Ballard

This big, historic, nordic neighborhood reminds me of Maine. Once you’re there, I think you’ll understand why! The industrial factories mix with aged buildings and cobbled streets in one the of hippest Seattle neighborhoods. The people are almost freakishly friendly and it’s the neighborhood where hipsters go to grow up! Everyone with a flannel and a beard in Capitol Hill has their first baby and moves to Ballard!

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What to do?

The Sunday Farmers Market- year round, best selection and huge crowds, especially during the summer

The Locks- admittedly not the best entertainment, but a great place to sunbathe or curl up and read a book on the grass

Golden Gardens- THE best beach in Seattle, runs alongside the train tracks and feels secluded. Great in the summer or the winter.

Library- the best location in Seattle with a beautiful interior and exterior… and selection

Majestic Bay Theaters- A perfect tiny theater

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Where to shop?

Secret Garden Books- one of the best bookstores, great selection, super tiny space

Annie’s Art- custom framing mixed with the coolest, random finds in Seattle. Maybe my favorite store in the city.

DIGS- My mom found this little gem and we fell in love with their amazing style

Ballard Reuse-Too insane and cluttered and dirty for me, but is a graveyard of beautiful, unique, used home goods

Lucca- Another great store for odds and ends and special finds.

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Where to eat?

Volterra- Wow, this is a GREAT place for a super romantic date

Hotcakes- I have eaten these delicious molten dessert cakes an embarrassing number of times

Ballard Pizza Company- Some of the best pizza in an awesome environment

Walrus and the Carpenter- Not super hungry but could eat a few oysters in an adorable environment? Stop in early so there isn’t a wait!

Hattie’s Hat- Best diner food in Seattle that I’ve found!

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Give Thanks

Ever since I’ve gotten back from California, I’ve been in a bit of a funk. It was rough to return to full on winter weather, and harder to fit a month of work into 3 weeks. Every night, instead of venturing out and doing new things, I’ve stayed cooped up at home, bored and anxious. Yesterday was a bit of a break through for me, I realized how complacent I’ve become to be stuck in this loop of nothingness.

So, of course, I made a list. I decided that I was going to start checking things off this list, whether I liked it or not! I also want to go back to doing new things. It’s hard to make that decision, when the person you want most to come with you would much rather spend his time at home. But I’ll go, and I’ll do new things, just like I’ve always done. I’ll be able to come home and tell him all about it.

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I have to tell you how thankful I am to be with this man. In the beginning, I woke up every day wondering if I would just stop being in love with him, or worse, he would fall out of love with me. What I’ve found? It takes a lot of work! More work than I ever thought. I’ve learned a lot about myself, and I’ve also managed to surprise myself. I can honestly say, I am a good, loyal girlfriend. We’ve had to overcome a lot. I’ve had to face a lot of insecurities and he’s had to resolve issues that he had previously opted to ignore. It’s work, and every day you have to wake up and keep trying, but I think every second of it is worth it. He’s welcomed me into his life and his family and I love him.

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I love these crazy people. My two best friends. They make me laugh. They drive me crazy. They finish my sentences. I think we’ve finally gotten to the point in our adult lives where we just accept that we are who we are and we can’t change anyone, so we just accept everything. I do hope that someday I can have friendships that are this level of comfort and support, but for now I’ll just keep working on getting Brenna to move to Seattle!

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It may sound silly, but I am gosh darn grateful for this apartment. I’ve lived in buildings with rats, flooding and fleas… so I know my standards are low. But the beautiful wooden floors, beams and paneling are gorgeous. The extra bedroom is a haven for the kids. The pink bathroom is adorable. Sure, it’s old and will never look spotless, and the kitchen could use a lot of love. But it’s our place and sometimes it amazes me to realize just how much this feels like home.

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I am thankful for this city. Thinking back to April of 2012, just two and a half years ago, I came to Seattle with one suitcase of clothes. I had no place to live, no money and not a lot of confidence. It’s not to say that every experience has been great, but living here has given me a much-needed chance to start over. While I haven’t always been lucky in jobs, I’ve somehow doubled my working salary and finally found myself in an industry that I feel passionate about. Of course, I fell in love, but I’ve met so many wonderful people, characters who mean a lot to me. I’ve explored so many nooks and crannies of the city that at this point, I feel like a native. While I’ll always be from California, this is my city now. I’ve adopted it, and it’s welcomed me in.

