10 Thoughts I Had Watching LOST For The First Time

Recently, it was brought to my attention that I’d made the life-shattering mistake of never seeing the show LOST.

To be fair, this isn’t entirely my fault. I wasn’t allowed to watch the show when it first aired (I was 13—not a whole lot of arguing power), and by the time I was old enough to watch it, I wasn’t really interested. I remember friends talking about characters when I was in high school…but honestly I was really busy trying to graduate early from college and just never really watched TV. Pity me.

Anyway, to remedy this soul-wrenching loss to my existence I took it upon myself to watch the show. Even better, I decided to watch the show and record how I felt about it. Today I finished the first season, and dammmmmnnnn why are there so many episodes!? Anyway, here are the rest of my thoughts:

1. What is this vortex of a fandom I’m about to walk into? Someone please send help.

2. Where is Jeff? 


3. But wait. Is that Belle from Once Upon A Time? Yes, it is. And she has a hobbit and an elf with her! P.s. Is it legal for someone to fly when they’re 8 months pregnant? 4. But wait. Why are there 46 people, and we only see 10?

5. For being the ONLY doctor, Jack sure gets sent running off into the forest of death a lot. 

6. Charlie + Drugs = Still a better love story than Twilight.

7. Game of Thrones wasn’t first.

8. So, um. When’s Sawyer gonna start a book club? 

9. Go home, Jack…10. …and take Kate with you.

BONUS: There’s a shocking lack of lens flares for this being produced by J.J. Abrams.

All in all the show is a fun adventure, but in a weird way I wish it was grittier. There’s a whole lot of “implied” without a whole lot materializing…but maybe it gets more intense as the seasons go on (shut up—don’t tell me). Until then, I guess it’s just me, Netflix and the little dog I’m babysitting.

P.s. She doesn’t like Jack, either.  

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Review: The Rolling Donut | Dublin, Ireland

(Photo courtesy of The Rolling Donut)

An American walks into an Irish donut shop…

It’s been a while since I’ve written a review, and there are a couple of reasons for that, but I’ve been sitting here for months thinking about a particular donut shop that I went to when I was in Dublin, last time I was there. Now, to start things off, you should know that I LOVE donuts. Of the five things I missed the most, when I was living in France, it was donuts—that’s how serious I am.

That being said, I was so happy to find a donut shop the last time I was in Dublin. The sad news is that it was pretty empty every time I walked by (despite being located in a very busy area), and the workers looked like they hadn’t spoken to anyone in days. BUT, that didn’t stop me from popping in and having chat. The workers were SO nice, and they gave me not one, but two, delicious raspberry filled donuts that were out of this world.

I mean, really, I’m still sitting here thinking about them and that was almost six months ago. If you’re in Dublin, I would definitely recommend taking quick trip to this little shop. It’s one of my absolute favorites.

Ordered: Two raspberry filled donuts

Where: 34 Bachelors Walk, North City, Dublin 1, D01 YN15, Ireland

Went: January 2017

Wifi: No

Reservation Needed: No

Website: https://www.therollingdonut.ie/ 

Tip: All of the sourdough donuts are made fresh every day in the bakery with all fillings, glazes and toppings produced in-house. They use only fresh & locally sourced ingredients where possible. AND they have Vegan donuts!

Review: Gregory Jade 50 Pack – Women’s

A lot can get lost in translation while I’m traveling. For instance, when I’m traveling you get to see the beautiful sites through the lens of my DSLR, but you usually won’t see the 30lb pack strapped to my back.

Well that’s all about to change. I’m starting this series on the gear that gets me around the world. Because a) I love sharing what actually works and b) you deserve to know what’s out there! This week I’m starting with one of the most important things when backpacking: your pack.

When I first started backpacking I bought one of the cheapest packs I could find. This wasn’t because I didn’t want a nicer pack (duh.), it was because I was broke as a joke and just needed to get out there. I didn’t care about comfort, or if I my spine would scream at me the whole time I was wearing it. What mattered was that I had something I could throw my stuff in.

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Old backpack, meet new backpack. This was right before I switched all of my patches over to my new pack (right).

