Monday, February 19, 2018

Field Trip: Dark Table in Vancouver, Canada

For Valentine's Day my husband took me on a delayed surprise trip to a surprise destination. Do you remember when dining in the dark was a trending thing? Steve found there is a restaurant doing just that in Vancouver. While it's no longer trendy it's still a fascinating and fun thing to try! We ended up at Dark Table

Of course all my photos are from outside. You are greeted outside, order from a menu there, then wait for your server to come and retrieve you. Steve found out there are five servers covering twenty-five tables. The cool thing is the workforce is mainly blind or visually impaired, making it a wonderful employer for the non-sighted in a tough job market. And the most able people to guide you in the experience. Once you enter thru the doors you are entirely in their hands. 

And that is when the adventure begins. The led us to the restrooms first (we had just driven up from Bellingham after all!). You travel thru curtains before hitting the bathrooms which have lowered lights. When we came back out to the curtained area we waiting in a scrum of people for our server to retrieve us. 

And though we really enjoyed the food, our server really made the evening for us. She was named Rose and told us to yell for her if we needed anything "just like on the Titanic!" She was hysterical and incredibly comfortable with us. She led us carefully thru the restaurant with hands on shoulders, flawlessly handed us drinks and food (both hot and cold) and made the meal incredibly fun. 

The cons of eating there? There were a couple of times when we had "air bites"...where we brought the fork up to our mouths and there was no food on it! The other thing we found that was funny was not being able to pace ourselves. When you were eating your dessert all of a sudden you realized you were done! 

The pros? One is you get to see if you know food like you think you do. You order your main course and drinks, then the rest is a surprise. We found we were pretty good at figuring out the ingredients in the salad. And maybe we figured out our dessert! 

And the best thing? An evening to fully focus on one another. We were fully unplugged. And there was nothing to distract us. We didn't find ourselves checking out what everyone was doing.  Just one another's voice across the table. And each others hand when we could find them! 

The waitress claimed that at least a couple a week has to leave because the dark is too much. And I can't even describe how dark it is! Do you think you would enjoy it? 

Monday, February 12, 2018

Field Trip: Skagit Skate

My sister and I have been working at getting our families together and meeting halfway between our two places. This made our latest get together at Skagit Skate a perfect halfway point. 

There is something so cool about taking your kids to do the things you did when you were young. My sister and I spent many weekends skating when we were young. Being California girls it was something that you did at a rink or on your street. But there was something special about being under the mirror ball with your favorite music playing. 

These things from our past are starting to disappear. The movie rental place that we have been going to for years is closing. There's nothing wrong with Netflix, but there was just something about shuffling around the rental place searching for the night's entertainment. At least our girls were able to enjoy a slice of our past for a couple of years! 

Thankfully our girls enjoy all the "old school" things.They find them fun and also incredibly photo worthy! So our time together is full of skating, eating, visiting and lots of photos. And my sister and I get to show off what little of our skating skills are left! 

And we get to watch our girls have just a taste of what life was like when we were kids. All of us goofing off together is just another crazy layer of life. We are hoping to continue on this track. Next time we are thinking bowling! 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Deep Thoughts: The Month of Love

Are you as relieved as I am that January is over? I wasn't sure if I would make it! There is something about the let down after the Holidays and the constant grey that can be the PNW in the wintertime. I'm thinking it may be time to invest in a happy light to get an extra boost. In the meantime I am so happy it is February so that I can distract myself with loving on the people I care about!

The first thing I do when February rolls around is get out some minor decorations. This might not be your typical decor, but it makes us all laugh and that's something we are all about this time of year! It distracts us from the weather, work and school. A sense of humor is what gets us out of bed on the daily! 

Another thing that I start to think about is some treats for our girls. Now that they are older the things I pick may change though there is usually a novelty item in there for the family. I can't say too much to ruin the surprise, but it's so much fun to think about what would make them smile. I can say Kate is really into cooking, and Samantha is all about experimenting with make up so their gifts will probably reflect that. We will have a family dinner with Sam that will include some type of fondue.  And of course chocolate.

There are also some "galentine" plans in the works. It's the perfect time of year to spoil friends and co-workers with small treats or snacks. Again I can't say too much, but I find the planning part of the fun. It gives me something to look forward to and just look at these cute plates I picked up at Spruce! They scream girlfriends don't they? 

Another thing I will be busy with is sending some happy mail. I have had some friends reach out to me recently with sweet texts or calls and it's meant more to me than I can even say. Somehow they have come at just the right time. I'm hoping to return the favor with some sweet mail that will go out with these gorgeous stamps designed by Anna Rifle. It's a lovely detail that makes things a bit more special. 

