Having a toddler in your house makes it remarkably difficult to complete home projects, go figure. I was able to get my banana leaf wallpaper up during one nap, miraculously, but other than that, things have been slow going. That being said, I'm pretty excited about how things are coming along, slow as they may be. I've been able to thrift and craigslist some really awesome pieces, so I'm pretty much set on furniture, and now it's just more of the finishing-touches type things that I need to bring the room to where I'd like it to be. I don't have a huge wishlist of things, but these few pieces would really tie the room together, as the dude would say.
My style these days is 90% picking worn clothes up off the floor and putting on whatever is there so I can go out in public not wearing a fuzzy robe and PJs, 10% putting together an outfit with any creativity involved. Lately, though, I've been pretty inspired by uniforms and work-wear so I think, if you can call it style inspiration, that is gonna be my 2018 style vibes. I love the idea of having a sort of "uniform" that I can riff off of and have somewhat of a capsule wardrobe so that everything works well with everything else.
1. coveralls + overalls
2. Lieutenant Caps
3. Work Boots
4. Stiff Brimmed Felt Hats
I've been tweaking our bathroom a bit here and there and I've been loving the little details. I took out our ugly old medicine cabinet mirror and replaced it with this circular mirror. It doesn't quite cover the hole from the original medicine cabinet so I need to do some patching (as you can see in the last photo), but I love how much bigger and more open it makes the space feel. I also have had the little moon hook and dip dye macrame plant holder for years and have never found the right spot for them, and this little corner in the bathroom feels like the perfect nook!
I still have some things to do to finish up Jack's new attic room, but here's a little sneak peek!
Being back in Tacoma has been wonderful. Getting to hang out at my old haunts (ok well, rarely. The child in tow makes "hanging out" a little more complicated these days), go on lady dates with my gals, and sometimes I don't even mind the rain. Ok that's a lie, I still hate the rain most days. I partnered up with Modcloth to share some of my favorite spots in Tacoma, so you can jump on over to their blog and check out my reccs!
photos by Amelia Vaughn Photography
It's that time of year when being outside means being pelted with rain, so I'm hiding indoors today instead. These days I don't often find myself wearing a cute outfit, I usually just wear whatever I slept in until I decide to leave the house and then I just throw on some jeans and a top and call it good because I'm just going to cover it all up in a coat. Oh, and a hat is absolutely necessary on 99% of days because my hair lately is just the worst. Hence the messy braid AND the hat displayed here.
With the exception of the shoes, this whole outfit was thrifted. Most was thrifted this summer while I was living in the Portland area (the cardigan I got many years ago at Goodwill and is a staple in my closet). At the time I was feeling super motivated to give my personal style more attention, aaaand then we moved and life got crazy and getting dressed became the last thing on my list to be given more than a passing thought. Blows my mind that I used to do outfit photos every. single. day. Girl had so much more time on her hands. I'd kill for that time now that I'm a mom.
Anyway, Sundays are kind of a reset day for us here. I've been trying to keep up a routine of deep cleaning one room in the house, watering all my plants, and grooming Dusty every Sunday. If I don't, then those things just get forever pushed to the bottom of my to-do list and then all my plants will be hanging on for dear life, our house is a shit-hole, and Dusty's nails are way too long. So, boring but necessary, and at least today Dan made blueberry pancakes for brunch so I'm running on carbs and butter rn.
Today I wore a similar outfit to this one and it reminded me that I never posted these quick snaps from our anniversary outing in Portland! We had a great time in Portland, eating and exploring. In the morning we sought out brunch, which is easy in Portland, and we ended up at The Hazel Room, which is delicious (and also served us the largest glasses of champagne we've ever had). Alter, which is the wonderfully witchy shop next door was a great spot to browse as we waited for our table (but also a little painful because I wanted ev.ery.thing.)
After brunch, we hopped next door to House of Vintage which was super incredible. I found the most amazing hand embroidered duster dress. We stayed at the Ace Hotel Portland, and that afternoon after checking in, we wandered around downtown, popping into shops and then eventually catching Clyde Commons for happy hour drinks and fries. After that we grabbed and uber and headed to Church, then our favorite Portland spot: Hale Pele. From there we went to a cozy little speakeasy called Bible Club (so cool!)
