Friday, May 30, 2014

A Good Read

A couple of months ago I got the chance to write a homes article for Lake Minnetonka Magazine. Though I've written dozens of articles for the magazine over the past five years, what made this one so special was that I got to write it about my Dad! He is an amazing designer, and it was so fun to get to work with him on this. Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Hama Hama Oyster Rama!

A couple of Saturdays ago we headed out to the Hood Canal with our friends Taylor, Carly, and their baby, Wes, to the Hama Hama Oyster Rama! It's an oyster extravaganza of sorts where you can pick your own oysters and dig your own clams. Luke and I are shellfish lovers (well, Luke more than me), so we were really excited to feast on some fresh-out-of-the-water catches. It was a rainy Saturday afternoon, but that's pretty typical here.We felt like true Pacific Northwesterners digging for our clams and searching for oysters in the rain.

Oysters galore!

Found a good one!

Luke the oyster hunter

There were literally just thousands of oysters scattered along the shore. So, we tried to find the best ones which we were told were the ones with lots of ridges and purple edges. These oysters go for about $3 each at restaurants, and we got a dozen for $5!

And if you were willing to put the work in, you could also dig for clams.

Caitlin clam digger!

After our hard work, we feasted on a picnic lunch and lots of shellfish! Luke probably ate two dozen oysters -- not even kidding. And I tried my first oyster shooter (Note: an oyster shooter is a raw oyster, plain and simple). We took photos to document this inaugural experience:

I look thrilled, don't I? The taste was pretty good, but it's the texture that's just a little too "out there" for me.

We rounded out our trip sitting by a bonfire on the beach. It just doesn't get better than that. So, as you can imagine, between our four dozen oysters and two dozen clams, we had quite a bit of shellfish to consume. Luke conquered the oysters, and with the clams, we made our own clam chowder! Here's how it turned out:

All in all, it was the perfect Pacific Northwest weekend!

Friday, April 11, 2014

More reading (lucky you!)

You lucky blog readers, you! 

Here's some of my latest pieces :)

2014 Community Impact Awards (Minnesota Business, March 2014)

Technology for Change (Minnesota Business, March 2014)

A Solution of Sorts (Minnesota Business, April 2014)

Getting with the Program (Minnesota Business, April 2014)

They also just redid the Minnesota Business website, and I have my very own writer page! (I'm not afraid of a little shameless self-promotion sometimes...) It automatically populates my most recent articles from the website, so read away!

Friday, April 4, 2014

And, we're back!

Hello blog readers! Sorry for the massive delay in postings. Somehow, it's already the beginning of April and I haven't updated any of you on our recent adventures and happenings here in Seattle. Here's a rundown of the winter months up until now:

1. First things first -- we went to lovely (and very cold, might I add) Minnesota for Christmas! We had a great time braving the snowstorms and spending time with family and friends. We spent time in Minnetonka and Wells -- and Luke even found time to spend a couple of days snowmobiling in Wisconsin with his friends John and Travis.

Merry Christmas!

Our delicious Christmas Eve dinner prepared by my lovely mom :)

Here's our nephew AJ in the super stylish hat we gave him for Christmas. I mean, seriously, how cute is he?

The whole crew at the Hill Family Christmas Extravaganza!

The smaller Hill family :)

Luke and his dad roasting hot dogs on a chilly winter night. You can't tell they're related, can you?

2. I went to Kansas City in January to visit one of my best friends, Jenna. Jenna and I met in high school, but it wasn't until college at SPU that we became good friends. Jenna and her husband, Scott, have been busy taking care of their two adorable kiddos (Noah and Arie) and remodeling houses the past couple of years, and we rarely seem to be in Minnesota at the same time anymore. So, I just had to go and visit for a long weekend! We had the best time catching up, going shopping, and hanging out with the little ones.

Jenna and me!

This is adorable Arie playing dress up. She's got style, right? This girl is a whirlwind of energy and fun! Somehow I never managed to get a picture of  Noah; however, I can assure you he is equally as cute as this little one.

3. We went to Arizona to visit Luke's grandma and her husband, Fred. We took a long weekend vacation down to sunny Arizona towards the end of February to spend time with Lois and Fred. We had a fabulous time, and they are pretty much the best hosts you could ask for. They took us hiking at Catalina State Park and Honeybee Park, informed us about all of the cacti and wildlife in Arizona, and they, of course, made sure we were fed well :)

Hiking in Catalina State Park. It was beautiful, and very different from our typical Pacific Northwest hikes.

Our knowledgeable tour guide -- Fred!


Lois & Fred's friends dropped off about five bags of fresh grapefruits. So, Luke decided to squeeze about a dozen and make some juice! It was delicious.

Thanks Lois & Fred for a fabulous weekend!

