Lake Twenty Two Hike

You guys summer in Washington is amazing. Like beyond my wildest dreams. Prettier than I could have imagined. It’s one thing to see pictures of beautiful places and a whole other thing to actually be there in person. And you know pictures can never fully do justice.

A few months ago we did this hike with our friends and we were only able to see up to the snow line because of all the fog. We had no idea we were missing SO much of the mountains. This time we went it was sunny and so clear.

One of our good friends Ryan from Chicago, came to visit us in early June (his first time in Seattle!) and we took him on this hike.

Here we are in front of the lake. And while this picture is nice, it really bothers me that people take pictures of our feet and the rock in front of us and not the majestic mountains behind us.


It’s just so pretty. The greenery, the clear water, the sunshine, the snow all in June! Just everything.


Greenland or Washington? 🙂



Can you tell how happy we were? IMG_6715.JPG


And this is just one of the many, many gorgeous hikes in Washington.We are fully taking advantage of living here and loving every minute.


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.

Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

Back in November a friend from back home came to visit and we spent some time in Seattle and Sequim where his parents now live. It was fun to get to see other parts of the state so soon after moving in October. We drove to Olympic National Park at Hurricane Ridge and walked around and played in the snow. IMG_3387.JPG

Love this picture of the windows and the majestic mountains. IMG_3388IMG_3389IMG_3400

We just had on our gym shoes so we didn’t walk far in the snow but it was nice to get out and stretch our feet a little. IMG_3403

Our friends got married in Olympic National Park in the fall, and it was fun to see it in the winter. Now that we live in the state we look forward to spending more time here and at the other national park in the state: Rainier! Washington state is pretty great ya’ll 😉

Vancouver for the day

So back in December I got my passport renewed and I wanted to go Vancouver just for the day. It was a last minute trip so we didn’t spend the night or have any major plans. I just wanted to use my newly minted passport.

It’s about a 3 hour drive from Seattle to Vancouver. Back when we lived in Illinois, 3 hours would take us to Indiana, Iowa, etc. Nothing against those states (I grew up in the Midwest and it will always be home) but they’re certainly not as exciting as Vancouver.

After crossing the border we drove to Stanley Park and walked around. It was a cloudy and misting a little but people were still out and about. It was a pretty view of the skyline. I can only imagine how busy it would be in the spring and summer.


In Washington and Vancouver I see a bunch of totem poles so we did some reading up on them.



Afterwards we drove to Granville Island and checked out their Public Market. Gotta see what Pike’s Place is up against. 😉





Before we left Vancouver, we ate a seafood restaurant which was in walking distance of the market. It was a short slice of Vancouver and I can’t wait to go back when it’s nicer out. Actually for our anniversary I bought us tickets to see the Chicago Blackhawks play against the Vancouver Canucks later this month so hopefully we will get to see more then. It’ll just be a quick weekend trip but we can’t wait.

Jumping for Joy Part 2

Back in July I put together all of the jumping photos from the last few years. We started the tradition in 2010 on our first road trip together and have been doing it since. It is one of my favorite traditions and am so glad we have kept it up. I thought it would be fun to do a little update of the latest editions of the last few months of travel.

July 2015 -Chicago Suburbs. My parents sold my childhood home so we had to take a picture before it was gone forever. 😦

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-90

AugustDenali National Park, Alaska



October – We took a road trip (that I still need to blog about) with our best friends and my brother and his fiancé, to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah, and Las Vegas.



Before we moved out of California we spent a day in Santa Monica (where we lived the first year we lived in Cali) and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take a jumping pic in front of our old apartment building.


October – Our old place in Southern California with our roomies, the day we drove to Seattle for our move


DecemberLake Crescent, WA


January 2016 – Snowshoeing in Mount Baker

IMG_4369FebruaryFremont Troll, Seattle I missed the jumping memo on this one 😉


March – Moran State Park, Orcas Island, WA



What fun travel traditions do you guys do?

