Monday, September 8, 2014

Fulfilled by Friendship in Seattle

I spent this weekend in Seattle and instead of catching up on housework or doing things that I should get done before I’m gone every weekend for the next month or so, I spent a lot of time with friends. Dustin was down in Eugene for the Oregon vs. Michigan State football game, which left my weekend extra open. Friday night I went to my friend Ashley’s surprise birthday dinner. I’ve known Ashley since high school, she was a freshman my senior year and she was my “little sis” during homecoming week. Now she lives in Seattle with our friends Lauren and Caroline and it’s always fun to see them.

Ashley's birthday ^^Friends from White Salmon (L to R): Marisol, Rachel (Ashley’s sister), Caroline, Ashley, Me and Lauren^^

Ashley’s birthday dinner was at Mamma Melina’s, an Italian restaurant in the University District. We sipped on wine and chatted while we waited for Ashley to arrive. When she walked into the back room where everyone was waiting to surprise her, she was so surprised she cried. It was really cute.

Saturday morning I took a Body Combat class at my gym. I’m not sure if I will be going back to that class, mostly because some of the instruction was a bit too violent and graphic for my liking (i.e. “pretend like you’re holding his head down and punch his face until it’s bloody”), but it was a really great workout (read: sooo hard) and I’m still sore from the class, so at least there’s that. After my class Natalie and I walked around Green Lake in the sunshine while we chatted and sipped iced coffees. 

Saturday afternoon I did some freelance work for my neighbor/friend before I put on some lipstick and headed to Natalie’s apartment to sip wine on her balcony with her and Brittan. We had some really great, juicy girl talk we hoped her neighbors didn’t overhear before heading to Ocho in Ballard for Spanish style tapas and sangria. The food at Ocho was great and both Natalie and Brittan said it was like a more delicious version of the food they ate constantly when they studied abroad in Spain (separately). After our late dinner we walked down to the Gerald for another drink. We were easily talked into staying when the owner offered to buy us another round of fancy cocktails. Things like that don’t happen often in Seattle so we had to take advantage (especially because it was the owner and not some guy at the bar expecting something in return when we were clearly just trying to have girls’ night). I almost always buy my own drinks, cover, whatever when I’m out without Dustin and I’m always surprised when I talk to people who live in other parts of the country and they say that as an unescorted girl you always just expect your drinks to be bought by random men – fill me in ladies, is this normal?! Anyway, by the time we left, we were sufficiently buzzed and Brittan and I ended the night by sitting on the sidewalk eating delicious, cream-cheesy street meat.

Brittan Me Natalie at the Gerald^^Brittan, me and Natalie, fuzzy iPhone selfie style, at the Gerald^^

Sunday was spent in Woodinville with my BFF Katie, her husband Josh and Katie’s dad, who was always one of my favorite adults growing up, and is in town visiting from Ecuador. We went wine tasting at JM Cellars, and then Alexandria Nicole Cellars to start off the day. Eventually we decided we needed food so we went to the Hollywood Tavern for a late lunch. I had the most delicious toasted quinoa veggie burger with goat cheese, pickled beets and arugula, and I spent lunch asking Katie’s dad to tell us all about Ecuador. I think I might join Katie when she goes down to visit for Christmas. Fingers crossed I can make it happen because Ecuador sounds awesome – tell me, have you been?

After lunch we stopped in the Woodinville Whiskey Co. to do a quick whiskey tasting. None of us were really in the mood to drink too much so we split a tasting. They ended the tasting with bourbon barrel aged maple syrup and honey which were both really delicious. And the vodka we tried smelled exactly like butterscotch. After Woodinville we went back to Katie and Josh’s house to play with their cats and chat for a while before I decided to head home and call it a day.

This weekend make me feel so fortunate that I have so many wonderful friends here in Seattle. You already know that I’m a total extrovert who feels fulfilled by spending time with good people, and this weekend just made me feel so happy and full. The 9-10 hours of sleep I got each night probably helped with my happiness level too! Ha!

