Travel

A Family Road Trip Around the Olympic Pennisula

Day One

We drove 4 hours from Portland, Oregon to Hoh Valley, Olympic National Park, Washington.

First stop: Aberdeen, Washington (hometown of Kurt Cobain) for some leg stretching, toddler playtime in the local park, and hot oatmeal and hashbrowns.

Second stop: Ruby Beach, Washington for some coastal views, pebble tossing, and Lara bars.

Where we stayed:

Hoh Valley Cabins. 10/10 would recommend.

Day Two

Where we hiked:

We opted for the Hall of Mosses trail, a 0.8 mile loop, in the Hoh Rainforest. It was there that we saw never before seen shades of green.

After our hike, we drove 1.5 hours directly to Port Angeles, Washington.

Where we ate: We had a phenomenal green curry, mediocre tacos, and a couple of cold ones at the most popular bar in town, Nextdoor GastroPub.

Where we explored: We walked along the Port Angeles waterfront park, snooped through their eccentric bookstores and fudge shoppes, and let our son play and explore the fountains and seaside to his little heart’s desire.

Where we stayed: 2 nights in a vintage (1970’s?) airstream on a farm in the hills of Port Angeles. Small, rickety, uncomfortable, and totally awesome.

Day Three

We spent the full day in the Port Angeles area.

Where we day-tripped: A 30 minutes drive from the Port Angeles city center, we drove to Lake Crescent Lodge where we dipped our toes in the glacier lake’s bright blue and surprisingly warm waters. Before trekking back to our airstream, we enjoyed hot coffees in the lodge’s picturesque tea room. This was the most eye-swooning experience.

Where we explored: Ediz Hook is a 3 mile long sand spit that offers city wide views of Port Angeles and the not-so-far Victoria, B.C.. Salty sea air, soft yellow daisies, and squawking seagulls galore. We also mosied through downtown and climbed up a rickety and swaying coastal tower to watch the ferries take people from the U.S. to Canada.

Where we ate: Due to the underwhelming options in Port Angeles (especially vegan) we decided to cook in our airstream. However, I did make a late night run to their impeccable health-food store Country Air to grab some overpriced oatmeal cookie vegan ice cream. YUM.

Day Four

Nearly exhausted from a second sleepless night in the airstream due to prison-grade mattresses, we geared up for our drive to Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park.

From there, sun-bleached and exhausted, we drove to Olympia, Washington (the state capital).

Where we stayed: The most hospitable Airbnb we’ve ever had the honor of staying at. This mother-in-law suite was settled amongst an artist village and was across the street from a vegan breakfast place. SCORE.

Where we explored: We spent most of the day relaxing, watching t.v., letting our son run around outside, and catching up on some hot showers. Anyone who’s traveled (especially with little ones) knows that eventually you need to fit in a lazy day like this.

Day Five

Our last day on the road. Since we moved to the PNW, I have had the Washington State Capital Building on my wishlist. Not only did this ornate and elegant beauty of a building deliver — it left me awestruck. It’s worth a visit to Olympia alone.

This was one of the most awe-inspiring, exciting, and adventurous road trips of my life with the two people I love with all my heart.

Travel

A Long Weekend at the Oregon Coast.

PSA: Stop what you are doing right now and add the Oregon coast to your bucket list.


Being a true Southern California girl, I have spent my entire life in and around the water. That is why when I found out that I would be a 90 minute drive from the ocean once I relocated to the PNW — a deep and mournful sadness immediately took residence within the pit of my stomach.

As it is for so many others, the ocean is therapeutic for me. Many a lazy Saturday morning I have spent floating on my back in Laguna Beach’s sleepy little coves and tide pools. In those moments, I felt truly free and weightless. As the navy blue waters lapped up against my sun kissed skin, I was reminded that everything would be okay. That I would be okay. The ocean never failed me.

That is why, after experiencing one of the toughest years of my life, I knew that this trip to the Oregon coast was a “must”.

Continue reading “A Long Weekend at the Oregon Coast.”

Motherhood

Yes, I Have Changed Since Becoming a Mom.

