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The Boise Birthday Weekend

After finishing up the Bucket List in the final hours before my birthday, I clocked out and spent the entire weekend celebrating. I tried some new places in downtown Boise and some old favorites as well, so I’ll put together this little recap for anyone looking for Boise staycation ideas!

My birthday was on Sunday, February 12th which was also Super Bowl Sunday this year. My husband was working out of town Thursday-Sunday and wouldn’t be home until close to midnight on my birthday evening. Most of the large popular restaurants in the area were actually closed on Sunday anyways because of the big game. Initially I was a little bummed because I did want to celebrate my birthday with my family by going out somewhere and not just staying at home. But in the end I got the best of both worlds!

Saturday afternoon, I dropped Brynnley off for a little sleepover with her grandparents. I checked into the Inn at 500 in downtown Boise, a hotel I have never been to before. My room was a corner unit with two balconies and a fireplace in between. It was so spacious and beautiful! The hotel lobby also had a “butler’s pantry” with complementary snacks and soft drinks for any time of day. When I settled into my room, a hotel employee knocked on my door and let me know that Zeb had sent up a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a sweet card. I immediately texted my two girlfriends that I was meeting for dinner and told them to hurry up and come over so we could share a glass in my room before dinner.

After deciding which outfit to wear, I walked a few blocks over to Tupelo Honey. It’s a fun southern restaurant that was very popular that night because it was the Saturday before Valentine’s Day and it was also the high school winter formal night. Hayley, Kat and I each ordered a cocktail off the menu and had such a fun girls dinner. I initially ordered the grilled salmon and creamy quinoa, but the waiter informed me that it was “the worst thing on the menu, and they do every well except fish”……….thanks for the honesty? Haha! I quickly skimmed for a new option and settled on the bistro filet with potato cracklins and veggies and it was a delicious choice. :)

Kat and I hung out at the hotel for a little while and she taught me how to use the BeReal app. I love the concept! I like how unfiltered of a social media platform it is, and I wish more people I know use it. The only downside right now is that I only have two friends who also use their accounts so we’ll see if I can sway any of my other girlfriends over in the coming months.

I finished the evening with a fire in the fireplace, my current book (Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris) and a facemask that Kat gifted me. When I woke up in the morning, I took my time getting ready with a cup of coffee and a hotel robe because it is a very rare occasion that I’m not also juggling a baby in the mornings!

There is a local coffee shop that I first visited when I moved to the area in 2016. It’s called Alia’s Coffee House, and when I went on my 23rd birthday I ordered an Ooh La La Latte that I still remember to this day. I ordered it again on Sunday to start off my birthday morning along with a lox & cream cheese bagel. Both were amazing – however…..doesn’t it seem like “a given” that if you order a bagel with cream cheese that it would be toasted? I didn’t specify that I wanted a toasted bagel because I thought ordering one sliced with cream cheese automatically included that. I took my bagel to go and was a little disappointed when I had a cold soft bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon.

I walked back to the hotel, packed up my room and checked out. Time to pick up the little one! Brynnley and I headed back to our home for the afternoon so that she could get in a good nap, then we made a little trip to Starbucks to cash in my birthday freebie. Since I’d already enjoyed a fancy coffee, I ordered an iced venti passion tango tea with a splash of lemonade. Delicious! We went back to my parents house because they were making me a yummy and healthy birthday dinner while the Super Bowl played. We had cajun salmon and a sheet pan of roasted veggies – my favorites!

Brynnley thought we were all looking at HER during the halftime performance, which is fair because she is always the center of attention!

My mom gave me a super thoughtful and fun present – she bought the game Guess Who and replaced all of the cards and characters with faces of the cast of Gilmore Girls! How fun and creative! We played a couple of games and it was so clever.

The next day, I got to continue celebrating my birthday because Zeb was finally home. Rather than a gift, he scheduled a manicure, pedicure and massage for me. It was at a Boise day spa that I had not tried before called Perpetuity. I enjoyed a relaxing spa day and loved the new colors I picked out for my nails and toes, and especially the massage. I think this is only the third massage I’ve ever had and it was heavenly! I got home just in time though because while I was driving in full sunshine, all of a sudden snow was just dumping down for the next couple of hours! We couldn’t believe how much snow came down in such a short time, but none of it stuck to play with. It looked beautiful in the backyard though!

We met my parents at a new-to-me restaurant in downtown Boise called Coa de Jima. The interior is so unique and interesting, I’m really glad we tried it! The bar has a giant floor-to-ceiling metal tree sculpture right in it, and there’s one booth that looks like you’re in an enormous wall-papered egg. The door to the bathroom is hidden within a 9-foot picture frame.

Zeb and I shared a dinner platter for two with all of their different meats and fajita toppings – steak, chicken, prawns, lobster, and charred poblanos. I also got a spicy jalapeno pineapple margarita. Everything was so delicious! They brought a complimentary scoop of mocha almond fudge ice cream that we all shared but saved room for some pretty birthday cake my parents had picked up.

Brynnley showed off her brand new dance moves to cap off a great night. The milestone birthday I dreaded is come and gone, and we are onto another exciting birthday this week…….Brynnley’s FIRST! Tomorrow! 💗

Bucket List Item #26: Practice Calligraphy

One of my best friends Chelsea has always had beautiful penmanship and practiced calligraphy years ago. She’d send mail with the fanciest addresses on them and it was a skill I admired.

When we were doing some of the DIY decor for our wedding in the summer of 2021, Chelsea drove up from Salt Lake City to hang out for the weekend. While she was here, I asked if she would write on name on all of our party favors. I tried to recreate her pretty letters myself but they just looked so amateur in comparison. Calligraphy is definitely a skill that takes some practice!

