Saturday, August 31, 2013

101 In 1001 #40: OULA workout class.

I got the chance to try a free OULA class Thursday night, at Sound Mind and Body Gym in Fremont. I almost didn't go because the weather was crazy - heavy rain and a thunderstorm! - but eventually things cleared up and I made myself get off the couch.

I'm so glad I went, because I had an amazing time. If you don't know what OULA is, it's kind of like Zumba, only the dancing is more pop/hip-hop in nature, and the music is mostly top 40s. Here's a (really cute) example:

I looked just like this... except maybe ever so slightly less coordinated. But all the women in the class were just as sweaty and breathless and goofy as me, so we all just laughed and had an awesome time together. The hour flew by!

That's good, because I looked like a dizzy mop, but I felt like a happy concert-goer.

This is what I looked like a few minutes after class ended:

Sooo pink! That's how you know it was a good workout.

I highly recommend OULA (and Sound Mind and Body Gym - so clean and nice!). If you're in the Seattle area, check out the OULA Seattle Facebook page for info on upcoming classes.

This was part of my 101 in 1001 challenge.

Friday, August 30, 2013

101 In 1001 #26: Juice cleanse.

Or "failed juice cleanse," I should say. Though I don't really feel like a failure, since I just ate scone. With honey butter.

Today was supposed to be day #3, the final day of my cleanse, but things went awry on the first day. All day I managed my cravings for food with pride, even though I hadn't planned my DIY home juice cleanse very well - evidently you're supposed to have about six bottles of different juices per day, and I had only planned and budgeted for three a day. (But who can afford $90 - $165 of juice for only three days? That's some crazy B.S.)

By the time I was halfway through choir practice, around 7 pm, I was having unbidden and strangely precise fantasies about food - for example, imagining with total clarity the taste and texture of each individual, gooey noodle from a Trader Joe's mac 'n' cheese. When my friend offered me a chocolate chip cookie, I cracked.

For the next two days, I drank juice for the bulk of my meals, and then "cheated" a little bit when I felt absolutely starved. I also had a light dinner last night.

I have felt lighter, more energized, and have felt more focused in the past couple of days. I also feel less snacky. All of this could be a placebo effect sort of thing, but at least I've bumped up my daily vitamin and nutrient intake by ingesting so many liquidated fruits and veggies. I haven't weighed myself because I never do, and I didn't do this to lose weight. I don't think a juice cleanse is really meant to do that; I think it's meant to make you feel refreshed and "reset." And it's done that for me.

If I ever do a juice cleanse again, I'll try to do it right, but I'm okay with this first experiment, failures and all.

This has been part of my 101 in 1001 challenge.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The week (so far) in pictures.

Tyler's company treated him to fancy 1st base tickets, so we got to enjoy a Mariners game on Sunday. And by enjoy, I mean eat vegan chili dogs and tenderly berate our team for being so terrible. Mariners, I love you, but you're bringing me down.

On Monday we went on an impromptu dive bar date, with dinner at Po Dog, skeeball and pool at Auto Battery. We also watched the Mariners lose some more on their TVs.

This work week has been pretty stressful. There's a big project due to the State by tomorrow, and we're still tying up loose ends. Yesterday I definitely had a WTF Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Bee & Puppycat

I've been obsessed with this little ten minute cartoon for a week now. Do you watch Adventure Time? This is created by some of the same people, and it is just as good - nay, better.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Carkeek Park

I took Tyler to Carkeek Park the other week. He'd never been there, and we wanted to read in the sun somewhere near the water.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

101 In 1001 #12: Consigning Clothes

I did a thing off my 101 in 1001 list - I consigned the nice clothing I never wear. Or should I say, I tried to consign the nice clothing I never wear.

I culled thirty or so items from my closet. I cleaned them, folded them nicely, and put them in my biggest, sturdiest bag (thanks, IKEA!).

I slung that over my shoulder - and believe me, it wasn't light - and hiked seven blocks to my local consignment shop. While they pawed through my stuff, I wandered around the store for a few minutes, then meandered back to the front.

"Any luck?" I asked, with a big, hopeful smile. I was preeeeetty sure they would like most of what I'd brought: vintage hats and purses; designer skirts; cashmere sweaters. But piled on the counter were just six items. Six!?

