Final Rewind {Merry New Year}

Okay, so I pseudo-lied in the last post– it’s not quite Christmas yet. Getting closer, though.

Before Christmas, there was an Apocalypse Party. You know, because the world was to end. World ending = party. Obviously.

I wore purple pants:

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Erin wore appropriate tights and an “artifact” necklace (hilarious):

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And there was conveniently a Mayan backdrop for a photo shoot.

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I think Joe is modeling professionally now, if anyone is interested in contacting him. It should also be noted that Abbey provided the very photo-shoot-appropriate Mayan Aztec jacket (and all of these photos- thanks, Abb).

Yeah, so, that happened. The Apocalypse was nonexistent, though, which meant…Christmas. I promised you it was coming! First up, extended family Christmas at the parentals’.

My cousin, Maddie, is the prettiest girl I know! And my brother loves wearing overalls.

My cousin Maddie is the prettiest girl I know!

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Just couldn't put the ham down for a photo.

Just couldn’t put the ham down for a photo.

The next morning I attended a lovely little Birthday Brunch for my friend, Katie. I didn’t take any photos, but Katie posted a recap on her blog, and you should absolutely check it out. I’m serious. CLICK HERE NOW and look at all the pretty pictures. We had fun. There were personalized coasters, there was champagne, there was Tomato Basil Bread Pudding, and there were HEAVENLY scones. And I do mean heavenly. Brunch was lovely, because Katie is lovely. You should read this post by her while you’re at it. (FYI, Katie and I were sort of high school rivals but didn’t specifically know it, then we went to Jewell together and bonded. She also stayed with me for a hot second in Washington this summer).

Moving on! That same night I had another little reunion to attend. IMG_1580

I really have no idea why there was Lysol and/or a broom involved, but it was obviously fun. There was also an in-town bonfire.

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This particular reunion has become tradition and features friends I definitely only see once per year (i.e. Maggie lives in New York..), so it is always a reeeeeal good time. This one was especially spectacular.

Again, this post is getting out of control. The following is a photo-heavy abbreviation of Christmas through the New Year.

Christmas night living room:

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Present opening:

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Bacon calendar = no-brainer gift.

It fiiiinally snowed before I left:

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New Year’s Eve at Table Rock:

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The gentleman…if that’s what they can be called:

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And the ladies (much better looking than the men):

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Party pic that I find hilarious:

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And post-midnight lake plunge:

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Nothing says Happy New Year like a dip in the lake.

I left the homeland a couple days later, but before doing so I bought this shirt (for myself, of course):

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Love!

Five Pound Apparel in downtown Spring-town has a whole slew of Missouri is Awesome tees, by the way. You know you want one, too.

And then I made a dinner of meatloaf, fingerling potatoes, and green beans for the fam and enjoyed it, them, and one a few of these:

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After that, I suppose I was ready to go back to Seattle and back to school. … Let’s be real, that’s definitely a lie. I’m never ready. There’s just no place like home (I know I say that all the time)!

Other unpictured but noteworthy things I did while home included: attending a GHS basketball game; having breakfast at the Brew Co. (you should do that, and soon); getting my Sumits Hot Yoga fix; changing my red wine preference from cabernet sauvignon to pinot noir; being treated to a manicure, a pedicure, and a massage; sitting in a duck blind (okay, it was in a living room, but still); going to Mama Jean’s…like, five times; eating Andy’s; glittering up some champagne glasses with my GF; meeting a pup named Freese; hanging out with the cutest 2-year-old on the planet (again); hanging out with my childhood besties/other family (though as a result of sad circumstance, it made my heart happy); reading The Shack, finishing The Omnivore’s Dilemma (you don’t wanna know how long I’d been reading that); annnndd many other things, I’m sure.

If you’re still with me, you deserve a cookie. 🙂 I’m back in Seattle and back to school, and I really, really have intentions of returning this little space back to a blog…as opposed to keeping up with the novel of a Facebook photo album type thing I’ve got going on now. We’ll see what happens. Stay tuned.

Rewind, Part 2 {Home for the Holidays}

If you missed the first rewind and are interested in a food photo overload, you can click here for more fun (or just scroll down).

As you can imagine, December through the New Year holiday was lovely…because I spent it at home among loved ones! I will warn you, this post is lennnnggthy and photo-heavy. Continue at your own discretion.

