How to make your conference calls more fun from home? Use a filter!

Happy Tuesday! Here's a quick post for all my WFH conference call takers out there on Teams, Zoom, or any other conference call platform; I've got a quick fun way to turn your chats a bit more fun!
Potat filter on laptop in conference call on Teams

What you'll need to do:

1. Download the Snap Camera app (you don't need a Snapchat account)
2. Close your conferencing app if it is open
3. Open Snap Camera, select a filter - your camera will be on at this time automatically where you'll be able to see and select your filters.
4. Open your conferencing app, start your call and start chatting away! Your filter will already be applied and you'll appear as (potato, pineapple, corgi, etc.) whatever you desire on your call!

Have fun!

Working From Home during a crisis | 9 Tips to stay motivated

Image using picsart seattle blogger totoro
totoro bed with laptop and flowers
*Content and title edited for clarity*

Hey everyone, hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these difficult times. I know many small businesses, restaurants, artists, beauticians, hair stylists, and so much more are affected at this time and I encourage anyone who is able, to help support your local businesses. I'm thankful to be able to have a job that allows me to work from home and I wanted to share today's post in hope that it helps or provides inspiration to at least one person out there. Since I have been working exclusively from home for the past few weeks due to COVID-19 and being in quarantine, I've noticed a few things that I wanted to share to maybe help you get through your typical work week and what helps me stay motivated.

1. Get ready for the day, wash your hands and face (and if you're usually morning shower person, incorporate that as well). Change for the day, whether it's something comfy and cute or actually dressing up as if you would be going to work, this can help you get into the work mindset. Even though you won't be going out to work in an office, or meeting people in-person, you may have calls or even just create some normalcy for yourself. It's easy to get stuck in your PJs right when you wake up and for me, this definitely helps me feel more motivated and productive. Sometimes, this also never happens and that's okay! On the days where I have less calls that others, I'm in sweats all day long.

2. Set up a space dedicated to working. If you have a home office, you have this covered, but maybe if you haven't organized it, now's the time to clean it up so you can use it in its full function instead of having an additional storage room. If you don't have a separate room for an office, create a small dedicated area in your room or space. If your spacing is limited and you have to use your dining table or even your bed, try to add something to it while you work so it feels like a working space.
totoro bed with spring flowers working from home

3. Stick to a schedule, continue a routine. It's easy to get up right away and log on to your computer and start working, and sometimes you are spending more time than what is probably healthy for you both mentally as well as physically (eye strain, etc.). Especially those with kids (I do not have children but have friends and coworkers who do), this is important to balance out your day, more so if you are handling everything on your own. Try to change it up so you don't get too bored with the same routine every day. Maybe workout on Monday and Wednesday mornings in your living room, and on Tuesday and Thursday evenings go for a walk around the neighborhood after you log off, and Friday lunch calls with your besties. Whatever it may be, try to stick to it as much as you would any other time just to keep things feeling as normal as possible. This can change weekly or even daily. It's just something I found that helped me not lose track of my days/time. But of course, sometimes schedules just don't work and you just have to take it one day at a time. Things happen and it's okay to let yourself not be in sync on the daily.
Image of a daily schedule for working from home

4. Don't forget to breaks/lunch when you need, even reminders to get up and walk around and stretch. There's no next meeting to walk to, or time to consider to for commuting so it's easy to get stuck inside at home and let the day pass by without getting up. If you do decide to venture for a break/lunch, remember to practice social distancing and be as efficient, quick, and contact-free to get what you need.

5. Log off completely during your breaks. Ideally, try not to bring your phone with you or at least un-sync notifications, and put your Away/BRB status on so you can have that time for yourself. It's a bad habit of mine to be 'online' all the time, and takes time to work on, but you'll still be on later to see what you may miss. If your job however requires different availability or urgency, this won't apply to you, or maybe only be completely off for shorter breaks.

6. Organize your inbox and desktop. I don't know about you, but both my personal and work laptops/inboxes aren't the most organized. If you are in a lull during work or in a holding pattern, now is the perfect time to organize your inbox, desktops, hard drives, etc. Whether it's deleting files you don't need, organizing your folders, or moving files from you desktop into hard drives, this will help for when things will eventually pick back up and that will help you stay on top of things.

