For fitness or beauty?

I like to hike. I think I kinda forgot this and didn’t get out to the mountains much this summer. Shame because Washington is such an amazing playground.

I decided to get back out there and kick off the long weekend with a hike that’s been on my list for a while – Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls.

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It’s an eight mile out and back trek that ends at this wonderful little spot. We’ve had a few fall-like days recently, so the hike was overcast, cool, and slightly misty at times.

I realized while I was hiking that I’m not much for stopping and when the trail is rooty and rocky, you tend to focus down a lot. I wondered, am I here for the fitness or the outdoor experience? Then, as often happens when I think of the word fitness, I thought of this and laughed because it’s funny every time.

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But, back to the larger question. When you really get climbing, the sweat feels just as cleansing as a hot yoga class and I love it. So, I think I’d say I hike for fitness, which seems gauche to admit. I should be all, “I’m here to absorb the beauty and connect with nature.” To be fair, if it was ALL about that sweat, I’d run in town or get the the gym v. driving 90 minutes to hike.

Also, I absolutely loved the falls.

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I guess you have to love both to be a hiker! Since I took my first, nervous solo hike a little over a year ago, I’ve become much more comfortable with it. It also helps that I’m independent and stubborn and want to go where I want to go, when I want to go, and at my pace and throw in some running when the trail allows. (#thisiswhyimsingle)

Unfortunately, I’m not quite brave enough to hike snow-covered trails alone, so I’m hoping to get a few more fall hikes in before winter hits.

Aaaand today I’m sore and balancing the hike with some good, old-fashioned laziness. Yay for three day weekends!

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You gotta move or move on

Last last weekend, my AZ sister from another mister, Emily, came to visit me and go to Kenny Chesney’s Spread the Love concert. I was really excited to see Miranda Lambert and she was awesome. Sam Hunt also played…also amazing.

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We did yoga at the sculpture park and ate all the delicious food. I love having visitors and showing off my awesome city.

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Emily also helped me find a great new apartment! My lease was coming up real quick and while I had a plan A in place, things change and as Sam Hunt says, “you gotta move or move on.” Although Emily thinks it’s you gotta move TO move on. Thoughts?

Either way, I moved on Tuesday and I really like the new place! Err, at least what it WILL be once all the boxes are unpacked and Rigo has figured it out and calmed down a bit. He’s currently pretty sure I moved him and all our stuff there to leave him forever. My poor neighbors. Emily had a good idea to introduce him/alert the neighbors that he might be sad for a while in the new place and this is what I ended up with:

Rigo Intro

 

The new place is all of three miles away from where I was, but Seattle is full of unique neighborhoods so there’s a lot to explore. There are plenty of boring things that go along with moving, like packing and you know, moving, updating the DMV, blah blah blah. But there are fun things about moving too. My first month in the new place bucket list includes:

  1. Find my new running routes – easy 3-5 milers and longer loops for the weekends.
  2. Discover new restaurants. My new place is super walkable, so I have plenty of options for my new go-to sushi, burgers, coffee, Mexican, ice cream. Yum!
  3. Get to a November Project workout and running meetup. I’m much closer to their usual locations, so my typical excuse doesn’t work anymore.
  4. Find new walk routes for Rigo and check out the nearby dog park.
  5. Jump in a nearby body of water…I’m close to a few to choose from!
  6. Switch my holds to a closer library branch. I use the library ALL. THE. TIME. I used to just get ebooks, but I’m back on a hard copy kick and check out new release DVDs too. The new branch is walkable of course 🙂

What fun things do you like to do to settle into a new place?

 

My Latest Visitors

I spent this weekend on the Kitsap Peninsula. It requires a ferry ride, so just that in itself is pretty great. Life is a little slower there and it was a great place to seemingly say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. Saturday was gorgeous, sunny and warm and we spent the afternoon outside playing lawn games, then enjoying a bonfire long after the sun went down. On Sunday, I woke up to an overcast sky, dropped temps and football!

While the summer here has been amazing, I’m looking forward to a real fall. With sweaters and rain and apple picking and baking and tea and fall foliage, which is already starting to show up on some of my hikes.

