Friday, August 28, 2020

Our Seattle Studio

As I've been doing with most everything Seattle-related, I posted a full video walk-through of our studio on Instagram. I felt silly doing it. Halfway through I thought, who actually cares about this?

Home sweet home! We are renting a basement studio from a nice family. So far, it's been heaven.

But honestly, I've been getting tons of feedback from people wanting to experience this move vicariously. I guess it's not everyday you get to follow someone as they move across the country during a pandemic, dramatically downsizing throughout the process.

Click to see the tour, saved in my IG highlights. If you want to see the outdoors and the view, watch the video.

Like I said in the video, Matt and I sold our house in April. During the closing process, we got rid of basically all our furniture and "extras" we had collected over the years; we had a three-bedroom, two-bath, two-car garage house and moved (temporarily) into a two-two condo. If you've lived in the same place for awhile, you know this is true: if you have the space, you inevitably fill it.

During our stay in the condo, we had to decide what else to purge. We ended up giving away two of our nice rugs and our 60" Plasma TV and got rid of the rest of our furniture. Basically, the only furniture we brought with us was our mattress, curio cabinet, ottomans, and a small dining set (which we ended up getting rid of once we arrived).

Matt wrangling our mattress.
Everything we own fit into this UPACK and our two Minis.
We had to wait a couple days after arriving to get to our UPACK, and once we had the boxes unloaded into the studio, some low-level panic set in. I had a feeling we'd make it work, but the job ahead seemed immense.

We told Scott, who had helped us unload, "You're going to go home and tell Robby, I don't know how they're going to do it."

"Noooo I won't! You've got this!" Scott protested. (He absolutely did, but the look on his face when he saw the finished studio was vindication enough.)

Arranging boxes under the bed. Storage is key in a studio!

We arrived in Seattle the evening of Friday, August 14. We started unloading the UPACK on August 17 and had it done by Saturday, the 22nd. Basically, we worked from morning until 1am every day for a week to get things put away, and now it's perfect and everything we wanted!

Here is our storage hallway before and after: 

The hallway is our entryway. Turn right and you see our storage (and the only place we're hanging Chattajack or running medals). Turn left - behind the door - and you see our shoe storage. (I have my "indoor"/work shoes in my closet.)

The studio is 430 square feet. To compare, our house was 1640. I am honestly amazed by what a good job we did downsizing, and I think if pressed, we could even downsize more. Not that I feel we will...Really, this is all the space we need. It's pretty perfect.

After coming in from the storage hallway, you walk directly into the kitchen. It's small, but we've got enough counter space. One perk of a small kitchen is how easy it is to put dishes away! I also love cooking on a gas range...I'm a little surprised at what a difference it makes!
We ended up getting rid of our dining set, which was bigger than the one already in the studio.
The pantry is directly across from the table, and beside it is the bathroom. Again, it's small but not cramped, and the shower is a full-size updated shower.
From the edge of the kitchen, looking left, is our living room. We recovered the couch and are borrowing the dresser, which we set up to divide the "living room" from the "bedroom." I've also re-covered the footrests now.
Our washer/dryer! This is what sold me on this studio, because it's hard to find an in-unit, free washer/dryer (as opposed to shared coin laundry in most places). Matt was sold by the short walk to the lake.
Matt built me a custom floating desk because the one I wanted from Ikea was out of stock. I needed an extremely narrow desk to fit the space and searched for days for the perfect one. This ended up being a much better solution. Now I'm just waiting on my chair to arrive! The plant, Dolly, was a housewarming gift from Scott and Robby.
Turning right from the kitchen, you face the "bedroom". Here is a view of Matt's side; these cubes are absolutely perfect for us! Also featured: the new duvet cover, finally!
The bookshelf and Matt's closet are on my side of the bed. My closet is across from the bathroom and has a curtain closure. We're going to get a curtain for Matt's, too.

While some of our favorite paintings won't come out of storage, and I had to get rid of the majority of my abundant book collection, we really have what we love and what we need, and there is a freedom in getting rid of everything you don't absolutely love and need and coming to the realization that you still have so much. (There's privilege in that as well.)

I jokingly told my dad that all it took for me to learn to put things away and be tidy was living in a tiny house. But really, I'm taking so much pride in keeping things nice in the studio! It makes the space feel so welcoming.

We also have use of the yard, which is a nice perk!

Now that we've moved in, we can finally begin to enjoy being in our new city. We've moved three times in the last six months; I'm looking forward to staying put for awhile.


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Moving to Seattle: My Cross-Country Trip

Well, we made it! After years of dreaming and months of planning, Matt and I have officially made our move to Seattle.