Linking up today with :


New Year’s Snowshoeing

Continuing with our first snowshoe day adventure, here are some more awesome moments. The snow was so pretty that I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. close


Our entire group, minus one more dog. These two couples have been so welcoming since we moved to Seattle. We spent Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Years together. Moving to Seattle and already knowing people has been amazing and really made it feel more like home. group


It was beautiful and sunny out and we had such a good time. We stopped for lunch, walked a little more, then headed back to our cabin.    walk.jpg

I loved waking up everyday to see the lake. It would be realllly nice to get a lake house someday. But I wold also just love to get a cabin every now and then. 🙂

cabinSo that wraps up our first Christmas and New Years together in Washington. They set the bar pretty high for future holidays huh? 😉 Living in such a beautiful place gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘staycation’ because there are so many gorgeous places here.


Linking up with Amanda for:


Ruby Beach, WA

On the way home from our West Coast Washington trip for Christmas (La Push and Lake Crescent) we drove by the Hoh Rainforest and Ruby Beach. Ruby Beach is about an hour South of La Push.

Before we took off for home the day after Christmas, we stopped to eat at the Hungry Bear Cafe. The owners were so friendly and told us about all the cool places to check out in the area. They also told us funny Sasquatch stories. It was a diner and the food was great. And if you order a pancake, make sure you only get one, because they are huge.


A few years ago Dave worked on a show called Mick Dodge and got to spend a month in the Hoh Rainforest. While he was working there he said there were places he wanted to show me, so it was fun to finally see them. It was a pretty long ride home so we just drove through and didn’t end up hiking at all.


Ruby Beach was cloudy and it started to drizzle when we were leaving.

IMG_4009I love the different types of tree there are in Washington. IMG_4010

More Washington state beach driftwood. IMG_4014IMG_4017

We also did a balancing rock challenge and I won clearly. My British friend Toby always does this and it reminded me of him. IMG_4021IMG_4022IMG_4023

I’m so glad we went out on Christmas and got to enjoy some rare sunshine because it was cloudy again so quickly. You gotta take advantage of it when it comes!

Lake Crescent, WA

So yesterday I blogged about the first part of our Christmas morning at beautiful La Push beach. We rented our cabin in Sappho, a small town on the West Coast of Washington state. Since we were in between our next location, we stopped home for a quick lunch, then took off for Lake Crescent.


Years ago our friends got married in Olympic National Park. Dave was working in Forks, WA, so I picked him up and we went to our friend’s wedding and I drove past Lake Crescent and fell in love. This is what it look like from the road. It’s gorgeous! It’s hard to believe this is in Washington, because it reminds me of New Zealand. IMG_3868

When we got there, we parked at the lodge and saw a couple canoeing, and another guy took a quick dip in the lake too! I felt the water later and while it was cold, it wasn’t as freezing as I thought it would be. But I still wouldn’t jump in on Christmas!

canoe. JPG

This lodge is so quint and adorable. Dave and I always talk about possible wedding locations and this one is definitely a serious contender now. It would be so picturesque and beautiful.


How cute is this porch looking out into the lake? I mean come on!


And here is a seating area. I’m sure many people have gotten married right here. It would be a small and intimate wedding, which is just what we want.


La Push was a beautiful start to our day and this afternoon in Lake Crescent did not disappoint either.  It was so peaceful and pretty everywhere you looked.


Our traditional jumping pic, it has to be done. 🙂 We chatted with the couple who took this picture for us. They were a newly retired couple who lived in Sequim. Everyone we talked to all weekend were so friendly. jump

After we took in the beautiful lake and took our pictures, we headed for a short hike nearby. I obviously don’t know what the future holds for our future Christmases, but I’d loved it if they could involve beautiful scenery and maybe a hike like this year. And Dave and I also said we’d like to fly out our families in the future because that is what the holidays are all about.

I love the moss covered trees all over Washington. It reminds me of the Lorax, just fairytale/book like, it’s just so pretty.

bridgeThe name of the mini hike we did.


Our Christmas day waterfall hike.



