Be a Tourist In Your Own City - From a Seattle Native's Eyes

In May, census reports confirmed what Seattleites have been suspecting for sometime; our beautiful Emerald City is the fastest-growing city in the U.S.

 Take one look around the heart of the city and you're likely to see at least 15 cranes, each working on a new development that'll probably house like 1000 Amazon developers and other transplants. Being a Seattle native, it's been incredible (and in traffic, sometimes frustrating) to realize how much this city's really grown the last few years. Whether you're new to the city or maybe showing some out-of-towners the spots, there are a few destinations at the top of everyone's lists. Today I wanted to share some nearby, equally-awesome, can't-miss spots for you and your loved ones to experience!

Check out some of my other recent city adventures here.

If you're at Pike Place Market, try: Oriental Mart

There aren't a lot of places to get Filipino food in the city, and one of those rarities is smack dab in the middle of the Market! Across the cobblestone from the fish guys and tucked in behind those amazing fruit stands lies the Oriental Mart, where you can get chicken adobo, pancit, longanisa, Filipino fried chicken and so much more a la carte or in combo-style. So awesome for lunch or quick meal while you're perusing market vendors.

If you're heading to Woodinville Wine Country, try: Lake Serene & Bridal Veil Falls

Not too far past Woodinville's wine country is Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls. Hike up to Bridal Veil for a quick workout with a breathtaking view of the falls as your reward. Keep going & have a picnic at Lake Serene - or head back to wine country for a tasting & dinner at one of the many delicious restaurants.

If you're in/near Lake Union, try: Agua Verde Paddle Club & restaurant

Nothing better than some fresh tacos and a good margarita after a kayak or SUP session out on the water. We love taking the Montlake Cut route for some wave action among the boats, though the houseboats along Lake Union and people-watching at GasWorks Park is fun too. Get the salmon tacos and a Cadillac margarita - and make sure to try all the different salsas!

If you're at Seattle Center, try: Gates Foundation Visitor Center

The Gates Foundation Visitor Center is such a nice refuge from the chaos that can be Seattle Center during peak season. They're regularly hosting events and workshops for families, students and non-profit professionals or enthusiasts. Even if you're not there for an event, there's a ton of interactive activities to get into - including this photo booth & wall! :)

Check out all my Gates VC adventures here.

If you're downtown, try: Sky View Observatory at The Columbia Center

Did you know The Columbia Center is one of the tallest buildings on the West Coast? Because it's an office building, it sometimes gets overlooked as far as tourist destinations with killer views. It is open to the public, and it obviously will not disappoint! Get a 360-degree view of the city, stadiums, Space Needle and all of the water you can lay your eyes on.

If you're heading to Alki, try: Marination Ma Kai

Marination Ma Kai is probably the best casual outdoor dining experience in the city. You can't beat spam musubi, kimchi fried rice, shave ice and this stunning view of the Seattle skyline! Sorry for the low quality - I always seem to only make it out there for sunset supper and nighttime patio fun. Get a meal in on their deck now, while their summer hours are still running fairly late!

What destinations would you add to this list? 


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center is open Tuesdays - Saturdays, 10:00a.m. - 5:00p.m. at 440 5th Ave. N. Street and garage parking are aplenty. 

Register online for a group tour of the Gates Visitor Center.

Check out their events calendar for upcoming special programs.

Join the dialogue! Follow the Visitor Center on Twitter and Facebook.

On Showing Up

One book I love to read every year is Bill Gates Sr.'s "Showing Up for Life." The book is part-memoir, part-lessons learned, but in short, the message is that Mr. Gates Sr. attributes much of his success simply to "showing up." 

In his book, Gates Sr. talks a lot about raising Bill (Trey) and his siblings; life with Mary (his first wife) and Mimi; his childhood and his career. Over and over, his stories reaffirm that throughout life, people will ask you to show up. To speak to a group of people. To come to an event. To be there for family dinner. To plan the family summer vacation.

To be present.

It sounds like such a simple thing to do, right? But as life goes on, people to the left and right of you are looking for excuses to not "show up." "I'm not good enough. Fit enough. Smart enough. Confident enough. Funny enough." We've made it so commonplace nowadays to hide behind the biggest excuse: "I'm too busy" or "I don't have time for that." More and more, the people who can actually 'show up' and see things through are few and far between, making them that much more special. 


Image via Pinterest

I take the concept of "showing up" everywhere and in everything I do. As someone who's produced events in a past life, nothing sucks more than when people don't show up in the very literal sense of the word. For that reason alone, I try to be honest when I say I can come or not come to an event. If I say I can make it, then I try my damnedest to be there. 

When people ask me how I got into blogging or social media, and how I've built a following. Usually the best answer I can give them is "I just kept doing it." I just keep blogging. Keep writing. Keep tweeting. Keep updating the Facebooks. Keep myself open to meeting new people who I might learn from and vice versa. As people are now starting to notice a difference in the way I look, they ask me how I can keep on a meal plan or keep getting up for 6:00a.m. workouts (I am NOT a morning person, by the way.) I just tell 'em that I keep doing it. I'm not perfect, and fall off the 'eating healthy' or 'working out everyday' trains all. the damn. time. BUT - I get right back on and keep going. 