7. Sharpen up one or more skills. Depending on your field of work, I truly believe there is always something new to learn. Whether it is honing your skills in Photoshop/InDesign, or even becoming a pivot table master in Excel, there are many of free tutorials online that can help you sharpen what you already know and potentially grow your own skillset by learning something new. This is not a necessity and some people don't have the time to do so. But for those with that extra time, no kids or family to take care, this a positive that can come from this negative period.

8. Snack when you can, but try to lessen the sweets and snack on healthy items like vegetables, nuts, yogurt, and really anything with less sugar. It's easy to just munch away while your stuck at home ( I admit, I tend to snack a lot when I have extra time on my hand.)

9. Schedule calls with colleagues to keep in touch, even if it isn't completely work related and try to take calls with your webcam. Since we are all at home, its important to have human interaction, especially if you have no room/house mates or pets. Lunch calls are perfect for this.
totoro bed with spring flowers drinking tea
I hope these tips help you work from home, especially as most of us are bunkered down for a long while. As always, take breaks when you can and be sure to keep yourself safe and healthy! Remember to be kind to yourself. These times are unprecedented and you can follow as many or none of these. At the end of the day, you do what you need to do that's best for yourself and your family.

Much love to you all =)

- Kirstie

Seattle Selfie Museum | My experience + Was it worth it?

Last month, I had the chance to visit the Seattle Selfie Museum located right below Pike Place Market, past the infamous Gum Wall Alley. I was able to purchase tickets ($29/person) ahead of time online to secure my spot for a Sunday morning slot at 11AM. We got there early (drove to Chinatown and took the Light Rail to avoid parking) and ate around the market before making our way to the 'museum'.
Seattle Selfie Museum in pike place market washing machine
I wouldn't call this so much a 'museum' but more so an immersive photo exhibit, lolz. By the time we walked to the museum, there was already a few people there inside taking of course, photos. Unless you bring a selfie-stick, it is more difficult to take selfies. This is a place you're going to see people taking photos of others. This place is DEFINITELY catered for the IG photo op lovers - the crowd is fairly young and mostly all female with friends or with their significant others, hehe, helping take their photos. There are about 20+ or so 'exhibits' for you to take a range of photos including two floors and a staircase. Some of the 'exhibits', if you will are solid in color, some more interactive. We didn't have to wait long for the ones where people where waiting in line, and the earlier time slot made it seem less crowded (around 30 minutes later, it got busier with a lot more people).

First floor

downtown pike place market gum alley selfie seattle blogger fashion
downtown pike place market gum alley selfie seattle blogger fashion kfclovesyou
downtown pike place market gum alley selfie seattle blogger fashion kfclovesyou
downtown pike place market gum alley selfie seattle blogger fashion kfclovesyou
downtown pike place market gum alley selfie seattle blogger fashion kfclovesyou
Pink ball bit at the Seattle Selfie Museum

Staircase

 

Second floor

downtown pike place market gum alley selfie seattle blogger fashion kfclovesyou
Smiling on the Banana Swing in Pike Place Seattle Downtown's Selfie Museum
Glowball mirror room at the Seattle Selfie Museum downtown Pike place
downtown pike place market gum alley selfie seattle blogger fashion kfclovesyou
Bath ball pit at the Seattle Selfie Museum in downtown Pike Place Market
Overall, I did enjoy my time there, even though it did feel a bit gimmicky. We probably spent no more than 45 minutes there and took way too many photos, haha. I think if you're into taking photos or want something fun do get into with a small group, then this would be fun. It does seem a bit pricey (especially compared to some of the exhibits/museums actually in the city) for what it is, but I can understand the appeal of it. Check out @SeattleSelfieMuseum for more info and to see some other images people have posted here! You can definitely get some cool shots, and this place gives you that opportunity do that if you're into it. 

