Monday, November 20

2016 in Review

Like in 2015, 2016 saw large stretches of time without a post. I started this post about a year ago, but blanked on what happened in December, which is why it's only going up now. I'll... start on 2017 Year in Review right now and maybe it'll go up before July 2018!

But honestly, rereading this post makes me incredibly thankful for the people I have in my life and proud that I seek out adventures that make me happy in between work and day to day drudgery. 

January Atlanta Conference
I wasn't very busy with work in January and so I had the opportunity to go to a conference in Atlanta. While the conference itself was meh, I met and got along with one of my table mates. We found ourselves chatting the entire time and spent all of our free time together as well. I haven't connected with her in a very long time... I should! 

February Chinese New Year 
Part of what I thought I did really well last year was to explore Seattle and the nature around it. As February was the CNY, my SO and I went to the International District to join in on the festivities. This trip cemented the International District (ID) as one of my favorite places to go for these activities. It's an unassuming place most of the time, but these festivals can draw out large crowds!

March Rattlesnake Ridge and Sushi Obsession
Continuing on the exploration, I went and climbed Rattlesnake Ridge. This was a very hard hike for me due to the elevation and I thought of giving up several times. But I didn't! The view at the end was very rewarding and I found my favorite sushi place after the hike! Trapper's Sushi is a very Americanized sushi joint, but the fish quality was fresh and they had an "all you can eat" menu... so what's not to love? The most special part is that this chain is only outside the Seattle city limits so it's a roadtrip treat. 

April Ballard Locks
Spring in Seattle was new to me, so I went out on a sunny day to explore the Ballard Locks. The Locks were a very interesting feat of engineering and the Ballard is just so pretty! I got to see some gorgeous flowers and walk around the neighborhood. 

May AZ Graduation and Antelope Canyon
During last May, my little brother graduated high school. I went back home to celebrate his graduation and spend some time with my parents. We ended up visiting Antelope Canyon. The pictures of this place always look shopped, but it's incredible to see this in real life. The town we were in didn't have cell reception, so I really got to spend some family time. 

June - Planner Love
Food I'll spend money on quickly. Travel experiences I know will be worthwhile. But overpriced physical items I mull over. This is why getting a planner was such a big deal for me. After coveting the planner from Kikki K from a year or so, I finally bit the bullet and purchased my baby!  

July Family Visit + Leavenworth
During July, my family visited and I loved showing them around the city. Also, I went to Leavenworth and went tubing for the first time in my life. Roadtripping is always fun and a mixup in the daily routine is always appreciated. 

August Alaska Cruise
Vacation time! After a summer of working hard, I went on a Cruise with my friend. I had been on a cruise in my teens with my family, but going with my friend was another experience all together. We ate such amazing food on the cruise and just generally played around. When just the two of us explored the cruise ship, I felt like a kid again, getting into places I shouldn't. 

September China Trip
I planned my big trips a bit close together this year. During September, I went to China. This was my first time visiting China by myself and my first time in a long time going in the fall. I had a great time and also experienced a little bit of the scary pollution there!

October - Crescent Lake
Before it got too late in the year, and too cold, I needed one more trip to explore the natural NorthWest. The Lake was already freezing, but I still enjoyed the fall leaves and beautiful views. I have been dying to go back! 

November Spontaneous Friendsgiving
During November, I was content to do nothing but chill out at home -- even during Thanksgiving. Last year, my SO and I cooked a Blue Apron for Thanksgiving and that gave us quite a little feast. This year, I was spontaneously invited to a Friendsgiving. I made sangria and a kale and apple salad. It was great to see old friends and hang out with people!

December - Home Again
I visited Phoenix again during December. it was a frozen month, but the brief stint back home made it bearable. We didn't do too much for the birthdays and holidays other than stay at home with friends and family. 

Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Enjoy the company, even if it is just you. 

Monday, November 13

Lolli and Pops in Lynnwood

I must have separation anxiety or something because since I've moved here, I generally don't like going to the mall by myself. That's how this day started out special -- I was going to the mall with my partner. This was a rare occasion.

After a bit of negotiating on WHY we were really there and exactly HOW many more stores I could go to, we ended up at a busy candy shop. The employees were dressed up like old timey soda shop employees. Despite the long lines, grabby kids and lingering adults (me) they had an awesome attitude. One even did a little dance for my snapchat! (Time for the plug: follow me on Snapchat at seven-percent.) 

The candies in this shop were really something else. Overall, it was relatively high end and really specialized in gorgeous packaging. Just look at these chocolate bars ... Cookies and Cream? Strawberry Champagne? YUM.

