Summer pick-me-up ft. Cascade Ice Water

*This post is sponsored by Cascade Ice and all product was provided. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Power of 3, seattle blogger foodie lifestyle
I have been a huge fan of Cascade Ice ever since my high school sold their drinks during lunch way back in the day. Then as I got older, I began to appreciate sparkling water without sugar even more. Come to find out that Cascade Ice created a new product with only 3 ingredients that had caffeine in it (I need all the energy I can get, hah), and sugar free, I was instantly intrigued and couldn't wait to try it.

Power of 3, seattle blogger foodie lifestyle
Power of 3, seattle blogger foodie lifestyle
Power of 3, seattle blogger foodie lifestyle
These new drinks come in four flavors that are all organic: Grapefruit, Citrus Twist, Blackberry, and Pomegranate. They consist of only three ingredients: Carbonated Water, Natural Organic Flavor, and Organic Caffeine aka the #powerof3. My favorites are blackberry and citrus twist, but they're all tasty and refreshing, especially when they've been chilled in the fridge. These are great for when I am having sugar cravings, or craving soda - the fruity flavors curb the sugar cravings and the carbonation satisfies the need for the bubbles. 

Power of 3, seattle blogger foodie lifestyle
Power of 3, seattle blogger foodie lifestyle
I also really enjoy mixing these with alcohol, mainly clears such as gin or Korean soju. They're great for a little brunch or picnic outside and is a nice way to add some flavor and bubbles to your drinks. If you want to stick to the non-alcoholic route, adding fruit to these drinks is another way to level them up. My favorite is adding berries to them, but you can really add whatever is in season! They've been nice to have during the hotter summer, Seattle days, especially after a long day of work and training. They're just what I need!

You can find the new Cascade Ice Caffeinated Sparkling Water in local stores in the PNW, such as Albertson’s, Bartell’s, QFC and Safeway with more coming soon. 

-Kirstie

Summer Fruit Picnic ft. Northwest Cherries

*This post is not sponsored but product was provided by Northwest Cherry Growers. All thoughts and opinions are strictly my own.

Northwest Cherry Growers summer picnic hydrangea seattle blogger
Long time no post, but after receiving this beautiful shipment of dark cherries from Northwest Cherry Growers, I was inspired to create and blog! 
Cherries NWCherries Northwest Cherry Growers summer picnic hydrangea seattle blogger long hair
First off, I want to give a huge thank you to Northwest Cherry Growers for sending me 20lbs of dark northwest cherries to enjoy! They have great content on their site including cherry recipes, tips on freezing, drying, and preserving, and so much more. My favorite part of their site is learning all about the different cherry varieties.
northwest cherries cherry ume plum banana
Now, there are tons of ways to enjoy cherries, weather you cook or bake with them, freeze them for smoothies, or preserve them, but my favorite way to enjoy them is as is, nice and fresh! The cherries I received were PLU #4045 dark cherries that were nice and large, firm, and very sweet! They're even better after you give them a good washing and leaving them in the fridge for a few hours. 

Cherries are a great summer fruit staple for parties, potlucks, and of course, picnics! Today, I'm sharing a fun cherry-filled picnic that's perfect for a warm summer day. I hope this gives you inspiration to go out, grab some Northwest Cherries from your local grocery store, and enjoy these deliciously sweet cherries!

Northwest Cherry Growers summer picnic hydrangea seattle blogger
Northwest Cherry Growers summer picnic hydrangea seattle blogger
Northwest Cherry Growers summer picnic hydrangea seattle blogger knolling banana ume plum
Northwest Cherry Growers summer picnic hydrangea seattle blogger

Are you a fan of cherries?! What's your favorite summer fruit?

-Kirstie

Shiro-Hige's Cream Puff Factory | Tokyo Travel Tip

Moshi moshi! Today's post is a short but fun one where I'll be sharing tips and photos of my visit to the infamous Totoro inspired Shiro-Hige's Cream Puff Factory located in Setagaya, Tokyo.
factory tokyo ootd jumper studio ghibli

Tip #1 - Go early

This location is in a smaller town and is very quiet. My first tip is to plan your trip here early, especially if you're staying close to center of Tokyo (in Shibuya, or Shinjuku for example). It'll take you about 30 to 45 minutes to get here by train and walking (depending on how fast you walk) so plan to leave at least one hour early. The shop opens at 10AM.
tokyo japan setagaya totoro studio ghiblitokyo japan setagaya totoro studio ghibli

Tip #2 - RSVP for Cafe seating

We didn't stay to eat in the cafe, but if you did want to, you'll have to reserve seating ahead of time. You might get lucky if you get there early and line up for it, but if you planned to eat there, then your best bet is to make a reservation.