The next morning we brunched yet again, this time at The Country Cat! I didn't take any photos of our Portland adventures, opting to enjoy the moments in real time, but Dan did snap these few pics of my outfit, which I felt cute wearing.
My banana leaf wallpaper dreams have finally come true! Earlier this year I became obsessed with banana leaf wallpaper and was trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my life. When we moved back into our house I was unenthused with my old hexagon mural accent wall in our living room, and after photoshopping a banana leaf motif on to the wall instead, I was sold.
A couple months later, Photowall contacted me and asked if I'd be interested in partnering up and doing one of my walls in their wallpaper, and when I realized that they had the perfect banana leaf pattern I was even more thrilled to partner up!
I've never done "real" wallpaper before, that is the glued-on kind. All the wallpaper walls I've done so far have been the removable stick-on kind, which is an amazing option for someone who rents or just doesn't want to commit to gluing wallpaper on. So this was my first foray into grown-up wallpaper, if you will. This isn't a huge wall, but I was able to get all my panels up in just about an hour and change, which was perfect since I was able to get it done while my son napped.
I also ended up repainting the door in the middle of the wall because I liked the bright flamingo pink next to the wallpaper better than the yellow that it used to be.
I'm pretty excited about wallpaper's triumphant return to the hallowed halls of interior design current trends. If you're loving wallpaper and have your eye on one of Photowall's patterns (or want to make some wallpaper or a mural out of your own photo or design, you can also use Photowall to upload your own image!), I've got a 20% off discount code for you guys, which is good for the next 30 days! Just input the code below at checkout!
As I'm working on setting up our living room this time around, I'm looking back at the different ways I've arranged it in the past to get inspiration. This arrangement is pretty close to what I'm thinking of riffing on. Since our front door opens right into our living room I like how the back of the couch creates a more defined "entryway" space. This time around I'd like to get a sectional that does that same thing, so I can have that space definition, but also have a cozy living room with a couch that wraps around.
The before pictures were what the house looked like when the previous owners had staged the living room. I painted all the walls and trim white, except the big wall I ended up doing in a black chalkboard finish. I love how a chalkboard wall adds a ton of drama, but the chalk treatment gives it texture and lightens it up a bit.
One thing I learned a while back was that hanging your curtains from ceiling height, versus window height, will make your room feel taller, and since this space isn't terribly large, I wanted to do everything I could to make it feel more spacious.
I love a colorful door, so I painted the inside of our front door a fresh teal blue. And I painted the neighboring french door that leads to our office space a bright yellow! If you want to paint a door, don't bother grabbing a full quart of paint, just get one of the paint tester size containers. You'll have more than enough to paint a full door or two!
I painted this hexagon mural wall a couple years ago and while it was fun at the time, I kind of hate it now and am looking forward to reimagining this wall. I've got a few ideas mulling around in my head that will add functionality to a part of the room that isn't used super well currently.
I'm really looking forward to reimagining this space again and sharing the re-styled room with you guys when I get her finished!
The Anchorage apartment kitchen remodel just got me even more excited about refreshing our current kitchen. I've spent many a restless night remodeling this kitchen in my head. Ideally we'd open up the wall between our kitchen and living room to give things a bit more of an open concept feel, but we don't really feel like spending a ton of money on doing a big fancy remodel on this house's kitchen. She's a small, modest house and dumping a ton of money into a kitchen remodel isn't' going to increase our resale value enough to offset the cost of actually doing it, so we're going to keep thing simple, i.e. not knock any walls down.
This kitchen was new-ish when we bought the house. Our best guess is that someone bought the house to flip, or was trying to renovate it and ran out of money. The inside had new paint, refinished hardwoods, and the kitchen was new, but the exterior was horrendous (like, my insurance company refused to insure the house because of it horrendous). So it's a quasi-cheap flip kitchen. The surfaces are all nice enough, but with a few tweaks here and there, this kitchen could be a fresh and modern space.
- Take down the upper cabinets on the sink wall and replace with open shelving. Honestly, most of our upper cabinet space is just wasted space. I'm too short to even reach 70% of the shelves, and we've got a built-in around the corner that can house the stuff that lives in them now.
- Paint her white. I do love me some chartreuse, and having a bright colorful kitchen was nice, but I feel ready for a clean slate. I'm sure some pops of bright color will find their way into my styling, but for this new look (and for resale, I hear chartreuse kitchens aren't most buyer's fave), white is gonna do the trick.
