Summer in Washington {photo recap}: Part II

If you missed the first part of my summer summary (aka: the live music ramblings), click here to catch up.

In between all the live music events there were other notable happenings. My favorites among them were my summer classes–Therapeutic Cooking I (Maintaining Health & Wellness) and Therapeutic Cooking II (Disease Specific). Each class was a half day long and included both a lecture and a lab, which included preparing/cooking the meal of the week. So every Thursday I was in lecture for about three hours and in my school’s super awesome kitchen for five+ hours. These classes were electives, but they were hands down my most favorite thus far. They were also the most helpful, informative, and mind-blowing. Really glad I took them. Sadly, I do not have any kitchen photos to show for them. I did receive a kombucha start from one of the classes, though.

I now have kombucha out the ears, and I even brought some home (along with a start!) to Missouri. I think my parents are thrilled.

Between my two Thursday classes, my friend Rebecca and I almost always opted to sit outside and chat about non-school things instead of facing the impending doom of what would be a pop quiz in the next class.

This is the proud organic garden of Bastyr, and we spent a lot of time staring at/walking through it.

Come on, you wouldn’t have wanted to study for a quiz either.

I said in the Part I post that this summer allowed me to settle into Seattle life a little more, but I should’ve said Washington in general instead of just Seattle. On one random Friday, a couple friends and I took a day trip to Bellingham, which is north of Seattle by a couple hours (really close to Canada) and on the water. We stopped along the way to pick berries at a U-Pick organic farm and then continued on to Bellingham via backroads and small towns. Below is the view from our roadside picnic lunch, just outside of Chuckanut, WA.

The San Juan Islands are in the distance. Not too shabby for a lunch view, despite the less than desirable mid-July weather.

Once in Bellingham, we walked along the water, visited some cute coffee shops and bookstores, met some friends of friends, and enjoyed a patio dinner. Bellingham is a really cute, small, college (Western Washington University), hippie town, and I was glad to experience a different part of Washington. More waterfront photos below.

Towards the end of my summer in Washington, I had a visitor from Missouri.

Hanging out at Lake Washington.

Yay! Erica and I met at Jewell, and she now lives in Springfield. She came for a long four day weekend, and I took off from work, so it was really nice to just relax and show her around. I won’t take you through the entirety of our adventures, but here is an abbreviated version:

We rode the Ducks. Seriously. Like the land/water Ride the Ducks in Branson that take you across Table Rock–except Seattle and across Lake Union. It actually was a good tour, and I learned a lot about Seattle. These photos are from The Duck.

The blue/grey floating house on the bottom left is the one from Sleepless in Seattle.

Post Duck, we ventured down to the Pike Place area to do some touristy things. Like, see the original Starbucks. Outside of which these guys were putting on a show.

Not a bad form of entertainment for the 437690234875609387 people waiting to catch a glimpse inside Starbucks.

Later in the day we rode the new-to-the-area ferris wheel on a pier that Erica knew more about than did I.

View of the Puget Sound and the pier from the ferris wheel.

And then we found ourselves venturing down Alaskan Way to Seattle’s big weekend event…


Hemp Fest patrons. Great view. Less than great experience.

Seriously horrifying, for more than a couple reasons. And the grossest experience of my life. We were there for 20 minutes, which was 19.5 minutes too long. I will definitely never attend Hemp Fest in Seattle ever again. Ew.

Other than that, Erica and I mostly just traipsed around Seattle doing unexciting things. We visited Gas Works Park, walked in the woods and to the lake, and Erica took photos of me falling out of yoga poses. Thanks, Erica.

Falling out of a dancer pose somewhere near Gas Works Park.

Hanging out at Gas Works in our sweet outfits. They were sweet, trust me.

The result of an early morning hike to Lake Washington. I failed to reach the farthest rock.

Downward dog/standing splits/handstand prep/nothing pose, on the rocks.

And that was that.

That basically concludes my summer in Washington. I did celebrate a birthday during this time, and though I would have liked to be AT home to celebrate, I was at least able to celebrate with friends FROM home. My college friends Katie and John were in the middle of a Pac North roadtrip, so they came to hang out and stay with me for a couple days. We had a good time, but sadly Katie and I both failed to take any photos. Whoops. You can read about Katie’s adventures here.

I am currently in Missouri, for a short minute longer, and preparing to hit the ground running sprinting on Monday, when my 21-month journey to MSN graduation begins! Woooohoo. (Yes, I’m already counting down.)