Tip #3 - Take your time in the shop or go back to purchase other goodies

When you first line up to go inside to cream puffs, the shop section is very small and since there tends to be a line in the morning (people not realizing they had to make RSVP to actually sit there and what not) it goes really fast and tends to be a bit overcrowded to look around. I would recommend going in once and purchase your cream puffs, then when it dies down after you enjoyed your puffs, go back in and either purchase more puffs, OR take a look to the left to shop other Totoro inspired goodies such as little cookies and gift boxes! I went in at least two times more after the first time to purchase cookie boxes for myself and as souvenirs. 

totoro cookies and studio ghibli shop kikitokyo japan setagaya shiro hige cream puff factory shop

tokyo japan setagaya shiro hige cream puff factory shop

Tip #4 - Bring Cash!

I didn't see any card machine so definitely bring cash when you are here! The cream puffs are about 460 yen a piece and cookies range in pricing from 300 to 2000 yen (I believe).

Tip #5 - If weather permits, enjoy the outside decor and take pictures!

Don't forget to take advantage of your time there and take photos! There some fun photo spots to pose with/without your puffs. Just be mindful of the neighborhood and not be too loud or in the way since many locals take walks through this area. 
tokyo japan setagaya shiro hige cream puff factory shop
tokyo japan setagaya shiro hige cream puff factory shop tokyo japan setagaya shiro hige cream puff factory shop
tokyo japan setagaya shiro hige cream puff factory shop

This is a bit out of the way (depending on your plans) but if you are in Tokyo for a few days and you are a Studio Ghibli fan, then I definitely recommend stopping by and checking it out! At least for the puffs. It may not be worth your time to sit there ( I also heard the puffs cost more if you sit and eat there) so if you're in a pinch for time, at least stop by the shop. 

Are you a Totoro fan?!

-Kirstie

Instagram Worthy Soft Serve in Tokyo (that also tastes good)

I have had the pleasure of traveling to Tokyo 3 times in the past 2 years and with that came a lot of eating in a short amount of time period, especially trying to indulge in all the delicious ice cream they have there! For this post and for all my Instagram friends out there, I will be sharing my top ice cream places in Tokyo that I would recommend that are not only picture worthy but actually really tasty and are some of the best I've ever had!

I'm a fan of is anything that has Hokkaido Milk in it, and when it is in ice cream form, it is even better! Whether it is in a soft serve or 'softcream' form, I love it all. The majority of my ice cream contains Hokkaido Milk, but there are a couple favorites that aren't.

Cremia

japan food foodie blogger soft serve softcream ice cream
Cremia is a premium softcream that can be found in Japan. I was lucky to be walking distance from one in Shinjuku. According to their site, they use high quality fresh cream from Hokkaido with high milk fat content. That's what gives it its rich flavor. It is extremely fresh. The visually appealing part of this soft serve is the wavy shape of the ice cream itself, reminiscent of silk to show off that smooth taste. Not only that, but they also use Langue de chat (a type of cookie) for their cone instead of your typical cake/wafer cone! It truly brings out the flavor of the ice cream and pairs so well. This would have to be my top 1 or 2 ice creams for sure! Cost: 500 Yen

Milk Craft Cream

tokyo shinjuku food foodie blogger
This one has been on my list for awhile, mainly for the light, fluffy looking swirl I've seen from the interwebs. It took awhile to find it underneath Shinjuku station but  I finally found it! Plus it was right next to my favorite cheese tarte place too! I went for the plain Hokkaido Milk Soft Serve in the cake cone and my taste buds were instantly happy! Let's just say, It was so good, I had to order a second one right after I finished the first since it was my last opportunity to eat it. The texture is light and if ice cream could be fluffy, this was fluffy. It wasn't as rich or dense as Cremia's but still flavorful. And it's so pretty! Like a swirled cloud of goodness. They have other options too like parfaits and such but I went with the classic cone. They also have shops across Japan too so if you missed it in Tokyo, you may find it somewhere else. Cost: 500 Yen.

