Call for submission: experiences and products in Seattle

Thanks for being a Seattle Pockets reader! I’m so glad you enjoy following along with my blog.

I’m going to start a weekly round up series, listing a mix of events, experiences (both in Seattle area and things to do at home like books and podcasts), and products.

If YOU have something you want me to consider sharing in a future round up, let me know!

Maybe you’re associated with the org or shop providing the experience or product, or maybe you’re just a big fan and want to spread the word!

Drop me a line via my contact form, message me on Facebook, or post in the comments below.

max-anderson-VIF1-szxZlQ-unsplashPhoto by Max Anderson (thanks for sharing, Max!) 

Idaho Uber Takeover + BIG Travel Giveaway!

UPDATE: Giveaway has ended and winner has been contacted. Thanks to all who entered.

Tomorrow is Idaho Uber Takeover Day with your chance to win a bunch of stellar prizes! Read on to find out how to enter the Idaho Uber Takeover giveaways PLUS enter to win my Seattle Pockets giveaway prize that includes airfare, a two-night stay, and more.
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Get a free uber ride + enter to win one of many prizes from Visit Idaho on Idaho Uber Takeover Day (January 20):
Idaho Tourism has partnered with Uber Seattle to help Seattleites discover the fun that awaits in Idaho. They are giving away airfare, hotel rooms, Idaho mountain resort lift tickets, Treefort festival passes, and more!
Here’s how you enter to win the Idaho Uber Takeover giveaways:
1) Tomorrow, Wednesday January 20th, request a COMPLIMENTARY ride with Uber between 8 am and 6 pm by selecting a “Vitamin ID” uber in the app
2) Get your complimentary Visit Idaho umbrella from your driver
3) Share a photo of your umbrella on FB, Twitter or Instagram with hashtag #VisitIdaho

Full details on the Uber blog. You’ll be entered to win great #VisitIdaho prizes. Meanwhile, Visit Idaho has sponsored a giveaway here on Seattle Pockets!

Here’s your chance to enter to win an INCREDIBLE Visit Idaho prize package via THIS blog:

 

Prize includes:
  • Two round trip tickets on Alaska Airlines (from Seatac to Spokane International Airport)!
  • A two-night stay at The Selkirk Lodge, compliments of Schweitzer Mountain Resort!
  • Four Schweitzer Mountain Resort lift tickets!
Schweitzer Mountain Resort is the largest ski resort in North Idaho, with 2,900 acres of skiable terrain, 92 runs, and three terrain parks.  Schweitzer’s Village gives you direct access to the mountain and is steps away from shopping and dining.
To enter to win:
1) Comment below & tell me what you’d like to experience in Idaho (check out Visit Idaho for inspiration).
then
That’s it! Check out the giveaway app for more ways to enter to win via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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UPDATE: Giveaway has ended and winner has been contacted. Thanks to all who entered. // Disclosure: A BIG thank you to Visit Idaho for sponsoring this post and giveaway! I received compensation and the prize package that will be gifted to a reader from Visit Idaho in exchange for promoting this campaign. As always, I only promote experiences that I truly believe in. Entries will be received through 11:59pm Pacific Time on 1/22/16. Idaho Uber Takeover Day is 1/20/16. Visit giveaway app for full terms and conditions.

January Giveaways: Seattle fun + round trip tickets on Alaska Airlines!

Tomorrow, I’m appearing on New Day Northwest (King 5/NBC) to chat with Margaret Larson about five great Seattle businesses you should visit this year. In the coming weeks, I’ll be hosting some great giveaways from some of the businesses I talk about on the show. Stay tuned! You won’t want to miss these giveaways.

PLUS: I can’t reveal all the fun details yet, but later this month, I’ll be hosting a giveaway that includes two round-trip tickets on Alaska Airlines! I’m so excited to gift one of my readers with this fabulous prize.

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Be one of the first to hear about these giveaways when they go live: if you’re reading this on your computer or tablet, you can sign up on the right side under “Follow This Blog” to receive emails when new blog posts are posted.