Last year, Zeb bought me some Calligraphy workbooks and pens so that I could have some guided practice. Since I had these new fun and beautiful resources, I wanted to make sure they had a place on my bucket list so that I made sure to use them!

Switching gears – though I promise I will relate these two topics soon – last September, I joined a “mom group” called MOPs. It’s an international organization with chapters all over, and my local Boise chapter has 100 women with a waiting list for more. MOPs stands for Moms of Preschoolers, though you can join as soon as you are expecting and stay until your last child turns 5 years old. I joined because my good friend Hayley speaks really highly of it and has met almost all of her friends through the program. As someone who is always looking for other girls to connect with, I was happy to see what it had to offer and meet other local moms around my age. :)

Many of the moms in my chapter have several kids and have been in the program for years. They provide an incredible brunch spread of homemade dishes on our biweekly Friday meetings, from quiches to crockpot oatmeals, banana breads, fruit salads, and even mini avocado toasts. You are assigned a “table” that you sit with for the entire year; so even though there are 99 other women, you always sit with the same 9. That way you can get to know each other and continue to build relationships and trust and conversation.

Since it’s all been my first time experiencing this program, I did not even think to bring a little Christmas gift for my table when our December meeting came around. I felt super lame arriving empty-handed when I saw my fellow table-mates bring cute little baked goods, homemade crafts and other sweet little gifts. I made a mental note to bring something for everyone on the next holiday – Valentine’s Day!

Here’s where my two topics combine :) I used my “Practice Calligraphy” task to write out little Valentine tags for every mom at my table to attach with their little Valentine’s Day gift.

I found these really cute earring sets online and got a pack of girlie stickers. I cut out some tags, one for each friend. I tried out different calligraphy fonts from my workbook for their names. I did have to throw away a handful of tags because the letters looked too funky or they just didn’t end up in a straight line. I have a newfound respect for calligraphers because it’s not as easy as it looks!

When I had a tag for everyone that I felt looked decent enough, I used a hole punch and then threaded a ribbon through the tag as well as the earring cardboard. I added a valentine sticker to the back and curled the ribbon tails. Voila! A cute little table gift and a perfect excuse to try my hand (haha pun intended) at calligraphy ;) It was a fun little activity while my daughter was taking her afternoon nap, and I’ll need to make sure I breakout the pen set for all my future gifts, cards, and tags!

I’m really impressed with how well-organized the MOPs program is. The schedule and email communications are always timely, professional, but personable. There is FREE childcare for babies through 5-year-olds. Each table takes turns providing a giant brunch and coffee spread for the group. There are scheduled Mom’s Nights Out and Play Dates every month. There is a “giving table” to bring in any children’s clothing and toys you want to donate; fellow attendees have first dibs to take anything they want from the giving table, and everything else is taken to a donation facility. MOPs headquarters also has a really well put-together magazine that is automatically sent to members, as well as a podcast with all kinds of topics from budgeting, marriage, decluttering, and discipline. It is a Christian-based organization and I’m very open about the fact that I am not a religious person and I do not attend church; I respect people’s faith and beliefs but I am primarily involved with this group for connection to other women in my community that are also wives and moms to young babes.

My calligraphy is not professional looking, but I got in a little practice and I’ll keep working at it.

Time to get to bed because I have a BIG day tomorrow that I will share with you!

Bucket List Item #20: Try Caviar

I’m not exactly sure what inspired me to add this to my bucket list, other than maybe it sounded like something elegant and unique for the year I end my twenties.

What is caviar? It is a salt-cured fish egg from sturgeon, which we have locally in Idaho.

According to The Wagyu Shop, the difference between caviar and the orange eggs on sushi rolls (which I eat all the time) is that sushi roe can be from different types of fish other than sturgeon.

There is a beautiful two-story restaurant and bar in downtown Boise right across from the Capitol building that has a very charming interior called The Lively. They posted about their monthly “afternoon tea” offering on Instagram, and I was intrigued for a mother/daughter outing. Once I saw an option to add a caviar tray to your tea service, I was sold! It was the perfect occasion to cross this item off the list.

The afternoon tea was at 2:30pm on a Monday, and thankfully Zeb was home from work so that my mom and I could go enjoy an adult-only date. The interior of The Lively is really funky and pretty, and we were seated at a window table. We each ordered our tea and were brought our own teapots and teacups.

The caviar tray came with a mountain of potato chips, plus little cups of capers, crushed hard-boiled egg yolk, hard-boiled egg whites, purple onion, parsley and creme fresh. The caviar sat in a bowl over ice. We built our little potato chip bites and it was so delicious! I tried the caviar on a spoon by itself, and I really did like the subtle flavor. When it’s on the potato chip, there’s so much salt from the chip and the capers that you don’t pick up a ton of caviar flavor itself.

The tea also came with a pretty silver tower of sweet and savory bites. We sampled some of everything. I was in a more savory mood so I preferred the salmon puffs and the deviled eggs.

There were also macaroons, scones, cake bites and risotto balls.

This was such a lovely little event, and we would definitely go again for a special occasion like a birthday! I imagine they sell out fast near Mother’s Day.

We’ve been drinking more tea lately at home too, and I bought myself a tea kettle last fall. I really like citrus herbal teas. When I was pregnant with Brynnley, I read the many benefits of drinking Red Raspberry leaf tea and I drank at least one cup every day during my last trimester. I’ll never know for sure if it contributed to my positive labor experience but I tell all of my friends that it certainly can’t hurt! :)

Tomorrow marks ONE MONTH until D-Day! (AKA the deadline to finish this list.) 10 posts in 31 days? Here we go!

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