There’s a lot of ArtUp in here

Art Up

I studied art history in college so it is a bit embarrassing for me to admit that these days I don’t give art that much attention.  But even though I am not the art enthusiast that I used to be I still enjoy a good time, so when Sue suggested we check out Art Up PhinneyWood I didn’t hesitate to jump on board.

The night started a little slow.  We used the Art Up blog to sketch out a little mental map of where we would head first.  Sue has been talking about gong baths for months now so when she saw it was included in the description for Ballard Healing Arts we decided to head there first.

Healing arts

No, that’s not a funky art installation.  It’s a locked door.  After triple checking the door, the address, the time, AND the blog we finally gave up and continued along.  Bummer.  Guess gong baths will have to stay on The List for awhile longer.

The next couple stops were our bad…the slogan of Art Up is, after all, Art Up and Chow Down.  I guess we just weren’t expecting the stops to be restaurants just as they appear on any other day, with art hanging on the walls like they do any other day.  It was a bit disappointing.  I’ve included the best of the best of restaurant row below:

RestaurantMunch

That last picture is from Munch Cafe and it was one of the most enjoyable stops of the night.  A really nice guy (I think he might have been the owner) came over to talk to us about the art and his place and it was really fun.  I’m not really into sandwiches or burgers but my boyfriend is so I ended up coming back here with him another day to check out the food.  Whoa.  It was freaking good.  Try the garlic fries.  They are the best.  I’m not even into garlic fries.  Try them.

We finally ended up at Greenwood Collective.

greenwood collective

Jackpot!

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painting2

This party space was awesome! There was live music and a ton of cute, cute rooms! Sue is better than me at capturing the cute things so be sure to check out her post on this when it is up.  The upstairs had live music and the downstairs had a DJ and a ton of little rooms filled with art.  Greenwood Collective pretty much made the night.

The Big One (I guess it is the Art Up event of the year) is coming up on May 8th and May 9th.  It’s in my neighborhood so I can’t imagine not stopping by.  If I see anything good I’ll let you know 🙂

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A beginner’s guide to the Baker Lake Trail

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Many moons ago, planning for the weekend meant searching Yelp for brunch spots with a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Nowadays, I’m more likely to be Googling hiking trails. Sometimes life necessitates more trees and less vodka, and I’m okay with that.

Still, I’m never going to be the outdoorsy type who reflects on life in front of a crystal clear lakes, or feels centered only when standing amongst giant sequoias…that’s just not me. My main motivation for hiking is usually to burn calories and get some much needed vitamin D. Nature is just the cherry on top of those toned tan legs.

Consider this post a guide to hiking the Baker Lake Trail for the gal who feels more at ease overpaying for poached eggs than wearing polar fleece.

bakerlaketrailhead

First, purchase a Northwest Forest Pass before you leave. Pay for it online and print it out. You need a pass to park at this trail head and there’s no pay station at the lot.

Leave early! The trail is located about 2.5 hours from Seattle. If you’re driving up in April during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, tack on another hour to that. If you have a small bladder and/or need to eat at regular intervals, add another hour. Plan accordingly, and maybe let your hiking buddy in on this info. *Cough*

From the trail head, the hike to Baker Lake is about 14 miles.

bakerlaketrail

Yup. 28 miles round trip.

Now, contemplate giving up and heading back home. There’s probably still time to hit the outlets. JK JK JK. Just get hiking! But if that number didn’t result in even the slightest side eye, why are you even reading this? And if you’re anything like me, chances are it’ll be way past noon when you finally start, but even if you never reach the end, I promise it’s still worth your time. Plus, you start off at a different lake anyways, how much better could Baker Lake be. Right? Convince yourself of that.

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bakerlake7

So, now you’re hiking! Set your phone to airplane mode BTW, there’s no reception and you need to preserve your battery so you can take tons of pictures and post them on Instagram the second you get some damn bars again.

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Nature! Isn’t she pretty?

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Look at all the moss. That’d be the good kind of lush!

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And the shelf fungi! So cool! Don’t dwell too long on them though or that seasonal morel menu at your favorite restaurant may lose it’s charm.

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Go off the path and explore. Take more pictures. If you get bored with the trees, take some selfies. Take advantage of this awesome natural lighting! When you turn around and no longer see your hiking partner who had stopped to take pictures just a minute ago, don’t panic. Chances are she just decided to hike ahead, and did NOT fall off a cliff while trying to get a wider shot.

