Category Archives: random thoughts

My Paris Prep and Packing List!

I’m so excited. My work is sending me to Paris for a week long conference, NEXT WEEK! I’ve never been to Paris, or France, and Mr. F gets to join me, thanks to all the frequent flyer miles I’ve accrued in the last few years!

We’re staying in a lovely Art Deco hotel within walking distance of the Louvre and the Arc de Triomphe.   I’m also taking all restaurant and site-seeing suggestions, at this point! I’m really excited to check out all the restaurants that Eater suggestions too. (

This next week, I’m working on basic French phrases and my packing list. I’m hoping to learn phrases that help me order and get around easily. I generally travel pretty minimalist but I’m also going to pack a few more stylish things than normal.

So far I have the following things in mind,

*3 pairs of shoes, flipflops for the hotel, comfortable walking shoes,  or  and black ballet flats

*3-4 work dresses, like this one 

*1-2 dress for nights out

*dress pants

*2 work shirts/tunics

*black leggings



*7 pairs of socks

I’m hoping during the evenings and the weekend after the conference that Mr. F and I can check out the Louvre (especially if it’s raining), Arc de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower, the catacombs, and generally enjoy walking around town eating croissants and drinking cappuccinos.

Any other suggestions? Along with the photos on this post, I’m gathering ideas on my Pinterest Board, Paris Prep!

Recent Seattle restaurant reviews

My next reviews are in the Seattle Frelard, Ballard and Eastlake neighborhoods, where I mostly frequent, and get to via bike easily. (I also wrote this post prior to Mr. F making dinner…so I was hungry…)

Tarsen I Jane

13198454_783543750362_6424228620012600562_o We went less than a month ago within a week of their opening night. They had awesome presentation, tasty bites (literally), and a cool atmosphere. We love their Spanish wine selection. The chefs are present in the open kitchen and friendly. However, I wish I had been brave enough to tell them that their food is way too expensive for the amount they serve, and that they need more than 5 bites in each dish, especially when it’s deemed an entree. Hopefully, the quantity to price point won’t put them under too quickly. They really pushed the tasting menu as the best deal, which we declined since we wanted little to no grain and the main entree was their paella. Overall, I’d go back if they increased their portions.

(This is right next to Frelard Pizza on NW Leary, which is loud and very child friendly. I prefer Ballard Pizza Company, which is the same restaurant group, but this space is more intimate and the pizza is better cooked. They also have a new location in South Lake Union.)

Marine Hardware

13340111_786261314342_8284043810648416068_o This is a perfect date night spot. Marine Hardware shares the building with the Walrus & Carpenter, Barnacle, and Staple & Fancy. This new Ethan Stowell concept was a small space but it worked. They had cool 90s hits playing and every course of the tasting menu was tailored to our preferences. We loved their steak tartare almost as much as the Walrus & Carpenter’s next door. As I mentioned on my Instagram, I’m still drooling over the classic preparation with celery puree. I can’t wait to go back soon and try more of their dishes! 13308618_786339362932_7153069358778640991_o

Sushi Kappo Temura

13391545_786718044052_3708864163352142685_o The healthy Japanese brunch options are our favorite for chill Saturday and Sunday mornings. Mr F loves their sashimi and I love the non-rice fish selections too. We enjoy going here for dinner or brunch, but sometimes forget to go, since it’s not within easy walking distance of our house. It’s also a large restaurant and centrally located.

My most loved restaurant still remains, La Isla. We’re there almost every week. Mr. F and I enjoy getting the camerones during happy hour and I also like getting the pina colada. 13147761_782742580912_1018508227466323576_o My absolute favorite meal is the pernil pastleon, which is basically a healthier lasagna with plantains and Ma’s Lil’ peppers. We usually ask for the en Fuego sauce to accompany the garlic sauce too! It’s a perfect compliment to the cheese and pork.   11225414_755721815742_595450579947374705_o If I could only have one meal for the rest of my life, it would be the pernil pastelon!

Four more days until Christmas, Eight Days until Maui!

