Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I made something spooky, courtesy of PicMonkey..

Edit: Pictures from the night! Taite and Tyler and I reprised our 90s nostalgic costumes.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My daguerreotype girlfriends!

I belong to the very fun Seattle Ladies Choir, and we do social events every month. This month - in honor of Halloween, I assume - we went to Klondike Penny's to dress up as fancy ladies from the 1890s.

I'm on the far left, with a pickaxe, a fur, and a snotty expression.

Klondike Penny's is in Pioneer Square, right next to Occidental Park. With the cobblestones, the elegant brick buildings, and the wrought iron everywhere, it doesn't take much imagination to be transported back to the turn of the 20th century - especially if you're being violently laced into a boned corset.

On the right, you can see the corset from the back. They probably could have laced it tighter if I'd had something better to hold onto than the edge of a table. Oh well! And wouldn't it have actually been shocking for a woman to roam around  in public in naught but her underthings?

Once we had all donned the grand trappings of the Gay Nineties, we took to the streets, strutting before tourists on our way to the E. Smith Mercantile for a photo shoot.

Those of us with weapons..

E. Smith is a really charming little store with a nice bar in the rear. I can't wait to go back when I need to do some Christmas shopping.. or just some shopping for myself. I have my eye on an alpaca throw - softer than silk and warmer than wool, they say. Tyler thinks I have too many blankets, but how can you have too many blankets?? Either way, I haven't any made out of alpaca wool, so there.

The photo shoot was a lot of fun. My friends told me I looked like I was made for my clothes (and privately I thought to myself that I probably would have cleaned up, romantically speaking, in that era).

Who could resist?

All too soon it was over. I definitely want to return for another shoot - perhaps this time a gender-bender? I like to think that I wear a mustache pretty well.

Monday, October 28, 2013


Since Halloween is on a Thursday this year, Seattle (naturally) decided to dispense with most of the debauched and diabolic doings this past weekend. I participated, to some extent.

On Friday, I gathered Tyler and some of my best ghoul-friends and headed to a costumed mashup dance party.

I was a Purple Parrot from Legends of the Hidden Temple, and Tyler was Artie (The Strongest Man In the World) from Pete & Pete. We were feeling nostalgic for the 90s, I guess! We made our own costumes out of things we already owned, things we thrifted, and spray paint, so they were cheap and fun.

It turns out I can't dance very well to mashed up songs, but I had the time of my life just watching Taite and her friends be "sexy ghosts." Especially when they would drink things and put the straws through their little ghost lips. I laughed all night.

I even laughed on our walk home when the ghosts, emboldened by their be-sheeted anonymity, accosted strangers in the street and refused to be corralled! Those pesky ghosts.

On Saturday, Taite and Tyler and Molly and I went to a costumed pub crawl in Fremont. Taite joined me as a post-apocalyptic Purple Parrot; Tyler reprised his role as The Strongest Man In the World; and Molly was a Rosie the Riveter who "got in a fight with the Patriarchy."

Apparently I think it's super tough-looking to basically be punching myself in the face.

The pub crawl was really fun - we saw hundreds of costumes, made some new (and very temporary) friends, and roamed the streets in character. Tyler got called "Waldo" so often that he finally took a picture with a (pretty apathetic) Waldo, just to show people how clearly unlike Waldo he looked. (It didn't work.)

Taite and I just about died of happiness when we met some Blue Barracudas, who were also contestants on Legends of the Hidden Temple!

The rest of the night is better forgotten. I'll probably laugh later when I think about the Irish guy who tagged after us for hours, or the rude way I talked to some bouncers (to be fair, they were really mean to Tyler for no good reason!), or the three different crying events (for once, I was not the only one!)... but right now I'm still suffering from a shameover and I don't want to talk about it. Eeesh.

However! Three more lovely spooky days await me, full of potential. I can't wait.


Bonus! Some mildly naughty (and very funny) takes on old timey Halloween postcards from Hark! A Vagrant (follow the link for full size):

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Favorites

Seattle has been suffused with fog for the past week or so. People are calling it "Fogtober." Personally, I love it - it's not raining, it's the perfect temperature for scarves and boots, and it really sets the mood for Halloween happenings!
  • One of these days I'll have the energy and the space to have another Halloween party, and I'll make all of these easy, spooky treats for my guests. (A Subtle Revelry)
  • Deb accidentally picked too many apples, which is good news for us. (Smitten Kitchen)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Love +

I went to a really cool workshop hosted by The NW Network the other week, and I saw this card in the lobby.

I filled in the word "patience," because I've been so grateful for Tyler's steady, patient love lately. I could have chosen any number of things, though! What's your plus?

