Dec 272013
 

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Happy Festivus! Merry Christmas!

It was a fun one this year! Michael and I woke up Christmas morning and Bella donned her gay apparel and we unwrapped presents! Bella first, of course. She didn’t seem to “get it” but she loved her new rope toy. She immediately ran off to destroy it while we opened our presents.

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It was a leisurely morning. Michael built a fire, we watched A Christmas Story and just chilled out until my parents arrived. They were on their way south–somewhere SUNNY AND WARM (jealous) and they stopped in Portland to take us to brunch before they went on vacation. We went to Gracie’s again this year. We used to go to The Heathman for Christmas brunch and then one year I was too late making a reservation and they were booked so I tried Gracie’s and we loved it much better. That is the new norm now.

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It was such a nice, sunny day out in Portland! We arrived at Gracie’s and had a nice table near the window. I was in desperate need of some coffee. I’ve been so tired lately. Not quite the “run down” tired but more like “I think I’m getting sick and I’m so sleepy” tired. The coffee took the edge off, slightly.

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Gracie’s is in the Hotel deLuxe–a very swanky old-world hotel downtown. It was built in 1912 and was remodeled back to it’s glory. There are old black and white photos from the 20′s–50′s movies all over the hotel. It adds to the 1940′s glamour of it all.

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I’d been craving French toast lately and the first year we went to Gracie’s I had theirs and it was a-mazing!! But when I got there and looked at the menu, I ended up getting something else. I ordered the eggs benedict on top of crab and shrimp cakes. Wow, it was a decadent dish! The hollandaise sauce was surprisingly light tasting and I loved the crab and shrimp cakes. It was cool that they put the poached eggs on that instead of biscuits.

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I think their ketchup was homemade. It was great. Michael got the huevos rancheros. I had a bite; it was pretty spicy. Yum!

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My parents love this restaurant, too, so it’s nice that we can do this. After brunch I asked the front desk if we could see a room. It’s a hotel that I’ve considered booking for our wedding night. The front desk clerk graciously gave us a tour of a few different rooms. The deluxe king suite was super nice! It was huge! With windows on two walls overlooking downtown Portland. There was a humongous walk-in-closet and a huge bathroom. It was a really nice room and I could see us staying there after the wedding. I was glad we got to take a peak.

After that we went back to the house for presents and visiting and then my parents took off for parts unknown in sunny California. Michael and I headed over to his mom’s house for the evening.

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We had lots of munchies there — a cheese and cracker plate, a “everything pickled” plate, a veggie and yogurt dip plate. Plenty of food! Michael’s mom did some kind of beef tenderloin for dinner. It was perfectly prepared. She wrapped it in the cooking twine and then used the Montreal seasoning to crust the outside of the beef.  It was so good. I’d love to try something like that but cooking meat is not my specialty.

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Michael made his mac n’ cheese and it was a big hit, as usual. I had a little but of everything. Honestly, I was still pretty full from brunch!

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(It’s been a lot of eating lately. Like a little too much honestly. I most definitely will not be stepping on the scale until I get back on track. Too many Christmas cookies (delicious ones made by Michael’s sister) and lots of carby-good things.)  It was a really nice holiday with everyone. I was glad we got to see everybody. I wish I’d been able to see my brother. It sucks he lives so far away.

One of the gifts we got from Michael’s mom was a headed mattress pad. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS. I miss having flannel sheets in the winter time but Mr. Scrooge hates them and so we haven’t had flannel sheets. But the electric pad is dual controlled! His and hers temperature settings. Finally, one of the gifts Michael gave me was a Kindle. I’m also excited about this but honestly struggling with it. I’m usually pretty tech-savvy but for some reason it’s hard to figure it out! I KNOW there is a way to check out ebooks from my library for the Kindle but I can’t figure it out. Any tips??

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Nov 112013
 

My bff and maid of honor, Rachel, took the Bolt Bus down to Portland from Seattle on Friday night. I had an appointment after work and then hit the pool before picking her up downtown. It’s been awhile since we’ve hung out! The last time I saw her was back in June when I went up to Seattle for a girl’s weekend. I’ve been so busy all summer long with stuff and wedding planning and she went to Europe for a few weeks, so it felt like we hadn’t talked in years.

