Weekend Wrap Up – Fall on the Farm

This weekend our family farm visit was sprinkled with Fall…

From the browns and orange-colored decor, to the smells of chimneys smoking and apple pie spiced candles, heck even the sounds were of this wonderful season with fires crackling and leaves and twigs crunching below your feet!

We started our weekend at Evolution Fresh University Village with some smoothies for the drive..

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Then on the way down south I thought we would attempt the new shipping container store to see if it had opened… Nope, not yet.

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Then of course a fall bonfire had to be started once we arrived…

20131006-185827.jpgI took in all the fall decor and took photos of cobwebs, pumpkins and leaves all weekend long around the farm…

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The rest of the weekend was full of peaceful misty Starbucks mornings…

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And quiet, listening-to-cows-graze while eating my ice cream Starbucks evenings…

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Sunday we enjoyed ending our weekend with a sunset at the Edmonds marina…

LaBoulange at Edmonds Marina
We hope everyone enjoyed their weekends!  New tastes are launching this week…. can’t WAIT!

Weekend Wrap Up – National Coffee Day!

So this weekend was National Coffee Day (in America) on Sunday, and our Seattle AIDS Walk… Let’s get into all the goodies!

First, let me start with a dinner that my boys and I were invited to by my oldest son’s best friend.  The parents were not aware of my eating adventure until I arrived with my Starbucks in hand, but were very curious and gracious about my addition to their wonderful feast.

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The one thing I’ve found that you can count on with my challenges is that they always allow for plenty of conversation, questions and other people’s insight, ideas, loves and dislikes about the brands I’m living!  And the evenings pleasant discussion taught me about the mom’s love for Starbucks hot cocoa which I’ve only purchased at the store and her choice to purchase it at Costco (another fabulous PNW brand!) for cost-saving reasons which I always need to be aware of this year.  So I think my next Costco trip means my searching for this prize as well!

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I read the container and was pleasantly surprised to find Starbucks sources their cocoa in an ethical, transparent & sustainable way!  Since I run communications for a Sustainability department and am always very interested in all things moving towards sustainability… this was a great sign to see posted on their product!

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The evening was thoroughly enjoyable and I look forward to sharing more Starbucks stories with our new friends!

Saturday was a blustery, wet day in Seattle… and the Seattle AIDS Walk.  I went to shoot the walk and had a great time (even in the rain) supporting our wonderful local nonprofit Lifelong AIDS Alliance and International plight to find a cure for AIDS.  And of course Starbucks was out with their #ExtraShotOfGood for all those Seattleites braving the cold, wet and windy to support this wonderful cause…. Thanks Partners for keeping us going!  #ToBeACustomer is amazing when you have #ToBeAPartner (s) out there making it happen everyday!

Starbucks AIDS Walk

Of course, being up in Volunteer Park I had to stop by Roy Street Coffee for lunch, and was welcomed by a very comforting (and PERFECT for a cold, rainy Seattle day) advertisement for Apple Cider!

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So after speaking to the partners about the freshly-made cinnamon whipped cream I had to try it!  And let me tell you this fall drink choice is AMAZING!

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I also chose to order their fabulous smoked salmon plate…

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And for dinner I decided to take Roy Street’s wonderful tomato soup home since staying warm right now in Seattle is highly advised.

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Sunday was National Coffee Day, and Starbucks was giving out FREE Ethiopian samples, so of course I had to try a sample after my morning run!

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It was such a great sample that I got the clover of it!

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I hope everybody enjoyed their weekend and National Coffee Day sipping their favorites whether it be clover, latte, Americano or straight up brewed!

This is how I ended my evening…

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A LaBoulange chocolate croissant, Ethiopian from the clover, my fuzzy faux fur throws, another Scarecrow Video Film Noir choice and everything charged in preparation for the first windstorms of the season!

