Viva Las Vegas: My Experience & Travel Guide

I’m back from Vegas and I swear it’s taken the whole week to bounce back into my regular routine. It certainly didn’t help that I caught a cold on the flight back and left my curling wand in the hotel room (bad hair week). Don’t we all feel like we need a couple days off post vacation to get back into the swing of life? We traveled to Las Vegas for an industry convention for Jordan and his brother. As an added bonus Jordan’s brother’s wife and I tagged along for the adventure. While I don’t normally consider myself a “Vegas Person” (read: I’m a bit of a homebody that likes to go to bed at 10:00) I really had a great time. I’ve been to Vegas in the past but it wasn’t until this trip that I really experienced the parts of Vegas that are good for me. Spas, shows and champagne…how could I have ever thought those things weren’t for me? Plus there’s no contesting thst the people watching in Vegas is both intriguing and appalling.

As soon as we checked out of our hotel room and boarded or flight it hit me that I’d left my curling wand in the room. I’ve called the hotel several times since in hopes of retrieving my favorite styling product but I am starting to accept that it may be gone forever. So, it is with much regret I’m forced to ask, do you guys have any ceramic curling wand reccomendations? If so, please send them my way.

Eat:

I don’t consider myself a foodie but I sure do love to eat. One of my favorite parts of any trip is trying new restaraunts and the decadence of Vegas made the experience even more fun. We are out at every meal so I didn’t want to share every restaraunt we tried but I do want to highlight my favorites from our trip.

Sake Rok

This kitschy themed sushi house had a variety of rolls and cocktails. I loved that the waiters doubled as entertainers and put on dance performances every 30 minutes or so. I appreciated the *NSYNC versus Backstreet Boys dance off and was giddy when the crew later chose to serenade me with Gangham Style. Sushi is always great with large groups and this environment was entertaining while still allowing guests to chat with each other without interrupting a show.

Eggslut

After our spa treatments Tiffany and I grabbed a quick lunch on the go from Eggslut in the Cosmopolitan. This is definitely an “on the go” dining experience but both of us were pleased with our tasty and inexpensive lunches (I ordered the Fairfax sandwich with avocado and highly reccomend it it).

Harvest

A nice dinner out seemed like a MUST since we were all dressed up to see Cirque du Soleil’s “O” a true the Bellagio. My mom reccomended Harvest, a farm to table style restaraunt also in the Beallagio. Our group shared several appetizers and unanimously agreed the brussel sprouts were to die for. I liked this restaraunt because there were lots of high quality seafood and vegetarian options (not just salad for the non meat eaters) and others in our group loved the high quality lamb and steak. I would definitely go to Harvest again!

Crush

Tiffany and I popped into Crush for a “pre dinner snack” because we were eating such a late dinner and needed a bit of substance. We shared a pizza and heirloom burrata salad. I swear tomatoes, burrata cheese and vinegar taste like candy together. I wish we could have tried more of the food at Crush to see if it compared to our delicious “snack”.

Andiamo

Off the main Vegas strip and in “old Las Vegas” or Fremont street, this Italian steak house had options for meat lovers (obvi) and vegetarians alike. I loved the delicious, creamy gnocchi while the boys swore the steak was the best on our trip.

Red 8

Walking through the Wynn we stumbled upon the Red 8 and decided to give it a try. I’m pretty picky when it comes to Chinese food (the last place I went to literally had cockroaches on the wall) and it can be difficult to find high quality, authentic, vegetarian Chinese cuisine. Our waiter at Red 8 was incredibly helpful, the food was savory without feeling greasy or heavy and oh my gosh the garlic bok choy was so good I have been dreaming about it (and salivating) ever since.

Watch:

I love live entertainment. After a good show I can’t help but prance through the streets and twirl into bed. Though I’ve been to Vegas before I had never had the opportunity to see a show, this trip I made it a priority to buy tickets ahead of time so there was no excuse not to make entertainment a priority.

Cirque du Soleil O

Guys, I was so impressed with O I was almost moved to tears. O revolves around water so most of the stage was comprised of a giant pool. There was dancing, acrobatics, diving and synchronized swimming. There was no shortage of beautiful costumes, stunning set design and impressive choreography. Like all Cirque du Soleil performances I left impressed by the abilities of the human body. When you watch contortionists and acrobats you start to realize there is no reason not to hold a two minute plank at the gym. We all agreed that the show was magnificent, for me it was the highlight of our entire trip.

