I Need a Bucket List

Hola friends. Not to much to report on here. I have gone on a few interviews but have yet to land that dream job. I am pretty excited for a meeting that I have coming up this Friday and interested to see if that is the perfect position to start my Seattle professional life. I have gone on blind friend and romantic dates (you know, interviews with drinks) which have been interesting to say the least. Most recently I went out with someone who was really great to talk to and they made me realize, I need a bucket list!

Seattle skyline with space needle

This is where I live now! Seattle is so pretty!

I spent so much energy last year processing the end of my relationship and preparing for my inevitable move. It is possible that despite my love of making lists, I haven’t made one that’s big enough. I usually make lists with immediate or short term “To Dos” and forget about the giant picture that is the rest of my life. Obviously right now I have goals like “find a job” and “locate my next apartment” and even “make some friends.” But what are some things that would be good bucket list material? I have obviously scratched run a marathon off my list, but what else is there that I need to do?

For starters, I would really like to write a book. I have always liked to write, and ever since I received my BFA in Painting (ok, really it was hand-bound bookmaking) I have tried to craft various narratives into visually pleasing yet eloquent storylines. I think my 500faceproject has all the makings to be a beautiful coffee table type book, but I also really like the idea of writing and illustrating a children’s book. I even like the idea of writing fiction, and the bonus bucket list idea that said book could become a movie.

Another item for my bucket list is definitely build a tiny house on wheels. I think that is part of what I was saving for while I worked so hard all year, but I feel that the Pacific Northwest will be a better place to re-realize this dream.

I do love travel and it seems everyone has travel somewhere abroad on their list. Part of my love of travel stems from being able to see old friends. I think a World tour with Alexandra would be a pretty good addition to the bucket list because there isn’t anyone else on the planet I would want to spend that much time with, and she has to be there because she is going to be the one person I want to reminisce with about when we can barely remember to put our teeth back in.

I really wanted to be an Olympic athlete for as long as I can remember, but I have a feeling that window may be closing. There is only so much a human body can handle, and though I hate to admit it there are days where I can feel myself getting older. It is fun to think that in London, the winner of the pole vault for the women’s division was a 31-year-old from USA. Maybe I just need to find the right sport?

I don’t know what it is, but I really like the idea of physical challenges. I think climbing a mountain needs to be on my bucket list. How strange that now I actually live near a mountain range, eh?

I guess the good thing about bucket lists is that they never need to be completed and you can keep adding on for as long as you are still kicking. I am excited to be meeting people in Seattle that are inspiring me to think about the big picture, especially while the immediate one is slightly terrifying. In the mean time, wish me luck! Maybe Friday could help set me on the course to accomplish some of these things.

xoxo-Nikki

So Far So Good

I’m here! It’s crazy. Actually, it’s quite normal and boring but so far so good. I am adjusting to my new life as a resident of the Pacific Northwest! I have taken about 100 selfies with the Seattle Space Needle and even walked myself to Target. (This was the big activity of the day yesterday). NYE was fun and I met a bunch of people who won’t remember me but I did get some great polaroids for my project and was even smart enough to write their names on the back.

space needle selfie

Space Needle Selfie. I get a lot of compliments on my Chicago hats.

The neighborhood I’m staying in is called Queen Anne Hill and guess what, IT’S ON A GIANT HILL! Walking up and down hills is new to me. I’d say I miss the flatness of Chicago but that would be a lie because it is just beautiful here. Basically, you turn a corner and you get treated to views of mountains and water and colorful buildings and it makes every half-mile climb at 100 degrees straight up worth it (even with the winter grey sky background). On my first day here I made the mistake of trying to go for a (simple, three-mile) run. I looked on the map, selected a small loop and set out. Turns out that the map did not indicate that there were MOUNTAINS in the middle of my pre-selected path. Well, my three-mile run turned into a 5 mile run/walk that was uphill both ways. You know that grandpa who had to walk to school in the snow for 15 miles uphill both ways? He might have lived near here. Needless to say I may have some mild shin splints now. Grumpy face. Since I am determined to get into the best health ever I signed up for a yoga class this afternoon and we’ll see how that goes. I’d rather be running but I think my body needs to adjust to the new topography. At least if I like it I can get a free week of yoga.

greenery

I see why they call Seattle the Emerald City!

