Summer in Seattle 2016

I wasn’t sure how my blogging would change once we moved to Seattle last fall. (Can’t believe it’s almost been a year already!) But I basically went exploring and stopped blogging completely. But once you see what I’ve been up to, hopefully you’ll understand. I thought it’d be easiest if I just did a recap of my summer and go from there. This has been one of the busiest and best summers of my life. So much beautiful scenery and so many visitors.


On my Getting Out More Often post I mentioned that I had signed up for a yoga class at the Chihuly Glass Museum and it was so pretty. It was my first time to the museum and I can’t wait to go back.


In early June one of our best friends from Chicago, Ryan came to town and we went on a gorgeous hike called Lake Twenty Two.


I went to California two weekends in a row to visit my family and old roommates. IMG_6795.JPG

Gretchen, one of my good friends from home, who now lives in Seattle too, we went to my first Mariners game. And yes of course I wore my Chicago Cubs shirt! 😉



We spent July 4th on a boat in South Lake Union with some of our best friends. We are beyond lucky to have so many good friends here.


Kathleen and Greg drove through Seattle on a road trip and we all went to dinner together. It’s been years since we have all been in the same city.


We went camping on Second Beach on the Western coast of Washington with our friends Kate and Hayes.


We went to the lavender fields in Sequim, which smelled so good.


Took Gretchen and Kristina camping for their first time ever at the beautiful Diablo Lake. Yes the water really is that color!



My mom and sister came to visit for a few days and we did some sight seeing.


Dave and I flew home to Chicago to surprise one of my best friends,  Melissa for her birthday. Vi and I spent the day being tourists in our own city and it was so much fun!

We hung out on the Chicago River near the Marina towers and it was a beautiful Chicago summer day. These are my people and I love them. Melissa and Vi are my 2 best friends and I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that we were all together.


One weekend we’re in the Chicago and the next weekend we were camping at Rainier National Park. Isn’t life grand?


Another thing on my bucket list for the summer was to go to a Sounder game. It was my first professional soccer game and it was great! So much energy and so many enthusiastic fans.


One of my favorite weekends of the entire summer was getting a cabin near Mount Baker. We played games, laughed so hard we cried, hiked, saw huge mountains and a beautiful lake with a side of pizza and bacon.



This past Labor Day weekend we went to the East Coast in Maryland for our friends’ wedding. We used to live in Washington DC and Los Angeles at the same time as them.


Dave and I drove down to DC for a few hours and visited our old apartment, and walked part of the National Mall. Can you tell how happy I was? 🙂 DC was the first place we moved outside of Chicago and it holds a lot of wonderful memories for us.


Our life is full of friends, family, adventures, and travels and we couldn’t be happier and we wouldn’t have it any other way!

I want to try and start blogging again but my track record the last few months hasn’t really been too promising, so I won’t get ahead of myself. I’ll just do what I can.


Cross Country Skiing to Maroon Bells

Back in January 2015 we drove home to Chicago from California for the holidays. On our way back out West, we stopped in Colorado and visited one of our favorites places, Maroon Bells in Aspen. It had been years since we last visited for the first time, back in 2012 or 2013 on one of our road trips.

So we were really excited to go back and visit in a different season. We asked around how we could get in to see the mountains and they said either through snowmobile (which was not cheap to rent) or cross country skiing. We are both snowboarders so this was our first time cross country skiing. It was a great workout and took quite a while for us to get to the mountain. We started early in the morning and finished by mid afternoon. IMG_5418

It was gorgeous and sunny out and we couldn’t ask for better weather. IMG_5416

We brought snacks and had little picnics when we got hungry. The mountain didn’t seem that far but it was a couple of miles. We kept saying, “we’re almost there, we’re almost there.”


It was absolutely beautiful to see the mountain covered with snow. I love how harsh the lines on the mountain are.


The last time we were here it was cloudy and drizzling and we could barely see the mountain.


