Sweet Spots: Seattle

Is it just me or does Seattle know how to do two desserts really well- macarons and ice cream. It does help that these are my two favorite desserts, so…maybe I’m just bias. Regardless, here are my top dessert spots (in no particular order) in Seattle! And speaking of…

Moo Bar

This is not a drill! This place got creative and somehow smushed my two favorite things into one- ice cream & macarons. Aside from this dynamic duo, The Moo Bar is also known for their teas and puffy waffle cones.

Molly Moons

There’s nothing quite like simple & sweet. This popular ice cream shop is locally made and known for their fresh and fun flavors. A fan favorite is lavender.

Trophy Cupcake-

I honestly didn’t think I was a cupcake fan, until I found Trophy! Maybe it’s how they fill the center of the cake with rich flavors, or maybe it is how they seem to put just a little more frosting on top. Whatever it is, this sweet spot not only has decadent cupcakes, but also incredible macarons.


Le Panier-

I haven’t been to France yet, but I imagine this is what their pastries taste like. If there isn’t a line out the door, this Pike Place bakery might blend in with the hustle and bustle. Located near Beecher’s Cheese, this sweet spot is a must.

Lady Yum-

Macarons & Mischief- that’s their motto. Add a little bubbly and you have a trifecta. Lady Yum is well known for their unique flavors and eclectic décor. They have monthly flavors, but shindig and salted caramel are among their best original flavors.

Full Tilt Ice Cream-

Speaking of quirky and fun, Full Tilt is another local Seattle ice cream shop that lives for bright and bold. For example, the below photo is marshmallow and Sour Patch Watermelon flavors. (They also offer vegan flavors!) To add to their atmosphere, the parlor includes neon walls and an arcade.



Simple, sweet, and to the point. This old-school styled soda fountain offers a variety of classic (and vegan) flavors that’ll bring you back to the good ole days. However, if you want to mix it up a bit, they also offer boozy milkshakes.

Shugg’s Soda Fountain

Just a quick walk from Pike Place,  Shugg’s is going to give you “all the feels” with their soda fountain style and ice cream offerings. You can choose you ice cream in the form of shakes, floats, sundaes, and boozy floats/shakes.


Bakery Nouveau

Talk about sensational! This bakery will play to your senses with it’s tantalizing smells, and ornate confectioneries. Nouveau offers everything from sweet pastries and chocolate to pizza and bread.


Cupcake Royale

Another cupcake place that grabbed my attention! According to their site, they were the first cupcake bakery to open in Seattle, and have since focused on fresh, natural, and local ingredients. Aside from their scrumptious cupcakes, they also serve ice cream.



Did I forget one? Let me know in the comments!


Mom & Me: A Girls Trip to Ireland

Following our adventures in Denmark, my mom and I flew to Dublin. It’s been a bucket list destination for both of us, so we decided to tack it on to our trip.

We were only there for four days and I wish we had more time. Even though Ireland is only about the size of Indiana, I strongly encourage taking your time to see this lush and beautiful country.

Cows grazing on the Cliffs of Moher.

Leading off: When leaving Denmark, we flew Ryanair. I am sure this is no secret, but Ryanair is our first go to when traveling within Europe. They are known for their inexpensive international flights.

To be honest, my mom and I both can’t remember going through customs and border control in Dublin…so, it must not have been that bad.

There are shuttle buses that run regularly into town. They sell tickets outside the airport, and were very helpful to tell us where exactly our stop was.

Touching down: Our Ireland trip started in Dublin and we ventured west to Galway and Shannon. Each location gave us a unique look at Ireland’s charm.

The world-famous bar.

St. George Hotel, Key Collection

Pro: Very close to Dublin’s city center, and just a quick walk to Temple Bar. Staff was very helpful and friendly.

Con: No elevator/lift

Nox Hotel Galway

Pro: Modern hotel with a delightful breakfast

Con: Further away from city center. We had to take a taxi into town.

Balally House B&B, Shanon

Pro: Near the airport, lovely owners, free breakfast and parking.

Con: Secluded in a neighborhood. A car is needed to get around.

Mom outside of Ashford Castle.

Day 1: My mom and I got in around 4:30pm, so we had a few hours of daylight to kill before grabbing dinner. As noted above, the Dublin hotel, was only a few blocks from The Spire and Henry Street. This well-known street, which is a cross street to O’Connell, is populated with clothing stores and tourist shops. We took a bit of time wandering down the street to get a better idea of what was where. However, we were unpleasantly surprised to find that some of the shops were closed or closing around 7pm.

