A Weekend Adrift

Friday, May 29, 2015

I asked Raz a few months before his birthday where he'd want to go if he could go anywhere. Kind of out of nowhere he said he'd want to go to Long Beach. So, I set to planning, and I found the most amazing place to take us. I booked it and waited and teased him and didn't even reveal the secret until the week of even though I wanted to.

Our weekend at Adrift was the most fun we'd had in a while. I'd been traveling a bunch for work and we were due for some quality time together. We ate, we walked along the beach, we rode cruiser bikes, we got inspired by the super PNW decor and we watched Practical Magic and I cried. In my defense, I had this weird premonition that I really wanted to watch Practical Magic while we were there...then we arrived and it was in the free DVD shelf - LIKE HOW. Fated. It was filmed in the San Juans, so I guess I just felt it. Even though it was Raz's birthday, he indulged me and let me have my moment.

So, without further ado, a few photos I took during our best good time at Adriift - if you're looking for an amaze weekend getaway and live in either Portland or Seattle, this is THE place. And! They're expanding with a new hotel in Seaside, OR. I MUST GO. Ashore Hotel opens in July.

Also, check their site for great deals like clam digging kits, great wine specials, s'mores sets, etc. They'll totally work with you and customize for any special occasion, too.

Obsessed with this photo. Driving on the beach is like a thing, I guess. Into it, but need to find a Jeep to do donuts. 


Their restaurant, Pickled Fish, is very #eatlocal and absolutely delicious. Raz and I posted up in the window and stayed the whole length of happy hour and into dinner. Live music every weekend, the most amazing breakfast buffet I've been to outside of one in Munich I still drool-dream about, annnnd Buzzfeed says these are one of the 23 plates of fries you need to eat before you die, so...need I say more?

I don't often go back - but this is one I already can't wait to plan to see again. 

Stepping Up

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Recently, I've had the incredible opportunity to take a new step in my career - and with all the puns intended, in a few weeks I will start as the new Social Media Manager at the coolest spot in Pike Place Market, ChefSteps! I'm so, so thrilled. And pretty terrified. I think all the best decisions wrestle with that dichotomy, and if I didn't jump, if I didn't create change, I'd never know what I was capable of creating.

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A lot of what I'll be doing is helping to answer that question many of you may be asking: What is ChefSteps? I'm hoping to create some major buzz about this awesome place and how they're revolutionizing cooking. It's going to be a lot of hard work, and a lot of fun. Food, like music, is universal, which was one of the major draws for me. Food is always in style. How many memorable conversations have I had around a table? How much have Raz and I bonded (and bickered) while cooking? How fulfilling has it been to invite people into our home and share a meal with them? How many pies have I baked with my grandma? And how has food been the thing people bring when you're grieving? It gets my heart all swelled up. It fills so much more than a thrice-daily appetite.

One thing I've learned from growing my career in Seattle the past few years is that everything leads to the next thing. From dabbling in lots of areas - magazine editorial, teaching, PR, marketing - I've been lead to a place where I've found that passion people talk about that makes you feel like your job isn't a job. Because I've had so much fun at Nordstrom Rack growing our social following and overall awareness, I knew social media was where I wanted to continue my career.

Then this opportunity knocked when I was at a place where I felt like it made sense to step up. The stars aligned, and here I am, taking a risk, telling Raz he probably won't get as much cooking out of me as he thinks he will, and feeling really eager to learn from all the people passionately moving this company forward - content creators, chefs, engineers, mathematicians, artists in all their forms.

What all this means for my little space on the internets is I'll probably be here more often! I'm so excited to share more of my life with you - its ups, its downs, its randomness. My big ideas are flowing and I have some fun things cooking in the brain space, including the super obvious food puns I've been making throughout this post.

Something worth mentioning, too, is I had a hard time making this decision without my dad's counsel. I have a phenomenal support system and I knew in my gut it was right, but not melodramatically word vomitting at him about my pro/con list and forcing him to talk me off the ledge every day after work was pretty soul-wrenching. 