Things aren’t quite the same, now. I have a full time job, and I’m no spring chicken. It was time for me to invest in a pack that would allow my back/body to breathe, while allowing my essentials to be easily accessible. Last year the answer came with the Gregory Jade 50 pack *insert heavenly music*.

The Jade pack is amazing, and I couldn’t be happier with the decision to purchase it, even though it meant saying goodbye to my other pack that had been with me for three years, through thick and thin (and living in France, which is a whole ‘nother story).

Want to see it in action? Click below:

So what’s so great about my new pack? Well the “LTS suspension” which is a fancy way of saying air can reach your back while you’re sweating like a sinner in church. Because that’s a huge reality, and not one that gets caught on the the other side of my Nikon. Carrying 30 lbs on your back makes you sweat. Like a lot.

The great news is that it isn’t as much of a problem with this Gregory pack because the back portion of the pack is shaped to support your back, while giving you the proper aeration.

This pack also has a multitude of pockets. Like, so many. In fact, there were so many that I didn’t even use some. Which is huge, because I usually stuff every possible tiny pocket. This pack also has an expandable front bucket pocket, which you can see in the photo and side and bottom compression, which is perfect for when you’re losing weight (#snacks) or gaining weight (#souvenirs).

One of my favorite features is that the zippers are welded, so they’re actually water proof. Which means if it rains (which it will) there isn’t water seeping into your pack. Glory.

The pack is also just incredibly comfy, which is saying a lot for having pounds and pounds of living supplies on your back. The handles are padded, and the fit system includes a pretty great harness, so that you don’t feel like you’re going to fall backwards…or down to the earth’s core.

In short, this pack is everything a pack should be. It’s intuitive, organized and easy to love. I’m not going to lie, I was reluctant to move on from my last pack…but this one won me over.

Cheers to the next adventure.

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See those flag pins on the top? Those lasted all of two plane trips before I had to take them off.

 

Why Moana is the Anthem for Every Travel Girl

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A couple of weeks ago I saw Disney’s newest film, Moana. There were a few problems I had with the overall story structure but the music was just about flawless. Shout out to Lin-Manuel Miranda! One of the best parts of this movie is how empowering the songs Moana (and her grandma) sing. As a woman who travels, I know how hard it is to find support to go “beyond the horizon.” And while I may not live in a small village, and I’m not a chief’s daughter (clarified in the movie as NOT a princess *Pocahontas rolls her eyes* ) the stigma about leaving home is still very real.

One of my favorite songs in the movie comes when Moana finds herself hopelessly lost and defeated, despite her braveness and tenacity. She didn’t get it right on the first try…or even the second time.  I think this is a really powerful lesson for girls who want to strike out on their own, regardless of whether it’s through travel or not. You’re not going to magically get it right. Even with magical help, Moana doesn’t get it right. Here’s my takeaway from how one of her songs should be the anthem for every girl who travels.

(Gramma Tala): I know a girl from an island
She stands apart from the crowd
She loves the sea and her people
She makes her whole family proud

The first stanza of this song is beautiful. Her grandma reminds her that she is loved and affirms that her family is proud of her, despite her own feelings of inadequacy. This whole song had me on the brink of tears, but the beginning is especially poignant because it’s not often enough that women from older generations speak identity over the younger ones. Women, rise up. Stop complaining about the younger spoiled millennials and start speaking to the generations younger than you, no matter your age. They need to hear affirmation. You might be the only voice giving it to them.

Sometimes the world seems against you
The journey may leave a scar
But scars can heal and reveal just
Where you are

Scars are okay. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fail. It’s through these obstacles and failures that you discover not only who you are, but what you want. You are made stronger by your “weaknesses” because once you challenge yourself you can find ways to overcome them. It took me so long to realize that being hurt, being disappointed and being found lacking was actually one of the best things that could happen. When you’re living in another country and you ‘just can’t’, you start to realize how strong you really are, by pressing forward anyway.

The people you love will change you
The things you have learned will guide you
And nothing on Earth can silence
The quiet voice still inside you
And when that voice starts to whisper
Moana, you’ve come so far
Moana, listen
Do you know who you are?