I’ll try to be back with a summary of my recent Ozarkian adventures soon…ish. 🙂

The Birthday spread. Aww 🙂


Summer in Washington {photo recap}: Part I

Hello, my long lost reader friends! I am sorry for the hiatus. It lasted much longer than I intended. Somehow summer came and went and now we are days away from fall and less than 100 days away from Christmas (WHOA!). So, what better time to recap my summer than now?

This summer was my first in Washington, and it was largely different than any other. I waited and waited and waited for summer weather to hit, but it really never did. There were a lot of sunny sky-ed days, but there were only a handful of hot, shorts-weather days. Weather aside, though, it was a pretty solid summer. I kept myself overly busy (unintentionally) by taking two summer school classes and working two jobs. I did make time for fun, though, and found myself settling into Seattle life a little more, so that was good.

I apologize for this post being really photo-heavy, but I think photos will provide the best (read: quickest/least boring) summer summary, ha.

Here we go! In mostly chronological order…

I discovered Green Lake.

I mean, I knew it existed, and I even knew right where it was, but somehow I never made it there until the summer. It’s a nice little lake in Seattle, and it has a three-ish mile loop around it that is perfect for walking/running. The entire setting is just really enjoyable.

Moving on- this post could have very accurately been titled “Summer Concert Series”. I saw a lot of live music this summer. All with my friend, Andrea.

First up was Florence + The Machine.

I was super, super excited for this show, and to be honest, I was a little disappointed after it. Don’t get me wrong, Florence Welch can sing. She can also flail around on stage, which I found to be somewhat distracting. I guess it just wasn’t really my style. It was fun, though, and it was at an outdoor theatre on a gorgeous night so that was lovely. Would I pay another $75 to see this show again? Sadly, no.

A few days after the Flo show, Andrea and I saw Fiona Apple live at the Paramount downtown.

This place totally reminded me of the Gillioz in Springtown, which I loved, of course.

WOW. That is really all I have to say about that. Fiona Apple is straight CRAZY. Also crazy talented. If you’ve ever heard Fiona Apple’s recordings and wondered (as I have) how in the world those sounds come out of someone’s throat/mouth, you should definitely see her live. I still have no idea how she does what she does, but I can tell you she sounds EXACTLY the same live as she does on her albums. And seriously, she is crazy. It really is something you have to see live to understand. I was speechless.

Though seemingly less notable, no less entertaining were our adventures at the Kenmore summer concert series.

Each Thursday evening of July and August, the City of Kenmore (where I live and where my school is) hosted a free concert in St. Edward’s State Park, which is conveniently located two minutes from my house and zero minutes from my school. It worked out well that I got out of class on Thursdays at 5:30 and the concerts all started at 6. There were a variety of bands that played, but the nights I attended were country/americana/bluegrass. Each time we had a little picnic and just enjoyed the evening.

Good, summery times. And all were followed by hanging out at 192–a little taproom with a gigantic patio, located on the Burke-Gilman trail (conveniently five minutes from my house and two minutes from Andrea’s).

192 is brand new, and Andrea discovered it immediately following its opening. We spent a lot of time there over summer. It’s a little taproom that was opened by a guy who brews beer in his 192 square foot basement, hence the name. The space actually took over what was previously a gardening/landscaping business…and all of the landscaping paraphernalia is still there. So when I say gigantic patio, I actually mean landscaping jungle with tables, chairs, and fire pits.

Perfect setting for enjoying summer nights and good conversation.

Before I wrap up the Part I post, I need to make known my latest obsession, which was the final act of my headliner summer concert series…


This show was unbelievably phenomenal. Jack White was penciled in on my imaginary concert bucket list and quickly became Sharpie-d in after I repeatedly heard rave reviews. I bought the tickets right when they went on sale, and then I was so stressed out when the week of the show rolled around that I was trying to sell/give away the tickets up until 3 pm on the day of the show. Andrea (along with a special someone in Missouri) convinced me that I should go, and I have been fantasizing ever since about the next time I will be able to see Jack White. The next day on the radio I heard someone say, “Jack White and his girl band shredded for two hours straight and at the end not a face left unmelted.” Well said. My face is still melted. And I will see Jack White and his girl band again.

So, there you have a partial recap of my summer in Washington. I’ll be back with more. And soon! (Hopefully.)

Sundays in Ballard. (And Monday by the lake.)

I’ve spent eight of the last nine Sundays in Ballard. Seven of those eight were spent working at Hot Cakes. And, while I do love Sunday mornings at Hot Cakes (really, I do), I was excited to be a Ballard patron this last Sunday, as opposed to a Ballard employee.

