Sunday, August 27, 2017

Test Tube Vase Highlights Zinninas

I bought this bunch of zinnias for $7 at the Ballard Farmers Market. The blossom heads are small so the overall scale is perfect for this vase from Pottery Barn that is essentially a dull gold wire circle holding test tubes.

One type of flower in many shades in a circle. Simple but stunning.

#testtubes #potterybarn #flowerarranging

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Boeing Classic #18: The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge

We had the perfect day to enjoy the Boeing Classic at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge. We sat for two hours next to the 18th green and watched as each group of the players finished the day in this beautiful setting.

In the photo above, you can see defending champion Bernhard Langer (in gray) reach to shake hands with Colin Montgomerie (bright blue), with Skip Kendall (yellow) right behind. It was a great day with PGA Tour Champions.
This signage honors the winner for the last 12 years. Who will be the 2017 Boeing Classic champion?

Friday, August 25, 2017

2017 Boeing Classic Golf Tournament: Remembering Arnold Palmer

Life in Washington just keeps getting better. The Boeing Classic golf tournament is practically played in our "backyard." 

I parked and took the spectator shuttle over to The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge on Friday morning in time for the opening ceremony and the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner flyover at 11:20 am.

Before the jetliner approached, volunteers lined the 18th hole as if they were a runway and opened their umbrellas one-by-one as a tribute to golf legend Arnold Palmer, who passed away last year.
The umbrellas are open and the jet is approaching from the left over the mountains. 
I didn't plan on sharing this video of the Boeing Jet flyover, so it is choppy...but it was too cool not to share. 
The belly of the plane had a giant umbrella decal in honor of Arnold Palmer, which, when I saw it, caused me to tear up. We miss you, Arnold Palmer and send our love and admiration.

#BoeingClassic #BoeingClassic2017 #WhereLegendsPlay #ArnoldPalmer #golf

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse in Seattle 2017: Sharing is Caring

It worked! My pinprick in tin foil shoe box contraption absolutely worked once it was lined up properly with the sun.

What's funny is that when I arrived at my husband's office building to meet him, I was early, so I started talking to a middle age man who was standing alone, looking up with solar eclipse glasses on. I walked up to him and casually said, "Anything happening yet?"

He replied, "Oh, yes! You can already see the crescent clearly."

Wha! I didn't think that would be possible 25 min before our "maximum" coverage point at 10:23 am.  I rushed to angle my box and I saw...nothing. "Oh my gosh, it doesn't work! I did something wrong!"

This kind man took off his glasses, offered them to me and said, "My mother always taught me to share." What a gentleman. I put on his glasses and saw the magnificent crescent he was talking about. We introduced ourselves and I declared that I was forever grateful to my new friend, Bob. 

My husband showed up a few minutes later and got my box to work (naturally) and was shown the same kindness by Bob and was able to experience the eclipse with Bob's glasses, my elementary project box and a pin hole in cardboard. It was great.
Pinhole in cardboard

Bob and I were sure that it felt colder (this Seattle Times article says that it officially dropped 5 degrees) and thought that these shadows seemed odd, but we couldn't describe why.
Thank you, Bob, for sharing this experience with us. Your company and generosity made "Seattle Soar Eclipse 2017" way more fun.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Seattle: Goldfinch Tavern after Seattle Art exhibit

We celebrated my birthday with a lovely dinner at Goldfinch Tavern, in the Four Seasons. It is located right across the street from the Seattle Art Museum, so it was the perfect spot to eat with Shannon after we saw the Yayoi Kusama "Infinity Mirrors" exhibit.

I ordered the fennel-crusted halibut with spring peas. It was light but satisfying and was dressed in a lemon thyme sauce.
I started with a chilled heirloom tomato soup that was delicious on this hot day. I have been longing for decent tomatoes with real flavor and this soup helped me feel like summer and the good tomatoes were finally here.
I had to have dessert and was so happy to see a chocolate/cherry combo on the menu. This was a rich chocolate mousse terrine with dense butter cake, poached dark cherries, chocolate crumble and vanilla ice cream. Yum x10.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Infinity Mirrors: Yayoi Kusama at the Seattle Art Museum

