The Brunch Generation: Homeskillet, Bellingham, WA

I read that our generation is obsessed with getting brunch, and for me, I feel that is completely true. Waking up late and going to get some well-made eggs and toast is exactly what I need most days. I started this new food reviews column called “The Brunch Generation” and since I’m not quite to London yet, I decided to write-up a brunch place in my college town.

Homeskillet is a very popular spot in Bellingham, WA for getting breakfast and lunch. It’s sort of tucked away in an area of town that most people don’t really know about, but I was introduced to it by a friend and was instantly hooked to it’s eclectic menu.

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Immediately upon walking inside, you get the feeling, just from the colors and collection of things on the walls, that you’re in a home-y place that will give you good food. There’s always a wait for brunch, and there’s a reason; the food is delicious. The water is served in mason jars, and you get coffee in a collection of thrift store mugs. The most unique thing about this place is the bathroom, which is covered in clowns; a nightmare for anyone like me who has Coulrophobia.

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The menu is famous for its homeskillets, which is a dish, served in a cast-iron skillet, and varies from a mixture of potatoes, eggs, cheese, meat and veggies. They also have breakfast burritos, hash mixtures, and a lunch menu. It makes sense that this place is always packed, because their meals are tasty, very filling, and exactly what one needs some mornings.

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I fully recommend this place to anyone passing through Bellingham, and hope to find a brunch place in London that I can come to love as much as Homeskillet.

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Things Seattleites Won’t Admit to Doing

Enjoying Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market, 1973

I’m pretty sure as much as Seattle people complain about how much of a tourist trap Pike Place Market is, they still jump at the chance to take any visiting friends there. Seattleites like to act like these out-of-towners are the only reason they’d even get close, but truly, Pike Place Market is fun to walk through each and every time you visit. It’s definitely not someplace a Western Washingtonian would go, due to all the foot traffic and expensive parking fees, but there’s always something new to see and gum to put on the wall.

Wanting to go Up the Space Needle
Monorail and Space Needle, 1962

It costs a lot of money to visit ($18 for an adult), but any Seattle area person who hasn’t gone up the Space Needle secretly wants to go up it sometime in their life, to at least say that they did. I know that I didn’t finally get up to the top until I was 18, even after living in the Pacific Northwest my whole life, but it really was worth it. Seeing all of Seattle and the Puget Sound laid out before you is really a treat, and Seattleites are lying if they say they don’t care about going to the top. Everyone is curious about what it looks like up there.

Drinking Too Much Starbucks
Starbucks store in Pike Place Market, 1977

In true hipster fashion, many Seattleites won’t admit to supporting such a large organization, even if it did start right in their city. Tiny, non-chain espresso places tend to get a lot of praise around the city. But in the end, when you’re in a hurry and need coffee fast, many PNW people will end up in a Starbucks, making ridiculous claims (“It’s organic and fair trade! I read about it!”-person who just bought Starbucks) to make themselves feel better about their corporate purchase.

Being Jealous of Portlandia
Garfield Street Bridge under construction, 1930

Washingtonians, especially Seattleites are constantly wondering why “Portlandia” is set in Portland, when Seattle life is basically the same, and we have many of the same day to day issues that Portland citizens face. When Fred Armisen performed at Bumbershoot in 2012, people yelled from the audience at why there’s no “Seattleandia,” to which he responded that Seattle is already popular enough without needing a TV show based on it. While that’s true (we already have Frasier, Grey’s Anatomy, iCarly, etc.), we still wish we had our own Portlandia-type show that showcased how wonderfully weird we are here in Seattle, Washington.

This list is really my opinion and I’m not trying to speak for Seattleites, as I must admit, I did not grow up quite in Seattle, but on an island about 45 minutes away. But these are thoughts I’ve always had and shared with fellow PNW friends who grew up in this area as well, so I thought I’d write them down in listicle form, just for fun.

 

Exploring Your Area

I like to forget that I live in a naturally beautiful area of the world called the Pacific Northwest. I mean, I was obviously spoiled growing up on an island at a beach and having a childhood of summers to frolic near the water and a handful of autumns to run around in the woods with my siblings and cousins. But at a certain age, I started not to care. I got bored of my surroundings and started to actually hate nature a little bit. As a kid, I could care less about the bug bites and looking dirty after a romp through the trees, but as a teenager and adult, I lost my love for the sand and the forts and gravitated more towards the inside.