See what other people have to say on their Tumblr!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Favorites

I'm getting in the spirit of Halloween with these Friday favorites! Just as October is my favorite month, Halloween is my favorite holiday - there's so much space for creativity. Also, I really really love caramel corn and spooky motifs.

  • Ha! This guy bought two life-sized skeletons and he hangs out with them all over his house. (OTIS)
  • I made a Halloween playlist. It has a mix of genres, and I think it's the perfect soundtrack for a party or for pumpkin carving!
  • Have you already eaten too much bite-sized candy this month? (I wish I could say the same - I've had food poisoning for the past week and I am passionately LONGING for a sweet little treat.) Don't cut yourself off from tasty Halloween snacks! Explore these "Health-oween" options instead. (Healthful Pursuit)
  • I personally love carving pumpkins and do not understand why you wouldn't want to (how will you get at the delicious seeds inside??), but if you don't, here are some pretty no-carve pumpkin ideas! I like the lace one especially. (Camille Styles)
  • My friend taught me how to read tarot cards once, and I loved it. Even though I don't necessarily believe in magic, I think tarot is a great way to make sense of things you're already mulling over subconsciously. Plus it's fun and the cards are pretty! (Free People Blog)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Autumn in New York.

Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York, it spells the thrill of first night-ing
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel
They're making me feel - I'm home

I've always loved this song (especially as sung by Billie Holiday), and I've dreamed of visiting New York City in the fall since forever. So I was delighted when Tyler's friend, Adam (they've been friends since middle school!), invited us to his wedding on Staten Island in October, with Tyler as a groomsman.

I barely took any proper pictures during our visit, so I've made some color-coded Instagram collages to accentuate this post instead.

We went last weekend, and we stayed on Staten Island in an AirBnB apartment in New Brighton described as a "peaceful sanctuary." Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. Several times, we were warned by locals to be "very careful" in our neighborhood. No one wanted us to go anywhere on foot, not even to an arancini place fifteen minutes away (we did anyway). The first night we stayed there, people argued and played loud music until two in the morning; at one point, we heard gunfire three blocks from us. We learned later that we were in a neighborhood with high rates of crime - so do your research before you make reservations! (Also, don't let yourself get herded into mystery cabs. We did this twice during our trip, because we are dumb, and although we are still alive we did pay a lot more than we should have.)

Still, despite the underwhelming accommodations, we managed to have a pretty wonderful weekend. On Saturday, we took the (free!? free!!) ferry from Staten Island to Manhattan. Tyler had forgotten his only white dress shirt at home, so we had to make an emergency trip to Robert James. Their tagline is "Simple. Honest. Handsome.," and I was really impressed with their customer service (and also with their shirts, which fit Tyler's slim torso and long arms beautifully, right off the hanger). Shirt procured, Tyler hopped back in a cab and headed back to Staten Island for the wedding rehearsal, leaving me to spend my day as I pleased.

I love exploring new cities by myself, so I was in heaven, wandering through the East Village - snagging an apricot croissant and slipping into a few small boutiques - and figuring out how to navigate the subway to the Upper East Side (fancy buildings and consignment shops galore). New York City is huge - I spent at least five or six hours in just a couple of neighborhoods, and I only scratched the surface of those few.

I also realized that everything I thought I knew about Manhattan I had idealized from the gilded images of shows like "Mad Men" and "Gossip Girl." I knew I hadn't managed my expectations well enough when I was crushed to discover that I couldn't eat in a cafe in the Metropolitan Museum of Art without paying admission first - I wanted my Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler moment! (Also, it's the middle of October. Why was it 70 degrees and where were the scarlet leaves?)

Eventually it got dark and Tyler returned, whisking me romantically into the Met for a candlelit dinner in the Petrie Court Cafe. He even acquiesced to a very touristy tour of Central Park by horse-drawn carriage.

We stopped at Rockefeller Center and walked through Times Square (which is how I learned that I hate Times Square). Even though both our phones died, we managed to find our way to Dudley's for a midnight snack (if you're ever there, try the Banoffee Sundae), and then back to the ferry.

The next day was the wedding. Tyler had to leave early for pictures with the bridal party, so I had to tromp a mile in my dress and high heels to Snug Harbor. It was a beautiful day and no one accosted me, so that turned out all right. And the wedding itself was lovely, with heartfelt vows and toasts, a very fun photo booth, and a fancy pasta bar. Tyler made an adorable groomsman.

There he is, on the left. He kept hiding in that bush so I couldn't get a better picture than this.

On our last day, we visited Manhattan again, this time to explore Greenwich Village, Nolita, and SoHo. (I also insisted that we go to the Chrysler Building, just so I could be inside it. I love Art Deco.)