I had to haul all of this back home.

And I was reminded of why I mostly hate taking my things to consignment stores.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dentist party!

Every year, my way cool dentist holds a patient appreciation cocktail party in his 17th floor office, which has two rooftop decks. There's live music, great food, and cocktails on the house. It is pretty much the best.

Iceland Day 4, Continued: Myvatn and Dettifoss

Day 1: Reykjavik
Day 2: Reykjavik
Day 2 Continued: Reykjadalur
Day 3: Snaefellsness
Day 4: Akureyri & Myvatn

I love how varied the sheep are in Iceland. They come in all different color combinations.

After emerging from the cave, we decided to explore more of the Myvatn area. Tyler wanted to see lava formations and a crater, so we headed in the direction of Dimmuborgir.

On the way, we found a body of water that was a crazy electric blue.

It smelled incredibly sulfuric and was steaming forcefully. We weren't allowed to swim in it due to the high temperature, but we were entranced enough to explore its banks for several minutes.

Next, Tyler made me hike up to a crater, which made me crabby. Especially when we got to the top and it was less than picturesque.

The view from the crater was slightly better, but not good enough to make up for the forty minutes I felt I had wasted!

We continued on to Dimmuborgir, which is apparently where the Yule Lads live when they're not leaving rotten potatoes in kids' shoes. We didn't see them, but we did see a bunch of cool lava rock.

It was getting late in the day, and we still wanted to see Dettifoss and leave enough time to try to reach Selardalslaug, a beautiful geothermal pool (considered by some to be the most romantic in Iceland) tucked away up north by the Sela River. As a result, we whipped through the rest of Myvatn, barely pausing to sprint around the cauldrons of Hverir.

Mmm, eggy.

Why is Tyler making this face? Why does Tyler ever make any face?

Then we raced to Dettifoss! ..though it was less of a race than a slow, dusty shamble down a long gravel road. The less than optimal driving conditions were so worth it, though, because the side of Dettifoss that we reached was almost entirely bereft of other human company.

Dettifoss is so immense and so powerful that we were getting drenched from this vantage point.


Tyler is excited!

Once we got up next to the falls, there were no paved overlooks, or rope fences warning us back from the edge. (Iceland trusts tourists a lot more than America does.) Tyler, of course, took immediate and terrifying advantage of this.

"Eh, it's just Europe's most powerful waterfall. Whatevs."

I was no better - since Tyler stuck his feet in the falls, I had to as well. But I got such terrible vertigo doing it than I felt a little sick, and quickly scrambled away from the edge. Eeek!

Once we left Dettifoss, we realized that unfortunately it wouldn't be possible to reach Selardalslaug before it closed, so we took our time getting back to the main road.

There may or may not be a picture of me doing this pose in the buff.

To our dismay, we discovered that none of the gas stations along the way liked our credit cards. Previously we had figured out that we could go into the gas station and ask the attendants to bill the cards, but since it was well after 11 PM, none of the gas stations were attended! We crossed our fingers and somehow made it to Egilsstadir, a town that our travel book describes thusly:
"However much you strain to discover some underlying charm, you'll find sprawling Egilsstadir really isn't a ravishing beauty. It's the main regional transport hub, and a centre for commerce and industry. Sorry, it's about as enchanting as it sounds."
 But we fell in everlasting love with Egilsstadir when we found a gas station next to our intended camping spot that not only was open, but also sold snacks.

And that is how I learned that "Cheese Stars" will give you terrible breath for hours and make your car smell like bad fake cheese. But they are delicious if you are starved and snacky.

The campgrounds were another story. They were chained off and had apparently been abandoned, though a few hopeful RVs still loitered nearby. We could have made it work, but it wasn't a very appealing spot and we weren't sure if it was legal to stay there - so we drove on, looking for a bridge. (Wild camping in Iceland is allowed on public land; if you find a big bridge, you're probably on public land.)

We finally made camp at about one in the morning, in this pretty spot by the river:

Go to Day 5: Northeast and East Iceland

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Favorites

Source: A Subtle Revelry

  • I love A Subtle Revelry's list of 25 Fun Fall Goals. I've wanted to start monthly chili nights for a while!