This week I am only working Mon-Wednesday and then attending my aunt’s funeral outside of Portland, OR, on Thursday. Friday I’ll be attempting to work from home either in Portland at my cousins’ house or at my parents’ house because the thought of driving down to Oregon, attending a funeral, and then leaving Portland during rush hour and driving back to Seattle just sounded like it was too much to handle. While the circumstances are definitely not ideal, I’m looking forward to a shorter than normal work week and getting to see some family I don’t spend nearly enough time with. I hope you all have a great week!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Sunday at the Woodland Park Zoo

I live in a neighborhood in Seattle called Green Lake. It’s just north of downtown, close to i5 and there is a 250 acre freshwater lake bordered all the way around by a park in the middle of everything, named Green Lake, of course! I really like my ‘hood. I also like that it neighbors Phinney Ridge/Greenwood, which is the awesome neighborhood where Dustin lives. Phinney has lots of great shops, bars, restaurants and the zoo!

Sunday we were supposed to float down a river with friends. But the weather didn’t cooperate (I will have to find another excuse to use this awesome tube I bought!). Everyone was bummed, but we decided to make the best of the situation and come up with a plan B. Our plan B was the zoo. Sunday morning Dustin and I went out for breakfast, which we rarely do anymore, after our favorite breakfast place closed down. It was nice to get out and enjoy breakfast together.

Weekend (3) ^^ I got the french brioche toast, an egg, coffee and a mimosa. I love having ALL the beverages at breakfast ^^

After breakfast we met Brittan and Justin at Woodland Park (which is the park surrounding the zoo, which also neighbors Green Lake Park) for some wine, pita chips and hummus on a blanket. 

I’ve been to the Woodland Park Zoo a few times since I’ve moved to Seattle. Usually with kids, one time with Dustin and now this time, with friends while a little buzzed from our wine prefunk. This time was the most fun time. We had a blast at the zoo!

Weekend (1)^^ Selfie with a bear in the background ^^

Fun fact, Dustin used to work at the Portland zoo, so it’s always fun to go with him. He has lots of random zoo knowledge!

The 4 of us walked around, looked at the animals, stopped for a beer/bathroom break in the food court, and took selfies with animals.

Weekend (5)^^ Orangutan selfie – Me, Brittan, Dustin and Justin ^^

All the animals seemed to be out and moving around while we were there. Apparently Sunday late afternoon is the time to go! Some of our favorite animals we saw on Sunday were the lion, giraffes, giant eagle, bears and penguins.

Weekend (4)^^ Lion, rawr! ^^

Brittan and my favorite animals at the zoo, though, were the flamingos! They were so funny to watch. We decided to make up stories for each of the flamingo cliques (the real housewives, the lonely tweaker bird in the water, the trophy wives, the business men, etc.). It was awesome.

photo 3

After the zoo we had dinner at The Ridge and then called it a night. It was a fun day.

Also of note this weekend, on Saturday morning I got up early, went to the Aveda Institute on Capitol Hill and got a facial. It was my first ever and my normally dry face still feels moisturized. It was very relaxing and I would recommend the Aveda Institute if you’re in the market for an affordable spa service!

After my facial I stopped for a coffee because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to the Hill quite yet (after law school I rarely make it into that neighborhood) and as I was headed back to Green Lake, I had to stop for this picture:

Weekend (2) 

Seattle was looking gorgeous on Saturday (Sunday too!). I don’t want Summer to end!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

normal Seattle weekend things

I’ve been wanting to post on this space more often. I regularly find myself thinking about substantive things I’d like to write about, usually at inopportune times like while I’m driving or in the shower, but then when I sit down at my computer to write all I ever think to write about is what I did this weekend. So, that’s what you’re going to get today too. Hopefully I’ll have something different soon. Or maybe I’ll just stick with my usual Dear Diary, I did these things and it was so fun approach. Who knows?

This weekend: Friday night I got home from work and I sat on my couch watching New Girl on Netflix which has been so funny and amazing and it has made me weirdly nostalgic for all the regular network TV shows to return in the fall despite the fact that I’m not a huge TV watcher. Anyway, I sat there for a good long time thinking about how delicious a drink sounded (ok maybe how delicious some friendship sounded more than anything) before I finally decided that I needed to get out of my apartment and do something about it. I text my friend Caroline and ended up meeting her and our friend Ashley for a drink on Queen Anne. Well, technically I met Caroline at her house where we found the HUGEST SPIDER EVER on her floor and trapped it under a jar and I took a picture of it but I don’t want to share it here because it was too gross and huge and I hated it. When we finally we out and met Ashley, we didn’t stay out long, but at least I got out of my apartment for a bit. Win!

