I'm a spunky girl with a big heart and an open mind. I can't ride a bike and dislike capital letters. I'm slightly obsessed with my kitties - Daisy, Stella, Loki, Marley and Lucky - but I bet if they were yours you would be, too.
I laugh all the time - loudly and mostly at myself. my favorite things include, but aren't limited to: fabulous people, my fantastic husband, traveling, live music, social media, a good read, working out, furry friends, the Golden State Warriors, photography, and sushi. Everyone, including you, looks like an animal - and I won't hesitate to tell you which one.
I was born and raised in the 650, spent some of the best years of my life at UCSB as a gaucho and for over a decade I was a proud angelino; I effing loved└A, but it was ready to fly so I’ve spread my wings to the Pacific North Wonderland and can’t wait to dive into new adventures!
A trip to or from the airport is already excuse enough to look for a reason to stretch your legs, and for those that are plotting a trip to the SeaTac airport are in for quite a treat. Located just a stone’s throw from the airport at under three miles and five minutes, the Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden is an extrasensory experience that’s worth immersing yourself in any time of year.
What started as a small one acre garden of private plantings by Elda and Ray Behm, was eventually slated for demolition when the SeaTac airport was slated for expansion; in 1999, the gardens beautifully evolved to sit on over 10 acres of land in a new location, with many of the original plants salvaged and transplanted – including a two acre section to mirror the original garden.
As you enter the Highline SeaTac Garden, you traverse through the Elda Behm Paradise Garden and can walk whimsically along the ebbing stream through the park, catching waterfalls and reflective views along the way as you explore your way through seven unique areas, some even maintained by local groups.
A wonderful adventure in the late Spring and early Summer, the King County Iris Society has a 500 square foot display bed of bearded iris. Not to be outdone, there’s also the Seattle Rose Society’s Celebratory Garden and the Puget Sound Daylily Club’s display garden, each with over a hundred different varieties of flower.
The Sensory Garden is full of wonder and amazement, and dazzles the senses with their unique collection of plants, from a variety of textures and fragrances, to a rain garden and a vine tunnel. Meanwhile, the Shade Garden offers a pleasant repose from the sunshine and features billowing arms of Alders and Madronas, as they shade the pathway in tinges of sepia tone, blowing wistfully in the wind.
Last, but most certainly not least – winding around the grounds, you’ll each my favorite – the historic Seike Japanese Garden.
Originally built in 1961 by the esteemed Shintaro Okada of Hiroshima, the gardens were a dedication to a fallen son; eventually, in 2006, the entire Seike Japanese Garden – from the bridges, hand-candled pines and massive stones, was relocated to the Highline Botanical Garden.
As many parks are across the state and country, the Highline SeaTac Gardens are currently closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic – please do your part, abide. If you’re itching to pay them a visit now, check out their socials – if you’d like to donate to the gardens as a community gesture – head here.
After a lifetime as a self professed cat lady, I figured it was time to start putting my knowledge to good use and imparting some of it onto y’all, my fellow feline fans. Tune in on Caturday I dose out some important cat related content with lots of Catitude. imparting some of my know how onto others that love their cats just as much as I do. So, welcome to the Caturday Kitty Corner – your new go to resource for cat related content, with a dose of Cat-titude
Currently, my husband and I have a troop of five furry friends – Daisy – a Calico, Stella – a Lavender Tabby, Marley – an Orange Tabby, and a duo of Siamese – Loki, who has the traditional pattern, and Lucky – a Lynx Point Siamese Tabby. They’re all different ages, with different likes and temperaments – but one thing they can all agree on: how much they dig the products below.
Favorite Tricks and Tools for the Aspiring Crazy Cat Ladies
Whether you’re simply curious, or amassing all possible knowledge about your furry feline friends, Tracie Hotchner has your back. The esteemed host of Cat Chat on Martha Stewart Radio, you’ll get more information than you know what to do with – and that’s kind of the point. No matter if you’re trying to get into your first cat, or are looking to add members to your squad, curious about cat-proofing your home, claw clipping, odd behaviors and different breeds: this is the read for you.
