Space Needle, Trip Number…(I’ve lost track, honestly)

Got to visit the Space Needle the other day, and might I just say… food, service, and views were, as always, spectacular. Still the best place to get a classy lunch in Seattle, and some classy photos as well. Plus, I love any chance to dress up like I’m actually a classy person who wears something other than jean shorts.

As always, the photos on here are tiny and the quality isn’t great, so if you want to see larger versions, open up the pictures in a new tab.

Changes (Or, My Life Is Currently a Whirlwind But Somehow I’m Still Calm)

To say I have a lot happening right now is an understatement. As I write this, I’m mentally packing a suitcase and planning a trip to Home Depot to rent a moving truck. On my kitchen counter are half a dozen full boxes and about 10 bottles of cleaners. I’m patiently awaiting my final paycheck that will give me some much-needed cash. My hair is a greasy mess because I haven’t had a good chance to wash it. I’ve got emails, calls, texts, and Facebook messages that have gone unanswered for weeks due to how busy I’ve been (pretty sure most of my friends hate me right now).

Basically, every single one of my life changes decided to happen within a week. Somehow, I’m okay with that.

You see, I’m one of those people who likes change: as much as routines are incredibly helpful to me on a micro scale, routine on a macro scale defines my worst nightmare. So at the beginning of this month, I made a few decisions: I would cut off my long hair (that hasn’t been more than trimmed for 10 years), I would buy a ticket to go visit my family in Idaho, I would move out of my small apartment and move in with my best friend, and I would quit my job.

Even for me, it’s been a bit much.

But that doesn’t stop the fact that these changes are geared towards my long-term happiness: life choices are all about sacrificing short-term convenience for long-term success. Let me explain in a bit more detail.

I’ll start with cutting my hair. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved my long hair. If you had asked me six months ago to swear on my life that I wouldn’t cut my hair short, I would’ve. It was beautiful and envied by a lot of my friends, but when it came down to it, it was a lot of work. I spent endless money on hair product and hours on maintenancing it, and in the end, I received long headaches and neck pain as a thank you. When the opportunity presented itself for me to cut it for a good cause (Pantene Beautiful Lengths, I kinda love you right now), I decided to take it. My hair had become a symbol of my youth (every female in my family who has kids has short hair), and I wanted to retain that youth despite my growing independence. But my new short hair…it’s cute, it’s smart, and it feels like I’m simultaneously a high schooler in the ’90s and an adult in the modern age. Plus, I’m going to save a lot of time and money. Basically, the decision, though terrifying in the short term, ended up great in the end.

This was similar to my decision to buy a ticket to go visit my family. It meant taking time off work (which ended up working itself out in the end), moving into my new apartment late, and dealing with some rather difficult travel inconveniences (but who am I to complain about a vacation?). But I don’t get to see my parents very often (they live on the East Coast), and a break from hectic city life seems to be just what I need. Nothing like fresh mountain air and some time away from society to put things in perspective.

Moving out of my apartment was definitely more of a challenge. My new apartment isn’t open until mid-September, so I can’t move in until I come back from Idaho. Basically, I had to go through and pack all of my belongings, throw them in a storage unit, and come back in two weeks, pick it all up, and move into my new place (side note: Home Depot, you’re literally the greatest truck rental dealership alive). Keep in mind that I just moved three months ago. I’m not quite keen to move again. I hate moving with a passion and since starting college two years ago, I’ve moved six times. But over the past few months, I’d been living with people I didn’t know well, and coming home from working all day to basically strangers just provided another strain on my mental health. Plus, the apartments I was living in were far from spectacular (why yes, I love living in an over-glorified closet).

Basically: moving was (and will be) miserable, but it’s all going to be worth it. I’ll be living in my new apartments for at least a year, my only roommate will be my best friend, and my room is a freaking castle. I couldn’t be more excited, even though moving in literally sounds like my worst nightmare. It’ll all work out in the end.

Finally, the hardest decision was quitting my job. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved my job. My co-workers? Amazing people, even better friends. The fact that I got to be a know-it-all every day about Seattle? Perfect fit for me. But working 30 hours a week while being in school and running two clubs? Not so great. I didn’t have down time, and trying to basically do four jobs was absolutely horrible. I was lucky if I got to sleep before 1AM on a school night. My exercise routine was brutally murdered by 8- (or more) hour shifts on my feet. Not exactly working out in my favor.

