Seattle Day 1| June 14 2017

The Seattle Japanese Garden

The Japanese Garden is an extremely beautiful and peaceful place. I feel like it’s a little overlooked. It’s not in the City Centre, and it’s definitely not an extremely touristy place (part of the appeal!)

In it’s late spring/early summer stages, everything is incredibly green and many of the trees and bushes are still blooming beautifully. I can’t imagine how gorgeous it would be in the autumn,  with all those trees on fire!

I would highly recommend checking this place out, should you ever find yourself in Seattle. You can do a guided tour, or just grab a brochure and go. On some days you can even see a tea ceremony.

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Alki Beach

Alki Beach is across the bridge in West Seattle, which in itself is a really charming place. It’s a rocky beach that looks out  on Elliot Bay. It’s a great little place to people watch, and watch the ferries go back and forth.

I am told that in the colder months, you can even see seals and sea lions. Plus, there’s a lot of really cute restaurants running along the street behind the beach. It’s also a great place to collect shells and cool rocks!

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Favorites | Cruelty Free Products

I was inspired by a friend of mine who is in the process of becoming vegetarian/vegan, and has been asking me a lot of questions about the lifestyle. So, I decided to make a list of my favourite cruelty free brands to help anyone else who might be looking for suggestions. These are all personal care products that I use everyday.

First of all, all of the products below are certified cruelty free. Which means they all have either the Leaping Bunny  or PETA symbols.

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My list will consist of general brands that I like, and then a specific product(s) I use by them. One asterisk denotes that the product is also vegetarian, two denotes that the product is also vegan.

  • Alba Botanica
    • Acne Wash*
  • Avalon Organics
    • Balancing toner**
    • Lavender shampoo**
  • Burt’s Bees
    • Acne spot treatment
    • Light BB Cream
    • Lipstick
  • Hello
    • Toothpaste**
  • IT Cosmetics
    • Mascara**
  • Kirk’s Castile
    • Original Coco Castile soap bar**
  • Tom’s of Maine
    • Mouthwash**
    • Toothpaste**
    • Deodorant**

These are all my beauty products! Sparse, I know. I use many different brands for different things. Clearly, Burt’s Bees is the one I use the most products from. All of Burt’s Bees products are Leaping Bunny certified, but not vegan because they do use animal by-products such  as beeswax and buttermilk. Not in all of their products though, and if you’re curious as to which are vegan I’m sure they’d be more than happy to tell you if you asked! I’m working on that. I just love every product I’ve ever used by them.

Also, if you’re curious about something you already use or want to use, but aren’t sure if they are cruelty free, this list on the Leaping Bunny website and these lists on PETA’s website are very helpful.

Lake Superior, a poem

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The lake’s large waves lapped

in with the wind

and kissed my feet.

A seagull sat,

hunched on a large rock,

hiding from the wind.

I stepped carefully along the beach

of smooth stones and driftwood,

inhaled the damp, fresh air

and looked out to the horizon

barely able to tell the sky

from the shoreline.

There was something so final about it,

and something so exciting.

Infinite possibilities

and unfortunate dead ends.

The beginning

and ending of something

at the same time.

The Importance of Noticing Details and Being Present

Details are so important. I live my live surrounding them. As an anxious person, there’s nothing more important than details. As a traveler, nothing should be more important than details.

But sometimes it’s really really hard to notice details when you’re travelling. It’s super easy to get caught up in looking at all the big things that everyone else is noticing. I mean once you lock eyes on the Eiffel Tower, you can’t really focus on anything else. Or at least, it’s really hard to focus on everything else.

I have come to love details the most. They’re my favourite things about travelling. All the big, amazing things are incredible, but the small things keep me learning. They keep me surprised and renewed and in love with where I am. They keep me present.

And being present is the most important part of travelling, because not only do you remember what you see, but you remember what you feel. Being a naturally very observant person, this probably comes more easily to me than a lot of people. You get a deeper meaning from everything that is happening to you. Unfortunately, you will probably miss it more because you formed a deeper connection.

A really good way to notice details and remain present is to journal, and journal about everything. Even if you don’t feel like what you’re writing is an important contribution, write it in there anyway. You’ll thank yourself later, I promise. Write about everything you see (draw it if  you can!), but go deeper. Also write about how it makes you feel, what you smell, what you hear, what you learned.  Even the most seemingly trivial details will make you laugh, cry, cringe, and remember when it is over. And take pictures! or videos! even of the most stupid stuff!

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You won’t just remember that it  was raining when you were on the train to Germany, you’ll remember the way the rain drops looked and the sound they made when they hit the train windows. You won’t just remember the cute little cafe, you’ll remember the big fat orange cat that sat on the stone steps and watched you as you walked by. You won’t just remember eating pastries outside your favourite bakery, you’ll remember how the sun looked shining on the awnings, how the architecture of the building opposite looked, and how the summer breeze carried the smell of bread all the way down the street. You won’t just remember low tide in Venice, you’ll remember standing on the steps that are usually covered in water, the smell of the algae, and the sound of the waves.

Ode to a Spring Day

The clouds are low

and dark

and they blanket the sky

like a wrinkled quilt

of white and grey,

but it doesn’t rain

not even a tell-tale drop.

The heavy clouds

hold the drops

on the tips of their tongues

like a secret.

And below them,

the trees,

greener than I have ever seen,

dance in the wind

bending and swaying

perfectly in time

to music only they can hear.

The wild flowers bloom

on the sides of the roads,

showing off their brightest colours,

daring people to stop

and pick them.

I may not be in love

with where I’m at,

but I’m sure in love

with all the life

that surrounds me.

Earth Day

I am a major appreciator of the Earth. I love appreciating it from a global perspective, because no matter where I go it is always the same Earth under my feet. It’s amazing to think that no matter how different the landscape is, it’s all on the same planet. No matter how different the people are, we all belong to the same Earth. We all dance under the same stars, we all wake up to the same sun and sleep under the same moon. I think that is beautiful. I think the Earth we share is beautiful.

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We all share this Earth. It is solid, ever-changing, and incredible. It is not an expendable resource that we own, it is an intricate system that we are a part of.

Today I’m celebrating Earth Day by not making any trash.

Let the Earth know how much you love it. Hug some trees, pick up some trash, maybe even promise to eliminate some needless everyday waste like plastic straws. Every day is Earth Day when you respect our amazing planet!

 

Nostalgia // Vienna

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I just keep picturing myself walking through Volkgarten. Or sitting on the steps of the Kunsthistorisches. Or walking home in the rain with my groceries. Or strolling along the river.

I almost cried when I came across a picture from outside my Ubahn station. I can remember all the sights and smells, and the same man who sang there every evening at the same time.

They’re good memories, from probably what is the best period in my life thus far.

But I guess that’s what makes it so sad to think about them?

I’m not going to lie, it was actually quite hard for me to look through all my pictures for this. I try to avoid it as much as possible, or I get very emotional. But I’ve been missing Vienna like crazy recently (well, all the time. But it feels like more right now.) Anyway, these are some of my favourites that I rejected from previous blog posts. I don’t know why I rejected them, because they are still beautiful. Even if you took a picture that was completely out of focus, you cannot take a bad picture of that city.