When we met up in Seattle, Conrado gave me beautiful framed photos that he took during our wedding as a birthday present. He also gave me prints of the pictures below. They’re pictures of me and 6 of my high school friends–who were all in my wedding party as bridesmaids and bridesmen. For my bridal shower in 2010, we spent the weekend in Sonoma, winetasting, cooking meals, and playing silly games until the wee hours of the night. Good times, good times. Makes me so happy.
We just returned from a last minute family trip to Seattle. LOVED IT! Seattle has all the ingredients of a fine city: lots to see and do, excellent food, great neighborhoods. Plus the weather was perfect. Also it was very kid-friendly. I could absolutely see us living there during retirement. It’s on our list! Since we booked the trip last minute, we really just played tourist for a couple days. We didn’t even rent a car which turned out to be just fine. I didn’t even tell anyone I was heading there, especially since we didn’t rent a car and I didn’t want to bother anyone with meeting up and trying to schedule things around Franco’s naps. But thanks to social media and Dean’s relentless status updates, my bestest/dearest friend Conrado (more like a brother than a friend since we grew up a few blocks away from each other) sought me out and met up with us. That was icing on the cake!
Here is my guide to Seattle in 3 days. We covered everything I mentioned below super easily. Totally took our time and didn’t rush at all. And I still felt like we got so much accomplished. Truly great vacation. Pictures from the trip are below the recommendations.
WHERE TO STAY
Hyatt House Downtown
201 Fifth Avenue North
If you want to cover as many attractions as possible, I would highly recommend a stay at the Hyatt House which was adjacent to the Space Needle, Seattle Center, and the monorail. Excellent location plus buffet breakfast included.
Pike Place Market
85 Pike Street
You can’t go to Seattle without visiting Pike Place Market. Go hungry so that you can taste fresh fruit, seafood, and piroshkies. The original Starbucks is at the Market. And you cannot miss Rachel the Pig, the Market mascot and bronze piggy bank with donations supporting the low income community.
500 Broad Street
I wanted to go to SkyCity, the restaurant atop the Space Needle, but the timing didn’t work. We didn’t go up this time, but if you go to Seattle for the first time, the Space Needle is another mandatory stop.
Chihuly Garden and Glass
305 Harrison Street
The Chihuly Museum is adjacent to the Space Needle. It’s awesome. The world-renowned artist and Seattleite Dave Chihuly makes these beautiful glass sculptures. This is another must see.
EMP Museum (formerly known as Experience Music Project)
325 5th Avenue N.
Admittedly, I am not the most worldly person when it comes to music, but Dean also thought the museum was a bit boring. We saw exhibits on Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix, guitars, and some famous cartoonist. I say pass, but there were so many people we met who said the EMP is a highlight of Seattle.
Artists at Play
305 Harrison Street
The Seattle Center Playground was great for Franco. We could’ve kept this kid occupied all day long just by hanging out in the Seattle Center. In addition to the playground, there’s the Children’s Museum and Pacific Science Center. We didn’t get a chance to go to those places, but like I said, lots of things to do for kids just at the Seattle Center!
1483 Alaskan Way
I really liked the aquarium: seals, otters, birds that swim and dive, jellyfish, touch pools. I would have enjoyed it more if Franco wasn’t having a meltdown.
Sky View Observatory
701 5th Ave
For the best views of Seattle, you have to go to the Sky View Observatory. Sure it’s one of the top floors of an office building and you feel like you’re an extra in the movie Office Space, but the views are stellar. There are also interesting factoids of Seattle along the office walls.
Olympic Sculpture Park
1483 Alaskan Way
I really enjoyed this. Very zen and peaceful. There aren’t too many sculptures, but it was so nice walking along the path, overlooking the water, and enjoying art. Don’t miss it.
Seattle Public Library – Central Library
1000 4th Ave
Unfortunately the library wasn’t open when we happened to walk by. It is an architectural gem! I read from one of the exhibits at the Sky View Observatory that it was designed to look like a few stacked books, but I couldn’t confirm that from my online research.
WHERE TO EAT
Tilikum Place Cafe
407 Cedar St
We were trying to find a place to eat after checking in and happened upon Tilikum. What a find! Everything was plate-licking-clean scrumptious. Dean got the crab benedict. I got the baked eggs house special: creamed corn, cherry tomatoes, smoked mozzarella, and bread crumbs.
401 Cedar St
This is another restaurant by our hotel (next to Tilikum) that was surprisingly good. Cheese plate and pork belly which was the size of a steak! Delish! Their house red wine was good too. Crazy.
Taylor Shellfish Oyster Bar
Queen Anne neighborhood
124 Republican St
Great selection of well-priced oysters, bad selection of wine. Not a single glass of red wine on the menu. So strange! Who cares if red wine doesn’t technically pair with oysters. Sheesh.
Inn at the Market, 86 Pine St
Open from 7am to 3pm daily, this is a great place to eat right in Pike Place Market. Good fresh food, plus they are known for their stellar juices.
