Katniss Your Heart Out

Bow and arrow

Activity: Archery

Location: Issaquah

After-Aim: First of all, I feel reeeeeally stupid admitting this, but I thought bow and arrows were still just wooden. I had no idea they were as advanced as they are now. A bow with gears? What?? My friend Jeff has this high-tech bow and I decided to channel my inner Katniss Everdeen and give it a whirl. Let me tell you, it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done! Jeff had it on the easiest setting and I still couldn’t pull it back. Jeff had to help me and it was sure a sight to see. I attempted to aim and was worried I was going to somehow shoot it back at myself in the face. Yes, my mind was reeling a bit… But I let go and I HIT THE TARGET!! I was satisfied with one shot so I wanted to see my friend Kristin try. Kristin works out a bit and lifts weights and such, so I was sure she was going to be able to pull it back no problem. She struggled just as much as I did! To be honest, that made me feel a little better and less like a pansy. So all you people who can shoot a bow and arrow without struggling and squirming like I did? Props to you!

Cinebarre Your Heart Out


Theater: Cinebarre

Location: Mountlake Terrace

After-Taste: The best way to watch a movie is with a beer and dinner served in front of you. Cinebarre is a great place to go see a movie if you don’t want to be surrounded by loud children. And seeing as we were going to The Lego Movie – going to a 21+ theater is key. Tyler and his roommate Corey and I went to see Lego Movie and I just have to say: it may be one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen! So creative, aesthetically pleasing, surprisingly hilarious, and over-all a feel-good movie. I highly recommend it – the story line was captivating as well! I had a smile on my face the entire time. :) And I promise it wasn’t because of the beer! Yeah, having a beer to drink while you’re watching a movie was definitely nice. The food is…..decent. But it’s worth the money since the experience is so fun. The menu is full of creative cinema names. (I got the chicken fingers = Goldfingers.) Chicken club burger = Fight Club. Italian Pizza = Italian Job. Very punny! Plus, Cinebarre just got their liquor license so now they have a full bar and aren’t limited to beer and wine. Movie + food + alcohol + no kids (don’t get me wrong, I love kids!) = fantastic movie-going experience!

Link: Cinebarre

Shred the Gnar Your Heart Out


Mountain: Mt. Baker

Location: Bellingham, WA

After-Stay: 20+ friends in 2 cabins for the weekend? My kind of weekend!! I’d never been to Mt. Baker, so I was really excited to cruise the slopes with a bunch of my fave friends! First of all, the drive to Baker from Seattle is super easy – it was a fun 2-hour road trip with some crazies (complete with Disney song karaoke). Once we got to the ‘main’ cabin, our friends were about 6 drinks in, playing card games and board games, and everyone was amped up for the morning to get on the mountain. Half of us went to the other cabin which was…..interesting. It was a large and quaint house, but there were little touches that made it feel kind of like we were potentially in a horror movie. I’ll give you one example: you know those moniker signs that cabins have with last names or “Welcome to the Beach House”? This house had a wooden sign outside the front door, but all it said was, “AT GRAHAM’S YOU GET WHAT’S COMING TO YOU!” Ummmmm, it creeped us out a little bit, to say the least. Anyway, we got over it quickly with the help of a few beers and then we all passed out. Saturday morning we were up and at ’em so we could start our snowy day! The mountain was fantastic – a ton of lifts and the lines were never longer than a few minutes. I was boarding with a few friends that were all at the same skill level (level Awesome), so we had a super fun crew traversing the mountain. We ended up all the way over to the second peak. Did you know Baker had two peaks to ski on? I certainly didn’t. By the afternoon, we decided that it was time to head back to the lodge for a beer (we skipped lunch because we were having so much fun!). Looking at the map, we realized that we had to do about 4-5 runs to make it back. We were on a mission. Slight problem – one of the runs was a cross-country trail. Seeing as I was the only snowboarder in my group, I recommended we find a different way. Unfortunately, the skiers were determined and I began the trip on the cat-track. I was gliding for a solid 30 seconds until I came to a complete stop. Then began my 10 minute walk with board in hand. Womp wooooomp. I finally made it to the skiers and was definitely ready for the lodge. So to the lodge we went! We all posted up and had a couple beers – it was the perfect day.

That night everyone came to our cabin for a large potluck. We all brought some food and feasted on spaghetti and meatballs. The whole evening, some of us were cooking, some of us were playing drinking games, there were board games, and even a group of people doing riddles. At one point, I looked at my friend Pat and I commented on how we’re all playing games and having a great time with each other – and he replied, “This is what happens when we don’t have cell service!” It’s true – no one could be glued to their phone and it was AWESOME. At one point, the whole group of us worked on one riddle that took a good 30 minutes of questioning to figure out. But I just remember feeling so happy and like I was a kid again surrounded by my closest friends. Just pure fun. Hope this becomes an annual tradition!

