I’ve always been a Cardinals fan. Being born in St. Louis, I grew up idolizing Ozzie Smith and agreeing with the rest of the city that we had the best fans in baseball. I believed this to be true mainly because we weren’t hated by half the country like our friends in New York and Boston, and we also weren’t horrendous like our unfortunate rivals in Chicago. But it wasn’t until last Monday that I actually witnessed why STL has some of the best fans in baseball.

Nick and I used our friend Erin’s season tickets and took our seat in right field a few minutes before the first pitch against the Nationals. Erin had told us there was a lady named Karen who had the season tickets next to them, who came to every game and is probably the biggest fan around. Even though I’ve sat in these same seats twice before, I’ve never been able to meet her. That night, I noticed Karen’s seats were again empty, but this time there was a big ribbon tied to the railing in front of her seats. Not thinking much of it, we turned to watch the start of what would become a six-game winning streak.

It wasn’t until about the 2nd inning that one of the vendors approached us asking if we were friends of Karen’s. We explained that we weren’t, but we had heard a lot about her. She continued to explain that the ribbon was put there in honor of Karen – that Karen had lost her battle to cancer two days ago.

Each inning that went by, a different vendor would approach us, asking the same question,”Did you guys know Karen too?”

For the rest of the game we listened to at least ten different people talk about Karen and how great of a person she was, especially how great a fan she was. We learned that she had sat in these seats since day 1 of the new stadium. We learned that she would bring her rally squirrels, and always hang up the 2006 pennant on the railing. We learned that she was such a loyal fan, that she would sometimes schedule her work week around the Cardinals schedule, making sure to only be working when the Cardinals were either away, or off for the night. One man from a few sections over even came over and pulled out two pieces of paper – one of a picture of him and Karen at a baseball game, and another of an email she had wrote raving about how having dinner w/ Whitey Herzog was one of the best nights of her life.

Whether it was the beer man, the cotton candy lady, or the usher from the next section over, tons of people were affected by Karen’s passing. She hardly ever missed a game, and would sometimes even travel to see them play. She was loyal to her redbirds, and in turn she made a positive impact on those around her.

Cardinal nation lost one of their best fans last week, and it breaks my heart to think she won’t be in her seat to watch the Cards go after yet another World Series.

But what was truly remarkable was witnessing our section coming together to remember one of their own. And to me, that’s what makes us the best fans in baseball. That’s what makes us champions.

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8 months since my last post. Yowzas. I can blame it on a lot of things – moving to STL, working full-time, traveling almost every weekend for misc wedding activities, or really just being lazy. But I swearrrrr I’ve been trying to get back on here for the last couple of months or so, but couldn’t really think of the right post. You know, the “comeback post.”

I figured the best way to come back from my brief hiatus was to talk about my recent move to St. Louis, but I didn’t want the post to be just a mediocre ramble about how humid it is out here, or how the people look at you funny when you say you actually chose to move here. I wanted to put a little more oomph into it. But really, I was just waiting for something to click… something to hit me and get me excited to write again.

Enter TED talks. If you aren’t familiar w/ TED talks, slap yourself. Download the TED app, google TED talks, or literally just browse your FB newsfeed. There’s bound to be a TED video you’re friend is begging you to watch. That’s what happened to me the other day at least when an old friend posted the link to a TED talk on how to make stress your friend, and I did what everyone should have done.. and clicked on it.

I could go on about the entire talk, but what really resonated with me was the last minute, when Kelly McGonigal (no Harry Potter relations that I’m aware of) answered the question re: when choosing between a stressful job, and a less stressful job, which should you pick? Her response? Brilliant. The only thing that was missing was Fat Amy from Pitch Perfect in the background mimicking a slow fist pump whispering #crushedit.

She responded saying, “Chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort. The most important thing in making decisions is to go after something that creates meaning in your life, and then trust yourself to handle the stress that follows.”

Some say moving to a different city was crazy. Ballsy (sp?). Ridiculous. Brave. Inspiring. Stressful.

And now that I’ve done it, and lived here for ten months, I’d have to agree with them. Yeah, moving somewhere where you don’t have any friends is scary. Moving somewhere without a job completely cemented down is even scarier. And sure, you could say moving somewhere with no real sense of direction besides really just wanting to try something new, but still being bogged down by life’s realities can create tremendous amount of stress for one person. But before I moved, I was OK w/ this. And now, ten months later, I’m even more OK w/ it. And if only I had the wisdom, and the eloquently phrased answer of Kelly McGonigal a year ago, I would have been able to explain to people why I was so looking forward to this next phase of my life.

