The Color Factory, San Francisco, CA

Have you noticed that there are now more interactive, pop up museums that are appearing?  Most of them are centered around being the most Instagrammable locations ever and fulfilling the social media frenzy that is life nowadays.  I definitely was very excited about the Museum of Ice Cream when the museum went to LA and I knew that the Color Factory was another place that I needed to show up at.  I missed the first round of tickets and then luckily, they decided to extend the Color Factory one more month and I had a trip planned to San Francisco.  It was perfect timing and I knew that I had to find my way there.  My friend and I ended up logging on our computers (and her phone) for about an hour trying to get tickets.  The site went down for a bit and there were definitely website hosting issues but eventually we found our way into the ticket site and were able to finally get tickets.

We went on a Thursday evening and it was definitely an experience.  Similar to the Museum of Ice Cream, you follow a relatively logical path to get through the various colored rooms of the pop up.  Once you move through one room, you can’t go back.  The museum started off with a rainbow room with scratch and sniff walls and rainbow sugar cookies.  Then we made our way into the black and white room with charcoal infused lemonade then moved into the orange room which was a room full of orange colored items over a specific range of the color. The artist that partnered for that room had been collecting various items within this range to make up this display.  There were Fantas, traffic cones, Cheetos, pencils, ping pong balls, etc.  From there, you had a collection of three rooms to get through before moving on.   A room full of blue balloons that was super hot, a room with interactive music and a disco ball and then finally a room with rainbow lights where you could change how the display worked.  After that, you made your way into a green room where you were given oversized markers to help color the display (similar to the experience at the Kusama Infinity Mirrored Rooms).  From there, you experience the 10,000 rainbow ribbons, the pink hallway, the rainbow lighted hallway to the confetti room and the selfie room. The selfie room was definitely interesting because it was a room with a computer and a printer that was perpetually printing off anything from Instagram with the hashtag “#selfie.” You weren’t allowed to take any of the pictures with you and so selfies were left all over the floor of the room. It was an interesting social experiment based off the amount of photos that were in the room and the rate that the printer was spitting out photos.  Even at 8PM on a Thursday night.  Following that room, we made our way to the famous yellow ball pit.  This room was about a 100 degrees and a bit difficult to navigate.  Afterwards, we got some ice cream as our parting gift and then it was time to go home. The Color Factory extended through October but I’m not sure if it’s continuing on past that. If you get a chance to go, I highly recommend it.

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Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

We drove over to Seljalandsfoss Waterfall and that was our last stop.  I’ve actually seen photos of this waterfall for the last few years and have wanted to go so badly.  I’ve heard amazing things about this waterfall and it’s one of the few that actually has a path behind it that allows you to look out into the landscape through the water.  If it weren’t a freezing, super windy and after sunset, we would have walked behind the water but since the climate was not the most supportive of that, we decided against it.

If you get a chance to go there and the weather is great or you’re brave enough to deal with the coldness, it is definitely worth it.  Be mindful that you will hit with the water from the waterfall so be prepared for that.  We walked over, took our pictures and looked out over the world while we stood there.  I have to be honest, I wish it was  little warmer so that we could have stayed a bit longer and done the walk but since it was so cold and the sun had officially set, it was way too cold to stay out there.  After making our way out to the waterfall and then back to the bus, it was time for us to finally make our way back to Reykjavik.

Vik, Iceland

Immediately following our walk through the blistering wind, we hopped back onto the bus and made our way to Vik, Iceland.  It is a small town and by small town, I mean I think it has less than 300 people who live there.  As you drive into the area that is Vik, you see a few houses along the mountain side and then eventually end up at a restaurant called Strondin Bistro and Bar.  Our tour guide suggested we take some time to go check out the black sand beaches and also ensure we have enough time to get some food.  Since the weather was so temperamental that day, we made the decision to run out to the black sand beaches first and then find our way to dinner.

Obviously given the weather and the fact that it was still the end of winter, we bundled up again and made our way out to the water.  The sky was gray and dark, the sun was disappearing in the distance and you could see it shining on the basalt rock columns in the distance.  There’s a trail that leads directly to the beaches from the restaurant it’s a quick walk down to the water and the beaches.  I’ve seen black sand beaches before in New Zealand but didn’t get a chance to really enjoy it.  I have to admit that this time, it was kind of hard to enjoy since it was so cold and windy, especially given the fact that we had zero protection from the wind.  But it was still absolutely beautiful and something I’m glad I had the chance to experience.

