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Monday, February 11, 2019

I will not let Hunger control me!

Mindful Eating.

It was safe to say that I was a full blown skeptic. "Mindful" anything seemed kind of like a crock. Except for when I'm out in public surrounded by strangers, where I am particularly mindful of my actions and how they affect others, for my own self it seemed rather... illogical for lack of a better word. I mean, of course I'm mindful of what I'm eating - it's not like don't I know that I'm eating, right?! 

Well, when I finally came to the realization that hunger was controlling me and not the other way around, I knew I had to figure out how to change my habits somehow. I was reading an article, and I forget if I found it in the Greatist blog email or on Myfitnesspal, but she was discussing leptin and ghrelin and the role they play - which I already knew - but then she talked about hunger. She described hunger as a child having a tantrum; and that resonated with me in my dislike of children. I thought: well, I'd never let a 2 year old win a tantrum - why should I let my stomach do the same?



You see, I was giving in almost immediately to even the possibility of a hunger ping. Like I wasn't even sure if was a real feeling of actual hunger before I was jumping up and looking in the fridge for something to eat, and that had to stop. It was almost like a literal switch flipping in my brain. I'm not sure how else to describe it. The only thing I really changed was just employing strategies I already knew - like waiting 20 minutes to gauge if I'm feeling actual hunger before I go to eat. And waiting 20 minutes after I ate before I decided that what I had wasn't enough food. In this way, I am being "mindful". I'm sitting there, asking myself how do I really feel? Is this hunger, or is it boredom? Is it hunger or is it that weird in-between feeling I get sometimes that goes away within a few minutes? 

Using this, plus a couple of tricks to help me along, has allowed me to stay in roughly 1300 calories a day without feeling deprived. I've been doing it for over a week now without changing any of the food I eat on a daily basis (besides drinking less alcohol). I've always known that my downfall has not been what I eat, but how much, because I was letting hunger control me.

The biggest trick that I employ is PYY, or Peptide YY. It is released by your small intestine (normally during digestion) which tells your brain that you are full. Research has shown that coffee, particularly decaf (they know that it has nothing to do with the caffeine) increases PYY production. Unfortunately for you non-coffee drinkers out there, research really hasn't found a substitute; in fact, they don't even know why decaf is more effective at triggering PYY production. And honestly, I'm glad decaf is better for it because using coffee for appetite suppression is not always going to be the best option; especially right before bed.

So trick #1 is Costco, who is my best friend when it comes to large quantities of whole bean coffee, especially decaf, which is hard to find. I use their decaf in both my nespresso machine for a 30 calorie 8oz almond milk latte, and as a cold brew mixed with almond milk and a scoop of Idealshake for a double-whammy punch, usually around 7pm when I'm starting to feel hungry again after dinner.

Recipe for espresso

2 - 2 ounce servings of decaf coffee using an nespresso reusable cup like these:

4 ounces of heated unsweetened almond milk
1 splenda packet
1 tsp of non-dairy creamer
and froth the milk like crazy

Or, you can just make decaf coffee in your drip machine. For me, it generally comes out to about 30-40 calories due to using non-dairy creamer in my 16oz cup (when I make my 16oz cup in the morning with regular coffee, I add a scoop of collagen too, just to get a dose of protein in there.)

For the cold brew, it's very easy to do at home and my method makes it taste exactly like the Starbucks cold brew that you can buy in their bottles, plus as an added bonus you get either 10g of protein with a scoop of idealshake, or you can use vanilla-flavored whey for 24g.

Since I'm not making cold brew for the caffeine, the ratio to coffee/water isn't that strict. I use roughly 150-200g of whole bean coffee (coarsely ground) to a 64oz container (of water) like what you find at Costco with the Mixed Nuts. In fact, the lid is pretty important because you want to shake it a few times during the infusion process. Use filtered cold water, but instead of putting it in the fridge forever, leave it on your counter for 6-10 hours. And that's it. You can filter it any way you see fit. Personally, I have one of these

Which makes the process a lot easier.

