Friday, February 28, 2014

February Favorites

Feb Faves!

Face: Burt's Bees facial cleansing towelettes. I started going to the gym in the afternoon and these are awesome as an afternoon facial refresher for those days that I have to be somewhere immediately after my workout.

Eyes: This has to be one of my all time favorite trios. I remember using this in high school. I've rediscovered my love for the CG trio in Golden Sunset. Been rocking golden eyes all month.

Lips: I'm a huge fan of Revlon lippies. So, when they came out with their new line of Colorburst lip balms (Matte and Lacquer) I had to get my hands on them. I picked up the shade in Coquette and I love love love it. It's a pretty pink that has fantastic potential to be a super bright pink. I use it sparingly and so one swipe gives me this 'my lips but better' look.

Body: I take baths like nobody's business. It's been really cold here lately, like bitterly so. My nighttime routine this month has been to make a drink and take a bath while listening to Pink Floyd's Wish you were here album. I found this awesome German honey and almond soak at Metropolitan Market and I've used it for every bath so far. The first time I used it, I was so relaxed that I passed out in the bath... I've adjusted the amount that I use now and so fear not- there will be no accidental drownings in this here flat.

Hair: So, my hair is growing out quite quickly and the velcro rollers are great. But, I have to give mad props to my sweet teasing comb this month. The one I picked up is by Cricket and the variations in bristle length do a great job at getting my hair teased with just a couple strokes. Makes the possibility of Peg Bundy helmet hair very attainable.

Nails: China Glaze vs OPI. Listen, I'm a fan of both but when I don't have the patience to sit there for 2 hours while my nails cure, I grab any bottle of China Glaze. I love how the formula sets up quickly and I don't have to worry about it chipping even without a top coat. This month, I've been rocking some wicked goth nails. China Glaze in Liquid Leather. Def Feb Fav.

Clothing: Um, I guess it has to be my Kyoto trench rain jacket from REI. The rain has been relentless this month and the cheery bright lime green keeps me from slitting my wrists. =P

Music: There are 3 songs that have been on constant repeat this month. Tegan and Sara's Not Tonight,  JR Aquino's cover of Drunk in Love by Beyonce, and Daniela Andrade's version of Crave you by Flight Facilities. Like constant replay... all day, everyday.

Food: Zesty pickles. Long story short, I had to wash my sheets at 2am because I was eating a jar of pickles in bed and things got out of control. They are so good.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Stability and security are in my future, right?

I'm not really the kind of person who is typically jealous. Of anything really. I always find it motivational when others accomplish things that I strive for. New car, fancy shoes, getting that degree, losing the weight, etc. Those are all things that can bring on a tinge of jealousy sure, but not for me. I would much rather celebrate your success than be jealous of it.

However, what I'm somewhat "jealous" of is the idea of what my life used to be like. (Haha, how much more narcissistic can I possibly be? I'm jealous of... myself.) *Sigh* Anyway, I can't seem to get over it and move the fuck on. I believe it's partially this (previously enchanting but now annoying) Seattle weather and partially the fact that I am STILL in limbo. I have a lot more time on my hands than I know what to do with.

One of my current hurdles is figuring out how to spend my time here wisely. When I'm at home, I clean. Since I have about an eighth of what I used to have, it's not a lot to clean. Clean clothes, clean dishes, clean floors, sheets, refrigerator, car... all of it. CLEAN.

Then I go out and explore. I've been in, out, up, down, left, right, and every other possible direction of this city and those cities nearby. And I've only really been here for a few months. I'm tourist'd out. So I plan trips outside the state. But those usually have to deal with other people and that means coordinating with their work and school schedules, flights, car rental, hotel stays, etc. so those are less of a 'whim' and more of a waiting game. Which brings me back to square one... how to spend my time here wisely.

So, it's been this giant rotating door scenario for weeks on end. And I just want to quit going around in circles and start sprinting forward. I deserve to sprint forward damn it. I've been excited for school to start for a really long time. Even though I only have about 7 weeks left before it starts, I'm "jealous" of those who get to go now. I shouldn't really put that in quotation marks... I am jealous.