One of the things that I’ve noticed about all the stops on the southern coast tour in Iceland is that no matter where you stop, it’s a relatively untouched location.  Usually there’s just one or two buildings around (I mean, the majority of the population lives in Reykjavik anyway) and you will get a perfect 360 degree view of the surroundings.  And dependent on where you look and which direction you’re facing, you’ll see drastic changes in weather and scenery in general.  I remember the first time I was in Iceland, I was standing at Gullfoss and on one side of me the sky was the richest sky blue with zero clouds and then on the other side, it was dark gray as if a storm were about to appear.  Vik provides a very similar experience.  The sky behind was blue and beautiful, but ahead over the water was gray and mysterious.

After we were done taking pictures, we made our way back to Strondin and ordered some delicious soup that was essentially goulash with a hot coco because it was so cold.  The dinner was relatively cheap and definitely hit the spot. When we were done eating, we made our way back to the bus for one more stop before the end of the tour.

Things to know about moving to Seattle, WA

As you know, I left Seattle in 2016 to move to Los Angeles and in 2017, I made the move back to Seattle.  As part of the move, there’s a lot to do when you’re expecting to make a new city your permanent residence.  I definitely had a rough time trying to figure it out all out when I moved to LA.  I wrote a post awhile back about making that move and some of the things that I needed to do.  Now that I’ve officially made the move back to Seattle, here are a few things that I have figured out as part of this.

  • Seattle is a booming city and has grown to be drastically different compared to what it was when I first moved here. Come prepared knowing that the city is surrounded by water on all sides.  You have the Puget Sound on the west, Lake Union in the center and then Lake Washington to the east of the city.  This means that you have three major highways/freeways that you can use to get north and south which would be Highway 99 which is on average two lanes (occasionally three lanes) and is currently under construction.  Be prepared.  I-5 which runs through the center of the city.  It gets into a bottleneck right at downtown as most lanes became exit only and people have to merge into two lanes to continue moving along the I-5 corridor and 405 which has fast track lanes that you get charged for.
  • You have two major highways going east and west which would be 520 which is a tolled bridge and I-90 which is not a tolled bridge.  Be prepared that if it’s super rainy or windy, the water from Lake Washington can splash onto either bridge.
  • If you use a Pod or some sort of container to send your belongings to the city, you need a street permit to put the pod there.  You can go to the Seattle Department of Transportation to apply online for the permit.  That being said, once you have the permit, you need to contact a third party company to get No Parking signs.  I used the National Barricade for my no parking sign but there’s also Northwest Barricade.  You can either save some money and pick up the signs, place them, return them on your own or pay a fee to have someone else do this for you.
  • The Seattle DMV is typically separated from the vehicle licensing departments.  The DMVs for a new driver’s license are open on five days a week and some locations are open six days a week.  You can’t make an appointment like in California but it moves relatively quickly.  You do not need to take a driver’s test if you already have a license and it’s a relatively easy process to get a license.  I managed to only spend about 40 minutes there on a Saturday right when it opened (I was not the first person there).  To get your vehicle registered, you can go to a licensing office to get a license plate.
  • Get a Good to Go Pass.  These are stickers that go on your windshield and it’s how you pay your tolls when you cross the 520 bridge or the Tacoma Narrows, or if you are in the fast track lanes on 405.
  • Parking in Seattle is difficult.  For the street parking that requires payment, you can also pay via your phone using the pay by phone app. It’s totally worth it.
  • Finding a home in Seattle is actually quite easy.  Finding a home in price range could be more difficult. Craigslist is actually a very common way to find places to rent in Seattle.  I know that in LA, Westside Rentals was the more common way but Seattle landlords will list on Craigslist.
  • In King County (where Seattle is located) some companies are required to give you additional benefits like sick leave.  Keep that in mind if you’re working in the city.
  • Public transportation is easy and relatively easy to navigate. If you are taking the bus, make sure to have exact change.  But if you plan on taking the bus more often, get an Orca card which allows you access to all the public transportation including the ferries.
  • Seattle composts and recycles. Keep this in mind for where you live and changing your habits.  All the local restaurants are required to have either compostable or recyclable take out containers.  Most restaurants will have compost bins and try to minimize their garbage.  Be prepared that in some buildings, there are rules that may result in fines if you throw compostable items in the garbage.
  • Seattle experiences all types of weather and be prepared.  The first rain is always a difficult day to drive but rain is a thing.
  • Downtown is full of construction. So the city is constantly in flux and changing.

