When you’re in a city with a skyline as iconic as Seattle’s, you just have to find a great lookout point for the best view. Before our trip, I literally spent hours on Yelp finding things to do and places to go to and Kerry Park was highly recommended as being the best view in Seattle. We drove up there on our first day in the city to watch the sunset, and it certainly did not disappoint. Although the park itself is fairly small, the view is huge and beautiful; you get the skyline AND the sea with a clear view of the western horizon, making it ideal for sunset-watching. Apparently you can see Mount Ranier too, but it was too cloudy for us to make it out when we were there.
I wish we could have spent more time there, but it was SO COLD and windy my fingers were freezing off trying to take pictures. But the neighborhood was super cute so despite the chill we couldn’t resist walking around an admiring the beautiful homes and tree-filled streets. We really wanted to come back again to see the skyline at night, but our trip went by so quickly that we didn’t get the chance to do so :[ It’s for sure on our to-do list for our next trip though, and it should be on yours whenever you find yourself in Seattle!
We have a new family member! Meet Carl :] He’s an incredibly energetic 2-year-old lab mix who we adopted last week from a local animal shelter. He’s still working on getting along with our cats and the guinea pigs, but he already made friends with my friend’s dog and we’ve gone on a few walks together on a local trail. More to come featuring our new pal as stories with him develop :]
(It’s really hard to get him to sit still for a pictures…this is what the majority of them turn out like^)
I was in love with Izmir, Turkey. It was so bright and full of life; the streets were bustling and busy, the restaurant patios were packed every single night of the week, and the city went all the way up to the rolling, crashing sea. I noticed it feeling so much more casual that Bursa had, so much less foreign; it reminded me of partly of being in San Diego and partly of being in a Western European city. We spent a lot of time tanning at the beautiful beaches, we enjoyed endless amazing food, and lazy days just wandering around the city. I would go back without a second thought.
Ilhan and I have been so lazy as of late when it comes to planning dates. Just picking a restaurant and calling it a day pretty much sums it up for us. And don’t get me wrong, I LOVE going out to dinner and checking out new spots, it’s one of my favorite things to do…but if that’s all you do it starts to get pretty repetitive you know?
Since our laziness in planning doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, it was an absolute thrill when the Murder Mystery Company invited us to join them for dinner at San Diego’s Old Spaghetti Factory The opportunity to eat yummy pasta in our favorite city while doing something totally out-of-the-box for us? Um…YES please!
So the night finally came around. Upon our arrival to the restaurant, we were directed to the third floor by the Old Spaghetti Factory staff. We were greeted right away by some of the actors and were ushered over to take some photos to take home. Can I just say these are literally the best pictures of me and Ilhan I’ve ever seen? Really though, these need to be displayed in every single one of our loved ones’ homes.
After getting our pictures taken, we made our way to our seats at a table with two other couples (our team!). Let me quickly run through how the whole thing works: it was an interactive show, so while the actors definitely played significant parts in the whole murder mystery, members from the audience played characters as well!
It was so much fun, guys. While we enjoyed dinner and drinks, the show went on around us. The actors were hilarious and super into it, and all of the guests played along enthusiastically. We were given the chance to walk around the room and interview other teams to get clues (complete with bribery!) until it was time to put our heads together, go over the clues, and determine who the killer was and how they did it. Our team was one of only two to get it right hehe. I guess all of that SVU really paid off!😏
And I have to add…I was picked to be one of the suspects/active participants. Before we got there, I was REALLY nervous that this was going to happen because I’m absolutely petrified of being put on the spot and having all eyes on me. That being said, I give the Murder Mystery Company a lot of credit because I wasn’t scared or embarrassed when I had to stand up and talk. That isn’t an easy feat! The actors really helped me feel comfortable and made participating so so easy despite the fact that I was FAR outside my comfort zone.
If you’re in San Diego and looking for a fun date night, I highly recommend dinner with the Murder Mystery Company! It was an experience unlike any I’ve ever had, it was a great date for me and Ilhan, and it was nice meeting so many other local people. Plus the Old Spaghetti Factory is in the Gaslamp Quarter, so there are lots of fun places to get drinks before and/or after the party. We can’t wait to return!