Sundays in Ballard are mostly notable because of the Ballard Farmers Market. It is open every single Sunday of the year, no matter what, and it is lovely. Tons of gorgeous foodstuffs are showcased by a host of wholesome and passionate vendors. Naturally, this market attracts a big crowd, which is why working at Hot Cakes (on the same street as the market) is a  fun Sunday morning activity for me. I didn’t have to work this Sunday, though, so my new housemate, Alix, and I went to Ballard to roam around the market. It also happened to be the weekend of the Ballard Seafood Festival, so there were an additional one million people roaming around with us.

Of course, the weather was gross. It was nice on Saturday (when I worked all day), and then Sunday was gray and chilly. July 13th, and I was in pants and a sweater, carrying an umbrella, and sipping a latte–purchased with the sole intent of warming me as I walked. So Seattle.

It was a good time, though. Alix just moved here from New Jersey, so it was fun to show her around (likeIknowmywayaround). It was also fun to taste lots of yummy berries that are (finally!) in season. And buy some, too.

Although I apparently came away with zero photos of said berries. Good one.

The market (and Ballard itself, generally speaking) is also the site of various other forms of entertainment at any given time. Like, this pup named Ollie. A Poodle/American Eskimo mix.


So cute. And I’m not even a dog person.

And then of course, there are the musical acts.

The kid on the far right is ALWAYS playing/singing Wagon Wheel when I walk by. I want to hug squeeze him. Adorable.

As I mentioned, the Ballard Seafood Festival was occurring this weekend. So. Many. People. I think Alix’s words were, “Oh my gosh, Kristen… There are so many people, Kristen!” Haha. Good times. There was live music, and a beer garden, and all sorts of other activities. Like a street fair/ArtsFest, but on major steroids. We each had a fish taco, and it was pretty good. Not stellar, but good. Alix is now on a mission to find the best fish taco in all of Seattle. I may have to tag along for that.

Seafood Fest madness that went on for blocks, and blocks, and blocks.

So, there you have it. Sunday in Ballard. Hopefully I’ll have more chances to enjoy Sundays in Ballard as a patron. If not, I’ll continue to enjoy serving the market crowd while blasting their ears full of Big Smith and Ozark Mountain Daredevils, which is my Sunday music of choice at Hot Cakes. 🙂


While Sunday was gray and gross, Monday turned out to be gorgeous.

Lake Washington from the West.

Alix and I took full advantage. We went to downtown Kirkland, which is on the East side of Lake Washington, found a patio and a happy hour, had a drink and some guacamole, and then walked around the lake. Very refreshing.

Lake Washington from the East.

Thanks, Monday. 🙂

Pseudo-update {random alert}.

I know, I know. I became the annoying person who starts a blog and then neglects it. Apologies, y’all. For real! I didn’t mean to! It’s been crazy busy around here the last couple months. School, work, life- you know.

I feel as though I have done nothing exciting (read: blog-worthy) as of late. I’ve really been so busy that I’ve had trouble keeping up with myself. Yikes. I did finish my first year of school at Bastyr, though. That’s notable. One down, two to go! You should feel fortunate that you were spared a dramatic and emotion-filled reflection regarding that. It was a big deal!

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few random photos that somehow accumulated on my phone during my blog absence. Please be warned: these are really unexciting. But, they’re all I got for now, so they shall have to do.

G.T.’s Kombucha. MULTI-GREEN edition.

Meet my dear friend, MULTI-GREEN Kombucha. I have drank drunk an embarrassingly large amount of this stuff recently. It’s so good! And as far as I know it’s good for me. B Vitamins and antioxidants galore. Kombucha is basically fermented tea, and the ingredients in this baby are:

100% G.T.’s organic raw kombucha, klamath mountain blue-green algae, spirulina, chlorella, and 100% pure love!!!

Yes, I drink algae. And yes, I LOVE IT. I told you I am a hippie now. (70 calories per 16 oz. bottle, in case anyone cares. I don’t. :))

Next photo:

Bastyr students just-a hangin’ out in the sun.

I’m not really sure why I felt compelled to snap this photo, but it is a nice representation of the courtyard at Bastyr. This is obviously on an exceptionally nice day. There were a few of those strung together, but they’ve gone away and have yet to return. The pond-esque thing is a turtle pond. Cool!

Next.. .

