26 June 2011


On July 1st it will officially be THREE YEARS since I moved into my apartment in Queen Anne/Fremont = QueenMont.  This is the first place I've ever lived alone, and I have to admit I completely love it.

I was overwhelmed at first with the idea of decorating an apartment by myself, but once I embraced Craigslist there was no stopping me.  I bought two couches, matching slate living room tables, a dining table, shelving units, and an entertainment center all used on CL.  I picked up a new living room set from Costco Home, which no longer exists, and then with LOTS of help I painted a few choice walls KIWI GREEN, hung pictures, and I felt like I was good to go.

Well this spring I started feeling discontent with the living room.  I just felt like there was too much STUFF.  My ski's didn't have a home, there was too much crap on the walls (even though I did love my shrine to Big Sky Resort), and I was over the giant TV and the couch that never got used.  So I embarked on a redecoration project (some would call it 'nesting') - here's what my living room looked like 'before' (sorry I don't have more/better ones):

To start I sold the couch, the TV, and the big entertainment center.  I bought a new, little black TV stand from Target and put in 5 hours of elbow grease to get it assembled (next time - POWER DRILL!).  I  scored a great deal on a new flat panel TV, picked up some cheap lamps from IKEA and Cost Plus World Market, and pgot some 'fancy' pillows from ROSS.  Whalah!
Phew!  Everything just feels so much more open and welcoming now!  Not to mention I get so much more light without that couch blocking the way!

My favourite is that I found fabric to match my fancy pillows at Goodwill, which I cut and hung to cover the UGLY grey cabinet that I had above the 'window' into my kitchen.  I think it does a nice job of accenting the Olympia Beer Crate Toppers which are a fun, and geographically relevant, family heirloom.

I'll be celebrating my 3-year apartment-anniversary down at Smith Rock this year for the second annual 4th of July Climbing Trip, but I'm so glad to have a calm, relaxing place to welcome me home.

23 June 2011

Skaha, Canananananada!!!

I know I'm reaching WAAAAY back in time for this one, but I want to get caught up someday, so might as well start now!

In early September 2010, The Group went to Skaha Bluffs in British Columbia, Canada, about 6 hours north-east of Seattle. Just outside of Penticton, a nice town on a lovely lake, Skaha Bluffs was the perfect place to enjoy a weekend of camping, climbing, swimming, slacklining, and general merriment. Unfortunately the weather was unseasonably cold for us, but we managed to have a good time regardless.

The drive up was beautiful. En route we stopped by this lake. Gorgeous scenery. Ravenous mosquitoes!

We camped outside of town up in the hills.  We were twice as far from the climbing (about 10 more minutes) but I'd say the view was completely worth it:

Here's a look at Casa de Skaha!
None of us had been to Skaha before but we were jazzed to be outside and set off enthusiastically. 

It didn't take too long before we (and by we, I clearly mean *I*) were confused. Good thing they make guide books to find your way - too bad I'm directionally challenged!

Eventually we found our way and got to do some climbing! Here's a look at one of the big walls, then you see Sarah on lead, and me on rappel (for a reminder of climbing terms, click here)

As I mentioned the weather wasn't on our side (it was rainy on and off and definitely quite chilly) so we went to the beach a few of the days to do some slacklining! Slacklining involves setting up nylon webbing between two anchor points. In our case, we set it up between two trees. I am not a good slackliner, but Hexar is a PRO! Hydrating and balancing at the same time! Expert!

Such a beautiful place, and they had pretty decent sport and trad routes. I can't wait to go back again soon! A big thanks to The Group for always making these trips memorable!

09 June 2011

Theme Parties!

I'm taking a reprieve from writing about travel to bring you this exciting post on THEME PARTIES!

A few years ago my friend Allison had a Monochrome birthday party which was a huge hit.  Then last year she outdid herself when we all 'Wigged Out' in celebration of her 27th year.  After that everyone pretty much embraced the theme party idea, and The Group more or less refuses to get together anymore unless the party is themed.  In no particular order, here are some of the fun themes we've had:
  • Monochrome
  • Wiggin' Out
  • Bridesmaids!
  • Ugly Sweater
  • Superhero
  • Little Black Dress
  • Oversized Accessories
  • GrabAss (think anything but regular clothes that makes your derriere extra grabable)
  • Gooooooooooold! (as in 'Golden Birthday)
  • Mexican Fiesta
Here are some inspirational photos for you:
 Original Monochrome Party Rainbow

Climber Rainbow in Smith Rock a few weeks ago


Fitting photo in front of a relevant movie poster

Okay, these weren't the ugliest, but you get the gist



Over-sized Accessories - think hats, glasses, scarves, feather boas, you get the idea



Mexican Fiesta

Some ideas we've got in the queue:
  • Goodwill Prom
  • Roaring 20's
  • White Trash
  • Oktoberfest
  • Super Villians
Anyone have other fun ideas?  Share them in the comments!