Coffee Klatch: Bedlam Coffee

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On my quest to find the perfect cup of joe, I stumbled upon this eclectic coffeehouse in Belltown.  They roast their own beans, so I was excited to give it a try.  First off, the ambience was really fun.  Even finding the coffee lids was a game.  (I looked all over the counter and when I looked up they were hanging from the ceiling in a basket.)  The baristas were the friendliest I had come across at any pretentious coffeehouse.  They were helpful, and kind, unlike at Victrola where they look at you like you’re mad if you ask for a small coffee not realizing it’s one size only.

I was excited to try this place because I heard they had a lavender mocha latte.  They also had some other really delicious looking lattes.  This perhaps may have been clue #1.  At most pretentious coffee houses, they won’t even put vanilla syrup in your latte because they don’t want to ruin the true coffee flavor.   I did not realize this until too late.  I ordered a lavender mocha latte for myself and an iced americano for the hubs.  The latte was waaaaay too sweet, but the americano seriously tasted like tar water.  Hence the need for all sorts of sweetened drinks.

Verdict: great place to hang out with a sweet drink, not so great for amazing coffee.

Nature is Amazing

This week, I took a trip to Alki Beach with some ladies from my eclectic craft group.  I’ve been wanting to check out this beach since everyone has been telling me it reminds them of California.  Uh, got there, and NO, it is nothing like California.  At least not the Los Angeles beaches I know.  It’s actually a little more awe inspiring and a bit more beautiful.   (In a way)

driftwood

driftwood

While there isn’t any sand, and absolutely no palm trees, there IS driftwood, eel grass, nori, mottled anemones, endless starfish, sunflower sea stars, crabs, moon snails, and floating islands of evergreens and mountains in the distance.  I’ve never seen a beach like it.  I can’t do my favorite beach activities here (e.g. lay out and get a nice crisp tan) but I can learn about the incredible creatures that share this world with me.  Thanks to the Beach Naturalists of the Seattle Aquarium I got to learn a lot about the wildlife in the area.  It was an unusually low tide this day, so the Beach Naturalists were out in full force to educate the visitors on the shore.  I learned a lot, and saw creatures I never even knew existed.

Like this one:

3Awesome right?

And then there were these weird anemones called ‘mottled anemones,’ a far cry from the cute ones in the South Bay.

imageKind of gross huh?

It was really neat to see the diversity of life on this beach, it reminded me how amazing this planet truly is.

the most enormous starfish I've ever seen

the most enormous starfish I’ve ever seen

 

 

Coffee Klatch: Victrola

This morning I wanted to start my day with a nice, hot cup o joe. I have been dying to try Victrola coffee roasters. Lo and behold I drove right past one and immediately started hunting for parking.

This guy wasn't moving fast enough for me to get a picture without him in it.

This guy wasn’t moving fast enough for me to get a picture without him in it.

The edgy art work, crowded tables, macs everywhere made me feel I’d been transported to LA (Apple country). This place was a little more trendy than some of the others. It went beyond the normal milk substitutes. It went all the way to hemp milk. It went all the way to kombucha on tap! I however, went for the daily pour over which set me back $4.60 and 15 minutes. When I got my brew it was pretty tasty. It tasted a lot like a few Intelligentsia roasts I’ve had.

While it was a great cup of coffee, I still have another favorite…

The Coffee Klatch: Uptown Espresso

One of my absolute favorite things about Seattle is the coffee culture.  I’m relatively new to the coffee world.  I refused to drink it up until my mid twenties, but now just the idea of a good cup of coffee makes me giddy.  For me, there’s a romantic notion attached to this drink.  It brings to mind cafes in Paris, a respite from a busy day, a decadent pick me up, a great conversation, a stroll in the park with a loved one and a latte.  It’s all of these things, along with a little kick for that extra pep in your step.  Mmmmm….I could use a latte right about now.

My mission during my year in this city is to find the best locally roasted beans in town.  This is quite a task.  There is literally a cafe on every block! Lucky for me, many of them serve the same beans.  Phew! So far I’ve tried a few of the famous roasters.  But today, my focus is Uptown Espresso  “Home of the Velvet Foam”.  They’re famous for their Caffe Generra (a mocha latte with their signature velvet foam and fresh orange zest sprinkled on top.)  But as you know, I’m on a mission and I didn’t want all that sweet stuff messing up my judgment, so I got a good ole latte.  It took me a while to decide to go dairy or almond milk (another beautiful thing here is that every cafe has almond milk, rice milk, or soy as a dairy substitute–so enlightened).  I went with the regular milk latte, and it was pretty creamy and delicious.  All in all a good latte, but not my favorite roast so far.

imageYou should try it for yourself, they have 8 locations in Seattle.  Maybe get that special mocha latte.

Thoughts on Becoming a Bitter Infertile

I’ve noticed that most people (who have an online presence) that struggle with infertility can be categorized as bitter.  In fact there’s a blog I read named just that: Yet Another Bitter Infertile.   It’s really hard to stay positive and full of hope when each attempt you make dashes your dreams, and the statistics give you a less than ideal chance of achieving your goal of becoming a parent.  I’m working hard at not becoming just another bitter infertile woman, but let me tell you– it is hard.

