Whiskey & Wrinkles

I was feeling really gloomy about turning 28.  I had planned to spend the day alone feeling bad for myself, instead I took a good friend’s advice and put together a gathering of close friends, too much food and plenty of whiskey.

88This was the liquor and wine table.  In the drink canister I made a vodka cocktail for my non-whiskey loving friends.

RECIPE:

  • A full handle of Tito’s vodka
  • 3 oranges cut into wedges
  • 25 basil leafs (got mine from garden… I have always wanted to say that 😉 )
  • Simple syrup- add as much as you like depending on how sweet you like
  • 2 lemons juiced
  • 1 liter of club soda- same with simple syrup add accordingly

Add all ingredients except for club soda and let sit overnight.  Right before serving add club soda.  Have a big bowl of ice next to cups.

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Chances are the hand on the left is my boyfriend sneaking a pre-party drink.

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Got this fruit head idea from Pinterest.  How cute is he?  Heads up, you want to put this in fridge before you have to many party drinks and leave it out.  The result will be an entire infestation of of fruit flys.

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My friend Sarah was the creative mind behind the artistic face, so clever 🙂

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Food table, dinosaur decorations thanks to my friend who Kiyomi who helped so much!

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The front porch of my house is pretty epic and a great spot to enjoy a cocktail with friends.

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The pictures got a little wild after this and I got more into enjoying my friends than bothering with the camera… so the rest of the pictures are of the aftermath.

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Booz table the next morning,

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My morning breakfast consisted of leftover BIrthday cake, which I was so surprised to get from a friend, as it was from the fancy Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle.

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What they don’t show you on Pinterest…

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After clean up I enjoyed having all of the sunflowers around the house.

I am so glad that I didn’t sit and feel sorry for myself for having more grey hairs than ever and my metabolism starting to slow down.  I have some really hard situations going on in my life right now that it was so refreshing to be surrounded by so many people I love and all the whiskey helped.

Have a great day 🙂

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Thrifting Treasures

I can easily lose hours in a thrift store.  I prefer to attend garage sales and estate sales, but since those are only available on weekends, thrifting at local used stores is a good replacement.

On this trip I was on a mission to find a new (used) french press and a basket for cat toys.  There are usually multiple french presses, but I wasn’t that lucky this day.  Although I did find a bunch of stuff I didn’t know I needed that of course I purchased!

I tend to lean towards the bizarre things in life.  That definitely includes my taste in decorating and clothing.  I have always liked items that hold a story or look out of the ordinary.  Although I also really like quality items, which can be found for affordable prices while thrifting.

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You never know what unique art pieces you’ll find!

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Pretty excited to find this brand new leather adidas jacket for $8!

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I use to be a vintage camera collector, as I have a love for photography and think they are beautiful to put on display.  Unfortunately my large collection which I had been acquiring since I was 14, was completely ruined.  An ex from Texas (sounds like country song right?!) decided when we broke up to take a hammer to each lense, making the cameras completely unusable.  This was a beaut but I resisted the temptation.

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I love bizarre pieces like this.  I use to buy anything I found cute or that I was drawn to.  After moving so many times and realizing I hate clutter I now refrain from buying nik-naks… but I really liked this little handcrafted mini cabin.

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These were huge wooden cutouts.  I tried to justify buying them, as they were only $4.99 and I would have loved to randomly put them in someones yard.  Alas I resisted in hope that some teenage boy would acquire awesome decorations 😉 !

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I am a sucker for this color of kitchenware. 99 cents each.

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The overall haul of this trip…

  • Brand new Nike Yoga pants $6.99
  • Lulu Lemon Yoga pants $4.99
  • White shelf to refinish $7.99
  • Globe (collecting to make light fixture) $4.99
  • BRAND NEW Frye Boots $19.99
  • Basket for cat toys $1.99
  • H&M peacock bohemian dress $3.99
  • Two shelves for wall $4.99
  • Squirrel Shaped cat bowl .99 cents
  • Brand New Michael Kors wooden heels
  • New Black Heels $5.99

Before I check out I always go through what I have thrown into my cart and reanalyze my life and realize I have been on a day dreaming shopping high and usually put back half of the stuff, but I always seem to leave with a lot.

