Friends and Fresh Air

Spending time with friends is such a energizer for both Bryan and I.  Fortunately this past week we have gotten a good dose of that energy each day.  That and fresh air with the clearing of the smoke and a bit of exercise and we feel like new people.  Not to mention the first time in what feels like forever that I have actually been able to spend a half second cleaning up or sorting through things in the house.  What may seem semi-organized during our weekly Monday night parties really is hiding (or not even really hiding) the chaos that is evident around us; piles of clean but unfolded laundry in the hallway upstairs, random artifacts on our dining table, a whole disaster going on in our bedroom, the guest bedroom and our workout room.  But this weekend I feel a little better that I was able to actually whittle away at these out of control areas.  That is, only between the time valuably spent with friends.

Friday night we were lucky to have Billy, Valerie and Ainsley over to our house for dinner.  Bryan grilled steaks and we had Valerie’s delicious blueberry pie a la mode.  It was the last lingering day of heat so we enjoyed dinner outside on the deck and spent a good deal of time talking and gushing over sweet little Ainsley…and the amazing amount of food she can eat.  It was a great way to kick off the weekend.

Going to bed stuffed on Friday night rolled over to fuel for a Saturday morning run.  With plans to meet up with friends for brunch and a distillery tasting we had to get our run in early.  We managed to get to Lake Washington for our 6.5 mile run along the lake and around Seward Park, back home, showered, put together and to Terra Plata in Capitol Hill all by 11:45 am.  With success of beating the clock, we were ready for coffee and food.  Polly and Ryuhei joined us on the rooftop and I got the delicious savory and spicy (and filling!) braised pork with poached eggs and arepas and Bryan tried their take on biscuits and gravy.  The temperature and sun was just right to be comfortable sitting outside on the rooftop.  The four of us made the quick ride over to Oola Distillery to meet the rest of the gain for the Dodd’s distillery tasting and tour that they won at the FareStart silent auction.  For a few hours we were provided a tour, sampled their special gins, vodkas, and whiskeys, and Bryan and I walked away with their spicy Chile Vodka and Gin, along with all of their recipe cards to get inspiration and guidance for making cocktails at home.  The rest of Saturday night yielded a long time going through old clothes that I don’t want, many loads of laundry, and watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them while eating our second Calabrese pizza of the week.

Sunday morning we managed to get to church, then headed back home for an easy lunch and prepping for some of Monday’s dinner.  At 3 pm, I left for the Arboretum for my first soccer game in 10 years!!!  New cleats, new shin guards, new shorts and soccer socks, along with my new ball, I was ready to play.  However, the other team apparently wasn’t and never showed.  With the forfeit, the team I was playing with decided to split and scrimmage one another.  I played with them for about 45 minutes; just long enough to assist a few goals, work up a sweat and realize that I miss this sport.  From there I walked the mile or so to Stephen’s house for our post-Ragnar BBQ potluck.  We enjoyed our dinner outside with most of the rest of the team, sharing some stories and planning some new adventures.  Sunday night ended way too quickly and this week was busy with our backpacking trip to Idaho for the eclipse quickly arriving.

We had 16 people over for Game of Thrones this week.  SIXTEEN!  Plus Bryan and I made 18 people in our backyard.  This week’s theme was Mexican with Bryan’s heavy-handed White Death Margaritas and both crispy baja fish tacos and tacos al pastor along with a ton of delicious contributions from the gang and finished off with sopapilla cheesecake bars.  This week we actually had one group watching inside and one outside under the heat lamp.  Only two episodes left for this short season.

Tuesday I played the last volleyball game of the summer with my coworkers.  The Cutterheadz won the first two games playing pretty stellar, then we must have had a little too much wine and beer on the sidelines between games because we lost the final three.  Wednesday we joined the FareStart gang at Feierabend in South Lake Union for Andrew’s birthday.  Good group and a lot of fun…plus great beer but we were starting to get pressed for time for preparing and packing for our backpacking trip.  Bryan managed to squeeze this in on Thursday and I helped Thursday night after a three-course Korean-inspired dinner at FareStart with the restaurant Chan.

