Thanksgiving Eve

MY FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR: Thanksgiving Eve. Actually, if I’m being honest, the EVE of Thanksgiving Eve is probably my favorite.

It’s literal perfection. The anticipation, the planning, the prepping, the cleaning, the CAFFEINE. We don’t stop drinking coffee until way, way after the kids are in bed. By this point, I’m peeling potatoes like a machine and Paul has decided not to involve himself with kitchen activities, so he starts putting a puzzle together at the dining room table.

We’re talking about desserts for our Thanksgiving night bakeoff, we’re texting friends and family to solidify plans, we’re listening to Christmas music and letting the kids stay up way too late. We’re on Foodnetwork.com, I’m frantically searching for a new and incredibly innovative recipe for Brussel sprouts or carrots (it never fails. Last year, the bourbon maple carrots I found were a hit). I’m gagging at turkey prep (will I ever be mature enough to clean/cook my own turkey?!) Read more

A Boring Girl’s Guide To Vegas

We recently returned from a weeklong trip to Vegas. Some of you might be thinking: Oy. A week? Way too long, Corianne. Way too long.

But it’s really not, not when you do Vegas like we do Vegas. The only reason it might be too long is because our wallets couldn’t possibly handle another meal (or our waists, for that matter) or another trip to Sephora.

Yes, Sephora. Did you think I was going to say the club?

First of all, we went to Vegas with our best friends Davey & Jess. They have the same goals as we do when we go on vacation: good food and drinks. Good pool. Good sleep. And that’s about it.

The Official Boring Girl’s Guide To Vegas

1) Yelp
Jess and I were on Yelp from the minute we stepped off the plane. We started out trying to find new places to eat, and we ended up trying to beat each other by attaining new badges checking into places we never actually stepped foot in. Oh, you actually thought I went to Hakkasaan, the night club? HAHA. No. We walked by on our way to the room at 9pm, checked-in, and got the “First To The Club” badge. Who’s the loser now, Yelp? It’s a great way for your friends and social media following to think you’re cooler than you actually are.

2) Selfie Sticks
You guys. EVERYONE has them in Vegas. Like, everyone. They sell them at the ABC Store, for goodness sake. When they started coming about a couple years ago, I was so embarrassed for the people that whipped them out, but now you’re actually a loser if you DON’T have a Selfie Stick. So, we bought one in Vegas and used that bad boy until we got on the plane to head home.

3) THAT SCENT.
You know how amazing the hotels smell in Vegas? We found the spot to really BASK in the glory that is “hotel perfume” (it’s a thing, guys, look it up). When we stepped off the elevator and into the hallway to head to our room, there was a particular air-conditioning vent that pumped out the scent so strongly… It may or may not have been the single source for the monstrosity that is the MGM Grand. And we may or may not have stood there like idiots, just breathing in the smell and trying to memorize it. Go to the 4th floor of the MGM, and take an immediate left down the hallway for room 414. You’ll know when you’re there. That glorious smell hits you like a brick wall.

4) Coffee, Breakfast, Pre-Lunch, Lunch, Snack, Pre-Dinner, Dinner, Post-Dinner, Late Night Snack. This was the meal schedule each day, and y’all… We learned how to do it right. He’s a sample of our daily menu. And we walked it off each day, so – no guilt. (We probably should have had some guilt, but you know… Vacation).

