2017 Annual Review


It's that time of the year again!

If you've been following my blog, or me, for awhile, you'll know that at the end of every year, I do a kind of annual review. It's to look at the goals I sent for myself last year (not resolutions), what worked, what didn't work, what goals were met & to think about where I want to take my life for the next year. So let's start by looking at my 2017 goals.



  • Spend more time actually exploring the PNW that's already around me.
  • Disney birthday trip with my girls
  • Road trip & hike Canada


  • Read at least 1 book a month (Take two!)


  • Buy myself a new (adult) car. It's time for the Scion tC of  my 16-year-old self to go.


  • Workout on a more regular basis, despite work schedule - focusing on cardio & weights.
  • Teaching myself to cook more & eat out less.

So What Went Well, What Not So Well?

I'm actually proud to say, that of all the goals I set for 2017, I accomplished all but two: working out on a more on a regular basis, and reading a book a month. In total, I read like 4 books, which is still an improvement. As for working out, it's still a struggle to find a consistent time todo it, when you work a dynamic schedule like I do. I did pick up some, should we call, alternative workouts?  I manage to scatter my year with hikes & ski days, at least until I sprained my ankle skiing (picture 4), and after I recovered I picked up kick boxing!

The biggest thing in 2017, was me "cutting back on traveling."

Somewhere my coworkers are rolling their eyes at that statement. Ok, fine. I kind of cut back. Baby steps okay? I "only" went to Disneyland twice & did only one international trip. It was the challenge of shifting my financial responsibilities, but all that overtime, and 70 work hours week, paid off! I bought my dream car: the Lexus NX F (emphasis on the F), which I named Becky. It's such a good feeling too, because I know I earned it, and I feel so grateful everyday when I drive it, & with how safe I feel when I take it up to the pass, or on and hikes. 

Other than that, I set out to road trip to Canada & I did (with Becky). I set out to do a birthday trip with my girls & we blew it out of the water.  I set out to work on my cooking skills, and now I'm packing lunch 4 times a week. I even saw my first total solar eclipse & added Scotland to my travel resume. A successful year! Now my goals for 2018!



  • Put away a set amount each month so I can buy my own home at the end of 2018, or the beginning of 2019.
  • Any desired expenditures outside of that (like travel) or any other financial responsibilities (bills), must be financed by lifestyle changes to save money, or overtime! (Lots of overtime.)
  • Set a smaller amount aside each month, for a mission trip to Guatemala in February 2019


Be more consistent with working out in general, in any form (hike, ski, swim, kickboxing, etc)


  • Trip back to France with my friend Shahrzad, where I learn more French history.
  • Road trip deeper into Canada for hiking.
  • (Hopefully, pending approval) A trip to China: particularly Shanghai & Hong Kong.


  • Read at least 1 book a month (Take three!)
  • Take a surfing lesson - California?
  • Learn Spanish so I can communicate with patients at work & for Guatemala 2019
  • Teach myself to more 100% dairy-free meals & maybe put together my own personal cookbook.

And finally, the mission statement. 

2018: THE YEAR OF epic FInancial Responsibility & the Independent woman

In 2018, I will challenge myself financially, more than ever. I will set aside a big portion of my income every month, with the intention of own home in Seattle's housing market, on my own, by the end of 2018 or early 2019. That is my priority. Everything else I want do this year, whether it be traveling, fitness, or education, will only be a secondary a result of how successful I am at learning to save money & how hard I work (overtime). 

Can you tell I'm ready to take this year by storm? Watch out 2018. I'm about to slay this! Love, JEN

White Christmas


What a special Christmas it is!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Christmas with your family & friends! Here it the Pacific Northwest, we've been fortunate enough to have our first white Christmas, in a long while! 


I've already worked 48 hours in the last week & I have another 44 hours in the next week to go, so it's truly wonderful to have today off. Not only that, to have been able to spend time with my extended family last night, see it snow, then be able to relax on Christmas Day.

