Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Sugru Story

I think my favorite part about this talk is that this woman, an inventor and business owner, seems so nervous and emotional when presenting her story...
... because, yeah... starting a business is hard.

Lisa Frank!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Won't You Take Me To Idea Town

We took pictures at the Seabrook and Sunset Magazine Idea Town party last Thursday. I was super thankful to my friend, Jen, who thought of me while planning the party. She knows of my obsession with Sunset Magazine and my life goal to somehow be a part of it.

When she asked me to come in and take photos of the party, I was beyond excited. You guys, I was in the same room/patio as people who write/edit/whatever for Sunset!

I probably should have done more schmoozing, but we got distracted by this fun bathroom mirror.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


I think I have an addiction to discovering new things but also a weird desire for the mundaneness (not. a. word.) of every day life... or maybe vice versa. Can't quite tell yet.

I love boring stuff: eating scrambled eggs every morning, riding my bike on the exact same route to work and back, washing the dishes every night, filling in my calendar, making Tinderbox Matchbox Roast pour over coffee directly into my mason jar with the bicycle fabric cozy. I have a favorite bowl, a preferred seat at my favorite coffee shop, and a heavy level of commitment to the shows I watch on Hulu and Netflix. I actually wear through my shoes regularly and buy the exact same pair over and over again. My heart does not stray very far from these things. I'm the epitome of a brand loyalist.

However, I don't find these things very inspiring and I often get buried in these every day things that I love. It is so easy for me to fall into the trap of repetitively moving through my life and watching time fly by. I might have the best of intentions to get out and do all of the things I aspire to do (writing, photography, naps in my hammock, traveling) but I sometimes forget to actually do them because I'm caught up in the enjoyment of my cup of coffee. Suddenly, I realize that I've pinned more projects on Pinterest than I've actually accomplished in real life and I think "I've gotta do something!"

So, I'm on the hunt for an adventure.  
I need more discovery in my life.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Writer's Block

Today I was thinking about how very little writing I've accomplished over the last week. There were so many potential stories brewing in my mind. I've seen so many strange sights. I drank a basil mojito while playing 4 on 4 badminton until my arms ached. I saw a woman carrying a wooden marionette over her shoulder LIKE A BABY (scariest thing ever). I experienced a nearly city-wide power outage and thanked the lord that I live next door to a hospital that has a generator to light my neighborhood (and charge my cell phone). I went kayaking in South Bend and achieved my second terrible sunburn of the season. I apparently learned nothing from that one song I heard a thousand times in high school. I went to Seattle to see a couple of my best college friends whom I hadn't seen in years. I also saw a rat scurry across the floor of an outdoor bar while I was there. I suppose there are a lot of rats running wild in city restaurants but I'd never actually seen one before. However, I have seen Ratatouille. This rat was not so cute. And it probably can't even cook. I've spent two Saturdays selling cute things at the Seabrook Saturday market. Walked on the beach. Ate far too much Mexican food. Played with fireworks. Even started running again and achieved my fasted ever average pace.

So, is it writer's block, a lack of time or the procrastinator personality of mine that has kept me from writing here in the past two weeks? Yes.

Friday, June 28, 2013

This Weekend

I'll be out in Seabrook this weekend with Gray's General Store selling t-shirts, Cuppow lids and making custom jar cozies on the spot!

Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Here Goes Everything

Today is my last day working part-time at the local college here in Grays Harbor. It's been fun bringing in entertainment and putting on and planning events like giant bowling and lunch time karaoke, but it's summer time now (despite the warning email I got this morning about possible lightning strikes on campus) and I've got lots of other projects to get working on!

I've got three major goals or guiding values on my list:

1. Quality > Quantity. I will be focusing on taking all of the things that I do and figuring out how to slim it all down to the top quality projects, then making those things even better.

2. Connect. I love people. I love fast paced environments. I know that if I don't spend some time focusing on ways to stay connected to these things, I will become discouraged and end up spending my days watching The Wonder Years on Netflix and eating way too many burritos.

