please, please, please pay attention to that fabulous sea lion in the back. 

I know that most people don’t find work travel to be all that exciting or glamorous, but I just came back home to Seattle from SUCH a fun trip to San Francisco. I was sent there for two days for work with a few of my good friends, and tacked on an extra day for sight seeing, and loved just about every minute of it. I just wish I had more time to spend there!

I have a bit of a history with quick trips to San Francisco – as my only other time visiting the city lasted less than 48 hours in 2012 for a job interview. Even with such brevity as 48 hours then, and 72 hours now, it is totally possible to have an amazing time in this city. Here are a few things from each of my quick trips to SF…

On a semi unrelated note – comparing photos from two different trips, two years apart from each other, is really interesting. It is so cool to see how much I have grown as far as my camera skills are concerned. I hesitate to say “photography” because I can’t take myself that seriously…

2012:

After spending most of the day having brunch and generally bopping around with one of my friends in the city, I took one of the famous trolleys up to Lombard Street. This was not without a fair bit of hill climbing on my own, though. I knew I had to check out the world’s most crooked street, as my Great Aunt said that is was one of her favorite things in SF when she had visited more than 20 years ago. I would love to live along side such a crazy street, especially since it is filled with Hydrangeas.

From Lombard Street, I made my descent to the water, and caught an amazing view of Alcatraz at sunset. The fog was beginning to roll in, and was breath taking. Coming from Texas, where everything is dry and flat, it was amazing to see how different this city was from Austin.

I’m not sure why this photo is so washed out – I really don’t remember making that editing decision – but for the sake of posterity and comparison, it stays. I made my way down to Pier 39 to check out the Sea Lions and fell in love. They are the weirdest and most wonderful combination of the mermaid version of cats and puppies, and I cannot say how much I love them.

2015:

This time around, I had a bit more time to spend, so I was able to fit in some more than just a very steep walk. On Thursday, my friends and I walked over 10 miles; usually this would be awesome, but I sprained my ankle last week, so it was a bit of a struggle that ended in a very ugly ankle. It was totally worth it though. We walked through Chinatown, went to the Ferry building and had the most AMAZING ice cream ever, and had a delicious seafood dinner at Scoma’s. Friday was all work, and then some play with friends for dinner and drinks. I met up with the same friend that I hung out with in 2012, and literally ran into a friend from Austin in a bar. For as big as the world is, it sure can be small…

Saturday was the day, though. We woke up, went to brunch, and then set sail on a Catamaran to tour the harbor. This is by far my favorite part of the trip. I found Adventure Cat tours online, and would recommend it to anyone who loves chill, classy times. What is better than Cali wine, Jazz, Sailing, and beautiful views? Nothing, that’s what.

Fun fact: I bought the exact same style of Minnetonka moccasins on my last trip to SF. Both times, I was wearing inappropriate shoes for the amount of walking I’d be doing. I had been waiting to replace my old pair for some reason, and now I know why…. Even with such comfy shoes, kicking my feet up on the cruise was utter bliss. 

We all let everyone else do the hard work.

The weather was perfect for us, but the storm clouds rolling in didn’t bode well for the later cruise…

I would want in on that cuddle, but I cannot unsee the things that these guys were laying in… ew.
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I think everyone went crazy over the holidays. That is really the only reason that I have come up with to explain why everything has been so nuts in January. Really, everything is good but work has been particularly stressful – not surprising really.

I find that when I get stressed out, I like to do either one of two things: sit on the couch all day and binge on Netflix (hello, Friends) or go off and do something outdoors by myself. I did both of these things this weekend. I am proud and ashamed to say that I’ve watched 8 seasons of Friends in 3 weeks; one of which was completed in its entirety yesterday afternoon. I felt like a total blob, so I knew that I had to get out and do something today.

Usually, I will get in the car and drive to some beautiful mountain or lake to take photos and hike around, but today I just didn’t feel like planning anything. So – I “urban hiked” around in my own backyard along Seattle’s waterfront. I walked along the trail running through the Olympic Sculpture Garden, Myrtle Edwards Park, and Centennial Park.

