Wishlist Wednesday: Cooler West Coast Cities (Guest Post by Grace)

With the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in full swing at the moment, all I’ve heard about lately is shopping and sales.  To break up the topic monotony, and to save myself from the temptation of spending more money, I’m switching things up this Wednesday by doing another travel post (I’ve been itching to go places lately).  It’s quite warm in most of the U.S. by now, and we’re having a muggy stretch here in Southern California, so all I can think about is going somewhere that isn’t too hot…

1) San Francisco, CA: average summer temps in San Francisco are only about 70-75 degrees, and there’s lots to explore, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Alcatraz,  or the famous street cars and Painted Ladies.

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2) Portland, OR: summer temps in Portland don’t seem to get too much warmer than San Francisco, averaging between 75-80 degrees most days.  Portland has a little something for everyone: exploring Crater Lake, the Oregon coast or Multnomah Falls; Powell’s Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world; lots of great restaurants and independent coffee shops to try; and SHOPPING because no sales tax!! (okay, so there’s one small blurb about shopping…sue me)

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3) Alaska: I feel like most people tend to visit Alaska as a cruise destination, so I figured I’d just pop it on here as a whole.  … READ FULL POST

Lisbon, Portugal (Europe Tour 2015)

Lisbon was the unexpected bonus from our European adventure. Admittedly, we did not know much about this understated yet charming city when we initially booked the first leg of our trip. I decided on a whim to stop through this city on our way to Spain since one of my friends, Erica, raved about her visit from a few years back.

We really enjoyed our brief stay. The people were incredibly nice, the sights were beautiful, the food was delicious, and the streets were not overcrowded with tourists. It was also the perfect first stop to ease us into our three week whirlwind of a vacation.

We landed in Lisbon on Sunday (7/12) and left late Tuesday (7/14)  for the overnight train ride to Madrid. Below are some of our highlights:

Note: all of the photos below were taken by me and were not retouched in any way. I am using my Nikon D3200 (purchased from my college days) to document this trip. 
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View from our hop-on/hop-off bus tour (My advice? Skip the ride– not necessary. Save your Euros for a bigger city bus tour like Barcelona!)

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Belém– Mosteiro dos Jerónimos

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Pastéis de Belém— arguably serve the best egg custard in the world.… READ FULL POST

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks & Travel Updates

I am still very much in the process of downloading all of my Lisbon and Madrid pictures from my camera to my computer, so please bear with me on my overdue travel adventure post that will be coming up shortly!

John and I will be leaving the beautiful city of Madrid tomorrow for the equally stunning Barcelona. I have been asking a lot of Spanish locals about the distinct difference between these two cities– one compared Madrid as the “quirky cousin” to the “hippy and cool” Barcelona. Interesting. I will make my own judgements soon and cannot wait to share them with y’all!

Today, however, I really wanted to write a post about some of my favorite items from this year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale! I know Grace wrote about some of her favorites just last week so I wanted to make sure that I do the same. I will divide my selections into three sections; my own purchases (some of which are already waiting for me in my apartment for my return!!), my wishlist for when I am rolling in dough, and the items I bought from the early access sale that are no longer available.… READ FULL POST

Lisa and John’s Europe Tour 2015

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Madrid At Twilight HD Desktop Background

Photo: PATCH

John and I have officially begun our three-week adventure through Europe! We landed in Lisbon today and will be making our way to Madrid, next, followed by Barcelona, Nice, Copenhagen, Santorini, and Athens! It will be such a thrilling, magical, and (most likely!) tiring ride– and we are on the edge of our seats with excitement.

Whenever we end our journey in one city, I will compile a photo blog post that will highlight all of the attractions from our itinerary. When we return home in August, I will be sure to finally finish my “Europe Planning 101” post so that if you are thinking about your next European excursion, I can provide some helpful suggestions ahead of time!

Until we meet again, have a wonderful beginning of your week wherever you might be! 🙂… READ FULL POST

Wishlist Wednesday: Beautiful Beaches (Guest Post by Grace)

While we were texting, Lisa gleefully informed me that today was the first day of her summer break.  While I am definitely happy that she gets a well-deserved rest, there is a petulant little girl in me that is pouting because those of us with 9-5 jobs don’t get a 3 month vacation.  Hence, this week’s “Wishlist Wednesday” is a mental vacation post (because who doesn’t love a trip to the beach?!).  The beach has always been my relaxing refuge, and listening to the waves is guaranteed to make me feel better.  So read on for a few beaches I’d love to escape to!

1) Cannon Beach, OR

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Even though I’ve only been here once, this beach is one of the first that pops in my head when I think of relaxing beaches.  A friend and I went on Memorial Day a few years ago, and perhaps we got there at the perfect time because the beach was almost deserted, the sun was setting beautifully on the Pacific (I’m quite partial to the colors of a Northwest sunset), and it was absolutely serene.  I hope to go back again soon, and hopefully enjoy a few hours of blissful tranquility.… READ FULL POST

Five Highlights of the Week

I just got back tonight from a four days, three nights camping adventure with my oh-so-energetic kiddos to Virginia. What a trip! I can honestly say that I have a newfound appreciation toward parents– especially ones who have more than one child! Taking care of forty scholars (and their ever-changing needs) twenty-four hours a day was no easy feat. On top of that, our anticipated four hour bus ride back today turned into an eight hour adventure because our bus driver got lost and traffic was a nightmare (oh, by the way, did I forget to mention that the air conditioning on the bus broke toward the beginning of the ride?!) Needless to say, I am mentally and physically spent, and will definitely be taking this entire weekend to fully recuperate!

With that said, this week was also one full of crazy “highs” for me and I know I will be focusing more on remembering these moments (rather than the exhaustion) in the long run!

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1. I officially moved out of my studio apartment this past Monday! It was such a bittersweet moment. As you guys know, I loved every moment of living there. Unfortunately, the space was just too limited for both John and I.… READ FULL POST

Wishlist Wednesday: Food Deliciousness in Seattle (Guest Post by Grace)

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Full disclosure: I am currently on pre-vacation mode, so pretty much everything going through my brain at the moment is vacation-related.  Since Lisa has graciously told me that my wishlists can be about anything on my mind, today’s post is all about the food I cannot wait to sink my teeth into.

Definitely at the top of the list: doughnuts.  I haven’t eaten a good doughnut in almost 2 years, since I got addicted to Top Pot Doughnuts in Seattle, and this is one of the things I haven’t been able to stop thinking about for the last 2 weeks as my impending vacation got closer.  I’m a classic kind of gal, so their Old Fashioned ones are my favorite, though their others are good too!  They’re made fresh throughout the day, and the OF’s are juuuust crunchy enough on the outside, and super moist on the inside, with a little bit of a glaze on top.  I already know I’m waking up on Friday morning, and making a beeline for my closest Top Pot to satisfy my slightly ridiculous craving.

I’m usually more of a savory kind of girl, so surprisingly, the next item on my list is also a sweet: Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream Shop.  … READ FULL POST