Weekend in Washington (Part III)

It breaks my heart to think that an entire month has passed since my Washington trip. I can’t believe how quickly time flies as you’re traveling, and also how fast it slips away once you return home.

My last day with Bethany was full of the great outdoors and my two favorite summertime staples: kayaking and hiking. We grabbed a dynamite breakfast at this cute little 50s diner – where we both ordered some waffles and chai – then headed toward the shoreline to hit the water.

I remember it being a bit windier and chillier than the other days, but being on the water was wonderful. The waves were just right, the sun was shining on our faces, and we even saw some sea lions! Our time together reminded me of other adventures we’ve shared, which I’ll cover in a separate post 🙂

The beautiful thing about Bethany’s and my friendship is that we always pick up right where we left off, no matter the distance or the time that’s elapsed. We were able to connect on such a deep level again in such a short amount of time, and had plenty of laughs along the way! Bethany even got splashed by a huge wave as we explored a tide pool right after this picture was taken…

The remainder of our day was spent eating great food on the water and walking through a beautiful park near Bethany’s place. Unfortunately, she had to move out of her home shortly after moving in due to water damage, but will luckily be back home soon. The park is near her home and it was the perfect way to wrap up our time together. The two of us shared past memories as we bird watched at the nature preserve. We even stoped to smell the flowers along the way ~

As always, our weekend flew by way too fast, but we’re already planning a spooky, fall trip together. Friends like Bethany are hard to come by, and I’m blessed to have her in my life and to call her a best friend ❤️

Weekend in Washington (Part II)

Once again, I’ve allowed too much time to pass between posting about my Seattle trip. I really need to carve out some time each week to write and reflect on my travels…

Friday, March 26: Downtown Kirkland

Kirkland, a college town near Seattle, is a must if you want that happy-medium of calmness and the hustle and bustle of downtown. Bethany, her dad and I had quite a hectic Thursday – filled with trying to find food and navigate through an unexpectedly busy crowd, and hiking several miles prior to – so we needed a relaxing afternoon and evening in a new place. Bethany hadn’t visited Kirkland yet, and we really wanted some leisurely walking, eating and drinking in town.

Whenever Bethany and I travel together, we are constantly reminded of our first adventure in Sweden (can’t you tell?!). Seeing the Swedish flag always makes us happy 🙂

After our obligatory selfie, we decided that Thai food was a must. It was a windy, cooler day and yellow curry was at the top of our list. We enjoyed some warm, yummy food and some iced Thai tea (our favorite!) by the water. The best part? All the dogs and ducks we were able to befriend!

The two of us chatted and talked about life. The previous day with her dad was more casual and laid back, but the two of us had to share some personal things with each other. We laughed, cried and hugged as we confided in one another. Our lives have always been strikingly parallel and intertwined somehow, which is one of many reasons I believe we were meant to meet in 2016.

Once we finished our food, conversation and gazing at the animals around us, we had to grab some warm tea and window shop. Our ginger chai lattes were worth the wait and we were able to check out some funky shops before dinner.

We weren’t ready for dinner just yet; the waterfront was far too enjoyable to leave. Bethany and I walked the pier and reminisced about our time along the Kalmar castle five years ago. The sea air instantly brought us back to when we first met, and we cherished the moment as best we could.

The two of us allowed the day to take us along for the ride, without any game plan. Luckily we were craving the same kind of food, so we decided to drive toward home and stop for sushi on the way. Not pictured: the best vegetarian sushi and green tea I’ve ever had. Bethany and I were able to sit outside next to a heater and continue laughing and sharing past memories. I really don’t know what I would do without Bethany, and where I would be without her friendship ❤️

Photos taken Friday, March 26, 2021

Nature Haiku: Arboretum in the Spring

Linley scurrying

Sticking his nose in the dirt

Looking up at us


Wind in our hair

Sun shining on our skin

Wanting to be spring


Trees moving about

Creating outside movement

That is much needed


Linley loves water

And he starts digging in it

To find something new


We all need newness

During these uncertain times

But now there is hope


Walking with Linley

Is the most underrated

Joy in this great life!

Friendship in February

I immediately thought of the infamous Spongebob song “F is for friends who do stuff together…” when I typed the title of this post!

In all seriousness, February has been one of the best months I’ve had in a LONG while. The quality time my friends and I have given each other is one of the best gifts 2021 has given me. I’m grateful because I know for many, February wasn’t as easy and giving for those in other parts of the country and world.