Luckily, on the walk to Henry street, we saw a pub with twinkly lights strung up and down the building that looked like it could be lively. We got to Murray’s around 6:30 and were asked if we’d like to stay for the show. We agreed, and without a complaint were sat front row and center for their nightly music and dancing. The show didn’t start until 9pm, so we had time to enjoy our dinner, dessert and drinks. Had we gotten there much later, we would have been nestled up near the bar like the rest of the folks who strolled in late. My mom and I both really enjoyed our meals and the show. If you’re hoping to come for dinner, plan ahead!

Our first drink at Murrays.

Day 2: Early the next morning we grabbed a donut at the many donut shops (Wow! How did I not realize that Dublin loves their donuts?) and walked to Trinity College. Since we didn’t really have plans for Dublin, we took a historical walking tour and learned so much about the city. If you have a free morning, I would recommend this hour tour because it helped us gain our bearings and appreciate the old-timey buildings that might have gotten overlooked otherwise.

After the tour, we spent more time exploring…and shopping! Since learning what a claddagh ring stood for many years ago, I told myself that I only wanted to get one when I visited Ireland. So, a stop at Claddagh Jewelry was a must.

Our next stop was at a place that you may have seen on Instagram. The array of colorful umbrellas are easily recognizable and are sure to add a bit of brightness to gray Irish days.

Umbrellas outside of Zozimus Bar.

Zozimus is located just off Grafton Street, which is another very well-known street for shopping. You can imagine my mom and my interest when we came across a small store called Dunnes. (Side Note: The Dunns in our family are originally from what is now known as Northern Ireland.)

The first Dunne’s we stopped in was smaller and felt like a boutique. We later learned that this particular store was the designer store for the larger department store on Henry Street. So, of course we went back to Henry street and found this Nordstrom-sized store. Let’s just say Dunne’s got a lot of this Dunn’s money that day.

We found a store called Dunnes!

Now, our next stop shouldn’t shock anyone who knows me. I found this lovely dessert shop, located on the River Liffey, called The Sweetest Thing. The candy company Cadbury is very popular in Ireland and the UK and this dessert shop offered a variety of delicious Cadbury ice cream and candy toppings. This is just one of their many sweet things.

Enjoying the sweetest things in Dublin.

The night ended with a Musical Pub Crawl, which was recommended by Rick Steves. This is an educational walking tour that stops at three different pubs. Two local musicians teach you about Irish instruments, songs and enjoy a beer with you along the way. The drinks are not included, but the intimate show and humor are sure to make you feel like you had a true Irish experience.

Day 3: In the morning, we made our way to pick up our car rental. This was the first time my mom and I would drive on the other side of the road and on the other side of the car. So, we were very nervous…especially after hearing horror stories of how tight the roads were. However, I was surprised to find how easy driving on the opposite side came to me. There were tight squeezes, but nothing that I hadn’t experienced in Seattle.

Tip: Schedule in advance to secure the best car! When we booked our car, it was a manual…and had no GPS. I was sweating bullets! But by the grace of God, an automatic with a built in GPS was being returned when we were checking in.

Even though we had a GPS, it tooks us a bit longer to find and get to our first destination– Ashford Castle in County Mayo for afternoon tea. Although we were a bit late, the folks at Ashford Castle were so unbelievably accommodating. They sat us right away!  To boot, they modified the pre-set menu  for my mom, who isn’t much of a tea drinker. The food, tea, and experience were exceptional.

Following the tea, we made our way to Galway for the night. Like Dublin, a lot of shops seemed to have closed early. But, the restaurants and a few tourist shops were open late. Although we had been on the search for an authentic Irish meal, we ended up at Fat Freddy’s, an Italian restaurant. It was quirky, fun, and the food was actually pretty dang good!

Day 4: On our last day full day in Ireland, we made our way down the North Atlantic Coast. We were heading toward Shannon, with a stop at the Cliffs of Moher. The drive from Galway to the cliffs was beautiful. We even made a spontaneous stop at Dunguaire Castle, which was on the route.

This was the only day that it rained while we were in Ireland. Luckily, the rain somehow held off for the approximate 1.5 hours that we spent at the cliffs. However, rain or no rain the grounds were MU-DDY. We were so glad we wore rain boots.

Finally, our adventure was coming to a close, so we made our way to the adorable B&B mentioned above. There isn’t much of anything to do in Shannon, so we ate dinner at a local pub and called it a night.

I will say that if you plan on traveling throughout Ireland, I would highly recommend looking into flying in and out of Shannon on Norwegian. It was such a breeze!

As mentioned before, there is so much we didn’t have the opportunity to do or see, so I can’t wait to go back.