Cold Brew Recipe:

I use 8oz of cold brew and 8 oz of almond milk, 1 scoop of powder, and 1 splenda packet shaken in Contigo cup. I sometimes also add a bit of water to equal about 20oz. It's freaking delicious. Using the idealshake, it's only 130 calories.

When my stomach is in one of those confused states of "I think I'm hungry but I'm not sure", which happens to me almost consistently after my work lunch, I drink a cup of coffee, and that stops that feeling immediately. It's a pretty cool trick. I also like [light] string cheese as a snack because it's a nice dose of protein and unless you're a crazy person who just bites into it, it kind of forces you to eat it slowly and MINDFULLY (omg).

Anyway, let me know what you guys think of this strategy. Have any of you tried these methods? Have you found that eating mindfully has helped you on your weight loss journey? Let me know in the comments!

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

The prank that almost never was

I was reminded recently of something I did in Junior High that had me laughing as I was re-telling the story to my friend Brenda.

I went to Cedar Heights in Port Orchard, (home of the Raindevils... wooo) and I had a teacher that I had hated from day one, back when he was a sub. His name was Mr. Simonson, and I hated him because he had subbed in the class I hated most - math - and at the beginning of class he'd done something infuriating. He kept moving back and forth in front of the classroom and waiting for people to pay attention, (which I was obviously refusing to do) and he said "I'm going to keep moving because the eye is attracted to movement." and I looked up. And I've hated him ever since (dammit; present me is impressed tho).

Anyway, that's the backstory. Fast-forward to present day JH and now Mr. Simonson was my language arts/homeroom teacher (Pretty sure I screamed nooooooo!! in teen-aged angst when I saw his name on my schedule and begged office staff to switch me to a different teacher). So one day, one of the students was selling fake parking tickets, and I have no idea how or why I decided to buy one but I did. (Maybe I had a little devil on my shoulder telling me who I should use it on). Our classroom was in a portable within clear view of the 2nd floor cafeteria, and I knew which car was Simonson's.

I hatched a plan.

Sneak out there during lunch, and slap that bad boy right on his windshield. I'd never see him find it, but that didn't matter. He parked right next to the portable. I'd be in and out in seconds. No one would ever know.

Except, being a nice kid who never played pranks on people, it wouldn't be that easy for me as it turns out. I walked out there all suspicious-looking and stood next to his car for an absurdly long amount of time. I was hesitating because I thought, well what if his car had an alarm - (it was a clunker, there's no way it would, I know that now) - he was parked feet from the portable window!! He would run out here and catch me! And then he'd think I was vandalizing his car! (I know now that this is my mind being anxious and had no idea this was not a normal brain process.) I remember looking up at the cafeteria windows and seeing everyone staring back down at me. No one probably cared, but I thought they were silently judging me. So, I finally puffed up my chest and quickly stuck it under his windshield wiper and walked away. 

THERE. TAKE THAT, MEAN TEACHER.

(Who wasn't actually mean at all lol)

My first and only prank that almost never was. How riveting!
 

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Revisiting "Raising Awareness"

I've been doing this blog for a number of years now, through a tumultuous marriage and eventual divorce, and during a couple of my dating escapades. All through them I've done a couple of "Raising Awareness" posts. I wanted to go back and revisit them to give some people advice on how to cope.

My very first blog post ever was Raising Awareness of Dyspareunia. I was never officially diagnosed with it, yet it was definitely a thing I was dealing with at the time. My life has changed drastically since this blog post was written, and I'm happy to say that it's no longer an issue. It turns out that, despite my constant self-talk of "everything is okay", it was definitely not okay and nothing was going to convince my brain otherwise. Now that I've moved on from my not-so-great marriage and dating a couple of other guys, I can safely say that it was my horrible relationship that caused the dyspareunia. This just proved further that women are emotional beings; they need that connection, that love, that commitment (unless you're just horny as crap and find any guy you can find - which is definitely not me), and if you're having issues in your relationship, that can easily carry over into your sex life. It's quite a relief actually because, if you read the blog post, I was pretty depressed about ever being able to find someone to love me with an issue like that (if I ever needed to). It's good to know that it wasn't a permanent thing.

