Monday, December 26, 2016

Be selfish in 2017.

I have a group text with three other wonderful women in my life who are also writers. Occasionally we are silly and dumb, sometimes we're serious, and really we're just all-around moral support. This Christmas I didn't want to forget them or the impact we can have on each other, so I sent them this:
I know I've told you all at some point but I love the three of you very much. Merry Christmas!


I hope that this next year is focused on YOU despite the shit, and cleaning out the people that make you feel more terrible than good, and focusing on what makes you happy and healthy. That's going to matter more [this coming year].

If you've got people or things in your life that are a constant feeling of obligation or you know hurt, this will be the year for course correction and caring for yourself. Gotta be selfish, then focus on each other, then focus on getting shit back on track with this damn mess of a world we live in.

And I ended it with a flourish.~ Ariel sent something back just as beautiful. This new year is going to be impactful for a lot of us, I think. We floated into 2016 not imagining everything that did happen happening. So now it's time to regroup, "suck it up", and kick ass.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Favorite small spots in Redmond, Wa.

By now you know that one of my favorite things to do on my day off is to walk around town. I absolutely adore my town - it's a mix of city and small town, and the downtown area has tons of places to keep you entertained and well fed. I wanted to do a post like this - or similar - after Lucy Moon did a video where she toured her favorite tea and coffee shops in London. Much like the rest of her content, her tour-esque content is some of my favorite.

So, I'm going to go through the list of places that I recommend everyone go out and enjoy in Redmond, Wa., when you have the chance. These are also the places I try to convince people to come with me to if I'm out with friends or someone comes to visit me. Hope you enjoy the list. (And I welcome everyone to go out and enjoy their towns and do a post that's similar.)


1. Victor's Celtic Coffee Co.

Victor's has been a favorite of mine for a while now. I found out about the little hidden coffee shop through my friend Savannah, and almost every time we go out we stop by Victor's for a cup on our way out. The place doesn't like hours-long mingling or people to sit with their laptops, but I like that about it. It makes you want to really be there and be there with someone when you are.

My favorite drink to get while there is the Almond Joy coffee. They have a lot of a typical coffee menu, but their candy bar coffee is the thing that sets it apart. Depending on my mood I will rotate between almond milk or coconut milk. It's the best.


2. Five Stones Coffee Co.

Five Stones Coffee Co., is a brand new spot for me. I haven't been there but twice, but I love what I know of it. The last time I went with a friend a little bird flew inside and then just sat on a nearby chair for a while before deciding it wanted to leave.

While there, I had a latte that was tasty enough and a delicious little breakfast/brunch dish. Much like the rest of the PNW, the trendy side is very rustic, and they serve their food on wooden boards/planks. I ate a mason jar full of oats, yogurt and fruit. You can find a similar serving of this here. I need to go there again sometime to see how else I feel.


3. Tipsy Cow Burger Bar

Technically, there is another one in Woodinville, but I'm still counting this as a small business. This is by far my absolute favorite burger place. It will fill you up almost too much but in that great way that screams a night out!

I love pretty much everything on this menu, but I repeatedly order the following: The Rockstar, The Experience, Bird is the Word and The Winemaker.

If you haven't been to Tipsy Cow yet, I highly suggest you go. We tried it on a whim almost three years ago and we make regular trips back.


4. Hoffman's Fine Cake & Pastries

Hoffman's rolled into town recently, actually. Like I think either this year or the end of last year, and it keeps a steady amount of business which makes me happy. The first time I tried it was also with Savannah; we decided to walk in there during one of our random town outings. I had their French dip and I really loved it. I've tried a few things since, like turkey sandwiches, chickpea salads and quiches. It's all great.

I'm not an actual dessert person, but everything in there looks just as scrumptious. Go for everything.


5. Eastern Pearl

Oh man, where do I start with Eastern Pearl? Charley Lee, the owner, is seriously one of the sweetest men ever. We first stumbled into this Chinese place the first time that my best friend Melody came to visit me from Georgia. Charley came to our table and complimented Tripp on his "excellent taste in women" and that was the most adorable thing he could say. Since then, we have gone back at least once every few months, but ever since we've opened ourselves up to the dim sum menu, we have to be careful because it can get expensive.

Pretty consistently we always get: fried rice, scallion pancake, BBQ pork, and then we'll get our own dishes. I really enjoy the Mongolian beef. The only thing I've had that I don't care for is the seafood parts of the menus, but to be fair I'm not a big seafood eater, anyway. So I may not be a fair judge.


6. Soulfood Coffee House

I looooove the Soulfood Coffee House. If for nothing else the environment. I have had a few sitting and reading sessions quietly to myself with a Redmond Fog Tea, and it's been a beautiful way to spend time. The only downside is its location.

The building is great, fits in nicely with its inclusive theme - the merchandise and library varies with all world religions, faiths and practices - but it's hidden in the back of an absolutely terrible parking lot. People seriously lose their minds when they get within two feet of that area. I don't understand it. And while it terrifies me to be a pedestrian in that jungle, I somehow feel safer parking far away and walking there, or just walking from my own home to it.

If you go, try out a few different tea fogs while you're there. You won't regret it.


7. Woodblock

I need to go to Woodblock more, but what I have experienced so far is great. Recently I tried their meat and cheese board, and it's become a very nice place to go when you want a chic, but borderline rustic, place to go with friends around brunch or lunch.

They seem to be pretty busy no matter the time of day, too, which is awesome, because that hopefully means that they will be around in time - long enough for me to really get to become an aficionado of their menu.


I also have some other places in town that I absolutely adore, but rather than be smaller businesses, they are franchises, so I didn't want to spotlight them as much for this post. However, if you're curious, here we go:
  1. Homegrown Sandwich Shop
  2. Potbelly Sandwich Shop
  3. Top Pot Doughnuts 
  4. Red Mango 
  5. Qdoba 
  6. Half Price Books
Get out an enjoy your town, folks.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Tacocat Christmas

Sometimes you just need a Christmas concert in the city to put you in the holiday mood.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Post-NaNo Recovery

NaNoWriMo post-mortem. I know this post is late.

After a few days of a break, I have tried to get back into writing as much every day as I can. It's hard to pick up that momentum where I left off, but I'm doing my best to get there. By the end of November, my total was 30,715 words. I can't believe I made it that far. I never thought I would get that far with any project, especially one of fiction. I've been most notably nonfiction for the longest time. I managed to make myself get up early every day, sit down with some tea/coffee/breakfast and write something. Even if I barely made it to 1,000 words, I made myself. A few times I was really lucky and hit 3-5,000; that was rare.

I have had time to reflect on the routine, and I have concluded that I love the momentum. I don't want to give it up just yet. There is proof that I can do it. I can continue this project. Imagine: I may even be in full editing mode by next NaNoWriMo - or shipping it out to potential publishers.

I plan to rotate each day for what I’ll write: every other day will be my novel; then some pieces that need touching up or have yet to be written in the nonfiction genre; then in between will be nicking away at either drabbles I want to do, random one-off one-shots, or continuations of never-completed Fanfiction pieces. I mean, I've got to get my other indulgences in while I'm at it.

Oh, also, here are three pictures of how December has turned out for me:
1. Me emerging early this month like a new baby with fictional ideas.
2. Snow that was about 2 or 3 inches at our apartment the other night that made me very excited.
3. Some chocolate chip, oatmeal cookies I made.