7.01.2014

july goals: out of the office


just popping in quick to wrap up the month before I start my blogging vacation for July. this month I only have one goal: to relax and enjoy spending time with friends + family.

last month I accomplished all my goals:
+ get packed and get back to the states +
+ participate in Rachel's instagram photo challenge +
+ print a paper copy of my book manuscript to edit +
+ run a 5k race with my Mom +
+ come up with a blog plan for summer +

I'll be traveling all over the country these next few weeks, and you can still keep up with me on twitter and instagramI hope you all have an amazing July, I'll be back in August with plenty to share! xo

the cup of coffee that fueled the writing of today’s post was sponsored by Kristen. she drinks her coffee with soy milk + stevia, and blogs about life and learning to enjoy every day over at ok, enjoy. go say hello!

linking up with Melyssa for weekly wishes.

6.25.2014

5 things to do in Oahu, Hawaii


today I'm taking you on a bit of a flashback. I've decided to share a few photos from our 2010 honeymoon in Oahu Hawaii, along with a few of our favorite things we did there.


you see, today is my 4th wedding anniversary. but Husband and I are spending it on separate continents. so Husband, if you are reading this, you can open the card I left you :)


+ rent a mustang convertible +


first things first. we did not fly all the way to Hawaii to spend it packed in with everyone else in Honolulu. we decided to stay up on the North Shore, at Turtle Bay Resort [and yes that's the one where they filmed Forgetting Sarah Marshall.] but to get up there, and have the freedom to go everywhere else on the island, we decided to rent a car.

I suppose you don't have to rent a convertible, or even a mustang. but when in Rome on vacation...


+ visit the Dole Plantation +


somewhere on the middle of the island is the Dole Pineapple Plantation. there you can wander the world's largest maze, ride a train through the plantation, learn about growing pineapples, and of course sample various baked goods, drinks and desserts all made from... well, you know.


+ hike Diamond Head +


Diamond Head is an enormous crater formed by an eruption many many years ago. what is left today is a bowl-shaped depression, and you are able to hike up and along one edge of the ridge. the views of Honolulu and Waikiki are pretty phenominal. [and the $5 entrance fee is a lot cheaper than springing for a helicopter tour.]


+ eat in Haleiwa +


two of our favorite food discoveries on the island were Cholo's Homestyle Mexican and a Thai place called Haleiwa Eats... which is apparently now closed. there are several other Thai places in the same area, though I can't vouch for any of them. Cholo's, however, was so good that Husband bought a tshirt.


+ go snorkeling +


obviously, you are going to go to the beach in Hawaii. while we enjoyed plenty of sunsets [and sunrises thanks to a 6-hour time change] one of the coolest things we did was to go snorkeling. our hotel had free equipment for us to use, but many beaches had stands where you can rent [or you can bring or buy your own.] we also bought a disposable underwater camera which didn't take great pictures, but still let us capture some great memories.

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and now I'd like to intro duct this month's featured sponsor, who is soon moving to a place very much the opposite of Hawaii...

Van is the voice behind the travel blog On the Road Again. while most of us dream about tropical vacations in the islands, her goal is to live in the Arctic... and I think that's so incredibly awesome! 

Hej! I’m Van, a German girl with a passion for the North. I blog over at On the Road again and share my travels around Scandinavia and coming August 2014, my life as an expat in the Arctic of Norway. I will study Indigenous and Northern Studies at the northernmost university of the world but before that, I will go on a Scandinavian Road Trip, travelling from Oslo to Copenhagen. You can read about these, as well as other destinations in Scandinavia, Britain and the Baltics on my blog and I would be happy to welcome you there!

what is your favorite trip you've ever taken? I visited Tromso in Northern Norway for the first time last year and immediately fell in love with the city. It’s the gateway to the Arctic and its location at the Barents Sea, surrounded by mountains and fjords, makes this city unique and absolutely beautiful! I can’t wait to move there in autumn and experience the midnight sun as well as the polar night. I’ve already experienced the Northern Lights when I was there and it was incredible. I can’t imagine yet what it must be like to see them regularly but I’m really excited to finally move to Tromso.

what is one thing you'd love to learn how to do? I love to learn foreign languages and did a few Swedish courses in the last few years. While being almost fluent in Swedish enables me to understand Norwegian pretty well, I can’t wait to expand my Norwegian skills though and become fluent in that language too.

where would your dream trip take you? My dream trip would take me from Montana to Calgary and Edmonton, then to Vancouver, Seattle and finally to Portland. I would love to see the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Northwest. This region seems to be even more beautiful than Scandinavia but maybe I’ve just watched too many episodes of Heartland and Grey’s Anatomy. However if I ever get the chance to visit the US and/or Canada, these are the areas I would want to visit first.

two of your favorite blog posts: Visiting the North Cape was just an amazing experience and although it’s not the real northernmost point of Europe, it’s a stunning place! Västeras is a small town near Stockholm and I visited the city in March this year. It was exactly like I always imagined Sweden when I was younger: lovely red houses, snow and a stunning landscape!

describe yourself in 3 words: Honest, Ambitious, Restless.


read more about Van on her blog: On the Road again

or follow along with:



6.23.2014

hiking at Ludington State Park


this past week while I was in Ludington with my parents, we went out to the state park for a hike. I probably mentioned it last summer, but Ludington State park holds a lot of childhood memories for me. we used to go camping there in the summers with our family friends, and in fact we just watched some home video [from 20 years ago] where we are all sitting around the campfire talking about our day in the park.


having grown up in Michigan, and spending so much time outdoors as a child - camping, hiking, going to the lake - I am probably quite biased. but I really feel that the west coast of Michigan is one of the most beautiful places on earth. and, well, at this point I've been to quite a few places.


I admit it - I'm a detail person. especially when it comes to photographing nature. and a hike through the state park provides plenty of little treasures to discover: mushrooms of all varieties, woodpecker holes, moss, acorns, sunlit leaves, insects, and birch trees that have completely decomposed except for their bark.


our hike took us through parts of the Coast Guard and Lighthouse trails, through both forests and over sand dunes and even wading into Lake Michigan. today I've decided to share the "forest" portion of our hike - photos of the actual lighthouse and the lakeshore coming later this week!

I hope wherever you are in the world, you are able to enjoy some time outdoors this summer. pack a picnic lunch, your sunscreen + bugspray and just go.


the cup of coffee that fueled the writing of today’s post was sponsored by Samantha. she drinks her tea half sweet + half unsweet, and blogs about lifestyle + faith over at Elah Tree. go say hello!
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