Seattle Adventures: Underground/Underworld Tour

Welcome to the next installment of our Seattle Adventures series! To see the main page with links to all of the installments, go here!

The Seattle Underground is a network of underground passageways and basements in downtown Seattle that was ground level at the city’s origin in the mid-19th century. After the streets were elevated after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889,  these spaces fell into disuse, but have become a tourist attraction in recent decades. Many years ago, Bill Speidel and his wife had the brilliant idea to create an underground tour of these areas, paying rent to the building owners above for the privilege to do so.

Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour is the main tour offered by the company and is a leisurely, guided walking tour beneath Seattle’s sidewalks and streets. As you roam the subterranean passages that once were the main roadways and first-floor storefronts of old downtown Seattle, the guides ” regale you with the stories our pioneers didn’t want you to hear.”

The tour begins inside Doc Maynard’s Public House, a restored 1890s saloon, then through historic Pioneer Square to three different sections of Underground—about three blocks in all.

However, we opted for the Underworld Tour, which tours the same areas, but is an adult-oriented guided tour replete with the tales of graft, opium, sex, debauchery and Red Light district shenanigans. Risque! And it ends with a cocktail… :)

We arrived at the tour starting location in downtown Seattle.

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We all really enjoyed the tour. The tour guide was interesting and entertaining and we never felt bored. The group was full, but we didn’t feel crowded and it still felt like an intimate experience. Perhaps they keep it that way with the Underworld tour and I am not sure how different the Underground tour is in terms of of the crowd, since it is definitely more popular.

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While some of the underground areas have been “refurbished” in order to be safe for pedestrians and to benefit the building owners above (I think I remember the guide saying that one building even opened up a club!), most of the areas seen on the tour remain in the exact condition they were found in.

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It really was like stepping back in time.

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I liked how it was basically the Underground Tour with some risque information thrown in. One fact that stuck out and I still remember is how women used to put animal fat in their hair to improve its appearance and as a rain repellant. Mmmm, I bet that smelled lovely.

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One of the last stops in our tour was this building with “1889” on it, meaning it was quickly built after the fire. While I don’t exactly remember the story, the guide told us about some children dying up there that now haunt the upstairs floor, which remains abandoned. I liked the added doses of paranormal stories, and after a quick visit to their website, I see that they now offer full Paranormal tours. That would be fun!

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After the tour, we enjoyed our complimentary drink at the full service bar. :)

 

I hope you enjoyed “touring” underground Seattle with us today! Stay tuned for more installments of our Seattle Adventures, and don’t forget you can go to the main page to see all the posts. :)

 

Jewelry to your Doorstep with Rocksbox

Do you love getting pretty, girly things tied up in a neat little package and bow delivered right to your doorstep? Well, read on my friends…

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I was recently introduced to Rocksbox. For a monthly fee, Rocksbox delivers a highly curated box of designer jewelry with the option to borrow, buy or swap at any time. How cool is that? You can wear something as much as you want, then send it in to get something entirely new…or buy it to keep forever! They feature 30+ amazing designers including Kendra Scott, House of Harlow, Gorjana, and Loren Hope.

What makes Rocksbox unique compared to many “subscription boxes” out there is the options you have. With most boxes, you pay the monthly fee and you have to keep what they send you. Sure, some offer the option to exchange, but I had an experience with one company where they required me to exchange everything in the box just because I wanted one item to be different…so I had to give up the items I liked!

I tend to talk myself out of jewelry I see in the stores or online, so having it sent right to me to try was something I was excited about because then I would have more options and it would already be in my possession. Perhaps this will also force me to branch out and try new jewelry that I wouldn’t otherwise look at.

So onto the fun stuff. Upon initial sign-up, there is a style survey so the stylists that choose your items get a good idea of the things you like or dislike. In addition to the survey, you also have the option to browse their entire jewelry collection to choose items that you want to have sent to you. It’s up to you whether you want to be completely surprised, have complete control, or a mix of the two. I chose to be surprised and did not pre-select any items.

My Rocksbox showed up within about a week of taking the survey. It arrived in this cute little box with a bow.

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Inside the box were three separate items, each in its own black mesh cinch-bag. Let’s take a look…

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Earrings: Out of the three items, these would be my favorite.

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gorjana Necklace: I was a little surprised to get this since I specified I prefer long necklaces, but I did not tell them NOT to give me short necklaces, so I guess that’s my fault. This was probably chosen for me because I selected “Wear for Work” as something that was important in my style survey…and this necklace would be great for work. It’s classic and can go with just about anything. Part of the reason I’m not the biggest fan of short necklaces is because I feel like the wight is choking me, but this necklace was so light that I barely noticed it was on, so it worked out great. I love the little triangle detail.

