Filed under: Personal
I made it through the marathon work weeks, twelve of the last thirteen days (I was able to sneak in a day on Tuesday but in some ways it was harder to go back). Knowing it was going to be a long haul we made sure to sneak in lots of great moments to make it easier. It was indeed great times, but still I am looking forward to having a regular work week again.
Matcha green tea. I’ve been perfecting my technique and I’m finally ready to share it with you. Look for the full scoop next week. This is THE best way to start your day, promise.
Osetra caviar crackers. A total splurge, but so worth it in the midst of a long week. Another trip to the Seattle Caviar Company is in order but probably not for this guy again…unless I can make up a special occasion to justify it. (*wink)
Autumn walk with the Westies. Brother was up for a visit so he and mom tagged along for Westie sitting in the park. I love the Autumn-ness here.
Ok, maybe I phoned it in a bit this week, but for some reason it was hard to focus on any one thing and I’m not really sure why that was. Well actually, there was some weirdness with my car getting broken into and that pretty much knocked me off center, but even before that I was still in tunnel vision mode. Do you ever have that sensation? Thankfully I was able to pull it together by the close of my week (with lots of help from Andrew and mom) and now I can celebrate my weekend! Tomorrow is a night out with friends and we’ll be at Sitka (of course) and then we’re going to try the new rum bar that opened here on The Hill. I’m excited! What shall I wear?
Hoping your weekend is filled with fun and sexy plans too. Here are some of my faves from the week. Kiss!
Westie walking in Volunteer Park. My favorite part of the week was Westie-sitting Chase and Chloe. And it didn’t hurt that it was warm enough for shorts on Monday.
Autumn flowers at home. It’s nice to have pieces of autumn inside too. I have no idea what each of these actually are, but I like ‘em.
Sardines and sparkling at Sitka & Spruce. I’ve become quite good at lunching before work.
Filed under: Personal
I had a long weekend at the restaurant but I often think of this awesome quote from Conan O’Brien and it helps. After all, he got screwed not so long ago and managed to wrangle plenty of amazingness. While thoughts of karma aren’t always enough to ease me through terrible situations with people of unmentionable names, I like this and I think I believe it.
[Print available here.]
My guy’s birthday was on Tuesday so I had a lot of fun planning a relaxing day and quiet dinner at home. The big surprise was a trip to New Mexico in the fall, so of course I had to theme it out with a gourmet taco night at home. We had so much fun, and since the weather has been really hot (by our standards) we enjoyed laying low and staying cool with ice cream sandwiches and iced tea.
Hope you’re staying cool wherever you are. Kiss!
Birthday supplies. (Sombreros not pictured.) I’ve always liked decorating for lazy at home birthdays. When I was a kid my brother and I would decorate the bathroom knowing that mom would be up early to get ready for work. Seriously. It was great!
With more poms, of course.
And lots of goodies. Homemade escabeche is so easy! Equal parts vinegar to water, small spoon of honey, sliced onion, jalapeno, carrots. Bring to a boil. Set aside to cool.
I’m back from the most perfect summer holiday. My first time in the “middle” I fell in love with everything about the countrysides of the Michigan. It was an Americana getaway to a place with stronger history than we have here in the West; everything from the historic Victorian homes with gorgeous porches (similar ones we’re tearing down in place of cheap condos here in Seattle), to the epic late night thunderstorm, the nightly symphony from the crickets, and friendly greetings from the Amish riding past in their horse and carriage. I hadn’t had such true feelings of summer since my last stint at summer camp in the Rocky Mountains when I was 8. It had been far too long.
More than anything I’m so excited that I have my guy’s lovely family there waiting for our return next year. The anticipation is already here. Here’s hoping you’ve got the chance to reconnect with the summer’s of your youth. Kiss!
Dirt roads lined with farms and perfectly weathered barns.
Evening walks by the Hersey river.
After dinner bike rides dodging grasshoppers and butterflies.
A roadside Amish stand. Honor system, of course.
Workin’ the clothes line.
Hangman in the sand at Ludington beach on Lake Michigan.
