Saturday, July 6, 2013

Sisterly Adventures

It finally happened! The day has come!
My little-sister-from-another-mister has finally come to join me in Seattle!

It only took four years. *pouts*

Caitlin was only here for two days and patiently allowed me to (almost literally) drag her across Seattle.

Of course, one required pit stop was Pike Place so I grab some lunch while we admired the sunshiney Puget Sound views. And geeked out.

Eventually Alex joined us and we were off to grab some heaven in a cup.
 Erm, I mean some Peak's frozen custard sundaes.

Having finished our wonderfully healthy (and delicious) dinner, there was nothing to it but digest in the sunshine at Greenlake.

We wasted away the hours catching up on stories, watching baby geese, and sharing laughs.

The best friendships are those that can be tested by time and distance, and yet when you are reunited it is as if you haven't been apart for a day.
The night then ended, as all good nights should, with snacks, cider, and watermelon martinis.

Though I decided to improvise and change mine up a bit.

Day 2 kicked off with an impromptu visit to Seattle's Experience Music Project. The museum had a new fantasy themed exhibit that I've been itching to visit. 

 And the queen always gets her way, of course.

The exhibit was wonderful and I highly recommend it. Lessons on archetypes of fantasy stories (you can also take a quiz to determine which of the 16 or types your personality reflects and I got the Maiden Warrior, not complaining), original pages from Tolkien's manuscripts, costumes from many different movies, a dragon, and a giant dragonfly with display screens for eyes:
 Yes, that is George RR Martin and the Eye of Sauron. It was actually a mini movie discussing the characterization developments and representations of good and evil in various epic fantasy stories (The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Game of Thrones, The Chronicles of Narnia, etc.).

We were greeted by Daenerys Targaryen,

a Dalek (ok, that was the scifi exhibit, but close enough in this case),

and some characters from The Princess Bride! (or at least their costumes)

Then it was lunch and a wander around Seattle Center. This naturally required a photo in front of the Space Needle with our best ridiculous tourist impressions.

Alas, we finally had to go our separate ways, and I was condemned to spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun on Lake Washington. I'm already excited to see my sister again when I get back to Florida soon!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Updates and Seattle Sunshine

When I was in Europe I most certainly did not expect to return to Seattle and find it hotter than I had left it!
I was in for quite the surprise. With temperatures reaching up to 90F and no fans in my apartment, I needed to come up with some innovative ways of beating the heat while recovering from jet lag.

First, always stay hydrated.
And if possible, do it in style, such as with a Van Gogh Sunflowers cup.

Whip up a chicken salad (with blueberries, apple pieces, carrot, and feta cheese).

 Then hang out on your porch drinking iced green tea out of a mason jar while reading a good book. Seattlite status acquired.

In other news, the blog has got a bit of a mini makeover today! By no means my final design, I figure that I will be toying with it constantly in the near future. Despite how professional it looks, I'm attempting not to simply copy the layout of one of my favorite blogs, The Londoner.

And now with all this sunshine, I suppose that it's time for a swim at Greenlake! More to follow later.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Returning Through Amsterdam

You know you're in Amsterdam when everything, including the city flag is marked with a XXX.

Before arriving, I did not actually know much about the city but I was aware of its... reputation. So I was entirely taken by surprise with the city's beauty.

I mean, you know it's going to be awesome when the train station that you arrive in looks like this: 

There wasn't enough time for us to do too much in Amsterdam as our hotel was fairly far out of the city and we were flying back home the following morning.
But I did make sure we stopped at the Van Gogh museum.

Although the museum was very nice I was a bit disappointed that they had neither Starry Night (I've been informed it's currently housed at the Met in NY) nor Cafe Terrace at Night. I might have been alright with that if there had been at least some mention about them somewhere, but there was not a single word regarding either painting.

I then took myself for a little walkabout through the city before meeting up with my mom and taking a boat tour through the canals. By that point there was barely enough time for a quick dinner and then a late check in at the hotel.
However, because we were so late and the hotel was overbooked (we reserved our room the previous day however), we received a free upgrade to the executive suite. 
Bath robes. An espresso machine. Live orchids. And a top floor view of, well, the neighboring industrial building. But it was certainly a change from the 1 and 2 star places we were stringing through in Venezia.

Unfortunately, on the train we took to the hotel, we witnessed a theft in action (not of our belongings, just to clarify).
An elderly Chinese couple were sitting in the same train car as us, a few rows up. At one of the stops two young guys came and stood in the doorway as if trying to decide where to sit. The moment the departure whistle blew one of them ran over, grabbed the lady's purse which was sitting on the empty seat next to her, then they darted out the train doors literally as they were closing. Neither her nor her husband, who was sitting directly across and facing her, had not even noticed what happened until others starting asking if that was her bag that just got snatched.
The moral of the story, friends, is this: when traveling, always be alert. Of course, additional precautions like hidden pockets, money belts, using travellers cheques, and having photocopies of important documents are helpful, but the best way of ensuring that you don't lose something that you want to keep is to be as attentive as possible. If you want to take a nap in an area where there are people constantly coming and going, keep a physical connection to your possessions (at minimum, an arm through a purse strap or using a suitcase for a footrest) to help make them that much less tempting to potential thieves.

Ok, lecture over now.
Mom and I finally made it back to Seattle this morning.
Getting off the plane, I first thought we had ended up in Florida by mistake. When did the air in this city get so hot and muggy?! Seattle sure is beautiful in the sunshine though.
It's good to be home.

Going to attempt to get some sleep now to kick the jet lag. It's 2am but still feels like the middle of the afternoon.
Back to real life tomorrow. And maybe some blog layout revisions soon as well.