family wedding

Two Date Nights

Michael and I lucked out and got TWO date nights this weekend!! The first was Friday night. Daycare had a “parents night out” and they were open until 10pm. We took advantage of that and got dressed up (sort of) and went to Chart House for dinner.

A coworker has been talking about how this is their date night spot because happy hour lasts until 7pm. So we decided to take advantage of that. We got there and it was valet parking only (free) and the bar is downstairs of the restaurant. It’s perched on a hill in SW Portland with amazing views!

The picture above was the view from our table, right by the window. It was a nice view of the river and downtown Portland. We could also see Mount St. Helens and Mt. Hood in the distance.

We got drinks–I got a white wine and Michael got a beer.

We got the calamari with kim chee (and it had deep fried veggies in there, too). It was really good and flavorful! And who doesn’t like deep fried veggies?

We shared the mahi mahi fish tacos. They were pretty good but needed some spice or something. They were a little on the bland side.

We shared the lettuce wraps. It was chicken with cucumber and carrots and a soy sauce glaze. I thought they were pretty good. Very messy to eat!

Lastly, we got the prime rib sliders (they had cheese and caramelized onions in it). Michael wasn’t a fan of the sliders but I thought they were really good! I loved the caramelized onion flavors and gooey cheese (and let’s be honest, the bread!!!)

We split a piece of cheesecake for dessert. It had caramel, crushed macadamia nuts and a little bit of Heath Bar crumbles. It was REALLY good but very, very decadent. Thank goodness we split it!

It was a really nice experience. We hadn’t really been on a real date night and been to a nice restaurant since February when we went out to sushi. 😀 It was definitely time for us! And it was perfect timing because this week was our 9 year anniversary. Hard to believe 9 years ago we had our first official date. <3

Then Saturday it was time for date night #2: my cousin’s wedding. My parents drove down from Seattle and got to spend some time with Logan and then we left Logan with Michael’s mom and drove to Ridgefield for the wedding.

It was at Bethany Vineyards. I’ve never been there before but it was a really beautiful wedding venue! It was off the freeway in Washington near Vancouver, amongst countryside and farms and lots of trees. I guess there was a brewpub nearby, too.

Her flowers were gorgeous!

The wedding was outside. It was a sunny, bright day, but unfortunately it was also 100 degrees (not exaggerating!). Here are a few photos of the venue:

It was too bad they didn’t have some kind of tents set up for the tables because we were in direct sunshine, no shade, and it was very very very hot! Thankfully they had tons of ice water.

The ceremony was kind of off to the side near the vineyards and there was a bit of shade over there, so that was nice.

And we got to spend some time with another cousin and her husband, whom we don’t get to see very often but it was a really fun night hanging out and catching up.

Since it was at the vineyard, they had plenty of the wine for drinks or tastes. I tried the Pinot and it was really good so I ended up buying a bottle. 🙂 My other cousin and her husband and I snuck into the tasting room for about 15 minutes after the ceremony because it was air conditioned and SO NICE in there (LOL) so we did a small taste and their Cuvee was excellent!

almost bought that bottle, too, but decided to be an adult and just buy one.

The signature drink for the wedding was a white wine spritzer, which I had never had before but it was quite lovely! It was the Bethany Vineyard Riesling with tonic water and fruit. In 100 degree weather it was very easy to drink those!

Very refreshing! I drank a ton of water and tried to stay hydrated as much as possible.

My cousin looked gorgeous in her dress and guess what? Her aunt HANDMADE the entire thing for her! It was absolutely stunning! And what a cool heirloom to pass down to your daughter or granddaughter someday. The ceremony was lovely and the food was really excellent! It was heavy Hors d’oeuvres –fruit and veggies, pasta salad, green salad, meatballs and these really yummy cold sandwiches. It was actually the perfect food for a hot, outdoor wedding.

There were these little chicken salad sandwiches on croissant rolls that were to die for! So good! Then it was the speeches and cake cutting and they had cute cupcakes, too:

I had one of the cupcakes. They were really good. By then I was pretty stuffed. So the homemade macarons that my cousin made as favors came home for later…

I’d like to say it was starting to cool off by then, but it was still nearly 100 degrees when we left at 6:30. We had to get home for Logan. It was a really nice wedding and it was nice that it was an afternoon wedding. I remember when Michael and I were planning our wedding we considered a Sunday brunch wedding (we loved the idea!), a vineyard wedding, or an afternoon wedding. I’m very happy with what we did but it’s still fun to experience other weddings and think about what it would have been like if we’d done that.

Hot as Hades

I seem to only go to Texas for weddings. What’s up with that? As a Pacific NW girl, I’d never been to the Lone Star State and in the last 10 months I’ve been there three times. Not that I’m complaining by any means–I was happy to celebrate my cousin’s wedding and this time I was happy to be included in Michael’s sister’s wedding. We flew down to Dallas the day before the festivities were supposed to take place.

