Saturday, December 1, 2012

Christmas Time is Here

Sorry, Charlie Brown, I'm totally stealing your line.

We dug our Christmas decorations out of storage today; I waited until December 1st because Mr. Goodlaff is reluctant to be surrounded by Christmas-y things in November--and October for that matter.  While I think that Thanksgiving Day is still a bit early to be putting up your tree (no offense to all you early birds out there--when I was growing up, we were lucky to get the tree up in the first week of December), I'm not opposed to Christmas decorations coming out a few days before the calendar flips to December. 

One of my favorite things to make are Christmas wreaths, and after inspiration struck at JoAnn's last week (doesn't it always?),  I came home with the supplies to make what I hoped would be a fantastic wreath.  I was not disappointed. 

Here she is, in all her glory:

I am hopelessly, madly in love with my new wreath.  The plaid flannel ribbon started it all, and the bird is the icing on the cake. 

Plus, I just realized it's not overtly Christmas-y, and can therefore be used all Winter long. Genius.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Another 5K Kinda Day

In July, Mr. Goodlaff and I participated in our second 5k race, and this one was a doozy!  It wasn't your typical 5k.  There were hills and ramps, and oh yeah, this:

That would be the view of the warning track at Safeco Field (home of our Seattle Mariners!) from the outfield entrance.  The race was the inaugural Safeco Refuse to Abuse 5k, benefiting the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and we decided to do it because it benefited a great cause, and it was such a unique experience.  The race took place mostly in and around Safeco field, starting by the parking garage, lapping the outside of the stadium, heading inside the field, winding up and around all levels, back down to the ground level, underneath the field past the clubhouses, and finally exiting out the outfield entrance for half a lap around the field on the warning track.

We actually ran part of this one, and ultimately we shaved a few minutes off of our previous 5k time.  It would have been more, but we hit the field, passed the Mariners dugout, and well, we stopped for a few photos...

I think the field attendant may have let us sit on the bench, but we didn't want to push it. Plus, we had a race to finish!  I can tell you, there isn't any better feeling in the world than crossing that finish line after running on a ball field belonging to a Major League Baseball team.  It felt very Field of Dreams, but was probably a little bit more Rookie of the Year (please tell me that someone else remembers this movie?). Seriously, I felt like I could have run another 5k at that point--that's how incredibly thrilling it was.

We finished, and after a little harassment from the security guard about Mr. Goodlaff's traitorous running gear choice (you wear a 49ers sweatshirt in a park that's about 3 feet from where the Seahawks play, you get a little bit of flack), we got a final post-race sweaty picture:

We exited the field through the bullpen (!!!), and upon exiting, were given circus animal cookies, a banana, a bottle of water, and chapstick. Plus, we got jewelry:

Any event that ends with me getting a medal is fine by me. 

Mr. Goodlaff and I decided that we really liked the 5k format.  Short, achievable, but still leaving lots of room for improvement.  Our ultimate goal is to be able to run a 5k in under a half an hour, which seems pretty doable, and requires much less training than, say, a half marathon (more on that later).

Have you run any fun 5k's?

Thursday, August 23, 2012


My niece and nephew have birthdays within just a few weeks of each other, and each birthday and holiday gives me the chance to get crafty.  In this case, I saw a great online tutorial for magnetic fabric alphabet letters and knew it would be perfect for growing, learning kids.  It was also a great opportunity to work through the massive stash of fabric that I own  (I have a thing for fat quarters--leave me alone).

I used this fantastic tutorial from  Chez Beeper Bebe to create this:

Ta da!  All twenty six letters of the alphabet (plus one extra G so my nephew can spell his name).  I even made a bag for them to keep track of all or most of the magnets when they're not in use.

It's a great (educational but still fun) gift, so we addressed it to all three kids.  I really love how it came out, especially the variety of colors, patterns, and fabrics. 

Hopefully they will use these for years to come!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shabby Chic Ruffle Wreath

About a month ago, I decided our front door decor needed a bit of sprucing up.  And by "sprucing up," I mean a complete overhaul.  Out with the Spring hydrangea wreath, in with something new. 

