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I had to go to Seattle for a business trip, so I decided to tag on a couple extra days and bring the boo along so we could explore the city together. What a place! I’ve heard horror stories about how Seattle rains nonstop for months at a time, but we were lucky enough to visit in June when the sun was out (well, sometimes!).

It was the first Seattle visit for us both. I’m a big fan of the Pacific Northwest with all the nature and city life and let’s not forget all the CULINARY DELICIOUSNESS. Let’s just say that Seattle did not disappoint in those areas. We ate seafood. We played tourist and checked out Pike Market with all the fish and gorgeous flowers! I picked up some lemon garlic orzo from the pasta stand and taste tested all the fresh fruits. We strolled along the river at dusk, which lasted until about 10pm. We drank fancy lattes and got cocktails at a speak easy.

While in Seattle, we HAD to have a foodie adventure (obvi), so we grabbed dinner at Toulouse Petit Kitchen. I made reservations a month in advance, so keep that in mind if you’re planning to go. The fried green tomatoes with crab – WOW! The steamed clams with garlic and broth – OMG! The shrimp and grits – HOLY CRAP! And that bananas foster dessert – AHHHHH! I think that’s a pretty legitimate food review and that’s exactly what I was saying through happy tears with each bite. Definitely coming back here on my next Seattle visit.

Of course, no visit to Seattle would be complete without going to the Space Needle and the Chihuly Gardens and Glass. City views were beautiful from the top of the Space Needle. But let’s talk about Chihuly – holy psychedelic mind trip! That place is insane! I was blown away by the glass sculptures, the chandeliers, the garden. It was like being in a Dr. Seuss acid trip wonderland. I loved it!

After the Space Needle and Chihuly, we hopped over to the pop culture museum (MoPOP), which was also delightful and brought back a bunch of memories (Jim Henson exhibit, hello!).

All of those activities mixed with staying at the beautiful hotel on the water, robes provided (we love hotel robes… it’s kind of a “thing” for us), I can say this was one of my favorite weekend getaways.

Thanks for having us, Seattle! Until next time….

June 24, 2017
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I’m not going to lie – this weekend has been one of those epic stay-cations that just wind up happening, but I guess that’s easy to do when you live in a beautiful place like Northern California! After having a blast in the Santa Cruz Mountains Saturday, we decided another adventure was in order on Sunday. This time my fiance, his brother and I decided we were going to go up to Muir Woods, which is north of San Francisco. We left around 9 am, and arrived around 11 am. Guess what? No parking anywhere. So weird that you go out into nature but can’t find places to park. I suppose I can’t blame the rest of California for wanting to enjoy the good ol’ outdoors on such a beautiful, clear day though.

So we shrugged it off and decided to drive out toward the coast a little to Muir Beach instead. Thankfully, there was lots of available parking there! The wind was definitely mighty, but it was gorgeous! And I was pleased to discover that fire pits were allowed on this beach (anyone else share a beach bonfire fantasy after watching lots of Laguna Beach back in the day? Hayyyy).  Definitely need to come back here for a little moonlight fire action one day….

On our way back, we stopped in San Francisco to get some food at Hog Island Oyster Co. (because seafood is life). Can’t go wrong with some clams and mussels and a glass of Chardonnay on a day like this! Cheers!

 

June 12, 2017
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We are just on the heels of summer and can’t get enough of this beautiful California sunshine. This weekend we decided we couldn’t waste a DROP of it, so we headed to the Santa Cruz mountains for a little nature exploration. Just up the river from the popular hangout Garden of Eden, my fiance and his brother and I decided to walk down this incredibly steep path to a quiet little spot along the river. It was all ours.

