Category: Travel

Aloha Friday : Aloha Summer

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It’s not my imagination. Since Labor Day weekend, the sun has hinted it’s beginning to find sleep earlier and sleep in later.  I get off my bus stop in downtown Seattle and am hit with a stinging chill of the early morning.  I feel instant goosebumps which I forgot even existed when time stood still in the glorious Northwest Summer. People are quickly making their way to coffee shops, work buildings…. the indoors.  There is no more lingering in the sunlight and layers are becoming an essential.  People talk about fall when all I can plead is “SUMMER, please don’t go.”  I don’t want to believe that the season has reached it’s peak and we are forced to  transition into hibernation.   Technically, autumn equinox is September 22nd, giving me roughly two weeks to accept the fact that fall is on it’s way.  But in the meantime, I will celebrate summer and dawdle as long as I can (and as long as Seattle lets me) taking in the last few days of season.

An ode to my first Northwest Summer – and the countless unforgettable memories created.

It’s not my imagination. Since Labor Day weekend, the sun has hinted it’s beginning to find sleep earlier and sleep in later.  I get off my bus stop in downtown Seattle and am hit with a stinging chill of the early morning.  I feel instant goosebumps which I forgot even existed when time stood still in the glorious Northwest Summer. People are quickly making their way to coffee shops, work buildings…. the indoors.  There is no more lingering in the sunlight and layers are becoming an essential.  People talk about fall when all I can plead is “SUMMER, please don’t go.”  I don’t want to believe that the season has reached it’s peak and we are forced to  transition into hibernation.   Technically, autumn equinox is September 22nd, giving me roughly two weeks to accept the fact that fall is on it’s way.  But in the meantime, I will celebrate summer and dawdle as long as I can (and as long as Seattle lets me) taking in the last few days of season.  An ode to my first Northwest Summer – and the countless unforgettable memories created.

 

A Weekend Worth Repeating

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Formal Request! I want every weekend to include the elements of this past weekend.

Nature / Friends / Coffee / Quiet Time

The two sacred days held a little bit of everything.

We kicked off the weekend with a climb up Mt. Dickerman.

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With 360 views of beauty at the top, the 4.3 mile climb is 100 % worth it. If you’re hiking on a weekend, get started early. It’s one of the more popular hikes in the North Cascades and over a dozen people were making there way up as we descended down around 11am. With an elevation gain of almost 1,000 ft per mile, your heart will be pumping and lungs expanding in no time. One of my favorite things about this hike was the diversity it provided in the short few miles to the 5723-foot summit. You begin in a dark canopy of forest and a little after half way, hit this open field that had me reminiscing on scenes from the Sound of Music! Blueberry plants line the trail (and thankfully I didn’t notice till the way down, otherwise I would have been stopping every other minute) and wildflowers were plentiful. It’s here you get a glimpse of what you’re in for if you just keeping moving forward. The views at that point were great, but another mile up and they would get unreal.

North, East, South and West my eyes didn’t know where to look! To the north, Baker and White Chuck. Glance East, it’s Sloan and Glacier. Turn South and Rainier (on a clear day) begs to be seen.  And finally west, Pilchuck and Three Fingers stand tall.

Vance Creek Bridge Closure // RIP #thatnwbridge

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Social media blew up this week as Vance Creek Bridge, popularly known as “that NW bridge”, closed after being deemed unfit for public access.  I learned of the closure from the (absurd) amount of Northwest photographers I follow, who all began posting throwback photos and stories of trips to the iconic structure. Soaring 347 feet about a thick forest valley and river in Washington States Olympic Peninsula, it is the second highest railway arch bridge ever built in the US, originally constructed in 1929 for logging purposes. It was eventually abandoned in the 1950’s and now rests on private property…. which didn’t dissuade people from trespassing and hiking the short distance to the breathtaking destination. This was the case for me and my friend Abbie as we left Seattle mid morning a few months back to finally check the hype of the bridge. With easy to grab directions from blogs, we road tripped south for the promise of adventure and heart stopping heights.  We ran into a handful of other day trippers, all of us reaching for our cameras, eyes on the views as much as on our precious footing. With a huge drop off on both sides and large gaps in between each steps, the 800 ft walk on this rickety railroad is no leisurely stroll.  The closure is a bummer for anyone who wasn’t able to experience it’s beauty, but I am deeply grateful we made it in time to spend a warm summer day on that Northwest bridge.

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Escape to the North Cascades // A Return to Reality

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This photo describes my mentality this past 4th of July weekend.  This was the bridge between civilization and wilderness. While most were planning parties centered around beer, food and fireworks, I wanted to say ‘peace out’ to society and get lost in the grandeur of the mountains.  My wish was granted as Thursday after work, I immediately turned my phone off and relaxed in the passenger seat as Jared and I drove north towards to the Cascades.