This is what I saw out my bedroom window for a week or so when it was exceptionally nice. Lovely to wake up to. I did Instagram and Tweet this one awhile ago. Sorry if you’re bored seeing it a second time/not realtime.

Go Bears!

This is what I wore to work (at Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery!) on a day that the Missouri State Baseball Bears were playing in the Coral Gables, FL, regional. BearWear Sunday in Seattle, anyone? I loved it. Also, congrats to my little baby brother on finishing his baseball career. Yay, Brother! Definitely wish I could’ve been there to watch.

This is the sight around which I hung out following MY LAST BIOCHEMISTRY FINAL EVER. Another bonfire, you ask? Yes, another bonfire.

Bicycle repair at Advanced European Auto.

The story behind this photo is hilarious. My friend Andrea acquired this bike from the garage where she lives and decided that we needed to go on a bike ride. We ended up going on a 15-ish mile loop along Lake Washington, but not before we stopped at Advanced European Auto. While crossing a huge (huge!) intersection to get to the trail, Andrea’s seat apparently became loose. In hilarious, dramatic fashion, she flipped out and stopped abruptly (at which point I almost hit her) and then demanded that her seat be fixed before we continued. Advanced European Auto was between us and the trail, so Andrea very forwardly approached while I hung back and laughed. Bike seat problem was solved, though, and the ride was great. Success. Thanks, Advanced European Auto guy.

And finally.. .


Notice the date on this is 6/26/12. I’ll give you a second to check your weather archives and see what it was like where you were on this day. I’m not complaining. But I do miss and long for SUMMER.

And there you have it. Random bits of the last couple months of my life. I promise to come at you (sooner than later!) with more solid entertainment. For now, know that I am happy and healthy and wish the same for you all.

Cheers, dears!

Get Your Hot Cakes!

So, who is currently a full-time student and has worked 60 hours in the last 10 days?

This girl!

An opportunity fatefully presented itself, and I felt the pull to seize it; thus, 60 hours of work in 10 days happened…in addition to attending to regularly scheduled scholastic activities. Fun times!

It really is crazy to think about the way life happenings play out. Several significant events have occurred/are occurring in the homeland recently (revolving around super important people in my life!), all for which I want/ed to be present, but I never could pull the trigger on booking a flight to make it happen. As it turns out, if I would’ve gone home, opportunity would have been compromised. Really, crazy to ponder over. But, that’s neither her nor there. I know you’re wondering what said opportunity is, specifically.

And I give you: Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery, located in the super fun Seattle neighborhood/district/whatever that is Ballard. I really, really urge you to visit the website and let it do itself justice. I’m serious. Hot Cakes is a dessert shop, but I can guarantee you it is FAR from anything you’ve experienced.

From the website: “Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery crafts organic, American comfort desserts and other original and innovative confections. We were founded in 2008 by Autumn Martin with the dessert that gave us our name: Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar.” Awesome, right? Go here and read more.

Autumn has been running Hot Cakes since 2008, but the storefront just had its Grand Opening this weekend. It went so well, and I wish I had more quality photos to share. The space is so unique and perfect. There was a media party on Friday night, so I’m hoping to find more photos when I have the time to search.

View from one corner of Hot Cakes. Photo taken at the media party.

Looking out from behind the bar.

Notice the clothespins, old photos, gum ball machine, and other decor.

While I wish I had all the time in the world to tell you of my involvement in this awesomeness, I do not. Details forthcoming, though. I promise.

I do, however, need to share something of the utmost importance, which regards Hot Cakes and is oh-so-pertinent.

Hot Cakes needs your help! You may or may not be familiar with Kickstarter, which refers to itself as “the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects.” Basically, projects (like Hot Cakes) set a fundraising goal for themselves, which is to be met in a given time period. People make pledges to support the project, and if the goal is met within the timeframe, then the project is awarded the funds. No pledge goal met = no funds for project.

Hot Cakes launched a Kickstarter campaign and is less than three days away from its ending. The goal is $25,000, and a little over $20,500 has been pledged thus far. Autumn has participated in an amazing video, which explains what Hot Cakes and the needs for the funds are all about. Please, please, please! watch this video (you can find it below). If nothing else, you will get a little glimpse of what I’ve excitedly gotten myself into.