Current giveaway on now: Enter to win tickets to see “Foreverland” at Showbox in the Market.

Question: If YOU were appearing on TV this week, what Seattle businesses would you talk about? Post in the comments below or tell me on Facebook.

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Images via Alaska Airlines and New Day Northwest

“The Spaniards” visit Seattle

One of my best friends has been living in Madrid for a couple years and brought her boyfriend Julio (who is from Spain) back home to Washington this summer. Julio’s sister and brother in law were also able to visit Seattle for a busy weekend. Here’s Molly’s post featuring some highlights of their July adventures. 

Guest blogger, Molly Fortin:

Discovering Seattle Cuisine

What does a Spaniard want to eat in America? Burgers. What else? Burgers. In search for the best burger in Seattle, Keridwyn steered us to Uneeda Burger in Fremont. We loved the Philly Smash and the caramelized onion & blue cheese burger. We also indulged in a less gourmet burger experience, making a late-night stop at Dick’s Drive-in, a surprisingly big hit with the Spaniards.

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Molly, Keridwyn, Brandon and Julio at Uneeda Burger in Fremont

Showing my city to newcomers made me realize how much I look forward to eating Asian food in Seattle – we just don’t have the same variety in Madrid. New discoveries this trip: the steamy hand-rolled soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung in University Village and the barbecued spam musubi at Marination Ma Kai on the other end of the water taxi in West Seattle (hold on to your earrings! It turns out the water taxi is an oversized jet ski!).

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Enjoying dumplings, green beans, and more at Din Tai Fung in U Village

Activities: Between Eating Burgers

Did you know you that the EMP Museum isn’t just about music anymore? I was pleasantly surprised to be transported into the worlds of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror with the elaborate exhibits displaying Paul Allen’s movie memorabilia. My novio is a total friki (“nerd” in Madrid-speak), so he loved seeing the Terminator T-800 robot and the Dr. Who Dalek. I kept my cool until I saw the Back to the Future II hoverboards. We all had fun taking a quiz to discover our fantasy character archetypes and admiring Game of Thrones and Princess Bride costumes up close.

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Tyrion Lannister costume from Game of Thrones at EMP Museum

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Julio runs from a Dalek at the EMP Museum

My friend Alejandro is an engineer who has worked for the enemy (Airbus), so he couldn’t leave Seattle without visiting the Museum of Flight. I’ve been there several times, most recently in 2013, but I was amazed to see how much it has expanded and changed. The highlights for me this trip were the space exhibits, with Apollo and Space Station training modules, and touring the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. My brother-in-law Richard worked for years on the 787 flight controls – I finally got to see the results of all that labor! It’s a truly giant, futuristic-feeling airplane. No more old-fashioned window shades: an electric gel between the window panes can be adjusted by each passenger to the desired level of shade.

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Maria plays pilot at the Museum of Flight

Our trip coincided with Seattle Art Museum‘s Disguise: Masks and Global African Art. The exhibit features modern Africans creating bold new multimedia art, as well as a display of more traditional masks. One of the scariest masks, “Ancient One,” has enormous fangs and claws jutting out at all angles from the face. Worn by a mediator in disputes, it served as a reminder not to solve problems like wild animals.

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Photo of “Gela Mask (The Ancient One)” by @instaleahweinstein on Instagram

I’m so glad that we stopped by the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park, too, to see the animated mural and 3D soundscape of Chiho Aoshima. Alive with the groaning and tinkling sounds of nervous swaying skyscrapers, flying fairies of progress, and a flatulent volcano goddess, it illustrates the cycle of death and rebirth in a mesmerizing way.