I believed moving to St. Louis was an opportunity for me to chase after some meaning in my life, and I’m very thankful I had the courage and strength to believe in myself to deal w/ the stress that has come with it. It hasn’t been an easy road. It’s been down right crappy at times. But the good times here have definitely prevailed over the bad, and I feel like the struggles have made the outcome that much more glorious.

Because what it all boils down to is, if we avoid change, we’ll never know what could be just around the corner. If we avoid challenges, we will never know our true potential.  And if we avoid discomfort, we’ll never know what it’s like to achieve greatness and meaning in life.

 

Recently I’ve been coming across these great YouTube videos that either serve as the best (as well as my only) ab workout each week or serve as great reminders of how many truly amazing people there are in this world.

Four videos in particular have stood out in my mind as must-shares. I’ve structured them in a way that aligns with one of my biggest mottos that you guys might have remembered me mention a few months back (plus a special twist at the end):

Be silly:

Be honest:

siblinglove

ok, I know, this isn’t a video. but as a shout out to my sister Jill for having her first baby girl this month, I thought I’d share one of her favorite moments of being a big sister to me :)

Be kind:

And be so incredibly mature, compassionate, loving, and understanding as this 8 yr old, whose pledge and dedication to his brother is not only inspiring and moving, but is also a BIG reminder of how precious life is and how much difference we all can make in each other’s lives. 

So if you’re ever in need of a laugh, or a smile, or a feel-good moment, make your way to Youtube and troll around for a few minutes. You’re bound to find a few gems that will 9 times out of 10 brighten your day in some way.

And let’s not forget how thankful we are for that Louisiana hot sauce…

Recently I have subscribed to Jeff Goins‘ blog, and have read some pretty inspirational and thoughtful posts week after week. There was one post in particular that stuck out in my mind from a while back that I’ve been meaning to write about but just haven’t gotten around to it. But the message behind it lines up pretty accurately with one of my main resolutions this year, so I felt this was the perfect time to finally get these thoughts out. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

What really matters

I’ve lost count of the how many photos I’ve seen on Facebook of kids with chocolate-smeared faces. But I remember the friends and family mourning the drowning of a young man down the road.

It’s those things that tug at our hearts we will remember most. It’s the tears we’ve shed with family. It’s the all night conversations we have with friends we see once every three years.

Here’s what I’m trying to say: I want my priorities back in line.

Day by day, I’m learning to re-prioritize. I’m making efforts to talk on the phone more versus texting. I’m closing the laptop when I’m finished with a project instead of staring into cyberspace. I’m allowing myself to be more vulnerable in my relationships. I’m choosing to live.

I’m not where I need to be, but I’m not where I used to be, either. Thank God. I want the word “busyness” out of my vocabulary. I want to be available. Focused. Present.

Now I really can’t say much more about this topic, and am definitely not as articulate as Jeff, but what I can say is how spot on this message is. Being in a new city, I’ve found myself sometimes wondering what’s going on back east in Richmond and Raleigh. What are all my old friends doing? What am I missing out on tonight? I’m constantly checking Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, to the point that it’s become second nature to do so. And what I’m starting to realize is that I’m not taking full advantage of the opportunities that lie in front of me. I’m living in a new city, but I’m still trying to be in my old cities. And from an entire life of multi-tasking and stretching myself thin, I should know by now that it’s much better and more effective to put 100% of our energy into what we’re doing at that moment, or who we’re with at that particular time.

Cell phones, social media, and technology in general have transformed our lives for the better, but at the same time it’s distracted us from our priorities: the people in front of us and the beautiful things that happen every day.

So just like Jeff Goins, I want to put my priorities back in line. I want to shut my phone off during  meals with friends, and go for a walk in the city instead of catching up on trashy television. I want to stop worrying about what I’m missing out on, and instead create new memories with the new people I meet here in St. Louis. I want to stop sitting on my ass wondering what I should do, or who I should be, and just freaking live. Now isn’t the time to be stagnant. Now is the time to make the most of your time, by being present, being focused, and being available.

This is definitely something that can’t be fixed in a day, but it IS something that can be life changing. Now more than ever, I’ve realized that my life and all those around me are changing and growing up in the blink of an eye. Now more than ever, I’ve realized the value of relationships, and the importance of keeping in touch. And now more than ever, I’ve realized that in order to truly live, we need to be present. A few years from now we won’t remember that ridiculous YouTube video, or that random FB wall post a friend made. We won’t remember the number of likes we got on an Instagram picture, or how many people retweeted Honey BooBoos ridiculous tweet. What we will remember are those long conversations we have with loved ones, or those memorable nights out with friends. We’ll remember the times when we tried something completely out of our comfort zone, when we splurged on a road trip across country to visit an old friend, and when we sacrificed a day watching GameDay in order to volunteer at a local charity. We’ll remember the times we stepped away from the material things in life in order to focus on what’s more important to us.