For us San Diegans, anything below 60 degrees is absolutely freezing. That first day in Seattle was a bit of a shock for us with temperatures around 45 and the windchill was absolutely biting. Neither of us was complaining though; there’s just something about being all bundled up, especially when we don’t usually have the chance to do so. Our first stop after walking around the downtown area a bit was Pike Place Market for some food and to get out of the cold for a bit.
After some delicious, award winning chowder (Ilhan had clam, I had salmon) at Pike Place Chowder to warm ourselves up, we explored the shops. It was bustling with shoppers and the people working the shops would call out to you inviting you to look at their wares; it reminded me of when Jasmine was walking around the markets in the movie Aladdin haha. Also I was almost hit in the face by a fish when we were passing by the famous stall where they throw fish back and forth after someone orders one lol. It was an exciting environment with something to look every way you turned, and those sea views were just magic.
And of course we couldn’t go to Pike Place Market without stopping into the world’s first Starbucks, complete with the original logo. I sincerely regret not buying one of those glorious mugs above.
Back in 2010, I cut my hair really short…like above my shoulders short. And I’ve been growing it out since then. I LOVED my long hair, it made me feel like a mermaid, but it was just starting to feel really heavy and high maintenance, you know? It was like wearing a huge blanket on my head sometimes, my hair just felt like it was everywhere. So yesterday I did a thing…I got it cut off! It’s probably going to take a minute to get used to the lob, but it already feels so much lighter and fresher. Hi, 2016!
One of my absolute favorite parts of traveling is all the eating (obviously). Trying a variety of new foods is so important to me that I invest hours before heading to a new place researching places to eat/types of local foods I just have to try (#notembarrassed). On top of that, I’m not a picky eater and I’m pretty easily pleased with delicious food, especially when it’s something new in a new country. That being said…this breakfast I’m about to tell you about was easily one of my favorite meals in the whole six weeks we were abroad.
Breakfast while traveling can be tricky because it’s nice to sleep in on your vacations and you don’t want to eat breakfast late and then have to skip lunch and/or push all of your meals back during the day (am I the only person who plans out food breaks this much?). It’s a shame to skip the first meal of the day though…breakfasts vary so much from country to country, it is a truly cultural experience just like any other meal. And when you’re in Turkey, you just cannot miss out on a Turkish breakfast.
We had several prepared at home (we stayed with a lot of Ilhan’s family while there), but when we were in Bursa his family wanted to take us to Dağyeli et Mangal for a big Turkish breakfast there. As I said above…this was one of my favorite meals of the whole trip (including Turkish breakfasts in Istanbul!) so I have to say this isn’t just the best breakfast in Bursa, but one of the best breakfasts I’ve eaten in a restaurant…period.
Enter Dag Yeli Alabalik Et Mangal (Wild Mountain Trout and Meat Grill). Perched on the side of a little mountain, it is an absolutely stunning eatery and simply perfect for a lovely breakfast. Rustic, floral, charming, it made me feel like eating somewhere in Hobbiton (pictures below the food pictures!). Plus it’s literally on a farm…so the food is made from scratch from ingredients raised/grown right there! So the cheese and butter were all made in-house from a resident cow’s milk, the eggs were collected that very morning, the bread was brought to our table fresh out of the oven…and I could go on.
SO! Let’s talk about the food! Turkish breakfast usually consists of bread, various cheeses, eggs, cucumber, tomato, and olives, and we got all of these in top notch form. Just look at those eggs pictured above…cheesy, creamy, yolky, and so hot out of the oven that we had to wait for them to cool a bit before digging in. We took portions onto our plates or dipped bread right into the bowl; both were just beyond amazing. And below? Four different kinds of cheeses (again…all homemade!), fresh veg, and those little fried pastries. I seriously died and went to heaven with this plate.
And we can’t pass over the bread you guys…THE BREAD. Now I consider myself a bread connoisseur (😏) and this bread freaking rocked my socks off. I mentioned above that it was brought to the table straight from the oven…it was literally so fresh it slightly burned your fingers when you tore the rolls apart (but it wasn’t hot enough to stop you from doing it haha). Served with fluffy, fresh butter and locally harvested honey…it was soft with a slightly sweet crust, and when you spread the butter and honey on it they melted together immediately. As I said…I died and went to heaven.