“City Glow” by Chiho Aoshima 

The same day, we zipped up to the 73rd floor of the Columbia Tower to the Sky View Observatory and were struck by the similarities of the Seattle vistas to Aoshima’s mural: the same lakes, skyscrapers and volcanoes, abuzz with airplanes and incoming weather fronts. Unlike the animated mural, which leaves everything up to interpretation, the Sky View Observatory walls are covered with informational displays that give meaning to each view angle. Each time I started to explain a key Seattle feature to my friends, I realized that there was a supporting display with facts and figures illustrating exactly that, from the floating bridges to the Ballard Locks and the sports stadiums. As a foreign language teacher, I seriously appreciate the visual aids! 🙂

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Photo via @skyviewobservatory on Instagram

Culture Shock

On this trip, I had the chance to see Seattle with Spanish eyes – or more aptly, with a Spanish nose. The most impressive thing for my boyfriend Julio is how “it smells like good food, everywhere, all the time!” He is also blown away by the size of the trees in city parks like Volunteer Park, and especially our “discarded” driftwood trees on the beach in Edmonds. After living in Europe for two years, I’m also shocked by the size of the cars in Seattle – and the distances that people leave between parked monsters.

If you ask Julio what the best part about Seattle is, it’s an easy answer: the burgers.

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Of course no visit to Seattle is complete without a stop at Pike Place Market! 

Anne of Green Gables, Mini Golf, SAM’s Disguise, and Orange is the New Cat.

Some highlights from June:

Delightful conversation over happy hour with some gals! Boom Noodle is back on the hill so Alida, Erin and I made our way there to check out their happy hour offerings, most of which we enjoyed (the rice cakes were strange, but everything else was fine and low priced). Erin, Nora and I savored the deliciousness that is Barrio, and Alida and I caught up over guacamole and the salsa bar at La Cocina Oaxaqueña.

Rachel introduced me to a tiny secret beach and hand shaven noodles from Seven Star Pepper. Already craving more (noodles and beach time).

I got to check out Lanen’s gorgeous house and back yard and finally meet her cute pup, Falcor, a king charles spaniel.  She and I caught up over pizza, salad and wine at Tutta Bella before seeing wacky performance at the Seattle International Dance Festival.

Erin, Paul, Somer, James and others joined in the celebrations of Conor’s first birthday with a pool party at Kate and Julian’s. Watermelon season has arrived!

Kathryn and I relived many moments of our childhood as we rewatched Anne of Green Gables on DVD (thanks to ebay).

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“Puffed Sleeves!”

I treated myself to a trip to Minneapolis to visit Erin M. I met up with my childhood best friend Rebecca and got to meet her little girl at mini-golf at The Walker, followed by some glorious poolside time with Erin (thanks, Chris!).

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Such fun to connect with my best friend from childhood and meet her sweet little girl! 

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Getting frank with my hostess, Erin! 

I checked out the new “Disguise: Masks & Global African Art” at Seattle Art Museum.  I had a blast at Night of Disguise with Levy, Jessica, Brandon, and Nora. Don’t miss this exhibition – it’s incredible. Saya Woolfalk’s room is stunning, I could spend hours in there. After the Disguise party, we watched Levy perform in Unexpected Productions’ Theatresports, just down the street in Pike Place Market.

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Photos are allowed in #SAMDisguise! The room featuring the work of artist Saya Woolfalk.

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My look for our evening out at “Night of Disguise”

Brandon and I enjoyed celebrating with Jonathan and Oryx at their wedding party, connecting with old friends and making some new ones. Yup, actual conversation at a dance party. It really makes a difference when party throwers know how to play their speakers at a level that fits the venue and crowd.

Father’s Day gave us the opportunity for a fun, laid back BBQ on the roof with my mom and dad and bro. Brandon and I introduced them to card game Red7 – one of my new favorites.

We had an awesome trip to San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma! Erin, Paul, Brian, Morgan, Brandon, and I goofed around in perfect pool and hot tub weather, enjoyed a great wine tasting at Homewood Winery in Sonoma, a delicious lunch at the awesomely designed Fremont Diner (fried chicken sliders and mac n cheese – yum!) and revisited Sonoma Plaza (shaved ice for the win!) and Roche Winery (Chardonnays I actually like). Brian and Morgan introduced us to the game Camel Up. I’m not sure I have the strategy down yet, but I still enjoy playing!

