The 2,200 Mile Roadtrip

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Over this past summer, I drove with my dad from Joliet, Illinois to San Diego, California, which ended up being about 2,200 miles. It was quite the adventure, just me, my dad, and a rented mini van filled to the brim.
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On our trip, we drove through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and finally, California.FullSizeRender.jpg
After our first day of driving, we stayed the night in Joplin, Missouri and got an early start the next day to make the long drive to Albuquerque, New Mexico. We stopped in a tiny Texas town called Lucky to eat lunch and thanked our stars we did not live there.
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In Albuquerque, we rewarded ourselves with yummy New Mexican food and margaritas after our long day in the car.
IMG_3286.JPGOn the third day, we drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Flagstaff, Arizona and woke up early the fourth day to drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon.IMG_3164.JPGIMG_3305.JPGAfter visiting the Grand Canyon, we headed to Vegas! We stayed one night in Vegas and had a great time trying our hand at the slot machines and wandering around. I spent some time relaxing at the pool as well.IMG_3401.JPG
After Vegas, it was time to continue home to California! This was definitely a long trip, but one I will always remember 🙂

Have you ever taken a cross country road trip?

xoxo,
Jess

*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

5 Things to do in New York City

empirestate9.jpgNew York is such a vibrant, enchanting place. I have visited it on one occasion and it provided me with some of my favorite travel memories to date! I’ve written about my adventures in New York here a few times, but I thought I would share a post of various things to do in this city like I have done with several others.copy-0590-sm.jpg+ Chelsea Market
Chelsea Market is a great place to walk around and get different local foods and items from artisan shops. It is nice to spend an afternoon wandering around here!copy-0695-sm.jpg+ Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge
It isn’t too long of a walk, but it is such a nice feeling to walk from Brooklyn into the lights of Manhattan and it is a lovely way to take in the skyline.Screen Shot 2016-10-17 at 10.05.52 AM.png
+ Get cheap broadway tickets at TKTS and go to a show
If you go to Times Square in the afternoon and wait in line, you can get majorly discounted tickets to many different shows playing that evening. If you are open to seeing any show, this is a great way  to save some cash and still get to experience NYC broadway.copy-0561-sm.jpg+ Visit Highline Park
This park is definitely best enjoyed in warmer months and is unique because it was built on an old railroad track.copy-0688-sm.jpg+ Eat pizza
This is obvious, isn’t it? We ate pizza pretty much every day of our trip!copy-0670-sm.jpgHave you ever been to New York? What would you recommend doing there? I need to go back again soon!

xoxo
Jess

*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

5 Things to do in San Diego

IMG_2535.JPGThough I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am originally from San Diego and my heart is torn between Northern & Southern California. So, since I know quite a bit about the San Diego area, here are 5 things you could do on your next visit there!

+ Go to the beach
This is obvious and definitely my favorite thing to do! I particularly love the beaches in Encinitas and Coronado.

+ Visit the Carlsbad Flower Fields
Every spring time, the flower fields in Carlsbad bloom and they are a gorgeous sight. You can get up close and see them for yourself.IMG_9015.JPG+ Explore Old Town
This is a great place to explore if you want to learn more about the history of San Diego and its beginnings.

+ Go to Balboa Park
If you enjoy museums, this is definitely the place for you! Balboa Park is also just a very pretty, historic area to walk around.

+ Visit the Oceanside Pier
Walking along the pier on a nice day is one of my favorite things to do. There is also a diner at the end that you could reward yourself with a milkshake or burger at too.

+ Bonus: Go to the San Diego Zoo, Legoland, Seaworld, or the Safari Park (formerly the Wild Animal Park). These are obvious, touristy things, but worth mentioning in case you are interested in them 🙂

These are just a handful of things you can do in San Diego! There are definitely plenty more things and places to explore.