3. Make some money! Let's get real. I've got bills to pay...

By Banter Banner

Here's the short-ish list of things I'll be doing this summer:
  • Use writing as an excuse to have more adventures in Grays Harbor. Drag my camera and friends along and post it all up here, here, here and here.
  • Relaunch Gray's General Store... I've got some big ideas including an online store, new product lines and a co-working space!
  • More picnics. Fancy ones. Like how they do in Portland.
  • More hammocks.
  • Fill my brain with inspiring and educational books, podcasts and videos... like this one:

  • Attempt to take on creative and self-improvement projects that I hear about in these books, podcasts and videos (... a photo a day like Chris Glass does... maybe).
  • More, more, more copywriting, marketing and advertising projects!
  • Get back into my running and yoga routine.
  • Ride my bike more so I can have thoughtful and deep contemplations on my place in this world like my friend Kelly Hogaboom.
  • Host a backyard music festival/camp-out.
  • Try to help get a few businesses off the ground for friends and family.
  • Generally (and hopefully) not be too lazy.
Wish me luck! (please... I'll need it)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

You. I Like What You're Doing Here.

Sometimes the things I read and see on the internets makes me very happy.

Best part (sorry about the swears):

Do what you want. Be your damn self. Don’t be a terrible person. Be nice to others. Be supportive of your friends and allow yourself to give them the benefit of the doubt when they want to try something new, like rescuing shelter dogs, or making performance art in the nude, or dating terrible people. They’re your friends and you love them, and if they suck, stop being their friend. Show up for work. Pay your bills. Find some fucking purpose in your life, and figure out a way to share that purpose with others in a way that isn’t sanctimonious and doesn’t involve a picture of a woman laughing at an empty beach. Smile because something makes you smile. Laugh because you’ve surrounded yourself by people who make you laugh, and they’re funny fucking people, and you’re happy to be with them. Dance because you’re drunk at a big dance party with your friends and Michael Jackson is playing, not because ‘no one is watching.’ Everyone is watching. We’re at a fucking party. That’s how parties work.
Do whatever the fuck you want.
And the next time one of you has the kind of spare cash around to take a prancercise vacation to a tropical island, for the love of all that is holy please bring me with you. I am excellent at waving scarves around but even better at buying drinks with tiny umbrellas.
Lastly, I need this.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Songs for Summer

CHVRCHES - The Mother We Share

Dan Croll - Compliment Your Soul

Empire of the Sun - Alive

Caveman - In The City

HAERTS - Wings

Still Corners - Fireflies

Friday, June 14, 2013

Weekend Reading List

I have discovered my spirit animal, via an online test. I had no idea it was so easy.

I've been wanting to make fun sleeping bags for years! Anthropologie beat me to it.

Rediviva: A Rustic Revival

It was just after that random Aberdeen planning commission meeting I went to a while back, discussing ways to improve downtown, when I first heard the news that Andy Bickar had plans to open a new restaurant. The "young people" (that's what they call us, I'm sure) from the meeting headed out to happy hour at Billy's for a debrief. There's nothing quite like commiserating with fellow business owners and community leaders over a beer and a salmon quesadilla, compliments of the chef. Andy was among us and dropped the news that he was in the process of buying the old Mallard's Restaurant building, a few blocks away.

Best. News. Ever.

That was back in November of 2012. Now, we are mere weeks away from the opening of Rediviva. Named after the ship of Captain Robert Gray (yeah, hi, namesake of my store as well), the name literally means "revived."

He is, very literally, reviving this old downtown Aberdeen building. I stopped by last week to see the progress and, let's be honest, to get a first glance at what will probably be my new drinking hole. Compared to the previous building's high-end restaurant, I'll say this is going to be anything but a "hole." During my visit, I saw a lot of scaffolding and drywall, but I could already tell that it will likely be one of the most beautiful spaces in Grays Harbor. High ceilings. Exposed beams. Talk of a chandelier and over-sized art work. I'm in.

Andy wants this place to look like it was plucked right out of downtown Seattle and dropped in Aberdeen. Now, I'm a sucker for good interior design, but I'd also be willing to bet that the food will be top notch as well. He told me about his plans to offer fresh, local and foraged food at reasonable prices. Fresh seafood and oysters. New American, he called it. And let's not forget about the bar: micro-brews, hand-crafted cocktails and Mexican Coke. Anybody who cringes at the idea of serving regular fountain Coke is ok by me.