Did I forget something? Or, do you have an recommendation for visiting Ireland? Let me know!

Bonus: Here is a short video of our time there!


2019 Travel Bucket List

This time of year is when we begin to not only reflect on the last 365 days, and look forward to the next 365. With a destination wedding and honeymoon, this year is sure to excite. But, there are a few other things that I am craving to cross off the ole’ bucket list.

Mind you, I know this list is a bit ambitious, but this is me putting it out into the universe! Here’s a look into where I would like 2019 to me/us…

  1. Get married in Cancun! 
  2. Visit Martha’s Vineyard; Rob and I lived in Boston for two years and never made the time to make it to the cape really.
  3. Go to Oktoberfest in Leavenworth; We’ve done the real Oktoberfest in Munich, now it’s time to check our Bavarian town’s version.
  4. See the blue grotto in Capri; When Rob requested that we visit Naples for our honeymoon, I didn’t blink before saying yes. If time allows, we’d love to see this little slice of Italian paradise.
  5. Tour Washington DC; I’ve been to DC for short periods of time, where I have seen most of the touristy attractions. But, I also know there’s so much more to see.
  6. Visit Mt. Rainier; I’m a born and raised Washingtonian, but I’ve only seen this mountain’s majesty from afar.
  7. Visit Olympic National Park; Because how many states have rainforests
  8. Go whale watching at Orcas Island; A lot of these are my Washington Bucket List, but who knew how stunning this state is?!
  9. Visit 2 new sports stadiums; Any recommendations?
  10. Go on another girls trip with Mama Dunn; We’re thinking Wyoming.
  11. Go zip-lining at Whistler; I’ve been zip-lining before, but this zip line is so high above the forest that I’m going to have to muster up some strength to see this through.
  12. Watch the Red Sox play the Yankees in London; It’s time to see what they think of this rivalry across the pond.
  13. Take a cooking class in Paris; Oui s’il vous plaît
  14. Visit Niagara Falls; This one is a little far-fetched, but with Rob overseeing his company’s Canadian market, we’re hoping to make the trip
  15. Go to Disneyland during Christmas; Who wouldn’t want to visit the happiest place on earth during the most wonderful time in the year
  16. Have high-tea in London; & crumpets please… that’s a real thing right?
  17. Watch the Seahawks play in Arizona; I hear tickets might be cheaper there.

What’s on your travel bucket list?

HOLIDAY Woman Meets World: Australia

Washington native, Lizzi Jackson, is currently learning what it is like to celebrate the holidays in anything but a winter wonderland. She and her boyfriend, who is a born and raised Australian, currently reside in Victoria Melbourne. Listen to her experiences going from a white Christmas to a white sand Christmas.

Disclaimer: She and I had a wonderful conversation that lasted much longer…and was interrupted by my dogs. So, is a rough cut of the good stuff! 


Have you spent time in Australia during the holidays? What did you think?

Mom & Me: A Girls Trip to Copenhagen

To make a long story short, my mom and I recently (within the last 3 years) found out that we had close ancestors from a small town in Denmark called Aalborg. She and I both had always wondered where her side of the family was from. We later found out that aside from these Danish relatives, the maternal side of my family is about as “American” and “English” as you can get.

When she and I found out, we were actually on another mother and daughter trip down the Pacific 101 highway. It was then, just a few months before I met my now fiancé, that we made a promise to visit Denmark before I got married.

Fast forward three years, and we were up, up, and away. Seeing as we really had no idea what to expect from this Nordic country, we also had no real plans or inhibitions. Now, having been, I definitely plan on going back. Denmark is the perfect place for a family trip.


Leading off: We flew Icelandair, which typically means you stop in Reykjavik early in the morning, or in the middle of the night. For my mom and I, we left the states at 3pm and got into Iceland at 6am the following morning. We had about a two-hour layover and then were off to Copenhagen.

If you’ve ever flown to Iceland, you know how efficient their airport security is. Each person flying out of the country will have to pass through passport inspections. I have flown through KEF four times now, and have never waited longer than 5 minutes in this line.

When boarding in Reykjavik, all of the passengers stand in one line. There are no groups or zones, but somehow it moves quickly.

Pro tip: Pay attention to your arrival time at your final destination. Luckily, this flight got us to Copenhagen late enough in the afternoon where we were able to check-in and drop our bags off. In Germany, we were not so lucky…

Vikings first claimed Denmark & the other Scandinavian countries as home.

Touching down: We initially had hoped to visit Aalborg. But after a few travel complications, we were unable to make the trip. They are about a 5 hour car ride apart from one another. This decision ultimately led us to extend our stay in Copenhagen and switch up our hotel.