Dress It Up

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I had come across the perfect dresser at a Goodwill back home years ago. It was a mid-century style, wooden dresser that was tall and thin, with skinny little legs. I was in no place to be purchasing new furniture (I was graduating from college with no idea of what I was going to do next) and had no place to store anything (no childhood room to come back to for me!) but could not stop thinking about that dresser that slipped through my fingers for years.

For years, my dilemma was that I could not afford a dresser… have you seen the cost of those things?! I had to make do with little clear tupperware shelving for everything from my delicates to my sweaters. But after years of frugality, and wondering if I could really afford that $5 bus trip, I finally have switched my mindset around to realize that I can afford to buy some nice things. So I stuck with what I know, Craigslist. I figured if I looked long enough, I could find the perfect dresser for a price that wouldn’t give me a heart attack. And look I did! I became familiar with most furniture salespeople on Craigslist and an 2 month long email chain finally resulted in the prize: a dresser!

For only $150, I was able to get a tall, mid century dresser made of wood with skinny legs. It might gross you out, but I kind of loved that I found a pair of pantyhose stuck to the back of a drawer. I hope the old lady it belonged to loved it just as much as I do! I’d like to change the nickel knobs to brass and I’ll have to re-stain it at some point, but I honesty don’t mind the scratches for the time being. I’m just happy that my clothes are easy to find and not buried in the depths of my closet!

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West Coast Tour 2015

Ok, just kidding.We didn’t go on tour.

Before we went to California we had a bit of a panic moment. We had originally wanted to buy a nice camera for the occasion, something that would cost quite a chunk of change. Of course, we hemmed and hawed for so long, that the fancy camera before the trip just wasn’t going to happen. Though I love taking photos on my phone (hello Instagram!) John really wanted a camera to hold. So the he went out and bought two disposable cameras just before we left. The store didn’t even know that they carried disposable cameras anymore! 

Of course, the photos aren’t great. In fact, some of them were downright bad. But they have a very grainy, saturated quality, that reminds me of photos of my parents when they were my age. And the weird lighting, off center quality and random blurs remind me of old band photos. Like if we were Nirvana, we would’ve probably written on all the photos with Sharpie and taped them to our walls. (Of course, bands now are still taking Polaroids… so please don’t call us hipsters!) But these photos feel special. They feel like the trip. The random moments, the big exciting moments, they were all captured!

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7152013 (2)1215 (2)19 (2)20 (2)111923 (2)22 (2)5 (2)26 (2)17Finally, everyone thinks California looks like a beach. This is what my hometown looks like:

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From The Woods

John had never seen a redwood. I was pretty certain I had never seen a redwood. (Hard to forget, I know, but most people aren’t as forgetful as me!) After a long few days of spending time with LOTS of family members in California, we were ready for some quite, serene time, just for us. We spent the night outside the city, at a small motel in the Mill Valley, and woke up early the next day to explore Muir Woods. As I woke, I was so upset to see the sun streaming in through the curtains. I had wanted John to see the redwoods in their true element, fog, but as we drove down the steep hairpin turns down into the valley, I knew I’d gotten my wish. The fog wasn’t just thick, it was dense,  moist and cold. My hair turned into an afro about 5 minutes in.

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IMG_2390I think my favorite part had to be the mix of people there. An old Chinese woman yapping away in Mandarin, an elderly black man being pushed in a wheelchair, a yoga-pants-wearing soccer mom yelling at her kids, a group of Germans huddled together speaking softly, a class of little kids tripping over their feet as they gazed upwards, and Italians wearing leather jackets with bejeweled tigers embroidered on them. I even heard a British man tell his son, “John, look up son. These are the biggest trees you will ever see.” There was something very communal about this random bunch of visitors. We were all in awe of these massive trees. 2014-11-10 10.35.512014-11-10 10.36.35

Look! A small tree squirrel with an afro!

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Damn treehuggers.

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John’s camera somehow captured TWO suns! I guess thats just how magical the day was!

It felt strange to leave the quiet, wet forest and head straight back into fast-paced city life, for the airport.