Shawarma Sisters in Seattle

Where did we leave off… Jessie & Adrienne had hit Multnomah Falls, Hood River and Portland on Thurs/Friday~ then they were off to Mt. Saint Helens on Saturday! Next, the sisters cruise into Seattle for an ethnic eating adventure! Due to the kindness of Friends (Becca P!) we have a place to crash in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.

And Jessie is craving food that she can't get in the Vail Valley- so the first night we find a Vietnamese restaurant and feast on a huge bowl of Pho (soup) and spring rolls! Yum! We're off to a good start!

Sunday we make ourselves breakfast (and discover that the eggs left in the fridge were hard boiled. Oops!)

Then we head off for our tour of the Theo Chocolate factory! It was $7 and is HIGHLY recommended! They source their beans personally and then ship them to their factory- so they are a Bean-to-Bar facility! So cool to see the whole process PLUS we got to eat a LOT of chocolate. 🙂 My personal favorite was the Vanilla Cacao Nib and Jessie loved the Chai tea bar. None of it was bad. So we bought all of it.

We headed out the door and wandered into the Sunday market! It was a optical extravaganza of amazing booths! We spent oodles of time staring at the amazing ($15) flower arrangements grown on a local farm, checking out rocks & amber and chatting to a guy who was bending wire into animals as he spoke to us.

If we had an extra $70 we would have bought Jessie a wire picture entitled, “Mermaid Bubbles” that depicted an adorable, farting mermaid. Perfect. We picked through tables of Russian pins, embroidered name badges and vintage costume jewelry, then took a break for some garlic Naan. Yum. We could have stayed all day! It was one of the most interesting markets we'd ever seen but we eventually had to leave – and go see Ballard Locks!

Ballard Locks

The boats have been coming in and out of these locks since 1917- and people still stand there and watch it happen. If you walk past the locks you can go under the surface and watch the salmon on their migration through the ladder.

That night we found SHAWARMA KING! We had lamb shawarma with saffron rice, hummus and falafel. Heavenly! Plus the owner was cooking in an open kitchen and we looked over and he was experimenting with an olive calzone-ish appetizer and he gave it to us because he couldn't eat until sundown!

Monday Jessie + I drove up to Anacortes to go on a whale watching trip… the Sipkovsky family has a bad luck with whale watching. And that streak continues! We had perfect weather and a lovely crew but we just couldn't find a whale anywhere! Not even in Canadian waters! 😦 I hope you enjoyed these nice pictures of water. Because water is what we saw.

Island WaveSunshine Sailboat

Sip Sistas are not daunted by a lack of whales & so Tuesday we got lost driving to Lake Union and then accidentally got onto a highway express lane and had to take a time out in the parking lot @ the Space Needle.

Jessie rerouted us to Pikes Place, where we enjoyed a yummy lunch @ a place called, Sisters. Then we ate yummy Russian pastries for dessert & made our 2nd attempt to find Lake Union. Success!!!

There were 3 tourist-filled Duck Boats (buses that drive into water) tooling around, being sprayed by water cannon on the front of a police boat full of kids in ponchos. Then they had to open the drawbridge to let a giant scientific vessel through…I think it was name Melvin. It was definitely a nerdy name that started with an M, anyway. Lastly, there were SEA PLANES taking off & landing against the backdrop of the Seattle skyline! All of this action wouldn't distract Jessie from her houseboats! She loves them & as she was checking out other people's plants, she was divising ways to keep people from looking in the windows of Her future houseboat.

After nap time, it was dinner time! Off to eat @ an El Salvadorean restaurant- Tiko Riko! Super yummy tamales, pupusas & plantain fries! Plus there were 3 sauces! “Oooh sauces”, says Jessie. We head home to watch 'Wanderlust' and snuggle with the Saber-tooth kitty-cat. Ferocious!!!

Wednesday Jessie has to fly home 😦

We wash the sheets & clean up like good little house guests and then head out to Shawarma King to grab Jessie some airport lunch. So good! Those things that Jessie says look like fried intestines with chocolate drizzles are spectacularly sweet walnut baklava! Yuuum. I give Jessie a big hug & head off for my next adventure, Orcas Island! Love you, Sista!


My sister hitched a ride to Umatilla.

I had been asking Jessie when she was coming to visit me in Portland ALL SUMMER. She's my favorite travel partner.