Wakeup Copenhagen Borgergade

Pro: Our first hotel was in a wonderful location, just two blocks away from Nyhavn. Our stay also included breakfast and bike rentals for a small fee.

Con: this is not a romantic getaway kind of hotel. This is very basic hotel, which is good for sleeping.

Comfort Hotel Vesterbro

Pro: Quiet location, excellent staff, near the train station and Tivoli

Con: On the other side of town from most major sights and attractions

Mom enjoying the sights of Nyhavn.

Day 1:  By the time we arrived, we had a few hours of daylight left. We hopped on the metro at the airport, and then endured a little rain on our walk to the hotel- only after we figured out which way was which. Luckily, this was the only day that it had rained during our stay. The rain kept most people inside, which then made exploring Nyhavn easy and enjoyable.

Our first meal in Denmark was actually a hamburger from a place called Hot Buns. It was an incredibly cute little place near Nyhavn with cozy tables near the windows which were perfect for people watching on a rainy day. The ambiance of the restaurant plus the rain created a comfortable feeling better known to the Danes as hygge.

A local restaurant floating on the canal.

Day 2: The next morning we took an hour-long canal tour, which took us around, Øresund, the straight connecting Denmark to Sweden. This tour takes you by the very popular Little Mermaid statue, the Church of our Saviour, and under Strombroen Bridge.


Entrance to Tivoli Gradens

Our tickets from the canal tour also included tickets to Tivoli Gardens. What we thought was a beautiful garden, ended up being a garden and an aquarium, and an amusement park. Actually…a 175 year old amusement park. This is obviously where the lack of research caught up to us. If you’re coming on a family trip, this is definitely a must-see.

Finally, we hopped on a train and 30 minutes later we were in Malmö, Sweden. Malmö was exactly like everything I had read. It is a small art city, which is popular with young adults. Because of this, there isn’t too much to see or do. We arrived just before 5pm, so finding a place to eat was pretty easy. However, soon the whole square was occupied by folks who had just gotten off work and were meeting friends and co-workers for a drink.

The place we ate at was back-to-back with other restaurants surrounding Lilla Torg. Since it wasn’t too cold out, all of the restaurants offered outdoor seating. Some even had blankets and fire pits. Across the square from the restaurants were adorable and authentic Swedish stores with the ever popular hand-painted dahlia horses and wooden clogs.

Day 3: On our last full day exploring Copenhagen, we did as the Danes do. We rented bikes from our hotel and rode all around the city, making stops at…

Rosenborg Castle– A summerhouse for King Christian IV

The King’s Garden– This 30 acre park is the oldest in the city, at over 400 years old.

Christiania– also known as “Free Town,” for it’s eccentric way of life. I had read somewhere that photo would make people paranoid, so I didn’t. Looking back, I should have! Think brightly colored spray paint on buildings, and the faint hint of marijuana in the air. This is definitely not a place recommended for kids. We stumbled upon it on the way from the church. But, to be honest, I’m glad we were able to see what it was all about.

Church of Our Saviour– a church that allows you to walk to the very top via a staircase…on the outside of the building. Not for the faint of heart, this historic 1695 church tops out at 295 feet. Only the last 150 steps of the spire are outside, but there is no elevator to the top…just wooden stairs.

The most popular vendor was a taco truck, and it was delicious!

Broens Gadekokken– a delicious little spot just over the all-pedestrian bridge with food trucks and a beautiful view of the water.

Strøget– the long stretch of shops that is only open to pedestrians.

In Copenhagen, you will find that there are more bikes than cars on the road. Even coming from the PNW, I had never seen such well thought out bike lanes. Here, bikers are treated with the utmost respect because they truly rule the road.

Pro tip: If you do go for a bike ride in Copenhagen, study up on the turn signals!

Day 4: Finally, on our last day in Denmark, we took an excursion to see three beautiful and historic Danish castles.

Our first stop of the day was Kronborg Castle, which was the muse for Shakespeare’s Hamlet. From the side  of the castle that touches the water, you can see Sweden on a clear day.


The second stop of the day was Fredensborg Palace. This stunning place is still a residence for the current Danish royal family.

Lastly, we stopped at Frederiksborg Castle, which was first opened in 1620. This was by far my favorite not only because of the detail that went into the castle, but also because of the stunning garden attached.

Next stop- IRELAND!

Bonus: Here is a short video of our time there!

Sweet Spots: Phoenix

For as often as I am in Phoenix, I am sad to report that I’ve only found three shops that have earned a slot on the sweet spots list. I am sure there are more, but for now these two are sweet enough to hold you over.