Life with cats is pretty simple, when you get down to it – but there is always one conundrum every owner has to face: where the hell do you put the litter box and how do you keep that cat litter from going everywhere? Well, meet your new best friends – these live-saving, litter trapping mats from Gorilla Grip. Phthalate-free, easy to clean, and kind to the touch for your feline friends – the mats come ready to fit to your needs with multiple sizes, colors and different shapes with rectangle, semi-circle and corner pieces.
I defer to the jumbo size for a few different reasons – but mainly: between five cats of our cats and hardwood floors, the tiny litter pebbles would spread through the house like wildfire. Thanks to my trusty new friend from Gorilla Grip, cleaning the mat is as easy as vacuuming for small messes and a quick hose down in the sun for large ones. Trust me – this mat will save your sanity.
When a cat wants to zoom, they freakin’ zoom – but you’re not always going to be free when they want to play. Enter your cat’s new electronic best friend – the YOFUN interactive toy. Fully equipped with a little red dot and spazdic motions, the toy is unpredictable and fun for the whole squad. We got two so our cats didn’t have to compete to use it – and currently they’re available for only $12.99
If there’s one piece of advice I can give you about Orange Tabbies, they do not stop eating. Watch – go to Google search, and start typing ‘Why Are Orange Cats…’ and just watch the results roll in. Garfield wasn’t just an awesome cartoon, he was an accurate depiction of the Ginger Tabby Eating Profile. To try and slow our cat Marley down just a little bit, we found this cat-tastic tool from Catit. Instead of your pet being able to free feed on treats and kibble, they’re forced to use that cute little noggin of theirs to figure out how to get the treats out of the green cylinders. Now, the little kitten has figured out all she has to do is bite down on the edge of them and fling the treats in the air, but that’s another story, for another day.
There’s nothing quite as fun as when your cats get nippy with it, but at the end of the day – every herb connoisseur knows that you want both quality and quantity with your buds. Our cat favorite in this household comes from the brand From the Field; just one sprinkle and the cats will go crazy. Simple, successful and silly!
Now, I couldn’t just tell you about the wonders of my favorite cat nip without giving you a good place to put it, right? Enter PetFusion – they’re just one of those companies that simply does everything right
Made of heavy duty cardboard, these cat scratcherswith fun features and sizes like triangles, or multiple platforms with easy access from both sides.
Their cat-scratchers are more or less indestructible (minus the one I sat on and broke…), and the multi-level ones are the best for multi-cat households or just really lavish kitties.
Cat Nail Clippers: Whisker Wishes Veterinarian Grade Pet Clippers
Just like when we need a mani-pedi, your cat also needs to get their claws clipped every so often. Oh, yes, it can be nerve wracking – but thankfully, there’s a few companies who have products that are here to help. My no fuss, no slip go-to are these fantastic veterinary grade clippers from Whisker Wishes.
Being white, they’re easy to find if you misplace them – as I discovered when I lost a black pair a year ago and needed to replace them.. Not only is this model super cute, but even better – they come in at a super low price of only $6.00 on Amazon.
Let’s start by saying: not every cat wants to be outside, and not every cat owner wants to entertain the idea of putting their cat on a leash. If either of those describe your current cat condition, this product is not for you. If not, read on my friends!
For the daring and adventurous cat owners, and cats as well – the Voyager Step-in Air Dog Harness is the best bet. The harness gives ample mobility while ensuring your cat can’t escape – but do yourself a favor and measure your cat before you buy so you go with the purr-fect fit, and at $12.99 you might as well consider this a steal.
Leave it to some random Buzzfeed post to get my goose a few months back, but as I was scrolling through a post devoted to proper presents for your feline friends, I discovered this amazing Veken automatic water fountain. It comes with a plastic mat and a few interchangeable filters, but eventually you’ll need to restock as you have to replace them every once in a while.
It took a few days, and some coaxing from the rest of the squad – but all five cats have been sharing and enjoying the fountain; especially the kitten, Lucky von Floof.
Amazon has a lot of great options to choose from, as in so many options you could actually fall into a hole in the internet as you compare and contrast your options. There are tall trees, wide trees, multi-level trees, trees with hammocks, trees that look like they’re real trees, and of course your run of the mill standard options. I’ve had good luck with what I’ve found, but at the end of the day I’m of the personal opinion that you really need to see them in person to get the full read; I mean, you wouldn’t buy your next apartment or car online, so why should your cat? Anyhow! Your local PetSmart or Pet Club has a bunch of options that fit any pet situation. But some key things to look for: multiple levels is necessary for multiple cats, have a few different scratching options available and make sure the top is big enough to host a furry little slumber party.
