I'd like to thank...

A while ago Stephany, a good blog friend, nominated me for the Liebster Award. First of all, how sweet! And second of all, she basically wrote a post for me by giving me questions to answer.

(Funnily enough though, this post has taken me a couple days to put together. Blame it on the ADD I don't have.)

The Rules:
1. Each person posts 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions from the person that gave them the award.
3. Write 11 questions for people you nominate.
4. Choose your 11 nominees and tell them they've been nominated. 
5. You can't choose the person who gave the award to you.

11 things about me:
1. I'm the oldest of three kids, which means I usually know the best way to do something. I like to think I'm a little less "bossy" now, but just today someone told me they could tell I was an oldest.

2. Every Christmas I get beef jerky from my parents. It started years ago, like 10 years, and I was crushed the year they didn't do it.

3. I rarely cry during movies, but when I do it's usually because of an animal. I don't know what else to say about this.

4. This past year I was in 18 (!) states. And saw them all by car.

5. I hate clutter, including on my computer desktop. People who have files and icons all over drive me crazy. There are folders for that!

6. I hate having different foods touch on my plate. And I always eat dishes in order of least favorite to most favorite. Tell me I'm not alone.

7. I am a bit OCD when it comes to organizing my stuff. My closet is arranged by clothing type and color. I have to have books in alphabetical order. And I am pretty anal about how to load the dishwasher.

8. I do not have a good memory. My sister remembers much more about childhood than me, and she was three and a half years younger. I have vague memories of a few things, but I think that's partially because of looking at pictures. No joke.
9. Every couple years I take up knitting, which mostly means I make a couple scarves and buy yarn to make many more. So if you need yarn, I'm your gal. I'm not knitting at all right now and haven't in over a year.

10. I love to lift weights. It's seriously my favorite way to workout. I don't want to talk about how long it's been since the last time I was at a gym.

11. I vacillate between wanting to someday live on a piece of land big enough for a pack of dogs, a garden and room to breathe, and the idea of living near a city where there's lots to do and I necessarily need a car. Hopefully that means I'll be content regardless.

11 Questions from Stephany: 
1. If you could travel to any country in Europe and spend a month living there with no cost...what country would you choose?
This is so hard for me, but I would probably choose Spain. I studied Spanish for 5 years and have always wanted to visit. Barcelona has always been high on my list of cities to see and I'd love explore all over: Seville, Madrid, Bilbao and more. And maybe I'd squeeze a trip into Italy or Portugal as well. A couple other countries I'd love to see: Norway (especially if money wasn't an issue), Greece, and Switzerland. And a billion others.

2. What do you love most about yourself?
My sense of humor and ability to see the positive. I think the two really go hand-in-hand. 

3. What did you do for your last birthday?
I had an awesome birthday celebration opening ceremonies viewing party with my family. We had a flag in the living room and lit torches on the back deck. It was legit. (Also, I'm a crazy partier. Obviously.)

4. Who has been the most influential person in your life thus far?
Oh gosh. Probably my parents (that's two people if you're counting) or Grampie. For serious. That said, I've been blessed with a lot of really amazing people in my life, so if I haven't mentioned your name and you're reading this, know you're important to me too!

5. What's your favorite food to snack on?
The better question is "what isn't your favorite food to snack on?" (Hot dogs if you're wondering.) I love chips and salsa as a snack. Or fresh popped popcorn with melted butter. Edamame is delicious. Mandarin oranges. Cookies. And much, much more.

6. What's your biggest pet peeve?
I don't know if this is my biggest pet peeve. But I hate when someone asks me a question because they want to answer it themselves, and have no interest in what you're saying. Just tell me whatever you want to already.

7. What's the next step for you career-wise?
Finding a job. Ha. I just finished grad school in December, as you all probably know, and I'm busy in the job hunt while I work temporarily on the web team at a local TV station. Lots of possibilities out there, it's just a matter of time.

8. Recommend a blog to me! Whose blog should I be reading and why?
My list of blogs that I read is long and incredibly varied. I'll share a few favorites in a couple different areas.
Kendi Everyday has been my favorite fashion blog for a long while, even if I could never have and don't really want her exact style.
- I love Elle Sees's blog for tips and dupes on everything beauty.
Krystal finds the cutest stuff on all the Internet, no exaggeration.
- TJ at His Little Lady is a new(er) favorite that happens to live close to where I do and takes lovely pictures.
My mom's blog pretty much serves as my daily devotional.
Joy the Baker is one of my favorite food blogs. I like her balance of healthy and not, and her spunk.