Rejuvenate:

I’m a spa girl. When Jordan and I first started dating I told him my hobby was “Spa-ing” and I’ve been sticking to it ever since. On Thursday and Friday day Jordan and his brother had to work so Tiffany and I hit the spas. Both locations were beautiful and honestly I would happily return to either.

Cosmopolitan Spa: Sahara

I received the signature facial at the Sahara spa. My esthetician was extremely soothing which I prefer to the more talkative treatments (let me close my eyes and relax okay?) After the service my skin felt plump and hydrated. I usually opt for a massage instead of a facial but this experience made me realize I should pamper my skin at the spa more often. The amenities at the Cosmo spa were a little spa but lovely. The atmosphere was dimly lit and very relaxing. I enjoyed the sauna, cool steam room and hot tub.

The Spa at Aria

At Aria Tiffany and I both opted for full body massages. We noticed right away that the spa was very busy but the large facility made it easy to accommodate all of the guests. My massage was lovely (aren’t all massages?) and the facilities offered unique amenities. We tried the Himalayan salt meditation room, the sauna, steam rooms and indoor/outdoor hot tubs.

If I had to choose a favorite I would pick the Cosmo spa but when it comes to luxury pampering I don’t like to be too finicky (:

Tiffany and I couldn’t resist popping into Sephora to get our makeup done after lunch one day.

Explore:

 

Fremont Street

Friday night we ventured over to the old Las Vegas to see what all the hype was about. Old fashioned signs glittered on every side of the pedestrian only street. With four musical stages and numerous street performers the area was packed with people. I enjoyed people watching (there were some real sights to see if you know what I mean) and enjoyed the rambunctious atmosphere the live music provided.

Valley of Fire

Initially we intended to head to the Grand Canyon on Saturday but after a late start and a few minor complications we decided to explore the Valley of Fire instead. Located just an hour outside of Las Vegas the national park is littered with sights, small hikes and even camping for those who want to escape the strip entirely. We were most impressed by the petroglyphs you could find on many of the rocks. As a bit of a history nerd I was impressed by the (over) 4000 year old paintings and the culture they represented.

 

Happy friday friends! I hope you have a wonderful weekend! xxoo!

This little Piggy went to the Beach…

pig-island

I shared most of the highlights from my recent trip to the Bahamas in a recent post (found here). However I decided to share my experience swimming and playing with the pigs at Staniel Cay separately. I have so many cute pig photos I figured the experience deserved it’s own space.

I love pigs. True story, before Jordan and I adopted Pierre I tried to convinve him we needed a mini pig. Truthfully I only used this tactic so that when I said “I want a puppy” I would sound less absurd BUT nonetheless a baby pig has filled my city girl fantasies since the first time I watched Uptown Girls (great movie!).

Like many of you (I assume) I first heard of pig island form The Bachelor. I watched as girls squealed and ran from the swimming pigs on their group date with Ben. When I heard pig island was in the Exuma islands (the area we were sailing through) I was determined to visit the cute piglets myself.

Years ago pigs were supposedly left on the island by boaters who wanted to return and eat the pigs once thy were grown. For whatever reason the boaters didn’t return and the pigs bred and made a home for themselves on the bahemian island. Now tourists travel to the beach by boat with treats for the 20+ “wild pigs”. The well fed pigs are very comfortable with humans and are quite rambunctious.

As our boat pulled up towards the shore pigs swam out to greet us even jumping on the side of the boat in search of food. It was startling and very exciting! I’m pretty sure pig island was the only occasion on our entire trip that I was the first passenger to jump out of the boat. I’m usually hesitant to splash around in cold water, much preferring the warmth of the sun on my skin but the pigs exhilarated me! I immediately started feeding bread to the big pigs around me and found myself a little intimidated. A 600 pound pig, while cute, is definitely capable of trampling a mid sized human.