Weekend Wrap Up – Celebrations and Cinema

Friday night was a Sukkot celebration at our favorite Kesher Garden and even though the wonderful feast was made by our local restaurant Sip… I of course brought my favorite Starbucks Evening Blue Brie Cheese plate and Parmesan Encrusted Chicken Skewers to the celebration!

Starbucks Sukkot
This weekend I also tried the limited edition Reserve Jamaica Blue Mountain Amber Estate from a clover, which was one of the best coffee’s I’ve ever had!  You really got to try this reserve before it’s gone.  I’m going for my second cup this morning after I get this blog posted!

Reserve Jamaican Blue Mountain Amber Estate
Sunday was our Indie Movie night again (from beloved Scarecrow Video) and we decided to keep with the fall flavor of cinema and ended up picking the traditional Cape Fear as well as the Legend of Sleepy Hollow and a very funny 1970’s movie called The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob… and yes, Starbucks popcorn (and Starbucks Caramel Macchiato ice cream) was in order for the showings…

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Another celebration this weekend was had by Seattle… way to go Seahawks!  I hope the rest of everybody’s week is just as fabulous.

Happy (Unofficial start because it really began with PSL) FALL Everbody!

Weekend Wrap Up – Shortest Cup Ever

This weekend was one of the longest and shortest weekends of my life.

And for that I share a single Starbucks cup image and poem to reflect it all…

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A Siren’s Cup…

My Starbucks siren you are always at my aid,
My cup is always full.
My Starbucks siren you provided a way,
My cup became an overflow.
My Starbucks siren you knew it would go this way,
My cup was instantly broken.
My Starbucks siren knew all this too shall fade,
My cup will eternally be open.

Weekend Wrap Up – BeauTEAful!

This weekend was the last open weekend before Labor Day then Back-to-School events, high holy days, and next thing you know Halloween, Thanksgiving and the end of this Starbucks challenge year! (sad face)

So I made the most of my time and ran more, meditated more, spent time with loved ones more and definitely explored more! I got to explore my new Starbucks store and I explored an article in the Huffington Post that I discovered last week via Twitter about using tea as a beauty product!

My first use of my morning Tazo tea bags (after steeping once for my morning tea) was to use them to reduce under eye bags and dark circles…

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This idea definitely worked! And after being a model since I was the age of 14, I’ve tried and used LOTS of tricks to amp up features… especially pre photo-shop! My old tried-and-true under eye trick was using (non-scented, clear) Preparation H ointment to reduce puffiness. This trick is still being used I’m sure all the time, but I’ve stopped wanting to introduce more chemicals to my body years ago so to trade out Preparation H for a good old bag of tea after you’ve enjoyed the taste is even better! Keeping your tea bags is going to become a common occurrence in my household now just for this trick alone!

But read on because I tried three of the Huffington Post tips…

The second tip I tried was using steeped black tea as a hair rinse to soften & add shine to my hair.

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This tip worked SO WELL! I followed the HuffPost piece and kept the chilled, tea on my washed hair for 10 minutes (actually a couple of minutes more) and then washed, conditioned and VOILA! My hair felt like it just came out of a salon! It’s still so soft and shiny today, as I run my fingers through it 24 hours later. Here is yet another reason to not throw out those tea bags! One thing I found out last week at my Tazo tea tasting is that you can steep tea bags more than once, and usually up to 3-4 times each bag, which is not only cost-effective but now can save you even more money on beauty supplies!

The third trick we used was to try out a tea bath to cure stinky feet. I will not disclose the name of the accused, but just know that stank-foot is a very common problem for this person…one we waited to try this tea-bath on until a full, long day of activity was had to achieve full effect!

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And again… This trick really works! Not only did his feet stop stinking (with the antibacterial agents) but we used two teas, one was mint… and his feet still don’t stink today, 24 hours later!  I’m taking this new found knowledge to some other areas and applying them to see if they work just as well?!  You can bet I’ll be back talking about what worked with tea (and this isn’t even talking about coffee beauty benefits yet!) for our home and life.

