Things to do in Seattle

I had been wanting to visit Seattle for awhile now. I wanted to experience the coffee culture and see the beautiful scenery. I thought why not go to Seattle for my 30th birthday and that is what I did. Well, I did a pre-birthday vacation.

Last week was the first time I visited Seattle for my pre-birthday celebration. I did drive past Seattle once but that’s all it was a drive. This time I did experience Seattle and it was amazing.  I wanted to share with everyone about things to do there. First let me talk about the weather in October, it was in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit and it was cloudy with some rain. However, I did experience some sunny days.  It was a fun experience and here is some fun stuff to see and do in Seattle.

Seattle Views:

  1. Smith Tower- This is a skyscraper building in pioneer square (downtown) that was build in 1914. It’s the oldest skyscraper in the city and and has an amazing view of Seattle. It’s about $14.00 dollars to get to the job and enjoy the view and the bar.
  2. Space Needle Observation Deck- I had to come here because its the Space Needle. The tickets here were a bit more expensive about $20-$25. It is another beautiful view of Seattle. However, keep in mind this place will be more crowded because it is a tourist area. 22291267_10103734487758645_961902412647289867_o
  3. Columbia Center- This is another skyscraper in Seattle with a good view. A couple of Seattle locals told me it’s the best view of Seattle. Unfortunately, I did not get to go but if locals recommend it, that is a good sign. I know the tickets here are cheaper than the Space Needle. Also, they have food and drinks at the top.
  4. Kerry Park- This a free area that has another great view of Seattle. I went at night and there was a lot people there taking pictures. Its interesting because this park is in the middle of a neighborhood but I liked it. I took the pictures I needed and just enjoyed the view.

Coffee Culture:

  1. Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room- I considered this a brewery for coffee. Here you can really experience coffee by seeing your coffee being roasted or by scooping up coffee beans in the coffee scoop bar. This Starbucks has a variety of flavors to add to your coffee. I ordered a cold brew coffee with ginger and it was delicious. The servers are very helpful here and definitely know their coffee.
  2. First Starbucks- yes another Starbucks but come on its Starbucks. This location is in Pike’s Place Market. It opened in 1971 where they sold coffee beans. The coffee shop is actually small but its cool to be in the first Starbucks with the original logo. Keep in mind that this is very very touristy.
  3. Pruf-Cafe & Bar: A little cute coffee shop, I found walking around Seattle. They have a nice upstairs area to sit down and enjoy your coffee. My vanilla was delicious and the service was great.

Museum:

  1. Museum of Pop Culture: I loved this museum! It has a music section of famous musicians, a sci-fi section, a horror section, and a fantasy section. They even have a Jim Henson section. Each section had costumes of famous artists and information on them. The ticket is about $30 and it is right next to the Space Needle. 22449770_10155137837240819_9121584457061343928_n

Market:

  1. Pikes Place Market: The market is a must see. You can buy groceries, eat at the restaurants, shop for almost anything else or you can look at the gum-wall. Either way I really recommend coming here, even if it’s touristy.

Food:

  1. Biscuit & Bean: Perfect place for breakfast or bunch. They have a variety of biscuits and amazing coffee. I had a biscuit with herbed goat cheese, tomato jam, and cucumber.
  2. Ikina Sushi: The sushi was so good here and they have an amazing happy hour. Also, the servers and service made the place even more memorable.
  3. Beecher’s: Located in Pike’s Place. This restaurant makes their own cheese. My boyfriend and I tried their Mac & Cheese and it was amazing.

I loved Seattle. They have beautiful views, good food and coffee, and a great market. Next time I visit, I want to see Mt. Rainer up close and experience more of the nature of the city.  Seattle is a must see and I hope you enjoyed my recommendations.

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Before a Trip

Trips are fun but they can be stressful to prepare for. Especially if its a long trip because there is way more things you have to prepare.  You have to get all your things together to pack and complete any errands.  If you have pets you have to make sure they’re taken care of. You might have to make photo copies of your passport for an international trip and other things.

My trip to Seattle is short but it’s coming up and I need to start preparing. Some of the first things I do before a trip are:

  1.  Errands: I will pay all bills and complete other errands before my trip. So, I don’t have worry about it when I am on my trip.
  2.  Take care of my cat:  I have a cat named Mocha and I make sure she is taken care of.  I can leave her alone for a couple days with enough food and water and a clean litter. However, if its more than 4 days I ask someone to check in on her.
  3.  Pack: I usually pack a day or two before my trip. This also consists of doing laundry, so I have clothes to pack. Since, I am going to Seattle I am going to pack for both warm and cold weather.
  4. Check in: The day before my flight, I will check in. For southwest, the earlier you check in the better boarding time you get.

