December 20, 2013


Seattle Snow Day

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Seattle!

According to meteorologists, we received the biggest snowfall the city has seen in over two years today. Needless to say, when I woke up to snow this morning, I was beside myself!

We immediately got out of bed, threw on our boots and took Olive out to experience her first snow. I'm happy to say she loved it and didn't want to come back inside all morning.

Unfortunately, the snow stopped around midday, turned into freezing rain, then mist, and made for horrible driving conditions for us, so we hydroplaned on a hill on our way to run some errands, but were able to make it back home safely.

Looking forward to enjoying what's left of the snow (our area got hit with the most snow in the region, so there's still a few inches of snow on the ground), and hoping to practice some more driving tomorrow.

December 12, 2013


Our Family of Three

As we near the end of the year and approach the five month mark since we made the move from the Southwest to the Northwest, I've been thinking a lot about how grateful I am for all of the opportunities that we've had and the support we've received in 2013.

I can honestly say that 2013 has been one of the best years of our lives thus far. From living in our first home together, to being engaged and married, then moving to the city we fell in love with, we've accomplished a lot in the last year. Though, we couldn't have done any of this without the strength and support of our family and friends, however difficult it was for them to accept us moving 2,000+ miles away.

We recently flew to Phoenix to visit some of our family over Thanksgiving and although it was a short visit, it was great to see everyone and we all had the best time together. We knew that it would be difficult to leave and come back home alone to Seattle for the holidays, and we had been talking about growing our family for awhile now, so before we left, we arranged to expand our family by adopting an Australian Shepherd when we got back home.

We had originally planned on keeping our pup a secret, so we could send a message to our families once we had her home, with something along the lines of "So, we have a big announcement to make."

But, anyone who knows me knows that I am a storyteller and that I like to share news like this, so we told everyone before we could go through with our plan. (I am glad it worked out the way it did, because a few family members did start to suspect that we were expecting. We're not!)

Meet the newest addition to the Burm family: Olive.

She's been home with us for a few weeks now and is everything we could have hoped for and more. We can't wait for her to continue to grow so she can go on some hikes with us in the Northwest soon.

More photos to come!

November 19, 2013


8 Simple Reasons Why I Love Seattle

When my husband and I announced that we had set our hearts on moving to Seattle last year, we quickly became familiar with the cliches of the city (some true, some not so true).

Mostly, we had conversations about coffee, discussions about the rain and exchanges about "Sleepless in Seattle" knowledge.

Since we moved to Seattle this summer, we've now had enough time to come to know the city's cliches firsthand, and after reading NPR's "8 Simple Rules for Staying Sane in Seattle" I was compelled to write about the reasons why we love the city.

Below, you'll find NPR's "8 Simple Rules" and our reactions to them.

Here we go!

1. Don't move here in the summer.

Oops! Well, we're not off to a good start then, are we NPR? 

It's true, we caught the end of the sun and summer in Seattle when we moved here, but fortunately, coming from Phoenix, we didn't mind that much when the rainy season began. To be honest, we were actually looking forward to the rain and witnessing the seasons that the Northwest has to offer. So far, we're happy to report that we've adjusted well and we're still enjoying Seattle's weather this November. 

(Side-note: My husband still wears short sleeves when he can. Pretty impressive for someone born and raised in Arizona, right?)

2. Avoid your neighbors.

I'm not sure many people would understand this unless you've lived here. 

Have you heard about the Seattle Freeze? We hadn't, until we moved. Supposedly, Seattleites are infamous for being cold, distant and not trusting, therefore making it difficult to make friends or maintain relationships in the city. Frankly, this hasn't been our experience here, as we've found that people are friendlier in Seattle than we've experienced in the past, and we love our neighbors (okay, most of them)!

Although, to be fair, most of our weekends thus far have been filled with travel or visiting with our family in the area, so perhaps we will revisit this topic after a year of mingling and living here.

3. You can't be too utopian.

It's true. Seattle has some big ideas and wants to make big changes. This is part of the reason why we moved here.

Unfortunately, it seems like most of them are still a work in progress in the city. We've learned that the monorail and the Seattle waterfront are topics that shouldn't be brought up in conversation here (unless you're complaining about them), because to Seattleites, it seems like these projects will never come to fruition.

Like NPR states, "We prefer to hide our pragmatism behind the vanity of noble ambitions."

4. Cultivate a superior attitude.

This rule made me laugh the first time I read it, since Seattle was just named 2013's "Smartest City in North America," but I don't think Seattleites have a superior attitude about it.

Since moving here, I have had the opportunity to connect with so many great start-up businesses who have the best ideas and with so many people willing to help those businesses and ideas grow. 