I combed through all my wreath inspiration on Pinterest, rummaged through all my crafty odds and ends, and came up with this:

I took some leftover muslin fabric that I had sitting around, cut it into strips and ruffled it (tutorial here).  Raffia, unpainted wooden stars, a paper rose, feathers, white organza, and a little bit of metal coil later and I had myself a wreath. Yes, I actually did have all of that laying around.

Funny story: the white rose was a decoration on one of our wedding presents.  I saved it because I thought I could use it someday-- smart move, if I do say so myself.  I used tulle (leftover from alterations to my wedding dress--seeing a trend here?) to hang the wreath, and I love how it all turned out.

I'm not quite sure what to call it, so I'm going with shabby chic ruffle wreath. It's a little bit country, but a little bit classy too. Organza and raffia in the same wreath my be considered a sacrilege, but I say it works. Plus, it looks nice against the charcoal color of our front door.

I still love seeing it when I come home.  It's a nice little bit of serenity before opening the door to our house full of chaos!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A 5K Kinda Day

So, this happened:

A few weeks ago Mr. Goodlaff and I decided to get a feel for a race day, and signed up for the West Seattle 5K.  It was a Run/Walk fundraiser for the West Seattle High School, which means that, if nothing else, our entrance fees went to a good cause.

I had two goals for this race: 1. Finish in under an hour (we walked all of it but the last 50 feet), and 2.  Don't come in last place.  I'm happy to say that we accomplished both goals.  Pessimistic goals, you say?  Pshh.  Realistic goals, more like. 

Mostly, we were trying to get an idea of what Wheezy would be like, and get a baseline for our performance.  The verdict? We still have a long way to go.  With a little less than three months before Wheezy, we still have a ton of work to do.  But I'm pretty sure we can do it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Few Projects

I haven't been overly crafty lately, but I did want to share a few things that I have been working on in the past month or so. 

A few months ago, I got on a bit of an embroidery kick.  I was on, ordering a birthday gift for Mr. Goodlaff, didn't hit the limit for free shipping, and decided to get a little something for myself.  Doodle Stitching: The Motif Collection, ended up in my cart, and gave me the pattern for this design:

I think it turned out well.  The metallic threads were a pain in the ass, but I really like the way it came out.  My next embroidery adventure involves clothing that someone might actually wear, so hopefully my skills are good enough for fashion!

My other project has been a long time coming--over a year in the making. See, once upon a time, I bought a cool frame from a thrift store.  I spray painted the hell out of it and with a little bit of magic, it got a new lease on life as an info sign for our wedding guestbook:

I love the frame.  The yellow is almost obnoxious, but you never see frames that shape, and I knew it would make a lovely...something...someday.  That day is here, and the frame has now become a chalkboard. 

I cut a piece of wood down to size with a box cutter (that was fun), painted it with black chalkboard paint, and now, our lovely wedding frame lives on as a weekly menu board. 

Here's what's cooking this week (don't be jealous):

It's actually a really useful thing.  We plan the week's menu on Sundays, buy all the supplies for dinners, and because we don't assign meals to days--we just see what we feel like eating on any given evening--sometimes we have trouble remembering what we are supposed to be making for dinner.  It's because we're getting old. And we keep forgetting to put Ginko on the shopping list. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tutorial Twosday: Quinoa

All hail the triumphant return of Tutorial Twosday!

I have just discovered quinoa.  It's a lovely little protein-packed grain with the consistency of couscous and a healthful resume. The first time we cooked quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah), we fell in love with the texture and its ability to be a blank canvas to all kinds of flavors; the love affair has continued from there. 

This week, I have two quinoa recipes to share, both of which I have tested, both of which are tasty.

Feeling summery?  Try Quinoa with Corn and Scallions:

This was so good.  Light, fluffy, and sweet, this was the perfect addition to a light, summery meal.  We had ours as a side for kabobs, and a glazed carrot and pea tendril salad, and it was perfect.  There are some things we cook and I think, " I am so bad ass! I am an awesome chef!" This was one of those.  Two thumbs up.

Remember how I said quinoa was good for you?  Remember when I said you could add pretty much anything to it?  Remember my love of cheese? (You see where this is going, right?) One of my lovely Pinterest pals found Quinoa Mac and Cheese, and I couldn't resist.  Grains.  Cheese.  What's not to love?