As far as I can tell, Andy's doing everything right: the layout (banquette seating really is the only reasonable choice), the design (rustic yet modern), historically significant (because us Harborites are weirdly obsessed with the past), and good food (we can assume, based on Andy's fancy awards and press attention). Next time you see me cruising the streets of downtown Aberdeen some random evening on the old Schwinn, you can assume I'm on my way to Rediviva.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Sleepless and Sewing

On Tuesday, I was recovering from an all nighter. Something I don't do often, and only happens on those occasional nights that I either a) am feeling like a fun addict and can't seem to pull myself away from something awesome, regardless of how early I have to get up in the morning or b) worked at the youth shelter in town because a kid needed a place to stay for a night. On this particular Tuesday, it was the latter cause for my sleep depravity. I had rolled crashed into bed at approximately 7:30 am and set my alarm for 9:30 am. Ahhhh sweet sleep...

After working a few hours at my day job, where I had consumed a, let's call it, "decent" amount of coffee I officially achieved zombie status. My brain had stopped working almost completely but my body was full of energy. Most likely from all of that caffeine.

As I was pacing back and forth in my apartment, trying to figure out what I could do to calm my shaky self, my friend Krister Lile saved the day. He had a project for me!

FYI: Krister is cool. He is a local interior and graphic designer and you should probably hire him for your next remodeling project.

Anyway, what he had in mind for this day was a quick sewing project. He was creating invites for a party being held at his parents' house and, being the clever guy he is, he wanted these paper invites to be sewn together.

I busted out my machine as he drove up the hill from his studio to my apartment. I hadn't used my tiny blue sewing machine in quite a while, since I always seem to be working on project at my shop. I was excited to get this thing out again.

The project took less than 10 minutes. We decided on a zig zag stitch. Gold thread on one side (because that is what the bobbin currently held... nobody wants to reload a bobbin, you with me?), black on the other. I sewed each one in line with the next, creating a sort of paper banner, and we used a knife to cut them apart.

We agreed that more paper sewing should be done in the future.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I am totally fascinated with this ad.

Apple wins again. They take an inspirational design philosophy and somehow turn it into an inspirational life philosophy... so, naturally, I must buy this thing (or things, I suppose) and cling to these ideals.

if everyone is busy making everything

busy... it's like a dirty word. And, yes... my attention is really divided among so many things...

how can anyone perfect anything?

what am I doing with my life?

we start to confuse convenience with joy

Holy crap. Am I happy? Did a buddhist monk write this ad?

abundance with choice

yes.... ok. I've been to the Cheesecake Factory. I've tried to order from their 20 page menu. Abundance is not always a good thing.

designing something requires focus.

eeek. I need to focus. What do I want in life?








I suddenly feel like I need a hug

then we begin to craft around our intention

that's a word that seems lost in our culture. It sounds so serious... and... intentional.

it takes time

I'm so impatient... I should work on that.

there are a thousand no's for every yes



I need to clean out my closet

we perfect

I want to perfect something

start over

life is so hard sometimes

until everything we touch

where's that hug?

enhances each life it touches

I want to change the world

only then do we sign our work.

Oh, right. This is an ad. But I have so many feelings now. What do I do now? Buy the new Mac Pro? Maybe...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

A Good Life

Trivia Night

Team Assiniboine (it's a mountain in Canada, heard of it?) united for another successful game of Tuesday Trivia at the 8th Street Ale House in Hoquiam. We came out on top in the U.S. History round through no help from me. Oh wait, I knew one answer. What did Yankee Doodle call the feather in his cap?


We came in second place in the movie round. Henry loves his Crunch 'n Munch.

The loot.

We'll be back next week for music trivia!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Back to Work

I recently started listening to a podcast called Back to Work. It took me a while to realize what the purpose of the show is. I mean, I realized it probably had something to do with working or business or something, but why was it called "Back to Work?' Sounded a little boring to me.

What finally hooked me was their show titled Vocational Wheel where they discussed a listener's so-called "quarter life crisis." I tend to have a quarter life crisis on an almost annual basis, so an entire hour and a half discussion on the topic really peaked my interest. After getting sucked into their (sometimes franticly) entertaining conversation style, I naturally felt the need to listen to every single one of their episodes from the beginning. I've made it through 10 so far and one recurring message has stood out dramatically.

Both of the guys in this podcast would be considered "inspirational" types. They have a lot of great advice and people (like me) spend hours listening to them talk about how to get stuff done (and other less useful topics), but I think their best advice is that inspiration doesn't get anything done.

Seems an idea fraught with irony... and potentially a dangerous thing to tell your faithful followers...

...but for some reason, this just clicked with me.