Although one might expect that the "smartest city in North America" that is home to the "biggest charity in the world" might also be home to some snobbish people, this hasn't been our experience, and we are encouraged by everyone and their ideas here, rather than intimidated.

5. Forget the weather report.

Ready to talk about Seattle's infamous rain? Great! But I'm not telling you anything that you didn't already know. It rains. 

Something that may surprise you, however, is that our city is only ranked 44th among major U.S. cities in average annual rainfall. Houston, Texas; New Orleans; Mobile, Alabama; Memphis, Tennessee; Nashville, Tennessee and every major city on the eastern seaboard, including New York; Philadelphia; Miami and Boston all get more rainfall in a year than Seattle. For more information, read "Seattle Doesn’t Get That Much Rain."

I spent most of my life growing up in the Midwest, where there can be sun in the morning, rain in the afternoon and snow by evening, so I learned not to pay attention to weather reports a long time ago.

Since living here, we've learned that most of the time it rains, it's a light rain. So light, in fact, that most of the time we forget it's even raining. That being said, I've learned to embrace my natural curls and we know to bring our rain jackets or a sweatshirt with a hood anywhere we go. Which leads us to our next topic...

6. Don't buy summer or winter clothes.

This is one of my favorite things about living in Seattle. I can't emphasize this enough!

 In Seattle the temperature rarely goes above 80 degrees or below 40 degrees (if you need proof, read this). So, we quickly learned that all you need to do is layer. Our usual outfits are made up of a jacket (Ryan wears flannel), a tee, a pair of jeans, long socks and boots. That's it.

Dress code in Seattle is also fairly relaxed compared to other places we've lived, so my usual work outfit consists of a sweater, leggings and boots. Amazing, right?

(Side-note: Unrelated, but while we're talking about working in Seattle, in addition to being able to dress comfortably, most workplaces in Seattle are also flexible in that you can often telecommute to work, and when you are in the office, you can bring your pet with you. Yes, you read that correctly. I said you can bring your pet with you to work. It is quite common to see dogs of all sizes walking with their owners to work in the morning. For a dog-lover like me, this is both good and bad because I am often compelled to stop owners and visit with them and their dogs on my way to work, which occasionally results in me running behind schedule to the office.) 

7. Don't think about the Big One.

Yes, there's that.

We don't like to think about it, much less talk about it, but if you must know, a megaquake could hit Seattle tomorrow, or the next day or many years from now. No one knows.

What makes the situation more dangerous is that Seattle is on a fault line and is also built at the foot of a volcano (also known as "the mountain," in Seattle, or Mt. Rainier) in a fault zone surrounded by water (the Puget Sound). 

If you want to get into more detail about it, you can read about it on the city of Seattle's Office of Emergency Management page.

What's interesting is that because it is generally overcast here, we don't see Mt. Rainier as often as we'd like, even though it is so close to the city. So, most Seattleites are actually happy when we can see the mountain on a clear day.

I guess we will continue to not think about the "big one," and enjoy the days when we can see Mt. Rainier.

8. Peek through the Cascade Curtain.

If we ever feel the need to take a road trip and escape the rain, it's nice to know that on the other side of the Cascade mountain range is a drier, sun-filled Washington that reminds us of Arizona.

We already got to see part of Eastern Washington on our drive from Phoenix to Seattle, and can imagine that it would be a perfect place to go in the winter when there's snow and ice. 

As NPR advises Seattleites: "You need to dry out your moss once in a while."

November 4, 2013


November in the Northwest

Today is the first Monday of the month, but it's already been an interesting November here in Seattle.

As soon as the month began last weekend, we were greeted by gusty winds, rain and hail that cut power to 200,000 people in the region (including our neighborhood), and left snow in the passes, which had us anticipating snowfall in Seattle.

 (We know it's not quite time yet, but we are unbelievably excited for our first winter and to witness snow here!)

Remarkably, the weather cleared up enough for us on Sunday to have a great hike (albeit muddy) at Meadowdale Beach Park, where we admired what was left of it's autumn colors and then watched the sunset over the Puget Sound.

Our usual path to the beach was covered by a shallow stream from the storm over the weekend which I initially thought we could cross but couldn't (I took a few steps, then immediately sunk into the water). 

So, we found another way, and although I had soggy boots (cue my husband's laughter), my worries were soon forgotten because the view of the sunset over the Sound was just that incredible.

We walked along the beach, took in it's beauty and enjoyed the moment, which was even more special because we were the only ones there the entire time.

Then, we hiked back up the trail and headed home to get warm.

Be sure to stay tuned for our next adventure!

Winter is coming!