The next one I wrote was Raising Awareness of Gallstones. This is another happy ending. I finally broke down and had a consult with a general surgeon about getting my gallbladder removed, which was mentioned in an update I made to the original post. It cemented my belief that I shouldn't go through with it. I was never having constant, like weekly attacks. They weren't even monthly. They were easily managed with Vicodin. I brought up my concern of that fact that each person (who spoke about their gallbladder removal) had a different experience in the aftermath. Some were perfectly healthy. Some could never eat fatty food again. Some had to basically live their life in the bathroom after every meal. And, I self-diagnosed myself with IBS (which isn't really hard to do, to be honest. I'm surprised I never wrote a "raising awareness" post about IBS), and my biggest fear was that removing my gallbladder would exasperate my condition. The surgeon obviously couldn't guarantee that it wouldn't. He also told me that it was completely my choice. I chose to leave it in.
Anyway, this is all beside the point. Along with not having any gallbladder attacks, I haven't had an IBS attack in a very long time either, and I'm going to contribute this to my healthy diet. My diet is quite low in fat, which has been known to exasperate both conditions. I do believe that I essentially "cured" myself with a good diet, 100%.

The next post in the series was Raising Awareness of Blepharitis, which is basically the inflammation of the eyelids, and is annoying as f*ck to treat and often reoccurs anyway. I only ever had the issue when I was wearing my contacts because that's when it became very noticeable, and I could not treat the issue (with the antibiotic ointment) with my contacts in, so wearing my contacts at all became a chore. There is no cure for it, but a lot of people on forums and other more legit research articles say that doing one thing or another (like taking fish oil supplements) helps decrease attacks. I found that not to be the case, but let me share my "cure" with you. I have been doing these two things for a couple years now and it basically brought my attacks to zero:



I wash over my eyelids during every shower with a Clarisonic brush. The type of face wash I use doesn't seem to matter. I just think using it to wash my eyelids in this manner helps keep the pores from being blocked and the eyelids from getting inflamed.
The second thing I do is use my own mixture of coconut oil/olive oil/vitamin E oil/almond oil/essential oil blend as an after shower moisturizer for my skin and pay special attention to my eyelids. Coconut oil is probably 80% of the blend (so it stays solid at room temperature) and it has anti-microbial properties. I think that helps keep my eyelids clean as well. I've been able to wear my contacts issue-free for a long time. I'm quite confident that I won't have another flare-up. Also, this moisturizer is pretty bomb and I recommend anyone with dry skin to make their own. I also use it in my hair after I shower as well.*

*I wrote this a long time ago (this post has been sitting in my drafts folder forever) but I figured I can keep it for those that might be suffering; because as of August of last year I actually got the LASIK procedure and although I hadn't had a blepharitis attack in a long time, I won't even have to worry about them messing with my contacts ever again!
 
The last one I wrote about was Raising Awareness of PVCs. There's not really much to mention here besides the fact that I haven't been getting them anymore. It might have something to do with a better sodium to potassium balance. 


 [Hardly anyone gets enough potassium in their diet even when they're trying - a banana has 400mg, and you need around 4,000mg. Even supplements only give you 99mg because they will disrupt your, um, bowels if you have too much at one time. This is why people complain of getting sick when they're using Keto-based BHB salts that bind with potassium.
Also, off topic here but you know that stuff you drink when you're going to have surgery in order to clear your system? Magnesium citrate? Yeah, too much magnesium will do it too!]


Anyway, besides committing to a standalone potassium supplement and keeping my intake of salt pretty decent, I'm getting more potassium in my diet with avocados and such as well. So I'm hoping that contributes to a healthy heartbeat.