I didn’t let fear define me though (valiant as I am) but took it upon myself to tame the wild pigs. I did my best to make the pigs sit for their treats the way a dog would. Pigs are more intelligent than dogs you know? Usually I ended up tossing bread into the water as each giant pig swam towards me but on the beach I finally got a few pigs to heed my commands. So now I can add “pig tamer” to my resume (;

It was hard to get really great shots of the pigs; the little fellas didn’t hold still for long! I am happy with the chaotic shots we did capture as I feel they capture the general hectic (yet happy) nature of Pig Island.

If you ever visit the Exuma islands (specifically Staniel Cay) be sure to stop by Pig Island, it’s a lot of fun!

All aboard the Meteor: My Bahamas Adventure

After kissing 2016 goodbye at the Castello di Amarosa’s New Year’s Eve party in Calistoga, my aunt, uncle, bestie and I caught a flight to Nassau on the evening of January 1st. Along the way we met up with my cousin and close friend, Genevieve, and my boyfriend who flew out of Seattle.

Our week long trip through the Exuma islands was definitely the vacation of a lifetime. We had the opportunity to sail on my uncle’s boss’s private sail boat complete with a crew of 9 (including a chef who prepared all of our meals). It was such an honor to be invited and a total luxury to be treated like a real life princess for an entire week. Why my Aunt and Uncle chose to invite us is still beyond me but I am oh so grateful!

How do I sum up our trip? Do I begin with all of the delicious Rose? The hours spent in heated debates over each meal? The water sports? The five star beach picnic? The untouched beaches and turquoise waters that seemed to expand forever? Honestly my writing could hardly do the trip justice, it was such a fantastic experience and I feel so lucky to have started the new year with such a lovely group of people.

There were so many iguanas who ran out when they realized we had food!

Could those waters be any more gorgeous?

 

Some of the highlights included eating lunch at a restaraunt with sand covered floors, feeding iguanas on the beach, snorkeling into a grotto, a game of Trivial Pursuit in which no one scored any points, inner tubing for so long that my hands started to cramp, wakeboarding for the first time (& actually getting up), meeting a lemon shark during our beach picnic, swimming and frolicking with a clan of pigs, racing jet skis into the sunset, facing my silly fear and jumping off the front of the boat, a tequila induced dance party on the back of the boat, and watching Jordan dive with nurse sharks fearlessly (while I watched from the shore). Can I rewind and live it all over again?

I can’t thank the boat’s crew enough for how special they made us feel. Each meal was more delicious than the last, the table settings were always beautiful and all of our needs were met with a smile (yay for lattes and fruit plates and chocolate all day long). The staff on private yachts are really hard working and intensely dedicated people. They work long days often with demanding and egotistical clients (my words not theirs haha), they spend months away from their friends and families and they’re on call for guests 24/7. My aunt worked in yachting for a few years so I had the chance to visit her on some pretty glamorous boats while also listening to her first hand account of how unglamorous her life was. The Meteor crew even gave us piggyback rides from the tender to the shore so our shoes wouldn’t get wet. Is anyone used to that kind of pampering?! These people deserve customer experience medals!

We snorkeled at the crash site of a plane and in a grotto built for mermaids.

One of the many lovely table displays from our trip. There was a new display at every meal.

The Exumas were stunningly beautiful and I highly reccomend visiting if you ever get the chance. Though my view was a bit slanted as we were on a boat I couldn’t help but note the entire trip how secluded and uninhabited these islands seemed. We saw very few people the entire trip and had no trouble accessing uninhabited islands with gorgeous beaches. I felt like a real celebrity!

Of course the company I was surrounded with was by far the best part of the trip. My Aunt, Uncle, bestie, boyfriend and cousin all make the “my favorite people in the whole wide world” list so having them all in one place made my heart really happy. We didn’t all do every activity together; my aunt and uncle occasionally took some time to themselves, Gen stayed behind for jet skiing, Jordan and my uncle snuck away to work every so often and I enjoyed a latte and a magazine while Gen and Nicole swam around the boat each morning. Yet, our time together was never boring! We debated politics and ethics, the future of technology and celebrity crushes. We recited our favorite poems over dinner, shared a lot of laughs and even more champagne. As cheesy as it sounds I could not imagine a better trip and I know will remember this vacation for the rest of my life.

We tried to jet ski every day, it was such a blast!

Of course playing with pigs on the beach was my favorite part of our adventure (I seriously could not stop talking about it leading up to the excursion) so I am dedicating a whole post to the experience. Be on the look out for a plethora of cute piggy photos coming soon!

