Central Park & The Met

It is fall, but it doesn’t really feel like fall yet here in California. When it gets to be this time of year, I usually dream of the east coast, where there is a more noticeable change of seasons. In my mind, there is no better place than New York City in the fall. I am getting nostalgic for our trip there 3 years ago, so I thought I would share a bit about a day we spent there!

On this particular day, we wandered around Central Park and visited the Metropolitan Museum. I remember my boyfriend, Dai, acting a bit secretive and insisting that we had to arrive at Central Park at a certain time, but then as we were walking, he stopped at a restaurant and I was told to wait outside. Kind of unusual, but I took photos of the neighborhood we were in at the time while I waited patiently for him.centralpark7.jpgWhen he walked out, he had a bag and led me to the park, where we took our time wandering around until we came to a nice rock fit for sitting near the lake. And then, of course, he pulled this little picnic out of the bag and we had a lovely time sitting there, freezing, and eating our picnic. It was really so sweet and thoughtful of him to plan something like that for us.centralpark3.jpg
We continued to wander around the many different parts of Central Park, and I decided that it would be a good idea to climb up there to sit on Alice’s lap. Which it wasn’t and I nearly slipped and broke my neck.centralpark4.jpgcentralpark2.jpgthemet5.jpg
After we had our fill of the park, we made our way to the Met. I didn’t know much about the Met prior to our visit, but it is beautiful and very interesting. Just sitting on the steps is a nice experience.themet8.jpg
I really loved seeing all the different works of art and exploring the many different sections of the museum, but this room in particular was my very favorite. First of all, this section is huge. It is tall with tons of open space, and for whatever reason, I felt the need to skip along and do my “happy dance,” as Dai and I have come to call it, which apparently is very entertaining. There may or may not be photos, but I will spare you.themet11.jpg
This photo in particular makes me feel like I am in a “real” museum. You know, antique and royal looking. Definitely not like the museums I have been to in CA!themet9.jpg
These photos really make me want to pack a suitcase and head to the airport! I fell in love with New York while we were there and I can’t wait to go back sometime soon, especially in the fall.


* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted


Things You Should Eat in Hawaii

We all know that one of the best parts of traveling is eating all kinds of food! I have been dreaming of the things I ate in Hawaii ever since I got back, so I thought I would share them with you all!

+ Acai bowls
Acai bowls are hands down my most favorite thing that I ate in Hawaii. They are just so good. They are simple, yet delicious and not to mention, beautiful! I tried acai bowls at several places  during our trip, but Haleiwa Bowls is the best one in my opinion! I’ve been trying to recreate acai bowls at home, but it just isn’t the same as being in Hawaii.

+ Scones from Diamond Head Market
I know this seems like an odd thing to recommend in Hawaii of all places, but I promise you, these scones are like heaven. You know how scones can be dry and gross sometimes? Well, these are the complete opposite. They are so moist and almost cake like. We had to stop on our way to the airport to get a couple more for our flight because they were just that good.
IMG_3581.JPG+ Malasadas from Leonard’s Bakery
These are like little donut pillows filled with flavored custard, and let me tell you, they are amazing. Get some and you won’t regret it! Also, eat them while they’re still hot.IMG_2983.JPG+ Loco Moco
I had a dish called loco coco for the first time when I visited Hawaii. This dish is essentially rice with a hamburger patty, egg, and a gravy on top. I had it at a couple places, but the one from Heavenly in Waikiki was definitely my favorite!

+ Poke
 I am not really a fan of poke, but I know this is definitely something Hawaii is known for! My boyfriend enjoyed some during our trip. Maybe next time I will give it a try too!
+ Shave Ice
This is another Hawaiian staple! I had some the first day we got there…and then about three other times too! Shave ice is just so nice and refreshing on a hot day.IMG_3887.JPG
+ Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck
We had heard about this shrimp truck on the North Shore and knew we had to give it a try! I am not really into seafood much, but this garlic shrimp we had was really yummy. It is a pretty long wait, though, so beware!IMG_3757.JPGIMG_3585.JPGIMG_3189.JPGOther places to visit:

All I can say is… Take me back!


* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Pike Place Market

My post the other day about 5 things to do in Seattle really made me miss that city! So, I thought I would share a bit about our time exploring Pike Place Market the first time we visited! We ended up coming here a few times throughout our trip since we really enjoyed it. It was definitely a zoo here with all of the people still soaking up the holiday break! I had seen so many photos of the iconic Pike Place Market (especially this sign!), so it was really cool to actually be here myself 🙂
During our time in Seattle, I always loved the views of Puget Sound and all of the boats and such. We obviously have a huge bay here, but there is just something different about the views of the water here! So beautiful.seattle-4
We opted to take a 2-hour tour of the market with a company called Savor Seattle. It was a great time and really helped us to understand the history of the market and its purpose, which we definitely wouldn’t have learned just wandering around on our own. We also got to try a lot of little bites to eat from vendors in the market area, like clam chowder, seafood bisque, mini doughnuts, Opal apples, tea, smoked salmon, and crab cakes.seattle-5
Our tour guide was really funny and kept our interest the entire time, which was definitely nice. We were also able to find a Groupon for the tour, so I recommend looking for one before you book to save a lot of money!seattle-6
We decided to visit the market again on our last day in Seattle since there were still some things we wanted to do like eat fish & chips and oysters (well Dai did anyway haha seafood is not my thing), grab some mini cinnamon & sugar doughnuts, and get some Opal apples to take home because they are the best! Never have I been so excited about apples.seattle-8
So there you have it! Our little visit to Pike Place Market. Looking through these photos really makes me miss Seattle! I hope we get to visit it again sometime, maybe this time in summer 🙂


* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Packing Tips for the Notorious Over-Packer

Screen Shot 2016-10-18 at 11.02.18 AM.pngIf you’re anything like me, you probably have packed a little too much on your trips. Here are some tips to simplify your packing and make your next trip easier!

+ Pack outfits, not just items
I spent many years just riffling through my drawers and closet pulling out shirts or pants that I like, without actually thinking about what I would wear with what. So, when I was on my trip and looking for clothes in my suitcase, I had to guess what I should wear with what and make outfits then and there. That was frustrating and time consuming, and resulted in me packing things that I never ended up actually wearing. To avoid this, I recommend packing complete outfits and pairing things together. You could even take it a step further and take photos or make notes of the outfits in your phone to easily refer to later.

+ Roll your clothes to save space
This isn’t really a secret, but rolling your clothes instead of folding them saves space in your suitcase. This leaves you extra room to bring things home with you from your destination, or add other things that you may have forgotten. As an added plus, your clothes stay less wrinkly rolled rather than folded.

+ Mix and match items
To pack lighter, plan to re-wear pants and tops in different ways so you don’t have to pack separate things for every single occasion or day. Also, bring items that you can wear during the day and easily dress up in the evenings if you are going out. This can simply be done by adding jewelry or changing your shoes.

Hope these tips help you pack for your next adventure!


* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Tips for Flying with your Dog

In 2013, I flew roundtrip from San Francisco to Houston with my dog, Marly. When at the airport with Marly (or even just talking to friends and family), I get a lot of questions about flying with a dog, like “You can do that?” or “How does that work?” Now that we are pros, I thought I would answer some of those questions here and even share some tips I have figured out for stress-free traveling with your pup.

Many airlines these days allow you to bring your dog onboard with you for an additional fee. I know for sure that Southwest (what we have flown) and Virgin America do. With Southwest, it is $75 each way, and with Virgin America it is $100 per segment (which leads me to believe that means that you have to pay $100 each time you get on and off the plane). Since our trip, however, I have heard that if you get your pet certified as an emotional support animal, you will be exempt from those fees and have less strict rules to follow, which would definitely make things a bit more stress free!

At any rate, in order to fly with a pet, they must fit in a carrier that will fit under the seat in front of you. Under seat measurements are available on airline websites. Also, your pet counts as a carry-on! Which, in my opinion, is ultra silly since you have to pay a fee to bring them on board.BWcopy-0067.jpg
Here are some tips and tricks I have discovered that are great to keep in mind to make flying with a dog easier:

Go to a pet store with your pup and try out many different carriers. It’s like buying a purse: you have to compare them and figure out what works best for you and your dog. It was kind of difficult to find one for Marly since he is the recommended weight for the carriers, but is longer than most breeds that the carrier is intended for. But we found a few that worked and that I liked! Also, if you are traveling alone, be mindful of how you will carry your pup in his carrier AND all of your luggage. They make rolling carriers that also have backpack straps, which would have been great except that Marly was too long for those. So, find what is manageable for you and most comfortable for your dog, since he will be the one in it for hours at a time. Then, go buy it online because they are much cheaper!

+ Buy a “guaranteed on board” pet carrier. Some even have a printable certificate to bring to the gate with you incase there is a problem. You can find the carrier I got for Marly HERE.