I know many get down on Valentines as a goofy holiday, putting pressure on those that aren't in relationships, and those that are. I find it's a good time to let those around me know how much they mean to me. And hey, there's nothing wrong with chocolates! 

How do you feel about Valentines? Do you love it? Hate it? Do you have any fun ways of celebrating it? Please share.  And I wish you love and chocolates! 

Monday, January 29, 2018

On my Radar: Goodreads

When it's grey, dreary and rainy outside there is a good bet you can find me immersed in a book. It's where I go when I need to escape from the weather, from myself, from everything. When Steve is feeling extra sweet he will even serve me dinner in my favorite spot on the couch, in my favorite jammies. And usually there is a stinky dog curled up beside me and I couldn't be happier. 

I've been a reader since I was young and in this age of tech I have found an app that is really useful in tracking books I want to read and also see what friends are reading. And since I have found reviews by others so helpful (and sometimes entertaining!) I have tried to write short reviews of my own. The app is Goodreads and I have it on both my computer and phone. Anytime I hear of a book I want to remember to read I can add it to my shelf. And thankfully my library has an app where I can request books to be placed on hold so they go hand in hand! 

And then it's off to the library to bring in a haul of books! I tend to not buy books anymore unless I really love it, or it's a design or a beautiful coffee table book. Otherwise it's really wonderful to be able to have the library to have the access to all these wonderful reads! 

I'm also part of a book group that has me reading books that I would never know to reach for. I have found myself being challenged by new topics, new ways of seeing the world, and touched by stories I would never know I was missing out on. 

And anytime I am looking for inspiration there are also beautiful books to be found. I will occasionally pull cookbooks too, though I tend to go for fiction most of the time. Are you on Goodreads? I would love to be connected to you there! And have you read anything lately that you would care to share about? Please do! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Working on Balance...again

Are you like me where you wake up and find yourself reaching for your phone and looking at instagram or facebook before anything else? And like me have you wondered at how this is serving you but kept doing it in a mindless manner because it just happens? 

Though I have said that I don't really make resolutions, thru my work on my '52 Lists for Happiness' book I finally started to question myself and make a change. I still reach for my phone as it has my alarm, but I now pull up my pandora account and search for a playlist to start my day. It seems to help me as I can have a problem with wanting to be someone else/somewhere else. 

This doesn't mean I am swearing off either of those sites! Far from it. I'm just trying to be intentional about where and when. I'm trying to not be on my computer when Steve gets home from work so that I'm not distracted when he is ready to connect. There is plenty of time for me to look at that stuff later! 

Another thing I am hoping to need to buy a latte...every, single day. It's nice when it's a treat. It's another thing when I think I need to buy one every day. I own a perfectly good machine at home, just waiting for me to use it. And it would be great to save that $5 up for something of use! Or to at least wait to spend it when I can sit down and really enjoy it. Preferably with a friend. And an extra long chat. 

I know these are small things, but they can really trip me up. Are you working on any small steps these days to get things back under control? Do you have any tricks to making things go smoother for you? I would love any hints! 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Deep Thoughts: Steps to Self Care

So we are into the beginning of the New Year. Are you a keeper of resolutions? Are you feeling the need for change? Or are you someone that feels they would go off by the wayside to quickly to bother? 

I'm a bit in-between. I like to resolve to make small changes to make my life a bit better going forward. I feel like if I make small changes they will amount to bigger changes as time go on. So these are a bit of the changes to start and we'll see where they take me. 

1. Exercise  This is something I would have scoffed in the past. I truly would have. But I have found that the best way to deal with my emotional life is in a physical way. If I can get two (working on three!) workouts in a week I feel so much better. And since we are entering into the grey winter my emotional state is something I really need to work on! Depression is something that can rear it's ugly head this time of year and this is just the thing to help combat it. 

2. Introspection  A little journaling helps me to really sit down and take a moment to focus on my life and where I am now. And guided journaling seems to help with focus. I have had these two journals for some time and this year a friend and I have challenged one another to work on 52 Lists of Happiness and then compare notes weekly. I seem to work best if I have an accountability partner so this is working out well. And talking through the topics will help us dig even deeper. This is something I am really looking forward to this year. These books are by Moorea Seal and can be found online here, or in her Seattle store. 

3. Connect & Disconnect This sounds like a contradiction but it truly isn't. I find when I am feeling a bit depressed I pull away from friends. And getting together with others is usually just the thing I need to contract the blues. 

What doesn't help is social media. This is where the disconnect needs to happen. I am working on having electronic free Sundays. It feels like a baby step but I think it will make a big difference in how I feel.

