You guys! I can’t believe the holiday season is already creeping up on us! I’m still trying to get over “how did 2019 fly by” and I’m not too sure if I’m ready for Mariah Carey’s holiday jams quite yet.
Truth be told, I’ve been trying to get out of a so-called social media rut. Over the past couple years, I’ve been casually scrolling my Instagram account while feeling uninspired. Everything started feeling fake to me and somehow along the way, the fun of being an (also so-called) influencer was removed from the equation. Fast forward to present time, I’m starting to feel a little more inspired and hope to share more of that with all of you.
With the holidays rapidly approaching, I figured I should share some of the luxurious items that I absolutely love and know you’ll definitely want to slip into your stockings for the big day:
It’s been a while since hubby and I had been on a kid-free vacation, so last weekend I decided to surprise him with a night away in Bellevue, Washington to celebrate our TENTH anniversary. We typically don’t celebrate our wedding anniversary, as much as we do our dating anniversary (14.5 years sounds a lot more important than 10, no?), but I figured this one was too important to miss 😉
We used to visit this city frequently a few years ago and instantly fell in love. It’s almost like a home away from home for us – we’re fairly familiar with the city, but there’s always something new to discover.
When it came to start planning this “impromptu” weekend away, I knew we had to stay at our favourite Bellevue hotel – the Hyatt Regency Bellevue. Not only do we always feel at home at the Hyatt Regency, but it’s location is extremely convenient and houses all the amenities we could ever need. From the Regency Club, to its close proximity to shopping at The Bellevue Collection via connecting sky bridges, to its nightlife (there’s a lounge/club INSIDE the hotel + a slew of hip restaurants within walking distance), to its…well…convenient 24/7 restaurant that’s perfect for those late night eats (we still can’t believe that we JUST discovered this gem!).
Our day started off late as it normally does. Luckily, my amazing mother-in-law suggested the kids sleep over the night before, so all hubby and I had to do was sleep in (!), get ready and make our way across the border. It had been so long since we’ve been away (2.5 years to be exact!), which is insane for former frequent “border crossers” such as us.
Not much was planned except dinner reservations at a restaurant we fell in love with years ago – which turned out to be a bust (it must be under new ownership or something, and is not affiliated with the hotel, in case you were wondering) – but, as always, we made the best of it and just winged the entire night. I find that we always have the most fun when nothing is planned! We walked to The Bellevue Collection and shopped for a bit, and then ended up at Earls for late-night drinks after dinner. Everything is within walking distance to the hotel and, as an added bonus, parking is free on Friday & Saturday nights!
The night ended up back at the hotel where we popped another bottle of champagne (thanks to QFC + our late night Uber driver). Actually, back to Uber…it was our FIRST time taking an Uber haha. I should have documented the whole experience on my IG stories because it was abso-freakin-hilarious. We had no idea what we were doing…we crossed the street a few times and the driver couldn’t find us (hmm, I wonder why LOL). Then we got dinged for a “late” charge? Apparently the driver went to the hotel and not to where we actually were. Oops.
After a couple drinks, we made our way to Suite – a lounge inside the hotel – and danced the night away. We didn’t have any responsibilities the next day, so why not?!
The next morning was spent at Eques – the best brunch spot in Bellevue, in my opinion. Every time we’ve dined here, it’s been exquisite. They offer a full breakfast buffet, but I prefer to order off of their menu. You really can’t go wrong with root beer float waffles (it’s SO good), tiramisu pancakes or a crab benedict. I had every single one of the above (and maybe more, haha) and I can honestly say nothing ever disappoints at Eques. Their smoothies are also to die for and if you’re celebrating an anniversary like us, mention it to your server and they’ll whip up a special anniversary smoothie from their “secret menu” (pssst…it may just taste a lot like blackberry lemonade this summer ;)).
Before you head out, make sure you take a photo with the giant “30” in the lobby to help celebrate the Hyatt Regency Bellevue’s 30th anniversary from now until the end of May! Post the photo to your Instagram page with the hashtag #HRBelle30 + #sweepstakes. For full contest details, visit @hyattregencybellevue on IG.
Are you planning on staying at the Hyatt Regency Bellevue in the near future? I’d love to hear about your experience or past experiences in the comments below!
If you’re anything like me (aka Last Minute Queen), you’re currently frantically scouring Pinterest for the perfect last-minute Easter treat to smush together for the 30 to 60 (maybe 90?) little ones in your kids’ classes.
Am I right?!
Looks like you’re in luck because I’m sharing that perfect treat for you right here! While it’s not completely original (it’s a Pinterest find for sure), I always resort to these easy, no-bake, under-an-hour birds nest treats when I’m running behind or when it feels like the week has just creeped up to me and I have nothing.
Bird’s Nest Easter Treats (No-Bake)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups mini marshmallows
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups dried chow mein noodles
mini eggs (3 to 4 per nest)
Melt butter and marshmallows together in a large saucepan on low heat.
Stir vanilla extract into the butter/marshmallow mixture and add chow mein noddles, stirring quickly to coat the noodles evenly.
Remove from heat. You’ll want to work quickly for the next step (think Rice Krispie squares!). For each nest, form a ball and push down with your thumb in the middle of the ball to create the “nest”. I used a mini cupcake pan, which made it easier to shape the nests. Repeat.
Add 3 to 4 mini eggs to each nest and voila!
This recipe should make about at least 30 nests (good for one class!) depending on the size of each nest. Enjoy!
It’s already December (how?!) and all I can do is reminisce about a holiday styled shoot I created a few years back with my lovely and very talented friend, Amy from Confetti and Co.!
When I started The Swank Social, it was all about celebrations, confetti and creative collaborations. It was a fun time and I made so many connections through the work that I did, but it wasn’t fulfilling enough for me. Plus, I had a personal reason why I decided to go back to work full-time (best decision ever!) and slowly concentrate on growing The Swank Social as a blog during my spare time lifestyle blog. It only took a year to finally grasp and understand how to balance my time.
Actually, scratch that.
I still don’t know how to balance my time. I’m almost certain that I’ll never figure that out, but here we are!
Okay, back to the holidays and Christmas. And back to the days where a crisp, white studio space was extremely hard to come by. We booked (the now defunct) Sugar Studios for our collaborative shoot and started working our magic:
While I do miss the days where I got to plan and execute events that were dear to my clients’ hearts, I’m so fortunate to have this social platform that allows me to keep creating, collaborating and styling! Currently, I’m just trying to let it settle in that it’s almost Christmas!!
The venue? A rooftop overlooking the downtown skyline, of course! While it was just our luck that the air was still filled with smog from the forest fires raging north of our city, we couldn’t have asked for a better setting for our high tea.
First things first – connecting with the amazing Secret Garden Tea Company, who provided a decadent spread of their famous savoury and sweet petite fours from their seasonal high tea menu – complete with their gorgeous tea cups, saucers and tiered trays (and they’re also available for rent!). The lovely Jam PR team was also on site to assist in the set up of Secret Garden’s high tea to go and to ensure everything went smoothly.
And it’s not a proper high tea without a glass of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc together with a splash of frozen berries for a special twist on a classic favourite:
Although the air was hazy (it looked like something out of a movie!), the surprise was a complete success! The guest of honour was treated to a gift bag filled with goodies from local natural body care line, K’Pure Naturals, and of course a bottle of Kim Crawford wine.