My plants survived the plane! (So far so good!) I have all my cuttings in jars around the house and even repotted Aloe Vera Wang. I have to admit, I appreciate living in a grown-up house. Yesterday I did laundry like it was a normal thing to do. I must be embracing the old-ladyness of the house because I have been going to bed by 10 pm everyday. Probably explains why I am waking up at 7 am but it has allowed me to watch the daylight begin each day, which is a new and wonderful experience for me. I live across the street from a little park and not only is all the green a welcomed sight, it’s quite fun to watch the dogs that run around. (And the kitties are fine! They love sitting in all the windows and checking out what is happening outside).

indoor plants

Aloe Vera Wang and Jade in their new home!

A year ago I was in Chicago, wanting to leave but not knowing how. Though I ended a relationship, I still felt stuck. As soon as I began my job I started saving. When I tell people I didn’t decide to move to Seattle until Thanksgiving they seemed surprised that I pulled it off when in reality I was planning for it all year. I just didn’t know that the Emerald City would be the place for me. I know at times I do things that seem very impulsive but usually I have been preparing for them for quite some time. I feel quite excited these days. I used to feel this emptiness which I thought another person could fill but I have realized that hole was the nagging persistance that I needed to fulfil my own desires. I wouldn’t mind having someone to share adventures with, but I am not afraid to have them on my own. I had wanted to leave Chicago forever, and I made it happen. I went to graduate school, have done many interesting projects, and I have faith that my brain is better than food service (but man oh man do I miss the delicious fry diet). I’m in Seattle and so far so good! Hopefully on Monday every HR person in the city checks their inbox and snags me up before someone else grabs me! I’m ready to get to work.

xoxo- Nikki

The Cross Country Move Spectacular

Whelp, I’ve nearly completed my cross country move spectacular. Me my three suitcases and two cats made to to the airport and through security, on the plane, and to the house I’ll be renting for the next three months. Yes, yesterday was a big day. I woke up on the couch because I had already packed my bed, showered, and tried to cram the cats in the carrier.

