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Thursday, July 13, 2017

My Picks: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale [Updated!]

It's that time of the year again -- the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Early Access started today! I already scooped up a bunch of necessities for fall: these no-show socks, a couple of these affordable cardigans for work, the coziest pajamas set, and this huge tub of body lotion... just to list a few.

I've culled through the whole sale and picked out some of my favorites:

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Happy shopping!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Weekend Getaway (Oyster Farm Tour!) in Olympia, WA

Last weekend, we drove an hour south of Seattle to Washington's capital, Olympia for a getaway via Experience Olympia. Olympia is close enough for a quick trip yet still feels like an adventure. Over the span of two days, we fit in an oyster farm tour, plenty of delicious meals, a hike, and a farmers' market! See our itinerary below:

Oyster Farm Tour
I totally recommend touring an oyster farm if you like seafood! Experience Olympia arranged a tour of Chelsea Farms, where we got to meet the owner, Shina Wysocki, who toured us through her farm that was started by her parents in 1987.

We looove seafood so we were geeking out that Chelsea Farms was the first in south Puget Sound to rig up the tide tumble system. Shina told us the story about how her mom used to go out daily at midnight in the winter (when the tide was low) to manually tumble each bag of oysters. Her dad decided to tie buoys to the oyster bags so the tide would tumble the oysters. This suspended culture method creates petite oysters with deep cups, like the delicious Chelsea "Gem" oysters. We totally have even more respect for the labor of love that goes into growing oysters (some age for over 3 years)! No wonder they can be pricey. :) Chelsea Farms also grow geoduck -- there are about 40,000 under the sand where we were walking!

Chelsea Farms does not usually offer public tours. However, if you want to have a group tour or event, you can contact them. You could visit Taylor Shellfish nearby and Hama Hama Oyster Co. about an hour farther for public tours!

Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar
After touring Chelsea Farms, we had to stop by Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar! We got to try their own Chelsea "Gem", Chelsea "Bonita", and Chelsea "Olympia" oysters. I loved them all but I think the "Bonita" is my favorite! I could eat a whole bucket.

In addition to the raw bar, Chelsea Farms Oyster Bar also serves incredibly flavorful seafood dishes with an Asian fusion twist. The executive chef, Austin Navarre, used to work at Ba Bar, which is our neighborhood modern Vietnamese restaurant (we go 1-2 times a week for pho). I especially loved the Chelsea Farms clams in a kimchi broth with Dungeness crab, shiitake mushrooms, and tofu.

Chelsea farms Oyster Bar is connected to 222 Market, which is an adorable artisan market with a flower shop, gelato stand, crêperie, and a bone broth bar.

Tumwater Falls Park
After that delicious meal, we decided to walk it off at Tumwater Falls Park. It's a light hike right by the Deschutes River next to gorgeous views of the Tumwater Falls. This "hike" was totally our speed: little physical exertion with immediate payoff haha.

Dinner & Drinks at Dillinger's
When we travel, all we do is eat haha. After the hike, we freshened up at our hotel and ended out to walk around downtown Olympia. Since we had a big late lunch, we decided to go to Dillinger's Cocktails & Kitchen for craft cocktails and small bites. Dillinger's (probably named after Depression-era American gangster John Dillinger) is a Prohibition-style bar in an old bank built in 1927.

Where to Stay
Experience Olympia booked us at the Hilton Garden Inn, which felt so tucked away but was a convenient 5-minute drive from everything. The hotel is decked out with a heated indoor pool, restaurant and bar, and more. Thank you for a wonderful stay!

Olympia Farmers' Market
The following day, we visited the Olympia Farmers' Market, which is always a fun Sunday activity. For brunch, we had crab cakes eggs benedict and a fried seafood and chips platter. After the Farmers' Market, we strolled around downtown Olympia and got gelato at Hawley's before heading home to Seattle.

Thank you to Experience Olympia for organizing a fun weekend getaway!

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Friday, June 30, 2017

Yayoi Kusama "Infinity Mirrors" @ Seattle Art Museum

Today is the opening of the Yayoi Kusama "Infinity Mirrors" exhibition at Seattle Art Museum! We got to attend the press preview a couple days ago, and I was completely overwhelmed, in the best way, by the exhibit. Kusama immersed me in her world -- and what a world: psychedelic, obsessive, fantastical.

The above photo was taken in the famous Infinity Mirrored Room--Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity. Within a black mirrored room, Kusama filled Japanese lanterns with LED lights that flicker for about 20 seconds before they slowly fade to black. When all the lights illuminated, the glow was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. Then the room darkened, not in an ominous way, but in a peaceful transition, like the transience of life. I often pause to think about how "we live in the flicker" (to borrow from Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness), and no matter our lots in life, we all coexist as little flames that are stronger and more beautiful when communally burning. The lights also made me think about one of my favorite quotes from Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre: "Such is the imperfect nature of man! Such spots are there on the disc of the clearest planet; and eyes [that] can only see those minute defects, and are blind to the full brightness of the orb." I always need this reminder, to not get so caught up in minutiae that I miss out on the beauty and light within every person.