Breathing in – I know I am breathing in; Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.
With the calamity and chaos in the world at large, intrinsically we have to understand that the only control we ultimately have in this world is of our own emotions and reactions. The best way to be able to control those are to understand our true nature, and that’s our nature without external stimulus – it’s the you at your core, without thoughts, without emotion – the you that just is.
Breathing in, my in-breath has become deep. Breathing out, my out-breath has become slow.
It’s a simple task, but it most certainly doesn’t come easy; all it requires is you to be fully present in the moment and within yourself. That proverbial it that I speak of, that transcendental feeling you get from meditation. Whether you’re looking to expand yourself inward and engage in a personal evolution, or revolution; focus your mind and sharpen your mental state, or simply reduce your anxiety – finding time in your day to work in even a five minute meditation practice has proven mind and body benefits that permeate far more than just that moment.
Breathing in – I feel calm; Breathing out, I feel at ease.
If you’re a morning person – when you wake up, grab your morning coffee, tea…wine…whatever, and start with just five minutes as you’re easing into the day. If you’ve got a yoga routine, meditation is like the icing on the cake at the end of your practice, simply add five minutes at the end of your yoga session to settle into yourself. If you’re a workaholic – schedule time in your phone or your planner, put a five minute meeting into your Outlook or Google Calendars. If you’re a writer – find a cute meditation journal for daily reflections. And if you’re like me and can’t sit still, get oustide and take a brisk stroll through the world while letting each of your senses become engaged with your surroundings. Either way you spin it – you most definitely have five minutes somewhere in your day to spare – so find it; I promise, you’ll be better for it.
Breathing in – I smile. Breathing out, I release all my worries and anxieties.
The best way to start is to just…well, start; and start small. Find a comfortable spot with soft light, where you can sit tall and be at peace – whether you’re sitting cross-legged on the ground, or are propped up slightly with a meditation pillow. Let the moment wash over you as you focus on your breathing; marinate in that feeling as you notice the tightness in your chest and back, the restlessness of your lower body and weight of your head. Now, your mind – it’ll wander and wonder, but the point of meditation is to acknowledge when your mind is manifesting anything. You can try counting to ten slowly, or counting your breaths, or – using this poem that I learned from the book You Are Here by the esteemed Thich Nhat Hanh.
Breathing in – I dwell deeply in the present moment. Breathing out, I know this moment is wonderful
The internet is a wonderful repository and I’m thankfully there are tons of digital resources available and at the tips of your fingers. If you feel strange about sitting with your own thoughts at the beginning, or simply don’t know how to begin or where to go with your practice – there are ample resources for guided meditations throughout the internet to help you find your moment of zen.
Here are some of my favorites.
Deepak Chopra’s 21 Day Challenges + Guided Meditations
Whether it’s his 21 Day Meditation Challenges, or his guided meditations, Deepak Chopra has amassed an incredible amount of resources for the spiritually inclined. For those new to meditation – every few months the website offers a new 21 Day Challenge that intently focuses on one of many core emotional tenants. By the end of the challenge, you’ll be marinating in your mindfulness as you reap the positive benefits of meditation on the body, mind and spirit.
There’s an App for That
There are a ton of different smart phone applications for those looking to take their meditation practice further. I’ve toyed around with both Headspace and Calm; and personally like the fact that both apps can be either iOS or Desktop based. But, a new favorite is Simple Habit – which is a free app, that you use for five minutes a day *ding ding*. Honestly, I enjoy what they all have to offer in terms of both length and type of meditation, but if you’re in the mood to shop around – here are a few other options that I’ve discovered:
For the astrologically inclined, I’m a die-hard fan of the Full Moon and New Moon workbooks from the mindful mavens at Spirit Daughter. Each one comes ripe with information about the celestial seasons, and have incredible resources for those wishing to either begin a meditation practice or develop theirs further.
With various subscription levels, including paper based versus digital, and monthly packages versus either their seasonal full or new moon books. I’m a bit old-school in that I love having things hand written, but I’ve heard fab things about the digital version as well!