- Tile that backsplash. Goodbye nasty, weird, brown Formica backsplash. I want to do square tile instead of the usual subway tile to give a little bit of a new take on a pretty played out (though still gorgeous) look. I'm sure white subway tile stock won't be dropping for some time, but I'm excited to try something a little different. For a bit of texture, I'm going to do dark grout instead of white.
- Walnut butcher block counters. The counters are the same brown-ish Formica as the backsplash, and I'm so SO excited to get rid of them and replace them with beautiful wood counters. I love a butcher block countertop.
- Paint the old cabinets and give them some modern hardware. The remaining uppers on the stove wall will be painted white, and the bottom cabinets will be a dark charcoal. None of the cabinets currently have any knobs or pulls (which is actually super annoying, but also great for keeping your baby from opening them), so I'd like to install some in a brass finish to add contrast.
- We also might get a new sink, but that's not a must-have, but if we do, it'll probably be a white ceramic sink, second hand from a local building material re-store.
Hopefully everything will go smoothly, but this process will likely take a while, since I'll be trying to get this done with a toddler (do you start calling them toddlers when they start... toddling? Cuz Jack is only 10 months but he's toddling like crazy, soooo baby? toddler? I digress). I think the first thing I'll start with will be painting the bottom cabinets because I don't have to do any demo to get that done. Wish me luck! I'll keep you guys updated.
I'm gonna tell you guys something a little heartbreaking, right out of the gate. This kitchen is now completely demolished. We finished this remodel in June and by August, this apartment was totally gutted by the new owners. Moment of silence. Okay, now lets get to it.
This apartment was above the garage of the house I grew up in, so I've been familiar with the space for many years. It's seen a few small remodels, mostly paint, and a few years ago my parents put in new vinyl wood flooring. Nothing about it was super special. The cabinets were cheap, the countertop was dingy off-white formica, and the sink was designed with a sloped bottom so any time you set a glass in there it tipped over.
We didn't want to spend a lot of money, so we didn't want to gut it and have to install new cabinets, counters, and fixtures. We saved lots of money by DIYing a few things.
The biggest DIY was the countertop. We wanted something fresh and clean, but doing real Carerra marble was way too spendy for this space, so I decided to paint the countertop with a faux marble instead. You can peep that DIY here. I will say that it's a good way to get the look, but it wasn't the most durable. It definitely would stain if you left anything like coffee or wine on the counter for too long, and if you scratched it too hard, it'd scratch the paint off. If you're wanting something to hold you over while you save money for the real deal, it's great for that, but I'm not sure it's the best for a long-term solution, especially if you do a lot of cooking and like coffee and wine *raises hand*.
We ended up keeping the lower cabinets and painting them grey, and then we replaced the uppers with Ikea cabinets. That ended up being more expensive than for those of you near an Ikea because they had to be shipped to Alaska. The open shelving was DIY. My dad went to a lumber yard and bought a 20ft plank that had an unfinished edge. He chopped it into the three pieces for the shelves and installed it. We also DIYed the subway tile backsplash. I had never done tile before but I was excited about how straightforward it was. I'm looking forward to doing more tile work!
The other super easy, dirt cheap DIY was the fridge. It was an ugly old ivory fridge, and I just covered it with marble contact paper and gold tape. It's a pretty durable and quick way to freshen up a fridge without having to drop hundreds of dollars on a new, fancy one. I've put contact paper on every fridge I've ever had (faux wood contact paper on one, chalkboard contact paper on another, and marble on this one!). I love how it gives an eclectic and unique look to an appliance that's usually boring.
We also painted the room white, and I popped a chalkboard wall in there on the right side (though I never actually put any chalk on it, so it's just a black wall).
There were definitely things about this space that I would've done differently, had the situation been different. Knowing that it got destroyed shortly after we finished it makes it easier to feel okay about not doing it 100% the way I really wanted to. We are planning our current kitchen remodel and I'm excited to be able to do it exactly how I want (and also not have to pay out the ass to ship things from Ikea).
If you have any questions about this remodel, hit me up in the comments!