xoxo,
Jess

*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

The 9/11 Memorial + The Brooklyn Bridge


One of the most memorable things I did on my first trip to New York was visit the 9/11 Memorial. I think we all can remember where we were on the day of that terrible tragedy and to be at the site of it was indescribable.
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This is something every person, especially every American, should see. I didn’t really know how to react to it, but I can say this: it was breathtaking. The monument is beautiful, yes it is, but what impacted me more was the history and meaning of it all.
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This was definitely the coldest day of our trip. My toes and fingers were numb and I had to really persuade myself to keep walking. I wrapped my circle scarf around my neck and head and covered my mouth to keep the heat in. It was quite miserable, frankly, but I was in New York so I wasn’t going to let even that ruin my exploring.
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We continued the freezing evening with a subway ride to Brooklyn for pizza at Juiliana’s Pizza, a spot that a favorite blogger of mine has talked about (unfortunately her blog no longer exists).
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We ordered a Margherita and a No. 3. I definitely recommend this cozy little spot that makes me feel like I’m eating at home. Or down the street from my Brooklyn apartment in my other life.
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After we were warmed up from the yummy pizza, we braved the cold again to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge at night, because I have heard it is the thing to do and I wasn’t going to let 25 degree weather stop me.
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And there I am, with my guy, on a freezing bridge. Though you can’t even make out our faces, I rather like this little portrait of us taken by Dai’s friend, Maya.
xoxo
Jess

*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Road Tripping with Dogs

img_4071You may or may not know this about me, but dogs are pretty much my favorite beings on this planet and I am lucky to have a furry friend of my own named Marly. Just like his mama, he loves adventure too and I try to take him with me wherever I can. I’ve taken him on a plane before, though most of our traveling together is done by car. Some dogs don’t do very well on long car rides, but my pup is a great on road trips!

Here are some tips for taking your pup along with you on a long car ride:
+ Keep a water bowl in the car and offer water to them when you stop for gas
+ Bring a bed or blanket for them and make them their own spot that they can feel comfortable in
+ Take them out for a potty break when you stop for gas
+ If your dog is nervous about car rides, putting them in a crate with their bed or letting them sit on your lap or by your feet (if they are small enough!) may make them feel more secure

xoxo,
Jess

*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

Camping Video

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As I mentioned, we went camping a few weeks ago! Like I did with our trip to Hawaii, I made a video of this little adventure! I think my favorite part of the video are the little snippets of our dogs. They are just so cute and had a great time camping too! It was fun to put together and I hope you enjoy it 🙂

xoxo,
Jess

*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted

The Hells of Bepu, Japan

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During our trip to Japan in 2014, we traveled a few hours by train with my boyfriend and his family to the Kyushu region. The particular city we stayed in, Beppu, was known for having onsen ryokans (Japanese style inns with hot spring baths) and also the “Hells” of Beppu, which are eight different types of hot springs that are meant for viewing rather than relaxing in. These “hells” are named in reflection of their extreme temperatures. We decided to take a guided bus tour that would stop at each hell and let us get off to take a look, because why not?
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The little tour guide stood there and talked nonstop in Japanese as we drove from hell to hell, and then also led us around at each stop. The whole thing was such a hilarious and bizarre experience, and I loved it.
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Pictured above is the Oniishibozu Jigoku, which is named after the mud bubbles and said to look like the shaved heads of monks (haha).
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This one is named Shiraike Jigoku, “White Pond Hell”, because of its hot, milky water.
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At one of the “hells,” you could try a bit of the hot spring water, which is supposed to be good for your health. It smells like rotten eggs, which actually is what most of these hot springs smell like.
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Here we have Yama Jigoku, which translates to “Mountain Hell.” I bet you can see why!
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At a few of the hells, there were animals to be seen in a small sort of zoo. We saw rabbits, miniature horses, peacocks, and tons of crocodiles. The crocodiles were definitely very creepy! They would just lay on the warm pavement, asleep with their mouths wide open. Some of them almost looked like they were dead. One of the stranger aspects of this experience!
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Although I did not picture all eight hells here, this was the last one we visited on our tour! This is Chinoike Jigoku, “Blood Pond Hell” and is described on a travel site as “one of the more photogenic hells”(haha).
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I may have to agree with them, as I think this was my favorite hell of all the hells! I mean, it definitely is a winner if I can get a photo like this ;)Last random note: at a few of these hot springs, you can actually buy hard boiled eggs that have been boiled by the hot spring water. Supposedly the best eggs ever or something. What will these Japanese people come up with next?! 

xoxo,
Jess

*all photos by Jess unless otherwise noted