The final part of this Pacific NW series is the fun activities and festivities, some holiday oriented, some not, that Lydia and I took part in during my week in the PNW. Since it was the first week of December, the holidays were just getting started in Seattle and surrounding areas. Upon scheduling my visit, I looked up things going on around town and discovered the Ugly Sweater Fun Run in Redmond, WA. As soon as I mentioned it to Lydia, she was down and ready to run. Well, there wasn’t any running involved but you know what I mean.
Two of Lydia’s friends joined us in the fun for the day. We donned our ugliest sweaters and overloaded on Christmas accessories, ready to rock that morning. Our packets included the cutest sweater hats with the run’s logo and we all wore them with pride. This race was by the far the most fun event I have attended in a long time.
We posed in front of every blow-up available and goofed off like kids. It put us all in the Christmas spirit. People went all out on their outfits and it was neat to see what some came up with for their attire.
The starting and finish lines welcomed participants with massive candy cane style arches, creating a magical Christmas wonderland.
The event was sponsored by Kahlua and you received a hot chocolate with a shot of Kahlua as a reward for your hard work. What a way to start a morning!
I will never forget such a fabulous time in the cold. It was the perfect way to kick off the holiday season and I felt extremely blessed to share it with my little sister. Since Lydia has been in the Navy, my visits with her have been few and far between. My week with her doing innocent things like this made it even more special.
Our next adventure was a trip to the big city of Seattle for some sister strolling and shopping. The easiest way to get to Seattle is taking the Bainbridge Ferry which is a short drive from Poulsbo. The ferry ride is approximately 35 minutes and on a beautiful day, you have the best view around. Once again, it takes your breath away at times.
The Puget Sound is between Bainbridge and Seattle which eventually leads to the Pacific Ocean. The water is a gorgeous blue and the cool wind on your face on a sunny day is refreshing and invigorating. We took the ferry a few times and each time was a wonderful experience. You can walk on or drive on, whichever is easier for you. On this particular day, we walked on so that we didn’t have to deal with parking a car in the city.
The first stop in Seattle was Pike Place Market. It is an attraction that most know about in this city. Of course everyone has seen the fish market with enormous fish flying through the air. Sorry, I didn’t get a picture of that but I did witness the flying fish.
The market was decorated for the holidays, garland and trees above every establishment making it the perfect spot for some sister photo-snapping. I asked a random guy to take a picture of us and his wife gave me the “death stare”. I figured it would turn out awful from the look on their annoyed faces but it actually is one of the best pictures from my trip.
As you enter the market, you walk past vendor after vendor of fresh produce, local goods, fresh flowers, local artists’ collections and many other crafts to cover your curiosity.
I fell in love with one artist, Sally Simmons. Her bright colors and funky renditions of birds, peacocks, foxes, bunnies and other wildlife caught my eye. I didn’t purchase anything but I got her information and hope to add a piece to my boho farmhouse one day soon. I love unique local art and this fits my intense passion for color. These make me smile and to me, that is what all art is about – evoking different emotions.
Within the public market is also the very first Starbuck’s. This is where all the craziness began back in 1971. And no, I didn’t wait in that long line for a cup of coffee but it’s awesome to see so many people checking out Starbuck’s original roots.
We stopped at Nordstrom’s for some sister shopping, snapped a photo in front of the big tree and continued sister strolling like divas.
The Seattle Art Museum is located on the corner of University and First Ave. and has a large art piece out front that screams photo-op. It’s pretty impressive among the tall city landscape.
As we were walking back to the ferry that evening, the sun was setting on the city and the shots were spectacular. I’m running out of words to describe what my eyes saw on my trip. Everything was beautiful and perfect and inspiring.
This picture could literally be in a magazine. We were incredibly lucky to have such wonderful weather while exploring that day.
I have always thought Lydia could moonlight as an events coordinator or travel guide of some sort because she always plans activities to keep you busy and enjoying your environment. Of course she would choose a Starbuck’s themed gingerbread house for us to create while I was in town. Assembling a gingerbread house is more complicated than it looks. I jumped right in and have never laughed so hard in my life.
I ate way too much of the icing, making myself sick in the end. Our awnings kept falling off the drive-thru window and Lydia kept telling me to slow down because the icing was drying before she could add the candy pieces. Two sisters navigating the age old past-time of making a gingerbread house. Priceless.
I giggle every time I look at these pictures. The globs of icing on those awnings are hysterical. We did everything we could to keep that house together – story of my life.
In the days following our creation, Lydia became very protective of our little house. If I placed my purse too close to it, she would warn me that our awning was going to collapse. Funny stuff.
We also picked a fresh tree, drove it home atop Lydia’s car and set it up…all by ourselves. Well, almost all by ourselves. Her neighbor Charlie did help take it off the roof of her car but we set it up in the stand completely on our own. Girl power!
Isn’t it beautiful? I went a little crazy on the tree topper. There’s quite a party going on there. But hey, it’s Christmas!
One last fun outing was attending a class at BarreCor in Bainbridge, WA. I’m familiar with barre classes as I belonged to a similar boutique studio in Baton Rouge last year. I have always enjoyed the isometric movements at a ballet bar as an intense leg workout. The moves may not look like much but you will certainly feel it the next morning. Lydia mentioned how much she enjoyed this studio and loved the co-owner, Emiliana Prado. I didn’t understand just how amazing Barrecor really was until taking one of the classes.
First off, the studio is top notch. The mats available for use are Manduka yoga mats. If you aren’t familiar with that brand, it is one of the best mats you can purchase for floor work. I have one myself and have been a believer ever since. I really enjoyed Emiliana’s style of teaching. She described exactly what she wanted from you and also included the best way to support your back, your neck and other sensitive areas.
The other aspect of the studio that I really fell in love with was Emiliana’s creative presence in every room. She is an artist at heart and her designs covered the lobby and the locker area, bursting with color and inspiration.
Nothing like some pretty inspiration to keep you motivated.
I highly recommend this studio if you are in the Bainbridge area. Your first two classes are free and there are monthly package specials going on all the time. Right now, you can purchase a 3-month unlimited package for $299.
That wraps up my trip to the Pacific Northwest. I certainly replaced my initial mixed emotions with lots of wonderful memories that I will treasure for a lifetime. Not only was the city good to me but my younger sister Lydia was even better. I still can’t believe the bleach blonde, wild-haired little girl that would wait for me to come home from school to play is now a mature woman, leading a unit of sailors in the U.S. Navy. She’s all grown up and leading an adult life, in a big city and I’m incredibly proud of the person she is today. I feel very fortunate to have sisters. As we get older, our bond gets stronger and our love for one another grows with each passing year. Friends come and go but your sisters are there forever.
Thank you Pacific Northwest for being different, being bold, being beautiful and being just what I needed at the end of another crazy year.
Merry Christmas blogosphere!! May you feel the presence of Jesus and His love for you during this holiday weekend. Glory to the newborn King!