It really is champagne dreams and caviar wishes.
I recently had a chance to check out the Ocean Alexander, an $11 million yacht on display at the Seattle Boat Show. Just let me say you can buy standup paddle boards and $900 fishing boats, but it’s really fun to check out the dreamy eye candy.
The boat show will be in town for the next week or so, and this year there are three locations — South Lake Union, Century Link and Bell Harbor Marina. BHM is the new location and offers visitors a floating lounge near the yacht and other eye catching vessels. Definitely worth checking out since water is the star of our area.
Have you ever wanted to revisit something you did as a young(er) person? For me, that is dance. And thanks to my friend and colleague, Mimi Jung, I found the courage to do it.
Here she is is at a recent performance by the Westlake Dance Center:
My husband Jim and I went with our other friend and colleague Alex Rozier to see the performances and were absolutely blown away by the talent on stage!
We all agreed we were not living our best lives... we need to get out and dance more.
Aside from that, my dance recital will be in June. There might be a picture afterwards but don’t count your breath.
One year ago today, we were in Hawaii, glamping our asses off. And since this year I'm sick as a dog with bronchitis, I thought I'd retouch on what we did.
I always meant to write down what we did and then basically kept forgetting to do it. Good thing my resolution for 2018 is to write stuff down!
We went to Camp Olowalu in Maui. If you don't know where that is, it's basically between Lahaina and Kihei. If you don't know where that is, then it's on the western side of Maui. If you don't know where that is, let me Google that for you.
Camp Olowalu is a beachfront campground with tentalows and cabins. We stayed in a tentalow for $80 a night. It has an attached shower and a front porch... and is perfect for people wanting a chillaxing vacation. I should add -- at the time, I looked at vrbo and airbnb and all of them were close to $200. If you're lucky, you might be able to find better deals!
Who stays there? Lots of locals, families and hipsters. It felt like it was our little secret because there were so many people from Maui who were just spending some down time on the island. Occasionally we'd see campers and hikers passing through. There was also some sort of youth group staying in one of the main cabins. That looked cool for a family reunion, actually.
Because we stayed there so inexpensively, we were able to spend money on things we wanted to do and not worry about it. We went biking down a volcano, went whale watching, and ate out with little care.
Two local places that kicked ass were Leoda's Kitchen and Pie Shop, which is right by the camp. Another was the little grocery mart it's attached to -- they have THE BEST SHAVE ICE on the island. Seriously, some little Asian lady makes this ginormous shave ice for like $5. I would buy shave ice all across the island and would always want to come back home to see our lady.
In the end, here's what worked for us -- our first day we spent getting gear at Goodwill and Walmart. (Walmart was just what was close.) We bought two mugs, cups, soup plates, utensils, food stuffs and a camping stove. When we left Maui, we dropped it off at Goodwill!
The last day we checked out of Camp Olowalu and bought a spa package at the Willow Stream Spa at the Fairmont Kea Lani Maui. Um, thank you Groupon.
This was the best way to end our vacation -- totally pampered in the spa and showers plus you can have access to the hotel and beachfront. We got a couple's massage and then hung out until about 5 or 6 and grabbed an awesome dinner at The Mill House right before we took off for the airport.
So my lasting thoughts on glamping: Do it. Hands down, do it. It's great for families and it saves so much money (and now they're building family tentalows.) We loved making lunches and heading to the beach or cooking by the campfire. Going to bed under the stars with the ocean waves in the background was dreamy. We still had our laptops and phones, but we limited ourselves to technology. Ending the trip super glam was a very nice treat and one that we could afford with all the money we saved in the earlier part of our trip. In all, there's nothing quite like nature to bring you back to a peaceful state of mind.
Since I moved to Seattle in mid-2016, I've kind of become disconnected. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing, but it probably has something to do with my sleep schedule (lack of sleep on the am show) and stress.
2017 was not a banner year. It was more like a pain in the ass.
Between deaths, divorces, miscarriages, natural disasters, and cantankerous political postings...I've felt little joy that makes me want to share what's going on in my world. It seems like there was an unusual amount of loss close to us this year.
