Monday, November 19, 2018

Touristy in Seattle: Part 1

There are some places you go where you have to mark some things off the list. Would you go to London and not see Big Ben or New York and skip the Empire State Building? Naturally, in Seattle, the Space Needle was at the top of our list (especially with my newfound glass floor fetish) followed by Chihuly Gardens mostly because it's right there at the base of the Seattle's most iconic landmark. And you can't NOT go to Pike's Place Market! The other thing we really wanted to do was Bill Speidel's Underground Tour.

On this trip, my plan was to cover one thing in four areas. Landmark. Art. History. Tourist Attraction. Although you can see how anywhere you go these categories with merge and overlap. Our hotel was the Courtyard by Mariott in the historic Alaska Building, Seattle's first skyscraper.

As soon as we checked into our hotel we walked a few blocks to a bar purporting that it's the oldest continuing operating bar in Seattle.

We toasted our first cross-country train trip and a bit of other good news we received while on the trip.

Next on the agenda was the market.

I follow the Instagram account of Sunny Honey Company and was eager to check out their shop inside. The store was so cute and right inside the main entrance!

We hadn't thought about plans for lunch but the Athenian was right there when we came out of the honey store.

A place that's been in business this long has to be good, right?

We popped inside for our first seafood. We grabbed a couple of stools at the counter where we could watch the meals being prepared. I like a place where you can see what they are doing with your food. My husband ordered the seafood stew and I had the Alaskan cod fish and chips. While we were waiting for our food my husband nudged me and pointed to a little sign at his seat.

I remembered the scene! It's the part where Jay (Rob Reiner) is having the modern dating discussion with Sam (Tom Hanks) I love happy travel accidents! 

After lunch we had fun walking around, shopping, and taking in the sights.

I was on the hunt for bee related products everywhere we went.

Seattle did not disappoint!

We ended the day with dinner at The Pike Brewing Co. The next day we started our day with a visit to the extremely popular Biscuit Bitch, more about it in the next post, just around the corner from our hotel. Then it was a quick Lyft ride to the Space Needle. Our driver bemoaned the cloudy weather and tried to talk us out of wasting our money. When we arrived it looked like he was right. 

Would it be a waste of time and money to buy a ticket? We decided to give it a try. At least we could say we'd been to the Space Needle. We bought the combo Chihuly Garden/Space Needle combo ticket at a kiosk and went to the glass museum first.

This last one looks very similar to a ceramic piece my son made for my garden when he was in college!

While it looked like the clouds were parting as we enjoyed the garden by the time we were in line to go up in the elevator the attendant informed us that the visibility at the top was 0% and that she'd have refunded our ticket except that we bought it at Chihuly Garden instead of the Space Needle.

Whatever. We're here. (Travel tip: "whatever" is a super helpful travel attitude)

One bright spot was that it wasn't crowded and we were in line for about ten minutes. We rode up the elevator and the doors opened to reveal...

she was right. We couldn't see anything.

Still, there was a glass floor and looking down was kind of cool if somewhat foggy.

We milled around. We sat on the glass floor with all the other tourists.

We grabbed some local drinks.

And then as if by magic the clouds not only parted but moved out completely giving us a full and complete view for miles.

We were really happy we didn't ditch our plans for the day.

Because it wasn't crowded we chatted with other tourists and enjoyed our drinks while I did a complete rotation time lapse. Then back on the ground, we roamed the surrounding area.

Though we had taken Lyft from Pioneer Square to the Space Needle we spent the rest of the day meandering back toward our hotel, shopping, drinking coffee, and eating along the way.

It was a fun and relaxing day. Seattle is a great city for combining plenty of interesting things to do and also taking your time to stroll and discover. We also found it to be a very friendly city. The locals love to tell you about the next great restaurant you should try or thing you should do. If you love coffee or craft beers it should be at the top of your list.

Happy Travels, Y'all! 


Thursday, November 15, 2018

Why That First Step Is the Most Important One

What would you do if you understood it completely? Start a business? Write a book? Plant a garden? Build a house?

What if I told you that too much information can be daunting and paralyzing? I know you've heard of analysis paralysis. I've certainly suffered from it! What if a little ignorance might indeed be bliss at least at the outset?

I was thinking about this after we went to see Bohemian Rhapsody on opening weekend. If you love the music of Queen I recommend it. The movie uses Live Aid as parentheses for the story and sparked my memories of that day. I was pregnant and we had the TV on from beginning to end watching on a hot Memphis July day with our noisy window unit humming in the background. I hadn't thought about it in years. My curiosity was piqued and I went in search for answers to my questions and happened upon a two-part documentary about it made by the BBC.

