Category Archives: beach

hello, seattle.

Now on to my recap about our Pacific Northwest [mostly Seattle] trip earlier this month.

We landed late afternoon, so by the time we arrived at the W Seattle, we were in need of some dinner. We hit up Nijo Sushi, which I thought was delightful.

What a great way to start off eating in this foodie city! We then walked towards the pier to watch the sunset.

The next morning we drove to Olympic National Park. The neat thing about this particular park is the different terrains. On the coastal side sits the Pacific Ocean; whereas on the other side, it has gorgeous mountain ranges.

We hit up the coastal side first.

…and we hiked down to the picturesque beach to play in the tidepools.

We saw a handful of orcas playing off the coast, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the camera ready in time to snap pictures. It was my first time seeing them in the wild. Totally frightening!

I forgot to mention that Olympic National Park also has rainforest terrain. We spent some time walking the rainforest floor, and it was a wonderful breath of fresh air.

We then ventured towards the coast again. We passed the city of Forks along the way. Yes, that’s the vampire/werewolf town from the Twilight books. No, we didn’t see any crazy creatures. Haha! I did find it funny that there were people posing next to the Twilight signs and posters, haha!

The coast is so picturesque. Quite honestly, I have hundreds of photos, but I’ll spare you from looking at all of them.

We eventually made it up towards Hurricane Ridge, where there’s a phenomenal view of the mountain range located inside Olympic National Park.

Don’t the hills resemble the hills from the Sound of Music?! That was what I first thought when we got to the top. Anyway, aren’t the views incredible?!

By the time we got back into the city, it was pretty late, so we decided to have dinner at Shuckers Oyster Bar in the Fairmont.

Mmm, it was delicious, especially the slice of chocolate cake!

The next day [while G had to go to some work thing] I went to meet up with one of my high school friends to explore the city. I love all of the vibrant colors in the market.

We also checked out the gum wall again. It always grosses me out, so I have no idea why I took pictures of it.

We also had to drop in for a coffee at the first Starbucks store.

Later that evening, we had dinner on the waterfront at The Crab Pot. If you order the strawberry rhubarb, just know that it’s a whole loaf of yellow cake! I was expecting a slice of cake, and our waiter came out with a whole loaf pan. Needless to say, we didn’t finish even half of it, haha!

On a different day [after G was done working], we visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass venue. I love his work, so to see a handful of it was spectacular. The glass pieces looked incredible.

…and I had to take obligatory photos of the Space Needle. We decided not to go to the top because we went up it a couple of years ago, so I just snapped photos from below.

On our last day in the city, we drive a couple of hours to visit Mount Rainier National Park. It’s definitely a sight to see. I was actually surprised that the majority of the snow hadn’t melted down yet.

Some of the snow obviously melted because the park houses waterfalls all around the park. Here are just a couple of them:

After we visited the park, it was time to head back to the airport. Thank goodness our flight wasn’t too delayed.

It was nice to spend a week up in the Pacific Northwest, but it felt nice to be flying back home. Actually, after a month of being on the road, it was nice to finally spend some time at home. I love traveling and all, but sometimes, there’s nothing like being in the comfort of your own home.

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hello, bora bora.

I decided to take a hiatus from blogging, but it feels great to be back. However, while I was out, lots has happened.

Traveling has kept me [and G] busy in the past four months I’ve been absent. Quite honestly, I wish I blogged about it then so that the memories would still be crisp in my mind. However, I suppose the thousands of photos I took will allow me to remember everything.

I suppose I’ll start off recapping the big event, my 30th birthday. Gloria [majorly] surprised me with a trip to Bora Bora.

Here’s how it went:

We spent the day driving down the coast of California. My only instructions were to pack for sunny, tropical weather. I assumed that we were just doing another one of our drives down the coast.

…but instead, we were headed towards LAX. When we got to the rental car drop off at the airport, I knew we had a flight to catch. My next guess was Hawaii, but we headed towards the international gates. At this point, I knew it was someplace tropical I had never been to before. Once we arrived at the check-in counters for Air Tahiti Nui, I knew exactly where we were going. French Polynesia, here we come!

On our flight to Bora Bora, G was ecstatic that Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue was sitting behind her, haha! He’s the guy directly behind and to the right of her in the picture:

When we got closer towards the island, the view from the sky was incredible. It was unbelievably mesmerizing.