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Sign in The Fremont Diner outdoor patio in Sonoma

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We had an excellent, relaxed wine tasting experience at Homewood Wines in Sonoma

TV shows & movies I enjoyed:

Orange is the New Black Season 3 (great writing and characters!) For those of you who are already fans, I share this gem:

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Artwork by KittyCassandra 

Re-watching Dollhouse – love that show! Eliza Dushku and Enver Gjokaj are awesome to watch.

Rewatched part of “The Fall.” Such an epic film. I need to go back and watch the whole thing again soon.

Books I read:

The Willpower Instinct – great book with so many useful tools to help with willpower

The Language of Flowers – lovely story that was fun to get lost in (thanks for the recommendation, Athena!)

Travel Pockets: L.A. and Santa Barbara

One of my favorite ladies and I are off to California this week to visit some gal pals in L.A. and spend a couple nights in Santa Barbara at the Fess Parker (as part of @SantaBarbara‘s  #BrightenYourDay campaign).

Our days and nights in L.A. are already pretty packed (game nights, charades in the park, book readings, cocktails) but we’re still looking for Santa Barbara suggestions.

if you have recommendations of great restaurants, nightlife, wineries or other must-see places that Billie and I should visit while we’re in Santa Barbara, please post in the comments below or chime in on my Facebook post.

Sunscreen: CHECK!

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January recap: Surprise Date Night, Parties, Weddings and Family

January in review. Turns out one month is a lot to fit into one post – I might have to do these 2-4 times a month going forward!
On New Year’s Eve, Brandon, Erin, Paul, Juvi and I party hopped between house parties (thanks to our fab hosts Jess, Noelle, Brad, Nora and Rusty)!  Brandon and I surprised ourselves by being in bed before 3am, which might be a record for us. We’re clearly not 23 any more. Luckily the only thing on my calendar for 1/1/15 was “Sleep in!”
We celebrated my niece Nara’s 12th birthday that weekend, with our traditional visit to the ice skating rink at Seattle Center, followed by a trip to the birthday girl’s restaurant pick: The Spaghetti Factory. Nara loves maps and geography so we gifted her the game 10 Days Across Europe, which we all have since enjoyed playing. Oma and Opa (my parents) surprised us all by coming back from California in time for the celebration. They had spent Christmas in California with my cousin Laura and her family to help welcome their third son, Bennett, into this world on New Year’s Eve!
On the 10th, my family celebrated a belated Christmas (since B and I were in Philly and Mom and Dad were in California during that time). We had a blast playing games such as 10 Days and Ticket to Ride. Mom made delicious gyros and of course we had to have my favorite guilty pleasure holiday snack – clam dip with potato chips – during game time. The six of us “kids” spent the night and played more games in the morning. Who says Christmas has to happen in December?
Alida, Erin and I had a delicious dinner at Shadowland in West Seattle on Erin’s birthday eve. I already have a trip planned to go back there soon for their mac and cheese and fried green beans! The arugula salad was simple but delicious.
Erin and I spent her birthday afternoon at Olympus Spa, enjoying the hot rooms, hot tubs and hot cast iron bowled bibimbap. Erin spent multiple five minute stretches in the cold plunge pool – a place I have yet to go in more than my ankles! She’s much more hard core than I am, clearly.
Mid-month, a group of us Seattleites made our way to San Francisco to celebrate Brian and Morgan’s wedding at the Legion of Honor. We had a fantastic weekend filled with great food and company. It was wonderful to see these two beautiful people get hitched and so special to be part of that weekend with them.
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Brandon and I started our monthly “Surprise Date Nights” this month – he went first. We’re rotating each month who surprises the other for a date night. No pressure, the date can be WOW or just dinner, but it hast to be a surprise. He kicked these nights off with an awesome choice: Mimosas with Mama at The Unicorn. Part comedy, part drag routines, part recreation of a movie musical in half an hour. If you like drag, GO. Mamma Mia is their current movie musical (through the end of February). We laughed so much. We went to Grim’s afterwards, who sadly took their french dip off the menu – doubtful I’ll be back even though the food was still good. That was my main reason for going there! I still laugh thinking about the Mimosas with Mama show and do sometimes wish that I could be a drag queen. Thanks for the Surprise Date Night idea, Devin and Lindsey!
We ended the month by seeing Cirque du Soleil’s newest show “Kurios” (which is amazing – review coming soon) and celebrating our friends Rusty and Ryan at their 20s theme birthday party at the Rendezvous in Belltown (the perfect “juice joint” location). Turns out that making up fake 20s slang is a fun party game (“go tend to the garden”). “Bank’s Closed” is my favorite real-20s expression (though a reason for using it doesn’t come up much).
Other highlights:
Mexican food and margaritas with Somer
Catching up with my birth-mom Loa at happy hour
Kathryn and I treated our inner-past-selves to a fun night seeing “Dirty Dancing” at The Paramount.
Chatting with old friends and making new ones at Tom and Leah’s birthday party
Painting pottery with Levy and his girlfriend Jessica
Helping Alida & Will pack up for their move (can’t wait to see how they’ve settled in to their new place).
Puzzle and Rummikub night with Mom and Dad
Opening our 2014 Joy Jar and date night at Zhu Dang
Juvi coming over for game night
Bringing on new client: Capitol Cider!
Books I read:
The Willpower Instinct
Garden Spells
Dark Spaces
Orphan Train
Movies & shows I enjoyed:
Into the Woods
Downton Abbey Season 5
Orphan Black
Alive Inside
The Taste
The One I Love