Now, having all that out there for you to judge, what is my next step? Shed light on to me. Help me see the bigger picture. I know these posts are coming off with so much whining and complaining and for that I truly apologize. That is never my intent. But friends, I am struggling here. Struggling to find my place, struggling to keep my spirit afloat, fighting tooth and nail to not give up on this spectacular new plan. Send me as many happy thoughts and love vibes as you have in you. And thank you in advance. 

Daily Nugget: I'm going through this major blue phase. I have been gravitating to just the blue clothing in my closet. Just food for thought. And also, it's raining. Big surprise. Bleh. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Behind the Blog

Day 20: Alki Lighthouse. Gorgeous day and I couldn't stand to be inside. So, I grabbed my 12 oz. soy sugar free Mexican Mocha and headed to the beach. I sat there for a little over an hour, just thinking of everything and nothing. It was a wonderful way to spend my afternoon. And to get a little home sick for the island.

Day 19: Spontaneity runs in my blood. A friend and I headed to the movies in the middle of the night. We watched The Monuments Men... in Bellevue.

Day 18: Seriously, I'm a coffee addict. The day's prompt was "magic" and coffee was the first thing to pop into my head.

Day 17: My absolute favorite vegetable.

Day 16: The prompt was "create" and I've been putting off painting this piece for weeks. So, what better time than any when my photo a day basically said "Get off your ass and create something!"

Day 15: My "drink of choice" ranges from a single glass of Gelisi Antonio Moscato, to a couple beers before bed, to Cuba Libres until I can't breathe. Honestly though, most days it is all about my liters of water but tonight- I chose Pom Ruski Soda and it was soooo good.

Day 14: By chance, I met a girl. The prompt shouldn't have been that difficult it was "red heart" and it was in fact V-day. But, me being me- I don't surround myself with that nonsense so when I met Chae and she just so happened to have a red heart tattoo- I couldn't deny that it was fate.

Day 13: This was a toughie. The prompt was "perfect" and although, I would have much rather posted a picture of my best friend given that he is in fact my idea of perfect in every way imaginable, I couldn't bring myself to do it. For one, it would have been an old picture and that sort of defeats the purpose of these challenges. So, after my chaotic day- I hunkered down on the couch with a glass of cab sav and picked up Inferno. And it really was the perfect way to end my day.

Day 12: "Out and about" was the prompt but as confident as I am, I really can't stand taking selflies when I'm actually out doing things. So, I stopped in for lunch in the middle of all my errands and copped out with this shot.

Day 11: MISTAKE. Let me just say. If you've never eaten Half Baked froyo, then I don't know what you're doing with your life. It's so simple, vanilla and chocolate but then it punches you in the face with morsels of cookie dough and brownie bits. The "froyo" of it all makes it seem like it's not too bad, but when you destroy an entire pint in one sitting, well then that's where the mistake lies.

Daily Nugget: Lying by omission is still lying. I don't like it, I don't like doing it, and I definitely don't like it when it happens to me. But, at what point do you have to just say "the past is the past" and let what is- be? A huge part of who I am today is because of my past. But bringing up the past to get to know me ruins the illusion of who I am trying to become. Ask no questions, do not dig deeper, and just take it for what it is. And also, dance.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Moondoggies at Tractor

I was introduced to The Moondoggies almost a year ago.

They have a very countryesque blues sound to their music and I actually groove on it big time. The rhythm is catchy in a non pop way. I can still dance to some of their songs, but mostly I enjoy how easily I can just kick it and chill with a giant cup of coffee.

My affinity for live music is intense. So imagine my utter excitement when I found out that they've scheduled a show right here in town. Granted, it's not really that big of a deal since they are from just up the street in Everette. (Unlike Local Natives showing up in Italy.) But still, I was pumped! Ticket was purchased immediately.

I spent my Valentine's Day surrounded by obnoxious couples in a tiny little tavern in Ballard. It was a weird experience to say the least but I was so preoccupied with the fact that I was standing front and center, a mere 3 feet away from the band. The show was just as expected. Awesome!

Word on the street is that live music is a big deal here in Seattle. Since I'm not really a drinker (read: minor control issues) I don't really have the motivation to seek out bars in the middle of the night to sit there and pound glasses of water for hours on end listening to local bands. At least not solo... So I haven't really had the pleasure of partaking in that kind of leisure. Sad face.

