Snow Lake Hike

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On Saturday morning, we braved the cold and set out on a hike to Snow Lake at the Snoqualmie Pass. When I say that we braved the cold, I mean that we were prepared to encounter some snow and perhaps endure a soggy hike; however, we were not prepared to go the whole hike in the snow. AT. ALL. Well, as the story goes, it was a very cold and very snowy hike. It was absolutely beautiful and 100% worth it, but next time we intend to wear an extra layer and our waterproof gear. The trail itself was actually pretty easy at 6.4 miles roundtrip, and with only a 1000 foot climb. The toughest thing we had to deal with was the snow. It was a bit icy and slippery at points, which slowed us down a bit, and the trail was very narrow, so if you came across fellow hikers, it was a tight squeeze, even if you were pulled off to the side in knee deep snow. We were actually surprised at how many hikers were out, but the biggest shocker was the trail runner making his way up when we were coming down. I was so impressed. Also impressive, the very relevant gear that other people wore on the trail. We saw people in their North Face jackets with their hiking poles. I bet they didn’t fall on their bums. Oh, did I not mention that? Yep, I slipped on my bum twice. Fear not, it was graceful and in slow motion both times, so there are no injuries to report. I was also very quick to get up because my pants were not waterproof. For the record, I was donning my awesome hiking boots with wool socks, lightweight cargo pants, a tee with a flannel layered over, and my water resistant hooded jacket, topped with a headband to keep my ears and head warm and some lightweight gloves. This was not my proudest fashion moment, but sometimes being warm trumps trend. Okay, enough babbling, time for photos!

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First photo of the day.

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The thick fog was with us all day.

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The rocks look so beautiful covered in snow.

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The most perfect little red berries.

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Wilderness…ya think?

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Lake Access? We’re good, thanks.

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First glimpse of the lake.

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Frozen pond.

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How cool is this stone fireplace?

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And me, looking cool as ever.

Good night!
xo

Date Night: Cheese Fest

We celebrated our anniversary on Saturday night by going to the Washington Artisan Cheesemakers Festival. The festival featured endless cheese tasting, local beer, wine and cider. We had a great time, such a great time in fact, that I spaced on taking photos. I did snap a few but most importantly, I remembered to photograph the cheeses we purchased. I have to stress that there were a ton of delicious cheeses and we chose to buy the ones that really struck our fancy. If we could buy them all, we would have. We LOVE cheese.

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I am so excited to use the queso jalapeno in tamales! The gouda is almost completely gone already, and the blue cheese won’t last much longer. The cheesecake served us well on Sunday morning as breakfast, and I must say, with a cup of coffee, absolute perfection. Cheese fest, thank you for showing us such a good time! We can’t wait for next year!

Happy Monday!

xo

Date Night: Pizza & Beer

We started my husband’s birthday weekend off by enjoying a date night. I heard from friends that The Station was really yummy,  and then I read an article about it in Sunset Magazine and I was sold!

The Station boasts a huge wood-fired pizza oven, a fantastic menu, local brews on tap and great atmosphere with a super friendly staff.  The restaurant was packed so we had a beer on the adorable patio while we waited. Christmas lights and cool, brisk autumn air are essential for a good date night in October. While snuggling on the patio, we got a really good look at the menu and although there were not many vegetarian options (I’m a pescatarian, have been for 12 years), I had my eye on a pizza called Boss Lady and intended to order it without chicken. It has Maytag blue cheese, basil chiffonade, fresh eight vegetable medley, and Serrano pepper…hello there, Boss Lady, yes please. Allow me to digress for a moment and share my disappointment about NOT trying the Boss Lady pizza. It is so popular that they ran out of vegetable medley! I was so sad. I asked the waiter if it would be worth it without it and he said no way, so I’ll just have to go back and try it another time. *Sigh* Okay, so my back up order was the classic Margherita Fresca, always a good choice. My hubby had the Albatross, pictured below, which has house-smoked pork belly, Serrano pepper, grana, and a sunny-side up egg. He was over the moon with his selection, and I enjoyed the freshness of the ingredients and the fantastic crust. It was hand tossed and perfectly crispy, not overly seasoned . On to drinks! My first beer, not pictured, was a Fort George Sunrise Oatmeal Pale Ale and my hubby tried the Triple Horn Irish Red. Both were delish and we would definitely order them again. For dessert they had a pretty tempting menu, cannoli, panna cotta, fresh baked cookies, gelato…aye yi yi! After pizza and beer, we had to go a little on the lighter side, so we went with gelato. We tried 3 flavors, lemon, chocolate peanut butter and spicy chocolate. The clear winner was chocolate peanut butter because of the ridiculously gigantic peanut butter chunks. It was a great meal and a great time with my hubby.

If you’re in Woodinville, taste some beer and/or wine, and stop by The Station for some seriously good pizza. I can’t wait to go back and try more items off the menu!

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Have a great Tuesday!

Washington State Fair: F-U-N

Ahhhh, the fair. Dreams of eating funnel cake in the sunshine and going on rides all afternoon. What’s that you say? It’s going to be cold and rainy? That doesn’t scare us one bit! I’m too old for roller-coasters? No way!

Here it is, the real deal:

We knew going in that it would be cold, and I believe there was an 80% chance of rain. When we arrived, it was not raining, just a bit chilly, and we had high hopes. We made our way to most important thing of the day, the Washington State Fair Amateur Beer Competition booth. It was a glorious moment to see that my hubby and our dear friend, Mel, had done so well. They placed 2nd and 3rd for some of the beers they entered, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. They’re pretty awesome at what they do. With that checked off the list, we were ready for some adventure! We went full steam ahead towards one of those rides that takes you up really, really high and then drops you, and you feel like your stomach is in your throat. It was exhilarating, and with that ride under our belts, we went straight for the next ride, a steel roller-coaster that had many loops and appeared like child’s play after what we had seen. With my arms stretched straight out over my head, the ride takes off, and I’m thinking to myself, “why don’t we go on rides more often??” Yeah, that was short-lived. We hit a serious dip, and I smacked my head way too hard on the head rest. Just like that, arms are down, and I want off. I felt old. You may be wondering how to recover from such a realization…baby farm animals, of course!