I went to the wildly popular (can hardly get a ticket) exhibit called "Infinity Mirrors" by Yayoi Kusama at the Seattle Art Museum last weekend. This photo above shows my favorite part of the exhibit - an all white room that has been transformed by the dot stickers given to the attendees as they pass through the room.  I really like the idea of inviting the public to help create a cumulative piece; I also love that the room looks like a Dylan's Candy Bar exploded. I wonder if Dylan Lauren has seen this show. To me, it feels far more connected to candy and whimsy than infinity.
The exhibit is made up of different visual scenarios. Some moments are contained in tiny rooms, where docents allow you to experience the art for a mere 30 seconds. For example, the room (above) called "Phalli's Field" (don't get me started) is an odd collection of polka dot forms. For me, this Wonka-esque room got over-shadowed by our own reflections. It sounds funny, but in this world of using your phone to capture everything, I squandered my 30 seconds trying to get a good picture. Do I want another 30 seconds to just look around and be "in" her infinity? Not really.
This tiny room is called "Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, 2009." I loved seeing the golden lights floating everywhere. It is exactly like some images I've seen of sky lanterns being released. Look at this image from the Daily Mail and tell me if this exhibit is not eerily similar to a real life experience. This was the most peaceful room in the collection and closest to what I call beautiful.
I think that my overall response to this exhibit was tempered by the fact that my fellow attendees were downright dead inside. Hundreds of us stood in line waiting for our "7 minutes in Heaven" (Sorry, but it's weird to go in a small room with 3 people and be timed) and no one was talking. No one was pouring out of the room invigorated by the experience. No was shaken or perplexed or wanted to talk about it. They just moved on to the next line. Hmm.

I love going downtown. I love seeing art exhibits, and then giving you my impression. I love the guy in the photo (above) who is smiling so sweetly at me through a window in Yayoi Kauma's art installation. I'm glad I saw it, but I'm not so sure you have to.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Crystal Mountain: A Gondola Ride to the Tip Top

That is Mount Rainier! We drove to Crystal Mountain with a picnic in a cooler and a camera in hopes of seeing this view! Apparently the clouds are finicky and a clear view of Mount Rainier can be hit or miss, but we got it! 
Ate our lunch at a picnic table at the base of the mountain near the resort ticket window. There were many families and people on dates, but I wouldn't say it was crowded We bought 2 round trip tickets ($23/ea) and rode up Crystal Mountain in this beautiful gondola. The trip is slow and relaxing and you can see such spectacular views.
This is a view from the glass-sided gondola. I wasn't sure if the height would bother me, but I loved it. 
On top of the world! The resort has chairs for visitors to sit on - it was very relaxing and I called my mom on Facetime from here! We got a perfectly clear connection and I could show her the sights from my phone - incredible. There is a neat apre-ski restaurant at the top of the mountain that serves food year round. I would love to eat here someday.
Taking the gondola up Crystal Mountain is an absolute must-do activity if you get the chance. 

Oh, and they sell snacks, drinks and ice cream at the little cafe at the base of the mountain too. I enjoyed a scoop of chocolate ice cream while we sat in chairs and relaxed at the bottom of the mountain too. Win-win.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Peony: Perfection in... late July!?

How on earth can there be peonies for sale at Pike Place Market in Seattle on July 29? How? In Michigan, the plant starts to bloom in May and all varieties are completely gone by late June.

My first thought is that these blooms must be flown in from Alaska. My second thought is that I can't believe I get to live in a place where peonies are available for sale in late July. Truly. 

Flowers are my thing and peonies are a favorite among favorites. 

Remember in 2008, when I blogged about saving peony buds and delaying their bloom for weeks with wax? Well, Alaska has made life so much easier for us!
On this same day in late July, the market had this beautiful selection of currants,
as well as bountiful flower bouquets. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Seabrook: A Quiet Vacation Town on the Washington Coast

When we drove into the resort beach town of Seabrook, this view of the ocean was the first thing that I saw and I was hooked. It had been a while since I had seen the Pacific Ocean and it surprised me just how different it looked from the East coast of Florida that I know so well. 

I had saved a Seattle Magazine article about the growing town of Seabrook and thought that it would be perfect for a Sunday driving trip. Dan announced that he wanted to "put his feet in the ocean" and I thought a sweet oceanfront town (within a 2 1/2 hour drive with pizza, gift shops and ice cream would be perfect. I was right, but in so many other ways too. Watch this 2 min promotional video about Seabrook and you'll see why the setting spoke to me.
The planned community has Nantucket style cottages  - gray shingles, crisp front porches, window boxes. It looks like a town of dollhouses and it really felt like a lovely escape. The longer we stayed, the more I was considering booking a week's vacation. It was clean, new and on a bluff right over the water.
Our first stop was for a late lunch - a Margherita Pizza cooked in a brick oven at Frontager Pizza Co. The restaurant had great style, big windows and a delicious food.
It was a cool and cloudy day and you can't go wrong with hot, gooey pizza - yum!
After lunch, we walked down to the beach with chairs-in-a-bag and braved the wind in order to get a real moment on the beach. It was great to see two families out with kites that were dancing over the broad hard sand beach. By positioning the wind at our backs, we were comfortable. I can only imagine a full beach full of vacationers when the sun is out and the temperature is near 80.
As I considered Seabrook for a future getaway, I noticed the homes along the bluff. That is where I would want to book a getaway, where I could see the sun set over the ocean every night from our accommodations.
After the beach, we walked up to look in a few shops and ended up getting two large ice cream cones at Sweet Life Candy store. Dan chose a pretzel cone for his scoop. I had never seen that as an option before and he loved it. It's not often that you can improve ice cream, but they did!
We really enjoyed our visit to Seabrook. I applaud the creators for designing a picturesque getaway that celebrates the kind of summer fun I want: a casual family setting, bike rides, porch sitting and water, water, water.