  • Summer isn't quite over yet - I'm determined to make the most of these last, sun-kissed days by being outside as much as possible. The Seattle Met's Ultimate Beach List is from 2009, but it's not like those beaches are any less ultimate nowadays. I want to go to there.

  • My college town has a wonderful little natural cafe called Sally Loo's. I think about it almost every day, and I especially crave their amazing acai bowls. With this homemade version, I can stave those cravings (and a little bit of my homesickness for SLO). (Thoughts By Natalie)

  • I'm on a bit of a Southern kick, even though "True Blood" just ended and I've never even been to the South. Feels like I'm constantly thinking about sweet tea and bourbon and fried green tomatoes. Happily, Witness, a Southern church-inspired bar, opened this week and I can't wait to check it out.

101 in 1001

Mackenzie of Design Darling has kept a list of 101 things she wants to accomplish in 1001 days, and she's nearing her deadline. I love this project, and her list - crosshatched with completed goals - looks so satisfying. I couldn't resist starting one of my own. My deadline is May 20th, 2016.

  1. Come up with 101 things. (August 2013)
  2. Organize apartment and donate anything we don't need. (June 2014)
  3. Find a house with Tyler. (December 2013)
  4. Apply to grad schools. (January 2014)
  5. Learn to sew, for reals.
  6. Go to burlesque academy.
  7. Adopt a dog from a shelter. (March 2014)
  8. Take a self defense class.
  9. Learn to play the ukulele.
  10. Attend an Iowa Hawkeyes game. (September 2013)
  11. Visit my friend Aaron while he lives in France. (June 2014)
  12. Consign the nice clothing I'll never wear again. (August 2013)
  13. Throw a fancy dinner party.
  14. Drink sweet tea in the South. (May 2014)
  15. Take a blues dancing class.
  16. Visit a new state. (May 2014)
  17. Attend a horse race at Emerald Downs, wearing a big hat.
  18. Host a fabulous yard sale.
  19. Go to New Orleans (possibly for Mardi Gras).
  20. Run a fun 5K.
  21. Make 10 different things off of Pinterest.
  22. Go for a week without hitting the snooze button.
  23. Buy a new bicycle (my old one was stolen). (Edit: My sister gave me hers. Does that count?)
  24. Go on an extended camping trip.
  25. Visit New York City. (October 2013)
  26. Do a juice cleanse. (August 2013)
  27. Take a language course.
  28. Go to a place that speaks that language.
  29. Swim in Lake Serene.
  30. Send postcards to 3 of my close college friends.
  31. Eat a proper lobster roll.
  32. Buy nice, flattering lingerie. (January 2014)
  33. Visit Whistler in the winter.
  34. Replace plastic bottles of hand soap with pretty, refillable glass ones.
  35. Own and stock a bar cart.
  36. Choose a signature cocktail and learn to make it. (Old Fashioned!)
  37. Get a Swedish massage.
  38. Re-learn how to use my cameras (not on automatic).
  39. Have friends over for brunch.
  40. Try an OULA dance workout class. (August 2013)
  41. Bake a cake from scratch.
  42. Send someone a care package.
  43. Visit the stars in Prefumo Canyon.
  44. Volunteer with a crisis counseling line.
  45. Do a stair walk around Seattle.
  46. Buy new silverware that I actually like.
  47. Take Tyler to Victoria by Clipper.
  48. Save enough to start an investment account. (Edit: I decided to start grad school instead.)
  49. Make my grandmother's favorite sundae for her.
  50. Get a French manicure.
  51. Explore an art gallery I haven't visited before.
  52. Go berry picking. (July 2014)
  53. Make a thing in my cast iron pan (maybe a Dutch Baby?). (November 2013 - I made honey thyme roasted carrots)
  54. Volunteer at a homeless shelter the day before or after Thanksgiving.
  55. Take a rock climbing class.
  56. Spend a weekend at a bed and breakfast.
  57. Make par on at least one hole while golfing.
  58. Try hot yoga.
  59. Sing at an open mic.
  60. Knit a thing that isn't a scarf.
  61. Write a letter to my 16-year-old self.
  62. Grow herbs in my kitchen.
  63. Have a spa day. (January 2014)
  64. Drive a scooter in Nantucket.
  65. Visit all the "speakeasies" in Seattle.
  66. Do one chin-up.
  67. Visit a Disneyland.
  68. Make French macarons.
  69. Try platinum blonde hair. (January 2014)
  70. Go horseback riding.
  71. Learn proper swim form for exercise.
  72. Get a facial.
  73. Spend 24 hours at a 24 hour diner.
  74. Do a photo shoot with my sister.
  75. Go skiing with Tyler.
  76. Try a hot tub boat.
  77. Buy eye shadow that I actually like.
  78. Drink fancy (read: expensive) champagne.
  79. Go one month without buying anything but necessities.
  80. Road trip through Colorado, Montana, and Wyoming. (Edit: Just Montana and Yellowstone.)
  81. Have afternoon tea at the Sorrento.
  82. Learn a new pole dancing spin.
  83. Go vegan for a month.
  84. Attend a play. (September 2013 - Les Miserables!)
  85. Build a pillow fort.
  86. Attend a bar trivia night. (November 2013, at Kate's Pub in Wallingford.)
  87. Go gluten free for a week. (July 2014)
  88. Try the "no 'poo" method for a month.
  89. Send Christmas cards. (Edit: I prefer the digital sort.)
  90. Start a monthly movie and dinner night (taco, soup, etc) with friends.
  91. Make ice cream from scratch.
  92. Watch five new (to me) classic films. (3/5: Carmen Jones; The Lady Eve, To Have and Have Not)
  93. Learn how to do a new hairstyle.
  94. Floss every day for a month. (November 2013)
  95. Go zip-lining.
  96. Choose a favorite flower.
  97. Get an aloe vera plant and keep it alive for at least 6 months.
  98. Donate regularly to another charity.
  99. Finally frame those two pieces of art that keep wandering around my living room floor.
  100. Take pictures of any of these goals that I deem photogenic enough, and post about them.
  101. Put $10 into savings for every goal accomplished (had to borrow this one!).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Party Camp!