Like I posted, this weekend was about exploring new things…like using your tea for beauty remedies and exploring the amazing benefits of having a Starbucks store within walking distance! I’ll end on what my mornings now always look like… Tazo tea (or the occasional clover) in my street view of the mountains of Western Washington and of course my siren which I am in love with more and more as she helps me explore more knowledge, more community, more EVERYTHING as each wonderful challenge day passes!

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Weekend Wrap Up – End of July

Can you believe it’s the end of July already?  I know I cannot!  But this Starbucks summer of mine just keeps the adventures going… so let’s get into this weekend.

First of all my older son and I went to the movies Friday night to go see Pacific Rim in IMAX 3D and beforehand I used my free-coupon to get a Frapp.  OMG!  Both my Frapp (which ended up being a Trenta because they were out of Venti sized cups) and the movie were AMAZING!  Just look at this monster-FREE Starbucks drink!

Edge and I movie #Sipface

Normally you would not get that sized cup, but it was a welcomed surprise to me and one that I appreciated in the movie (but I ran extra hard this weekend to work off!).  And speaking of movies, if you have not seen Pacific Rim, it’s a MUST to see in IMAX 3D!

Next was an early Saturday morning to drop my oldest off for Camp Orkila (lucky boy!) and my youngest and I ventured onto the SLU (Westlake) Starbucks because I love this drive-thru so much and from our sunrise over Lake Union you can see why!

P.S.  I WANT one of these “Starbucks Parking Only” signs BAD in case anybody’s thinking about holiday gifts already!  😉

Starbucks Parking

Saturday evening we ventured over to Golden Gardens park to meet up with some photographer friends but first was a quick stop at the SLU (South Lake Union) Starbucks Evening

SLU Starbucks

I am growing really fond of my two SLU Starbucks, all hustle and bustle at this Terry location during the week with Amazon on campus and our drive-thru with some of the friendliest partners you’ll ever meet!

From there we enjoyed our picnic at Golden Gardens with friends…

Starbucks Evening picnic

Sunday was another movie with my youngest… Despicable Me 2 which is also another MUST see movie!  So, so cute and going on my holiday list for sure!  I’m just calling it “Minion Nation” now because even though all the other characters are great the minions make this.

After the movie we decided to spend our Sunday evening at the shores of Lake Washington with our Boston Terrier, Sake Eno (yes, a nod to two favorites… Japanese cuisine and anything Brian Eno!) at the dog park.

My Starbucks, Sake and I at Luther Burbank

Our Puget Sound waters are seriously amazing and we spent our evening watching the sun set over the Seattle skyline…. I love my life as a PNW native!

With views like this who would not?!!

Seattle at Sunset

Weekend Wrap Up – Garden Party Style

This weekend was all about Sunday, and the Garden Tea Party in honor of the #RoyalBaby (who is due any minute now)!

I started out by getting all my crafty materials together in order to make a great hat for the party.  Of course my Starbucks was there, inspiring me on…

The making of the Mad Hatter Hat with Starbucks

Sunday started out great with lots of the Starbucks siren sightings all over the garden…

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Starbucks in the garden

And of course VOILA!  Here is my finished Mad Hatter Hat for the Garden Tea Party…

Starbucks Mad Hatter

We had the pleasure of having a wide variety of Biscottea products courtesy of the company’s owner, Laurance, and he even included a BRAND NEW product, their savory collection that was a HUGE SUCCESS at the event!

With their traditional tea (and coffee) flavored shortbreads like: Chai, Earl Grey, Blueberry, Traditional, Mocha, Cappuccino, Espresso, Mint and Rooibos all of our teas were pleasantly paired with the perfect tea party shortbreads.