Today is a half day and then we are out!  Our first task is to drive the 7.5 hours to Boise, Idaho where we have a sexy Motel 6 to share with our friend Jeff before finishing the drive to the trailhead in Stanley, Idaho.  Looking forward to some fresh air, exercise, and peace and quiet.



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Posted by on August 18, 2017 in Uncategorized


The Garmin vs Fitbit Battle

I’ve now had my Garmin Vivosmart+ watch for just over a month.  Before that I had the Fitbit Charge HR for a year and a half.  I’m coming as a convert from the Fitbit community, my first true love in the realm of activity trackers, but the Garmin has been a fairly easy transition.  There are still some things that I like and some that I dislike about it.


  • I like the GPS feature…a lot.  I’m looking forward to using it on our backpacking trip to Idaho this weekend because it is so much easier to let my watch show me where I went versus trying to map it with zigzagged lines on websites like either Mapymyhikecom or  This is probably the best feature over the Fitbit so far.
  • The size and look is fairly similar to the Fitbit Charge HR so in terms of looks, well that I was already used to.
  • The Garmin app display is also similar.  Not only does it display steps, stairs, heart rate, sleep, etc. but it also has paces per mile on my runs and breaks up stats by activity to see what all I have accomplished running, weightlifting, etc.
  • So far the battery lasts quite a long time and I only have to charge it about once a week or a little more.
  • It’s waterproof.  That’s another big plus.  I can shower with my watch on and the manufacturing of it seems pretty stout and high quality.


  • The community of the Fitbit was something that I did like.  I admit I paid attention to what my friends and family were doing less often the longer I had the Fitbit but it was still fun to have a little friendly competition and be able to comment or encourage others.  Either I don’t have enough friends on Garmin or the community function of Garmin just isn’t as great because I don’t feel that same level of community.
  • On a similar note…I’m not sure I want to be a part of the Strava community.  So a nice function with Garmin, since it has GPS, is that you can sync your activities to another app called Strava.  This allows to see exactly what routes and activities your friends are doing along with their pace and times.  Kind of cool but also kind of don’t like having my time or distance displayed because it makes me want to never have an easy or slow run.  Maybe that encourages a little too much competition?
  • Although the battery lasts a while I feel like it doesn’t give me enough heads up when my battery is running low.  One minute it gives me a low battery and literally the next its kaput.  This is not okay for when, say, I’m on a 14-mile hike and it quits after the first two miles so it doesn’t record any of it.  People might have a little freak out session when something like that might happen.

So there are pros and cons of each.  So far, so good with my Garmin watch.  I guess I just need to encourage others to join the Garmin community…should follow Bryan’s lead on that.


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Posted by on August 16, 2017 in Uncategorized


Shoo Smoke!

The smoke and haze in the sky has continued this week, along with the heat.  I guess the plus side for the two of these together is that smoke and haze are nature’s air conditioner and have helped to keep the temperatures cooler than expected.  The downside of the two of these together is that the air has felt much more muggy and humid than is unusual for Seattle.  We’ve continued the routine of closing all of the windows and blinds in the morning when we leave for work and then opening every window in the house to get airflow when we get home at night.  That, and we have kept the oven and stove off since Monday’s Game of Thrones night.  Cold showers and Bryan’s contraption of blowing the fan over frozen blocks of ice have helped cool us off at night.  Fortunately tomorrow cools down and the smoke is supposed to gradually clear.  I can’t imagine what a high of 69 on Sunday is going to feel like!

Our week has been good though.  After we spent the weekend in La La Land it was back to a full week of work and preparations for Game of Thrones on Monday.  This week we themed the meal around Southeast Asia.  I prepped chicken satay and peanut sauce for Bryan to grill and made a mango and pepper salad and pad thai with fried tofu.  I was sweating in the kitchen this week!  Plus we had twelve people to feed including ourselves but Bryan and I pulled off our fourth backyard watching party and everyone went home happy after an exciting episode.  Three more episodes left for this season.

Tuesday I joined my company on the volleyball field.  We had only five people playing for the first three games when we then got our sixth player for the last two.  We did not win a single game but every loss was by a point or two.  It was close and competitive and fun and I played fairly well.  Wednesday we learned that our my favorite seasonal pizza was back at Tutta Bella so off on the scooter we went.  We went to the South Lake Union location and ate our delicious salad and pizza outside on the patio while people watching.  Man that pizza is good!

