Thursday, September 11, 2014


My family has made a tradition of going on a family vacation every summer, whether it's somewhere far or just a weekend getaway. Last year, we went to the Texas coast on the island of Galveston, the year before was our family trip to Puerto Rico, and the year before that was to Cape Cod.

This summer, we enjoyed a weekend getaway to New Braunfels, a small Texas river town, which is located 25 minutes northeast of San Antonio and 45 minutes south of Austin. We found a perfect house via HomeAway on a small lake called Lake Dunlap, which is derived from the Guadalupe River.

The house had enough beds for us all (13 of us), a kitchen, a grill, a small yard, and a private deck right on the riverbank. The deck featured an awesome rope swing AND a 12-foot-tall jumping platform. Even my 4-year-old nephew jumped off the platform. No fear at all!

We even had a party one day to celebrate a few of our birthdays, and invited friends who lived nearby. Everyone had so much fun grilling out, eating amazing food, floating on the river, jumping off the platform, swinging on the rope swing, throwing the frisbee, singing around the ukulele, playing boardgames, and just enjoying each other's company.

I barely took any photos because of how much fun I was having with my family and friends! No regrets. :)

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a National Geographic US National Parks guidebook!

[All photos were taken in June 2014.]

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014


For nature and outdoor enthusiasts, the U.S. is a perfect place to roam. Since the USA is a relatively young country, we didn't have the chance to destroy all of our wild landscape before laws were set in place to protect it. For the National Parks Service, I am SO thankful.

I am a HUGE outdoor lover. I love seeing beautiful landscapes and being in awe at the creation of nature. Most of my travels revolve around the outdoors, so visiting the national parks has always basically been my bucket list.

I'm delighted to offer this giveaway as my gift to you that could help you research and plan for your U.S. National Park trips. The National Geographic Guide to National Parks is a great way to start - and you now have the chance of getting it for free!

This is the 7th edition of this guidebook, and it just keeps getting better. By just flipping through the pages, you'll be inspired to take a road-trip to the Great Smokey Mountains or even camp near the falls of Yosemite. Even if you're not huge into nature, it's hard not to be wowed by the huge Redwoods or the geysers at Yellowstone. And of course, it's impossible not to like the Grand Canyon.

The guidebook includes 58 national parks (the U.S. currently has 59 - we recently added Pinnicles National Park - though it IS in there as a national monument) on 480 pages, and includes the following info about each park:
  • detailed maps that include trails as well as roads, campsites, and nearby towns.
  • history and information.
  • what to see or what activities to do.
  • the best time to visit.
  • how to get there.
  • where to stay.
  • accessibility services, fees, open seasons/hours, tours, and other information.
  • other things to do nearby.
  • beautiful photos.
  • and much more!

Enter the giveaway for your chance to win the NatGeo Guide to National Parks and be on your way to your next national park adventure!

The deadline to enter this giveaway is September 20, 2014 at 12:00 am.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, September 5, 2014


Even though I was only in Seattle for one day, Snoqualmie Falls just outside of the city was at the top of my list for things to see.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a nature lover far beyond a city lover. Even though I basically have fun anywhere I go, I love the outdoors and nature way more. So, seeing these falls after being in the city all day was so refreshing and perfect for me.

Snoqualmie Falls is about a 30 minute drive outside of Seattle, and so worth the trip. I've never seen the caliber of these falls up close before. I've seen waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, but the sheer amount of water at Snoqualmie Falls at 268 feet (over 100 ft taller than Niagara Falls) was crazy. Luckily when I visited, there had been a lot of rain in the recent months, so Snoqualmie Falls was flowing abundantly.

The observation deck is a very short walk from the parking lot, and the grounds also has a gift shop, bathrooms, picnic benches, and even a grassy meadow. Apparently there was construction being done for a new observation deck before I was there, but the construction is complete now.

There are also hiking trails to go to the bottom of the falls, which I wasn't able to do because of time constraints. I'd love to go back to do those hikes, and visit during winter, as I'd love to see the frozen plumes.

[All photos were taken in May 2014.]

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