Every woman needs to be asked this question, “Who are you?” One of my life changing moments came when an older lady asked me that at a local market. I started to tell her what I did for my job (at the time I was a nanny) and she stopped me asking, “But is that what you want to do with your life?” The answer was no. And so she told me to start defining myself by what I longed to do. I am a writer. I am an artist. I am an advocate. This is who I am.

(Moana): Who am I?
I am the girl who loves my island
I’m the girl who loves the sea
It calls me

Here’s we go! This is the part where I almost pulled a Shia Lebouf and stood up clapping. Moana is questioning herself and what she feels called to the whole first part of the movie but when she takes some time to reflect she realizes who she really is. I’m not crying – you are.

I am the daughter of the village chief
We are descended from voyagers
Who found their way across the world
They call me

I’ve delivered us to where we are
I have journeyed farther
I am everything I’ve learned and more
Still it calls me

Okay, so now shit (sorry, mom) gets real. Not only is Moana claiming who she is, in this part, but she’s claiming what she’s done. Not only what she’s done, but that it has value. Impostor syndrome is a very real part of American culture, for women. We feel like even if we accomplish something it’s because we were “lucky” or “the stars just aligned” we don’t claim that we fought and clung and crawled our way to get there. That’s not right. And also not healthy. CLAIM your victories – you have journeyed farther! You are so much more!

And the call isn’t out there at all
It’s inside me
It’s like the tide, always falling and rising
I will carry you here in my heart
You’ll remind me
That come what may, I know the way
I am Moana!

Throw the confetti! Light the fireworks! She won! She hasn’t even made it to her “foe” in the movie and she’s already won! Why? Because she gets it, now. It wasn’t ever about needing to travel across the sea (although that is a big part of her identity). She realizes that her strength comes from within and the love of her family (her grandma’s spirit) is something that she always has to hold onto. The physical journey was only one part of her transformation and overcoming. SHE DID IT! And so can you.

And now, this is me:

Here’s the full song, in case you want to re-listen:

Review: Pasta Bella

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Seattle isn’t exactly the Italian capital of the world, but there are a few spots that are well worth the visit. I’ve posted this place before, but I wanted to do a review just for good measure. We went there last night, and apparently I’m not the only person who agrees that the food is fresh, well made and an absolute pleasure to eat.

pasta_bella-1I’ve loved this place since the first time we went there, last memorial day weekend, and after last night I just had to share. This spot is small, quaint and you might even drive passed it, if you didn’t know to stop.

Ordered: Spaghetti Bolognese, House salad, Bruschetta (which is the best thing ever)

Where: 5909 15th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107

Went: Friday October 28th, 2016

Wifi: Don’t know, don’t care.

Reservation Needed: No, but it might be a good idea to call ahead to see if you need one. Every time we’ve been there it’s getting busier. They do take reservations, and you can call for pick-up.

Website: http://pastabellaseattle.com/

Review: Pilbara Au Pair Service

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Let’s talk becoming an au pair.

I get a lot of people telling me how amazing the whole au pair journey sounds, and I’m always a little bit hesitant to allow them to romanticize my experience. When I was an au pair I signed up using an online service that was great for connecting with a family, but offered about the same amount of the security that a Craigslist purchase does.

After a mess with my first host family, and a less than ideal experience with my second, I would have loved to have worked with an agency that had supported me.

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I don’t write very many posts reviewing services, but this comes from one that a close friends has used, and which, I feel, represents a business that cares as much about the well being of their au pairs as they do their host families.

The service specializes in western Australia, so unfortunately they’re not global, but if you’re thinking about going down the path of becoming an au pair, I can definitely recommend them!

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The best part? If you’ve already gone through other avenues to find an au pair position, this service will also help you work out agreements, contracts or just having support in your current position! Click HERE for more information! Or check out this FAQ Sheet !

You can also check out Pilbara Au Pair Services on social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook

Review: Macleod’s Scottish Pub

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Let me tell you about a story about a girl who missed Scotland and never thought she’d find anything close in comparison to the food she had eaten there. Fish and chips were her favorite food in all of the world, but she never thought she would find anything close to the glory of the British Isles (and Ireland – duh). Then she stumbled upon this place: Macleod’s Scottish Pub.