Summer was in full swing until this morning with our thunderstorms, but still it’s been hot and muggy by our standards. Even if the sun’s hidden by the haze I’m so just happy that I get to wear summer dresses and shorts (of appropriate length, ahem). Another great week flew by with goodies from the farmer’s market, evening walks, and sour cherry pie making. Yeah, it wasn’t hot enough to not make pies, thank god. Hope you’ve got some sexy weekend plans.
Happy weekend to you. Kiss!
Snacking on sardine sammies. I have been craving these like none other (with purslane!). I know sardines get a bum rap, but it’s pretty much the same as eating tuna BUT it’s much more sustainable, has more omega-3′s, and fewer toxins since it’s lower on the food chain. My favorite brand is the Spanish brand Matiz Gallego.
Babysitting Chase & Chloe. I had the pleasure of visiting these two every day for dinner and a long walk through Volunteer Park. Westies love the sun so we all got a little sun-kissed.
Late night date nights. I love going for evening walks, which is probably the hardest part about working nights at the restaurant in the summertime. This week though, we got to bop around for bubbly, snacks, and dinner AT the movies. We went to see Top Secret at Central Cinema. It’s such a great spot. The vintage trailers were my fave.
I’m feeling much, much better. I don’t hate the world anymore. I had a weird week at work, and honestly sometimes dealing with people can be so hard. Really…just so incredibly hard. (Hence the Voo Doo Tea post yesterday.) I realize that I internalize the disappointing interactions I have with people and eventually it gets to be too much, but more than anything I simply can’t believe how unhappy and ugly people can be. It just got to be too much for me and I couldn’t shake it.
I get to meet some really wonderful people everyday so I’m hoping that in time I can be better at remembering those interactions. Until that day comes I have my own little regimen of therapies to help me deal when things sometimes get to be too heavy and draining, and I hope the next time you’re feeling a bit beat up you can take solace in these ideas and take the time to care for yourself. In the meantime, have a killer weekend filled with happy interactions.
Eating my feelings. Sounds cliché but the first thing I do when I feel blah is to eat. This isn’t eating for the sake of eating though, at this point it’s more about feeding your body and soul. As much as I am compelled to gorge on pasta I first go for something light and clean. I say save the carbs for dinner…helps you sleep better too!
I decided to go with the GORGEOUS King Salmon lox from Sitka & Spruce for lunch. (For dinner my guy took me to Delancey for pizza!)
Shopping my feelings. I felt much better after lunch but still needed a pick-me-up so I headed down to Nordstrom and somehow scored this Alexander Wang tee on super-sale. Hell. Yeah.
(A word of warning: DO NOT attempt jeans shopping when you’re feeling fragile. Stick to flowy tops and dresses, and shoes.)
Chocolate coating my feelings. A no-brainer. The perfect accompaniment to all the tea I have been drinking. (Gorgeous packaging isn’t it.)
A lot of my life is centered around my Thai-ness: Thai restaurant, Thai food, crazy Thai Dad. But there’s a whole other half to me [ha!] that’s pretty much the polar opposite of my Thai-ness and that would be my British-ness: British Breakfast tea, British bath time, brutally-honest-yet-somehow-polite British Mom. You can see why I’m a tad neurotic, no?
So for today, in celebration of my other half and Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee I shall be having a proper cuppa tea.
I suppose I should start by saying that I have never been into weddings, never really wanted my own, and have only ever been to one or two that have been truly special and representative of the couple that was being celebrated. (Hey, I have a low cheesiness threshold.) But it was, however, a completely different story when my brother and Mari asked me to plan their wedding back in February. They were in the midst of moving down to San Francisco, and gave me free reign to do whatever I wanted! So yes, the best wedding I ever attended was the one I planned for my brother.
The only criteria we decided on was that it be small, meaningful, and very us…which essentially meant good food and hospitality for our friends and family. I was lucky enough to be able to use our restaurant as the venue for the reception, and the talents of our chef for the menu planning. Outside of that it was all about transforming the restaurant into a magical evening.
