On Wednesday, when asked if I could take a last minute trip to San Diego, my answer was obviously YES (caps lock intended). In my Resolutions post, travel ranked as my number one goal for 2017. While I love, LOVE, Seattle and the Pacific Northwest, I realized that I need to get out and about a bit more. Fast forward to today, Saturday, and my first trip of the year is off to a spectacular start.

 

I have never been to San Diego before, so I spent most of yesterday asking colleagues, Uber drivers, random strangers, etc. for recommendations for what to do this weekend. When I arrived, the Seattle weather had clearly tried to follow me – the quintessential Southern California sun had been replaced with hazy grey clouds – so I didn’t have high hopes for catching up on my Vitamin D absorption while I was here. Imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning, and the forecast of clouds turned into a perfectly sunny day.

 

I made my way from my hotel near the office, down to Coronado on the recommendation of one of my colleagues. They didn’t steer me wrong, as I absolutely loved my time hanging around Hotel del Coronado. I arrived around 11am, and spent a little while exploring the grounds of the hotel, admiring both the Victorian architecture of the hotel as well as the beautiful landscaping.

 

 

 

The hotel has been host to Presidents and celebrities for well over a century, and served as inspiration for Disney World’s Grand Floridian Hotel, which may explain the child-like glee I felt while exploring the grounds. Everything was so beautiful, and so well thought out. The lobby took my breath away, as the contrast between the sunny, bright exterior and the dark, rich interior was very unexpected.

 

 

As I made my way through the lobby, I exited through double doors out into the courtyard. Sets of flamingo pink lawn furniture were shaded by cabanas, set in the midst of lush green grass and gardens filled with palm trees and birds of paradise. I was definitely not in Seattle anymore.

 

 

As I made my way through the hotel, I found myself out at the beach. I didn’t have many plans this weekend, but hanging out at the beach was the one thing I knew I had to do (no matter what the weather was like). This beach experience was quite different than what I can find at home – no rocks, driftwood, or seaweed for as far as the eye could see.

 

 

 

 

 

I came across a bike rental as I walked down the beach, and decided to take a beach cruiser out for the afternoon. I biked a total of 14 miles, taking the Bayshore Bikeway down about 5 miles and back, and then meandered through the residential streets along the golf course, making a mental list of all the homes I’d love to live in along the way.

 

 

After the bike ride, I settled in at the beach-side bar at the hotel, and ordered a Spicy Mojito to sip on in the sun while I read. I passed the time this way – reading, sipping, people watching and sunning – for a few hours until sunset was upon us.

 

 

I frantically took photos of the shore while soaking up those last rays of sunshine. Sandy, salty, and a bit sunburned, I walked away from the surf and back toward the hotel ready to go back to my own hotel for an early night in. I certainly was a bit too windblown and damp from wading in the waves to get the shot I didn’t quite feel appropriately dressed for dinner at any of the beautiful seaside restaurants at The Del. All in all, I feel as though I packed the activities of a whole beach vacation into one day, and am so happy that I was able to take some time to relax in the sun. I can’t wait to come back on my next trip, and would love to stay at The Del next time I’m in San Diego for a weekend!

 


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During my recent trip to Australia for work, I got to spend a day just bring a tourist. I signed up to go on a tour bus style trip down to the coast to pet koalas and kangaroos, and spy on some fairy penguins as they came in from the sea for the night. I didn’t know that I would be the actual youngest person on the trip, and I didn’t know that we would be stopping at such a beautiful beach.

 

Had I missed the bus, and gotten stuck on Smiths Beach, that would have been just fine by me. I stood with my feet in the warm sand, and started to imagine my new, Aussie beach bum life. I would get a tan again, maybe learn how to surf, and I’d have fab beach waves on a daily basis. It wouldn’t be too bad. Unfortunately, I did get back to the bus on time. But I did find my new “happy place” that I can visit whenever Seattle is feeling a bit too grey and cold. _MG_8568 _MG_8570 _MG_8572 _MG_8575

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I went to Alaska with my Dad back in June, and cannot believe that I haven’t posted anything about the trip (actually, I can believe it, as the blog had been collecting dust for almost the entire year).

A few months before the trip, my Dad called me up during work and asked if I’d like to join him on his annual fly fishing trip in Alaska. As you can imagine, my answer was a very enthusiastic “YES”. He has been fishing with the same guides for longer than I’ve been alive, so to be invited to tag along was really exciting.

