Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Life Update - What I've Been Doing the Past Year

Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since I wrote! Life has been busy, and this blog kind of fell by the side as a result. Since we last talked, here's what happened:

August:


D and I got married! There were some crazy things that happened before the wedding, leading us to believe that maybe we should postpone it for another day, but we persevered and ended up having a wonderful ceremony and reception, all at Cafe Flora. It was a small, intimate affair with just family members. D's brother officiated, which is awesome because he's spent a lot of time with us together, both at family gatherings and on sailing trips. I basically vacillated between laughing and crying the entire day. Pictures were taken by the amazing Krista of Love Song Photo, and you can see a recap of the day here.

We enjoyed having family in town for a few days after the wedding, and with them we toured Theo chocolate factory, went up the Space Needle, and enjoyed quiet family time.

D and I also went on our honeymoon (a week after the wedding), where we explored Bruges, Belgium; Lucerne, Switzerland; the Swiss Alps, and Paris. We had an amazing time, and I was reminded of my love affair with Paris. I could move there in an instant.

September:


For the second year in a row, we sailed to the San Juan Islands. This time, it was with D's brother and cousin. We had a blast! We visited the Canadian islands this time, and saw some amazing sights.

At the end of the month, I started my second (and final) year of graduate school at Bastyr University! This term included food science, food service management, working at the Bastyr Clinic, environmental nutrition, intuitive eating (I'll be talking more about this class, and how it literally changed my life, in a later post), and orienteering (basically going for a scavenger hunt in nature).

October & November:


October was pretty normal, school-wise, but in November I turned 33, D turned 35, we traveled down to Portland for Thanksgiving, and I saw my first Seahawks game! The game was so much fun; the crowd really gets excited and it's hard not to get swept up in the excitement, especially with the many tens of thousands of other fans present. We also took D's brother and step-dad to a Blazer game in Portland, to thank them for their participation in our wedding.

December:


We bought a new car (a Subaru Forester, which we LOVE) and took it down to Portland for Christmas. We got to test out its weather-worthy all-wheel drive traction and X-Mode on our way home, which was full of snow and mountain passes (we took a longer route to avoid all the bad traffic on I-5).

We took a short trip to North Bend (where Twin Peaks was filmed) to celebrate our six-year dating anniversary, a tradition we've upheld since we started dating! It was a very sweet trip, full of snow and fireside dinners, like the one above.

January:


I started my second-to-last term of graduate school! This second year was tough because it just didn't contain the same kind of scientific rigor I was used to during the first year, so I found it difficult to stay engaged. This term I took dietary supplements (a fascinating class), contemporary nutrition, food service management, and an elective shift at the clinic that had me working with naturopathic doctors and seeing patients suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Overall, I worked on taking a step back and re-evaluating my work-life balance (of which there was basically none). It was the first time I didn't over-extend myself, and it left me feeling a lot better by the end of the 11 weeks as a result.

February:


I went with a group of ladies in my program to the capital of Washington State, in Olympia, and lobbied for better school nutrition. Spending a day in the capital was eye-opening to me, and I started understanding just how difficult it can be to pass laws.

I also got to tour a dietary supplements company located about an hour and a half away. This month felt very much like I got to step out of my normal routines and experience a different side of life.

March:


D and I went to the big island of Hawaii for spring break! It was such a looong winter, both literally and figuratively speaking, that a week in Hawaii was just what we needed to do some recuperating. We greatly enjoyed our time on the big island (it was the first time for both of us; we've been to Kauai together and D has been to Maui and Oahu), and we definitely look forward to returning. While there, we explored an old (but still operating) coffee plantation and a new, organic shade-grown tea farm, and we fell in love with the idea of someday retiring to Hawaii and growing our own tea or coffee on such a farm, just for fun. Only time will tell...

April:


At the beginning of April, I found out I had been matched to a dietetic internship at Bastyr! Although it doesn't sound that exciting on paper, in reality, the application process had consumed a large portion of my thoughts and emotions since the previous fall. Dietetic internships are notoriously competitive, with a national match rate of 50% (in my own cohort, only 66% of applicants got matched). I put in INNUMERABLE hours working on my application, and the trip to Hawaii was in some ways a way to decompress from all the effort I had to put in. When I found out I had matched on the first day of April, I felt relief, disbelief, and gratification. For anyone hoping to become a dietitian, just keep hanging in there and, although there are a TON of hoops to jump through, it'll often work out in the end!

This school term (my last one of graduate school!) included medical nutrition therapy (i.e. TPN and tube feedings), public nutrition (in which we had to create a real grant proposal), a weekly shift at the Bastyr Clinic, food service management, and a sports nutrition elective.

I also drove down to Portland for a quick one-day trip to celebrate my older sister's birthday!

May:


At the beginning of the month, I visited Bardstown, KY to celebrate my oldest niece's graduation from high school! It was great to see family and visit the beautiful state of Kentucky and, of course, to celebrate my wonderful niece. She's headed off to college this fall in Tennessee. We were there during the Kentucky Derby, so my oldest sister held a Derby party as part of the weekend. It was my first Derby, and I have to say, the hats are a lot more exciting than the actual race! However, it was fun to partake in a local tradition.