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Enjoy yourself and happy trails!

What’s the longest distance you’ve hiked? OR if you don’t hike, what are your thoughts on Clamato?

You Probably Know More About Trees Than I Do

Here’s my conundrum with blogging about hiking – you probably know more about trees than I do.  And if you don’t know anything about trees, you’re probably reading a blog post about hiking so you can be impressed by how much other people know about trees.  If you’re into things that aren’t trees, I also can’t impress you with what you can only assume is my very knowledgeable review about my latest REI purchase (or should I say Patagonia? is Patagonia more popular than REI?).  I wouldn’t even know how to go about faking that.

The truth is I am a very average person, with a very average amount of experience in the outdoors.  I like trees.  I like walking around underneath them and climbing over them when they are blocking a trail but unless I get lucky and spot a quaking aspen I can’t name them.  I don’t think “pine tree” counts…does that count?

So why attempt to write about hiking at all?  Because I enjoy going on hikes and sometimes I let too much time go by without taking one and taking the time to put my latest hiking adventure in a post makes me prioritize taking another one.  In other words, for purely selfish reasons.  But then again, why else does anyone blog?

The name of the latest adventure is The Baker Lake Trail.

Lake Shannon

Don’t get excited, that’s not Baker Lake.  That is Shannon Lake, the lake you drive past to get to the Baker Lake trail head.  I will not be showing you any pictures of Baker Lake because Sue thinks it is normal to start a hike in the afternoon.

How did we get to the trail?  From Seattle, I-5 North to 20 East.  It took us awhile.  We stopped in Sedro-Woolley because it had a cute name and it was reasonable to think it would be a cute place to stop.  It was okay.

When we got to the trail head it was late but we plunged ahead any way.  I usually hike alone so one of the things I really like about Sue is that she lets me walk ahead if I feel like it or fall behind if I feel like it and she doesn’t say anything or make me feel weird about it.  In fact she probably likes not having to talk to me the whole time we are hiking.  This is why we make good friends!

Now for your reward:

WaterfallStreamBridgeRock

This was definitely one of the nicest trails I’ve been on in Washington and I am excited to go back to the North Cascades when the weather gets a little warmer.

Seattle Vegfest

Vegfest is awesome!

There’s swag:

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And tons of yummy samples to taste:

sodelicious

mightyodonuts

Vegan donuts? Yes, please!

The best thing about Vegfest is paying a mere eight dollars to try out hundreds of products that I’ve been curious about but hesitant to actually buy. Partly because I’m cheap, but mostly cus sometimes certain vegan foods sound like a great idea and instead turn out to be really really awful (I’m looking at you, almond milk yogurt).

Here’s my short list of products that I was impressed with and would happily fork over my cash for:

  • Field Roast Burgers and Chao Cheese: I’m not a huge fan of faux meats and cheeses, but Field Roast absolutely lives up to the hype. (And there’s a lot of hype!) I was especially impressed with the cheese, which is a big deal since I still eat dairy and vegan cheeses usually give me a major case of the sads. Chao gives me hope that one day I could possibly give up my addiction to dairy. When I first gave up meat, I didn’t like eating veggie burgers cus I thought, “What’s the point? They taste nothing like the deliciousness that is red meat.” But then one day, I found myself freaking after biting into a black bean burger because I thought the restaurant had messed up my order and given me a regular burger.
  • Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bread: Sometimes I go on gluten-free kicks (I know, I’m that kind of girl) and Rudi’s bread tastes like…bread. Gluten-free foods are hit-or-miss. Rudi’s does it right and I  swiped a bunch of their dollar off coupons for the next time I decide I’m convinced I’m gluten-intolerant.
  • HempPro Protein Powder: I’ve been looking for a new vegan protein powder and HempPro’s chocolate flavor is yummy and not at all chalky. I may have swiped a month’s worth of samples of these as well.
  • Sunbutter: I’m a nut butter hoarder. In my pantry, there is currently a jar of cashew butter, almond butter, pecan butter, and three types of peanut butter. Sunflower seed butter will be joining the mix.
  • So Delicious Ice Cream Sandwiches: Although I eat dairy, I don’t drink milk or eat much ice cream, because…I’m Asian. These are perfect for when I’m craving ice cream, minus the bloating. I’m not a big coconut milk as a dairy substitute fan, so the strawberry bar (pictured above) wasn’t my fave, but the ice cream sandwiches are legit!
  • Eden Brown Rice Mochi: I first tried out Eden products at a Boston Vegfest years ago, and I love their stuff- especially the Asian foods. They waffled the mochi and served it with their concord grape butter which is all sorts of delicious and genius.