Looking back at 2014

Expressing gratitude on a daily basis has been a big theme for me this year. Looking back on all that’s happened, it’s clear I have a lot to be grateful for. I am most thankful for my incredibly supportive family and friends and the wonderful man I get to spend my life and everyday with. Many thanks to everyone who has been a part of my life this year!

Brandon and I rang in the new year at a unique apartment party (three friends who live in the same building each opened up their homes) surrounded by many close friends, including Molly & Ryan S who were in town visiting from New York! A few days later, we celebrated my oldest niece’s 11th birthday with a trip to the ice skating rink with the family.

Silly pose with silly friends

Silly pose with silly friends

In February, I celebrated my 34th birthday with a low key pajama party with a few friends. This year I definitely became more in touch with my introverted side and enjoying smaller group settings than in previous years.

In March, Brandon, Paul and Erin and I went to Napa to visit Morgan and Brian (who live in SF) for a relaxing weekend of wine tasting. It was so great to catch up with friends, eat delicious food and taste some remarkable wines in such a beautiful part of our country. We had the most fun in wineries in Sonoma – definitely want to go back.

With Brandon, Morgan, Brian, Erin and Paul in Napa

With Brandon, Morgan, Brian, Erin and Paul in Napa

Later that month, I took the bus to Portland to visit my sweetheart of a friend Billie P who was finishing up her Masters program. We got to visit some of my favorite used clothing shops and eat at some awesome Andy Ricker restaurants with Heather and Andrew.
Two muppets in Portland

Two muppets in Portland

In April, Brandon and I took our first overseas vacation together to visit Molly F in Spain! We had an incredible two weeks with Molly and Julio. First stop was Madrid, then we had a perfect beach vacation in Nerja and a few days at the end of the trip in Granada. So much food and wine!
The coast in Nerja, Spain

The coast in Nerja, Spain

In Granada, Spain with the Alhambra behind us

In Granada, Spain with the Alhambra behind us

In June, I headed to Eastern Washington to meet up with Molly S (visiting from NY) and her sister Meg. More wine tasting and a little horseback riding!

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In July we went to “Summer Camp” with a gaggle of friends and made many new ones. Go Team Red!
Summer Camp!

Summer Camp!

