August Travel Round Up

August 2019 found us with back to back weekends traveling. We also kept it local for a couple of weekends and hiked in the Umpqua Basin. We saw plenty of friends from far away and closer by. I catered a wedding with friends from Croatia and our babies got to meet each other for a second time. I got tons of mosquito bites and a gnarly case of poison oak that reared its ugly head at the wedding (read: PUS and BLOOD).

Seattle is always a fun misadventure; we had the cops called on us this time because our babies were screaming loudly in an AirBnB. I think we’re going to try to stay in either single family homes or extended stay hotels. Our extended stay hotels in Beaverton and Lake Oswego on the way to Seattle were fantastic.

DESTINATIONS VISITED

PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA

We catered a wedding in Placerville, which is east of Sacramento and west of Tahoe. It’s an old gold mining town that we didn’t end up spending much time in. Since I was busy working, I didn’t have the chance to take any photos.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON

Excellent breakfast of dungeness crab eggs benedict and herbed potatoes

Excellent breakfast of dungeness crab eggs benedict and herbed potatoes

Watson falls, oregon

Twin A is unimpressed with the third highest waterfall in Oregon.

Twin A is unimpressed with the third highest waterfall in Oregon.

TOKETEE FALLS, OREGON

Iconic Toketee Falls in the Umpqua Basin.

Iconic Toketee Falls in the Umpqua Basin.

HIGHLIGHTS

August was a fantastic travel month. I loved seeing my friend Maddy and catering a wedding with her. I got to see my friend Scott in Seattle and hang out in an awesome sci-fi themed coffee shop. I hiked to two amazing waterfalls in one day.

WHAT I READ

I’ve been reading the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny. There are more than ten books in the series, and I’m not sure which one I’m on. I also re-read some old favorites by Jane Casey and her newest in the Maeve Kerrigan series.

WHAT I WATCHED

We started watching Barry starring Bill Hader. I can’t believe this is the same guy who played Stefan on SNL. He’s an absolutely incredible actor plus he wrote and directed some of the episodes. I thoroughly enjoy the show, but I do think they need to get some more female writers as the female characters are rather weak, though I do like the detective Janice.

We also watched the crazy Russian supernatural thriller Gogol. This eight part series is a fictionalized mash-up of Gogol’s stories and his life. While I read The Nose in college, I had never read anything else about Gogol and knew nothing about the man. The show is super campy fun, and I quite enjoyed it.

COMING UP IN SEPTEMBER 2019

We’re going to be sticking around town in September though we’ll probably get some hiking in before the school year starts.

What to Do in Seattle (2019 Edition)

What to Do in Seattle (2019 Edition)

There are the typical tourist activities like Pike's Place Market and the Space Needle, which you can read more about here. But together those won't take more than half a day. There's food tours, underground city tours focusing on the seedy underbelly and dark past of Seattle, and the colorful Chihuly exhibit right in the shadow of the Space Needle. Here are my recommendations for what to do in Seattle. 

Where to Eat in Seattle (2019 edition)

Where to Eat in Seattle (2019 edition)

I love reading negative reviews on Yelp, Amazon, Rotten Tomatoes, etc., especially restaurant reviews for places I've enjoyed eating at. A feeling of self-righteousness fills me: well, I had a good experience there. You must have done something wrong, ordered incorrectly, or just plain don't have good taste if you didn't enjoy it. My favorites are things like, "I went to a super popular brunch place on Sunday at 11 am and we had to wait forty-five minutes even though the hostess told us it would be forty minutes!!!! One star!!!" or "There were no healthy options at [restaurant known for its decadent menu options and has all menus available online for preview]. I couldn't eat. One star."

July Travel Round Up

July Travel Round Up

On the trip back to Ashland, we visited Muir Beach which we went to several years ago with our friends Nan and John. It is one of my favorite beaches in the North Bay. From there, we drove up to Napa and had amazing sandwiches at Live Fire Pizza at the Oxbow Public Market. The Oxbow Public Market in Napa is a great place to take kids because it is casual, has high chairs available, and has outdoor seating. I ordered the mortadella sandwich which was mortadella, stracciatella di bufala (a cheese from the southern Apulia region of Italy), salsa verde, and arugula. The fatty mortadella and creamy stracciatella were offset by the peppery arugula and acidity of the salsa verde. It was a magnificent sandwich. Al ordered the meatball sandwich which he said was fantastic; it was also Baby A approved.

The Weekly Round-Up - June 23

The Weekly Round-Up - June 23

I plan on trying to blog more in the upcoming weeks. Since having the twins, I feel I have been remiss with my blogging and traveling. While our lives haven’t slowed down, the amount of traveling we do certainly has. We were planning to travel to Europe this summer, but those have been put aside for visiting friends and family along the west coast. I hope to keep updating everyone on our lives (mostly babies), travels, and what we’re eating and drinking.

Upper Table Rock: A Great Family Hike

Upper Table Rock: A Great Family Hike

Located in the northern section of the Rogue Valley between Medford and Grants Pass sit two imposing mesas: Upper and Lower Table Rocks. Rising hundreds of feet above the surrounding landscape, these flat-topped monoliths provide excellent views of Mt. McLoughlin, the Rogue River, and the communities of the Rogue Valley.

How to Get Your Babies a United States Passport

How to Get Your Babies a United States Passport

Many new parents struggle with leaving the house. Raise your hand if you've been there. I practiced putting my six-week old twins in their car seats multiple times and had my husband check before I started leaving the house on my own with them. First, it was pushing the stroller to the grocery store and back. Then, I pushed myself to take drives while they napped; thank God for drive-thru coffee, am I right? Finally, I made the leap of faith: I drove to Target by myself with the twins and actually purchased things from the store.