I've been in the midst of my yearly quarter life crisis and trying to figure out how to make my skills and resources work for me rather than pulling me in so many different directions and causing me stress. I want to find ways to be more successful, especially with the projects I already have in motion, yet I have been finding it difficult to move on many things. I was seeking inspiration when really I should have just gotten back to work (ohhhh... now I get it).

Merlin Mann says in his podcast that new ideas don't come from some external inspiration... they come from doing work. My favorite analogy he makes is that it's like someone who is always asking for tips on running but never actually goes out running... you're never going to get better at running. Run or move on to something else because, really, you're wasting your time worrying about something that will never happen. If you want to be a writer, stop spending all your time buying new notebooks and just write something.

I tend to be a big picture thinker. With big life decisions, I like to have everything figured out before I move forward. Sometimes, when I can't figure out the big picture, I just forget about the whole thing and move on to something else. I'm starting to realize how much this sometimes hinders my success. Sometimes a project gains momentum and I start to doubt the plan, freeze up until I can find my inspiration, then get overwhelmed by the amount of work I have to do.

My big light bulb moment of the week. Do work. How did it take me 28 years to figure this out?

[My other fave advice from Back to Work: Count your priorities, if you've got more than two, you're going to need more hands.]

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Purity Ring - Fineshrine

I've listened to this song at least 10 times in the last 24 hours and this video reminds me of the vivid dreams I  often have, though thankfully they don't typically involve plane crashes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Place at the Table

A Place at the Table

This looks like a great new documentary investigating the hunger issue in America. Nothing gets me more riled up than a good documentary about our terrible food industry...

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Weekend

Having friends visit from out of town is usually a really great excuse to spend an entire weekend eating and drinking, so of course I was happy to have my friend Steve pay me a visit. I'm not sure whether he finally decided to visit because I am fun to hang out with and he missed our days of playing Settlers of Catan at Portland pubs and Tuesday night karaoke or... he just really wanted to eat some free chocolate at the Chocolate on the Beach Festival.

After I took him on a walk around my historic neighborhood to stretch his legs after his drive up from Oregon, we grabbed my friends Eric, Nikki and Henry and headed for Pacific Beach. It's about a 40 minute drive from my house to this little beach town on the North Coast, so when we arrived, we were hungry and excited to get some chocolate! I tried chocolate granola (yum) and some dark chocolate bits from Blissful Wunders truffles (bonus - Steve bought one of the giant truffles and shared). There was also a booth that had Lavender Raspberry syrup... it was super delicious.

We hopped over to Seabrook to get dinner at Mill 109. They were pretty busy, so we took a walk around the new beach town... well, new-ish... the paint is starting to peel on some of the houses.... After dinner, we cruised down to Ocean Shores to taste beer at the Elk Head Brewery Taproom and we each guzzled a pint and snacked on some of their complimentary pretzels.

Steve, enjoying his brew from a tiny mug.

Leave it to my friends to spend most of the day discussing what we would make if we were hosting a chocolate festival. Some ideas: a chocolate salad, chocolate burger, and a beer with a chocolate bar in it.

Eric's rendition of the chocolate bar beer... our new chocolate gang symbol. We also had to give our gang a name. B.E.N.S.H. (Britta, Eric, Nikki, Steve, Henry). Srsly... we are so fun. Right?

We had planned to have a karaoke night, but we were still craving chocolate, so we ended up heading back into town and stopping at the grocery store for chocolate wine, chocolate Chex Mix, 50% off Valentine's Day candy and Salsito's (it's like a chip and salsa COMBINED). Then we spent a few hours snacking and watching videos of goats yelling like humans and cars doing tricks.

On Sunday, we managed to visit Billy's for lunch (because it was a major breakfast fail.. can we get a place that will serve me some eggs after noon?), Tinderbox Coffee for an afternoon pick me up, Westport Brewery for some more beer tasting and Trivial Pursuit, and Thai Carrot for dinner all within about 8 hours. Not bad.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wine + Music = Best Decision Ever

I am of the belief that many of the best decisions I've ever made were made in a very short amount of time. I think this is one of them: I just bought tickets to Bottle Rock Napa Valley!

I'm pretty much dying for a vacation and Napa Valley is one of my favorite places, so attending this festival just made complete sense to me. The Sasquatch music festival has been such a topic of conversation lately among my friends who hope to go as well as those of us who have gone before. The lineup was tempting, but the thought of spending 4 days in the desert with a heavy crowd of drunk teenagers... not so much.

