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My Super Personalized Ikea Desk

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I’ve been wanting a desk for awhile now. The folding dining room table just wasn’t cutting it and even though I have a laptop, I find using it on the couch fairly annoying and nonproductive. I thought having a cute desk might make job hunting and tedious applications slightly more enjoyable too.

Here’s what I used to get the job done:

  • Ikea Vika Furuskog table top: just plain ol’ 2’x4’x1″ unfinished pine
  • Ikea Vika Furuskog cabinet: also unfinished pine, and perfect for holding all those “important papers” Brent has lying around as well as some of my junk too
  • 2 Ikea Vika Curry table legs: black to go with everything
  • 2 cans of Rustoleom Lagoon satin finish spray paint
  • 1 quart high gloss pure white paint
  • 3 coats of clear gloss polyurethane
  • 3 adorable Anthropologie elephant handles: I have a thing for elephants
  • And the result of 3 weeks of on and off hard work:

    The Lagoon color is looking very blue in these photos, but it’s definitely more dark teal in real life, so yeah. Basically I’m saying that even if you think this desk looks good (which you should), it looks way cooler in person.

    The handles are totally ridiculous. I get that. I really do. But like I said, maybe some ridiculousness will make the job hunt more light-hearted, right? Plus I love them. A lot.

    I had to use more leftover contact paper to cover that ugly particle board bottom again, so even the inside of the drawers has personality.

    Brent thinks he’s going to share this desk with me, but I don’t really see that happening. It’s too “Victoria” for him. He’ll have to design his own.

    Oh, and here’s the price run-down:

  • table top: $40
  • cabinet: $80
  • legs: $7
  • handles: $24 (down from $54, which would have been even more absurd)
  • paint, polyurethane, and supplies: $25
  • For a grand total of $176. I don’t think that’s too bad for a super personalized desk that I adore. I’m so happy with the way it turned out! About half way through the project I was a little bit concerned that it was too much of a hassle to be doing this on a tarp in my tiny office, but it worked out well. Oh, and I did it all myself. I even used Brent’s power drill and assembled it alone. Maybe not that big a deal, but I’m usually lazy/wussy about these things so I was impressed with myself.

    And it’s a perfect place for blogging! 🙂

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    Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict

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    Sunday started off as a pretty ideal day (and then both Illinois and Purdue lost, but that’s another story). I got Brent to go to yoga with me. I promise it didn’t take that much pleading. He enjoys it when he goes. Sunday morning’s class was not a beginner class though, so it ended up being quite a workout. To recover from the sweatiness, we had a kickass brunch planned. We nearly always order eggs benedict when we go out to brunch and I feel like we’ve been talking about making it ourselves for like a year. Well, we finally got around to it.

    Base layer: flaky biscuits from Cooking Light. I made these quickly before we headed to our class. We split the biscuits and put them under the broiler to toast them up a bit. On top of that we put some lighted heated lox-style smoked salmon.

    The eggs presented a problem. We’ve never poached eggs before, which doesn’t seem that difficult, but we were trying to do it at the same time as making hollandaise, which we’ve also never done. It ended up being quite the cluster in the kitchen, so we abandoned the poaching and just fried some eggs over eggs. We still get runny yolk and the process was a lot more familiar.

    The hollandaise sauce is actually super simple, BUT you really have to get the timing down. Our first batch curdled because we were still dealing with the egg issue and the sauce was left on the heat too long. My advice is just to save the hollandaise for last because it comes together in like 90 seconds.

    After assembly, we spooned some sauce on and sprinkled with some smoked paprika and capers to complete the towers of deliciousness.

    We totally scarfed these in like 2 minutes. So delicious. And now that we’re benedict-making pros, you can expect more brunch posts in the future. 😉

    Other fun news: my cousin and his girlfriend are coming to stay with us while they visit Seattle. They’ll arrive on Wednesday and I really hope we have good weather for them. I’m very protective of Seattle and I want people to love it as much as I do, so I always hope for gorgeous weather when people visit. My parents are also coming to visit in April and I’ve very hopeful the weather will be beautiful by then! Good thing we got that guest room put together!

