Monthly Archives: April 2013

Seattle Guide: One Day Itinerary

April 19, 2013

Out and About / Travel / Uncategorized

Seattle, Washington is by far one of THE MOST fun cities to visit.  If you’re here for a weekend and only have a day or two to explore the city, this is the itinerary for you.  Warning:  this is full of walking, looking, eating.

Stay at the Vintage Park downtown.  You’ll be near Pike’s Market, lots of shopping and tons of restaruants.  The hotel is a renovated old building with cozy, charming rooms and excellent service.  We’ve stayed here many times before living here and still go there for brunch at their restaurant, Tulio, often.  Their two cage-free eggs breakfast with fennel sausage is divine and they serve deliciously strong Cafe Vita coffee.

BTW if you want to dine with the best view of the city across the water, Salty’s does a complimentary limo pick up and drop off from any hotel downtown.  You just have to reserve it through your hotel.  Incredible view.  Fun atmosphere/experience.  Incredible service.  Good food. Weak drinks!

Start your day by heading down to Pike’s Place Market, located downtown at First and Pike.  Begin with a little coffee at the first-ever Starbucks.  There will be plenty of other “local” coffee spots to try everywhere.  Pick up one of their exclusive Pike’s Market mugs you can only get there.


You will usually find a really cool blue grass or folk band playing outside.  Nice entertainment when the line is long!

The First Starbucks across from Pike's Farmers Market

They serve drinks alone and no food so…head a few steps up to Piroshky Piroshky Russian Bakery:  a postage-stamp spot with a line around corner.  Watch the chefs making fresh pastries in the window as you drool in line!





Order the Smoked Salmon Pate (pictured) or Marzipan Roll (get two of these).

They’ll warm them up for you if they aren’t straight out of the oven.

Keep in mind they have limited quantities…I haven’t been able to get a Marzipan Roll past 3 p.m. on a given Saturday.

Here are the hours (please double check all times on respective websites)

Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday 8 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Meander through the market where you’ll find piles of fresh produce, loads of seafood, buckets of flowers and charming local crafts.

Seafood at Pike's Market

You can order a little “street food” from the seafood vendors too, like a little cup of crab meat with cocktail sauce to eat on the go.

Produce at Pike's Market

Korean Burrito at Pike's Market

Here is a Korean Burrito I got in the market one afternoon.  MMMMMM.

Buy some yummy pepper jelly to put in the checked baggage.  I love the hand made cutting boards.

Hostess Gifts: Mick's Jam from Pike's Market, wine, Cutting boards from Pike's Market

Watch the “fishermen” throw the fish.  If you’re lucky, you can throw a fish too!  Great for photos!  We’ve invited one (fisherman) and his girlfriend (who works at the bakery across the street) to a soccer game with us once.  Neat to know someone in the market!

If you are a total Sleepless in Seattle fan like me, check out The Athenian Inn.

Take a picture of your party in front of the famous Public Market Sign and double check for photo bombing locals.  Hilarious!

Pike's Market Seattle, Washington

Pike's Farmers Market

Grab lunch at Matt’s in the Market  Best view of the market with a little shi-shi atmosphere.  INCREDIBLE FOOD.  Get the tuna melt-it’s like no other tuna melt you’ve ever had.  Lunch or Dinner only (closed on Sundays).

If you’re really into the history of the market, try out an underground tour.

Tear yourselves away from the market to check out the Space Needle.

View from the Space Needle


Space Needle at Night

You can even go to the top at night!  It is open until 9:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday and Sunday and open until 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays!
It is viewable from many places in the city but you’ve really gotta get up close!  It is a bit spendy to go to the top but it is worth it!  Great views and you’ll feel like you’re Frasier.  It has always been magical to me.  You can be uber fancy and have dinner at the Space Needle’s restaurant, SkyCity.  Pictures of yourself out in front of it are fun too.

P.S.S. If you’re using a rental car (you really don’t need one), be sure to check out the parking signs b/c Seattle has a lot of rules!  There are many streets with no meters but machines hwere you purchase time and put the sticker on the inside of your window!

If you want more…take a ride on the fairly new Seattle Great Wheel back near Pike’s Market.  It’s a giant ferris wheel on the water.  They even have a VIP gondola you can ride!