What followed was three days of no scheduled bliss. We were on nature’s agenda,  relinquishing the thought that anything needed to get accomplished.   In that space of stepping away from expectations and culture, I took a step back into myself.  With no real contact to the outside world, no social media to share photos, no distractions really of any kind, I had a beautiful opportunity to be present, which I find increasingly difficult in our fast paced, overly connected world.

It’s been a difficult transition back to reality and responsibility even if I only “checked out” for 72 hours. Maybe because in the vastness of the great outdoors, I started asking myself bigger and boundless questions.

Stepping deep into nature, I am not crowded with preceptions of how life should be lived.  I’m not bombarded with conflicting ideas and not concerned with society standards.  I don’t care how I am perceived (obviously after spending 3 days of not showering/shaving my legs) and my overactive judgmental brain turns off while my creative musings turn on. I am stimulated by the richness of the greenery, the innate knowledge of creation and the lack of haste from the plants to the animals.  There is space for me to just be. Space for my ego to drop and the capacity to be vulnerable and sit with the considerable questions that I don’t have the answers to.

Back in the city, my fresh renewed mind becomes mobbed and diluted with noise that I can’t seem to shut out.  I am at a loss for time. As much as I try to contain that peaceful easy feeling during my escape, it’s slipping through my fingers and I can only clutch on to moments.  How do I hold on to that rooted sense of peace that was so tangible mere days ago?

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau

Aloha Friday + Daily Gratitude

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It’s time for a gratitude list. Gratitude is a value I hold highly and it’s been teetering on the extremes. I am either fully enveloped in it, drowning in acknowledgment of life’s gifts- or commiserating in my quesitons and feeling helpless to situations. The easiest thing to do to gain perspective?  Write down a thank you list. 🙂 So here is mine, to lift spirits and remind me that I should be exhaulting in thanks every single day. Share what’s on your list!

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1.) Fresh Produce straight from the garden! While it is still one of my resolutions to have my own full on garden, until then I will gladly pick my veggies from the Carvitto family’s backyard.  There’s something about getting your hands dirty for food that satisfies your soul and your stomach.

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2.) One place I continue to have unwavering gratitude is for this man. I’m smitten kitten and so happy to be living in the same place, going on adventures like this one! A beautiful hike to Colchuck Lake near Leavenworth. (And yes this was taken just a few weeks ago. I never would have thought I would see snow in June?)

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3.) Daisy – I can’t underestimate the joy and happiness she brings into people’s lives. I’m not just talking about the people who are taking rides in her either. When we’re driving, it’s not uncommon to see heaps of smiles and people pumping their fist in approval from the sidewalks and other cars. One can’t help but appreciate the good vibes this big green bus gives.

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4.) New Experiences + Pushing Boundaries : I rocked climbed for the first time a few weeks ago. I’ve never been scared of heights and always down for a challenge, but it provoked different emotions than I would have ever guessed. While I trusted my belayer below me, I got stuck a few times in trusting myself to make the next move. I got so near the top with one HUGE (at least it looked huge) obstacle above me and I remember thinking, muscles shaking, I can’t do this. I voiced my surrender to the group below and was assured immediately that I could. And I did. With a lot of help! Standing at the top, I was literally almost in tears because I was so happy. Teamwork + Trust = Success.

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5.) Finding my favorite flowers (that I didn’t even plant) growing outside in my front yard. The PNW is rich with diverse and sweet smelling blossoms. Walking around my neighborhood I am literally hit with nectarous scents. That combined with the pops of color instantly put me in a peaceful and happy mood.

What’s on your gratitude list? What provides you with an instant lift?

48 Hours in San Francisco

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I promised to update my travels in real time, but I’ve found it difficult to do as every weekend has found me back on the road or on a plane. That little responsibility called a job has me tied down during the weekdays and the weather has been TOO BEAUTIFUL in Seattle to even think about staying inside come 5 o’clock. However, I’ve finally been able to upload my photos and reflect back on some weekend warrior trips.

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A month ago, a small group of us flew down to San Francisco to surprise Jared’s brother for his birthday.  Growing up near the Bay Area, I have spent my fair share of time in the city,  yet every trip offers new perspective, hidden gems and new neighborhoods to explore.  It would be impossible to create an extensive guide for exploring the diverse districts and the countless breweries and restaurants to try. In an effort to keep it simple, I’m giving a breakdown of the most mentionable moments of our 48 hours in the city.

 

 

 

 

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City Views from Parc 55

Stay

Parc 55 Hotel: If you are looking for something central, Parc 55 is hard to beat. Situated right in Union Square (the most visited neighborhood in SF) you’ll find Bart station, the 9-Story Westfield SF Centre and some of the cities most popular restaurants and cafes. Which leads me to…

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Eat

Dotties: Be prepared to wait in line and definitely bring a snack if you are prone to getting “hangry” (hungry + angry). We took the suggestion from a barista and waited , waited and waited for the restaurant to be able to sit our party of 6. Mistake #1, split up if you have a large party. Breakfast turned into lunch but I have to say it was worth it. We definitely ate enough for 2 meals and still had food to take home. Known for their baked goods, we succeeded in ordering 6 muffins.  With flavors like red velvet and blueberry cream cheese we had to try one of each! I would be more strategic in my approach to eating at Dotties again, but I would definitely do it (in my stretchy pants).

