A Weekend with Alena

img_9227I picked my friend Alena up from the airport on Friday afternoon and we headed to Manhattan Beach to hang out until traffic died down. We became friend in Hildesheim two summers ago, and she just finished a six week internship in Vancouver, Canada and decided to explore the US for a little while before flying home. I always enjoy playing tour-guide when friends come into town, as it helps me rediscover and take pride in my own city! We did a few different things this weekend, below are a few photos if you’d like to see.img_9231img_9244^Personally I think I look a little wacko in this photo, what with the slouchy overalls and blurry face haha! But I never have many photos of myself on the blog since I’m always behind the camera, so I thought I’d include it.img_9250img_9251^On Saturday we went to the beach in Malibu. I went in the water for the first time all year– I couldn’t let the warm water pass without jumping in at least once! That would be tragic and irresponsible as a native Californian :pimg_9252img_9267^You could say Alena was excited about the beachimg_9290img_9296img_9300img_9325img_9329img_9365^On the way back we stopped by Pepperdine’s 9/11 flag memorial. Every September they place a flag on the ‘front lawn’ for each person that lost their life in the attacks. A Pepperdine alumna was on the plane headed for Washington DC, and both his daughters currently attend Pepperdine. I find the display beautiful and sobering.img_9374img_9385img_9394^On Sunday after church we went to Smorgasburg, the new LA version of the famous food market in Brooklyn, New York. It has only been open since June, and houses booths of food and local handmade artisan goods. It is opened every Sunday from 10am-5pm and is located in at the Alameda Produce Market downtown. img_9399img_9410img_9412img_9419^How cute is this little trailer shop? Never mind that a T-Shirt was like $50…img_9425img_9446img_9450^Weird donuts are my love language…img_9452img_9457img_9464Well friends, have a great week. I’m headed to Texas on Wednesday to visit family!

Seattle: A City Guide

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Howdy friends, how are ya’? Today I thought I’d share a little bit about my recent ‘Sibling Vacation’ to Seattle, Washington in the form of a city guide. Continue reading to pick up a few tips and tricks I garnered along the way that might help you in planning your next visit, sprinkled throughout some photos of this beautiful place. Enjoy!
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Why Seattle? If you love hipster, coffee, and striking sunsets, Seattle is the place for you! And honestly, who doesn’t love those things? Seattle has many apt nicknames: The Gateway to Alaska, Emerald City, Coffee Capital of the World, etc. No matter what you call it, one thing is true: Seattle is a place of arresting beauty. That, coupled with its fascinating history and range of outdoor activities, makes Seattle the perfect vacation destination! IMG_8577IMG_8574IMG_8546IMG_8550IMG_8571IMG_8545
Transportation My brother and I flew Southwest Airlines to Seattle Tacoma International Airport, which is located about 40 minutes outside the city center by car. Since we didn’t have a car, we took the Link LightRail into downtown Seattle, which only cost $4.00 for a regular ticket and is simple, fast, and clearly labeled. Plus, you skip the city traffic! Seattle has a great bus and street car system for easy transportation. My brother and I also utilized the ride service Uber.IMG_8192IMG_8203IMG_8227IMG_8218
Accommodations We stayed in an apartment through the website Airbnb, which I used frequently abroad in Europe but had never used in America until now! It was an ideal location downtown on the corner of First Street and University Street, walking distance to main attractions like Pike Place Market and the waterfront. Other great neighborhoods/areas to stay in include Pioneer Square, Westlake, and the area around the Space Needle.IMG_8649IMG_8632IMG_8491IMG_8484IMG_8477IMG_8458IMG_8423IMG_8362
What to Pack Seattle is notoriously rainy and unpredictable, but we were lucky enough to have 75 degree sunshine all three days of our trip, interrupted only by a small shower/thunderstorm one afternoon. July through September is when Seattle experiences the most predictably sunny weather, but I advise you to always pack an umbrella just in case! Oh, and comfy walking shoes never hurt either :pIMG_8369IMG_8352IMG_8347IMG_8340IMG_8336IMG_8332IMG_8322IMG_8320IMG_8317IMG_8316
Must See Spots
1. Gasworks Park-
This park, situated on the north shore of Lake Union, is on the site of a former Gas Works company, and still contains remnants of the factory structures. It offers stunning views of the Seattle sky line as well as Mount Rainier on clear days.
2. Pike Place Market– Opened in 1907, Pike Place is an iconic part of Seattle, and a must see spot for any tourist. It is the oldest continually operating farmers market in the U.S., and is particularly known for its delicious fish and colorful flowers.
3. Bainbridge Island- If you have a bit of time one day, hop on a ferry out to Bainbridge Island, thirty minutes off the coast of Seattle. We took the ferry around seven p.m. and saw the sunset reflecting off the skyline. Once on the island, feel free to walk along the footpaths, explore the adorable town of Bainbridge, and relax at one of the restaurants near the harbor.
4. Columbia Center Observation Deck- Originally we wanted to ascend the Seattle Space Needle, but the line was too long and the tickets were too pricey, so we opted for Columbia Center’s observation deck instead. It is the tallest sky scraper in Seattle, and offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding areas. Plus, this way you can take pictures of the Space Needle, not just from it!IMG_8389IMG_8381
^The University of Washington campus!IMG_8231IMG_8304IMG_8228
Anything Else? If you’re a coffee addict lover like me, you must make the pilgrimage to the original Starbucks in Pike Place Market, as well as the Starbucks Roastery in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where they roast and package the coffee beans for worldwide distribution. I promise, both will be religious experiences. #noregretIMG_8734IMG_8738IMG_8709IMG_8706IMG_8686
^Bainbridge Island.

Are you on photo overload yet? I just couldn’t narrow it down- they were all too beautiful! It’s impossible to take an ugly photo of Seattle. I hope you enjoyed this little post and found the information helpful. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below! Oh, and don’t forget to watch my video of the trip here. Have a lovely week friends.