They were pricey but absolutely worth it, especially if you were picking up a gift. I purchased (for myself) some crispy cake bundles (rice crispy cakes). While these were a little dry, I still loved the store and over all experience. 

Do you have a favorite "Candy Shop" in your area? I'd love to know!

Monday, September 25

Brunch at Skillet Diner

I love brunch. It's such a trope for girls to gather in gaggles on the weekend for a meal, but there is something I love about it. 

Perhaps it's that I love drinking in the morning (whereas at night it just leaves me with an upset stomach). 

Or perhaps it's that I love brunch drinks such as mimosas and Bloody Marys. 

Speaking of bloody marys, there used to be a time where I could not stand tomato juice. But now I really crave that savory beverage. Skillet Diner is a restaurant known for their Bloody Mary. This was savory with a nice spicy kick to it! Their Bloody Mary has been on many of Seattle's Top 10 Bloody Mary lists! 

The other item I ordered was also a menu staple -- the Serious Toast. This was a moist and fluffy piece of toast about 4 inches high topped with jam, ham, and an egg. It sounds like a strange combination, but trust me when I say it works! It was sweet (but not too sweet) and savory. The sunny side up egg was cooked just the right way to soak into the bread. It is one of the more unique breakfast foods I have had and so delicious.

While this post is about Brunch, it's probably worthwhile to mention that Brunch isn't the only thing they do. They have a great kale salad and chicken sandwich. Skillet has several locations and it's a worthwhile stopover if you're ever in Downtown Seattle, or Capital Hill or Ballard. 

Monday, August 21

Fitbit Fever

Ahhh. Owning the Fitbit. How many years has it been since these gadgets first came out?

Like most things, I'm a little late to the trend, but I've had 3 fitbits for almost 2 years now and I am absolutely loving it. 

They say that people who get devices like this usually let go of them within 6 months. I've have seen many friends do this, but I think I found a device that I truly love as I have been wearing mine for almost 2 years. 

Here's what I like and what I find useful: 

1. Sleep Tracking 

For a few months last year, I used a sleep tracking app. While the app was great, what I didn't like about it was having to place my phone on my bed. It's quite difficult to do that while sharing a bed! Overall, the Fitbit does a better job than any apps I have seen. Specifically, when I take naps on the weekends, the Fitbit captures that! I can monitor my sleep without having to remember or enter in sleep and wake times. The Fitbit also takes into account those hours when you lay in bed looking at your devices... this is my worst habit! I'll stay up for hours reading blogs after I "go to bed". 

2. Step Counting 

Step counting may be just a gimmick, but I think it's one that's working. I live on the second floor, and for the first 3 months, I've always taken the elevator. That's just what I do, you know? No matter what the floor. But with this Fitbit, I'll take extra steps and climb more floors. I'm much more willing to park a little bit further or walk a few more blocks downtown instead of wait for a time when I have my car. 

3. Competition with Friends

This is the feature that I have been using the most often. Basically, this allows you to have a 1 day, work week, or weekend competition with your friends. The people at my office have been doing a work week competition for a few weeks now... and it's a blast. It makes me go to the gym or at least walk around a bit more on days when I am perfectly content to veg out on the couch.

Do you use a fitbit? Let's connect! 
Leave a comment below if you're interested and I'll get in contact! 

Wednesday, August 2

Leadership Lessons from Captain Picard: The Emissary

I've recently been watching a lot of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Some episodes are better than others, but over all, it is a great show. As I watching, I have noticed that there are a ton of really insightful leadership lessons we can all learn. I'm going to gather them up as I see them in a little series called Leadership Lessons from Capital Picard. You don't need to know a lot about Star Trek to understand these situations... other than the fact that Picard is the boss and everyone else works for him! Just imagine it's a regular old office. 
picture unrelated via

The Set Up 

In episode The Emissary, Lt. Worf (pictured above) meets a flame from the past and Captain Picard assigns them to work together. Worf is uncomfortable with this idea and asks the Captain to assign someone else. 

The Captain asks "Do you have a personal reason for asking for the reassignment?" Worf says "Yes." He obviously does. 

The Captain then pauses and reframes the question. "Do you have a professional reason for asking for the reassignment?" Worf thinks about this statement and responds, "No. I withdraw my request for reassignment." 

The Lesson 

We all have personal differences with the people we work with. Not all of it will be quite as dramatic as a past flame, but the show urges us to consider only professional differences in a professional setting. 

My Addendum 

Those who think differently than you (and have different backgrounds) are sometimes the ones you learn the most from! There are some people you'll immediately click with and others that just clash with your working style, but if the setting is professional, personal objections should not matter.