However, over the weekend, I did meet a really cool chic. The whole initial interaction is quite funny and putting the situation down in words doesn't do it justice. I've tried to recap it about a thousand times by this point and it's just getting worse. Alls I'm going to say is that I am a firm believer in the idea that people don't happen upon each other by chance. There is always a reason why paths cross and I'm glad ours did. =)

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Behind the Blog

Oh look, it's another photo a day challenge!

It's been a few months since I've participated in the Fat Mum Slim photo a day challenge and I actually kind of missed it. At the beginning of February I started posting the pics to my Instagram page, and it's been neat to see everyone else's photos instead of just my own. 

I wanted to take this time to thank you, my lovely readers, for checking out my blog. I know my posts are rather sporadic and have been less uppity these days. I'm working on it, I promise. 

For this challenge I'm doing it a little differently. I've taken a screen shot of the pics and put the day in the corner and below I will give you some insight to the photo, location, and basically just a look behind the scenes and into my life.

Day 10: The prompt for today is: "I am..." I was sitting in the beginning stages of rush hour traffic. The Moondoggies were playing on my car stereo (BTW- I'm going to see them live this coming Friday!) and I was surprised at how patient I was throughout the whole ordeal. I'm usually really impatient just in general. 

Day 9: "Details" I woke up that morning and I was just missing a darling friend so much it physically hurt. Driving around, I finally pulled up to this little bar in Renton and sat there for a while. The weather was so perfect for a movie marathon and snuggling on the couch. But, I had a couple cups of really decent french press coffee instead. It helped. Sort of.

Day 8: "Water" A friend flew in for the weekend and this shot was taken at 11am, at an Irish pub. Clearly, one of us had to properly hydrate in order for the pub crawl binge weekend to be possible. I drink responsibly.

Day 7: "Utensil" Sushi Friday! 

Day 6: The prompt was: "Something that starts with 'c'" I had a really busy schedule and I knew that I wasn't going to have the opportunity to get a cool picture for the rest of the day. So, after the gym I was trying to rationalize the fact that I just wasn't going to have anything to photograph. Then, it hit me- DUH! Creatine starts with a "c"... aye yai yai

Day 5:  "Square" Yea, I know, there is nothing square in the shot- which was really the whole point. I felt very defiant that day and I just didn't feel like following the "rules." So I did my own thing and took a pic of round muffins in a round bowl. Sue me. 

Day 4: "Childhood" I got a surprise package in the mail that was duct taped to shit with the faces of One Direction. I took the picture because as a kid my favorite memory was getting cool things in the mail. I never knew what was going to be in the boxes and that made me happy. 

Day 3: "Orange" This was all sorts of filtered and manipulated to get the photo to come out so damn orange. But, I'm rather proud of it. BTW- that was an Old Fashioned, in case you were wondering. 

Day 2: "Favorite" My friends tell me to keep this to myself, but Steven Hauschka is my FAVORITE player for the Seahawks. I will keep the WHY to myself though. You just won't be able to handle it. 

Day 1: "Me" Almost midnight, brother was in town. We've been sight seeing for days and I totally forgot that I signed up for the photo marathon. So as we were shuffling to the car, I stopped in front of a sculpture in downtown and took this. I chose to filter it through grayscale because as cliche as it may sound, a lot about me tends to lurk in the gray. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Risk vs. Reward. Is it worth it to you?

Slowly dies who becomes a slave of his habits, who repeats every day a journey always equal, who does not change the brand, who dare not wear new colours and not talk to who doesn't know.

Slowly dies who makes his television gurus.

He dies slowly who avoids a passion, who prefers black and white and the points on the "i" in a whirlwind of emotions, redeeming eyes in Ecstasy, smiles between yawns, hearts and feelings of wavering.

Slowly dies who turned the table if unhappy at work, who does not risk the certain for the uncertain to pursue a dream, who does not choose at least once, the escape from sensible advice.

Slowly dies who does not travel, who does not read, listen to music, not who is not funny.

He dies slowly who destroys the pride, who doesn't let help.