Saturday I ran my errands on foot to kill two birds with one stone (exercise + get shit done). When I got back to my apartment a little later, iced coffee in hand, I cleaned for a bit before picking up Dustin and heading into to Ballard (which is currently one of my favorite Seattle neighborhoods). Side note: weekend morning cleaning is so sooo satisfying to me, anyone else? In Ballard we got pedicures (his first ever), then grabbed Happy Hour at the Ballard Annex. After that we met my friends Natalie and Kate at the Ballard Beer Co. for a beer. Saturday night was spent in, with me falling asleep early after all my plans fell through and I was too tired to make new ones.

Sunday morning I had brunch at Bastille with Natalie and Brittan before we headed outside to the farmer’s market. Brunch + farmer’s market is one of my favorite things. I bought peaches and blackberries, cheese and bread, and flowers. After the farmer’s market Dustin and I went to an open house. Guys, buying a house in Seattle is SO. EXPENSIVE. (median price = $543,500 WFT?!) and SO. STRESSFUL. I had stress dreams about it that night and it’s not even really my house to buy. Yikes!

We de-stressed by watching WWE Summer Slam since I’m very into wrestling now ;) and eating the snacks I got at the farmer’s market. After wrestling, we went across the street to grab a beer on the patio and talk about the house we looked at earlier. Dustin’s friends Ben and Greg ended up joining us at the end and it was a good end to a successful weekend.

Also I failed at taking pictures all weekend, minus the spider, so this poorly lit, straight-faced, cell phone selfie is all I have for you:

straightfaced

Friday, August 15, 2014

Smackdown!

This week I got a chance to go to an event I never thought I’d go to. On Tuesday night I attended WWE Smackdown! Ok, maybe “I never thought I’d go” is a little bit of an exaggeration considering Dustin was a #totesprofesh wrestler before we started dating him (no lies) and he still loves to watch it, but aside from with him, I never envisioned going to a live wrestling event. I went in with relatively low expectations as someone who watched wrestling growing up but isn’t a huge fan in general, but you guys, this thing blew my mind. This was probably the most entertaining live show I’ve ever seen.

photo 1

We had really great seats. There were 6 rows of floor/ringside seats and we were the first row of raised seats. We were also directly across the ring from the camera so if you are watching Smackdown on the the Syfy channel at 8pm pacific time tonight, you’ll see me pretty much the whole show.

photo 4^^Hey, there I am on WWE live Instagramming (thanks to Dustin for the photo of his TV) ^^

The show was at the Key Arena in Seattle, and it was pretty full of people, however, since it was being filmed for live TV they pulled people from the non-filmed side of the arena and filled up the side that would be on camera. They even went so far as to put people in our seats when we got up to go to the restroom mid way through the show so there wouldn’t be empty seats ever. Pretty clever.

photo 2

Some of the wrestlers were better at making it look really legit than others, but overall, all the matches were entertaining. I found myself rooting for the “bad guys” for most of the show which kind of surprised me. And at one point (SPOILER ALERT) there was an interview between two wrestlers and the “good guy” punched the “bad guy” in the face and even though I liked the bad guy more, it was awesome. And it was definitely a real punch (which they replayed about a million times), which was a little crazy.

photo 3

After wrestling, Dustin and I went to Pesos and I ate shrimp tostadas and drank a margarita and life was good. I would totally recommend going to a WWE show if you ever get the chance, it was so much fun.    

Monday, August 11, 2014

a concert, friendship and hood river summer goodness

This weekend I headed back down to the Columbia River Gorge for the second weekend in a row. I got to Hood River right around dinner time. I met Gaby for a margarita and some chips and salsa before heading to Sarah’s house. I got there a little before her so I took some selfies with my favorite dog, Kiva:

photo 1

When Sarah, Tonya and Gaby finally got to Sarah’s, we all walked down to the waterfront to have dinner at Sarah and my favorite restaurant, Solstice.  There was a bit of a wait for a table so we headed next door to the new distillery, Camp 1805. They are in their soft opening phase so we tried some their mini-cocktails (that only have about a 1/2 shot of alcohol in them and are served in mini-glasses) before dinner. They were fantastic. So was dinner!

photo 2

After dinner Sarah and I were walking back to her house when we ran into our friend Abbey. Sarah decided to go home and I hung out with Abbey for a bit before Beth text me to let me know she was off work and headed to my favorite dive bar, The Red Carpet! I met her and some of her work friends for a beer, some girl talk, and some jukebox jams/dancing. It was a fun time.

