Jun 162014
 

I wouldn’t say last week was a great one. Lots of stress and by Friday I was just cranky and in a poor mood. I went swimming and had plans to go to a friend’s party and almost bailed I was in such a bad mood. I’m so glad I didn’t! It was a blast and something very out of the norm that was a lot of fun. My friend Debby was have a “divorce party” and instead of burning her ex in effigy :) we had a craft part at K. Marie’s in downtown Milwaukie. It was an arts and crafts store that held workshops and parties.

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There was champagne, artichoke dip with crackers and veggies, chocolate, cheese, punch and cupcakes! Look at these things:

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There were a bunch of us there, maybe 15 (and several were awesome coworkers), and we enjoyed our glasses of champagne while the shop owner started to describe what we were going to make. I used to be pretty crafty but haven’t done much in a long time. I missed making something out of nothing! It was so much fun and it was easy with just a few instructions and guidance.

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The final product was a fancy shoe made out of paper on a gift box! I was pretty happy with mine. Some of the other ladies there were super creative and did wild things with their supplies. It’s cool seeing people’s creative side. I had one cupcake because it looked just too damn good to pass up:

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On Saturday I slept in a little bit and then went to the gym. It was one of those workouts where everything felt good, which was nice. I did a bunch of squats with the 30 pound bar and also did pushups, ab work, some glute exercises and the chest press. I finished up with the elliptical because my IT bands were a little sore from a recent massage. I just didn’t want to push it with a run yet.

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When I got home from the gym I spent an hour in the yard pulling weeds and tackling the MONSTER blackberry bushes we have. I feel like I spent my entire life in the yard pulling weeds. And then next weekend they are back. It never ends! But I got a ton of stuff done and managed to chop down more than half of the blackberry bush:


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There’s still a ton left to do but I’ve found that doing more than an hour of yard work in one day is a recipe for back ache. I’m always surprised at how much work gardening is and if you have any doubts, check out how many calories I burned doing one hour of work:

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Nearly 400 calories! Holy cow! That is so crazy. I probably didn’t need to go to the gym. I could have just worked in the yard. ;) After all that it was time to meet my cousin Anna and her friend Shawna for happy hour at East Burn. The restaurant/bar had a big screen TV up showing the World Cup (which I had no interest in but everyone else did!) and we shared two happy hour items–the giant pretzel with cheese sauce and the goat cheese and kale dip with fresh foccacia bread.

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The goat cheese and kale dip was tasty but the kale needed to be chopped smaller and the consistency was a little on the runny side. It wasn’t like your typical spinach and artichoke dip, thick and gooey, like I was expecting. The foccaccia bread was fresh, warm, airy and buttery. Our “dinner” was just the right amount of food, with of course a tasty adult beverage–

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A Moscow Mule! Light and refreshing! After that Shawna took off and Anna and I went to the Memorial Coliseum for the Rose City Rollers championship. For years I’ve wanted to go check out the roller derby tournaments and for some reason never made it. It sounded like so much fun! I had no idea what to expect and had never seen it before. The place was pretty packed but not uncomfortably so and we got some decent seats towards the front.

There were two different matches– the first was the Guns-n-Rollers versus the High Rollers. The second bout was the Heartless Heathers versus Break Neck Betties. The names of the team members were fantastic! I think some of my favorites were Jala Pain Yo, Scratcher In The Eye, and Minstrel Psycho. HAHA!

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I posted some short videos on my Instagram that are pretty good. The bouts were absolutely fascinating. Since it was my first time I really didn’t know what the rules were but the announcers explained a bit during the competition and there was a handy guide on the game and rules in the booklet. It was pretty easy to follow. Basically the girl with the large star on her helmet was the one that was trying to get through the pack from the back and then skate around the track. The other team’s goal was to block her (or knock her down) from passing them and scoring points. Both teams had the leader with the star on their helmets and it switched out periodically.

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During half time they had some really hilarious competitions! Like the picture above, and then also some little kids on roller skates playing capture the flag, then there was a group of guys with balloons tied to their ankles and they had to stomp on the other’s balloon to pop it and win. The second set of derby girls was much more exciting than the first (I think it was the Break Neck Betties and Heartless Heathers). They were SUPER aggressive, fast and more violent than the first group of girls. It was so much fun!

Overall it was a much nicer weekend than my week had been and I got to try a bunch of new things! A quick update on Michael: he’s feeling a little better and moving around easier but by no means healed. I think it will be awhile. :(

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May 192014
 

My fairly easy going Saturday turned out to be really busy! I got up a little early for the gym and got in a great workout. I hit the weights pretty hard–I feel like I’ve been slacking in that department lately what with traveling and training for the 5k. The scales have tipped towards cardio and while I’m still getting strength training in, it’s definitely not enough or as much as I did over the winter.