Jessie Relaxes

She and I have the best time adventuring together because she lets me do all the planning and as long as I include enough naps, she just goes with the flow. It really works for us . (For a recap, check out our 2009 “Sister Soiree” aka. 3 weeks in Belize & Guatemala.)

Soooo, I was uber thrilled when she called up on a Monday and asked, “What are you doing starting Thursday?” Luckily, I had nothing on the docket and on drove for 3 hours along the Columbia river to pick up Jessie in Umatilla. She had hitched a ride with Troy & Bugs who were on their way to the Gorge to spend the weekend watching Phish. Yay! Sister adventure begins!

Thursday afternoon Jessie & I headed back towards Portland and made a few stops

1- Hood River (beer/alpaca petting/Rainier cherries @ the farmer's market) 2- Multnomah Falls/Vista House

Multnomah Falls

Shadow Dance

Shadow Sisters at Vista House!

Friday morning Jessie + I met Emily for breakfast at SHUT UP AND EAT. Awesome homemade English muffins and awesome name.


Then we had a beer @ a hat store, Emily helped Jessie buy an outfit for Timmy's wedding and we headed to the Powell's-~ the biggest, most awesome bookstore in the country!

Then we got on I-5 and headed north towards Mt. Saint Helen's! I hadn't made a reservation at a campground and we pulled in as the Camp Host was locking the front gate!At 9pm! Whaaa! Luckily, there was a cancelation and we set up camp on Yale Lake.

Saturday morning we packed up and headed to Two Forests- where the lava incinerated the trees but left tree-shaped tunnels we could climb through.

Tree Tunnel

Ape Caves- we did the short tunnel (2 mile round trip) and then headed off to LAVA CANYON, which was an awesome hike with a suspension bridge, a waterfall and (eventually) some awesome views of Mt. Saint Helen's.

What's a rock like you doing in a place like this?


Then we headed off to Seattle- next post tomorrow!


Mid-Summer Night Reflection

Ahhh! The days have been sweltering, but the nights are cool & breezy. Driving home from yoga class @ 9:15pm, I noticed that it was mostly dark out! The sunshine hours are receding towards fall and I recalled that I was half-way through my summer in Portland! In 5 short weeks, Doug & Eric will be arriving by plane to drive me back to Michigan where I will spend the week zipping around the state, hugging people. THEN I'll be on a plane to Amsterdam! THAT is a whole other post…


This post is a Recap of Summer 2013!

May 16th= Birthday!

May 17th= Belated Birthday present from Luke & Susie! (Michael arrives!) Lots of parties and good-byes, chalk drawing with B, then Dad & I road-trip to Colorado!




2 more days driving with Dadoo, “Shields UP!” (he says this when we go thru tunnels & we think its hilarious)

JUNE is full of fun touristy times ~ first via bike-map with dad, then with Erica! Zip-lines, brunch, REI garage sale, eating at food trucks, white water rafting, Saturday Market/kidnapping/Voodoo donut, Pride Week Bingo AND a road trip to Vancouver BC, up the most beautiful highway in the world, to Squamish! On the way home, I start Adrienne Lee Photography. We see Old Crow Medicine Show @ the Zoo. Then, Erica starts her residency at the pediatric ER & I dog-sit in Sellwood where a pen gets eaten and poo turns blue.

JULY! The most important week of July was covered in the last post; Crater Lake road trip! And then a weekend in Seattle with Becca! Also, I have been going to yoga twice a week and working HARD to learn how to set up my website for my photo business. Which is good, since I got laid off from my nannying job. :/ Now that I've got a decent looking website ( I'm going to do a few photo shoots with friends in the area and add a blog feature to my website. Everything's slowing coming together!


Oregon is for ROAD TRIPPERS!!!

Whew! I’ve been off the grid for the past week, burning up 900+ miles in my Subaru and seeing some amazing sights! My friend Sarah Walters (from Gordonwood) has been ‘gifted’ with some free time so we decided to cruise the backroads of this gorgeous state and explore its National Park, forests and coastline!

Saturday we met up with Claire (Michigan Engineering girl who works for Mercedes-Benz) and caravanned to Crater Lake! After lunch and 5 hrs driving, we met up with Kitty Lucas (from St.Michael’s, Lansing).