I really love everything behind the idea of thrift stores.  The idea of reusing someone else’s discarded item is something I really can support.  I also donate on a regular basis to the local goodwill.

So even if you think thrift stores are smelly and you’d rather just pay full price at a mall store, consider swinging by your local second hand store, you never know what you may find!

Cooking for Therapy

Cooking.  I love cooking.

I love distractions when I am facing personal struggles in life.  Even more so I love taking a negative thought and turning it into something different, something worth using my energy towards.

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By no means am I a chef, nor do I consider myself an outstanding cook, but I love taking random ingredients and creating something delicious.  I get a lot of pleasure from making a meal and having someone enjoy it with me.

My heart flutters when I cook for someone and I get to watch their eyes get bigger and say those magic words, “wow, this is sooooo good!”

Here are some pictures I have taken lately while dorking around in the kitchen to take my mind off of current stress.

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I was pretty proud of this breakfast I put together with random leftovers.  I had roasted butternut squash a couple nights previous and had what seemed to be 1/4 of six vegetables in the fridge.  I also had some extra chorizo from a scramble, and tortillas from steak fajita night.  With their powers combined… wah-lah, I mad what my boyfriend said was something you’d pay $17 for at a hipster restaurant downtown.

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Unfortunately my mom is dealing with cancer, her food cravings are constantly up and down, if she has any appetite at all.  I had a itch to bake and thought I’d try making a recipe of her’s that we all loved, and hopefully she would enjoy.  These were a success but unfortunately she didn’t have a sweet tooth.  My little brother and I devoured most of them and delivered some to my grandpa as well.

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My mother had been craving corn, so I tried some new recipes to accompany it.  I also made some frozen margaritas from scratch, my mother loves virgin margaritas (of course MINE had tequila 😉 )  Turns out with even six years of bartending experience, but not much experience with a blender, I’m a horrendous frozen margarita maker.

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I usually skip breakfast, but I love cooking in the morning for others while enjoying my coffee.  I again had a random assortment of ingredients and wasn’t sure what to do with them.  I sauted all the veggies with a little bit of sausage meat, laid it over some arugula aside some eggs and it was pretty good.  The watermelon was a pleasant surprise from my roommate who had just offered some after she had finished a watermelon salad.

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Ew, what is this gunky goop?!  Cannabis.  I tried to make weed brownies the other day for a friend.  VERY time consuming and will make the entire house smell like Bonnaroo.  Very interesting process though and I accomplished the task… next time I would use less well ya know, “green stuff”.  It’s still wild to me that it is legal to buy marijuana in WA state.

To wrap this up some things I must mention…

I love grilled onions, on everything.

I could eat avocado with salt straight with a spoon, everyday.

Toast with raspberry jam is almost better than se…

I need coffee, everyday.

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Garage Sale Brawl!

Another day of early morning coffee and exploring the streets for treasure signs, this day was a bit more interesting than most!  It was a pretty standard day of browsing through strangers discarded items that was interrupted with two women literally in a fight over some gardening items!  No joke. Like a brawl. Like toddlers not getting to have dessert before dinner behavior!

Treasure this way!
Treasure this way!

I was not too impressed with the prices at an Estate Sale, as it was one done by a company thus they know the value of collectible and desirable items which is reflected in their prices.  Instead of finding items for under $5 you’re more likely to see antique shop prices.  Although at the moment I was about to leave a rude woman with her hands full, blocked the door out and I waited awkwardly behind her because she had already ignored my “excuse me “, with a irritated quick glance.  As she bent down to pick up a planter another whipped around and confirmed that the planter was hers and to put it down… then it was armageddon!!!  They argued for over ten minutes like seagulls over the last cracker. Even though I was about to leave, obviously I stayed put and acted like I wasn’t eavs dropping.  I started to take a video, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough space ( this ALWAYS happens to me at the worst time) and I only caught a pinch, but it give you an idea of their bickering.