I’m looking forward to 2013 and what I make of it. I’m not sure where it will lead to, but one thing I do know is that the answer isn’t on my phone or computer.

Here’s to a brand new year of a new outlook on life: one that is more present, focused, and available.

So this week I’m making the move to the midwest. St. Louis, Missouri. Home to the best sports fans in the country, the arch, Anheuser-Busch, countless casinos, and about 65 of my relatives. I’ll be living downtown in my very own artist loft. Yes, the place where people potentially throw paint up on the walls, drink a bunch of wine and talk about how fascinating and expressive it is. And I say ‘potentially’ not because that… doesn’t really happen… I say it because I’m not quite sure about the rules and limitations of the apartment complex yet :)

Regardless, I am nothing less than ecstatic to soon be living in a new city, and can’t wait for all the exciting adventures ahead.

But with that said, it is also kind of bittersweet to be leaving Virginia, where I have spent the last 17 years of my life. I’ll be leaving the city that is home to many of my nearest and dearest friends…. aka all those childhood friends and parents who stood by me through ALL the awkward hair styles and through all of my ridiculous fashion decisions (a 1st grader in tims and a huge Tigger sweatshirt, seriously guys?).

Richmond is where I learned all of the important stuff. Like, that turkey sandwiches taste way better with Doritos in-between the bread. Or that getting dropped off by your mom in HS was wayyyyy cooler than having to ride that dreadful yellow bus (But if you did have to take the bus for some reason, that you made sure to stand, not sit, in the back of the bus). Richmond is where I learned how to play kick the can, manhunt, and Last Chance. Richmond is where I co-founded a club called the Kreative Kids Klub and put on magic shows, circus routines, and guinea pig races for the neighborhood kids. And Richmond is where I preceded to co-adopt a manatee with all the money we raised at such fairs. For the short time I could actually touch my toes, I decided to take on karate, where I experienced my first regret: quitting a belt before black (*SMH). Virginia is where I was dubbed the name Shay, Shay Shay, Shanaynay, Shaydiz, Shanny, and everyone’s favorite… ‘Jeff’s little sister.’ Richmond is where I often passed the time by playing pool in our bonus room while blasting a mix CD of the Backstreet Boys, 98 degrees, Nsync, and Hanson. It was here that I also learned, much later, that such an activity was not a cool thing to do.

I had my fair share of themed bday parties, art projects, and collectibles (beanie babies, poggs, and the Lemony Snicket’s ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ series to name a few). I participated in about every after school activity, sport, community service project, and spirit competition growing up to bore a stranger for about a week. I learned how it felt to lose at an early age thanks to the hundreds of ping pong matches, basketball one-on-one’s, and.. let’s face it.. ANY sort of game I played against my brother. (Thanks Jeff!). And most recently, I learned how… entertaining it is to have your parents for roommates :)

Richmond will always be home to me because of all of the above, and much more. Most of my immediate family is here, and most of my childhood is here. No matter what St. Louis brings me, or whichever city after that, I will always remember all that Richmond has given and taught me over the years. Because after all, it’s here in Richmond that I gained one of the most important assets of all: the courage and confidence to move away and know I can make it on my own.

*shaking my head

It’s crazy what this superstorm called Sandy has done to the Northeast. Millions without power, thousands stranded, and the entire Jersey shore demolished. It’s hard to realize the impact of this storm here in Richmond, especially when miraculously Sandy decided to skip over us and only drop a typical and harmless windy rainstorm on us. But it is also harder to realize that such a storm could span a thousand miles….bring the biggest storm surges in history…. combine a deadly windstorm with a blizzard….completely restructure a shoreline… and knockout one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the country…. IN OCTOBER.

The pictures are unreal, the videos leave you speechless.

Fortunately, we did have a heads up and somewhat ample time to evacuate and prepare for the worst. But, honestly, can you ever be fully prepared for something like this? Something like this that analysts are saying only happen once in a lifetime, if not longer?

The road to recovery seems long, as well as cold, but what is most amazing is how positive New Jersey, New York, and the rest of the Northeast are staying. Today I received an e-mail from the Fab.com CEO, whose company and headquarters in the West Village of NYC have been effected by Sandy. His e-mail was filled with resilience for getting things back to normal and moving forward. But what struck me the most was the quote he ended the letter with: “Even in tough times, it helps to smile. We’re all designed to – more than ever.”