You should also know that Autumn is graciously giving all those who support the project (with a gift of $25+) a serious hookup of sweet treats. These desserts are DEE-LISH, and I promise, promise, PROMISE you will never regret supporting Hot Cakes! Please, watch the video, visit the Kickstarter campaign page to learn more about how truly awesome Autumn and Hot Cakes are, and make a pledge! Hot Cakes is so close to meeting its goal, and the implications are huge! If you do make a pledge, PLEASE let me know, so I can give you a big hug. Maybe I’ll even send you more treats. Probably I will, actually. And Autumn will definitely send hugs, too. Your support is appreciated.


Thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my organic and dessert-loving heart!

Peace, Love, and Hot Cakes.

On Bonfires, The Black Keys, and (Awesome) Black Socks

I had a kind of busy few days last weekend/the beginning of this week. Saturday was Cinco de Mayo, so obviously there was a little fun to be had. That day also happened to be the birthday of a school friend, so that was just more reason for fun. The birthday boy hosted a casual bonfire at his home, complete with Mexican-inspired cuisine. I love being in a nutrition program. Social gatherings are always accompanied by awesome food…which I did not photograph. Oops.

Back to the bonfire.

‘Twas a good time. It was a really nice evening, and there was a variety of people there, so we pretty much just sat around and talked random things. I allowed a naturopathic medicine student to palpate my radial artery (i.e. take my pulse) for a solid minute in an attempt to guess my dominant Dosha, as determined by Ayurveda. … I’m not kidding. And he was spot on. How do I know this? Because my curiosity caused me to research Ayurveda and figure out my dominant Dosha ages ago. Don’t act like you’re surprised.

Also while around the bonfire, we kept our eyes toward the sky to analyze the Supermoon, which I’m still a little confused about. We had a hard time seeing the “super” part. Oh well.

Andrea and myself sitting entirely too close to the blazing bonfire

Backdrop of a bonfire, Washington style

So that was that. Happy Cinco de Birthday was a good time. I’d like to note that Andrea made some phenom(enal) specialty cupcakes, for which she had to reduce raspberries and such, and I made some phenom specialty cookies. Word on the street was that the birthday boy went into a sugar coma the next day due to consumption of leftovers. I call that baking success.

On Sunday I found myself at the Lake City Elk’s Lodge for an event at which I volunteered. It was called Empty Bowls, and it was to benefit North Helpline–a food bank that I have volunteered with on a semi-regular basis since moving here. My friend/classmate, Rebecca, volunteered with me, and we had a pretty okay time.

Basically, a bunch of local artists donate (a ton of!) ceramic bowls, and ticket-purchasing patrons get to pick a bowl that they keep and which they can also use to eat soup that is donated by various local restaurants/cafés. The full lunch included soup, salad, bread, dessert, and beverage. There was also a gigantic silent auction, a wine raffle, a quilt raffle, and live music–local bands, of course.

The photo below was taken pre-event. The centerpieces were basil plants, which were for purchase. Cool! Rebecca and I contemplated buying one. They were huge.

So that was a noteworthy event. A lot of volunteer things we participate in are way smaller and less exciting. I think Empty Bowls is a pretty huge fundraiser for North Helpline, so it was cool to be a part of that. Also, side note on Rebecca friend: I asked a fellow volunteer to take a photo of us (for blogging purposes, obviously), but it turned out horrible. Sad. Rebecca will undoubtedly make a blog appearance soon. She is a solid member of my crew here and fully supports this blogging habit. She even encouraged me to take iPhone photos in biochemistry lab today. Haha. (Hi, Rebecca. :))

Anyway. Moving on. On Tuesday night, I practiced a little irresponsibility again and attended The Black Keys! With Arctic Monkeys! In Seattle! It was a really good show. Andrea and I decided to go kinda last minute and purchased tickets last week. She is a longtime fan of The Black Keys, and I hinted to her that we should go because I heard they put on an amazing show. Our seats were far away, but the show did not disappoint.

The Black Keys

The Black Keys

I’d say The Black Keys were all they’re cracked up to be. I’m hooked for sure. Also, Arctic Monkeys were awesome. I was familiar with them, but that’s about it. Andrea had no prior knowledge, but we both concluded that they were really impressive. Definitely fun to watch, too.

So that was my busy few days. The day after the concert was marked by an 8:00 am quiz, followed by a three-hour-long Whole Foods Production cooking lab, and then a biochemistry lecture from 3-5:00 pm. Andrea fell asleep during biochem lecture. Haha. Sorry, Andrea- it was sort of hilarious. While I did not fall asleep during biochem, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t majorly struggling. I also realized during biochem that I had forgotten socks for my planned post-biochem workout. Good one. Be proud of me, though: Instead of bailing on my workout (like I really, reeeealllyy wanted to), I decided to just rock my tall socks.

