Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sleepless in Seattle

That was the only title I could think of. I know it's cheesy and it doesn't at all describe our time in Seattle. More like lots of sleep and gluttony in Seattle. So our trip. When Ford turned 1 we took a baby free trip to NYC to celebrate making it through a year and I was actually newly pregnant with Lucy while we traveled. A couple of months later we took a baby moon to Mexico and haven't been away since then (with the exception of our anniversary we were away for about 18 hours overnight). We were craving time away sans kiddos and thought it would only be fitting to celebrate Lucy's 1st year of life by leaving her and Ford for a few days. Happy marriage = happy parenting in my books so whether it's early bedtimes and at home date nights or weekend getaways, alone time is vital to my emotional being and role as a wife, home maker, and mama. So why Seattle? Basically we wanted to go somewhere we've never been, somewhere that maybe wouldn't be the most fun with kids, and somewhere that Southwest flew to, preferably non stop. Seattle fit that bill and it was glorious. The weather y'all... oh man! We spent most of our time in touristy downtown and on the waterfront oogling at Mount Olympia and Mount Ranier... clear as day because of the gorgeous weather. We ate a lot, walked a lot, did a lot of touristy things, slept a lot, and had a blast. We even got to spend time with my cousin and her precious family in hipster Ballard. I came home rested, rejuvenated, and ready to see my babies! If you followed along on Instagram or Snapchat (@ruthiehart1 on both), you knew that we ate our little hearts out. Our style of travel eating to is to visit many restaurants, getting small things at each. Rather than a big breakfast at one place with 2 entrees, we'd go from place to place getting a biscuit here and donut there...if we hadn't walked so much I would have easily gained 10lbs. Or maybe I did, I haven't checked. We are also now obsessed with Uber. It is SO easy and cheap, we took about 10 of them. So if you are planning a Seattle trip soon, here are the eats and digs we recommend.


STAY
We stayed at the Seattle Westin and it was incredible. We are Starwood Platinum so they upgraded us to a view of Elliot Bay and it was gorgeous. It is a circular hotel so we had wall to wall/floor to ceiling windows that we kept open most of the day to gaze at the mountains and water. It was a 5 minute walk to Pike Place Market and a cheap Uber ride to many attractions.

RIDE
We took the Link Light Rail train directly from SeaTac to the city. It was $3 and took about 40 minutes which we were told would have taken so much longer in a car because of traffic. We got off at the Westlake stop downtown and it was a block from our hotel. We were in the heart of Seattle so we walked a lot but we fell in love with Uber and took those when we were tired or if it was a further walk.

EAT
Get ready for a long list of delicious places. I did lots of research and talked to lots of locals and friend who have traveled there. Food is what we like to travel for. We aren't fancy restaurant people and like I said above, we loved sampling things from lots of places.

  • Pike Place Chowder- in the market place and absolutely delicious. They have a chowder of the day with freshly caught seafood, we had lobster corn chowder in a bread bowl and a crab roll. Lines are long and they close early.
  • Fran's Chocolates- we saw this on our favorite show Unique Sweets and it was recommended by many so we went and it was good....but not $10 for tiny chocolates good. It is super fancy and you can tell very high quality but I am perfectly fine with a Reese's PB cup for a dollar.
  • Piroshky Piroshky- yummy sweet and savory Russian pies in the marketplace. I swear the pump the delicious buttery dough smell through an outdoor vent because the street surrounding smelt so good! The lines are long but worth it. We liked the ham, spinach, and cheese and the Hazelnut. A good on the go meal or snack and just $4-$5 a piece.
  • Biscuit Bitch- neither Jon or I cuss so we were having a grand ole' time inserting "bitch" when talking about random things on our trip. These biscuits are insane and so good. We got the "gritty, cheesy, bitch" which was exactly what you think it was. They have hilarious names like Hot Mess Bitch that made us giggle and drool. It opens at 8:30 and we got there 15 minutes early to an already formed line. It is in a tiny little coffee shop close to the market. 
  • Ivar's Acres of Clams- I knew about Ivar's because they did a road show at Costco and my family went nuts so when we saw it, I knew we had to go there. Oh my gosh. Probably my favorite meal we had. It is order up right on the waterfront and we got fried salmon and hot clam chowder in a huge sourdough bread bowl. It was heavenly and a must visit.
  • Elliot's On The Bay- despite what non Seattlites think, Seattle isn't on the Pacific ocean and sits wedged around Elliot Bay and Puget Sound. Elliot Bay is where you've probably seen pictures of Seattle (Public Market Sign, Ferris wheel). We had dinner at Elliot's on the Bay and it was really good with a great view. We wanted a nice seafood dinner and this sure did deliver. We got freshly caught salmon (very different than our Texas salmon) and fresh veggies. We spent $100 on food alone so be prepared to shell out some dough but it is worth it. 
  • Hot Cakes- I lied up top.... this was actually my favorite meal we had. We had been recommended to go to Hot Cakes by many people and oh my stars it did not disappoint. It is a coffee and dessert shop serving up freshly made molten cakes. It is hip and trendy and out of this world delicious. You shouldn't be surprised that we got a peanut butter cup molten cake and I am still dreaming of it. There is one downtown and one in Ballard. 
  • Sweet Iron Waffles- this is what Jon said was his favorite meal and it was a close second to Hot Cakes for me. They offered homemade funky waffle concoctions and we gobbled our Brie, Bacon, and Basil waffle up in a heart beat. We talked about trying to recreate it at home, it was GOOD y'all!
  • Voula's Offshore Diner- okay so we actually didn't go here but I wish we could have! We took an Uber to get there on Sunday but turns out it was closed because of May Day protests. The reviews are insanely good and a few of my Seattle friends were raving about it. Great diner for breakfast and a quick car ride from downtown (near a college campus... I think University of Washington?).
  • Beecher's Cheese- this is a cheese factory right in Pike Place Market and always busy. You can see into the windows as they make their cheese and sample it in the store. Everyone was raving about the cheese curds and I thought they were OK but their flagship cheese was amazing. They have great grilled cheese and mac and cheese. 
  • Daily Dozen Donuts- right next to the fish throwing in the market and the tiniest, sweetest, most delicious little donuts! It's cash only and you can get a mixture of donuts, they are delightful and the perfect little treat.
  • Top Pot Donuts- I had heard about Top Pot (and they just opened one in Dallas) so we had to give it a try. They were really good and dense and delicious. Of course every place is also a coffee shop too and I loved the vibe.
  • Mr. D's Greek- this is a hole in the wall right inside Pike Place Market where we grabbed a gyro to eat on the go. Very delicious, quick, and cheap.
  • Delancey Pizza- our last evening there we spent in the Ballard neighborhood with my cousin and her family and had some slammin' pizza at Delancey. Wood fired, thin crust, and delicious! 
  • BlueBird Icecream- I haven't had real icecream in forever (froyo for life) and I forgot how stinking good it was! It is in a cool area of Seattle, Greenwood I believe, and so yummy.