There are just some things I do to prepare for a trip. It is different for me when I have an international trip because those trips are usually longer than a couple days. Also, I need to take more things with me. Even though it can be stressful to set up and prepare for a trip, once you’re at your destination its all worth it.

 

Flight changes

I was recently emailed by southwest that my Seattle flight was changed. I thought it was interesting because the time change was dramatic. Also, both my departure and arrival flights were changed. Originally, I was suppose to leave Austin at noon with no connecting flight and leave Seattle at noon with no connecting flight. It ended up changing with connecting flights and leaving early in the morning. My Austin flight to Seattle actually had two stops and I was not a fan. Especially, early in the morning. This is the first time my flight has been changed before the day of my flight. The emailed I received did not inform me that I could changed my flight. I was hoping by calling, I could change my flight or get a free drink ticket. I called Southwest and they were able to change my flight with no extra charge. My flight times are so much better and I’m excited for this trip. Also, I am very grateful that the lady from southwest was very nice and helpful.

For future reference, if you ever have a flight change before your fight date. Call the airline to change your flight for no extra cost. I am assuming other airlines will do this too, if you have proof your flight was changed by them. I had an email of my old flight times to show them. However, they had written notes on my account and that was their proof. This has only happen to me once. I am pretty sure the more you fly, the more it happens. This was a learning experience for me. Sometimes simple things like a flight change can help you learn something new.

Oxford & Stonehenge Day Trip

Part of my London and Paris excursion included visiting Oxford and Stonehenge. I definitely signed up for this day trip. This is an experience that could not be missed.

Oxford

Escaping to the Oxford countryside was an amazing experience. I had the chance to visit during December 2014. As, you can imagine It was cold but nothing a little coffee could do to help. So, I got coffee at Cafe Creme to help keep me warm. In Oxford I took a tour of the city and the University. I learned that Oxford University has different colleges. Including one that doesn’t have students called All Souls College. It reminded me of Hogwarts and the different houses. The campus is absolutely stunning. It had beautiful green grass and old buildings. So much history! After the tour, I was able to grab some fish and chips at the Covered Market. When I finished lunch I got my myself an Oxford sweatshirt and dreamed I was a student there.

Stonehenge 

Stonehenge was unreal. I felt like I was looking at a picture. I couldn’t believe I was actually looking at Stonehenge! When you get to Stonehenge they give you a radio to listen to the history and to help prepare for the bus ride there. The bus ride was a quick trip. I took so many pictures with my friends. After the bus ride and I walked to Stonehenge, my eyes brighten. It was surreal. It even helped me forget how cold it was.IMG_0063

My day trip to Oxford and Stonehenge is something I will never forget. Both Oxford and Stonehenge are beautiful and have so much history. I do recommend visiting these places if you are ever in the area.

Magnolia Market Visit

If y’all have seen the show, Fixer Upper. You know about the Magnolia Market in Waco TX. I actually just started watching the show in June but I had heard about the Market before. Basically, whether you watch the show or not you have probably heard about Magnolia Market.

I went to Magnolia Market this past Saturday with friends. The market closes at 6 PM daily and is closed Sunday. We left Austin at 2:30 PM and between Austin and Waco it’s about an hour and half. We made in time with plenty of time to spare. When we first drove in, we passed by the bakery and saw the long line and we decided to skip that. Next time I want to get a cupcake though. The market has a bakery, a garden, food trucks, and a grassy area to relax and play. The grassy area was one of my favorites of the market. Kids were playing soccer and football and families were relaxing. The sense I got at Magnolia Market is that it’s more than a market, its a place to relax and hang out.

We were able to  get free parking and after we walked right inside the Market. Well, first we took pictures by the Silos and checked out the food trucks. They have a variety of different food trucks from actual meals, to desserts, and coffee.  I got a coffee at the Common Grounds food truck, they also have a brick in mortar by Baylor. I got the coffee before we left and checked out the market. The Market is amazing; they have so many items to buy for your home. The items can get pricey but they do have a discount section. Make sure to check out that, when you go. My friends and I just walked around and enjoyed what we saw. The market was packed but we had enough room to walk around. I also made a purchase, I bought a mug. We were not at Magnolia for long because we were attending the UTSA vs. Baylor football game. A friend of mine and I plan to attend Magnolia again soon. We want to get there early to enjoy the bakery, more of the market, and food trucks. The coffee I got at Common Grounds food truck was the cowboy iced coffee. It has a secret sauce, drip coffee, and half and half. It was what I needed to wake me up before the game.

