Green Jackets, Tassels & Hoods

So I am a little behind on this post….

Over a month ago was my final weekend at school. The last intensive (4 days of in person classes), the final presentation, last party, last circle, and final meals at Islandwood. And it was great!

I went into the weekend well prepared…good thing since my first order of business was the kickoff presentation of the weekend! To add to the pressure to preform my sponsor, a high level company executive from the company I did a graduate project with, had flown in to hear me speak. And you know what? I killed it! Awesome presentation that so many complimented me on. It was an amazing way to go out.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low key: great meals, awesome conversations, and many ceremonies to pass BGI culture on to the next class. My favorite tradition? Green jackets. You know, Masters, green jacket? Yep, we have a rack of green thrift store jackets that span every fashion era you can think of. And we rocked those jackets every evening for dinner.

Graduation itself was on Sunday, and was a long day after an already marathon long weekend. We were all dressed up and hopped the 9:35 ferry to Seattle, had dress rehearsal, and at noon were being welcomed to our final moments as students.


Graduation was a Seattle Town Hall, a somewhat unknown but beautiful and iconic building. The ceremony was great, personal and we had a really good speaker. It was also really hot in that black regalia. It was so much fun to see my friends walk across the stage, and see my parents, in-laws, husband and grandma cheering me on from their seats. What a great feeling!

After the ceremony we took photos, explored Freeway Park, and then met up with some classmates for a fun outdoor dinner party on Lake Union.

It was a great day. Friends, family, and a significant milestone. Hard to believe we are already over a month into summer without school!


Perfect Sky

Yesterday was the most perfect water taxi commute.

Bluebird skies, puffy white clouds and a stunning skyline. Life in Seattle at it’s best.

Twenty Seven

I have this thing about dates. I call our dinners “in” dates, trips to the grocery store are dates, any little adventure really. I love to go on dates because just calling them something special makes everyday happenings that much more meaningful. So what did we do for my birthday? Go on dates!

We started the day much like every other workday. Alarm went off at 5 am, showered, and headed for the bus and water taxi. The difference: we stopped for cinnamon rolls and coffee before we made it to work. A 20 minute pause to sit and enjoy the morning was such a treat! So were the cinnamon rolls! These were probably the best I ever had, and were still warm from the oven.

Matt had 3 hours of time off to burn through this week, so we met up early for a pho lunch downtown, (date #2) then had ANOTHER date poking around Pike’s Place Market! We picked up halibut cheeks and bay scallops for birthday dinner cioppino, then wandered through an antique store on the way to the water taxi. I found a really cool cabinet that I need to measure for a bedside table…

The water taxi was totally full on the way home (an hour later we finally figured out why EVERYONE was anxious to get back to the island on Halloween!) and we arrived back on our doorstep to find a note that our hot tub was fixed! Woohoo! We still needed a few ingredients for dinner so I volunteered to go to town. Wow was that an interesting choice! Turns out that Vashon is TOTALLY shut down on Halloween for trick or treaters! The roads were blocked off, music playing and everyone was in costume. Even the sheriff and his prisoner!

I had to park a half mile from the store but had a ball wandering through the happy chaos of Halloween on our island. As we spend more time here and learn more about the community, we just fall more and more in love with this place. We are already planning our costumes for next year so we don’t miss out!

Matt made amazing cioppino and we ate it on the couch while watching a movie. Low key, relaxing end to a birthday.

There was no cake since we are saving that for a dinner party on Saturday. But there was a gift! Matt really scored on this one. Ever flipped through skymall magazine on a plane and seen this?:

I am going to be so cool!

27 is off to a great start.

Perfect Balance

When we bought our house on Vashon Island (well, really, it was long before we started looking) I was so excited to move out of the city. I craved a slower pace, quiet, community, safety and darkness. Moving to the island has brought us all those things, and more, and we really could not be happier with our choice.

What I was not expecting was how much this move has brought me into the city. When we lived in West Seattle, downtown Seattle felt like a trek, an adventure, and somewhere I was only willing to go if I had to. Or a special occasion. It really had to be worth it for me to drive, deal with traffic, deal with parking, PAY for parking, and then get overwhelmed by the business of it all. No more.