What the northeast is going through is not easy. But a city can’t rebuild when all we do is dwell on the pictures and all the destruction that has happened. By keeping spirits up, rolling with the punches and looking forward, and focusing on the important things – like the people we love – we can get through this.

A disaster like this sucks. A disaster like this is cruel and makes us question, “Why us?” But what a disaster like this also does is brings us closer together. It unites a neighborhood, town, city, and country to come together and make things better again. And it all starts with a smile.

So smile everyone, as Jason Goldberg and the Fab.com family says, “we’re designed to.”

(All my thoughts go out to my friends in NY, NJ, and RI. Keep your heads up and stay dry up there!)

Your birthday is…

…obviously the best day of the year. Or the best week, or even the best month depending on the person (cough… Jill… cough)
…the one day in particular that you are encouraged (or forced…depending on the age or choice in friends) to drink way more than you should.
…the one day when sometimes, weirdly enough, you get “sick” and can’t go to school or work.

But that’s just because your birthday is the day when you get to do whateverrrrr you want :) (also depending on your age, your choice in friends, and how close your parents live to you!)

Your birthday is…

…when you find yourself searching for any ache or pain in your body because people keep asking you if you feel older. And coincidentally enough (again, the age thing), you realize you might actually feel a bit more rusty than the day before.
…when you realize how many special people are in your life. But then you’re overwhelmed in thinking if you need to respond to everyone’s text and FB posts, or if simply “liking” each post or sending a general thank you post is sufficient enough :)
…when you step back and thank your parents for not only surviving those brutal nine months, but also the exhausting # of years following.

But it is also the day your mom reminds you of all the painful memories of that actual day, and that your birthday doesn’t technically start until 2pm because you took so daggone long to come out ;)

Your birthday is…

…the best because it is the one time every year that all of your favorite people come together to celebrate.

But it can also be the worst (for lack of a better term), because of the terrifying thought that today marks the day that you are one year older…. one year closer to being really old, and really grown-up, and really responsible. It is definitely a hard thought to digest, especially considering the difficulty of actually swallowing a thought ;) But then when you step back and remember how blessed we are to be where we are, with the people we are with, everything becomes great again.

If you haven’t figured out already, today is my birthday and I have hit the quarter-life century mile-marker. No, I do not having any additional aches and pains ;) but I do, unfortunately, feel a bit more grown-up. This year I will be moving to St. Louis, eventually starting a new career, and beginning the next phase in my life. The past 25 years has definitely been a blast.. filled with great friends and family, awesome trips and vacations, one or two slightly tipsy nights, several embarrassing moments (that may or may not have gone hand in hand), and many more milestones and memories.

Birthdays are the best, because it gives you an excuse to treat yo self, and no one is allowed to be mean to you. But it is also a chance for us to realize how far we have come, and where we want to go tomorrow. So happy bday to me, my homegirl Anna Wood, Hilary Clinton, and Pat Sajak.

I came across this video on Twitter (shout out to Courtney Simons for posting it!) the other day, and thought it deserved to be recognized once more.


Meet Johnny Barnes. Johnny Barnes dedicates 6 hours of his day to greet the people of Bermuda. SIX hours. EVERY day. He stands on the corner of a street and simply waves, blows kisses, and tells each person to enjoy their day and that he loves them.

Some were worried Johnny’s actions would cause controversy. Others would try to avoid him because they were having a bad day and wanted to hold on to their angry moment for a few more minutes. And a few Bermudians admit to assuming at first that Johnny would ask them for money if they slowed down, or happened to stop their car near him. But all of them would soon have to eat their words when Johnny would instead pass on positive words of encouragement and love, ask for nothing in return, and as a result brighten their day.

The video speaks for itself, but here are a couple of quotes and thoughts I took from it:

  • “He reminds me that everyday we have a choice on how we want to start our day”
  • “One of the greatest joys that can come to an individual is when you’re doing something and helping someone, and see the reaction on their face” -Johnny
  • It’s yet another example of how a small gesture can make a big impact on someone else

Some would say his actions are a little excessive or that he comes off a tad creepy with his comments, but what it really boils down to is Johnny Barnes’ actions  remind people to not take every little thing so seriously and hopefully will bring smiles back to people’s faces.

MY hope is that this video spreads to as many people as possible, and that friendly gestures (ie. waving, smiling, making eye contact, etc) start becoming the next #trend.

