Ce Soir ou Jamais

tonight I write...or never

Sunday, June 25

Lily's Pampering Salon and Party Boutique

If you have a daughter who's a little posh, a little chic, loves to be pampered, and has a mom who is too lazy to throw a party, then Lily's Pampering Salon and Party Boutique on Seattle's Queen Anne Hill is the place to host her next birthday celebration.

Lily's is a place for the girly-girl in all of us. The polar opposite of Club Libby Lu (or Pimp My Kid, as I love to call it), Lily's is an elegant salon, decorated as though Pottery Barn Kids went a bit Rococo, complete with crystal chandeliers and overstuffed pillows. Licensed aestheticians cater to a young girls needs: services include everything from bang trims to pedicures to updos. And though Lily's target customer is aged 4-12, mom is welcome to get her bangs trimmed while her daughter's nails are polished the perfect shade of pink.

The best part about Lily's? The downstairs Party Boutique. Choosing from an array of themes (friendship, hippy chic, sleeping beauties, pretty in pink), your daughter and up to 11 of her friends receive a posh polish, an updo, complete a craft project, and dine on cupcakes served on china. The moment is then frozen in time with a group photo taken under an archway of ribbon and tulle (my daughter's favorite part of the party). Each guest goes home with a glassine bag filled with yummy sweets and themed based gift. (Sleeping Beauties get a hand sewn pillow case decorated with a fairy godmother.) Not only do two stylists host the party for you, Lily's provides the invitations and thank you cards. And the cupcakes and cleanup are all included in the party package cost, too!

Darian selected Sleeping Beauties as her theme so her guests were all referred to as 'Princess' and their craft was to make a magic wand. My daughter decided to kick me and the other moms out of the party room for her magical hour and a half, so I got to spend some time sitting outside just down the street at El Diablo Coffee enjoying tres leches cake. Upon our return, we did get to watch some of the present opening and I was glad to see that a gift list was kept by one of the party hosts. She even packed up all the presents, saving all gift bags and bows!

This was probably the easiest- not to mention cost effective- birthday party I have ever had to throw, and according to my daughter, one of the best she has ever had! I highly recommend Lily's to all my friends with daughters.

Overheard in the child's room

"So, do you feel any different now that you are nine?"

"Not really. I am a little taller, though!"

"Yeah, and your parents let you get away with more stuff."

"Yeah, like I got an iPod for my birthday. But my mom says I can't have a laptop until I'm in my tens."

Thursday, June 22

Nine years ago today...

My body birthed a gorgeous little girl. A perfect seven pounds, seven ounces, 19 inches long, 10 fingered, 10 toed little girl.

I celebrate your birth with you today, my Darian. In nine years you have grown to become a self confident, imaginative, caring, funny, kind, and all around beautiful girl. I couldn't be prouder to be your mom.

Happy Birthday, my love.

Sunday, June 18

I loves me some crab cakes

Saturday night our family went to dinner at the Dahlia Lounge, a place we had never eaten before in the past. We should be smacked for not eating there sooner. For starters we had baked hearts of palm served over salmon and a wild morel ravioli. Oh, how the flavors melted in my mouth! I could never begin to become a food critic, so you will just have to take my word that these two appetizers really did whet my whistle for more delectable treats. I decided I wanted sea food, being that I have not had any since getting pregnant. I live in the Pacific Northwest....if I could start back up on the coffee, I could certainly indulge in salmon (It's the tail end of Copper River season), or a piece of halibut. But it was the crab cakes that piqued my interest.