Now I commute into the city every day. I arrive by water taxi (infinitely more relaxing than a traffic jammed car or crowded bus), and then walk through the early morning streets to my bus stop. Businesses are just waking up. Coffee shops all smell of fresh beans and cinnamon rolls. The streets are still pretty quiet. In the afternoon I ride us bus into the city, and then walk through the busy streets that no longer seem foreign. I recognize the Pioneer Square tour guides, the changing shop displays and the Real Change homeless guy in red shorts. I wave and he waves back every afternoon.

I am really liking my time in the city. Matt and I sometimes choose to stick around and go shopping or out to eat. Happy hour? Sure! When we lived “in the city”, meeting up downtown was just a hassle. Now it is easy, because we are already there.

After happy hour, or just the daily walk down to the water taxi dock, we meet up and return to the best part of our life…being home on our little rural island. Our little retreat just 20 minutes from the city, it is the perfect balance.

coming home to this is a great way to end the day

Coffee Shop View

After a thunder and lightning storm studded water taxi ride and a soaking wet walk through the city, I made it with luggage to my pre-office meeting in Georgetown. Luggage in tow because we leave for vacation after work, pre-office meeting because I love any excuse to work outside my cube, rain because, well, the end of summer is upon us in Seattle.

It is a beautiful morning. Packing with the house still torn apart was less than efficient, the commute with luggage a little more difficult, but life is so good right now. Our deck paint seems to have stuck well (even with the downpour 12 hours after we painted) and the house is slowly coming together. And we have a whole 9 days of sunshine and sand to look forward to. A long awaited break before school starts again. School starting will mark a drastic reduction in house project progress, but hopefully a slower pace for Matt. This summer has been breakneck speed.

I savor these moments. Good coffee, time, and watching rain. I found a book to take on the plane. PB&Js are stocked in my bag. Anticipation of vacation; one last dose of salt and sand and then I am ready for fall.

Bring On the Summer!

Friday was a big day:

1)      Final presentation of my 1st year of grad school

2)      Our house appraisal came back and so financing is off to the bank for underwriting! One step closer to keys…

3)      Matt discovered a whole case of wine left over from our wedding

4)      It was warm and sunny!

I am thrilled to report that school is out, and we are quickly approaching a glorious summer in Seattle. With weddings to attend, a new house, a break from school, and no wedding to plan, 1year anniversary, and a trip to Grand Cayman…we have so much to look forward to! Things appear to be on track with the house (keep your fingers crossed for us!) and we should be getting keys July 3, and then moving a week later. Between getting keys and moving will be a whirlwind: camping for the 4th, Seattle International Beer Festival (a family tradition), getting drywall fixed in the house, painting, cleaning our rental, and finally….MOVING! July is going to fly by, and I hope I remember to step back and enjoy this exciting transition.

A smiling moment with a friend from school on our final ferry ride back from Island Wood…our first year of grad school is complete!

Cake Stress

Why do I do this to myself? All week I have been losing sleep over cake.



For months now I have been planning a surprise 30th-and-a-half birthday gathering for my sweet husband. As his 30th birthday was the same day as my best friend’s wedding, it was epic fun, but lost some of the glory that you deserve on such a milestone. So this has been my plan since last year.

I carefully stalked from-scratch yellow cake recipes and the perfect chocolate frosting (even finding his Mom’s recipe that he grew up with). Then I realized my fatal flaw: I have no time to bake a cake…let alone a SURPRISE cake! The party is Friday, also known as his day off. I can’t even go into work late and make it since he is home!

Yellow Cake

So, I have been losing sleep. Planning the party is challenging enough. How do I pull this off? I managed to get everyone invited…then Matt proposed the grand idea of having a BBQ this weekend! Ok, so he thinks we are having a small get together with a few of my friends. Little does he know that ALL his buddies will be there too, and a cake!

Yes, back to the cake. After finally sending a plea to my support posse (aka: Mom & Jenny) for help, both of them came back with a solution: just buy him a Safeway cake. It is his favorite kind anyway, and would save me SO much time. Thank you both from reeling in this overcommitted DIYer, I needed that.

I am happy to report that the cake is ordered. White on white with a massive beach scene on the front…and it was even on sale!

So here is to the party! I am going to need a glass of wine with my cake.