Drink

Rouge Ales Public House: After a longer afternoon of walking up and down San Francisco’s hilly streets, nothing satisfies thirst like a solid beer. We sat outside in the sun, toasted to Jakes birth and enjoyed the giddy feeling of beer buzz and sunlight.

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Sightglass Coffee // Ritual Coffee Roasters:  Because adventures don’t really begin without coffee.

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Andy’s Coffee Roasters was my favorite. Small and cozy, the husband and wife team working behind the counter own the quaint shop in the Sunset District. Away from the hustle and bustle of the loud city and only a few blocks from the surf, if I lived in SF you would find me here on the daily.

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Entertainment 

If you’re traveling on a budget, Fishermans Wharf provides free fun with street shows and people watching. A run through Golden Gate Park takes you away from the concrete jungle and into green, with over 1,000 acres to explore. And in true fashion of keeping close to the Sea, a stop to walk by the Ocean and pick seashells and sand dollars is a must.

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Till the next city venture, I want to know where you go in San Francisco. Tell me your favorite sites, dive bars, swanky clubs, museums, and districts. Ready, get set, GO!

Aloha Friday : Break up with Boring

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This weekend  I urge you to break up with boring.  Step away from your rituals and comfort zone.  Find an area in your life where you’ve felt less than satisfied and give it some extra love. Life is anything but boring, don’t treat it as such.  We hold the responsibility to wake up and LIVE each day to it’s maximum potential.  Don’t let everyday obligations crowd your schedule and force out the necessity for FUN.  Actually, if you’re going to add anything more to your agenda, it should be time to engage in some unexpected shenanigans.

Anyone have epic plans this weekend?! Share your ideas! Aloha nui xoxo

Dirtbag Darling spotlights || DAISY ||

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Who is Daisy? Daisy is my boyfriend’s 1979 VW bus that has been supplying the stoke to not only him and I, but friends and family since her purchase this past January.  She is a true adventuremobile, a bus who has seen more states and sights this  year than some have seen in their entire life.  I’m super blessed to have a man whose love for nature and thirst for expanding experiences reflects my own- keeping us planning for the next big trip and daydreaming about all the places that need to be explored.

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Thanks Dirtbag Darling for sharing Daisy’s story and being a source of inspiration for the ladies who love a challenge and the great outdoors!

Check out the story at Dirtbag Darling and look around to get tips on everything from climbing, hiking, traveling, gear, health and fitness.

Motivation Monday: Return to the Present

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feeling most present surrounded by God’s creation. I’m called to explore & wander.

“To live in the present moment is a miracle. The miracle is not to walk on water.  The miracle is to walk on the green Earth in the present moment, to appreciate the peace & beauty available now.” – Thich Nhat Hahn

Looking back on my emotionally charged month, I recognize that my moments of anxiety, suffering and unhappiness all have deep roots in looking too far ahead towards the future.  It has been a challenge for me to remain present, focused on the NOW because mentally I began checking out as soon as I set my departure date to Seattle.  My mind is full of clutter planning for the weeks ahead- job searching, house hunting and day dreaming about what my days will be filled with.  (So far, I have created a mental list of hobbies to fill my winter days with including becoming a master health chef, rainy art days, hours devoted to improving my writing one espresso shot at a time, meditation meditation meditation and road tripping the PNW Coast.)

My dilemma is tangible.  My mind is not separate from my body and yet they are in two completely different places.  I am aware that NOW is all I have, that THIS moment is filled with joy and happiness if I only shifted my attentiveness to it.  So why do I continue to obsess about what will happen in two weeks and what life will look like in six months?  Right now is enough.  Actually,  it’s more than enough, and I’m learning to embrace it. ALL of it – the beauty and the struggle, the peaks and the valleys.  Remembering that no feeling is final, and tomorrow will come soon enough.

What keeps you grounded in the present moment? How do you tune into life “as is” right now? Where do you find content?

Aloha Nui and Happy Monday! xo

Happy Aloha Friday!

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.: views from Stairway to Heaven :.

“live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each… Open all your pores and breathe in all the tides of nature, in all her streams and oceans, at all seasons.” – Thoreau

As one season of my life quietly transitions to the next, I embrace the possibilities of the current juncture.  Although my physical location may change, I take with me infinite experiences that have shaped my being.  My eyes have photographed stunning images that will dance in my mind long after I depart. I’ve memorized mountain ridges and waves, westside beaches and glows from a boundless sunset.  I could never truly leave as pieces of my heart are dispersed all over this island.

I resolve to be more like nature with the intention to live a season in it’s entirety and recognize its temporary existence.  What fear should be held knowing that each cycle blossoms fully before evolving into the next?

Wherever I go,  I bring with me abundant aloha- the buoy to my soul.

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