Besties, Bruddahs, Brews, and a Birthday Extravaganza

Check and DONE! Photo by Lia.

Prepare for overload… The past week has been a whirlwind of way too much love and excitement. In two weekends and a week, I saw my BFF from Georgia three times, had my bruddah-in-law visit for a weekend, stuffed face at the Bite of Seattle, made a custom quilted apron, developed and prepared an entire weekend birthday menu, met up (for a lengthy 5 minutes) with my oldest friend from Arizona, ran into one of my bridesmaids randomly in Seattle, AND had a jam packed birthday weekend with my best bud Lia! Not to mention I’ll have more coming from the Best of Seattle party and this coming weekend is Bryan and my first wedding anniversary!! I’m pooped just from typing it all out!

*dark chocolate covered pretzel energy break*

Beautiful Kristie! Happy about beer.

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Organic Vegan Restaurant! Seattle Rules!!

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Shots with cool kid hand signs.

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Brewskie buddies!

After discovering both my best friend and bro-in-law were coming to Seattle on the same weekend, I knew there was going to be some major juggling of time, but I got to see Kristie three times; dinner, drinks, and brewsies. Our first dinner was at Plum Bistro, an organic vegan place and it was AH-mazing! I seriously had a kombucha collins! KOMBUCHA COLLINS! We also had a group girls night in Seattle, which started with a very entertaining group dining experience at La Fontana in Bell town. Even though all the reviews say it’s amazing (more so romantic), most of us had a not-so-good meal… After many drinks, we all agreed that they should change the name of their bruschetta to ‘pico on toast’.

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Famous Asian pizza ingredients!

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Brewskie with the bro-ski!

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My first and LAST Red Bull… EVER!

My time with our personal electrician (Rick, my “bruddah-in-law”) was much more limited, but he and Bryan spent some quality bro time together while wiring in our house and drinking beer. I participated by making my “famous” Asian pizzas, helping to drink beer, and forcing him to play Rap Star (You know you want to see what Rap Star is all about!!). He paid me back by forcing me to drink a 20 oz. Red Bull. Do you know how big a 20 oz. Red Bull is? It’s not human. And at 5 feet tall, it was definitely not safe for me to slam it in half an hour. I looked like a cat on crack. Never again.

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Fried banana with coconut milk and a fish taco!

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Sun and fun at Seattle Center.

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Coffee with beer; the Seattle way.

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Hairmageddon about to take the stage!

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Sad face looking into beer garden.

So during that first weekend of excitement, Kristie and some of the gals hit up the Capitol Hill Block Party and Lia and I (two little piggies) opted for the Bite of Seattle. Free event where I’d have chance to eat deliciousness and hang in a beer garden vs paid event with sweaty hipsters? We all know what wins in my book… Well, turns out I got to hang out with sweaty, hungry, face-stuffers, which was probably just as awesome as sweaty hipsters. However; Lia and I did score some s’more-ready Mallows for her birthday extravaganza weekend AND saw some pretty cool cover bands, like the one below named Hairmageddon, who oddly enough had no hair.

SIDE NOTE: I have since learned since posting videos to YouTube from my iPhone that landscape video is MUCH better and will immediately cease recording in portrait (minus the one I just took from Best of Seattle). Deepest apologies for the crazy skinny videos!!

If you’re bored already, you better stop now cause we have just scratched the surface… The best is being saved for last with Lia’s Birthday Extravaganza and there is a major amount of photos since Lia had her REAL camera!!

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Rachel and her babe, Nolan!

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Pike Place!

What?  You couldn’t stop scrolling through the post when you saw that adorable baby? Thought so.

Before we get into the amazing birthday extravaganza weekend, I took a quick detour downtown to Pike Place and met up with some old friends. I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to still be friends with people I have known for over 15 years, including Rachel who I have known for over 20 years! Even though my meetup with them was ridiculously short, it’s always good to see familiar faces and get hugs from people you love.

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Very happy birthday girl with her bloody mary!

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Reversible custom apron for Lia’s birthday present.

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Smashed fried potato and salad.

Donuts. Photo by Lia.

Birthday twins! Love them, but twins are scary.

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Yes, that’s peanut butter bacon dip next to the pretzels.

And speaking of people you love… When you love someone you do thoughtful things for them, right? Well, the only way I know how to be thoughtful is by making things. Whether that’s a photo with individually glued seed beads (I’ve really done that before) or an attempt at a gourmet meal; I always feel like gifts with some love, blood, and sweat are the best. So when Lia told me she wanted a day off work to shop and eat in Seattle followed by a weekend at the Jensiuchi B&B, I was totally in. Obviously, we started our day with lunch and drinks at Lola, a local establishment by Seattle restaurant guru, Tom Douglas. Then we burned off our lunch by shopping and walking to happy hour in South Lake Union at another Tom Douglas joint, Brave Horse Tavern, which I have been dying to go to just for the pretzels. I’m going to write a post all about pretzels, right after I finish eating pretzel from EVERY Seattle establishment that sells them.

Unfinished sign for Lia’s room. Photo by Lia.

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Classy start to the evening.

