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

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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

This week

Required

What a pair of weeks. June is the busiest month of the year here in glorious world of higher ed. Deadlines, graduation, budgets closing, annual meetings, the whole thing makes me want to lie down. Throw in the inevitable miscommunication or last minute tweak to plans or Shaelyn challenging everything I believe in re: self-determination by announcing her intent to purchase a romper and suddenly I’m in desperate need of some Solange lifespo. Don’t even get me started on this Rachel Dolezal nonsense. Time to turn off the internet and read a book. Here’s to a restorative weekend, friends.

READ

Menwear Dog: everything great about the internet. #richkidsofinstagram and Western art. Stunning photos of girls raised in matriarchal village. Have a secret wedding pinboard? You’re not alone. I always feel a little WASPy when lamenting the lack of internet boundaries but really people, it’s not about you. Digital old masters.

Everything above is great but if you read one thing, read this: What Make a Woman Is Less Important Than What Makes a Feminist

WATCH

Apologizing with Amy Schumer. The ‘Suffragette’ trailer!!!

LISTEN

Trails and Ways released their first full length album two weeks ago and I cannot.stop.listening. Here is their entire discography. Feel free to play in a loop. It’s a good life.

Pathology, 2015

Covers Tape EP, 2013

Trilingual EP, 2013

2015 Goals: May

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Forever peonies

Downtime: I’ve been semi-consciously attempting to unstructure my weekends with moderate success. Over Memorial Day, I took two extra days to extend the long weekend into five glorious days of unfettered downtime. The weather oh-so-helpfully cooperated and I got to finish the sixth season of The Good Wife sans lingering guilt that comes with “wasting” sunny days.

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Celebrating 29, Boat St Cafe

Birthday sunset, Green Lake, Seattle

Exercise: The living room circus continues. I mentioned this development to a friend who mentioned he would pay money to watch Kat and I make fools of ourselves trying to do a bunch of push-ups. I won’t deny that it’s pretty hilarious. Beyonce jokes cost extra though.

Discovery Park, Seattle

The Dray, Seattle

Travel: Remember when I tried to pretend that I could go a whole year without leaving the country? I know, I know. It seemed possible and even prudent at the time. But then Siir invited me to visit her in Spain once she settles in a bit and that’s just too good to pass up. Sooooooo I’m going to Spain for 10 days or so in October. Hit me up with your best recos.

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Saturday mornings with Siir

Retirement: BOOM. Crushed this goal. After five years, I finally rolled over my private sector 401(k) into a Roth IRA. The tax hit was worth it for me but obviously consult a financial professional if you have questions. Cathy, my all-knowing finance guru, helped me draft an investment plan I’m super pumped about. I was prepared to write a fairly large check but it turns out that if I save another $5k before investing I hit a threshold that will keep my brokerage fees a handful of percentage points lower in the long run. So that’s my current plan. Save some more and then roll around in gold coins like Donald Duck.

Seriously though, peonies

Arts: This month I dug into an incredible biography of Karl and Jenny Marx, Love and Capital by Mary Gabriel. I’ve pretty much obsessed to everyone about how awesome this book has been. Gabriel draws on extensive primary source research to construct a lovely, approachable narrative that guides the reader through Marx’s political development and the political context that drove those conclusions. A top notch political biography and highly recommended. The 2015 concert calendar has organically evolved into a quality over quantity equation. Between sheltering my weekends and trying to save money for two relatively large goals (retirement and travel, as always) I’ve focused my time on the bands that mean the most to me. Kat and I saw Sleater-Kinney at the beginning of the month and it was super super awesome. As a pre-birthday treat I caught the closing weekend of the Seattle Rep’s run of “Outside Mullingar” which I found delightful but the Irish Times completely panned so your mileage may vary. Snuck in a great dance showcase by Whim W’him on the verrrrry last day of the month. Modern dance is still a bit elusive to me – I don’t feel like I have the vocabulary for it – but all good art makes you feel something, right? The showcase was wonderfully framed to allow for that kind of personal discomfort and exploration.

The Spanish Table, Seattle

This week

Rosé lyfe.

BOOM. It’s summer. I drank rosé on the patio on Wednesday evening with bare arms and bare legs AND never got chilly. I came in because it got too dark to read at 9:30pm. PRAISE HANDS. We’re kicking off our semi-regular loose knit BBQ series tonight and it’s gonna be a blast. Summer is my #1 lovah.

READ

John Malkovich being perfectly weird and hilarious. Spotify’s secret corners. How Old Navy came back from the dead. The NYT did a very nice and long overdue profile of (mostly white, ugh) female artists which would be phenomenal if it wasn’t a searing reminder of how salient this Guerrilla Girls poster remains. The left debate on Bernie Sanders. M.I.A. and FKA twigs on appropriation. Money lessons from Mom and Dad. The commodification of breast milk.