#seabrook #summerinwashington #vacationspots #finddelight 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Juice Can Bouquet: Sunny Side Up

I love everything about this picture! 

#1 I am known for my juice can bouquets and I can finally make some because I am back in Seattle and my nasturtiums are in full bloom!

#2 The blue sky! The smoke from the fires in Canada has dissipated and we are having beautiful summer days.

#3 Orange! I have been saving this papaya juice can that I bought at Uwajimaya last year in the hopes of making vibrant bouquets. As I say, this was all part of the Master Plan. This master plan just took a little longer to execute.

I hope that you are having a beautiful summer too!

#orangeisthenewhappy #nasturtium #smallbouquets #finddelight

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Spartan Send-off Picnic: Michigan State Alums Encourage Incoming Freshman

(photo credit: Dennis Fredell)

Last weekend, I was happy to attend a picnic hosted by the Seattle Spartans - the Michigan State University alumnae group in greater Seattle. This group is managed on Facebook and primarily organizes MSU football and basketball watching events at sports bars throughout the year.

This picnic was attended by Jim Cotter (Director of the Office of Admissions) and Dan Seidman (Manager of West Coast Recruitment) and was designed to allow Michigan State alumnae the chance to encourage and support students about to fly across the country to begin their freshman year. 

It was great to hear from Jim & Dan about the number of incoming freshman from the West Coast and I pledged to help share my story and recruit students if they need me. I loved my time at Michigan State and I agree with the woman I overheard at the picnic. She was talking to a shy student and said, "You're going to love it!"



Sunday, August 6, 2017

Blackberry Jam: Sky Harvest Blackberries Have to be Seen to be Believed

You had to see it to believe it - giant blackberries from Nate Youngquist of Sky Harvest Produce (Skagit Valley) purchased at the Ballard Farmer's Market. Stop a minute and look at how big this berry is in my hand! Exceptional. I bought 4 pints and turned them into a small batch of beautiful jam with the help of my FreshTech Automatic Home Canning System
I love this machine and regret that, due to moving and packing, I have only been able to use it twice (ever!) before this. That is a travesty. I made some funny declaration yesterday that I would use it weekly from now on and after this successful batch, I just might!
The recipe makes 6 half pint jars (only 5 fit in the canner at once, so the remainder is in the refrigerator being devoured fresh). I cut fabric circles to cover the jars and secured them with a simple rubber band. I chose unique fabrics to highlight the deep purple jam. Red & white check fabric felt too cutesy for this beautiful blend.

#jammaking #ballcanning #smallbatch #blackberryseason #finddelight

Friday, August 4, 2017

Seattle: Maximilien Restaurant has Spectacular View of Puget Sound

When I was still in Michigan, I made a reservation at Maximilien Restaurant in Seattle for the Saturday just after I returned. It was to celebrate being together for the second half of the summer and put us right in the heart of the Seattle waterfront and Pike Place Market.
There is a large rooftop garden adjacent to Maximilien's patio and the public is welcome to explore, take pictures and admire the view from up there.
There are vegetables growing, flowers blooming and a smattering of kooky art installations.
You must stop and see this beautiful outdoor patio before having a lovely French meal.
We both ordered French Onion soup, a summer halibut dish and an icy drink. I think this would be a wonderful plate to enjoy a cheese plate, fresh bread and a bottle of wine. Bon appetit!

#pikeplacemarket #maximilienrestaurant #seattle

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Edible Flowers in Ice Cubes

Finding Delight in everyday life means being on the lookout for pretty moments that you can appreciate...and share. The beauty in a stack of fresh lemons. The cute sticker your friend put on the envelope before she mailed it. Honestly, little things make me happy.

For example, these darling ice cubes I made with edible flowers. I found a package of fresh violet and pansy blossoms for $5 at a vegetable stand at the corner of Pike St and Pike Place (Frank's Quality Produce) in Pike Place Market.
The next time I come across a selection this grand, I hope to have time to make sugared flowers to decorate cupcakes. 

For this first attempt, I placed a flower in each compartment, and filled the ice cube tray with filtered water from my refrigerator. The floral ice cubes look beautiful, but some of the petals floated out of the ice and froze on top.

To improve the look of my ice cubes next time, I will definitely try the "boil water, then letting it cool" method (this is said to create clear ice). I will also try filling each cube only half way, placing a flower in and then freezing. Once frozen, I will fill the rest of the cube with water to truly lock the blossom in ice.

This version is still beautiful and I can't tell you how they jazzed up the lemonade when my friends came for dinner. 

#entertaining #edible flowers #finddelight