Oh my lanta! Did I post enough pictures for you? If you made it through thanks for reading! I know today’s post was super photo heavy but I really wanted to share my favorite photos from my adventure (believe it or not this was limiting myself). I hope you enjoyed a mini photo vacay to the Exuma islands (:

The Perfect Weekend in Jackson Hole

Oh hey, Labor Day weekend was already a week ago wasn’t it? After a four day long weekend to kick off September I fell out of my blogging groove last week as I adjusted back into regular life. Oops!

I still want to share a bit from my long weekend in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It was THE BEST Labor Day weekend to date. By Monday morning I was totally dreading heading back to Seattle (though I have to say the cold front that seemingly hit Jackson over night wasn’t exactly my favorite).

img_2882

Jackson Hole, here we come!

Our trip began as we caught a flight from Seattle to Salt Lake City. Flights to Jackson Hole were outrageous for Labor Day Weekend so we said “Yes!” to adventure and rented a car in SLC. The drive from Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole was just under five hours. The drive through sunset was gorgeous, illuminating all of the natural beauty of Utah. By the time we reached Wyoming it was dusk. Most of the drive through the state was pitch black. Deer were abundant on every side of the road! It was quite scary for someone like me who has been traumatized by hitting a deer in the past. Luckily we arrived in Jackson Hole around 10:30 at night without injuring a deer, our rental car or ourselves.

img_2890

Morning hike with my Aunt and Uncle.

Saturday morning we started the day with a hike before grabbing breakfast and posing for old time photos. Downtown Jackson is so cute. The town is filled with shops, restaurants and bars. I couldn’t resist adding a Jackson charm to my Pandora bracelet and Jordan whole heartedly embraced the western vibes with a new cowboy hat!

img_2926

My time as a showgirl was short lived but it sure was fun!

My time as a showgirl was short lived but it sure was fun!

To my surprise Jackson has a mini rollercoaster built into the side of one of the ski mountains. Just a couple blocks from my Aunt and Uncle’s house there was no reason not to try. The Cowboy Coaster was shockingly exhilarating and I definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Jackson. It’s not just for the kids I promise!

I highly recommend the Cowboy Coaster!

I highly recommend the Cowboy Coaster!

That night we had dinner and headed to the iconic Cowboy bar for pool and dancing. I feel for anyone who ever has to play doubles with me as their teammate. I haven’t played much pool in my life and let’s just say I don’t have a natural knack for it.

img_2941

Jordan's legacy will be closing his eyes in every photo, I swear.

Jordan’s legacy will be closing his eyes in every photo, I swear.

The best part about Jackson and the surrounding region is the plethora of outdoor activities. Sunday morning we took full advantage with a bike ride to the Four Season’s spa! Before you scoff at my idea of outdoor activities please note our 15 mile adventure past streams, mountains and plains. The entire ride I was in awe of the scenery. After lunch and some time at the spa we hopped back on our bikes and pedaled back to Jackson. On the way home we encountered a mob of people surrounding a baby bear just off the bike trail. While of course I understand the fascination with something as cute as a baby bear I couldn’t help but feel like all the people were harassing the poor creature! Furthermore I felt the mother bear was bound to show up any moment angry and ready to maul us all. I eagerly urged (read: nagged) Jordan not to stop for a moment.

img_2957

By Monday we were exhausted and the thought of heading home was quite sad. I love spending time with my Aunt, Uncle and their two giant ridgebacks. A morning hike with the dogs was a great start to the day.

img_2960

We rode the ski lift down from the top of the mountain, the view of Jackson Hole was incredible. We both froze in our shorts, brr!

Leaving Jackson after brunch was a sad state of affairs. I had such a lovely time with my family and of course with beautiful nature. We are returning to Jackson for an entire week in February for skiing and family time. I can’t wait to see all that Jackson has to offer this winter <3


Don’t forget to join The Blush Blonde & I for our Tutu Tuesday link up. I’m excited to read your posts!