Monday, June 19

Summer Plans

Though I've been working for several years now, I can't stop thinking in terms of summer plans. Perhaps it's because so many of my peers are still in school (somehow) or have gone back to get their graduate degrees (so glad I'm done!)... or even that we still have so many interns and new staff start in the summer. 

It's probably all of those. Either way, this summer, I plan on relaxing. I plan on travelling. I plan on focusing on myself and what makes me happy. 

I never thought that I would look forward to summer, but I have a few trips to Arizona planned this summer. There's something about the blazing oppressive heat of Arizona that makes you want to sweat it all out and start anew. And in Seattle? Well, the the long days, blue sky and sunshine after a long dark winter just makes me want to spend all day by the beach. 

I plan on moving this summer to West Seattle. I'm not sure where yet, but I think if it as an amazing, idyllic town. I'm sure I have a lot to learn. A few vacations, a move... and I'm even thinking about adopting a dog later this year. Only half the year has gone by and I think the second half of 2017 will be much more exciting than the first half. 

Monday, May 1

More Movie Reviews!

I love movies, and I love doing movie reviews! Movies represent a fun escape to me, something to watch in the background or a nice night in, cuddling with a giant bowl of popcorn. For my other movie reviews, please click here
Guardians of the Galaxy - This movie had a ton of hype and I agree with it, 110%. The film was hilarious, witty, fun and emotional. Basically everything a good superhero movie should be. I loved the establishment of this unlikely team and hope to see more of them. The film definitely brought Chris Pratt into my bubble as an awesome actor. The sequel to this film is coming out this summer and I'm looking forward to that as well! 5/5 

Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters - Sure, the premise of it is very "high school" and childlike, but for those of us who like that type of movie, this was great! A silly adventure story with kids. It was actually very reminiscent of Harry Potter. 3/5 

Frozen - This seems like America's new favorite movie. With a hit song, Let It Go, it seems like we can't let go of this film at all. I really liked it. I loved the song, but it's not my favorite Disney film. If you're one of those individuals holding out on watching it just so you can say that you haven't seen it... stop. If you like movies like this, go watch it. You don't have to love it! 3.5/5 

Captain America: Winter Soldier - I really enjoyed this film! It was leaps and bounds above the previous Captain America film in quality (reviewed here). It's actions were bold and changed the landscape for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If you haven't seen the television show Marvel's Agents of Shield, I highly recommend it. 4/5 

The Amazing Spiderman 2 - Guys, it's no surprise that I just really like Andrew Garfield. I have to admit that despite the inclusion of Mr Garfield and his charming costar Emma Stone, this movie is just OK. I felt like there was less heart in this film, still, it makes me sad that the series is once again getting rebooted. 

Maleficient - This was a very cute movie. I definitely loved Angelina Jolie's Maleficient. It's just a fun family film. 

22 Jump Street - I'm not sure how these movies continue to be awesome. Despite this being a sequel, I really loved this film. It was incredibly self aware and made fun of it as a sequel. The meta type humor really appeals to me so I found the film laugh out loud funny. I'd definitely watch it again. 3/5

A Million Ways to Die in the West - I don't watch Family Guy, but apparently the humor in this movie is classic Seth McFarlane. If you like that type of movie, Blazing Saddles, or western parodies, I think you'll like this movie. If it's not your brand of humor, don't expect anything different. 2/5 

How To Train Your Dragon 2 - This movie definitely fell to the sequel downfall. The relationship between Hiccup and Toothless was still cute, but by going bigger and better and including giant dragons, it lost touch with its humble beginnings. Still an enjoyable movie. 

American Hustle - The only Oscar nominated film that I've seen, I think. My opinion? Very average. It was a decent movie, but it definitely made firm my preference of summer blockbusters over Oscar nominations. This was the first film that I saw Jennifer Lawrence in, and I can absolutely see why she's popular. I absolutely loved her character in this movie. 2/5 

The Lego Movie - Confession: I only watched half if this movie. It was interesting, catchy and unique but ultimately, it wasn't captivating. I found my attention drifting in and out of it. Everything is Awesome is a great song though. Listen to it on repeat. ?/5 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle - Very... interesting. This movie was composed of action scenes held together by the loosest thread of a plot. The turtles were cool as always, but not as funny as I remember. Megan Fox as April O'Neil was an interesting casting choice. I really wanted to like the slightly feminist portrayal but the acting was a tad flat. 2/5

Monday, April 10

The Perfect Date

Have you seen Miss Congeniality? Then you've probably seen this image floating around. 

 I'd like to know, where do you live... and what is your ideal date?