There were also many awesome smaller and local companies at Vegfest hawking all the usual earthy crunchy suspects like artisan nut butters, kraut, cashew cheese, chai tea, etc. I LOVE trying this stuff, but rarely purchase them because the closeted non-lazy hippie in me really thinks I’m going to make them on my own…or I might just be an awful person who does not support small businesses. But seriously, I really am going to buy a scoby on Craigslist one day and make my own kombucha!

There was one product that I would totally buy though: Liefie’s Coconut Milk Caramel Cardamom Sauce. I’m obsessed with cardamom lately, and her caramel was the type of good that I already know I can’t recreate at home. If you’re in the PNW, and see her caramel sauce, buy it, and thank me.

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So next time a Vegfest rolls up in your ‘hood, GO! You’re guaranteed to leave stuffed, and if you want (and who doesn’t) with a bag full of swag and coupons to keep the veg fun rolling.

Suggested Taglines for Seattle Vegfest 2016 and the 2015 Winners

Based on my experience at Seattle Vegfest 2015, I would like to suggest the below taglines for Vegfest 2016 – royalty-free!  Don’t spend all your liberated marketing dollars in one place.

“In case you are wondering whether to eat before you go, you shouldn’t.”

“We mean it. You are going to be so full.”

“You’re going to need both hands free and it is really hot in here.  Don’t bring a jacket.”

“DO bring your own water.  You will be so, so desperate for water.”

“Now is the time to taste all the things you are curious about but would never pay for.”

“Where Veg is meant to imply the absence of meat – not the presence of vegetables.”

“Whoa! That’s what kombucha tastes like!? That’s actually pretty good…”

Seriously though (not that I wasn’t serious about those taglines because I totally was), Seattle Vegfest was aaaawesome this year.  Who knew?!  Who!  No really did anyone out there know it was going to be awesome before getting there?  I set my expectations low.  Admission was $8.  How good could it be really?  Freaking fantastic.  That’s how good.  So if you’re the type to plan way ahead, you’re all set for next year.  Go early.  Go hungry.  Go prepared.  And have a meatless blast.

And now for the winners:

BEST BEVERAGE – RUNA CLEAN ENERGY

RUNA

BEST FAKE MEAT PRODUCT – GARDEIN FISHLESS FILETS

Fishless

MOST DESERVING OF YOUR MONEY – CHIMPANZEE SANCTUARY NORTHWEST

Chimps

MOST ENTHUSIASTIC – FIELD ROAST

Field Roast

TALLEST

Space Needle

Congratulations to all the Seattle Vegfest 2015 winners!

Florals for Spring?

Groundbreaking.

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We went to Pioneer Square on a Thursday night and watched skinny chicks clad in floral prints and a curious amount of denim strutting down a runway. The best part of it was having a reason not to be wearing yoga pants on a weeknight – but that’s just the state of my life.

While the fashion show wasn’t bad,” I think it’s fair to say the event wasn’t worth the admission price. I believe Melinda was being too nice to straight up say that in her post. Maybe they did too good a job of marketing the event because I feel like we were tricked into paying to attend a fashion school open house. Is Art Institute hard up on cash? Who knows. The event started off with an MC auctioning off some donated items, then a handful of fashion students showcased their work to a group made up mostly of families and fellow students, and then there were some awards. The end. After standing shoulder to shoulder in a space that was hip, but didn’t logistically work with the fashion show, everyone was ready for some air and teetered out onto the street in their heels. It would have been nice if there were some more vendor booths, or just more to look at or do in general, but that was it. On the plus side, we got free Vita Coco.

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Actually, the fashion show was a lot better than I had expected. You can’t blame me for fearing the worst though…student fashion show…in Seattle? Let’s just say fashion in Seattle can be summed up with three letters: R-E-I. And as for a student show, I was imagining a lot of avant-garde wannabe Galliano-eque creations. Thankfully, there wasn’t too much of that and most of the designs were cute and had fun cuts and pretty (floral) patterns. Unfortunately, all the pictures I took of those outfits are too blurry to decipher anything from and all I have to share is this Stephen Sprouse circa 1999 creation:

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And there I go being the snarky one again.