Biscottea Table

But when I introduced the new Biscottea savoury collection, eyes and mouths POPPED!  With new flavors (coming to a store after October 1st, 2013) like: Spinach & Nutmeg, Blue Cheese & Black Pepper, Roasted Onion & Jalapeno, Rosemary & Red Chili and Smoky Sea Salt… many guests raved about them all!  One guest wanted a couple of packages of the Roasted Onion & Jalapeno right now for her Walla-Walla tart recipe, which after hearing what she would create with it… sounded absolutely DELISH!

I think one tea-partier summed it all up when she said… “Oh My!  I could eat all of those!” which was quite the compliment indeed considering it came from the Master Gardener, Jessica, who owns Pea Patch Gardens and has a plethora of food available everyday to choose from!  She was definitely not alone in her love of the Biscottea new savoury options… you have a captive audience for sure with your new collection Biscottea!

Our Garden Tea Party was a great hit with the help of Biscottea but those beautiful little shortbreads wouldn’t have been complimented and the tea party could not have been complete without the help of Tazo Tea!  Thanks to the team at Tazo Tea in University Village our tea party was PERFECTLY tied together with their absolutely lovely tea flavors!

Whether it was hot tea, iced tea, caffeinated or decaffeinated tea, as soon as you opened up the Tazo Tea canister and smelled those wonderful blends you knew it was going to be a great party!

As you can see, Tazo Tea was front and center at our Garden Tea Party with choices like: english breakfast, vanilla rooibos parfait, earl grey blanc and bramblewine.  We used the Bramblewine for the iced tea and I made some pre-packaged options of each for all the tea pots with the tea filters which you can pick up in the store as well as their tea scooper and many more tea-related items to make your own tea experience complete!

I for one will be enjoying many more blends this week with my trip over to the  Tazo Tea University Village store with Starbucks vlogger, Dylan Austin from Five Awesome Baristas!

Tazo Tea Table

The tables were all set, Tazo Tea and Biscottea’s were out, now we were all ready for the #RoyalBaby to be born and of course for all the ladies to show off their hats, gloves and Tea Party attire…

Garden Tea Party The Group

What an absolutely fantastic time we all had with our fascinators, the lovely products from our friends at Tazo Tea and Biscottea, the wonderful company of all attendees and of course our garden, and it’s summertime beauty.  From the fresh sprigs of garden mint we placed in our water and on our table settings to the strawberries the children picked and our bee hive buzzing full of honey-making activity that makes our garden a reality everyday…

Thanks again to all the wonderful women (and men) that planned, donated, hosted, attended and helped in every way with this weekend’s Garden Tea Party.  It truly was a Sunday, summer day that will not soon be forgotten!

My day started in the garden and ended in the garden with a family movie night with my youngest to wrap things up…

Movie night Starbucks ready

I might not have predicted the #RoyalBaby date of birth but it’s happening RIGHT NOW, as I type, so I’m still possibly gonna get the name (Middle name has to be Diana) right?!

This week is full of more Starbucks adventures again so stay tuned, support your local garden and…

KEEP CALM and DRINK (Taz0) TEA!

Weekend Wrap Up – Flag of our Fathers Edition

Our weekend was full of Flag Days and Father Day festivities!

On Friday we rode the train down to the farm.  I’ve never talked about this before but our family LOVES Amtrak and how relaxing a train ride is instead of driving!  I’ve been taking train rides to Seattle, the Midwest and even Disneyland since I was a child and the breathtaking views of our country you can get from a train are unlike any other… I would recommend a train ride to anybody, especially those with kids and especially along our Pacific Coast!

Before we arrived at the BBQ… I stopped by the Safeway in Centralia, WA and to my amazement was greeted with THREE large containers of Evolution Fresh juices!  I LOVED seeing the larger sized Orange Juice but this store also the Strawberry Lemonade and a new juice I’ve never tried before, Grapefruit!  I can’t wait to see such selections in our Seattle-based super markets!