    Banana Cake with Coconut Streusel

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    Oh. Em. Gee! Guys, I totally baked the best thing ever today. Really, I did. It’s been a while since I’ve been this in love with something I’ve made.

    I bought a crapton of bananas last week for snacks for Girls on the Run practice, but I had quite a few leftover. I figured I could always bake something with them, so I just left them alone until they were nearly black. Oh, by the way, anyone else think super ripe bananas smell like alcohol? I’m sure there’s a chemical reaction reason for that, but I don’t know why. Anyway, ripe bananas obviously lead to banana bread, which is delicious, but kind of played out if you know what I mean. So I made cake instead. I kind of consider this a coffee cake, but probably only because it has streusel. I guess I just equate streusel with the Entenmann’s coffee cakes of my youth.

    The cake recipe is not super sweet, and would actually make a super awesome banana bread if you just want to use a loaf pan and skip the streusel. Ohhh, or banana coconut steusel muffins! Yeah. Make this baby portable. That would be pretty baller too.

    Sour-Cream Banana Cake

    • 1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
    • 3/4 cup sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 overripe bananas, roughly mashed
    • 1/2 cup sour cream (light works just fine)
    • 1-1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
    2. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
    3. Add extract, eggs, sour cream and bananas and beat until well-mixed. Some chunks of bananas are fine.
    4. In a smaller bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt.
    5. Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix gently until just combined.
    6. Pour in 9″ cake pan (or loaf pan).
    7. Cover with streusel topping (below) or continue onto step 8 and skip topping.
    8. Bake cake at 350 for 45 minutes, or until done. Begin check after 35 minutes.

    Coconut Streusel Topping

    • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
    • 1/2 cup sugar in the raw (or regular sugar)
    • 1/4 cup cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    1. Using pastry cutter or a mixer on low setting, mix ingredients together until butter is pea sized and mixture resembles coarse sand.
    2. Cover cake completely.
    3. Enjoy tropical deliciousness.

    This was so crazy good. I enjoyed it as an afternoon snack, but I could totally see myself eating a small slice for breakfast and not feeling the slightest bit guilty about it. I love that the coconut streusel gives it an unexpected injection of tropical flava.

    And now I’m off to couch it up. I did not sleep well last night and spending the afternoon with 12 3rd graders is exhausting! I don’t know how teachers do it everyday. 🙂

     

    Braving the Elements

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    I’ll have you know, Brent and I did not puss out and let the rain keep us inside yesterday. We decided to head downtown anyway, and after an hour or so, the rain turned to our normal drizzle and all was right with the world. We’ve been trying to get out of our little Queen Anne bubble, so we took ourselves downtown for some shopping and then on a walking tour of Capitol Hill.

    After a few miles of walking, we stopped at Quinn’s Gastropub for some beer and maybe a snack. Quinn’s has Happy Hour from 3-5 Monday-Saturday (woot! a HH brent can actually participate in!) so we were psyched for some half price beer, especially when we saw what Brent referred to as “a taste of home.”

    Sofie, the saison from Goose Island. So refreshing and we were so psyched to see it because Goose Island has extremely limited distribution in Washington. We miss our midwest beer. The seattlelites love their beer, and claim they have the best beer scene in the country, but umm… we disagree. We haven’t found any breweries in Washington that we like and we definitely miss Goose Island, 3 Floyds, and Bell’s.

    Anyway, along with splitting the Sofie, we also ordered some frites because Brent saw them delivered to someone else and thought they looked good. We tend to spy on other diners. That’s a totally normal thing, right? The frites were served with a Fontina fonduta and some kind of demi glace. (Feel free to call it fries with cheese sauce and gravy, Quinn’s. I don’t need impressing).