9. What's the scariest thing you've done in your life?
I haven't done too much crazy stuff. Going back to grad school was a pretty big risk, especially financially. But I think it's definitely going to pay off.

10. In your opinion, what celebrity is overrated?
Oh gosh, honestly I don't know. It would be much easier to tell you some of my favorites. Um, I'm coming up blank on this one. What do you all think?

11. If you could have a role in any show on TV currently, what show would it be and why?
Either something in a fun location like Hawaii 5-O, because who doesn't want to live in Hawaii, or Criminal Minds because I love 'em all.

11 questions for you:
1. You wake up on Saturday with nothing to do. What's one thing you would do with your free time?
2. If you had to choose one, what clothing store would you shop in for the rest of you life?
3. You have to move somewhere completely different, but it can be anywhere you want. Where do you go?
4. What's your favorite word? Why?
5. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
6. What's your favorite color? What color do you have the most of in your wardrobe?
7. What celebrity would play you in a movie?
8. Share three places you've always dreamed of living.
9. What is your favorite game? (Anything really...board game, video game, card game, etc.)
10. What is your preferred method of transport when traveling (a.k.a. not day-to-day)?
11. I can't think anymore. Have a question for me?

It seriously took me a week and a half of working on this post to get to this point. Which is why I've decided to not actually tag 11 people. I'd love for you to answer my questions, share random things about yourself, and just consider yourself nominated as one of my favorite people. Answer in the comments or do your own blog post and share. I'd love to read it!


Awkward and Awesome: Two Weeks Worth

This week you're actually getting two weeks worth of my highs and lows. I tried to parse them down to the very best, for your entertaining pleasure and so my lists don't stretch from here to eternity.

I'm curled up in my attic space at my aunt and uncles, excited for a morning when I don't have to set an alarm. Life has been good. Busy, exciting, nervewracking, but good.

Here are some of the best and worst moments.

- The amount of coffee I've been consuming. Morning, noon, and night. Early mornings and free coffee at work combined with multiple meet-ups for coffee make for a lot of intake.
- Monday last week. I didn't wake up to my alarm and that always just stresses me out.
- Recent eating habits. On my early work mornings I often don't give myself time for breakfast, and then I get to noon and think "I only have to make it a few more hours." One day I had a few handfuls of M&Ms and coffee. That's not good.
- Getting lost in the middle-of-nowhere WA. I had to drive an extra 20 minutes because I missed my turn. Country roads don't present a lot of options (or cell service).
- Not working Monday (mostly awesome), then spending most of Tuesday thinking it was Wednesday.
- My desire to go to bed at 8pm at night. I'm not ready to feel that old.
- Almost all of my stuff is moved, but all that means is it's mounded in another location. And I just keep getting messier in my search for clothes, which except for hanging stuff are still in bags.
- My hairband broke today while at work, and my hair was not at all clean. Luckily I was able to double knot it, so it worked holding my hair back the rest of the day.

- A haircut and gelato last Monday night definitely turned things around. I went to a new stylist and immediately felt at ease when I saw her curly hair. And I was able to make the appointment at the last minute. It was meant to be.
- Every time I talk to my cousin, Sarah, we spend a good chunk of time talking about food, recipes, and chocolate peanut butter milkshakes. Love it!
- Starting to think about traveling again. I mentioned Scotland last week (a girl can dream), but I'm also hoping to make a couple stateside trips in the next six months. I can't seem to stop wanderlusting.
- Plans with friends springing up. I love that I can go from an open week (which I really don't mind) to something five out of five days. I've enjoyed an after-work happy hour and breakfast happy hour the past couple. And then I have a party with my grad school cohort, a late night movie, delicious food and helping a friend car shop, a birthday dinner, brunch and Oscar watching between now and Sunday. Although typing all that out just made me a wee bit tired.
- Days full of sunshine that keep getting longer.
- The first blooms on a tree by work. Spring is coming!
- Free homecooked meals on nights when I'm around. My aunt tried to tell me I didn't need to do the dishes--a request I ignored.

What's been awkward and awesome about your past week?


Feeling grateful

I have a handful of draft posts sitting in my queue, unfinished, waiting for my love and attention. They will get done, eventually, but tonight I think I'm going for stream on unconsciousness writing.

Hence that ridiculously long run-on sentence.

I'm feeling a bit exhausted, but excited for things coming up. There are a lot of fun plans and possibilities to look forward to. And I have a lot to be thankful for even if that's not always easy to remember.