That night we went home, cooked dinner and watched Christmas Vacation. I always loved Vegas Vacation as a kid but I’d never seen Christmas Vacation. It was fun and silly. It’s not one of my favorites like Home Alone, but it was fun to watch a Christmas movie on Christmas.

As much as we love our family and friends and missed them this holiday, we really enjoyed our weekend cabin-Western Coast of Washington-first Christmas away from home-together just the two of us. Your significant other becomes your family and you start new traditions together, which I really loved this year.

Our new traditions we started this year that will hopefully continue:

  • filling our (new) stockings with little treats or candy
  • a hike or something physical, like our mini hike
  • going somewhere beautiful (probably a little unrealistic but a fun goal)
  • making and eating candied pecans (my favorite recipe here)
  • an ornament or two to recap our year (I got a washington state one made of wood, and a starbucks cup to symbolize our big move this year to Washington from California)

Weekend Recap

I had the best weekend filled with friends, a Seattle Tour, games, cookies, and a snow adventure.

Friday I worked from home (such a nice perk of work!) and Dave and I went to see our mortgage broker. And since our realtor is Jason Mesnick he referred us to his friend Chris Siegfried.

Never did I think moving to Seattle that I’d be in contact with Bachelor alum, but it’s been awesome! (I’m a huge bachelor nerd so I try really hard to keep my cool and not be a fangirl even though I totally am!) Chris is super friendly and knows what he’s talking about when it comes to financing our future house. I’d highly recommend him as well.

After our meeting, Dave and I laid low, ordered pasta and watched our shows. We wanted to go out but were feeling lazy. We had plans the rest of the weekend so we decided to stay home that night.

Saturday We’ve been on the market for a new place on and off since September. We have a 6  month rental currently that is coming up in March. so we are looking more and more now. (Still can’t believe sometimes that it’s January 2016!)

A few days earlier in the week, our friends invited us to go snowshoeing, but we haven’t bought our own pairs yet, so we had to go rent them at Sports Authority. REI has 200 pairs but they were all out! So I looked up where else we could rent from, and Sports Authority came up. We had to go to two different locations since it’s first come first serve. After we secured our 3 pairs, we headed back to our neck of the woods to go to 4 different open houses.

We found place we liked, but didn’t love. The house hunting process is pretty exhausting. It’s so hard to picture yourself in certain places and have a pro and con list for each. Does this busy street bother us? Can we live with one bathroom? Do we want a yard? Do we want a fixer upper or a turn key house? So many questions and decisions! #firstworldproblems #adultproblems

After our open houses we had plans with Katie and her husband Justin to hang out. So they met at our house and because it was a beautiful sunny Seattle day, we decided to head to Lincoln Park and walk around. I love, love, love this park. It’s so pretty, peaceful, and a great view of the mountains and the Sound.


Katie has become such a great friend to me ever since we moved up here. She single handedly got me a job and in spending 8 hours a day together, 5 days a week, we’ve gotten to know each other really well. 🙂 And we’re really lucky. I know spending that much time together can go one of two ways. So I’m super grateful and glad we like each other so much. katieb

After going for a walk and skipping rocks, we headed into the city. For Christmas Katie got Dave and I a Groupon for a Underground Seattle tour. I didn’t take any pictures because it was pretty dark underground, but it was really cool and informative. I had no idea there were so many old first levels of buildings, where the sidewalks used to be.

After our tour, we went to cow chip cookies which were delicious. I have never heard of them, but Katie said she used to get them all the time as a kid.


After cookies and dessert before dinner, we went to eat at Elliot Bay in West Seattle which was my first time there and it was good. Then we went to a bar that allows you to bring games to. They also have shuffleboard, which is always fun. The 4 of us played Cranium and Heads Up. Game night are always fun! 🙂 What are your favorite board games?

Sunday our friends met at our house and we headed toward Snoqualmie to go snowshoeing. We are starting our new year active, since we went snowshoeing over New Year’s Eve weekend too. ( I will blog about that another day.) We drove to the Alpental skiing area and headed towards Source Lake.  I love this little bridge that leads to the skiing area.


