Pike place market, Starbucks’ birthplace, mountains, and wilderness. The fam and I headed west this past July to explore a bit of the great state of Washington. These are some of the scenery photos and snapshots from the trip. Seattle has has a nice mix of features; it’s urban on the inside, but within minutes you can plant yourself in the middle of mother nature’s finest terrain. And let’s not forget the food – I ate seafood all day, everyday for four days straight. Here’s to reliving that trip for a quick minute. :)
Here’s the gallery from my second weekend here in France, which was spent in the nation’s capital! This was Lucas’ last weekend in town so we decided to do some exploring before he made his way homeward. Most of these photos were taken on the walking tour we did Sunday morning so get ready to feast your eyes on several historical landmarks and things as such. Next time I visit, I plan to dig deeper into the city, but since this was Luc D’s first time in Pairs, it was necessary to be tourists. Sooo without further ado..
Next up is Lyon and a Sunday hiking trip in the Alps. :)
Here’s the gallery from our weekend in Milan back in August! Shortly after arriving in Grenoble, Lucas and I traveled to meet Ashley, who is currently working in Deutschland. We explored the sites, sounds, and flavors of Milan and the World Expo. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be there with a couple of my closest friends. Here’s a short glimpse into our travels.
This isn’t meant to be a travel blog by any means – I don’t get to get out of the Midwest enough – but I would like share my adventures here from time to time. At the end of last month, I attended a photography workshop in Southern California. The workshop was on a Tuesday so my mom and I decided to make a vacation of it and leave the weekend before! Here are some highlights from our trip:
We rented a house/condominium from a home rental site. Now, this wasn’t as great as we expected because we had to leave the place we originally booked as soon as we got there Saturday evening due to a rodent issue (gross). After a long day of travel and a couple of hours of back and forth with the agency, we decided to stay at one of the hotels in town until we could figure what our next move was.
Sunday the rental property management lined up a new place to stay (rodent free!) and gave us a gift card to a really nice lunch on the beach. I’m not here to give reviews, but I think they handled the situation mediocrely. On the bright side, they reimbursed us for our troubles so that was a plus. On the other hand, it was difficult to get a straight answer from them in our communications, and we ended having to wait 45 minutes longer for our new place than they initially told us. Not to mention, the previous evening when we spent 2+ hours trying to get ahold of the manager on call. Although I am willing to give vacation home renting another try, the hassel really cut into our plans. But it was fun feeling like a local resident for a few days! Here are some snaps of our condo:
Nothing too fancy, but certainly beachy. I was really digging the fireplace!
Sunday was a recoup day. We walked on the beach, went to lunch, had drinks, moved into our new home, and watched the sun set over the ocean (even got to see a beach marriage!). We were tired Sunday, and I had homework to catch up on so we turned in early.
Monday we ventured out after our morning walk on the beach. By the way, the waves on the Pacific coast are much bigger than I remember. Plus, there are TONS of surfers, naturally. Made me kind of want to be a surfer – reverting back to my Blue Crush obsession.After the beach, we headed to Temecula, which is about an hour north of La Jolla. Once we arrived in Old Town, we journeyed to the Temecula Olive Oil Co. for some tastings. Every single one of their oils was locally grown and delicious, but we could only fit so much in our suitcase.
We, then, headed out to Temecula wine country – much anticipated – and stopped and had a few tastings before they closed for the day. The wine was GOOD! You know how I like my wine. Well even if you don’t, I was in heaven and I had a sudden urge to move there to become a wine taster at one of the wineries there. I’m kind of kidding but not exactly. Either way, I’ll digress.
Our main event in Temecula on Monday was the pre-workshop dinner. It was out at the farm that the photography workshop was being held. I was really happy to get to meet Skye, the workshop creator, again and some of the other attendees prior to the workshop. I really love networking and meeting new people so this was right up my alley.
Tuesday was the Sweetlight Collective workshop! And that deserves a whole other post in itself so I’ll stop there for now.
I can’t believe the marathon was 3 weeks ago already. I’ve been holding off on this post for a few reasons, but mainly it’s because it has been hard to put the emotions from that day into words. The whole weekend was nothing short of amazing and I can’t thank my mom, my aunt Nancy, and Lucas enough for coming along to support me. I’m also super thankful that Kyle was there to run too. He helped A TON with last minute plans and pre-race jitters. As I begin to write this, the events of that day begin to flood my mind again and I can’t help but be filled with a bit of somber emotion because it was such a happy day. It’s such a surreal feeling – I ran a marathon, I actually did it.
I can’t tell you what it feels like, but I can say it is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever done. I honestly think it was the best day of my life. Picture this: 45,000 runners, all running for a personal goal but doing it together at once. Some running for a cause or a loved one. Others just for themselves.