For the past two years, I have helped put on an herb and food fair held at Bastyr. This year, my role was to find a nutrition-related speaker. I found Mark Musick, a big name in the local tilth and garden-to-table movement. The fair happened the weekend before Memorial Day, so it was another thing we were able to check off from our list of things before graduation.

June:


The last few weeks of the term were horrendous, and included putting on an organized lunch for prospective students and taking an exit exam (if we didn't pass the exam after three tries, we couldn't graduate and had to retake certain classes during a third year!). Thankfully, the lunch went smoothly and I passed the exam on the first try, so I was able to go into finals week a little more chill than I expected to. After what felt like MUCH more than two years, I graduated on June 19th with about 45 of my closest friends; ladies (and a few guys) that I had the privilege of spending the past two years with. The ceremony included being hooded and speeches from each group of graduating students. D, his parents, my mother and older sister were all able to come and celebrate with me. It was a really exciting day.

July:


We bought a boat! We had been talking about getting one for a while, but with my future really unknown (I also applied for an internship in Portland, and, as I mentioned, the national match rate is so dismal that I truly had no idea where I would end up in a year), we had put it off until I found out that I was matched in Seattle. It's a Beneteau Oceanis 361, and it was kept in amazing shape for being 16 years old. Unfortunately, the sale went through about 4 days before we were scheduled to go on a trip to Scandinavia, so we got to spend 4 wonderful days on it before heading straight overseas for three weeks.

On our trip, we visited 5 countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Finland) and 11 cities, and to be completely honest, it was too fast-paced to be very enjoyable most of the time. However, we did find joy in the food, the sights (fjords!), and the people. I'm always reminded just how much I love Europe whenever I travel there, and this trip was no exception. With a particularly unknown political climate here in America, it's nice to be in a place that seems to have gotten its shit together; even with exceptionally high taxes (Danes pay an average of 25% tax!), they are happy and healthy, and have amazing healthcare, maternal and paternal benefits, and free education.

August:


So far this month, we've traveled a LOT! We're very excited to spend some time at home and settle back in to life here. We've been to Portland to celebrate D's parents' 25th wedding anniversary and our niece's first birthday, then to Bend, OR for a family reunion, and finally on our very first overnight sailing trip with friends to nearby Blake Island. And, with that, you can see that we've had a very full year and a great start to our marriage.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Wedding Planning - Part 3

5 days until the wedding

We're very nearly ready for Saturday's event, with the exception being the wedding flowers. I had originally chosen to have a florist who was located in Pike Place Market to do my flowers, but after careful consideration, D and I decided that it wasn't very practical to think I would want to get the flowers early Saturday morning before the rush AND THEN have to assemble the boutonnieres and corsages by hand (the florist would give me the flowers, but won't do any ribbon work). I'm glad D talked me out of that original plan, because seeing it in print now makes me think I was a bit crazy and overly ambitious. Instead, we're getting our flowers from nearby Metropolitan Market, which is not only closer, but also allows me to add hydrangeas to my bouquet. I really wanted hydrangeas to be included from the very beginning, but the previous florist told me they would no longer be in season. Now I get to have a lovely bouquet with the flowers I really want! 

I doubt my bouquet will be completely made of hydrangeas, but if it were, I'd want it to look something like this:

source

CHANGE OF PLANS
A few things happened over the weekend that changed our wedding plans! D's sister had a baby 3.5 weeks early, so she and her husband will no longer be able to make it to our wedding. We're really happy for their new addition but we're also sad that they won't be there. However, we're rolling with it and my sister-in-law will instead be performing the reading that D's sister was to perform. 

BACHELORETTE PARTIES
I am lucky enough to have had TWO bachelorette parties! I got to hang out with my closest friends in Bastyr's Masters of Nutrition (MSN) program two weeks ago in Seattle, and last weekend I got to spend time with my closest friends in Portland. 

my lovely MSN friends!
For my Seattle party, we started out with wine tasting at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville. Then, we had an amazing dinner at Toulouse Petit. We ended the night with a fun (but LOUD!) gathering at the dueling piano bar Keys on Main in Queen Anne. It was such a fun night.

my long-time friends from Portland!
In Portland, we started out with my favorite casual restaurant in town: MMM Tacos. I'm pretty sure I've raved about them before, but just as a reminder, they have the best Mexican food I've ever eaten. Next, we walked down Division Street, which has really developed and grown since D and I left Portland. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about, and I got to stop in at my favorite craft store, Collage, along the way! We made a loop up to Hawthorne to try out a new vegan + gluten-free ice cream shop called Maple Parlor. Next up was walking up Hawthorne to the Bagdad Theater to enjoy a beer, and we ended the night with cocktails at the Sapphire Hotel.