Bangs. We love em. Then we immediately hate them. But then maybe we love them again. No, we hate them. Let's be real, bangs are a commitment. A serious one. The grow out period can be a huge pain in the ass if you decide you hate them. But if you're ready to take the plunge and are willing to go against the advice of, well, almost every one out there, I'm here to empower you. Are you ready to cut your own bangs? Hell yeah you are. Now let's break the rules and DIY that ish.
Obviously this comes with a warning, which is: not many people will advise you to cut your own bangs. I've been cutting my own hair and my own bangs for many years, so while I'm no licensed hairstylist, I feel super comfortable wielding a pair of scissors near my hair. I also have curly hair, which is rather forgiving in the haircut department. My methodology of hair cutting has always been one that is for big, curly hair, so it may or may not work for you if you have a different hair texture. That being said, I feel like my way of cutting bangs could definitely work for hair that isn't my same texture, but, you know, use your best judgment.
Here's how I cut my bangs:
1. Separate the section of hair you want to cut into bangs. I typically do a triangle shaped section with the point near my crown. This will determine how thick your bangs are, so the bigger chunk of hair you grab, the thicker your bangs will be. You also may want to take into consideration how thick your hair is, since the hair you take away to be bangs will no longer contribute to your hair's overall thickness. Once you have your bangs section separated, tie back the rest of your hair to keep it out of the way.
2. Flat iron your sectioned hair. This may not be 100% necessary for some of you, but since I have curly hair, it is. Most hair stylists will cut hair (and bangs) wet, but since my hair is curly and poofy, I prefer to cut my hair with it's poof and texture intact so I know how things will look. When my hair is wet, it's way more limp and longer than it is when it's dry, so if I cut it limp and long, it gets shorter and poofier when it's dry and the cut doesn't look anything like it did when it was wet. I never cut my hair wet, so this is just a personal preference.
3. Rough in the shape you want. I typically do bangs that are on the long side and are tapered longer on either side. Since I have curly hair I sometimes will wear my bangs with their natural curl and they appear much shorter when they're all crimped up in their natural curl. Keeping my bangs as long as I can handle helps me style them curly (without them looking like I have a tiny 'fro on my forehead). When roughing in the shape, leave the hair longer than you want it to be when you're done. You just want to get the general shape, then we can go back and perfect the shape. Remember, you can always cut shorter, but you can't cut longer. Always err on the long side, if you live in your bangs for a few days and decide you need them to be shorter, you can always go in and give them a little trim.
4. Make sure that both sides are the same length and hit your face at the same spot. Then, from the middle, you can use your fingers to pull the hair down and match lengths as you trim down towards the longer sides (if you're doing a tapered bang like mine. If not, just use your fingers to pull the hair down and match the lengths of each piece you cut to the piece that you previously cut).
5. Instead of cutting perpendicular to the hair, cut at a slight upward angle. Unless you're looking for a super blunt looking bang, a la Sia. It'll be a little slower going because you're cutting fewer hairs per snip, but you'll get a much better, more natural looking cut than if you just go straight at it.
6. If you need to, you can go back in with the flat iron to give your bangs the shape/curve you want them to have to help you finalize your cut as you snip in your final shape.
7. Again, I'll advise you to cut them slightly longer than you might want, and then live in them for a day or two. Unlike going to a salon, you don't have to have your bangs absolutely perfect when you're done. Since you're the one cutting them, you can go back in at any time to edit them. I cut mine a little long and I've been living in them for about a week and I feel like I probably need to cut a few millimeters off so they're perfectly out of my eyes.
Fringe upkeep is just a matter of repeating that final trim process when your bangs get too long! And make sure you have a decent pair of scissors. Of course, this is coming from a girl who used to cut her own hair with paper crafting scissors back in college. You can grab a nice pair of scissors from a beauty supply store, or even sometimes the beauty section of a store like Walgreens or Target.
Be patient with both the process of cutting bangs, and with getting to know your new cut! Bangs can be a big change and it can take a while to get use to how to style them and wear them. Have fun!
Soaking in the last rays of vitamin D down here in Joshua Tree before diving into the life of grey before me in the PNW. We are all very thankful for the grey, though, after fires ravaged (and continue to ravage) much of the northwest. I'm sure many Portlanders never felt so thankful for rain in their lives.