Tyler shopped for clothes (in Uniqlo) of his own free will, which just about shocked me to death. We also went to a neat little store called Kiosk, and browsed the MoMA Design Store. And we found the perfect New York pizza, at Rubirosa. It was so good that we had to eat three slices apiece and forego the dessert crepes we had seen down the street. And then it was time to leave.

This was 101 in 1001 #25!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pearl of happiness.

My necklace broke the other day, and I'm not even sad about it.

My aunt gave me this necklace almost three years ago, during a painful time that I wasn't sure I could survive. It came with a little card that called it a "pearl of happiness." I put it on and I wore it every day, only taking it off when I had to; for a while, it felt like my lifeline.

As I healed from within, I kept the pearl around my neck as a reminder of the love I have for my family and for myself. I knew that such a delicate necklace wasn't likely to withstand daily wear forever, so I told myself - in a rare moment of superstition - that it would either break, or I would remove it voluntarily, once I was ready and no longer needed it.

Maybe it just turned out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but I was right.

When my necklace broke, I did feel grief - Wait! It's too soon! - as I carefully tucked the pearl and its chain into a little pocket in my purse. I kept touching my neck throughout the day and feeling a pang; it felt so bare, so vulnerable.

But gradually, I began to feel lighter. The pearl had been my touchstone, but it had also been a reminder of some heavy feelings that it was time for me to leave behind. My life now, while not wholly perfect (whose is?), is mostly filled with joy, love, and companionship. I'm in a good place. I still have my pearl of happiness, but it no longer needs to be an external reminder; I have reclaimed it as an intrinsic element of my self.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Iceland Day 6: Vik to Reykjavik

Vik's famous black basalt beach. You can see the Reynisdrangur sea stacks in the distance.

The night of Day 5, we arrived in Vik. I was hungry and tired and my camera battery was dying, so I was in a very crabby mood. All I wanted to do was find something to eat and charge my camera. We showed up late enough, however, that simply finding a place to eat proved challenging.

Eventually we found Strondin Bistro, which a nice local lady raved about as we walked up to the door. They were getting ready to close but the weary-looking waitress seated us without complaint. Since the kitchen was closing up, they could only offer us pizza or soup, which was fine by me as they had the classic and ubiquitous homemade Icelandic lamb meat soup, to which I had become addicted by that point. Their version was the most savory and satisfying I had eaten yet; I could have had at least one more big bowl of it. Tyler got a huge pizza, and it was fantastic. Best of all, there was an outlet right next to our table so I could charge my camera! My mood improved drastically.

Our campsite.

After that, we went to the Vik campsite, which only charged us about $8 per person to stay. They had big, clean bathrooms with free showers, which excited me until I learned - while taking a shower - that they didn't have hot water. I wanted to cry, I was so cold and miserable. It was chilly and windy outside, so it took me a long time to get warm and sleepy in the tent, even though it was well after midnight.

At one point, I woke up to the sound of banging around my tent. I looked over, and Tyler was gone. The wind was so fierce that he was worried that we would be blown away, so he had gotten up to put more stakes in.

In the morning, things were a lot better. We went to Dyrholaey and saw the puffins there, which was magical.

The cliffs were absolutely stuffed with puffins. They would occasionally take to the wind, which was so strong that their little bodies could just hover in midair until they were ready to dive into the sea for fish. Tyler originally had thought that puffins were like penguins and could not fly, so he was amazed to see so many in the air. So cute!

We kept heading west, and saw some good stuff along the way: an ancient Viking meeting cave, an old farmhouse, and the charming Skogar Folk Museum.

Old bed headboards.

Sod houses.
Sod houses were made for people my size! The doorway is low but the ceiling inside is about 6'.

Our primary goal of the day was to hike the short path to the Seljavallalaug swimming pool. The oldest standing pool in Iceland, Seljavallalaug was built in 1923 to teach Icelanders how to swim. It's tucked into the mountains and it's pleasantly warm. (It's also full of algae, but it's not toxic so we didn't care.)

It was a little crowded, but not terribly so. I opted to swim without my top so I was the subject of much interest - but everyone was polite enough to keep everything but their eyes to themselves.

We couldn't stay as long as we wanted to because we had to dash back to Reykjavik to return the rental car and the camping supplies. We only just made it before the deadline! Then we had to figure out how to make it to our AirBnB lodgings, which turned out to be very nice. We had a whole apartment to ourselves! And it came with a real shower, with hot water and everything. Ohhhhh.

We had dinner at Icelandic Fish and Chips, which was well-rated and did not disappoint.

Those onion rings were heavenly.
Then we returned to Slippbarinn for a drink (and to soak up the fancy atmosphere).

I ordered the Femme Fatale. It had jasmine, "Navy-strength" gin, lemon, and cardamom in it. WHOA AMAZING.
Most delicious dessert waffle IN THE WORLD.

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