Well, I hope y'all learned something today. I'll keep writing more "raising awareness" blog posts if and when I get new shit going on as I get older. I'm sure it's bound to happen.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Infusing Vodka

You'd think it would be a simple process, right? Throw some goodies into your vodka bottle, let it sit in a dark room for 5+ days, maybe shake it every once and a while, and boom; flavored vodka.

But I'm not a simple person. Why not make things complicated? I ask myself. Not really. I don't ask myself that. It just turns out that way.

Honestly though, I wanted some of that Heritage Coffee Vodka I'd bought for my cousin's Christmas present. Heritage makes some of the best infused vodkas I'd ever had - especially for that price. [Their Blood Orange flavor is amazeballs] But apparently everyone else and their mother wanted it too because my liquor store (lol - "my" liquor store. The one closest to me.) has been out all week so I finally decided to just buy some damn vodka and make it myself.

But I wasn't gonna wait no five days. Hells no.

Time to employ the Instant Pot. I thought, well hell, I had a recipe to make vanilla extract in my instant pot and that worked out just fine; nothing is different here except the ratio of alcohol to flavorants. 

So, I took a cup of crushed whole beans and a cup of ground decaf (first mistake) and mixed it into 3 mason jars I split the vodka in. At least I was smart enough to know to give it plenty of room. So, I put a cup of water in the bottom, stuck my 3 jars on the rack, and infused for 30 minutes. I then let it naturally release for 30 minutes and opened the lid.

OK SCIENCE SIDE OF TUMBLR, HELP ME OUT HERE.

The jars were still boiling.

Ok ok, I looked this up... alcohol boils at only 173 degrees. It's weird, but this makes sense. The jars were still hot, so the contents were still boiling. I let them cool for a while, and once they were cool to the touch, I decided to try and cool them off faster by slowly filling up my sink with cold water.

Ok ready, SSoT?

The contents of the jars went nuts. Especially if I tried to run cold water over the lids. They fizzed and boiled like they were super hot. I have a cool video of this, and here's the meme for reference:












I have a feeling that it's got something to do with alcohol being super-cooled, but I couldn't even look this up on Google. I mean, "pressure cooking alcohol" isn't something you can really find on someone's blog. (Except mine, apparently). I let them cool even longer until the entire jar was cold to the touch, and only then did I attempt to remove the lids.

By the way, I had to look up how to remove canning lids on google because they were stuck and I wasn't sure how normal this was. I mean, they were seriously stuck.

So, being afraid for my life (essentially) about exploding alcohol, I finally decided to let them sit overnight before attempting to remove the lids. The next day, it wasn't any easier. I tried heating the lids with hot water, banging on them with a knife, and popping them off using a leaver, but I didn't want alcohol under pressure to fly out all over everything. My last resort was destroying the lids by drilling a hole in the top to release pressure. And you better believe they were still under pressure. I heard the hiss of each jar as I drilled the tiny hole through each lid, and they popped off with no issue.

All that effort and what did I get out of it? Very muddy (thanks to the pre-ground grounds) and strong/bitter alcohol. It wasn't even that much cheaper than just buying the Heritage brand, which tastes infinitely better than this swill.

It still works well enough to mix with Irish Cream liqueur or things like that. But mixing is also very weird. It doesn't mix with my half & half without some effort. It's very strange.

So, you know what I did? I called another local liquor store and asked if they carried Heritage vodka. (It's a local brand and so they don't sell it in big box liquor stores). And guess what? They did. I went out and bought it.

Now I'm happy.









 

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Technophobes Beware!

I want to begin by saying that I've started watching Linus Tech Tips, Techquickie, and TechLinked on youtube. He is now my new favorite person. I'm not nearly as advanced in tech as he is, but he's hella fun to watch anyway and extremely entertaining. I've learned a lot already, and I've got like, 5 years of backlogged videos to catch up on.

Tech Tips is more like reviews, typical unboxings, crazy stuff like "we overclocked everything, even the fans!", while Techquickie is more about learning the basics of just about every tech subject under the sun, from how wifi works to an explainer on video file formats etc. Lots of good information there. TechLinked is just tech news, but so much more entertaining. Anyway, that's neither here nor there, but I wanted to mention it and set up some links in case anyone was interested. 