When I was in Phoenix, Arizona... and my idea date was December 13th. When I was in school, I'd get out at around that time. The weather is perfect. It's when we get to wear boots and coats and drink warm tomato soup with grilled cheese because it's cold outside. It's so close to Christmas time and there's so much to look forward to. I know a ton of December birthdays, not to mention all your friends and family returning home. 

On the other hand, this year in Seattle, I can't wait for a warm spring day. 

Monday, March 20

Snapshot of Snapchat

Snapchat makes me feel like an old man. Not even an old woman, but an old man. I didn't get Snapchat for the longest time and thought it was only for dirty pictures... then of course, I was confused as to why so many "normal" people had Snapchat. 

Now that I have it though, I think it's so much fun! Since the pictures don't last, I'm much less concerned about quality than on something like Twitter or Instagram. Snapchat a great tool to informally keep in touch with people and inform them of what you're doing. Since people can choose to look at your story, it's unlike a facebook post where it's sharing with hundreds of people against their will. 
Do you use Snapchat? You can find me under seven-percent

Don't use Snapchat? Find me on Twitter with seven_percent.

Monday, February 27

My Life is Average Monday: Catch 22 of Dating

unrelated photo
If you're not familiar, Catch 22 is an American novel about soldiers trying to escape military service. In order to leave the army, these soldiers had to write a logical, well reasoned essay to claim they were insane and therefore unfit for service. After reviewing the essay army superiors would obviously claim that anyone who had written such an argument could not be insane. Others, who were actually mentally unwell, could not write this essay and remained in the military as well. Therefore, either way, soldiers had to remain in service. This no-win scenario is now referred to as a Catch 22. 

But what is the Catch 22 of dating? Well, a desirable date is someone who is fun, outgoing, and has an active social life. But someone who is looking for a significant other may be lonely... which is why they are looking for someone. Especially after a break up, it can be impossible to pull yourself out of a funk and go out and have fun again. But the dating pool doesn't exactly reward these individuals. Without interesting friends and hobbies, it's hard make conversation!

Monday, February 6

2017 Resolutions

For my resolutions this year, I decided to separate it out into different categories. My intention in doing this was to make sure that I was keeping a balanced life and progressing on all of these areas. I created these resolutions after thinking about my last year's resolutions

For the record, this picture doesn't relate to this post at all. 
But just look at how happy I am with this giant dog. 

1. Career - Set work/life balance. 

I am overall, pretty satisfied with work. However, one big complaint is that work takes so much time and I feel like I don't have the time to pursue passions outside of work. So this year, I aim to set a balance with work. I want to be able to leave work at work and not stress about it outside. I want to be able to leave work at a set time, rather than when I physically can't work anymore. My goal is to work more when I'm at work instead of goofing off and learn to be more efficient with my time. 

2. Physical - Be mindful about health

This is a refresh of my goals from last year, though I'm going to focus more on diet and nutrition than exercise. I'd like to cut out more dairy - especially those Starbucks drinks! I'd also like to substitute more veggies for pasta and rice. Finally, I have plans to do a few "eat at home" challenges to encourage me to bring more food to work. I've already done one of them this week and I'm already noticing how it's helping me eat just a bit less. 

3. Creative - Keep chasing beauty.  

Over the last year, I've picked up a few hobbies: calligraphy and watercoloring. I was inspired by how popular these hobbies have gotten in the blogging realm. I'm not good by any means, professional or amateur, but they bring me happiness. And if it's relaxing and makes me happy, I'll pursue it!

4. Travel - Plan it, and it will happen. 

Oh, where in the world do I want to go this year? There are a few trips that I know I want to take. Portland, for one. And I want to fly to visit a friend. That's for sure. Otherwise, my plans are hazier. I'd like to do an international trip to an small island or to Australia, but that might be in the books for 2018 rather than this year. 

5. Mental - Pursue knowledge. 

I'm a few years out of school now and I feel like to a certain extent I've stopped learning. Of course, through out the course of life, I'm learning a lot of life lessons, and I learn a lot at work, but it's not quite the same as in school. This year, I want to do something to encourage my learning and professional development. There are plenty of courses to take online and maybe I'll attend a lecture or two!

6. Relational - Don't be a loner. 

Let me be honest here. I have no friends. I'm kinda okay with that, but I feel like in the long run, I should make some friends because that's healthy and stuff. So, I started a list in my bullet journal to do one social activity a week. I'm 0/4 in January so far, but you know, it's all about improvement!

Monday, January 9

Chicago Days 3 & 4

I started recapping my Chicago trip so long ago. See parts 1 and 2 here.  But obviously, I have to finish!

Saturday - 11/8/14 - Brunch and museums!

On Saturday morning, I had the best pancake I'd never had. Ever. And probably will ever have. 

