Hi everyone! Today I’m letting an old friend and mastermind of recipe crawls introduce her new web series. There is a little scavenger hunt and a giveaway wrapped up in it all, which I find so delightful. Without Brooke’s ability to pull together blogger events the Partridge In A Pear Tree 3D Cookie and the Decorated Orange Pumpkin Pancakes for Halloween would not have been thought up. Thanks Brooke! Take it away:
It’s a Holiday Block Party, and you’re just 24 hours away from winning a last-minute $500 Holiday Shopping Spree from Good Cook!
There’s a new neighbor in the bloggy culdesac, so we’re having a celebration to say hello and you’re invited! HisXHers.com is a new online video series with Cheeky Kitchen’sBrooke McLay and Daddy Evolving’sEldon Kartcher. As a divorced mom and gay, widowed dad, Brooke and Eldon know a little about the untraditional paths life can take. They also know, as you do, how busy life can get. So, as real life besties with a penchant for food, design, and home, they decided it was time to create a deliciously stylish approach to the things we do everyday while keeping it all simple, realistic, and totally sexylicious.
Here’s how it works: Today only, 8 different blogs (including this one) are premiering exclusive HisXHers episodes. One reader will win a $500 Last-Minute Shopping Spree Visa, and 15 lucky readers will win an 8-piece Good Cook Bakeware set. Here’s how to get yourself all entered up and ready to win:
Visit all 8 of the blogs below & hunt for the answer to the secret question in their exclusive HisXHers.com episode:
Visit HisXHers.com, leave a comment with your answers to each of the 8 Holiday Scavenger Hunt questions, and you’re entered to win the Holiday Shopping Spree! To win one of the fifteen 8-Piece Good Cook Bakeware Sets, simply follow HisXHers.com on Facebook or Twitter.
Ready to get yer partay on?
Check out the episode below, nab the answer to this question, then visit HisXHers.com, leave a comment with your answers and you’re just 24-hours away from a potential shopping spree! Winners will be decided by 10 a.m. MST on Wednesday, December 19th.
This episodes Secret Holiday Scavenger Hunt question is: Brooke talked the whole cast of what show into a giant Christmas surprise for her daughter?
Two weeks of travel in November left me feeling a bit run down. I just cannot sleep well when I’m not at home and it leads to all forms of whining. (Frequent travelers who sleep, I salute you. Now tell me how you do it.) Part of the trouble is lower back pain which I’ve had since I was in high school and which has been bothering me again. When I was grousing about all my aches I decided I needed to start a regular exercise schedule again because I have discovered that when I keep my core strong my back pain is no longer a problem. I can sit in the least-ergonomic chairs and sleep in the saggiest mattress and be just fine. Also when you can keep up a sprint pace down long hallways you might not miss that connecting flight. (Which totally wasn’t my fault, who expected a worldwide computer system to crash just before my first flight of the morning? Who thought it would happen all over again for the return flights?) This is all “duh, Megan” information I realize but somewhere I had forgotten how beneficial it is for many different situations. Might any of this also have to do with putting on a bathing suit at Camp Mighty last month? Ha ha ha no! I mean yes, a lot.
So instead of giving in to the excuse that is waiting for New Years resolution time I decided to take this weak glimmer of motivation and start exercising right away. During the most overwhelming month of the year. Wish me luck.
One thing that is helping to propel me along is getting to try out pvBody. This is how it works, they send you a new exercise top and bottom each month for a subscription fee (which works out to two thirds less than the items would cost retail). If you like them you keep them, if not you send them back for a refund and shipping both ways is free. When you sign up you can chose guidelines based on what sort of activity you do (“being comfy” is one of the options) and style you like. They allow you to chose from a bunch options: racerback or camisole? short or long sleeve? low, natural or high waist? patterns or no? colors or all black? I like being that specific and I like not having to try on clothes in a too-warm and harshly lit dressing room. I’m finding having fresh new clothes that are stretchy in the right places and do that wicking thing to be motivating in a way I wasn’t expecting. Girl strong! Girl do extra bicycle crunches!