I flew into Kansas City, where my college lover picked me up.

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We hadn’t seen each other in a year, so we obviously had a significant amount of catching up to do, which is exactly what we did for several hours (over several drinks) upon my arrival. We also visited with her sister (a former roommate of mine), her nieces, and her mom the next day. And it was SO good to see all of them. And thennnn, things got even more exciting! More people I love showed up!

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Sorry, can’t help myself with the photos! Long story short- I had a great weekend in KC and wish I could’ve stayed longer and seen more people. Other (unpictured) KC things that occurred include: visiting the Plaza (to see the lights, duh), spending the night with a couple pretty cool people and the most adorable 2-year-old on the planet, hanging out in Liberty and giving the boyfriend a solid WJC tour, and seeing my high school BFF whom I hadn’t seen since her wedding 13 months prior. 😦  I was SO happy to see her even if it was for a brief hour on the way out of town.

Then, after a day in Waynesville (boyfriend town), I really went home. To Springtown and to my parents’ house, where I was greeted by this:

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Haha. Love it. And of course I loved on the pups while I was home.

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The big to-do during my first week at home was actually a really big deal…

Post-last-college-class bubbly

Post-last-college-class bubbly

My brother graduated from Missouri State! Yaaaayyy, brother!!!

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Typical

Typical

Also, my brother’s girlfriend/my dear friend, Jessica, graduated.

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So there was a much-deserved little party, and I think everyone had a good time.

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Congrats, again, to the graduates!

With graduation in the bag, we were able to move on to Christmas festivities.

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Yaaayyy, cookies! This post is actually more out of control than I anticipated, so it is To Be Continued…

Stay tuned for Christmas and New Year’s recaps. I know you’re on the edge of your seat- my apologies.

Rewind

Soooo I have some catching up to do. Who wants to know what I did for Thanksgiving?!

I thought about foregoing the whole catch-up sesh and skipping to the here-and-now…but then I realized that the point of this whole blog deal is to document my Washington life. So, back we go to November ’12…

IMG_1363Yes, that was what it looked like a week or so before Thanksgiving. So green! Don’t be confused, though- that brightness was rare.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before or not, but my school has the best cafeteria (Click here to read about it!). So, Thanksgiving at school was delightful.

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That is cashew gravy, and it is amazing. So amazing that I almost made some for my own Thanksgiving. Speaking of my own Thanksgiving(!), my roommate and I hosted it at our house…for ourselves and my friend Ingrid. We had quite the spread for three people.

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I was in charge of the turkey and gravy (for the first time in my life, might I add), and it turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. I think I made my mom proud, anyway. My bigger foodie project though was a salted caramel pecan pie.

Homemade crust!

Homemade crust!

Hot Cakes salted caramel, of course.

Hot Cakes salted caramel, of course.

The finished product! Obviously a million hours later. And obviously beer was in order.

Obviously finished a million hours later. And obviously beer was necessary.

My first time as co-host of a Thanksgiving was a success, I’d say. Amy (my roommate) and I were in the kitchen pretty much all day (Macy’s parade on TV in the living room in the morning though, obvi), and she made us kale chips and crepes to snack on. We had a good time. The evening continued with additional friends, champagne, wine, pie, ice cream, and conversation. And then I think I ate pie for breakfast for a week.

The next day I helped prepare a meal for Teen Feed, which feeds homeless youth of Seattle.

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My friend/classmate, Rebecca, and I are co-leads of a Meal Team that plans for, shops for, and prepares a meal for this non-profit bi-monthly. It really is a good time (and a good thing), and someday I will blog about it exclusively. Really, I will.

They needed pecan pie, too!

They needed pecan pie, too!

I think that night I also attended a live music show at a really interesting place with my friend Andrea. I should’ve taken photos of that. ‘Twas beyond interesting for various reasons. Anyway.

The next night (it’s the Saturday after T-giving now, folks) was spent at this gorgeous house on Mercer Island that my friend Jena (from school) house-sits. It was dark when we got there, so photos were kind of difficult, but Jena, my roommate, and I enjoyed Thai food, wine, and good conversation for many hours.

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Good, good times with good peoples. 🙂

(I’m aware that this post is becoming an out of control play-by-play and food photo overloaded. Bear with me!)

It is also worth mentioning that post-Thanksgiving I made a turkey stock, which turned out great and which I was a little proud of.