Our friends Denny and Sarah have done this hike before so they lead the way. It was so pretty to see the trees and the ground covered in snow. It felt like being in a real life snow globe. snowglobe

A pic of the girls. If you guys remember a little while back I mentioned my friend Gretchen (on the left of me) moved up to Seattle two weeks before me and we’ve had so many fun adventures since. She and I went to junior high and high school together. It’s so fun to be here with her and appreciate all the amazing things there are to do and see here.

Sarah, on my right, is our friend who is also from Chicago. She is married to Dave’s childhood friend Denny. This is our first outdoor adventure with them since we’ve moved here.

I can’t say it enough how wonderful having friends has made the move seamless. It’s been so awesome to have Chicago friends who we have a shared history with, but are also getting to make new memories with.

If you look closely you can see behind us is a little waterfall with water that was still streaming and not freezing! girls

Most of the hike was level and not scary. There was just this one section that was a little dicey. It was super steep and you really had to kick in the toe of the snowshoe to get good traction. Here Gretchen and I are climbing uphill.


But we at the top of that hill we were rewarded with an amazing view. We took this adorable group pic. 🙂


We hike a little further and sat down and had lunch. Cheese, cracker, salami, strawberries and raspberries, and pretzels. It was delightful.

The fun thing about snowshoeing is that you can forge your own path and go off the beaten path to really beautiful, remote places. It was so cool to be surrounded by the snow and be in a ‘white out.’ The snow was so pure and untouched in some areas. I absolutely love being able to go on little weekend adventures in the wilderness, then I don’t feel so sad when I’m at work all week in an office. It’s a delicate balance but one I’m happy to toe the line with. 2

Chapel Hill, North Carolina Travels (Day 1&2)

The end of September started our whirlwind month and a half off of travel and moving. (Knowing I wouldn’t be working for a little while, I hoarded my checks from work and saved them to use for those curious about how I took so much time off from the working world.) A little recap of our adventures:

  • At the end of September we went to Seattle to house hunt (unsuccessfully, it’s an ongoing process) then flew home to Chicago to say goodbye to my childhood home (my parents sold it.)
  • Then we were home for a few days in California to pack for our big move
  • We went to North Carolina for the first time ever, to see Dave’s best friend, go to our friend’s wedding on Bald Head island, and went to Chapel Hill
  • Drove to our old roomie’s new place in Tuscon, Arizona
  • Picked up our friends from Chicago to go on an epic road trip to Grand Canyon, Horse Shoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion National Park, and Las Vegas

It has really taken me out of my blogging routine of posting, commenting, and reading my favorite blogs. So I’m sorry that I haven’t responded to so many of your comments. Thank you all for reading and still commenting and for your patience.

I finally have some free time to blog again (before I start my new job Monday!) and wanted to document some of my travels so I can look back on them later on.

Day 1

We went to Chapel Hill to see John and Holly. John and Dave have been friends since grade school. I think since 2nd grade! They have a real bond and it’s so cute to see.

The first night we got in, we ate at Kipos in downtown Chapel Hill, which was really good Greek food.


Isn’t is so cute inside?

k2We got home and chatted and watched the Entourage movie.

Day 2

The next day John was so nice and took the day off of work to hang out with us and show us around. I looked up a few places to go eat and this cute records cafe called Vinyl Perk.

recordsThis was a fun mural around the block. Love how they used the window as the eye.

wallAfterwards we walked the gardens at Duke University.

gardensWe ate at a BBQ place which was alright, but not my favorite type of food.

foodWe also walked around Duke’s campus, which was beautiful. The brick buildings are so classic and make for such a great looking campus.

buildingThe campus kind of reminded me of Hogwarts. 🙂

dukeWe stopped by John’s mom house but sadly she wasn’t home. But I did snap this adorable picture of these boys together. #bromance

boysFor dinner we had more Greek food at Kalamaki. They had a cute outdoor area with live music.



Linking up with these ladies today:weekend-snapshots