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Hike to Melakwa Lake

Before the summer ends, though, I have to share one of my favorite weekends I had this summer, when my parents came to visit me! It’s already been a few weeks since they were here; they came out in mid-August. When in the F does the time go?

They have visited Seattle a few times before – with me when I was looking at schools here and when they traveled through on their Alaskan cruise – so I tried to come up with some outside the tourist box ideas of things to do.

On their first full day, I had to work, so they did some exploring on their own before we went to the Mariners game. I don’t remember who they played, just that there was a second it seemed like they had a chance, then they lost big time! But, everyone stuck around because it was the last fireworks game of the season. It was a ton of fun. If you go to a game, I’d recommend upper level on the first base line, it gives you great views of the field and the city.

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Saturday morning we took the ferry to Bainbridge and walked around the town. They have a great farmers market on Saturday morning and just a ton of cute shops to wander.

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On their on-their-own day, my parents found the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. It’s really close to my place, but I’d never been there, so we went there on Sunday morning. It’s pretty incredible! The coffee is crazy fancy, which is a little overwhelming, but I love that it’s authentic coffee, not fluffy coffee. I could spend a long morning hanging out there!

Then we made our way to the Seattle Center to check out the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum. Again, overwhelming! The art is gorgeous and there’s so much of it!

Then we needed a little break. I was calling the days they were here “active rest” because we were hiking all over town and that was plenty of exercise to keep me sleeping soundly at night!

We went to check out the Ballard Locks, which allows large boats to go between the Sound and Lake Union. We were there for a while watching them load up the large locks, then filling it up and letting the boats go through.

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Definitely falls into the unique category for tourists, but I thought it was fascinating. There’s also a salmon ladder to help the little fishies go between, I still want to go check that out soon!

That night, we stayed in and my mom and I made chicken and waffles! Yum. I got to test out my new waffle maker and learn how to make our classic family meal from the pro.

On Monday, I took the day off work to share my love of Pacific Northwest hiking with them. I researched a few hikes to find something lovely and manageable and landed on a 3-mile hike in Mount Rainier Park, Tipsoo Lake and Naches Peak.  It had a little elevation, a lotta awesome views of Rainier and we ran into a handful of PCT hikers heading to Canada! It was also very dusty and a looong drive, but worth it!

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And then, because it’s beautiful and because in Washington, you can go from mountains to sea (Sound), we spent some time at Golden Gardens, a beachy beach in Ballard, where we saw some seals playing not too far out from shore.

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We ended their trip with a tradition started on my last two trips to Seattle before my move – a last meal at Ivar’s on Lake Union. With great views of the city, the lake and of course, seafood, it’s a great way to say goodbye to my city love (only this time, I didn’t have to say goodbye).

I told them we were knocking out everything in the city because next time, I want to take them to the San Juan Islands, or maybe the Olympic Peninsula. There are just so many wonderful options!

MJ + PNW = True Love Forever

I’m in a relationship. It’s getting pretty serious. It was what I wanted and I took the steps to make it happen, but it all happened very fast and it’s even better than I could have imagined.

Washington, I love you. Let’s just get married.

Here’s how I’ve been exploring my new home state this month, from the mountains to the sea:

Second hike…this time Mount Dickerman…this time with legit hiking boots, thank goodness because it was in the snow!

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Yes, that is how the professionals get down from the summit.

Kayaking to a (for now) private island. Jetty Island gets a little more crowded in the summer.

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First outdoor climb: The Feathers at Vantage…5.1-5.4 to learn the ropes. Get it? See what I did there?

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Second climb…Endless Bliss at Exit 38, which is a two-pitch 10a, two things I knew nothing about a month ago!

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Climb

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Belay

Sailing at Lake Union with my Arizona visitor.

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Exploring the San Juans via kayak and a whale watching boat.

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Humpback whale and Mount Baker.

Exploring the PNW: Mount Pilchuck

I went on my first, AMAZING Washington hike two weeks ago and I’ve been dying to go again! The weekends since have been rainy and I’m not quite ready for that, so I’ll just tell you about my trek up Mount Pilchuck.