Coffee: Grande iced coffee from Starbucks on the way to the pool
Breakfast: Fries
Pre-Lunch: Sushi on the way back to the room
Lunch: A salad or a sandwich or pizza, usually once BACK at the room
Snack: More fries
Pre-Dinner: Lobster Rolls from Todd English PUB
Dinner: Brisket Nachos from Guy Fieri’s
Post-Dinner: Cupcake from Sprinkles or a burger from Shake Shack
Late Night Snack: Sushi, again
5) Buffet
This one is self-explanatory. But do your research… Only rookies go to the first buffet they come across, or the one at their hotel by default.
6) Solicitors
Have some fun. You know those people that try to sell you on a “free show”, and you only need to sign over a promissory note to give them your first born? Try telling them you’re not interested because you have IBS and can’t sit through a full show. Or that you have Tourettes and are currently banned from the theatre at the MGM because of the last time you went. It’s fun – the more inappropriate you get, the more exciting it is. One lady literally stopped her pitch to say: “EW!” to Jessica. I can’t even repeat what Jessica’s excuse was, but it was gross and that lady literally turned away from us and onto her next prey. We got snubbed by a Vegas solicitor.
7) Sephora
Ladies, go buy a new lipstick or 10. Because it’s Vegas, and everyone needs to try colors they probably couldn’t pull off at home when they’re on vacation.
8) Midnight Sushi
Wash off your makeup, put on sweats, leave your husbands in the room watching Sportscenter, and run across the strip to the only sushi joint open at that hour. Make friends with the Sushimaster (?) and the bartender, eat your Spider Roll after the Sushimaster shows your Asian friend how to use chopsticks, and talk about the Seahawks (because evvvvvveryone in Vegas wants to talk about the Seahawks when you’re also wearing a Seattle hat).
9) Penny Slots
Take $20 and GO TO TOWN. Jess and I found that the candy, jewel, and Superwoman-themed machines did the best. Don’t do the Ellen Degeneres machines, they are terrible. And don’t get mad when a little old lady runs over and yells at you for taking her machine when there is literally nothing of hers on said machine. Just move to the machine next to her, win the jackpot, and gloat silently.
10) Get To Know Your Cab Drivers
Unless they try to kill you coming home from Old Town, taking corners at 70 MPH and tailgating all the cars on the freeway. Then you should probably report them.
BONUS TIP:
11) The Laundry Room
In Old Town, there is a bar named Commonwealth that is way too young for us. I’m talking loud rap music and omg the headache. But we went there because someone told us about a super-secret hidden spot called The Laundry Room that is only available by physical request… you ask the bartender at Commonwealth, and they give you a clothespin with a phone number on it, without saying a word. You’re to text the number and if they have a spot, they will get you in. You wait in a designated area, and they come out to get you. If not, you’re out of luck. The phone number changes all the time, and if you are lucky enough to get a reservation, don’t you dare be late. We got in, and it was amazing. They read you the rules before you enter (no photos, no phone calls, no loud conversations). It’s a prohibition-style speakeasy, and it’s fun and glam and SO different from what you’d expect out of Vegas. I soaked it in, and then made a vow to blog about it… so, go visit. And have some of the jalapeno popcorn for me.

Professional Winery Concert Goers Are a Real Thing | Chateau St Michelle

Glory, glory, hallelujah! I finally made it to a winery.

Apparently, we have wine country in our backyard. Who knew? My husband is a music freak, and one of his favorites is Harry Connick Jr. So, for Father’s Day this year, I bought him tickets to see Harry Connick Jr in the Summer Concert Series at the Chateau St Michelle winery, in Kirkland. Our friends Jen and Andy had previously gotten tickets for their anniversary at the end of May, so we decided to make it a double date night.

Jen found out that they welcome picnic baskets, so we stopped at Trader Joe’s and loaded up on all the essentials [all the essentials = unnecessary amounts of snacky foods]. We got cantaloupe, prosciutto to wrap around the cantaloupe [I know, how classy are we?!], chocolates, salads, a fresh wrap, some sushi, fresh blackberries, cheese, rosemary crackers, stuffed olives, strawberries, and chips/salsa. We didn’t think to actually buy a picnic basket, so we toted it all in in our super classy Trader Joe’s bags.

Turns out, people are professional winery concert-goers. I think they actually study and prep for these concerts for weeks in advance. Almost everyone had the same Crate & Barrel table [did I miss this memo on the ticket, or something?] but it didn’t stop there… they had tablecloths, you guys. And salt and pepper shakers. And wine holders so you didn’t have to set you glass down on the grass. One couple even had a full-sized, freshly roasted turkey!