This dress is ultra non-nursing-friendly, so I didn't wear it very long, but I couldn't resist throwing it on for some photos. I found it new-with-tags at the thrift store for a few bucks and it's oh so comfy. One day when I don't have to expose my boobs every few hours I'll rock this dress for a full day. For now, it only gets to live in an outfit post.
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On Jack's 9 month "birthday" we are down here in Joshua Tree California! I had to capture desert vibes for his 9 month shoot, since we are in the desert, so we popped out to the front yard this morning and sat in the dirt next to a couple of little agaves. We're down here visiting Jacks' other grandparents (Dan's parents) for the week before we hit the ground running with our big move back to Tacoma!
These days Jack is very cute and chatty, he likes to repeat noises, very loudly says "mamamamamama" when he's hungry, and he's standing on his own, if only for brief moments. I'm sure walking will come along in the next couple months so I'm just enjoying these last weeks/months of not worrying about him falling on his face while trying to walk.
I'm so looking forward to establishing more of a routine with this kiddo (and honestly, with myself too!). Not having a home of our own and traveling all the time doesn't do much for creating a solid routine and schedule and I know we'd both benefit greatly from one. I for one am looking forward to fall, to having our own place again, and to having a more stable lifestyle!
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Bangs! I finally pulled the trigger. And after years of requests, I filmed a DIY Bangs tutorial!! It should be posted this week, so all you brave souls flouting conventional wisdom to never cut your own bangs can be crazy like me and do it yourself.
This outfit has all the desert vibes because I was looking forward to being in Joshua Tree, which I am currently! I've got some super fun shoot scheduled for the week and hopefully I can squeeze in some outfit shoots too cuz I brought waaay to many outfits.
Thankfully the PNW isn't experiencing desert-like weather anymore. The rains finally came and I know thousands of people affected by the wildfires are so thankful. It'll be nice to go back to some fall temperatures. I do so love summers in the PNW but I'm ready for fall now. Mostly I just feel like my forehead is too sweaty with bangs during the warmer months, so it can be fall now.
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I'm writing this one handed with Jack asleep in my arms so this will probably be short (#momlife). I've been so looking forward to the cooler temperatures of fall that I jump the gun on warm clothes sometimes, this hat being one of those sartorial mistakes. Holy cow was I hot. But of course, once you wear a hat that's too hot it gives you a horrible case of hat hair and thus was I stuck with my sweaty misstep. In other news, be prepared to see more of this top because I'm in love.
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This past weekend I was up on Whidbey Island for a wedding I was shooting and it was oh so relaxing. I've never stayed on Whidbey, just passed through, but this time we spent two nights at the Captain Whidbey Inn, which was so rustic and adorable. Getting to spend the weekend with Dan after weeks apart was wonderful and we spent hours on the porch drinking prosecco and talking, after Jack finally fell asleep of course.
We have less than a month now till we get to return to Tacoma officially and I'm teeming with ideas, maybe too many ideas, for what I want to do when we're back. I have tons of home update plans and dreams, things I want to do with friends, business plans, and overall I'm just looking forward to really investing in Tacoma and diving into being a part of that community again.
In the meantime, we're kind of holed up down here in Oregon with the wildfires raging just a few miles away and smoke thick in the air. It's extremely heartbreaking to see the devastation this fire has wreaked on the Columbia River Gorge and we're all down here hoping and praying for rain, which is not something us PNW folks are used to doing.
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Yesterday we ran into town to hit up the Portland Flea, which was so so dreamy. I didn't end up picking anything up, but I am so super inspired for our home decor and my personal style and I could've bought almost every single thing. I think I'll probably drop a few bones at next month's market right before we move back to Tacoma because I've got a wicker hutch and kilim rug on my wishlist like whoa.
Even though I'm not quite ready for summer to be over, I can feel that my style is ready for fall. This dress is just waiting for a pair of tights and a cozy long-sleeved blouse. I'm loving textures that are interesting, a little vintage, cozy, and natural. Give me macrame, rattan, and weaving all day, every day.
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This season of life has been particularly hard on me and our family. Long stretches of time separated from one another, solo parenting, living out of a suitcase for months, and feeling uprooted and desperate for home has been taxing. I often find myself descending into negativity. Feeling angry, frustrated, helpless, it's a pit with slippery walls and can feel so inviting to indulge in. Sometimes when I think that I still have over a month left before we can even move into a home of our own I just feel so depressed. A month isn't that long, but it can feel like an eternity in my mind, looking at the long days stretching out in front of me, each one its own little infinity. When I realized we wouldn't be home until October and would miss summer in Tacoma, I got bummed out, but today I want to focus on the positive and get excited about all the great things that I can look forward to, instead of feeling sad that they aren't here yet.
