Category Archives: Travel

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

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

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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xoxo- Nikki

March Madness

Hola friends! I know I’ve been a little MIA. I would like to tell you a little about my March Madness. No, not the silly basketball tournament but rather my continual quest to figure out what the heck to do with my life. I have been working a lot which is good and distracting but also exhausting. I am slowly getting to know my new work family which is interesting and quite fun (too much fun sometimes.). I am dealing with living with my ex, but come on! You’ve seen how cool this apartment is and if I am going to stay in Chicago I should probably hang on to it and start scoping for roommates… (Blah blah blah)

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California Dreaming

Sorry friends! I know I started the year off strong and then seemingly forgot about you. Truth is I’m California dreaming (and bloggin from my phone). Or rather, I’ve temporarily run away to see my awesome aunt and do some much needed pondering while taking Instagram photos. I know back in Chicago it is nearly ZERO degrees, but I’m starting to feel homesick for my kitties and other little but exciting things.

On my first day here we went to the beach in Santa Monica and it was perfect. I managed to not get burned and did some much needed contemplation (thinking the thinks) while staring into the Pacific Ocean.

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My aunts house is really awesome. The room I’m staying in she calls the Dragon Room.
You gotta click on to see just how awesome!

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