My family & I woke up early this morning & go enjoy the fresh snow outside. Finally got to bust out this Jacket I've been saving from Zara. My friend Shahrzad & I officially leave for Paris in two weeks, and can bet I'll be bringing this pink treasure with me! Anyways, happy holidays! - Love Jen

First of the Season


After working like mad, a slight snow shortage & my trip to Scotland, I finally found time to head up to Stevens Pass for the first time this season! 

Some people  might not get it, but my love for skiing is a necessity, and this visit to Stevens was my first time back after spraining my ankle in early 2017.  I might not be the greatest, but it's something I want to work on for the rest of my life.  Maybe it's because I'm from the East Coast (which always gets ridiculous amount of snow), nothing is more beautiful to me, than the contrast of Washingtons evergreen trees against the fresh white snow.


I went with my friend Tyler; one of the few skiers I knew. Most people I know snowboard for some odd reason lol. Anyways, I was hoping for some blue skies, since the forecast called for "partly sunny," but the image below was pretty much the only break of blue skies I could see. 

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Either way it was a great first time up & I was glad to take Becky (my car) up to the pass! Love, Jen

Lantern Light Festival


Good morning loves! Last night my parents & I went to check out the Lantern Light Festival down in Puyallup, WA. If I'm correct, this their first time touring around the states. The festival starts at 5pm. Just in case we arrived at 4:15pm to a virtually empty parking lot. As 4:30 approached though, the parking got full almost instantly & a 40 foot long line formed from the gates. Boy, did we understate the popularity of this!


To Avoid the Lines

I suggest buying your tickets online. First of all, they're cheaper that way. Online, they're $23 per adult, but when we got to the gate, they ended up being $24.50 per person. Secondly, a large majority of that 40ft+ line, are people waiting in line for tickets. It's January. It's cold! If you've already bought your tickets online & printed them out to be scanned, then you can walk around that entire line & check in at the window to your far left. It's a much shorter line & you be in before you know it! 


Inside you'll find a pretty endless stream of light fixtures to keep you occupied. From a photography standpoint, this place had endless possibilities for me! If only they allowed you in before sunset, but all in all, we had fun. I hope you end up checking it out! :) - Jen


24HRs in Edinburgh

With this being my first visit to Scotland, after 3 days, and no set itinerary, I ended up really liking the order of events that Lindsay & I lined up for ourselves. It ended up being our perfect introduction into the city of Edinburgh & a great way to immerse ourselves into the history of Scotland. While more time is always nice, if I had to recommend the best way to start off your first 24 hours in Edinburgh, this is how I'd do it (which is pretty close to how we did it).


We arrived from London via train at 4pm, and dropped off our bags at (the freshly renovated)  Stay Central, our hotel just a block away from the Royal Mile (I’d recommend this one). 


At the corner of The Royal Mile & High Street, sits what used to be a old bank, now converted into an Inn & restaurant/bar down below. If you’re one to appreciate repurposed architecture, this is the spot for you. 


Go in & warm your soul up with some good comfort food, like soup, or the juiciest fish & chips you’ll ever eat (think fish covered in crunchy battered rooster skin). More importantly, when in Scotland, get your first glass of scotch. If you’re unsure of what to get, the bartenders here can set you up with a few to try. At the very least, don’t forget to check out their penny covered bar & the former bank vault downstairs! 





After dinner, or preferably when it’s dark out, walk off your dinner by strolling up The Royal Mile & sign up for a walking Ghost Tour. There are a few booths along the mile & you will not be disappointed. Over the span of 1-1.5 hours, your tour guide will walk you throughout the city, down a few alley ways & tell you darkest pieces of Edinburghs history. It also works as a great first day introduction into the city.


You’ll even get to walked through a cemetery, where you’ll learn of the Edinburgh series killers, Burke & Hare (more about them later). If you’re a scaredy cat like me, bring a friend, so you can hang onto them when they take you underground. Maybe you’ll even see a ghost there.



What kind of travel post would this be, if I didn’t recommend another deliciously, Instagram friendly place to grub?


For breakfast the next morning, take a 10-15 minute walk away from the Royal mile, and enjoy the city as it’s waking up. If you can’t wait until breakfast, there are also plenty of amazing coffee shops along the way, like Black Medicine (recommended to use many times over). Southpour also great coffee & tea (with fudge), but it’s their tasty breakfast options that sold me twice. They’re vegan & gluten free friendly, and they also have trivia nights!




