Sleeping Again in Seattle

Hola, err’ body. You may have guessed that I finally found a job due to the lack of posts! So yes! I found a job. A tier one, company that does something good for the world that needs that extra person to wear all of the hats and do everything for the least pay in the organization job… Actually I pretty much found the exact job I was looking for and couldn’t be more pleased. I have been learning a ton about an industry I know nothing about, writing content (which we all know how much I love writing!), tinkering with websites (again, though tedious it’s something I like to do), attending board meetings, working on social media campaigns, and heck, I even took head shots for the company. I am sleeping again (mostly because I am quite tired by 9pm) and Seattle is absolutely the place I am supposed to be. I even have my next apartment lined up (Look for the future post about the stuff retrieval) and should start moving in the next week. I found the most awesome midwestern girl off Craigslist who has the last affordable-ish apartment in Capitol Hill and was in need of a roommate. I am excited to DIY up the space as it is a uniquely shaped attic apartment with L-shaped rooms, a skylight in the main room, and has open shelving in the kitchen… we’ll see how the kitties behave. But let’s talk about the most pressing issue. I’m turning 30 in 2 days! 30! How the heck did that happen?!!!

20150307-075821-28701829.jpgLast weekend I flew to Las Vegas for my best friend from high school’s bachelorette party/30th birthday/wedding. I am glad I got to be there. Thankfully, flights to Vegas are the cheapest flights out of Seattle. I even managed to crash in someone else’s room. I wore a dress I already owned. I actually took public transportation from the airport (I rode the bus!) to Target. If you are not aware, Target is my happy place and I measure the quality of a place I am visiting by my experience at Target… I must have looked like I knew what I was doing because at least three people asked if I knew where places were. After Target I USED A TRANSFER (see how thrifty I am Mom!) to take a bus to the Strip.

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Somehow before the trip I magically connected with a friend of the groom who happened to be the only other single person at this wedding so luckily I had a date! My dear friend Cynthia got married in a little chapel and then they rented a double decker bus that drove us down the strip at Sunset. Even better about this bus was the fact it had a singing Elvis impersonator and beers!  (And you know, one of the friends you have known the longest has just found the most awesome and handsomest husband definitely isn’t the worst thing in the world).

As fun as it was, I feel like I never ever have to go to Las Vegas ever again. While I managed to get a run in, and even visit with a different friend from Chicago, and even have amazing conversations with two girls regarding women entreprenuers, using social media for business, and general opinions about turning 30, I don’t think I ever need to go back to there… Perhaps it’s the Seattle rubbing off on me but I missed my green and nature. (And what kind of Pisces would I be if I didn’t mention how much I missed my water! Not the rainy haze, but the views of the Sound and Lake Union). It was very strange when people would ask where I was from and I had to think 20150307-075820-28700367.jpgso I didn’t say Chicago because now, I am from Seattle.

So two friends down. Cynthia got it all for her 30th, mine is probably not going to be as exciting. Last night (a Friday) I took myself shopping at Banana Republic for proper work clothes (Thanks Aunt Vicki!). Then I hit up Trader Joes for some wine, cheese, and meat. Then I plopped myself in front of the very computer that I am writing you from and watched about three hours of Netflix, only to retire before 10:30. Yes, adulthood, I am here. Today I have plans to do some laundry and cleaning, run, and maybe fill in one of my polaroid tattoos (I mean, I’m a grown-up now so I better finish up this sleeve so I can stop getting tattoos, right). I was really hoping someone would surprise me and fly out for my birthday but it looks like I’ll be spending it alone.

So everyone, I’m doing alright here in Seattle. Still have yet to meet the man of my dreams but I’m doing what I can to slowly climb Maslow’s pyramid and the hierarchy of needs. Would you believe it my Grandfather told me not to wait too long to get married! Yes, because I didn’t just spend nearly four years with someone I thought would be that person. Not to mention how I single-handedly executed a cross-country move, found my dream job, and crashed a Vegas wedding all on my own… But enough about that already. I’m here, doing the best I can. And hey, I’m finally sleeping again (on my own), here in Seattle.

xoxo-Nikki

What Really Happens

I’ve done it. I’ve made it a whole month here in lovely Seattle, Wa. Sadly, the Seahawks lost the big game yesterday. It would have been really fun to participate in the energy that would have accompanied them when they returned to the Emerald City. But this is not a Seahawks blog. Actually, it used to be a DIY blog but the DIY is on pause as I try to get everything figured out in the next two months. So let me tell you, what really happens when you move alone across the country.

1. You have a hard time sleeping. I attribute this to my job search which tends to wake me up at four in the morning. Now, you can’t really do much at four AM but I still spend nearly an hour each night willing myself back to sleep, only to wake up around 7:00 AM, just in time to watch the sky turn colors.

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2. You meet a random person when you accidentally crash a UFC fight night (I thought it was supposed to be a Chicago bar! I just wanted to catch the Bulls game!). They actually end up becoming a pretty nice friend and are willing to hang out with you. (They also make sure you eat your first bag of Dicks! I know how that sounds, but it was pretty hilarious and delicious). The other person you meet is someone who just did nearly the same thing as you. I found a girl on Tumblr who moved out here in August and she has become my go-to person for happy hour drinks, gossip, and you-can-do-it pep talks.

3. You get talked into doing activities that would normally not be very appealing to you. Last weekend I went spelunking for the first time. I spent the entire time terrified that I would twist my ankle and not be able to run. Also, it was cold. It was wet. It was dark. Like really dark. It took around two hours to get through the whole cave. Then I hung out in a yurt. That was better. I told everyone I would become a mountain woman, but I guess I didn’t think it would happen so quickly. Also, because I moved out here with three suitcases, one of which was full of plants I have a limited outfit selection. Combine that with not wanting to spend any money I don’t have to… My hiking shoes are also my running shoes. Fortunately I have found things in the house I’m staying at like sleeping bags and proper outdoor-type jackets.

This is my spelunking face

This is my spelunking face

4. You actually forgot that you moved. Yes! This is what really happens. You get a craving for wings or something and then you wonder whats the special at 5 Star, and then you remember 5 Star is in Chicago, so it doesn’t matter what night it is. I mean, they have wings in Seattle, but well. You know.

5. If you move to Seattle you find yourself in a Subaru. I have been lucky to meet some people who either want to get me out of the city, or drop me off because heaven forbid I have to ride the bus at night. I have definitely already rode in at least if not more than four Subarus. That stereotype is true!

6. You give away your newbie status by shamelessly taking photo after photo of a local landmark. In Chicago it was the bean, Seattle has that silly space needle and gosh darn it, I love it. I also happen to live near Kerry Park so practically every other day I join the tourists and snap a photo of the lovely skyline.

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The Space Needle!

So, here I am, Seattle! Find me a job, please. I can’t wait to do more to enjoy this great place, but I’d like to be able to sleep a little better. I’m excited to feel like less of a tourist and more like a productive member of society. Oh, you know what really happens when you move across the country alone? You blog about your boring life as an excuse to share your photos of a local landmark… hehe. Kidding, only a little. I miss everyone come visit please.

Seattle Skyline

The view from Kerry Park at night

xoxo- Nikki

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!

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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!”

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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