Be jealous of my awesomeness.

Hippie Alert

First of all- I’d like to note that I am always conflicted as to how to spell ‘hippie’. Hippy? I am not sure which is more correct. Thoughts on spelling preference would be appreciated.

Anyway. My school has this neat thing called Herbal Ways Club, and several weeks ago my roommate came home and was insistent that I get out of my comfy bed to come sample some elderberry infused honey that he had concocted in said club. The honey was good, and I was mildly intrigued by Herbal Ways Club at this point. I’d heard of it (thanks to campus-wide emails, of course- love those) but had not really thought about going. I know nothing about herbs. Okay, that’s a lie. But really, my herbal knowledge is limited. I’d for sure be a poser if I went. But after this honey, and the tea and the lip balm and the hand salve and the herbal knowledge with which he came home in the following weeks, I decided that–poser or not–I was going to check this Herbal Ways thing out. I mean, you pay $2 to attend, get to use all of their resources, and get to keep whatever you make. Pretty legit deal.

So I went. Holy overwhelming situation. Again, limited herbal knowledge here. Brandon (roommate) had given me a book to look through before going so I could figure out what I wanted to do. I browsed through it thinking, “Oh…this is kind of cool…but way too intense for me…I’ll just make some tea.” Not smart. Should have been more focused. My school does not mess around.  Here are some options for ingredients, as offered by Herbal Ways:

Holy tons of herbs

This is merely one wall. And this little room is separate from the huge kitchen of stoves and other stuff necessary for herbal concocting. Told you- overwhelming.

The guy in charge (a fellow student, I think) was super nice and talked to me like I wasn’t an herbal idiot, though we both knew I was. He was incredibly helpful and it would’ve been a pointless excursion for me without his guidance. Even with his guidance, though, I spent most of my time digging through these:

Interesting stuff, I tell you. Seriously.

So anyway, I made some tea. And by “made” I mean more like ‘finally-decided-on-some (random?)-stuff-to-mix-together-in-whatever-proportion-I-wanted’…and then called it tea. David (herbal guide extraordinaire) was again super helpful. I told him I wanted something with rose and he helped me go from there.

In the beginning, there were rose petals

So, what I ended up with was rose, lemon balm, spearmint, hawthorn, and motherwort. Lovely. Seriously, it was good. It smelled SO good. And it tastes good, too. All the herbal pros who were running around concocting herbal amazingness were impressed. Yay!

Rose is supposed to be good for skin. Interesting, right? Makes sense that people cleanse with rose water. Motherwort is calming/therapeutic. Apparently it is sometimes put in saunas? I liked it a lot. Spearmint added a nice flavor, as did the lemon balm, but the herbal properties of all it are escaping me now. I know that what I made was a calming/soothing tea, though not at all a sedative of any sort.

Herbal Ways Club success!

I really want to go back and make more cool stuff. Like, a cleansing white clay/rose face mask/wash thing I read about in this book.

This book is awesome. It is beyond informative and is so user friendly, which is important for herbal idiots/posers like myself. I guess it is no longer in hardcover, so I was informed to buy it –no matter the price–if ever I see it in hardcover. While I did not rush to search for a hardcover copy, I did rush to the library to check it out. I have to be prepared for my next Herbal Ways Club adventure, duh.

So what is the take-home message here? The take-home message is that I’m switching from nutrition/dietetics to herbal sciences… Joke. Calm down, Mom and Dad, people. The real take-home message is that my school is awesome. For real. Things like Herbal Ways Club remind me of the reasons I chose to come out here. How many students can say that they had opportunities like this? I’d guess not many.

The other take-home message is that I am fully embracing my inner hippy/hippie ways. And loving it.

American Stringband Music at Tractor Travern? Yes, please.

Last week, my classmate/friend/biochemistry lab partner, Shauna, and I were emailing back and forth about a lab report that was making us cranky when she concluded one of her emails with something like, “On a more fun note, would you want to see Pert Near Sandstone at the Tractor in Ballard on Thursday? . . . It’s a fun bluegrassy band.”  My immediate thoughts were along the lines of, “Ha, she has lost her mind- I don’t have time for that. Has she forgotten we have a biochem exam to study for? I have way too much to do. And that will cost money.” But then we submitted our lab report a full 46 hours early (which never happens), so I felt a little better about my massive to-do list and asked her about this silly bluegrassy band. She told me they are from Minneapolis (she’s from Minnesota), and then during our biochem lecture she pulled up their website and showed me this:

Of course I wanted to go. And of course I still thought this was an unreasonable idea. But I went home and looked up Tractor Tavern in Ballard (because I couldn’t remember the name of the band) and saw that it would be “American Stringband Music” and that there were two other bands playing…and immediately sent Shauna text saying I was in. The next day I told another friend/classmate, Andrea, that we were going, and she looked at me like, “Have you lost your mind? Have you forgotten how much we have to do?” And then during a really semi productive afternoon study session we had, Andrea asked what time the show was, I answered, and she responded, “Wanna pick me up?” Um, absolutely.