So, when my friend Nikki mentioned this, I was ready to hit the road! Too bad I have to wait until May because I'm ready to go now. Can't wait to drink wine, lounge on a lawn with my t-shirt quilt and listen to some awesome music. Most excited to see these guys:

Hope to see you all there... cheers!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Monday, January 28, 2013

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Just Living: Step 3

Hopefully you've got your priorities and values all figured out (or at least have given it some thought, let's be real), because it's time for the next step and its a doozy.

Taking inventory.

Yep, you have to make a list of EVERYTHING YOU OWN. Down to that last bar of soap. The easiest way to do this is to create a spreadsheet where you can list the item, the location and how often you use it.

The key here is to make the list and then set it aside. We'll get back to this later.

My old, incredibly tiny studio apartment in Portland. Who needs dresser pulls that actually attach or art in their frames?

Good luck!

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Plague of Bad Customer Service

Warning: this is a rant. I don't believe ranting to always be an acceptable form of writing, but sometimes I feel so strongly about something... I can't help it.

Within the past few weeks, I've had some interesting, nay, unacceptable experiences at local bars and restaurants and it has led me to the conclusion that we have a plague of terrible managers among us.

I believe this plague infects managers of eateries to completely ignore the fact that they work in a customer service based business. They begin to see the customer as the enemy... Someone who seems to come in asking for a glass of water, but obviously is really there to take the staffs' happiness away. Once a manager is infected, it will inevitably seep into the rest of the employees and will leave customers feeling uneasy and... quite honestly... ripped off. Terrible Yelp reviews may be a side affect.

Just a few things I have observed in my small town within the last two weeks:

Sudden changes to prices and offerings without notice
Continually increasing prices and decreasing food portions
Cooks walking out in the middle of dinner/happy hour
After cook returns, offering happy hour prices but then actually just charging the regular price anyway
Unresponsiveness to customer complaints
Charging the price of an entire bottle of wine for just a glass
Ignoring customers for lengthy periods of time
Never ever smiling or saying thank you
Inconsistent food and drinks
Saying the words "I have no idea what that is" when asking about a menu item

Often customers will put up with the occasional bout of this sickness, but after recurring troubles they are likely not to return. No matter how good you think your fries are.

I don't want to speak poorly of businesses online (though I have no trouble of telling you my experiences in person) but I will tell you that there are some places locally which have not been infected and I would hope that you might give them preference when deciding where to go in the near future, because they are welcoming and believe that the customer is always right.

Ann Marie's
Ocean Palace
Luna Rana
Thai Smiles
Taqueria el Jalepeno
The Oriole
Viet Hoa
The Seagate
Casa Mia (late addition, by request: I actually rarely eat there because I'm not a big fan of Italian food, but they are good people)

I believe these businesses are worth my time and money. Eating out is not cheap and I don't feel like giving my money away to people who don't seem to even want it. If there was a restaurant that had the most amazing food in the world, I might put up with terrible customer service... MIGHT. Probably not. Sometimes I think I'd rather go to McDonald's and get a smile with my cheeseburger than put up with some of these things I have seen recently. We live in a small town and a fragile economy. I do not want any business to fail, so ultimately it just makes me sad to see the poor judgement of business owners and their employees.

Please note: I have yet to find a bar that I actually want to hang out in very often. A place without live music (I don't hate it, but I often go out to talk with friends), decent prices on drinks, dark and loud enough to give you a little anonymity, the potential to become a "regular," no tvs, and comfortable seating. If anyone wants to open a place like this, I will do your marketing in exchange for a bar stool with my name on it. I'm not kidding.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mountain Climbing

A few days ago, I launched this project of introspection in the pursuit of justice. I'm hoping you've decided to at least consider your answers to the challenges I'm putting forth. As a reminder, here's what I posted up a few days back.

Step 2: Become aware of your Core Priorities

What do you spend your time doing weekly? Daily? Hourly?

Thinking back over the past 2 or 3 years, what are your top 3 priorities?

Who are the most important people in your life?

What would you stop doing, if you could?

What is one thing you would never stop doing?

What are the top 3 or 4 values you hold about life and living?

I've had a couple of really interesting conversations in the last few days that have actually left me a bit more confused about my priorities and values, so I decided I better actually answer these questions for myself. Here's what I've decided.

I like mountain climbing.