I'm actually writing this because his videos are the reason that I decided to bite the bullet and update some hardware on my PC. I had a few reasons for doing so. You see, a while back I bought a 250GB SSD that I intended to use as my Windows C: drive and allow the larger, 500GB SSD to be the secondary drive that holds all my programs and stuff.

[FYI, I separate these things in case my boot drive were to crash or get infected, I wouldn't end up losing much; all my programs would still be in tact. So I didn't want to just hoard everything on a single drive]

My first mistake was buying a Seagate drive instead of a Samsung one I guess, because basically right out of the box it didn't work right. It seemed to be fine for storing information but something about the boot sectors were corrupted and it would not load Windows correctly or install the million-and-one updates it needed for the fresh install. I tried to RMA it back to Newegg but apparently because I didn't have the original box they said screw you and sent it back to me. So, lesson 2 learned I guess. On the plus side, I was able to use it as my secondary drive to store my programs, but at what cost? I mean, it was already partially broken. The last thing I wanted was for the whole drive to fail. That would suck. 

So as time went on, my "Damaged Goods" D: drive began to fill its 250GB pretty quickly and I was beginning to run out of space, so when I learned about m.2 and NVMe from Techquickie, I did a little more research on the subject. 


 
I had recently upgraded my cpu/mobo/RAM/psu and so I had the ability to run m.2 drives now, and would not only be able to completely remove a sata cable but also an entire set of power cables from my case (thanks to my newly acquired semi-modular power supply). Also, thanks to the m.2 standard of bypassing the sata cable limitation, I could possibly be able to eek out some extra rendering performance for my videos.

So when I got my fancy new Samsung 970 EVO NVMe m.2 250GB SSD, I replaced my C: drive with it and then cloned my D: drive crap onto the old C: drive, and now this damaged Seagate SSD is sitting on my desk like an eyesore. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. It's unusable as a boot drive. Anybody want it for storage? lol

Anyway, so before I replaced the drive I ran a benchmark. I rendered a Good Eats Reloaded episode that I recorded using Bandicam, with Sony's Movie Studio Platinum. It took 31:08 minutes. After I installed the m.2 drive, I ran the test again.

27:22 minutes

Holy shit! Real world improvement! I am super excited. Now I'm hoping when I am finally able to upgrade my video card (I'm running an old Radeon Sapphire HD 7850 with 2GB of RAM) during Cyber Monday this year, I can possibly eek out a couple more minutes. We will see! 
 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

What the Hell is Hi-Fi anyway?

I'm going to be comparing my Bose Spoundsport Wireless earphones ($150) to my Mpow Cheetah Wireless sport earphones ($23).

{"Mpow"? Never heard of them!} Exactly.

And you would think there would be no comparison. I mean c'mon. It's Bose.

But before I begin, full disclosure:

The Bose were free. Like, I found them on the ground kind of free. So, to be fair, they could be like, super old, possibly damaged, who knows. You think I'd just up and buy $150 earphones? HA.


 
 
The Fit
The Mpow have an over-the-ear design with their drivers kind of sitting over your ear at a downward angle, while the Bose have a little piece of silicone that fits inside your ear to help them stay put. The eartips on the Mpow are stiff, while the tips on the Bose are super soft and malleable. 

I have to give it to Bose for comfort. They are way more comfortable to wear over long periods than the Mpows. However, I think the Mpows stay better, and since they are both "sport", that kind of makes a big difference. Plus, the over-ear design reduces movement noise. 

The Wire
And on that note, the wire that connects the two sides are very different in each brand. In the Bose, the wire is soft and floppy and a little sticky. It reminds me of a wet spaghetti noodle, and it's super annoying because it sticks to your neck and they're impossible to properly fold up to put away. The Mpows, on the other hand, have a kind of weird pre-folded design like a Pretzel that you have to forcefully unwind when you want to use them. Even after using them for years, I still have to deduce how to unfold them each time and check to make sure I'm putting them in the right ears. But as annoying as that is, the wire is stiff and non-sticky, and barely noticeable on my neck. Plus, it springs back to that pretzel shape when you put them away.