Blackberry gin bombs… finally, da bomb! Photo by Lia.

Avocado fries coming out of the oven. Photo by Lia.

Late night baked avocado fries. Photo by Lia.

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Rainier cherries dipped in vanilla bean white chocolate. Photo by Lia.

After our afternoon in Seattle we headed back to an empty house since Bryan was in Alaska for work.  We took full advantage of our girls night by laying around drinking juicebox wine with bendy straws, eating a healthy version of avocado fries, and using up 4 hours to get through one recorded episode of So You Think You Can Dance.  We had lots to talk about.  Like the possibility of getting Lia to marry Christopher Scott who choreographed this amazing routine on SYTYCD…  And don’t be jealous of our juicebox wine, it was awesome and apparently equal to three glasses of wine!  Yeah, now you ARE jealous.

Mixed berry ginger beer for a spin on Ashley’s Moscow Mules! Photo by Lia.

Grilled kale salad with goat ricotta and plums. Photo by Lia.

Beer from Utah. Weird, right? Photo by Lia.

I want to hug this beer bottle cap. Photo by Lia.

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15 hours later… Cold brew coffee; smooth as a loving hug.

Giant vanilla bean ice cubes in cold brew coffee. Photo by Lia.

Skilled crack pie cutting. Photo by Lia.

Crack pie. No more words necessary. Photo by Lia.

Necessity for Ashley & Lia weekends. Photo by Lia.

Our next morning started late and we had limited girls time before Bryan got home, so we dove right into lunch, which was a grilled kale salad.  It was amazing.  Possibly one of my favorite salads now.  And I used goat cheese ricotta!  Try it.  Seriously.  Unfortunately the sun was being sly and only came out for a short run, so we had a few minutes to enjoy our lunch, mule, and a brew on the patio.  Then of course we followed all of this with an early afternoon cold brew coffee and crack pie (AKA sugar dumped into an oatmeal cookie crust), which hyped us up for some serious Dance Central and Rock Band until Bryan got home with some dinner fixins.

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Candied bacon for the bacon ice cream.

Oatmeal bacon ice cream pie sandwiches. Photo by Lia.

Oh, I can’t forget the ice cream sandwiches that I made for Lia!  I cheated and totally used store bought Almond ice cream cause I wanted it dairy free, but because I am a good friend who listens I jammed the crap out of the ice cream with candied bacon.  The last bacon ice cream she had at Cupcake Royale was a little lacking on the bacon particles, so I amped it up… big time.  But since I don’t eat bacon anymore it was definitely cooking blind, but someone (who shall not be named) ate her entire sandwich.  Impressive.

Mushroom Ale = SICK.
Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout = Flavorless.
Photo by Lia.

Bryan’s famous clams with local artisan bread. Photo by Lia.

Scallops with veggie polenta. Photo by Lia.

Old favorite cab and our first “expensive” Malbec! Photo by Lia.

Test recipe for coffee cookie crunch creme brulee. Photo by Lia.

Bryan got home later and picked up ingredients for his famous clam dish.  He is determined to make Lia love all shellfish as much as him and so far he’s been pretty successful!  So while he cooked we kept drinking beer, which was not so good.  The mushroom ale was so disgusting that we threw it out.  It was like vomit in a bottle.  Luckily, Bryan’s clams were super tasty and I was aiming for menu recovering with scallops.   But I have never cooked scallops before.  And my dessert was a completely blind recipe that I had developed… So we were starting to enter some danger zones of new tests in my kitchen and we all know how those turn out 80% of the time.  Result?  Rubbery scallops and a creme brulee that was supposed to have a crust.  We don’t like to discuss that dish.

Making pretzels! Photo by Lia.

Rosemary pretzel bites with cheddar rosemary sauce. Photo by Lia.

Can’t have pretzels without beer! Photo by Lia.

Mallows with homemade chocolate coffee grahams. Photo by Lia.

Korean soju from Bryan. Photo by Lia.

“Look I’m Ashley!”

On a redeeming note, I made pretzels… again.  Hey, just cause I like eating doesn’t mean I don’t like making them too.  This time I did bite-sized ones and they were MESSY!  But super tasty.  We also finally got to enjoy our Mallows from the Bite of Seattle, which combined with a hunk of chocolate and the homemade grahams, hurt our tooths.  One each and we were spent.  Especially considering that since Bryan was home, his new goal for the last night was to make us drink… a lot.  I am constantly amazed at the amount of booze we put down on these weekend slumber parties.  We could say this was a educational drinking experience for Lia though since she had never tried Korean soju before!  Pretty sure she liked it.  HA HA HA.  That’s what she said.

Monkey bar fun time! Photo by Lia.

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Fun at the park with new bikes.

After a few days of hanging out at home we took a stroll through my hood and ended up at a few parks.  We played on monkey bars, admired my super arm strength, and enjoyed a quiet moment on a swing.   As much as I dislike living out in the freaking sticks, 5000 miles away from life, it was a perfect end to an amazing week and a half.  I always say this, but I couldn’t ask for more amazing friends and family.  You are definitely jealous again.  If you’re not jealous, you should be cause these people are all fantastic.