Mother of Exiles


Did I catch your attention with this 2005 photo of 21 year old Jason and me at the Statue of Liberty? Ok, good. Now stick around while I talk about refugees.

I've been wanting to write something for awhile, but I've struggled to find the right words. But somehow for me, it all goes back to Lady Liberty,  "Mother of Exiles" according to the first verse of "The New Colossus", a quote from which is written on the statue itself. Here's the poem in full incase you weren't forced to read it in high school:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
-Emma Lazarus

Everything I've learned about America cries out that we are a nation of immigrants and refugees, the vast majority of our relatives, distant and not so distant, have come here from somewhere else.  Way back when Jason and I went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, I found my relatives names in the records there. They came here as immigrants and were welcomed.

You have a .00003% chance of being killed by a foreign born terrorist. I don't mean to make light of national security, but I'm more concerned about the ways in which we are much more likely to be killed. The article I linked to above will tell you that on average 9 Americans are killed by foreign born terrorists annually (however, none of those terrorists came from countries included in the travel ban), whereas 12,843 Americans are killed by guns annually. I'd argue that anyone wanting to make America safer should be doing something about gun violence.

What can we do? How can we make sure our country continues to be welcoming, especially to those escaping persecution, famine, or war zones, those who no longer have a home?

Doing something means no longer remaining silent, but speaking up, for me that means writing this post rather than just writing easy, happy things on the blog. Teresa took her whole family to an immigration protest in Seattle. We're both aware it means continuing to do things, like supporting businesses that support refugees, donating to charities, being in contact with our representatives, and continuing to be aware of what's happening politically as things could be changing daily.

Here are companies who have taken a stand against Trump's immigration ban. 

This New York Times article does a great job outlining ways to help including pointing out a couple of interesting organizations like Humanwire, an org where you can fundraise directly for a refugee and Hello Neighbor, a database of ways to help.  Both of these are orgs I'm in the process of looking into supporting, I'll keep you updated!

If you're in the Seattle area, check out Ubuntu Cafe in Kent where refugees are employed and taught culinary skills. 

SPRING!


I woke up this morning and jumped on Twitter a little too soon. There are so many things continually going on (mostly politically) which are infiltrating my day to day life and thoughts way more than I want. Tomorrow I'm going to try and put some of my thoughts and feelings into a post, but for today, the first day of spring, I'm going to revel in it for a minute.

One thing I've been reminded of lately, it's important to celebrate the little things that so often get overlooked. Spring is a season of rebirth and today, I'm taking a minute to sit in the joy and hope that I find each year on the first day of spring.

Here are some things I'm looking forward to about spring:

The lilac bush (which is really more of a tree) in my backyard.

Eating outside, whether it's in my yard or at a cute little restaurant.

Walking places instead of driving.

Not being constantly cold.

Color! I love that there's more of it from all directions, flowers blooming, brighter clothes, even that added saturation from more sunlight.

The cherry blossoms at UW, which are less than a week away! 

I'm going to try my hand at gardening, yet again. Just something little, a couple of small herb plants that I hopefully won't instantaneously kill.

Fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market.

An overall better feeling of health, because I'm outside and breathing fresh air, and just in a better mood from it all.

Really, the image that comes to mind, when I think of spring, is sipping prosecco on a patio with friends. The season of hibernation is over and people want to come out and play again!



The Things that Calm Me: Yoga










Teresa first introduced me to yoga in college and off and on since I've gone through spurts of being really into it and then "not having time for it" aka, coming up with excuses to not go. Yes, I'm sure some of those excuses were actually legit, but a lot of the time, it was me not choosing to make time for something that calms me and gets my endorphins flowing. As I continue to deal with my stress and anxiety in practical ways, I realize that I am more productive, happier, calmer, and probably just a nicer person to be around when I'm doing yoga regularly.

When I step into a yoga studio, I silence my phone and force myself to be present there. I tell myself that the world around me won't fall apart in the hour and a half I've checked out (which sometimes isn't easy to do) and I focus on being there. It's a time for me to clear my mind, pray, meditate and breathe deeply.

If you've tried yoga and don't think it's for you, I'd say, there are a wide variety of styles of yoga, and maybe you just need to find what works best for you, or the right studio, or instructor. I know that hot yoga isn't for me, I typically do vinyasa but recently have gotten into yin.

After going fairly regularly this fall and winter, I was determined not to quit it entirely while we were in Europe this past month. I packed my favorite leggings and signed up for Gaia, which I'd describe as the Netflix of yoga videos :) They really have some good stuff on there, but I do so much better with classes in person rather than rolling around solo on hotel room floors.

When I got to Lisbon, I felt adventurous and decided to see if I could find a studio that taught in English and I few minutes of Googling later and I'd booked a class at Little Yoga Space, just a quick 10 minute walk from my hotel. I loved it! It was truly a tiny space with room enough for 8 people and a super friendly instructor and group of regulars who were super welcoming to me, this jet legged stranger from Seattle.

When we continued on to Amsterdam, a friend brought me along to Delight Yoga- which actually has four beautiful spaces around Amsterdam, one of which is pictured above. I wish I could move to Amsterdam JUST to continue yoga here. The spaces all look like they belong in a magazine, and most people hang around for a bit after drinking tea. It felt like stepping into a spa.

Both in Lisbon and Amsterdam, I noticed that the majority of the people showed up in street clothes and changed at the yoga studio, as it's less common to be walking around in active wear (BTW, if you haven't seen this, it's hilarious). Also, in both cities, it seems like it's much less common to bring your own mat to class. Apart from these small differences, it's nice that most everything else seemed familiar to me. I think that part of my travel traditions from here on out will include trying yoga in new places. 