Post-volleyball popsicles with the team.

One picture decided dinner.


Thursday night’s FareStart went smooth even with Bryan training for the expo spot.  I’d say he did a really good job commandeering the kitchen and I told him I am going to have to bleach his FareStart shirt so he has a white chefs jacket.  The dinner from Volunteer Park Cafe featured a bunch of fresh seasonal produce that I love; sweet corn and snap pea salad with a delicious herby green goddess dressing, roasted herb chicken with a beautiful heirloom tomato panzanella (bread) salad, and a blackberry pavlova with lemon curd, whipped cream and figs which was surprisingly delicious.

On to the weekend and our last one in Seattle for a few weeks.  We have a few fun shindigs with friends in town this weekend which should be enjoyable plus we are both looking forward to getting in a little exercise if we can.



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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized


One Rose

The weekend celebrating our one year anniversary was such a wonderful few days just the two of us.  We had such a great time enjoying each other and the fun to be had in our city.  It led to many flashbacks, fond memories, laughs, and tearful sappy moments.  That’s what anniversaries are for, right?


Bryan came home with a single rose for the one year that we have been married.  We had an enjoyable dinner late at night outside on our deck to let our house cool off.  Spaghetti, like Lady and the Tramp, along with opening anniversary cards and our Miller corn hole set.


Took our time waking up but then packed up and set out on bike for Both Ways Cafe.  An easy 5 mile bike ride to brunch.  Fantastic brunch at our first date place.  Also enjoyed outside with coffees, breakfast burrito for Bryan and salmon lox scramble for me, plus we split their delicious biscuits and freezer jam.  Fueled we biked down to the Lake Washington shoreline to join the crowds ready to watch the Blue Angels.  We had a better idea though and inflated our tubes to get the best seats in the house; from the lake.  The F-22 was loud and awesome and then the Blue Angels gave us a good 40 minute show.  We floated around afterwards to watch a few of the other flight demonstrations and after a few hours decided it was time to dry off and head back home.  Another 5 miles up hill back to our house with a quick pit stop to catch a bit of the hydro boat races.  Back home we showered and made chicken tortilla soup to enjoy also outside to the tunes of our neighbor’s little backyard concert.  Were going to watch a movie outside until both a rat and a baby raccoon made me too anxious and foiled our plans.


Woke up earlyish and headed south to the Renton Landing on the scooter.  We were going to Seahawks Training Camp.  Decked out in our Seahawks gear we got on the bus to take us to the VMAC for the practice.  We ended up finding good standing spots with good visibility of the whole practice and players.  For two hours we watched them practice, looked for our favorites, caught a few potential new stars (#14 McKissic), saw who was injured (Lane and Frank Clark from Michigan) and scouted the rookies from our schools (#46 Swoopes playing tight end and #84 Darboh who didn’t get a chance during practice).  It was fun to see everything happening, Earl Thomas was back out there playing, Kearse looked good and so did both Wilsons.  I kept telling Bryan that was probably the closest we will ever get to the team while they are playing.  Catching the bus back was easy and from there we were close to Big Island Poke for some fresh and flavorful poke bowls for lunch before heading back to Seattle.  We had a few errands and then decided to catch the Blue Angels airshow once more from up high.  It was a different vantage point and again enjoyable.  Once home we read all of our guest book messages and played one round of Jenga, I won.  We then headed to Miller Park to play some tennis.  A very competitive hour long set ensued until Bryan beat me.

We headed home to clean up and left on foot for our dinner reservation at Harvest Vine at 7 pm.  We enjoyed a really delicious dinner.  We got a fantastic bottle of tempranillo from Spain, along with a glass of champagne that was there to greet us upon sitting down for our anniversary.  We enjoyed gazpacho, fantastic seared trout with piperade and aioli, summer squash with a rich and smoky romesco sauce, the best lamb chops we have ever had along with roasted peppers and eggplant and a silky smooth green almond sauce, grilled quail with balsamic and carrots and then sealed the deal with two desserts; their creamy caramel flan and a decadent chocolate mousse torte with berries and whipped cream.  Everything was so well executed and delicious and our two hour dinner couldn’t have been more enjoyable.  Again, I felt transported to Spain in my very own neighborhood.