ZAKUZAKU

shibuya takeshita street japan food foodie blogger hokkaido milk
Here's another spot that has been on my list after seeing the long lines around the store my first time in Harajuku. We ended up coming here early so when we stopped by this spot, only one other person was in front of us. I went for their soft serve that included crumbles of their croquant chou. This was another place that uses Hokkaido milk in their products. Yes it is pretty to look at, especially they serve up a generous amount swirled, but it also tastes delicious. It doesn't have as bold as a flavor as Cremia or Milk Craft Cream, but still one to try. If you're not a fan of soft serve, they also serve their signature cream puffs! Cost: 450 Yen

Learn more: https://zakuzaku.co.jp/

Tokyo Milk Cheese Factory

shinjuku japan food foodie cheese waffle cone hokkaido milk
Ever since I tried their cookies purchased from the airport last year, I was obsessed. I became even more obsessed when I found out they had milk and cheese ice cream too! This was another one that took me awhile to find as I was walking through the Shinjuku underground but when I did, I knew I had to try their milk cheese soft serve swirled in a cheddar waffle cone! If you love cheese, this is for you! The cheddar cone definitely has cheddar flavor to it which isn't too much or overpowering. The ice cream also has a nice cheese flavor to it. The texture of the soft serve is nice and thick and definitely a filling one. Cost: 500 Yen (I believe)


Kino Chaya

Japan green tea food foodie blog blogger
When in Japan, you must try some type of matcha/green tea item and one of my favorites is matcha ice cream. There are quite a few places that do it (special shout out to Suzukien with their potent green tea flavors), but a favorite that I have been to multiple times is Kino Chaya - located right by the Kinokuniya in Shinjuku. The ice cream isn't too sweet and the best part, it has a bold green tea flavor that many versions in the US lack. Plus it isn't bitter, which can be hard to do. It's perfect balanced. They also serve hot matcha drinks and seasonal flavors here as well! Cost: 380 Yen


Sakura Soft Serve

tokyo tsukiji food foodie soft serve blogger
The soft serve above can be found in many shops (ice cream comes in a plastic container, and they use a machine to press them out). This was a Sakura (cherry blossom) flavored and had a nice flavor to it. Cherry blossom to me tastes like the shiso/perilla leaf which is more herbal than floral and some places mix it with ume (plum). This was nice since it wasn't overly flavored or to sweet. Plus, the cone was cute!

So there you have it - Instagram worthy soft serve ice cream in Tokyo that not only are pretty in photos, but also delicious to your taste buds. As I write this post, I can't help but miss all the ice cream I had! I had some other ice cream at other times/places, but these ones were my top favorites for sure!

-Kirstie

Favorite Travel Accessory | Belt Bag

nordstrom toms shoes seattle blogger cherry blossoms
Happy Hump Day! I'm excited to write this post since I haven't done a fashion inspired one in awhile. This one is inspired by my love of belt bags aka fanny packs and my preferred method of wearing them, especially while traveling. Depending on the style, I tend to wear them across my chest as opposed to around my waist. It's just more comfortable that way, plus it is easier to access. As mentioned in my Toko Travel Tips post about bringing a smaller bag for easy access, the below belt bags came in handy when I needed to easily access money or my PASMO card while in Tokyo. Plus, for those times I was shopping around my hotel or just grabbing some food, the smaller bag was much more convenient, especially in those tight shops!

The three below are my current favorite and the ones I brought with me to Japan (hey, a girl's gotta have options!)
nordstrom urban outfitters fashion travel accessory blogger seattle
1. Adidas Logo Belt Bag - I love the size of this one and the fact that you can wear it not only as a belt bag or across the front, but also as a longer crossbody bag. I've always been a fan of bold colors, like red, and the Adidas logo so this caught my eye instantly and I knew I wanted to wear it while traveling (with my all Adidas ensemble basically, ha ha). The smaller size actually fits quite a bit including a wallet, coin purse, and my passport.

2. Adidas Pebbled Faux Leather Fanny Pack - This one I've had for awhile, at least over 6 months, and is still one of my favorites. It's black so pairs well with almost anything and it is a good size if I wanted to carry any extra items including a hand cream or a couple lip options. 

3. Herschel Supply Co. Fourteen Belt Bag - Initially online, the shape of this bag looked a bit odd to me, but I person, it was actually pretty perfect. What caught my attention the most though was this icy Glacier color that is almost like a mint green. It's lightweight and smaller than the Adidas pebble one, but still carries quite a bit and takes no room in your luggage. Plus, it was a nice contrast to the red and black and a color I don't own in any bag form.
Shinjuku Tokyo Japan adidas outfit falcon fashion blogger seattle nordstrom
belt bag urban outfitters seatle renton fashion blogger

I've also shared a few other options of belt/fanny bags that I'm a fan of or purchased to travel with last year. 

Are you a fan of fanny/belt bags? How do you prefer to wear them?

-Kirstie







Current Coffee Shop & Cafe Faves | March 2019

Hi all! Using the new year ( as in Lunar New Year) as the start of my year (and because I completely missed January and February, haha) I wanted to start a new series (hopefully) featuring my favorite food experiences each season and/or month! Some may have a theme, some may not. I'll be sharing old favorites and new places I've discovered and highlight dishes I'd recommend and I may sprinkle any new products from the grocery store. That way, I have a chance to share with you all my favorite foodie moments more frequently.