Matt’s In the Market
Pike Place Market 94 Pike St #32
This is a top restaurant in Seattle with a view of Pike Place Market. I wasn’t going to leave without eating here! Dean got the caesar salad with dungeness crab. I got the shrimp and dungeness crab melt. Didn’t disappoint.
How to Cook a Wolf
2208 Queen Anne Ave N
Special occasion group dinner! One of Dean’s groomsmen Don organized the dinner. My big request? It better be good, but not fancy. One of my bridesmen Conrado also joined. Great food, great wine, highly recommend. Our only issue is that Franco will not sit still in a high chair, so we all took turns throughout dinner walking the kid around the block. Does anyone else have this problem?!
We got around just fine without renting a car. Spend a day at the Seattle Center and you’ve got the majority of tourist attractions crossed off your list. We took the monorail to shoot us to and from Pike Place Market. Easy!
Pictures of Pike Place Market and Rachel the Pig
Pictures of the Chihuly Museum
Pictures of the Seattle Center playground, Artists at Play
Pictures of the Olympic Sculpture Park
Pictures from the Sky View Observatory
Pictures of the Seattle Central Library and Monorail
I love the topic of online dating for a variety of reasons: 1) my blog started out documenting my adventures as a single girl dating in San Francisco, 2) I did online dating off and on for a LONG time, 3) I met my husband on Match.com, and 4) a lot of my friends and readers are still single.
Now that I’ve read comedian Aziz Ansari’s book Modern Romance cowritten with NYU Sociology Professor Eric Klinenberg and mathematician Hannah Fry’s The Mathematics of Love, I thought I’d share these tips on how to be successful in online dating.
Date a Lot
I’m a firm believer in maximizing your odds. With so many options (Tinder, OkCupid, eHarmony), you might as well take advantage of all that is available to you! That means registering on multiple sites, and continuing to date other people even if you think you’ve found ‘the one.’ I got burned so many times thinking that I’d met my future husband, and next thing you know, I was getting dumped and crying my eyes out for weeks. Don’t let this happen to you. Keep on, keeping on! Dean bristles that it took him 20+ emails before he got to meet me in person. Sorry, buddy! I was dating other guys at the time. And hey, persistence paid off for Dean.
Emphasize Your Unfair Competitive Advantage
Short, bald, fat? Play it up! In her research, Hannah Fry discovered that the majority of online users stay away from the typical beauties. Why? Because the average person does not think they stand a chance contacting Bradley Cooper or Miranda Kerr. Further, why would anyone waste their time contacting a supermodel when the competition is high? Wouldn’t you rather focus your energy on a profile where you may get a response? That means contacting someone who is attractive to you, but you think may not be so interesting to others. This is why it’s important when you craft your profile to not hide what you think may be unattractive. That 6th finger? Emphasize it!
Hannah gives the example of Portia de Rossi and Sarah Jessica Parker. Who do you think would do better in online dating?
Stop Filtering So Damn Much
We think we know what we want, but it turns out that we absolutely don’t. We want someone who is this certain height, this certain age, but all of that goes out the window when you actually meet someone in person. Research shows that the characteristics we think are important to us, do not align with what we’re actually attracted to. This all means that we should stop filtering and just go out and meet people!
Try to Remain Invested
Aziz gives the example of his dad who was given 3 options for an arranged marriage. He met all 3. One was too tall, another too short, and one who was just right. That was it! Height was all he based his decision on and they’ve been happily married for a lifetime! This goes to show that falling in love with someone and maintaining that loving relationship takes time, deep interactions, and sustained activity.
Before I had Franco, I was working full-time, blogging part-time, involved in Burning Man and all of my alma maters, traveling around the country and the world for pleasure, spending 1-2 weeks in the Black Rock City desert, doing movie nights, book clubs, happy hours, hiking, eating out extensively and I still had a lot of time on my hands. Now, with a 15-month-old kid, I have very limited time. I cannot stress enough how little leisure time I have!
So today I want to talk about time savers. I will share some of mine if you promise to share some of yours.
Showers: I used to take 2 showers a day. Gulp. I especially feel bad saying that since California is in crazy drought mode. But I used to take a shower in the morning and then again late at night before bed because I love long hot showers! Still do. Except now I am down to 1 at night. This means I wake up, wash my face, brush my teeth, put on my clothes and I’m good to go.
Botox: Yes I do botox! Botox under the armpits helps control my hyperhydrosis problem, which means no time wasted applying deodorant. Yay!
Makeup: Don’t wear any.
Perfume: Don’t do this either. I don’t do it, nor should you. Ok I know I’m being a bit drastic, but perfume obviously is a very personal thing. I get it for nights out, but please not during the day. It can be very repulsive. The guy sitting next to me on the bus this morning was wearing this cologne that made me want to vomit. Perfume, like smoking, should be banned in the workplace.