    Assuming that picture loaded for you, you don’t need me to tell you these were delicious. We obviously need to go back for dinner sometime. Or just more bar food and beer. I’m not picky. I would have definitely ordered more food, but we had the makings for pizza at home so we headed back.

    Last night’s pizza topping combo was requested by Brent and inspired by one of our favorite haunts in Fort Wayne, 800 Degrees. We were huge fans of their rocket pizza, so I made a pizza (crust from ABin5) with prosciutto, sliced garlic, Fontina and arugula. I just layered the prosciutto  on the dough, sprinkled sliced garlic, topped with a healthy dose of the cheese and baked for 10 minutes. When the pizza came out of the oven, I tossed a handful of arugula on top, just so it barely wilts.

    The pizza was great, but perhaps a bit too salty for my taste. Brent could not stop raving about it and ate all of his pizza and quite a bit of mine too. I guess it’s clearly a make again.

    For us, it’s another grey, wet day out here, but I’ll be making my way to the Ballard Farmers Market, and maybe over to Bedlam Coffee for a Nutella Mocha. Hope losing an hour doesn’t slow down your Sunday!

    Saturday Morning

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    Got a run in, went to yoga, ate an awesome breakfast. Pretty sweet little Saturday. Larry had a pretty great one too.

    Apparently he didn’t get the memo reminding him that he’s 60lbs and has a huge ass. Brent looks pretty proud of himself there too, huh?

    Oh yeah, about that awesome breakfast. It was at 5 Spot. I had been building this place up to Brent ever since Tess and I went a week and half ago, so Brent suggested we head there this weekend. I didn’t exactly put up much resistance. I stuck with what I knew and got the Ranch Hand Eggs. I can’t adequately describe this, but it involved a folded up tortilla stuffed with two kinds of cheese and green onions. I wish I could convey how amazing that thing is because I know this picture is not doing it justice.

    I tried valiantly, but only finished half. That tortilla is one dense mofo.

    The rest of the day is up in the air because its raining. I’m aware that I live in Seattle and everyone thinks it rains all the time, but usually it’s just misting. Today is what Brent and I refer to as “Real Rain.” You know, as in You Need An Umbrella, Fool. So we’re kind of being babies about it and debating whether we feel like leaving the house. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend!

    Eating and Drinking Our Way Around San Francisco

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    Oh man, for a trip that was only two days I feel like we really packed a lot in! Here’s a few snapshots of some of the fun we had.

    We were obsessed with Blue Bottle Coffee. Obsessed. I rolled with the New Orleans style iced coffee for the duration of the trip, while Brent went with the Kyoto style coffee and tried their latte.

    New Orleans style iced coffee on the left and Kyoto style iced coffee on the right. The NOLA style was rich and creamy, and the Kyoto style had the strongest, best flavor of any black coffee I’ve ever tasted.

    Here’s a side shot of the NOLA style, followed by Brent’s latte, complete with art.

    I really water one of these coffee syphons for myself. I think they come in normal house size.

    We also found plenty of wine for me and beer for Brent (and me). We visited the Rogue pub in San Francisco and Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa.

    Favorites at Rogue were the Double Chocolate Stout (mine) and the Yellow Snow IPA (Brent). Word of warning: Do Not Eat at the pub. The food majorly sucked, which is really saying something because we were starving by this point! Few things put me in a worse mood than paying for a bad meal.

    Russian River! Brent was psyched about this visit because he loves some IPAs and sour beers. Me, not so much. Especially the sours. Blech!

    Brent went all out and got the total sampler, which includes 2oz pours of the 14 beers they had on tap. He got to try them all, and found a new favorite: Compunction, which is a blonde ale brewed with pluots.

    I drank Brent’s sample of the Irish stout on the nitro tap (love the smoothness of the nitro tap!) and a bunch of water while patiently waiting to go get wine!

