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A Simple Day Trip to Portland

Posted by Seattlejo on January 4, 2017 in Adventure |

Why not Portland?

Kim and I were both on the holiday break this week, and we knew we would need to get out of the house at some point. “Portland or Bellingham?” I offered. Both are around 3 hours away, (Bellingham a little less). We’d pack into the Black Pearl, my Scion IQ and just go down for lunch and shopping then return in time for a little time with our sweethearts.

She chose Portland and who can blame her? Portland is like Seattle’s eclectic little sister. The food is fantastic, there is great shopping, parking is easy. The problem with Portland is that there is always just a little more that we want to see, another shop we would like to get to too, another hour we’d like to spend there.

A quick trip

With no time to catch up with friends or family in town, we kept our visit secret. We left at 8am armed with Starbucks coffee  and Legendary Donuts. We avoided most of the morning commuter traffic with the late start, and rolled into downtown right around 11. Our first stop was Powell’s Books.

Powells is overwhelming in size, with so many floors that they label the room by color. We set a time to explore and meetup at the coffee shop. (Every bookstore should have a coffee shop.)

Here’s a 360 view of what walking through Powells looks like.

After Powell’s we wandered over to Cacao, my  favorite Portland chocolate shop.

A small bag of chocolates later, and we jetted over to the other side of the river.

Our second destination in Portland was Steven Smith, Teamaker. Here I was treated to a tea flight.

We sampled the Chai on Nitro, then picked out 4 teas each to sample. (Very generous cups to drink actually)

I started with Jasmine Pearls, a favorite, then Lord Bergamot, then Portland Breakfast (this is a tea that thinks its a coffee.) and lastly, Spearmint to wash it all away.

Yum.

The joy was also talking to the staff and other customers as we shared our holiday experiences.

Here is a timelapse view of them prepping my tea.

We wrapped it up with a late lunch at Olympia Provisions. One of those places on my bucket list. To learn more about why I’m obsessed with Olympia Provisions, pop over to Almost Dinner.

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You only get 24 hours. Prioritize.

Posted by Seattlejo on December 31, 2016 in Uncategorized |

All you get is 24 hours, so you have to prioritize.

Quick prioritization exercise.T take a sheet of paper, number from 1-48 down the left hand side. Those are 30 minute blocks. (1 &2 = 1 hour). Now draw a line next to the number of hours that you sleep and label it sleep. (You are getting 8 hours of sleep, right? That’s going to be numbers 1-16). Now block off time for work. Somewhere between  16-18 blocks for the average person.  Add in some time for your commute, grooming, meal prep and eating. It should leave you with a block of “left over” time.  For me, that’s my 4 hours of free time. See :

4 Hours of Free time.

That’s 4 luxurious hours of free time.

Except, I like spending time with my boyfriend.
I also have a dog who needs walking and play time.
My cats like having dedicated attention.
I’m working on my fitness, so I like to dedicate some time to training for my next 5 K run.
And I like spending time with friends.
Sometimes my commute takes more then 30 minutes.
I occasionally have to work late.
I’m dedicating time to be a better blogger.
I’m leveling up a character in World of Warcraft.
Catching up on our shows is a way I connect with my boyfriend.

It’s a lot to do, with only a little bit of time.

You have to prioritize.

Don’t start by reducing the amount of sleep you get, nor by sneaking out of the office early. Figure out what’s most important. What do you like to do? Is it moving you towards your goals? What do you have to do, that you don’t like but is moving towards your goals? What are the things you have to do to

 

Then look at the must-dos that you don’t want to do, don’t really add more value to your life but have to be done. I actually see things such as grocery shopping, laundry, dry cleaning and other major chores in this category. Its got to get done, but can you outsource it? Like cooking but don’t like grocery shopping? Find a grocery delivery service near you, try out peapod, or try to reduce your menu to a few core rotating menus that you can shop for monthly. Hate laundry? If you can’t combine it with something you like, like watching TV, try outsourcing it. Is there a laundry mat that does wash and fold?  Drop them off, and let someone else worry about it.

Can’t afford to out-source? What about trading off. Find a friend who likes laundry but hates cooking. Trade off.
Or make a plan to do it together, make it part of your social time.  Maybe laundry/TV night is a hot date for you and your partner. Maybe you take your dog for a walk in between loads at the laundry mat.  You have to have a strategy to have it all fit in.