Let's start from the beginning. The goal on Saturday was to explore the Museum of Science and Industry. This came very highly recommended and I love museums, so I thought to give it a try! I rode out on the L like I had the day before to get to another line to reach the museum. After the 30 minute ride on the L, I got hungry, so I jumped off and looked for a nearby breakfast location. A quick yelp search brought me to The Bongo Room. When I got there, I knew I had found the right place as the wait was about 40 minutes long. After being seated, I split some red velvet pancakes and a breakfast burrito with my dining partner. With the red velvet and the glaze, I thought for sure that the pancakes were going to be too sweet, but to my surprise, they weren't. They were dense and subtly flavored. The breakfast burrito was good... but not life changing. 

By the time breakfast was done, it was around 1:30 in the afternoon. Instead of bothering with the train, I hitched an Uber ride to the museum. I only spent a few hours in the Museum. It was full of well.... science. There were exhibits about storms and a miniature Seattle with a train running through it. While I enjoyed the Submarine Exhibit, I'm not sure I could ever submerge in a submarine! I think I would be too scared. Another favorite exhibit was "Yesterday's Main Street" where we got to see an American street in the early 1900s. 

After spending some time there, I went to UChicago. Oh! How I wish I had gotten accepted there back in the day. Visiting probably would have made me try harder on my application. I loved the small old homes, bookstores and churches. The diners really made me wish I had lived there. I stepped in a few of the local bookstores as the sun set outside. In all honesty, I was looking forward to meeting Dan Pashman, who was promoting his book, the Sporkful (titled after a podcast of the same name), but a few misteps and spending too long at the museum delayed me. Still though, walking around the campus was wonderful. 

Dinner that night was at Goose Island Brewery. If you're a casual drinker with an awareness of beer brands, you've heard of this brand. While the food was nothing to write home about, the beers were great! I really enjoyed some of the beers! If I remember correctly, Sofie was my favorite. I think I'm a fan of sweet and sour tastes. 

Sunday - 11/9/15 - Chicago Field Museum

Sunday was my last day, and mostly spent in the Chicago Field Museum. This was one of my most favorite places. The biggest attraction for me was seeing the Ghost and the Darkness, two man eating lions from the Tsavo region in Africa. 

There were plenty of other awesome sights in the museum though. There was an exhibit dedicated to the religion of voodoo in Haiti, a hall of diamonds and rare gems, and a rich history of tribes native to the northwest US. It was also home to the largest T-Rex fossil. 

A quick lunch wrapped up this fun trip. A fancy hot pocket and stuffed mushroom, featured below. 

Monday, January 2

New Year Resolution Reflection

Now that it is 2017, I wanted to reflect on some of the goals I set out in 2016. Just comes along with loving the planner community and the bullet journals!

1. Stop worrying about work for the next 6 months. Long story short, I got on a project that is long, unique and outside of the office. For the past few months, I've been extremely worried about about the project. 

Goal Achieved? Mostly. 

My reckless optimism was unwarranted. And it got a hell of a lot worse before it got better. The worst bits had be crying in my car everyday after work. The best bits gave me so much perspective. 2015 was such a great year for my career. It seemed like I found success in everything I did. 2016 was quite different but I'm still at the same job, so it can't be that bad! 

 2. Keep Active. I'm not going to set a goal of losing a certain amount of weight, but I do want to keep active and moving.

Goal Achieved? Not really. 

I didn't even go to the boxing gym I signed up for 12 times in this past year. I have found success in wearing a fitbit and keeping my updated with my stats and my steps, for most weeks. I'll probably reformulate this goal somewhat for the new year. Typical... This was when I did step outside for once to Deception Point.

 3. Write letters to friends. 

Goal Achieved? Barely. 

So, yes. I have created several letters to be sent to friends. I have purchased water colors and practiced brush script (which still looks awful compared to others). I have not actually sent out a single letter. But that's what the new year is for, right?

 4. Cook! 

Goal Achieved? Indirectly. 

So, I have adequately developed my cooking skills in this past year. I have tackled cake making, sangria mixing, and various other dishes. But, my SO, has improved by leaps and bounds. He's gone from making very ... meaty steak to making Thai food, Korean food and improving in American, Mexican and Italian. It may not be all my skill and effort... but I'd call this one a win. Also, I made an entire dungeness crab! 

 5. Travel out of the country. 

Goal Achieved? Yep. 

I had already booked the tickets for my China trip at the time i wrote this last year, but I think the year's been pretty solid in terms of travelling. 

In this next year, I definitely have goals that I'll have to reformulate and try for again, but all things considering, not terrible!