We’ll Always have Paris

Up above the UK somewhere I’m cramped behind a sleeping elderly man who has pushed his seat as far back as it will adjust and the tray table holding my macbook air. Thankful the seat next to me remains unoccupied I’m planning to spend the next ten-ish hours in blissful (or as blissful as an economy class international flight can be) alone-ness. Aside from the cold I’ve developed over the past few days, Paris was good to me. My calves feel stronger (yay for stairs), my carry on is filled with macarons and my mind feels a bit more cultured.

notre-dame-view

Visiting Paris has been what feels like a lifelong dream. Much like kissing a dolphin, now that the experience is over part of me feels as if I’ve just awoke from a surreal dream. Though I stayed on Instagram and Facebook, on my terms I was relatively inactive on social media. I cannot remember the last time I went more than a week without blogging and moreover didn’t miss blogging or feel a gaping hole in my life schedule. Clearly, I’m not planning on abandoning blogging anytime soon and I imagine crossing back into my timezone and regular routine will help me fall back into my schedule quite quickly. Luckily I have Jordan and Pierre at home waiting for me (and my cozy bed) or I imagine the idea of leaving Paris would be quite dreadful.

Many of my preconceived assumptions of Paris were correct, but some were shattered as well. Paris is picturesque and magical and romantic and as filled with beauty as it is rumored to be. Even in the dingy apartment we holed up in in the Marais district something in the air felt special. Waiting for the metro in a dirty, dark tunnel, the golden frames that outlined advertisements on the walls felt somehow elevated, special!  I can’t be the only tourist whose friends and family warned “Parisians are rude“, yet, I was surprised by the kindness of most people. Like most tourists I tried my best to speak french only for locals to respond in perfect english. I didn’t find it the least bit rude though, my french is awful!

macarons-paris

My cousin Genevieve and I chose to spend the entirety of our stay in/around Paris. We contemplated spending a few days in Amsterdam or Brussels, but in the end decided we really wanted to experience Paris without any sort of rush. I look forward to sharing a brief overview of our itinerary later this week, but in short, I am SO glad we spent as much time as we did in Paris. There is so much to explore in the city of light and I felt like we were able to experience a good balance of “touristy” activities and sight seeing while also exploring, shopping, etc.

Castles, macarons, cobblestone streets, unexpected glimpses of the Eiffel tower, cherry blossoms in bloom, a plethora of beautiful shoes and the most delicious fresh squeezed orange juice at every cafe and corner store…saying goodbye to Paris is difficult. Like many before me, a large part of me longs to send for my things and settle into a box-sized attic apartment just to call Paris home. Something about the shimmering light of the Eiffel tower just radiates artistic inspiration! Seattle is my home though, at least for now.

Au revoir Paris! 

 

So much Wanderlust it Hurts.

In 2011, the summer after my freshman year of college I had the opportunity to spend a few weeks in Italy with my family and boyfriend at the time. Prior to the trip I remember the whole experience feeling so surreal. I’d wanted to travel to Europe my whole entire life, and as a newly declared history major I couldn’t think of any country I would rather explore.

From the moment I stepped off the plane just outside of Florence my experience felt like a magical daydream. The quaint cobblestone streets beneath my feet, the sun shining down and kissing my skin each day, the art, the culture…even the strawberries seemed to taste better in Italy. I never wanted to leave!

florence-2

One of my last nights in Florence I cozied up in the hotel bed as my (then) boyfriend flipped through brochures and travel guides in the hotel room, and I began researching study abroad opportunities with my school. I couldn’t fathom flying home without first visiting Paris and Amsterdam, Prague and Barcelona. My heart hurt imagining the rest of my summer babysitting back home in the small suburb I called home but my yearning for adventure did little on its own and I returned to Maple Valley and then returned back to Pullman, my college town, for the school year.

After transferring from a large public university to a small private school I knew I’d given up any opportunity to study abroad. I was already paying triple the cost in tuition I was before, there was no way I could afford an expensive semester across the world. I continued dreaming of far away places through my textbooks as I imagine all history majors do.

rome

My affinity for lacy see through shirts freshman year of college was strong, so much that this was one of five on rotation in my wardrobe.

Upon graduating I didn’t give up my wish to travel the world but with each passing day it seemed less and less feasible. Rent, student loans and credit card bills piled up, I knew there was no way I could book a plane ticket let alone miss valuable time working. When Jordan and I started dating I confessed my deepest desire and we made a plan hoping we could spend a romantic Christmas just the two of us in Paris.