Had to get in our jumping pic. IMG_5467

We decided to walk down to get closer to the mountain and had to trudge through some pretty deep snow. IMG_5483IMG_5494-2IMG_5495-2

Oh Maroon Bells, we love you. IMG_5485

Rachel’s Guest Post

I found Rachel’s blog from a link up and was so excited when I found out she is originally from Chicago! You all know how much I love my Chi town so it’s so fun to find other Midwest bloggers, even if they don’t live there anymore. I love reading her blog and seeing her adorable little boys! But I’ll let Rachel take it from here:
Hello “Say Yes to Happy” readers! I’m Rachel from Floral and Fudge. I was so flattered when Julie asked me if I would guest post this week! She and I are having fun getting to know each other, and we’re bonding over our Chicago roots 🙂
Today, I’m sharing my bucket list with you all.
First off, let me just say that I’m extremely blessed to have some of my biggest dreams already crossed off. In all seriousness, being married with two babies is all I could ever ask for in this life. I’m not a huge risk-taker, so there’s no interest in sky diving or mountain climbing or swimming with sharks.
But these are still pretty good. Here goes!
1. Visit all 50 states. I’m currently at 28. I would love to see California and Hawaii!
2. Buy our first house.
3. Sing a duet in public with my husband, Steve.
4. Attend high school and college reunions. (I missed my 10-year high school reunion this summer, but I hope to go to future ones!)
5. Read the whole Bible.
6. Plant a tree, hopefully like an apple tree or a peach tree.
7. Go on a cruise to some Caribbean island like St. Lucia.
8. Try blonde.
9. Learn how to sail.
10. Have coffee with someone famous. I’m thinking Amy Grant, Candace Cameron Bure, or Lauren Graham.
11. Eat a delicious pizza in Italy.
12. Swim under a waterfall.
13. Get something published.
14. See the hospital where Steve was born in Fairbanks, Alaska.
15. Take a pottery class with my mom.
16. Shop at IKEA in Stockholm.
17. Eat my weight in chocolate.
18. Take Nolan and Ephraim to a certain theme park in Orlando.
19. Throw an over-the-top party, just for fun.
20. Do everything for these boys.
What’s on your bucket list??
Come visit me at Floral and Fudge!Thanks so much, Julie, for letting me fill in for you today! 🙂

How sweet is her family?! Thanks again so much Rachel! It was so fun to have you on my blog today. I love hearing about other people’s bucket lists, they are always so interesting! Eating chocolate, pizza in Italy, learning to sail? Yes please!!

North Carolina Recap

So today is our only day home before we take off for another trip. 🙂 #firstworldproblems

My best friend Melissa and her bf Nico are flying into Arizona and we are meeting them and driving to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park for a few days. Also my brother and his fiancé, as well as two of our friends in Colorado are meeting us in Zion for some hiking and camping. So it’s going to be an awesome time and perfect way to unplug from the working world and unwind.

But before we take off I wanted to do a quick recap of the last few days. I will for sure do a more involved daily recap of our trip once we get back.

  • We went to Chapel Hill, North Carolina last week, to visit Dave’s best friend from childhood. We stayed with them Wednesday and Thursday night and then again on Sunday.
  • chapel hill Friday we headed over to Bald Head Island to celebrate our friend’s wedding weekend. It was the most perfect, beautiful weekend.
  • houseIt was our first time to North Carolina and I loved the Southern accents and hospitality that I’ve always heard so much about.
  • The only real disappointment I would say was that I didn’t find the perfect biscuit that I was hoping to. Guess that’s just another reason for me to go back and continue the search! I would love to hear any recommendations if you have any, whether in the South or in other parts of the US!

Mattie’s Guest Post

Mattie, from Northwest Native, has been an awesome blogging friend of mine, so friendly and real. She and I started our first link up together, called “Tell Me About It,” that we host at the beginning of each month. Our next one is October 2nd where you tell us your favorite thing about your state! I’m super excited to move to Seattle next month and finally get to meet Mattie in person!