The Portland Bazaar is next weekend, Dec. 8th and 9th. There will be stuff to buy and food to eat and I wish I could make it down there. Also, Design*Sponge is buying the first 100 guests of each day a little pick me up (coffee from Heart on Saturday and Pine State Biscuits on Sunday). Nice.
The annual Gingerbread Village display here in Seattle is up now through January 1st at the Sheraton. If you’d like you can take a peek at what is on display each year. This display is one of my favorite reasons to take a trip downtown in the winter, and since the display is open at all hours (it’s in the hotel lobby) you can plan a late night viewing followed by cocktails nearby.
The Mighty Tieton 2012 Chandelier Festival is tomorrow, Dec. 1st and includes a Holiday Crafts & Antiques Bazaar and the opening of Trimpin’s Sound Space, which you can control using an iPhone. Which is awesome. I was a kickstarter supporter and have a bunch of tickets to experience it, which I’ll be doing soon.
Kirby Krackle just released a new song and video called One More Episode. (It’s fun to try to name all the show opening art in the video.) They’ll have a holiday single out soon, Kyle will be appearing at the Dammit Liz Holiday Special at The Triple Door. And Kirble Krackle will be opening for Wierd Al (!!!) at the Calgary Expo in April. Awesome.
I had a fabulous time at Camp Mighty earlier this month. There was lots of learning about inspiring projects, lounging by pools, connecting with new people (‘sup new peeps from Seattle?!) and visiting with old friends. Mostly though I was thrilled by the number of people I met who had amazing goals for their life and the year ahead, and I loved watching how sharing those goals meant finding people who were able and happy to help.
And! This year Bing was a sponsor of the camp and helped two campers with one of the things on their list and, shocker, I was one of those names pulled out of the jar. So I’ll be hosting my first dinner party for ten people with their help. I’m petrified and super excited and of course you’ll be hearing all about it. Thanks Bing!
Go Mighty is up and running and doing online what Camp Mighty does off. I’ve yet to get my list up there (a week visiting family around Thanksgiving means I’m a little behind) but good stuff is already coming from the site. I cannot wait to see what happens next.
Cool Tools – Rivet Spacer. “A rivet spacer was originally designed for evenly spacing rivets on aircraft, but it can be used for evenly spacing anything, from buttons on a sweater, to finish nails on those infernal Ikea drawers you are trying to put together nicely.”
In August I attended Hops Academy in Yakima, Washington. I don’t brew beer outside of kits but I have a deep love for hops, they are so darn yummy, so when I discovered that I could learn more about them I jumped at the chance. Also a friend of mine is expanding his brewery, Charging Hippo, and I figured knowing a lot about hops miiiight just be information that could be traded for beer. The academy was a two day class that ranged from basic introduction, how hops are grown, harvested and preserved to full on molecule diagrams. I learned that 75% of the hops in the US are grown in Yakima by ten growers, that in recent years the desires of craft brewers have dramatically influenced what variety of hops are grown commercially, that when you grow hops you need to wrap them clockwise around the cord (even in Australia) and I heard jokes like this:
“If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the precipitate.”
One of the best things about the class was meeting the other attendees who ranged from a really huge beer company to large and small craft brewers and even a hops grower. I was wildly happy that women made up a fourth of the class. After the first day we took an unofficial “research” trip to The Beer Shoppe where we all bought bottles and tasted Dogfish Head 120 Minute IPA which was sweet and potent. Oh so potent.
We were there about a week before the hops were going to be harvested so we got to visit huge fields full of ripe hops. They grow to 16 feet high and are very dramatic. It was a geeky thrill to get to pick one to crush in my hands, it smelled amazing. We also got to visit sparkling clean processing factories and, the most exciting, enormous cold warehouses filled with bales of hops.
If you’re a brewer or a grower I think the class would be well worth it. We learned that Haas is building an experimental brewery in Yakima and it will become part of the class so I’d wait for that to be up and running, hopefully by next summer. I might go back.
This post is in partnership with smartwater. smartwater, live a life well hydrated. Click here to learn more.