4. Read  One thing I have a lot more time for when I put down my phone is reading. I love reading and spending time lost in a book. Our library is one of my favorite places, and I find myself using the online program all the time. This combined with the goodreads app and I am a happy camper. I have made a goal this year to read 100 books and hope to do that and maybe more. 

5. Good eating My family loves to eat. We find ourselves talking about the next meal when we have finished a meal. And when we vacation a big part of planning is researching new places to eat. That said we know we feel better when we eat better. More veggies, lots of water drinking, and organic when we can. I won't say we are going to diet, just hopefully make some better choices. 

6. Body care   I'm hoping with all the free time on Sundays (due to no distractions from electronics!) I will have time to create some spa like evenings. I have a good stash of face mask and my favorite herbivore botanicals coconut milk bath all of which equals happiness. My hope is this will send me into a new week with a good attitude ready to face the week and ready to create even more good routines. 

Are you creating new routines in the new year? I would love to hear if you have any ideas or steps you are taking to make life better for yourself! 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Deep Thoughts: The Crazy Ride that was 2017

I think we can all agree that 2017 wasn't the best year when it comes to the bigger things in life. It was a time of anxiety, upset and serious disappointment in so many things happening in our world. 

But those feelings led to things like marching for what one believes in, investing in small business and slow fashion that one feels good about, and having experiences that reminded us about all the best things about life. So I decided it was important to remember these things and go over them. Care to take a walk thru 2017 with me? 

This year seemed to be one of music which makes me incredibly happy. I had the pleasure of treating Steve to seeing one of his favorite bands, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. It was not only an incredible show music wise, it included an amazing light show. 

Thanks to my incredible friend Pam, I was treated to a show at the Neptune of the Poptones. Then we headed cross-country in August to see (and meet Garbage!) Garbage and all time music idol Debbie Harry leading up Blondie! Life changing. 

Having a teenager can kill you and/or keep you young. Sam has been great at keeping me young for the most part, and introducing me to new music. One of her favorites is NSP, and we had the greatest time singing and dancing at their show. Thankfully they do a bunch of covers from my era so I wasn't too far out of my comfort zone!

There was some travel this year, mostly related to California. During a trip to San Diego we snuck away for a visit to spend some time in Springfield and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios. They were both so much fun and an instagram dream! On that trip we also wandered into the Flower fields of Carlsbad, another photographers dream. And truly a gorgeous sight in real life. 

Another trip took Steve and I back to Palm Spring where we spent some time at the relaxing Sparrow Lodge and found ourselves wandering around looking at the amazing architecture and ran across the famous pink door! 

We continued to explore small business and found ourselves falling in love with the people behind them. Apse Adorn opened a storefront which is quickly becoming a regular stop on our stops downtown, especially with all they have planned for the future. 

We were lucky enough to get a tour of Moorea Seal's new store by Moorea herself and snap some quick pictures with her on her gorgeous couch. Steve and I found ourselves back at Christmas doing some fun shopping at one of her Happy Hours, picking out treats and sipping champagne! 

Sam and I found ourselves helping Spruce with the undertaking of bedecking the Downtown Parkade with a balloon garland that made us all amazed once again at the creativity of Brittney. And her store continues to be one that hosts and draws interesting and makers of Bellingham. 

Renegade Craft this past summer was full of new faces and new friends to make. We found ourselves meeting the people behind Apartment on Belmont and loving their product even more. And we brought home many more handmade items that we continue to fall in love with. 

And experiences! There were so many fun ones that we could attribute to the blog! Steve would often ask me if I needed content and off he would search for something to do. It's been a great motivator. 

We spent a magical night in the trees at Treehouse Point in which it magically snowed. We hope to be able to take the girls back at some point to experience it. 

 We ate our way thru the Night Market in Richmond, BC. We were overwhelmed by the variety of food and hope to go back during another time of year (it's open May-October).

 We were ably guided by Kristi of Moondance Kayak on a daytime kayak trip exploring the gorgeous waters of the area. And we took another trip with Moondance at night to experience a trip thru waters that were illuminated by bioluminescence. A truly magical night.

 Steve and I spent a restful couple of hours soaking in the float tanks at Still Life Massage and Float and hope to make it a part of our routine in the New Year. It's an incredible way to treat stress and anxiety. 

And words escape me when trying to describe the experience of the Infinity Rooms of Yayoi Kusama at the Seattle Art Museum. It was by turns lighthearted, deep, and incredibly meaningful. Experiencing it with close friends made it even that much better. 

We expect the New Year to hold even more adventure, hopefully travel and more friends. This blog has become what I had hoped, a place to talk, share and hopefully encourage. Please come along for the ride and let's see what 2018 holds!