In case you don't know, I grew up in Baltimore. My summer dinners consisted of steamed Maryland Blue Crabs, lunches of crab cakes, and later in the fall- crab bisque. I'd never known any other crab until I moved to Seattle when I was dismayed to taste the Dungeness crab. In Maryland, you get a bushel of steamed crabs, seasoned with Old Bay, of course, a pitcher of beer, and your evening is filled with pickin' some of the sweetest meat you could ever taste. Here, when you order Dungeness crab, you get one. One crab that is boiled and has absolutely no flavor. After that disappointment, I decided to order crab cakes, holding out for some flavor. I continue to be saddened with what I am served. Bland is about the best word I can use to describe past dinners. Prince said it best, writing 'Nothin' Compares 2 You', an homage to the Maryland Blue Crab. Betcha didn't know that little bit of trivia, did ya?

Prince never tasted Tom Douglas' creation that was on Dahlia's menu Saturday night: Lemon~scallion Dungeness crab cakes with sweet chili avocado, caramelized romaine,
tomatoes with basil and béarnaise. I did and I have to say it was the best tasting crab cake served up in the Pacific Northwest that I have ever tasted. Make that TWO crabcakes as that is how many were on my plate. The cakes were fluffy and thick~ ALL CRAB, not filler like most restaurants pass off. The crispy yet smooth coating, which I never asked, but tasted much like my favorite coating- panko, was buttery without tasting fat or heavy and complimented the crab meat well. The sweet chili avocado brought out the fresh taste of the crab while the carmelized romaine and tomatoes added that sweet kick. It was heaven served on china.

Oh, Dahlia Lounge...I WILL be back for dinner. Those crab cakes are calling my name again......

ps- Of course I never left the restaurant without having a slice of Tom's Famous Triple Coconut Cream Pie. My God, I thought I was in heaven with the crab cakes.....Oy, it was so good!!

Thursday, June 15

It's cheese...that's the stuff that binds

I was over at Kristine's reading about her upcoming nuptials and feeling all giddy that she is marrying her best friend.

Honey, if I haven't said it to you recently, I am so glad that I married you, my best friend. And I have to share with the blogisphere the story of the couple on the bus that will be us in 40 years.

Before I ever met and married Scott, I used to live outside of Seattle and commute to work by bus. On Saturdays, the bus changed routes to include the quaint little downtown of the city where I was living because who needs Express on a Saturday morning? I noticed that the passengers on the Saturday bus were predominately from the retirement village~ many older ladies dressed up for shopping, but more elderly couples who held each other's hands stepping onto the bus, the husbands always seating their wives before taking their own.

One morning, a couple boarded and happened to spot some friends. I was not too many rows behind them and couldn't help hear the conversation that the wife was having with her friend; the husband casually looking out the window.

"Oh, and can you believe all that they are doing over there? Cutting down all those beautiful trees?"

"I know, I can't believe it myself. But you know, with all those people moving out here.....I hate to see them cutting down all those trees."

The elderly husband looks toward his wife and asks quite seriously, "Cheese? Who cut the cheese?"

"Honey, it's trees. We are talking about cutting down trees."

She patted him gently, a smile of knowing on her face while he shrugged and went back to his gazing. She continued her conversation; cheese cutting being a topic I am sure she has had to correct her husband on many a time. It would not break her concentration conversing with her friend. And fortunately, no one on the bus was breaking wind.

I sat back in my seat and wondered if I would ever have that type of relationship~ to be insync with another for obviously decades, continuing to interact with each other as they were a silly young couple, a retired old comedy act.

When my boyfriend decided to propose to me, surprising not only me but his family on a Christmas Eve, he did not present me with a ring- the symbol that love has no end. He chose a coffee table sized book about cheese. That's right. Cheese. Cause cheese is the stuff that binds.

I fast forward to us after our sixtieth anniversary, both of us about 83 years old discussing our marriage with our grandchildren:

"And would you believe that Pop-Pop presented me with a book about cheese to propose?"

"Trees? I didn't give you a present of trees, damnit! I cut the cheese!"

And I pat him gently and smile and go back to my conversation.

Tuesday, June 13

Rest up!

"OK, good....your cervix is still closed."

"Closed for renovations, eh doctor?!!" quips my husband.