You still won’t tackle it all.

The truth of the matter is no matter how much you trade-off. There is no secret sauce for turning 4 hours in the evening into infinite time, so that you can watch all the TV, play all the games and get all the chores done.  You can’t work 20 hour days at work and expect to have time at the gym, Work might be the most important thing right now, but you have to know what the trade-offs are.

When you prioritize you get at the core of what’s most important. If you don’t like what’s important today, it’s up to you to change it.

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The Big Secret: Revealing for 2017

Posted by Seattlejo on December 29, 2016 in Weight Watchers |

So the Big Secret is out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In September, I joined Weight Watchers . After a year of inconsistent dieting, I decided to put my money where my mouth was, and join Weight Watchers.  I was looking to start making some changes, to examine my relationship with food, and figure out if there was a way for me to start shedding weight.

Big Secret & Big Success

At this point, I’m down almost 40lbs from my highest. I’ve got a ways to go, but I’m finding that the conversation has changed. As the conversation changes, so will what I’m sharing here. What I cook has changed. There are more vegetables, leaner proteins and portion size is becoming more reasonable.

The biggest success for me, is tackling my mindset. A lot of Weight Watchers groups talk about “Smart Points” versus “Plus Points” versus “the classic”. In fact some people can only use weight on one version of the program.

In reality, Weight Watchers simply divides up nutritional information into an easy to track number. Instead of managing multiple macro nutrients as you do with IIFYM or other plans, you simple track your points. Stick below the points and you’ll lose weight. The trick is, you have to track it.

Big Secret & Big Futures

I’m moving forward on Weight Watchers in 2017. I’ll be bringing more of that experience into our blog here. You’ll  see more vegetables in the meals, leaner meats. Less cheese, less dairy overall. You’ll see suggestions for simpler meals, grab and go selections and I’ll share how I stay on plan, even though my partner isn’t on Weight Watchers.

 

What I won’t do

I’m not a fan of skim or fat free milk. I won’t eat sugar free, fat free cool whip. (What is that made of ? Unicorn Farts?) I won’t give up butter, chocolate or coffee. I love bacon, and will continue to eat it. Just in smaller doses.  I’ll eat real foods, and track the points for them. It all balances out in the end, if you’re smart about it.

This blog is not a Weight Watchers Blog. Its a food blog, that happens to have resources for those on Weight Watchers.

 

The post The Big Secret: Revealing for 2017 appeared first on Almost Dinner.

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Seattlejo.com 2017: The Index for Everything

Posted by Seattlejo on December 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

I’m returning to Seattlejo.com as a central location for everything that I write. More of an index, less of a portfolio. This is a chance for you to read everything I write, in one convenient place.

 

Welcome to the future.

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The State of Jetcityjo 2017

Posted by Seattlejo on December 28, 2016 in Adventure |

2017 was an inactive year for Jetcityjo.com What started with excitement at being able to share travelogues and travel tips got shelved.

I’ve gotten a Christmas gift that may change that all. A brand new 360 camera will allow me to share with you a larger view of the world that we travel.

Here’s an example, just a simple walk at the local dog park. Open it on mobile and spin the camera around. It’s just a peek into the world I’m going to show you.

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Lake Quinault Lodge (Photos)

Posted by Seattlejo on December 28, 2016 in Travel |

The Lake Quinault Lodge in Washington is Special.

 

 

 

 

In 2015, Kim and I took a girls weekend and went out to the Lake Quinault Lodge. We packed up my RAv4 with reading material, writing material and our bathing suits. It was an effort to get away and enjoy time to breath.

Time to breath is important. We’re both career women, and we don’t often get time on our own. (We’re sorry for our compatriots who have kids, we can’t imagine how you get it all done.

These are the pictures from that weekend. Representative of what the space was. Quite , relaxing and contemplative.

 

 

 

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Everyone wants to help you organize: Planner Madness.

Posted by Seattlejo on December 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Planner Madness, Everyone wants to help you organize your life.
For a price.

Planners are big business, for years Franklin Covey and Day-timers were the gold standard for getting yourself organized. They were professional, cleanly decorated, and appointed for the business person. The default pleather cover showed that you were meant for business, but you were still climbing the ladder to success.  Practical was favored over the pretty. Women could find the occasional planner in red pleather, or maybe pink. Beyond that it was all business.