Can I just tell you: This place has the best fish and chips that I’ve ever had in the United States, and the only thing that comes even close is 4,000 miles away. I don’t know what the recipe is, and to be honest I don’t really care. If you have any self respect for fish and chips (and a bunch of o6c3acf2b75b472277fb7715662d54404ther yummy British inspired dishes) make your way to this bar.

The music, the vibe. We didn’t even know how to handle how great a time we had. The service was great, the food was amazing and I’m so happy to have found a nearby spot to help with those “homesick” days (aka every day that I just feel like I need buy a plane ticket to Europe). The best part? The price. My plate, steaming with chips (for you Americans, that means fries) and a giant burger filled with in-house tarter sauce and a hearty size piece of fried and battered line-caught cod. All this accompanied by a tall glass of the best Lemonade ever. Total cost? $15. Come. On.

Ordered: Fish Burger and Chips, Lemonade

Where: 5200 BALLARD AVE NW / SEATTLE / WA 98107

Went: Friday June 10th, 2016

Wifi: Psh. You won’t even look/care.

Reservation Needed: No

Website: http://macleodsballard.com/

Notes: There is a Foosball table upstairs. If you’re not feeling up to a bar vibe, you can also experience a more diner-like experience next door.

I went back, again, and tried the Shepards Pie. Another beautiful dish that honestly was the best version I’ve ever had. A must try!

Review: Feierabend

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Germany will always be one of my favorite places to visit, and I definitely hope that I will be able to return one day. But, while I’m anchored in Seattle, I’ve been trying to get out and find some new places to visit that are along the same lines of what I miss from Europe. Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to be invited to share a pint (of water, in my case) and eat some fantastic food in this little pub located in South Lake Union. It was amazing.

While half of the pub is built to reflect a true “antiqued” look, the other half is a modern twist on the classic German pub. The good news is, the food is as fantastic as it ever could be, and I would highly recommend jumping over  for a little taste of Germany.

feierabend - Seattle, Wa.Ordered: Roten Rübensalat mit Käse und Nüssen: Maranated Red beets, topped with Feta cheese (except without the cheese), Schweinshaxen: Slow roasted ham hock with rotkohl and käsespätzel

Where:  422 Yale Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109

Went: April 2nd, 2016

Wifi: No

Reservation Needed: No

Website: http://www.feierabendseattle.com/

Review: Cafè Besalu

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Fact: Pretty much every food item tastes like dirt in comparison to its French alternative. And this fact has not escaped my notice. Because, the truth is, France has completely ruined my taste buds. And it wasn’t until someone suggested this little cafe to me that I realized that not all was lost, just because I’d moved back to the U.S.

Cafe Besalu is THE most authentic French food I’ve had since being back in U.S. without a doubt. Sure, I’ve tried out some other spots in Seattle but they’re either priced by the deranged or completely off the mark. I was so happy to not only find this spot, but to have it just down the street from my house. J’adore.

Ordered: Hot chocolate (w/ rice milk), pain au raisin

Where:  5909 24th Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107

Went: Too many Saturday mornings to count

Wifi: No

Reservation Needed: No

Tip: On the weekends, get there before the 10:30AM rush!

Website: http://cafebesalu.com/

Review: The Chairman

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To bun or not to bun? That is the question. “What kind of bun would you like?” is more of the question. I was so glad to find this little shop this week, among my lunchtime shenanigans with my coworkers. At this shop I had, what has now OFFICIALLY been documented as the best hamburger of my life (even though the people at the front counter would like to add that it is like a hamburger, not a hamburger…it’s a hamburger) and I got a salad the size of Rhode Island. In addition (oh yeah, there’s more) I also ordered some delicious apricot soda, which was completely weird at first, and then my favorite thing ever. The location of this venue, while seeming a bit on the rough side, is worth pressing through to get to this delicious food. I’m no foodie – but I’ll be raving about it for years to come.

Ordered: Coca-cola braised pork baked roll, seasonal salad, apricot soda

Where: 670 Larkin St San Francisco, CA 94109

 

Went: Thursday January 7th, 2016

Wifi: ? (You’ll be too busy eating to notice)

Reservation Needed: No

Tip: Do your research to see if you would prefer a baked or a steamed roll!

Website: http://www.hailthechairman.com/#modern-baos

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