Was it as good as Mama Goodlaff's Mac and Cheese? No. But it was pretty awesome. And I felt very righteous eating that instead of pasta mac and cheese. I will probably add more cheese to the recipe next time I make it, which will completely negate all the good things the Quinoa brings to the table.  Oh dear--old habits die hard. 

Happy Cooking!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Baby, You Can Buy My Car

When we moved to Seattle, Mr. Goodlaff was able to telecommute.  Once I got a job, I drove the car, he stayed home, and all was well in the land of auto.  A few months ago, Mr. Goodlaff got a new job about 25 miles away.  Sadly, this means no more working in his pajamas, but it also means we needed another car.

We investigated public transportation.  If I had my druthers, I would never drive.  When living in China, I took the bus and subway everywhere, and I loved it.  We looked at taking public transportation here, but it was inconvenient, impractical, and a pain in the ass. So, we decided on another car.

I've already established that there are certain life experiences I missed out on because my dad fixed and provided my cars.  Buying a car is one of them.

One of our saving graces was that we did a ton of online research prior to buying.  We looked at a ton of cars and even more dealerships.  We read reviews.  We did price comparison.  We checked the Carfax.  Eventually we found one car that we liked and wanted to look at.  It had a clean bill of health--no accidents--and had always been serviced at the dealership that was selling it.  It was in great condition, and had a good price, so we went to the dealership early one Saturday morning to take a look. 

We were greeted the second we stepped out of our car, and told Voss (our salesman) that we wanted to look at the car we'd seen online.  He pulled it out, we gave it a once over, took a test drive, and we really liked it.  In fact, I was trying really hard to show how much I liked it.  We decided to deal.

The best thing that Mr. Goodlaff and I did before walking into the dealership was settle on our maximum price.  Then we settled our our real maximum price.  Sound confusing?  Let me explain...We came up with the number that we would tell the dealer was our top price, but we also came up with our real maximum--our "walking away from the table no matter what" maximum, if you will.  We went back and forth on price, and finally settled somewhere in between our two numbers. 

It took us another hour after we came to an agreement to hash it out with finance and dodge all the warranty upsells.  But just a few hours after we decided on a price, we drove away in a new (to us) car.

And she's beautiful!

This is Luna.  Luna is a Honda Accord, and we have been getting along very, very well.  She has very dark windows;  I didn't like them at first, but now they've grown on me. 

I can't say that the process of buying a car was fun, but overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the results!

Adult experience number 372...check!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Postcards from Seattle: Gas Works

I'm a bit behind.  It happens.

A few weeks ago we went exploring in Seattle, and all roads pointed towards the Wallingford neighborhood, home of Gas Works Park, which used to be--I kid you not--a gasification plant.  Now industry and recreation have come together, and I happen to love the combo.  It's clear we weren't alone in loving the park or the beautiful weather.

I was most enchanted with the spring daisies sprinkled all over the park.  If you ignored the industrial elements, it could have been a scene out of The Sound of Music.

We headed up to the top of a hill in the park, and saw a few really awesome views:


All in all, Gas Works turned out to be a pretty awesome park!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Postcards form Seattle: We Like Pike

What do truffle oil, harissa pasta, clam chowder, and strawberry balsamic ice cream have in common? 


Several weeks ago the Goodlaffs decided to take advantage of a brief break in the torrential rain to get out and be tourists in our city.  I like to think we did pretty well.

We started at the Space Needle, and found an Angry Bird ready to launch at the evil space piggies. Apparently, it was a promo for the launch of the new Angry Birds Space game (which is awesome--just sayin'.)

The Space Needle was a part of the 1962 World's Fair, and is celebrating 50 years of being awesome, so the Seattle Center is doing a lot of revamping and remodeling to celebrate such a big anniversary. One of the new exhibits coming in is a blown glass greenhouse garden featuring glass artist Chihuly.  The glass is starting to go up.  It's not even done yet, and already it looks cool.