Large Evolution Fresh juices

Anyways… with our grocery bag full of new Evolution Fresh goodies, we arrived in time for my (partner) sister’s Flag Day BBQ…

Flag Day Starbucks

It was wonderful to touch base with family and friends who I haven’t seen in months and they were all asking how my Starbucks challenge was going.  I am halfway through my year and the questions are now starting to turn into what challenge I’m going to do next year?  I’ve been avoiding this question for weeks at my birthday parties and now family gatherings but it’s on everybody’s mind and I just keep telling them… “believe me, it’s gonna be GOOD!”

And speaking of good..

La Boulange & Flag Day Cake

The summer is definitely a harder time for my culinary palate to be limited, even more so than the holidays, because I LOVE the summer foodie choices!  I LOVE BBQ, I LOVE juicy watermelon with salt on it, I LOVE to pick strawberries and blueberries and raspberries fresh off the stem, and boy oh boy do I LOVE tasty homemade items like this Flag Day cake!  Speaking of which… doesn’t that La Boulange pink look great next to our red, white and blue!

Speaking of great things to eat… I am lucky to have a (partner) sister who purchased a Starbucks Zesty Chicken & Black Bean Salad Bowl for my dinner at her BBQ and then she also picked up a La Boulange Lemon Loaf Cake and a La Boulange Chocolate Croissant for the coffee pairing she did after dinner.

La Boulange and Starbucks pairing

She had the Kenya for our citrus/berry desserts (my La Boulange Lemon Loaf Cake) and then we tried her last bag of Guatemala Casi Cielo for the chocolate/cocoa desserts (my La Boulange Chocolate Croissant).  I’ve been talking to a couple of people about doing more coffee and tea pairings since I’ve never been a connoisseur before this year but I have gotten to know that there is a HUGE culture around coffee and tea that I need to immerse myself in and get caught up in my last 6 months!

Saturday was a relaxing day first watching the local parade, riding quads, watching the new baby calves frolic in the fields and of course spending an evening roasting hotdogs and marshmallows (well, the boys at least) by the creek…

Starbucks, Leroy and Ukulele at the Creek

while mommy enjoyed a Starbucks Chicken BLT Salad Sandwich and strummed her new Ukulele (Lei Lei) over and over because practice makes perfect!

It was funny that the saying on my sandwich read… “Unwrap, Unwind” because well, that’s EXACTLY what happens when you visit the farm!

Starbucks Unwrap Unwind

Sunday was a day to celebrate all those fathers, stepfathers, brothers, uncles and any man who assumes a fatherly role to a child by celebrating Father’s Day.

This is a photo of our Papa taken Sunday morning, a real farmer’s farmer if ever there was one… for even when it’s THEIR holiday a farmer will still work!  Thanks for instilling a great work ethic into my upbringing (amongst many things) Papa, many people’s lives have been made all the better for having you around especially mine!

Farmer Papa

I hope all the fathers, and fatherly types in this world felt special this weekend and that Americans had a great Flag Day!

A special thanks to Alissa and her partners at the Dupont Starbucks, whom we had the pleasure of meeting on Sunday.  I ADORE the Dupont/Steilacoom area and will be back again to attend the yearly Steilacoom Yard Sale and will make it a point to have lunch there and meet the rest of the partners!  If you drive by Dupont, stop by their store… you’ll be glad you did!

Weekend Wrap Up June 3rd

This weekend was the birthday party for my youngest son which I decided would be a “garden party” since he loves nature, bugs and being dirty!

The day was perfect, we set up the tent early and arranged all the goodies…

Kesher Garden Party - Party Tent Garden outside

And with goodies around you know I just HAD to make sure I bought the super-popular Starbucks “Birthday” cake pops (and lemon and salted caramel) and while setting up I enjoyed a Evolution Fresh Orange Carrot Mango juice and a Starbucks nut pack to ward off cravings of eating more than one cake pop.