The next day I met Beth at Lampoei’s food truck for some Thai food before Christa joined us and we headed down to the Hood River for some sunshine.

photo 3^^Christa and Beth taking a selfie on the tiny beach^^

photo 4

After the beach, Beth and I headed to her house to change before she went to work and I went to a concert at Edgefield. Edgefield is a McMenamins property in Troutdale, OR (which is just outside Portland). It was originally built as a poor farm in the early 1900s and then was transformed into a resort of sorts. On the grounds there is a hotel, a golf course, multiple restaurants, even more bars (some tiny, some bigger), a winery, a distillery, a brewery, a soaking pool, a glass blowing studio, a movie theater, etc. It’s very charming. They also have outdoor concerts there. This was my first one at the venue, NONONO and Foster the People were playing. They were really great, high energy and entertaining live. Sarah, Gaby and I had a blast! It was so nice out (despite being REALLY hot until the sun went down) and we had a really great time listening to live music and people watching in the grass.

concert ^^left to right: me, Sarah, Gaby^^

photo 5

After the concert we ran back to our car and got out of the parking lot just in time to escape the horrible traffic. We headed back to Hood River and got into town right about when Beth was getting off work. Beth and I went to the Pub for a drink where we ran into our friends Tonya and Christa. We ended up taking shots and going to Jack’s to dance them off. I’m not going to lie, my legs are still a little sore from dropping it low with the girls. Dance parties are my favorite!

The only down side to the night was when I ended up waiting over an HOUR for a cab back to White Salmon. It was so ridiculous and the cab driver didn’t have enough room in his cab when he finally arrived so I ended up in the “trunk” of his Subaru because I refused to wait alone for another cab back to White Salmon. Ha! Whatever, spooning with my favorite Fluffy cat that night was worth cab-waiting, trunk riding and not sleeping on a friend’s couch.

Sunday I woke up to my dad making me huckleberry pancakes (with freshly picked huckleberries), ham and eggs. It was awesome. I then had the most uncomfortable run-in with an old friend on the street in downtown Hood River who looked physically uncomfortable/upset that he had to talk to me for like 1 minute (WTF?) which in turn made me really upset and so I immediately got in my car while saying “what the F*CK” out loud, and drove straight to Portland to meet my cousin Tad and his girlfriend for lunch. We ate at Beaches on the Columbia River and it was so great to catch up with them. Hooray for positive encounters that make me feel a million times better. Overall, my heart is full from a really wonderful weekend.

Today at work I was telling my coworker, Justin, about my awkward encounter and he had some really great insight on the whole thing. He basically told me that I’m like an excited puppy who just loves everyone so much and I’m so excited to see everyone and that’s overwhelming for some people (introverts), especially if they are having a bad day or were unprepared to run into someone and have a conversation. He also said that while I enjoy maintaining relationships with everyone near and far, for most people maintaining friendships with people who are far away and who they rarely see/talk to is hard and disappointing because when you’d like them to be there, they aren’t and it’s hard to deal with that. He said he mentally puts people like that in a box and just puts them off to the side because he can’t cope. I’m just going to assume he and my other friend are the same way and not let it make me feel bad anymore. Because, if I’m being totally honest, that encounter kind of ruined my day. And then it made me feel upset that it affected me so much and I didn’t understand why I felt so bad after an awkward run in with that person. It’s not like I’m super close with that person. I was just excited to see them and it wasn’t reciprocated and it sucked. On my way back to Seattle, though, I was thinking about it and I think that the thing that fulfills me most in the world is meaningful relationships with other people. All the other things I do come second to my interactions and connections to others. I think the people I love the most understand and reciprocate that and it makes me love them even more. I’m a total lover! And apparently (duh) a total extrovert.

Anyway, most of the weekend was so good and was filled with so many good people. It really was a wonderful time. I just wish my favorite weekends lasted more than 2 days!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Millstock 2014

millstock day

This weekend I was able to attend Millstock for the second time and it was just as good as I remember.

Let me back up a minute. On one of my first days of law school I was at a “welcome to law school event” and I was chatting with this girl, Brittan, who I’d just met. We were doing the normal small talk you do when you first meet someone and she asked me where I am from. I told her a small town about 4 hours from Seattle. She prodded further. I gave my usual answer I give to people I meet in Seattle (because almost no one knows where White Salmon is) and said “oh about an hour east of Portland, OR, on the Washington side of the Columbia River.” Brittan started getting excited and asked again “WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!” And so I told her White Salmon to which she responded that she is from The Dalles, which is about 20 minutes east of Hood River. We were instantly bonded and have been friends ever since.

