My Second Home: Whidbey Island

Growing up I frequently visited Whidbey Island to spend time with my grandparents and other relatives who live on the island.  Considering the fact I’ve visited the island thousands of times, I consider myself a partial island girl since it’s basically my second home.  I love being able to go down by the water every once in a while and take the short ferry ride from the Mukilteo ferry dock to Clinton because it’s always fun and something different than what I’m used to as a city girl relying on driving everywhere.  I’ll admit it’s a bit of a pain to wait in the long ferry lines on busy travel days, but with Mukilteo Lighthouse Park and a couple restaurants by the waterfront right next to the ferry lines, it only lifts your mood and eases the travel process.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 3.08.23 PM

Since I spend most of my time on Whidbey on the south side of the island, I rarely visit the north side.  However, yesterday was the perfect summer day to head up north toward Oak Harbor and take a day trip to Deception Pass with my boyfriend, Josh, for his first visit to Whidbey Island.

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 3.08.01 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 3.08.12 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 3.07.49 PM

Walking across the two bridges at Deception Pass, climbing around underneath the bridges, visiting one of the beach parks, laying out in the sun with good company, and capturing each moment on camera was the perfect way to spend the perfect day.

After adventuring around Deception Pass for 4 hours Josh and I visited the Blue Fox Drive-In Movie Theater in Oak Harbor which had to be the perfect ending to the day.  I had never been to a drive-in movie theater, and as soon as we arrived to the theater as the sun was setting I immediately loved it.   It was a mixture of feeling like living in the 1960’s and camping, two things that I really like.  It felt like being in one of those old pictures you see in diners of people growing up in the 60’s driving their old vintage cars to the drive in theater and watching the movies on the big screen.  Transforming the back of my little Subaru into a miniature camp out was so much fun and only brought back good memories of summers I spent as a kid camping out in the woods with my family.  The whole experience was so much fun and I absolutely loved it.  I already can’t wait to go back!

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 3.07.40 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 3.07.17 PM

Exploring Mt. Baker National Forest: Hiking Mt. Pilchuck

After about a year’s wait, I finally had the opportunity to hike Mt. Pilchuck and it was truly the most beautiful hike I have ever been on.  The popular hike’s famous panoramic lookout at the top of the mountain was absolutely breathtaking and totally worth the intense bouldering (and waking up at 4am).

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 10.01.03 PM

After the intense struggle of bouldering and feeling like the most obese person ever, getting to the top above the clouds felt like being on top of the world.  Walking around the entirety of the lookout was really cool with just how much of the state you could see on top of one peak.  Looking to the left to see Mt. Rainier, to the right to see Mt. Baker, and straight ahead to see the tips of the Olympic Mountains and parts of the San Juan Islands underneath the clouds, it was a feeling like no other.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 10.00.51 PM

I will admit that having a slight fear of heights isn’t exactly icing on top of a cake while wandering around the lookout, but staring out at the panoramic view takes it all away and you sort of let go and forget about it.  Thinking about anything else besides how high up you are makes it all the more enjoyable.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 10.01.20 PM

It was the ideal summer day to spend exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and hiking one of my top summer bucket list hikes.  For those who haven’t had the chance to hike Mt. Pilchuck, it’s practically obligatory for Washingtonians and definitely worth every second.

True Seattleite

Enjoying a much needed fun and relaxing day off of work, I absolutely loved taking a day to adventure around different parts of Seattle I had never been to before.  Practically all of my friends have been to popular places around Seattle like Kerry Park in Queen Anne or Alki Beach and always ask me in shock like, “Kelsie, what is wrong with you, how have you lived here your whole life and never been to Kerry Park or Alki Beach?”  Making progress on my Summer 2016 Bucket List of places I’d like to visit, I finally got to visit Kerry Park and Alki Beach, and now don’t feel as ashamed of my Seattle deprivation around my friends anymore.  And on top of that, the whole day was a ton of fun.

Starting off tourist day, I first visited Kerry Park and had so much fun taking pictures of the view of downtown Seattle from the park.  Practicing more with my Nikon camera, it was a blast to practice using the camera with a picture perfect landscape setting.  With amazing views of downtown Seattle to my left and Alki Beach and the Olympic Peninsula to my right, it was impossible to not be appreciative of calling Seattle my home.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.33.35 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.33.52 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.34.30 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.34.48 PM

After visiting Kerry Park I headed to Alki Beach in West Seattle.  I never would’ve guessed that a beach in Washington could make you feel as if you were visiting the beaches in Southern California.  I felt as if I were driving down the California coast through Santa Monica, Manhattan Beach, or Hermosa Beach with the cute little beach town right next to the water.  Why spend money on a trip to SoCal when you can experience a little California in Seattle?  Seeing all of the different beach houses and apartments, a couple of (dying) palm trees, the boardwalk full of people walking or biking, the beach volleyball players, the little beach shops, and the restaurants and nightlife the town next to the water has to offer, it felt as if I really were in Southern California.  It felt so strange to be around all of the California beach life and all of a sudden see a view of downtown Seattle right across the water.  Even just driving back home after the Seattle day trip, it felt weird to realize I was still in Washington.

Screen Shot 2016-07-19 at 11.34.13 PM

Stopping for lunch in Alki, Spud Fish & Chips was the perfect beach town restaurant to enjoy by the water.  They made probably one of the best milkshakes I’ve ever tasted that I would recommend trying out (Spud’s Raspberry Shake made with fresh, local raspberries -my favorite).

After a pretty solid day of adventuring around the city and taking a mini vacation, I can say for sure that I will definitely be making my way back to Alki Beach before the end of Summer and enjoying a California lifestyle before heading back to the wheat fields surrounding WSU.

Having fixed my deprivation of Seattle visits by seeing most of the city, I now feel confident in considering myself a true Seattleite.

Evening Photography Session on the Waterfront

One of my favorite things about summer is visiting popular scenic locations around the Seattle area and having my own mini photography session.  I have so much fun trying out different poses that make for some top notch pictures.

Last night I visited the Kirkland Waterfront (one of my favorite places nearby) and took some great pictures of the sunset on the water with a view of downtown Seattle close by.

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 12.29.03 PM

What I find a lot of fun out of these photography sessions is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on getting professional pictures taken when you can have a little fun of your own by going places with some friends and capturing the moments with your own camera or phone.

This picture from last night is probably one of my favorites mainly because of the scenery around me.  What I have learned after taking these kinds of pictures is that sometimes it’s not all about the face, sometimes turning your back to the camera makes for a very cool picture! I loved editing the filter to black and white for more of an old fashioned feel to it and I have so much fun editing the colors of a lot of other pictures that I take.

First Visit to Snoqualmie Falls

This summer I have been working hard on my bucket list of adventures and places I’d like to see before summer is over.  As I turned 20 today, I decided to check off Snoqualmie Falls from my list while making it a fun birthday outing.

Practically everyone I know has been to Snoqualmie Falls and have shown me the pictures of how amazing it is, but I had never been.  Having lived in Washington for 20 years now I felt it ridiculous that practically everyone had been there except me.

What I loved about the short hike was the immediate lookout of the falls just as soon as arriving, and all of the scenery.  It was absolutely gorgeous.

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.36.21 PM

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.36.35 PM

I had been told many times how the falls wasn’t much of a hike, but rather a tourist attraction.  Even though the 1/2 mile trail wasn’t exactly a hike, it didn’t even matter, it was still amazing and I completely enjoyed every moment of being there with such great summer weather.

For those of you who are out-of-towners, or for those who are as deprived as I am of visiting popular attractions on the west side, Snoqualmie Falls is definitely a must-see place.