Best Nine

bestnineOh Instagram, my favorite app of all time! What would I do without you?! I’m sure you Insta-fans have seen the ‘Best Nine’ floating around so I thought I’d share mine too. Not surprisingly that many of our Eastern Europe photos made the cut, along with our first anniversary and a lil NYE clam digging from 2014/2015.

Speaking of 2015, it really treated us well, so very well. I’m so grateful for all that we’ve been able to experience such amazing things this past year and can’t wait to see what’s in store for 2016. Per usual Brown/Sugiura NYE, we are headed to the coast to celebrate with friends. Looking forward to sweat pants, day drinking and perhaps some casino time 🙂

Cheers to a fantastic new year!


Holiday Spirit

I’m trying to get into the holiday spirit this year, but I must admit, it’s been harder than usual. As you can see, I usually have no issue busting out the ugly sweater or making holiday treats. The holidays are totally in my wheelhouse…the decorations, the baking, the parties…I mean I’m a professional event planner for christ sake! But holiday season 2105, I’m just not feeling you. I hope you understand. It’s not you, it’s me.

Not to get all deep on such a lighthearted blog, but I’ve been made aware of so much suffering this past year. Working in social services and traveling outside the US has really opened my eyes and it’s hard to ignore. Putting together a Christmas list for the things I want seems pretty silly when there are so many others who don’t have a place to sleep or something warm to eat. I’m so grateful to have a warm home, a fantastic husband, a funny dog and a supportive family. I really don’t need anything else.

So it may seem like I’m the ultimate Scrooge this year, but I’m really not. I’m just trying to put my usual holiday energy into things that matter to me, things that can make even the smallest difference. I hope you will consider doing the same.


Choosing natural and cruelty-free beauty products

Gentle, cruelty free beauty products - cultivatedrambler.comA while back, I completed an audit of my bathroom products to see how they measured up in regards to safety and cruelty to animals. Some were down right scary! I’ve been doing my research and have begun to slowly replace those naughty products with ones that more align with my personal opinions and beliefs.

Here’s a list of the basics that I used daily with their not-so-good ratings as well as the products I’ve now switched to.

Body Wash: Aveeno Positively Nourishing Body Wash
Think Dirty – 9
Skin Deep – 4

NEW! Kiss My Face Olive Oil Soap
Think Dirty – 2
Skin Deep – 0
Cruelty Free

Lotion: Jason Soothing 84% Aloe Vera Hand & Body Lotion
Think Dirty – 9
Skin Deep – 5
Cruelty Free

NEW! Nutiva Coconut Oil
Think Dirty – 0
Skin Deep – n/a
Cruelty Free
*yes folks, this is regular old coconut oil that you can cook with!

At Home Hair Color: Garnier Nutrisse Cream Hair Colour
Think Dirty – 9 
Skin Deep – 8

NEW! Naturigin Permanent Hair Color, Ebony 
Although not on either app, I read up on the company and think this could be a good direction to go to find a less chemical laden hair color process that doesn’t test on animals. Hair coloring is never going to be super safe, but it’s the one thing I can’t give up. I can’t go grey yet!

Face wash: Cetaphil Skin Cleanser
Think Dirty – 10
Skin Deep – 6

NEW! Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap
Think Dirty – 0
Skin Deep – 1
Cruelty Free

Face Scrub: Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
Think Dirty – 10
Skin Deep – 5 

NEW! Plain ole organic baking soda 🙂

It’s still a work in progress but I look forward to continuing to make educated purchasing decisions when it comes to bath and beauty products!



What I'm currently up to - cultivatedrambler.comWatching: We just saw The Martian – highly recommended. I suspect I’ll be watching a ton of film footage from our trip in the coming weeks too. That’s right folks, an Adam & Leslie production coming your way in early 2016!

Loving: Incense. Yah, missed that boat in college – whoops. Snagged a few the other day at the Co-op and our home now smells like smokey myrrh and Frankincense in the evenings. It makes our house feel a bit warmer and cozier when it’s crappy outside.

Listening to: Don’t laugh….classical music. I’ve started tuning in to the local radio channel during my commute to ease my holiday/work/road rage. Plus, listening to news radio is a big bummer these days. I like to stay informed, but there’s only so much a gal can take.

Doing: Getting tons of bids on plumbing, electrical and bath renovations. Ahhh, the joys of home ownership. We’ve got a few high priority things ie. old galvanized plumbing and chipping bathtub siding that desperately need to be replaced.

Reading: I took decluttering by storm last month and was all over the book: The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art Of Decluttering And Organizing (which is why I’m so anti-gift this year!). It was a quick, two night read which led to a 6+ hour closet/dresser binge. My clothes have never been happier! 

Eating: TURKEY + all of the fixings. We often don’t have a ton of leftovers from the family holiday dinner, which is fine because secretly I like to cook a bird for just us. There’s something satisfying and adult-like about cooking up your own and it really isn’t that hard! I did attempt a dry brine this year, but couldn’t tell the difference. It all tastes the same to me once you douse it in gravy 🙂

Thinking about: Hiking in the winter months. Ya’ll know that we love a good summer hike and winters in the PNW aren’t super frigid so there is the possibility of getting outdoors still. Hmmmmmm….just need some microspikes and we’ll be good to go! Oh, and a four wheel drive vehicle!

**This blog post was inspired by – check her out!


This is an emergency 3…

South Seattle sunset - cultivatedrambler.comCheck out my emergency preparedness brain dumps one and two

OK, supplies are stocked and food is on the shelves. What else is missing? Oh yes, things that I’ll lump together as miscellaneous emergency preparedness.

As in have one. The hubby and I have talked about the variety of scenarios of where we could be if a natural disaster went down. I’d most likely be at work on Capitol Hill and he’d be at home or in Georgetown. Worse came to worse, we could both walk home fairly easily. I keep an old pair of tennis shoes and socks in my car, just in case. I’d also snag my sister and her BF who live nearby my office if they were around. Getting home ASAP makes the most sense since it’s where all of our emergency ‘ish is.

If it looked like we couldn’t stay in the city for long, then I’d consider a trek over the pass (road conditions permitting) to my gal pal’s house in Eastern Washington.

Thankfully, we live in the age of “the cloud.” I’ve got both hard copies and a thumb drive of these items below in our kit plus I have them stored cloud-style. These days, most everything is kept online but I wanted to be sure to at least have some of our basic account information handy.

  • Passports
  • Driver’s licenses
  • Emergency contacts – do you know anyone’s phone number these days?
  • Bank accounts
  • Passwords
  • Health insurance and medications
  • Mortgage account and copies of bills
  • Photos

This list could go on and on….if money weren’t an issue, I’d definitely look into retro-fitting our house so it’d be less likely to slide off the foundation. I’d also love to purchase some property outside of the city, which could be our out of town bug out location 🙂 or just a fun camping spot! I’d say the one realistic thing I could manage would be to snag a solar charger for our electronics. This one is on my list!

What am I missing? How do you stay prepared?

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