 

With tickets booked an Airbnb reserved and a growing Pinterest board of ideas for Christmastime in Europe I couldn’t have been more elated. Yet, something inside me felt uneasy as if I couldn’t actually believe we would frolic through the streets of Paris until we actually arrived. My unease was confirmed when (for many good reasons) we had to cancel our trip. I tried not to act as entitled and heartbroken as I felt but everywhere I looked there were eiffel tower icons, photos of my friends in classmates abroad and I just wanted to cry. Why did it seem so easy for some people to jump abroad and why did it feel so freaking impossible for me?

I know the world offers much bigger issues than travel. I am so thankful for  my cozy apartment, for my sweet little puppy, for a career that I love, and for the ability to pursue education. I am so privileged and I recognize my inability to drop everything and travel the world is entirely a “first world problem”. All of that being said, I still can’t figure it out…how do so many twenty-somethings drop it all and just go? 

Is it all about living inexpensively while you’re abroad? I think the biggest difference between Jordan and I when it comes to traveling is the standard of living we expect. While I am open to staying in hostels and  eating at coffee shops and markets, Jordan doesn’t want those things. For me the experience is just being there, breathing in the scenery, people watching, staring up at old buildings and marveling at the beauty of the architecture. Jordan’s perspective is different. If he can’t “experience” the food and hotels and culture the way he enjoys, is there really a point?

But I don’t want to wait until I can afford all of the nicest hotels and the most prestigious restaurants. I don’t even want to wait until I’m thirty and more established in my career; I don’t want to wait a moment longer, I want to go now! I think with all travel you can have positive experiences both ways: when you’re young and poor and just doe-eyed with excitement to just be there and when you’re able to go and enjoy the more luxurious aspects. I can’t possibly fathom waiting until I can afford luxury spas and glamorous hotels, if that’s ever the case I’ll just go back.

I am so desperate to make a trip abroad this year feasible (even if it means going by myself)! I would love to hear your stories, experiences and tips! If you could travel anywhere in the world where would it be? I’m curious! Oh and if you’re looking for someone to travel the world spending long afternoons in art museums and strolling through town taking hundreds of instagram photos with…I’m in the market for a travel companion! (:

Wanderlust Wednesday

I made the announcement on Twitter and Instagram about a month ago but never formally on this blog, I’m spending Christmas and New Years in Europe. I will be spending just over a week in Paris with Jordan and I could not be any more excited. Though the trip is still a few months away I would love suggestions from travelers out there. What are your “Must See” suggestions for Paris? Do you have any restaurants I have to try? Do you know any secret spots in the city? What about Christmas markets and other festive activities?

Source

Source

After Paris we were originally planning to meet up with my Aunt and Uncle to ski in Switzerland for a week. Jordan is super into skiing so he loved the idea of crossing the Alps off of his bucket list. Due to unforeseen circumstances (fires in northern California) my Aunt and Uncle will no longer be able to join us. Now, Jordan and I are thinking about switching up our itinerary after our time in Paris.

Idea 1: Spend 10 days in Paris followed by 2-3 days in Brussels and 2-3 days in Amsterdam. I love this idea because we spend Christmas and New Years in Paris and still get to see two cities nearby. I’ve heard Brussels is gorgeous and Amsterdam is a must visit city!

Idea 2: Spend 7 days in Paris followed by 3-4 days in Prague and 3-4 days in Budapest.  I love this idea because Prague has been on the top of my wanderlust list for a long time. My best friend traveled to Budapest over the summer and couldn’t rave about the city enough. This downside is that this option requires the most traveling because Paris, Prague and Budapest are all so far apart. Still I can’t stop fantasizing about the fairytale like views in Prague and spending an evening watching the Nutcracker at the Hungarian Opera house. Could winter feel anymore like a storybook fairytale than a few days in Paris, Prague and Budapest?

Idea 3: Spend 7 days in Paris followed by 3-4 days in Barcelona and 2-3 days in Madrid. This idea is appealing because Barcelona and Madrid are easy enough to travel to by train and I have heard great things about both cities. Jordan’s mom lived in Spain so there is something sort of romantic and nostalgic about visiting a place someone close to you holds so close to their heart.

