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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. 60ΒΊ 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 πŸ™‚

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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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Dear Zach,

I didn’t get a chance to tell you today – I love you. You are such a great friend, and I will never forget that. Seven years ago, I was grieving over the loss of my childhood dog Sam, and you just flopped into my life – belly up of course – and were exactly what I needed.

I remember the day that we brought you home; we were so scared that you were unhappy being away from everything you knew at Larry’s. You trotted nervously around the house for a while, and after spending hours trying to get you to play, I had to give in and get some homework done. It was my senior year after all. Deeply entrenched in some AP something-or-other, I was startled by a sudden thud, right in my lap. Convinced that you were a lap dog, you hopped the entire front half of your body on to my lap and just stared at me. And smiled. This would continue for about the next six years. I would often tell you to “Get down, Zach!” but now I wish I hadn’t. I didn’t get to hold you as a puppy, but as I held you then (kind of), I knew that we would be great friends.

You didn’t know how to fetch or leap to catch a frisbee, you hated walking in dewy grass, you’d show off the family jewels whenever you had the chance, and your herding/ankle biting tendencies showed whenever I’d dance in your presence. None of that mattered though, because you were kind, loving, loyal, and a friend to all. You were a dog who loved cats; a gentle giant who would let a five pound Yorkie sit on your head at the park; a companion who would walk beside me wherever I went; someone who would never let a high five go left hanging; the most persistent alarm clock of all time; a puppy brother; a constant smile.

I didn’t get a chance to tell you today, but I know that you have been strong. I know that you were ready. I hope that you get to meet Sam, Duke and Ripper, Rusty and Rocky. I hope that you and Sam go on “klaws” together, and laugh about my singing in the shower and all of the other weird things that I do when I think no one is looking. I hope that you finally get the pet cat that you had always wanted. I hope that you know the answer to “Are you a good-good boy?” was always “Yes”.

I didn’t get a chance to tell you good-bye today, so I will say this – I will see you again. Until then, I will smile thinking of the love that you gave me. I am so honored.

Love you, Little Buddy.
Your Girl

β™₯β™₯β™₯

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As I walked home from work yesterday, something really struck me. I passed Whole Foods, a business that I’m already semi-obsessed with (ATX whaddup), and they had updated the signs on their windows. One read:
“Treat your body like it belongs to someone you love.”
It stood out to me, because I think that I’d treat my body, my health, better if it wasn’t mine. I stopped a moment, just to take that in. Do I not love myself enough to treat *me* the way I’d treat my family, friends, and other loved ones? Don’t get me wrong, I think I’m pretty great in a lot of ways, but I feel like I put so many things before my own self.
We are taught as kids to put other’s needs before ours, to do all that we can to excel in school, work, relationships – you name it – even if it is at the expense of our own well being. There’s going to be more time to take care of yourself later, after all the other multitude of responsibilities are taken care of first.
I know the ad was meant to tell me to eat more kale, or pass on that Christmas cookie (or three, or four), but I liked the deeper meaning. I sometimes need a reminder that barre class after work *is* a good idea, or that not eating out all the time is more than just an exercise in frugality, and that scheduling time for my own well being is just as important as any meeting on my calendar.
It is always useful to get a gentle nudge back into the right frame of mind, especially during the hectic and indulgent holiday season. Because you do only live once, after all.
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As a kid, Christmas always seemed to be ages after Thanksgiving. The waiting was always super intense; but I managed to fill the time with wish list refinements, holiday music, shopping with my mom, and decorating. I have to say, not much has really changed now that I am an “adult”.

My pre-Christmas routine didn’t differ much from the norm this year, as my Mom came out to Seattle to spend Thanksgiving with me. My Dad is a hunter, so fall is really his only time to enjoy his hobbies in Texas. As a result, he pretty much spends all of Thanksgiving out in the wilderness every year. This usually results in my Mom and I turning Thanksgiving into girls’ weekend.

Here are some of the highlights of our trip… Get ready – this is a doozy, people.

Monday: After spending some time getting some work done, we had planned on going out to dinner somewhere. This didn’t actually happen, as we got too wrapped up in catching up over Deep Eddy Ruby Red cocktails – which happens to be our favorite way to spend an evening.