WATCH

Seattle teachers held a totally awesome one day strike for education funding last week. Go SEA!

LISTEN

The Helio Sequence – The Helio Sequence (it’s only 35 min long but very good)

Made in Heights – Without My Enemy What Would I Do (yes yes yes)

Hot Chip – Why Make Sense? (all of the suggestions this week are variations on “hell yes, summer forever”)

On Being 28

Today I turn 29 which just feels damn weird. I have no real qualms about the twilight of my 20s but I suspect I’ll go back and forth on that 100 times over the next year. 28 was a grounding year. It was a year of building resilience, being open, and standing up for myself.

On my 28th birthday I woke up and went to work. I had always taken my birthday off but was hording vacation days and it seemed like the responsible thing to do. Dumb. No, never again. I’m a lady of leisure today, responsible only to my whims and pleasures. It’s better this way.

In June, I finally got a permanent position and successfully negotiated a big kid salary thanks to a serious cadre of badass business-minded girlfriends.

DF mural

Palacio Nacional, Mexico City, July 2014

In July, I tagged along with Jorge to Mexico. We’ve been buddies for years and it was so fun to meet his extended family and whoop it up at a true Mexican wedding. We headed back to Mexico City for several days to look at murals, consume our body weight in tacos, and watch grown men fight each other in colorful spandex. Exploring the Coyoacan and paying our respects to Trotsky was far and away the highlight of the trip.

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Trotsky House, Mexico City, July 2014

I got back from Mexico and went on a bit of a dating binge. It was super fun to meet tons of new people and temporarily live in a whirlwind of messages, happy hours, and new lipstick. Dating taught me an airtight 20 minute prep scheme that I will probably use for the rest of my life. Enthusiasm for Tinder waned right as I was prepping for a family trip to the UK in September so I kissed the summer good-bye and got on a plane to London.

SEA > LHR, September 2014

My parents had originally conspired to introduce me and my brother to Europe the summer of 2000. Ha! The best laid plans and all that. We spent a week in London together as a family conquering museums and plays during the day and then breaking off in the evening for some unstructured activity. Mike came with a list of bars and I volunteered as an eager research assistant.

St. James Park, London

V&A Museum, London

For the second half of our trip, I forged my own path and headed north for a week in Scotland. It was so great to travel alone again. Travel buddies are wonderful but I had missed the quiet solitude of sitting alone on a train, learning a new city the hard way, and doing exactly what I pleased. I split my time between Edinburgh and the Highlands. Edinburgh with its rain, walkable downtown, and great food culture made this Seattlelite feel right at home. The last three days were a tour of northern Scotland and the Isle of Skye. Scotland is achingly, consumingly beautiful. I knew I wanted to return as soon as I arrived. The beauty of the country feels largely untouched and ruggedly wild. The scenery absolutely commands your attention but there’s nowhere you’d rather be looking so it works out perfectly.

Advocate’s Close, Edinburgh, September 2014

Scotland, September 2014

Scotland, September 2014

Portree, Isle of Skye, Scotland, September 2014

Scotland, September 2014

Edinburgh, September 2014

I landed back in the US in early October and closed out the last few months of the year with a carousel of concerts, weekend road trips, and a return to cooking at home. These stretches of busy but “normal” is what keeps us moving. Work picked up and then settled back down. We hit a recruiting benchmark, high fived, and committed to doing it again next year.

If you don’t know now you know, October 2014

Chores with Kat, Herkimer Coffee, November 2014

Post-Thanksgiving quarters, Comet Tavern, November 2014

2015 dawned and promised to be full of friends and community. I kicked it off by heading to Oregon for the weekend to see Sparky. We drank a lot of wine, main lined old episodes of Sex and the City, and admired a lot of very pretty things we cannot afford at Nordstrom. Basically, it was all the best parts of high school all over again and it was wonderful.

Winter sailing, January 2015

I had made a commitment to do a bunch more sailing last summer but totally fell down on the task. Sailing has come back into my life over the last year and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Being on the water is a rare sort of relaxation. Everyone is afraid of dropping their phones in the water so they mostly stay packed away and we get to converse with the people around us. My racing skills are definitely rusty but now that I’ve found a bit of a crew I’m pumped to do some small boat sailing this summer and get back into fighting form.

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Texas wildflowers, April 2015

In April, I flew down to Texas to officiate Kristin and Cody’s wedding. What an overwhelming honor to marry one of your best friends to her forever dude. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house but it had precious little to do with the words coming out of my mouth. K & C are just Good People who have built an amazing community all over the country that descended on Cody’s family home to surround them in love. It was a magical day.