Another reason to visit Southpour for breakfast, is that on the way back towards the Royal Mile, you’ll run into the Surgeons Museum on your right, as well as the Wohl Pathology Museum, in the same building. 


The museum covers how the biggest advancement in medicine, started it’s root here in Edinburgh. As two people in the medical profession, this was a must visit for us. It was also a great follow up, because the Surgeon’s Hall Museum is also the home of the famous skin book; mentioned on the Ghost Tour we went on the night before. It's  a “leather bound” book, made from the skin of serial killer William Burke, after he was hung. Now if that isn’t worth checking out, I don’t know what is. (Sorry we weren’t allowed to take pictures.)



If you haven’t already lost your lunch from the Museum of Pathology, or ended up sucked into their rabbit hole of specimens, start walking back towards the top of the Royal Mile, to Edinburgh Castle. 


It’s about £17 to go inside, but it also includes a great 30 minute guided tour, starting at the entrance of the castle, and ending at the very top. The tour gives a great understanding of how Edinburgh came to be, and how the Scottish & English monarchs came together. Plus, after the tour, you have an idea of what you want/where to explore more of, on your own, as you make your way back down. Don’t forget to check out the royal crown!




Now that you've hit the major spots, exit the Edinburgh Castle & work your way down the Royal Mile. You’ll find plenty of Scotch shops along the way, places to eat, as well as shops selling wool/cashmere scarves with tartans. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, make your way to the end of the Royal Mile & check out Holyrood House, otherwise known as the Holyrood Palace. It's the official residence to the British monarch, in Scotland.


And there you go! 3 days of trial & error for us, plus lots of Christmas souvenir shopping later… we’ve condense for you, the best way possible to do 24 hours in Edinburgh. Tried & tested! Hope this was a helpful post! Cheers! - Jen

The other things we'd highly suggest doing are: 

  • Walk through Princes Street Gardens (and say hello to Wojtek, the bear).
  • Spend half a day at the National Museum of Scotland (it's big!)
  • Go Shopping along Princes Street - you'll find stores like Allsaints, Jo Malone, Topshop & Dr. Martens. 



If you wanted to end your London visit with a bang, like we did, this is the spot to go.

What kind of post about food would this be, if I didn’t mention the internet famous, Duck & Waffle? And now that I’ve been, I can absolutely understand why. Despite being open 24 hours, reservations are highly recommended & strict. Reservations can be made no earlier than 2 months in advance. Depending on which meal times you’ll be dining, and how busy the restaurant is, your length of your reservation will be limited to 1 hour to 1.5 hours. Since went there for a late meal at 10pm, we were actually able to stay for 2 hours. 


Upon arriving to your reservation, your bags will be check by security, before you get escorted to the elevator & sent up 40 stories, to an amazing view of London.


With the menu meant to be shared, we decided to order several items to give us a wide taste of what they had to offer. We tried the bacon wrapped dates, the roasted brussels sprouts, smoked eel, and the Jerusalem artichoke ravioli.  


As an American whose used to large personal entrees, between the two of us, the 4 small looking dishes were deceivingly filling. Every single dish was so different, yet delightful in both their mixes of texture & flavor. The outer savory layer of the bacon wrapped dates, were accentuated by the soft inner date. Then as someone whose only had eel in sushi, the smoked eel was a great contrast to what I knew, as it wasn't as savory. Instead it seemed pleasantly subtle with the creme fraiche & would just melt in your mouth. Lastly, the crispy shallots were a great textural contrast to the soft roasted brussels sprouts, like the ____ were the cauliflower ravioli. 

I just don't have any negative things to say about the food. As for the service, we noticed a well suited man with an ear piece constantly roaming the dining room. All in all, we felt well attended for, but we never felt like their service was disruptive to our meal or our conversation.  With that said, I'd put Duck & Waffle in that category of mine, where I think everyone, if given the opportunity, should try at least once. Enjoy! - Love, Jen