My mom actually passed on this message to me last October 5th, (don’t worry guys..it is in fact Friday today :)) when I decided to take on another year with HSD. It was fitting then, and now, a year from then, this quote still applies. To me, it’s just another reminder to keep living in the moment and to keep moving in the direction that will bring me happiness. To go along with this message, I recently watched a Levi’s commercial starring big ol’ Russell Wilson, where he said his father always told him to keep the 3 P’s in his life: “Always persevere, always have great perspective, and always have great purpose in your life.” It’s pretty easy to get caught up in the pace of life, and compare yourself to where other’s are at or how people your same age are doing. And don’t get me wrong, that is certainly healthy to a certain extent – a good taste of competition and motivation keeps us pushing forward towards our goals. But it isn’t the only thing we need to concentrate on. Sometimes bumps in the road come up. Sometimes things take longer to come to fruition than you anticipated. Sometimes you find yourself feeling like everything is in slow motion and that you’re barely inching forward.

But the point is that you are still moving. The key is making sure it’s in the right direction!

Happy Friday everyone!

I woke up to the first foggy and dull day in my entire trip. Welp, guess it’s time to leave. But I had a few hours to kill, and I was not about to head to the airport without getting breakfast! :)

 
 
Left: A fellow clown trying to bring back a little sunshine to everyone.  Right: There are about 6 of these fresh markets at Pike’s Market. But that’s A-OK with me because they hand out free samples of the most delicious fruit ever. That’s one way to get a girl some breakfast.

 
Ahh… Piroshky Piroshky. This is another, more traditional way of getting a girl some breakfast. Highly recommended.

But after breakfast, it was time to hit the road. My spontaneous, solo-travel trip was over. After 8 hours of travel I’d be back on the East Coast, and back to the daily grind. So here are the ten main things I took from my excursion:

  1. I can do this. I can go somewhere new, by myself, figure out how to get places, and make new friends. This trip was a big confidence booster for me. I realized I’m capable of being independent… capable of putting myself out there, out of my comfort zone, and still able to have a great time.
  2. I’m still afraid of heights. But I’m brave enough to face them. With the number of bridges, cliffs, and log jams I had to cross, I would say I  embraced the experience and tried my best to overcome these challenges. I definitely “drank the sauce” if you will.
  3. Drink good beer. And drink it slowly. Because it’s expensive out here. I advanced from my Natty light days to the lovely world of microbrews and… nicer beer. (Still working on the vocab, obvi) I also learned that a brewery is often the best and easiest place to not only meet people, but to also learn about a city.
  4. Being in a new city makes you way more observant. I probably know the city of Portland and Seattle better than Richmond or Raleigh. And it’s embarrassing. When I was learning about each city from some of the locals, I kept thinking to myself…geez I hope they don’t come to Richmond because I don’t have the slightest idea about where to take a visitor. But on the plus side, I improved my directionally-challenged mind and have become a lot more observant of people, places, and…street signs.
  5. People still get kicked out of bars out here. It was often refreshing to overhear the drunken conversations at the bar, the annoying complaints of a perturbed customer, and the overly dramatic conversations from teenage girls and/or homeless people. Yeah, it seems like a whole other world out here, and people are super nice, but people are still people. And that was a comforting feeling for sure.
  6. Fashion doesn’t matter when you’re traveling. Especially when you’re walking miles and miles a day. Suck it up, and wear your ugly tennis shoes. Oh, and don’t pack so much. (I learned this, but then again I ‘learn’ this every time I pack. It just never really sinks in.. I guess)
  7. Put yourself out there. I already touched on this in number one, but it was really the biggest takeaway from the trip. No matter how stupid you feel, how ridiculous the situation or the question is, or how much your “cool factor” might decline… put yourself out there. You never know what will come of it, who you’ll meet, or what you’ll learn. And if you want an easy place to test out this adventurous attitude, come to Portland. You’ll fit in just fine :)
  8. Bring water on hikes. Come on Shannon, you got this.
  9. It’s a freaking small world. Whether it was meeting up with Amy in Portland, figuring out the bartender went to Godwin HS, or realizing a new friend was about to work with one of my best friends from softball… I couldn’t help but think of how small the world really is.
  10. No matter where you go, you will always have a support system back home. I couldn’t have racked up the courage to travel by myself, much less go through with it without my friends and family’s support back home. Every step of the way (taking me and/or picking me up from the airport, letting me crash at their house, treating me to dinner, giving me a pep talk when I was down, paying for some of my hotel nights, driving across town and through rush hour to visit with me for an hour, reading my blog :), and just simply being interested in hearing about my trip), I’ve realized how great I have it, and how many people really do care about me. Being in such a new and different place made me very thankful for all the friendships and relationships I have made along the way (and even the new ones from the trip). So thank you, you know who you are. I couldn’t have done any of this without you!

