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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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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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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I’ve been busy. My life has been very busy lately. In the best ways. 

I have been in Seattle for one month, and it hardly even feels like it has been half that long. Here’s some of what I’ve been up to since September first…

I cried on a boat (for a wonderful reason)…

I knew it would happen. I told everyone before I went on the tour: “I will cry when I see a whale.” Simple fact. It wasn’t blubbering tears (pun absolutely intended there), but I did shed a poetic tear at just how beautiful they are. Aside from the occasional dolphin dorsal fin at the beach, I have never seen a whale in the wild. No one could have prepared me for their size, speed, or that puff of air that would announce their arrival to the surface. 

The last photo shows J26 “Mike” – whose dorsal fin has to be as tall as I am. I would know this, because he swam under our boat and then reappeared only about fifteen feet away. Sadly, it really caught us all off guard and I couldn’t get a photo in time. I’m sure he had a laugh about it. 


I climbed a mountain (a little one)…

My first day here, Steph and I decided to take a hike up Little Mount Si trail. The “little” part of that title is a total misnomer – if you saw the cliff near the summit, you’d agree. The trail is only about 45 minutes away from my apartment downtown and is an awesome, beautiful way to escape. 
I found a home…


I will need to to a whole other post about how much love one person can have for an apartment. Yes, that is my view; an yes, that is my patio. Mine, all mine! I can’t wait to deck out my deck once I have some fun money to spare. Which brings me to…

I became an Amazonian…


I’ve been working quite a bit over the past few weeks, and I doubt that will change much in the future. I love it! My team is fantastic, and I am so excited for all of the ways that I will get to contribute. In addition to some of the really cool, actual-work related things I’ve seen so far, I really can’t complain about some of the perks like the Fish Bowl series. I’ve already seen two roof top concerts during lunch, and am planning on seeing “Walk the Moon” perform next week!

I’ve generally enjoyed my new city…

One thing that I have made sure to do is to take every opportunity that I can to do something new. There are so many things here that I couldn’t do in Austin. Even though there are several people, things, and places that I miss in Austin – I am so excited to make Seattle my home.



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After calling Austin home for the past three years, I am both surprised and thrilled to say that it is time for a new adventure. I will be moving to Seattle by the end of the month to start a new chapter at Amazon!

This has been a whirlwind summer, to be sure, and it’s nowhere near stopping. I have so much on my plate now that everything is official, but I am just so excited. Once I get more details (and have my thoughts together), I’ll write more. In the meantime, I thought I’d show off some photos from my trip to Seattle last week for interviews.

Sailboats on the sound, and mountains at sunset. Two things that you would never see in Austin!

Spent some time exploring Pike Place Market. I cannot wait to buy fresh flowers, fish, and produce here πŸ™‚

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