We arrived in Dallas and stayed with Michael’s family for a few days leading up to the wedding. Michael’s stepmom made her cheesy grits that I love so much and I ate that for days. It’s so good! I have the recipe and want to make it at home—will share soon. Below is breakfast on a small salad plate with one slice of bacon and tons of fruit salad.

Friday morning I planned on getting up early to workout but somehow slept through my phone alarm. It turned out to not be an issue, though, and clearly my body needed sleep. Michael’s stepmom dropped me off at the local YMCA. The plan was to use the elliptical for 30 minutes, then hit the pool. Of course by the time I was ready to swim, the one open lap lane was packed.  So I stuck with the elliptical and then finished with weights and kettlebell exercises. It was a good workout and I was happy I could fit it in before the chaos of WEDDING stuff!

Gym Stats:
Time: 1:24
Calories Burned:  651

The “wedding stuff” was a lot of “hurry up and wait.” But Michael and I were just kind of along for the ride, so it wasn’t a big deal. And it kind of forced me to relax on vacation and I rarely do that. Friday evening was the rehearsal at the church and then the rehearsal dinner.

The dinner was at a downtown Dallas restaurant called St. Martin’s Bistro. It was a  beautiful, romantic restaurant. The menu was fixed. They brought out some piping hot bread for us to munch on while everyone arrived. The small ballroom in the back had about 8 round tables set up for the guests.

The first course – It was a bowl of champagne brie soup. Sounds odd, right? It wasn’t. It was probably the best soup I’ve ever had in my life. It was creamy and I was sad when it was gone.

The second course – I chose the Roasted Beef Tenderloin Au Poivre with mashed potatoes and veggies instead of the fish or chicken (why would I go to Texas and eat fish?!). The meat was tender and soft, the mashed potatoes were creamy.

Dessert – We could choose either the Godiva white chocolate cheesecake or the Chocolate Terrine (flourless chocolate cake). I ordered the cheesecake and Michael got the chocolate and we shared. Smart move!

The rehearsal dinner was by far the best meal we had in Dallas. The favorite of the meal was the soup that I got. Michael got the Caesar salad, which was good, but he wished he’d gotten the soup!

For the first two days, I had a splitting headache in Dallas. I think it was the heat. I tried to drink a ton of water, more than usual, but I still ached.

Saturday – Wedding Day!

The day of the wedding. Everyone was out getting ready, Michael went golfing with his dad, and I slept in and then went for a run.  I had a pre-workout snack of a whole wheat English muffin and some fruit salad, filled my water bottle up and then headed out. It was 10 a.m. and 85 degrees. It felt hotter, though.

I set out on the neighborhood streets, running fairly slowly because I wasn’t quite used to the heat yet. I also hadn’t run outside since last Fall! Treadmill running is not quite the same. But my legs got their act together and I enjoyed my run. I got a bit faster, felt strong and confident in my body’s abilities.

Nice scenery to run by, huh? I tried to stay on the streets that had trees for shade. The heat was tolerable in the shade, but as soon as I was in the full sun, the burning heat beat down on my body and made me feel lethargic. The sound of the June Bugs in the trees were deafening.

I ran 2.75 miles and was out of water, so I headed back to the house for a re-load on water and sunscreen. I went back out and ran another mile or so before calling it quits.

Run Stats: 3.93 miles
Time: 52 minutes
Calories Burned: 537

I was so hot! My face was bright red. I just wanted to cool off, so I got in their pool and cooled off. I just swam for about a half hour until I felt cool and comfortable and then cleaned up and got dressed for the wedding.

We got to the church early. It was the church that Michael’s grandfather was the priest at and it was a beautiful location. Poor Michael was wearing a wool suit! It was 100 degrees in Dallas that day.

They did a bunch of photos before, and then the wedding began. It was a lovely, and short, service and everything went beautifully.

The reception was held at The Warwick Melrose hotel downtown. It was an old-world type of hotel. Our room was beautiful! The bathroom itself was to-die for.

The reception was held in their ballroom. It was a huge room with gorgeous decorations, pillars and breathtaking chandeliers. There was a long table for the wedding party and a stage with a dance floor.

Look at that cake!! It was gorgeous! And the groom’s cake was great, too.  The reception dinner was a smooth-oiled machine. The first course came out nearly immediately. It was a spinach salad with blue cheese, strawberries and candied walnuts. The waiters spooned the salad dressing for all of the guests (fancy!).

The salad was fantastic (and probably the last salad I ate in Texas LOL). The main course came out and it was chicken breast with mashed potatoes and asparagus. The entrée was really good too. The mashed potatoes were creamy and flavorful, the asparagus crisp.

The usual wedding stuff went on – speeches, dancing, cake cutting, etc. The cake was a white cake with coconut (a tad dry but tasty) and the groom’s cake was AMAZING chocolate—moist and fantastic. Luckily, all of the serving sizes for both fancy meals were fairly small so I never felt like I ate too much.

It was a beautiful wedding. The bride was glowing, the groom was happy, everything was beautiful!

And Michael and I danced many songs, which was fun because he’s not really a dancer. We had a blast!

QUESTION: What is the fanciest wedding you’ve ever been to?