+ In the weeks and days leading up to your flight, put your dog in his carrier for small increments of time. You could take him for short car rides, carry him around the neighborhood, or even try going on a longer road trip before your big flight.

Whenever possible, take a direct flight. Though it may seem like a good idea to have a layover as a break for your pup, it just adds hours to your travel time, not to mention the affects of taking off and landing multiple times. Think about how your ears tend to pop or hurt during this time, and then think about ow your dog must feel since he doesn’t know what is happening or how to help it. He can’t chew gum like us! Plus, it is much easier to get settled just once instead of having to haul your pup, your carry-ons, and yourself from one gate to the next. Just sit back and relax!
Bring a lot of water! I always get so thirsty when flying, so only imagine how your dog feels in that carrier! Bring and empty water bottle and fill it up at a water fountain once past security, or buy a bottle of water at a kiosk. Be sure to also bring a small bowl to keep in your purse for easy access.

Bring a lot of treats! I don’t usually want to bribe Marly, but they were necessary for making sure that he would get into the carrier once we were in the airport. Your pup may be nervous, so don’t hesitate to give him a little incentive to get in his carrier.

Use the pet relief area before going through security. Also, be mindful that once you are past security, there will not be a relief area. Additionally, if you have a layover, you will most likely have to exit the airport to find a relief area, which you may not have time for. Because airports are evil places that want to make life difficult and want your dog to pee on their ticket counters. True story.

Be prepared for people to approach you. People are naturally curious, especially when you are toting a little dog in an airport. A lot of people will probably smile at you, or come up to you and ask questions about what it is like flying with a dog. Marly was really good with people coming up to us and petting him, and was actually pretty excited about the whole thing! But if your dog isn’t up for the attention, just politely excuse yourself by saying that your dog is nervous about flying, so it would be best to leave him alone right now. This is better than saying he is aggressive in any way, because you don’t want that to jeopardize your flight if someone reports it.

Tell the people sitting next to you that you have a dog with you. This way, they are aware and if it bothers them, they will be able to find another seat. Plus, this is a great conversation starter if you are the type of person who likes to make friends on planes!

I hope these tips help you when and if you fly with your dog! I really loved traveling with Marly and hope to be able to do it with him again some day 🙂


* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

The Grand Canyon

copy-6527This past June, I took a long road trip with my dad from Illinois back home to California. We made some stops along the way, one of which was to the Grand Canyon! I had never been to the Grand Canyon before and it was pretty amazing to experience it for the first time, especially with my dad.copy-6458copy-6507copy-6528We decided to take a tour through the National Geographic Visitor Center. I think that this was a great choice since neither my dad or I had been before and didn’t really know much about which parts of the canyon we should be checking out on our first visit. It was really nice to just get driven around in a pink Jeep and have a tour guide to educate us on the canyon.copy-6587copy-6553copy-6542It is hard to explain how breathtakingly beautiful the canyon is. These photos really don’t do it justice and it is definitely best enjoyed in person! At my first glimpse of the canyon, I couldn’t help but feel a bit choked up. The vastness of the canyon is really humbling and makes you realize just how small humans are.copy-6463copy-6524copy-6540copy-6469I definitely will make another visit to this beautiful place one day and will do some hiking or rafting in the river! This was a really great first visit and I am glad we made the time for it in our trip!


* all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Cool Travel Gadgets

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I rounded up some cool gadgets and accessories you could take along on your next trip!

  1. Digital luggage scale
    If you tend to be an over-packer like me, this would definitely be helpful to make sure you don’t go over the airline weight limit!
  2. J travel pillow
    This pillow is pretty cool because it supports both your neck and chin so you can find a comfortable position that won’t leave you sore after your nap.
  3. Wireless bluetooth smartphone camera remote
    When I am traveling, I really don’t enjoy asking strangers to take a photo of me and my boyfriend, so having a remote that we could take photos with by ourselves would be great!
  4. Smart phone tripod
    Instead of having to find somewhere to precariously put the phone while we attempt to take our own photo, a tripod would definitely be a better solution!
  5. Travel sweatshirt
    This sweatshirt is pretty awesome since it has an inconspicuous place for pretty much everything you could need during your travels!
  6. Smart phone water proof bag
    I love being able to take my phone places like the beach and pool, but there is always a risk of it coming into contact with water. That’s why having a pouch like this would be really helpful!
  7. Travel wallet & passport holder
    It is nice to be able to keep all of your money, credit cards, and passport in one place, so a wallet like this would be really useful to make life easier.

Have you ever used any of these things? Do you have any travel gadgets you would recommend?