- Pumpkins on the front porch- we got married in November, right after Halloween, so our wedding had tons of pumpkins. That first November we had a front yard full of pumpkins left over from the wedding. It was so festive and I love how pumpkins on the porch remind me of our wedding.
- Going to the pumpkin patch- Dan and I have gone to the patch before, but this time it feels like the beginning of a little tradition with Jack and his first autumn!
- Fall leaves!- Alaska has lovely fall colors, but fall is short and there isn't a huge variety of fall colors the way there is in the Northwest. Fall lasts so long in the Northwest. Getting to take photos in the leaves is so much fun and I'm thinking Jack might be walking by then and will be able to play in piles of leaves!
- Home renovations!- In the summer I don't really want to renovate anything because I just want to enjoy summer and it's so damn hot (and we don't have a/c like all idiot PNW people. Why don't we have a/c? I don't know. We are sadists). After we redid the kitchen of our Anchorage apartment, I'm feeling really inspired and empowered to DIY the reno on our Tacoma kitchen. I like our kitchen all right, but it can be so much better, and so much more "us" than it currently is. Another mini reno I want to punch out? ripping the nasty, old, dated, brown carpet in our upstairs and replacing it with white wood floors. Oh! And making our old bedroom into Jack's room!
- Going for neighborhood walks with Jack and Dusty- Our home in Anchorage wasn't great for going on walks, and here in Oregon it's pretty bad too. Our house in Tacoma is the perfect walk distance from some of my favorite coffee shops, and I used to just take Dusty for walks with me, but now I can bring Jack in his stroller!
- Vintage shopping + Thrifting- I've been inspired lately with my personal style. I love the locally owned vintage shops in Tacoma and I plan on slowly building a wardrobe that makes me feel excited by grabbing special pieces from my favorite shops. One of Dan and my favorite things to do together is go thrifting, and since we pared down our furniture a lot when we moved away, there are a lot of pieces we'll need to replace when we move back. Instead of just hitting up IKEA, I want to find cool and funky pieces at thrift stores to refresh.
- Getting back in the gym- While lifting a tiny human has probably given me some of my strength back from my year absence at the gym, I'm looking forward to getting my sweat on and having a bit of time to myself. My gym in Tacoma is my favorite place I've ever found for working out, and I've been looking forward to going back ever since I could think about working out post-baby without cringing.
- Planning Jack's 1st Birthday- Okay his birthday isn't until December, but you only get to plan a 1st birthday for your first kid once! I do love planning parties, so I'm looking forward to putting together a really fun little party.
- Lady Dates!- my bffs are in Tacoma and I'm so looking forward to getting to hang out with my women. Mama needs some boozy girls nights and some dancing in her life.
- Learning new things- Two things that I've been wanting to take classes in are pottery throwing and metal working for jewelry making. Learning a new creative skill just for fun is such soul food.
- Cheap + amazing craigslisting- okay, no joke, people price things SO CRAZY HIGH on craigslist in Alaska. I don't get it. And it's nearly impossible to find anything cool. Craigslisting here in the PNW is a dream.
Last week Dan and I got to go out sans-Jack for the first time in forever! We headed into Portland to grab some drinks and food at Church, but when we got there some event was going on and a bunch of kids were in there singing karaoke, so (since we were actively avoiding children that night, haha) we decided to walk over to Hale Pele which came highly recommended by my sister in law. Oh man, it was bomb. I'm not a huge tiki-drink aficionado, but every drink I had was so incredible, as was the food. And I can't say enough about the atmosphere. I'm a fan of when a business or brand commits 100% to their thing, and Hale Pele was an intimate tiki wonderland.
I'm bracing for another weird month without Dan. He goes back to work up in Tacoma this week, which means we won't be spending much time together until we can move back in October. Being in this odd time living in other people's houses has been stressful and if I'm honest, I could go for one of those fast forward buttons so I could skip this next month and just move back to Tacoma already. In the meantime, it's my busy season for work, so I'm buried in wedding images to edit, which helps keep me occupied.