To say that today was perfect would be an understatement. 60º and Sunny is a fairly standard January day in Austin, but I never thought that it would be so nice in Seattle this time of year. As I walked along the water, looking at the Olympic Mountains across Elliot Bay, basking in the sunlight – it felt like all my stress just melted away. So much so that I wanted to dance and sing along to my music, but obviously didn’t because I was in public…

I am finally making some real progress toward getting a puppy this Spring, so I am so thankful that such a great trail is just blocks away from home. I cannot wait to take my new best friend down there this summer 🙂

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After seeing beautiful Murano glass in Italy and my first Chihuly installation in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, I have always wanted to see how glass is blown. So when my friend offered up a spot in a private glass blowing workshop, I jumped that the opportunity to join with another friend as well. We each made three Christmas ornaments, and the whole process was so cool. Is it weird that my new favorite color is “molten glass”? 
Below are a few pictures taken as we were blowing our ornaments. I will not be sharing photos of each of us actually blowing the glass, because it just looks very odd and slightly wrong. I also don’t need that picture of myself on the internet forever. I couldn’t help but laugh every time they told us to blow harder – I’m sure I looked just like the War Heads logo… (click here for that image)
 I was terrified of getting in contact with pretty much everything. I burn myself on coffee each morning, and cannot imagine 2,000 degree metal or glass… No one had to warn me about the heat!
Molten glass hangs on to an iron rod, which is then put into a swirling 2,000 degree heat. This is called a “Glory Hole”. I am not kidding. 
The inside of an old glory hole that had been covered with glass. 
Some of the tools appeared to be more at home in a horror movie than a glass studio.
You can see the first bubble forming as the glass is blown. 
That black piece is actually water logged wood. It helps to shape the spherical ornament. 




The bubble grows larger! This ornament was actually not red; the glass is just that hot.
After the glass is removed from the iron blowing rod, a blow torch is used to create a small hanger. So cool. 
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The day after my Christmas party with friends, all I wanted was to have a thoroughly relaxing “me” day. First order of business was to take off all the jewelry that I passed out in glamorously fell asleep in. I love this tiny jewelry dish that my Mom sent to me in a care package a while ago. It’s a tiny glass Texas, with a gold heart over Austin <3 I can’t say how happy this makes me every time I come home. 
It is the perfect size for my ring, and whatever earrings that I’m currently wearing. On this particular occasion, I had worn my Megan Runser Good as Gold for BaubleBar “DIAMOND CAYMAN STUDS”. Megan is a fabulous friend who is currently battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. In true style, she designed a Guest Bartender collection for BaubleBar. 100% of the proceeds go to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I think I’ve worn these studs at least four times a week since getting them the day the collection launched. I love how just a bit of glitter can dress up even the most boring winter garb by day, but transition so well into luxurious statement earrings by night. Paying it forward never looked so good. Check out the rest of her collection here!

Next on my agenda was to just relaxxxx. One thing that helps me to instantly feel more at ease is to pamper my skin. I recently went to Uwajimaya – a truly massive Asian supermarket here in Seattle. I went with one thing on my mind – face masks. I love a good sheet mask, because they can be so hydrating but require basically no effort to apply or remove. I’ve heard such great things about the sheet masks made in Asia, but haven’t had a good place to find them until moving up here. 
This only makes up a small selection of the truly ridiculous amount of masks that I bought. Walking down the face mask aisle was pretty much like being a kid in a candy shop. I had to try each one. What’s nuts is, I didn’t even scratch the surface of what they had to offer. So far, I have tried masks with “Diamond Extract”, “Hyaluronic Acid”, and “Pearl Essence”. Each one has left my skin feeling refreshed, and particularly moisturized the day after. For about $1.50 to $2.00 a piece, they are definitely worth it!
I saw something that I just couldn’t leave without right as I checked out with my face masks. Bioderma. You have eluded me for so long. I have always wanted to try this cleanser, but have been weirded out by the idea of ordering it online. I love this so far. I have used it to completely remove my makeup a few times, but I really prefer to use it after my usual cleansing routine. It definitely helps to get rid of any lingering makeup, and really tones the skin while keeping the moisture in. 
I couldn’t not share my framed “Your the Shit” Calligraphy. Who doesn’t love some gilded script, especially when the message itself isn’t all that fancy? For all the cleansers and masks in the world, there are some things that you just can’t clean up – my sense of humor included. 🙂
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There are some days when you have a plan, and stick to it; and there are other days, like yesterday, when you just have to chase something beautiful. I had planned on making my way to the shops downtown to take pictures of all the Christmas lights, and found that it was absolutely necessary that I make a quick detour first. 

I live a few blocks away from Seattle’s waterfront and the Olympic Sculpture Park. I absolutely love that I can have a front row seat to some of the best views of Elliot Bay within minutes of getting up off my couch. I saw vibrant, watercolored skies poking through a few buildings and took the opportunity to chase the sun. I followed it through the Olympic Sculpture Park, and then down along the waterfront to the Great Wheel. This might be the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
 Fellow sun gazers. 
The sunset reflected on a metal wall at Olympic Sculpture Park.

“Eagle” by Alexander Calder

 Looking out from the pier. 
 A Washington State Ferry on its way back into Seattle.
The Seahawks had just won their game against the 49ers, so the Great Wheel was lit up in all sorts of green and blue. 
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