Our anniversary was such a good time for celebration and reflection on the past year.  As awesome as the year has been I think the next year will hold even more excitement and enjoyment for us.  Plus I will get twice as many roses!



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Posted by on August 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


One Year Ending

Our honeymoon year is quickly coming to an end this week.  There is a part of me that can’t believe it has already been a year and another part of me that feels like it has been longer than a year.  I can’t believe this time last year we were in the midst of a fierce competition for the Couples Olympics, were eating BBQ in Northern Michigan with our closest friends and family, and gearing up for an incredible wedding.  The memories of the whole week or still so vivid in my mind and thanks to Facebook I have been given a memory at the start of each day this week.  Unfortunately, I’m sitting here at work wishing that I was in the midst of the activities again, but alas, I’m not.

This week has been one of survival.  Not speaking in terms of our marriage but in terms of our living conditions.  We have been experiencing oppressive heat (for Seattle) all week with temperatures in the 90s every single day along with the worst haze from the BC wild fires that actually labeled Seattle’s air condition as “very unhealthy” on Thursday.  The smoke is still here and is expected to lift slightly in the next few days but still linger for the next week…along with the heat.  Thankfully I don’t have breathing problems or asthma but I feel like my eyes are burning constantly and my throat is itchy and dry.  Not to mention visibility is not great at all and the upcoming SeaFair weekend with the Blue Angels show might not be quite as magnificent.  But I do feel for our Northern neighbors up in Canada.

This week we hosted our third Game of Thrones watch party on Tuesday, with a smaller group, but still 11 of us enjoyed Bryan’s burgers on the grill before settling in to watch the show al fresco.  Wednesday I didn’t want to cook anything at home, or be at home for that matter, so I stopped at the FareStart Community Dinner for their BBQ-themed dinner before buying new soccer cleats, shinguards and a soccer ball from Play It Again Sports on my way home.  I need to practice the sport if I plan to actually join a team this fall.  And FareStart had us in the sterile and air-conditioned restaurant environment for the night for a great menu from Ciudad of fried cauliflower salad, beef and lamb kofta with all of the yummy Middleeastern sauces I love, and a rose water cream pudding for dessert.  I loved dinner!

I’m looking forward to our 1st Anniversary weekend and we have a lot of exciting things planned for how we are spending it!



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Posted by on August 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


The Mundanes

Not every week is all that interesting.  Case in point, this week.  Following what has been such a whirlwind of a few months we have had essentially a week to do whatever we have felt like.  So throw in a few nights eating out, a few movies at home, a fresh attempt at a new workout regime, moving offices, and deciding what to do with our weekend and that pretty much sums up this week.  But to stretch out the post we will also look at the mundanes…

  • Finally watched The Lion…and we both teared up.
  • I started my new FitnessBlender FBBurn four week program (which will take me so much longer than 4 weeks).  And I was literally sore for days after the one leg workout that I did.  Squats, lunges, and deadlifts are such understated exercises.  I enjoyed doing these exercises outside on the deck and plan to continue doing them outside while I can.
  • It actually drizzled rain on Thursday.  It’s been at least a month without rain.
  • Bryan jumped back into weights and rowing himself this week.  Better exercises to do while stretching out his tight IT band.
  • We got sushi for the first time in ages.
  • FareStart featured one of our favorite chefs and FareStart’s old executive chef for a delicious dinner of scallops, octopus and strawberries and cream.
  • Thursday marked my last day serving full-time duty at the Redmond office.  I will now officially be back in the 1st Ave office and much pleased about that….
  • And on my last full day in Redmond I accidentally got on the wrong bus and didn’t realize it until I was in downtown Bellevue.  It could have been worse because at least I ended up somewhere I knew where I was and knew how to actually get to the right place.  Just cost me about a 20 minute detour and some laughs from my coworkers.
  • We enjoyed one of our favorite places to dine in Seattle at Poppy restaurant for their experience of a thali (meaning a dish with many different components on it).  Excellent dinner, ambiance, and date night for a Friday.
  • Our date night was complete after seeing Fun Home at the 5th Avenue Theater.  Lisa Kron, from Lansing, MI, directed an outstanding play with a great soundtrack and really amazing acting.
  • Bryan donned his new robe and looked quite handsome in it.
  • I am trying to get used to my new hairstyle and the long face framing bangs but it is taking some time.
  • We ended up going on a 15 mile out and back hike to the naturally constructed Kendall’s Katwalk in the Snoqualmie Pass region of the Cascades.  This part of the Pacific Crest Trail was beautiful and rewarding, though our descent went on forever.
  • Always great to have good food post hike.  Ti22 pad kee maos and Lotus Thai fresh rolls enjoyed as takeout at home was pretty much perfect.
  • Sunday morning BBQ at church this week.  Instead of a service we spent a few hours eating street vendor Seattle dogs (hotdogs with cream cheese and grilled onions) and getting to know our church community better.  Perfect sunny day and lots of yard games to play (which we didn’t do).
  • Ended the weekend by seeing Wonder Woman.  We both loved the film and the hardcore super female role!