Today she’s sharing some items on her bucket list with you all:

My bucket list is mostly travel and experiences. I am getting married on October 10th and our goal is to save up for a down payment and buy a house as soon as we can. We also hope to have kids one day. But none of these things are part of my bucket list, especially since when I was in high school and part of college I decided I would never be married or have kids. But then Michael came around and changed my mind. So because of that, I don’t feel like those should be bucket list items for me.

Visit all fifty states. So far I’ve been to Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii, and Washington D.C. (not a state, I know, but it’s included in this for me). Only nine states and D.C. That’s just sad. Reading blogs has really increased my wanderlust. Everyone talking about their cities and the great things there makes me desperate to travel! (Oh yeah, I’m not counting states where I’ve just been in the airport.) Currently Denver is near the top of the list of places to visit. I’m also desperate to visit Austin, NOLA, and Savannah. First I need to visit my friend in Madison as soon as I can (she’s been to see me twice, and the wedding will be three times!). And Michael’s cousin is getting married in Minneapolis next summer and since he and his fiancee are coming to our wedding, I think we should try and go to theirs!

This is from Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park in Montana. Michael and I went on a road trip to Montana and stayed in a tiny cabin with no wifi thirty minutes from Glacier. I love exploring different parts of the country!

Swim with dolphins. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a little girl. However, I took an animal law class my senior year of college (probably my favorite class of all time) and it’s made me really think about things like this. I only want to do this if I know it’s humane. Michael and I went to Mexico in March courtesy of the company I work for, and there was a place where we could’ve done this. But I looked into it and it turns out the place there is run horribly and is not very humane, so I couldn’t support that.
Run a 10K. I just decided on this one. I’ve run one 5K. The longest I’ve ever run is the equivalent of a 10K. The day after Michael and I did our 5K in March, we decided we’d try to tackle a five mile run, which would’ve been our longest ever. But at the five mile mark we weren’t dying, so Michael said, “Let’s just go until we hit an hour.” And then when we hit an hour we were so close to 6.2 (aka a 10K) that we just pushed through to that. Since then, the longest I’ve run is probably four miles. My standard run on a good day is a 5K (3.1 miles).
Go ziplining. I’m afraid of heights, but I think I would love ziplining, especially if it was in a super scenic location. I’ve been places where they had ziplining (Mexico multiple times) but just haven’t done it!

Wonders of the World. Apparently there are tons of lists of various Wonders of the World, but there are some that I absolutely want to see some day (though I wouldn’t mind seeing all of them!). Stonehenge, the Great Wall, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Empire State Building, the Panama Canal (my grandpa worked in the Canal Zone so my mom lived there for seven years), the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef (I was so close yet so far away when I was in Australia–sigh)… There are a ton more listed on the Wikipedia page, but I was getting tired of typing (and thought maybe you guys were getting tired of reading!). There are definitely more I want to see.

In my mind, the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House in Sydney are wonders of the world. I was lucky enough to study abroad in the Sydney area for a semester and my friends and I did the bridge climb (like my childhood idols, Mary Kate and Ashley).

Exploring my own backyard. Oregon and Washington have a ton to offer that I’ve yet to see. Crater Lake has been on my list for years. I also want to travel to Bend, Oregon because it sounds like an awesome city. I’d like to go to Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens (I’ve been to St. Helens, but I was really young on a school field trip so I don’t remember it much!). I’d also like to go to Vancouver, BC (I can’t believe I haven’t done this yet) and go back to Victoria, BC (I went when I was twelve and it was beautiful).
There’s a ton of other international travel I’d like to do, but I don’t want to ramble for days. What are some of the things on your bucket list?
Thanks again to Julie for asking me to guest post!
I love that Mattie mentioned that Mary Kate and Ashley were her childhood idols because they were mine too! Hah. I, like Mattie have such a case of wanderlust and want to travel to SO many places both near and far! Thanks again for your post today Mattie!