We flew into Anchorage, and the flight there was probably the most beautiful flight I’ve ever been on (pictured above). The mountains and glaciers in various shades of blue and white will remain one of my favorite sights. From Anchorage, we flew to Bethel, and then on to Quinhagak on a private plane. When I say private plane, I really mean that there are no roads over the tundra, and we were the only two passengers on a plane that could carry 12 people and cargo…

Quinhagak is on the southwestern coast along the Kanektok River. Our camp was a few miles up river, and was only accessible by boat. This was definitely the most remote place I’ve ever been. We spent every day out on the river fishing for Rainbow Trout and Salmon. I spent about half of that time reading and trying to stay warm. Even though I don’t consider myself to be an avid angler, it was so rewarding to feel a tug on the line and find that the hook caught a fish and not a root! I enjoyed learning to fly fish, taking photos, and disconnecting from real life; but more than anything, I was excited to get to share in one of my Dad’s favorite places and activities.

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 Dad with a fish on the line
 
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 A dark, old Rainbow Trout

 

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The most massive trout of the trip. Rainbowsaurus Rex

 

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Chum Salmon have the coolest “tiger stripes” 
 
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Close-up

 

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With Dad and a Rainbow Trout 

 

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 King Salmon – I actually caught this on a rod meant for a trout… This was quite the arm workout!

 

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Quinnie, the camp dog.

 

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The Kenektok River

 

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A few weeks ago I went to Bainbridge Island for the first time with my Mom. I can’t believe that it took me over a year to hop on the ferry and visit this little island across the sound. With its boutique lined main street, tall trees, and cute little houses, Bainbridge reminds me so much of my childhood hometown in Connecticut. I only took a few photos during the day, but I am so glad that I caught some of the autumn colors at Bainbridge Winery and forced Brodie to pose with some pumpkins.

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please, please, please pay attention to that fabulous sea lion in the back. 

I know that most people don’t find work travel to be all that exciting or glamorous, but I just came back home to Seattle from SUCH a fun trip to San Francisco. I was sent there for two days for work with a few of my good friends, and tacked on an extra day for sight seeing, and loved just about every minute of it. I just wish I had more time to spend there!

I have a bit of a history with quick trips to San Francisco – as my only other time visiting the city lasted less than 48 hours in 2012 for a job interview. Even with such brevity as 48 hours then, and 72 hours now, it is totally possible to have an amazing time in this city. Here are a few things from each of my quick trips to SF…

On a semi unrelated note – comparing photos from two different trips, two years apart from each other, is really interesting. It is so cool to see how much I have grown as far as my camera skills are concerned. I hesitate to say “photography” because I can’t take myself that seriously…

2012:

After spending most of the day having brunch and generally bopping around with one of my friends in the city, I took one of the famous trolleys up to Lombard Street. This was not without a fair bit of hill climbing on my own, though. I knew I had to check out the world’s most crooked street, as my Great Aunt said that is was one of her favorite things in SF when she had visited more than 20 years ago. I would love to live along side such a crazy street, especially since it is filled with Hydrangeas.

From Lombard Street, I made my descent to the water, and caught an amazing view of Alcatraz at sunset. The fog was beginning to roll in, and was breath taking. Coming from Texas, where everything is dry and flat, it was amazing to see how different this city was from Austin.

I’m not sure why this photo is so washed out – I really don’t remember making that editing decision – but for the sake of posterity and comparison, it stays. I made my way down to Pier 39 to check out the Sea Lions and fell in love. They are the weirdest and most wonderful combination of the mermaid version of cats and puppies, and I cannot say how much I love them.

2015:

This time around, I had a bit more time to spend, so I was able to fit in some more than just a very steep walk. On Thursday, my friends and I walked over 10 miles; usually this would be awesome, but I sprained my ankle last week, so it was a bit of a struggle that ended in a very ugly ankle. It was totally worth it though. We walked through Chinatown, went to the Ferry building and had the most AMAZING ice cream ever, and had a delicious seafood dinner at Scoma’s. Friday was all work, and then some play with friends for dinner and drinks. I met up with the same friend that I hung out with in 2012, and literally ran into a friend from Austin in a bar. For as big as the world is, it sure can be small…

Saturday was the day, though. We woke up, went to brunch, and then set sail on a Catamaran to tour the harbor. This is by far my favorite part of the trip. I found Adventure Cat tours online, and would recommend it to anyone who loves chill, classy times. What is better than Cali wine, Jazz, Sailing, and beautiful views? Nothing, that’s what.

Fun fact: I bought the exact same style of Minnetonka moccasins on my last trip to SF. Both times, I was wearing inappropriate shoes for the amount of walking I’d be doing. I had been waiting to replace my old pair for some reason, and now I know why…. Even with such comfy shoes, kicking my feet up on the cruise was utter bliss. 

We all let everyone else do the hard work.

The weather was perfect for us, but the storm clouds rolling in didn’t bode well for the later cruise…

I would want in on that cuddle, but I cannot unsee the things that these guys were laying in… ew.
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