Monday, March 28, 2011

photo club {distance}

this week's theme - distance - was challenging for me.  it's much more abstract than green (last week's theme) and that really stretched my often structured, type A mind. 

i had to think outside the box, and would have loved to gather more inspiration from the outdoors, but the weather definitely didn't cooperate this last week, so my outdoor ideas & plans didn't quite come to fruition.

{in this photo, i played around with depth-of-field to show distance - the distance between these measuring cups was much greater than it appears - i also shot this using manual focus, which i rarely use, but worked much better in getting this shot}

{and just for fun, one of the photos i took at my nephew's 1st bday party this weekend - the distance to his birthday cake must have seemed vast to him!  the way he's eyeing the cake cracks me up - that cake had no idea what it was in for!!}

for more {distance} inspiration, hop over to amber's blog.  i absolutely LOVE her interpretation and am most certainly going to be stealing that idea!  :)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

easton turns one!

yesterday we celebrated my nephew easton's one year birthday, complete with a full-fledged 'sponge bob' themed party.

here are a few of the moments - suffice to say, the little mister had a great time!

{already getting love from the ladies}

{is that what i think it is??}

{why is that cake so far away?}

{i'm so excited i can't stand it!!}

(linking the above photo to following:
 'the paper mama's sweet challenge
 'simple as that's' the simple things challenge
'my3boybarians's sweet shot tuesday challenge)
Sweet Shot Day
The Paper Mama

{sponge-bob didn't stand a chance}

{neither did the cake...}

{rockin' his new shades}

(linking the above photo to 'iheartfaces' slice of life challenge)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

more than just a chinese dinner

last friday we were invited to the home of one of reid's childhood friends for a home-cooked chinese dinner.

the dinner was prepared by his friend's mother who was born in china and came to the states as an adult.  we were so very honored to have her cook traditional chinese dishes for us, and i'm not talking about one entree, i'm talking about an entire feast! 

well, of course, i couldn't stop snapping pictures and was happy to get there before she was completely finished cooking because i was able to see her finish up the 'sweet & sour pork' as well as prep everything for serving. 

here's the menu as best i can remember it:

-sweet & sour pork
-bbq pork (got this recipe, can't wait to try it!)
-chinese broccoli & beef
-egg rolls (made from scratch, just like everything else)
-chicken & veggie stir fry
-pumpkin & mascarpone log cake (guessing on the name)
-peach mousse cake (guessing on the name)
-jasmine tea

granted, we were told this meal was her 'milder' version of authentic chinese cuisine, the one she typically makes for her american friends.  she wasn't sure how adventurous our palettes were, so she wanted to ease us into the more traditional dishes, hence no chicken feet on the table this time!

not only was the meal delicious, we spent hours around the dinner table as she recounted fascinating stories from her childhood in china, how she came to the states as an adult, and the dental ministry she and her husband are currently involved with in china, which keeps them there almost year round.

it was an incredible evening and such an honor to hear her life journey and be inspired by the way in which God has worked in her life, and the blessing that she and her husband have been to so many others.

family, friends, food and faith - it's not an evening we will soon forget.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

photo club {green}

i was THRILLED to be invited to be part of a photography club ('our little photography club @ portland') a couple of weeks ago.  i could talk photography for hours, and now have a group of wonderful ladies with whom i can share my passion for photography as well as learn from and find inspiration.

while the goal is to meet monthly, we have weekly themes, and this week's was 'green.'  having a focus for my photography was so fun, and i found myself seeing green everywhere!

a few of my green finds -

{the hubs and i were at the oregon coast last weekend, and stumbled upon this jewel in newport, or.  besides being the cutest shade of green, the food was FANTASTIC, and we can't wait to go back!}

{love these!}
{'the noodle cafe' reflection in the window next door}

{green finds in nw portland}


i took a very literal interpretation for this theme and looked for green items that spoke to me. would love to hear what you think!  are there any of these you would have edited out?

now, here's a link to amber's blog for her interpretation of 'green.'  enjoy!  :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

my inner dancer wants to zumba


i don't have rhythm.

the thought of attempting to dance in front of people really stresses me out.  it SCARES me.  my heart starts racing just thinking of it.

maybe it's because dancing or anything resembling it was heavily frowned up in our house due to religious reasons.

maybe it's because i'm much too self-conscious to be able to let loose long enough to see if i might actually have some rhythm.

whatever the reason, i long ago came to terms with the fact that dancing was not my thing - i would never be a dancer, even a closeted dancer.

watching 'so you think you can dance' is the closest i figured i would ever come to enjoying dance.

that all changed today. 

today i was persuaded by a sister to try a Zumba class.