Tyler, Taite and I went to Party Camp this past Saturday to try to set a world record for biggest water balloon fight, and to send kids to Camp Korey.

It was a pretty awesome way to spend a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of my own, because I was worried about my camera getting soaked. But you can enjoy pictures on the Party Camp Facebook page!

Fun at work!

Just a little preview of a video I made at work yesterday...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

30 Before 30

My boyfriend turned 28 last week.

To celebrate, we had a picnic in the park and watched an outdoor movie.

I baked cupcakes and then we set them on fire, in the traditional birthday way.

He wears his age like a fitted, yet unstuffy blazer; he hangs out on the threshold of true adulthood, leans against the doorway and casually crosses his arms, giving the next two years (and ten, and twenty) a big, unconcerned grin. His mother wrote him a "totally unnecessary but really sweet" message about how he's still her "very young son" and he just laughed. 30 doesn't frighten him any more than 20 did.

But for some reason his birthday got this 25-year-old fretting about 30. (It probably has at least a little to do with the gendered implications of age 30+ for women vs. men.) Happily, my favorite way to deal with a fret, however premature, is with a list - and classy, on-the-go Hitha inspired me with a list of her own: 30 Before 30. Here are some of my favorites from her list:
6. Travel to a continent I've never been to before. 
9. Re-read all of Kate Chopin’s published works. 
24. Beat my husband at chess.
30. End my twenties with no regrets.
I've got five years - I bet I could come up with a pretty good list of my own.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Seasonal blasphemy.

Summer has never been my favorite season, although I have learned to love it more and more each year. Maybe it's because I feel desperate to enjoy every day, since the season is so short where I live. Maybe because shorts and tank tops aren't my favorite items of clothing.

It feels a little blasphemous to say so in Seattle, where it seems we nearly worship the sun, but autumn is my favorite season. I miss the cooler weather; yes, I miss the rain; I miss the scarves. I miss the smell.