Suffice it to say that this was the best decision Andrea and I (and Shauna, too!) had made in awhile. We met Shauna and her boyfriend at Tractor Tavern just as the opening band finished playing, and we all debated whether we were at a shindig, a hoedown, or a hootenanny. It was decidedly a hootenanny. Also around this time Andrea declared that she should have worn flannel, and she and I repeatedly said to one another, “I’m so glad we came.”

Pert Near Sandstone came on and I was in heaven. I felt like I was at a Big Smith show/at Silver Dollar City/in Seattle all at the same time. And it was awesome. They even had a harmonica/washboard playing clogger. Amazing.

(Sorry for the terrible photos.)

The music was great, the band was fun and entertaining, and the crowd was clearly having a great time. It was so nice to be out with friends, on a week night, in Ballard, doing something non-school related.

Shauna, Andrea, Me

Shauna had seen Pert Near Sandstone before (I think? at a festival maybe…) and her boyfriend, John, was actually born and raised in Minneapolis and had seen them several times, so they were both having an especially great time. I think John even made friends with some fellow Minnesota folk. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be friends with this guy?

Shauna and boyfriend, John

Haha, reminds me of home, and I love it. Also, notice the variety of cowboy boots hanging all around as part of the decor? Super fun.

After the Pert Near set (shortening the name = basically a groupie), a bluegrass band called Polecat played.

I also loved them. Maybe more than Pert Near. Andrea was not in agreeance because they had a drummer/drum set, which is a valid point. However. Their fiddle player was phenomenal. Seriously, girl could play the fiddle. Great stage presence, too.

Phenom fiddle-playin’.

So fun. We only stayed for a short part of their set, but they are Washington local so I will most likely drag Andrea with me to see them again.

Shauna and John headed home when Andrea and I left the show, but Andrea and I decided to walk down the street to our favorite Ballard spot (as if I’ve been out in Ballard more than twice, HA), The Sexton.

Seriously, I love this place. Love the ambience. Love the decor. Love the music. They serve beer in a mason jar and also have gorgeous cocktails which are fun to watch being made. Andrea said her wine was less than stellar this time around… Minor detail? I’m sure we’ll be back.

Anyway, a great night was had by all. I was super tired the next day, which was not ideal, because I really did have to be majorly productive on the school front, but there were no regrets. I tweeted that it was the best decision I’d made in awhile, though not too high on the responsible scale. Sometimes being responsible is just overrated. Even my mom approved of my irresponsibility after I emailed her the brief recap: “Sounds like a good time. I always like to hear when you go out with some people…Good to hear you’re making friends, at least acquaintances…” Haha, thanks Mom.

And thank you, Shauna, for the invite; Andrea, for coming with; and John, for wearing overalls.

Spring Break Staycation: Part II

As promised (I know you’ve been waiting!), I will now brief you on the second half of my Spring Break. If you missed Part I, check it out.

Most of the second half of my two-week long break was spent hanging out with my roommate (housemate, whatever), Angie. She was gone for the first week (in warm, sunny Arizona–lame), but thankfully she came back a few days after my visitor left because I was really over the 24/7 hanging out with myself at that point. Although I did do a considerable amount of baking in that time, which was awesome.

It was unseasonably nice outside on her first day back, so we of course decided to take advantage of this by going to a local brewery to patio-sit. There we enjoyed a yummy, seasonal beer and caught up on each other’s lives. The patio backs up to the Sammamish River Trail, so it was packed with all sorts of people taking a refreshing break from walking/running/cycling.

Patio-sitting under blue skies

From there we decided to head to downtown Seattle and the Pike Place Market area to walk around like tourists locals. I had been there the previous weekend and it was not at all busy or crowded, but this weekend was different. Tons of people everywhere. It’s all about the weather, apparently. We did a lot of walking and browsing and tasting, and minimal buying. I also finally went inside the first ever Starbucks. Just looked around. Did not order a drink. I don’t really understand why there is always an outrageous line to get in there, but it is kinda cool, I guess.