I left the table with a super full, super satisfied tummy, and with my mind completely blown. I’ve thought about that bread and those baked eggs SO MUCH since then…and combined with that beautiful patio, all of those flowers, that stunning view, it was just out of this world. The best breakfast in Bursa, one of the best meals I had in Turkey, one of my favorite restaurant experiences in recent memory. So if you ever find yourself in Bursa…I highly highly HIGHLY recommend stopping to this quaint little place for an incredible breakfast that you won’t soon forget.
It’s that time of year again! Time for a fresh start, for thinking of things you want to do better this year, for putting together that list of New Year’s resolutions. This is such a motivating time of the year for me; I love thinking about the year to come and what I want to accomplish, new habits to develop etc. Even if those resolutions fall to the wayside eventually, it’s just such an optimistic time of the year, you know? In the past I’ve shared various goals on my blog but I want to keep most of them more personal this year. However, these six I felt were more global resolutions, ones everyone could relate to and benefit from in some way. So here’s some New Year’s resolution inspiration for you :]
01. Have informed opinions.
In a world where attention spans are maxed out with six second sound bites, it is vital that we make a conscious effort actually looking into important issues before acting upon our opinions. I’m definitely guilty of building opinions on issues based on my Facebook feed…this is unacceptable and everyone should vow to do proper research this year. For one, we should be able to back up opinions with research, and two, it’s valuable having the ability to discuss issues that matter to you in depth.
02. Replace more tv binges with reading.
I can’t even count how many tv show binges I went on in 2015. Ugh. Hours and hours and hours just sunk into my computer screen with nothing to show for it on the other side. While it’s completely unrealistic for me to write off Netflix binges completely for 2016, I do want to start replacing some sessions with reading. Who’s with me?
03. Make mindful choices.
Whether it’s a choice to overindulge on a Friday night or a choice to wake up early and be productive on a Wednesday morning, I think that there’s so much value in noticing each and every decision presented to us. We have so much freedom in our lives, even when things happen that make us feel like nothing is going our way. It’s uplifting paying attention to just how many choices we are lucky enough to make each day.
04. Think about where you want to be on 12/31/16 and make a plan to get there.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve literally never made a resolution with a specific destination in mind. Usually I resolve to read more, do more yoga, etc…but without thinking of what the end result I’m shooting for is. Be detailed! Where do you want to be by the end of this year and what steps are necessary to get there?
05. Take at least one trip to somewhere you’ve never been.
Traveling is just so good for the soul. And it’s completely, 100% doable to see somewhere you’ve never seen once a year. This could be anything from a plane trip to the other side of the globe or a quick drive to a nearby city you’ve never explored. Get out there and see something new!
06. Keep a journal.
Did anyone else keep super detailed diaries throughout middle school and high school?🙋🏼 Reading them is slightly embarrassing but really I’m grateful to have such a detailed account of those days. I didn’t write anything down in college, and have minimally journaled post-graduation. The result is important details are lost and everything becomes a broad memory. Think of how wonderful it would be even a year from now to go back and remember specific days and events in detail? Take 10 minutes before bed and jot down what happened that day…it’s a small effort for an amazing pay off.
So are any of these things you’d like to resolve to do with me this year? What other resolutions do you have?
01// beautiful seattle skyline on our first evening there 02// the stunning elliot bay book company 03// view from pike place market 04// brunch neutrals, seattle05// view of vancouver from our air bnb 06// odesza, los angeles♥ 07// valley center sunset 08// my mom’s beautiful christmas ribbon cake 09// christmas kitty😸
And just like that, December is over and we’re on to 2016. My December was a whirlwind…Ilhan and I visited Seattle and Vancouver, we saw Odesza (our favorite!!) TWICE (once in their hometown Seattle, once in LA), and our holiday celebrations were lovely with a big extended family Christmas Eve party and a quiet Christmas at home. NYE was also quiet; my family + Ilhan + my very dear friend Erin started it out together at our local brewery and finished playing games together at home until the countdown.
I’m pumped for 2016. This year feels especially bright and I’m ready to embrace it. Anyway. How was everyone else’s December? What were your highlights?