But yesterday, my boyfriend and I decided to go on an adventure, right in our area. I’ve lived in Bellingham now for about 5 years, and haven’t truly taken advantage of this place. Chuckanut Drive is one of those roads that many tourists to the area take, and I had driven down it once with a couple friends my sophomore year, but hadn’t enjoyed it in the sunny weather or with any stops along the way. I wasn’t really a big fan of turning our journey into a hike, since I’m not really into trudging myself up a 10 mile hill, only to get to the top and not be impressed with the view, but we stopped at Larrabee State Park and walked down to the beach and climbed around the rocks for a bit, Taking in the gorgeous scenery.

My boyfriend walking through a tunnel.
A panorama of the view.

I didn’t bring my camera with me, and just used my phone to take some shots. It was nice for once to not lug around a huge DSLR, especially when climbing rocks. I realized during this jaunt that there is actually excitement in exploring your own area. I need to stop being so snobby about thinking only the rest of the world has scenery to offer. Europe is beautiful, but so is the Pacific Northwest. Day trips around the place you live can be just as satisfying as flying 4,000 miles away. There is worth in every place. I really hope I spend these next three weeks I have in America, fully experiencing the place I was raised in. Who knows when I’ll be back here again?

Attempting to be artsy with just an iPhone.
Too beautiful of a day to capture in a photo.

Throwback Thursday: Stories of LA

At the end of August 2013, I moved to LA after a break up. It was a hasty decision and while I wouldn’t call it a mistake, I will say that it was a really intensive learning experience about moving to get away from someone, rather than going where you want to be. I’d have preferred to move to NYC, but my parent’s were only willing to loan me money to move to Los Angeles, since it was much closer. I packed up my car with all my belongings, sent out a million resumes and job applications, and arrived in LA with a semi-willing heart to start a new life. It wasn’t what I wanted, so I left at the beginning of November to move home and apply for grad school.

While there, I encountered some interesting things to say the least…

I think the most interesting thing to happen to me was when I was volunteering at a soap opera star’s charity birthday party, and Baron Clement von Franckenstein came up to me while I was waiting outside, started talking to me, asked me for my number (to send me PR connections, according to him), and then proceeded to ask me to dinner the next day, to which I told him it was the Emmy’s so I couldn’t. He later sent me this lovely text…unnamed which was fine, other than the fact that he also sent his open robe headshot along with it and then kept calling me over the next week and thankfully got the hint that I didn’t want to talk to him after a week of me ignoring his attempts. He was nice, British, a baron and a pretty successful film and television actor, but him being 70, and I being only in my early 20’s is not exactly an arrangement I’m ever looking for. It was flattering, but not for me. I could’ve been the bride of Franckenstein if I had gone through with it. I could’ve been a baroness. It’s weird to think how my life would’ve been different if I had gone on that one dinner.

While I was down there, I got hired at three different internships, which was wonderful because two of them were paid, and all three were in the PR industry and actually gave me really valuable experience towards my future in publicity, social media, graphic design and marketing. I worked at a food PR company called Crier Communications, and my boss was actually from the Seattle area, so we had stuff to talk about the PNW. My second internship was at a non-profit called thinkLA, which put on events for the advertising, PR and media industry in LA, and one of the events I got to attend was a huge Battle of the Bands between ad agencies at the Staples Center. The last was for the Wing Girls, who are pretty popular YouTube stars, and I got to attend their book launch party, help them film a music video, as well as go to a Halloween party at the YouTube Space. I also had an unofficial internship with a stand up comedy night at the Hollywood Improv, and assisted with publicity for that and got to see some great performers.

1170755_10200127289256546_55034435_nWhile I was there, I attended the movie premiers for “Prisoners” and “CBGB,” which were very anti-climatic, especially after having the amazing experience I did in London at the Sherlock Holmes 2 premiere. But I also got to attend some live TV tapings for the shows “Mom” and “Sean Saves the World,” which were really exciting, and got me some autographs from Anna Faris and Sean Hayes. I guess I got pretty close to Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman, but it was nothing like being so close that they give you an autograph and speak to you for a moment. I also had quite a few celebrity spottings in completely random locations, but that’s what happens when you live in a city where a majority of the residents are famous actors.