    Wine tasting occurred at Cellars of Sonoma (no photos) and the Wattle Creek tasting room in Ghiradelli Square (loved it so much we became members!). Brent always enjoys hamming it up for the camera. He’d like you to note the raised pinky finger.

    Boozing it up with my husband is totally one of my favorite activities. We just love trying new beer and wine!

    Oh, obviously we ate a lot too. Another favorite hobby of ours. Some of the best meals are below.

    Eating a whole Dungeness crab off a paper plate while drinking a beer out of a paper bag standing by the pier was definitely a highlight.

    Crab carnage ensued.

    Other notable meals included Breakfast Gnocchi, Yes I said Breakfast Gnocchi, at Flavor Bistro in Santa Rosa. Brent had serious order envy when he saw me enjoying this masterpiece.

    Deliciously light gnocchi sauteed with fennel sausage, spinach and mushrooms and baked into eggs. Can you imagine?! No, you cannot.

    Our last meal was dinner at Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern. We were definitely a bit hesitant about heading there, but the reviews were good. Why the hesitation? Mainly because Tyler Florence seems like he’ll shill for anything (Applebee’s?!), so we kind of questioned his taste level. Snobby and ridiculous, I know, but that’s kind of me in a nutshell. Umm, the result: Me: 0, Tyler: 1. This shit was out of control good.

    We had such a difficult time ordering. We both wanted to try everything, but we were not insanely hungry. We ordered a few fan favorites from Yelp reviews and split everything. Forget the bread basket. This man starts you off with fresh out of the oven and super warm and delicious popovers.

    To start, we split the poutine. Nothing like a nice, light appetizer to tease the palate, right?

    Fries, smothered with braised short ribs, cheese curds, truffle gravy and shaved black truffles. I wish we had ordered 3. I’m barely kidding.

    The famous fried chicken. People were losing their minds about this on Yelp, so we felt compelled to try it. Definitely not your typical southern fried chicken, but totally tasty in its own right. Very herbacious and lemon-garlicky. Excellent crunch too. I only had a small piece, which was plenty for me, but Brent lip-smacked and finger-licked his way through the rest of it.

    I know we were on vacation, but I couldn’t help but feel guilty about the glaring lack of vegetables I’d eaten in this past week, so to feel better about myself I ordered the side of broccoli too.

    Imagine my surprise when I couldn’t stop eating it. Seriously, like broccoli crack. It was roasted and tossed with cranberries, pine nuts and mustard green pesto. Best vegetable side dish I’ve ever had at a restaurant. Hands down.

    Definitely in need of good ol’ water and vegetable replenishment once we arrived home!

    Playing Tourist in Seattle

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    I just dropped Tessa off at the airport, but we were already discussing when we can manage to get together again! It was so much freaking fun to have her here for a few days, especially because I used her visit as an excuse to play tourist in my new city. Tuesday night, after her arrival, I dragged her to get pho. What can I say? I have an addiction. She enjoyed it. Well, she said she did. She really had no choice. I think I spent 4 days talking it up to her and going on and on about how amazing it was. I’m known for doing that kind of crap.

    Actually Tessa and her husband came to visit us in Fort Wayne once and I spent the entire month before they arrived telling them about my obsession with Cindy’s diner in downtown Fort Wayne and more specifically, how they had The.Best.Buttered.Toast.EVER. When Tessa and Greg arrived, I woke them up at 6am and forced them to go eat greasy, trans-fat filled, margarine-covered toast. Yeah, that actually happened. Being friends with me IRL is totes awesome.

    Moving on to Wednesday, we were busy! We started off with breakfast happy hour at Toulouse Petit, where I had a delicious Croque Madame. After a bit of putzing around I talked Tessa into going to yoga with me (fun fact: my first studio yoga experience was an intro course with T like 7 years ago). The rain and wind were kind of crazy at this point so we debated back and forth about going to Pike Place Market. The sun came out and we convinced ourselves we had to get out. We braved the winds to explore the market, where I subsequently lost my mind over a stand selling dried fruit with no added sugar. Seriously guys. No.Added.Sugar. I repeated that like 28 times and then bought 2 bags. I regretted not buying 4.