But, of course, there were great things that happened, too. New babies, new opportunities and new outlooks took place in 2018, making it not all look so gloomy. I became a godmother for the first time. My dog Piper seemed to escape death. I started anchoring at KING. My sister Hyun Jung moved to Seattle. We all traveled back to Missouri to see family. I went to DC twice, NYC, Houston... and Jim and I went glamping in Hawaii and trekked through the Olympic Peninsula. So now that I'm writing this, maybe I should shut up. We had some awesome moments.
But in 2018, I promise to find more joy, choose happiness more often, and consider working out a little harder. Who am I kidding. Scratch the last one.
Here's hoping for a happy and healthy year ahead! It's going to take me a couple of weeks to shake off the last few crappy weeks of 2017, but that's just residual poop. Bring on the good times!
I love Thanksgiving because it gives me an opportunity to make dressing.
I love this so much, but I feel like I can only make it once a year -- too many calories! I have been making this just about every year since 2002.
It's so easy and everyone loves it! You can also make pretty easy adjustments for the vegan or vegetarian in your life.
Sausage and apple stuffing
1 lb. sourdough bread cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 package of maple pork sausage
2 T butter
1 large onion
3 large celery stalks, chopped
2 apples, chopped (any kind)
2 T thyme
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 eggs, beaten
2 T extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper for taste
Preheat an oven to 400 degrees. Place the bread cubes in a large baking pan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. You may have to stir. Transfer to a big bowl.
In a frying pan, cook the sausage, crumbling with a fork. Cook for about 10 minutes until browned and transfer to the bowl with the bread.
Using the same sausage pan, add the butter to the drippings and cook the onion and celery until tender, about 8 minutes. Then add the apples and thyme for another minute or so. Add to the bowl with sausage and bread.
Next, add the stock to the pan to pick up any browned bits. Bring it to a boil and then add to the bowl. Beat the eggs then mix them in the bowl, too.
To bake in a dish, preheat an oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 13 x 9 baking dish and spoon the stuffing into it. Cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the top is crisp, which is about 30 more minutes.
If you're baking in a turkey, fill the cavity and increase the roasting time of the turkey by 30 minutes. You will probably still need a baking dish to cook the remaining stuffing.
I would love to hear your favorite Thanksgiving Day recipes!
We did the Olympic Peninsula in 5 days and four nights, and we still missed a lot.
I spent so many hours searching for what to do, so I thought I'd put our itinerary out there as well.
Day 1 - We drove our car to the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry and drove to a VRBO in Port Angeles. A better description would be a little bit beyond Lake Crescent. If you head that way, make sure you stop and get groceries, wine or whatever because once you get going, there are fewer places to stop. We stopped at Walmart off 101 for a little bit of everything, though later down the road we saw a Safeway. We are the type of people who like to cook breakfast and dinner, though we don't have any hard or fast rules. It just usually happens that way.
Our VRBO was perfect for us -- a tiny loft above a garage by a river. There are more cabins on the property that are bigger, but the loft was available, and it was fine for us. Our loft is the far right part of the building.
NOTE: This place had everything we needed -- great little kitchen and seating areas. If you stay in our unit, you will want to download Netflix videos or something if you like watching TV. They had satellite but I was hoping to connect my phone to the TV -- as you can see below, the TV is older and had no HDMI cable. It was not an issue for us, just thought we'd pass it along.
Day 2 - We hit the road and backtracked slightly to go to Lake Crescent. This is a really great stop because you can visit the Lake Crescent Lodge (we would have stayed there, too, but there were no vacancies.)
We went canoeing (kayaks are also available), and we took a short hike on the Marymere Falls Trail, which is also on site. So it's all one-stop shop beauty with amenities (like a nice bathroom in the lodge!)
After that, it was time to go home and feed our girls.
WHAT WE MISSED: Going to the Sol Duc Hot Springs. It was on our list, but we didn't feel like we had time to do it.