Seattle blogger green tea latte art kfclovesyou foodie
1. Atulea - I finally had a chance to stop by the ever-so-popular (and very Instagrammable) cafe located in Captiol Hill. The interior is super cute and clean with greenery around and a pink + green leaf patterned wall. I tried their Matcha Latte and loved how bold the flavor was along with not being sweet at all. A lot of times, matcha can be too sweet, but I love how you can add your own sweetness (with honey or brown sugar syrup) so you can control the sweetness all he way. Their cheese boba drinks were good too! This was my first time here and I'll definitely be back when I'm in the area.

Seattle Burien latte art seattle blogger foodie
Seattle Burien latte art seattle blogger
2. Moore Coffee Shop in Burien - Known for their cute latte art, Moore Coffee House opened a new location in Burien which is great news for my friends who live south of Seattle. Lines are minimal if any and they still have the great quality drinks on their menu, latte art included! I've tried their Taro, Matcha, Horchata, and Golden Milk ones and each of them were almost TOO cute to drink. My favorite is definitely the Golden Milk, but they're all pretty good though some could be sweet. My goal is to try at least each flavor once! 

renton washingon seattle foodie blogger coffee
Seattle renton coffee shop blogger foodie
Renton seattle coffee shop cafe seattle foodie food blogger
3. Boon Boona Coffee - A favorite not only because of their amazing coffee, but because they are so close to the Ascendance Pole & Aerial Arts (my home studio!) in Downtown Renton. The quality of their coffee is amazing; they're bold in flavor without being bitter and oh so smooth. They also offer a variety of syrups (Rose Cardamom is a favorite!) along with Oat milk as a substitution, and now matcha lattes as well! Their staff is great and you can find me here at least once a week! They also have some yummy baked goods from Macrina Bakery and delicious cookies from Lowrider Baking Company.

Seattle foodie blogger international district chinatown
4. Fuji Bakery - I've been to Fuji Bakery before, but honestly, it's been a couple of years. I go to the one in the ID/Chinatown since it is more convenient and happened to be in the area before I had a meeting. I decided on a couple of baked goods and a Hojicha (roasted tea) latte, a cheese danish pastry, and fried dango. The baked goods were nice, but the star was definitely this hojicha latte! The roasted tea flavor really paired well with the milk and the pastries. Fuji Bakery has tons of other sweet and savory baked goods. If you're in the area, definitely stop in to grab some to-go or to eat in there.

Seattle Capitol Hill coffee shop blogger foodie
sun ship fjallraven mini kanken the stranger seattle foodie blogger
5. Ghost Note Coffee - After an appointment I had in the Cap Hill area, I decided to check out this spot based off their menu and not having been their previously. They do Signature Drinks that coffee based and honestly, some are even better than cocktails out there! I love their unique drink menu and seasonal items and will definitely be back to try their other available drinks. It also has a very simple yet clean setting with plenty of seating. I had their Sun Ship which consisted of Espresso, smoked grapefruit rosemary syrup, coconut water, sparkling water, and lime. The barista that made it took so much time and care into creating it, as if it were a real cocktail. 

Seattle chinatown international district foodie food blogger
Seattle chinatown international district foodie food blogger
Seattle chinatown international district foodie food blogger
Seattle chinatown international district foodie food blogger adidas fashion
6. Hood Famous Cafe + Bar - I've been a fan of Hood Famous cheesecakes so when I heard they were opening a cafe in the ID, I was super excited! I love the green house vibes you get from their interior and their popular Ube cheesecake. What was a total win for me were their Mochi Waffles, both savory and sweet versions. I can't wait to see if they'll expand their menu, but honestly I would go back just for those mochi waffles! You can also step in to buy their different flavored cheesecakes as well including, ube, calamansi, pandan, and my fave, durian!

seattle food foodie blogger
seattle food foodie blogger

7. Queen Bee Cafe - I've heard so many great things about Queen Bee Cafe from friends and I didn't get to make it here until last month. They're known for their crumpets and is great to go to if you don't want to fight traffic at Pike Place Market to go to 'The Crumpet Shop' there. We tried quite a few of their crumpets and the most value for your money are definitely the sandwiches since they also come with a side of salad or chips. My favorites were the smoked salmon and sausage and gravy ones. They also have coffee drinks that are served with of course, honey. I would ask for it on the side or with a lighter hand since it can be a bit too sweet, but the Spanish Honey Coffee was my favorite with the mix of spices.

There you have it, my current favorite coffee shops and cafes! I love that Seattle has new places popping up which just means more places for me to try! Stay tuned for my next foodie round up or restaurant review!

-Kirstie

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