Puget Sound, May 2015

Big thanks to everyone that has made this year possible. So many of you provided critical advice on myriad topics that helped me refine my outlook and maintain my sanity. 28 involved a fair amount of personal growth and the hand wringing (and let’s be honest, occasional tears) that go along with that. I could not have done it without you. MWAH.

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Salmon Bay Marina, Seattle

 

This week

Boat St Cafe, Seattle

Birthdays are a Big Deal in the Land of Liz and the approach of 29 has not been without celebration. My parents treated me to a birthday dinner at Boat Street Cafe, a Seattle institution that’s closing in a few short weeks. It’s always fun to get some dedicated face time with T & K. Such is the curse of the eldest child, always a bit indignant that attention must occasionally be divided. I was blessed with wonderful parents that dole out encouragement and zingers in equal measure. My dad, in true dad form, always allows me the opportunity to pay the check before dramatically sighing and pulling out his wallet as if we didn’t all know he was going to pay all along. Thanks for stuffing your faces full of amaretto bread pudding with me. I love you.

READ

No justice, no…anything. Do more things alone (its so glorious). The Closet Feminist. Angelenos “discover New York”. The durable and hilarious polemic of 9 to 5. Real food cut into perfect cubes. The “science” of daydreams. Rory and her not so hot life choices.

WATCH

BB King live in Sing Sing prison.

LISTEN

Giorgio Moroder and Sia – Deja vu (Bump it.)

Mother’s Day Weekend

Any weekend that begins with Sleater-Kinney and ends with celebrating my wonderful mom is going to be killer. My brother rolled into town to up the magic and brought sunshine and 70 degree days with him. Thanks Mike!

The Last Word and a Rye Manhattan, Zig Zag, Seattle

Kat and I kicked off Friday with a long overdue roommate date night at Zig Zag followed by Sleater-Kinney making our teenage riot grrrl dreams come true. I’m nominally against concert photos but Carrie Brownstein stood on top of the drum stand in a leather mini skirt and everything about feminism rang strong and true in my heart.

Punk rock with Kat

Sleater-Kinney, Showbox, Seattle

We celebrated an early Mother’s Day on Saturday. Breaking all convention my brother and mom worked together to produce an absolutely delicious smoked salmon Benedict and we lazed around for a bit. Later that afternoon, Siiri and Mike’s long time friend, L, came over for an extended family happy hour on the back porch. Ugh, I know, worst Saturday ever. After a couple glasses of Mike’s kitchen sink punch the “kids” split and headed out for dinner and an evening in gorgeous, sunny Seattle.

Saturday afternoon punch

Happy hour snacks

Capitol Hill Gothic

Goobery goober pt 1

Goobery goober pt 2

❤ Mikey ❤

Lil Woody’s, Seattle

This week

Lifespo

I’m a total sham. I was super drawn to the gif of Peggy Olson (SPOILER ALERT) walking into McCann Erickson that I’m willing to draw the wrath of Amy’s constant texts urging me to catch up to share it with you. Peggy Olson is the hands down Queen of the Badasses. May we all strive to channel her forthright declaration of what she’s owed.

READ

Reexamining The Wire in light of Baltimore. Elissa’s photos from her recent trip to the PNW. As the token female member of this action-adventure team, my job is to kick. Why I hate men. The NYT did an excellent piece on the seedy underbelly of nail salons (additional props for publishing in multiple languages).

WATCH

Peggy Olson supercutThe British general election, explained.

LISTEN

Spring sprung ’15 (a playlist for warm evenings and flower walks)

This week

Happy International Workers’ Day! Today is a day to celebrate the labor that produces all the wealth in our society. In 1886, more than 200,000 workers across the US struck as part of a struggle for the eight hour workday. Today, the holiday is celebrated all over the world to mark to the radical history of the workers’ rights movement and demand justice and power for working people. Si se piede!

READ

Tina Belcher touching butts (hopefully consensually). Out of the museum, into the street. Investigating “hehehe”.

The Baltimore Reader: Non-violence as compliance by Ta-Nehisi Coates; Cops are the terrorists in our neighborhood by D. Watkins; We have a right to be in the streets for Freddie by Alana Davenport; When rioting is rational by Michael Gould-Wartofsky; The long, painful and repetitive history of how Baltimore became Baltimore by Emily Badger

WATCH

7 tips to get through the horror of running into your ex, featuring my lovely former classmate, Claire.

LISTEN

Nina Simone – Baltimore

Pinkshinyultrablast – Everything Else Matters (dream pop; ideal for late afternoon beach make-outs…or so I suspect)