I’ve wanted to visit Paris for as long as I can remember, so clicking “buy” on the airline tickets felt like a dream come true. I know we are going to Paris, the flight is booked, the Airbnb is booked, that portion of the trip is NON NEGOTIABLE. The rest of the trip is up in the air though and all three scenarios sound appealing so I am having the most difficult time deciding. Seasoned travelers I need your help! Should I choose Idea 1, Idea 2 or Idea 3? Or another itinerary altogether? Where are your favorite destinations in Europe?

December seriously cannot arrive soon enough! Until my trip I will be doing my best to save and plan for my dream European vacation. Thanks in advance for any/all suggestions!

Jordyn & Jordan Take California

California roadtrip

After eight days straight of euphoric paradise I’m back in Seattle caring for small children, eating pizza alone in bed and redecorating my cork board with Taylor Swift quotes as a source of entertainment. The difference between now and eight days ago is that I am sparkling, or, more accurately, glowing. Essentially I spent the past week in Heaven and even though my mind keeps reminding me that I am (technically) back in the real world, my heart can’t stop fluttering. I’ve shared enough Taylor Swift love song lyrics to make Romeo & Juliet queasy so rather than repeating how head over heels I am and thus losing every blog friend I’ve ever made I’m going to instead recall my adventure.

Last Tuesday Jordan and I set out on an adventure. We both had to work all day and technically could have (should have?) left for Tahoe Wednesday morning but we were both SO eager for adventure we began our journey around 11:00pm on Tuesday night. Two speeding tickets (can you tell this astounds me?! I feel like I keep bringing up these speeding tickets but it’s because I’ve only been pulled over once and it was for driving too slow), copious amounts of caffeine, some butternut squash quesadillas and enough baby carrots to feed several moderately hungry baby rabbits later we reached Mt.Shasta just in time for the most astounding sunrise I have ever witnessed in the entirety of my existence. I was so exhausted from staying up all night that I thought the epicness of the sky was a hallucination. I took a picture for later reference (see above) and it turns out it wasn’t. Thus the trip began watching the sunrise with someone I care for deeply and then falling asleep in the car at a rest stop along the side of the highway for several hours only to wake up shivering and chattering our teeth. When we finally arrived in Tahoe mid day we were completely exhausted.

Part One: Tahoe

Where We StayedLake Tahoe Basecamp Hotel

We spent two nights in Tahoe. I’d visited Squaw Valley before for Wanderlust in the Summer but had never seen Heavenly (the area we visited for this trip). Our primary activities included drinking Starbucks, wandering around looking for restaurants that were not sports bars (and thus would not judge us for our distaste for beer), and of course playing in the snow. Jordan skied like a perfect little snow bunny and I trampled down the mountain sloppily as I seem to do frequently. We made eating oatmeal packets at midnight in the lobby of our hotel a priority and were sure to lock ourselves out of our hotel room no less than seven times. I’m pretty sure the hotel management thought we were on drugs. We weren’t (just high on affection for one another). The hotel we stayed at was super lodge-y with a very young/hip vibe. Since neither Jordan or I like camping (eek sorry) we pretended we were camping on the first night by taking all the covers off of the bed and laying them by the fireplace in our room and sleeping by the fire. It was the best camping experience I have ever encountered by far.

 

Part Two: San Francisco

Where We StayedThe Warwick Hotel

On the morning of the 13th we drove from Tahoe to San Francisco. It was a short drive so we arrived in San Francisco with enough time for Jordan to go shoe shopping before our dinner reservation. All throughout the city I kept spotting men carrying gigantic floral arrangements, boxes of chocolates and Teddy Bears. Although I usually don’t care about Valentine’s Day (I am neither for nor against) I couldn’t help but smile imagining all of the future smiles from the un-expecting receivers of said presents. We only spent a single night in San Francisco. I sort of go there all the time so it’s like no big deal (wink) but we did manage to snap a few tasteful make out photos in front of the Golden Gate Bridge though I wished I could have met up with Lauren or Caroline (next time my pretties). Our hotel was right up my alley with crown molding and cute little ornate details everywhere. I felt like I was in a true princess suite. The Warwick was quite close to Union Square and other desirable locations so I  highly recommend it!

