How to Pack for a Long Trip

The Lizzie Way:

1. Freak out. Start a Pinterest board.

2. Pick one thing to fixate on (ex: attractive but comfortable walking shoes for under $100) and ask every single person you know until your best friend bans it from discussion and doesn’t acknowledge any links sent on gchat.

3. Assume you are packing too much. Freak out.

4. Stress about wearing the same clothes all the time. Freak out.

5. Forget that there are actual stores in other countries where you could buy things. Heck, you may even WANT to buy things.

6. Spend an entire day packing and be the only person in your group under weight!

7. Buy things all the time and have to ship extras home. Twice.

The Actual Advice Way:

1. Accept that you will be sick of everything by the time you’re done. Buy cheapies.

2a. Realize that you will wear the same 5-7 pieces for weeks on end. Bring things you actually like.

2b. The small things that minorly bug you about clothes will drive you insane if you wear them all the time. (ex: I should have bought deep V neck tees instead of the regular Vs.)

3. Pack in a color palette. I choose grass green, medium to dark blue, grey, black and white.

4. Bring at least 10 days worth of underwear and socks. No one should have to re-wear dirties and laundromats can be expensive and hard to find (also not necessarily in English).

5. Bring one Nice Thing to wear. Even if you only wear your Nice Thing once it will go a long way to helping you feel prepared for anything.

6. Scarves and jewelry are small, easy to pack and are a great pick-me-up. Bring a variety.

7. Other countries have stores. Stores that will sell you things you need. They may not be as cheap as they are in the States but you can buy things if, for instance, you arrive in Vienna, it is raining, and have no pants or sweater.

The Nitty Gritty:

I packed:

Pants: jeans*, black pants, leggings (for overnight trains and pjs)

Tops: 2 solid color tees, 2 white tank tops, lace trimmed peplum

Skirts and Dresses: cotton skirt, cotton dress, Nice Dress

Sweaters: striped pullover, solid colored cardigan

Other: Swimsuit, Socks, Underwear

*didn’t survive Russia, never replaced on trip

I purchased abroad: pants, sweater and cotton sundress out of necessity, lots of other things for fun

Obsessed: Scandal

Obsession is the new mild interest. – Joyce Carol Oates (via twitter)

An evil creature I call a friend suggested I start watching Scandal and now I’m totally addicted. The show (both seasons available on Netflix) centers on Olivia Pope, a professional “fixer”. Season One is mostly you seeing what a total badass Olivia and her team of misfit lawyers are as they spin political problems for their big name clients. In season Two the problems get bigger, more complex and a hell of a lot juicier. Oh did we mention the clothes are AHMAZE and the president is hunky.

You should totally get into this show. I bullied (lovingly) my friend A to get into it and now she’s ahead of me in season two. Yep, it will suck you in that bad. I’m sorry. You’ll thank me later. Ok, need to watch more. Byeeeeeeee.


Washington State: Barclay Lake

My dad has a copy of “Best Washington Hikes with Kids”. His edition is from 1988; the pages are yellow and the whole thing looks like the Reagan-era relic it is. It also has notes on ever hike we’ve ever taken as a family.

According to my dad’s notes we first went on this hike in 1991. It’s a gentle walk through the woods with lunch at the lake. The path rolls through the trees. It’s peaceful. It’s good to be with my parents.


Putting good out in the world

I was planning on writing about my first day back at work (I tweeted it instead) and perhaps posting some luxurious photos of the “let’s not face reality” lunch I bought myself this afternoon at Cafe Presse. I’ve been feeling the need to flex the wit and the snark but that’s not the mood I’ve been in.

At lunch, I sat at the bar, which I like to do because it gives you more people to talk to. This nice guy named John sat a few stools down. He’s a doctor or a lawyer or something and stopped for some take out on the way back to his home office. We struck up a conversation about wine recommendations. He ordered the vinho verde on my suggestion. He told me about visiting a monastery in Scotland founded in 562. Apparently the local mason and craftsmen restored it after several rounds of invasions over the centuries. He told me it is the most peaceful place he has ever visited. I told him about a convent we visited in Russia founded by an exiled sister of Ivan the Terrible. Now it is a self-sustaining farm as well as a religious site. A good conversation with someone who is willing to just keep being friendly.

I walked home and passed this neighborhood swap. Thanks, universe, all this good juju feels great.

Weekend Brunch: Cinnamon Rolls and a Dream Deferred

Recipe of the week: Chai-Spiced Cinnamon Rolls from Joy the Baker
Worth Listening: A Dream Deferred? MLK, Trayvon and the fight against racism today via We Are Many

Weekends are for sleeping in and catching up. They are the space and the breathing room. They are the extra time to think.

On weekend mornings I like nothing better than to make a pot of coffee and have a good breakfast. I had a sleepover with my favorite little family last night and as a thank you to the hardest working mom and dad in Leo business, I whipped up some overnight cinnamon rolls. Cooking clears my head, it lets me be creative, it’s another way to be close to people I care about, it’s my favorite hobby. The company makes the meal and I was lucky enough to be surrounded by smart, committed people.