At the end of the day – each of us is going to have a mindfulness or meditation practice that is as unique as they are. I’m more of a yoga-journal-active meditation type of gal; I like to be more engaged than simply ruminating in the feeling – I also seem to have the attention span of a goldfish. So if I’m going to sit and journal my meditations, I eventually start bringing out either my tarot cards, spirit animal cards or rune stones; the whole practice brings up ideas, patterns and emotions that I’m more open to exploring with a clear head – often leading me to an existential epiphany that brightens my mood, day, or both.
What are some of the most useful tips and tricks you’ve learned that have helped you with your meditation practice?
Admittedly, it wasn’t until these last few weeks, being stuck inside with my thoughts, my books and crafts, camera lenses and unpublished blog posts, husband, mother in law and cats – that I finally realized: I have taken far too long of a hiatus from writing. It’s like ideas oozing out of each and every part of my brain right now, almost like the dam of my mind has been reopened and can’t stop pouring out experiences, learnings and epiphanies that are ripe for sharing; as I gallivanted through my memories – I realized I never shared the entirety of one of my favorites – the Woodland Park Zoo.
Hailed as a winner of multiple awards for Best National Exhibits by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and only second in number received to New York’s fabled Bronx Zoo, the Woodland Park Zoo encompasses 92 acres of public spaces and exhibits in the heart of Woodland Park, with over a thousand animals and three hundred species, not to mentioned over thirty endangered and five threatened. And to boot, the park is equal amounts nature as it is plants – bringing to life over 50,000 shrubs and herbs, 7,000 trees and over a thousand different species of plants.
Boasting several different park entrances, you can make each visit equally unique by switching your style up and diving into a new arena. From the African Savanna to Tropical Asia and the Tropical Rain Forest, the Northern Trail and Temperate Forest to Australasia, the entire world seems to exists in the extreme microcosm of the Woodland Park Zoo.
My ultimate favorite: Molbak’s infamous and seasonal Butterfly Garden. With dozens of varieties of butterflies, this area is full is wonder and beauty – with hundreds of butterflies flying around you, it feels like you’re in a whimsical sort of wonderland. Any way you spin it, each adventure to the Woodland Park Zoo is unlike any others – I’ve collected a few of my favorite snaps from my last visits, enjoy!
On your way out, a great spot to soak up some final sunshine is over in the Rose Garden. The perfect setting for an afternoon or sunset stroll once the park has closed down, there you’ll find incredible landscaping, fragrant blooms from all over the world and a lovely reflection pool. Ever-changing with the seasons, the Rose Garden is a solid bet any time of year.
With over a dozen distinct eco-systems and geographic zones to roam through, and a diverse cast of characters within – you shouldn’t stress about fitting it the whole Woodland Park Zoo in during one visit, plus – let’s face it, the animals keep vastly different schedules than us and are often asleep during the day, which can make it hard to find them. The more times you visit, the more you’ll be able to take in – plus, it feels good to support a great cause, so I’m all for forking over the money for my membership. Within two visits, your membership will pay for itself, not to mention get you additional perks including discounts in the restaurants as well as the general store.
For more on the Woodland Park Zoo and my favorite – their incredible seasonal Butterfly Garden, visit their website and socials; or once this stay at home order is lifted – if you’re in the area, stop by for a visit – I promise you, it’s worth it.
Lately, it’s felt just a bit like we’re on our own deserted islands – because basically, we kind of…are. And let me tell you, with everything going on in the world – my mind has been in overdrive, and I’ve admittedly had my wheels churning for a while. As we all go into overdrive to stock up on the necessities during the crisis, I’ve chosen to turn my attention to something a little more fun. Not that we’re wearing much makeup these days, but I’ve definitely been tossing some on every now and again for semblance of normalcy.
While I’m stuck on my metaphorical desert island until quarantine is over, I’m still going to do my damndest to feel my best; for many, when it comes to makeup, that means going all out – foundation, primer, eyelash curlers, etc, etc. Well, let me tell you that I’m a basic kind of bitch and no, not in that other basic way – when it comes to makeup, I’ve turned into a firm believer that less is more and that you should be accentuating your features, not trying to hide whatever you’ve perceived your flaws to be.