Slowly dies who passes the days complaining of bad luck or the incessant rain.

Slowly dies who abandons a project before you begin you, who asks questions on things that ignores or does not respond to things you know.

Avoid death rate, always remembering that to live it takes larger effort to breathe.

A vibrant patience alone does conquer beautiful happiness.

Pablo Neruda

What an incredible thing to read and to believe in. 

I am constantly asked "What do you do (for a living)?" And each time I look at it as encouragement to change, to grow, to experience something new. I love the fact that each time I'm asked this question, I have a different answer. Not because I'm frivolous in my life choices or that I'm unfocused, but because I choose to follow my passions. I choose to have the kind of lifestyle where the day to day is just as exciting as a vacation (meaning unplanned and out of the norm). I don't want to be old and broken and look back and wish I did more. I want to sit there and smile because I did everything I dreamed of doing. 

I believe that NOW is the time to pursue things that make my heart flutter. NOW is the time to go out on a limb and chase those unrealistic dreams. Because, truly- I've learned that it really isn't about the destination, it's the journey. 

My journey so far has been my life's greatest accomplishment. I understand that having a career is important, having a family and a routine is all fine and dandy for most. But for me- I have and will continue to live the kind of lifestyle that makes me hungry for more. There is no turning back for me. And thank God for that. 

I now think in terms of "extended temporariness". My life is broken up into small chunks of time, chapters within chapters. I refuse to shut out opportunities to grow because it doesn't seem sensible. Every new place I go, I learn new things about the kind of woman I want to be. I don't want to be a slave of habits. 

A few days ago I posted a thing on only having so much time left. You can read about it here. And what I'm most proud of is the fact that I've really thrown myself into the wind with it. I've made the choice to soak up as much as I can by DOING as much as I can. This tiny, empty flat is just temporary. The trade school is just temporary. Seattle is just temporary. And that is exciting!

The sun is out- it's time for me to go DO THINGS.

Much love,

Daily Nugget: Sneakers O'Toole is coming in tonight. I am really happy that I get to be a part of my friends' journeys. He's heading to Korea on Sunday and I'm excited that I get to show him around my new home town.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Living Vicariously: Fran's Chocolates

Last week a friend told me about a little chocolate shop that I must check out. Now, I know it sounds weird, but I'm not a huge fan of chocolates. I blame it on my love for bready carbs. If you put a piece of  stale, half eaten, Hawaiian bread next to a decadent chocolate truffle, without a doubt, I'd go for the Hawaiian bread every time. I'm a weirdo like that. =)

But, I'm also open minded... and a foodie. So, given that my friends were insistent on the awesomeness of these chocolates and the rather close proximity of the shop, I gave it a go. And I'm really glad I did.

Fran's Chocolates is located in University Village, a place I've come to really enjoy. Primarily because I'm a sucker for sparkling Christmas lights and boutique shops. It was 8pm and I decided, tonight is the night to try some famous chocolates.
Upon walking into the store that is situated in a well placed corner, I immediately was drawn in by the gorgeous displays of truffles laid out all over the shop. It is simple, modern, yet welcoming, and warm. So far, so good. Then, the most cheerful little lady comes out to greet me. Seriously, she made the experience awesome. She had passion, excitement, and was totally attentive. The smell of a chocolate shop that is laced with coffee seriously makes me happy. Apparently.
As we got to chatting, the girl whose name I can't recall (I'm embarrassed because I'm usually really good with names!) was so genuinely eager to convert me into a chocoholic. She almost succeeded, but I'm stubborn. Haha

I was able to sample about half a dozen of their finest chocolates and even those that were featured on the episode of Unique Sweets: Seattle Sweets.

Sure, you can get a chocolate fanatic to taste test these decadent treats and sure, you'll get the obvious "oooss" and "ahhhs" but when you take someone like me, the reviews are definitely going to be legit.

Here are my findings:

I started off with their signature dark chocolate truffle and their chocolate imperiale. I'm into dark chocolate in the very rare event that I get a craving for it. The darker, the better. These little guys blew my mind. (I didn't think there was much difference between the two, besides the imperiale having cocoa nibs on top.) The dark chocolate ganache center was so soft, it was like biting into a molten lava cake. The smoothness of the chocolate had me speechless. Simple. Decadent. Perfection.