And as always, during this time of COVID-19, don't go if you are sick or have symptoms. And if you do have a sneeze or tickle in your throat, remember to cover your mouth and wash your hands. Bring some hand sanitizer with you so after you touch and lay in all the things, you can at least make sure your hands are clean. I'm pretty sure I saw hand sanitizer there when I went in mid-February, and you can bet that now in March they'll have a lot of it around for you to use.

Have you been to here or somewhere similar? What did you think of it?

-Kirstie


















14 Places to enjoy a Valentine's Day meal | Seattle 2020

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Happy happy February! I'm excited to have another blot post up (yay!), and to be sharing another year of restaurant recommendations to take your Valentine! There's a range of cuisines, price points, and locations throughout the Seattle area. Some of these also have a special Valentine's Day menu that I'll link if available, but I'll also be sharing some of my favorites from these places and suggestions! These places I would also recommend any other time, not just for V-day, for a date night - check them out below!

Broadway/Capitol Hill


seattle fashion food blogger ootd
fashion food seattle broadway blogger
1. Altura - I had the pleasure of eating here last year and it is one of my favorite tasting menus in this area! The use of seasonal ingredients is superb as everything is prepared with care leaving you with an incredible dining experience. You start off with a wide variety of Stuzzichini, small bites, before diving right into your main courses. This is an excellent place to take your significant other if you're looking to spend a good few hours enjoying each other's company over amazing food. Since everything is pre-selected, you don't have to worry about choosing what to eat, plus they also have a wine and non-alcoholic drink pairing as well!

2. Spinasse - If you're looking for a feel good, comforting place to dine on delicious Italian food, then this is the spot. The décor makes it feel like a home even with large bar seating and an open view of the kitchen. I would suggest an Aperol Spritz to pair with some appetizers like the Cipollini ripiene, roasted cipollini onions stuffed with beef and pork (yum!) and the Proscuitto di Parma. Maybe grab a salad as well. Then you MUST get the Tajarin con burro e salvia, fine egg noodles with the most simple yet delicious sage butter. You can't go wrong with anything on the menu but this place is wonderful if you're looking to get cozy with your date!


3. Artusi - If you're looking for something a bit more lowkey yet still delicious, then check out Artusi right next door to Spinasse. It's definitely more of a bar and they have a great Pasta Night option (2 pastas and a bottle of wine for $45). Another favorite spot I would recommend any time (even their brunch deals are amazing).
4. Coastal Kitchen - This is still one of my favorite spots on 15th! It's definitely more lively and energetic and the food is great as well. They've got some of the best oysters out there and I love their location changing themed menus (this month is Barcelona). You can't go wrong with their classics or light bites, plus add some oysters for the both of you (hey, Oysters are supposed to be an aphrodisiac, haha), and enjoy a couple of cocktails while you're at it!

Madrona/Madison

5. Bottlehouse - This place is perfect if you're looking for a light meal and just want to get a little personal. Bottlehouse is located in the cute Madrona neighborhood and is in what looks to be an old house. Seating is very intimate and they don't serve liquor or full on meals, but they do have awesome wines and charcuterie boards. I go here with my girl friends everyone now and then and it's still one of my favorite places! Can't wait to go on an actual date here one day, hehe.


6. Vendemmia - If you want more food for your date, then check out Vendemmia, on the same street, just a couple blocks down. They have a great selection of Italian-inspired dishes using locally sourced product whenever they can. Plus, I like their drink menu. This year, they have a Valentine's Day menu you don't want to miss, the best part is that they have starters to share so you won't have to choose that part!

7. Luc - Luc is located in the Madison Valley neighborhood in Seattle and is another favorite area of mines with cute shops and delicious restaurants. It's a French bistro-styled restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere, perfect for date night. They're also doing a Valentine's Day menu with an awesome menu selection for the day. Definitely check them out.

Downtown/Pioneer Square

8. Miller's Guild - If you're looking to get down on with the beef, then check out Miller's Guild. It has a moody (in a good way) feel to it and am impressive live-fired Infierno grill. If you make it here, you should definitely do one of the inferno live fire grilled prime beef steaks. You also can't go wrong with sharing a few of the starter plates and sides like the grilled Spanish octopus, black trumpet mushroom risotto, or good 'ol mashed potatoes to pair with your steak! This is the spot if you're looking to get down and grub with your date!