Trust me, I had a phase – and it lasted for over a decade; I was a makeup fanatic, I even had a short-lived career as a beauty blogger – but as time went on, I found that covering my face with powders and liquids galore made me feel a bit more like a high class clown and less like myself. So, I’ve bid a bittersweet farewell to my bold MAC and Makeup Forever eyeshadows and assorted lipsticks that I’m fairly sure I only wore once or twice each – and have accepted a new stock of beauty tools with welcome arms.
While I’m on my desert island, you best believe I’ll be enjoying the following…
Hands down one of my most fun impulse buys (thank you targeted Instagram ads), this Winky Lux lip balm looks translucent and sparkly, but instantly merges with your own pH levels to produce a unique hue of glittery pink. It’s sorcery, beautiful, beautiful sorcery.
When it comes to mascara, it’s all about the flick of the wrist, and that means the wand. Depending on the style of wand, you could get left with tarantula eyes – for lack of a better term. The Roller Lash from Benefit goes on smooth, doesn’t clump and is water resistant – I call that a mascara hat trick.
I don’t know why it took me until my late twenties to discover liquid eyeliner but believe you me – I’m so much better off for it. It goes on smoothly, you don’t have to consider sharpening it – and depending on the brand, it looks sleek and sexy. So, when I saw the this eyeliner from Tarte – with a cat on it of course – I knew I had to at least try it out. Well, good news for me – it works fantastically and rivals my other favorite — Kat Von D’s Tattoo Liner.
This is another case of ‘IPSY Got Me Again’ – years ago, I had a trial version in this lovely shade of priming shadow stick.
Being me, I actually never used it as a primer and instead just used it as eyeshadow. It worked like a charm. Just a tad of sunkissed shimmer and a warm neutral tone – not invasive, but perfectly highlighting.
Finally, a little bit of shimmer for your cheeks in my favorite shade – Champagne; or as The Beauty Crop calls it – I Love You So Matcha. A light shimmer that needs very little liquid, the serum goes on smoothly and lasts all day. A great alternative to powder if you’re like me and have found that the powder blushes and bronzers tend to clog your skin.
As the Winter frost finally loosens her grip and ebbs into the succulent scents of Spring – there’s typically only one thing on my, or any of my friend’s minds: what’s the next music festival you’re trying to get to?
My whole life, music has been my backbone – whether it’s dancing, playing flute, in choir or as the sound engineer at the local television station for kicks. As far back as I can remember, from the time I left college in 2008 and moved to Los Angeles – dance music has been a sort of genesis for me, almost chrysalis . It’s introduced me to people that have changed my life, it brought me to the man I’m married to today, it changed my career path, it turned me into a Senior Editor for a world class DJ blog, it gave me an outlet to explore the truth of who I am – and I’m such a better person for it because it gave me back myself.
THAT said, it hurts my heart that with the current Coronavirus crisis – festival season for 2020 is effectively cancelled, and rightfully so. It began with Ultra Abu Dhabi being cancelled back in March, and then it started spiraling. Ultra Miami and Miami Music Week both ‘rescheduled’ for next year, which is a fancy way of saying cancelled. Within days – Tomorrowland Winter, Lightning in a Bottle and SXSW were cancelled this year, while Coachella and EDC were both postponed until the Fall. With a world class array of musical talent for the weekend and many additional music lovers travel from around the globe for their chance to dance late into the morning light; international flights and crowded sweaty nights – it’s not exactly where you want to be if you’re trying to explore social distancing; unfortunately, it even sounds like the type of place you’d really want to avoid.
As a tangent, you have to understand how each cog in the wheel in entertainment operates; if you’re in event production, each current event is using funds allocated from previous events…so without the funding from current projects, future events are in danger as well – not to mention there are boutique festivals who have their entire futures up in the air right now. There are artists and technicians, musicians and dancers, vendors and publicists whose livelihood depends on being able to be booked for these events. Needless to say, we’re all itching to get our grooves back.
But, the good news is that plenty of your favorite artists have their live sets online so you can kick back with a tasty beverage, turn your speakers up, open the windows and have yourself a little quarantine rave all of your own! I’ve compiled a list of my favorite live sets from throughout the years (yes, I mean years!), with a bounce around from genre to genre, festival to festival and artists to artist – I think I’ve got a pretty solid Friday night set. We’ve got Pumpkin and Hot Since 82, Above & Beyond and Ferry Corsten, Chase & Status, Netsky, Kaskade, Skrillex and so much more. I hope you enjoy as much as I loved putting this together. Now excuse me, while I go have a little Flashback Friday dance part all of my own!