I am the first of my friends to become a mom.

Due to my being 25-years-old, it will probably be quite some time before any of them join me in the world of motherhood. Similar to my own mother who brought me earth-side at only 20 — I have pioneered this adventure called parenting. And that is more than okay, but it is certainly not easy.

Since the birth of my son (and even during pregnancy), many of my friends have been nothing but supportive and actively engaged in my new adventure. To say that I feel loved by their gestures of support, patience, and love would be an understatement. But with any good, there is struggle, and I have lost touch with some people who I deeply care for.

Continue reading “Yes, I Have Changed Since Becoming a Mom.”

Food for Thought

Why I Will Never Accept a Diamond Ring

As a little girl, I often dreamt of my future engagement ring. I wanted the diamond to be this shape, that size, and the color of pink lemonade.

I did not bat an eye at the societal expectation of men to spend three months worth of salary on a diamond ring. Never did I consider that that money could instead be put towards a down payment on a house, a car paid in cash, or a college fund.

When I was in high school, I was flipping through channels on t.v. after school — a ritual I practiced for an hour or so before succumbing to my homework pile — when I landed on a documentary about the diamond industry.

Within 1 hour and 30 minutes, my stance and overall desire towards and for diamonds had become forever tarnished.

Here is what I learned:

Continue reading “Why I Will Never Accept a Diamond Ring”

Food for Thought

On Being Present

It is so easy to be distracted.

What is grabbing my attention? Unanswered texts, past conversations, my Instagram news feed, the newest Netflix series, hypothetical situations — just to name a few.

How often do I actually sit in the moment? The answer is not nearly as often as I should. There is no moment more beautiful than the one I am in. It is all I have.

Last week, I took my son to Mount Tabor, an extinct volcano covered with sprawling trees and yellow wildflowers, located just 15 minutes from the heart of downtown. He recently started walking with enough agility where he can explore his surroundings. As I sat down on an old park bench, I watched him play in the dirt. What I saw next took my breath away.

He knelt down in the field and plucked shards of grass examining their bright green shades and rough textures. He pinched little yellow daisies between his tiny forefinger and thumb and lifted each one to his nose in order to inhale their bitter and musty scent. His little feet hopped on top of, through, and around the mounds of dirt that were still damp from the prior day’s spring showers. The birds, just having started their day, chirped sweet melodies as they swooped down to collect twigs for their nests. The pattering of joggers’ feet intermittently swept by us. My son missed nothing as he drank it all in without a care in the world. He was completely in the moment.

As I watched him I could not help but wonder when I myself had stopped living in the moment every moment. When exactly I had lost the ability to simply play? To simply be? Parenthood is a magical gift for many reasons, one of the most magical being its ability to open your eyes to what is truly important. Everything else just becomes white noise.

Connecting with the “now” and being present is harder said than done. Anyone who has tried their hand at meditation would agree. Everyone finds their own unique strategy at becoming “one” with the present moment. For me, it involves taking notice of my immediate surroundings; the aroma of leftover lentil soup stewing on the stove, the subtle rosy shade of pink on my son’s cheeks as he runs around our living room, and the soft gold morning light peeking through our skylights. These little details are more precious than anything I could ever pull up on my phone or t.v. screen. And to think — I could have easily missed them had I not remembered to be here right now.

Travel

How to Spend a Quick Weekend in Seattle

Seattle is one of my favorite cities.

Without traffic, Seattle is only a 3 hour drive away from Portland, Oregon — making it a perfect weekend destination. There is so much to eat, drink, see and do in Seattle that you could not fit it all in one weekend.

However, there are a few Seattle weekend “musts” that I have come up with:

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photography

How to Shoot a Professional Portrait

Today everyone is photographer.

It is true that the selfie is now more popular than the portrait. But as someone who has been taking peoples’ portraits for 14 years (10 of those years professionally) — I have to say that there is no selfie that can outdo a portrait that truly captures someone’s essence.

I have spent over a decade perfecting my portrait work. Here a few pointers that I have learned along the way:

Continue reading “How to Shoot a Professional Portrait”