Day 3: We got up, checked out of our VRBO and headed to Neah Bay. We really wanted to see Cape Flattery and get as far west as we could. Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous U.S. and apparently Captain James Cook named it such in 1778. And just to balance it out, we stopped at the Makah Museum to pay homage to that culture. Also, let's be frank here... it was nice to use a clean bathroom facility. DO NOT USE the bathroom at the trail head at Cape Flattery. I read about this and was prepared to stop beforehand. Jim did not read the warnings and came back to the car disgusted. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
Also, this is a great trail for dogs. My dog Minnie has bad wheels and can't walk very well due to a former CCL tear and TPLO surgery. She did it! She was a little sore the next day, but really it was a doable walk.
STILL DAY 3: From there, we drove to La Push to check into the Quileute Oceanside Resort, thanks to a recommendation by my friend and co-worker Michael! He and his wife got married there a few years ago, and I can see why.
A great perk - some units are dog friendly. We opted for the two-bedroom standard cabin because it was all the dog-friendly units left. They are right on the beach! One downside -- it seems like people have to sometimes check out of their unit and check-in to another. It happened to Michael, it happened to us, and I heard it happen to some guests checking in behind me. It seems like this could be avoided somehow, but apparently this is fairly common. It's still worth it.
There aren't a lot of food options, so again, it's best to either stop and buy groceries in Forks (HOME TO TWILIGHT OMGGGGGG) or support a local restaurant. By the time we got to La Push and checked in, we were ready to chill on the beach and eat dinner. You can build a fire -- we were too lazy -- but it was a nice idea.
Also, take note -- there are no TVs in the standard units. We were so glad to have our MIFI and laptop at the end of the day. I mean, it's another first-world problem, so we would've been fine without it.
WHAT WE MISSED: Second, Third or Rialto Beaches. We really wanted to see some of the tide pools, but we were bushwhacked. We enjoyed the pictures on the internet, though. :)
DAY 4: We decided to wake up slowly that morning, but we did not want to waste the day. We ended up driving to the Hoh Rainforest, which was a little more than an hour away. As you can imagine, the rainforest is beautiful, mystical and rare. It is the one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. Also note, dogs are not allowed.
On the way back we ended up grabbing a pizza at the Home Slice Take N Bake eatery -- we didn't have time to stop and sit because we were already an hour late getting to Minnie and Piper. We originally wanted to go to Sully's Drive-In but it was closed! We wanted to eat at the BBG Blakeslee Bar & Grill, but we were running out of time. Pizza was good!
WHAT WE MISSED: Any Twilight opportunity in Forks (I mean, not really... but also sorta.) Also, I wanted to go salmon river fishing. If you'd like to go, we were going to use Randy Lato from Always Fishing -- 360 374 2052.
DAY 5: We spent day 5 traveling back home. We didn't continue south and close out the loop because that would've tacked on several more hours. I kind of wanted to stop in Sequim to see if I could see some lavender farms, but ultimately, we were ready to go home. What a wonderful trip! We thought we left the peninsula with a deeper appreciation for nature in Washington.
It was also awesome to take our girls with us. They traveled so well, and we just loved having them near us. We had to spend a little more money on accommodations since we brought our dogs, but it was worth it to us. We saved a lot of money by doing cheap or free things and eating in. And that wasn't even intentional.
This was our last big adventure for 2017, and it was truly a great trip. Highly recommend! That's also why I added things that we couldn't get to just in case you are looking for more things to do around the peninsula.
We have had some rough days in our house recently. Piper, our youngest and most playful rottweiler, became super lethargic. She refused food and seemed uncomfortable laying down. She eventually stopped going to the bathroom after having bouts of runny stool with mucous and blood. (Sorry for the graphic description, but it could help someone later.)
We took her to the vet and had several scans and tests. Eventually an oncologist said it looked like Piper had lymphoma. She was 90-percent confident.
I remember exactly where I was when my husband texted me. I was covering Hurricane Harvey in a Houston suburb. The rain was coming down sideways. I was standing at a makeshift evacuation shelter at an area high school when people started frantically arriving with their most prized possessions in trash bags. I talked to some teens who had been bussed in from an hour away and separated from their parents. I saw little kids with no shoes or rain jackets as they had been rushed out of their homes in a mandatory evacuation.
