The Seattle rose garden your nose was made for

Back in January, we moved from our one-bedroom apartment into a two-bedroom townhome. We only moved seven blocks, but it feels like a whole different world over here. Busy streets are like rivers of movement that divide and define neighborhoods. Seattle’s rainy months kept us from crossing our busy river north, kept us meandering south where it was quiet. Once the sky opened up, we ventured north, delighted to find the zoo so close by.

Evening walks are our go-to when it’s nice outside. This ridge at Phinney lets us see the tippy-tops of the Olympics, their big iconic shoulders visible through houses and cross streets.

Sure, we heard rumors that there was some kind of Rose Garden by the zoo, but we were not prepared for just how wonderful this place is. With 3,000 rose plants, the 2.5-acre Rose Garden by Woodland Zoo is completely immersive, and features 200 rose varieties. It’s free, open from 7:30 a.m. until dusk every day … and dogs are allowed!

This garden is a playground of scents! Brenton and I (and Alfie) bounded from plant to plant, smelling each intently. As we leaned in, we felt the delicate flowers brushing our faces. So sweet, so tender. Soooooo good smelling!

We’ve made many trips back to the rose garden. Our noses request it regularly. The petals are dropping quickly though, folks. So hurry on over if you’re in Seattle. 🙂

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Our favorite rose is Betty White (apparently a lot of roses are named after famous people). She’s gigantic and Brenton says she smells like the resort we stayed at during our honeymoon in Puerto Rico. She’s a punchy sweet floral aroma with a lot of drama and elegance.

This is Betty:

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Why I’m obsessed with podcasts + Show recommendations

Real human connection isn’t easy to come by. It takes time to cut through the bullshit and get to the juicy stuff: What’s making you happy right now? Sad? What did that feel like? What are you afraid of? Unlike many other mediums, podcasts can offer a window into this wonderful world of human experience. There’s something about only listening; it prevents certain physical judgment to make room for some real human emotions like curiosity, empathy and humor. Sounds have a profound impact on our imaginations, transporting us through sound cues like traffic, birds chirping or the slight wobble in someone’s voice. When I listen to podcasts, strangers become so dear to me. In a world that worships beauty, podcasts glorify authenticity, intelligence, and vulnerability.

When I first discovered audio storytelling in college, I couldn’t get enough. I bought a little handheld recorder and took it with me everywhere. I recorded the sound of the train in Amsterdam, a busker in Dublin, the ramblings of a self-proclaimed millionaire in London. I wanted to capture all this humanness!

Luckily, there are many amazing podcasters creating insightful, compelling and emotionally rewarding audio shows — and my podcast subscriptions are constantly taking up too much storage on my phone. So after years and years of devotion to this medium, I’m going to make my first-ever faves list. And let me tell you, it ain’t easy to choose. 🙂


My all-time favorite podcast. A new episode of Reply All is like a precious little audio gift. I get a rush of delight when I hear the theme song (it’s soooo good). The show covers fascinating, quirky, and even educational stories about the internet and subsequent online culture. It’s hosted by two friends that feel like my friends. Start anywhere. They’re pretty much all good. A couple of my most loved episodes: #56 Zardulu | #44 Shine On You Crazy Goldman


A podcast about the invisible forces that control human behavior. It’s by the producers of Radiolab, a heavy-hitter in the podcast world. I gobble up new episodes of this show; there never seem to be enough of them. I am always wanting more. On a recent episode, I learned that dreams can actually be a form of emotional therapy. How cool is that?!


Considering I’ve only been listening to this podcast for two weeks, it’s a pretty big deal that this podcast is even on this list. In just two weeks, I’ve listened to 30 episodes. Millennial describes itself as a “coming of age” podcast. It’s about those juicy questions in life and it’s honest, vulnerable and well produced. If you’re at any kind of crossroads in your life (which most of us are at any given time), you’ll probably find this show comforting and relatable.


I am so glad this show exists. Each episode is a fast-moving, interesting conversation about creativity and yes, marijuana. The host, Aaron Lammer, is a fun and inquisitive interviewer and it’s refreshing to hear intelligent, accomplished people talk about weed in such an honest way. Start anywhere. They’re all good! The most recent episode (Episode 14: Dope Girls Zine) featured two badass women from Georgia who started a zine for women who enjoy weed. I totally ordered an issue this week and I can’t wait to receive it!


Jonathan Goldstein — in his literary, self-deprecating, charming way — time travels through someone’s memory (sometimes his own) during each episode to find resolution or understanding. Can you make amends with the past, or at least understand it better? Jonathan’s vulnerability and storytelling prowess makes this show both entertaining and heartwarming. Just listen to the whole first season beginning to end. It’s great.