We grabbed dinner and a glass of wine at Al-Amir in downtown Portland. It’s a Lebanese restaurant that had really good reviews online but it fell flat for me. The food was fine, it was just rather boring. I’ve never had Middle Eastern food that was bland. All the other Lebanese restaurants I’ve eaten at in town have been bursting with flavor and spices and smelled wonderful. There wasn’t anything wrong with the food we got, it just wasn’t special or memorable. We skee-daddled as soon as we were done with our glasses of wine.

It was Friday night and while back in the day we would have gone out and partied and stuff, we were both tired and looking for something low-key. We went back to my place and Rachel got to meet Bella. Rachel and I ended up having a few more glasses of wine at home while we caught up and chatted and played board games.

Saturday morning the three of us went out to breakfast. I skipped the gym and we went to the J&M Cafe in SE Portland. The thing about Portland restaurants and weekends is that I LOATHE going out for breakfast. I want to go. I love breakfast. I crave something decadent like French toast once in awhile and homemade doesn’t do the trick. But I absolutely hate the Portland culture of standing in line for OVER AN HOUR to get a table for breakfast/brunch. I just don’t understand it. I don’t like it and will not wait in line for that! J&M is pretty good about not having super long lines and I think we got there early enough (by 9am) that we beat the “brunching” crowd.

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I drank a lot of coffee. And I ordered the special: Eggs Benedict on toasted English muffins with a thick slice of ham in between it. The eggs were perfectly poached and I’m pretty darn sure that Hollandaise sauce was made with several sticks of butter…!!! It was so rich. I ate about 90% of the breakfast and then couldn’t finish the rest. It was decadent but I only order something like that a few times a year, so it’s not a big deal. Gotta splurge once in awhile.

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We discussed moving to Mars and then planned a possible “squatchin” outing next summer. Then after breakfast we parted ways with Michael and us girls were off to do girly things! We had the whole day to do stuff so we hit a bunch of different bridal shops all over town–including David’s Bridal, some consignment shops and some really cute boutiques in Beaverton/Tigard. I was on a mission. I wanted to find a birdcage veil, a fascinator or hairclip for the wedding that matches my dress. I knew I could find one. I just had to find the RIGHT one and the right color (not white).

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We drove all over town! In the end, we ended up at the consignment shop where I bought my dress, Richele Kay Bridal, and that’s where I found the one! It was cool that that was where I found it because I really liked that store. They were so friendly and had great customer service. Several of the places I went to had terrible customer service. The fascinator I found matches my dress AND it was on sale! $24! SOLD.

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No, that’s not it. I’m not having a Little House on the Prairie wedding. :) On the way back from Beaverton I took Rachel by the venue. It was all locked up but we were able to look through the windows and she got to see what the place looks like. It was exciting!

Finally it was almost time for Rachel to catch the Bolt Bus back to Seattle. I took her to the Heathman Hotel bar for a snack and a drink and some chit-chatting to kill an hour. The Heathman usually has really good food and top notch service. Not sure why it wasn’t quite top-notch this time, but oh well.

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Rachel got an Irish Coffee and I got a glass of the house Pinot Grigio. We shared an order of the spinach dip. It was pretty tasty but there wasn’t very much food. It was like 1/4 of a normal portion. I get that it’s bar food but…it was slightly disappointing. More for Rachel because she was going to be stuck on the bus during the normal dinner time and that teeny tiny amount of food wasn’t going to cut it.

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Sadly it was time to part ways. The bus was there and we said our goodbyes. It was so good to spend some time with my best girlfriend. I miss living in the same city. We used to spend so much time together! Then she moved to Montana and I moved to Portland…funny how life turns out. Anyways, she was on her way to Seattle and I went to the gym.

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It was actually rather nice going to the gym at such a random time of day. Apparently it’s completely empty on a Saturday at 4:00pm! I got in a weight work out and then my motivation started to fizzle. Maybe because I was tired or it had been a long day but I wasn’t really feeling like running or using the elliptical. I called it quits and headed home to relax.

It was a good whirlwind of experiences and I’m glad I got one more thing on my wedding “to do” list done. I was also really happy to be home Saturday night in my PJs with Bella cuddling on the couch after driving all over the place all day!

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