Upon arrival to the island of Bora Bora, the plane parked on the runway. All the passengers deboarded the plane to the adjacent [very little] airport. When you walked into the airport, you looked for your resort’s kiosk stand. In our case, the St. Regis Bora Bora concierge was ready to greet us with a lei and take all of our baggage. Pretty much from the time you arrive, they treat you like royalty. It’s insane!

While the other guests staying at the St. Regis were getting situated, we were told to enjoy the view and get settled in the yacht. Yup, a yacht, which means that from the airport, everyone has to take a boat or yacht to get to their booked resort.

It turns out that Nikki Sixx and his wife were headed to the St. Regis as well, except they were on their private charter [fancy!].

We were ecstatic over the “commoner” yacht, hah! I mean, c’mon, they carried all of our luggage. That was good enough for me!

One of the St. Regis concierge checked us in on the way to the resort, so it bypassed us standing in line in the lobby. Wish this happened for all hotel or resort check ins! The views on the way to the resort were breathtaking, but I got the most excited when the yacht cruised past the bungalows. It looked unreal.

Once we got to the resort, the St. Regis concierge and our personal butler were there to greet us with fresh pineapple juice, cold Evian bottled water, and cooling towels. I wasn’t joking when I said they treat you like royalty once you get there!

Check out this gorgeous lobby!

After taking a handful of pictures, our butler, Carmen, toured us around the huge property in a golf cart.

Everything still felt surreal when we got to our bungalow. We walked in, and I literally had to pinch myself just to make sure I wasn’t dreaming. By the time we got there, all of our luggage was already placed in our walk-in closet. Um, hello!? Yes, to the St. Regis butler service!

Here’s a peek into our Bora Bora home:

I couldn’t get enough of the glass floor bottoms all over the bungalow. It was so neat to watch the sea life when they’d swim by.

Because we had been in transit for a long time, I wanted to get settled and take a shower. G told me that when I was in the shower the concierge came by and dropped off SPG platinum complimentary gifts. At this point, I thought they sent over a couple of cookies or treats like they typically do when we stay at other SPG resorts. Boy, was I wrong! They royally spoil their SPG platinum guests!

If you know me, you’d know that I’m in love with French desserts, and those treats totally hit the spot. The lemon meringue was to die for, and those macarons were heavenly. After stuffing our faces with yummy delectables, we decided to get out and explore the resort.

Even after our serene walk to the main lobby, it still hadn’t hit me that we were in Bora Bora to celebrate my 30th birthday! It was when I walked towards the resort’s dock when I realized, “Holy crap! I’m in Bora Bora? …Oh my gosh! I’m in Bora Bora!”

We continued to walk around and stumbled upon the cruisers to get around the resort [that is, if you didn’t want your butler to drive you around]. Getting around on the cruisers was so much fun, especially when we got to explore all parts of the resort.

We found the resort’s lagoon with all kinds of marine life. They maintain it on an everyday basis, so guests can snorkel in there.

We even found the resort’s very own heliport [oh you know, for the rich and famous] with the gorgeous views of the open ocean. It’s on the backside of the resort, and you pretty much have to ride your bike through a dirt path. There’s tons of sharp rock on the path, so you have to be careful! It’s worth the ride though!

After playing on the backside, we went to explore the main beach on the resort.

Before the sunset, we wanted to play on our bungalow’s deck, so we hurried home on our cruisers. We were so ocean ready!

The following day was March 18th, my birthday! The sunrise was nothing like I had ever seen. It really took my breath away. What a way to have started off my 30th!

We got ready [slabbed on tons of sunblock], packed for a fun-filled day out at sea, and took our cruisers down to breakfast. We had to take advantage of their delicious breakfast. My gosh, their breakfast was amazing! Fresh tropical fruit. Yummy French inspired pastries. Charcuterie and cheeses galore. Freshly marinated olives and tapenades. Caviars and tartars. Omelettes. Freshly squeezed tropical juices. And to top it all off, they had a separate menu, which you ordered off of right after they pulled your chair out and laid your napkin on your lap. Royalty treatment, I tell ya!

…and I ordered the eggs benedict off of the menu.

Fueled up and ready to hit the ocean, we took off on our sea-fari.

It was incredible to see such untouched waters of the world. The water was so incredibly clear [and turquoise].

One of the most memorable things I have ever done in my life – swam with reef sharks and sting rays! It wasn’t scary at all. The sharks are friendly, and they mind their own business.