Here’s the story of how, with some great help, I planned a wedding reception for 75 of the couple’s closest friends and family IN JUST 2 MONTHS:
Poms and streamers
The first thing we did was settle on colors and decorations. Since many of our friends (and us) come often to the restaurant I wanted to be sure they felt like they were walking into a party and not the dining room they were all so familiar with. The best way to achieve the biggest transformation was to create a series of tissue paper poms to be suspended from the ceiling. There are tons of shops on Etsy that sell them, but we settled on a peacock scheme and ordered 5 different colors of tissue paper so we could make our own. With an assembly line of people to fold and fluff it was not a bad undertaking. The hardest part was rigging a system with our high, open ceilings, but that’s what my guy was for. 270-ish poms later the ceiling was filled and the doorways were lined. I also created a cozy space in the bar with a crepe paper and tinsel curtain. The goal was to stay away from prom decor, and I admit there were times I was a bit nervous about this, but in the end I assure you the poms were anything but cheesy prom. They really are beautiful.
The dining room just before guests arrived
As a takeaway for the guests I ordered custom M&M’s and filled large candy tubes. The other finishing touches were huge white 36-inch balloons, large white tablecloths, and lots of candlelight from basic tea light holders.
I also rearranged the dining room and bought some small tables to create a more casual lounge seating area with the booths. So with some tall tables for standing and mingling there were also basic table settings and the cocktail tables to break-up the room, making it easy for people to mingle.
Mari just before the ceremony and her bouquet I threw together.
I was probably most apprehensive about doing the flowers. I’ve practiced arrangements here and there at home, but nothing like creating a cohesive set. My strategy here was to buy as many of the most beautiful flowers I could find, so all I really had to do was place them together. We used mason jars as vases which is a sweet, inexpensive, and on-trend option. Also great because now I have lots of jars for canning this summer.
Our flower cart and bouquets
I was actually getting nervous because my guy and I had this unbelievable collection of flowers and there were some other (legit) wedding planners that were eyeing our stash. I couldn’t really blame them though, we killed it with the shopping!
Of course the thing I was most excited about was planning the menu. I’m not afraid to say that I am an appetizer aficionado, seriously. So I set out to create a menu with a series of smaller bites that was substantial enough to serve as a full meal. My favorite part of any wedding are the appetizers as dinner is always short on execution. Here we had all of our favorite Thai dishes in smaller sizes.
After the menu was settled it was all about the flatware. I found Crate & Barrel to be the best spot for basic pieces. The key here was to plan: lots of post-its, lists, plating and arrangement testing, and multiple trips to the store.
Here are some of my favorite dishes from the reception:
Noodles with crab and wontons in mini to-go boxes (duck pastry above)
Ba Mee Hang is an egg noodle dish that we served with crab and hand rolled won tons. It’s always hard to decide how to serve noodles so instead of trying to make a giant bowl look appetizing (and easy to serve) I decided to pre-serve them in mini Chinese take-away boxes with small chopsticks. The presentation was perfect, and so easy to grab and eat while mingling.
Tom Kah shots with grilled prawns
Tom Kah soup is a popular Thai soup with lemongrass and coconut, which is another dish that can be difficult to serve to large groups, so instead of a heated tray I thought a small shot with a grilled prawn would be much better. These were a hit!
Thai Iced Tea we bottled
A wine and Thai Iced Tea station was set up for people to serve themselves in the bar. We also had mini bottles of champagne on ice with striped straws which eliminated the need for a ton of champagne glasses.
Here’s a quick glance at the table with lots of familiar and more traditional Thai bites. The other end had some larger dishes (a curry station, pork belly salad, rice, etc).
After the party had come and gone I came to realize the DIY aspect is what made the wedding for everyone, and really, there’s no need for over-the-top extravagances that can’t be afforded. For us, it was about planning the best party we could to celebrate with the closest of friends. So, restaurant resources aside, I hope you feel inspired to plan, decorate, flower, eat, and drink your way through your big celebration!
More fun party and entertaining help from my Lucky Valentine party.