October 20, 2013


Fall in the Northwest | Part 2

It's been chilly and overcast in the Northwest this week. The forecast called for fog the last five days and the temperature is currently 45 degrees Fahrenheit as I write this around 1 p.m. A bit intimidating for transplants from Phoenix like us, right?

Fortunately, we have adapted well to the weather here in the past three months (still only wearing light rain jackets), which is why we planned a day around heading to the pumpkin patch this weekend.

If you read my latest post, you would know that I've been waiting eight years to witness autumn again and that my husband has never experienced it, so we couldn't wait to get out to the pumpkin patch and experience it together.

We got to go with our cousins, who found a great pumpkin patch at Bob's Corn and Pumpkin Farm in Snohomish, which also has a hay ride, a corn maze, a corn cannon (I've never seen corn shot that far) a market and tons of other fun things to do.

We decided to do the corn maze before we picked our pumpkins and were feeling competitive, so of course it was boys versus girls (girls won). Then, we traversed over three pumpkin patches searching for the perfect pumpkins. 

We had such a great day and I'm looking forward to many more years of this to come!

October 18, 2013


Fall in the Northwest

While growing up in the Midwest, autumn was my favorite season. The leaves burst with color, the air is crisp, there's a festival every weekend, and it meant that it was time to start having hot apple cider again. That being said, it's now been eight years since I've lived in a state that has four seasons. My husband has never experienced it.

Needless to say, we were both excited when the temperatures began to drop and the leaves began to change here in the Northwest this month. To make things even better, my in-laws visited us right when the colors were changing in Seattle, so we all got to experience Washington's beauty together.

We had a great time catching up with our family and enjoying sights all around the city last week.

We were able to visit the Space Needle, EMP Museum, Kerry Park and the Waterfront all in one day!

It was hard to see them go, but we are so happy that we were able to share this experience with them!

Now, we'll just have to wait and see how our first Winter in Washington goes.

Stay tuned!

October 12, 2013


Love and Marriage

I'm taking a break from my usual subject of life in the Northwest today to talk about marriage, because this morning I looked at the calendar and saw that Ryan and I have been married four months today.

The last four months have been filled with questions like, "How's marriage?" "What's life like?" and "How are you adjusting?" and I think that after four months of marriage and living 2,000+ miles away from our closest family and friends, I finally feel ready to answer those questions.

This is what marriage is to me:
  1. Marriage is loving, living and relying on your best friend. We've been doing that for a long time now, so we were initially skeptical that our relationship would change, but moving across the country together has allowed us to strengthen our bond in every way. We couldn't be happier loving this time in our lives, living in our cozy apartment and relying on each other for everything. Whether that means waking up at 5:15 a.m. to carpool to work together or knowing that dinner's going to be made that night when one of us has had a hard day at work. That being said...
  2. Marriage makes you stronger. I've always known that my husband and I were two strong individuals, and before we were married I thought that we were already a unit, ready to face the world together. Once we were married, I was surprised to find that our strength continued to grow, and now we operate better than ever before. Things aren't always easy, but our marriage gives us a reason to fight harder than ever for each other and that reason is better than any.
  3. Marriage is give and take. Being two independent individuals, we were used to this concept before we were married, but somehow, it means more to us to be able to compromise now. I used to be fine having Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough ice cream for dessert because my husband hated Rocky Road, and he used to be okay watching "Revenge" with me if it would mean he could watch his television shows after, but now we actually want and look forward to doing those things for each other because we know it makes each other happy. Love and marriage is a sweet thing.
  4. Marriage makes life sweeter. Really! I never thought I could be so happy just sitting with my husband and talking about our days. Or cooking together. Watching a show. Or going out for a walk. It could be that our schedules don't allow us to spend a lot of time together right now, but we're cherishing every moment we have with each other and life is sweet.
  5. Marriage is work. It is. But it's the best kind of work. It's a give and take of plans, hopes and dreams. Choosing to pursue one course while abandoning another, willing to put some plans off to put "us" in the best situation. It's work, and there are highs and lows, but it's worth it because of our love for each other and because we don't mind the "work" that is involved.

September 21, 2013


Exploring Seattle

First and foremost, I'd like to apologize for the time that has passed since my last post, but I'm happy to report it's because I've been so busy settling in at my new job in Seattle!

I'm happy to have found a position doing what I love in such a unique part of downtown, but I'll get more into that later... This post is about Ryan and I's explorations of the city.

Now that we have our routine down at home and are getting around more and more every day (without the aid of our GPS), we decided to make some time this weekend in between our hectic schedules to explore.