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My coworkers are all very outdoorsy and active (prereq in Seattle, I think) and a group of them goes up a different mountain every weekend. When I told another coworker I was going with the group, the look on his face was pretty much like, oh my gosh, she’s going to fall off a cliff and die.

Some of their hikes can be pretty intense, but for my first one, they took it easy on me and we went to Mount Pilchuck. It’s a nice little 5.5 mile roundtrip, 2300 elevation gain hike in the North Cascades northeast of Seattle. It was pretty much the best day ever for it, not a cloud in the sky and cool.

It was a crowded day on the trail, so we went off the trail and scrambled up the rocks for about half of the hike. It was my first real experience with that – and with snow! – and it was so much fun!

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The top is a little lookout hut some people spend the night in. You can see Mount Rainier and Mount Baker and Seattle and the Sound. Ridiculous views!

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I think I did pretty well overall – no falling off cliffs and got an invite for another one sometime. On the way back down we took the trail, which was pretty much just ice, so there was a lot of slipping and sliding, but that was probably the hardest part. So we stopped and had a beer here:

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Overall, it took eight hours! I wasn’t really expecting that, but my Chipotle burrito and 9pm bedtime never felt so good! Washington is a playground of countless hikes like this and I’m so excited to get out there and play!

 

Finding My New Yoga with ClassPass

In Arizona, I had my workout routine down. I loved Lifetime and its yoga and spin classes. It pained me to cancel my membership, regardless of the fact that I wasn’t going to live anywhere near one! There are sooo many options for working out in Seattle – an LA Fitness right by work, a 24 Hour a block from my apartment, my apartment gym, boutique gyms a few blocks away and an endless amount of specialized studios a stone’s throw away. Oh, and gorgeous weather and many new running routes to discover.

I was going to stick to my apartment gym and running outside for a while, but I was craving yoga, so when I got the opportunity to try a free month of ClassPass, I jumped on it.

ClassPass partners with local studios – spin, yoga, pilates, dance, barre, boxing, you name it – and for a monthly fee, you can attend classes at any of those studios. I think the fee is different depending on your market, but it’s cheaper than most monthly memberships at the partner studios and you get to mix it up instead of being stuck with just one type of workout.

The concept is wonderful, but in reality, I attended three classes at the same yoga studio closest to my new place (which is the max you can attend at any one studio in a given month). I’m still figuring out my routine (and traffic!) so I wasn’t able to get to any more. Once I get settled a little more, I may consider trying it again.

If you want to try ClassPass in your area, click here for $25 off your first month!

Seattle Expectations v. Reality

The idea of moving somewhere new is often accompanied by the idea of starting over. Before I moved to Seattle, I thought a lot about the why. It’s a big change and I wanted to make sure I was doing it for the right reasons and with appropriate expectations.

I knew it wasn’t going to be a complete fresh start, after all, I’m still me. I changed a lot around me, but a simple move wasn’t going to change who I was. If I wanted to do that, that would take some work. I guess the potential for new things is the whole idea of a fresh start.

Here are some ideas I had of how my life in Washington would be different and how that’s working out for me:

I would be an amazing runner. Well, no. There are certainly more opportunities to run – better weather at any time of the day and fun, new exciting routes, but I have yet to pick up a five mile a day habit.

I would write all the time. Well, since I’ve moved here, the weather has been amazing and decidedly “Arizona winter-like” so my ideas of sitting at the window watching the rain, drinking tea and writing the next great American novel have not quite happened. Yet. Everyone keeps telling me this weather will not last. I’m pretty sure I brought it with me from the desert and it’s here to stay. Also, I don’t have a table at which to write.

Also, I would read all the time. When not inspired to put pen to paper fingers to keyboard, the rain would surely inspire me to curl up and devour books in solid chunks. Yes and no. I’ve made up some ground on the lack of books I read in January, but I haven’t spent a whole day reading…again, the weather is quite uncooperative. My favorites this month: This Is Where I Leave You and Big Little Lies.

I would be so city chic. I couldn’t figure out my fashion in Arizona and I can’t figure it out here and that’s okay. Tell that to the five boxes of online shopping orders sitting on my bed.