I am so fortunate to have so many great friends. I'm even more fortunate that I got to spend such quality time celebrating my upcoming nuptials with them! It'll be so fun celebrating with them again at our reception next year!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Wedding Planning - Part 2

I'm back with some more wedding planning topics! We have 11 days until the wedding, and it seems that as we get this close to the event, it's all about the tiniest details. Who will be bringing the escort cards and table numbers to the venue? What size mason jars do we need for the flowers? Why aren't we eloping? (Just kidding!) It's a lot to think about, and not for the first time, I'm so, so thankful we decided to go with such a small wedding and leave our large event (a reception with friends, to be held in Portland sometime next year) for later.

READINGS
Our goal was to have each of our siblings involved in the wedding in some way. To that end, both of our oldest sisters are performing readings during the ceremony. My oldest sister is reading this. D's older sister is reading an amalgamation of two poems (1,2). We don't own a dog, so didn't feel that poem directly related to our situation, but we didn't feel the cat poem was complete on its own, so we mushed them together into something that speaks to us.


RINGS
We purchased our rings at Robbins Brothers (the engagement ring store!) in nearby Bellevue. We had a really nice salesman who helped us purchase my engagement ring and wedding band as well as D's wedding band. My diamonds come from Canada (it's very important to me that I wear as conflict-free of jewelry as I can), and our bands are all platinum. I'm not big into trendy, splashy rings, so my ring is actually almost identical to the Tiffany setting, except with four prongs instead of six (and much, MUCH cheaper!). 


WEDDING WEBSITE & INVITATIONS
We went with minted.com for our website and invitations. They have some lovely patterns that we could choose from. In the end, I am creating the programs, escort cards, favors, and table numbers by myself, so it was nice to have someone else create the programs and design the website. The invitations turned out wonderfully, and we received many compliments on them. This is the design we went with, in lavender. 

HAIR
My amazing sister-in-law offered to do my wedding hair, and I am forever grateful to her! She's cut and colored my hair since she came into the family (when I was about 7 years old), so I trust her implicitly to make my hair look amazing on the special day. In my brainstorming, I've been imagining my hair will be in a low bun:


Stay tuned for more wedding planning posts!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Wedding Planning

VENUE
D and I are getting married at our favorite Seattle restaurant, Cafe Flora, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant located in the Madison Park neighborhood. We have gone there for many enjoyable meals, and thought it was fitting that we would get married there as well. They have an atrium as well as an outdoor garden in which you can get married. Due to our extremely small size (there will be 20 of us, including D, me AND the photographer), we are having the ceremony and reception in the outdoor garden:
Source
OFFICIANT
D's brother is officiating our service. D and I are not religious, and I did not want to go through the trouble of finding a secular officiant who would be able to make the service feel personal and comfortable. We have spent a lot of time with D's brother, and thought he would be the perfect officiant. Thankfully, he said yes!

MUSIC
D's stepfather will be performing the processional and the recessional music on acoustic guitar. He has picked out a song called "All of Me" (not the one by John Legend) to be sung in French and "La Vie en Rose" to be sung in English. My nieces will be singing "When I Fall in Love" at the reception. I'll be putting all the rest of our music on an iPad playlist to be manned by my sister. It's going to be a lovely, musical day.

DRESS
I purchased my dress at I Do Bridal Too, a local Seattle shop. It's currently being altered, so I am holding off posting any pictures of it until it fits perfectly. It's a sheath-style dress with a very low back and beaded accents. It's the very first dress I tried on, and it just felt right.

SHOES
I am wearing these shoes [in gold glitter]! I'm a big fan of sparkles but not necessarily heels, so the actual time I spend wearing the shoes might be short. However, they are super cute and they look really great with my dress so who knows - maybe I'll end up loving them and wearing them the whole night!
PHOTOGRAPHER
Through a college friend, we found a really great photographer. She's a lovely person, and I really love the pictures she takes. I know she will capture wonderful photos of our families and us on our special day.

Stay tuned for more wedding planning to come!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Happy Summer!

Wow, it's been some time since I last wrote! So much has happened. I'll try to recap quickly:

1. I finished my first year of grad school! Boy, was it challenging, and in ways I never even dreamed. There were quite a few moments where all I wanted to do was quit. However, thanks to D's never-ending support and the support of my fellow classmates, I finished the year and with a 3.96 GPA to boot. This summer, I'm not taking a single class, so I can really give my brain a break.
A classmate and I are presenting on the bioactive compound lutein (it is found in dark leafy greens and is very important for eye health). Lutein is a sacrificial antioxidant, so it felt only natural to present our information as a parody of the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. 
2. D and I, along with his sister and brother-in-law and niece took a really quick sailing trip to nearby Blake Island. It was so fun to see D's sister and brother-in-law and their smiling little girl. We had a great time. We're going on another sailing trip later this summer, before school starts up again, with D's brother and cousin.


3. D and I got engaged!! That is by far the most exciting piece of information I have, so I wanted to save it for last. We are getting married on Saturday, August 6th at a nearby restaurant in Seattle. Since the end of the school year, I have been busy planning for the wedding. It will be tiny (immediate family only) and intimate. I really cannot wait to be married to this amazing man. Wedding planning posts will follow, of course!
We got officially engaged over Memorial Day weekend on Whidbey Island. This picture is post-proposal.
The beautiful ring! 

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