Here are a few things I'm counting as blessings:

  • I never expected to have a job in a TV newsroom. I'm feeling more confident at work, have been asked to stay around a little longer, and I love my coworkers. 
  • Even though moving is a pain and am still not settled, I am so happy to be staying with my great aunt and uncle. Hello, free home cooked dinners! (I earn my keep by washing dishes.)
  • While I feel unsettled, I have built a great community of friends and support here in Seattle. I have almost too much to do. And it makes me happy.
  • I was reminded this weekend of how much I love my family. I've grown up close to my cousins and even as we've become very different adults, we are still able to enjoy and love each other. And turn any question or comment into something ridiculous and a little (or a lot) inappropriate. For example, adding "shirt on or off" when sharing our favorite celebrity crush. Love it!
  • I feel like I haven't been putting as much energy into my blog, but I love the friends I've made and continue to connect with. And thanks to the new followers who've just recently stopped by. Each and every comment means the world to me.
  • Some really delicious meals. I love food, but I often take it for granted. I don't ever go hungry. I have huge variety. And I have people in my life who cook well. This past week has involved a lot of really wonderful meals.
What are you grateful for right now that maybe you've taken for granted?


A wagon ride and lots of family time

I've spent the weekend relaxing and enjoying time with family in Eastern WA. Our President's Day get together has become a bit of a tradition.

This year, my aunt and uncle hosted, since they've come to our side of the state the past couple years.

My uncle is a farmer/rancher and coming to visit provides a great chance to unplug, recharge, and enjoy the outdoors (at least when the weather is nice).

Saturday morning was about as perfect as you can get. Even though my Uncle David and I didn't get in until well after midnight Friday, I still made sure to be up early enough to head down to the river.

My high school friend happens to live in the area now, so she tagged along.

Along the Snake River canyons, my uncle, his brothers, and my cousin have cattle. It's steep and provides really breathtaking views.

I (sort of) helped feed cattle, and I definitely managed to grab a few pictures with my fancy camera.

It was also great to catch up with my friend. We've only seen each other a time or two since we graduated from high school, but she's one of the few people I've stayed in touch with.

There was more to the weekend than just "ranching" for me. I got to see my college's basketball team lose a close one in overtime.

And, because it's my family, we ate a lot of really delicious food. Saturday night featured an appetizer dinner. Everyone picked their favorite to share with the family. There was veggie pizza, stuffed mushroom, spinach artichoke dip, guacamole and pico de gallo, chili cheese dip, and much more. 

Today was a little more laidback, but we still managed to have a lot of fun. My aunt and I made a yummy lasagna for lunch. The cousins took a trip into to town to bowl, but when the bowling alley had a one-hour wait, we settled for a little bar time. Then we ended the evening with a movie.

One of my favorite things about my family is that we have a blast we each other, even though we have very different lives. A good portion of our time was spent answering questions, ridiculous, funny, and just plain interesting questions made our time together that much better (and sometimes a little in appropriate).

Even though I don't leave until tomorrow, I'm still already looking forward to next year.

Did you do anything fun with your weekend?


Where did the time go?

I had a realization late last week that I was almost done house sitting and hadn't figured out where I was staying/living next or gotten my stuff in order.

*Cue freakout*

Luckily a family member had kindly offered a spare room for my use a few days before, so then it was more a matter of asking, "Hey, can I move in next week?"

Now it's Wednesday night, though, and my stuff is no closer to being packed than it was yesterday or the day before.

I'm sure it will be fine. I have a couple tubs, some suitcases, and nothing but time and energy.

Except for that energy part. I worked a full day, had a phone interview, happy hour, and informational interview. I also ate a donut and pizza (twice). And had some beer. Also, I haven't slept well this week.

As you might imagine, I feel like I could pass out in bed right now.

Instead, with so much to do, I've given myself a little down time to read some blogs and write one (because that's relaxing), and then it's time for packing. I have to set out clothes for the next few days, pack for a weekend out of town, and figure out what to do with everything else.

Hopefully in an organized fashion so I know where to find things later.

All this means that complete sentences are not exactly a priority. (See above for an example).

It's okay if you're not following my train of thought at this point, I'm not really either.

I'll get things done, one way or another, though the organized part may fall by the wayside.

So when you're feeling tired but have lots to do, how do recharge to be more productive?


Awkward and Awesome: Weeks and weeks

I haven't gotten around to one of these posts in a while, which is funny because often the only thing I get blogged regularly are my awesome and awkward moments.