Tuesday: Tuesday marked Sandy’s first food truck experience. It was super misty and gross out, but I had to show her how awesome eating food out of a vehicle could be. We went to Nosh – and ordered some Fish and Chips. After taking her on a tour of my office, she went off shopping…. without me πŸ™ Four hours, and five pairs of shoes later, I met up with her and all of her purchases in time to go to dinner with one of my friends and her puppy. We went to Belltown Pub, and it might be one of my new favorite places. Not only is it super dog friendly, but it also serves my fav drink (see above) and it happened to be playing the SMU basketball game! Go Mustangs πŸ™‚
Wednesday: I was lucky enough to only have to work some of the day on Wednesday, so we took advantage of the afternoon and drove out to Woodinville to sip on some wines! I had been to a few wine tastings the previous weekend, and knew it would be a hit. We only went to Chateau St. Michelle, but really maximized our time there. Finally, I learned how to properly taste wine from a very nice employee named Tom. Now I won’t feel like such a fool as I gulp down wines and say “Very nice” to everything I try.
We also ventured out to Snoqualmie Casino to try our luck on some slots. After about an hour of utter failure, we parked ourselves at the Michael Jackson machines of all places. My luck was a bit better than my Mom’s so I got to pick up our tab for dinner…
Since it was already suuuuper dark outside, I suggested that we stop by Bellevue Collection – which sounds quite fancy but is basically just a very nice semi-outdoor mall. There, we shopped until the stores closed and enjoyed some pink drinks (Grapefruit Martini for Mom, and RosΓ© for myself). I bought just a few things, but I’ll save those for a later day. πŸ™‚
Thursday: Turkey Day. To prepare for our literal monumental dinner, we absolutely needed to do something at least semi-active early in the day. Again, the weather was not on our side, so the options for hikes were limited. I hadn’t yet been to Alki Beach, and now I’m wondering why I had waited so long! The views are beautiful no matter what part of the trail you are on, though you simply can’t beat the view of the Seattle skyline! 
From there, we proceeded to prime our systems for the meal ahead with a small lunch of smoked salmon, fresh baguette, brie, and wine. We were both so excited for our meal at the Space Needle, and it definitely didn’t disappoint! I ordered the traditional turkey dinner, while my Mom went for the uber rich filet mignon and lobster tail. I 100% endorse the dessert choices there, as well – apple cobbler with snickerdoodle crust? Yes please! One of the most entertaining parts of the dinner was reading all of the notes that some of the kids (and adults!) from other tables posted to the window as the tables spin around the city. 
Friday: Oh boy. We walked something like 11 miles that day, just checking out all the Black Friday deals. Add to that at least 3 inches of rain, and people protesting just about everything imaginable, it made for quite an interesting day downtown. I didn’t actually end up buying anything because the crowds were just too insane, unfortunately. At one point we may have been locked in the mall by protestors? After reading that tweet from the Seattle PD, we figured it was about time to go home. Makes for some memories at the very least! 
Saturday: Sadly the last day of our Thanksgiving weekend. My Mom flew home that afternoon, but not without one last surprise. SNOW! Admittedly, I didn’t get much where I live, but it still counts. I had to document this beautiful moment on my pathetically bare patio πŸ™‚
Mom – I had a lovely week hanging out with you in my new ‘hood! I can’t wait to come home to spend the holidays with you, Dad and the dogs in just a few weeks!
(If anyone else read this far, I applaud you.)

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Hello, and Happy December!

After meaning to write more often all last month, and yet, only posting one lonely entry – I’ve decided to jump right into twenty-five days of posts. Twenty-five days of Blogmas! I got the idea after getting excited about some of my favorite YouTubers gearing up for Vlogmas. I’ve always wanted to take part, but have never really mustered up the courage to  do so. This year however, I wanted to do something. Sadly, my current phone’s camera is a bit lacking in the sound quality department, so I had to think of a way to document this month without it sounding like a garbled mess on film… Enter, Blogmas πŸ™‚

I’ve been looking forward to this month basically all year, but I have been especially excited for Christmas time since moving to Seattle. What says Christmas more than surprise snow, chilly days, and shopping streets filled with lights? Okay, maaaaaybe getting to sing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and knowing that I’ll actually be going back to Texas is more exciting than all that πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to celebrate the holiday at home with my parents, my pups, friends, and family in a few short weeks. Until then, I need to get ready and get festive.

I love that the holidays can turn an otherwise stressful time – end of the year at work, am I right? – into a few weeks of magic and fun. It is a time to indulge in both the little things and the most important things; from the most spectacularly tacky sweater for a party, to spending time with loved ones and taking stock of all the things to be grateful for this year. It is also a time when drinking champagne is kind of a given, so I’m obviously a fan of that, too.

I’m planning on posts surrounding holiday entertaining, gift ideas, playlists, and stories of Christmases past. Cheers to the most wonderful time of the year!

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As I write this I am more than happy to be sitting on my couch, wearing all manner of sweats (pants and shirt), and bopping around on the internet. Few things are as nice and relaxing as a chilled out Friday night at home after a long, tiring work week. However, after a week in the city I often find myself in the woods on the weekends.