    We stopped for lunch at Beecher’s and dove into some flagship grilled cheese while sitting on rather uncomfortable milk bottle stools.

    Hmm… This sandwich is melty cheese, pesto, and tomatoes between crispy bread. There was nothing inherently wrong with it, but it just didn’t totally float by boat, you know? I probably wouldn’t go back for a sandwich, but Beecher’s cheese curds and flagship cheese are both A-OK in my book.

    We had both already eaten lunch obviously, but we were lured into Piroshky Piroshky. Anthony Bourdain is a fan, and the smells were intoxicating. Unfortunately our microwaved cinnamon raisin cardamom braid was not all that. It was bland, with no cardamom flavor to speak of, and it had a weird texture. I’m not saying don’t go to Piroshky Piroshky, but I am saying maybe try to go savory rather than sweet. I’d go back to try a potato, onion and cheese piroshky.

    Oh, before we move on, please look at the awesome thing T and I found at some random toy store in the market. They were corn dog and broccoli action figures who are also apparently archenemies.

    Umm, yeah. We nearly died laughing while repeating “flimsy tube of meat” and “stinky side dish.” For some reason when we tried explaining it to Brent that night at dinner, he did not find it as hilarious as we did.

    Thursday, Tessa proved her rockstar status as best friend by going shopping with me. No easy task. I am a total freak when it comes to shopping. Honestly. I wander aimlessly into stores, get overwhelmed, and usually leave in near tears. As a result of my inability to shop and the cross-country move, my wardrobe has consisted of a pair of yoga pants, a pair of ill-fitting skinny jeans, 3 t-shirts, a tank top, and a fleece jacket. If that didn’t require an intervention I don’t know what does. T was a trooper and we made a lot of progress at the clearance racks at Macy’s and Nordstrom Rack. Thank God she was here to help!

    Our touristy dinner of choice for Thursday was dinner at The Crab Pot. Featured on Man vs. Food, The Crab Pot is a ridiculously popular restaurant on the Seattle Waterfront.

    I was not joking when I called The Crab Pot popular. They do not take reservations and there was a 30-45minute wait when we arrived. On a Thursday. In March. Ugh. I was starving and really did not anticipate much of a wait. We distracted ourselves in the bar, where I consumed a ridiculous drink.

    That was called the Tsunami and it was blue and delicious. And served in a giant glass carafe. Hey, no judging. We were celebrating. Thursday was our five-year wedding anniversary.

    Brent, party of 3! Dinner time! The Crab Pot is known for their “Seafeasts” which are buckets of seafood dumped on butcher paper on your table. Sounds classy, no? To complete the theme, they also give you bibs and wooden blocks and mallets, with which you are expected to beat your dinner into submission before consuming it.

    Our bibs were donned. Our mallets were ready.

    Brent was looking pretty serious as we waited for the arrival of our bucket o’seafood.

    And it has arrived. We ordered the Westport Seafeast, which contained Dungeness crab, Snow crab, Mussels, Clams, Shrimps in their shells, Andouille sausage, Corn on the cob, and red potatoes. Let the madness begin.

    In attacking our dinner, I went straight for the dungeness crab. It’s what I came for and it did not disappoint. I wasn’t actually all that interested in any of the other elements, but I did have a bit of the snow crab, mussels, and clams as well. I would definitely go back to The Crab Pot, but I would probably just get the whole Dungeness crab. It’s a fun place to take out of town guests!

    And this morning I rode the lightrail with Tessa to the airport, snapped one last picture and said good-bye.

    I can’t be too sad though. We leave for our anniversary trip to San Francisco bright and early tomorrow morning at 6am!!