Kesher Garden Party - Starbucks goodies

What an absolutely lovely spot this was for a children’s birthday party!  The garden was just beaming with nature’s birds chirping, wind softly blowing, fragrant mint or floral smells, bug’s crawling, kid’s laughing, blowing bubbles and bee’s buzzing…

Kesher Garden Party - Windmill

Kesher Garden Party - Rainbow bubble

And speaking of bees…  we had the rare opportunity to catch the beekeepers checking on the hive!  Now growing up on a farm that had every animal under the sun in our fields, oddly enough we never kept bees.  I’m not sure why, I’ve always loved their peaceful way of being, their independent nature (compared to some farm animals that take a LOT of care) and of course their really important part of our earth’s ecosystem!  A fact that unfortunately has taken front stage in the media lately because of the drastic amounts of bees dying around the world.  But, that day we got to watch the beekeepers in action and GUESS WHAT?  They asked ME to help them?!!  I was so excited to see inside a hive!

Kesher Garden Party - Beautiful Bee Keeper

Can’t you tell I was just SO HAPPY to get that beekeeper outfit on!  I am still talking to everybody about the experience, one I’ve now marked off my bucket list.  It’s just a good thing that the hive didn’t have any honey to taste yet… that would have been a HARD decision not to be able to eat honey straight from the source, especially this year because it didn’t have the Starbucks siren on it!  I might have slipped up on this one for sure… but all ended well and the bees weren’t TOO upset, a nice dose of smoke here and there and they remained pretty calm for us.

Kesher Garden Party - Bee Hive

Well, tomorrow is the big La Boulange launch around Seattle, AND now with new menu items also from Evolution Fresh this Starbucks party is going FULL AHEAD into summer!

In honor of La Boulange’s welcome into the Starbucks family… I leave you with a beautiful representation of our garden party weekend (that was taken by my oldest son) and what is quickly becoming my favorite summer color, La Boulange PINK!

Welcome Starbucks home Pascal and partners!

Kesher Garden Party - La Boulange Flower

Weekend Wrap Up Memorial Day

This Weekend Wrap Up was full of holidays, not only was it Memorial Day but also my youngest son’s birthday!

First on Friday I went to a movie with my oldest son and I brought my Starbucks popcorn and my new limited edition cold cup (free Frappuccino with purchase till May 30th!) to enjoy.

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Then on Saturday I was reading through Pascal Rigo’s cookbook again and decided to try and make his Niçoise salad. I took my Starbucks Evenings Seasonal Vegetable and Chipotle Hummus Dip to go and went to work Making It Yours…
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There were only a couple of items missing, the olives and anchovies, but everything else was amazing and I’m going to be making this salad again without a doubt!

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Then on Sunday it was my youngest son’s birthday so I made a big breakfast for the boys…

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This special breakfast looked so good and the boys loved it but my Starbucks breakfast wasn’t too far off, just look at the lovely options I got to enjoy too… La Boulange Les Macarons and shortbreads, fruit cup and eggs from Evolution Fresh.

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Then we opened presents and I’d been waiting to give my Starbucks present to my little one which he eagerly put on after he opened it. He definitely is a partner in the making…

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Monday was Memorial Day and I redesigned a reusable cup with a custom flag design #RememberHonorFreedom!

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Later that afternoon my oldest and I decided to attend a good friends premier at the SIFF Fly Film Fest. All the films were great, the filmmakers did a fantastic job and of course we loved
Two Friends the best… great job Lulu, and to all the talent that SIFF has compiled for their 2013 festival!

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Afterwards we enjoyed a relaxing dinner at the Olive Way Starbucks Evenings. My oldest enjoyed the Bacon-Wrapped Dates with Balsamic Glaze for the first time, he loved them!  Mommy went with her favorite, the Blue Brie Cheese plate with Toasted Walnut Cranberry Bread and Fig Preserves… and a Stella Artois.

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We hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend, we sure did!

Next up is the final Make It Yours May, a garden party with friends and my birthday party!

Oh, and I’m HALF WAY THROUGH this year-long challenge in 3 days!