What I Learned Traveling with Twins

What I Learned Traveling with Twins

There’s a learning curve to doing anything with children, especially twins. We were jumping into the great unknown when we decided to travel to upstate New York in early spring with six-month-old twins. We survived, however, even if we did learn some valuable lessons for the next time we travel.

Anthony Bourdain: A Tribute

Many others have already more eloquently expressed their grief at the passing of late television host, writer, father, and consummate cool guy Anthony Bourdain. There's not much more I can add to the conversation in words other than my heartfelt condolences for the young daughter, family, friends, and fans he left behind. He was the inspiration for many of my world travels; his books and television shows inspired me to travel to Vietnam, Iceland, Sweden, and other places. The best I can do to express my sadness at his passing is to show the places he inspired me to travel, explore, and connect with. 

Why Solo Travel Isn't For Me Anymore

Why Solo Travel Isn't For Me Anymore

Over the years, I've taken a number of solo trips abroad and closer to home. While I enjoy the freedom that solo travel provides me, I've arrived at the conclusion that I'd much rather travel with friends or my partner. I think everyone who can travel by themselves at one point in their life should; there's nothing quite like having to rely completely on your own wits day after day. But really, if I'm going to spend the money and time on traveling I'm going to do it in the way I enjoy the most: with my friends and loved ones. 

Ennisbrook Trail in San Ysidro Creek Reserve of Montecito, California

Ennisbrook Trail in San Ysidro Creek Reserve of Montecito, California

The months of December and January rocked the communities of northern Ventura and southern Santa Barbara counties. A wildfire raged through the hills and communities, tearing through areas that hadn't burned in almost a hundred years. It burned 281,893 acres, making it the largest fire in modern California history, and its seventh most destructive, destroying over a thousand structures, including a large apartment complex several blocks from my home, and two people lost their lives. You'll still find signs around the cities declaring "Ventura Strong", "Santa Barbara Strong", and "805 Strong." 

Tips for Traveling in Your First Trimester

Tips for Traveling in Your First Trimester

Our trip was already planned before I got pregnant, so it was either throw away almost $800 in flights or go through with the trip. Thankfully, we were traveling to a place within the United States, a relatively short flight away (approximately 5 hours), and was covered by my insurance. There was even a Kaiser clinic within a half-hour drive of our vacation rental. 

People are anxious during these early weeks and with good reason. Miscarriage is a reality and far more likely in the early months than at any other time. We had our first ultrasound before the trip and heard the babies' heartbeats. Our OB gave us the go-ahead for the trip, so I was relatively comfortable with the risk. However, this didn't stop me from having fears about a miscarriage thousands of feet over the blank Pacific. 

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawaii

How to Spend a Week on the Big Island of Hawaii

Earlier this month we spent a week on the big island of Hawaii. We spent most of our time on the sunny Kona side of the island, but that does not mean we ignored the wetter Hilo side. Larger than all the other Hawaiian islands combined, Hawaii offers plenty for the casual and adventurous travelers alike. 

The Best Tacos in Santa Barbara: Lilly's Taqueria vs. La Super-Rica Taqueria

The Best Tacos in Santa Barbara: Lilly's Taqueria vs. La Super-Rica Taqueria

I'm on the search for the best tacos in Santa Barbara, and I started my quest at two of Santa Barbara's favorite taquerias: Lilly's Taqueria on Chapala Street and La Super-Rica Taqueria on Milpas Street. Both popular taquerias (you'll often find a line out the door at both) serve their tacos on soft corn tortillas, but I think that's where the similarities end. But who has the better taco in Santa Barbara?

A Day of Eating Cheap in San Francisco

A Day of Eating Cheap in San Francisco

San Francisco is a great food city. There's plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants helmed by celebrated chefs. Locally sourced ingredients feature heavily on most menus, and you can find excellent examples of cuisines from all over the world there. It's a city where like to spend money on food, and dining out is a form of entertainment. But is it possible to eat well and cheap in San Francisco?

Riding the Coast Starlight: San Jose to Seattle

Riding the Coast Starlight: San Jose to Seattle

Earlier this month, I rode the Coast Starlight, an Amtrak bi-level Superliner, from San Jose to Seattle. The entire route goes from LA's Union Station to King Street Station in Seattle. Each way, the trip from San Jose to Seattle takes around twenty-four hours and costs about $111 each way. Certainly, it's a longer ride than flying and costlier, but there's a certain romanticism attached to train travel. The slow and steady chug of the wheels, the sweeping vistas that in a car you're passing too quickly to truly absorb. But there are other reasons to take the train beside great views. 

My Top 13 Travel Experiences of 2017

My Top 13 Travel Experiences of 2017

I visited two new countries (Croatia and Hungary), four new states (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Wisconsin), one United States territory (Puerto Rico). quite a few new cities, and visited a bunch of friends. The last time I totaled it, I had taken over twenty flights and went through at least sixteen airports. Here are the thirteen best moments from those travels; they're not in any particular order. 

A Day at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

A Day at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Located in south Los Angeles is Exposition Park. The 160-acre park and future site of the summer 2028 Olympics is home to the John C. Argue Swim Stadium, Banc of California Stadium, the future Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, California Science Center, Exposition Park Rose Garden, California African American Museum, and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County.