Yummas!

Okay, Thanksgiving is over. I promise.

After that, it was a sprint to the end of finals/going home.

I decorated my house for Christmas (even though no one would really be there to enjoy for long). Thanks, Mom, for the old Marshall fam decorations.

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I visited my beloved Hot Cakes for some holiday cheer and to buy an outrageous amount of gifts to take home.

Still the cutest place on the planet, FYI.

Still the cutest place on the planet, FYI

And then! And then! FINALS WERE FINALLY OVER. This means that my first quarter of actual graduate school (last year was science prerequisites) was done with. Big deal, y’all.

Cheers, INDEED.

Cheers, INDEED.

This was also in order.

OMG. So good.

I don’t remember what this was called (Ingrid, help me?!), but it involved Red Velvet, cream, and candied pecans. Yummas!

So, there is the playback of November-December 5, 2012. On December 6, I flew home and enjoyed a glorious few weeks there for the holiday. That playback will hopefully be comin’ at ya sooner than later. 🙂

Pumpkin Party!

On Friday night, my roommates and I hosted a Pumpkin Party at our house.

The hosts: Desiree, myself, Amy.

The idea was for everyone to bring a pumpkin-themed food item to share and to enjoy good food and company. Let’s be real- it’s October, who doesn’t love pumpkin right now?

The party was a HUGE hit! I am so happy we decided to do it. We are all in the middle of midterms, and I think everyone needed a little outside-of-school activity. I have learned over the last year that maintaining balance is one of the absolute most important things that crazy intense Bastyr students can do for themselves. Pumpkin Party = great balance maintenance.

This is merely a FRACTION of the goodies:

There was SO much great stuff. In addition to what’s pictured above, there was Pumpkin Chili, Pumpkin Soup, Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Risotto, Cheesy Pumpkin Pasta, and more. Oh, and more cider, more beer, and more wine.

Amy and I did a rough estimate of the total attendance and it was near 30. Pretty impressive for a last minute/first attempt at hosting a social gathering. May have to start hosting more frequently… Not to be overly-ambitious, or anything.

With bluegrass on in the background (duh) and pumpkin candles burning on every table, the evening was spent standing around, sitting around, chatting, meeting new people, sipping, and tasting. And if I learned one thing about hosting, it was that I MUST START TAKING MORE/BETTER PHOTOS. I think I got over the take-one-million-photos-per-night phase and moved straight to the oops-I-forgot-to-take-pictures phase. So, thank you to Desiree and Jena for sharing these photos.

Ingrid, Rebecca, me, Shauna

Note on the above photo:

Ingrid is a new friend in my program at school. She is from Chicago and just moved here. I decided I wanted to be friends with her during the first week of school (and declared this to Rebecca). She lives not close to me and doesn’t have a vehicle and dealt with all sorts of public transportation issues to get to the Pumpkin Party. I think that means we’re friends.

Rebecca and I are literally always together at school. We were friends last year during our Post-Bacc studies, so it was only natural that we hang out with one another when we started our actual program with brand new people. I think our classmates think we are one person, which is maybe not a good thing, but we have lots of new friends, too- don’t worry. Rebecca almost didn’t make the party due to work, but obviously she could not stay away.

And you may remember Shauna from my bluegrass adventures last Spring. She is not currently taking classes, so I never see her and was happy that she made it! She also lives not close and is vehicle-less and so dealt with transportation issues getting to the party.

Thank you, friends, for coming!!!! And thank you, roommates, for co-hosting! And thanks to every person who made it. A lot of people met a lot of new people, and I think a great time was had by all.

Oh, and thank you, dearest mother of mine, for sending me pumpkin potpourri (for like, the 4th year in a row) from the Fair Grove Heritage Reunion/Craft Festival. ‘Twas perfect.

Annnnnddd, in case you missed it- one of the greatest things about the Pumpkin Party was that it gave me an excuse to wear my favorite orange and black striped tights…for the third year in a row.

Ingrid, Rebecca, me.

Yay, Pumpkin Party!

Happy Halloween to you all!

On Bonfires, The Black Keys, and (Awesome) Black Socks

I had a kind of busy few days last weekend/the beginning of this week. Saturday was Cinco de Mayo, so obviously there was a little fun to be had. That day also happened to be the birthday of a school friend, so that was just more reason for fun. The birthday boy hosted a casual bonfire at his home, complete with Mexican-inspired cuisine. I love being in a nutrition program. Social gatherings are always accompanied by awesome food…which I did not photograph. Oops.