I could go on and on, but I know I might have already lost you due to the length of this post. This technically marks the ‘end’ of the trip-blogging, but I can’t guarantee that I won’t mention it or remember something else about the trip down the road. Thank you thank you thank you for reading my blog and following me on my trip. It was definitely worth it, and it happened at the perfect time.

And to those of you who have never taken a trip like this, or have never studied abroad, I highly recommend doing it. You learn a lot. About people, the world, and yourself.

Picking up from the EMP museum, I headed over to Japonessa for some more sushi. Sushi 3 times in Seattle. No biggie. I don’t feel bad about it, because sushi is da bomb (sha taaa! -right Jill?! :)). And third times a charm was definitely the case here, since they had happy hour all day and served by far the best edamame I’ve ever had.


I was pretty tired from all the walking I’d been doing the past few days, so I decided to kick it with my homies at Pike’s Market again. And then what do ya know, I ended up at yet another brewery soon after. Pikes Brewery – Cool environment, delicious beers, flying bottles, a personal hook for my backpack, I was in heaven. And to top it off, I met some pretty cool people from California and Nevada, who were also into the traveling scene, but surprisingly not big fans of the downtown Seattle scene (they lived in Bremerton). Regardless, we hung out for a while, and then headed over to Ivar’s for some local seafood and more beers, I mean… water. The way the night went was very similar to my first night of my trip in Portland, so it had seemed that everything had come full circle.

I saw a lot of different things in both Portland and Seattle, but what I’ll remember most is the different people I met along the way. Ranging from 18 to 70 years old, it was a cool experience to meet and chat with so many diverse individuals. They all had different backgrounds, different reasons for being in Seattle, different interests and passions, different personalities, and definitely different preferences in beer and fashion. But one thing they all had in common, was that they all took the time to learn about me and treat me with respect. Their kindness and genuine interest in me and my trip really made an impression on me. I doubt they have any idea how appreciative I am of their company, but I really couldn’t have had as great of an experience without them, whether it was just for ten minutes, or several hours.

They reminded me that it never hurts to take a few minutes out of your day and talk to someone new. That you never know how much those few minutes can make an impact on them, and brighten their day. It’s a simple gesture that can go a long way, and fortunately I was able to experience this firsthand.

My last night was a great cap to the entire trip. Great weather, great food, great beer, great city, and great people. I couldn’t help but go to bed with a smile on my face.



 
Up next: The flight home and the final wrap-up

Note: Very photo-heavy post

I took the morning to go to the Experience Music Project museum in Seattle. I’m not usually one to go to museums, but figured since Seattle had a great music scene, the museum would most likely be a cool experience. Andddd I’m glad I went. Now for those who know me pretty well, I’m not too savvy with music… at all. Main stream is usually my scene, mostly because it’s just convenient. So the museum was a whole new experience for me. Exhibits for Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and Jimi Hendrix, combined with a sound booth and sci-fi section, the museum was filled with gold. For me, being a music-newbie and more of a graphic-junkie, it was neat to just look at the design styles of the album covers, posters, ticket stubs, records, etc. A lot of the posters and flyers were handwritten and hand drawn, which showed just the raw talent of the artists and sheer sense of creativity running through these artists’ veins. It was really inspiring to see how they just took their ideas, and went with them. They didn’t worry about what others thought. They didn’t care if it was perfect. They just did it. Listening to Kurt Cobain talk about the history of Nirvana and hear him laugh about some of the stuff they did, some of the work they produced, showed that yeah.. it’s not always going to be perfect, and we will most likely laugh at it 5 years from now, but who cares. It’s more about the fact that the work displayed what you were thinking at the moment, what you were feeling at the moment, and that you went through with it. To me, that’s all that matters at times. During the emergence of rock, these bands went against the grain to pursue their passion, and I’m pretty sure most of us, if not all of us appreciate the risks they took.

I definitely came away from the museum feeling energized to create work (not music, don’t worry guys) and get back to designing for me. Not to mention the museum was great inspiration work for the Flat Rate Collaborate project a few of my fellow studio mates have been working on. Our current theme for this round is music. Can you say perfect timing?

Here are quite a few pictures to help you get a gist of some of the things I saw inside the museum.

   
Left: This display was to show how all sorts of bands are connected, whether it’s playing together, going on tour together, sharing band members, or whatever. It was crazy to see the levels of collaboration and overlap all these bands experienced. Right: Sculpture that consisted of about 700 instruments. Say whaaaat?