After swimming with the sharks and rays and playing in the coral gardens of Bora Bora, we headed back to our resort to play in the lagoon. There were some massive fish in there [about 5 feet long].

…and the birthday fun continued:

We even played a game of pool in the club lounge [which I got my butt whooped]. I didn’t care, though. It was my birthday and we were in Bora Bora!

We spent more time lounging on the beach and enjoying the walk up bar in the pool.

The day was PERFECT, in every sense of the word, but it just kept getting better. Carmen, our butler, notified us that we had to switch rooms, but we wouldn’t be disappointed. They upgraded us for my birthday to the royal over the water bungalow! Mind you, this is the bungalow you always see in the pictures of Bora Bora when you google it.

When Carmen drove us up to the bungalow, I was shocked. We had our own entry way with our very own doorbell. You open the door, and there’s a walkway to our very own private two bedroom, two bathroom bungalow, with our very own private pool.

Upon entry, there’s a main living room.

…and it’s pretty much the same set up inside as our first night, except there’s double of everything.

Below is a picture of Gloria and Carmen walking on the deck.

To make things even better, when I was in the shower, there was a special delivery just for me. Courtesy of the pastry chef of the resort, we were sent my very own birthday cake! It’s one of the best cakes I have ever had. It looks small in the pictures below, but it was much bigger in person [and so very filling].

To top of the night, we heard fireworks nearby. Sure enough, the Four Seasons resort [which is across the water] had a fireworks show going on. I’m not sure why, but we’ll just keep thinking it was in celebration of my 30th, haha! It was so beautiful; the island is so remote, so the lights glistened on the water.

The following day we woke up at the crack of dawn just to watch the sun rise. The colors in the sky were lit up, and it looked so magical.

For the rest of the day, we pretty much swam in our pool, played in the ocean, and lounged around on our deck.

That night we hopped on over to the Le Meridien, as there was no availability left at the St. Regis for the last night we were on the island. It wasn’t as fancy as the St. Regis, but it was still nice [with gorgeous views] for a Starwood property.

Below are some photos from the inside of our bungalow. It had a huge glass floor bottom, a walk in closet, and super modern bathroom.

We played on our deck a lot. Well, we mostly watched the sea creatures that swam under and around the bungalow.

While we were outside on our deck, we heard someone knock on our front door. It was the concierge dropping off more gifts. Yummy macarons, delicious macaroons, and fancy champagne to end the night!

While we were there, we also got to see hawksbill turtles.

…and we snorkeled some more. Seriously, I can’t get tired of playing in the ocean!

Sadly, this was the last sunrise we saw on our vacation, and it has been missed since I last saw it.

Best vacation of my life. Ever. Until I go back, I’m not sure what could top this trip. I feel so incredibly blessed to have been given the opportunity to see this part of the world. I have left a piece of my heart there, so I know I’ll have to go back in the future. Hopefully soon, I’ll be basking in the sun on the beautiful island of Bora Bora once again.

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our kayak adventure

Yup, a post is definitely overdue. I was meaning to write about our water adventure a few weeks back, but I never got around to it. Eh, well here goes.

Earlier this month, we decided that it had been almost a year since our last kayak adventure. It was definitely time for a kayak excursion. Early one Saturday morning, we went to our favorite kayaking spot in Monterey Bay. We spent a few hours paddling out and enjoying the pretty views.

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We spotted a crap load of sea nettles, a raft of otters, and so many seals. Definitely an awesome sight to see.

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I think the best part about this adventure was that we packed food and water in our water sack, and we had a picnic sitting in our kayak on the water. Food? On a kayak? Yes, please!

Me wants to do this again soon! Hopefully, it won’t be another year when we next kayak.

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winter cha 2014, california adventure, and disneyland.

I can’t believe that our much anticipated girls’ weekend is already over. We had this road trip planned for over half a year, and it came and went so quickly. Maybe we need to start planning another trip because I’m going through fun withdrawals already.

Anyway, our original intention was to go to the winter CHA mega show to check out all of the latest in the craft industry. Yup, we went and gawked over all the pretty new things (my favorites being a handful of the new Lawn Fawn stamp sets)…

…but the fun actually started when we went to play in the parks! We hit up California Adventure first.

There’s no way in heck that I’d get on California Screamin’! You couldn’t even pay me to ride that rollercoaster, but the two daredevils couldn’t wait to get on that ride. Can you spot Ann and G in the picture below?! What crazies, haha!