(A typical Franklin Covey Planner)

Somewhere along the way, the market exploded with Pretty planners. The era of the heavily decorated planner brought the Happy Planner and the Erin Condren planners.  Planners where you don’t simply have a layout to plan your day. You have a layout to decorate, stickers to print, and hours are put into drawing the perfect layout. Monthly layouts are carefully considered. Sticker packs are purchased online. There are even subscription box services for having the right planner stickers at the right time. These stickers aren’t cheap. Packs at my local store run up to $20 for a pretty consumable.

Then came the Passion Planner and the era of the Planner Kickstarter.  Passion Planner came on the market with a promise.  A layout to help you find the passion in your life, and make progress towards it. The first year, Passion Planner raised $48K from 1,000 people. In 2015, they raised over $700K. Planners are big business. As a result Copycats followed. Everyone wants to help you plan your business and reach your goals.

It’s about Profit.

Assuming your goal is to put $$ in their pocket. (Obviously, I know that’s not your main goal)

$$ for layouts they consider optimal.

Plus $$ for stickers to make it pretty.

Then $$ for leather covers and bookmarks.

And more $$ for a blank slate for the new year.

 Stop the Planner Madness

If you have achieved “planner peace”. ( A real term! Meaning you have found your optimal planner and have hit your stride in using it.) Feel free to move along to the last heading.

Are you still looking for that perfect planner that will help you achieve your goals? To be honest, It doesn’t exist. In this world. Furthermore if it did, It probably wouldn’t work for you. It’s not meanness, it’s reality. The truth is, a planner is simply a tool. It exists to help you find organization and structure through your day.

Why don’t most planners work?

  • Most planners have their times hard set. So if you’re planning your side hustle, your planner wants to organize just your 9-5.
  • Most planners have predictable increments for how much space you need for a given time.
  • Most planners start 1/1 and end 12/31. Business doesn’t operate that way.
  • Most planners capture timeboxed events, with no flexibility for adding events that don’t fit the timebox.
  • Most planners  aren’t flexible.

 

But I want a planner, have a planner, love my planner.

There are many many planners out there, and while I don’t recommend any of them, I do recommend a structure to daily tracking and appointment keeping.  I’ll discuss it more deeply in a further post, but Bullet Journaling is the winner in my book. Done the right way. (You’re lucky, I’ll tell you what I think that is)

 

What other planners do I recommend? Luckily enough there are other entrepreneurial folks out there who provide reviews of such things. Nathalie’s review provided in depth pro’s and con’s. If you’ve got your heart set on a planner, start here. Read her recommendations and think about what you want to get out of your planner.If you have something that works for you, I recommend that you stick with it . Just make sure you’re putting as much effort into your content as you are in the creation of the layout to hold that content. 

 

Best Planner for Entrepreneurs

 

On

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Setting yourself up for 2017: Getting Started

Posted by Seattlejo on December 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Setting yourself up for 2017 is critical. I’m not talking about resolutions, I’m talking about retrospectives. In order to move forward, you have to look at where you’ve been.

Retrospectives to get you started.

Retrospectives or Lessons are  common in the project management world. Taken at regular increments, they provided a perspective of what worked, what didn’t and what needs help. Lessons learned, more common in traditional project management are taken at the end of a project. They provide a barometer of successes and failures, things to think of before the next project.

Retrospectives,  more common in Agile project management, are taken  throughout the project . You figure out what’s impacting your progress and fix it, or you cultivate the things that are improving your progress.

At the end of a year like this, a Lessons Learned approach is appropriate, you want to look at the big picture, the big things, and you want to find a way to prevent them from reoccurring in the new year. Sit down with a cup of coffee and process it.
Coffee

Things to ask yourself:

What  were the big roadblocks you faced?
Mistakes you made?
Missed opportunities?
Biggest Wins?

It doesn’t have to be complicated. I often start with a blank piece of paper, write out the things I wanted to accomplish, then write out the things that stopped me from getting there.
If you would like a little more structure there are tools you can use.
There are many guided lessons for  creating the best retrospective of the previous year. Some are fully paid systems with complex planners, others are simple printouts given freely in exchange for an email address.
I recommend the Year Compass. It’s free, for an email address. It has both a retrospective and a future planning portion, so you can look back and then plan forward.

From Retrospective to Roadmap

Once you have a retrospective or lessons learned done, it’s time to map out the things you want to do for the next year.  A roadmap will give you a list of things you want to accomplish, an understanding of when you want to complete them, and what achieving them will look like.

Setting up 2017: Start with a map of the year

  1. Take a sheet of paper, and fold it so that you have 4 quadrants.
  2. Label each quarter with the months for that quarter. (Jan-March)(April-June)(July-September)(October-December)
  3. Add in the big things that are happening each quarter. Graduations, Weddings, Significant anniversaries, birthdays, planned vacations
  4. Add in the things you want to accomplish in each quarter. Star with professional items, then think of the personal.
  5. Be realistic, you can only fit so much in. (We’ll talk about prioritization soon)
  6. Sleep on it, give it a day or two, then look at the things in the first quarter and start making plans to accomplish them.

Here’s an example of what mine would look like, with professional goals only.

 

But No Resolutions.

Our goals here are focused mostly on the professional. I’m not talking about the personal goals of “eat better” “exercise more” “stop smoking”. Instead  this is focused on the achievable goals. Accomplishments that I can look at and say “Yes, I did that, with a tangible goal.” Personal goals of eating better and exercising more fit into your daily routine, as you build it. Bigger demonstrable results can be captured on your roadmap. (Lose 20 lbs in quarter 1,  Run a 5k) but I recommend you step away from resolutions, at least through January. We’ll find a better time, and a better way to focus on habit building and how habits impact resolutions.

 

The post Setting yourself up for 2017: Getting Started appeared first on Deb’s Advice.

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Closing out 2016, with a fresh start

Posted by Seattlejo on December 28, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Welcome to the end of 2016. What better time for a fresh start then the end of the old year, and the beginning of the new year? This blog is simply an advice column. I’m going to share with you my project management tips and tricks, and help you apply them to your daily life.  This includes templates and printable. Links to resources, reader case studies and advice.

I’m looking forward to getting started in 2017, and hope you’re ready to see the end of 2016

The post Closing out 2016, with a fresh start appeared first on Deb’s Advice.

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Exploring Pike Place Market : Join me in 2017

Posted by Seattlejo on December 28, 2016 in Deb, Navel Gazing, prefab |

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pike Place Market is a Seattle institution. Tourists flock to the market  during the summer. Exploring the market  they dig through shops, buy fresh produce, sample the wares of the vendors. They buy tchotchkies and take home Wistfully they say “I wish I could shop here every day!” Pike Place Market is a lie. Most Seattleites don’t shop at the market on a regular basis. It is often a tourist attraction we only pull out when we have friends and family in town.*

It’s a great place to visit

The market has restaurants, entertainment, waterfront views, snack vendors, exotic grocery vendors. There is fresh fruit, yogurt, butchers with meats, homemade pickles. There are crafters with Pacific NW themed gifts. (Mt St Helens ash sculptures for example).

Sounds fantastic right?

But if you live here

It is a challenge to visit Pike Place Market, if you don’t work downtown. You have to go on the weekend, the market closes at 6pm. You have to find parking or take public transit. When you’ve gotten your groceries, you have to carry them around with you until you are done.  If you’re going to 4-5 shops, you’re navigating crowds with your meals on your back. If you  eat meat or are buying dairy, you have to stop there last.

But lets change that perspective.

Let’s Explore Pike Place Market

For 2017, I’m going to go to the market once a month. We will visit local shops for groceries. I’ll pick up seasonal veg, exotic spices, local meats. I’ll share how I get to the market and take pictures of what the market looks at each stage of the year.

We’ll go home them, taking our wares with us, and make a meal. I’ll share the recipes I use and sit down with friends of family over a locally sourced, well thought out dinner.

 

What do you think? Are you in?

 

*With more people living downtown, this is changing. More folks are shopping at the market, but the truth of the matter is, if you live in the burbs or one of Seattle’s neighborhoods outside of downtown, you’re likely not coming down for your regular grocery shopping.

The post Exploring Pike Place Market : Join me in 2017 appeared first on Almost Dinner.

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