Overall moving here is relatively easy and the city is relatively easy to navigate.  I would definitely say it’s a lot easier to move here than it was to move to LA in terms of the logistics and overall coordination required.

Dverghamrar, Dwarf Rocks, Iceland

After the glacial lagoon, we started making our way back toward Reykjavik. Since we had encountered some terrible weather on the way out, we missed a stop near the highest mountain in Iceland so our tour guide made a slight adjustment to our schedule. He decided that he wanted the group to be able to see the Dverghamrar, otherwise known as the dwarf rocks.  These rocks are protected national monuments of Iceland and are actually very interesting to see.

They are these rock formations in the middle of nowhere and middle of relatively flat land.  I believe these rock formations were created back when the land was still under water and that also created the unique structure of the rocks.  They’re almost perfectly cubed all the way through and they’re amazing to see.

We drove to the side of the road, parked, and were told that we needed to be prepared for wind. If you choose to go out to these formations be prepared.  Since they are in the middle of a relatively flat area, there’s nothing to protect you from the wind and you are very exposed to the elements while you are out there. We bundled up and then started making our way down this path, through a gate and eventually ended up at the rocks. There is a path that leads from the side of the road all the way to the center of the rock formations and you can get up close and personal to the monuments.  We only ended up staying there for about 15 minutes due to the window but it is definitely worth trekking out to see and experience.

As we started walking back up the path to the bus, the wind got so strong that at one point we were legitimately standing and walking at a 45 degree angle.  I’ve never had an experience where I can legitimately walk while being tilted and unsupported.  But this experience gave me the chance to experience that. It’s definitely a weird feeling because your perspective changes slightly and you’re leaning into the wind to keep yourself balanced but if you lean to much, you will fall and if you don’t lean enough then you’ll fall the other direction.  We eventually made it up to the bus and it was time for us to go to our next stop.

It’s okay to be single 

I’ve gone to my fair share of weddings, in fact I went to 5 weddings this year with another 4 on deck for 2018. I’m not telling you this to brag but rather to show that there’s one major theme that seems to have resonated among every wedding I’ve been going to since 2013.

The last wedding I went to this year was wonderful in so many ways. Seeing people you love get married is amazing.

But there was one downfall. It had nothing to do with the wedding but everything to do with a joke that’s been going on since 2016. I caught the bouquet at a wedding, or rather I was hugging someone when I was bombarded by everyone and their mom telling me I was getting married and having it shoved in my face. At the end, jokingly, the bride ran over and told me not to ruin her wedding. Throughout the night, I was chased by people with the bouquet and a hashtag was started that I was getting married.

Over the last year, this joke has continued and as much as I love my friends, I hate this joke. I hate it so much because when it’s coupled with the consistent question of whether I’m seeing anyone, why am I not seeing anyone, and constantly pointing out any single guy around me, I am 100000% over it.

I know people say these things to me because they’re my friends and I know this joke is considered funny but to be 100% honest I hate it.

It’s like everyone thinks I’m incomplete and that I could be better if I had a significant other. It’s like, consistently pointing out that I’m single has made me the butt of every joke at weddings. It’s made it so that I don’t want to be seen talking to anyone who doesn’t have a wedding ring so I can avoid questions. It’s made it so much so that I would rather skip the reception than deal with these moments.

This last wedding resulted in this joke of me getting married being spread to a whole group of people who were prepared to shove me into a crowd of girls. So I left and went to the bathroom. Partially to hide and partially because Nature was calling.

I want to be accepted for who I am and I want my friends to understand that I am 100% complete without a significant other. I am not unhappy alone and I am not on the prowl. I just moved back, I started a new job, I have things that I’m trying to accomplish and lastly, I just ended something that meant more to me than I’ve expressed to anyone. I’m not ready to be in a relationship, I don’t want to be in a relationship and I am perfectly happy being me.