We walked from the Space Needle to Pike Place Market.  We explored the stalls, bought fancy gourmet pasta (harissa-flavored, which was really good!), saw some flying fish, and got suckered in to buying some truffle oil (which is amazing--we are so gourmet).  All the food made us hungry, so we paused for lunch at Pike Place Chowder.  I firmly believe that only real way to eat clam chowder is from a bread bowl:

Right after lunch (and I wouldn't recommend this order of events), we popped down Post Alley to see the Gum Wall.  It was artfully disgusting, or disgustingly artful--I'm not sure which.

We paused on our way back to the Seattle Center to admire some strange plumbing:

And by the time we got back to the Space Needle, the clouds had disappeared and we headed up in the Needle for some seriously great views of the city! Looking towards Lake Union:

Then Downtown with Mt. Rainier peeking out in the background:

We ended our day with a quick trip up to Capitol Hill, where we grabbed ice cream cones (Strawberry Balsamic and Thai Tea) from Molly Moon's.  Tasty!

We are loving exploring our city.  There's so much to see and do--I don't think we'll ever get bored!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wheezy: Roadblocks

Well, friends, I'm Wheezing it up, but not in a good way.  The training schedule I had so painstakingly laid out?  Totally shot to hell. 

We started running, and that's when it all fell apart. I wasn't stretching well enough before we went, so my leg started hurting halfway through our runs.  After the pain kept up, I took a day off to rest.  The next day it began dumping down rain. 

Then I got a cold. Then Mr. Goodlaff got a cold.  And then, and then, and then.  It hasn't been good.  My cold didn't last as long as the last one, but it seriously affected my lung capacity; I was out of breath walking the 20 feet from my desk to the printer.  Then Mr. Goodlaff got sick.  Then came two weeks of torrential, very cold rain.  The running and the walking completely stopped.

Training in Seattle isn't for sissies, which apparently we are. 

We are slowly getting back on the road again.  We are back to walking, and sometime this week, there will probably be running.  We have just over four months to get to a running-ish shape, and I know we'll make it.  I just don't know if we will be able to run as much as we'd like. 

Well. You know what they say--the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

An Old Friend

I've been quiet, I know.  I haven't felt much like blogging lately; I got sick, it's raining cats and dogs, and well, I just haven't been feeling inspired enough to clickety clack away at the keys and share. 

But today, I will share a magical tale.   Once upon a time, there was a magazine called Blueprint.   It was a Martha Stewart design/lifestyle magazine for the younger set, and it was amazing.  Projects and styling and pretty, pretty, good things.  They did 8 issues, and then Blueprint went away.  It was a sad, sad day, especially since I only managed to snag six of the eight issues. 

Without issues one and eight, I felt incomplete.  And sad.  Very, very sad.  I had to fill the void and complete the set.  To eBay I went.  The eBay sellers knew the preciousness they had, and were charging accordingly--$25 dollars for one issue!  Psh. A bit of fortuitous googling brought me to The Hidden Library, where I found a customer service number (1-877-747-1050) and an offer: all eight issues for $20.  Sold.  I called, I bought the set, paid the man, and today, I have eight brand-new, never been loved issues of Blueprint magazine. 

That dress...I just love it...

It's like meeting up with an old friend and making a few new ones at the same time.  I can't wait to re-read through all the issues for inspiration! 

There aren't a ton of bundles left, so if you're interested, go snag yours while you can.  You'll love it, I promise!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Honk Honk, Rattle Rattle Rattle, Crash, Beep Beep

Alternate title: In which I give the reader a bit of back story before launching in to my tale of used-car shopping.

There are several advantages to growing up the daughter of an auto mechanic:

One: "Daddy?  My car is doing X, Y, or Z.  And making an "eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee" noise. What's wrong with it?"  This question is soon followed by: "Drop it off and I will take a look at it."

Two: Oil changes that I don't have to do myself or take to Jiffy Lube for the hard sell.

Three: Anytime I need a car, one is available to me.

Four: Family Discount.

These advantages all went away when the Goodlaffs moved to Seattle. Bummer.

As you can imagine, being the daughter of a mechanic means I've never had to buy a car.  I've never even considered having to buy a car.  When I turned sixteen, the car conversation went something like this:

"So, you want a car?"
"See that car over there?"
"That's your car. The engine's broken. You are going to help rebuild it."
"Um, yay?"