In that moment, I knew I couldn't focus on Piper, but I couldn't stop the tears from rolling down my face. I was a complete wreck. My friend and producer Alex looked at me and said, "Even if you weren't here, it wouldn't change the outcome." I knew she was right. Still, I was devastated.
Piper's white blood cells were up, her calcium was elevated. She had high levels of histamine. A mass was growing in an intestine. Nodules were showing up on her liver. All of the signs pointed to cancer.
Thank God my husband did not give up. He kept talking to the oncologist in Edmonds, who also happens to be a Missouri veterinarian school graduate. Interestingly enough, Minnie went to MU to get her TPLO surgery when she tore her CCL many years ago. We love Mizzou for that.
Anyway, the vet said something didn't look right with her labs. They could not find cancer to give her a diagnosis. She started to consider blastomycosis.
What is blasto? Well, I started looking into it but soon stopped when it seemed like it could be just as deadly as cancer. Short answer is it's an uncommon fungal infection that impacts the lungs and happens more frequently to dogs in states like Wisconsin.
Could our dog show signs of blasto even though we left Wisconsin more than a year ago? The vet said yes.
So we began more testing.
In the meantime, we started hand feeding anything and everything to Piper. She wouldn't eat her dog food, but she seemed to always like shredded pork and scrambled eggs. She also would take a handful of shrimp and cod. She was not impressed with sardines or chicken. We got to the point where if Piper would eat, we would feed her until she refused food. She got down to 82 pounds and seemed to be losing weight no matter how much we fed her.
In the meantime, the vet gave Piper antibiotics and Benadryl.
Piper's case was starting to pique the interest of our oncologist and her friends and colleagues across the country. Jim took Piper in for more blood work which got sent to Michigan. The vet even called Jim when she was on a trip in New York. Everyone seemed to be very curious as to what was plaguing Piper.
17 agonizing days later, we got another call from our vet. Jim answered the phone, and I could hear that the conversation sounded a little more upbeat. I could hear them rule out lymphoma and blasto. Jim appeared to be getting some orders from the vet, and it sounded like he was getting an order to pick up steroids at the pharmacy.
Turns out, Piper has a condition that is rare to dogs but more prevalent in rottweilers. It's called hypereosinophilic syndrome, which at the heart of all things, turns out to be some sort of severe reaction to an unidentified antigen.
In very simple terms, Piper likely ate something she was allergic to and her body went on the attack, which caused a lot more chaos. It can cause organ damage and if you read the reports, it frequently has a fatal outcome. However, our vet seems to think steroids will help Piper fight that mass in her tummy and get her appetite back up to normal. And she seemed excited to tell us this news as it might be our best scenario.
How rare is it? There are vets across the country who want to track Piper's health because this condition is so rare. Our vet told Jim that one of her colleagues wants permission to look at her labs because he hasn't seen anything like this in 20 years.
The good news for us is that we don't have a lymphoma diagnosis looming over our heads. The bad news is that we still don't know exactly what this new diagnosis means. But we are almost elated.
I wanted to post this because as I looked around the internet these last few days, I couldn't find a lot of helpful information. It was kind of like drinking from a fire hose. I thought if I posted this information, it might help other rottie owners rule out certain health scares.
I know everyone thinks their pets are special, but our Piper is really something else. One vet wrote, "Piper is the sweetest rottie we've ever met." Our oncologist said she didn't believe it until she actually met Piper. We all have expiration dates, but it gives me a lot of relief right now knowing we can help Piper live a quality life. She sure has us wrapped around her fingers. And don't worry about Minnie -- she is doing just fine! She gets a lot of Piper's food so she's enjoying life right now, too.
If you've been following on social media, my birth sister Hyun Jung moved in with us in Seattle a couple of months ago. It has been exciting and challenging all at the same time as we try to get her settled back into the states as an immigrant. Wow, so much stuff to do. Plus, we never grew up as sisters, so sometimes that can be new and interesting, too.
As many of you know, Hyun Jung is my biological sister. We did not meet each other until I was 18 years old. It is pretty rare for a Korean sibling to move to America and live with an adoptee. So, recently we worked together to produce a livestream for Holt International.