The Toasted Mallow– This place will leave you wanting s’more! I have never been anywhere like this before. Just like a fancy ice cream shop, this is a gourmet s’more made to your liking. First, choose which kind of graham cracker crust you’d like. Next, select which flavor of mallow you’d like from a variety of flavors like carmel and birthday cake. Then, choose how you would like it toasted, even that perfect golden brown. Finally, choose your toppings, like cotton candy, chocolate sauce, and sprinkles.

If the gourmet s’more is not your jam, then there are alternative choices like frozen coffees with marshmallows and mallows pies.

Fatty Daddy’s– For a state that is naturally hot, I was surprised by how well Arizona knows how to do toasted marshmallows. This next dessert literally combines my three favorite sweets; ice cream, macarons, and toasted marshmallows. If you’re looking for a simple ice cream dish, I still highly recommend this place. The ice cream is locally made and the flavors are unique, like Captain Crunch and Whiskey Irish Cream.

sweet sports phoenix wordpress cover

A Bakeshop– I first fell in love with their beautiful wedding creations, and was so excited when I heard they had a brick and mortar shop. The quick detour from Sky Harbor airport is worth the adorable and delicious French-inspired pastries and macarons.


What did I miss? Let me know in the comments!

Girl Meets World: Puerto Rico 

In September, Puerto Rico fell victim to Hurricane Maria’s destructive path. While many eyes nervously watched as devastation swept through the small island, many weren’t and still aren’t aware of the magnitude of this event.

While death tolls were low, TIME magazine spotlights the aftermath in a compelling piece titled A Land They No Longer Recognize.

NBC reported that just two weeks ago less than half of Puerto Rico has power, even two months after the hurricane hit. While the road to recovery may be long, people like Lin-Manuel MirandaRicky Martin and Tesla Founder Elon Musk are helping to get people back on their feet. Even still, there is so much to be done. When speaking to my friend and Puerto Rico native, Yarelis wanted one message to be heard.


KC: What is the biggest misconception about Puerto Rico?
YS: The biggest misconception about Puerto Rico is that people think that we are not part of the United States. We first became a U.S. territory following the Spanish-American War, which was ignited by the explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor in 1898.

KC: What is one thing you wish people knew about Puerto Rico?
YS: That we are also American citizens. We don’t need a visa to travel to the US and we have the same currency.

KC: What do you wish people in the states knew about the recent devastation?
YS: Although [we are] part of the US territory, we have not received the equal help like others states that also have been affected by natural disasters.

KC: How can we help?
By treating Puerto Ricans as equals, like any American citizen.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I encourage you to look for new ways to open both your heart and your mind to new ideas and new ways to give.


5 Brands to Consider this #GivingTuesday

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And a wonderful time to make an impact while shopping for holiday gifts. Here is why you should consider these five companies this #GivingTuesday;

  1. ME to WE– I may be a bit bias since I work for them, but this is one of the reasons why I wanted to work here in the first place. Me to We is the social enterprise side of WE Charity. They offer jewelry, school supplies, clothing, and more! Each product they sell gives back to one of the five pillars (food, education, health, water, and opportunity) in one of the nine WE villages abroad. My favorite part? Track your impact by using the code provided on the back of the packaging to find out where exactly your money is going. In addition, a generous donor is matching 5X the amount of your donation.img_7176
  2. Sevenly– Each week Sevenly chooses a new campaign to donate money to. For each item of apparel sold, $7 will be donated to the associated campaign. Just a few of their long-standing campaigns are autism, military support, and women empowerment. I own several of their shirts and they are comfortable and affordable.
    Photo by Sevenly
  3. Nine Five Ltd.– This New England based company captured my heart at a farmer’s market in Boston. They are an apparel store that specializes in hats. Their goal is to help “put a lid” on a number of causes. With every purchase, you choose where 20% of your purchase will benefit. Choose from one of their partner organizations in the categories of animals, bullying, children, depression, environment, health, human rights, hunger, poverty, and women. Their stylish pieces will remind you to “live this day.”
  4. Love Your Melon– Keep your head and heart warm this winter by knowing that with every hat purchased, a child battling cancer is also receiving one. Recently, LYM has also added scarves, headbands, and home goods to the items they offer. Coming in a plethora of colors and sizes for adults and children, this makes the perfect gift for the whole family.
    Photo by Love Your Melon
  5. Hiptipico– When I visited Guatemala in January, a little piece of my heart was left there. When I returned home, I came across this “ethical fashion brand,” which sells the brightly colored pieces seen all over Guatemalan markets. Their items are 100% handmade in Guatemala, and the money is given to the women making these beautiful creations. This is all part of Hiptipico’s goal of supporting the creativity, ingenuity and passion of local Guatemalan artisans while preserving culture and traditions.”
    Photo by Hiptipico

No matter where you choose to donate this #givingtuesday, I thank you for choosing to make an impact!

