Around Here

Happy summer, the best time of the year! I’ve been traveling like a madwoman this month – since our brother-sister trip to Seattle, I’ve gone home to Chicago to spend Father’s Day weekend with my parents, to Little Rock for a business trip, and I’m heading to Malibu tonight to host a bachelorette party for Becca! Needless to say, there has been lots of coffee & books involved (my favorites being a piping hot flat white & Still Alice, respectively). While I am ready to enjoy some quiet weekends in July, I truly wouldn’t want my life to look any other way – I am so blessed by my travels and adventures.

I’ll definitely be posting some fun recaps when the dust settles, so in the meantime, I’ll be posting photos on Instagram! I’d love for you to tag along.

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Seattle

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Andrew and I had so, so much fun on our brother-sister trip last weekend. Seattle was absolutely amazing, with perfect weather to boot. I couldn’t get over all of the gorgeous water and delicious fresh air. We stayed at the Ace Hotel in Belltown, which we loved – our room was darling and the amenities (free breakfast, including fresh waffles & Stumptown coffee) were fabulous. I have to share this synopsis about the Ace found on the hotel’s website because I thought it was so fascinating – I learned some things about the boutique chain that I didn’t know.

We fell in love with a former maritime workers’ hotel in Belltown and started our first-ever hotel in 1999. It’s where our roots are — the unfussy luxury and intentional design ethos that drive the Pacific Northwest. Loft ceilings, hardwood floors (wherever we could preserve them) and art by our friends like KAWS and Shepard Fairey in guest rooms were some of the elements that put us on the hotelier map, and they’re still a touch point for Ace today.

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The hotel is located a stone’s throw from the water, which is bordered by an ideal running path encompassed within Centennial Park that’s adorned with art installations and rose gardens, ensuring that we always had something beautiful to look at while we jogged. We spent so much time with Karli & Nick, our treasured friends who also served as the most incredible tour guides. Kar & Nick live in the Ballard neighborhood, a sweet area lined with darling houses and great restaurants. They took us to so many good spots – Pike Place Market, Gas Works Park (my favorite! all of that gorgeous water, wow), Kerry Park (such a good view of Seattle nestled in the gorgeous Queen Anne neighborhood), and the Olympic Sculpture Park.

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In regards to food, we ate very well. We savored oysters & Negronis at Essex before noshing on bacon & onion pizza at Delancey. We drank fizzy fruit-infused beverages at Rachel’s Ginger Beer (apropos name, no?) and soaked up sun on the heavenly patio at Westward, where we devoured more oysters, sardine, arugula & avocado toast, flavorful vichyssoise & rosé (if I had to choose, I vote for Westward as my favorite spot of the weekend). We dined in style at Single Shot, where I enjoyed a delicious pork chop with smashed peas & roasted potatoes, and we had late-night dessert at Pie Bar. We inhaled biscuit sandwiches & iced lattes at Morsel, and we cooled down with ice cream at Molly Moon’s (I had strawberry with lemon curd in a homemade waffle cone – heaven).

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In sum, the weekend was totally perfect. I fell head over heels for Seattle and its waterfront lifestyle, and I am already plotting my return. Best of all, I got to enjoy the weekend exploring the city with Andrew, which was the most special. I can’t wait for our next trip together!

P.S. Andrew was the photographer on this trip – he’s so talented – so enjoy a few photos from my iPhone for now!

Brother-Sister Trip

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I can’t believe I’m typing this but I’m getting on yet another plane today, this time for a personal adventure – a brother-sister trip to Seattle! Andrew and I started a tradition of taking siblings-only trips a few years ago (check out a recap of our Austin trip here), and I’m so excited to explore a new city together. I visited Seattle during my senior year of college and haven’t been back, and Andrew’s never been, so it’s a perfect place for us to have an adventure. We’re staying at the Ace Hotel and we’ll get to spend plenty of time with our besties Karli & Nick, who moved to Seattle in January. We’ll definitely be devouring pizza at Delancey (I read the book about the restaurant and loved it) and enjoying the weekend’s amazing weather. Other than that, the agenda is wide open. I can’t wait!

Back Home

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I got home from Ghana on Friday and I feel like I am still figuring out how to adjust back to life in Dallas. Don’t get me wrong – I was more than ready to be home with James and our pups, to meet my friends for margaritas and catch up on a few weeks’ worth of happenings, and to sleep in my comfy bed. But this feeling inevitably arrives after every single trip to West Africa and even though this was my 12th journey, it doesn’t get any easier: every time I get home, I’m a little shaken up, a little pushed out of my comfort zone, a little out of sorts. And honestly, while that feeling can be uncomfortable, it can also be really good. It’s easy to get stuck in the rut and go-go-go of everyday life here in the States, and returning from Ghana always gives me a fresh perspective, one that brings me back to my roots. I’m reminded that it’s okay to balance out really productive days (as well as distinctly not-so-productive days) with a really good nap. It’s okay to want to be a little reclusive and reflective instead of hopping straight back into the social scene. It’s okay to follow a delicious meal of spinach salad & homemade vinaigrette with a serving or two of Ben & Jerry’s The Tonight Dough. It’s okay to wake up really early on a weekend to clean out the garage only to spend the rest of the day lounging in pajamas and reading novels. It’s okay to feel all the feels, to allow the aches and creaks and changes occur in both body and soul. The children in Touch A Life’s care in Ghana teach me so many things, but one of the resounding lessons I learn over and over again is that it’s okay, that rest is good, that stress can be a luxury, a concept embraced by first-world nations. I’m reminded that busyness should not be a commodity that determines our worth, that time with people we love is the best thing there is, that God created this big world for us to explore and enjoy. For these lessons and so many more, I’m grateful.