Going hiking in the woods, in the mountains, was not an activity that was readily available to me while living in Texas for the past ten years. Because of that, and because of the impending doom and gloom that is a Seattle winter, I really want to get outside as much as possible this fall. Over the past few weeks I’ve been on a couple of mini adventures just outside of Seattle. It’s really amazing how many beautiful places are within an hour’s drive from my apartment downtown.

Two weeks ago, I drove out to Snoqualmie Falls on a whim, and loved spending some time just sitting by the river. I found the most tranquil little beach near the base of the falls, and may have spent about 30 minutes there just taking pictures.

Last weekend, I went foraging for Chanterelle Mushrooms with some friends of mine at Poo Poo Point (you’ll be proud to know that we only laughed about the name a couple times). While we didn’t find anything to include in our dinner later on, the views on the hike itself were worth the trip.


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As previously expressed, I love fall. I love the chilly weather, and am learning to love the Seattle rain that comes along with it. After work, there’s nothing better than cozying up to a nice hot dinner, but I am not going to lie – sometimes the last thing I want to do is spend a ton of time preparing a lavish meal. Okay, I lied a little bit; I pretty much never want to spend a ton of time cooking on a weeknight. 

This year, one of my favorite winter recipes has made its way into rotation a bit early – Blended Carrot Soup. It’s a very easy soup that one of my friends made quite often during college. Since I first learned the recipe, I have even found a few ways to spice up the inevitable days of left overs.


A trip to the farmers market inspired this dish. I found some of the fanciest lettuce I’ve ever seen, and just knew that this soup would be the perfect compliment – in both flavor and color – to this spicy lettuce and flower blend. Don’t judge me if I actually turn orange from all the carotene I’ve ingested recently. I just love this soup, okay?



 Blended Carrot Soup


Ingredients

– 2 lbs large carrots (tip: baby carrots DO NOT work for this)
– 1 large white onion
– 1 small russet potato
– 2 tbsp salted butter
– 32 oz chicken or vegetable broth
– Fresh rosemary
– Creole Seasoning

– Large soup pot
– Immersion blender

1. Warm up the pot. Meanwhile, chop the onion, carrots and potato. It doesn’t really matter what size you cut everything into since everything is going to get blended together anyways.

2. Once the pot is nice and warm, throw in the butter and onions to cook. It will give a nice buttery flavor to the whole pot of soup, without having to use a ton of butter.

3. When the onions have browned, pour the carrots, potato and broth into the pot. Throw a bit of rosemary in there for good measure, and flavor. Let the soup boil. 

4. When all the veggies are – for lack of a more appetizing word – mushy, take the pot off the heat and let it rest for a minute or two. Remove the sprig of rosemary, shake in as much creole season as you’d like and get to blending. Make sure that all of the vegetables are blended in properly, but be careful and don’t let the immersion blender come up too close to the surface. Otherwise you’ll be cleaning soup off of the entire kitchen.

5. Serve topped with a bit of rosemary, and season to taste.

– This soup tastes awesome with some fresh bread on the side. I picked up a fresh loaf from the french bakery in my building, and it was all I could do to not eat the whole thing.

– Suggestions for jazzing up leftovers include: adding a dollop of greek yogurt, or a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, or a tiny bit of chili infused olive oil, or just more creole seasoning…. gotta stay warm somehow! 




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Call me basic, but I love Fall. It’s a season that doesn’t really exist in Texas, which is a shame. However, it’s in full force here in Seattle! I wake up almost every morning to a nice cool fog, but the sun has come out just in time to enjoy the afternoon almost every day this week. With the mornings as grey as they are, I figured I’d treat myself to something bright.

Every Thursday some of the vendors from Pike Place Market venture north a few blocks to set up shop in South Lake Union. I love all the farmers markets in and around Seattle, and this is no exception. I am so glad that I can walk a block away from my office, and find some great local food and flowers. I had promised myself that I would buy myself flowers as soon as I got settled in, buttttt – I hadn’t done that yet. I picked out a sweet little $5.00 bouquet of dahlias, but could have gone with any of the dozens of choices. It’s so hard to pick just one!

I also felt the need for a little dessert, and one of my coworkers suggested Ellenos. OMG, this is the most autumnal yogurt that I have ever had the pleasure of tasting. Yes, that is actual Pumpkin Pie in there. I may or may not have licked the bowl when I ate this at home…

The farmers market runs for the rest of October, but then sadly takes a break for the winter. I’m definitely going to try to get out there for the next couple of weeks. #treatyoself

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