 

Part Three: Los Angeles

Where We StayedThe Line Hotel

By the time we reached Los Angeles on Valentine’s day I have to admit we were a bit of a wreck. We had already received 2 speeding tickets and a toll violation. It seemed were vagabonds without a cause headed straight for the Mexican border in an attempt to ditch America but as it turns out we were just two dummies who couldn’t find $4 in cash to pay the toll. We went out to a club the first night in Los Angeles and while Jordan was slightly disappointed in the atmosphere I refused to let us leave as Hollywood clubs cost such an exuberant amount to get into. It was actually the most romantic Valentine’s Day I’ve ever experienced and that isn’t just because I’ve spent every other Valentine’s Day crying and fighting with my significant other at the time.

The rest of the time in Los Angeles was truly magical too. We shopped on Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, we ate lunch and wrote post cards on the pier, we watched the sunset in Malibu and spotted two seals on the beach (the baby one made me squeal with happiness). I was so happy to be in the sunlight I think I was prancing everywhere we went. At one point in Santa Monica I was pulled out of the crowd by a street performer (his website) who then proceeded to trick me and kissed me on the lips. It was all in good fun though!

I have several friends in Los Angeles but only made an effort to see my sorority big sister, Vanessa (sorry world I was busy being enamored). Vanessa joined Jordan and I for a day at the Los Angeles County Art Museum, a shopping trip at The Grove (more shoes for Jordan, are you sensing a trend?) and sushi at a restaurant in Beverly Hills called SugarFish. I was so happy to hug my beautiful dolphin sister again.

Initially we were supposed to leave Los Angeles on Tuesday morning and drive 16 hours to a small beach town in Oregon for the night before heading to Seattle on Wednesday. Jordan and I were both sort of into the Los Angeles sunshine and the view of the Hollywood sign from our hotel room and sort of not at all into driving 16 hours straight so we decided to skip driving back all together. We decided to spend an entire extra day in Los Angeles and fly back to Seattle Wednesday afternoon. We spent our extra day in Los Angeles fairly lazily but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. We really explored the hotel we stayed at (which was so COOL and hipster and artsy by the way) and really enjoyed a greenhouse themed restaurant on the hotel rooftop. Tuesday evening we sipped champagne in bed and stayed up late laughing and talking. It was hands down my favorite part of the entire vacation which I think speaks volumes about the company I was with.

 

Going into this road-trip I was both nervous and excited. I knew I really liked Jordan and was anxious to share an adventure with someone who was so quickly becoming one of my best friends. I was nervous though too-our relationship was moving so fast I was afraid rushing into a trip together might ruin things. I wondered if he would become bored with me or we would both go stir crazy around one another. As it turns out I’ve discovered there are three things I can’t get enough of: Adventure, California and this guy named Jordan.

Have you been on any road trips? Do you have one you’ve been wanting to take?

xxoo,

Jordyn

Holiday Lights

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 5.42.41 AM

It’s just past 5:00am (a trend these days), I don’t have any makeup on (I cried it all off yesterday and the suitcases with my makeup/hair brush/clean underwear is missing) and I’ve spent the vast majority of my waking hours camped out in an airport. My plans for Sunday Funday with Nicole fell apart as did my plans for retrieving my car and the rest of my “back in Seattle let’s get my life together duties”. Yet, without even the assistance of caffeine (yet) I have a renewed sense of hope aka I’ve regained my cool.

Waking up to the beautiful Christmas tree at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco (and the giant gingerbread cookie) glowing serenely in the lobby while the rest of the world slept soundly in their plush fluffy hotel beds felt a little magical. It felt a little like waking up on Christmas morning and all the temper tantrums and disappointment and frustration faded away in the night, as it should. And that’s my favorite part about the holiday season: there may be chaos and let downs but at the end of the day by the light of the tree none of it really matters. At the end of the day I had my health (well maybe not my mental sanity), my family (who was kind enough to drive down to San Francisco and spend the night with me after I was stranded) and a cozy hotel bed all to myself.

Thank God for the calming effect of those twinkly lights and (dare I say it) snow!

Do you find the holidays stressful? Did you score any great Black Friday deals? I can’t face the stores when there are that many people out (INSANITY) but I did manage to finish a lot of my shopping online this weekend!  Now if anyone can tell me what to buy for a boy…I literally despise shopping for men.

xxoo,

Jordyn