Muffy Aldrich of "The Daily Prep" says it perfectly
I get a little jolt of excitement as the sighting, signaling the cooler, crisper weather to come with the refreshing dry air masses coming down from the north and the inevitable accompanying wool, corduroy, moleskin, cider, pies and wood smoke.
I'm not in any hurry to be rid of you, summer - I'm just enjoying the anticipation.

Issaquah in autumn.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Iceland Day 4: Akureyri and Myvatn

Day 1: Reykjavik
Day 2: Reykjavik
Day 2 Continued: Reykjadalur
Day 3: Snaefellsness

I woke up to this, the view right outside our bedroom window at the Skjaldarvik Guesthouse. So enticing! There were lots of other things to do besides tubbing - horseback tours, plenty of books and chessboards, strolling alongside the water - and I wanted to do all of them, but we didn't have much time so we settled for the wonderful complimentary breakfast.

Although it is said that Icelanders mostly just drink coffee for breakfast, they are much more generous with visitors' tummies. This ain't your typical Best Western continental spread.

And I didn't take nearly enough advantage of it! I was too sleepy. But look at that - fresh bread and butter! Brie! Veggies!

I got to try skyr for the first time, with plenty of cream and sugar.

If you've never had it - it's unlikely that you have, since it's sold almost nowhere outside of Scandinavia, much to my dismay - it's like a very dense and flavorful Greek yogurt. Apparently it's more like cheese than yogurt, based on its ingredients.

After a hasty breakfast, we both took the last showers we would have for a couple of days and booked it out of there, headed toward Akureyri.

I was surprised and disappointed to find that Akureyri didn't have much in the way of attractions for us - or at least, none that we could find on foot, even though we tried to explore beyond the tourists' favorite road. But there were a lot of really pretty views, colors, and textures, so I contented myself with photos.

And ice cream! The best ice cream in all of Iceland, or so they say.

It was totally delicious, but I had to drive and it was too hard to eat it one-handed, so unfortunately Tyler got to enjoy most of it! That Tyler.

Our next stop was Godafoss, "waterfall of the gods," so named for the Norse idols that were thrown into it when Iceland was declared a Christian nation.

I was silly and declined to put my hiking boots on, so I wasn't able to get as close as I would have liked. By the time I thought to go back to the car to put on more sensible shoes, two tour buses had shown up and the place was crawling with people, so I decided to let Tyler take most of the pictures.

We debated swinging up to Husavik for a "quick" stop, but decided that the Myvatn area had more to explore and besides, we were hungry! I'd heard of a place called Vogafjos Cowshed Cafe, and I couldn't resist a place that boasted handmade cheese and baby cows.

I was glad that we went out of our way to find Vogafjos, because we had the best meal of our entire trip there.

Big, crispy veggie crepe; fresh milk; perfectly cooked lamb.

And I got to see a brand new calf being welcomed into the fold from my seat by the window. So amazing!

Her fur was still all ruffled and wet. All the cows, including her mama, crowded around her as she practiced walking, smelling her and licking her little face and mooing up a storm.

After lunch, Tyler and I went to hang out with the cows in the shed. I was particularly drawn to the older babies; they were particularly drawn to my sweater and kept trying to taste it with their big licky tongues.

Teenage calves are not very good at holding still for pictures, just like teenage people.

Next, we went off in search of Grjotagja, a cave with a beautiful underground thermal pool.

Evidently a "Game of Thrones" scene was shot here, but I didn't find that out until later.

I was hoping for a fancy skinny dipping adventure in that gorgeous cerulean water, but it was just a few degrees too hot to bear. I was able to dip my feet in for only a few seconds at a time.

Obligatory sexy pose; obligatory silly pose.

On the plus side, it was almost entirely silent inside the cave, perhaps because the other tourists didn't want to bother with crawling inside if they couldn't even take a dip. I loved it, though - because of the peaceful quiet and the steamy temperature, it felt like a spa. If there's one place I feel at home, it's in a spa.

Eventually Tyler did persuade me to clamber back out, even though I was all for sticking around until the temperature decreased enough for me to get in. Maybe a year or two.

The land around the cave is tearing itself slowly apart, which is ostensibly how the cave was formed in the first place.

Go to Day 4 Continued: Myvatn & Dettifoss
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