So, to get back to my story, Millstock is this multi-band concert/fundraise/magical time on Brittan’s family’s property outside of The Dalles. I went three years ago (and had the BEST time) and was devastated they didn’t host Millstock the following summer, and then last summer I had a wedding the same day. This year though, I was there. And like I said, it was just as good as I remember.

The location of Millstock is amazing. They host weddings there and after visiting twice I’m convinced the weddings there are probably the most magical, beautiful things ever. It’s not just the venue that’s great though, the people, the music, the food, and the wine are also terrific. I loved sitting outside with friends on Saturday night, listening to music, eating cheese and crackers, drinking wine, hoola-hooping and dancing. It was so relaxing and amazing.

millstock 2hoola hooping millstock at night

After it got dark and the music ended, we laid outside and looked at the stars for a while before heading back up the hill to Brittan’s parents’ house where we hot-tubbed until bed. The next morning we woke up to coffee and pastries thanks to Brittan’s mom and we chatted for a few hours around the table before everyone headed out.

I left Brittan’s parents’ house and headed my parents’ house – where I stayed on Friday night after it took me SEVEN hours to get from Bellevue to White Salmon (OMG worst traffic ever). While I was at home I was able to surprise my parents’ by telling them that I had booked a trip to Las Vegas for them! And my brother and I are coming too! And some of our family friends! And it’s the first time my mom will ever ride on an airplane (and the second time for my dad). They were ecstatic and we all can’t wait for the trip!

After leaving my parents’ house I met up with Brittan, Justin, Natalie and Melissa in Hood River (law school friends who also live in Seattle and who were also at Millstock) and we walked down to the Hood River to go swimming for a bit. We grabbed a chilled bottle of white wine from Springhouse Cellars along the way and drank it straight from the bottle while standing in the icy river water. The water was cold and perfect and we were having a really nice time until we saw two small water snakes some man convinced us were leeches (after further research I’m convinced they weren’t leeches, but still… WATER SNAKES?!). We jumped out of the water and decided we were over the river and were now in the mood to go back into town for lunch.

river 2 river We headed to the Full Sail Brewery where we enjoyed a beer while waiting for our table and then had lunch on their patio (despite the 100 degree heat outside). It was really lovely. We stopped in Silverado to browse for a minute before grabbing coffee at Ground and heading out of town.

full sail lunch

In other news, I bought a new car this week (all on my own)! I drove it back to the Gorge this weekend and it was so nice not to have to worry that I might break down two hours from anyone I know. I may or may not post more on that later :)

car

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weekend Recap

Friday kicked off the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale so after a stressful week at work, I met Brittan at the flagship store downtown Seattle and we shopped. I felt like it was necessary since, 1. I still have a job (and therefore I will have more paychecks to replenish my bank account), and 2. I worked hard and endured a lot of stress for that money, so I figured why not blow a little on some things I needed anyway? I don't normally feel guilty for spending money (within my means on things I need or experiences that make me happy) but this felt extra justified.
 
 
After shopping we met Natalie, Justin and Boyd at El Borracho in Ballard for some Mexican food and margaritas. Mexican food and margaritas with good friends is one of my very favorite things. It satisfies my soul. I could do that for dinner every day and be the happiest.
 
 
After dinner I texted with an old friend for a while from the comfort of my couch while watching Friends reruns and drinking a Sofia (because having a drink while talking to someone isn't the same as drinking alone! and even if it was, it was also warranted after this week ha). Have you guys tried Sofias? They're tasty, individual serving size cans of champagne and they're sort of genius!  
 
^^Fuzzy Sofia selfie^^
 
Saturday Dustin and I headed to Brinnon (on the Hood Canal) for a night of camping, round 2 with Josh, Katie, Art and Amy. We grilled fresh seafood (oysters, crab, and clams), made Bop-It into a drinking game, managed not to burn off any of our hair in the camp fire and planned a trip to Vegas! It rained during the night (of course it did! isn't that the way it always works?) but we all managed to stay pretty dry. Overall it was a really successful night of camping.
 
 ^^The view from Josh's (and Katie's) family's property in Brinnon^^
 
I'm already looking forward to next weekend. Isn't that the way it always works?

P.S. my weekend jam (because it's summer and this song is catchy, even if the video isn't):
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