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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 #2: Make Homemade Bread

Seeing as how I decided to start with the absolute most momentous item on the list (i.e. give birth), anything that follows is bound to be a bit underwhelming.

The activities on my 30 Things To Do Before Turning 30 list are all over the map in terms of excitement and commitment. So my second check mark on my list went to one of the more mild items – making homemade bread.

I don’t own a bread-making machine so I’d need to knead and prep the dough and bake the loaf. I also decided that I needed to pick a bread that used yeast, as opposed to something a little easier like banana bread or pumpkin bread.

This was the perfect opportunity to try out a Pinterest find that caught my eye. The recipe I picked was for focaccia bread, and I would be adding different chopped herbs and veggies to give it an artistic presentation.

Thank goodness I bought three packets of yeast because it would definitely take me more than one try to get it right! Working with yeast is new to me, and the recipe I followed didn’t give as many details as it needed to.

To set the scene – I’m a new mom to a 3 week old who needs round-the-clock feedings and attention. Her nap times are often a debate between getting a shower, a load of laundry and tidying, or a much needed nap. To give myself the 2+ consecutive hours in the kitchen to pay attention to my bread was a treat I welcomed and appreciated! I had pre-pumped a bottle of milk and handed off parenting duties to Zeb. In the first 20 minutes, Zeb had called me to come look at Brynnley or ask me a question about eight times and all I had accomplished in 20 minutes was chopping a bell pepper.

“Okay, for the next two hours……I. am. not. here,” I told him. I grabbed my headphones, turned on a psychology podcast episode, and tuned out my cute little family in the living room which I love so much but also fully enjoyed my mini little break doing what was so normal for me pre-baby.

I mixed my active dry yeast packet with a cup of warm water, then added the sugar, oil, flour, salt and herbs as instructed. What I would learn later on is that the temperature of the warm water is actually pretty specific and very important. “Warm” doesn’t mean turn on the tap and anything between scalding and ice water is fair game. Apparently, yeast pairs only with 110 degree water; anything too hot or too cold = game over, try again.

I had let my fair weather batch of dough sit for an hour to rise, but it was the same size when I returned. I decided to bake it anyways, which resulted in a sheet pan-sized cracker. Albeit, a very pretty cracker. It also still tasted very flavorful since it was full of thyme, oregano, rosemary, and sea salt.

Life with a newborn baby meant I wasn’t able to reattempt my bread again for another four days, but this time I found a more specific recipe and used a kitchen thermometer to test my “warm” water. I had run out of the small enough portions of purple onion for my beautiful topping but still had tons of peppers and capers.

After garnishing the top of the bread dough, we had plenty of fresh veggies leftover. We also had some hummus & some $4.99 red wine from Costco – the perfect makings for an at-home happy hour. It was a random Wednesday night but I’m on maternity leave, so who cares what day it is?! Zeb and I let the baby rock in her swing and played Phase 10 at our dining room table while listening to some country music and inhaling the sweet herby scent of fresh bread in the oven. The smell of a successful second attempt. Bucket list item number two: complete.

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