I listen to the StoryCorps podcasts from NPR and a recent episode featured a dad whose son was shot by a police officer in the early '90s when he was playing with a toy gun in their Brooklyn neighborhood. The dad said in the past twenty years, his mourning, how much it hurts, has only deepened. Whenever I have to make these big decisions without verbally assaulting my dad, making him help me be realistic while still reaching and then forcing him to love me through it, I feel that ache I don't like to feel. Feels, I has them.

All that aside, I'm so thrilled for my Seattle life to come full circle. When I moved here seven years ago, I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to do, including (but certainly not limited to) finding a friend with a boat and buying myself flowers from Pike Place Market every week. The irony of my first internship at Seattle magazine was working for free didn't afford me the floral luxury, but this new role does. It's in the same hallway I walked through every morning on my way to my intern chair overlooking Western Ave. I can't believe it's true.

I plan to keep in touch with my teammates at Nordstrom. They are the hardest part of leaving. The people always are. Thankfully, I'll be right down the street from them in a place I hope they'll want to come for lunch and inspiration.

And, this. I can't wait for this. I know Raz is reading and seething with jealousy :).

Get ready for my Instagram feed to become very food and flower heavy. And thank you for your support throughout my sporadic posting. This is the beginning of something new and exciting, I hope for all of us.

All images courtesy of the ChefSteps Facebook page or sourced from ChefSteps.com

The Popas Next Door

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I got such great feedback from my post teasing our house (thank you!) that I thought I'd write a little more about how it feels to be in it.

As I mentioned earlier, we've been home for about six months. There's still a ton to do. But as I was talking to my friend over happy hour earlier this week about our process, I said something out loud I hadn't ever really articulated to myself, or to anyone else. I started talking about how having somewhere to land that is ours made our lives feel so much less transitional.

Our 20s are hard. No one warned me about them. I once had a leader in one of my former roles tell me "20s are for learning, 30s are for earning." And I've learned a wholllllllle lot more than I ever thought I would. About friendship, career, how to not ask stupid questions (because they do exist), happy hour, long-term love, public transportation, loss, Walla Walla sweet onions, andonandonandon. Liiiiiife, man. Life.

Once I found the person I wanted to share all my experiences and neuroses with, I was fixated on finding us a home to pour our creative energies into. We went back and forth on pulling the trigger to the point where we decided to stay in our apartment on Queen Anne a year or so longer before really looking for a house. The market was scary. We'd had a big 2014 wedding season. We needed to recover. We needed to save.

Then Raz came home one day and said he decided we should buy a house.

Now, I'm no little woman. I am a loud and proud feminist. Raz does not make our decisions. We are partners in most everything (he's in charge of technology, and I'm in charge of formal correspondence, but that's neither here nor there). We share - a big feat for two only children.

Honestly, he'd been the reluctant one and I didn't really care to push as long as I could redo our apartment in a more "adult" aesthetic. I'm like a grown up Curly Sue: "What's the compromise?" But when he was all in, I said "Do. Not. Tease. Me." He didn't. We went for it.

And here we are. The feels are big. Because in Seattle it's really, really hard out there, especially if you're the new kid and you don't come with an all cash offer $100K over asking. Srsly.

For us to say we've done it, that we're building a home together, that I get to water my geraniums with my Utah watering can that Raz doesn't even make fun of me for buying and have him help me dig trenches for my Walla Walla sweet onions is...monumental. It's everything.

We are good separately, but we are great together. We go to Home Depot on the weekends. I get popcorn and look at paint chips and he rents tools and buys wood. Usually. I truly believe in the power of our partnership and all of the big ideas we're going to throw all over this house. We've already made a bunch of memories.

And the best part? No upstairs neighbors smoking cigarettes and herding elephants at 2 a.m.

A Piece of the Rock

Friday, May 15, 2015

Since I met Raz, it's been a dream of ours to own a home. In October, we made that a reality. I remember sitting on a plane on the way back from the East Coast waiting for Raz to IM me if we'd gotten it (it's Seattle, so naturally we had a bidding war). Our broker had promised a decision by noon. It was 3 p.m. PT. I kept re-paying for WiFi and was so tired and drained, I finally just told him I wouldn't buy any more. I would find out when I landed.

