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!

Library Card

Library CardI have always been a voracious reader. My parents still tell stories about how they used to have to pull books out of my hands so I could focus on getting ready for school or eating my breakfast without spilling on myself. I have always been a book person. I totally appreciate tablets and e-readers, especially when travel is concerned, but I love the feel of holding a book in my hands. That being said, I devour books like slices of pizza, rapidly gobbling up the stories contained within them. As much as I adore them, books cost a few bucks, so I had found myself reading less because I wasn’t willing to sacrifice space in my budget to pick up new titles.

In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, she talks about identifying the problem as the main way of overcoming an obstacle. When I started feeling frustrated that I had been reading less and began contemplating why that was, I realized that I wasn’t in a place to spend a ton of money on books. I can usually read three books a week, so that would come to about 12 books per month, totaling somewhere close to $2,400 per year! So the problem, then, was money. How should I overcome this problem? I don’t know why I didn’t realize it sooner, but the answer was so simple: get a library card and check out books for free.

I had dragged my feet on this, for some reason fearing that the process of getting a library card would be tedious and lengthy. But on a gray Sunday at the end of April, I finally took the plunge and I cannot tell you how my heart palpitated once I realized that all of the books in the public library were at my disposal (besides, the whole card process took a whole two minutes). I was like a kid in a candy store, looking up titles (and, frankly, re-training myself on the methods of the Dewey Decimal System), checking out books, and adding myself to wait-lists for popular works. I spent the rest of the afternoon reading, and have since knocked out six delicious titles:

  1. Delancey by Molly Wizenberg – my favorite of the bunch!
  2. The Fringe Hours: Secrets to Making Time for You by Jennifer Turner – really applicable tips found here, though the tone/writing style wasn’t always quite my taste; an easy & quick read nonetheless.
  3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – so captivating, albeit a bit dark, with a touching budding romance at the center of the story.
  4. The Circle by Dave Eggers – a powerful commentary on social media + an amazing narrative.
  5. The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – this book was even more engaging than I could have imagined, as I’d heard/read about it for months. I couldn’t put it down!
  6. Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott – another winner by an author I love. There were some amazing gems in here, though I could have used a little more meat in some sections.

Now I’m starting The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, which is actually a book that Mom lent me. And here are the books from the library that I just picked up yesterday:

  1. All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
  2. The Chaperone by Liane Moriarty
  3. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
  4. I’ll Drink to That: A Life in Style, with a Twist by Betty Halbreich
  5. One Last Thing Before I Go by Jonathan Tropper
  6. Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time by Brigid Schulte
  7. Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfield

As you can see, I’m going nuts over my new library card – I feel like I’ve been given a new sense of freedom, and I’m loving getting back into a reading routine (especially before going to bed – it’s so relaxing!). It’s the best move I’ve made in recent history.

Have you been reading anything good lately? If so, I’d love to have your recommendations!

Photo of a darling little mobile library in Dallas via my dear friend, Elizabeth Corley