Back to the bonfire.

‘Twas a good time. It was a really nice evening, and there was a variety of people there, so we pretty much just sat around and talked random things. I allowed a naturopathic medicine student to palpate my radial artery (i.e. take my pulse) for a solid minute in an attempt to guess my dominant Dosha, as determined by Ayurveda. … I’m not kidding. And he was spot on. How do I know this? Because my curiosity caused me to research Ayurveda and figure out my dominant Dosha ages ago. Don’t act like you’re surprised.

Also while around the bonfire, we kept our eyes toward the sky to analyze the Supermoon, which I’m still a little confused about. We had a hard time seeing the “super” part. Oh well.

Andrea and myself sitting entirely too close to the blazing bonfire

Backdrop of a bonfire, Washington style

So that was that. Happy Cinco de Birthday was a good time. I’d like to note that Andrea made some phenom(enal) specialty cupcakes, for which she had to reduce raspberries and such, and I made some phenom specialty cookies. Word on the street was that the birthday boy went into a sugar coma the next day due to consumption of leftovers. I call that baking success.

On Sunday I found myself at the Lake City Elk’s Lodge for an event at which I volunteered. It was called Empty Bowls, and it was to benefit North Helpline–a food bank that I have volunteered with on a semi-regular basis since moving here. My friend/classmate, Rebecca, volunteered with me, and we had a pretty okay time.

Basically, a bunch of local artists donate (a ton of!) ceramic bowls, and ticket-purchasing patrons get to pick a bowl that they keep and which they can also use to eat soup that is donated by various local restaurants/cafés. The full lunch included soup, salad, bread, dessert, and beverage. There was also a gigantic silent auction, a wine raffle, a quilt raffle, and live music–local bands, of course.

The photo below was taken pre-event. The centerpieces were basil plants, which were for purchase. Cool! Rebecca and I contemplated buying one. They were huge.

So that was a noteworthy event. A lot of volunteer things we participate in are way smaller and less exciting. I think Empty Bowls is a pretty huge fundraiser for North Helpline, so it was cool to be a part of that. Also, side note on Rebecca friend: I asked a fellow volunteer to take a photo of us (for blogging purposes, obviously), but it turned out horrible. Sad. Rebecca will undoubtedly make a blog appearance soon. She is a solid member of my crew here and fully supports this blogging habit. She even encouraged me to take iPhone photos in biochemistry lab today. Haha. (Hi, Rebecca. :))

Anyway. Moving on. On Tuesday night, I practiced a little irresponsibility again and attended The Black Keys! With Arctic Monkeys! In Seattle! It was a really good show. Andrea and I decided to go kinda last minute and purchased tickets last week. She is a longtime fan of The Black Keys, and I hinted to her that we should go because I heard they put on an amazing show. Our seats were far away, but the show did not disappoint.

The Black Keys

The Black Keys

I’d say The Black Keys were all they’re cracked up to be. I’m hooked for sure. Also, Arctic Monkeys were awesome. I was familiar with them, but that’s about it. Andrea had no prior knowledge, but we both concluded that they were really impressive. Definitely fun to watch, too.

So that was my busy few days. The day after the concert was marked by an 8:00 am quiz, followed by a three-hour-long Whole Foods Production cooking lab, and then a biochemistry lecture from 3-5:00 pm. Andrea fell asleep during biochem lecture. Haha. Sorry, Andrea- it was sort of hilarious. While I did not fall asleep during biochem, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t majorly struggling. I also realized during biochem that I had forgotten socks for my planned post-biochem workout. Good one. Be proud of me, though: Instead of bailing on my workout (like I really, reeeealllyy wanted to), I decided to just rock my tall socks.

Be jealous of my awesomeness.

Easter, Seattle style.

Don’t worry, I promise I’ll catch you up on Part II of my Spring Break adventures, but for now there are more timely things to discuss, like…

Happy Easter from Seattle!

Seattle, 7 April 2012. Photo source West Seattle Blog

Seriously, this is what it looked like here yesterday. It’s been a gorgeous weekend, like near 60 degrees and sunny, and that is not to be taken for granted. I was in the city and near the water yesterday and could not believe the beauty of the landscape. Who wants to visit me now?