The 2015 Blog-tember Challenge: 10 Items Off Your Bucket List

So the other day I was browsing on Kylie’s blog and I saw she was participating in The 2015 Blog-tember Challenge from Brave Love Blog and I had to check it out. Make sure you click over to see the daily prompts! Having topics to write about makes is so helpful when you occasionally have mental road blocks.


Thursday, Sept. 10: 10 items off your bucket list. If you haven’t made one, now’s a good time to start!

I’ve had a running bucket list for many years. I am always adding to it and checking things off. I’ve actually been meaning to add a Bucket List Page to my blog for a little while now (I will get to it eventually!) So this prompt today is right up my alley.

I think one of the fun parts about writing and blogging is you can interpret things the way you want. So instead of going in the direction that a lot of people go with bucket lists like getting married, having kids, buying a house, finding a job I love, etc all things I want, but I thought I’d share 10 places that I want to travel to:

  1. I’ve been obsessed with the Eiffel Tower and Paris for as long as I can remember. I can not wait to get there someday (hopefully very soon!) and take a picture in front of it, have a picnic there, and just marvel at it.  783d2653d28492c0fec8a2bb0cca021f
  2. I’ve seen so many beautiful pictures of Moraine Lake, in Banff National Park in Canada and I’m so eager to see it in person.59aa5093bd7ca4a1f6328a791feac296
  3. Cracker Lake, Glacier National Park in Montana3077075c8430e9a9341d0fb5ee830958
  4. Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver. Years ago Dave and I spent one day in Vancouver on a road trip to Seattle and didn’t have enough time for this bridge, but now that we’re moving to Seattle next month, we for sure have to check this place out!a4dad68cd36f1bf5fb9ee849f79c2ea9
  5. A few of our friends have made the trek to Iceland and Dave and I can’t wait until we make it out there. It’s supposed to be a photographer’s dream in terms of stunning landscapes like this one at Haifoss waterfall.
  6. London town! I’m obsessed with the UK and the royal family. I can’t wait to go to London and see all the famous landmarks, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, The London Bridge, Parliament, etc. 77e00b436869f461978968b10d4a6df2035ce21764f081ed53555696db36ead3
  7. Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park in Canada look stunning. Looks like we are going to be so busy road trip in and out of Seattle in the upcoming months 🙂 735a0499eab907ea726d265f0b10cf39
  8. Maligne Lake, Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada7fb479b460b0f825e21ffa9b5e0b01b4
  9. Lake Lucerne, Switzerland looks so magical! switz
  10. Hike Cinque Terre. Those colorful houses and the mountain side is breathtaking.  ct

There are so many places I want to go to and the list just keeps on growing 😉 Hopefully Dave and I will get to hit some of those beautiful places up in the Pacific Northwest and Canada in the coming months. But for right now, Europe still eludes me.

As you can see I prefer the mountains to the beach. Yes it’s fun to see the palm trees and the ocean but the sand gets everywhere! Hah (first world problems!) But the mountains have a way to putting things into perspective for me. It makes me feel small and humbled. I love the view you get when you do an epic hike.

Super excited about this Blog-tember challenge and to get to read some items on your bucket lists and find some new bloggers!







Friday Favorites: Bears, Elephants & New Link Up!

This week has been nice and short with me being out of town last week Thursday to Monday. But as usual I’m so happy it’s Friday!

I have been holding on to a secret for the last 15 months and finally get to share it today! And my blogging friend Mattie over at Northwest Native and I are announcing our very first link up today too! Hope you all have great weekends, can’t wait to read about your plans in all the link ups!  the-new-youDave has been working in Alaska on and off for the last year and a half and this past weekend I finally got to go and visit him! We did a mini road trip to Denali National Park and we saw moose, a bear, and sheep!

bearrthe-new-you1Last year in May I was asked by a friend of ours to go to Africa to be a translator for a National Geographic documentary. Hmm let me think about that for a second….um YES PLEASE!!!