"That's a good one! I haven't heard that one before!" my OB giggles. AND CONTINUES TO GIGGLE WHILE EXAMINING ME!!

"Hey, EXCUSE ME! While the doctor's HAND IS ON MY CERVIX, please REFRAIN from doing your STAND-UP ACT, OK?!!" I glare at my husband.

This is my life yesterday morning at approximately 11:45am. I started having contractions and went to the doctor for a check, even though I had seen him just 6 days prior. Don't worry, everything is fine, but I am to rest as much as possible. No more long walks and I am to keep my feet up as much as I can. The fetal fibronectin test showed I am not having pre-term labor, nor am I expected to go into labor in the next few weeks. Phew! Mom, no need to worry about changing your flight- at least not this month!

And my husband promises to be a labor partner and concerned dad at the next visit. The comedy can stay in the doctor's waiting room!

Thursday, June 8

Seen, Heard, Said in the Kitchen

"So, you forgot to get Darian's cereal when you were at the store."

"Yeah," I agreed, "I thought $4.19 for her raisin bran was too expensive considering Trader Joe's carries it for like $2.99."

"But you got 3 pints of Haagen Daz."

"I know! And I got a couple boxes of these great chocolate cookies to keep at my desk at work! They're from the Netherlands!"

"I'll bet they were about $4 a box?"

"Yup. About that much."

"So let me get this straight: you just spent twenty bucks on overpriced sweets, but you think $4.19 is too much to pay for organic cereal, so our child has to go without her favorite breakfast in the morning?"

"Honey- it's Haagen Daz and cookies. A pregnant gal has her priorities."

Saturday, June 3

That's a Croc

One of my favorite things in the world is shoes. I adore shopping for shoes, wearing shoes, and looking at all the shoes in my closet. The shoes I love most to wear are slides that have a 2 to 3 inch heel but I also love a cute maryjane and a Puma sneaker. Since becoming pregnant, I have had to limit the pairs that I wear as swollen feet are hard to get into a size 7 leather slide. Recently, I flew to Denver and the only shoes I packed were heels which meant I had to go shoe shopping! There is no better bonding experience with your boss than discovering a Shoe Pavilion on crack as we could not locate my all time favorite, and hands down, the best shoe store. I came home from the trip with 2 new pair of shoes, having spent a total of 36 hours on Denver soil.

My daughter does not have the same taste in or love of shoes that I do and that is OK, but with the way her feet grow, she owns more pairs than I do. For some time, she has been asking for a pair of slip on clogs. Her home responsibilities include trash duty and litter pan which means she is running out to the garbage about thirty times a day. Generally, she slips on my Ecco clogs- yes, I do have a pair of clogs and I swear they are only worn on the grounds of Monkey Hill- but since my trip to Denver, she has chosen my New Balance slides. Every time that kid slips on my shoes, I fear her toppling down the stairs breaking her leg, or throwing out her back since her feet resemble a pair of skis and mine look like baseball cut rib-eyes. Her feet could drown in my shoes; fortunately they can hold their breath longer than David Blaine can. I need to get past my fear.

Darian's best friend in the world has a snazzy pair of bright green clogs and she has been coveting these shoes for quite some time. Her friend will tell us how comfortable they are, despite the fact that they look like they belong on the peds of a garden gnome, not on a skinny kid. And her parents and brother have pairs, too! A whole family of elfin shoe wearers! They remind me that quality and comfort don't necessarily translate to 'good looking' and I should know this having a pair of Ecco clogs in my wardrobe. Still, they are freakin' ugly shoes.

So last week I gave in after a visit to REI and bought her THESE in fuchsia. While I will not permit her to wear them to school- I know, I am so mean!- she has worn them out to martial arts class and had them on last night when I took her out to dinner. I hate to tell you this, but the waitress COMPLIMENTED her shoes! My home away from home is promoting them. And then as I catch up on blogs, I find this.