Victoria, BC

I can't believe I am almost 2 months late posting this!

Alex and I took the Clipper to Victoria to celebrate our 2 year anniversary in September. I had been wanting to visit for a long time and was really excited to finally spend some time in Victoria. Victoria is a scenic 2.5 hour ferry ride from Seattle. On the Clipper, we saw a pod of Orcas--what a neat surprise! We stayed at an Airbnb condo in downtown Victoria, which was located in a very convenient location. Downtown Victoria is small, but filled with cute boutiques and restaurants. One of my favorite things about Victoria was the alleys with cute shops, they were easy to miss, but you definitely did not want to miss exploring them! I was also really impressed with all the restaurant options, I think Victoria brunches better than any city I've been to. We had amazing brunch at John's Place and Blue Fox Cafe. I'm glad we didn't let the queue scare us at both restaurants, the wait was definitely worth it! Another highlight of our trip was our visit to Butchart Gardens. Butchart Gardens was a 30 minute bus ride up north from downtown. The garden was beautiful, I really enjoyed their Japanese garden. Lastly, I loved our tea room experience at Venus Sophia Tea Room. I enjoyed a nice earl grey with a slice of cheesecake. What a fantastic weekend we had. I loved how beautiful and clean the downtown area was and the people are so friendly there. I hope to make it back to Victoria again soon.

Hawaiʻi

My husband had the chance to attend a conference in the Big Island this week. I originally wasn't going to go but after looking at photos of the resort he was staying at, I knew I had to go. I felt so lucky that I was able to go back to Hawaii within a year. It was a short trip but it was exactly what I needed after this crazy summer. I wish I had a couple more days, there is so much to do and I needed more beach time!

Big Island To-Dos:

  • Stargazing at MaunaKea: MaunaKea is the highest point in The Big Island. It is also a dormant volcano. There are plenty of tours that take you to the summit but we decided to camp out half-way at the Visitors Center at since it was cheaper that way and our rental wasn't a 4WD. The Visitors Center is located at 9,200ft! The sky was so beautiful, I'll never forget that night. Must do if you're in the Big Island!
  • Poke, poke, poke - eat poke 'til you can't anymore!
  • Black Sand Beach - The sand is black from lava. Beautiful beach with beautiful turtles sunbathing!

Santa Fe

We visited Santa Fe last week for my in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary. We stayed at a beautiful house right outside of downtown Santa Fe. It was my first time being out in the southwest area. It was so interesting to experience being in a completely different part of the country. It really gives you perspective on how big this country is.

Santa Fe To-Dos:

  • Chimayo - cute little town with a beautiful chapel. Known for their chile.
  • Meow Wolf - psychedelic art installation. Fun for adults!
  • Rafting on Rio Grande - highly recommended!
  • Bandelier National Monument - walk around the Main Loop Trail. You can climb ladders into cliff dwellings.
  • White Rock Overlook - Our bus driver told us it had a "million dollar view"--he was right!
  • Tsankawi Ruins Trail - Really fun hike with great views, kiva ladders, cavates, petroglyphs, and pottery pieces laying around the trail!

Cannon Beach, Oregon

I'm posting this 2 weeks later... Alex's birthday is in February so we decided to take a 3 day weekend to Cannon Beach with Pochi to celebrate. I had seen beautiful photos of Haystack Rock on the internet a while ago and always wanted to experience it in person. I was a little worried about the weather, it was raining the whole drive from Seattle. However, when we got to the beach, it stopped raining and the view was so breathtaking. We spent the weekend in a cute little cottage in Cannon Beach. We were really close to the beach, and we walked to Haystack Rock multiple times. It was a different experience every time we went. Rainy, cloudy, partly sunny, sunset... it was amazing every time. On top of the gorgeous view, Cannon Beach is very dog-friendly city. A lot of restaurants allow dogs on their patio. It was so neat to see a lot of dogs... and it was so much fun to watch Pochi run around the beach freely and having the time of his life. 

To be honest, I had been feeling kind of down (seasonal depression?) and it was the perfect getaway to refresh my mind and recenter myself. *sigh* I love the Pacific Northwest! I'll be dreaming about this weekend for awhile...

 

Womxn's March Seattle

Yesterday, my husband and I took part in Seattle's Womxn's March. It was truly an amazing experience. Everyone was hopeful, radiant, free and respectful. This is the America I love. I am feeling energized. I am so proud of all the nasty women and nasty men around the world who marched today.