Everyone was so kind and asked so many thoughtful questions. We appreciate it very much and are encouraged to talk about our story more often.
I found myself getting a little emotional in the first part of the video. My sister said she felt like she found a best friend in me and I wasn't really ready for that answer. I hadn't stopped to think about it.
Anyway, I wanted to put it all in one spot so I could find it again one day. If it helps someone out there, that would be amazing. Thank you for all of your support. I feel like I don't have the brain power to write something more insightful at this time but the links are here. Hope to keep in better touch but my sister keeps me active!
I've been on a renewed kick to try out several meal delivery services. I just canceled my Blue Apron account, even though I loved it so much in the beginning. I also started Hello Fresh but feel like it's very similar to Blue Apron. What turned me off? Too many carbs. I don't want to pay $60 a week on meals that seem to always have pasta, rice or potatoes. That sh*t is dirt cheap at the grocery store and I like to eat those items sparingly.
So, now we're trying Sun Basket.
(Note: If you want to try it and want a referral link, here ya go: sunbasket.com/3free/Michelle641235 I get some a credit, too, but I think you might get some money off)
I liked the options - paleo and gluten-free piqued my interest. I mean, if I'm going to pay $40 to $60 a week on something like this, I want it to be somewhat healthy otherwise I'd spend that money on damn good takeout.
Side note, I've recently tried to cut out a lot of gluten simply because my acupuncturist believes gluten may play a role in fertility issues. For now she says cut it. Anyway, I'll share that story some other time.
For now, I kind of dig Sun Basket. And not just for the food. I really dig the packaging. It's easy to unpack, and they've made it easy to recycle.
Note that the lining is recyclable and Sun Basket provides stickers to help you roll it up and put it in the recycling bin.
I also really like the ice packs. The ones that come in Blue Apron and Hello Fresh are ginormous and annoy the crap out of me because they're a pain to tear down or re-use. I like these from Sun Basket because I could easily re-use them in my picnic cooler!
I also liked how everything I needed for one recipe was in one bag. Hello Fresh does this, too. Blue Apron does a minimal version of this with knick knack bags but I recall moments of fishing for my ingredients.
And another plus for Sun Basket -- the food was something I'd never make on my own. Blue Apron was like that for me at first, but then it all started to look the same. I could have this problem with Sun Basket, too, since this is only my first order.
The first meal I made from Sun Basket was gluten-free, vegetarian and soy free. And amazingly filling and delicious! Plus, it was a quick dish - I literally put in the tomatoes, eggs and pistou and walked away.
In the end, I didn't make a pretty dish but it was pretty good and a nice way to change up the work week. I won't try to speak in favor of it too soon but so far, so good.
And one quick note - we liked the dish so much that I adapted a version of this for our breakfast. I didn't have any leftover pistou so I just used fresh spinach, tomatoes and eggs. It was pretty good!
Krav Maga Seattle teaches self defense and fitness but they've really done a great job emphasizing self defense for women with special classes. They blew me away when they recently made a trip to our studios!
Krav Maga has been taught to law enforcement agencies and is even the official self defense and combat system of the Israeli Defense Forces. It's high intensity and emphasizes instinctive movements.
Chau, Cat, Allie, and Angela put on a demo for us--it was intimidating and empowering at the same time. They had my full attention!
However, one thing we could all do right now to better protect ourselves is as easy as buying a tactical flashlight. I kind of forgot about it until Krav Maga sent us a bunch!
These are Hausbell tactical flashlights and there are a number or reasons why you should consider getting one:
- Scalloped edges make them great for hitting someone
- The bulb is so bright that it could make someone see immediate stars
- They're TSA approved = you can take them on planes
- Great for hiking
- Inexpensive, around $5 or less for the mini lights
I mean, look at what happened when JVB tried to choke me out the other day! She was toast!
All jokes aside, you can find a bunch of reviews on YouTube. I bet a lot of recent airline passengers wish they had one of these!
Also, I just want to give a special thanks to Chau, Cat, Allie, and Angela for taking the time, money and energy to send us these awesome flashlights. I hope I never have to use them for scary reasons but I am very grateful!