So I quit. I don’t mean I threw in the towel and fell to the floor in tears, I mean I regretfully told my boss that I couldn’t work there anymore. I miss it already and I’m already trying to figure out how to live on a shoestring budget, but I know it was the right choice for me. Besides, actually having time to myself means I can delve back into my personal interests–writing, photography, painting–that have been neglected for far too long. And I can’t say I didn’t go out with a smile…although it helps when your boss brings in donuts on your last day (safe to say I may never have a boss as awesome as her again).

In the long term, I’ll probably get a new job–one that’s closer to home, less hours a week, and maybe means not having to talk to people literally 24/7. I’ll be happily moved into my new apartment in two weeks with a place that I can call my own (although I could use some dishes of my own, too). I leave for vacation in a few days (hooray!) and I’m more than ready to be anywhere that isn’t a city. And I guess I’ll get used to my hair soon…

Because that’s the thing about change: at first, it’s big and scary and you don’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole, but once it happens, give it some time and you’ll be adjusted. Change for the bad can be a hard adjustment, but change to make the good things in life great–now, that’s something I’m willing to bend over backwards for (but not right now, because I need to get back to the gym before I do that).

The Never Ending Face Paint Project

During Seattle winters, everyone gets a bit antsy. It’s cold, damp, and dark. There’s not much to do and no reason to leave a warm room. It was in the midst of these winters that my friend Victoria and I started a project.

Actually, she started it, and it was originally just an experiment. She took some patterns she liked and painted them on her face. About a year later, we’ve now painted almost all of our friends faces, and they all look magnificent.

These are just a few of the many photos I’ve taken of Victoria: the dot pattern paint was painted by her, and the blocky red paint was painted by myself.






Puget Sound Kayaking


Last fall, I had the pleasure to go kayaking in Elliot Bay as part of a discounted outdoor activities program, and can I just say how fabulous that skyline was?



Oh, and that giant orb rising above the skyline? That’s the MOON. That was MOON RISE.



Bottom line: this is a great activity to do in early fall around one of the full moons. Prepare to get wet (because you will), and if you want to take photos, make sure to bring a waterproof bag that can easily be strapped to the top of the kayak. Also, beware of shakiness! There’s a reason I only had 3 good photos out of 100.



5 Places to Skip When Visiting Seattle (And Where to Go Instead!)

For a few months now, I’ve been working at one of Seattle’s many tourist attractions, and let me tell you, visitors to Seattle spend a lot of time waiting in lines. Whether it’s to get into the Space Needle, for a photo op at Pike Place Market, or for coffee from the Flagship Starbucks, people angrily sacrifice half their itinerary for the chance to see a “Seattle must.” I hate to say it, but most of those “musts” really aren’t that necessary. To save you some time (and a few bucks, too), here are the 5 places to skip, and where to go instead.

The Flagship Starbucks

Every time I go to Pike Place Market, I marvel at how long people wait to get into a Starbucks that isn’t so different from the one three blocks away. The flagship is cramped, in a busy area, and has inflated prices for the same Seattle mugs and memorabilia they have in every other store, plus, it’s all the same drinks. Unless it’s a rainy weekday in the middle of winter, you won’t mind skipping the forty minute to an hour wait.

Instead….Piroshky Piroshky


(Photo courtesy of my friend Victoria, because every time I go to Piroshy Piroshky, I’m too busy eating the food to take a picture.)

Just a block away is something so much more delicious. Piroshky Piroshky is home to some of the best pastries in Seattle (my personal favorite is the Smoked Salmon Piroshky). It’s cheap, tasty, and though the line looks long, you’re almost always in and out with your food in five minutes. Just make sure you come early while they still have plenty of pastries!


Fremont Troll

Okay, I’ll admit it: the Fremont Troll is pretty cool. But unless if you’re with someone who knows Seattle’s buses (or has a car), it’s hard to get to the troll without a large taxi fee. Though it’s awesome, it eats up a lot of time that could be spent elsewhere.

Instead…the Gum Wall


Just steps away from Pike Place’s famous fish market lies one of Seattle’s weirdest and quirkiest (read: grossest) traditions: the Gum Wall. And it’s exactly what it sounds like: a wall covered in gum. But chances are, you’ll be at Pike Place Market anyway, so you won’t be wasting any time getting your obligatory photo. Stop by one of the shops near Pike Place to buy some gum so you, too, can leave your mark on Seattle’s history.