The tree is up and all my presents have been wrapped, including the white elephant presents for Christmas Eve at my uncle’s with approximately 30 people!


Last week, my sisters and I started a new tradition of going to see a musical together at Christmas. This year, we saw Sound of Music.


I have one more work trip to Santa Monica before the holiday but otherwise, I’m in holiday mode.

My parents are coming over for dinner tonight. Mr. F is making tomato, red pepper and fennel soup and pernil (Puerto Rican style braised pork shoulder). I’ll share pictures soon. For now……

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas to you

Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say
On a bright Hawaiian Christmas day
That’s the island greeting that we send to you
From the land where palm trees sway

Here we know that Christmas will be green and bright
The sun will shine by day and all the stars at night
Mele Kalikimaka is Hawaii’s way
To say Merry Christmas
A very Merry Christmas
A very, very, Merry,Merry Christmas to you

Read more: Bing Crosby – Mele Kalikimaka Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Our birthday month was marvelous

Time is moving so quickly! It’s been over a month since I last blogged and almost a month since my birthday! image While Mr. F was out of town the first two weeks of February, I celebrated my birthday early with my parents, grandparents and uncle at one of my favorite Italian restaurants, Agrodolce. I love all their pastas! The night before my birthday, Mr. F was back in town and we went to a champagne pairing dinner at the Whale Wins with our good friend, Mohit! One of the best dishes was the trout! image On my actual birthday I had teleconferences that started at 6 am so by the time it was lunch, I thought a piña colada image was in order at my favorite lunch place, La Isla! It was a perfect birthday treat. The day got even better as we celebrated image my birthday dinner with our good friends, Kelly, Patrick and Mohit at Brimmer & Heeltapimage February was so great because I didn’t have to travel much and we had so many great meals celebrating us! On Valentine’s Day, Mr. F made delectable egg pasta carbonara. image The next night we celebrated again at How to Cook a Wolf with my parents, grandparents and uncle. Tootie and I love Italian food.

On Mr. F’s birthday, Mohit joined us again and we shared a fantastic bottle of Bionic Frog! We also went to a fun small plates restaurant, Manolin image down the street from us.

image We celebrated Mohit’s birthday with a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island! We had a great lunch near the ferry and walked to Bainbridge Organic Distillers two miles from the ferry docks.image It was gorgeous weather and hard to believe it was 60 degrees on the last day of February. image image To top off our wonderfully indulgent month, we had dim sum before my trip to Los Angeles. While we were eating humbao and potstickers, a small dragon parade went by! image As if my birthday month couldn’t get any better, I was upgraded to First Class to and from Los Angeles, saw a great friend for lunch and a yoga session, plus I got to relax in the Alaska Airlines Board Room in LAX AND I sat behind a celebrity on the way back!!

Seattle in the summer is magical

In July, I traveled to Hawaii, Idaho Falls, St. Louis and Pittsburgh with nearly two weeks at home without travel. The day I got back from Hawaii, my college buddy, Beav was visiting so we meet Andrea at the Ballard Seafood Fest to see our favorite band, Vaudeville Etiquetteimageimage image image They are an awesome band to watch live and they hand out kazoos to join in the last song! imageimageThe flowers are popping in our neighborhood. We’ve been spending lots of time swimming in the Sound and sunning on our wedding beach. imageWe been to a lot of great restaurants too, including Bourbon and Bones for BBQ with our good friend, Beav! imageWhen I was flying through Salt Lake City to Idaho Falls I saw image the fires in Eastern Washington from the plane. Fortunately, Andrea’s husband is fighting them and they’re under control now. imageThe kitties loved me being home more in July and Lily was a frequent lap warmer.image One of my favorite views of Seattle is coming home from a work trip and seeing the mountains. image image La  Isla is another favorite Ballard restaurant especially the empanadillas at happy hour. Pono Ranch is another new favorite because they have a huge patio and fish tacos!image imageimageOf course, there’s also Little Woody’s for delicious burgers. There are two new burger places that opened this month that I’ll have to post about next.