Hunger: As a sugar addict, I used to spend so much time out of my day going to get hot chocolate or froyo or chocolate chip cookies or ice-cream. OMIGOSH, what a huge time waster! I now have large packs of almonds and whenever I get hungry, I just munch on almonds. I’m also a huge proponent of Lean Cuisines. They’re balanced meals and very healthy. When I was working with a nutritionist, I was embarrassed to tell her all I ate were Lean Cuisines and she said, “Good! Lean Cuisines are great.” I couldn’t believe it. That’s 3-4 minutes nuke time and you’re ready to eat.
Exercise: I don’t do it. No gym membership. No running along the beach. Nada. This isn’t to say that you should stop too. Personally I have never needed exercise to feel healthy and good about myself. I also believe exercise in moderation is best. Excessive exercise (i.e., marathons) is not good. Your body gets so used to that much training that if, God forbid you miss a day, then you are screwed. Also, with exercise, you burn more energy and have to eat more! I wasted a lot of time running in my 20s and 30s and I am here to tell you, it did me no F*ing good. My body is in much better shape with ZERO exercise.
Reading: Love me some audiobooks! Also when I come into the office in the morning, my printer is on fire because I am printing out all my non-urgent emails. So bad for the environment, I know, but I swear I do my part in other ways. I work better, faster and retain more with printed material. You’ll never catch me without a book or printouts in-hand; that way while I’m waiting in line or my computer is giving me the hour glass, I can quickly read something from my stash.
Finances: All automated. Savings are withdrawn automatically. Bills are linked to my Citi 2% cash back rewards credit card. The credit card payment is automated. My stock portfolio has built-in stop orders so I don’t have to worry about anything dipping below 2%. I use Mint.com where I can see in one dashboard where I am spending money, how my stocks are doing, if my properties are increasing in value, and my entire net worth.
Email: I cut out all the bullshit. I don’t get a single promotional sales email. Do this now: Unsubscribe to anything that is cluttering your mind and wasting your time.
Shopping: As much as possible, I stay away from stores or shopping malls. I try not to waste time buying more shit. If I do need something, Amazon to the rescue.
Facebook and Social Media: I am not one of those people who’s on Facebook all day, every day. That’s silly. Get a life! I limit my use to once a day–if that.
Outsource: I’m a huge believer in outsourcing: cleaners, travel agents, personal assistants. Think of it this way. Is it worth your time to clean your home, or is your time best served elsewhere (i.e., closing more business, spending more time with your children, going away for the weekend, etc.).
Don’t do stupid shit: I try really hard not to do stupid shit. Waiting in line for a free ice-cream. That’s stupid shit. Going to the museum on a jam-packed free admission day because it’s going to save you $20. THAT’S STUPID SHIT! I shake my head at these people. Don’t be one of those people, trying so hard to save money, they can’t see beyond their blinders.
Please share with me your time savers or shortcuts in the comments! I would love to hear.
On Saturday July 25th, my friend GR celebrated his 46th birthday. It was at a bar–no kids allowed–otherwise we would have been there. I mentioned this to him on Monday, offering to make it up by taking him out for lunch. We emailed back and forth, and settled on a Mexican restaurant (he felt like tacos) for Tuesday at 12:15pm.
On Tuesday at 10:25am, an email crossed my screen: GR Medina Passing. GR had passed away on Monday night of unknown causes.
The past couple weeks have been a tough time for me. I am heartbroken to have lost a friend full of life, who had so much to give, yet I am heartened by all the memories we shared and feel truly lucky that I was one of his many friends. I seriously won the friend lottery when it came to GR.
I know GR from work. He was in IT and we had a good time chatting whenever I had “computer problems” that turned out to be user error. Because we worked in the same group, we always hung out during events: happy hours, picnics, golf tournaments, end-of-the-year-shindigs. That group liked to party! It’s kinda funny dancing into the wee hours of the night with your coworkers!
Then I moved on to a different group, but he always made sure to invite me to everything. People would ask, “What are you doing here?” And I grinned, “GR!” He was my golden ticket!
GR was one of my most loyal friends. If I organized a happy hour, he was there. If he said he was going to be anywhere, you could count on him. I remember he got lost trying to find his way to one of my birthday parties (poor thing was tipsy), but he finally made it after multiple phone calls, with the event manager giving him step-by-step directions! He was never one of those people who didn’t respond to invites. He was either going to be there or out of town.
Scrolling through GR’s Facebook feed, I read about how he sent an Uber to pickup a friend so that she could join him at a bar, instead of being alone on her birthday. That was the kind of guy he was: thoughtful, caring, sensitive, loyal and witty. He radiated goodness. He wore t-shirts that said Life is Good.
The turnout at GR’s Celebration of Life was incredible. The bar was full of people telling their favorite GR stories. His parents brought his entire coaster collection and said we should each feel free to take one. His mother gave a touching speech to honor her only child. She ended by urging everyone to call your parents and to tell them you love them. She said that she, her husband and GR never ended a call without saying I Love You.
Life is good, but life can also be short. I regret not going to GR’s birthday. It pains me that I wasn’t able to say good-bye, nor did I ever tell him how much he meant to be.
So go! Go to every birthday party and celebration. Travel and see the world. Collect coasters! When you go to bed every night, may you have no regrets.