It’s hard because you are constantly unsure of what to think and how to feel, and whether or not your thoughts and feelings are okay.  Here are just a few situations that make my brain and heart go all wonky:

1.  When a friend tells you she’s pregnant (Especially when it’s 6 friends announcing it in the year you pursue IVF).  I want so badly to be happy for them, and I know I am.  They deserve it, and they will be awesome parents.  But my initial reaction feels something like my heart sinking to the pit of my stomach.  It feels wrong to feel this way, but I can’t stop it.  I reason with myself to remind myself that I have so many great things going for me.  But for now, it’s not a baby.

2.  When your family starts to tell you  maybe not having kids wouldn’t be that bad.  This came as a surprise to me.  My mom has been hounding me for a grandchild for a good 4 years now.  She knows everything about our struggles, though I’m not sure she totally understands.  Just recently she started mentioning couples she knows who couldn’t have kids, and didn’t.  How they express they still have wonderful and complete lives.  On one hand I get that my mom is trying to help me feel okay with what may be our future, but on the other I feel like everyone is just losing hope.

3.  When everyone around you tells you to relax.  I know, I know.  Once I relax, my eggs will somehow reverse age, and my uterus will be a perfect home for baby.  right…But then, maybe if I did relax a little more I would get pregnant?  I don’t know, I’ve never been one to be stress free.  Maybe that’s the problem? Oh, god!

4.  When you have to decide how far you’ll go.  Will you do IVF? ICSI?  What about Donor Eggs? How about a surrogate?  What about adopting an embryo?  How about adopting from a foreign country?  What if you adopted from foster care?  How about being foster parents?  Would you want your child to be half your partner and half a stranger?  It’s amazing how your views change after being in this for long enough.  At first it’s, “No, I’d never do IVF.” Then it’s, “Oh no way I’d do donor eggs.” Until, you hear you might just need them.  It’s a constant battle with limits you set for yourself and the desire to become a parent.  How much do you want this?

5.  When people stop asking you about your family plans. I love that I don’t have to answer questions about when we’ll have babies.  No more explanations, we all understand what’s happening here.  But then it also feels like you’ve been written off and everyone knows you can’t have kids and you’re all by yourself in a special box.

6.  When people ask you about your family plans.  It’s like, “Haven’t you heard, we can’t have kids!”  But part of me also feels like, “Yes! I’m still in the age group where people think we should be having kids.”

You see, in each of these situations it’s so much easier to turn off the internal struggle and just be angry and bitter.  It’s an easy emotion to go to.  We all know how to be angry.  My goal is to keep sorting it out, and not become your typical bitter infertile.  Be patient with me.

Weekend Fun: Ballard Seafood Fest, Silver Jubilee, and UCU

Seattleites love their summers.  Even though it only lasts 2 months (maybe slightly more), they fill each sunny moment with some sort of festival.  I haven’t experienced the winter months here yet, but today S tells me the average high for September through May is somewhere in the 50s.  This explains a lot.

It explains why every single weekend of summer you can find at least 2-3 festivals to go to, and it definitely explains why when you go to these festivals they are packed! This weekend I hit up three.  Yes, three festivals/events in two days.  

The first one we went to was the Ballard Seafood Fest.  By the way, the same time the Seafood fest was going on there was also a Beer Fest, an art walk, and a small Bastille day gathering.  (see what I mean)  We walked around a bit and found tons of vendors and seafood stands.  We stuffed our faces with crab cakes, shrimp caesar salads, and seafood gumbo.  Yum!

Later that night we made our way to the Sub Pop 25th anniversary Silver Jubilee in Georgetown.  I really wanted to see Father John Misty and my old college favorite, Built to Spill.  We were able to catch a few songs from both.  Best of all, this event was totally free! I’ve paid some serious bucks for festivals like this in LA.  We discovered some delicious pizza there too: Via Tribunali.  Pizza and beer helped top off this amazing day for sure. 

Today, I vowed to go to the Urban Craft Uprising, with or without a buddy.  Luckily I found two buddies to go with:) It was a much smaller event than I’m used to in Los Angeles, but it was also FREE! Most of the Craft fairs in LA charge an entrance fee.  I bought a cute little card for S, and a cute little ring for me:

imagePardon the blurry pictures, I still haven’t figured out how to take a decent photo.  At some point I expect they’ll get better.

This ring was at a stand with tons of cute/delicate pieces all made by this French woman, Virginie Millefiori.  She has an online shop if you want to check it out. Here packaging is adorable too!

1I’d say, if you want to visit Seattle, summer is definitely the time to do it.

 

 

Beauty Buzz: Josie Maran’s Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelee

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The other day, I was browsing one of my favorite websites, Hello Giggles, and came across a review of this product.  I knew as soon as I read it, I had to have it.  So, on one of my not so busy afternoons I decided to walk to the local Sephora.  Lucky for me (unlucky for my bank account) I live really closely to the Westlake Shopping Center.  I just discovered that the Anthropologie here has a petites section! Apparently it’s the test site for the petites shop.  But I digress…

I bought this cheek gelee (not blush, not tint, not stain–gelee) in getaway red.  The reviewer at Hello Giggles picked the coral one, but she also described herself as pasty. I tried them both, and while the color is buildable, I thought the coral was a little too subtle for my skin tone.

I love how moisturized it makes my skin feel, and how it looks radiant, but not shiny.  The main ingredient is coconut water (which, hello, is so in) and of course being a Josie Maran product argan oil is in there too.  It is the perfect cheek color for my “natural summer look.” (natural summer look was brought on by my overuse of black eyeliner recently which made me feel like I was prematurely aging myself.  I realized my day look didn’t differ much from my evening look, which is kind of a problem.)

Now all I gotta do is take care of these age spots.