Riddle: Four Prisoners with Hats

Link: Mt. Baker

Broomball Your Heart Out


Sport: Broomball

Location: Highland Ice Arena

After-Skate: What is broomball, you ask?? Welp, it’s basically hockey but on sneakers and uses brooms and a bouncy ball. My friend Hanny wanted to get a group together for his birthday, so we headed up to Highland Ice Arena and had the private ice rink reserved. I have to be honest and say it was difficult to see the little kids get kicked out of the rink so our time can begin. But then I realized that when we went onto the ice without skates and all carrying brooms, they were wildly amused and watched us the entire time. If I were a kid, I’d love to see a bunch of adults acting like idiots! If you agree to do broomball, know this: you WILL fall. It’s inevitable. Some people fell many times, others did not. But there wasn’t one person who stayed upright the entire time. I’m pretty sure I’ll have a bruise on my knee for weeks due to the fall that I had [worth it!]. Also know: bring a sturdy broom and duct tape. If you want to look like an official broomball badass, you’ve gotta tape up your broom the correct way (even though all of the duct tape will fall off by the end of the game). I was nervous about how I was going to run on the ice in my shoes – but it was easier than I was expecting! I mean, it wasn’t easy, but I could actually semi-run without any problems. It was quite a workout and we all had grins from ear to ear when our time was up (fine kids, take the rink back…grrrrrr). Cross your fingers I don’t find any crazy bruises on my body!

Link: Highland Ice Arena

Dash Your Heart Out

Valentine's Daash

Race: Love ’em or Leave ’em Dash

Location: Greenlake

After-Dash: Can you believe it?? It’s been exactly a year since my first official race! I certainly can’t believe it… Especially because I’ve completed a few different races during this year. I’m actually paying money to run. What? Who am I??  Last year at this race, my friend Zack came to support me because I was so nervous. This year he decided to run with me!! Well, not with me – he’s way fast. I was far faaaaar behind him. My goal when I run in any 5K is to not walk. I’ve failed on that goal once, but not this race!! I ran the whole thing and was very proud of myself. This is a great 5K to do if you’re just getting into running – no hills and it’s just one loop around the lake. If I can do it, trust me, you can do it too. :) The good news is that I beat the giant Hershey’s Kiss and the “runaway brides,” I did not beat the man that was BAREFOOT. What?? What a machine! The weather was perfect and there were so many people covered in pink and red. I wonder how many races I’ll sign up for THIS year?!

Link: Valentine’s Dash

D’Light Your Heart Out

Bellevue D'Lights

Event: Garden d’Lights

Location: Bellevue Botanical Gardens

After-Stroll: This is the perfect activity to do with a child or even with a significant other! It was breathtaking!! I decided to take my Little Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters to go ice skating at the Bellevue Ice Arena. After we saw the mile-long line to skate, we immediately turned around and tried to think of other things to do in Bellevue. I kept hearing about the Bellevue Garden d’Lights so we decided to give it a try. Parking and waiting in line is hit-or-miss. When we got there, parking was pretty easy and there wasn’t much of a line (we bought tickets beforehand on my iPhone) – but when we left, the line was HUGE! Even if the line is long, the wait is worth it. If you don’t like being surrounded by people, this maaaaay not be for you. You kind of just walk in a single-file line in a way and look at everything. But Mia and I managed to get amazing views of all the scenes. The lights were insane. Absolutely unreal – the “pond” was my favorite. Plus, they have a hot cocoa stand! There were so many light animals and animals, it was eye-candy. I’m obsessed with color and bright, shiny objects, so it sort of felt like this whole set-up was designed for me. You follow the map and experience all the different scenes – there was a jungle, a winery, waterfalls, butterflies, frogs, even spiders. You name it, they probably had it in lights. It was a good 25 minute walk, and we took our time to take lots of pictures. I asked Mia what her favorite light object was and I’m not even kidding, she said the rake was her favorite. Hilarious and adorable at the same time!

Garden d'Lights

Link: Garden d’Lights

Carol Your Heart Out

Parade of Lights

Event: Annual Christmas Parade of Ships

Location: Lake Washington (various locations throughout December)

After-Sail: What a way to get ready for the holiday season!!! So one day I was sitting on my booty thinking about what to get everyone for Christmas (that’s a lie, who plans that far ahead?!) and then I got an e-mail from my friends Bri & Kris. It was the kind of e-mail everyone dreams of receiving. It said that they are partaking in the Christmas Parade of Ships, they’re making split pea soup and bread from scratch, they have blankets and hot cocoa, and they want me to be a part of it. Ummmm, you had me at Christmas!  The next day we disembarked from the dock and sailed out to the middle of Lake Union. While there, several other ships decked out in Christmas lights sailed alongside us and we waited for the mother ship. The leader of the pack every year is the Argosy Christmas Ship – it’s a huge ship covered in lights and bustling with carolers and guests in their finest garb. We puttered through Portage Bay and the Montlake Cut (was beautiful seeing Husky Stadium, of course) and wound up by the shores of Lake Washington. We wrapped up in our blankets, ate our amaaaaazing split pea soup, and listened as the carolers were singing on the Christmas/Mother ship! They have speakers projecting the sound out, so we couldn’t have gotten a better show! The Parade of Ships happens several times throughout the month of December, and next year I hope to be a part of the finale. Apparently there are tons of boats in colorful lights, and it’s quite the spectacle! Tonight’s Parade had about 10 boats, so the show was nice and intimate (I know, the pic above makes it look like we were alone, but I promise we weren’t!). So start making good friends with people you know with boats – it’s awesome to be a part of! You can always buy a ticket and be a part of the main boat as well.

Link: Christmas Ship Festival