We can all (or at least mostly) agree that it’s hard to imagine that our lives were almost turned upside down one year ago; we’re still experiencing the whiplash of COVID-19, the restrictions and uncertainties of the pandemic, and the lack of normalcy in our lives overall. Any bit of sanity and time well-spent with friends is exactly what I’ve been craving and desperately needing!

I hope you’re all staying safe, healthy and happy!


Nostalgia is Bittersweet

I’m thinking of Sweden on this Saturday morning…

A few days ago I Skyped my friend Bethany, who has been featured in several of my posts, most notably for our travel experiences together. We met in 2016 as two eager U.S. students studying in Kalmar, Sweden and we haven’t skipped a beat since! Bethany now lives in the Seattle area and I’m hoping to visit her as soon as possible. She’s truly the friend you can always rely on, no matter the distance.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been FIVE YEARS since we began our Swedish adventures. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude, but also with watery eyes. I have a love-hate relationship with looking at old photos. I reflect and feel myself in that moment again, sometimes with sweet nostalgia and other times with immense longing to be there again. But why?

1. I’m craving new adventures and memories (aren’t we all?). In all seriousness, travel is my decompression. It’s an escape from work, from people, from life at home. Those long weekend getaways with a close friend, my husband or parent, and lengthier international adventures mean more to me than any material thing.

2. I don’t love where I am right now. I believe people looking into my life (especially through photos) would want what I have: a husband, a dog, a home, a job… but I am not emotionally where I’d like to be. I know deep down that I need to rediscover myself and what’s important to me, which is why I’m in need of positive change.

3. Sometimes the past is more appreciated in the present than it was back then. Sometimes I’ll look at an old photo and think “wow, that was an awesome day!” and maybe I didn’t even realize it at the time. It’s such a shame how our minds can trick us this way.

I’m trying not to beat myself up because all of us can experience these feelings. We can all look at old photos or reflect on old memories with a multitude of emotions ranging from sadness to warm-hearted joy.

I hope we can all create new memories – be it solo, with loved ones, or even strangers – this year and for many years to come 🙂

Dog Days of… January?

Some of us are excited for what 2021 will bring. Some of us remain uncertain and are maybe even afraid for the future. I’m almost certain that no matter which bucket you fall into (if not both!), you’re ready for some normalcy. And one of the only beings in my life who is loving all of this is my pup, Linley.

Salty about me cleaning the mud off his paws…

For Juan and me, January has been filled of some quick (and safe) visits with friends, tons of work after hours, and the occasional date with just us two; but mostly it’s filled with Linley-related quality time.

I hope that the remainder of 2021 involves more time with friends and more traveling, which includes more adventures with Lin!

I promise that Juan wears his mask right 99% of the time…!

January Jazz

We’re one month into the new year and 2020 has already proven to be a roller coaster. Despite being hit with a viral infection during the holidays and the flu last weekend, January was a fantastic month overall! 
In early January, Juan was finally able to meet two of my closest friends from work, Zachary and Bethany. That might seem crazy, but I actually live two hours away from our headquarters. And THAT is the crazy part 🙂 
The four of us went to the Purple Door Tea Room in Ferndale, Michigan to celebrate Zachary’s birthday the fanciest way possible. The tea was nice and all, but we were still hungry and obviously needed to visit the Detroit Cookie Co. for the goods! 
Après cookies à la mode, we walked around the Detroit Zoo to see the infamous Zoo Lights show. It was nice because I’ve never been to this festival with Juan, and it was awesome to have such a good evening with great friends. 

Another cool thing I did in early January was visit Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern for some upbeat, eclectic jazz music. The secret is out: I LOVE JAZZ!!! Seeing two unique bands perform – who have clearly been friends since they were in diapers – was a fun, ‘dance like no one’s watching’ experience. I highly recommend this bar if you’re ever in Toronto. 

The jazz continued throughout the month as I recently bought an alto saxophone, which is an instrument I’ve wanted to play for over ten years! I’m slowly but surely getting the hang of it… 
My inspiration grew even more because Juan and I treated my parents to a birthday dinner at Cliff Bell’s, Detroit’s best jazz club (and one of my all-time favorite spots on earth!). The four of us had an unforgettable night together – we’re still talking about it as though it happened yesterday! 
Aside from all the jazz music and Detroit shenanigans, I’ve also been blessed to have quality time with some of my best friends. I was able to see two of my best friends from college, KayLee and Madison, earlier in the month as well as one of my best friends from home, Danielle. I’ve been chatting it up while indulging in all the ice cream and tea lattes a gal could wish for.