amsterdam.

iloveitiloveitiloveit.

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we flew from dublin to amsterdam to spend my 30th birthday and new year's eve. 

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this was my first time in amsterdam since i was just a wee tot. holy wow, i couldn't love this place more.

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even though these photos look dreary and rainy, we had the best time. i cannot wait to go back sometime in the spring or summer and ride our little bikes all over the land.

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love a nicely centered, brightly colored bicycle moment.

this city is just so damn charming & quaint. it was rainy and snowing a little bit while we were there, but weather doesn't stop the good people of amsterdam at all. that's what i loved about this place. these folks know how to live. 

we saw so many stylin' women in fancy coats and heels cruising around on their bicycles with bouquets of flowers and wine in their baskets. for real! can you even belieb? it was like something out of an old tymey movie.

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^ we spent the morning of my 30th birthday at the laundromat, lol. good tiiimes.

did i mention that we each only brought a small carry-on suitcase on this trip? with multiple big coats and everything! 16 days worth of stuff. it was shocking to me, but i was so glad to only have a tiny suitcase to haul all over the place. all i can say is - compression bags are the greatest thing ever. they're seriously incredible. it kind of sucked having to repack the compression bags every time we moved to a new location, but the amount we fit in our tiny suitcases was a true miracle. 

what do you do on your 30th birthday in amsterdam when it's raining all day, and also snowing?

you hit up the heineken experience, of course.  they made me wear a birthday hat and at the end of the tour they gave me this stein that i could refill indefinitely. how convenient.

^ lolz i got a kick out of this drawing of a hot dog as the menu. 

^ that heine was flowin! afterwards we went on a light boat dinner cruise at G's. it was a fun and memorable birthday with my boo. 

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^ even though all the dutch words are wildly long, we still had an easy time getting around on public transit. people are so nice and everyone speaks english so it was an easy transition.

also the fresh mint tea they have at cafes is so delightful. so much mint in there!

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this was probably my favorite little part of our time in amsterdam. exploring the canals is endlessly fun and enjoyable. we stumbled upon this little seating area on the canal across the street from the pub. they brought us beers and there were swans casually cruising by. i mean, TRY TO BE CUTER, AMSTERDAM.

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and there were still tons of lights leftover from christmas :) 

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picked out some fun vintage knobs for my friendzies and we had delicious hot stroopwafel at this market. 

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pub life.

^ look at that dude's geetar thang! yuuuuge!

we stayed at the ultra hip and fun volkshotel. they had really cute details, lots of events going on and cool stuff to do. for new year's eve, they had a big party at the top floor bar where we watched the most insane fireworks show we'd ever seen. there were fireworks going off 360 degrees around the city, from around 6pm until 2am or so...it was amazing!

twas a happy new year indeed! 

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qp

2016.

january

we went on a beautiful wintry hike to heather lake.

we went to cabo san lucas!

i went night skiing for the first time.

i made some "fancy" citrus & herb ice cubes ;)  these were featured on the feedfeed's community cooking site in the herbs & spices feed. 

 

february

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barely caught a couple of gorgeous sunsets at the end of the workday near our house. i live for the days when it is not dark out at 5pm.

i baked up a lot of bready goods. 

pete and i went on a fun valentine's day bus camping trip on whidbey island.

 

march

spring came early and it was freaking beautiful.

i discovered the most delicious fluffy chocolate marshmallow filled donut at general porpoise donuts in capitol hill.

i attempted my very first lemon meringue pie from scratch for my dad's birthday. the pie turned out tasty & scrumptious, but looked hideous and you won't find it on this blog. i'm always bummed when recipes don't work out on my first try (especially when i take all the process photos expecting the food to turn out just right)...but it's all just part of the learning process. i'm getting better at accepting that and attempting recipes again instead of turning my back on them forever. anyhow, i'm excited to create some successful meringue magic. 

my company spent several days shooting at snoqualmie pass in the remaining winter's snow for our winter 2017 print piece. these shoots are really fun and a lot of work with a lot of moving parts. its definitely cool to see the images from this project out in the wild, and in print!

during our big shoot, i took this photo on my moment macro lens and it is now featured on the product page for this arc'teryx jacket. 

