Birthday Hike to Twin Falls

I've been lucky enough to be able to hike on my last two birthdays; I'm hoping to make it a tradition! This year I met with one of my best friends to hike.

We met at Twin Falls in Washington state. (I finally got a photo of my newish car on a hike!)

It was one of those days this summer where it was about 95 degrees Fahrenheit all day but had cooled down to about 89 by the time the hike started. The hike was great, not too difficult, and we finished just after sunset. I'm thinking I need to make a bigger habit out of hiking after work from here on out; it's just too much fun!

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Downtown Tacoma

For my BFF's birthday, we went to Barnes & Noble, The Minion Movie, and to The Social Bar and Grill. Because she was in desperate need of a corkscrew and some reusable corks, I got her a corkscrew, two reusable corks, and a bottle opener. I think that this was the first time I've bought minor appliances for a friend for a gift. At Barnes & Noble I had to take a picture with the cardboard cutout of Jamie Fraser from Outlander. The book series is really good, I've only seen a couple of the TV episodes. There's a lot of explicit scenes in both, but skipping over those it's great entertainment. The cutout was disappointingly short, he's supposed to be really tall and since I'm under 5'3'', I don't think that they made him tall enough.

Northwest Pearls: Jamie Fraser

After The Minion Movie, which was cute, we parked in downtown Tacoma and walked across Chihuly Bridge of Glass down to the waterfront and over to The Social Bar and Grill. My favorite part of the bridge is where the glass objects are in the ceiling and it feels as though you are underwater. Sadly I didn't take any pictures of this. The bridge is really cool though and if you're in the area, you should check it out.

Northwest Pearls: Chihuly Bridge of Glass

Down the steps and towards the restaurant are clear glass creations. I was told what they're supposed to represent but I can't remember it anymore. Nevertheless, they're very pretty. There's other art down in this area too. Northwest Pearls: Glass Artwork

The Social Bar and Grill was really good. We sat outside, it was a little cold but the atmosphere and surroundings were fantastic. We could see the waterway, some of the glasswork, and everyone walking by. Instead of bread, we were given popcorn, so that was cool. We were there during happy hour, I got the Blackened Rockfish Tacos and a side of Sweet Potato Fries and both were incredibly delicious.

Have you ever been to that area of Tacoma? What did you think?

Simple Gift Wrap

Northwest Pearls: Simple Gift WrapA friend's birthday was this week and I wanted to wrap his present, not just put it in a bag, but when I was at the store I couldn't find anything that was appropriate for him. All the wrapping paper was for children or it was a little more feminine than I wanted for him. So I got some plain brown wrapping paper and wrapped his presents in that. The plan was to decorate the paper myself but when I couldn't find the markers I wanted I just wrote "Happy Birthday" in large, pretty font on the presents. The bright side about plain paper is that you can decorate it however; you can write "Happy Birthday" multiple times on it, you can draw dinosaurs, you can personalize it with a message, you can do almost anything with it. Northwest Pearls: Simple Gift Wrap

Birthday Weekend in Downtown Portland

For my 21st birthday, my mom, aunt, and I went to downtown Portland for the weekend. We stayed at the Benson Hotel, which is beautifully restored. The marble and iron staircase at the Benson Hotel


A picture of me, standing in front of a mirror on the staircase at The Benson Hotel

We had a meal at the Ringside Steakhouse, where the pastry chef wished me a "Happy Birthday." It was really pretty.

Creme Brulee at the Ringside restaurant. "Happy Birthday" is written on the plate.

We had high tea at The Heathman. The room we had tea in was amazing. And the pastry chef there also wished me a "Happy Birthday." This plate was also fantastic. I love having afternoon tea. It might be my favorite thing to do.

A huge painting hung on the wall at The Heathman Hotel

Chandelier and wood paneling at The Heathman

Chandelier and wood paneling at The Heathman

Desesrt at the Heathman at afternoon tea. "Happy Birthday" is written on the plate.

Also, while we were in Portland, got to do quite a bit of shopping. We went to Nordstrom and picked up a few things at their Anniversary Sale. My aunt bought me two jackets for my birthday, a beautiful brown leather jacket, and a pretty black rain jacket. When we went to Anthropologie, I found a necklace and earrings that I pinned to Pinterest a few weeks ago and my mom bought them for me.

Three shopping bags, two from Nordstrom, one from Anthropologie.

We also went to Powell's Books. It was incredible how many books they have. For one of our dinner, we had some Indonesian food from Satay Indonesia, a food truck nearby.

There was much more we wanted to do in Portland but didn't have the time for. Maybe next time!

Chocolate Strawberries

I wanted to get my best friends Edible Arrangements for their birthdays, but as cool as the arrangements are, they're also pretty expensive for someone just out of college. So I decided to make chocolate strawberries to give to them. It was easy enough, I just followed the directions on the chocolate packaging.

Chocolate Strawberries!

Chocolate Strawberries!

Chocolate Strawberries!

Chocolate Strawberries!

Then, when the chocolate was dry, I carefully placed the strawberries back into the boxes they came in and put them in the fridge until I would see my friends later in the day.

I wanted to arrange them artfully, but with transporting and heat, I went the simple route.

To see more gift ideas, check out my blog post here.