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Bracelet: This was the most out of my comfort zone. I don’t always wear bracelets, let alone large ones, but I wanted to try new things and my style survey selections reflected that. However, I wasn’t the biggest fan because it was really tight on me and felt uncomfortable, so I will definitely be swapping this one.

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Also in the box is your prepaid return postage label.

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I currently have a 3 month subscription, so I am really excited to see what will be in future boxes. This busy, working mom of two already feels more fashionable! :)

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If you’d like to try Rocksbox for yourself, I have an amazing offer just readers…use code photographerswifexoxo to get your first month FREE!

Insta: @rocksbox | Snaprocksboxoxo | www.rocksbox.com

 

I received a complimentary subscription to Rocksbox for review purposes. All opinions are my own and honest. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the discount!

 

Seattle Adventures: Downtown Touristy Stuff (Space Needle, Ride the Ducks & Pike Place Market)

Welcome to the next installment of our Seattle Adventures series! To see the main page with links to all of the installments, go here!

I won’t even lie…when I go somewhere new, I’m not embarrassed to take part in the touristy activities. I don’t look at things in that light, I determine whether to do something based on if I think it will be fun or interesting, regardless of the cheese factor. So needless to say, when we went to Seattle, we definitely had a few items on our list that are typically popular for tourists: Pike Place Market, Ride the Ducks, and, of course, going to the top of the Space Needle.

Tallahassee has a long way to come before it looks like this…

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Our hotel was located downtown, so we had a nice convenient walk to many things we wanted to see/do.

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Our hotel, Hotel 1000.

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Being downtown, there is no shortage of interesting things to see.

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But with all the buildings and concrete around, there is also lots of art. Seattle has a law regarding this and any new construction is required to spend a certain amount on new art.

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Ahhh, and the water views were magnificent.

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One early evening when we didn’t have any activities lined up with Brett’s sister, we took a stroll to Pike Place Market.

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Unfortunately, we didn’t research very well and it was shutting down for the day. Most of the shops were closed and random people remained. Darn.

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So we made it a point to go back another day, earlier in the day, and lo and behold, we were greeted with the hustle and bustle we expected.

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No stop at Pike Place Market is complete without seeing some fish being thrown through the air!

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All the seafoods.

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This area definitely isn’t for the squeamish.

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Pike Place Market is a dream for anyone with OCD. So many colors, fruits, veggies, flowers, etc. all organized by types and colors…what do they call it? Organizational Porn? Yes, I’ll go with that.

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If I lived here, I would totally go broke on flowers. These large bouquets were only $5 or $10!

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Everywhere you looked, at least one person was walking around with a huge bouquet. We especially loved these large bouquets of sunflowers.

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At Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, you can watch as they make large batches of yummy cheese. They also have free samples of unique flavors available. We had never heard of it before, but it was an ingredient in our breakfasts at the hotel, so we definitely came to remember the name by the end of the trip. :) Brett doesn’t forget cheese :P

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Arguably one of the cheesiest things we did was Ride the Ducks!

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Ride the Ducks is a tour of Seattle in an amphibious vehicle, going from land, to water and back to land again. It’s an open air vehicle, allowing for a great view all around. The driver keeps you entertained and you actively participate in questions and hollering…and duck-quacking with your very own quacker on a necklace. Oh, and you had to point out every Starbucks we drove by…there were a lot!

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The tour starts with driving the streets of Seattle, passing by landmarks while hearing a bit of history.

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It ends with splash down into Lake Union, passing more landmarks…including the Sleepless in Seattle house!

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The Gas Works park was an interesting sight, there were lots of people laying on blankets and relaxing. It would make for some unique photoshoots!

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Last, but certainly not least, was a voyage to the top of the Space Needle.

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The trip to the Observation Deck takes 41 seconds and results in amazing views all around Seattle.

One of my favorite photos…before selfie sticks!

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Don’t look down!

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I think one of these buildings also has an observation area that’s higher than the Space Needle, but we didn’t go there.  Seattle-36

There’s some fun stuff to do near the Space Needle….I think Trent would pass out from happiness at the sight of this if he had the chance to play in it.

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After we enjoyed some Bubble Tea (we need that in Tallahassee!!) and a stroll around the area, we headed back to our hotel, as most stuff in this area was closing around that time. If you are planning a trip, be sure to check times that things close; it seemed like many attractions closed around 5pm or so.