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I met up with my friend Erika for lunch at Laughing Planet (I got a beef and black bean bowl) and we hung out there for a few hours chatting and catching up. I ran a few errands, went home and worked in the yard for about an hour talking to Michael about the rehearsal dinner planning and then we decided, why not go out and try one of the places we were thinking about?

We went to Firehouse Restaurant over in NE Portland. It’s a restaurant I’ve heard a lot about for several years and had wanted to check it out but never really make it to that side of town much. If we go out for dinner in NE Portland it’s usually somewhere on Alberta. Im glad we decided to check out this place. It was such a charming space, built in an old firehouse, and is the front runner for the rehearsal dinner.

The building it a two story brick building with a glass garage door that opens up and makes it an open air restaurant. The interior walls were brick and they had charming old black and white photographs of what the building looked like before and the firemen who worked there. There was a humongous brick pizza oven in the corner and while the place looked small and crowded, there was actually a lot of seating available. There was the main area then a back room as well.

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Before dinner we checked out the space for large parties upstairs. You walk up an old, narrow staircase to the second floor and the area was large. There was a lounge area with a few couches, a bar, and a bathroom. Then there was the main dining room that could fit a lot of people standing for a cocktail hour or about 34 people seated. There were three large tables that fit 12 at two and 10 at one. It would be family style dining.

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The space was really cool and large enough for our rehearsal dinner. I totally fell in love with the space. It was very unique and “Portland.” It wasn’t just another banquet room in a restaurant. The exposed brick walls and windows overlooking the yard decorated with Christmas lights was very romantic.

Now, time to test the food. I had a taste of their wine selection and ended up picking the Montepulciano red wine that was really tasty. The Primitivo was way too sweet for me.  

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They had a three course meal option for not very much money. For $29 I could pick an appetizer, salad and entree. I went with that option and Michael did the $25 appetizer, salad, pizza selection. We picked several different things to get a taste of all we could get. The first was the arancini–fried cheese balls.

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They were piping hot and crispy and while they were good, they needed a dipping sauce. That would have made them fantastic. The other appetizer was the seasonal bruschetta. It was goat cheese, grilled asparagus in a lemon vinaigrette and shredded cheese on top. It came out on a large hunk of crusty bread. I liked this dish a lot but it would have been better had it been on smaller slices of bread. It was kind of difficult to eat. The flavor was great, though, very unique!

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We got a complimentary dish courtesy of the manager–it was the fried cauliflower. Michael remarked that it was like a play on calamari. The dishes were very playful in their interpretations. The fried cauliflower was so fascinating! It wasn’t breaded and it had a crunch to it that was delightful. It came with a lemon dipping sauce that was slightly overpowering. I think a garlic aioli sauce would have been better. The lemon was just the dominant flavor tasted. Still, loved the fried cauliflower!

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Next up was the salads. Michael got the romaine hearts which were basically a Caesar salad. It was tasty and had a nice presentation. He thought the salad was a little too salty. I had a few bites and it didn’t seem like it to me, but maybe it was.

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My salad was greens with dried cranberries, toasted hazelnuts and goat cheese. I won the salad competition! Mine was fabulous!

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By the time our main dishes arrived I was pretty full. I don’t normally eat several courses when we go out to eat dinner. Sometimes we’ll split an appetizer and then get entrees, but rarely do we get all of it! I ordered the meatballs with kale. I’m glad it didn’t come with pasta because that would have been just too much food. Loved the braised kale and the meatballs were perfectly soft and crispy on the outside. I ate two meatballs and took the rest home for lunch the next day.

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Michael got the Zoe’s Pizza –soprasetta and mozzarella cheese. It was small but big enough for two people to share for a meal. The crust was PERFECT. It was chewy and smoky from the wood burning pizza oven. It was also very, very spicy. Surprisingly so. Michael’s only complaint was that it was a little on the greasy side which made the pizza slightly soggy in the middle. If they could fix that it would be perfect.

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With everything we had we enjoyed the food and it tasted great. Some of the things I criticize in this post are mild alterations that would make the food absolutely perfect. Just small tweaks it would be magical.

Even though we didn’t have room for more food, we wanted to get dessert to give it a try. The manager comped it for us, which was very nice. We ordered the ice cream sandwich. Holy moly! This dessert was AMAZING! The “sandwich” part was on the inside of the ice cream as opposed to the outside. It was topped with whipped cream and dark chocolate almond bark.

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If this is where we have the rehearsal dinner, that’s the dessert I want. It was so amazing! We left so full and happy with our experience. The “cons” didn’t make us rule this place out. I think everyone would have a wonderful meal here if this is where we had the party. The logistics of everyone getting from our wedding venue in Beaverton to NE Portland are kind of a pain and parking is all street parking but those are minor things.

We have one other place to check out but if it were up entirely to me, I’d pick The Firehouse. This is Michael and his dad’s choice though. Time will tell!

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