Kitty had worked some magic and gotten her hands on the last campsite available on this (patriotic) holiday weekend so we made camp, grilled burgers and headed off for our first hike! We read a flier advertising a Sunset Hike up to Watchmens’ Tower with a Ranger @ 7:30pm, so we hopped in the week-old BMW (Thanks Claire!) and watched the sherbert-colored light bounce off the cliffs! And the water!!! Oh MAN!! The water was SO blue! Oddly blue. Totally fake blue. You really need to see it in person, but I’ll attempt to toss some photos in here to give you an idea. Wizard Island is actually a volcano, inside the remnants of a volcano. How meta.

Crater LakeRanger Tim Sunset on Wizard Island Golden Hour

The next morning we watched the new “How Crater Lake was Formed” video at the Rangers’ station. There hasn’t been a new one made since 1980 and it had some really cool CGI video of Mt. Mazama blowing its top and creating the lake. Then we embarked on the “Rim Tour” 😉 a 33 miles drive around the perimeter of the lake. First stop, Phantom Ship- a cool outcropping of rock that looks like a… SHIP! Then we headed south to The Pinnacles. You can judge for yourself what they looked like. This photo is the PG version..

IMG_7681The Pinnacles

Then we hiked 1.1 miles from the rim of the crater to the LAKE! It was freezing cold but some people were jumping off the rocks into the blue water.

Boat to WIzard IslandShe almost jumped There were boat rides ($35) or you could take the boat out to Wizard Island and hike to the top for $10 more. We didn’t have enough time or $$$ to do either, but I would recommend that you hike the island. Kitty says it’s pretty epic. It took us 30 minutes of huffing and puffing to get back up to the top and then it was almost time to leave! 😦

We said goodbye and headed our separate ways. Sarah and I were on a mission to find Umpqua Hot Springs and thanks to a hand-drawn map gifted to us by a Lodge employee, we rolled into the parking lot with just enough light to set up camp and hike up to the natural tubs, scalloped along the edge of a cliff overlooking a river! Le Siiiigh.

Sarah at the hot springs


The next day we meandered along Scenic Highway 138, stopping to cook Quinoa for our lunch at the edge of the Umpqua River, like good little hippies. Then we read books because we are also pretty nerdy.Sunset Bay Umpqua River

That night (After accidentally patronizing a TeaParty Pizza Shop) we caught the sunset at Sunset Bay! Perfection!

Up early the next morning for a tour of the TIDE POOLS! So cool!

Sea StarTide Pool Hike

Then we darted off up the 101 and crossed over lovely bridges and gasped at spectacular scenery.Foggy BridgePercy Vista

That night we camped near the beach AND near the aquarium in Newport! We spent the morning watching the otters get fed, the seals do tricks and walking thru the tunnel in the shark tank! JELLYFISH!!!

Eeeee! Best aquarium ever!

!Shark Tunnel Jellyfish IMG_8104

Sadly, we had to head home (so I could recover for my trip to Seattle this weekend. Grin.) ONE last stop in Lincoln City before heading inland towards Portland. Yelp found us some crispy, fresh FISH & CHIPS (the aquarium made us hungry) and we got them to-go and ate them on the beach, watching the kite-surfers. Great way to end a road trip. 🙂 But then, on the way home we stopped at Lawrence Gallery in Amity and saw 20+ Dali prints! They ranged in price from $4,000 to $360,000! Epic collection! They had already sold 9 pieces. Then we decided THAT was the best way to end a road trip and proceeded to get stuck in traffic… because you can’t drive anywhere on a highway here and NOT get stuck in traffic. :/

The End.


Traffic jam induced revelation!

I've been putting off my post because I was hoping to have my brand new website up and running to WOW you all, but let's just catch up on this one thing…. I'm going to start a business!!! A photography business! I'm super excited about it and here is the story of how I finally figured out that this is what I really wanted to do.

Erica and I were stuck in a horrible traffic jam outside of Seattle a week ago and decided to make the most of our 2 hrs inching along I-5.

Erica: Since we're not going anywhere, let's figure out what you wanna do with your life- that's part of the reason you came to Portland this summer, right?

Adrienne: Absolutely. It was time to find something I felt passionately about…

E: So, have you considered going to back to school?
A: I just paid off my undergrad loans so I'll only go back to school for something I REALLY want to do and I'm not sure what that is yet…

E: OK- what ARE your passions?
A: Youth programming, travel, photography, keeping busy.

E: So- what about doing international trips with kids?

