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What I Would do in Five Days in Queensland

June 22, 2013

If you’re like me then one of the hardest parts of planning a vacation is figuring out how to fit as many sights as you can into just a few days.  If you’re traveling to Queensland it gets even tougher with so many amazing world heritage sites to see.  After looking through many of the beautiful places and crazy cool experiences that Queensland has to offer I’m pretty confident that with only five travel days I’d hop off the plane, grab some Aussie coffee (I’ve heard rumors it’s way better than your typical US brew), and head out to check these sights off my list:


Fraser Island

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Napa Weekend: Family & Gardens

May 22, 2013

So apparently you have to plan for this wedding stuff. Ideally we’d love to get married in Napa (and by ‘we’ I mean me, Matt would always prefer a pirate ship).  I wanted to lay eyes on Napasome venue options to make a decision before they are sold out so I hopped on a plane for a quick weekend trip to check a few out (yay flight deals so I didn’t have to drive 7 hours!).

Napa became so important to me after visiting a close friend of mine there many times over the last few years.  I’m continually amazed at how beautiful Napa is in every season and am just head over heels for that little piece of the world with so much PRETTY. I’d drive up from Orange County after work to visit my girlfriend for a weekend when I could. Somehow I managed to forcibly adopt myself into her family by showing up in the middle of the night like a lost cat. From jam sessions in the shed, to coming outside to find my car detailed, to delicious home cooked family dinners filled with laughter…I quickly started looking forward to seeing my Napa family just as much as my friend.

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Hiking at Big Bear Lake, CA

April 6, 2013

In February we went up to Big Bear for the weekend with a group of friends and decided to skip on the crazy crowded Saturday slopes to go hiking instead. We headed to the Discovery Center and hiked the Cougar Crest trail.  The trail is 2.5 miles each way and a pretty easy hike without anything too steep.  What we weren’t expecting was all of the mud! The sun came out and the snow started melting and we shortly found ourselves hiking in slush and mud.  Thankfully I had my all time favorite waterproof Sorel Tivoli boots so I didn’t have to worry about cold, slush, or mud…some fellow hikers were not so lucky. ;)

In love.

It’s a beautiful trail and I fully indulged my tree obsession from taking pictures of them to climbing them. Continue Reading…

2012 Travels & 2013 Goals

January 22, 2013
Gaudi Park, Barcelona

I feel like every year is so crazy different recently, I never know what’s coming at me (or maybe that’s my refusal/inability to plan more than a month or two out), and 2012 ended up being an awesome travel year for me. So many amazing experiences, and quite a few that I was absolutely not expecting.

My 2012 Travel Round-up:

Mediterranean Highlights Tour

I had the opportunity to kick off 2012 with two weeks on Contiki’s Mediterranean Highlights tour checking out Spain, France, Monaco, Italy & Vatican City while meeting awesome people from around the world. That’s one way to set the travel bar high for the rest of the year!

Favorite parts:

  • Biking around Barcelona checking out all of the art – particularly Gaudi!
  • Driving along the French Riviera.
  • Shopping at local markets before picnicking in Nice.
  • Dance parties on the coach. ;)
  • Meeting up with my friend D and her husband after the tour and crashing their honeymoon for a few days while we explored more of Rome.

Pisa, Italy Continue Reading…

Guest Post on Contiki’s Blog – What Inspired Me To Travel

March 20, 2012

Contiki and Do It While You’re Young (DIWYY) are hosting a Friends Don’t Let Friends Not Travel contest where entrants are asked to nominate a friend who they think deserves a free trip to Europe.  What’s in it for the nominator? A chance to win a trip for two to Europe so they can travel with their friend!

In honor of the contest Contiki and DIWYY staff are sharing some of our first travel experiences and what inspired us to travel.

You can check out my post on the Contiki Blog to see what inspired me to travel for the first time. (Hint: it wasn’t that one time I accidentally ended up in Mexico).

First taste of escargot my first time in Paris.

4 Things I Wish I’d Packed On My Trip to Europe

March 14, 2012

I recently came back from a two week guided tour in Europe and thought I’d share the 4 things that would have made my trip so much better if I had thought to pack them!

Coin purse

For next time I’ll either buy a coin purse when I arrive at my destination (cool souvenir!) or buy one before I leave like these cute coin purses I found on Etsy:

Fortune Cookie Change Purse!

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Fat Tuesday Paczkis in Orange County

February 21, 2012

I look forward to Fat Tuesday because to me with my Polish heritage and sweet tooth it is the day of the paczki.  I could care less about beads. After much searching it turns out the Polka Deli in Orange is the only place to get good Polish foods in the OC/LA area, and once a year they have paczkis made by a bakery in LA and sell them at the deli.  That seems like a lot of area to only have one Polish Deli, but I’m from Pittsburgh and used to being able to chuck a kielbasa in any direction and hit a Pollock so I’m a little biased.

What is this great delicacy you may ask? Paczki’s are like a jelly doughnut, but with fruit filling and the dough is much richer and more amazing than your average doughnut. Sorry Dunkin.  The big hubbub about making them on Fat Tuesday is because it’s the last day to party and use up all of the food stuffs you’ll be giving up for Lent—like sugar.  I don’t celebrate Lent, but I’m a huge fan of sugar and things that happen once a year making this one of my favorite days of the year.  (If you’re in a more Polish neighborhood you can get them throughout the year, but they’re traditionally the thing to have on Fat Tuesday).

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Coba, Quintana Roo, Mexico

February 10, 2012

I stop to catch my breath, carefully bringing myself to rest on my knees with my fingers tightly gripping a clump of grass stubbornly growing on the weathered, rough surface of the stones.  The only surface I can get a firm hold on.  “Please oh please don’t let me fall!” I think as I glance behind me down the 70 feet of steep uneven steps I’ve just scaled and then hurriedly look back to the top of the temple as a rush of dizziness makes me painfully aware of my fear of heights.  “This was a bad idea!” I whimper to Matt as he starts to pass me, continuing to climb the remaining 68 feet to the top.

“You’re fine”, he promises, “We’ve got to hurry, babe.”   Not knowing when we’d get the chance to come back here, we’d rented a car for the day and planned a route to hit as many Mayan ruins as we could.  Coba is only our second ruin and we’re rushing through it so we’ll have time to drive the half hour to Tulum before dark.  Spurred on by my love of ruins and the immediate injury to my pride at the sight of a mother and her 5-year-old son easily making their way up while I cling to the side, I raise myself up and continue my crouched climb leaning forward and keeping my eyes fixed only on the stones in front of me. I push faster afraid to look down or to the side and as I finally reach the last step I rush forward onto the small plateau flooded with relief at being able to put some distance between myself and the edges of the temple. Continue Reading…

Sonoma, California

February 7, 2012

I’ve driven through it once or twice and was excited to finally go there this weekend for my friend Deanna’s birthday.  Driving from Napa over to Sonoma is always beautiful.  I love how this part of the world is gorgeous no matter the season or weather.  Since its February the vines are dead which would seem dreary, but most of the vineyards allow mustard to grow wild in the fields blooming bright sunshine yellow all over the hills.

Down the Vines in spring Continue Reading…

Not All Those Who Wander are Lost

January 5, 2012

I received this cuff as a Christmas present and absolutely love it.  This is one of my all time favorite quotes taken from this beautiful passage in J.R.R. Tolkein’s The Lord of The Rings:

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renenwed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.”