practically running down the street after work to try and get a seat at a bar for happy hour, and then only being able to order one round before the cheap prices expire. So basically, this is a dream come true for me.

In addition, I also recently read an article in The Stranger that outlined several Seattle happy hours with complimentary food. No gimmicks, just free. These include:
  • Morton’s Steakhouse: Free mini steak sandwiches, even if you just order water, from 5 to 6:30pm M-F. Drink specials start at $4.
  • The lounge at Il Fornaio: Free snacks like pizza, chicken wings and bruschetta from 4:30 to 6:30pm M-F with no drink minimum. Draft beer is $3, wine $4.
  • Oliver’s Lounge in the Mayflower Park Hotel: Free foods like spinach dip, pita and potstickers as long as you purchase something (drinks are a little pricier, $9.75 martinis, but you can always order a soda). 4:30 to 6:30pm daily.
  • Bernard’s in the basement of the Hotel Seattle: No-cost snacks like taquitos and mozzarella sticks as long as you order a drink – strong wells start at $2. 4:30 to 7pm M-F.

The greatest part of all? I can walk to every single one of these places from my office! My guess is that the food might not be all that amazing, but hey, free is free, right?

Give me a call so we can go check it out!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Save Me, Stewie!

Stop, drop and roll, people. Stewart officially graduated from Fire Academy last weekend, and is therefore qualified to drag you out of a burning building. This accomplishment has been a long time coming, and has basically consumed the entire past two years of our relationship. I don’t think it would be possible for me to be more proud of someone.

Not only did Stew graduate, he did it with flying colors, finishing at the top of his class with the highest scores ever obtained in the program. I cried like a little girl when he gave his valedictorian speech and finally got his badge.

Of course there was no better excuse to party like rock stars, so we had an open house on Saturday afternoon and into the evening. My previously-mentioned firefighter themed cookies were a hit. Even though they didn’t turn out exactly as planned, everyone raved about how yummy they were!

I also made a congrats banner for Stew which the boys turned into a giant Scrabble game.

The night got a little rowdy later on… wow, I think it’s been at least five years since the last time I did a keg stand!!

Thanks, everyone, for stopping by and wishing Stewart good luck in his new career. I think he’s definitely going to enjoy working only eight days a month!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Back in the Groove

This weekend my friend Cailin came to visit Seattle, and she had to remind me that it’s been almost two years since the last time we saw each other. Cailin is one of my very best friends from college, and we lived it up together when we moved to Seattle after graduation. Sadly, we have not lived in the same time zone for years, which has definitely not been fun.

But surprisingly, whenever we see each other, it’s immediately as if no time has passed at all. I think it was her visit this past weekend that really hit the point home for me. Even though I haven’t seen her since her wedding, we immediately got right back into the groove of our friendship, and it was as if no time had passed at all since the last time we were together. I think this is rare. And it makes me feel lucky that I have a friend like this in my life.

Even though her visit was short I had a great time hanging out and catching up.

We had lunch at Elliott’s on the waterfront.

We had drinks at Red Robin.

We had a photo shoot with the girls.

We took a few self-portraits.

We had cocktails at Room 38.

Of course her visit definitely reminded me that I need to plan a trip to Chicago to visit immediately. I can’t wait!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Heart Brunch

When you’re no longer able to attend happy hour because your evenings are consumed by school, you have to accept alternate social opportunities. For me, this means brunch.

Lately, brunch has become the one time each week where I can finally take a break from homework/studying and catch up with friends. Every Sunday for the past month I’ve gotten to sit down and enjoy yummy food, a Bloody Mary, and gossip with some of my best girls.

This past weekend, I had brunch with Sheena, one of my old college roommates. I had heard a rave review about Volterra the night before, and even though Sheena had a bad dinner experience there, we decided to try it out. After all, Rachael Ray featured it on her show and called it one of her favorite restaurants in the world, so how could we go wrong?

The restaurant itself is super cute, and we sat in a booth in back where it was easy to chat. Although I’ve heard great things about their Bellisimo Bloody Mary, I wasn’t feeling up to my usual vodka fix that morning, but instead had coffee and decided to order the provolone, avocado, and green onion scramble served with hash browns and toast.
It was… okay. Nothing to write home about in my opinion, but moderately satisfying. The toast was a little weird (full of poppy seeds and other unidentifiable grains) but super yummy after I smothered it with strawberry freezer jam. The scramble was pretty average.

However, the atmosphere was great and they didn’t kick us out before we were done with our coffee because they had people waiting, like what happened to me a couple weekends ago at The Dish. Overall, I think I’d give Volterra a B minus.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kiss Me, I'm Irish

Well, we’ve once again rolled around to one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day! My mom’s family is 100% Irish (my relatives immigrated to American during the Great Potato Famine and therefore I was raised to harbor a fierce loyalty to Ireland and anything Irish). This, combined with the fact that the holiday basically consists of drinking excessively while wearing bright green, makes St. Paddy’s Day one of my all-time faves.

In addition, Stewart and I met exactly two years ago today. We aren’t really big on celebrating things like “the anniversary of the day we met,” although he did send me some gorgeous roses last year.