Leavenworth

Friday night, my husband mentioned taking a day trip to Leavenworth with Pochi could be a fun thing to do this weekend. Leavenworth is a Bavarian themed village 2 hours outside Seattle known for their Christmas Light Festival. So Saturday morning, we woke up and decided to do it! Turns out, we weren't the only ones with this fun idea. After long but absolutely beautiful drive, we finally found a parking spot right at the end of town. We had to walk a couple minutes to get to the main shopping area. Pochi was enjoying the walk, he had only experienced snow once or twice before. The shopping area was cheesy in the best way possible and breath-taking mountains as the village's backdrop. We grabbed some bratwursts and sat down on a bench on the sidewalk. After scarfing down our late lunch, we walked around, popped in some shops and enjoyed the village.

It was really cold in Leavenworth, reminded us of Indiana winters and made me feel silly for complaining about how "cold" it's been in Seattle. Even Pochi thought it was too cold, he was violently shaking (so dramatic!) and he got a lot of "Aww!" from passersby. He was walking awkwardly, the snow must have been really cold on his paws. My husband ended up tucking Pochi in his jacket like a Kangaroo. He got more "Aww"s. Silly dog.

We couldn't enjoy Leavenworth as much as we wanted to because of Pochi and how crowded it was, but my husband and I both agreed that the beautiful drive was worth it. We left as the sun was setting and I managed to capture some photos of the Wenatchee River. I love this side of the country so much!

Hawaii Pt 2: Honolulu

After spending a few days in Beautiful Kauai, we hopped on a plane and headed to Honolulu and spent the rest of our trip in the Waikiki Beach area. Honolulu was a bit too touristy for us, I couldn't believe that there were so many Japanese people there! It didn't feel like America at all! We ate a lot of great Japanese food in Honolulu. I also turned 30 in Honolulu. I had a great birthday, we went snorkeling with dolphins on the west side of the Oahu at Wai'anae coast. We also had out-of-this-world delicious sushi for dinner. Here are the photos!

Hawaii Pt 1: Kauai

The past few weeks have been a crazy whirlwind! We decided to move out of our apartment to a bigger place. Since our lease ended during our trip, we had to move out before our trip. Moving was pretty stressful, but I'm glad we got it out of the way so we could enjoy our vacation.

We spent the first half of our trip in Kauai. We rented a cute little vacation home near Poipu beach. Kauai was so beautiful, I loved every second of it and I hope I can make it back again someday.

Kauai Recommendations:

  • Kokee State Park - Drive all the way up on 550 and stop at every lookout. We didn't get to hike any trails but hoping we get to do that next time!
  • Waimea Canyon - You can see the canyon on your way to Kokee State Park. We didn't do the helicopter tour, but I heard it's amazing.
  • Poke at Ishihara Market - So amazing, we went there 2 days in a row. They have a lot of a variety of poke for a really good price. Forget getting overpriced poke at a restaurant.
  • Kauai Coffee Company - Fun 10 minute self guided tour through their plantation and you can try samples of their coffee!
  • Queen's Bath - Make sure to be prepared for a little hike. I wouldn't wear flip flops, it's rocky, slippery, wet, and muddy. It's an obstacle course to get there. Not recommended if the tide is high.

Stay tuned for Part 2: Honolulu!

Congratulations CarCar!

My dear friend Carly got married this weekend and I had the honor of standing by her side on her wedding day. Alex and I flew in a couple days early so I could join the bachelorette party festivities in Chicago. We stayed in a beautiful condo on the 87th floor. Here are photos of us having fun! Warning: some of these photos are slightly NSFW :)

Carcar, thank you for being a great friend to me. I appreciate our friendship and miss you everyday. You are beautiful inside out and are an inspiration to me. Although distance keeps us apart and we aren't able to see each other as often as we'd like anymore, I know that our friendship will never change. I am so glad you have found an amazing man that treats you like a queen! Come visit us soon in Seattle! Love love love you both, congratulations <3

 

Wedding Anniversary

Alex and I celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary this past weekend at San Juan Island. Alex planned an amazing trip for us. Friday Harbor was the cutest little seaside town, reminded me of the old town sets at Disney World (in a good way, not tacky!) I definitely recommend if you're ever in the area. We stayed at Cattle Point, it was about 20 minutes away from town and was so beautiful and peaceful! We went kayaking on Sunday, I wish I could have taken my camera because we saw a lot of orcas and seals up close. What a magical experience! I can't wait to go back. Thanks to my handsome husband for this weekend and for a wonderful year. Cheers to many more :)