Later that month, Brandon flew his Mom, Gerry, out from Philly to visit us. We were happy to have such a remarkably warm summer and I took advantage of hitting Madison Park beach with a few friends quite a bit. Tom and Jill took us tubing down Cedar river and we went back again with our moms while Gerry was in town.
In August, Erin  and I hosted Alida’s bachelorette party, which was filled with laughs. Molly F came to stay with us for a bit while she was in town for a few weeks before she went back to Spain for another year of teaching english. At the end of the month, Brandon and I went to Burning Man for my 6th, his 7th, year and camped with fabulous friends.
Watching the Man burn

Watching the Man burn

In September, Brandon and I were in Alida and Will’s wedding party – one of the most fun days of the year! It was a wonderful ceremony – a perfect blend of sincerity and hilarity.
Alida and Will and their wedding party

Alida and Will and their wedding party

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A day full of laughter and smiles

Later that month, Erin and Justin came to visit from the midwest and I got to introduce them to some of my favorite restaurants! We celebrated Brandon’s 37th birthday with a rooftop party on the last nice day of the summer, complete with a screening of Never Ending Story and sleepover on the roof. Brandon and I hopped on a plane to Florida at the end of the month, to spend a week of DisneyWorld and Universal Studios fun to celebrate his mom’s birthday with her and some of her gal friends and cousins.
Disneyworld!

Disneyworld!

Brandon and his wonderful mom

Brandon and his wonderful mom

In October, I achieved a dream of going to Disneyland with my nieces. My brother and sister in law and my parents also joined me and Brandon on this truly magical trip. Memories from those days are such a treasure!
The niece's first trip to Disneyland

The niece’s first trip to Disneyland

My youngest niece celebrated her 8th birthday in October (delightfully choosing a “EAT COBB – Cobb Salad party” as her friend party theme).
Brandon and I ended our very-Disney-fall by dressing up as Disney characters with many friends for Halloween. Brandon and I celebrated out 7th year together as Princess Jasmine and Abu from Disney’s Aladdin.
In November, Kathryn and I were judges for the Seattle International Comedy Competition and had a hilarious evening, as always. For thanksgiving, Brandon and my mom and dad reconnected with some of my cousins who I haven’t seen in years. It was great to visit with them after so long.
In December, Brian flew up to visit for a co-ed bachelor party weekend. We celebrated with good food, Santarchy, and putting down some tracks in a recording studio.
"He sees you when you're sleeping..."

“He sees you when you’re sleeping…”

Laying down a few songs at  a recording studio

Laying down a few songs at a recording studio

For Christmas, Brandon and I flew back east to visit his family in Philly and Jersey and got to meet his 8 month old twin cousins for the first time.
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Business is great. I love running my own company and working with my fantastic clients and account managers. I celebrated 5 years (4 years full time) this year – time flies!
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Other highlights from the year include: reading more (28 books this year!) burner costume parties, celebrating friends’ birthdays, girls nights, pj parties, dinner parties with planned topics, staycations at great Seattle area hotels, attending fun shows including The Atomic Bombshells, Teatro Zinzanni, Unexpected Productions and Beauty and the Beast (with the nieces just before our Disney trip), game nights, discovering the joy that is a sherpa blanket, bootie mashups, and house parties.
What I want to do more of in 2015: Take more photos (and learn how to take better photos on my iphone). Take more alone time to reflect, relax and grow. Spend more time with close friends in smaller groups or one on one. Continue to travel. Eat less, workout more (so cliche). Find new passions. Volunteer. Write more. Enjoy more game nights. Start working on a (for-secret-for-now) personal project. Continue to discover great books, travel and express gratitude every day.

STAYCATION – Seattle Refined

Get outdoors! Here in the Northwest, we're able to create staycations on a sandy beach or beautiful mountain trails. Whether you staycation in a tent or cabin, getting outdoors helps you reconnect with nature and your loved ones! (Image: Ashley Breckel)

Get outdoors! Here in the Northwest, we’re able to create staycations on a sandy beach or beautiful mountain trails. Whether you staycation in a tent or cabin, getting outdoors helps you reconnect with nature and your loved ones! (Image: Ashley Breckel)

I’m absolutely THRILLED to be a featured writer in Seattle Refined, a new blog created by the team at KOMO 4!

I’ll be creating a 8 part series (with hopefully more to follow!) on Staycations in the Greater Seattle area. You can check out my first post, “10 Reasons to Take a Staycation” – then follow along as I introduce readers to fun staycations around the area and ways to “staycate” from your own home!

What are your favorite places to visit during a staycation?