DO

  • Pike Place Market- this is a given. It is so stinking cool to see all the vendors in action. Fresh fish getting tossed around, the most gorgeous flowers you will ever see (for cheap!), and lots of handmade items. 
  • Starbuck's Roastery- even though I don't like coffee, this was so cool to see! Jon loved getting a Nitro cold brew and seeing all sorts of funky things on the menu. It is such a cool vibe in there and also has Serious Pie (pizza place) connected.
  • Space Needle- no explanation needed, a great view of the city and cool history
  • Chihuly Museum- we got to see a Chihuly exhibit a few years ago at the Arboretum in Dallas so it was really neat to get to see this and watch how he makes them, etc. It is right next door to the Space Needle. 
  • Argosy Boat Tour- I am 100% touristy when we go to a new city and I love tours. We took the 1 hour harbor tour in Elliot Bay and I wish it was longer! It was so neat to hear about all the shipping and exporting that happens in Seattle and get up close to see how it all works. 
  • Seattle Aquarium- we go to an aquarium or zoo in every city we visit and this one was right on the waterfront. They had the most adorable sea otters and an octopus named Lucy!
  • Woodland Park Zoo- it was a nice zoo about 10 minutes from the city but I think we went on an off day. We couldn't really see a lot of the animals and it was super busy. It was really nice and shaded so would be perfect for kids. We did see a gorilla take a giant dump and eat it. Yuck. 
  • Seattle Great Wheel- I loved riding the Ferris wheel right on the water and wish I could have stayed on for an hour. It has gorgeous views. 
  • Golden Gardens Park- a beautiful beach in Ballard that was full of people laying out (yes swimsuits in the 70s!), playing volleyball, digging, BBQing, sailing. It was truly gorgeous!




If you have any additional Seattle related questions, email me!



Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Lucy 1st Year Videos

Below you will find two videos, the top one is Lucy's Project 365 video and the bottom is a compilation of videos I took her first year of life. I hope they bring you as much joy as they do for us!



Friday, April 29, 2016

Strawberry Picking

My sister and her kiddos were in town last weekend for Lucy's birthday party and extended their stay into this week. Ever since my sister had Embry 3.5 years ago, we've been talking and planning to go to Sweet Berry Farms to go strawberry picking. My parents have a lakehouse nearby in Kingsland so we had seen it many times before and took the babies to there last fall for pumpkins and fall fun. Look at how tiny my Ford was! It's about an hour from our house so we left in the morning and got there around 10am which was perfect on a Tuesday. It wasn't busy at all and despite some of the Texas flooding washing away strawberries, there was the perfect amount for a 2 year old and 3 year old. They each picked a few and ate a few and were done within 20 minutes. They jumped on a huge trampoline and fed goats, Ford loved that part! More activities are open on the weekend so I was bummed we missed out on the train ride but they had a blast. We ate lunch at the famous Bluebonnet Cafe and neither of my kids fell asleep the whole way home. I guess I haven't written much of a Ford update lately but he pretty much has stopped napping (does stay in his room and play and do quiet time) but I had to wake him up from a 2.5 hour nap after the farm! He was wiped!

If you live in Austin or surrounding areas, Sweet Berry Farm is such a fun place to go in the fall and spring!



















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