 
Left: Part of the Rolling Stones exhibit. The exhibition design of this museum was on point. Right: the book ‘Taking Punk to the Masses.’ Being the type nerd, I was pretty stoked about the typography and layout within the book. Not to mention the duck tape binding.

 
Left: Really enjoyed taking a look at all of the album covers for all of these bands. Genius work and so diverse!

       
Right: this picture was obviously a mistake, but I love how it turned out regardless.

 
Left: So much flair

       
Right: They had an entire exhibit dedicated to sound which let you test out different instruments and all the different ways to alternate the sound. I wasn’t sophisticated enough to figure the stations out though.

 
Left: A cool section that let the public complete the sentence: Music is ______. What would you guys have written?

   
Right: I kept my sticker. Whoops

Tuesday was dedicated to Fremont and Ballard. My brother’s good friend from college used to live in this area and suggested visiting it because it was dubbed the new, and upcoming place for younger people to live. This time I wore tennis shoes, and was ready to take on any long-distance walking paths, hills, and even freakishly long bridges.

To summarize the day, I went to several parks, ate at really delicious restaurants, walked up and down the main streets, and capped off the night with a few brewskis at one of the local bars. It was a low key day as far as sight-seeing, and was more of taking in the culture of the creative city and just doing the normal, non-touristy things. Ya know, like eating and drinking. With the occasional act of taking a picture of a random statue or sign.

But if you ever go to Seattle, make sure to visit Fremont and Ballard (by the way the crew from Deadliest Catch docks their boat in Ballard. I didn’t see them, but it’s still a fun fact). Both are a lot of fun and really seem like the places to be. Not to mention the gorgeous views that surround the cities.


Fremont bridge. Purrty.


View on top of Gas Works Park. Not pictured: A sorority learning their secret sorority songs. They were just as awkward and secretive as I remember.

 
I was starting to get the hang of skyline pictures after my 30th attempt. Not bad for the ol’ iPhone 4. These are views from Gas Works park as well. Beautiful start to the day IMO!

 
Left: No explanation for the statues, nor the accessories, but funny nonetheless. Right: This is the Fremont troll, located underneath Fremont Road. Kind of a freaky and sad story that comes with the meaning behind this statue. FB me if you want the details!

 
Left: This is the point of the trip where I decided to collect (cough.. steal) the coasters from all the breweries I went to. The bartender was from St. Louis. Go redbirds! Right: A restaurant had a huge rocket ship attached to it. NBD.

 
Right: That’s cactus in my queso people. Pretty darn good if you ask me. Don’t think I ate this dish the correct way though. New phrase for trying new things: Try the cactus.

  
Left: On my walk to Ballard (3 miles), I really enjoyed seeing all the artwork and different styled buildings. Fremont’s got some cool typography going on. Right: This is a picture of my best friend for the ten day trip. Definitely a cheap date if you ask me. But you know what wasn’t cheap? The orange juice that I had to buy in order to sit in this coffee shop. I guess when you’re desperate for an outlet to charge your phone and need to rest your legs, $3.58 for orange juice is reasonable…..right? :) (And sorry..just not a coffee drinker either. I know, I know…I’m not American)

Don’t worry guys, you are about to read a positive post! (Sorry for leaving it on a low-note for so long, but blogs=honesty…right?!)

So I had three people in Portland and 2 people in Seattle tell me I HAD to visit the public library in Seattle. Seriously? Is this a joke?

Apparently not. Apparently in Seattle, library’s are awesome and considered a tourist attraction. I’ll let the pictures show you what I’m talking about since I took… a ton. But I’ve never seen a bigger, more inspiring public library. I’ll tell you one thing… if I lived in Seattle, I would read books. :) The architecture of the ten-story building is pretty remarkable, based off a geometric, spiral design so that when you get to the top you can look down the entire library and see the floor level. What’s with the west coast and heights? But regardless, it was prettayyyy cool.

 
 
 
 
  
Next on the list was the infamous Pike Place Market. A combination of restaurants, vendor booths, and live music, Pike’s Market is definitely the place to be during the day especially when it’s 80 degrees outside. It’s the perfect place to people watch and just stroll up and down the market to really take in the culture and listen to some great music. The band below is called Tallboys. A folk band with some pure talent. The girl on the right is also a tapper. Brilliant. I caved in and bought their CD so I would be sure to always remember this day and how cool it was to experience Seattle’s culture at its finest. (Bonus question: True or false, I joined the little girl dancing in the picture soon after the picture was taken.)

