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It is August. IT IS ALREADY AUGUST. Like the rest of this year, time has seemingly flown by this summer. Living in Seattle, one of the best parts about summer is all the light. It doesn’t get dark until after 9pm (earlier in the season, it would still be dusky at nearly 10!), so there is a lot of time available for doing things outdoors. After a busy few weekends, I now have more free time to do more with my weekend. Here’s what I’d like to accomplish over the next few weeks –

  1. Climb every mountain – Well, not every mountain. But I do want to have a “the hills are alive with the sound of music” moment before the gloom sets in. I’ve been in dire need of some time off the grid lately. It is so hard to narrow down exactly where to go, though. I have gone back to favorite trails multiple times, but for some reason haven’t explored new ones as often as I’d like. In the next two months, I’d like to add Lake 22, Snow Lake, Diablo Lake, and Blanca Lake to my “have hiked” list. I may need to hit the treadmill on high incline to prepare though…
  2. Go on a boat – I need to appreciate that I live by the water a bit more often. In my two years since moving from Austin, I haven’t spent very much time out on the sound or on the lake, and that really needs to change. Ferries do not count in accomplishing this goal.
  3. Go wine tasting (again) – I really just want to sip wines in the sunshine. That’s all.
  4. Spend all day outside – This is pretty self explanatory. I want to spend a whole day outside, and not come in until the street lights turn on. Too often I tell myself that I need to clean or “get my life in order” on the weekends. This usually ends with me doing 1.5 loads of laundry and watching about 4.5 hours to television. Not so productive… I need to channel my inner child, ditch being productive and just enjoy the day as much as possible, doing whatever I’d like.

Is there anything I’ve missed?

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Every summer I fall back in love with reading. I remember the thrill and excitement of turning a summer reading list into a big, fresh stack of unread books, and then devouring them one by one. I never failed to be an overachiever where the summer reading list was concerned. Read five books before the first day of school? Pshhh – I’ll read twenty. I’d like to take this moment to thank my parents for enabling my voracious reading habit as a child – it couldn’t have been cheap. I am so thankful for my love of reading today.

 

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After a particularly stressful couple of months with work, there’s nothing quite like taking a bit of a mental summer vacation by picking up a book. Here are a few of the books that I’ve enjoyed so far this summer…

 

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Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson details Lawson’s battle with mental illness. For such a serious topic, Lawson does a brilliant job of making her own unique experience relatable through humor.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah After having a sample of this on my kindle for months, I finally decided that nearly 26,000 positive reviews should not be ignored. I subsequently could not put this down. The Nightingale tells a fictional story of two sisters in Nazi occupied France throughout WWII, and how they coped with and fought against the destruction of their home, family, friends and livelihoods. I enjoyed the suspense that was built by a very character driven plot – you very quickly find yourself rooting for sisters Vianne and Isabelle and I felt for them even long after turning the final page.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr Upon completing The Nightingale, I couldn’t quite leave France. Another very highly rated bestseller happened to share a similar setting, so I picked up All the Light we Cannot See. I am still in the middle of reading this one, as I ended up putting it down for some lighter reading material, but cannot wait to pick it back up.

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld As mentioned above, I eventually realized that I needed a bit of a lighter read after having WWII based novels in my hands and on my mind for a while. I was immediately drawn to Eligible because it combined two of my favorite things – Pride and Prejudice and a spoof of The Bachelor. For any fans of the original Pride and Prejudice or retellings like The Lizzie Bennet Diaries should happily flip through the pages of this adaptation. While not my #1 favorite (I’ve read a fair few), I did find Eligible to be a page turner as I eagerly wanted to see how each situation in the original was translated to modern day. Definitely a fun beach read.

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So this post has been sitting in my drafts for like, a month and a half now. I had the best birthday weekend – I dare y’all to try to top it. I had such a great time with my Mom in town, and with my friends by my side. I was spoiled – my friends bought me cupcakes and macarons, and faux tampons that are actually tiny flasks. What more can a 25 year old ask for?

Here are some pictures from my trip…

Sneaky Sneaky…. 

These two Scandal and Weeds nerds found Guillermo Diaz’s doppleganger at Toulouse Petit

Birthday Cake Macarons = <3

Wine tasting at 14 Hands Winery in Yakima

My beautiful Mom taking pictures of the weirdly beautiful terrain in Ellensburg.

We went to a fish hatchery. So. Many. Salmon. So. Many. Trout.

Multnomath Falls.

Let’s pretend this is the top of the falls…

 I never wanted to leave this place.

This little guy and his comrade wanted to join us for birthday Champagne, Smoked Salmon, Brie, and Macarons.

25, but I haven’t outgrown a sly middle finger joke… Excuse me while I adjust my glasses…

I touched this.

This is the exact moment that I got a fever and a cold that lasted a month. #worthit

I spy a sad, and slightly phallic, sea anemone…

lol
We’re Cute.
After combing through sand for an hour I finally found an intact Sand Dollar. This is basically gold to me… pun intended.

25 and I was so excited for the beach swings in Seaside. I swung by myself for a solid 15 minutes. Not ashamed.

I was 2 for 2 on weekends that included Sea Lions for a little while.

Cape Disappointment. Didn’t live up to its name. It was pretty cool.

Modern Hike Documentation. 

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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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