 

april

we visited pete's fam on lopez island. love that fairy tale house.

spring was GORGEOUS!!! and this photo above was reposted by DESIGN SPONGE on instagram. i about lost my damn mind! that was reallyyyy something.

i carried on my merry ice cube making way and came up with these coffee & coconut cream ice cubes. this recipe was also featured on the feedfeed's cooking site in the caffeinated beverages feed. 

may

i tried my hand at various fruit-as-roses.

pete and i went backpacking in the rain at goat lake.

fun summertimes began to commence. pete and i set out on our volkswagen road trip to utah!

this photo below of our happy cheddar bus in moab was shot with my moment wide lens for iphone, and was reposted on moment's instagram account.

made delicious homemade tzatziki. this image above was reposted by food should taste good on instagram.

june

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evening bike rides and picnics are what life is all about :)

evo's annual employee retreat was one to remember. the theme was high school cliques and my marketing team was the marching band. so many laughs and hilarious videos taken that i still laugh wildly at today. 

we had oodles of back porch barbecues and gatherings and rode bikes to our beloved marination ma kai. pete bought a ukulele and we started learning lots from cynthia lin on youtube. she's amaaazing. and cool. pete got another uke for christmas and is still really into it. i think my uke talents peaked at 'three little birds.'

^^^ neighborhood summer solstice partay on the hill. except that durn cloud covered the sunset. we still had a fun picnic. so crazy that this is at like 9:40pm.... ah! can't wait!

lopez island again for the 4th of july! always a grand ol' time!

oregon kriekfest & camping near hood river! 

lake union boat party for piper's birthday!

ADELE!!!!!!!!!! she is just amazing. 

 

august

ohhhh summer night grillin' at its best. i LOVEEEE this time of year.

more fun summer nights!! above is a crazy nicoise salad made by our friend jeff. what a delight!

pete and i spent a lazy summer afternoon on the patio of the bar on lopez island just drinking beer and chatting it up with all the yocals that came and went. such a fun day.

our obsession with locals flip flops is still v strong. we re-upped on our supply on our trip to hawaii this fall :)

pizza & pals. ❤️

^^^ ashleigh's birthday/crab made of bread bash at birch bay!

more grillin' and chillin' and dining al fresco.

lake days.

sounders game!

pete demolished the last 15 feet or so of our very long driveway and we are expanding our backyard! it's not done yet, but the yard is twice the width now. 👍

september

i concocted this mess of chocolate and mallows and s'mores ice cream in a skillet. this image was also shared on instagram by lodge cast iron.

september = sportzball.

so much sports ball..

pete and i went to his friend julie's amazing hindi wedding at the four seasons.

outdoor hall & oates concert with friends!

 

october

pete & i took a fun day trip to vashon island.

halloweener!

 

november

we visited friends in the bay area for the UW vs. Cal game. such a fun weekend!!!

in n' out treat before we headed back to seattle.

fall four square games at work. just like the good ol days.

pete and i celebrated 8 years together! 😘

^^^ my cutie uncle transported his wine to thanksgiving dinner in a laundry basket. 😂

rainy thanksgiving cocktails with my bestie!

pete & i got the perfect tree from our local produce stand before i left for nyc.

 

december

snow in seattle! only an inch or so. but we still went sledding and made a snowman, haha.

my friend whitney and i went back to new york city! i just love that place! seeing it during the holidays was a dream come true.

^^^at pete's company holiday party.

^^^ i spent my first christmas ever with peter and his family, which is kinda crazy! we'd just never been in the same place on christmas day before this one...so it was pretty fantastic to be with him. i loved it.

saw a cool harry potter themed gingerbread exhibit at the sheraton hotel in seattle.

celebrated my 29th birthday and rung (rang? ruhuuung?) in the new year with friends at a beautiful airbnb on vashon island! i loved pete's adorable surprise birthday waffle breakfast he made for me.❤️

2016 was pretty good to me and i'm so grateful & thankful to lead this privileged life with amazing people around me. it was a rough, at times horrifying, year in this country and around the world.  i will continue to be positive and appreciate every good thing in my life, which i'm fortunate enough to do every single day.

in this online space, i can only hope that any little thing i've shared on this blog may encourage or teach or inspire somebody in some small way, and make their day just a little bit brighter. 

 

xoxo

qp