Zumba, which is defined as "an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness-party™ that’s moving millions of people toward joy and health" isn't something i would EVER have tried on my own.

i came up with a million excuses to skip class, and came this close to bailing on my sister.

but i didn't (purely out of guilt,) and instead joined about 40 other women at 'hip chicks do zumba' for an hour.

where to begin???

it was loud, it was fast, and it was very obvious i had no idea what i was doing! 

i could not keep up.

my booty did NOT know how to shake.

my hips definitely lied.


it was the fastest hour i've ever experienced.

it was one of the funnest things i've ever tried.

and best of all, it's the funnest way i've ever discovered to burn calories.

toward the end, i could ever so slightly feel my hips begin to take on a life of their own.

they want to move.

they want to shake. 

they want to dance, darn it!

i know without a doubt i'll go back. 

it's the kind of thing for which i'm willing to make a fool of myself.

if 70 year old women can learn to zumba, surely i can!

i'm determined to find my inner dancer if it kills me.   :)

Mama's Losin' It

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

'the last lions'

just got back from watching 'the last lions', a national geographic documentary/film, and am still reeling from the experience. 

the imagery was stunning, and the real life story of a lioness, her cubs and the survival journey she sets out on with them was gripping, heart-warming and heart-wrenching.  i'm absolutely in awe at the story the filmmakers were able to capture. 

it's only playing in select cities on select days, but if you get a chance to see it, i would highly recommend it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

three ladies, two dresses and one cooking class

i've been trying to finish this post for a week, but it's been ONE OF THOSE WEEKS.  you know what i mean??  an insanely busy week that still somehow managed to feel like it would never end. 

but good news - the work week is over and the weekend is well under way!

so now on to this...almost a week late, but it'll have to do. 


last saturday was a day i don't soon want to forget, hence the reason for blogging about it.  [tangent - i've discovered that among other things, blogging has become one of my main vehicles for preserving memories.  that and taking pictures.  combine the two, and i can no longer blame my horrible memory.]

i met up with two dear friends, sarah and tams, to celebrate tam's 31st bday.  these ladies have been in my life since we were college roommates junior year, and have remained two of my closest friends since. 

many years and seasons of life later, two thing remains constant - our friendship and our tradition of celebrating each other's birthdays, usually in unique ways.

we began the birthday celebration in a common way, but at an uncommon place to us - 'pearl bakery.'  really, no way to go wrong there.  i mean, we're taking about baked goods.

once loaded up on bakery sweets and caffeine, we walked all of two blocks to a favorite store of ours - 'anthropologie.'  really, if it wasn't for the price tags, i'm fairly certain i would own the entire store's contents. that being said, i truly went in with no intention of purchasing anything.  however, i blame group mentality (and pressure!) which soon had me in the fitting room trying on various pieces. 

the star of the show was a cute little dress which both tams and i tried on at the earnest request of sarah.  ok, the dress was cute, and the best part - the name on the tag: 'tabitha.'  yep, apparently there's a designer or brand out there with my name.  it was almost like the dress was meant to be mine...and i came quite close to purchasing it.  but in the end, it was meant to have one owner, and that was 'tams' not 'tabitha.'  :)  we did have fun trying them on though. 

but the highlight of the evening - a cooking class at 'sur la table' which we managed to keep a surprise from tams.  not having taken a professional cooking class before, we weren't sure what to expect, but suffice to say, it was 3 hours VERY well spent.

the theme of our class was 'tuscan dinner party' and the menu consisted of -

ribollita (florentine bean soup)
creamy polenta
pollo e porto (chicken braised in port)
sauteed rapini (broccolini)
paradel (apple bread pudding with grapa cream)

i could go on and on about the chefs, the wine which flowed freely all evening (and was included in the price!), and of course the food.  the overall experience is one i won't soon forget and one which i would highly recommend, especially with friends or with your loved one. 

some of the highlights of our birthday celebration - taken with my hipstamatic, which i'm clearly still loving.  :)

{yep, i'm fairly certain i can do that, no encouragement needed!} 

{yes, i'll take some of these too, please}

{here come the twins}

{had to take a picture of this!}

{cute hat i came close to purchasing - that is, until i saw it was 100% acrylic...oh, and $48.  i think i'll pass}

{tasting different olive oils - my fav: lemon infused}

{mirror above the chef's instruction table}

{wine glasses were kept full all evening - definitely a fun way to cook!}

{risotto well under way}

{oh, the florentine bean soup - it was delish}

{as was the apple bread pudding}

{ummm, not sure what i was doing, but it's pretty apparent i was having a good time.  :)}