Hometown Adventures: Barclay Lake, WA

Washington state is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S. and I’m not just saying that because I live here. One of the things that I’m trying to get better about is taking the time to experience my beautiful home state instead of taking for granted all the amazing nature. That being said, this past weekend seemed like the perfect time to start getting out on some of the trails. Or at least that’s what we thought.

Saturday morning @seattlebred and I had an early start, grabbed some Starbucks and drove NE of where I live (Seattle). The drive was pretty quick, and we’d worn warm clothes because we’d heard that there might be snow. In retrospect,  we probably should have checked the morning before whether there was snow that had fallen. As we were driving up the mountain road we quickly realized that things went (very quickly) from, “Hey look, some snow!” to, “Holy hell, the bottom of the car is dragging on the snow.”

Needless to say, by the time we reached the top of the mountain we were completely and hopelessly S-T-U-C-K. We also didn’t have cell phone reception. We ALSO couldn’t push the car as it slid on the compacted snow/ice. 

I finally got some cell service, after us trying to dig the car out/push it for a couple of hours. So we called 911, and asked them to send Search and Rescue to save our asses. In the meantime we sat in the car for about an hour wrapped in blankets and wishing we had chains and/or a shovel.

@seattlebred getting the blankets out of the car so we don’t freeze to death

In the meantime I also took a couple of pics of my new R.Riveter bag because what else are you going to do whilst waiting for help to come? I had been so excited because this bag came the night before the hike, so just in time for some snowy shots with the bag from their winter collection.

I was a little cold and didn’t notice until afterward that the focus was on the trees in the background…oh well.
Taking product shots while I’m in the car. FUN FACT: Each piece of R.Riveter bags is stamped with the number of the lady who made it!

The crazy part of all of this is that it was so beautiful outside, all around us…but it was a little bit hard to appreciate while trying to imagine how you’re going to not only get the car somehow turned around, but then going to drive DOWN the hill in all of the snow you barely cleared coming up the hill.

When you really have to pee, but the bathroom is locked for the winter.

Luckily, a big ‘ole Toyota Tacoma came up the hill after we’d been sitting in the car for about an hour and they helped to guide not only our car, but the next five cars (which also got stuck) as they turned around and also got pointed in the direction of going back down the hill. These people were complete lifesavers and knew how to kick some serious ass in the snow-driving department. They were from Minnesota.

And yes, I stayed in the car because I have a medical condition where if I get too cold my hands/feet loose circulation and we weren’t trying to call Search and Rescue AND visit the hospital in the same day.
My best friends.

The GOOD news is that I still got some beautiful shots with my bag. I mean, with this kind of beautiful how can you NOT get glamour shots. The moral of the story is to always have chains in your car, and to check the weather before you head up on a trail. We won’t be making that mistake again. Thanks R.Riveter for being the highlight of the day.

Me and The Hobby bag from R. Riveter. Photo cred IG: @seattlebred

Time to Move Mountains – Rise Up Women of the U.S.A

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I grew up in a passionately Republican family; one that was racist, homophobic and expressed bigotry on a regular basis. Does this represent all Republicans? No. I am simply telling my story.

Needless to say, this morning when I rolled out of bed to the results of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I didn’t have to “imagine” how people could have voted for Trump. I knew from 18 years of first-hand experience. The power of fear should not be underestimated.

That being said, of course, I was upset with the outcome. As a woman, and a person of color, how could I not be? The next four years are going to be challenging in ways I’ve never had to experience in my lifetime. But whether we want to admit it or not, hate racism and bigotry have all been in the Whitehouse, before.

Women of the United States of America, it’s time for us to rise up.

This post isn’t about right or left or red or blue. It’s about what’s next for us.

I currently live in a city that’s more liberal than most. We try (although, we have work to do) to understand equality and promote it among the people living here. We try. We’re not perfect, and we are on a journey, but we try. I realize that other parts of the country are not this way. Perhaps this election was, if nothing else, a beacon to shine a light on that fact. We are a broken people. We are a broken nation. We are a nation who has been taken in by the false god of fear.