The car my dad pointed to was a copper-colored 1974 Mercury Comet. Behold "Nimbus" (I name my cars--they run better that way) in all its glory.  I have pointed out some of its best features:

At first, all I wanted was a lovely 90's Honda Civic like all the other cool kids in school, but in all honesty, I came to love my car, and wouldn't have traded it for anything. It was easy to find in a parking lot: Honda, Honda, Honda, Honda, my car. I never had to worry about anyone stealing it--its age made it theft-resistant. Nimbus had a beastly engine that once hit 100 miles an hour (shhh), was practically a steel tank, and once I installed a CD player, had a kick-ass stereo. And did I mention the leopard print seat covers?

Sure, Nimbus had a few issues.  At stoplights I had to keep my feet on the brake and the gas so the engine wouldn't die. There was a massive water leak that soaked the carpets every time it rained, and the water that came in would pour directly onto my foot on the gas pedal; I once found an actual living seedling growing out of my carpet. The cyllanoid wouldn't always work, so sometimes I had to start my car with a screwdriver (though, this, I considered to be more of a plus than a minus--how many people do you know that can start a car with a screwdriver? Two words: Bad. Ass.)

I would also like to point out the car next to Nimbus.  This was the second car I drove, and was named "Fluffy" after the three headed dog in Harry Potter (seeing a theme here?), because no one wanted to go near the car.  In college, all my friends would offer to drive because Fluffy was not cool.

I got my third car when I came back from teaching English in China.  Daddy Goodlaff had him (and the bill) waiting for me.

Neville, my maroon 1984 Honda Accord was lovely.  He was a little slow at times, but brave when it really counted (like his namesake, Neville Longbottom). Before we moved to Seattle, we sold Neville and decided to stick with one car until we couldn't any more.

We hit that point a few weeks ago.  Mr. Goodlaff got a job that would have meant a two and a half hour bus ride for him, or an extra hour added to the commute for me.  We weighed the time, the cost, and the quality of life, and decided to start the hunt for a new (to us) car. 

Up next:  I actually tell you about my shopping experience....

Saturday, March 17, 2012

A New Project

I've been sick for a few days now--sort of a mini-cold of death.  And when I'm sick and feeling helpless, I like to try and counteract the patheticness by taking control of some small measure of a thing.  In this case, my desk.  My desk was buried under all kinds of half-done crafts, months and months of receipts, and various other trinkets. I can't control my cold, but I sure as hell could fix my desk situation. It took me a few hours to straighten and sort and file, but I can now say that my desk is clean.  How long it will stay that way is another matter entirely.

In all the sorting and cleaning it became clear to me that I needed a little something extra to display my pictures and mementos, and keep a few things front and center.  Once upon a time, I had a fabric memory board (sometimes called a french memory board), and I found myself needing one right this second. 

I also found that I had everything I needed to make my very own.  Well, almost. 

A long time ago I painted three canvases for my bedroom.  Since Mr. Goodlaff and I moved in together, they've been sitting in a closet, and for whatever reason, we dragged them up here to Seattle (sentiment, I suppose). In any case, one of my canvases went from this:

To this:

Pretty good for a nearly free project, I'd say. Stay tuned for the tutorial!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Postcards from Seattle: Surprisingly Sunny

Well, it's dumping down rain right now, and it's set to do that for the foreseeable future.  There's so much water, I'm considering building an ark. 

But a few weekends ago?  Totally different story.  It was gorgeous!  Still on the cool side, but the sun was out and the Goodlaffs took full advantage of it. 

We started on Alki Beach, and found this somewhat out-of-place statue to greet us:

I still don't know what a mini statue of liberty is doing in Seattle, but it's still cool...

We walked all along the beach,

Checked out some sea steps,

And finally made it to the best view of the city!

Sunday was spent a little closer to home, at Lincoln Park.  The day wasn't quite as sunny, but the trail was just as awesome.

We had fantastic views of Elliott Bay!

I am so in love with our new home that I can't stand it!  We just have so many amazing public spaces available to us!

It was probably the best weekend we've had in a really long time, because it wasn't focused on errands or chores.  We got a chance to really enjoy the great outdoors in the Pacific Northwest, which is part of what brought us here in the first place. 

Here's to many more sunny days to come!