True story: when my partner and I have an intense disagreement, I’ll sometimes go for a walk (feeling frustrated and angry), pop my earbuds in, listen to the latest from Dear Sugar … and by the time I’m back to the house, I’m ready to be accepting and loving and apologetic. That’s just the effect that listening to Steve Almond and Cheryl Strayed has on me! They are accepting, empathetic and honest and they admit to their own mistakes. In an age where people are curating a flawless impression of their daily lives, it’s amazingly helpful to hear about the challenges and uncertainties through listener letters. Scroll through the episodes and listen to a title that appeals to you. There are tons of juicy ones!

Honorable mentions: 

….And basically anything from Gimlet!


Breaking the shopping twitch: Maybe things really are different now

Tonight, I wandered into a giant Forever 21. I was by myself, talking long-distance with my dad through my earbuds. We were deep into one of our political conversations. It’s a rousing game of word tennis that we play — an amicable exchange. I love this about my relationship with my dad.

I had been wandering along Southern California Highway 111 in Rancho Mirage when he called me. Equipped with my Sony camera and a bottle of water, I intended to enjoy the California sunshine for as long as possible this evening. Near the end of our chat, the sun had fallen behind the San Jacinto mountains, and a big glass box emblazoned with FOREVER21 beckoned me.

As I wandered inside, the raucous music of the younger retail stores was blocked out by our conversation. I felt strangely calm, periodically assessing something for its feasibility (and often shaking my head at the impracticality of so many items).

A beautiful thing happened: the typical thrill of shopping was absent. I often feel a certain thirsty zeal when I’m in a retail environment. My eyes gobble up the array of fabrics and patterns and options — simultaneously energized and overwhelmed. I’m drawn in by all the potential people I can be. A bohemian? A little retro glam? Perfectly girly in a frilly top? Maybe sporty spice in this raglan shirt?

I am not just looking for clothing, I’m looking for myself. My identity. I’m looking for ways to transform, become a better version of myself.

Or at least, I was. Maybe things really are different now. I certainly hope so.


Here’s Ranchito Conchito. Say it out loud, it’s fun!

Dad said goodnight; it was late in Pennsylvania. My earbuds defaulted to the Jerry Paper song that had been playing before he called me. How pleasant to continue ignoring the overbearing bass of Forever’s soundtrack. How pleasant to ignore the allure of new clothing.

Walking back to my hotel, I stopped at Five Guys for a cheeseburger with all the fixins’. I toggled through the photos I had taken on my Sony of Ranchito Conchito (a tiny stone house that happens to be the oldest in Rancho Mirage). I felt strangely peaceful.

Seduced by the hunt: confessions of an online shopper

It always starts innocently enough. You see a blouse on Instagram and go searching for it on the web. You’ll just peruse a little, see what you can find. You experience surges of delight when your badass googling abilities deliver just what you’re looking for. What begins as curiosity becomes a ravenous pursuit. A colossal challenge posed by the universe.

Now we’re getting somewhere, you think. So you start Command + T’ing the shit of out of those google results. Suddenly you realize you have a dozen tabs open, so you switch gears, analyzing each result, tab by tab. Hmm, not the right color. Eh, this one looks cheap. Perfect — but waaay too expensive. Damn! After wading through all dozen tabs, you’re back where you started with your google search. You begin a new search using slightly different keywords, really honing in on your prey. I mean purchase!

You search and search and search. Selecting, opening, analyzing each item’s main points (style, comfort, practicality, price). The really good one is often prohibitively too expensive. So you’re left with a handful of sub-par options. You become suddenly overwhelmed by choices with no clear winner. A lot of similar shit. Annoyingly similar shit!


This is the plateau. Those surges of delight are few and far between at this point. However, you’re committed to the hunt. Addicted, almost. You will find it. So you power through. Maybe you distract yourself by looking at something else. A different item or you switch it up by searching on Pinterest for ideas.

At some point, usually when your energy is almost depleted, you are faced with two options. Impulse buy or abandon the mission. You don’t want to be a failure. And if you’re being honest, you also don’t want to spend tomorrow night scouring the internet.

It’s hard to leave this pursuit without a reward for all of that hard work. So you often scramble for your wallet and just place the order. When the transaction is complete, you feel one last surge of delight. A present! In the mail! It’s on its way! And then a little concern: hope I made the right choice.

You snap back into the physical world, you drink some water. You re-engage with your surroundings. You feel relieved and very tired.


At least, that was my experience when I got into online shopping. I must be very careful now! No more jumping on a special promo that ends tonight. It’s not saving me money if the item gets disregarded for its lack of practicality.

I’ve finally made peace with my closet and that means freedom from the allure of online shopping. Focusing that much on my wardrobe just takes up too much time. I want time for stuff that actually makes me feel good afterwards. ✴