This morning, as I stared at a map filled with red colored states, I tried to wrap my mind around the numbers, the statistics and how exactly this happened. I love analytics. But this was different. Something didn’t feel right. How did the statistics for women voting slide so strongly toward a man who embodies everything we fight so hard against?

Perhaps this is another lesson: the gaps in American equality are not just a problem created by men.

Over the course of the past months we have seen our President-elect slander women again and again. The list of offenses is egregious. Regardless of your stance, the facts are that he’s currently facing, and has formerly been accused of, rape charges.

So why did we, as women, vote for him?

To be honest, I don’t have an answer, but I do know what this points to — a culture where we, as women, are hurting.

A stroll through any history book will show you that existence has never been easy for women. We’ve been raped, defaced, tortured, slandered and brutally killed in our journey for equal rights. And while perhaps not as prevalent in certain parts of the world, these treatments are not just something from the past. And for those of us in the “free” world: Our ballots are our testimonies.

What can we even do to move forward?
You probably already know what I’m going to say.

1-john-418Ladies, it’s time for us to rise up.

It is time for us to speak life, encouragement and power over the next generation, and the generations who came before us. It’s time to embrace a culture that lifts women up, rather than tearing each other down. It’s time for us to introduce ourselves to our neighbors; to hug and care for those who are grieving or in pain.

This is not about politics, I don’t care what side of the “fence” you are, or have been, on. This election is showing us the very real truth behind what airbrushed magazine covers and bright Hollywood lights have done to us. Our nation is crying out for justice. We are hurting. We are stumbling. We are searching for anything to heal our brokenness — even if that means destroying ourselves in the process.

Ladies, it is time for us to rise up.

The next four years will not be easy. Probably for all of us, but it will most certainly be harder for some.

To my sisters who are getting ready for the storm — I stand with you. I will love you. I will protect you. I will speak for you. I will defend you.

Because you are worthy. You are wonderfully made. You are beautifully whole. You are an inspiration. You are valid. You are strong. You are brilliant. You are made for great things. You are powerful. You are so much more than any title.

And we? Together we are immovable, unbreakable and our story will live as long as the stars shine.

Rise up.

 

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: Murphy’s Pub

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There are times when flying to Ireland isn’t practical. And while my mind is fully aware of this fact, my heart doesn’t generally get on board. LUCKILY I live in a country/city where access to Irish culture isn’t exactly difficult – but what IS, is the ability to find an authentic Irish feel within these places. When in doubt, though – I say head to the oldest Irish pub you can find. In my case, it was Murphy’s Pub.

Monday night I lucked out, because I was dying to find some live traditional Irish music, and I found out about a weekly live music event that happens not too far from where I live. Needless to say, I dragged along my favorite ginger and ran walked into the pub. First off, live Irish music (or live music in general) is something I think should be in every venue. Second, have I told you guys about my obsession with Fish & Chips? Not that deep fried, rebaked shit stuff that you usually find (duh.) But the crisp authentic taste of breaded goodness that falls apart at your touch. THAT is what Fish and Chips is supposed to be. And, I’m happy (and pleasantly surprised) to report that Murphy’s passes this test. Of course Guinness was also had (sipped) and overall the experience was a brilliant success. The best part? The pub was not at all crowded, and the service was great.
Here are the details so you can enjoy said pleasures:

Ordered: Fish & Chips, Guinness

Where:1928 N 45th St, Seattle, WA 98103

Went: Monday October 12th, 2015

Wifi: No

Reservation Needed: No

Live Music: Yes, every Monday Night. Here’s a calendar of the other events they have for this moth:

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San Francisco: Fin

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Somehow, no matter when, where or how I fly, I end up sitting next to the screaming child. This time I got extra lucky, though, because I have one in front AND behind me. Glory.
Well, all trips can’t be perfect, I guess. And this one has been a pretty extraordinary one, overall.