Why; living a life of being intentional 

One of the many reasons why I love working for WE is because they constantly make me think. During orientation our leaders asked what our WHY was. Why were we there? Why did we want to be there?

Based off Simon Sinek’s TED talk, the orientation leaders explained that most often we know how something works and we know what the function is, but we tend not to stop and ask why it does what it does.

This morning, I was fortunate to attend a women’s breakfast in which several women spoke about being intentional. Those two little words, be intentional, are the same two that shook me to life about 10 years ago when I went to my first leadership camp, and ultimately were what led me to my why.

And while it has been molded, changed, and has grown over the years, my WHY has always been rooted in this…

I want to impact lives, change perspectives, and live with purpose and positivity.  

I seek to write a blog that focuses on both kindness and culture, so others may open their hearts and eyes to the possibility of seeing more than what is right in front of them.

Have you ever noticed when we first meet people we always ask, “What do you do for a living?” Well, I could waste all day telling you about how I am a manager for a non-profit, and this is how our organization works. But, I promise that if we had the conversations with people about WHY we are in the positions we are in, we would learn so much more about one another.

For some of you, your why may be a quick response. For others, you may not have an answer. That answer may in fact be, why…am I wasting my time going through these motions.

Take the time to reflect on this. Be intentional. And let me know, what is your why?

West Coast Girl in a East Coast World

Through my travels, I have realized that you definitely do NOT have to visit another country to experience different cultures and different ways of life! Having been born and raised in Washington State, I became very accustomed to living the west coast lifestyle. Then, I made the move out east. My eyes were open to a new culture and a new way of life.

Almost two years ago to the day, I picked up my life in Seattle and headed east for Boston. Terrified of the unknown, I was optimistic that this move would be a good experience. Looking back, it has been nothing short of phenomenal (Hi Rob!). Now, as I pack up to head back to Seattle, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned during my time here.


Disclaimer: While I mostly reference Boston, it may differ from the rest of the east coast. These are my observations.

Hey guy! No one says wicked pissah around heah.

1) Say what? I knew when I moved out here that I would hear a few more accents than I was used to back west. However, I moved with the misconception that almost everyone would have an accent. When really I have only met a handful of people who have a true east coast (Boston, New York, etc.) accent. They are more common and noticeable in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New York.

In regards to Bostonians, they really do say wicked, typically as an adverb such as very or extremely. However, please do NOT ask if you can “pahk the cah in the Hahvad Yahd”…We’ve all heard it before, and besides, the Harvard Yard is literally a giant lawn. So, no you cannot park or pahk there.

However, there were moments of cultural dissonance when one member of the conversation had to say “I’m sorry, come again?”. If I wasn’t looking at them like they were speaking Swahili, then they were looking at me that way. Here are a few examples from a running list my roommate has kept;

East Coast West Coast
Jimmies Sprinkles
Nips Mini alcohol bottles
Freeze pops Otter pops
Fried dough Elephant ears
Sneakers Tennis shoes
Rotary Round about
High beams Brights
Guy Dude
Pronounced: Draw Drawer
Prounounced: Ah-nt Ant
Pronounced: Care-a-mel Car-mel


Since when do I walk so fast?

2) East Coast Lifestyle; It is no secret that the east coast is known for being a little more rough around the edges. I can confirm that in some ways this is true. From my experience, east coasters are more likely to speak their mind. If you’re not used to people being so upfront, then this may catch you off guard. This stigma also suggests that east coasters can be unwelcoming to outsiders. Well, this is also slightly true. However, I have found this to be the case because of how deeply east coasters feel. This may be their greatest kept secret. They are going to tell you what they think because they are not here to play games. They are slow to trust because once you’ve earned it, you are in for life. They are loyal, caring and will go to war for you. Break that trust, and you are done for!


My time here has also taught me to be more assertive. There is a fine line to being aggressive and being assertive. To me, assertive is realizing what you want, knowing how you are going to get there, and recognizing that if you do not get on this train you’ll be here all day!

That building is HOW old?

3) America the beautiful; Seeing as I come from the majestically-mountainous state of Washington, I am used the snow capped peaks and evergreen trees. So, when some suggested we go skiing and that we didn’t need chains or all wheel drive to get to the summit, I was confused…

What they may lack in altitude they make up for in foliage and coastlines. Fall in New England is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Rich bursts of orange and red erupt from all around. Not to mention, the history and long-standing buildings transport you back to another date in time. Before I moved to the east coast, I was mesmerized by buildings that were 50, maybe 60 years old. Whereas, in Boston I would walk by the place where the Declaration of Independence was read for the FIRST TIME every day.   