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This week is looking like it is going to be hot!!!


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Posted by on July 31, 2017 in Uncategorized


Wedding Weekends and Watch Nights

This weekend we had some events that we were very much looking forward to.  Especially after the way that last week ended with the Jeep and my work computer.  It was good to finally get a mani-pedi, my hair cut and thumbs up at my doctor’s appointment.  I’m still getting used to my hair cut as it is shorter than I thought it would be and I got longer bangs that I just don’t know how to style but Bryan likes it.  Friday night was spent as a lazy night at home in anticipation of a busy weekend ahead.

Saturday we had brunch in our PJs before picking up the house to get ready for carpet cleaners to come.  I went on what ended up being a way too hot run while Bryan did some weight work in the workout room.  We cleaned up to head via Uber to the waterfront for David and Tina’s wedding.  With such a hot day it was nice to have the cool waterfront breezes to cool us down for their rooftop ceremony.  We got there early and took in the views.  Really stunning in every direction on such a clear day.  The ceremony came and Tina looked beautiful and David looked happy.  The ceremony was short and sweet and after it was over we jumped right in line for a drink to get the party started.  We knew a lot of the wedding guests and were having a great time with our friends.  We were called to dinner which was great and then the dancing begun.  I danced most of the entire time, enjoying the flip flops that were provided.  The whole night was a blast and when the party ended at midnight we called our Uber to head home.

Sunday morning we both woke up slow and tired.  Getting old is rough.  We still managed to clean up enough to go to church.  After service we scooted down to the International District to grab a dim sum brunch just the two of us.  Our 20 minute wait was well worth it and within minutes we had multiple plates of our favorite dim sum items in front of us to dig into.  We certainly got our fill and left stuffed to walk to Safeco Field for the day game vs the Yankees.  It was Bryan’s work morale event and we had pretty cool seats in the shade above home plate.  We saw a good game too.  It was a close one with a fair amount of runs down to the 9th inning and with an opportunity to score tying runs on base the Mariners blew it.  We left the game to head home and finally were able to kick our feet up.

…Then Monday came and not only did we have to go to work but we also were hosting Game of Thrones, and one with a lot of people attending.  Bryan picked up our new Weber Genesis grill from Lowes on his way home and spent his after work hours (1 1/2 hours to be exact) to get it built and working.  I was inside trying to get all of the food prepped for people to come and trying to pick up the house a bit.  This week’s dinner was Greek/Turkish themed and people really chipped in on the food this week and stuck to the theme pretty well.  We grilled up some padron peppers and halloumi and fig skewers for appetizers.  We then had lamb souvlaki and zucchini kabobs to go with homemade pita bread (that little Chloe helped me with), tzatiziki sauce, and a watermelon and feta salad.  In addition to what we made we had a few varieties of Greek salad, hummus and pita chips, and homemade baklava.  For literally working up until people arrived to cooking all of the food once people were already here, we managed to pull it off and people enjoyed eating dinner outside in the beautiful weather.  The show was great and intense and we already have 2 of 7 episodes under our belt.

Now onto the normal week and a quieter weekend…


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Posted by on July 25, 2017 in Uncategorized