Leveling Up

On Tuesday afternoon I sent Matt a text: “I’ve leveled up!”

I had just completed a hour long conference presentation that was a great success alongside a high profile group of leaders from my company. And I had held my own. It felt like I earned my entrance to a new level of professionalism.

The extra boost of confidence from (my first!) new blazer may have helped.

It was a great weekend of work travel that did not feel that much like work. I saw friends, worked out of our really cool Spokane office building, spent time with inspiring people, stayed in the wonderful Davenport hotels, and ate SO MUCH epically good food. And really good wine. Bonus: I got to see my Alma Mater, Washington State University!

It was a weekend that affirmed that I am on a good path, and one that fits me well. I am learning all the time, and more importantly, figuring out who I need to learn from in order to grow in the direction I want.

After this trip to Spokane and Moscow, I have a new list of to-check-out places for my Eastern WA friends:

Spokane:

Davenport Hotel and Tower: I stayed in both and think they are both wonderful…Tower is a little quieter, better for working in the rooms but the Historic one has more charm and much better room service options

Clover: great local food restaurant. It is in a house so super funky cool vibe to go with amazing food.

Latah Bistro: this place is essentially in a strip mall but the food is OUTRAGOUS! We shared a feast of bread/cheese/nibbles and then shared 3 entrees for the table…and wine, and dessert. The pile of mini chocolate cakes…to die for. Go. It is so good.

Moscow, ID:

Nectar: this great wine bar and bistro was such a treat. Everything on the menu looked good, but I had a flight of sauvignon blanc (found a new favorite wine!) and a really good trout dinner. So good.

Wedding Countdown: Single Digit Days

We are 9 days out…and that means we can check the weather forecast in Port Townsend for our wedding day! Current forecast: 61 and full sunshine!

We are coming down to the wire! People are starting to arrive in WA, I am packing boxes of things to take out to the site, our schedule is set with the Fort, coordinator, caterer and photographer…things are coming together!

 

Leave it to the fiancé to save the bachelor party…

My epic bachelorette party was a few weeks ago…now it is Matt’s turn. It has been a rough road getting here. Matt’s guys were not really motivated to pull anything together, but finally came up with a plan. A plan that was thwarted with the threat of a burn ban.

They had found a great, small “100 miles from the nearest person” campground just on the other side of the pass that was perfect for their boys weekend. However, we have a burn ban. So they started looking for alternatives. What came up? Family campground after family campground. One after the other. None were going to be right a group of guys trying to get away and be loud and crazy in the woods. Matt was crushed. And stressed out. They leave in two days! So what did I do? I called the ranger station just to check to see if the burn ban actually applied to campfires. Low and behold…it does not (at this level at least, it could go up but they said it was unlikely at this point). Woohoo! I emailed Matt at work with the good news. He was thrilled! The boys are going camping!

Fish Lake, here they come!

Fish Lake

2011 Puyallup Fair

September means the Puyallup Fair. The Puyallup fair means a day chock full of food, fun, rides, exhibits, and feeling like a kid. Matt introduced me to the fair last year, and this past Saturday we hit it again in full force. 10 hours, 3 krusty pups, 2 ice cream cones, 1 rootbeer float, 1 earthquake burger and 4 scones, and 3 rides later we were exhausted and ready to go home. But it was wonderful. The weather was perfect, it was not too crowded, we even found someone to take our annual “jumping” photo (that is always a tall order when you ask someone to take your picture…). What a GREAT DAY!

Backpacking Rachel Lake

Our weekend got off to a shaky start – Matt’s radiator boiled over on Capitol Hill so we had to do a last minute car switch. Luckily everyone is safe and the car is home parked legally on the street. Fingers crossed that we can get it working again without too much fuss. While the car was cooling down on Capitol Hill we enjoyed soup with Marty to celebrate 2 years of being cancer free. In full Marty-party fashion there was even a writing assignment. My parents were there and it was great to see them.

After soup and taking the car home Matt and I headed out to Issaquah to spend the night with his parents and gather together some remaining camping gear we needed.

We were off to the mountains by 9:30 Saturday morning with stunning late summer WA weather. The air promised a dry, hot weekend, and there was hardly a cloud in the sky. The mini got to stretch her legs on some rough mountain roads (she did wonderfully) and we were on the trail by 11:15. The hike up to Rachel Lake followed a river, and took us through forest and alpine meadows…all beautiful. My energy level seriously dropped during the long climb up to the lake (the last 1/3 of the trail) but Matt is so good about keeping my spirits up. When we arrived at the lake we found a secluded camp site near the far west end and set up camp. We had access to a great little beach and we went down for a late afternoon swim. It was freezing! After a few dips in the frigid water we retreated to the sunny warm beach to dry off and enjoy the stunning views.

