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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween from Shamy

That's right, we went as Sheldon Cooper and Amy Farrah Fowler for Halloween. If you have no idea what I am talking about, you REALLY need to watch The Big Bang Theory! Hilarious show. We went to the 2nd annual Halloween party at a friends house, the Waddells, for some great food and hanging out. We really enjoyed dressing up as this quirky TV couple!

Costume breakdown:
Sheldon- long sleeved shirt from Old Navy, robot evolution tee identical to what Sheldon wears from an online store, brown pants already owned from Old Navy, brown shoes already owned from Kohls, and a little gel to try to get Sheldon hair (that was the hardest part for Eric) and he did had a messenger bag at the start of the evening

Amy- glasses from Icing by Claires, hair clip from Walmart, button up from Goodwill, cardigan from Target, jean skirt already owned from high school (American Eagle I think), purple tights already owned from Kohls, and shoes already owned from Clarks.

We tried to do an Amy and Sheldon type pose which is basically Amy looking enamored with couple type activities like holding hands and Sheldon hardly tolerating it since it has nothing to do with science, star wars or trains.

Katie as a peacock and Kyle as doctor. Katie made great reuse of her Kate Middleton dress from last year. 
Some cornhole fun before it got dark.
To share a Sheldon quote from the Halloween episode this year, "Couples costume are one of the few benefits of being in a relationship"
Hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day in Vancouver

As I mentioned here we took a 4 day trip to the Pacific Northwest. 3 of those days we spent in Seattle and 1 day we took a day trip to Vancouver. We did this on our 2nd day. After hemming and hawing about whether to take a day trip to Portland or Vancouver we landed on our choice after hearing people say Portland was somewhat similar to Seattle. Someone on the plane tried to convince us to go to Victoria BC and claimed it was just an hour to get there by boat. Of course from doing research I knew this was incorrect so just goes to show you can't always believe what you hear even from locals.

We woke up early that Sunday morning and took the bus to downtown and walked a couple blocks to the Avis. I had pre-reserved a car for us for a 1 day rental which was actually very reasonably priced. It was a 2 hour 45 minute drive to Vancouver.

Going through the border control shortly before reaching Vancouver was pretty easy especially for a holiday weekend. They did not have a nice welcome to Canada sign like the USA side. Canada get on that.

We drove through the downtown yes I took this from a moving car.. mad skillz

and then went to Stanley park... this gigantic park only like 10 minutes outside of downtown.

We strolled around and encountered Sasquatch. They were doing some sort of Sasquatch exhibit believe it or not.

There there Sasquatch. It's not your fault you are big and hairy.

There was a lovely waterfront with benches and a nice view so we sat and had a picnic lunch we had packed.

A photo courtesy of the travel tripod we bought before the trip :)


We walked to a few of the other areas nearby with beautiful and huge trees and tons of flowers. The park was huge, more than you could even see in a day. I have a big love of hydrangeas.

There was a neat view of a marina with the downtown skyline in the background.

Next we went to an area of the city called Granville Island which is this little island close to downtown Vancouver. It has a big public market/farmers market although not as big as the Seattle one and a bunch of shops. It was fairly crowded and a bit touristy but we saw a few neat shops and a ton of produce and food.

View from Granville island back toward downtown. We shared some Maple gelato... when in Canada... and it was delicious. Just about as delicious as gelato in Italy.

Then we headed to the downtown area to walk around for awhile until dinner.

After reading some reviews we decided on an early dinner at the Twisted Fork Bistro. Turns out on Sundays before 6:30 they do a 3 course meal with several choices for $28 per person. It was a great value so we were easily sold on that. Prepare to be hungry after looking at these.

Grilled pesto sourdough, roasted tomatoes, goat cheese and basil oil - my appetizer

Gruyere and caramelized onion tart - Eric's appetizer

Trout with couscous and vegetables - my main dish

Lamb shank with gorgonzola polenta and vegetables in a buttery sauce - Eric's main dish

Amazingly moist chocolate cake with raspberry sorbet - my dessert. Best part of the meal.

Fancy cream sandwich type thing with caramel ice cream - Eric's dessert

As you can see the plate presentations were fantastic. We would definitely recommend the Twisted Fork. Everything was so fresh. The restaurant had a cozy feel and you could even see the chef and sous chefs prepping, cooking and plating dishes due to a somewhat open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant. We sat very close to it and enjoyed watching.

It was time to head back to the US of A. Border control getting back into the US was more involved and I swear the lady asked us at least 20 questions.

We made it back to Seattle and found on street parking for the rental car several blocks from the apartment. On Sundays Seattle has free on street parking which worked out perfect for us!

Great first time visit to Canada!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Donuts

My friend Katie and I have been drooling over the pinterest photos of baked donuts all summer. I was especially excited since I do eat fried food. So one Saturday morning when the weather had turned a little cooler we got together with a couple other girls to make one of the recipes. The other girls worked on some crafts while Katie and I made the donuts.