Later, I was watching this panel. An incredible, amazing panel featuring some of the most inspiring activists around. Much has been said in the last weeks about the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The liberal and leftwing press have written thousands of words about the progress America still has to make towards King’s dream. That is important. Dr. King once spoke about the “fierce urgency of now”. Now is important. Now is people’s lives. This collection of speakers are different. They take the assessment of the work still to be done and push it further through analysis of our society and connect it to action. The urgency of now informed by the lessons of the past.

Congratulations M + M!

Last weekend I had the incredible privilege of attending the wedding of my friends, M and M.

As I shared during an impromptu wedding toast, I was an excited early party to the love affair of these two newlyweds. Shortly after they met (and after a few dates), Dude M spent three weeks in New York City selling Christmas trees. I would have drinks with Lady M or see her around the neighborhood and enthusiastically ask for updates. She was coy and shy but I knew this was a special connection.

They complement each other in such wonderful ways. Lady M brings focus to Dude M’s idea generation while Dude M supports Lady M in every goal she puts her mind to. They are partners in the truest sense of the word and it brings me such joy to be their friend.

Their vows and wedding ceremony often touched on the importance of community. Dude M and I actually grew up a few blocks apart (but only met as adults). Filled up with love for them, I reflected on my own community throughout the reception. My large extended family with their diversity of talents and encompassing support. My high school, just around the corner, that instilled a hard work ethic, a sense of humility, and a desire to excel. My friends that provide everything imaginable and who I would willingly feed, house, clothe and stand by at the drop of a hat. My childhood neighborhood with its mature trees, friendly neighbors, shady porches and hot coffee.

M and M, I love you guys. Your relationship is strong and you’ve taken a monumental step forward together. I’m filled to the brim with happiness. Many happy years together!


Out and About: The Walrus and the Carpenter

One time my brother turned to me and said, “tartare is my favorite food group” and I knew our genetics were deep and binding. The Walrus and the Carpenter takes that foundational love of raw beef and aces my other favorite raw animal: oysters.


Bounty of the sea

My buddy, KVR, and her boyfriend, C, were in town from Austin. KVR and I went to high school together and she’s a good NW kid, eating salmon from day 1, etc. C, with his many fine qualities, grew up in Texas and has eaten most of his oysters on saltine crackers. Bless those Texans. Joining us was another out-of-town high school buddy, K, spending a few weeks in beautiful Seattle to escape the soul crushing humidity of Boston and, J, my new foodie soul sister.


My two favorite Texans

Now W&C is insanely popular. The restaurant is also small. This two factors combined make it necessary to have a strategy. Luckily, we had my brother in our back pocket. We put our name in for a table and strolled on over to the bar my brother is working to cool our heels with a scratch cocktail. It’s a hard life to live, folks.

Dinner was incredible. The food was superb and the company was even better.


Sardines, fried oysters, beef tartare


Smoked trout, Sazerac and sautéed curried zucchini with fried egg

Blessed is a word my atheist self feels funny about using. “Lucky” implies that friendship isn’t work. But, dammit, I’m blessed and lucky to have amazing friends. We’ve known each other for more than a decade and I always miss you when we aren’t together. Cheers!


Thirteen years and counting.

The Walrus and the Carpenter is open for dinner in Ballard. Reservations aren’t accepted and the wait is intense. Be prepared to leave your phone number and hit one of the many amazing bars in the area while you wait.


Paris: Père Lachaise Cemetery and my last day abroad

My last day in Paris was also my last day of the trip so I wanted to do something really wonderful and embrace the sentimentality of the 11th hour of the trip of a lifetime.

I set out with an elaborate walking tour from Rick Steves (that guy is worth his weight in gold) to explore the Père Lachaise cemetery.

Clockwise from top left: Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Moliere, Fredrick Chopin

Memorial to the fallen Communards of the Paris Commune.

Lunch was an absolute bounty of mussels and crisp white wine. I read a little bit but mostly people watched. Paris had taken a few days to grow on me and while it didn’t end up being a favorite of the trip, I can see why people love it. It has a unique personality: a bit snobby but seemingly rightfully so. A well dressed lady with great taste and the right pedigree. You have to bow to that kind of know-it-in-your-bones confidence.

I spent the golden hour walking through Le Marais basking in the bountiful street art and eating macaroons. My buddy Julia had suggested a falafel place for dinner she deemed “life changing”. It was pretty damn delicious. They were also the friendliest waiters I encountered in Paris. People seem to love a solo traveler.

Paris was a good city to end my trip. I liked exploring but I was ready to go home. Correction: I was ready to stop being on the road. I missed all my buddies in Seattle and weirdly missed America (that was a surprise!) but I could also see myself setting up shop somewhere and staying for a while. Anything to have more variety to my wardrobe and stability to my schedule.