I also sampled their single malt whiskey truffle. Now, I've made dark chocolate Jameson truffles before. And maybe because my primary taste tester is sort of a whiskey aficionado, and I'm used to a higher alcohol content (I've actually gotten a buzz from my truffles) I was sort of let down with this one. There just wasn't enough whiskey in it to impress me. If I wasn't told it was a whiskey truffle, I wouldn't have known the difference. That's a shame.

Then, because I'm a coffee addict- I had to give the dark chocolate espresso truffle a go. And holy hell- Fran's got that one down to the "t". I could smell the espresso before I even put the truffle in my mouth. A wonderful infusion of espresso cream, wrapped in dark chocolate. I could have eaten 30 more.

But, I moved on to the gray and smoked salt caramels. This was featured in the show. The girl (who we will now call "Lucy") claims that Fran came up with the idea to sprinkle salt granules on top, instead of how it is traditionally mixed into the caramel. This allows the pallet to experience an exceptional harmony of the beloved sweet and salty combination in a new way. Sort of a two step process to allow the taste buds to truly register the different flavors.

The caramel was insanely buttery and the salt that slowly melts in your mouth was absolutely delicious. Creamy, smooth, smokey, and utterly fantastic. I did prefer the gray salt (covered in dark) over the smoked (milk chocolate).

Then I was coerced into trying their hazelnut crunch. Milk chocolate doesn't make me happy. But the toasted, caramelized pieces of hazelnut- well that makes me very happy. And you know what? I'm glad I tried it. It wasn't the piece of chocolate I would buy for myself but it was a wonderful thing to taste. If you groove on milk chocolate chock full of nutty goodness- this is the treat for you. I did enjoy the crunchiness of the caramelized hazelnuts. I enjoy the variations in both taste and texture.

And finally, onto the Palermo bar. These weren't in the display case, they come pre packaged in fancy little bars. I was sort of sad because they looked interesting and I really wanted to give it a try. We're talking dried fruits like oranges and apricots, mixed in with almonds and hazelnuts, with a little coconut on a bed of dark chocolate. Seriously- I just wanted a taste. So, "Lucy" grabbed a bar off the table and opened it up for me. AMAZING. She was so confident that I would love it and boy was she right! The texture of the dried fruit, the nuttiness of the toasted hazelnuts and that freshness of coconut- all joined together by their delightful dark chocolate. Seriously, my favorite thing in the whole shop!

"Lucy" wrapped up all the wonderful treats I sampled and decked it out in our city's colors. Go Hawks!!! Needless to say, Fran's did a good job of getting a self proclaimed "non chocolate lover" to change her perspective on the matter. So, if you're on the fence about whether or not to give these truffles a go, I say "HECK YES!" Do it! Plus, they make it easy for you. Click here to find out more. 

Tom and Lindsey, thanks for the head's up. Hope you enjoyed the review enough to come visit!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Seahawks' Super Bowl!

The city was decked out in Blue and Green. The energy, words can't even begin to describe. I was pumped, a nervous wreck, and so ready to experience this game.

Let me just put out a full disclosure. The last time I voluntarily sat down to watch a football game (before this season) was Super Bowl XXXIII Broncos vs Falcons. As it turns out, I had no interest in it. And I've been that way pretty much my whole life.