Mpow wins this one.

Connectivity
Both units connect to my phone with no hassle, even on initial setup. The Bose talks to you (which is kind of creepy, actually) and tells you what it's connected to. The problem I have with them goes beyond a connection to my phone, however. It has a + and - on the wire that are inoperable for volume control. Now, to be fair, it may just be my unit. I mean, it's entirely possible that the person that owned them before me got all pissed when they stopped being able to control the volume of their music using the wire and tossed them on the ground. I mean, they did spend $150 on this shit lol. But it's also entirely possible that it may just be an iOS compatible device and I may not be able to control volume this way. Which is complete bullshit. I probably wouldn't be able to answer calls with it either. The Mpow has its volume control on the right driver. You can answer a phone call with it too. But you can't pause or skip any tracks, unfortunately. But as it stands, it at least works.

So another point goes to Mpow.

Sound
The moment you've all been waiting for. The Bose has to win this one, right? I mean, what else did I spend $150 for (hehehe) if not for the expensive drivers in the earbuds, amirite? 
Well hold your horses, buddy. It's not that simple. It's true that I'm not a true Hi-Fi aficionado. I don't spend the big bucks on my music tracks. (In fact, I don't spend any bucks on my music tracks). But I did want to truly put the Bose to the test to see what all these Hi-Fi shenanigans were about. I wanted to know if I, the lowly introvert*, could make out the difference between cheapo earbuds and a good quality pair. I even downloaded a couple of apps that would test the ranges of my earbuds. 
And the truth of the matter is, is that I couldn't. I believe the Bose has a lower bass range of an extra -5db before I stopped being able to hear it, but that was about it. I tried a couple of songs that had a good range of sounds (from Classical to Trance) but the only difference that I could discern was that the Bose pair are inherently quieter (as in, I had to turn them up a notch for the same sound volume as my Mpows). So that, coupled with the fact that I can't control the volume using the inline controls means that they're pretty worthless to me.

So who wins?

Actually, the super cheap and light wired ones I carry with me when my wireless ones run out of juice. Plugging those cheapies in gives me better sound than anything wireless that I could provide. But no really, the Mpows win hands down. It makes me really glad that I didn't actually spend $150 on these Bose ones, because I would have been sorely disappointed! 


*Yes I know that didn't make any sense. I did that on purpose.

 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Touring Seattle

Derek made a comment to me about the fact that I wanted to be a tourist in "my own city" [in Seattle, close enough], but I think my response should grace posters everywhere: "You've got to see it sometime". 

Maybe something a bit more eloquent is in order. Still the same in essence, though. Everyone is a tourist of their own city once. Eventually you will see the things and do the things, even if it takes years. And Seattle is such a large and daunting place. The traffic is a nightmare. The streets are crazy. And I can't stand driving in it - my anxiety goes through the roof. So, if it isn't within walking distance of the Link Light Rail Station - I've not seen or done it. But Derek has seen and done the things. And been an Uber driver all over it. So naturally, he was the perfect guide when we decided to hang out yesterday.

The first thing I did was on my own: Ride the Ducks. I know what you're thinking. I was gonna die. I don't blame you. Their reputation precedes them at this point. But that's exactly the reason I wanted to go. I wanted to do it before they um.. *cough* went out of business.

 
Let's cut to the chase. Was it worth $35? Not really. The guide was very entertaining, and of course driving into the water was pretty cool. But it's definitely more for the actual tourist and not the fake tourist like me. It was a neat experience though. I'm glad I still did it. 
We did get into a scrape, however. A car swerved a tad in the lane and because the duck boat is so big it takes up the whole lane. The car's back bumper tapped us, and we had to sit around for about 20 minutes while they exchanged information. The tour guide earned his tip from me right then.