Here is a link to the recipe. This is the first time making donuts of any sort and by the last batch we had it figured out just right.

Here are some of our lessons learned to help you!

1. Make sure to let the dough rise enough both times (after you make the dough and then again after you cut the donuts). If you need it to rise quicker I know there are great tips online to speed up the process.
2. Don't roll out the dough too thin or they won't be as fluffy. 1/4 inch is about right.
3. Donut holes are better than donuts. For some reason they turned out better. AND you can feel better about yourself by only having nine a few donuts holes and no actual donuts.
4. You can reroll your leftover dough from where you cut out your donuts to make more.
5. No need to dunk the dough in butter. We are making these healthier than frying them after all. Brushing or spooning a little butter over works just fine.
6. 8-9 minutes ended up being the magic time for Katie's standard oven. They taste WAY better if you do not over cook them at all so err on the side of less time.
7. This one might be obvious but they taste better warm and right out of the oven. Not so great warmed up a day later...

These were yummy and up to our expectations by the last couple batches once we had it down pat. It made a ton so if you don't have guests or a big family might be best to cut in half.

Next time we want to try some baked pumpkin spice donuts! Mmm pumpkin!

I also got to take some wonderful food photos on my new 35mm fixed lens! Her kitchen doesn't get a lot of natural light and see how great they turned out. No flash. I tell you, I LOVE LOVE this lens. I did a lot of research before I bought it and it really is perfect for food photography and places with low light and should be great for kids!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

LaForce Likes #24

How cute is this orange wrap watch?! I could definitely rock this at a Clemson game and other times since orange has become such a popular pop of color. You can always count on me to love orange. If you are not the orange loving type (shame on you!) it also comes in red, black and white.


It's from ForeverJewellery on etsy. May just have to put this on my Christmas wish list... hopefully the shortest adjustment would be small enough for my teeny tiny wrist.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

3 Days in Seattle: Day 1

In September we took a trip to the Pacific Northwest and spent 3 days in Seattle and 1 day in Vancouver as a day trip. 4 full days out there total. It was the perfect time of year with gorgeous sunny warm days and cool nights plus as planned, we avoided the Democratic National Convention craziness in Charlotte! Even though this area is known for rain and gloominess we didn't experience even 1 minute of that!

Day 1 in Seattle: Queen Anne, The Market, Belltown

We left Friday after work and flew direct to Seattle. We took the light rail from the airport to downtown and then a pretty short cab ride to the condo we rented in the Queen Anne neighborhood (1 bedroom/1 bath). We could have walked it but we had suitcases and it was pretty late. We settled in, grabbed a few groceries at the QFC a few blocks away and called it a night.

Saturday we began by walking around the Queen Anne neighborhood. This is the view from the condo.

No one has ever mentioned Seattle as being hilly to me but it has by far the most hills of the cities I have been to. You don't need a car when visiting because they have some great public transportation options and it is walkable... just be warned that a good bit of walking is up or down hills.

After exploring Queen Anne we walked all the way to The Market. It was quite a long walk but it was a beautiful morning. The Market is the largest I have ever been to spanning many blocks with stands/shops upstairs and downstairs.

They have an extensive flower market.
Clemson flowers!

Of course it is known for for the flying fish stand (where they throw giant fish across the fish probably about 10 feet) which we were able to witness but not catch on camera.

And they have rows and rows of fresh produce.

We got some famous Beecher's Mac and Cheese, a Beecher's bretzel (braided pretzel) and split a pretty big fish sandwich from another stand and sat in some outside seating to eat lunch. Perfect lunch! Although Eric did say "your mom's mac and cheese is just as good". Can't argue with him on that.

We explored more of the market area then walked down to the nearby docks where the cruise ships leave from.

They had jams, honey, and crafts too.

This is Rachel the pig, the mascot of the market.

The wall of gum. Really it has turned into an entire hallway area of gum instead of just 1 wall.

Making sure we know where to go
Waterfront where a ferris wheel was recently built.

We walked around a little bit more of the downtown area.

We headed to Belltown to a bar called Buckley's which is where the Seattle Clemson Club viewing party was for the Clemson vs. Auburn game.

Not a huge turnout as the alum club is small but there were about 12 people there watching and we had a room all to ourselves. We had a hummus plate appetizer which was quite good and of course pulled a W for the Clemson Tigers!

After the game we walked several blocks to Palace Kitchen, a Tom Douglas restaurant I had read great reviews on. We sat at the bar, had some drinks and shared the goat cheese and lavender fondue with bread and apples and a zucchini gratin dish. Both were delicious, the fondue especially... sounds different but it was amazing.

Also this trip was my first time getting to use my new 35mm fixed lens which I love for food pictures and low light situations. More on that another time.

After that we took a bus back to the Queen Anne area near the condo to get a good night's rest for our day trip to Vancouver the next day!

view from outside the condo at night
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