CONFESSION: Pre this trip I think I had forgotten how to have fun.

It’s hard to admit , but I was pretty uptight coming to San Francisco. I think I was so intent on getting everything set with my move to France that I’d put blinders on to anything other than that.

I’ve talked before about the mirror test while traveling. When you take a minute to walk past a mirror and notice your face. Well, yesterday I walked past a mirror and realized something crazy – I looked rested…and happy. Sounds crazy, but it’s been a while since either of those words have applied to me.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I only really only feel truly happy when I’m traveling.

Since the first and second day were so great, it seemed like asking too much to have a third perfect day, but then yesterday happened.

NOTE: A lot of this trip’s successes is because of an extraordinary Couchsurfing host, so a huge thank you to her!

Yesterday started off with the decision not to pay for transportation. So my host and I started to look up car sharing services and signed up for a few with some free minute promotions. All in all we saw pretty much the whole city for under $10.00 ( for both of us) which you’ll know is insane if you’ve ever tried to travel, with another person, around the whole city in a day.

On Saturday I saw that there was a Walt Disney museum in San Francisco, which I had never even heard of before – a fact that shocked me, since I’m such a huge Disney nerd. So, first thing we did was head over to the museum…which is literally I’m the middle of nowhere. I would never guess the museum was there, the building looks more or less like a mess hall at Barracks..

I was most excited for a special exhibit at the museum for Mary Claire, who was an artist and illustrator for Disney movies such as Peter Pan, Three Amigos, Cinderella and my all time favorite Disney movie, Alice In Wonderland.

The exhibit was amazing! I got to see original story boards and illustrations for some of my favorite movies, while learning about an amazing woman who not only worked full time and traveled the world as an artist, but also raised kids and was married – which I can’t even imagine. My favorite part of the exhibit, though, was being able to see inside her sketchbooks – they were a mess. Its pretty rare to be able to see inside another artist’s sketchbook, especially those who are professionals. It was so great to see that messiness is normal, beautiful and productive. It was so refreshing!

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After the museum we made the long trek over to the Palace of Fine arts, which basically looks like something out of ancient Greece, but was actually built in 1915 as part of the Panama Pacific Exposition. Its so incredibly beautiful and a MUST SEE for anyone visiting San Francisco.

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After the Palace, we tried to get some shots of the Golden Gate bridge, but the weather was no cooperating so the bridge was covered 90% with heavy fog (we’re talking, cannot see ANYTHING). Still took some pictures, but it was kind of a bummer not to be an!e to see all of its glory. We walked across the bridge, whip whirling wind and mist in our faces, and then decided to walk back the way we came, before we froze to death…or our legs fell off.

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All in all, I could not have dreamt of a better trip. Everything didn’t go as planned, and I will have to go back down to San Fran in a few weeks to still apply for my Visa, but all in all I could have asked for more. In only three days I feel revitalized, refreshed and with a renewed sense of purpose. I really needed some down time to recuperate, and the funny thing is, I didn’t even know I needed it.

After regrouping, I’m going to be going in again August 1st to apply, and then begging and praying that they process my visa before my plane ticket on August 18th! Fingers crossed! Prayers much needed and appreciated.

Exploring Your Own Backyard

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When I was in college, I forced myself to discover new parts of Seattle by intentionally “getting lost” in my hometown. I would hop on a bus – any bus,  and with barely any cash and no GPS, I would explore. I found some pretty awesome places, and tried some new things I would never have tried during my day to day routine; I made some new friends and got to know my hometown so much more than I ever had before.

Taking these trips, I think, was the first stepping-stone to exploring the world outside of where I lived. It allowed me to gain the confidence to try new experiences, and to be ok with being a little uncomfortable (or a lot). I started to realize that asking people for directions was ok, and that eating at restaurants I’d never been to before could turn out to be awesome. I started to look around me, instead of walking with tunnel vision to my next destination. I started noticing things.