Lisbon! Pt. 1

I loved getting to spend some time in Lisbon last month. Jason was directing a commercial while we were there, so he was busy for most of the days and I was left to find a good balance between getting work done remotely and sightseeing. I really had no expectations for Lisbon going in, but within hours of being there, I was already recommending it as a vacation destination to friends!



Rick Steves refers to Lisbon as the San Francisco of Europe, and in some ways that's a great comparison with the hilly streets filled with cable cars and it's beautiful suspension bridge...I'd also add in the AMAZING seafood, and great desserts :).

I ate a ton of wonderful foods in Lisbon, so much seafood, from oysters and clams to a variety of fishes, both cooked and an a variety of raw forms- sushi, ceviche, tartare, I love it all!

Sea Me was a quick walk from where we were staying, and after an amazing dinner there, I went back to have the exact same thing for lunch a few days later!

We loved the vibe and the view of The Insolito, and it was conveniently located on the roof of our hotel!

When we got tired of fish, we had steak at La Brassarie de l'Endrecôte.

While I realize this probably not the most authentic cultural representation of the city, the Time Out Market is a great way to experience a whole lot of what Lisbon has to offer in just a couple of hours. This was great for Jason and a lot of the crew on the shoot, who were working the majority of the time they were there. We went one night for dinner and everyone ran around to different stalls ordering a little bit of everything which left us with a spread of food to sample that included everything you could think of- from squid ink to gelato :)


The Pastel de Nata is probably the most famous Portuguese pastry, but there are a whole wide variety of amazing things to try at bakeries all around the city.  While wandering one day, I happened on Zarzuela, a cute little bakery that makes them gluten and dairy free!



We stayed at two different hotels and would recommend both, depending on the type of hotel you're looking for. Both hotels are centrally located in the Barrio Alto neighborhood, the perfect place to be able to walk to so much of the city.

If you are looking for something with a great old school Portuguese feel that's looks like it's been decorated by Wes Anderson with tons of quirk and charm*, check out The Independente- which has beautiful suites and also has a very inexpensive hostel option! If my recommendation isn't enough, The New York Times agrees. I really enjoyed having a bit more space in a hotel room and having my own sitting room with a beautiful balcony looking out on the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara and an incredible view of the city.

(*the downside to "quirk and charm" is sometimes it also means having to cram all of your suitcases in a tiny elevator and then you get to your floor and still have to walk down and up a half flight of stairs to get to your room...not a deal breaker for me, but obviously not ideal for everyone.)
If modern boutique hotels are more your style, we also stayed at 9 Hotel Mercy, which is a beautifully renovated building still in the heart of everything. This time we had an amazing balcony with a view looking out in the other direction over the city and out to the water with amazing sunset views.


Taking guided tours or bus rides isn't my prefered method to experience a city, instead I spent most of my time wandering and eating and doing a little bit of Googling of things that I found interesting. Rambling down alleys and side streets lead me to amazing tile buildings and colorful street art. The city was super walkable, and if it ever became too much, taxis or trolleys are readily available. 

Lisbon was a beautiful city and since this is getting long, I'll pause here and share more later. 

Beijos!




Friday Roundup


Happy Friday!

I'm looking forward to getting dressed up and seeing friends and supporting the 30/30 Project tomorrow night! Other than that, I'll be laying low this weekend, catching up on sleep and staying cozy. As for the roundup, originally, I didn't intend for it to have a theme, but as I started putting it together, I realized most of the links I had were about amazing women, so I went with it!

Along those lines, the photo above is one Jason shot in Malawi a few years back. As I've traveled a variety of places, the one thing that seems to be consistent of women in small villages, whether it's in Malawi, India, Kenya, Cambodia, etc. you see them doing things in groups. I love to see how they support each other! I know have friends who have my back and I'm so thankful for them! But sometimes I wish my life was a bit more communal. I'd so much rather walk to work with all of my friends than sit in traffic by myself.  It's so easy to see women who have less than I have and feel sorry for them, but really, I think there are a lot of things we could learn from these amazing strong women.

And here are some more amazing women for you...

I wish I could be Zelda sometimes.

The Pro Hijab is awesome and a great way to better include all women in sports.

Lego's women of NASA, so cool.

"We Asked Our Grandmothers How Being a Woman Has Changed in Their Lifetimes"

Harriet Tubman = badass superhero

You're never too old to learn and these ladies are super inspiring.

Emma Watson hides books, I want to find one!

Meghan Markle wrote a great piece for International Women's Day...

"I Grew Up in the Westboro Baptist Church. Here's Why I Left"

Fearless girl vs. the bull

You can now find my favorite Uxibal boots at Anthropologie! Feel good about buying these quality boots as you're supporting the Guatemalan women who made them! And they hold up so well, I've worn mine in all sorts of conditions around the world for 3 years now.


The Things That Calm Me: #1


Lately, I've made myself a list of things that de-stress me. I keep adding to it as I remember things, or finding new things so I thought I'd do a series and share some of them with you. Especially as we're all desperately ready for this winter to be done, it's been really important for me to keep finding happiness and calm in little moments otherwise this time of year I find myself bouncing between winter blues and never wanting to get out of bed and the exact opposite- stress and anxiety over work projects and life.

The first thing I'm starting off with is super, super, silly. My favorite cat account on Instagram! You MUST follow @foster_kittens! It's a family in Seattle who foster kittens and is so much fun to watch as they get new kittens every so often. I love that they often post videos full of purring. Especially when I'm away from my own kitties.

#adaywithoutwomen