I guess that means I've been saving up some really good ones (that's actually a lie though, I can't remember much before Monday).'

Regardless (or irregardless as my brother says to be ridiculous), you get to hear some of the best/worst moments in the past week-ish (a.k.a. only ones I can remember).

- The checker Sunday morning commenting on my grocery purchases (avocados, chips, lightbulbs, and bandaids, if you were wondering. He couldn't quite decide what I had planned for the day.
- Not winning money during the Super Bowl. We played this crazy grid betting game, that was totally by chance. I came close to winning a few times, but never quite did.
- Paying for Starbucks with a $50 bill. I got all fives for change. I'm pretty much a high roller.
- Realizing I'll be done housesitting in less than two weeks and I have to put my stuff somewhere before next weekend. I have places to stay after this, but not all my stuff can travel with me.
- My work email has exploded. I've seriously lost control.
- Having about three of these bullets get so long I may as well do a separate post for each. I'm losing control here.
- My old ladyness. It's 9:25pm and I wish I was asleep.

- A friend and I have been getting together to watch Downton Abbey every week. Not only is the show great (which I've said countless times by now), but it's fun to have an excuse to see each other weekly.
- Yesterday I got to catch up with a friend from school who graduated last June and moved to Scotland for a research fellowship. It was so good to chat over a couple beers. Now I just need to make it there to visit him. (Any excuse to travel!)
- Randomly reconnecting with someone I knew right after high school and getting asked to help out with a project. Oh the possibilities.
- I started using an app to track my sleep habits. Last night my sleep quality hit 99%, the highest I've gotten by far.
- Hulu+. I'm a bit of a TV addict, without cable, so Hulu+ has been wonderful.

Okay, I'm stopping myself there, mostly so I can go to bed already.

What's been awkward or awesome about your week?


Wine tasting for the win

Happy Monday everyone!

I'm hoping to get to bed early tonight. I need to recover from my weekend. Anyone else?

But the weekend was full of fun so it was totally worth it. Food, friends, family, football, and wine tasting!

The wine industry in Washington has really taken off in recent years and a small town outside Seattle has tasting rooms and wineries galore.

Some girl friends and I had casually talked about going for a while, and we finally made it happen on Saturday.

I was in charge of planning our outing (and thanks to some great recommendations from Stevie it turned out perfectly).

We made four stops along the way. My goal was to get a variety without killing us. We wanted to enjoy ourselves, not feel rushed, and enjoy some variety.

One of my favorite stops had a chocolate wine flight. Oh my gosh. I ended up buying a bottle of almond roca cream wine. Basically, it's going to be used like Bailey's. So delicious, but not something I want to drink by the glass full.

We also made sure to eat some delicious food along the way. Flatbread pizza. Cheese and crackers. And lots of air-popped popcorn to go with our nightcap -- Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Next, I hope to do a local brewery tour, because if there's one thing us PNWers are serious about, it's our craft beer.

Have you been wine tasting? What's your favorite wine?


Grampie (a.k.a Doc the Rock)

Today my grandfather turned 89.

He's my only living (blood) grandparent. He's one of my heroes. And he has Alzheimer's.

Grampie has been in a nursing home for over a year now. Last fall he fell and broke his hip. The accident accelerated his dementia and also made it impossible for him to do things for himself.

While this post could very easily just be about Alzheimer's (I could write a book about it--truly), instead I want to talk about Grampie as I want to remember him. The man he was, not the man disease has made him.

(Grampie is in the dark jersey)

I've always looked up to my grandfather. Literally, as he stood at 6'8" (just over 2 meters for you non-Americans) for most of his life. But also figuratively, in more ways than I can count.

For six years of my life, we lived just a mile away from him. He took us on bike rides, popped delicious bowls of popcorn, and paid us in change for salting slugs. My siblings and I spent sick days on his couch watching TV and hours diving for spoons in his hot tub.

Grampie was a storyteller (and man, did he have some good ones), a jokester, and a chairman (I can't tell you how many "presentations" we sat through).

He lived for visits to Staples to photocopy pictures and articles to send to everyone. He loved to take us out to dinner (as long as we cleaned our plates).

Grampie sang in the church choir and almost always fell asleep during the sermon. He grew amazing roses. He loved computers.

(Grampie with me, my dad, and cousin Michelle)

Things are different now and sometimes it's hard to remember who he was. But he still laughs easily. And though Grampie often mistakes ordinary events (like dinner) for more grand occasions (like a banquet), his eyes still light up when he sees me.

And I still look up to him.

Happy birthday Gramps.