The Bachelorette: For the Right Reasons

430.1x1I cannot believe this season is over. It feels like there have been four rose ceremonies, total, and I feel robbed of the experience of hometown dates. Will someone explain to me why they all met in Utah? Does Kaitlyn only get one exit visa a year? Anyways, on to the actual FINAL EPISODE. We meet Kaitlyn and her family in a beautiful, oceanside Luxury American Express Black Card Airbnb that would be an excellent second version of Valtrex Manor. Kaitlyn tells her family that she had sex with both Nick and WRG and I…is this a normal thing? I would rather have my teeth pulled “The Americans” style than tell either of my parents anything about my sex life. Like, isn’t the assumption that two consenting adults are doing the nasty? Why must you tell your parents? ICK.




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The Bachelor: 50 Shades of Hay

IMG_2880We’re a little less than two weeks away from the world premiere of everyone’s favorite Twilight fan fic turned best-selling novel turned Valentine’s Day movie, 50 Shades of Grey, and the world has gone mad. While The Bachelor frequently traffics in the absurd—for example, the Bachelorette season when they did a tie-in for the movie “Brave” and had the men dress in kilts and engage in caber tossing…wait, actually, I really enjoyed that. But the show isn’t known for subtlety or shying away from a good double entendre, terrible sexual pun, or long, lingering shots of “swimming in the ocean.” Yet, in spite of all that, as I watched comma eyebrows straddle Chris’ lap, I could feel myself blushing. This came on at 8:19 in the evening! On ABC! In primetime! E.L. James, what have you done to us?

But before we dig in too deep with the “intimacy session,” let’s begin with Comma Eyebrows Cruise Ship Singer. I can’t stop looking at her eyebrows. They are horrific. While I admire her commitment to plucking, and the fact that she has eschewed false eyelashes in favor of approximately 6,000 coats of mascara, she does herself no favors. However, she’s incredibly excited to get her first one on one with Chris. We are treated to several shots of Chris, trying his level best to look pensive as he gazes off into the middle distance. More often than not, he looks mildly constipated and/or confused. I feel for the guy, because he has no business on this show. Despite all of my hamster brain comments, I do believe he might be a good guy, and every time they set up incredibly staged shots for him, he looks painfully out of place. So it’s genuinely refreshing to see him light up when he catches a glimpse of Comma Eyebrows Cruise Ship Singer decked out in a sweater plucked from one of Urban Outfitters’ more culturally sensitive Navajo-inspired collections.

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Sweetness: Pie Bar

Way back in January, when I kicked off my lifestyle change, I knew the biggest battle for me would be bidding adieu to dessert. For the first month, I skipped all sweets entirely, and then, afterwards, I made them a special occasion type deal—I wouldn’t eat dessert through sheer force of habit, and only when I really, really wanted something and when that something was extra special.

That something special has presented itself in the form of Pie Bar. I Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetlearned about Pie Bar during my now regular nightly “Evening Magazine” viewing. The bar, located in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, is just what it sounds like; pie. And booze. Opened last May by twin sisters, Pie Bar serves as a tribute to the duo’s recently passed father. I don’t know their father, but the bar is a fitting tribute to anyone who appreciates pastry and delicious adult beverages.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetThe location itself is cozy (read: super small, but still comfortable), tucked away on the western slope of Capitol Hill, away from the maddening crowds of Broadway. Despite how filled the little room was, it was actually pretty quiet–easy to hear my friend’s dating stories and to discuss the pros and cons of Tinder. Décor is a mixture of rustic Pacific Northwest glory and classic glamour—I was entranced by a row of miniature crystal chandeliers that hung from the ceiling. The bar itself is 21 and up, but pie fans who aren’t of legal age, or those who just want a slice to go, can take advantage of a walk up window. Our first server was warm and friendly, and the pie? Well, that was spectacular.

The menu offers up a la carte pie, both sweet and savory, a full list of alcoholic beverages, Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetas well as the choice to pie/drink pairings. My friend chose strawberry rhubarb pie and the Old Fashioned, a chocolate stout beer served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, like an adult root beer float. I chose banana cream pie paired with a pecan pie martini–which was served with crumbled pie crust on the rim of the glass. Both choices were divine, and though it would be incredibly easy for two sweet drinks to kick you into a sugar coma, both were incredibly balanced—and the topping on my pie tasted like fancy Cool Whip.

