Sydney: Bondi Beach Babes

If you know me in real life, then you know how impactful swimming has been for me. If you don't know me in real life, you just learned this fact, which is a key theme in the following post. 

Day two in Sydney: No jet leg (truly amazing). Ate a banana for breakfast (because cheap). HEAD. TO. THE. BEACH.

Getting to the beach in Sydney is a little too easy. Like, the thought of being able to saunter over to salty blue waters and frolick in the sand just by hopping on a train for 15 minutes has me sold. We spent the morning walking the coast from Bondi Beach to Bronte beach. The sun was hot but it was no match for these pasty Americans and the SPF 50 we continuously lathered on. (Our trip should have been sponsored by Neutrogena honestly.) Per local recommendation, we detoured from the coast and headed inland for what might have been the best meal of our entire trip. Afterwards, we walked back to Bondi for the real reason of us visiting this area: to swim at the Iceberg Club pool.

Was it freezing cold and we only lasted about 10 minutes?  YES.

Did we get sunburnt?  YES.

Was it worth it?  YES.

Day Guide:
Ate at: Three Blue Ducks Bronte || Bills Surry Hills|| Gelato Messina Surry Hills 
Drank at: Neighbourhood by Sean McManus Surry Hills 

Sydney: A love Story

I fell in love with Sydney. Weeks later, I still struggle to put a finger on why it was so magical to me but it was magical nonetheless.

Immediately after arriving in the city via subway, Rachel and I walk through a park, at around 11:00 pm. It's warm, quiet, well lit, and I'm more comfortable in this new city than I am in most places.

Our first day was essentially a long walk around the city. As we head north, we notice outdoor pools, the number of people jogging, and realize that the cars drive on the opposite side of the street. We walk through the CBD, the Rocks and out to the coast we end up in front of the Sydney Opera House. After an appropriate amount of time spent gawking, we head down through the royal botanical gardens, south into Darlinghurst to grab lunch. Afterwards, we continued through the town, stopping at Fine Fellows to pick up a couple of issues of Men In This Town, where I met the editor of the magazine. He not only chatted with us about our trip, but recommended some spots to eat and gave me the magazines on the house.

As we walk through Surry Hills back to our lodgings, I'm amazed at how friendly everyone has been to us thus far. Rachel and I had talked to shop owners, baristas, and even a random businessman who thought we were lost; each one as friendly as the last.

Our first day in Sydney set a mood for the next 10 days - tired feet and positive vibes.

Day Guide:
Ate at: Single O Roasters Surry Hills || White Carrots Cafe Darlinghurst || Yulli's Surry Hills 
Drank at: The Dolphin Hotel Surry Hills 

The Dream of the 90's is still alive

I recently ran across an assignment I filled out as an 8 year old about what I wanted to be in 20 years.
16 years later, and a surprising number of those things managed to work out. Somehow, even as a child I aspired to design, and I wrote to my future self hoping that's what I would be doing then. Young me also wanted future me to still like chocolate and peanut butter though so my standards are all over the place.

I guess it's not an issue that I haven't changed that much, but there are so many new things that it's hard to feel like you're not missing out on them while you're moving through life. I haven't taken a day off from work for fun since March, so I took a day and Shane and I spent some time in Portland. I'm ready for a vacation, I'm ready for something new. Maybe something a little different than the 8 year-old version of myself might have had in store for me.

Vancouver B.C.

Even though I grew up at the midpoint between Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver B.C., Portland became a quick, fun destination for a weekend away and the city just north of the Canadian border fell to the wayside. Until this spring I had only been to Vancouver once before - and I was so young that I hardly remember it. However, in the past few months, I've been able to visit twice now and explore what this Canadian city on the water has to offer.

Waking up: Revolver offers a wide variety of roasts and even has a tasting flight available to get the same bean prepared 3 different ways to see how they differ. 49th and Parallel drew me in with their rows of doughnuts and kept me there with delicious coffee. For something more substantial, Cafe Medina has provided me with tasty breakfast as well as celebrity sightings (Cole Sprouse and Alfie Allen). Yolks, which claims to have the perfect poached egg, has been calling my name and I plan to make a detour there on my next trip up. 

Out and about: If you're looking to stay on the main island of Vancouver, then Gastown is where it's at. Shops and restaurants line several blocks and can take up plenty of time! The contemporary art museum and central library are also great stops, for the selection of Canadian artists and the architectural intrigue respectively. I also have a tendency to scope out murals and a lot of the city uses their blank walls to promote art; one of my favorites being the pink and yellow alley shown below. Just outside of the city proper you can find plenty of things to fill your time. My last trip I checked out Granville Island, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge, and Bloedel Conservatory but have been meaning to get to Stanly Park and the Kitsilano neighborhood as well. 