After that the rest of the day seemed pretty dull.

Here are some neat items I saw but didn’t end up purchasing

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This Garage Sale was one of my neighbors, they were very nice!

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These were hard to pass up, but the last thing in the world that I need is nik-niks…

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I really loved this door, and I am sure there is some sort of a story to it.  Living in the PNW you get to see a lot of beautiful native work, I’m personally a big fan, especially in these colors.

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There was Elephant stuff all over the house, I always find it so interesting to get an idea of who a person is thru their past belongings.

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This was hard to pass up ;)!

At the end I only spent a couple dollars on some old Playboys and a Beavis magnet for a friend who I call Beavis… that was a pretty epic score at 10 cents !

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These were marked pretty expensive but I didn’t mind paying, when I went to pay the guy said he would only charge me $5.  Was he a bit creepy…yes, did I decline… no way jose, a deal is a deal.

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Kiyomi with her Beavis figurine.  We have a weird dynamic Kiyomi and I.  We had bartended together and formed a silly friendship.  We call each other Beavis and Butthead.  Cute, right 😉 ?

Thanks for peeking in, hope you enjoyed

Customer Compl…iments!

I have worked in the Customer Service industry intermittently since I was 18 and have dealt with some of the nastiest customers imaginable.  People spend so much time complaining about minor details that they forget to enjoy the experience they came for. Of course, some of this complaining is done to score a discount or even a free meal.  This may seem harmless to the complainer, but it can negatively affect an employee’s livelihood.   So you insisted on “talking to a manager”? Well, now that hardworking employee is losing a good shift and being disciplined.  Do strangers get to walk in and critique you at your work? Happy? Good, now go enjoy your free appetizer… 😉

The point of my rant is to consider spending more time complimenting someone for good service instead of ridiculing them.

You wouldn't believe the way adults can act.
You wouldn’t believe the way adults can act.

Mind you, I’m not saying you should smile and eat a well done burger when you ordered it medium rare and tip 20% when your server never supplied you with refills, was glued to their cellphone, and had an attitude.  Everyone deserves what they pay for.

What about the server who kept your drink full at all times, brought you extra ranch, checked in on you multiple times, kept all dirty dishes cleared and overall had a positive attitude — why not acknowledge good service too?

My recent collection of receipts
My recent collection of receipts

So, when I am feeling grouchy I pour myself a big cup of coffee and pull out a stack of receipts from good customer service experiences and write kind letters of acknowledgment on behalf of those people who are out there doing a good job.

On a receipt you can usually find the details necessary to write a successful customer compliment.

  • Date of service, name of employee, time of visit, check #

Here are some responses I have gotten back that in turn, brightened my day!

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Amongst my years bartending I have had compliments relayed to my employer and reaped the benefits, but even more so I was flattered that someone went out of their way to compliment me.  To know that I brightened someone else’s day brings me joy.

We all play a role in this world and although a restaurant job can seem miniscule, if we all put 100% into every task the world could be a less complaint-filled place.

The next time you think about complaining about slow service, take a look around at what’s really happening. Does the waiter have a full section? Are they having a rough day? Could you handle it if you were in their shoes?

More importantly, the next time you get good service, consider acknowledging a job well done.  Maybe it was a cheerful grocery store bag boy, perhaps a polite security guard, or perhaps it was me. Regardless, we would love to know our hard work is being recognized.

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.

A random trip to Orcas Island was such an unexpected treat.  Orcas Island is somewhere I had gone camping as a child and has ever since had a special place in my heart.