In August, I’ve had work trips in Seattle, Fargo, Spokane and next week, I’ll return to Boise and St Louis. I’m looking forward to seeing Beav again and my in-laws! imageSeptember will be a travel heavy month too, with trips to Idaho Falls, Boise, Missoula, Chicago, Honolulu, Spokane, Chicago again but I’ll have the last week of September free!!!

A break from Hawaii for a Colorado picture post!!

IMG_0108I found more pictures of Colorado on my camera and had to share them. My cousin Colleen’s house is phenomenal. She just moved in over Memorial Day Weekend, so I was one of the first family members to visit her in late June! IMG_0110 She has a spectacular view IMG_0111of the Continental Divide from Boulder Heights IMG_0112and her lovely house is filled to the brim with gorgeous succulent plants, local flowers and adorable dogs and image cats.IMG_0115 (Maybe even a direwolf!) IMG_0116  Also, delicious food is made here!IMG_0119 Colleen even made my favorite, IMG_0130Strawberry Rhubarb pie! After dinner with more cousins, Colleen and I star gazed from the hot tub! IMG_0121I hope I have another work excuse to go back to Colorado and visit Colleen in Boulder again this summer! We have so much fun together. I wish we lived closer! image

On balancing travel and staying healthy on the road and at home

I’ve been reading about finding balance recently, especially through yoga and Tara Stiles inspired me this today: “In the spirit of Monday morning and getting it all done, I encourage you to soften yourself today. Perform your tasks with a sense of ease. Approach your conversations to listen first, carrying your objective in your back pocket. Allow conflict to exist without getting emotionally consumed. Allow yourself space to breathe. Take a big deep inhale. Exhale a little longer. Repeat during the day.

Stress and tension exist. It’s a part of life. Practicing ease through yoga and the rest of your life isn’t to erase or block out tension, it’s to work with it, let it roll through you, not get stuck on you, so you can get more done with a lot less effort.”

When I’m traveling for work, I try to make at least 15 minutes for a quick yoga session, walk as much as possible and/or check out the hotel pool for laps every day. I found a new article called, “A business travel workout crafted by a professional mountain climber“. I’m looking forward to trying this routine:

The workout

Find a location that has an optimum running path and an adjacent park.

1.) 5-minute run / skip / walk warm-up / shake out

2.) Open and close your hand repeatedly

Basic routine:

1.) 10 stretches to touch your toes

2.) 10 shoulder, elbow, wrist, finger rotations, in each direction (the centrifugal force that moves blood to your hands is a good tip to move blood to your hands when it is cold out)

3.) 20 lunges (step forward with one leg and bend down to create a 90-degree angle)

4.) 10 stand-ups (lay on your back with knees bent and feet flat on ground; roll forward to upright standing position; reverse to return to original position)

5.) 5 to 20 push-ups (75% capacity)

6.) 1 minute of a fixed line hip stretch: Clasp your hands and bring your elbows down to your knees, in a squat, to extend hips

7.) 4 x 4 plank: Hold a plank position (like a push-up, but with forearms flat against the ground) for one minute each facing down (both arms), left (one arm), down (both arms), right (one arm) using your core to support your body and keeping arms and legs immobile.

8.) 1 minute each side: Stand and balance on one leg, raising the other in front of you; stand and balance on one leg, pulling the other behind you by grabbing the ankle.

This foundation for fitness takes between 10 and 15 minutes and can be repeated or as a daily goal.

I hope these thoughts and tips are helpful. I’ve been stressing out unnecessarily for example, I’ve meant to write about Lihue, Kauai and our favorite fish market but I’ve been traveling more for work and recently got back from Walla Walla, our old college stomping grounds, which I’d also love to write more about, soon. I leave today for Fargo, ND so I’m going to try soften and find some time on the on the road this week for both this new workout and blog catch up!

This is one of the first work weeks that I’ll be gone Monday through Friday. I’ll miss Mr. F as I’m traveling through the Midwest and visiting my cousin, Colleen in Boulder after a work trip to Colorado Springs!

Next week, I’ll be home in Seattle more with only one work trip to Boise and then it’s the Fourth of July weekend!!! This will be a nice time to go to yoga regularly and sleep more!