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It’s a little embarrassing to see how crazy I went over the baby farm animals. That’s a lie, they’re adorable and I’m owning this obsession. After the farm animals, we ate some fried food, played some games, got soaking wet in the rain, and won this guy.

Keroppi

Keroppi

That’s the Washington State Fair in a nutshell. It was good times. Did you go to your state fair this year?

Life in Photos: Mercer Island Adventure with a Bestie

I’ve been working away on the Fall fashion posts/wardrobe organization, but I have managed to get in some shopping too. Check out my newly thrifted Michael Kors wedges. I found these at Mercer Island Thrift Shop and couldn’t believe what a good deal these were…$15! I can’t wait to wear these with tights, dresses, and big cozy sweaters. Even better…these will easily transition into Spring/Summer.

Mercer Island - Michael Kors

This was a good day with my bestie, filled with great food and thrifting. I would highly recommend Stopsky’s Delicatessen if you’re in the area. We tried the lox & eggs, borscht, and the highlight of the meal, ricotta blintzes. The blintzes were AMAZING. Not only was the food delicious, but the decor was just adorable and  the service was fantastic. Also in the photo collage below, please note that the street lamp post has a crocheted sleeve…too cute for words.

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Happy Monday everyone!

Backpacking — for real this time

As a send off to an amazing summer here in the PNW, we ventured out on another backpacking trip, only for real this time. The hike…4 miles. The elevation climb…2700 ft. The verdict…I was grossly unprepared for how difficult this would be. I figured that I had done hikes similar before, so I’d be totally fine. Boy, was I wrong! This was the most grueling hiking experience I’ve ever had, truly pushing myself to the limit, motivating myself with thoughts like “mind over matter” and (from the movie Finding Nemo) “just keep swimming”. With that said, it was glorious! I was so proud of myself and felt such a sense of accomplishment. The view is truly breathtaking.

My home for the weekend.

My home for the weekend.

For this trip, we needed to pack very light because the hike was so tough. My pack was about 25 lbs and consisted of food for my husband and I, a pot for boiling water, utensils, my sleeping bag, sleeping pad, clothes, toiletries and first aid kit. For the hike in, I wore a pair of denim cut offs with a tank and long sleeve hooded tee, wool socks and hiking boots. I packed a basic tee and an extra tank, yoga pants, fleece pajama pants (doubled as a pillow), extra socks and undies, my swimsuit and water shoes. Here is the look for day 1.

Pretty sure that I'm asking my hubby to carry my pack for me.

Pretty sure that I’m asking my hubby to carry my pack for me.

For food, we had to keep it to the bare minimum, so we had to be strategic and deliberate. We went to Fred Meyer and hit the camping section for freeze dried meals in a bag. They are kind of pricey @ $10.00/bag but suuuper convenient and very filling, so totally worth it. In the pic below, you can see that we packed almonds, peanut butter and rice cakes, oatmeal and tuna packets. We had to pick up some crackers and dried fruit, so there was a Trader Joe’s trip after this pic was taken. **Side note, we basically raided our pantry and made use of what we already had.

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Sodium central — of course, after the trip we came up with great ideas, like apples and baby carrots.

When we arrived, it hit me that we had no camping chairs and that there would be no benches or picnic tables. Our campsite was definitely primitive, with a fire pit and a couple logs for sitting. Let me tell you, after that hike, a log was a beanbag chair to me! Anyway, we got smart and used our sleeping pads to sit on and really sprawl out. Best.Idea.Ever. See?

Gettin' some zzzzzz.

Gettin’ some zzzzzz.

As for the items that we needed to function for the weekend… a water purifier and a hatchet. The lake water is gorgeous but unsafe to drink, so we filled the bladder with lake water and hung it from a tree so  the filtration system could work its magic. A large portion of our food required hot water to cook, so between that and drinking water, we went through a lot of water and this worked like a charm. There’s also no way that we could have packed in enough water to get us through the weekend. As for the hatchet…why, for chopping wood, of course! Being able to chop wood provides a nice warm fire, and that means cooking and keeping the bugs away. There are, of course, a ton of super cool, fancy pants backpacking items out there, but these were the ones that we simply could not do without.

Now, I just have to share some of the great photos my husband took.

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Mia the camper, taking a rest.

Enjoying my only beer of the weekend. They are far to heavy to carry up that trail.

Enjoying my only beer of the weekend. They are far to heavy to carry up that trail.

The boys went on a hike and got this great shot of our camp. That's our blue tent!

The boys went on a hike and got this great shot of our camp. That’s our blue tent!

The stars were amazing on the first night.

The stars were amazing on the first night.

Here they are ladies and gentlemen, our amazing friends.

Here they are ladies and gentlemen, our amazing friends.

This trip was fantastic, but we really are into the whole camping thing and have been for years. Here’s why:

1) Nature’s beauty

2) Being unplugged

3) Really connecting with each other & friends

4) It’s cheap

For this excursion we spent a whopping $10 for the parking pass, about $50 on food/alcohol and $12 for a headlamp for me. That brings us to a grand total of $72 for 3 days/2 nights. We do have a lot of gear that we have accumulated over the years, but if you shop off season and scour the internet for deals, you can get yourself everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors.

This was an awesome experience, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I hope you had a great weekend and are giving summer a proper send off.