And to make you feel even better about a healthy dose of alcohol and sugar, the restaurant is holding a fundraiser to benefit the victims of the recent landslide in Oso, Washington.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetWhile my lifestyle change means I can’t indulge in coconut cream pie every day, it doesn’t mean I can’t have a little cheat day every now and then—especially when it involves pie and booze, and a slight hike to and from my new favorite sweet escape.

Pie Bar
1361 E. Olive Way
Seattle, Washington 98122
(206) 257-1459
Monday – Sunday: 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.

The Budget Traveler: London House Hotel Review

I am weirdly cheap about certain things–as much as I love Uber, nine times out of ten, I will take public transportation to/from most airports. In fact, I will bus most places unless absolutely necessary that I take a car (for example, last month, I got hopelessly lost in an area of Seattle that I am deeply unfamiliar with and which does not have sidewalks, so had to summon Uber). When I first started making my solo travel adventures abroad, I eagerly booked into cheap hostels, where I met some great people (some of whom I still keep in contact with) and managed to save a lot of money to keep me in the clear as I ate and drank my way through Western Europe. But somewhere along the line, maybe around 25 or so, I began to let go of my desire to pinch pennies when it came to where I lay my head down. Gone were the days where my body could withstand hours of liver abuse and rally on three hours of sleep that were interrupted by loud snoring from the person in the bunk above me. So, I spent a considerable amount of time scouring the Internet for hostels and hotels that offered single rooms (preferably with an ensuite shower, because I was also tired of packing my own shower shoes) for a reasonable price. And you know what? Those places exist. They’re just very hard to find.

Enter London House Hotel, located in Bayswater, London. It is by no means a fancy hotel–there’s no room service, no on-site restaurant, no bar. But what it lacks in on-site services it more than makes up with in price, location, and room quality.

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Get Up & Go: The Circus Hotel

Junior Suite at The Circus Hotel
Junior Suite at The Circus Hotel

My recent trip to Europe was my first real, grown-up trip to Europe. Previous trips involved rushed planning, occasional reluctant couch surfing, and lots of stays in hostels. But at 28, my days of successfully sharing a room with a half dozen other people or happily falling asleep on an IKEA bunk bed are a thing of the past. The prospect of staying in a hotel was great, but the task of sorting through the word vomit that often qualifies as reviews on various travel sites proved to be a daunting task.

The easiest (and best) hotel choice I made during Eurotrip 2013 was The Circus Hotel in Berlin. It is a centrally located sibling of the popular Circus Hostel (my taxi driver told me people frequently get confused about which place they’re staying, since they’re quite close to each other). I was feeling fancy, so I booked a Junior Suite for 110 Euros a night. The room was pretty big, especially by European standards (and it was exactly the same price per night as my closet-sized hotel room in Paris).

I didn’t spend too much time in my room because Berlin beckoned, but the time I did spend in my room was wonderful. My room faced the courtyard portion of the in-house restaurant, and there were a couple of nights during my stay that were especially warm and so I kept the windows open but wasn’t disturbed at all by my fellow guests.

The restaurant itself was absolutely fantastic. On my first night, I somehow managed to lug my extremely jet lagged body to the bar/restaurant for dinner and to listen to a

local jazz trio. The food was delicious, the atmosphere calm and relaxing, and the drinks stiff.

Beer and Schnitzel at Fabisch
Beer and Schnitzel

The front desk staff was extremely helpful, offering tips of places to eat and drink in other neighborhoods, helping me print out a pass to the Reichstag, and assisting me in booking a taxi to the train station on my last day in Berlin.

My fellow guests ranged in age from late 20s to late 50s, an age range which means that the hallways were quiet at night, and the bar and restaurant were filled with the gentle murmur of conversation rather than the bubbly almost delirious conversation of students on their first trip abroad (for that experience, visit The Circus Hostel).

When I go back to Berlin (because I absolutely will), I plan on booking at The Circus Hotel. It was an excellent start to my Eurotrip, and I only wish I’d had the same luck when booking my hotel in Paris.

The Circus Hotel Berlin