Over the course of the race, I experienced several (probably a couple hundred) different emotions. The sites, the sounds, the crowd cheering, the runners helping one another out. The runner’s high..
I ran as a part of American Cancer Society DetermiNation team – I ended up fundraising $1525!! And I thank every single person who donated to my fundraiser – I can’t say how happy I feel that my friends and family supported me and helped donate toward the fight to end cancer. I will say that fundraising was the highlight of my training. It kept me motivated when I was feeling defeated. Check out my first post about the marathon + fundraising for ACS here.
As for on the course, every time someone yelled out “Yeah, DNation!” it was like a boost of energy. There are over a million spectators at the Chicago Marathon but having fans there routing for YOUR team really helps.
Below is a photo from later in the race. Around mile 23-24 (I think). I think I had a moment with God there. My feet and my calves and knees were burning and aching and I knew that I needed it to be over soon. So from time to time, I would close my eyes and just let my legs carry themselves. It was the best feeling and the worst pain at the same time. But my legs just kept on moving forward.
By the time the last mile came around, I was ready to kick into gear and finish. My miles had gotten slower during the second half of the race but from my calculations with my watch, I knew I could finish in under four hours if I stepped it up.
I finished strong and in a heap of excitement. Prior to the race, I thought I might get emotional at the finish because during the week leading up to the race I teared up at the thought of it. But the finish was different – it was a feeling of fulfillment, like everything was at an equilibrium and it was exactly where I was meant to be.
I had done a pretty good job staying on task with hydrating and fueling throughout the race (although it felt like a part-time job), but I think that really helped with my energy levels. During training, Lucas rode his bike with me during long runs; doing so got me used to drinking and eating when necessary and I presume it helped me not get stomach cramps on-course. (Thanks a million Lucas!)
All in all, the whole experience was a success, knee issues and all. I knew instantly after crossing the finish line that I wanted to do another one (something I hadn’t experienced with half marathons). As for now, I’m all signed up for the St. Jude Rock’n’Roll Marathon in Nashville this April with some friends – I can’t wait!
Ever picnicked on a train? Neither had I until last week’s impromptu trip to Chi-town. Abbie is leaving for France in less than a month so she needed to go get her visa for her 9-month study abroad. Closest US Embassy is in Chicago and that’s how our mini-vaca was initiated!
In order to make the most out of our 30 hour trip, we decided that a picnic on the train there was a must. We planned extensively for a course course train picnic and no, we did not go overboard. We get our fair share of curious glances, and ended making some new friends after I spilled my wine. (*Traveling tip: others are way more apt to make friendly conversation when you seem friendly and are having a good time; i.e spilling wine and laughing about it.)
Anyway here was our train picnic menu:
- Appetizer: hummus and veggies + Sofia sparkling wine
- Main Course: Proscuitto Mozzarella Presses Sanwichs + Caprese Pasta Salad
- Wine Pairing: Cab Sav
- Dessert: Nutella, Oreo, Cream Cheese Mixture that looked like crap and didn’t travel well. We all must except failure in life, right?
We were very hyped up for the trip.
Arriving at Union Station a few short hours later felt great. We quickly checked into the hotel, and began exploring. We walked around for a bit until settling on a place to grab a night cap. We had a big day ahead of us!
We woke up to this Thursday morning, and after a great run along the lakefront and Abbie’s meeting with the French consulate, we set out for more adventure.
The highlight of our day was renting the city bikes! If you are ever in Chicago, I really recommend doing this. They are just seven dollars to rent and you can get around super easy, especially on the lakefront.
We stopped at Navy Pier to relax and have a refreshment. I’ve been to Navy Pier before, but this time it was looking extra beautiful. I think maybe the awesome weather had something to do with it.
Our last stop of the day was meeting our friend Ashley before heading to a rooftop brewery for a drink and our train ride home. Lucky for us, Ashley had planned a weekend trip to Carbondale so the three of us got to ride the train home together. It was a short and sweet, yet fun and refreshing mini-trip!
What’s your favorite thing to do in Chicago? I’d love to get some insights for my next trip there.
What better way to take advantage of a 65 degree summer day than to grab some kayaks and head to the lake?? This was my third time kayaking with Lucas this summer and I am loving it even more each time I go. Plus, I’ve really started to get the hang of the correct rowing technique which has helped the enjoyability of my time on the water. The water was a bit rough from the wind this time, but the beautiful weather and scenery made up for it!
I had been looking for new outdoor adventures lately to mix up the everyday hustle and grind. And when it got a little warm for hiking during the latter part of this spring, I decided that kayaking would be my next pet project. And the rest is history. Only if the rent on these babies wasn’t so high!
Meet my water companion and tour guide, Lucas. I don’t know what I would have done without hime showing me the ropes on how to be a successful “yakker”. I think I actually do know – I would’ve flipped or been down stream without a paddle by now. ; ) …