Rhode Island, the Ocean State, has slowly become one of my favorite states. Though it be but little, it is fierce…ly beautiful! Newport, Block Island, and Watch Hill (S/O to T.Swift!) are just a few among many beautiful beachy locations.

Sperrys? Check. Vineyard Vines? Check.

4) Style, style style: One the most visible difference is how people dress. Just as the Northwest has their own starter pack with Birkenstocks, flannels, and beanies, the east coast also has their own version. I have noticed that a popular theme here is the nautical, straight out of J. Crew look. In general, men’s style is more fashion-forward and well-tailored. Most men will trade their dress shoes and suit jackets in on the weekends for Sperry, Vineyard Vines, and L.L. Bean.


The verdict is still out on whether the women’s fashion differs that much! However, I was once told by a friend at Harvard that she was discouraged from spending too much time on her hair and make-up because it suggested that she was not spending enough time studying. Again, just one person’s thought BUT I would be lying if I said that I saw a lot of students who were done up for school.

Did that woman just walk by me with a plastic cup in a styrofoam cup?

5) FOOD: Is it even an article if I don’t talk about food?! I have met some beyond lovely people here, but I think the food comes in as a VERY close second to things I will miss about the east coast. Don’t even get me started on the Italian food. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Instead of being surrounded by fast food chain restaurants, you are surrounded by some of the country’s greatest cuisines. There are just so many good restaurants that I have eaten at very few of them more than once.

Outside of the restaurants, there are cute little mom & pop shops, where you can grab a quick bite to eat or a good cup of coffee. While the east coast might run on Dunkin’, I encourage you to try something else. Don’t let their impressive following and two-cup-trap fool you. Branch out. The east coast is your oyster!!


Speaking of, have you tried the clam chowder? Perhaps, the lobster? Don’t miss out on these Northeast Delicacies.

Overall, I guess my point is there is NO correct or incorrect way of life. There are just different ways of living it. And if you keep an open mind and heart then maybe you will find a new way of life that works better for you. Maybe you find the love of your life. Maybe you first find the person you were meant to become! Either way, you won’t find it waiting behind this screen. So, get out there. Take risks, make mistakes, and butcher how you say Worcester. Go. See more than your comfort zone.

Girl Meets World: Turkey

Photo from: XPat Nation

In a world full of turmoil and constant negativity, it can be hard to remember that we are all still human. Thanks to my new friend, I was reminded of this. Here is what she had to say about growing up in Turkey…

KC: What is the hardest part about living in the US?

CC: The hardest part about living in the US is being so far away from family with very little opportunity to go for a visit.

KC: What do you miss most about home?

CC: I miss the food. I am a terrible cook and the Turkish or Greek restaurants I have tried [here] don’t offer the variety, and don’t taste nearly as good as it should.

KC: What is the biggest misconception about Turkey?

CC: Turkey is a Muslim country and suffers from the same prejudices people have against all countries where Islam is the dominant religion.

KC: What is one thing you wish people knew about Turkey?

CC: One thing I wish people knew more about Turkey is the status of women. Turkey has a very strong secular tradition and that has benefited women in terms of getting access to education and having voting and civil rights.  But the party in power for the last 15 years is staunchly religious and when I read in the news that violence against women is at an all time high, it saddens me…

KC: What stereotypes have you encountered about Turkey?

CC: I am not sure I have encountered any stereotypes about Turkey. When I mention that I grew up in Turkey, people either have been there for tourism or have no particular idea but seem open to learn more about it.

KC: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned living in the US?

CC: The biggest lesson I have learned in the US is that the threat of climate change is real, and we should do something about it. I was living in Louisiana when hurricane Katrina hit, and even though I was not personally affected, I witnessed the chaos and the human suffering in the aftermath that could have been avoided if there was a better disaster management plan. It was definitely an eye opener for me.

KC: How has this experience changed your perspective on the world?

CC: It made me want to learn more about climate change and to get engaged in raising awareness about it. While I am still deeply concerned about the world we’re leaving behind to our children, I also have hope that as a country we will find the necessary resilience and ingenuity to rise up to the challenge.

What This Year Has Taught Me 

At about this time last year, I was in a weird place.

I had given up my title as Miss Washington, moved across the country, and started my first “real” job.

Because I was living so far away from people I knew and loved, I put a lot of value on social media. Partially, because I wanted to prove to people that I was making it “in the big city.” As a result, I threw myself into work, thinking this is the way I become the #girlboss I thought I wanted to be.