 
 
Another interesting tourist attraction in Pike’s Market was the “Gum Wall.” And that’s right folks, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Definitely one of the those attractions that doesn’t need the “Please do not touch” sign, but it also didn’t stop the few brave ones from adding their personal touch to the mural! My personal favorite was seeing a high school prom picture pinned up by a piece of gum on the guy’s face. Now that’s some creative revenge!

 
 

Next? Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. The set-up is kind of like Krispy Kreme, where you can sit and watch the cheese being made. Not as appetizing as watching donuts, but it still didn’t stop me from ordering their famous mac n cheese. And yup, famous rightfully so. Because.it.was.dank. (Dank=delicious mom and dad)

 
I decided to take a break from Pike’s Market, and cross the water on one of the ferries to West Seattle and visit Alki Beach. The ferry ride was neat and gave a great view of Seattle’s skyline. But what I didn’t know was that the walk to Alki Beach was 3.2 miles away. About a mile in I was definitely wishing I had those rollerblades on this girl below. (Sidenote: getting better on my stalker pics, don’t you think?) The flip flops were definitely a bad decision, but they did make for a better picture in the sand, so there’s that! :) It was nice to be able to take a load off and stick my toes in the sand for a while. But the water, not so much. Too cold for this gal!

 
 
I headed back on the ferry to downtown, for a quick fish n chips from Ivar’s on the water, only to jump on another ferry to go to Bainbridge Island. It was a longer ferry ride (a little over 30 min) but the ferry was pretty pimped out. I felt like I was on a cruise ship, and didn’t have trouble taking a little catnap on a recliner! I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I got to the island, and I guess I could have done a little bit better planning for this short trip because when I got there I had no idea where to go. It’s a very spread out town with a lot of hills to walk, and I had no clue if I needed to go right, left or straight. So I picked a direction and started to find my way to the center of Bainbridge. Fun fact though, the town shuts down around 5:45pm. And I had gotten on the 6pm ferry. Womp womppppp. But I made my way around the town and was still able to get a good feel for this quaint place. I bar hopped a little to get a better feel for the people and the area, and witnessed the bartender create a homemade bloody mary with a mixture of hot sauces and no V8 juice.

The ferry on the way back was well worth the trip with the night skyline view of the city. At the end of the day, I was definitely exhausted from what seemed like a half-marathon amount of distance I covered throughout the day, but it was all worth it. I saw a lotttttt of Seattle, and I was starting to like what I was seeing!

 
Saturday was a big travel day. Returning my sweet ride, and hopping on the train to Seattle was pretty much the extent of the day. With my most recent travels being in the car or Megabus back home, I forgot how luxurious Amtrak rides were. And the view (I feel like this is the theme of my last 4 posts) was again.. wait for it… amazing. Paired with some Swedish fish and a Diet Coke, I was ready for Seattle.

But then we arrived, and I quickly realized I wasn’t in Portland anymore, and that Seattle was a pretty big city. The metro link system was confusing, the bus system was even more confusing. GoogleMaps, I love you to death, but you definitely keep trying to send me on the most inconvenient bus routes, my first one resulting in a 5 block, 45 degree incline walk, with all my luggage. Not cool dude.

The rest of the night I tried to see the night life of downtown, but also realized that this was much harder to do by yourself, and as a girl for that matter. But it’s typical downtown style, and I was just naive about the whole situation since I was fresh off my Portland-fantasy-days. So my night ended with actually a very delicious sushi dinner (sushi always makes me feel better), and a scenic walk home to my bed. Tomorrow would be better right?

Eh, not really. With high hopes of scalping a ticket for the Seahawks/Cowboys game to cheer on Russell Wilson in person, I didn’t know football in Seattle was so “big-time.” There were about 300 people trying to buy, and only about 20 people selling. And they weren’t people, they were scammers. Charging $200-$300 for tickets that were only about $80-$100 in value. Ridic. And this was still the case in the 2nd quarter! Outrageous. Again, being a girl in a bigger city in this environment takes some strength, so after a while I retreated to the local bar to watch Russell smoke dem Cowboys.

So the weekend was kind of a flop, but I think I was also pretty tired from all the traveling thus far. It wasn’t a good start to the Seattle experience, but I still kept a little hope for the rest of my days here. You win some, you lose some. Luckily the Seahawks won, and I won both my Fantasy games! (sorry Pops). But there’s always tomorrow.

Everyday isn’t going to be omg-the-most-amazing-day-ever, and I was definitely reminded of that this weekend. But there is plenty to see and do in Seattle, it’s just a matter of taking on the day with a new mindset, and possibly in a different direction :)


Seeing the space needle. Check.