Not actual mountain climbing (in fact, please don't take me anywhere that requires real hiking boots), but figurative. I like challenges and it's my main motivator in life. I think it might sound weird, but that is my priority... keeping myself challenged. This probably makes my life difficult and I often choose the hardest way just because... not always the smartest decision, I suppose, but it's how I roll.

I value living an authentic life. I don't want materialism or my pride to ever be my source of happiness because it can so easily fade away. I value creativity and new ideas. I also value the people in my life and surrounding community. I stay up nights thinking about how we can make our community a better place to live, work and play. And nothing frustrates me more than people who are careless with the people and environment around them. This is important because I think ultimately, it will determine where I finally settle down (hopefully where I am now, but this depends on how much progress can be made in the next few years).

Of course, I have very tangible priorities (my business, becoming financially stable, simplifying my life) and I am constantly trying to find new ways to improve these things, but ultimately I can only continue these things as long as I feel challenged and the freedom to create.

(art print via Leah Flores)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Web Design and SEO

Is there any more daunting task than trying to build an entirely new website? It needs to be visually appealing while also inserting all of the necessary info in order to maximize SEO while ALSO making the point of converting website visitors into sales.

So, I'm drinking some wine tonight and working on all of this.

Some helpful links for those working on their own web projects:

15 Point Conversion Checklist


Just Keep Livin

Sometimes I'm amazed at how much clutter I allow into my life. I KNOW that it makes me miserable and anxious, yet I still leave the clean clothes in a pile on my treadmill (hmmm excuse to not workout much?) instead of hanging them up in the closet.

A few years ago, I met up with a few friends of mine weekly to run through some exercises in living a more socially, environmentally and personally just life. We used a guide called Just Living, which is based in spirituality, but I believe can be valuable to people of any belief system. We ended up calling our group Just Keep Livin', a sort of joke based on Matthew McConaughey's clothing line.

It helped me immensely to get my priorities in order and let go of materialism and the idea that being "busy" is a positive thing. Judging by the pile of clothes on my floor at this moment, I think it's time to revisit this program. Plus, I'm hoping it will give me some wisdom and a new perspective on global issues of social and economic justice.

I'm hoping others will join me as I post up weekly questions based off of the Just Living program. I'm sure everyone has a variety of motivators to do this, but I personally hope to figure out what I can cut out of my life to make it more enjoyable and what I can do to be proactive in my pursuit of social justice. There are technically 14 steps, though I might play with this a bit. Today, I'll do the first two.

Step 1: Commit

Step 2: Become aware of your Core Priorities

What do you spend your time doing weekly? Daily? Hourly?

Thinking back over the past 2 or 3 years, what are your top 3 priorities?

Who are the most important people in your life?

What would you stop doing, if you could?

What is one thing you would never stop doing?

What are the top 3 or 4 values you hold about life and living?

PS - If you are a blogger and would like to write about this along with me, please comment below with your webpage address!

Friday, January 11, 2013


Spending my Saturday at Gray's General Store. Drinking coffee, listening to music, making stuff.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Spring Memories

Anybody else around here ready for spring to be here? The sun was, sort of, shining here today and, well, sun can be deceiving because it was also very cold. Something about that combo reminded me of a trip I took the the UK a few years back with my friend Rachel.

We took a fairly spontaneous flight over to London (how could we not? I think it cost us $450 round trip from Seattle) and spent 10 days travelling from London to York to Edinburgh to Auchterarter (??) and back to London. My goals for this visit were few, mainly: look at some really old stuff, hang out with my friend Kaija who was living/volunteering in Scotland, see a highland cow, and eat a lot of pasties. Successful on all fronts. Bonus: We stayed at a b&b in York that is also frequented by fellow Pacific Northwesterner, Rick Steves.

Tower of London

Big Old Fireplace

It's not an adventure until you try the street food.

Greetings, from the Steves Family.

If I ever owned a bar, it would probably look like this.

I listened to the album Re-Arrange Us by Mates of State on repeat this whole trip. Still takes me back to hear any of their songs. Also, why are the convenience/train station groceries in the UK so awesome? Can we get that here please?

Possibly the best moment of the trip... climbing to the top of a tower in Northern Scotland in the middle of the night.

The farthest point of our excursion: St. Andrews, Scotland. Walked on the beach. Gawked at rich college kids eating breakfast in their pajamas. Walked on ruins.

I'd like to go back. very. soon.