Washington State: Port Ludlow

Edmonds-Kingston ferry

My Washington State weekends continued with an overnight bachelorette party for my long-time friend, Beth. I managed to take exactly zero pictures of actual people over the weekend but when you’re surrounded by this much awesome beauty who really needs people? (Kidding! Kidding!)

Not pictured: the most epic taco bar of all time, the giant hot tub at Soak on the Sound, the abandoned military complex at Fort Worden, cheese tasting at Mt Townsend Creamery, a ten-person dinner at the delicious Sweet Laurette, tall boys of Rainier, bluegrass covers of “Angel from Montgomery”, and one beautiful bride-to-be.

Stupid beautiful sunrise #1

Looking south towards Edmonds

North to Bellingham

Fort Worden State Park

Conservatory Coastal Home, Port Townsend

Port Townsend marina

Stupid beautiful sunrise #2

Perfect Puget Sound

Sunday morning ferry jamz

Washington State: Guemes or bust!

I did none of the work, got half the credit AND a cookie

Months and months ago I got a random direct message from my buddy Lauren: “I know we’ve never met but I think we would travel really well together.” Lauren and I have been internet buddies for YEARS but live on opposite ends of the country and had never met IRL. We invited our mutual buddy Beth of 3Up Adventures along to round out our wine and adventure trio. Together we hatched a plan to head north to the islands.

Taylor Shellfish, Seattle

Thursday afternoon I skirted out of the office a touch early to meet Beth and Lauren at Taylor Shellfish for oyster happy hour. Turns out everything we like about each other on the internet translates perfectly to real life. We were laughing, gossiping, and cracking sex jokes in under five minutes. Our server loved us and the nice couple trying to enjoy their oysters in peace shot us some long side eye. We scooted home to my house, dropped our stuff, and cruised over to Ballard where some Seattle-based friends of mine were doing a mini set at the Conor Byrne Pub. Most of our weekend was to be spent outside of the city so I was anxious to share a little city flavor before we busted out of town. Thanks to Tom and Mark for setting up the weekend right.

Thursday night crooners.

Friday morning, we grabbed some dim sum in the ID, picked up our rental car, and hit the road! We chatted as we cruised up I-5 SO PUMPED to be getting out of the city on an insanely gorgeous day. Lauren had snagged us a killer rental house on Airbnb that turned out to basically be a fairy wonderland. Built to spec by the owners, the house is all natural light and about bringing the outdoors in….including the giant window in the shower that allows you to admire the scenery as you wash your hair. Prepped some pizzas for dinner before setting out a leisurely wine walk (exactly what it sounds like) to enjoy the sunshine and explore our new “neighborhood”.

To the ferry!

Seaweed-y goodness

Basically magic

Happy hour

One with nature

Friday night dinner

Kitchen graffiti

Wood stove snuggles

Somehow Lauren and Beth convinced me to wake up at 5am (I thought we were on vacation?!) to climb a mountain. God bless them, they are so pretty I would follow them anywhere. Turns out they were right (the worstttt) and we did an early morning ferry two-step before landing on Orcas Island, part of the San Juan Island chain. I spent a far amount of time boating in the San Juans and Gulf Islands (their Canadian cousins) when I was a kid but I haven’t been up there in years. They are even more stunning than I remember. All weekend long Beth, Lauren, and I would exclaim at spontaneous intervals, “THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL!”. We were never wrong.

Morning ferry to Orcas

Brown Bear Baking, Eastsound, Orcas Island

The hike up Mt. Constitution was bookended by trips to Brown Bear Baking in Eastsound and the Island Hoppin’ Brewery for a post-hike flight. Both were killer and come highly recommended. While standing in line at the bakery, an older gentleman in front of us leaned over and told us “more is more”. His advice was spot on and we happily polished off a small collection of baked goods and “more is more” became the unofficial motto of the weekend.

Top of Mt. Constitution

Island Hoppin’ Brewery, Orcas Island

Our time together was magic. It’s rare to find friends that you instinctively travel well with and these two are my people. Can’t wait until we can be together again!

Orcas Village, Orcas Island

Washington State: Sailing to Port Madison


Sunday morning in Port Madison

Sometimes you just have to get out of town. Saturday was beautiful here in the Pacific Northwest (sorry about that spring snow storm, Chicago…), a day that absolutely demanded you be outside. A last minute decision was made and Saturday evening I found myself loading groceries into a dock cart and motoring west out of the marina. We got to Port Madison around 10pm, dropped anchor, and woke up to a misty morning. Sunday was full of rain and sailing but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We sailed across the breadth of Puget Sound on a single tack before finishing the afternoon dinking around and getting the rust off the old sailing skills. It was totally worth cramming all my chores into Sunday evening.