Downtown Retail Shopping

I get it. Seattle is home to Nordstrom’s. You have to go there. It’s a must! But unless if you have tons of money to spend and time to waste, it’s not the best place to go. Most of the downtown shops are crowded, overpriced, and the staff are usually working hard to rush you out the door. And I’ve seen some pretty intense looks shared between two shoppers in Nordstrom rack who wanted the last dress in their size. You’ll thank me later for sparing you the drama.

Instead… the Flagship R.E.I.


I know, I just argued against Seattle’s flagship Starbucks, but trust me, R.E.I. is a totally different ball game. This is by far the largest sporting goods store I’ve ever been to (dwarfing the impressive NIKETOWN store downtown), and it has the best selection. If you want to test a bike for the hell of it, there’s a bike trail IN THE STORE. Trying on some hiking shoes? Go ahead and step on THE SMALL FAKE MOUNTAIN THEY BUILT IN THE SHOE SECTION to make sure they feel perfect on all terrain. Missing the outdoors? Don’t worry, there is LITERALLY A WATERFALL RIGHT OUTSIDE THE ENTRANCE. And no, not a small, gas-station waterfall, a THREE-STORY ONE. You can also climb the rock wall or spend hours checking out their massive selection of gear and clothing. Don’t forget to look at the R.E.I. local class schedule, because they lead weekly hiking, biking, and outdoorsy trips in the surrounding Seattle area for a small fee that basically means the real Pacific Northwest experience without all the crowd. You won’t be sad you passed up Sephora for this.

Rattlesnake Ledge Hiking Trail

Even I have fallen prey to this one. It’s a beautiful day, you’re only in Seattle for a limited amount of time, and you want to take an hour or two to hike up to something with a great view. Some concierge or receptionist tells you the Rattlesnake Ledge trail isn’t far away and is a fairly easy ascent, plus it has lovely scenery. These are lies (except or the scenery part). The trail is about an hour away (which means you better have a rental car ready) and requires an incredibly steep uphill climb. Angry locals who walk the trail daily will passive-aggressively shamble past you and the hundreds of other tourists who were just expecting a gradual uphill. By the time you get to the top, shaking, panting, and with a major need to pee, your perfect photo op is jarred by the touristy parents trying to keep their kids from jumping off the ledge to their death. And after all that, it’s still over an hour to get back down.

Instead… Discovery Park


Right outside downtown (read: just a short cab ride away) lies one of the most unexpected beauties of Seattle. Discovery Park, a solace in the big city, is home to about a dozen hiking trails ranging from beginner to intermediate-advanced ability. All of them have incredible views of the Puget Sound and its islands. Though it does attract some tourists, there’s so much to choose from that you will only see them at the lighthouse (you’ll hear about it when you get there, trust me). If you don’t mind other people, there are classic northwest beaches with driftwood for you to take a campy photo on for Facebook, but the giant open fields really make everything worthwhile.

Kayaking in West Seattle

Yes, I did this once. Yes, it was fun. No, I would not have gone if my school hadn’t given us a 90% reduction on the rental rate. You can do guided tours or go all on your own at most places, but a lot of them expect you to know what you’re doing (and the gear they give you is not nearly as straightforward as it looks). You’ll get great views of Seattle’s skyline, but you can literally just walk around West Seattle for that.

Instead…Canoe Lake Washington @ UW Waterfront Activities Center


I recently tried this, after many suggestions to do so by a friend who lives locally. For about $10 an hour (cheaper during the week), you and up to two others get a canoe, life jackets, paddles, and a reminder from an employee to not go up a private canal, and with that, you’re off. It’ll feel like your childhood summer camp (but prettier) as you canoe through the beautiful Lake Washington, soaring through lily pads like you’re in The Notebook, and sliding underneath one of Seattle’s many large highway bridges (520) with hundreds of cars just a foot above your head. Past the bridge lies the Seattle arboretum, where ducks and the like will swim next to your boat and gold eagles hang out quietly up in the trees. You can even bring a picnic with you and pull your boat ashore at one of the small islands to have a quiet lunch. Make sure you come ready to get a little bit wet (put your phone and money in a plastic bag) and to wait if it’s a weekend, but all of that makes it so worth it.