We started our day out on the Interurban Trail, which runs through our city and connects with Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds and Shoreline, and finally runs down to Seattle. On the long hike we saw some beautiful fall foliage and even encountered our first wildlife in the state (squirrels and snakes).

By the afternoon, the sun was still bright and shining and we thought we'd go enjoy what might be the last sunny day in Seattle before our fall weather hits. We found ourselves in Queen Anne at Kerry Park which has the best unsurpassed views of the Seattle skyline.

We relaxed there for awhile, soaking up the sun, the weather and the view before heading home. We still can't believe how lucky we are to be living in this majestic city!

All in all, it was a great day and we can't wait to continue exploring Seattle and sharing our stories with you!

Until next time.

September 3, 2013


The Puget Sound

Having been in the Northwest close to a month now, Ryan and I agree that living near The Puget Sound shoreline has been one of the best decisions we have made thus far in Washington. Most days, we can wake up and smell the salt in the air, but our favorite part of the day is when the sun is shining and we get to drive home and see glimpses of the Sound through the evergreen trees.

Needless to say, when Ryan and I have a morning or afternoon off, it's almost guaranteed that we will be somewhere at the Sound, hiking or having a beach day together. Labor Day was no different.

Thus far, we've had the opportunity to enjoy the beaches from Seattle to Edmonds, so we thought we would go to a beach a bit further north over the Labor Day holiday. 

We found ourselves at the Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo (that we now know how to pronounce correctly), which did not disappoint.

Upon arrival, we immediately noticed how sandy the beach was compared to some of the rockier beaches we had hiked.

We loved the shoreline walkway which allowed us see the whole area in a short period of time.

I loved taking photo of wildflowers growing along the beach and the ferries in the Sound, and was lucky enough to capture a shot of Mt. Rainier, which is always exciting to us (and seemingly to most Seattleites), as it only appeared from behind the clouds 83 times out of 366 days in the year last year.

All in all, we had a great Labor Day relaxing at the Lighthouse Park and can't wait to go back to cookout and use the fire pits at the beach!

September 1, 2013


Our New Backyard

Ryan got the phone call we had been waiting for and accepted his job in Seattle on a Monday afternoon.

By the following Monday, we had packed up as much of our things as we needed, said goodbye to our family and friends in Phoenix and jumped in the car, set off on the road and were already approaching Seattle.

We arrived in Seattle on Monday evening and only had a few days to get a lay of the land and visit the areas we were hoping to live in, as he was scheduled to begin work at his new job in downtown Seattle that Wednesday, and I had to tie up loose ends in Phoenix and go back to work on Thursday.

We visited as many places as we could in Seattle during that time and ended up settling down in a quiet community in Edmonds, which we love because of it's proximity to everything we need.

One of our favorite things about where we live is just how close we are to the beaches in the area.

The closest beach to us is located at Meadowdale Beach Park, about five minutes away from our home (it's practically our new backyard). Once you're there, it's about a 1-1/4 mile walk through the Meadowdale Park to the beach.

The park is full of giant trees, ferns and other lush greens and the trail follows a stream to the Puget Sound which is home to a lot of wildlife, particularly migrating salmon.

 (Which we're hoping to see when it's time for them to make their way to the Sound).

Once you get to the beach, there are the most beautiful views of the water with the Olympic Mountains in the background.

It's a perfect place to sit down, relax and enjoy a book!

We look forward to continuing to explore the area, and will be sure to post about it when we have the opportunity.

Stay tuned!

August 30, 2013


Newlyweds in the Northwest

As soon as Ryan and I visited Seattle in 2011, we knew it was where we wanted to begin our lives together. Neither of us had been to the city before, but we had always been captivated by photos of Mt. Rainier, the Puget Sound and the Northwest. Experiencing it for the first time was unlike anything either of us had imagined.

It’s difficult to put into words unless you've experienced it yourself, but we knew we had found our home. Of course, home at the time was Phoenix. It was what we knew, where the people we loved lived and where we found each other. But when we came to Seattle, everything changed.

We were awash with wonder. Everything about the city spoke to us. It’s streets, it’s people, the weather. Coming to the Northwest was like traveling in a foreign country and finding someone who speaks your language. Immediately, you recognize that you share the same words and you feel relief that you've finally found someone who you can share your experiences with. You feel accepted.

That was how Seattle made us feel.

When we went back to Phoenix, we realized that we could never call anywhere but the Northwest our home. Seattle helped us find a piece of ourselves that we didn’t know was missing and it continued to beckon. Now, a little more than two years from the time we first visited the city, we’re living here.

We’re still in awe of Seattle and we look forward to all of the new things we will experience here. But most of all, we’re happy to be home.
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