Saturday, December 27, 2008

Top Ten Albums of 2008

This list may not be as representative as years past, because I was so busy this year I didn't listen to as much new music as usual. Also, once Fleet Foxes' Sun Giant EP and self-titled album came out, that was pretty much all I listened to for 3 months straight or so. (Did I mention I love them? Oh, I did? Like here, here, and here? Okay then.) But we still managed to visit Sonic Boom on a regular basis and I did eventually listen to more than one band. We also made it to a fair amount of shows and I'm not gonna lie: how much I love their live performance definitely colors how I feel about a band's album (in fact, there may have to be a special top ten list just for awesome shows). But enough chitchat! On with the list:

Top Ten Albums of 2008

1. Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes
2. Grand Archives, The Grand Archives
3. Volume 1, She & Him
4. Blame It On Gravity, Old 97s
5. We Brave Bee Stings And All, Thao with the Get Down Stay Down
6. Keep Your Eyes Ahead, The Helio Sequence
7. Mingle, The Saturday Knights
8. Glistening Pleasure, Natalie Portman's Shaved Head
9. This Gift, Sons & Daughters
10. Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie

Special Award: Just A Little Lovin', Shelby Lynne
Since it only contains one new song, I don't feel right putting this Dusty Springfield tribute album on the top 10 list. That said, I can't recommend this album strongly enough. Lynne's version of "You Don't Have To Say You Love Me" alone is reason to get your hands on it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like (a white) Christmas...

Seattle has been shut down for a week now due to a very rare massive snowfall. Fighting cabin fever, making snowmen, baking, catching up on DVR recordings and complaining about the city's pathetic response to snow and ice have become popular pastimes all over town. We've gotten out a few times this week to go shopping, visit friends within walking distance and play in the snow, and I thought I'd share a few favorite photos...

Winterberries on 41st and Midvale; the poor tree was so weighed down with snow that I'm not sure it will spring back up when this is all gone. But it definitely makes for a pretty picture:

View down one of the many snowy streets in our neighborhood:

With even the main roads not getting plowed often enough, you can imagine how treacherous local streets have gotten. Many residents have made their own "street closed" and "do not enter" signs like this one, duct-taped to someone's trash can:

Someone (or more than one) made a snowman smack in the middle of 45th and Stone Way; the baristas from a nearby Starbucks gave it some character:

As for indoor entertainment, yesterday Larry made a chocolate layer cake with vanilla buttercream frosting. It looked so delicious that Zach wanted a bite too:

We were supposed to go to a friend's house for Christmas Eve dinner but the roads are a little too dicey. It's going to be a quiet Christmas at home, just us and the kitties. Roast chicken for dinner with some red potatoes and zucchini, and that fantastic chocolate cake for dessert.

Hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Forks and Knives (La Fete)

The summer went by in a flash, fall came and went even faster, and suddenly it's the week before Christmas. Am I getting older or is time moving more quickly? Or maybe it's just that this year has been one of the busiest yet...I'll try to catch up on the past 6 months over the next few posts.

The biggest reason I haven't blogged since June is that we got married in September, so summer was pretty much a blur of wedding planning and preparations. We had a weekend of events so that our families could meet and we'd have plenty of time to spend with everyone, and it was definitely the best part of 2008 for me. The day before the wedding it poured buckets of rain, but our unpredictable Seattle weather came through and by ceremony time we had a gorgeous, sunny day complete with dramatic clouds - perfect for photos!

Our photographer, Della Chen, was AMAZING. She had so many great ideas for fun photos and was also open to any and all crazy ideas we had. Before the ceremony we went to the Ballard Sunday Market for some photos with our favorite vendors. A crazy idea, yes, but one that was perfect for us - the farmers market is such a huge part of our life that we wanted to include it. What came out of that trip were some of my favorite photos and an appreciation for Della's eye - who else would have looked at a parking lot wall (one that I had never noticed in 3 years of weekly trips to the market) and foreseen something so lovely?

Della's fun and laid-back attitude made our perfect day that much better. If you're looking for a wedding photographer (or a photographer for any occasion) I highly recommend her! All the photos you see in this post were taken by her, and if you want to see more of her handiwork you can view the slideshow she created for us.

The aforementioned perfectly cloudy sunny day, at Gas Works Park:

Group photo time!

We met the wonderful MoZo at Seattle Counseling Services' ICON gala, but it turned out we had been enjoying their music at the Ballard Sunday Market for some time without knowing it was them! Moe and Aimee played our cocktail hour and their mix of bluegrass and Americana really livened up the atmosphere. A perfect way to start the evening. (Am I saying "perfect" too much? Too bad. It was!)

Rather than bore you with the menu details, I'll just let you read it below. I do have to say that it was a superb meal and my only regret is that I didn't get to finish my pork belly or doughnuts - I was busy socializing instead of eating. My waist probably thanked me but my taste buds were sad. Our super-cool "ramerliang" logo was designed by our good friends Kristine and Bob at Lynch Design Group; they also did our save-the-dates, invitations, programs and custom mailing labels. (Considering that Larry and I met at Kristine and Bob's stationery store, it was a no-brainer to ask them to design our wedding stationery!)

My placesetting - Palace Ballroom was awesome and set out all the favors for us. In fact, they did ALL of the set up; we just had to provide clear instructions and get the supplies to them ahead of time. They even printed the menus and table cards for us. We couldn't have asked for a better venue or service (or food). If you're looking for a venue for your next event, give them a call and ask for Alexis - best event planner ever!

Here's what the space looked like when we walked in from cocktail hour - they had it curtained off until dinner time, so it was really fun to see the room open up and watch everyone find their table and seats. We had 8 tables with 8 seats each - maybe the numbers brought extra luck, because everyone seemed to have a great time and get along with their tablemates!

A highlight of the evening, for me at least, was when we caved to peer pressure and had a first dance (which we hadn't intended to do, since dancing isn't something we've ever done together). I'm so glad we did - it was nice to have a few quiet moments on the dance floor while "our song" played. Of course we had to be a little bit silly - and now I have photographic evidence of my husband dancing!