Scott and I enjoy taking bicycle rides on the weekends and happily Seattle has lots of dedicated trails. It’s good for exercise but as an exceptionally lazy person I found that I need a little extra motivation to get me to put on a bicycle helmet. Something like lunch, definitely on a patio, hopefully with some beer. New trails always feel like an adventure, but finding a restaurant that we wouldn’t have tried otherwise feels like victory
Here are some of my favorite bicycling and lunch combinations near Seattle:
Food pairing: Red Hook Brewery, which has lots of bicycle racks and a big patio. And beer, obviously.
Advantages: If you get there at the right time you can catch a tour of the brewery. Also, you’ll go right past the famous Herbfarm Restaurant (!!!), though they might not appreciate you eating there in your bicycle shorts.
Food pairing: Armadillo BBQ which has a sun dappled back deck and and some hot sauces that might be a challenge. Smokey meats and bike paths go surprisingly well together.
Advantages: The path is unpaved and less used so you can go for a long way without seeing another soul. So much so that when I had to stop and find a bug that had bumped into me and fallen down into my bra (yikes people!) I’m fairly certain that nobody saw. Proximity to curious cows and a few bridges that allow you to watch the fish swim by below you.
Food pairing: Maggie Bluffs, a lesser known casual counterpart to the nearby fancy Palisades restaurant. Great views, outdoor seating and shrimp.
Advantages: The ride is mostly along the waterfront so the view cannot be beat. There is a section that goes along some major train tracks and we got to witness the process of train cars being coupled by, essentially, ramming them together. It was spectacular. The train obsessed kid in our neighborhood would have lost his mind with joy.
Next I’m going to get a bicycle basket and we’re going to work on finding spots for epic picnics that cannot be reached by car.
Lunch definitely tastes better when you have traveled there under your own power. Do you have any rituals for bicycle trips? Ever find anything fabulous?
Happy Mail How-To | giverslog. Giverslog has a whole series of posts about sticking postage on items (sans box) and sending them off in the mail, she includes a very helpful guide. I’m particularly taken with the plastic eggs, how amazing would it be to find them in your mailbox?
Last year I had the opportunity to partner with HP and join in the Project Runway Challenge1 and (I can hardly believe this) they’ve asked me to join them again this year which is extra-super-exciting because it’s the 10th anniversary of Project Runway. Deep breaths everybody, we’re going to get to NYC for Fashion Week again!
This year bloggers2 were challenged to pair with designers to use HP TouchSmart computers to collaborate on a final object/product/thing that we will unveil during Fashion Week. But the kicker? We’ll need your input to shape what we’re making. It’s easy, promise, just answer the poll you’ll find below.
I asked graypants, a conceptual design studio here in Seattle, to join me and I am so excited that they said yes. I first learned about graypants a few years back when some friends and I were setting up a group for small business owners to compare notes. Not only were the very charming Seth and John there but their scraplights were lighting the bar at Vermillion where the group met. Since that time graypants has become huuuge, they’ve moved into an amazing space in an industrial section of Seattle and been recognized by all sorts of publications that I’ve barely heard of. If I’d paid closer attention I would have been way too intimidated to even ask. Seriously.
I got the chance to hang out in their studio and take photos:
Voting closed, thanks everyobdy!
1: Which, let’s face it, I wouldn’t have lasted through the first episode even though my fantastical ravings might have imagined otherwise.
2: Who else is involved? Design Milk (Jamie came up with the idea for collaborating with designers, Jamie is greatness like that), Design Crush, and CapreeK from Curbly (all three of whom I’ve had the pleasure of seeing drunk, or at least up really late, at Alt Summit) and AphroChic (whom I will shortly see drunk or up way past her bed time, her choice, it’s gonna happen).
Here is the deal: HP is giving me (Megan) and the designers (graypants) both HP TouchSmart computers and Photoshop CS6 software from Adobe to use to share ideas. They are also sending us to New York during fashion week to report back on what we’ve collaborated on. (And what gossip we might find out during the HP/Project Runway 10th Anniversary Party. We promise to share pictures.)
Thanks everybody! We’ll be back shortly with sketches and another question to help point us on our way. In the mean time let’s chat. Have you been watching Project Runway? What do you think of this season? I have to admit I’m a few episodes behind because I’ve been spending all my tv time with the Olympics. I feel a bit like I’ve been cheating.