Grab a late dinner at Umi Sake House and try to get a seat at the sushi bar in Shawn’s (head sushi chef) or Arcedia’s section.  Let the sushi chefs omakase you into mouth watering bliss.  I’ve had better sushi here than in Japan (sacrilege).  There is a great happy hour menu from 4-6 p.m. every day of the week.  Happy hour is also 4 p.m.- 8 p.m. on the front porch or cocktail bar.  Late night happy hour is 11 p.m.-1 a.m. Sunday – Thursday.

Sushi from Umi Sake House Seattle, WA

Sushi from Umi Sake House

We love the trying a fatty tuna that’s in season!  Also, order the Sounder Roll…a total party in your mouth.

You can make a reservation on their answering machine or if the wait is long, go next door to Local 360 for a cocktail.  I get their old fashioned.

What a fun day!  If you’re still up for it, there are tons of great spots to catch a cocktail and late night snack.  Try one of the gastro-pubs like Black Bottle.

Laying off the sauce?  Check out Paul Allen’s one-showing theatre, Cinerama.  Please get a bag of the chocolate popcorn…but please do not eat all of it!!!

If you’re staying downtown, stop by the Seattle Public Library.  The architecture is very appealing, the homeless people watching is interesting.


(photo by fimoculous, via Flickr)

Here is a picture of Chris in the library.  Crazy red Lady-Gaga-esque basement!

Seattle Public Library

Well, have a great weekend and dream of visiting Seattle!  See you on Monday!

P.S. If you come in June, check out the Fremont Solstice Festival for a great parade of nude cyclists and fair events.

If you have transportation and the time, get breakfast at The Fat Hen!

**For another version of a Seattle weekend, check out the guest post on Eat Drink Shop Love called, CITY GUIDE: SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.

(top photo of Seattle Skyline by jmorgan, via Flickr)

Hang out with your Mom or an Elder

April 18, 2013



Now that I live in the same city as my parents, I have lots of opportunities to spend time with them.  My mother and I go out to lunch and shop together.  These activities were not part of the usual twice-yearly holiday visits and lend a new aspect to our relationship.  I am getting to know her much better as a person instead of a mom.  The best part of having a Korean mother living nearby is the FOOD!  She always sends me home with tupperwares full of her homemade specialities like dumplings or medicinals.  Above is a photo of a Gobo or Burdock Root.  She slices it and either dries it for tea or marinates it to eat with rice.  I love that she uses a pizza board to cut this ancient medicinal.  That’s how we grew up-half Asian and half American.  Burdock root is good for purifying the liver and balancing the hormones.  Read more about it here.

Do you spend “fun” time with your mom?  What do you do together?  What activities do you do with your daughters outside of “mom” stuff?  What kinds of traditional knowledge do you pass on/receive?  If your mom isn’t nearby, do you have an elder to spend time with?

The Summer of 10,000 Frappuccinos or Pay it Forward

April 17, 2013

TMI / Uncategorized


Using my new Vitamix today, I was whisked back to the summer of 10,000 frappuccinos.  Starbucks has always used these turbo blenders.  I worked at the new Starbucks in Potomac, Maryland circa 1997.  At sixteen/seventeen, just having moved back to the United States from 8 years of living in Japan and surrounded by a lot of immature, spoiled teens (save a few gems), I had a place to be with interesting people.  I was the youngest person there by at least 4 years. There was this guy, John, who was in a ska band.  The first openly gay man I knew worked there.  I remember him being an aspiring theatre performer.  A woman in her 50’s who struggled with EVERYTHING fascinated me.  Whenever she and I worked together, I did both of our jobs.  I didn’t mind.

From time to time, baristas from other stores would come in and do a shift at our store.  Once there was a bohemian girl doing one of these guest shifts with me.  She was very sophisticated.  Wordly.  Lived on her own.  Mysterious.  Maybe 25 years old.  She asked me how I was preparing for college. Many of my peers were studying at The Princeton Review with Chelsea Clinton, a very expensive SAT prep course.  I told her I really planned on winging it and she gave me a “you’ve got to be kidding me” look.  I want to say her name was Claudia.  Claudia gave me a list of 3 books to purchase, her address and we set a date.  I took the bus to her studio apartment in the city (Washington D.C.) one Saturday where she spent about 2 hours showing me how to use the books.  I read and workbooked then took the SAT a second time and scored 100 points higher.

I wonder what Claudia is doing now?  I hope I sent her a thank you card.  What inspired her to take an interest in me and help me?

Has a stranger ever helped you like this?  How have you helped someone in this random kind of way?  Will you keep your eye out for someone who could use a little of your expertise?