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, that won't come as a surprise. Over the last few weeks, I've been updating my stories so everyone can follow along on our adventure. The road trip portion of said adventure ended up taking 8 days and was much easier than expected.

But the adventure doesn't end there. I'm 34. I've quit my job and moved across the country, about as far as you can go. I'm in a totally new place with new everything ahead of me.

I know there will be so much to share; right now I'm spending a lot of time reflecting on who I've become in the last few years and trying to figure out who I am now, and who I want to be. But exploring all that here on the blog can wait. For now, I want to give you the run down on the road trip.

You can see all my stories from the trip in my highlights on IG here: 

We left from Sarasota, FL on August 7. We planned to leave August 6, but Matt wanted to take the CPAT before we left, so we had to delay a day. 

On the 7th, we took our usual Chattajack route to Chattanooga and stayed at the La Quinta we're familiar with there. Our biggest concern on this road trip was avoiding COVID. We asked for a room that hadn't been used in a couple days and got lucky, but as we got further along on the trip and got to some big touristy areas, that kind of accommodation was hard to come by.

Lola has a new roof box, named Lilo, that I am absolutely in love with!

We also wore our masks religiously and sought out hotels that were implementing policies to deal with COVID.

Getting to Chattanooga and knowing we still had days of driving ahead of us messed with my mind!

On day two, we left Chattanooga and made the loooong drive to Kansas City, Missouri. On day three, we drove from Kansas City to Sidney, Nebraska, cutting into Iowa a bit along the way.

Driving in separate cars wasn't actually so bad! We had our walkie talkies so we could communicate, and I prefer driving long distances rather than riding along - I feel more engaged and less carsick that way!

Kansas City was neat; on the way we paused to see the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and we stopped downtown to see the famous public library parking garage. The drive through Nebraska was honestly the most painful part of the trip. It was boring, flat, and stretched on forever! Nebraska is a much bigger state than I expected.

The KC Public Library's parking garage is decorated with giant book spines. All the steps are shaped like books, too!

From Nebraska, we headed toward Boulder, Wyoming, and were treated to a surprise. Matt's little brother from his fraternity has bought himself an RV and he and his girlfriend are living in it, exploring the US and having an adventure of their own! 

He invited us to stay the night with them, so we cut our drive a bit short on day four and enjoyed a home-cooked meal, good wine, better company, and some good old fashioned hospitality.

On day five, we left Boulder early and made our way to Grand Teton National Park. This was finally where the driving got good. Our first glimpse of mountains and winding roads was pure heaven!

When we arrived in Jackson, WY, we realized we didn't have a plan and kind of needed one. We were dressed for the park but worried that if we went straight in and tried to look for lodging after, we'd be SOL. We decided to splurge on a hotel room in town so we could give the park as much time as possible; I'm glad we did, because Grand Teton NP was the highlight of the trip! I expected to really love Yellowstone more, but GT is where it's at!

Matt did some paddling on Jenny Lake while I attempted to get a run in. It wasn't great, given the elevation, time of day, terrain, and crowds, but it felt good to get moving. Afterward, we drove further into the park to explore the String Lake area, where we took a 3-mile hike and finished with more paddling.

On day six we made our way through Grand Teton NP to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is so huge that you pretty much need to stay in the car and drive from point-of-interest to point-of-interest. We, of course, saw some hot springs and Old Faithful.

Because there was one more spot Matt really wanted to see, we went back to Yellowstone on day seven to see the Mammoth Hot Spring Terraces - they were well worth the second entrance, and we'd gotten year-long national park passes anyway so it didn't cost any extra. From there, we started our next day's drive. We didn't have any other stops on our list, and just wanted to make some good time.

We made it to Missoula, MT, where we stopped to find a hotel. We knew as we turned in for the night that the next day we would arrive in Seattle.

Day eight. We passed briefly through Idaho and then, seemingly out of nowhere, we were in Washington! As soon as we crossed state lines I was grinning - I couldn't believe we were really there! We made it!

Our first selfie in Washington! This isn't Snoqualmie - it's the Columbia River just off I90. 

We made a final pit stop at Snoqualmie Falls. Standing on the rocks down by the water, I told Matt, "We've been dreaming of being here and I can't believe we're really here. This is ours! We can come here whenever we want!"

That feeling of wonder has not left me. Every time we drive back into the city after going out for errands, I see the skyline and the Space Needle and just GRIN. To be completely honest, I tend to exclaim out loud.

"I can't believe we get to live here!"

Making the decision to move was scary and nerve-wracking. I knew I wanted to move to Seattle but actually taking the leap is something else entirely. I can't believe we really did it; I'm so thrilled that we're here! I'm looking forward to the new experience of living somewhere I actually chose, a place that truly feels like home.