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Pike Place Market, Seattle, WA

Tuesday, July 29, 2008
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I decided it would be easiest to share the photos from our trip to the Pacific Northwest if I split it up into 3 posts, each with its own slideshow so that you can really see the beauty of the area.

Just in case anyone else wants to take the same trip, I'm going to make it a little easier by sharing the details. For those who'd rather just see some pictures, you can skip the commentary and watch the flash slideshow (notice: music will play automatically but can be turned off and slideshow will loop)

First we flew into Seattle where we rented a car and spent a couple of days exploring the city. I got a great rate on priceline for the the Hyatt Regency Bellevue which acted as our home base. Bellevue is an upscale area with lots of food and shopping nearby. Although we saved $ on the room, we did have the added expense of commuting downtown and parking. The hotel was very nice, but if I did it again then I may go for a hotel right downtown.
Pacific Northwest Trip Photo Recap 1/3

In Seattle, we visited the famous Pike Place Market (which was entirely too crowded to even enjoy) and had some great clam chowder at Pike Place Chowder. We also visited the Seattle Museum of Flight and took the obligatory trip to the top of the Space Needle just after sunset for some beautiful views of the city. We had excellent weather for our entire trip, but the sky was unfortunately too overcast to see Mt Rainier on our first days in Seattle (the picture above was taken on our last day when we returned to Seattle to fly home). Some of the best views of the mountain were from the plane. I saw it poking up through the clouds on my flight into the city and had even more majestic views of it on our flight out so you may want to book a window seat.

Pacific Northwest Trip Photo Recap 1/3Pacific Northwest Trip Photo Recap 1/3

We left Seattle one morning and drove north to the Boeing Future of Flight Aviation Center where we took a fascinating tour of the huge factory where they assemble the Boeing jets (no cameras allowed). Then we drove over the border and ended the day in Vancouver.  All of the hotels in Vancouver are expensive, but I would recommend finding one on the waterfront near the convention center. Burrard Street is another good option as it is a major artery for food and shopping.

In Vancouver, we ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown and took a trip to Grouse Mountain overlooking the city.  There was a black bear sighting the day we visited, but we also saw grizzlies playing inside an enclosure. We were only in the city one day (and are both afraid of heights) so we skipped the Capilano Suspension Bridge, but we did take a drive through the city's famous Stanley Park.  In the evening, we boarded our ferry for the trip over to Victoria on Vancouver Island. I booked the ride that ended just at sunset, and the views from the boat were breathtaking.

Pacific Northwest Trip Photo Recap 1/3

In Victoria, we took a morning trip with Eagle Wing Tours to see the Orcas. I highly recommend this tour outfit. Although it was a sunny and warm day in Victoria, we definitely needed the heavy coats that they provided, and I was especially happy with our choice of tour providers after seeing some of the other little boats being taken out by other companies. Although there was a huge fog bank, we had plenty of sightings and were lucky enough to even see a whale breach (although I couldn't catch a picture) and some sunbathing harbor seals.

Pacific Northwest Trip Photo Recap 1/3

After two days in British Columbia, we boarded another ferry for the sunset cruise back to Washington. Although we were comfortable in jeans and t-shirts for most of the trip, you definitely need several warm layers and a hat or hoodie for those windy ferry rides! We arrived in Port Angeles just as the sun set, and near the end of the slideshow you can see photos of the Olympic Mountains taken from the ferry as we approached the mainland.

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Home, Knoxville, TN

Friday, June 6, 2008
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We seem to have a short list of meals that we make all the time, and I'm sure we aren't the only ones. If you have a good recipe then please email it to me. I'm looking for some new meal ideas, but I'm not very adventurous with food. My requirements are that it be easy and have few ingredients. In exchange, here's one of my regular dinners that will feed 4. You may want to add some cooked onions and green peppers, but I'm not a big fan of either.

Sweet & Sour Pork

1. Cook white or brown rice (If you have a rice cooker then use 2 cups dry rice and 4 cups water. If you don't have one then think about buying one. It makes perfect rice super easy.)

2. Fry cubed chicken or pork in a little oil over medium-high heat until cooked through. (we use one package of 3 chicken breasts OR 3 pork chops. I find the pork easier to cut into cubes but go with what's on special.)

3. When the meat is ready, lower the heat. Pour in two small (8-10oz) jars of sweet and sour sauce. (Kroger carries their own brand as well as LaChoy brand, and either work well.) Add one can of drained pineapple chunks. Heat over low heat until warmed through.

4. The chicken and sauce can simmer (covered) over low heat until the rice is ready. Serve and enjoy!

Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple
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Farragut, Knoxville, TN

Wednesday, May 28, 2008
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I need to come up with a summer vacation destination ASAP so PLEASE help me.

My main requirement is that it not be too hot/humid in July which knocks out Boston, Charleston, New Orleans, Savannah, Arizona etc. Requirement number two is that it not be too very far away because I don't want to waste all my time traveling. That knocks out Japan and Australia. Marcus insists that it be somewhere safe and modernized so Russia and Peru are out of the question (although I would love to see Machu Picchu some day).

I'm not a huge fan of hanging out on beaches, but I do like to snorkel so Hawaii is one idea. We just took a cruise in the Caribbean a few months ago though. My ideal vacation spot is somewhere that's beautiful, not too very crowded or expensive, and has some historic, geological, architectural, or cultural sites to visit. Any ideas??
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Fountain City, Knoxville, TN

Friday, March 21, 2008
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I first tried making omelets not long ago when a client gave me a dozen fresh eggs from her farm. Of course I had no idea how to make an omelet so I did what every modern-age woman does when she needs advice, I googled. Tonight we're making omelets again (yes there's some fat involved but the cheese and eggs are good sources of protein and calcium), and I thought I'd share the link for making perfect omelets. It really isn't that difficult, but why learn from trial and error when you can make it perfect from the start? We're using shredded sharp cheddar and crumbled patty sausages in ours.

HERE is the recipe.
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Fountain City, Knoxville, TN

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
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March 12 is a big date in my life.

My husband Marcus and I first "met" randomly in a chat room online (I was wasting time after finishing my work in a computer class at UT) and became casual friends. We were both in relationships when we first talked, but eventually we were both single. I had always wanted to visit Europe so I decided to take a chance and buy a plane ticket to meet him. When I told my mom about my plans, she told me not to "go over there and fall in love and move to Sweden". I guess I didn't listen very well because I did fall in love.

Until we were actually married in 2004, March 12 is the day that we celebrated our anniversary every year because it is the day that I arrived in Sweden and we were finally able to see and talk to each other in person. It's good that we actually got along since I didn't know anyone else in Sweden!

Over the last ten years, we've traveled a lot to be together (I've been out of the country over 300 days during that time), talked on the phone quite a bit, and chatted online way too many times to ever count. To this day, we still chat online almost daily, and I can't imagine my life without him. He's everything that I could ever want in a husband. I've had some rough times in the last decade, but he's been my one constant source of strength and happiness. I am so thankful for his constant love and support and just hope that he knows how much I love him and how happy I am to be with him.

Marcus, jag älska dig!

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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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