Deception Pass
Deception Pass

On the way to Anacortes where you catch the ferry to the San Juan Islands is a great spot called Deception Pass.  No matter how many times I have seen this place, it always takes my breath away.  I always get the chills at one spot of Deception Pass because in 2010 I found a dead body, seriously.

Some Pictures around the bridge
Some Pictures around the bridge

That is my model face… and that is why I am not a model 😉

Nailed it?
Nailed it?

I asked for this picture and the hand in the picture was not amused with the thirty times he tried to take it.  Recognize it from those around the world pictures of the sexy brunette?  I tried… ha.

The wait for the ferry to come is always a long one, and expensive!  It cost $60 to get a car onto that thing! Luckily when you get on the ferry the view is breathtaking and they serve beer, which always helps.

Love the native art all over ferry.
Love the native art all over ferry.

Local beer, breath taking views- it was hard to get off!

Pit stop
Pit stop

Upon arriving to the island we did some exploring before checking into our hotel at the Island Hopping Brewery.  A very cute and cozy tasting room filled with locals.  I also found myself sitting next to a girl who had lived in Montrose, the same neighborhood of Houston that I did and it turned out that we knew a handful of the same people.  The world just seems to get smaller and smaller!

The room at Rosario Resort
The room at Rosario Resort

I stayed at the Rosario Resort  which had a dreamy little porch overlooking the water.  There was also an adorable restaurant on the marina which was about a 3 min walk down a little path that we ate at twice, and later went to the bar and mingled with the staff.

Random shots
Random shots

Exploring around the Island.

Found a book filled with interesting ways to judge the rarity of my seaglass findings. I had to pull over to snap a picture of this quaint little stand.
Found a book filled with interesting ways to judge the rarity of my seaglass findings. I had to pull over to snap a picture of this quaint little stand.

The evening sunset was pretty epic, though not much of a traditional Sunset.

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I highly recommend visiting the San Juan Islands, especially Orcas.  My only complaint about this trip is that it wasn’t long enough.

Amanda.

Pay it Forward.

I have been gathering products and supplies to put together some supply bags for people in need.

A favorite quote with a recent picture.
A favorite quote with a recent picture.

I often find people with a sign asking for “help”.  I like to think I’m not judgemental, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t consider someone in a tough time could be strugling with an addiction.  I sympathize with the struggles of addiction, but I don’t want to fuel the problem by giving that person money to continue harming themselves.  With that being said, not everyone living on the streets is a drug addict, but everyone living on the streets is in fact in need.  I have put a lot of thought in how I can help those people without just handing them cash.

I started collecting hygiene items as well as exciting editions.  It was important to me that whoever receives these bags doesn’t look at them as cheap toiletries thrown into a bag, instead a somewhat luxury bag to brighten their day.  I personally love random gestures of kindness, so I wanted to start providing that for strangers down on their luck.

A gathering of some products.
A gathering of some products.

– I have been lucky enough to travel the world a fair amount.  I never use the shampoos, conditioner, soap or lotions.  Yet I can’t resist snatching them up, now I am glad I did.

– I am a Sephora addict, as well as a subscriber to Ipsy and Birchbox.  I end up with a lot of luxury product and samples that I never open, I felt this would be a nice edition to the bags.

Little notes.
Little notes.

I wanted to add a little explanation and a general uplifting message.  I find a lot of groups add religious messages, since I don’t know the strangers religious preference, I feel the best way to relate to someone is through simple kindness.

Finished product loaded into back of car.
Finished product loaded into back of car.

These bags separated into male or female products.

  • Beef Jerkey
  • Beverage
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Shampoo, Conditioner, Soap and Lotion
  • Hand Warmers
  • Fresh Socks
  • Deodorant
  • Random Beauty Products
  • Chapstick
One of my favorite quotes, with on of my recent pictures.
One of my favorite quotes, with on of my recent pictures.

Any suggestions on this idea, or previous experiences I would love to hear about.