In my mind, this looked like a woman who was straight-up killing her career. This meant giving in to Boston’s subtle way of encouraging you to be more assertive and selfish. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing like hard work and dedication. However, I was working for a company that lacked compassion, empathy, and (in my own opinion) purpose.

Soon enough, I felt like I was going through the motions. I was working so hard to prove to myself that I was “slaying the game,” and proving to my community back home that I was still relevant. Maybe it worked for a while, but internally I was worn down and a little lost.

Change came at just the right minute, and this is what it reminded me…

Keep your eyes and your heart open: 

When I was given the opportunity to study abroad last June, I basically pounced at the idea. I mean, I had been waiting to visit Italy ever since I saw the Lizzie McGuire movie in fifth grade. In addition, this was an excellent excuse to remove myself from everything toxic in my life. Like most people, I was on a traveler’s high after three weeks in Italy. However, this trip had given me so much more than that.

My main assignment was to fully immerse myself in the culture, get to know the locals, and write a story about one of them. By the end of the trip, I had eaten way too much pasta (or maybe not enough..), found an incredible woman who made me fall in love with language, and learned so much about the world in general. At the conclusion of my trip, I couldn’t help but wonder what else I could see and what else I could learn. I was ready for more. As Coach Taylor would say, clear eyes, full heart, CAN’T LOSE!

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”- Mark Twain


Money really doesn’t buy happiness: 

When I returned from Italy, I had a renewed idea of what I wanted in career and how I would get there. However, financially, things were tough. I was now working for minimum wage, while living in one of the most expensive cities in the country (Oh btw- I quit my purposeless job to go to Italy). On top of that, temptations to buy this and splurge on that lurked around every corner. There were several points where I couldn’t help but breakdown. Worrying about money is never fun. Besides, I was always able to afford the essentials. But, what kind of life is it to live paycheck to paycheck? Well, it is a life that taught me that money is far from everything. Living this way for an extended period of time made me more careful with money. This lifestyle made me appreciate the things and the people in my life. It even encouraged me to declutter my closet. If I did spend my money on things other than essentials, it was because the purchase really meant something to me. One of those purchases being my trip to Guatemala. Talk about feeling #blessed.

Find joy in simplicity: 

My time in Guatemala was mostly spent in very rural areas, where most people had never heard the names Kim Kardashian or Justin Bieber. This was the kind of place where they never had to worry about what kind of wood they wanted for the cabinets or what Netflix show they would binge on next. In fact, they were lucky if they had more than sticks to hold up the house, let alone a TV to enjoy. Not everyone lived this way, but it wasn’t uncommon for Guatemalans to have very few possessions. Absorbing the scene, I felt sorry for these people. They had been dealt an unfortunate hand, in many regards. But after spending 10 minutes with so many of these people, I realized that they are happy!

One day, I was working on a construction site that had attracted a group of young local boys. To keep them entertained, I pulled a soccer ball out of the van. Sheer elation spread across their faces. Needless to say, we played soccer for hours. There we were, in the middle of nowhere, having the time of our lives.


Everyone has a story to tell:

After returning from Italy, I began my final semester of my master’s program. I was so inspired by my assignment in italy that I wanted to do something similar for my thesis project. For several months, I continued interviewing women from all of the country and the world. (Stay tuned for more!) Every woman lending new and thoughtful insight to the world around us. Each reminding me that there is so much more to a person than what we see on the outside…or nowadays on social media.

Kindness is timeless: 

In April, I was invited to help with the first WE Day New York. Never heard of WE? I 10/10 recommend looking them up! I can wait…

Pretty cool, huh? This was another one of those times where I eagerly leapt at the opportunity.

For years, WE has exemplified similar values to those that I try to embody. They promote social justice and encourage social change.

On the morning of WE Day, thousands of empowered youth filed into Radio City Music Hall. The energy was indescribable. Minute after minute, I couldn’t help but be inspired by not only the speakers, but also the audience and the employees. This sensation of encouragement and inspiration felt similar to the days I decided to run for ASB President, challenged myself to 365 days of kindness, and competed for Miss Washington. In many ways, I felt like I was back home.


This last year has been challenging. But, it has also forced me to be reflective and transformative. Each of these experiences reminded me that I still want to be a #girlboss. However, the route now looks a little less selfish and a lot more kind. My new version of a #girlboss includes doing something with meaning. It requires a path that is not only encouraging, but also allows me to be an encourager.

I guess it is true what they say. Sometimes we need to lose ourselves, to truly find where we need be.