Ok, I’m kidding about the turkey, but geez. These people are serious about their winery concerts.

Love it or… wait, what was I doing again?

Lately, I’ve been watching TV shows on HGTV, and then getting sidetracked and missing the ends of the episodes. So, I have no idea if the couples on the show love it… or list it. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but this is one of those things I spend way too much time obsessing over, and it just makes me so angry.

In my defense, they wrap up the end of that show really quickly, people. The couple is viewing a home for sale one minute, and starting to talk about their decision. I walk over to check on dinner and come back a few moments later to a new House Hunters.

…and I’m left staring at my TV in utter agony. Not again.

I know, I know. There are so many more important things in life, but it’s so annoying to me that I can’t stay focused for one measly hour, or at least remember to record the ends of shows.

And, because I am sick and will spend an ungodly amount of time thinking about something I don’t have time to think about, I’ve Googled the episodes to the high heavens… to no avail. Of course, it doesn’t help that I can’t remember the character’s names, the episode title, or anything of any value. My last Google searches were “basement that flooded mid renovation love it or list it” and “guy named steven or stephen mean wife flooded basement”.

Good luck, Google.

Irony & The Ugly Truth

Today has been a great day.

No work. Woke up on my own at 8am (this is sleeping in), went to the gym with my work-out buddy (high-five for yet another perk of being married; live-in workout buddies!) and then proceeded to do nothing all day except for make lunch, get an evening coffee, hit up Target for nothing in particular, and spring-clean my closet.

And just like that, my much-anticipated Monday off, is over.

Why do these precious days fly by? And if I was at work today, the 8 hours would have been the longest, most painful chunk of time ever. I know this is nothing new. I know I’m not the first to observe this. But this is one of the many ironies that I just can’t wrap my mind around.

Now, we’re wrapping up the night with a delicious dinner – whole wheat pasta with tomato chunks, feta cheese and avocado – and watching The Ugly Truth. I seriously will watch anything that Katherine Heigl has a role in. It’s pretty bad. I have no shame.

This movie, I loved. It’s a tad inappropriate, but oddly charming. Maybe it’s the combination of Gerard Butler and Katheine, or the witty dialogue, or the fact that any movie where the main actress plays the producer of a news channel/morning show is an automatic hit with me.

Ok, wrapping this up now – it’s the dinner scene with the inappropriate undergarments (if you have seen this movie, you know exactly what I mean. I think I snort-laughed in the theatre the first time I saw it). Have I mentioned that I adore Katherine Heigl?

The Gift of Time

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of summer. Like most seasons, when the end is drawing near, I’m ready. But when it looms on the horizon – full of promise and unknown – I can hardly contain my excitement. Around September, I ache for the twinkle of Christmas lights; the crisp, cool air and the layers of scarves and pea coats and thick knit socks and worn in leather boots. Around February – right now – I can’t stop thinking of sunshine. The early morning sunrises, the clear blue skies, the iced coffees and brightly colored trees, fresh in bloom. And even the rain. We get a lot of that around here. Around May, I’m ready for the 9pm sunsets and the screen doors and the smell of the BBQ when I walk in the door from work. I’m ready for sweet tea (because even though we’re in the Northwest, I married into a Midwest family, and they know a thing or two about sweet tea) and skipping the gym for a run around the lake. And then, when summer’s stretch has become expected, I’m dying for the leaves. The golden leaves, burnt orange and red, littering the ground and leaving the trees bare and cold. I’m ready for pumpkins, and salted caramel latte, and the familiar drone of football on the TV after church. In reflecting on this, one thing is for certain… I’m always ready. Always looking forward. Always grateful for the time I’m leaving behind – and always expectant of its welcome return. Time if a gift. Time marches on. Time, although never promised, is a constant presence in a world of steady change.