My dog would become a city boy and come everywhere with me in this dog friendly city. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. No. In the city, Rigo is even more scared and neurotic and bossypants. I’m working on this.

I would be super social. My job pretty much requires it and as a social introvert, I can hang, but I’m quite aware of when I need my alone time to recharge. However, my friend Robin who once upon a time relocated to Arizona has told me I must say yes to social invites until I have three friends, so I am getting out there. I knew people before I moved here, so while I’m being social with them, I’m afraid they don’t count toward my new friend tally, so for now I’m going to say I’m 0 for 3, but still going for it. My March is full of book clubs because this girl knows how to party.

Speaking of…I would have dance parties pretty much all the time. No. I have yet to push away my coffee table and dance it out.

I would be a terrible (scared and timid) city driver. No. Well, I’m actually the terrible (zipping around and driving fast) driver in a sea of pretty nice and courteous drivers. Normal in Arizona = asshole in Washington. Got it. I also assumed I’d be scared of parallel parking as I’ve never really learned how to do it. Now, a month in, by trial and error (but no dinged bumpers), I’m really good at it and I just want to do it all the time. But not on hills.

I would live in an amazingly beautiful place. Yep. There was only one day when I was coming into Seattle from the east when the water and city came into view and I was like, meh, seen it, and I realized it was far too soon to be unimpressed by the beauty and start taking it for granted. Even growing up in Arizona and being there for the last five years, I would still look around and remember how pretty it is, in its own right. It was a “pretty” I got used to, which is why I think Seattle, being so different, is just gorgeous. I can’t wait for spring and summer when there will be even more green!

Aaaand, now I realize that many of my expectations of city life and Seattle life have come from pop culture – The Killing, SATC, 10 Things I Hate About You, Fraiser, Grey’s Anatomy, Sleepless in Seattle.

Overall, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be exactly how I pictured it in my head. The ups and downs of real life are much better!

Life’s Short, Live Somewhere Awesome

The last few months have been…eventful. Moving out of Arizona has been on my mind for a few years now. There are many wonderful things I love and (spoiler alert) will miss about Arizona, but it didn’t feel like where I was supposed to be.

My two favorite cities could not be more different from each other, but last year I started looking seriously at Seattle and San Diego as my next new home. Having a job I liked in Phoenix gave me flexibility to be patient as I applied to new jobs in those cities. As an out-of-state candidate, I felt like a huge long shot, but I found a few opportunities that were great fits and finally got some traction in December and an offer right around the new year.

January was a total blur of every kind of stress imaginable, but three weeks ago, my condo was packed in an ABF UPack moving container (highly recommend it, I had a great experience with them) and en route and my mom, my dog and I hopped in my trusty little Corolla for a three-day, 1500 mile trip to the Pacific Northwest.

It’s been everything I’ve expected – and more, and less – but for the most part, it’s starting to feel like home.

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A morning walk around Lake Union.

In the last two months…and starting (quitting?) Whole30!

In the last two months I…

Donated blood. Went to TopGolf a handful of times. Went to an ASU football game. Went to a wedding in Sequim, Washington and rode the ferry back to Seattle…

Another hello gorgeous weekend in the PNW.

Another hello gorgeous weekend in the PNW.

Attempted and failed at seared ahi tuna steaks. Got my hair did and done and redid. Had an awesome yoga/brunch/pottery painting date with my mom…

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Went to the dentist. Went to the dentist again (waaah). Celebrated the return of football Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays). Joined/started a book club – so far we’ve read The Burning Air and Rooms. Was excited for – and then reminded that it’s not quite yet – race season…

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Esprit de She 5K 35:05 – You almost wouldn’t even know by looking at this picture that I had to sit down for about 5 minutes two miles in so I didn’t pass out 😦
Oktoberfest 5-miler 50:27
They were both just really warm days and I was unprepared. Hello wake-up call!

Had a mini high school reunion aka drank beer on a patio with the people I actually liked…

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Went to Tour de Fat.  Saw the Zac Brown Band in concert…

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And started the Whole30. I have a few friends doing it with me and I posted one pic on Instagram, but I feel like for some reason this blog keeps me most accountable.