Eats and treats: If you're looking for an amazing fish taco and strong margarita, Tacofino is the place to be. Or maybe poutine and a Pimm's cup is more your style? If so, Six Acres has got you covered. And if neither of those sounds good because you're a vegetarian, don't you fret because MeeT on Main can fulfill your plant based needs. Besides those places, I'm also using this list of restaurants to fuel my eating inspiration on my next trip north. Earnest Ice Cream has been on my radar as a place to grab a sweet treat, all I need is a nice day and a free weekend to go back to Vancouver. 

May there be Goals

Even though it's been almost a year since I stopped going to school full-time and started working full-time, I still seem to struggle with this whole work/life balance thing. April just got the best of me. It was full of weekend adventures, a work trip to Pheonix, eating out too much, and painting my kitchen pastel pink (kind of on accident but it's great so it's staying.) While I'll continue to embrace spontaneity, I also need to stay on track with a few things so back to the monthly goals lists to do just that.

Declutter my digital life
Does anyone else spend way too much time on their email, deleting ads from companies that somehow you've become subscribed to? This month, anytime I get an email that I would delete without opening, I'm going to unsubscribe or change my subsription settings. I've also recently been playing around with media notification settings on my phone in order to stay off it and be more mindful of what's going on around me.

Run 50 miles
I've been doing a bad job at staying in shape and I can't blame it on the dark mornings and nights of Seattle wintertime. I have mornings before work, and evenings after that I need to dedicate to be active both in my body and my mind. My most creative thoughts happen while I'm in movement.

Invest in a new camera lens
I need a new lens for an upcoming trip in the works. I've been shooting solely on a 40mm lens for over a year since my standard 18-55mm lens has stopped working. Any recommendations for a replacement?

Okay, folks, that's all for now. Here's to a proactive and productive May!

Los Angeles aka "NYC of the West"

Too often I fall in love with a location. It's the food, the fashion, and the feeling of walking through the streets that capture a feeling of enlightenment. Rather than the temporary infatuation that typically takes hold, with LA, I could actually see myself there.

February Goals: Update

I didn't really complete any of my goals! That being said, I did end up achieving a lot this past month and even got a piece of writing "published" (for lack of better words). See below for an update on my inability to complete tasks:

Building a new bedroom

One of the best things about moving (because let's be real, moving is a hassle) and living in a new space is the "restart". There's a weight that's lifted from getting rid of the clutter of things you haven't used in years, worn in months, or never anticipated seeing again. With all of the removal comes a handful of "new" things as well. For me, it was a new bed, a new mattress, and a new neighborhood.

February Goals

As I become adjusted to my new schedule in a new home in a different part of town, the days, weeks -and this past month- have seemed to fly by. At times it seems like a lot is happening and others it feels like there’s nothing to do. While there are many ways to hold oneself accountable I’ve seen others (a.k.a. Maggie) do a monthly goal list with some shorter term tasks which I’m going to attempt to do this year. So for February, here’s what I’d like to accomplish:

Jet Setter

If by chance, you actually read through the entirety of my previous post then you might recall that I was looking for the next big thing to fill my year.

Well, I found it. 

Last fall, while I was still learning about all the architecture firm I work at has to offer, I learned about a professional development grant program that allows the winner to pursue a passion project with funding and paid time to develop it. Any employee from all of our 21 offices can apply for it and past projects have ranged from researching urban ruins to developing new building performance technology.

On a whim, a co-worker and I applied to it to pursue the creation of a publication. One that reaches out to the people and the process of design within our company and discusses the design culture in an intelligent and personal way.

Turns out, we won. 

So by July we will have compiled, created, and curated material for two zines in addition to traveling to a handful of other offices to inform and hopefully convince them to contribute material or develop one themselves. While I head to different cities to speak about this project, I can't help but tie in the opportunity to explore the areas I visit. Here are the four cities I'll be heading to, and some of the things I'd like to do there when I'm not in a remote office:

Los Angeles (LA)
The Broad, LACMA, Griffith Park

Arcosanti, Phoenix Art Museum

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Museum of Art

Mill City Museum, Walker Art Center, Weisman Art Museum 

Three of the four of these I have never been to, which makes this opportunity so exciting! Not only am I trying to understand the different culture of design within a company but hopefully being in a different location gives me insight as well. Okay 2017, here we go!

2016: Year in Review

New Year, same me but with a bit more figured out than a year ago at this time.

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