Back to Easter. It’s been a solid Holy Week here in Washington. I’ll spare you the extra boring details, but I do have a couple photos and a brief recap to share. I attended Holy Thursday services and the Easter Vigil (on Saturday night) at St. Brendan, where I regularly attend. Both were LONG, but also lovely and worth the length.

Priest awaiting the delivery of gifts by the 18 newly baptized

Please note: I promise these photos were not inappropriately taken. The entire Vigil was marked by camera flashes, and by the time I discreetly snapped these it was nearly midnight, so anything was acceptable. I really like this church and the presiding priest. The sanctuary is circular with the altar in the middle, so that’s kind of strange, but I’m getting used to it. There’s also a huge baptismal font just to the side of the altar, which is a nice little element that is uncharacteristic of previous churches I’ve attended.

Between Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday at St. Brendan, there was Good Friday…at the Bastyr University Chapel.

If interested, you can read about the chapel here. Basically, what there is to know is that my school used to be a seminary, which is quite evident (and awesome) inside and out. The chapel was deconsecrated by the Catholic Church, so it’s pretty much open for whatever these days, but I found out that the Church of the North American Martyrs was having all sorts of Holy Week celebrations there, so I decided to attend the Good Friday ones (also LONG).

In case anyone’s curious, the Church of the North American Martyrs does not mess around. This was traditional to an extent that I have only ever imagined. I’d say 90% of women and girls were veiled, and the celebration was said almost entirely in Latin. Neat experience and beautiful celebration.

I found it absolutely necessary to take photos because of the presence of the crucifix. I’ve been in the chapel numerous times and find it breathtaking every time; however, I’m always reminded that it’s a deconsecrated space when I see a huge, empty altar area. Following the veneration of the cross on Good Friday, the look was complete.

…And now I’m sorry for sharing way too many boring details after declaring I wouldn’t.

Blessings to you all on this Easter Sunday! Hope it’s truly reviving. 🙂

Spring Break Staycation – Part I

My two week long Spring Break came and went, and I spent the entirety of it in Seattle. This was not exactly ideal, but it did have its shining moments. My school follows a quarter system (as opposed to a semester system), so that means I had a solid two (2!) weeks of nothingness between the end of Winter Quarter and the beginning of Spring Quarter. Of course the first thing I felt inclined to do with my freedom from nutrition school was this:

(iPhone photo taken with zero intention of being published)

Peanut Butter S’mores Brownies. I adapted the recipe slightly from the one I found here. Despite the adaptations, I still cringed a tad at my use of a couple processed ingredients (nutrition student FAIL), but this was worth it. So delicious.

The most notable thing that occurred over my break, however, was this guy coming to visit:

St. Patrick’s Day photo captured by a guy proclaiming to be Ansel Adams

He was here on St. Patrick’s Day, so obviously we went to a bar to enjoy a green beer, because that is the Irish American thing to do. The above photo is in black and white because I was served a green beer that had more green than beer, which turned our teeth a nice shade of gross green. Though this may sound festive, I can assure you that green tinted teeth are attractive on no one, no matter the holiday. I refused to let either of us drink said beer and politely asked the bartender for a new one. He replaced my one nasty beer with two drinkable-by-Kristen-standards beers, so further crisis was averted.

The rest of the time we traipsed around the Seattle area doing a combination of local and tourist things. There was a lot of eating and a lot of beer sampling.

We had homemade pizza night…

We tried a lot of (mostly Pacific Northwest) beers…

We visited a brewery (or 3)…

and caught a glimpse of the Puget Sound from the balcony of the brewery.

I’m pretty sure Washington state is the brew capital of the world.

Among the other touristy things we did was a Space Needle visit. We went to the top, where we stuffed ourselves with a delicious brunch at the rotating SkyCity Restaurant, and then braved the cold/wind/rain to go out and see Seattle from above.

The weather was pretty terrible (i.e. typical Seattle) the whole time, but overall I’d say we enjoyed ourselves and made the most of it. It was definitely nice for me to have someone from home here to show around. Sometimes I feel like I live in a foreign country, so it was fun to see that feeling understood (and agreed with) by someone from the homeland.

Post-brunch at the top of the Space Needle

Spring Break Staycation – Part I: success.