Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I was only in Seattle for one day after a cruise, since my flight back to Texas didn't leave until the next morning. I was able to explore a little bit on my own before some of my friends who live in Seattle came to pick me up to give me a local-led one-day tour.

The Space Needle is only about a 20 minute walk from the pier where my cruise ship docked (Pier 66), so I decided to check that out on my own.

One of my favorite things to do when visiting the city is to find a place to see the skyline from up high. The Space Needle observation deck was perfect for that at 520 feet up. The observation deck is open from 8am-12am, so going at sunset or at night would also be incredibly gorgeous, I'm sure.

I loved seeing the city skyline, but also the neighborhoods of Seattle, Puget Sound, Lake Washington, and the far-off mountains, hills, and islands.

You can also visit the Skycity Restaurant, which is right below the observation deck at 500 feet.

[All photos were taken in May 2014.]

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Monday, August 18, 2014


Today, Mark and I are headed to Oregon. Yay!

I've never been and always wanted to go. There are so many things to see in Oregon, so we decided to make it an 13-day road-trip, and we'll be camping most of the time.

Here's our not-so-set-in-stone itinerary: Portland > Columbia River Gorge > Painted Hills > Smith Rock > Bend > Three Sisters Wilderness > Crater Lake National Park > and all the way up the Oregon Coast.

I'm pretty dang excited. We'll be driving everywhere and staying in campgrounds along the way. I'm ready to get out of this 100+ degree heat. It's ridiculous. And yes, it can get hot in Oregon in some places (80s and low 90s), but comparatively, it's amazing. Plus, the temperature actually goes DOWN at night in the PNW. Here, it stays about the same in the summer.

I have a couple of posts lined up for when I'm gone, but it won't be much. I'd rather be camping. :) So be sure to follow me on Instagram and Twitter to see all the pretty places I go to while I'm away!

//photo credit//

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Friday, August 15, 2014


We're going a few years back in time with this one.

When I lived in Hawaii in 2008, I was lucky enough to check out one of the world's largest surfing competitions, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. There are three different competitions located at three different beaches on the North Shore of Oahu, including Sunset Beach, Banzai Pipeline, and Haleiwa Ali'i Beach Park. I went to the O'Neil World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach.

The North Shore is notorious for it's high swells in the winter. You'll see the 50-footers at Pipeline, which is the competition I would LOVE to go back to Hawaii for. Although the waves were quite daunting at Sunset Beach (up to 20 feet), I've never seen a 50-foot wave. And I really want to. (Plus, I'd love to go back with the better camera equipment that I own now!)

Nevertheless, any of the competitions during the Triple Crown are a great way to see amazing professional surfers and the talent that they have. I was in awe the whole time at what they could do in those dangerous waters.

The competition is free to attend, but good luck finding parking! :) Attendees are allowed to get in the water during the competition, but some areas are roped off as being too dangerous and everyone is advised to go in at their own risk. Even close to the shore, the waves and current is very dangerous in places on the North Shore at that time of year (November-December).

Wouldn't you just love to see that in person?! The 2014 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing runs from November 12, 2014 - December 20, 2014.

[All photos were taken in November 2008.]

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Be ready for a lot of green in this post!

After being in New Orleans for the weekend, we wanted to visit something with a different feel. My mom had visited Oak Alley Plantation a long time ago, and I knew Mark would love the plantation's oak-lined alleyway as well as the history. So we went!

Oak Alley Plantation is a National Historical Landmark located on the Mississippi River, about an hour outside of New Orleans. Oak Alley was a sugarcane plantation that also housed several slaves on its grounds in the 1800s. The live oak alley was planted before the mansion was built, and each of the 28 trees in the alley is around 300 years old!

At one point, there were up to 200 enslaved people who worked and lived on the plantation, and there are still 6 reconstructed slave quarters on the ground for visitors to view. The history is, of course, pretty gruesome. The grounds around the quarters are now pristine and beautiful, with manicured lawns and pretty flowers planted, unlike how they were in the 1800s. I feel that this may put blinders on people who don't know the history of enslaved people in America, instead of shedding light on the truth, but what can you do? I don't really blame them for wanting to make everything pretty.

There is much information here, though, including names of people enslaved, what their jobs were, how their "home life" was, what they did when they weren't working, and how they were disciplined and punished, among many other things. Don't skip this to go straight to the oak trees - there is so much to learn!!

Every ticket you buy comes with unlimited time on the grounds and viewing the slave quarters, as well as a guided tour of the mansion. If you're interested in a plantation tour, there are many other plantations nearby. But Oak Alley is a must!

[All photos were taken in April 2014.]

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