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I hope you enjoyed “touring” downtown Seattle with us today! Stay tuned for more installments of our Seattle Adventures, and don’t forget you can go to the main page to see all the posts. :)

 

How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Netflix & Toddler Learning Activities

It’s funny how when toddlers and kids find something they like, they want it over and over again and seem to NEVER get tired of it. If it’s a favorite food, that’s all they want to eat and nothing else. If it’s a favorite movie/show/character, they want to watch it over and over and over and over….well, you get the idea. You probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that when Trent was younger, he probably watched Toy Story 3 what seemed like over a hundred times, along with hundreds of episodes of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jake & the Never Land Pirates. Not trying to make it sound like all he ever did was watch shows/movies, but with the availability of everything on the iPad and tv, it was the obvious choice for entertainment, especially during longer car trips.

He’s moved on from those selections and now, I also make more of an effort to introduce him to new things so he gets more variety and my sanity remains intact. One way I increase the excitement of something new and make it more interesting and fun is to combine it with other aspects of his life. If we watch a new movie, either before or after, I will find a craft or activity to for him to do with the theme of the movie.

Since he likes dinosaurs, I thought he would like How to Train Your Dragon 2, which is available on Netflix right now, along with How to Train Your Dragon Legends.

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For the activities, I went to the printables section of my printer and found some How to Train Your Dragon activities to print. You can also find these online to download and print here: http://www.howtotrainyourdragon.com.au/play/downloads/wallpapers (click on Printables in the left sidebar)

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Of course, I had to find printables that were not only fun, but also a little educational. ;)

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First, we did a “Color by Numbers” sheet of Toothless.

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Each number corresponds to a color, so I could tell Trent “Color all the 3’s black” and he would find all the 3’s and color them black.

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He enjoyed searching for all the numbers.

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After he did them all, I went back in and colored Toothless so he could really see the dragon (and because I wanted to color ;) )

The second activity we did was a connect the dots.

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I controlled the marker and Trent would point for the next number in line for me to draw.

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Necessary snacks!

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We had fun with these activities and I’ll consider them a success because he even asked about the “dragon” when we were on Netflix later!

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Netflix helps you find new items to watch based on their popularity, your child’s age, and what your child has previously watched!

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So the next time your child asks to watch something for the millionth time, try searching for something new and get them excited about it by pairing it with an activity or recipe! That’s what Pinterest is for! ;)

 

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This post was written by me as part of my membership in the Netflix Stream Team. Thanks for reading!

 

Shrimp & Grits with Hormel Microwave Ready Bacon

Just like with Sweet Tea, Shrimp & Grits is something I had never heard of while growing up in New Jersey but have come to love. It wasn’t until I had been living in Florida a few years and took a trip to Savannah, GA and saw them on the menu of a seafood restaurant. It was listed in the specialty section…which caused me to look at Brett and say “Specialty grits?” like it was some sort of oxymoron. I wasn’t really digging the rest of the menu, so I gave them a try and I am so glad I did. That particular dish had very flavorful shrimp and candied bacon on top of perfectly cooked grits and it was all topped with a “healthy” portion of cheese. And by healthy, I mean a lot.

Since trying them, Brett has recreated the meal several times at home…candied bacon and all.

This time, though, we wanted something a little quicker and wanted to try it with this Hormel Microwave Ready Bacon Brett found while shopping.

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It’s not the pre-cooked kind you are used to seeing that just need to be heated up in the microwave. This version is ready-to-cook and instead of dealing with a greasy pan on the stove, they come ready to cook in the microwave.

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So about 30 minutes before you’re ready to cook, just marinate thawed shrimp in olive oil, Adobo seasoning, and N’Orleans Cajun seasoning.

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We chose to grill the shrimp, so if you go that route, we find it best to put them on wooden skewers so you can set them right on the grill. Yum.

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For the grits, we just use several packets of cheesy grits and cooked according to the package, then topped them with shredded cheese.

Cook the bacon according to the package, then cut up into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the cheesy grits.

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This is when the shrimp came off the grill…right after, we just took the shrimp off the skewers and enjoyed our Southern meal!

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On a side note, for my Hormel Family recipe posts, it seems like my recipes always either involve Hormel bacon or Skippy peanut butter…but I can’t help it! Those are my two favorites of their product and they are so versatile to be used in many different recipes! :)

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For other Hormel Bacon Recipes, visit their recipe list here!

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This post was written by me as part of my involvement in the Hormel Family Blogger Program. Thanks for reading!