At least Bon Jovi likes his cat carrier

At least Bon Jovi likes his cat carrier…

Now let me tell you. The hardest part of the cross country move spectacular was the 12 minutes at my old apartment that I spent trying to get the cats in the carrier. Let me back up and say that I had gotten a top of the line Sherpa carrier (size medium). This carrier both is guaranteed to be able to fly and sturdy enough that sneaky gatos can’t get out. It would have been the perfect size for one, but this was my only option for the both of them. I could have got them cat valium, but from what I read an assortment of calming treats and sprays should have done the trick. I started by purchasing this carrier weeks in advance. Almost daily I would put a little bit of catnip in the carrier. This really only worked on Bon Jovi who would munch it all up then hang out in the open carrier. Tuesday knew better and stayed away. Twice, I managed to get them both in it and tried to reward them by carrying it downstairs and opening it in front of their food. I also daily fed them the calming treats (not really sure if they did anything, but at least the kitties thought they were getting something). For the first 10 minutes of my journey, it was the opening act at an angry circus. I would get Bon Jovi in only to have to chase Tuesday around the apartment. Naturally who knows where I had packed the calming spray, so a lot of good that did me. So back to cat-catching: Tuesday would be hissing and clawing, and then I would have to try and unzip the carrier without letting Bon Jovi out. He would run out and Tuesday would claw up my arm and then we would have to start again. They would start hissing and paw-punching at each other and boy, you should see my arm right now. Eventually I got Bon Jovi in through the front opening, zipped him up, grabbed a towel, captured Tuesday, opened the top opening and (forcefully) dumped her in. The sounds they omitted were the angriest I have ever heard. Gulp, this was going to be fun. I ubered myself a ride (It cost me less than 20$ to leave Chicago… well, 20$ plus the costs of moving…). I was less than pleased when the driver deposited me exactly halfway between doors to the airport. I had two giant suitcases, a smaller one, a cat carrier with meowing cats, and the world’s heaviest backpack. Somehow I managed to put on the most impressive one-woman show and got all this into the doors in the airport. Then, naturally I was nowhere close to where I needed to be. I attempted to roll my all my favorite worldly possessions towards the Southwest check-in, feeling like a giant spectacle. A good Samaritan helped me roll my luggage to the beginning of the checkout line and a Southwest employee helped me the rest of the way through. They were nice enough to let me go to the counter closest to the end of the line. At this point, only a few meows were escaping my mobile kitty-prison. We checked in, paid my fines for having pets and too many favorite outfits and headed to security. I made it through the initial checkpoints and then they sent me to a separate scanning portal. Upon realizing that I had pets I asked them to inspect us in a separate room. They made me send my shoes and coat through and stand to the side and I anxiously watched as I was at the before point and my computer, prized possessions in my backpack (polaroid camera and photos and wallet with all documents important), and coat/shoes waited for me past the scanner. They found two female officers who made me go through the metal detector alone, then comeback though to pick up the cats. They wouldn’t let me touch my favorite things, so a gloved officer grabbed everything. We then went into a little closet, and they told me I had to take the cats out. I was very worried about this due to the earlier experience at the apartment. I had purchased a leash for each of them so one by one I leashed them and let them out of the carrier. Bon Jovi wanted some snuggles and Tuesday crawled under a table. They took the carrier and scanned it. They made me touch around the cats’ harnesses then scanned my hands for bomb residue. Then they brought back the carrier and said ok, you are good. We’ll close the door and let you put the cats back inside. I put it on the ground and put Bon Jovi at the opening, unleased him, and HE JUST WALKED ON IN. I didn’t even zip it. I grabbed Tuesday, held her at the opening, unleashed, AND SHE JUST GOT IN! Seriously, WTH cats!!! Why all the fuss at the apartment? It took me longer to repack my computer into my backpack.

This is one of my checked bags. I managed to bring a few plants!

This is one of my checked bags. I managed to bring a few plants!

After that I went to the gate, then the other gate when they assigned a new one, got on, got my window seat, made nice with the people around me, and prayed I wouldn’t catch the plague because EVERYONE ON THE PLANE WAS COUGHING LIKE THEY WERE LOOSING A LUNG. There were actually quite a few pets on the plane. I heard a few peeps from the noisy one but they did ok. At the gate before I boarded I booked a car service to pick me up and it was there when I landed which saved the stress of getting a cab. I was smarter this time, on my cross country move spectacular and payed for one of those luggage carts to get all my personal effects from the baggage claim. My driver was kind enough to stop at a drugstore and I got some cat litter and a diet coke. We made it to my sublet, which is a real nice little house in an area of town I doubt I’ll be able to afford in the future. The landlady’s son was doing some yard work and came and greeting me saying “Are you Chicago?” and I was like, “I am!” and he carried most my luggage up the stairs. I came in and met my landlord, who hugged me and said “You’re here!”

20141231-080723-29243494.jpg

Cats on a plane!

I set up the cats who crawled and looked around and we talked. Then the little old lady decided she wanted to show me off, so we went to the grocery store so she could get a prescription. She took me a few places to introduce me to everyone. The best part about all of this was she couldn’t find her hat and I let her borrow my Chicago Bulls one, so we were both wearing Chicago beanies. We talked to basically every employee in the Trader Joes and even went to the library. We came back and drank some almond-flavored champagne with her son, while we looked out the big picture window. I did some unpacking and then SHE MADE A PIZZA! Pretty certain this lady is my spirit animal. Exhausted from my cross country move spectacular I went to bed at 8:30 and didn’t even hear the lady leave for Mexico at 4:00 AM.

Mount Rainier!

Mount Rainier!