So, here I am with these two macho dudes who are in incredible shape, nothing can deter them. They hunt and do backflips and other badass, manly things us mere mortals aren’t capable of. The water is cold. They’re splashing around in it like it’s no problem, and invite me to come in. I, not wanting to seem like a debby downer or a total square (I mean, I did come on this awesome adventure with them), played it cool and casually agreed to come in. Well, this water was so cold – and I’m talking REALLY cold. So cold that I actually yelled aloud without realizing it when I started to submerge myself in there. So much for playing it cool. Once I got to my waist, I immediately regretted my decision. Why did I come here and why did I think I could hang with these guys? My whole body is numb. This is what Jack must’ve felt like while Rose took up that whole damn headboard. I am on the verge of tears but I keep telling myself ::I will *not* cry in front of these macho dudes::  ::I will *not* cry in front of these macho dudes:: ::I will *not* cry in front of these macho dudes::

At this point I grab my [hypothetical] balls and just jump in. It had to be done. I swam to the other side of the river, and hung out on the opposite bank, which thankfully was exposed to the sun. The three of us had a little photo shoot and I watched these brothers be brothers and all their shenanigans from the safety of the warm sand. I wrapped a towel around my body and turns out that being wrapped in a towel along side a river while wearing a huge pair of sunglasses makes you look like a model. Don’t believe me? Look at the pics below.

When it came time to leave, I had to endure the cold once again to get back to the other side of the river. I survived it – and maybe screamed a little again – but I still survived it! Maybe I’m one of the macho dudes after all.

June 12, 2017
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Leading up to Memorial Day weekend this year, my fiance and I have been seriously craving some beach and time out in the sunshine (OK – we needed a vacation. BAD.) So with the long weekend ahead, we decided to take a little road trip down South so we could do just that. Los Angeles is about a 5-hour trip from the Bay Area, which is perfect for a 3-day weekend. We packed up the car and drove down after work. He drove, and I fed him snacks until we arrived around at 2:30am. #teamwork

Of course we woke up 5 hours later so we could be the first ones at the beach, arriving early enough to snag a day bed rental. And we lounged, and we napped in the sun, and we walked along the ocean, and ISN’T VACATION THE F*&%ING BEST???

I used to live in Los Angeles for 2.5 years, and even though I can genuinely say I’m glad I don’t live there anymore, it was still wonderful going back for a little visit. Mostly because this time as a tourist, I could take all the pictures I wanted, and I didn’t have any laundry to do after I got home from the beach. We took pictures in front of the murals in Abbot Kinney. We walked along the beach in Malibu. We stopped and watch the street performers in Venice. And we soaked up all the sun we could get. And ate Korean BBQ.

The rest of our trip mostly involved eating food and walking around and marveling at how perfect it was outside. On the drive back North, we took the 101 up the coast so we could stop at Pismo Beach and get some clam chowder bread bowls because CALIFORNIA, people! You just do it. Check out the snaps below!

June 2, 2017
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Last week I went on a miraculous adventure of mind, body and spirit. It took place in the jungle near San Pancho, Mexico. Yes, a jungle. We had to drive an hour up a dirt road just to get to our lodge, and climb a mountain to get to Wifi, so believe it when I say we were pretty deep. The trip was part of a yoga retreat with Third Vessel Retreats, which is lead by two longtime friends of mine, Taraneh and Emily. You see that image above? That’s an actual photo of Taraneh doing yoga on the beach during our trip, not a stock photo. Incredible right?

There’s something magical about being out in nature with limited access to the world – roughing it in the jungle, getting mosquito bites, dancing under the moonlight, waking up to the sounds of birds and the ocean waves. What a life. We woke up early every morning and did yoga overlooking the canopy of trees and the ocean. Afterwards we enjoyed brunch, which was handmade by two wonderful, local chefs who used fresh ingredients in every dish. And WOW, what a treat those were!  Fresh fruit smoothies, oatmeal with banana and chia seeds, scrambled eggs with basil, and sliced papaya with granola started our days with the perfect amount of nutrients and energy.

We hiked through the jungle on a tiny path that lead us to the ocean, and to our delight noticed that there was no one else on the entire beach. We swam in the ocean as pelicans flew overhead, napped on the sand, and watched little crabs scatter all over the rocks. Felt like a dream. We even found a little cove full of nutrient-rich mud which we lathered all over our bodies and made our skin so soft!