But, something happened this past fall and I "forced" myself to see what the hype was all about and holy moly- I'm sort of a fanatic now. To the point where I would wake up at 2am (Italy time) just to stream the game. This might not sound like odd behavior for those fans stationed overseas but for me, this was outrageous! 
As the 2013 season developed so did my support for the Seahawks and true interest in the game. It was about 4 or 5 games in that I started to figure it all out. The many rules and point conversion things still confuse me, but surely- I'll get it all down next season.
So here, the morning of the game- I am donning my sweet Miller (#86) jersey and packing up the chocolate peanut butter cupcakes I just made. On my way to a Super Bowl Party. And totally amped about it! "WHO IS THIS GIRL!?!?!" I think to myself as I catch a glimpse of my reflection on the way out the door... *Sigh
Anyway, so I'm not going to be one of those guys who regurgitates a play by play. You watched the game... you saw what I saw. And if you didn't, that's probably because you don't really care. Which is fine too. =)
The main reason why I'm even writing is not only to celebrate the fact that the Hawks dominated one of the greatest football teams ever but to share with you the awesome feeling of "community" I finally feel here in Seattle.
A few weeks back I was complaining about how I just haven't gotten into the groove of things here. Yea, it's taken me a little longer than expected and I was upset about it. I was upset about leaving Italy, I was upset that I wasn't finding my place in Seattle. Bored because school hasn't started, not really looking forward to returning to the work force. Missing my brothers, missing my niece, missing my best friend who is still in Italy, etc.
But all of that has changed this past week. (I still miss my loved ones, obvi,  I'm just not upset anymore.) And it changed because of football? I guess so! For the past six days I wore my Seahawks jerseys and I was utterly shocked at the amount of attention I received. I'm talking like HUNDREDS of high fives throughout the week. It was ridiculous! Everywhere I went, I was getting big smiles, high fives and "Go Hawks!" for DAYS! This was insane to me. And I liked it!

Finally- a sense of community. Something without commitment or pressure yet full on welcoming acceptance if one chooses to participate. Win win. Go Hawks!
And seriously, a big thanks to the sweet ass city of Seattle. Brother was in town for the weekend and all he had to say was how amazing this place is. He really enjoyed the scenery, the pride of keeping the city clean, and mostly the vibe he got. He never once felt uneasy or "threatened" here and he's seriously looking into moving up this way. We've been all over the world and so that is a pretty high compliment if he's willing to pack up his life and move up here just after three days in town. Good job Seattle!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

I like doing hoodrat stuff with my friends

Kidding. I don't even know what that means to be honest. 

So, Brother is in town for the weekend and holy moly cannoli it is awesome! I've purposely put off doing all the touristy things since moving here because I knew that there would be tons of visitors coming to see me as the word got out. Such a good idea too- to not do the main attraction type stuff until out of town-ers arrive.

We kicked off day one in sort of a "Day in the life of..." type schedule. Brother just tagged along to the daily mundane chores I normally would do. He just got to sit back and check out my neighborhood and it was cool. For the first time in this man's life he took a mid day nap. Haha- it's something that I do every single day and he really was thrown off by it. But after our nap, we went out for dinner and a movie and explored the Bellevue night life and it was grand. He quickly realized that I'm a total night owl. And he quickly understood that this was going to be a loooooong weekend and why naps are high priority in my life. =)

Day 2 was the start of our ultra touristy adventure. I'm the kind of person who doesn't mind traveling just to see something neat. So we moseyed around Renton all day. We stumbled upon a great Hawaiian BBQ place and really helped set the mood for our weekend. Island Style! Sure, there was a lot of driving around and not much real activity but Friday was so good. We explored practically every corner of Renton and decided it was a pretty cool place.

All of Seattle was booming on Day 3. We did soooo much today that I honestly can't even remember all the details. There were cupcakes and coffee, good food, good drink, the beach, the sun, the rain, light traffic, heavy traffic, no traffic, dogs that looked like giant wilder beasts, motorcycle brigades, bicycle brigades, and even just straight up people parades. We visited Bruce and Brandon Lee's graves. That was interesting. That was something both he and I have wanted to do for a really long time and it was super cool that we got to experience that together. The night started with a sweet ass 360 degree view of Seattle via the Space Needle experience. I learned that getting put into an elevator with 15 other people and being shot up 184 meters makes me rather uncomfortable. =/ Then we had pretty awesome pizza... in Redmond. We were all over the place today!

And then finally, the big day tomorrow- the whole reason for his visit. SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!!! I'm sure we're not really going to do much besides a little shopping for cupcake ingredients and then just hanging out at a friend's house in Bellevue for the game. But, I'll post on that after our sweet sweet victory.

Hope you're having a grand time. Talk to you tomorrow!


Daily Nugget: Seattle is on fire! The energy is electrifying, the vibe is so lovely, and I'm so happy that Brother is enjoying his time here.