Dinner also brought out more mosquitoes…they were awful. Bad enough where Matt stayed in the tent while I cooked up our tuna mac and cheese and then we ate sitting on our sleeping bags. Mosquitoes love Matt. I don’t react to the bites so luckily we were able to function through he swarms. Next time we are bringing deet. We cleaned up dinner and lay in the tent until the stars came out playing 20 questions. It was so relaxing and peaceful to get away in the mountains.

Sunday morning we woke up and had a slow morning making oatmeal on the beach and getting ready for our day hike. We packed up my camera, some snacks and water bottles and trekked up to Rampart Lakes (near Rampart Ridge that we did not have time to get to). These alpine lakes are beautiful…there are at least 20 scattered through a region of huge rock formations and heather meadows. The wildflowers were at their peak and were stunning.

We returned to our campsite and broke camp, then took one last dip in the lake before hiking back to the car. We made good time going down, but we were getting really tired and sore by the time the parking lot was in sight. My tired Moose and I drove back home, stopping for a burger and beer in North Bend, ready for a shower and a good night sleep.

Wonderful Washington weekend.

A Day in the Corner Office

Ahh business trips. A break from daily Seattle routine.  Yesterday I hopped on an 8AM flight to Spokane for a site walk and meetings with some clients. Who did I run into at the airport? Our CEO. We were on the same flight so we went through security together and hung out at the gate. Hopefully I made a good impression.

Yesterday I drove around to various meetings around the city, and finally had my last meeting finish at 3. I was wiped out! Not too wiped out of course to hang out with Jenny who drove up from Pullman. We went to Nordstrom Rack (bit of a strike out sadly…but I may have found the wedding shoes I want…) and then had dinner at the Safari Room at the Davenport. I stayed at the Davenport Tower…room on the 10th floor with a king sized bed and Jenny decided to crash with me there. It felt just like old times!

This morning we ate quiche at a coffee shop and I headed to the office while she went off to a meeting. I feel so lucky to have a best friend that can carve out some time between work and play to spend time together. It was really great seeing her.

Now I am camped out in a spare corner office in our Spokane building. I feel important with the great view and cherry desk and glass door. I could seriously get used to this :). My boss said not to get too attached. Someday…

As much as I love to get out of town, I miss Matt and am excited to see him tonight and go dancing in the park.

Wedding Planning: Venue

First of all, wedding planning is by far one of the most fun things I have ever done! Matt and I were talking about our wedding long before we actually got engaged…in enough detail where we actually had booked a venue and picked a date before he popped the question!

We decided to pick a place that was unique, sentimental, historical and fun…and that perfect combination was found at Historic Fort Worden in Port Townsend, WA. Matt took me there for a surprise getaway for my 24th birthday, and then we went again in April to get away from the stress of house hunting. It was on this second trip that we talked to the events coordinator and learned more details about the facilities on site, and also learned how hard it is to reserve a slot in their busy conference summer schedules. We had already decided on a summer wedding, we wanted the 22nd of a month but the dates were awkward. We decided the next best option was August 10th (we met on July 10) and that was a Friday…and it was available at the Fort. We went home and mulled it over and decided to go for it! We booked it the next week.

The ceremony site is an old battery called Battery Tolles. It is a huge cement fortress with really cool round sections where cannons used to be placed to shoot out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The battery is tucked into a Cliffside that overlooks the Strait, and you can see Canada, Mt. Baker and tons of mountains from the field just above the fort. It is a stunning view. We are planning to have the ceremony in the semi-circle cement part of the battery.

The reception will be just down the hill from Battery Tolles at the USO hall. This was THE place to be for dances and social gatherings on the fort. Did you ever see An Officer and a Gentleman? The dance scene was filmed in this hall (actually the movie itself was all filmed at Fort Worden). Although not spectacular from the outside, the hall has hardwood floors and huge old beams on the ceiling. There is a stage and old leaded windows. Not fancy, but full of charm and character and exactly what we wanted for a reception hall.

Now that we have a venue and a date it is time to work on other details. We are just about ready to send in our deposit on a photographer and are finalizing the bridesmaids dresses. On Saturday I am having a “girl’s planning lunch” with my mom and Linda (future mother in law) to talk about details and guest lists etc. Oh this is fun!