4. We've been up in the mountains! We went snowshoeing up to Lanham Lake one day, which is close to Steven's Pass. It was cold and blustery, but it sure was fun!

We finally made it to Lanham Lake!

We also had a fun-filled day hiking up at the Snoqualmie pass with Amanda and Travis. It was a VERY steep uphill climb, but the view was so worth it at the top. 

Amanda and me enjoying a little lunch atop the mountain.

We made it!

And at the bottom of the mountain, we saw none other than Smokey the Bear himself. We think he was out saying "hi" to a guided snowshoe group or something like that. But, of course, we had to stop and get a picture with him!

5. My friends are getting ready to have babies! Well, one is. One of my BFFs, Jess, is having a baby in April and I went to a lovely baby shower to celebrate her and her baby boy on the way. How cute is she?

6. And lastly, we've started house hunting! We're just starting to check out homes with our Realtor, which is all very exciting and a little bit strange at the same time. We've been living in one-bedroom apartments for the past five years... so I'm not sure we'll know what to do with an entire house. (Though I'm sure our parents will be more than happy to get rid of those last few boxes we've been storing at their homes since our Chicago move...) We'll make sure to keep you posted!

Thanks for reading, until next time!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hot off the press

Well, some of these articles aren't so "hot" off the press, but I thought I would supply you all with some reading material in case you are a Minnesotan stuck inside due to the Polar Vortex, or a Seattle-ite stuck inside because of the rain. And for those of you living in warmer places like Arizona and California, well, we're all just a little bit jealous of you.

Part of the reason my blogging has slowed down is because I've been so busy writing...and writing... and writing... for my Microsoft job and then for the magazines I work on. So, here's a sampling of my work from the fall and early winter. Enjoy!

The 2013 Minnesota Business Manufacturing Awards (Minnesota Business Magazine, October 2013)

Halloween Treats from Painted Turtle Chocolatier (Plymouth Magazine, October 2013)

Holiday Wine Picks (White Bear Lake Magazine, November 2013)

Holiday Desserts from Wuollet Bakery (Lake Minnetonka Magazine, November 2013)

Mission Accomplished (Minnesota Business Magazine, November 2013)

The 2013 Leaders in Health Care Awards (Minnesota Business Magazine, November 2013)

St. Andrews Community Resource Center Helps Create New Beginnings (White Bear Lake Magazine, December 2013)

The Queen of Creativity (Woodbury Magazine, December 2013)

The Art Effect (Minnesota Business Magazine, January 2014)

Mankato on the Move (Minnesota Business Magazine, February 2014)

Working for Hope (Minnesota Business Magazine, February 2014)

Best Chocolate Desserts in White Bear Lake (White Bear Lake Magazine, February 2014)

P.S. If you just want to read one or two, my favorites are: Mission Accomplished, The Art Effect, Mankato on the Move, and Working for Hope

Monday, December 23, 2013

Super Happy Holiday Fun Day!

When we were living in Chicago, we started an annual tradition that we named, "Super Happy Holiday Fun Day!" We take a day each holiday season to do as many festive things as we can. When we were in Chicago, we would go ice skating downtown, eat lunch next to the big Christmas tree in the Oak Room at Macy's, go holiday shopping, and deliver cookies to Luke's co-workers. This year, we drove up to Steven's pass to go snowshoeing and then spent the afternoon in Leavenworth and watched the tree lighting.

We headed up to the mountains early in the day and stopped at the Sultan Bakery for some delicious treats! Once we got to our hiking area, we strapped on the snowshoes and headed up the hill!

Of course, Luke, brought his sled (he loves his sled), and we had some fun with that... 

Watch out! Comin' through!

However, the sledding adventure was not without its casualties. I have a nice bruise on my side from a run-in with a small tree. Whoops!

Gaining speed!

And, then Luke started throwing snowballs at me. Are you surprised?

Our view. There's something so beautiful about trees blanketed in white...

After a fun-filled morning in the snow, we headed to Leavenworth where we grabbed a bite to eat and hung out for a while. Leavenworth is a little German-themed town in the mountains and at Christmastime, it's decked out with lights and holiday decorations. 

Welcome to Leavenworth!

At dusk, everyone gathered in the town square for the tree-lighting ceremony. It was so fun when they lit up the whole town at once.

After the tree-lighting, we headed back to Seattle. And we spent a majority of our two-hour car ride listening to the Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas album (which just happens to be Luke's favorite).

It was a successful super happy holiday fun day, indeed!

Christmas Card Out-Takes

After taking a brief one-year hiatus from our annual Christmas card, we're back! We made it up to Steven's Pass and took some pictures in the snow. Here's some photos that we used, and some out-takes too!

For some reason, I was doing all of the hard work!

Snow surfing?

Hello, everyone!

A man and his sled.

What's so funny?

Merry Christmas, everyone! We wish you a blessed holiday season!