Read below for more details of the exhibit:

The exhibition showcases Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's 65-year career. There are pieces from her dark, abstract paintings in the 1950s to her themes of "self-obliteration" in the 1960s. You can see her motif of dots in Dots Obsession--Love Transformed into Dots (3rd & 4th photos) and Phalli's Field (last photo), as well as her use of repetition in all the infinity rooms. Kusama has suffered from hallucinations since childhood, and after some midlife trauma, she has chosen to live in a psychiatric hospital in Tokyo for almost 40 years. Her studio is nearby, so when she's able, she leaves to create art. Her latest work, completed in 2016, is debuted here (2nd photo) in a series of paintings, with my favorite one titled My Adolescence in Bloom (she's 88).

Some of her art is presented in a gallery-style, while other exhibits are in isolated rooms as they are immersive experiences. You line up, leave your bag at the door, and are let into a room with 2-3 people for about 20-30 seconds. In The Obliteration Room, you are given a sheet of colorful dot stickers, and you participate in placing the stickers all around this white room. I placed my stickers on a laptop, champagne flute, book, pen, and couch (just a few of my favorite things...) The stickers stay until the end of the show, so the room usually looks completely "obliterated" by colors by then!

I don't want to say any more so as to give too much away. This is an experience you must have for yourself!

The exhibition runs until September 10. Advance tickets are sold out, but daily tickets are available at the SAM. I recommend going first thing in the morning! (We tried to visit this exhibit in Washington D.C. a couple months ago, but tons of people had already lined up at 4am for the daily tickets!)

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Happy National Sunglasses Day!

There seems to be a "national" day for everything nowadays... but I think we all get behind this one! Today is National Sunglasses Day! For me, sunglasses are not only a fun accessory but also a practical one for eye and skin protection.

Vince striped top (similar here & here)
AG Jeans "Sloan" jeans (on sale!)
San Diego Hat Company straw hat

As much as I love sunglasses, I also have a hard time finding the perfect pair that fits my face. I have high cheekbones when I smile, so I am always looking for sunglasses with adjustable nose pads so they sit higher on my nose and don't slip down. I used the MyFit function on Coastal.com to find these Kam Dhillon sunglasses, and then customized the sunglasses with polarized mirrored black lenses (you can choose from a variety of options). They fit so amazingly! I'll be wearing these all summer long.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Beauty: Favorite Natural & Organic Skincare

For my skincare, I try to use as many natural products as possible without certain preservatives or fragrances. However, I don't use straight up coconut oil or shea butter because I also like a blend of added beneficial ingredients. So it's like the goop Pop-In at Nordstrom read my mind and curated all the natural beauty and wellness products in one spot. Nordstrom graciously gifted me a box of goodies from the Pop-In (open through June 25!), and here are 5 of my favorites:

goop Replenishing Night Cream - This is my new favorite night face cream. It has a mix of sandalwood nut oil (increases elasticity), linseed extract (reduces inflammation), and hyaluronic acid (prevents moisture loss). Plus, this night cream is made up of 79% organic ingredients. The texture is heavenly! It's thick and creamy, yet somehow light and whipped. The product soaks in and I wake up with hydrated, bouncy skin. I also love the simple and sophisticated matte packaging. It's an investment, but a little product goes a long way!

Lavido Alert Eye Cream - I have a few different eye creams for various purposes. I wear this one during the day because it sits well under makeup. It's super lightweight and my skin drinks it up. I like that it's almost slippery, which makes it easy to tap into my eye area.

Grown Alchemist Intensive Body Cream - Amazing body creams are actually so hard to come by. I have tried soo many, and either it's too thick and just sits on the skin or it's so watery and barely moisturizing. This body cream is perfect -- the texture is liquidy so it's easy to spread around, yet the product is really hydrating.

goop Enriching Face Oil - I have combination skin, and I never thought I'd love face oil because I always thought it'd make me greasier. However, I've been using one for years (only at night) and it's helped my skin retain moisture while I sleep. This face oil is made with 99% organic ingredients! I put on face oil at the end of my skincare routine, and I press the oil into my skin, neck, and décolleté.

French Girl Organics Sea Soak - There is something so satisfying about a short ingredient list. This bath soak mix is made up of organic Himalayan pink salt, French + Dead + Pacific sea salts, and peppermint + French lavender + rosemary oils. The smell of this alone is so soothing - add hot water and steam and the bath has just become therapy.

The goop Pop-In at Nordstrom is open through this weekend (June 25)!

Shop my favorites from the goop Pop-In at Nordstrom: