Travel Diary: Seattle Day 4 - Belltown

January 18, 2016 (continued): Walking back to my hotel from my day about town, I got to go through the trendy Belltown neighborhood. I enjoyed the colorful (literally and metaphorically) stores, restaurants, architecture, and art. Below, are some of the highlights of my walk through, including a mannequin sporting a new clothing trend perhaps? ;)

Travel Diary: Seattle Day 4 - Museum of Pop Culture (Part 3)

January 18, 2016 (continued): Making my way out the film section of the museum, I came upon the "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" exhibition. I knew Hello Kitty was a phenom around the world, complete with her own hotel room, but I didn't realize the vast amount of different products she came in from tarot cards to Kendo equipment!

Some personal highlights for me was seeing the mini bubble gum machine and coin purse watch that I used to own as a kid, and collaborations with some of my favorite artists like Audrey Kawasaki, Apak, D*Face and Gary Baseman.

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Other exhibits I visited only briefly, as it was getting on in the day and my legs weren't going to hold out for much longer, was "Indie Game Revolution" (still currently exhibiting), where as it states in it's title you can play a bunch of indie games!

They also have a large music section with an explosion of Fender Stratocaster guitars, to actual recording studios where you get a chance to sing, play music etc. They even have a live band simulator where you and your friends can pretend to play in front of a live audience. There were also instruments from around the world, and of course it was great to see featured ukulele's from my birthplace, Hawaii.

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Delving further into the music related exhibits, I came across the "Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970" (still currently exhibiting), featuring pieces from his tour abroad. Again, it was cool to see his connection to my homeland, Hawaii!

I ended my tour at the "Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses" exhibition where it had a major collection of memorabilia from the band Nirvana, including Kurt Cobain's iconic cardigan!

I finished off my day at MPoP with an early dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Pop Kitchen & Bar, mostly because I didn't have lunch and wanted the nearest access to food to stave off my impending hangriness! I had the cheeseburger and truffle parmesan fries, it was pretty good and did the trick.

Overall I found MPoP had a nice range of exhibits, with a bonus factor of a lot being interactive. You could definitely spend the whole day here since they have quite a bit of pieces within each exhibit. I feel it would be worth a visit if you're interested in pop culture and in the area.

Travel Diary: Seattle Day 4 - Museum of Pop Culture (Part 2)

January 18, 2016 (continued): Making my way throughout the museum, I ended up in the "Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic" exhibition (still currently available). The kid in me was a bit too excited to see many of my favorite childhood films represented there, I didn't realize how much of a fantasy buff I was.

The exhibition room is decked out with a large holographic tree house, dragon and dungeon so you're automatically transported into another world, which I thought was a fun touch.

For this post, I thought I'd do something a little different in that I'll discuss why the films featured here are some of my favorites and the lessons you can learn from them.

Wizard of Oz - The film no doubt tickles the visual senses yet the messages behind it's story are what makes it most powerful. Like life, Dorothy had to go through a lot of trials and tribulations in her journey on the Yellow Brick Road, and through those challenges she realized she "always had the power" to achieve what she wanted. Without going through life's lessons would we know what we're capable of? Everything's for a purpose. The "no place like home" aspect also resonates with me, in that she wished so much to be transported to another place, somewhere different and exciting and she got it, (in technicolor!). Yet, she found it wasn't what she expected and what made her happy was what she had at "home", that you should appreciate what you already have in front of you.

The Princess Bride - I feel this is a pretty universal film, in that most people of all ages and genders list it as one of their favorites. It's fun, adventurous and doesn't take itself too seriously. I think the the message behind this one is, while possibly cliche is that love conquers all. There's romantic love, Wesley and Princess Buttercup reuniting after all those years, and his love for her helped him through literal torture. There's familial love, where Inigo Montoya vowed to get revenge on the person who killed his father. Even where Fezzik and Inigo were kidnapping the Princess, they saw the love the protagonists had for each other that they ended up helping them.

Labyrinth - I used to watch the Labyrinth religiously as a kid, something about all the different elements she encountered was fun, and the contact juggling in the beginning always used to always fascinate me. The message at the end is something that still sticks with me to this day, where the heroine confronts Jareth and says, "You have no power over me". Like Dorothy in Wizard of Oz, she must go through a series of challenges to get to what she wants, but then realizes that she held the power all along. We put so much stock into what other people think about us that we let it control our lives, from how we dress, to career choices, and beyond. When we finally see that we gave them that power and take it back for ourselves, the barriers disappear and receive our lives back.


Stay tuned for Part 3 of my visit to the Museum of Pop Culture!


All pictures are taken by me and opinions are my own.

Travel Diary: Seattle Day 4 - Museum of Pop Culture (Part 1)

January 18, 2016 (continued): I ended my Seattle attraction trifecta at the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as the Experience Music Project Museum). MPoP has a bit of a pedigree, it was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, and designed by renowned architect, Frank Gehry. It has exhibits dedicated to contemporary pop culture, sci-fi / fantasy, and the world of music.

You’ll run into outdoor art between the attractions in this area, the Broad Street Green - Sculpture Garden is made up of four large scale sculptures. Two of these can be seen if you are making your way from Chihuly to MPoP. Alexander Liberman's, red pipe-like structure, Olympic Iliad and Ronald Bladen's, self explanatory Black Lightning sculpture sitting on a lawn near MPoP.

Even MPoP’s architecture in itself is a work of art, with its’ undulating bronze (at the time) panels glimmering in whatever light could peek through the packed clouds on that day. I didn’t go on it, but the Seattle Monorail also runs literally right into the museum so if you’re on it’s route it could also be another sightseeing form of transportation.

Note: Writing this Travel Diary a year later means a lot has changed, not only its name from EMP to MPoP, to its outer shell (which I didn’t think could change so easily), and obviously the exhibits at the time, though some are still going on currently.

Upon entering the museum, there were several pathways to choose from once you check in, I started with the exhibit, “Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film” which is still currently available. As you enter through the heavy doors, you descend down the stairs towards the basement, all the while a mural of hundreds of faces cast in red look at you in horror. It was an uneasy feeling of what to expect considering horror movies aren’t exactly high on my favorite genre list, yet I still enjoy seeing the odd one if I’m seeking that adrenaline rush for the night.

It was dark and somewhat eerie once inside the exhibit, but it was cool to see the original props and costumes from several iconic horror movies. Some of my favorite films were there, though I wouldn’t necessarily classify as horror with things like Pan’s Labyrinth’s knife, the demon from Constantine, and the mutated vampires from Blade 2 (to which Blade will always be my favorite Marvel superhero). There was also Gizmo from Gremlins (which was too cute to be horrific), Michael Myers creepy face/mask complete with chin hairs to send an extra chill down your spine, the alien from Alien, the Angel of Death from one of my other faves from Guillermo Del Toro - Hellboy, and so much more.

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I eventually crossed over into another exhibit “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction” (also still currently going on), again featuring many props and costumes from iconic sci-fi / action movies. I was most excited to see they had items from several of my favorite movies, including a lifesize cyborg from Terminator, his leather jacket in the movie, even the finger sword from T2 that always made me hide behind my hands when they pan out to see what was at the end of that!

The little Mars Attacks vignette of props was also cool to see and I never forgot the scene where they transplanted Sarah Jessica Parker’s head onto her Chihuahua!

The hoverboards from Back to the Future 2 were also featured and it’s pretty cool to think we’re sort of nearing that reality soon.

They also had the Korben Dallas and Leeloo’s costumes from one of my all time favorite movies, The Fifth Element. I loved that they had Jean Paul Gaultier design the eccentric futuristic clothing, it’s a lot more fun to look at then the dystopic rags that seem to be so popular in sci-fi movies days!

The Ghostbusters proton pack, and ghost trapper was also cool to see since it was one of my favorite movies growing up, with Vigo creeping the crap out of me when I was younger. There were a couple of cool lit infinity halls that I couldn’t resist getting a self portrait moment. The array of the Men In Black alien guns featured in the movies was also included in the show. It was also great to see one of the bugs from Starship Troopers, a film I have no idea why but I’ve watched several times and pretty much know it by heart. I know, it’s not the greatest incarnation from its source material, but I love it for what it is - a campy, B-movie satire that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my MPoP exploration, there was too much to fit in one post!


All pictures are taken by me and opinions are my own.

Travel Diary: Seattle Day 4 - Chihuly Glass & Garden

January 18, 2016 (continued): My next stop was something that’s been on my bucket list for a while, and luckily the Chihuly Garden & Glass was right next door to the Space Needle!

My introduction to the works of Dale Chihuly was originally coming across pictures of the stunning glass ceilings that he created for the Bellagio Casino in Vegas. He’s originally from Washington so what better than to see his works in his hometown.

The explosion of color throughout the gallery was akin to a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory moment, where the glass sculptures reminded me of giant candy ready to be picked! Of course it is sort of daunting going throughout there since everything is so delicately put together that one small move and it could all come crashing down! How they sculpted the pieces of blown glass to fit so intricately together like a puzzle is amazing, especially when seeing it in real life. Even though the pictures don’t do his work justice, see below for some of my favorite pieces from my time there.

Travel Diary: Seattle Day 4 - Space Needle

January 18, 2016 (continued): First stop of the day was at the iconic Space Needle tower, a major tourist hotspot, but where else could I see a sweeping 360 degree view of the city? Ironically, I’ve lived in Auckland for most of my life and never visited the top of its sister scraper, the Sky Tower.

Tip: Get there early to avoid the lines as there are only a few elevators that can fit 25 people at a time, especially if you don’t pre-buy the tickets. However, the ride was at a blink and you’ll miss it speed, rocketing to the observation deck at 520 ft in a matter of seconds!

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The view was pretty spectacular, and I was lucky enough that the weather had cleared up nicely so that I could see Mt. Ranier in the distance.

Tip: Your ticket also allows one free digital picture at the “selfie” machine on the observation deck, where you scan the barcode of your ticket at the self automated machine and it will take a tall angled shot of you and the view below.

Since I had the City Pass for this particular visit, I did have a discounted ticket but I will say if you’re a first time visitor to Seattle, it’s definitely worth going for the views alone.

I spotted these giant daddy long legs on a rooftop that I thought was a 3D sculpture at first. Later I found out it was actually a mural created by Marlin Peterson who was commissioned by the Washington State Artist Trust to paint somewhere in the city.

Travel Diary: Seattle Day 4 - Walk of Art in Belltown

January 18, 2016: Day 4 of my Seattle adventure was going to be a culture-packed one, with the plan to visit 3 major attractions - the Space Needle, the Chihuly, and the EMP Museum. Since they were close to my hotel, I decided to walk over even though it was a blistering cold early morning, but it was worth it to stumble on little gems that I would never have seen through a bus or car.


My first discovery of the day was this giant, red, twin popsicle sculpture perfectly perched in front of a tall, commercial building. Later on I found out it was created by artist, Catherine Mayer who according to her website, “has been working to make multi-sensory art that inspires positive reactions in the form of murals, animations and sculptures.” To me, the sculpture totally hit on my love of whimsy, surrealism, and slight absurdity.

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Further along on my walk, I saw an open garage door and inside was an empty space with no one around, but there were two interesting murals painted on the walls. I went to quickly snap these paintings but was halted suddenly when the garage door started closing down on me. Then, as it was closing a man across the street starting yelling at me saying “Hey!”, I started to quickly walk away since I thought I may have accidentally stumbled into something private. He started to chase me down, and my panic mode starts to set in, but it turns out he was actually inviting me in to see it better! He let me come into the space and take a better shot of the murals, and told me that Dave Matthews (of the Dave Matthews Band!) had actually painted these himself and it was his studio!

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I knew my proximity to the Space Needle was drawing near when I saw it reflected in this mirrored building. The cool “shattered” effect the windows created definitely made me stop and have to take a picture.

One of the things I find fascinating is messages from unknown people and imagining a story about what compelled the person to write such things. Found Magazine and Post Secret books were in my personal library growing up and maybe it’s the voyeuristic insight into a person’s mindset that I find interesting, which is probably why I wanted to be a psychologist if I wasn’t a designer. So imagine my delight when I found these tiny little messages between two unknown people, inscribed on a random door frame, having a conversation about God.

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Happy Holidays!

I'm officially signing off for the end of the year (though may pop in, if feeling inspired). I'll be back next year after New Years with a load of new content. Hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! 

THANKFUL THURSDAY: FREE WEEKLY PHONE WALLPAPER - WEEK 5

Round 5 is up for my Thankful Thursday: Free Weekly Phone Wallpaper series. 

Quote: "No rain, no flowers"

See previous versions here.

*Wallpaper is free for personal use. Please credit me when sharing. Not available to distribute for commercial purposes without prior permission.

Miniature Cooking

I have no idea why watching someone cooking miniature items is so interesting, but there's something about being able to perfectly replicate the real life process in small form that's so satisfying.

I came across this channel recently and Walking With Giants uses actual food and doll size kitchenware to cook his food. He even created a mini turkey for Thanksgiving - WHAT?! 

RR Cherrypie is an OG in miniature cooking, using special Japanese candy kits that replicate different meals. His videos are especially relaxing and satisfying due to the lack of music and ASMR like sounds, along with his perfectionist crafting skills - you can see why he has tens of millions of views per video.