I have been on lock down for the last 15 months not being able to talk about it but finally this Sunday the documentary is going to premiere on National Geographic at 8pm Eastern Time.

I was able to see a rough edit of it in May when we were in New York but I’m super excited to see the final cut. Sadly my part of the doc didn’t make it but I had the most amazing time and met some lifelong friends. Two of the photos I took while I was there are featured on the website though and that’s pretty cool!

ngRecently the host of this doc Bryan Christy was on NPR. You can listen to the interview here. There was also an article by USA Today and it’s the main cover story for National Geographic’s magazine out this month (I already picked up my copy!)

It’s an incredibly sad and serious topic about the illegal ivory trading that is going on all over the world. I’d love for you all the check it out and I’d love to hear your thoughts on it! I will try to put together a post next week about my time in Togo (which is Western Africa, it’s right next to Ghana.)

THE NEW YOU(2)In line with the documentary I was just talking about AOL also recently had a feature with Chelsea Clinton talking about stopping the demand for ivory:

ccTHE NEW YOU(3)Great article about the ‘rules’ of Instagram:

voguefiveLastly Mattie and I want to announce that we are going to be hosting our very first link up together! We came up with some ideas to finish out the year. We hope you will join us at the first weekday of each month. Our first one starts Tuesday September 1st!Linking Up2

sept 1 fave

Friday has become the day of the link ups. Here are the wonderful women I’m linking up with each week: Hill Collection and Running 4 Cupcakes




July Monthly Faves Link Up!

MonthlyFaves+ButtonThis is my first time linking up with A Deeper Joy and Make Me Up Mia, but I love the idea of summing up my favorites from the past month, so thanks for hosting ladies!

I’m also talking books with my friend Molly today Colors of Life Blog.

bookwormwednesday1And last but not least I’m joining Holly to share on:



I’ve been super busy this month and haven’t been reading as much as I usually do. My mom moved into town in July, Dave and I went home to Chicago, and my little sister has been in town visiting too, so I’ve had my hands full to say the least.

But I will say that one of my favorite books that I’ve read recently is Wild by  Cheryl Strayed. I would recommend it to everyone. She is such an inspiration and her 1,000+ solo hike makes for such an amazing read. You can find my full review here.




Ever since seeing Amy Schumer on The Bachelorette, I’ve become a big fan. I love her humor and how fearless she is. I’m excited to see her new movie, I’ve heard great things about it.



I know it already started this week, but I am so excited for Bachelor in Paradise. It is such a guilty pleasure show of mine. It’s fun to see past cast members mingling. I hope there are some lasting relationships from this show. I love love and I think you can find it anywhere, even on crazy reality shows 🙂

It'syourday!This month was really eventful and my two favorite events were the Men Tell All Taping and the Chicago Half Marathon.

me +my friend

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-13


And lastly I am trying to soak up summer as best I can and I made a California bucket list that I need to get to before we make the move to Seattle in the fall. I want to do the Potato Chip Rock hike and take my boyfriend to see the tv tapings of Jimmy Kimmel and Conan, among a few other things.



Can’t wait to hear what you all have been up to this past month!


California Summer Bucket List 2015

With half of May already over, I wanted to make a summer bucket list before it slips away from me. I’ve been in California for a year and a half now and there are still so many things I want to do. (It’s a big state!)

I’d also love to hear your suggestions for things I should do. I live in Orange County in Southern California, but I’d love suggestions for both NorCal and SoCal.



  • Bridge to Nowhere


photo credit : california through my lens






  • Whale Watching
  • Pool Party at Our Place (which is great motivation to work out)
  • Fire Pit and s’more at Huntington Beach
  • LA Dodgers or Anaheim Angels game
  • Concerts at The Greek Theatre and the Hollywood Bowl 
  • See Conan’s tv taping
  • Jimmy Kimmel taping
  • Cali photo shoot of our favorite places



What about you guys? What is on your summer bucket lists?