When I toggled my phone off airplane mode, a text pinged in. "BRO. WE WON. WE HAVE A HOUSE."

I couldn't believe it...except I could. I lingered when the owner came over to finish a few projects. I wrote a letter. I made sure we upped our escalation. I hustled. I was thirsty for this house. Through a sly combination of stalking and luck, we've been home for about six months now.

It's time for the beginning of a tour. No judgement, please - furnishing a house takes a lot of time and a whole lot of skrillllllll.

Got this mirror at an amazing little shop in Snohomish. If you haven't been there and like decor, GO. It wasn't cheap, but it was exactly what I'd been looking for, which is often very difficult to find. Some people call that "high maintenance." I prefer "excellent taste."

The huge photo of us was the guest book at our wedding.

The cochon mug is from Papa. He has a thing for pigs. It's my favorite.

Small things like sharing morning coffee have become so special. We have great light in the house, which is really important in a place like Seattle.

Place mats are important. My mom taught me that. Don't know what he's saying to me, but clearly it's half funny. 

THE COUCH I WROTE TO MY DAD ABOUT. Come sit on it! Promise we won't PDA. Too much. I LOVE HIM, OKAY.

We repurposed my great grandmother's buffet and made it into a bar. I'm sure she'd appreciate that, haha. We have a long way to go to get the house where I want it to be, aesthetically. But the benefit is the bones are good and my job is mostly figuring out paint colors and gallery walls. In the meantime, if this isn't enough for you, I've been spending an unhealthy amount of time on Snapchat, where you'll be able to see more windows into our burgeoning world. It involves a lot of meowing, but I think it's pretty funny - just add whitpopa to your friends list. 

So, who's ready for a drink?

Happy Friday!

Big thanks to Alyssa for indulging me and coming over to take these photos. 

An Open Letter to My Dad on His 66th Birthday

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hi Kouk--

We got a new couch. A big, over-stuffed custom couch for this huge room we didn't exactly know how to furnish. It had to be custom because it had to fit around our enormous coffee table off of which I'm sure you would have enjoyed many a bowl of ice cream. It would have been cool to sit with you on it and watch movies on Raz's gigantic TV. I told him he was going to have to watch all my Bravo and MTV shows on it in life size, but he bought it anyway. I win. 

Mom, Raz and I are going to hang out with you in Waterville and eat ice cream together this weekend. It's Mother's Day, too, so we have lots to celebrate. I've got you covered on a card for her. All good. I always thought it was cute that Grandma told us you and Uncle Don were her favorite Mother's Day gifts. How could you not be when you were this cute?

I see you, you know. When you're a hawk following my little rental car along the Pacific Coast Highway. When you're a fantastic sun ray in the middle of Minnesota. When you make mom hang out with me more than she ever did before. I see you. Thank you for that. Thank you for making our lives as awesome as they can be even though you're not still walking me to my car and hugging me goodbye. I know you're doing the best you can from up there, and I want you to know I see it. I do. You're doing a really good job, too. I'm very proud to say you make yourself so visible. Not every kid gets that. 

And whether people believe or don't believe in that stuff doesn't matter. I didn't know if I believed it. I do now. 

So, thank you for being born. Thank you for living, for creating me, and for putting up with me when I almost failed my driver's test on your birthday and for cheering me across that stage at the University of Idaho when I graduated on your birthday. I guess because you had Uncle Don and a bunch of other sibs, you're better at sharing that kind of stuff. I'm working on it.

Happy 66th birthday, Kouk! I hope you're living it up up there. I hope you're having lots and lots of ice cream and chocolate. I hope you're reading Western novels and shooting guns and bow hunting and boating and driving motorcycles safely (or recklessly, whatever) around country highways and brushing horses and building things and playing with as many of our animals as you want and doing all the things that make you feel ALIVE today. I hope you get to do that stuff every day. I expect you to.

Whatever miracles you want to throw at me this year, I'll take them, and I'll be watching. 

I love you. 

You live,

Photo: Alyssa Wilcox

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