Rustic cocktailing


First Mate Sasha

Port Madison, WA

Port Madison, WA

Sasha snuggles

Shilshole Bay Marina, Seattle

S’mores Fest


The spread

What do you do when your bestie/roommate/platonic life mate sends you Buzzfeed’s 39 S’Mores Hacks That Will Change Your Life? You take the hint.

As a huge fan of birthdays (a time of reflection and revelry) and a lover of all parties, I teamed up with the fearless Reuben to throw Kat a killer celebratory S’mores Fest. August in the Northwest is astounding so we had everyone meet up at Carkeek Park to enjoy the sunset over Puget Sound while grilling their sweet, sweet ‘mallows. People got creative! My personal favorite combo was grilled peach + marshmallow + nutella. Some sea salt dark chocolate made an appearance. Siiri blew our collective minds with her chocolate covered pepper bacon. The gluten free crowd was all about their GF chocolate chip cookies (giving the people what they want!).

I may be a lover of all parties but I’m head over heels obsessed with parties that come together quickly and cheaply. This spread would be easy to scale up or down and is infinitely customizable. (Please note: the Reese’s peanut butter cups are non-negotiable. You’ll thank me later.) Kiddos could be included with adult supervision. We indulged in a¬†gorgeous mountain view but you could easily move this party into someone’s backyard. Heck, you could even make cast iron s’mores in your kitchen when it’s too cold to go outside. Hang out with your people already!


Ladies who beach.


View from Carkeek Park


Look at those goons


Grilling peaches


A kid and his first s’more


Pretty sunsets are pretty


Summer Honey-Do List


Corfu, Greece | Summer 2013

Summer officially starts Saturday! After a touch of June-uary, the weather here has settled comfortably into it’s Northwest glory. While it makes Cube Life (TM) particularly painful, all that bountiful sun and sea makes¬†Seattle the most beautiful city in the world. I spent most of last summer abroad so I can’t wait to have a classically Seattle summer.

  • Go sailing at least once a month in July, August, and September
  • Eat fro yo
  • Attend the Fremont Solstice Parade (this weekend!)
  • Perfect our house margarita recipe
  • Get out of the city and go on a hike
  • Go to an outdoor movie (or two)
  • Saturday morning outdoor yoga at the Sculpture Park
  • Take a beach day
  • Grill as much as possible
  • Have a blast in Mexico in July!
  • Tune up my bike and go for a ride
  • Attend my 10 year high school reunion (’04 sho!)
  • Watch the sunset at the beach

Who wants to come?

Washington State: Apple Picking

Is there anything more perfectly NW than apple picking? Hilariously, our group was about a third native Washingtonians and two thirds New Englanders/former residents of the Northeast. Bless their hearts, those crazy imports were waxing on and on about the size of their trees and u-pick farms, etc., etc. To which I say, show me your 70% market share and then we can talk.

And let’s talk about the on-the-fly drive mix my carpool made en route. Obsessed. Been listening all weekend.

apple picking amy and liz

apple picking apple gothic apple picking flying leo apple picking group jump

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Washington State: Heather Lake

Kat: I’ve been craving Ezell’s [mind blowing delicious fried chicken]
Liz: We should get some next weekend for the holiday.
Kat: We should go on a giant hike and then eat it for dinner!

And so Kat and I went into nature.

We went on a terrific hike on Mt Pilchuck to Heather Lake. The trail was exerting but not strenuous. The sun was out and stunning against the old growth forest.

I like hikes that take you somewhere (a peak, a lake, etc). No loop trails for this kid. Heather Lake is stunning. Granted, its hard to go wrong in late summer anywhere in the Cascades. We ate lunch, goofed off, threw some rocks in the water and petted a dog named Copper.


A good part of the trail runs next to a creek bed and the trail crosses the creek several times. The descent made for some fun mini scrambles and we were muddy and tired by the time we got back to the car.

Despite this whole delightful day being motivated by chicken (we’re simple people) we got to day dreaming about pizza on the hike down. Add a bottle of Pinot and a deck and we’re winning the holiday weekend.

Happy Labor Day!

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.