A: It seems right up my alley, but I'd love to settle in somewhere, not move around so much and have a baby.

E: What about creating something that can be your baby? Like a small business? What about photography? (Then she says some super complimentary things about my photos. Thanks E!)

A: Hmmmm… THAT seems… perfect! AHHHHH!!! THAT IS PERFECT!!!!

And then we got to list making and name choosing and pros and cons and last week I picked a name… ADRIENNE LEE PHOTOGRAPHY! Say it out loud! It's got a nice ring to it! Now, I have always loved taking pix, ever since my first camera, that had a disk of film (like a ViewMaster) but hadn't considered it as any more than a hobby. Until that traffic jam. It seems silly… but I had never given photography serious career consideration until then. The past week, I've bought a domain name, watched a whole bunch of online classes about the complexities of self-hosting a website and ordered a tripod. I'm scouting locations to shoot my Portland friends, sorting through insane amounts of photos and nannying 2 little kids. Here they are…

These are from my fancy camera, but quickly edited on my ipad… Getting LightRoom is on my to-do list!

Thanks so much for reading this and for thinking happy thoughts of this new venture. I've got so much to do… I'll be sending out electronic releases so I can use photos I've taken of you or your gorgeous kid or handsome puppy on my new website. I'm working on becoming a professional! 🙂 Thanks to ERICA for the encouragement + the cottage, DAD for the cameras + inspiration, thanks to anyone who ever told me that they appreciate having photos I've taken. And an extra shout-out goes to the Trentacostas who insisted on treating me like a professional when I snapped some photos of them for their Christmas card last year. Life is good!


E & A’s SQUASOME Roadtrip!!! (Mon-Tues)

Erica was off this past week- a well earned break from Nursing school, before she begins her 10-week residency at the Pediatric ER. We knew that we wanted to explore Vancouver, BC & when I got a reply from a long-lost friend in Squamish we headed north. Monday we stopped in Seattle, saw the infamous Troll under the bridge and spent a few hours being overwhelmed by the tourists and the traffic near Pike's Place Market.

We headed north to Everett to hang with Kathryn (Erica's Doula friend) and have yummy beer at Skuttlebutt brew pub. We camped out on the floor of her studio apt and left in the morning, Mexican Chocolate Mocha in hand, to continue our journey.

We brunched with Erica's friend from boarding school and rolled into Vancouver for a picnic lunch on the beach!


We soaked up some rays and continued on- next stop; Stanley Island! Rolling through downtown Vancouver at rush hour gave us the chance to admire the tall buildings and pretty shops. Then we parked along the water and went to explore the island park. 10 minutes after leaving the car, I return to grab my wallet and find a parking ticket! There is no sign, no marking on the pavement that indicates a fee for parking! Grrrr. I spy a guy with a reflective vest nearby and accost him~ what can I do about this injustice?!?! He said it happens all the time and that I could go buy a parking pass now and then e-mail the city and tell them the story. Ok. (PS- It worked!!! I didn't have to pay!)

It's still Tuesday, we're still in Vancouver but I'm bound & DETERMINED to get to Squamish for the 7:30pm showing of STAND, a Eco/Oil documentary about a local guy named Norm who Stand-Up-Paddles (SUP) the proposed 350km oil tanker route through Howe Sound.

Norm Hann

Here's the top 5 things I learned:

1- Norm has been SUPing through the Haida Gwaii islands for 10 years and has been adopted into a tribe.

2- Norm is an awesome athlete! He played on the Canadian Nat'l basketball team and is currently sponsored by Quicksilver.

3- Norm is having a baby with my Storer Camps friend, Jen Segger (she's insanely sporty- ie. she did a 6-day race across the Sahara Desert, she runs the Leadville 100, is on the DART- Nuun Adventure Racing Team and is sponsored by Salomon!)

4- The oil pipeline in the movie is being proposed by Enbridge Oil, who you might have heard of when one of their pipelines spilled 1 million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. That was almost 3 years ago and they are still cleaning it up.

5- SPIRIT BEARS! They are cream-colored Black bears, born only in this coastal area of British Columbia! They are one of the non-aquatic species who would be affected by a potential oil spill. Since the Hecate Strait is more treacherous to navigate than Prince William Sound (where the Exxon Valdez crashed) everyone who lives in the area is worried that a spill is more a “when it happens” versus “if it happens” kind of thing.

STAND Teaser from b4apres media on Vimeo.