Maybe it’s because I went to bed so early, or I’m still on Chicago time, or maybe I’m just excited about being in Seattle, I woke up before 7:00 in the morning. I am currently sitting in the middle of the couch (with Bon Jovi) watching the sun rise out the window and sharing my adventure here. I can’t believe I actually made it! Now that all that stress from the cross country move spectacular is nearly over (I’m going to have to find somewhere else to live in three months!) I can focus on (whelp,) finding a job. I do, however have a NYE date and regardless of how that goes I am pretty certain that 2015 is going to be the start of everything.

xoxo-Nikki

Moving and the Holidays

Hi folks! Nothing says end of the year like moving and the holidays! My ducks are all starting to get in nice little (boxed-up) rows and my (nearly) 30-year-migration back to the place of my birth is in full effect. I have been working crazy hours to squirrel every penny away for the big move and in the time between sleeping and working I’m packing (and downsizing) my life. Like Santa, I’m making lists but mine are more like “To do’s” and “Take care of this,” and my favorite, “Don’t forget!”

When I told my father I planned on renting a uHaul and driving my prized possessions across the country he sounded terrified. Apparently my move would include crossing the Rocky Mountains in the middle of the winter. On second thought, that sounds like a terrible idea! Moving the cats upstate in an old pickup truck during a blizzard was hard enough. Instead I have booked a pod service to transport and store my stuff for the three months of my sublet. Not only is it cheaper (really, I should be saving at least a grand over all) it’s much more time friendly. The only problem is now I am paring my life to fit in a 5’x6’x7′ box.The only real downside is I am going to have to leave behind all of my plants. (Tear).

So moving and the holidays includes me being the most hated person on an airplane. As for actually getting to Seattle, I booked a flight with Southwest (two checked bags for free!) and cats ride for 95$ in a carrier. (This will be a future blog post, “two cats, one carrier”). So I will arrive in Seattle with my cats, my favorite outfits, possibly two plants crammed into one of my suitcases, a few necessities, and my polaroid camera and portrait collection. Then, it will be New Year’s Eve and I’ll be all alone and honestly I’ve really never been more excited for anything!

Sorry friends and family, I won’t be able to buy anyone Christmas presents this year. However, I have a really great little handmade thing I will be giving to all of you (I found it as I have been slowly packing all of my belongings up). I am making daily trips out to the alley, and hopefully this time around someone else is finding alley treasures as I slowly purge things I’ve moved three or four or 10 times. I’ve cut my wardrobe nearly in half because although the clothes fit, I probably shouldn’t be wearing things meant for teens and 21-year-olds. My cousin Hannah, however should be having a very, merry hand-me-down Christmas.

I started the year off by breaking up with someone I had at one point thought would be in my life forever. I actually ran into them on the street the other day and while he seemed exactly the same, I realized I felt more like myself for the first time in years. While a struggle at times, I had an incredible year where I traveled to see multiple wonderful friends and cities, ran a marathon (while raising $1500 for charity!), displayed art in shows, experienced in full a Chicago summer, worked my butt off to be able to afford to move across the country and now, to wrap it all up I am moving and the holidays, well the holidays are even more special because I am making it a point to tell everyone just how much I love them.

xoxo- Nikki

I am on the cusp

Holy balogna,  I am on the cusp of making this all work out. In October I made the decision that I was through waiting tables. I have soo much more to offer the world than food service. I quit a fairly well paying job (gracefully and with a two-week notice) and really got cracking on my job search and relocation process. Obviously I fell in love with Seattle and hopefully in 24 hours I will have successfully secured a three month sublet.

I was a little naive to think this process would be easy. I have learned my lessons the hard way, so a friend I hardly know is doing me the ultimate favor in delivering my check. I found a little old lady on Craigslist who sublets her home for the winter months while she goes and lives someplace warm. It’s a bit more then I would like to spend but she will allow me to bring along the cats and this way I don’t get stuck blindly renting a studio (and hating it) for a year. I have had some of the most wonderful conversations with this woman. She is very positive and told me she has never regretted any of the risks she has taken. I think my story speaks a little to her because she told me she has others interested in the house but she is holding it for me. Sweet as she sounds, I know better than to just send her the money without a receipt.