Come for the fashion, stay for the coconut water.

Runway 1

You know you’ve watched too many seasons of Project Runway when you see an ad for a runway show and think to yourself, “I hope I get to see dresses made out of material found in a pet shop.”  Apparently that is not what fashion schools are doing.

I asked Sue if she would go to this fashion show thing with me the other night and she said sure and then later “why didn’t you use the $10 ticket promo code that was all over their website?!”  I am the kind of person who needs to be told explicitly that there is a promo code readily available or I will always pay full price for things.

In hindsight I wish Sue had said something like “But Melinda, what about all the other things you could do with 20 something dollars?” but she didn’t so I headed to Pioneer Square* after work one day to meet her and watch fashion.

*Note: I DID head to Pioneer Square.  Sue likes to do this fun thing where she is so in love with the city that she drives around and around taking in all the sites.  She does this so consistently that we build an extra 45 minutes into her arrival time when she comes to visit.  This time 45 minutes was not enough so I met her outside of Pike’s Place and guided her to (a parking spot in) Pioneer Square.

Pioneer Square at night…I am shaking my head at my younger self for waiting for the bus there.  Was I insane?! How scary and dangerous.  Anyway, if you were expecting there to be cute little appetizers and sexy cocktails at this shindig you would have turned right around at the door and forced Sue to walk the rainy streets in search of food and drink too.  Which is exactly what I did.

We ended up at a cute place called Delicatus that served really yummy drinks.  I’m not really into sandwiches but I would definitely go back for the booze.  We hustled back to the show just in time to see the VitaCoco promo team wheeling empty barrels back into the VitaCoco van.  I meant to only protest in my head but ended up nearly screaming with disappoint in a very public way (whoops!).  Highlight of the night: 10 minutes later one of the girls at the front found us amidst the fashion gaggle and gave us each a VitaCoco – yeeeeesssss.  Thank you again!

So the Show:

Runway 2

This was as close as I got to a crazy Project Runway moment.  Its blurry so feel free to romanticize it however you please.  Also if any Deadliest Catch fans happen to be reading take a closer look at the guy in the blue baseball hat.

The End.

Pi, Pie, and The Teacher’s Lounge

If you make it through an entire post without pictures, you get an A+!

I have always had a thing for local events, which is why I’ve marked them as a thing on the list.  But I don’t just have a thing for certain types of events, I pretty much like them all.  I have found that this isn’t necessarily the case with most people.  Most people have a few serious interests or hobbies and they gravitate toward events that fit that profile.  Makes sense.  It also makes sense then that people like me (and Sue!) will end up being a sort of voyeur at these events, observing the folks who are super into it every day and not just for the evening.

Such was the case at the local Pi day celebration hosted by The Greater Seattle Bureau of Fearless Ideas.  I will save you a trip down Google lane and just tell you that if you’re ever in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle you can find it within the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co.

I thought, “Math is pretty cool, pie is more than pretty cool – sounds fun!”  I don’t bake (bake something is also on the list) and I didn’t bake that particular evening either.  I was sort of hoping Sue would so we wouldn’t show up empty handed (she didn’t and so we did).  I thought this would make me ashamed to eat the pie (it didn’t and so we did, A LOT).  We even got to vote on our favorites! There were all sorts of wonderful pies but (no surprise) my favorite was baked by Pie School’s Kate Lebo.

In addition to pie there was also pi (of course) and we got to hear some interesting math facts in between bites of the sweet stuff.  The non-food highlight of the evening was the recitation contest.  3.1415926535 something something.  That’s all I’ve got but a couple folks got up to 70 something numbers?  I guess this is the kind of thing other people spend their time working on while I re-watch romantic comedies.

I’d like to think that post-pie drinking at The Teacher’s Lounge was cleverly planned as the perfect way to cap a math-themed night but I didn’t even realize what a good fit it was until days later.  We just went there because there really is no other place to go in Greenwood (this was before I discovered The Cozy Nut Tavern which is aaaaaaawesome).

So anyway not much more to say about that night.  Sue’s post was way funnier AND it has pictures.