After the show, Erica and I headed to Alice Lake to set up camp. The sun went down after 9:30pm so we made it down to the lake just as it got dark and watched the bats darting low over the water.



E & A’s SQUASOME Roadtrip!!! (Wed-Thurs)


Wednesday AM, Jen rolled up to our campsite on her bike and took us for a swift hike around the lake. Then she told us to go hike The Chief (see above) which she did 3 days a week until her 2nd trimester! Well… she described it as “an hour of nearly vertical hiking” and she does not exaggerate! I am not an 'uphill' kind of girl and this hike was epically hard. (Jessie- it was reminiscent of that volcano we hiked in Antigua when the guide kept offering me a horse. Ugh.)

The last bit involved dragging myself up a rock slab with some chains they has bolted into the wall! Then, I wedged myself into a crack and just when I thought I was almost done… a ladder. Oh geez. But the view? It was TOTALLY WORTH IT! Howe Sound on my left, logging industry stuff in the middle and Squamish on my right. Glorious!

ChiefView-SHPhoto by STEPHEN HUI

1048488_10200397159355792_283545694_o 981303_10200397159755802_1952418421_o

This hike was H-A-R-D! It seems unlikely that Shroooooms would have made it easier…

Next, we hopped in the car for some well-deserved 'sitting' time on the way up to Whistler. Jen had worked/trained there for years and some of the 2010 Winter Olympics took place there as well. It was nice. Too nice. It had that slightly eerie, pre-fabed feeling that Vail and Beaver Creek have. Don't get me wrong, we dug it. We sat slope-side and ate a $18 burger while we watched the bikers bomb down the hill, spraying mud everywhere. That was cool. Also, we were watching the Stanley Cup & drinking Kokanee (for Ron)!


We also happened upon a post-race celebration put on by the staff… who were drunk, dressed in drag and dancing to a live Calypso band. Not much to do in the off-season…

We decided to head down to Vancouver to camp that night since we'd have a long drive the next day, so we turned the Subaru towards the Sea-to-Sky highway and headed south.

The road is gorgeous plus we spotted a black bear, foraging for berries! We made it to Porteau Cove by 9pm and enjoyed the view of the sound but didn't camp because it cost $38 and was 10meters from a train track! So we ask the ranger if he has any suggestions for a campground closer to 'The Couv'? He started us on a crazy/late night/campsite hunt with his super-vague answer. But Wed night we camped in Burnaby and got up stupid early on Thursday to high tail it home.

Thursday: we explored Grandville Island (great!), I discovered that I am a lifetime member of the Canadian version of REI (MEC), and we ate breakfast sandwiches on homemeade veggie biscuits in Gastown! Then we spent 2+ hours stuck in 3pm? traffic outside of Seattle. Blerg. The 2 positive things that came out of it were: 1- I bought a pop @ BK's and got to use a touch screen pop machine and 2- I figured out what I want to do for a job! This is a revelation that requires a whole post of its own, so you'll just have to wait. 🙂


Road Trippin’

Dad and I leave on our road trip May 23rd! (Yup, that's me, feeding him peanut butter!). Dad is the sort of guy you want with you when you drive 2,500 miles across the country. Here's a few reasons why…

#1-He's got a great sense of direction. (Somedays I'm not sure which way is UP…)

#2- He's good at fixing things.

#3-He likes Classic Rock! Perfect road trip music!

#4- He'll drive most of the way and like it!

#5- He is a very experienced packer. (I'm very experienced at bringing too much stuff.)

#6- He will make random stops just to take pictures of rocks or birds or trees or sunsets, etc…

I know for a fact that there are a bunch more things to list… but it's not Father's Day yet so let's save some for his card!

The 23rd & 24th we'll be heading out I-80 West, stopping at Applebee's and Panera's along the way (#7- He's predictable; in a comfortable sort of way.) Then we'll roll past Denver on Saturday morning and arrive in Avon for a long weekend of family time with the Siblings. (Lots of eating, bird watching, dog walking and board games.) Memorial Day Weekend with Jessie + Ron and Cory + Maria! Hooray!

The only one we'll be missing- is MOM!

Then the morning of the 28th, we'll head west through Utah, skirt past Salt Lake City and up into Idaho. After we clear Boise, we'll be in Oregon! I sure am glad that my dad decided to come on this road trip with me! Here's to good mileage, good health, good music and no repairs!