9. Il Terrazzo Carmine - If you're looking for a romantic and a little bit classy spot for delicious Italian food, then be sure to book your evening here! You'll love this fine dining experience as you eat through your way with some Italian classics and excellent service.

Mount Baker/Columbia City

seattle foodie fashion blogger
seattle mount baker foodie
10. Iconiq -  This is one of my favorite restaurants in the city from it's lovely location on Mount Baker overlooking the Seattle skyline to it's simple décor and open kitchen viewing. Chef here makes my favorite Japanese clam chowder and usually has some excellent seasonal menu items as well. They're serving a special Valentine's Day menu as well so be sure too book while you can since these menu items will only be there for a few days!

11. La Medusa - Another wonderful Italian restaurant located in heart of Columbia City serving local produce and a seasonal Mediterranean menu that is great for a date night. The place is also on the smaller side so book fast if you can! You can't go wrong with pretty much anything on the menu and the home-feel to this restaurant makes it more relaxing for a date.

West Seattle

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12. Little Prague European Bakery & Deli - If you're looking for a quiet, afternoon date, then this little gem in West Seattle is for you. They have savory traditional Czech foods like steamed bread and Moravian roast pork with Saurkraut, savory puff pastries, and my personal favorite, fresh made cream cheese kolaches for a sweet treat! If it isn't raining, taking a walk around the neighborhood after your meal is a great way to continue your date.

Eastside (Bellevue/Kirkland)

bellevue eastside foodie
bellevue east side foode blogger
13. Ascend Prime Steak & Sushi - Whether you're looking for surf or turf, you'll get the best of both here, along with a killer view and modern setting. This is definitely an upscale place with the finest ingredients for both meats and seafood (think A5 Wagyu and Osetra caviar), and some very innovative drinks, and fun dessert. If both you and your date are into a fancier experience, then this is one to check out on the East side.

14. Café Juanita - Here's another favorite of mine I love for their tasting menu. They also offer a Valentine's Day menu which takes the thinking out of it if you're looking for an amazing tasting experience on the East side. If you're looking to try a few things, I can't recommend the Tajarin with Sage butter (add caviar for an extra oomph) and the Octopus.

Looking for more restaurant recommendations for Valentine's Day? Then check out my blog post from last year where I share 7 Greater Seattle Area Restaurants to Take Your Valentine! You've got one week left to go to RSVP. Enjoy!

-Kirstie


20 Goals for 2020


Hello blogging world! It's been awhile since I've had a chance to sit down to write a new blog post. The holidays came faster than expected and work was just busy, plus I wanted to spend time with loved ones =). Since the January 1st, New Year has come and gone, I'm using this Chinese/Lunar New Year as the starting date to share my first post of this new year. With the new year, I want to my goals out there in the universe (whether I reach them all or not) and hopefully see all if not most into fruition.
amazon lulus fashion renton seattle fashion blogger ootd
amazon lulus fashion renton seattle fashion blogger ootd
1) Blog more consistently. I've been struggling with this one for the past couple of years as I try to balance everything out from work, the studio, blogging/Instagram, relationships (family and friends(. I'm making it a higher priority goal this year to have great content and to share even more this year.

2) Be more active on Pinterest. Pinterest has always been an afterthought for me This year, I want to grow my audience and engagement on Pinterest and in turn aim to drive more traffic to my blog.

3) Write restaurant reviews in a timely manner. Last year, I ate at a ton of new restaurants both locally and during my travels and by the time I'd remember to write something up, I either partially forgot the experience, or the menu was irrelevant since it was a seasonal. I made a bit of an effort on Yelp but I want to be better about giving my viewers/followers the most up-to-date experience

4) Complete my travel posts. Some of these are from 2018 and 2019, but I feel that they are still relevant. I just need to sit down and get these posts out because there are some great tips and insights  I want to share with you all.