I definitely recommend checking out Magnolia Market, its better than I thought it would be. It’s more than just a market and something for everyone to enjoy. I really hope to visit again during Christmas time.

Setting up a Trip

I am trying to set up a trip for next September with a tour group, Contiki. This trip will take me to Spain, South of France, and Italy. However, I cant help but think of finances. This trip would cost me about $1,419.50. This includes, hotel/hostels, transportation, tour guides, travel insurance, and some meals. Also, I need to buy my plane ticket from Austin to Barcelona and then from Rome to Austin. Thinking about all that has stressed me out but I really want to go. I do have 45 days before the trip to pay in full. This will help me pay the trip in payments. The plane ticket is what stresses me out the most, I have never bought my own international flight. I might ask the tour group for some assistance or a close friend.

I am hoping a close friend of mine comes with me. But as well she is checking her finances. She might actually want to do another trip and I can change trips till 45 before the trip. To be honest, I really should be saving and budging  because that’s the responsible and safe thing to do. However, I really want to go on this trip. I will regret not going, if I don’t go.  What I am going to do is see if my finances work with this trip. If not I might have to change with a cheaper trip or give myself more time to save. I know that I will make the best decision.

 

Orlando with Family

When I think of Orlando, I think of family trips, school field trips, or a cute couple holding hands wearing mouse ears at Disney World. Orlando is a magical place because of Disney World and Universal studios. I had the pleasure of visiting Orlando in March 2014 with my mom and sister. I did feel weird at first because I thought I was to old for Disney but your never too old. We spend a couple of days in Orlando and got to see Disney world, downtown Disney, and one Park in Universal Studios.

Disney Park 

We had the chance of visiting all 4 Disney Parks. My favorite was Magic Kingdom. I like that park because it reminds me of typical Disney. It has the beautiful castle and everything Disney. We spend 2 days visiting the Disney parks, we tried to get a hold of fast passes, where you get to stand in a shorter line for rides. This pass is free but it only for certain rides and shows. Also, you have to see if the time you want is available. But Disney is usually good about telling you how long you have to wait for ride, if you don’t get a fast pass. At night, Disney World does a firework show.  In my opinion, Disney World throws one of the best firework shows. My breakfast at the Disney resorts were delicious and cute. One day I had a Mickey mouse waffle and pancake. The last breakfast I had in Orlando, we went to a restaurant where Disney characters come greet you. I thought it was the cutest ever and I didn’t want to miss it. My favorite Disney character was Pluto growing up and I enjoyed seeing him.

 

Downtown Disney

We spend one evening in Downtown Disney, we took the bus from our hotel and headed there. Downtown was packed because its March and spring break. We were able to enjoy the stores and bought souvenirs. The stores were amazing, if your a Disney fan you find everything at these stores. I even found a Lego Buzz and a Woody statue. Even though the majority of the restaurants were packed, we were able to enjoy a nice meal. At a quick fast restaurant. After we just walked around and enjoyed Downtown Disney.

Universal Studios 

There is two parks at Universal Studios; Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando Resort. My sister and I really wanted to see Harry Potter World and that’s in Universal Studios Hollywood. So obviously, Hollywood is where we went. You do have the option to visit both parks but we just went to one. When we got to the park, the first thing we did was went straight to Harry Potter World. It was amazing it look very similar to the movies and they even have a shop to buy wands. At the time I went, they only had two rides. However, first I checked out the shops and had a butter beer. Universal Studios also has a Universal Express Pass to skip the lines, however you have to pay for it. We didn’t purchase any of the express passes, the park tells you how long you have to wait for the ride.  Other attractions I got to see where Jurassic Park, The Amazing Adventures of Spider Man, and the Mummy.  My family and I had a blast at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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If your in Disney World trying to go to Universal Studios, the hotel should give you information about buses/shuttles to commute between parks. I was happy that I was able to see all 4 Disney parks and see one Universal studio park. It was a good family vacation and it helped me realize I am still a kid at heart.