This year I knew he would be stuck down at Fire Academy and we wouldn’t be able to see each other, so I took it upon myself to bake him and his classmates some cupcakes, appropriately themed, of course.
Also, being the nerd that I am, on Sunday I went to the Irish Festival at the Seattle Center to see some traditional Irish dancing with my cousin and my sister. It was pretty entertaining, actually.
Since St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year I don’t have anything crazy planned, but I still just adore this holiday.

Wishing you all the Luck o’ the Irish!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Oh Happy Day…

Whew! I made it through the toughest quarter in my program. I took my litigation final exam last night and I actually think I did really well on it. I only had trouble with one question, and I mean, who really knows the time limit for filing a judgment non obstante veredicto anyway? I spent the last 20 minutes of the three hour exam trying to find the answer. It is NOT in the Washington State Rules of Civil Procedure, I can tell you that much. I think it was a trick question.

So anyway, SPRING BREAK BABY! I’m not headed to Lake Havasu or anything, but I am looking forward to a blissfully stress-free three weeks of relaxing and catching up with friends. Happy hour, anyone?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

So, I have a question…

Why, why, why do half of the people in my class raise their hand and then, when called on, start out by saying, “Um... so... I have a question…” and then pause and stare blankly at the instructor like they need him to say, “And what is your question?” before being allowed to continue?

No sh*t you have a question!! JUST.ASK.IT. I thought the general idea that in a class, when you raise your hand, it’s pretty much a given that you have a question. Or maybe a comment. But is prefacing it with “I have a question” really necessary?!?

I did the math and figure I pay roughly $50 bucks a night to take this class, and I really don’t appreciate how much of my time is being wasted by people explaining that they have a question before even asking it.

Funny how things have changed from when I was an undergrad, and any excuse to waste time in class was welcomed. I’m old.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Rants & Raves

Current things that annoy me

  • Rude people. What is with men who won’t give up their seat on the bus? Not to me, I can stand, but when I see a little old lady fall over in the isle and six men don’t even look up from their newspapers or offer to give her their seat, I swear smoke comes out of my ears.
  • Cell phone scams. Cell phones and batteries are designed to last about a year, but they still force you to sign a two year contract. Hence why my phone will only stay on for about 10 minutes unless it’s plugged in. And I’m not due for a new one until May.
  • Doctor appointments. Every year when I go to get my annual exam my doctor thinks of at least a dozen tests he wants done. I’ve been poked and prodded way too much in the past week and a half, and this morning I have ultrasound goo in my hair.

Current things that make me happy

  • Tech updates. I finally have MS Publisher on my computer, so I can quit asking my co-worker to design stuff for me.
  • Party planning. This weekend I bought firefighter-themed cookie cutters for Stew’s graduation party. Super cute.
  • Daylight savings. Even though I got up and went to work in the dark this morning, it was worth it because this means that spring is coming!!
  • Brunch. Even though I have no social life, I've still managed to have brunch with my girlfriends for the past few weekends in a row, and just that little bit of time together brightens up my week.
  • Countdowns. Only four more days until I am done with this quarter of school, and just two weeks and Stewart will finally graduate from Fire Academy!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Yee Haw!

I definitely wouldn’t call myself a huge country music fan, but I suppose I like it as much as the next person. So when some friends invited us to the Brad Paisley with Dierks Bentley show I thought, “Sure, why not?”

The concert was last weekend and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I knew I would have a good time simply because an evening with friends never fails to be entertaining, but… what a great concert! Even though I wasn’t too familiar with the music and didn’t know the words, I found myself moving, clapping and singing along the entire time. Sure, it could have been all those beers I had at dinner, or the shot I had in the parking lot, but in any event…

My new goal is to find some more fantastic country music concerts to attend over the summer. Oh and of course to get a super cute cowboy(girl?) hat. Yee haw!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Tales From My Kitchen

I’ve been strangely obsessed with cooking shows lately. The reason why this is odd is that I hate to cook. Okay, maybe hate is a strong word but I definitely dislike cooking. The only reason I cook is because grocery shopping and making meals at home saves a bag of money compared to eating out all the time. But I don’t seek out new and clever recipes, bake cookies for fun, or have dinner parties. Cooking just doesn’t seem like an enjoyable way to spend my free time.

That being said, I love watching cooking shows! I find them strangely soothing or something. Often, when I do homework, or am ready to go to bed, I put the Food Network on in the background. I don’t write down the recipes or use the program to enhance my own abilities… I just enjoy watching. Some of my current favorites are Paula’s Home Cooking, 30 Minute Meals, Iron Chef America, Ultimate Recipe Showdown, and Chopped (my #1 fave).

And even though I dislike cooking, I recently read an article that made me want to embark upon my own food challenge. Mac ‘n’ cheese is one of my favorite all-time foods, but there are so many different recipes out there, I thought I would conduct an experiment. I’m going to try out quite a few different recipes and attempt to discover the best mac ‘n’ cheese out there. So if you’ve got the perfect recipe, please send it to me!

Good thing I’ve got a boyfriend to feed all these cheesy carbs to…