Because I am on the cusp of making this all work out I have been researching how to physically move myself and my cats across the country. As of now I have a reservation for a Uhaul truck on December 26 for the whole week. It is EXPENSIVE! I looked into pod moving services but I would still have to get the kitties to Seattle. I do not like the idea of flying them so I think the Uhaul is the best bet. I am currently planning to stop for a night in Kansas city to pick up my friend from her parents house and bring her with me for a little road trip! (I also am looking for a free place to stay). This same friend has passed my resume around her work and they might even have a remote content writing position for me so I wouldn’t be moving to Seattle unemployed! Seriously. This is going to happen. To me! I can hardly sleep at night.

I have started trying to get rid of stuff. The cheapest option is a 10 foot truck so I need to shrink my stuff down to 10 tiny feet. I am trying to sell my TV. My roommate has told me whatever I leave will probably stay exactly where it is. I plan on leaving behind one of my desk/tables, my awesome bookshelf (made from two separate pieces and painted gloss almond).  Things I am taking for sure include my elephant stands, my nightstands, my drafting table desk, my “Eames” chairs (4 total), my 2 chairs that started this blog, my books, my blue rug, my bike, and one of my dressers. It is crazy hard trying to par stuff down. Basically I’m only keeping things that I am sentimental about. Meaning, when I finally get my apartment I will have lots of chairs and side tables but no couch or bed or normal eating table. I am sure I can make that work though.

I hopefully will be able to relax (but only a tiny bit!) once my friend gets that receipt. It really is a kindness I will never be able to repay her for since we barely know each other but I hope she knows I am eternally grateful for her help. A boy wrote a song for me about us just being specks in the universe and it really is crazy how all this is happening. (We’ll save that story for another post). If you’ve missed my DIY adventures hold tight! In 4 months I’ll hopefully be where I want to be and have a whole new home to decorate. In the mean time stick with me as I prepare to trade wind for rain and share this whole adventure with you. I have waited all year and finally I am on the cusp of starting the rest of my life!

xoxo-Nikki

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Well well well, what a year this has turned out to be. In case you were wondering, I did survive the Chicago Marathon. I managed to complete it in a time of 3:50:18! Nearly 10 minutes under my four-hour goal. With that finished, I quit my job and started applying hard-core to jobs near Seattle, Houston, and DC. I have more friends in either Houston or DC, but Seattle is where I finally felt home. As my plane landed everything just seemed like it was in its right place. It was the feeling I was looking for all year. I even interviewed for a job for a company I’m genuinely excited about, rocking the teal interview dress that Alexandra made me buy. So who knows, but seriously the waiting is the hardest part.

20141117-022217-8537802.jpg

There hasn’t been a ton of DIY this year. My roommate came with a lot of stuff, so I have refrained from bringing home alley treasures. Also, I really want to move and I feel like I will have to get rid of a lot of stuff when that happens. I think a little “stuff purge” will be a good thing.

20141117-022219-8539226.jpg

I feel like I have been reading and writing more than I ever have before. (Maybe it’s one part due to the fact that I have more time, and one part because the potential of it all is exciting/terrifying/exhilarating). I suppose I’ve become a tad more anti-social, but I’m enjoying putzing around trying to figure things out. On January first, I knew everything had to change I just didn’t it would take the entire year for me to process. I traveled a lot this year: Los Angeles (and area around) CA, Ashville, NC, Carbondale IL, St. Louis MO, Southern Indiana (Best Nikki Surprise Weekend trip ever), DC area, Houston, TX, and lastly, Seattle, WA.

Seattle was lovely and I wish I had longer to stay and explore and spend time with a certain someone. I am trying not to over-think everything and remain positive and keep moving forward. I know its all about to happen, it has to. I’ve worked so hard. But seriously, the waiting is the hardest part.

20141117-022218-8538519.jpg

xoxo- Nikki

I’m Running The Chicago Marathon

Today I decided I’m running the Chicago Marathon and the only way to do that is through a charity. I went with Chicago Parks, because I feel this summer my daily jogs through Humboldt park are the only things which have been keeping me sane. To run this silly race, I need to raise $1,500! Please help. If only 100 people each give me $15 I can make my Windy City a better place!

Its so easy! Click here to donate!

xoxo-Nikki