My First (and Last!) Marathon!

December 14th, 5 am in Honululu, I will be running my first and last marathon. It’s a bucket list item for me that I’m looking forward to checking off.

Years ago during college my best friend and I volunteered at the Chicago marathon and saw people way older than us running and we were so inspired. So this has been a goal of ours for years and now is the perfect time for us to complete it.

I know that some people love running marathons, and do them every year, but not me. I just want to be able to do it once, that’s really enough for me. I don’t need to have a record fast time. I just want to be able to cross the finish line in one piece.


26.2 miles. It’s totally crazy right? I know. I agree with you.

So then why am I doing it?

1) Because I’ll never be younger than I am now. The older I am the harder it will on my body.

2) I don’t own a house and pay a mortgage right now, I don’t have any kids yet, so I have free time that I need to dedicate to the training schedule.

(Not to say that people who do have those things can’t and don’t do marathons! They obviously do. I just know that it takes a lot of time and at this point in my life, I have that time to give without feeling guilty.)


3) I want to push my limits and prove to myself that I can do it.


4) It is incredibly rewarding and empowering to set a goal and achieve it.

Before I started training for both my half and full marathon, I never ran more than 3 miles at a time. Each time I run a distance more than that, it’s my first time. Never did I think I could and would run 13.1 miles, but I did and you can too (if you want to!)  If I weren’t training for a marathon I would never run that much. You can really teach your body and mind endurance, setting a pace, and going the distance.


5) It’s a great way to get in shape, be healthy, and increase your endurance.


6) It’s a great opportunity to bring attention to important causes and donate money to charities. It’s also a great motivator to run for someone or something important.

I read Adam Braun’s book, The Promise of a Pencil, which is about the incredible non profit he started that raises money to educate children around the world by building schools, providing scholarships, training teachers and so much more. I knew right away I wanted to raise money and help in any way I could. I am almost half way to my goal of $250 with 5 weeks left to go.

Here is my fundraising page if you feel so inclined to donate. I would really appreciate it and so will the kids, parents and teachers.

Even if you don’t donate, you should read his book, or check out the website and learn more about Pencils of Promise.



7) Not that you need a reason to go to Hawaii, but this is great excuse. I will really be looking forward to having a vacation after I finish! But before then, it will be a great way to explore and really see Oahu and it’s coast. And I’ll at least have beautiful scenery to keep me distracted while I’m counting down the miles.


8) Bragging rights! No matter how long it takes me, even if I get cramps, even if I have a bad mile or five, I will (hopefully) cross that finish line and become a part of the marathon runners club.


9) That shiny medal. I have my half medal marathon and it’s one of my most prized possessions. I display it proudly at our place and its a fun talking point. I paid for, trained for, and worked hard for that thing. I didn’t grow up with lots of trophies so it was a big deal and accomplishment for me to have a shiny medal of my own that I earned. Can’t wait to add to my collection!

10) I really enjoy the encouraging environment that surrounds races. I love the clever signs people have and the amazing, warm words of motivation that get shouted at the runners. Running marathons can be very taxing both emotionally and physically so when runners hear things like, “Keep going! You’re doing great! Almost there!” it means a lot and really can help them get through.

The other day when I was running on the beach path and there were inspirational phrases along the way and just reading those I almost started tearing up! So I’m pretty sure come December and I’m out on the course and I hear some kind words of encouragement you might see a tear or two escaping from my eyes.

SeaWheeze lululemon





So there you have it. The reasons behind my madness. I still have a month of training left to go before the big day. But it’s quickly approaching and come race day, I’ll be ready!

I would absolutely LOVE any words of advice you could give me. I know I’m not the first person to run a marathon and I won’t be the last, so please feel free to share your hard earned knowledge with me.

Come back this Thursday as I continue my Interview Series and interview my cousin who has run 10 marathons! (Yes you read that right, 10!) He’s been my coach and inspiration as I’m navigating the crazy world of training and running.