Some of the other aspects of LA that weren’t nessecarily highlights, but things I’ll always remember are the annoying parking tickets I received for not reading the signs correctly, or getting my car hit by a girl who turn around a corner and didn’t see me pulling out, or accidentally running a red light and seeing the red light camera go off and freaking out about getting a moving violation. Or first living with an actress and her beastly screaming daughter for a month, before moving into an ant-infested apartment with a vegan couple who had really loud, room-shaking sex. Needless to say, I did not say an official goodbye and packed my stuff into my car and snuck out of the apartment on November 1st at 6am in the morning to start my drive back to the PNW.

Like I said, it was a learning experience and I am glad I got to know what it’s like to live in a major city and work in the entertainment industry doing PR. It definitely changed my mind about a lot of things I had thought I wanted to do with my life, but it’s good to know what I am capable of, even if I could only handle LA for two and a half months. It allowed me to see that London was where I really wanted to be, and for that I am thankful. The heat, driving, superficial people and atmosphere of LA drove me towards my true desires and I’ll leave the city to those who truly want to be there.

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Seattle Pride 2014

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I spent my weekend running around Seattle for the second year in a row, enjoying the amazing atmosphere of PrideFest 2014. Last year was my first venture into the city for the event, so I didn’t know what to expect, and it was the most wonderful day of my life. Everyone was so free and open and happy to be who they are. This year was no different.

I was so happy to be back, surrounded by people who are proud of their existence and won’t continue to take any flack from the people who tell them it’s wrong. I myself am an LGBT ally, and fully support rights for all people. I love being in a setting where everyone can be who they want to be and love who they want to love. The feeling is so empowering and special, and Pride really brings it out in me, and the thousands of people who attended the Seattle festival.

This year, I drove down to Seattle on Saturday afternoon to meet up with some friends and go walk around the street fair on Capitol Hill. Unfortunately, the rain was on and off, so it was a bit frustrating to fully enjoy the outdoor experience. One of my friends lives on Capitol Hill now, so we went to his tiny apartment and started day drinking pretty early. Later in the evening, we went back to the street fair to watch my friend dance in the drag show that took place outside of Julia’s on Broadway. We met up with some more friends and then went to buy more alcohol and food before starting our night. We ended up at this bar that had no cover and stayed there for awhile, but I was out of it, so I don’t really remember much of what we did there. My friend drove my car back to his place, and then we all had a sleepover.

The next morning, we woke up and got ready to take the bus back to downtown Seattle. We stopped at a diner first and ate breakfast before heading up a few blocks to the parade. Unfortunately, I missed seeing George Takei, the celebrity grand marshall of the parade this year, but we didn’t miss seeing Macklemore, which was fun because I haven’t seen him in person since Bumbershoot in 2011. We made our way to the Seattle Center to join in the festivities. Again, the sun wasn’t fully out the whole day, so it kind of dampened the mood (which I should have gotten used to, having lived in the PNW my whole life). We went to go get drinks and food at this place called the Rabbit Hole in Belltown, and then headed back to the Center to pick up our friend before heading back to his place to grab my car.

We picked up our stuff and drove back to Capitol Hill, where we met up at a bar with our whole group and I got to say goodbyes to all my friends who I hadn’t seen in ages. But I am glad we got to reunite, even if it was just for a couple days. This is most likely my final Seattle Pride experience, but I am happy I got to enjoy it at least twice in my life. I’ll get to attend other PrideFests from now on, but it’s one of my favorite events of the year, and I am glad I can support my friends and the rest of the world who aren’t afraid to love who they want to love.

Orcas Island

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The past few days of my life were spent on Orcas Island, in the lovely Pacific Northwest. It’s strange how I’ve lived in Washington my whole life and had never been to any of the San Juan Islands, but since I had a friend with a lovely cabin on Orcas, my boyfriend and I decided to go up with a group of friends to spend some days relaxing, away from it all. I grew up on Whidbey Island, so Orcas really wasn’t too different in the small town, rural sort of life. The cabin we stayed at was high up Buck Mountain, with a gorgeous view of the water. There were great trails and forest to explore, surrounding the house, so it was fun to get in touch with my inner-child and go into the woods again.

My friend took us to some fun areas of the island for adventuring, which included a long hike around a lake, up a terribly steep hill to a lookout point, and some nice drives around the scenic route. I got some really pretty photos of the area, and was reminded how much I like to do nature photography. Perhaps if I came from a landlocked place, or a major city, Orcas Island might have been more of a treat, but since I’ve been stuck on either an island, or small towns most of my life, I wasn’t in awe during our mini-break, but it was still nice to get a few nights away to spend with good people and enjoy the beautiful weather.