Banjo-strummin’ outside THE Starbucks

The highlight of the day, however, was finally seeing the gum wall!

I don’t know the story behind the gum wall (I should probably look that up…), but it’s more like an alleyway that is plastered in gum. Gross, yes. But also neat. So much gum. I did not know where this place was hidden when I was in the area with my parents in September, and then I totally forgot about going to see it the week before. This time, though, mission was accomplished.

Note on the above photo: I’m basically a Delta Zeta model. Did anyone else spot the pink and green letters on the wall? I did not notice them until after I was home. Hope my DZ friends enjoy. 🙂

Angie pretend-licking. Yummy!

Cute, I know.

After the gum wall we did a little more browsing, followed by some eating, and then we walked along the water. I really cannot explain how gorgeous I find the water + mountains combo, especially when the weather is nice. I try to take pictures and fail miserably at capturing anything that comes close to the realtime splendor. One would think I’d have given up by now. Not so. And I’ll probably keep trying. And also failing.

Puget Sound + mountains view from Alaskan Way and Pike(?)-ish(?)

The rest of the week was mostly spent doing really enthralling things like watching movies, taking walks to the grocery store to get ice cream, visiting grocery stores we’d not previously been to, taking more walks, going to yoga, etc., etc., etc. Exciting life I lead, I tell you. Actually, we did go out one night, to a bar called The Little Red Hen, which was quite fun and entertaining. We went with a group of people, and unbeknownst to us it was karaoke night. There was a very interesting crowd, and a significant amount of country music was played/sung. I almost (almost!) forgot I was in Seattle.

So, all in all, good Spring Break Staycation was had. I am now back to school and already feeling slightly behind and overwhelmed, but that’s really nothing new. I obviously have plenty of time for activities such as blogging, so I think I’m doing okay. Only eight weeks ’til summer!

And I’ll leave you with some solid advice from part of a mural inside The Little Red Hen…


Easter, Seattle style.

Don’t worry, I promise I’ll catch you up on Part II of my Spring Break adventures, but for now there are more timely things to discuss, like…

Happy Easter from Seattle!

Seattle, 7 April 2012. Photo source West Seattle Blog

Seriously, this is what it looked like here yesterday. It’s been a gorgeous weekend, like near 60 degrees and sunny, and that is not to be taken for granted. I was in the city and near the water yesterday and could not believe the beauty of the landscape. Who wants to visit me now?

Back to Easter. It’s been a solid Holy Week here in Washington. I’ll spare you the extra boring details, but I do have a couple photos and a brief recap to share. I attended Holy Thursday services and the Easter Vigil (on Saturday night) at St. Brendan, where I regularly attend. Both were LONG, but also lovely and worth the length.

Priest awaiting the delivery of gifts by the 18 newly baptized

Please note: I promise these photos were not inappropriately taken. The entire Vigil was marked by camera flashes, and by the time I discreetly snapped these it was nearly midnight, so anything was acceptable. I really like this church and the presiding priest. The sanctuary is circular with the altar in the middle, so that’s kind of strange, but I’m getting used to it. There’s also a huge baptismal font just to the side of the altar, which is a nice little element that is uncharacteristic of previous churches I’ve attended.

Between Holy Thursday and Holy Saturday at St. Brendan, there was Good Friday…at the Bastyr University Chapel.

If interested, you can read about the chapel here. Basically, what there is to know is that my school used to be a seminary, which is quite evident (and awesome) inside and out. The chapel was deconsecrated by the Catholic Church, so it’s pretty much open for whatever these days, but I found out that the Church of the North American Martyrs was having all sorts of Holy Week celebrations there, so I decided to attend the Good Friday ones (also LONG).

In case anyone’s curious, the Church of the North American Martyrs does not mess around. This was traditional to an extent that I have only ever imagined. I’d say 90% of women and girls were veiled, and the celebration was said almost entirely in Latin. Neat experience and beautiful celebration.

I found it absolutely necessary to take photos because of the presence of the crucifix. I’ve been in the chapel numerous times and find it breathtaking every time; however, I’m always reminded that it’s a deconsecrated space when I see a huge, empty altar area. Following the veneration of the cross on Good Friday, the look was complete.

…And now I’m sorry for sharing way too many boring details after declaring I wouldn’t.

Blessings to you all on this Easter Sunday! Hope it’s truly reviving. 🙂