It’s a pretty well known fact that Seattle runs in my veins. I’m madly in love with my city.  I grew up going to Mariners games, rooting for the Sonics and eating Dick’s hamburgers. Rain storms are like lullabies to me.  I am a Seattleite born and raised, but I still find adventures in my home city all the time. Because, contrary to popular opinion, being an adventurer doesn’t mean that you have to travel half way across the world in order to explore. More than likely there are stories, traditions and secret spots in your hometown that you’d never discover, unless you took the time to look for them.

And, you know what? A funny thing happens when you start to let the world show you it’s beauty. Yes, you start to see it differently, but you also begin to see yourself in a different light. You aren’t just a pedestrian anymore. You become a bird watcher, an architect, an art spectator, a food connoisseur, a friend to random strangers, a meteorologist, a cartographer, or a humanitarian. By opening yourself up to the beauty around you, you take part in a conversational exchange that allows you to enrich the world, while you, in turn, are enriched.

If you’re wondering where to start on your travel journey, get out and explore your own city!  Not only will you be building skills that allow you to interact once you’re on your international adventures, but you’ll also appreciate so much more of the world you travel in by learning to appreciate the virtue of what is already around you. So get out there! Find some awesome somethings in your hometown and then share your stories with someone. Let’s encourage a culture of exploration – even if it’s within our own communities!

Here are five of my favorite places I’ve stumbled across in Seattle:

1. Waterfall Garden (Pioneer Square): Did you know that Seattle has a waterfall IN the city? Neither did I, until I started asking around and discovered this one! Not only is this mini slice of nature beautiful, but this is a great way to take a break from the noise of the busy city for a bit and just relax.

2. ReStyle for Ryther Thrift Shop (Ballard): Missing those good old fashioned thrift shop experiences. This little baby shop may be just the thing you’ve been looking for. I love this little shop with all my heart and it really is as “hole-in-the-wall” as you can get.

3. The Backdoor at Roxy’s (Fremont): A little bit more well known amongst the locals, but still an unmarked door in a dark parking lot. This is one of my absolute favorite bars. The atmosphere is 1920’s speak-easy and, from the murals to the amazing food, it really is a great place to just sit back and relax with friends.

4. Magus Books (University District): I’m such a sucker for old books. I love the smell, I love the feel of the pages. It’s all part of the experience. This is such a great used book store and one that I love visiting

5. Street Bean Coffee (Downtown): Favorite coffee shop for their rice milk hot cocoa. So many coffee shops only offer soy alternatives to dairy, that it was extremely refreshing to be able to order my drinks with rice milk. This coffee shop is special because they offer jobs to homeless/transitioning street youth and also host some of the best Open Mic nights around.

Ciao!

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 “Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.” – Franz Kafka

Voyager Avec Ma Famille

Me, my mom and my brother adventuring
Me, my mom and my brother adventuring

Traveling has always been a family affair. My mom was a huge advocate of getting out and seeing the world beyond our front door, and made sure that we all experienced as much as possible while growing up.We were the extreme road trip family (my mom didn’t like flying), and as a result, I feel almost more at home sleeping in a moving car than I do in my bed at night.Whether we were camping, driving, staying in cabins or almost hitting a moose, my childhood included exploring all kinds of different parts of the country, and I have so many good memories of the places I’ve been.

I’ve always loved to travel, but I know that it’s mostly because of how my mom raised us. Because we learned to love new places at an early age, it’s so much easier to go and explore them now as an adult. I honestly view the world as my extended family, and, as such, I thought it would be fun to share some old school pictures of me and my friends/fam adventuring around. Enjoy!

Me and my older brother celebrating my birthday in Alaska
Me and my older brother celebrating my 13th birthday in Alaska
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I was extremely excited for this adventure
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Road trip down to LA!
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Exploring the Washington peninsula with my little brother and sister
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Me and my little sister at a beautiful lake on the Washington Peninsula
Mountain life in high school
Mountain life in high school