Anyway, so after that, Derek was stuck in traffic coming down from Everett so I decided to cross another thing off my list: The Amazon Go Store. [for the uninitiated, I included a link explainer] Downloaded the Go app, walked in, checked out all the pricey stuff and decided on some Pumpkin Greek Yogurt. I had wandered into the original Go Store, so I ended up right next to the Amazon Spheres, and because I was within the Amazon "complex" (30 acres, I think?) it was set up for employees to grab food and eat it at a counter so I did so. They had microwaves and spoons and stuff. Pretty neat. The Spheres are pretty awesome too. It's too bad that you can't go inside without a tour appointment. 

 FYI, this pic is unedited because I'm too damn lazy for this shit today.

So I met up with Derek down there and we headed towards another place on my list: Cubes Baking Company. It's thanks to Evening Magazine that I even knew about any of these places. 

But on the way, we ran into Archie McPhee's, and had to stop. It wasn't on my list but it was on Evening Magazine! Fun store.

Anyway, when we got to Cubes, I had a snickerdoodle concha. It was delicious.

{Concha is a typical Mexican sweet bread. A concha consists of two parts, a sweet bread roll, and a crunchy topping. Conchas get their name from their round shape and the striped, broken "shell-like" appearance of their topping. Wikipedia}

But in this case, it was cubed. Because Cubes Baking Co.

After Cubes, we were within walking distance of another list item: Molly Moons Ice Cream. I settled for the coffee ice cream with fudge. It was too expensive. Good, but too much. I'll keep to Ice Cream Social in my neck of the woods.

Now that I was kind of full, we were going to find some stuff to do until I was ready for my dinner list item: Next Level Burger (I chose these places solely on the fact that they are not within walking distance of a Link station.) 

We went to Kerry park for some views (I had brought my camera), Denny Park for more views, drove around Magnolia for the pretty houses, and ended up at another very small park for another view of downtown. 

 
Across the street had been an old brick condo with a nice manicured area that I wanted to go take pictures of, and we found a Windemere open house at the complex. A unit was being shown!! We decided to join a pair already waiting to be let in so that they could see the place. 

 
Seattle: $450,000 for 550 sq feet with single pane windows and no parking spaces. But hey, it was across the street from a park with a view of downtown and brand new appliances. So... cool? 

After that, we drove to Alki beach and at this point it was close to sunset. We walked and I took pictures of the sunset and decided to cross yet another item off my list: Lime Bike!! They were all over the place at Alki so I rented an electric version for a few minutes. That was fun.


At this point we were both getting hungry so it was time to head up to Roosevelt for some Next Level. It was inside the Whole Foods (figures). They specialize in vegan burgers. I had my mushroom and quinoa burger with vegan cheese and tempeh bacon, which was mouth-wateringly delicious. Oh man, that burger was freaking GOOD. Next level for sure. I hope they expand southward. I would totes go there more often. 


After that, I told Derek to drop me off at the Starbucks Roastery so that I could cross another item off my list. We knew there would be no parking here so this is where we parted ways. By this time it was 8pm.
Let me tell you, this place is pinnacle hipster. I went to the very back, where they openly roast their beans and have the "Experience Bar" (I'm not kidding, this is what they call it). I tried the Brew Experience, where they offer the same roast brewed two ways, so I chose Starbucks's own "Clover Brew" [explainer link] and Pour Over. And believe it or not, I could taste the difference. It was subtle, but noticeable; and Clover tasted better: not as bitter.  I ended up with probably 16oz of black coffee total for $17 (oi) but I managed to drink it all. Black. 

YOLO, amirite?

I found a small batch roast of Barrel-Aged Whiskey Infused whole beans (with no price. If you have to ask, you can't afford it) and ordered a Cordusio to go, which ended up being like 6oz of espresso with some chocolate powder so I added sugar and milk because I was done YOLO'ing. 
 
And that was it. I walked back to the Link station and headed home. What a day! Crazy amazing though. Derek had fun too and we're gonna do it again sometime for sure.