I don't talk a whole lot about my relationship, but Jacob and I have been dating for many years now. People ask us how two young people can keep it together, especially with two totally ambitious minds and careers. How do we ever have time for each other? We get on each other's nerves and piss each other off all the time, but we still show up for each other and work on this every single day. And we show up for Spike, of course :)

One area that I feel I have a lot of work to do is in friendships. It's hard trying to be at and do everything your friends are a part of. I do a lot of things and write a lot of posts that I'm hoping my close friends read and show up for, but it's insane to expect them to be there all the time. I've found that the best, most fruitful friendships are those where you may not see or speak to each other in awhile, but there's a mutual understanding that you're both on your hustle. When you do see each other next, you maintain that level of closeness and realness with each other. None of that awkwardness or "I thought you were mad at me." When times get tough, they tell you when they need you, and you do your best to be there.

It might not be a grandiose or groundbreaking message for some, but to me, it's become an essential way to approach life, love and business. One big piece of showing up is to show up again and again over time. 

Persistence. That's the fundamental difference between a flash in the pan and someone like Bill Gates Sr. 

Which do you want to be? How are you showing up for life?

30Fresh Style: HollyHood Marilyn

With these 30Fresh outfit posts, I put more thought in making like editorials you'd see in your favorite fashion magazine. The fun part is playing up different pieces of my personality. The fulfilling part is showing you the things in my life and places around Seattle that are meaningful to me. Last week in my Alive & Well post, you saw tough leather & chains paired with girly blush pink delicacy as well as my love for sneakers and independent boutiques. This week, we're taking a walk on the 'sassy & sexy, with a little bit of grit' side.

Some of you may recognize HollyHood Marilyn. She's the face of TigerBeat's famous Seattle dance parties, which I had the honor of helping promote over the last four years. In my opinion, HollyHood Marilyn is one of the most brilliant branding I've seen. I have a very soft spot in my heart for HH Marilyn as she represents so much to me. A neighborhood blog once tried to use her to help depict a story he wrote about the unsavoriness of some of Seattle's club nights, but HollyHood to me was always about dancing and having fun with good people. That's what life should be like, right? Full of good people, dancing and shit that makes you happy. While HollyHood is on indefinite hiatus and TigerBeat's recently moved to NYC, Marilyn and the HH spirit always have a place in my life.

All photos by Sarah Lovrien Photo & Video.

Prabal Gurung for Target black shirt w/lace overlay & faux leather collar / coral high-waisted shorts via Poshmark (similar) / Anthropologie belt (similar) & Aldo wedges (old)

30Fresh30 days of posts celebrating 30 years - and 5 of Fresh Jess!

Fresh Style: Katniss in the Woods

After reading the first book on my cruise last month, rushing home to finish the other two then seeing the movie multiple times, I think it's safe to say I'm a little taken by the Hunger Games trilogy right now. I've even made a Pinterest board with some of my equally-obsessed friends.

So indulge me for a few minutes. 

There are scores of posts on fashion blogs and even an official Capitol Couture site - but what stuck with me was how very Northwest Katniss' woods and the 74th Hunger Games arena was. Who knows, maybe District 12 is where Seattle could've once been?

Image credit IMDB

I had a lot of fun with this style post, finding some stylish alternatives to the tributes' arena uniforms. While I hope I never have to go through anything like the Hunger Games, if I did I'd gravitate towards these pieces. Enjoy!

AllSaints New Military Boot (similar here)

And if you're curious about the boots in the opening scene...they're Frye Melissa Tall Lace Boot!

Image credit LA Times

Happy Hunger Games!

Shake ya hairfeather: Featherlocks hair extensions

A few weeks ago, Swink Style Bar invited a few girls in to try out hair tinsel and Featherlocks hair extensions. Initially I went in to get some tinsel but as soon as I saw my stylist Megan's hair, I knew feathers were the way to go. Featherlocks by Condition Culture are actual feather extensions that are easily and inexpensively applied to your hair without using chemicals or damaging your hair. Think of it as a sweet and simple way to add some swag to your hairstyle :)

Feather sisters: @JessEstrada &  @KnitPurl

Featherlocks can be washed, dried, flat-ironed or curled. I'm told they can stay in hair up to 4-6 weeks - though the feathers last well beyond that and can be reapplied without losing their original shape or color.

Feathers out on the town: Reina & me at the Grocery fashion show

Swink itself is a fabulous place to get your hair done for your birthday, wedding, gala or any other special event for a really reasonable price ($30 gets you a choice of different blowout styles.) For the Featherlocks treatment, $45 gets you a style and two feathers, with each additional feather just $10 more. Insider's note: Enjoy $10 off hairstyles on $20 Tuesdays! Sweet deal, yeah? I'm feeling a little addicted to the place already. I mean, who couldn't use a boost to their hairstyle even with nowhere special to go? Swink is absolutely darling and the staff is super nice. They also offer makeup, lash extensions and coming in January - facial waxing as well. Peep their service menu here.

Thanks to Natalie, Keridwyn, Megan, the Swink team and Featherlocks for my feathers!