Live Aid Against All Odds

It's a fascinating account, mostly about the forcefulness (or obnoxiousness) of Bob Geldoff's personality. But in part two where they focused on the actual production, it's astounding just how little anyone really knew what was going on and how many things could and did go wrong. It's a theme I see time and again among creatives.

JUST DO THE THING. When you don't know how. When you are afraid. When you think you might throw up. When you feel like an imposter. When you cannot imagine how it will work. When everyone thinks you're insane.

When no one believes. 

Over and over in interviews,  artists, entrepreneurs, and writers say the same thing. Indeed in Chris Guillebeau's book, The $100 Start-Up business owners reveal they are actually glad when they started they didn't know how hard it would be. Glad that they didn't know how much they didn't know.

Most of them say if they'd known how hard it would be they never would have started. But they figured out problems as they went along and created successful companies despite the lack of proper business plans, or technical know how.

I read about beekeeping for a couple of years before I got up the courage to order my first hive and equipment. Then I waited two years to assemble it and order bees because I didn't feel like I knew what I was doing. Guess what. I still don't have all the information. I still mess up or get surprised and have to solve problems on the fly. The first time I caught a swarm I had absolutely no idea what I was doing but I figured it out! Here I am 7 years later; I'm doing the thing and when people ask I can say "I'm a beekeeper."

Being in the fray forces you to work out how to do the thing. Mark Twain said "The secret to getting ahead is getting started" and you know it's true. Energy and creativity have momentum. It's why if you want to start exercising after being a couch potato the most effective strategy is just to put on your shoes. Or why when I feel like I don't have the energy to clean up the house I set a timer for 5 minutes to see what I can get done. Chances are 30 minutes later I'm still knocking out chores I've been putting off.

If you are feeling stuck or mired down these next few weeks before the new year, might be the perfect time to get ready to launch your dream idea. Let's stop thinking about the next twenty steps and take the first one.

See. You're closer to your goal already.

XOXO Y'all! 

Monday, November 12, 2018

King Street Station Seattle


We went to sleep to this.

And woke up to this.

This trip made me add a couple of new goals to my bucket list.

1. Visit all the really beautiful train stations.

2. Visit all the tallest buildings especially those with glass floors.

3. Take all of the great train trips.

If you missed the beautiful Union Station you can read about it here.  While I had heard of Union Station I had no idea what the Seattle train depot would look like.

Y'all. It was the one time on the trip I was mad at myself for not having my real camera with me. 

We arrived at King Street Station  on time in the morning ready to begin our fun stay in Seattle.

I had a little trouble getting out of the train station. 

This station was built between 1904 and 1906. It was designed by the firm of Charles A. Reed and Allen H. Stem, the who also worked on designing Grand Central Station. 

seattle train station

I really need for somebody to get married on that balcony!

seattle train station

Like many other cities Seattle allowed the building to fall into disrepair as air travel replaced train travel after WWII. But more recently they had the foresight to do a proper restoration which was completed in 2013.

seattle train station

I'm a pushover for giant clocks.

seattle train depot

And fancy ceilings like these ornate coffered architectural gems. Can you believe that during the sixties there was actually an ugly drop ceiling of nasty acoustical tile covering these? I'd like to see the guy who suggested that idea. 

seattle train station

Beautiful details everywhere.

seattle train depot

Check out the beautiful green and gold iridescent glass tile border and the elaborate plaster rosettes on the ceiling.

seattle train station

Don't forget to look at the floors if you pass through this fantastic building!

seattle travel

You just can't go wrong with classic black and white mosaic.

seattle architecture

Need a closer look?

king street station

Or a wider one?

seattle architecture

I mean, I told you I had trouble getting out of here. So many details to take in.

king street station

The entire building is a little jewel box of incredible workmanship.

seattle architecture

Yeah, so in Memphis, we tore down our beautiful old train station and built a hideous post office. Our leaders are all cool like that. 

seattle architecture

Kudos to Seattle's city leaders for having a vision of what could be.


I thought the tower looked familiar when I finally made it outside. It's based on the tower of St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. It was the tallest building in Seattle when it was constructed.

seattle architecture

We finally made it out of the train station and to our hotel! If you are in Seattle don't miss this gorgeous building. You can visit for free and there's no line!

Next up: Pike's Market, Space Needle and Chihuly Gardens, and the Underground Tour.

Happy Travels, Y'all!