Remember: we’re all in this together, so the least we can do is try and find moments of enjoyment, connection, and dance! If you have FaceTime, Twitch or any other type of video conferencing – turn it into a social, invite your friends and get down with the squad digitally. Enjoy, friends – and try and put something funky into your Friday.
With the turning of the Seasons here in Washington, Spring is kicking herself into a beautiful full bloom; and as we’re making it through another week of Stay in Place orders in Washington, I know I’m not the only one who is simply itching to get out of her home, back into the great outdoors, and lap up the wonders sprinkled around this fantastic state. Leaving California, one of the big motivators was proximity and access to nature – and let me tell you: up here in the Pacific North West – we’ve got that down.
The last grand adventure that I took, was with my family for my father’s birthday; we took a day to ourselves and gallivanted out of Seattle proper and to the East on Highway 90. Our journey took us along the Snoqualamie River, South of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest into whimsical wonderlands just off of the beaten path; each bit lush with greenery, teaming with fungi, with offerings of waterfalls and scenic views at the end of each and every trail.
We kicked off the day with a stop at Snoqualmie Falls, one of Washington’s most fabled tourist attractions. A member of the National Register of Historic Places, Snoqualmie Falls gained most of its notoriety by being prominently featured on the hit series Twin Peaks. The Falls offers a quick walk, descending down through old growth trees and a temperate rain forest and down to the rushing river below.
We visited in the beginning of October, which was lovely with the mix of light wind, succulent sunshine and the tiniest dusting of snow on the mountain ranges nearby. I was told the best seasons to really get the full effect of the Falls are between the end of Autumn and beginning of Spring as the water levels in the area rise.
From there, we headed further East towards North Bend. Under the ever shifting blue skies and shifting autumn leaves, we found ourselves pulling off at almost turnout we could to explore the abundant little nooks and crannies along the way, finally stumbling upon one of my still favorite finds.
As you duck under the canopy of the tree grove and into what feels like Avatar, you’re greeted by colorful fungi and the delightful sound of rushing water.
Inching closer to the sound, you’ll find a narrow trail with spritzes of water tumbling towards your direction. Finally, low and behold – the breathtaking beauty of Franklin Falls. As you descend downwards, closer and closer to the waterfalls – rainbows cascade from the spray and you’re immediately enveloped in a magical mist. There’s simply nothing like it.
After a few moments reveling in the rainbows and raindrops of Franklin Falls, we were off, off and away again, still due East – but this time with a vastly different intention: food. In Ellensburg right off the highway sits the Aardvark Express, a fantastic Korean-Mexican fusion foodtruck boasting some damn fabulous bowls; I highly suggest the Hurry Curry Bowl for any first timers.
With full stomachs and happy hearts, we were back on the road – this time coming home due West, but with just a few more stops to make on the way back.
The first was on the back-end of Snoqualamie Pass in the vastly different landscape of Cle Elum, The Heart of the Cascades. With several hikes and water features, including lakes, the area is the perfect summer spot for camping, recreation and outdoor activities, as well as water sports and boating. Maybe it was the time of year, or just where we decided to take our pit stop – but the landscape started to feel more and more like the desert of Easter Washington than the lush vegetation of the more Western regions.
Finally, last but certainly not least – we took ourselves wandering along the river in Olallie State Park in search of the infamous Twin Falls waterfalls, which contrary to what the name states – actually boast five fantastic falls, serene swimming holes and a cacophony of birds chirping their way through the woods.
Lately, I’ve been reliving my adventures through my photos because of the one two punch of ‘stay in place’ orders and park closures. When this current Coronavirus chas is over, I’m almost positive there will be a flood of people out to all of the parks and open areas – so please, be conscious of your physical distance, and please don’t go out if you’re sick However, if you’re anything like me I know you’re feverishly plotting your next outdoor adventure – where’s the first place you’re planning on visiting once you can? Let me know in the comments below!
For more information on the trails mentioned, peep the links below: