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Seattle: Japanese gardens and Arboretum

Finally getting around to writing about our recent Seattle vacation. Jeff and I have both been really jet-lagged and not sleeping well because we got a little spoiled by the super-comfy hotel bed! It’s safe to say a new mattress is in our future.

So anyway — general attitude towards the city of Seattle: I LOVED IT.

The whole frickin’ city felt like it was personally hand-crafted with me in mind. Everywhere we went we were completely blown away by how good the food was, how the vibe was just right, how polite and friendly the people were, how clean the air smelled, how interesting the trees were, how easy it was to get around, how distinct the neighborhoods were, how fresh the fish was, how beautiful the mountains were……..I could go on and on.

Seattle Space Needle

I mean, I wasn’t even off the plane before I was in awe of the landscape. Check out this view of Mount Rainier peeking up over the clouds from our plane window.

Mt. Rainier from plane

And beneath us rolled more blue-colored mountains with white-capped peaks covering the landscape like a wrinkled satin bedsheet. It was an amazing welcome.

We spent our first full day walking through literally miles of nature paths. Our first stop was the Japanese Gardens, approximately 3 acres of minutely manicured traditional gardens surrounding a lake full of enormous glittering koi.

Seattle Japanese garden statueCherry blossoms in Japanese GardensJapanese Garden tea house Seattle

stream in Japanese GardenJapanese garden small waterfall

Lake in Seattle Japanese gardenSleeping turtles in Japanese gardensleeping duck in Japanese garden

Crutch tree Seattle Japanese garden

Koi in Japanese garden

Golden koi in Japanese garden

I could have watched those koi for hours….if not for being distracted by this little guy….

Yoga turtle Seattle Japanese garden

And these guys…

Steampunk in Seattle Japanese garden

Apparently there was a steampunk convention going on that day and there were around 20+ people in full garb. Awesome.

Lurve in the Seattle Japanese gardensWide view of Seattle Japanese garden

After the Japanese Gardens we took a break for lunch and then headed back to the Arboretum. An arboretum is essentially a “tree garden.” This one was over a mile wide and absolutely covered in trails that lead you through many different species of local foliage.

Entering arboretummossy path in arboretumRed Japanese maple treeMe in Japanese maple tree

I was so inspired by all the beautiful things around me that I even started putting together an art project! I took a bunch of photos from around the park to include in a “texture study.”

mossy bark texturered smooth textureveined leaf texturegreen bark texturebroken red bark texturefuzzy green mossgrey vertical stripe texturemold spot texturelichen bark textureRed Japanese maple texturemoss and lichen texturegray bark texture

I haven’t felt inspired to create art in a long time. I can’t wait to use those images in a real-life piece!

The arboretum was really amazing. It was a very relaxing way to spend our first full day in Seattle. Touring gardens is probably one of our very favorite things to do on vacations for just that reason.

Mallard in Arboretum

Tomorrow: The Olympic Sculpture Gardens and the Music and Sci-fi Museum!


Ready to fly

We are packed and ready to go!

I just finished getting all of our clothes fitted snugly into our suitcases, leaving some room for the things we need until tomorrow of course.

Bags packed for Seattle

I even packed a few snacky type things to keep in our hotel room for when we’re about to gnaw an arm off and dinner is still a few hours away. I’ll get some more munchies when we get to Seattle too.

Snacks for hotel in Seattle

I have been so frantic all week planning for this trip. It’s completely because last time I was planning for a vacation it was to go to Japan, and for that I had to study a new language, new customs, print maps of how to get to places, pack two weeks of clothing, learn how to use our new camera, and just figure out how to get around in another country, all while planning a wedding! So I’ve been under a disproportionate amount of stress this week for no reason simply because my brain won’t accept the fact that it’s really not going to be that hard this time.

And I am really gonna miss these guys…

Liam on the bedLucas lounging on the bed

Sweet chocolate bunnies.

They have the memory span of goldfish and aren’t even going to remember who we are when we get back. We have some friends taking care of them daily though, so they are in good hands.

I have a week full of fun posts lined up for you for while we’re gone. Since our anniversary is Sunday I’ve made a post of our wedding as well as tons of stuff from our honeymoon in Japan. And look out for some guest posts to appear towards the end of the week just before we return.

See ya next weekend with Seattle pics!


Vacation time!

Thanks everybody for all your praise over the wedding cake!

Fade edge wedding cake

It was really weird to get up every day this week and not start doing something cake related. I found myself pacing around a few times feeling like I was supposed to be frantically baking something.

Thankfully those anxious feelings have subsided…………….to be replaced by new ones! 😉

Jeff and I are approaching our first wedding anniversary on May 1st and we’ve been talking about taking a vacation around that time for months. The problem has been that we don’t have the budget to blow like we did on Japan, there aren’t too many places we’re interested in right now that aren’t on the other side of the planet, and I can’t get my passport renewed before we need to go so we can’t leave the country easily.

So, we’ve been trying to decide where we could have fun within the U.S. for a whole week.

Answer:  Seattle!

Seattle skyline


Seattle has been on our minds for a couple of reasons, it’s hard to explain why without this turning into a lengthy essay. So basically it’s that: we like the landscape of the Pacific Northwest, we like the culinary scene there, we like the eco-consciousness, we align more with the political and cultural viewpoints of the majority there, we like the public transportation and bike culture, we like the higher asian population than other parts of the U.S. which means lots of multiethnic food options and cultural experiences, we like the access to fresh sushi-grade fish, and we like that it’s a whole 5 and a half hours closer to Japan – you know, should we ever find ourselves living there and vacationing in Kyoto regularly. 😉

Also, we spent a week in Portland, OR two years ago thinking that we might want to relocate there someday for the same reasons listed above. We didn’t fall in love with it like we thought we would though. I felt so tragically uncool there all the time. So, we’re kind of auditioning Seattle in the same way, as a possible home for the far future when we don’t have kids anymore and want to travel to Asia a lot.

Maybe that sounds crazy, but I have never felt that in love with or attached to Georgia in any way. That, and my wanderlust has exploded in the last few years. I now feel like I could pack up my life and start over anywhere (with Jeff of course!) and adjust easily.

Anyway, we’re excited to spend time getting to know Seattle. I’ve started to put together a list of places we’re interested in and later I’ll form them into an itenerary.

Itenerary screenshot

Getting everything together

We leave April 30th!

If any of you guys have been to Seattle and have recommendations for where to go, we’d love to hear em’!