5) Travel more. Speaking of travel posts, I want to travel more this year and I will be completing this one for sure! Not only domestically here in the US, but I am going to be traveling to the Bahamas and Europe for the first time ever! One of my best friends is getting married in the Bahamas so that will be a quick whirlwind of a trip, but should be a beautiful experience. My aunt is currently living in Germany so we'll be visiting her and the neighboring countries and ending in France for the remainder of the trip.

6) Do more photography work. Photography has been a passion of mines and I really enjoy taking photos of both still life and portraits for friends and family. This year, I would love to book more actual photo work so I can increase my skills. You can see some of my work here!

7) Train more at the studio. I put off training for a bit this past year and I hope to get to at least 3/4 of what I was at 2 years ago before I developed tendonitis. I'm looking forward to get back into teaching and training regularly to maintain what I have now and to get back up to my previous strength (or close to).

8) Balance out the sweet treats. Yes, I have a huge sweet tooth and mostly, my teeth get mad at me for it AKA cavities. So, I need to work on minimizing the sweets and keep up with flossing/brushing after every meal as opposed to just in the morning/night.

9) Try out more restaurants. I tend to go to my favorite go-to spots, but this year, I want to try new places, even if they're not 'new', fancy, etc. Just something different than the norm since there are so many restaurants of all types out there.
amazon lulus fashion renton seattle fashion blogger ootd
amazon lulus fashion renton seattle fashion blogger ootd
10) Save more. I've been looking to save for a house and that means I need to save save save. I started budgeting and working on my spending habits. This topic I'd like to focus on in future blog posts as some savings methods/tips I've done in the past couple years have

11) Give more. Whether it's donating to a charity, supporting a small business, or volunteering my time, I'd like to be able to give back more than I have in the past.

12) Read a book. I used to read all the time, but in the past few years, I find myself not as motivated to complete anything. I have plenty of hardcover books that still need to be completed so my goal this year is to at least finish one in its entirety.

13) Speak more Chinese. I grew up speaking Cantonese, learned Mandarin during college, but speaking and reading is definitely one that if you don't use it, you lose it, and I definitely have been losing it. The best way to do this is to watch more Chinese dramas and to use it more when I'm out in Chinese establishments.

14) Spend less time on my phone. This is a huge one especially in today's digital world, and more so because I work in this medium, so I'm always logged on. I find it to be way more time consuming than it needs to be and sometimes makes me feel very lazy/unproductive. Don't get me wrong, the internet is useful, but I don't want to lose touch of the real world.
gudetama sanrio lulus blogger seattle fashion
15) Go outside. Whether it's a walk around a nearby park or making an effort to go hiking with friends, I want to spend more time connecting with this beautiful world around me and seeing all that nature has to offer. Cheezy, I know, but so true.

16) Explore more exhibits/museums. There are plenty of cool exhibits that happen in Seattle or even to places I travel. There's so much to learn and see and I've already missed plenty. I'd like to take time this year to be able to see a bit of art and history.

17) Practice more self care. Whether it's taking a day to get a massage or a full spa pamper session, I think making time for yourself is very important, even if it is at the minimum. Sometimes you just need to unwind for your mental health, even if it's taking a much needed day off from work to just do nothing.

18) Buy less. Whether it is clothing, accessories, or whatever it may be, I have found myself to overindulge at times. To keep in line with saving, whenever I do purchase something, I like to follow what most people go with by asking myself: Do I already have something like this? Will I wear it in the next few years? Will I get use out of it? Will I still want it in 24 hours?

19) Make more time for friends. I think I do a decent job at keeping in touch with close friends, but I do want to make more of an effort to spend my time across all my friends, even if it's for a quick 30 minute coffee break or visiting them at work. My friends are very important to me and the older we get, the harder it is to find time with family, work, and life in general. I want to keep and maintain these relationships with the important people in my life.

20) Have fun. In the end, life is too short and there's so much out there to enjoy. I'd like to be able to take this next decade in my life to really enjoy everything the world as to offer, develop my relationships with loved ones, and to experience everything life has to offer!

That's it for my 20 Goals for 2020. These are all attainable but can be lost, some more so than the others. I hope everyone has had an amazing start to this new decade/2020 and that the rest of the year brings you luck and prosperity!

-Kirstie



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