This was breakfast. BREAKFAST.

This was breakfast. BREAKFAST. Meat and vegetables for BREAKFAST.

I started on Monday and it’s going well so far – no “hangover” or crazy cravings. Maybe a little food boredom already, which is no bueno, but having a plan makes it easy to stick to it. Kinda. I’m having a few moments of weakness and considered failure an option before I even started but as of now I have no good reason not to keep going, so I guess I will?

Have you done Whole30? Success or no-go?

Oh the Places You Will Go: Phoenix (Summer Edition)

I have no clue why people want to visit Arizona in the summer. All I want to do is leave. But, my college roommate, Amy, has visited a few times in the summer, including this last weekend! She lives in the San Fernando Valley, which is just about as hot and dry as Arizona anyway (just about).

She started planning her trip and I told her no, that I was going to be the tour guide. Now that I think of it, I kind of wonder what she had in mind. Oh well.

Instead of showing her what I normally do on a summer weekend (currently: binge watch The Killing), I wanted to make the best of it and take her to favorite places of mine. So, if you’re planning on visiting Arizona, here, from a native is a list of suggested activities:

On Friday, I picked Amy up right after work and we went to the best pizza place in town. No, not Pizzeria Bianco. Pizzeria Bianco is delicious and it’s a cute, little restaurant in a fun neighborhood. Oprah and Jimmy Fallon love it. Heck, it’s even worth the usual hours-long wait. But, locals know the better wood-fired pizza option is nearby Cibo. It’s even more delicious and even cuter.

I don’t spend much time in downtown Phoenix, but I do really like it when I’m there, so our next stop was my favorite bar, Copper Blues. It’s big inside and out, but gets packed and it’s just a fun vibe with a live cover band playing behind the bar.

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Completely unplanned, we then stopped by two additional bars in Old Town Scottsdale on our way home – Amy would have gladly told you the next day that even just one extra bar was a bad idea. We went to two of my favorites for low-key fun and strong, cheap drinks – Giligin’s and The Lodge.

I wasn’t totally wastey pants, I did stop at a point and also drink a lot of water, and miraculously the next day, I made it out the door for an 8:15 spin class to sweat out the night before. It wasn’t pretty, but I was happy I fit it in.

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On Saturday, since it’s best to be around a cool pool on a hot summer day, we went to Talking Stick’s pool party with a few of my girlfriends. We got there early enough to get chairs to relax in for the better part of the day – going back and forth to the pool to cool down. I wasn’t interested in drinking, but the servers there are fantastic with endless buckets of bottled water – gotta stay hydrated!

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A day in the sun wears you out, so we stayed in for the night to make enchiladas and watch some romcoms we picked up from Redbox. Walk of Shame and That Awkward Moment do NOT get a best of Arizona award, but they were entertaining and when I dozed off a bit, I didn’t miss much of the plot!

The next day we checked out North Scottsdale’s new OHSO Distillery for their brunch – $10 for a meal and a BIG mimosa or beer. That hit the spot for sure! Then we went to Topgolf, for what was my third weekend in a row! The first weekend I went for my BIL’s birthday and I was awful, the next for my own birthday (oh yeah, I turned 30!) and I wasn’t terrible, then on Sunday I actually won the first game! Also this time we were finally up on the third floor and it was so much fun!

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Then we hopped over to the Tavern Grille for a few pitchers and some girl talk before doing dinner at Oregano’s.

Somehow I rallied that night since it was her last night in town and my idea the whole time to go see an 80s cover band at Wasted Grain, which apparently was having its grand opening party last weekend. I’ve always wanted to go see them but they were more rock than pop so I only knew a handful of songs they played – oh and the singer made a rapey comment that totally turned me off of them, which is why I won’t even post their name, but that damper aside (plus the damper of having to go into work after just a busy weekend and long Sunday night), it was a really fun weekend!

Amy commented how fun Arizona is since there’s actually things to do and this weekend was a nice reminder that, yes, Arizona can be fun if you suck it up and deal with the heat – and do a lot of eating and drinking!