One day we hitched a ride into town with the chefs after brunch, riding in the back of their truck down the bumpy dirt road (lots of Ace Venture vibes there). We walked down the streets and checked out the town. Everyone was so friendly. Even though this wasn’t a typical tourist town, there were a good amount of travelers there. We got handmade popsicles (cookies & cream for me since I was all fresh-fruited out with all the smoothies and beverages). Dogs were walking around unleashed everywhere (which I loved, obviously).

At night we again had the pleasure of eating these insanely delicious meals prepared by the local chefs, Alex and Flor. They put so much time and attention into the presentation, flavor and variety of every meal. On our last night they even made us sushi! I would say that the food was some of the best I have ever tasted, and as someone who loves to cook and eat, I can say I definitely respect the work they did feeding us. After dinner we did more yoga surrounded by candles and had dance parties under the moonlight. We released lanterns into the sky to symbolize letting go of the parts of us that don’t serve us.

This trip not only gave me a beautiful travel and culinary experience, but it was also a chance to really explore myself spiritually and emotionally. Learning to let go of the old and make room for the new experiences in my life was freeing and fulfilling at the same time. How often do we really get to unplug from our daily lives and turn off our cell phones and take time to just sit and observe our surroundings? I got to do a lot of that during this trip. I also got to read a lot. I brought The Alchemist with me, which was truly the perfect book to bring on a jungle vacation to reconnect with my mind and body!

So let’s talk about this awesome lodge we stayed in: Tailwind Jungle Lodge. The lodge itself was in quite a remote area, well kept, but still had a “glamping” vibe going on. There was running water and toilets, but you also couldn’t flush toilet paper and some of the rooms were completely exposed to the jungle (some showers too!) which made for an authentic-feeling jungle experience. Lucky for us, our yoga retreat group had the entire place to ourselves. There was a common area with a table and a hammock and kitchen, where we gathered for meals, and there was a yoga palapa overlooking the ocean, where we all met in the mornings and evenings to do yoga. The woman who runs the lodge is American and chose this life over a career on Wall Street – which is so awesome and inspiring and also one of the best decisions ever made. #respect

Surrounded by trees and overlooking the ocean, there were lots of critters around. We saw many different birds (including a woodpecker who went to town on a branch). Apparently there was an armadillo that lived nearby, but we never saw it. We even had an *ahem* visit from a little scorpion, who decided to sting my friend in her sleep – twice. THAT WAS FUN. Lucky, she was okay and we all chalked it up to being hazed by the jungle.

On our last day in Mexico, we all praised the chefs (who we had recruited into our circle of friends by now) and said our goodbyes. We were all given necklaces with crystals on them to represent the experiences we had together. Some of us stayed in Mexico to continue adventuring, and the rest of us went to the airport to head back to the United States.

One of my biggest takeaways from my trip is that it’s always a good decision to invest in yourself. Leading up to this trip, I worried about taking time off from work, spending the money on the trip, and being away from my family for so long. But in the end, it was all worth it. Taking time for myself, spending the money to experience travel and taking a step back from my daily routine is essential to my spiritual and emotional evolution. I came home from my trip with a rejuvenated spirit, but left a small piece of my heart in the jungle….

Check out the gallery from my trip (click photos to expand): 

 

Featured image by Grant Lancaster. Namaste 🙂

March 21, 2017
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California’s beauty continues to blow me away. After weeks of rain in the Golden State, a Saturday reprieve from the wetness called for a day trip driving down the coast to Big Sur.  Once the gas tank was full, the journey started with a beautiful drive down Highway 1, which included many stops along the coast to oogle the ocean side nature porn. All that rain sure did the landscape some good – everything was lush, vibrant and alive. A quick stop for a glass of wine and some snacks overlooking the ocean was the cherry on top of a beautiful day. And let’s not forget the majestic cows in the sunset – can you imagine having that view every day? What a life.

February 5, 2017
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