It was also my first time to ride the Radiator Springs Racers ride! I loved the exhilaration of it. Below are a couple of pictures that Ann snapped of me during the ride:

…and believe it or not, me and Shaleen actually got on the ferris wheel that night. Here’s a view from up top:

We also went to Disneyland. We wanted to make use of the girls’ annual passes, haha!

Shaleen’s fabulous cousin was actually working a face painting shift when we there, so guess what we did?!

…and more random snapshots from our day in Disneyland:

Our favorite little hangout place, Trader Sam’s Echanted Tiki Bar.

On our way back up, we took the long, scenic drive. We drove through Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Yup, we even went down Rodeo Drive. Then, we drove up the coast to keep us entertained. We stopped in Santa Barbara to grab lunch at the harbor, and then we headed home.

I still can’t believe that trip came and went. I wish it was longer. Boo! Well, I guess that just means we’ll have to plan another trip in the future.

PS: Thanks, Ann, for letting me use some of your photos. They turned out fabulous!

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in the redwood forest.

It’s pretty much been eons since the last time I was up North in Redwood National Park. I remember being a little girl and looking up at those giant trees; it made me feel so incredibly small. Even as an adult, standing next to them still made me feel so very tiny. These ancient trees are truly spectacular, and it was such a pleasure to go camping among these giants.

Upon arrival, we had to stop at the first visitor center to get one of the National Park Passport cancellation stamp. It wouldn’t be a trip to a national park without getting stamp(s), hehe! The views behind the visitor center were phenomenal.

It seemed like miles and miles of sand that stretched along the California coast. It’s quite impressive!

After spending some time at the beach, my brother and his fiancee suggested we check out Fern Canyon. I’m so glad that they did because it’s such a sight to see. Basically, you hike on a semi-muddy trail that runs right next to a stream. At some points on the path, you have to maneuver over fallen tree trunks and branches. The trail is actually the valley floor of the canyon, and the sides of the canyon have abundant fern rooted onto its walls.

If you plan on hiking this path, prepare to get semi-wet. We went later in the summer, so I’m sure the water level is low compared to other times of the year. Nonetheless, it’s a neat place to explore.

Here are some other random images of that we captured on our way to our campsite:

There’s an abundance of elk roaming the grounds of this national park! I swear we saw them all over the place. 

A pretty shot of one of the many rivers we drove over!

We set up camp that evening and hit the sacks pretty early because the next morning we hit up Enderts Beach. To get there, you have to hike about 1/2 mile to the shore. It was frightening, however, to see warning signs that indicated that mountain lions were sighted on that trail a couple of days ago. We were cautious though! As far as the trail, it gets steep at some points, but the tide pools below are worth it.

We had a blast splashing around on the beach! My favorite part about Enderts Beach is the incredible tide pools. They are loaded with different types of starfish and thousands of anemones. I would’ve spent all day there if I could. If you ever make it up there, make sure to follow the tides for the best tidepooling conditions!

On our trek back up the cliff side, we kept spotting tons of banana slugs eating all of the vegetation. Check out this one that was making its way on the trail:

Heading out from the trail head, there were people stopped looking off to the side of the road. We couldn’t figure out what they were looking at until we saw a huge elk!

Isn’t it crazy that his antlers are the size of the fence post?!

For lunch, we headed up towards Oregon and had lunch at a local seafood joint in the Port of Brookings Harbor called Sportshaven Marina. Their clam chowder was amazingly delicious. Mmm, mmm!

On our way back down towards California, we drove into Jedediah State Park, where they house some of the tallest and oldest trees in the world.

It’s amazing how far they stretch up into the sky. You feel so small standing next to one of these giants. Speaking of small, as we trekked through Jedediah State Park, I kept imagining Ewoks roaming around the woods, haha! After exploring a handful of the forest floors, we took a walk (and relaxed) in Crescent City.

Although it was foggy, it felt nice to get some fresh ocean air and breeze after a long day.

On our last day, we headed South. Again, we were impressed by the gorgeous ocean views and the abundance of ancient trees.

Later that day, we headed South towards Fort Bragg and Mendocino to check out the Glass Beach. Unfortunately, we didn’t shoot any pictures with the SLR. Boo! (I guess that just means we’ll have to take another road trip, haha!) 

I had a blast this weekend. Sometimes, being out in the wilderness reminds you just how magnificent our world is. It’s a great reminder to take time to appreciate what the world really has to offer us.

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