(photo by Terry Johnston, via Flickr)

Staying Confident in Times of Uncertainty

April 16, 2013

HAPPINESS / Uncategorized


I remember our cliche-“dude” surf instructor telling my sister and I to always be “cool, calm and collected,” because you have no control over the water, only yourself.  Unlike an indoor wave pool, there are always going to be a few rogue waves.

I really appreciated seeing that my Boston friends were OK yesterday via FB when the city’s cell service went down.  What presence of mind they had to alleviate their friends’ worries.  There was a Facebook post about someone now feeling that the streets were no longer safe.

On another note, the stock market isn’t behaving as it “should.”  Gold prices plummeted in recent days.  Germany literally wants 674 tons of her gold back, which is stored in both the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank and Banque de France.  Many people I know are buying some sort of self-defense “tools” for their homes.  Friends have mentioned slightly more unconventional stock trading choices.  I hear of more between-the-matress cash hoarding.  In Seattle, if you want to buy a house, you better offer double if you want to actually get it.  Houses are flying off the market in milliseconds here.

A life-less-predictable can create a sense of insecurity and eventually desperation.  Keep in mind where your security lies and what you have control over:  your support system/family, your savings, your job/qualifications/intestinal fortitude (drive in life) and your health.  Take a breath, maintain your responsible habits, stay informed, follow your gut, put health first, set aside the fear and you will be able to avoid desperate behaviors.  A few rash, panic decisions have the power to collapse an economy and strong families can take over the world.  Rogue waves can bring dolphins.

How have recent events influenced decisions for you?  What gives you your biggest sense of internal security?

(photo by Skistar Trysil, via Flickr)

Good Fences make Good Neighbors

April 15, 2013

HAPPINESS / Uncategorized


I’ve always had a very formal relationship with my parents.  It is very respectful, kind and predictable.  When I moved to Seattle last year, where they reside, a more familiar report started to develop.  Now my parents have started to share their insecurities and asked for my opinion/help/advice.  My first reaction was to run.  I was totally taken aback and confused by my newly developing role as FRIEND.  Then I found a new perspective of compassion for them.  Some things I had been upset by now had an explanation.  My parents are real people.  I was most surprised by how naturally they delved into this new form of relating to me.  I pretended to act as if it were perfectly natural even though I was screaming TMI in my own head.  A friend of mine once said to me, “My father often told me that good fences made good neighbors.”  This made a lot of sense to me:  the idea that a certain separation from people kept the peace.  One of my greatest fears is that being “too close” is the first step in becoming too far apart.  My own mother (in a fit of anger) once even said to me, “You are so cold!”  Exercising “becoming close” has always led to the most gratifying relationships and I now open myself to this with my parents.  Let the games begin!  Wish me luck!

How do you feel when your parents share insecurities, secrets or worries with you?  Does it bring you closer to them? Does it explain anything you were upset about or confused by?  Do you think good fences make good neighbors?

(Photo by Ian Crew, via Flickr)

Do you Announce your Mistakes?

April 12, 2013



You know when you catch a mistake and then grapple with the idea of whether or not to remedy the situation because it may cause more trouble than good?  A friend of mine is a writer for an online publication.  Sometimes after turning in an article, she realizes that there is a little typo.  The editors have candidly told her that it is MUCH easier for them to simply “dot the i” themselves and move along rather than read your fifteen emails about the “i”s you forgot to dot.  Very good.

About a month ago, I wrote to an author whom I admire.  I got really excited about contacting her because we share an acquaintance and I get giddy over connections.  Well, I was using a new email host…I hit send on my fan-mailish letter and nothing happened.  So I did it again, like 15 times.  Finally the screen changed and said “sent.”  Bravo.  Fan mail sent!  On to the rest of my day.  Well, later I checked that account (unrealistically too soon for a response from said author).  BAH!  In the “sent” folder were 15 emails to HER!!!  Now I look like a total stalker.  What to do?  Take a breath.  Don’t start clicking in a panic.  I waited.  I’ve been waiting about a month now.  Luckily, in the mean time, I’ve received emails from both strangers and friends.  I’ve learned how to send emails ONCE from the new account and my ego has mended (from that).  Basically if it was meant to happen, we will connect some way.  Maybe she doesn’t even check that account….or maybe she thinks I’m a kook.  Good.  I am kooky.

P.S. Now I look like a SUPER stalker since I sent her 15 emails and now wrote an article about it.  Yikes!

(photo by Alexander.J.Malburg, via Flickr)