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Lifestyle, Travel

Short Trip to Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur

April 15, 2017

carmel beach

Six years ago, my husband and I went on our first date and a few months later, we traveled to San Francisco, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, and Los Angeles. We have special memories from those places, and since we live in San Francisco now, we recently traveled to Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur for a short getaway to celebrate. We also brought our puppy, Minne, with us! Here are some highlights and photos from the trip.


We stayed at the Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay because it’s right by the bay and it’s very dog friendly. When we arrived, they had food and water bowls, a dog bed, and treats ready for us. The Jazz Festival was that weekend, so there was music playing at the hotel and everywhere we walked to.

Our first night we had dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf since that was close to the hotel. The restaurant even has a dog menu so we ordered some grilled chicken served on a frisbee for Minne. She was over the moon!

The wharf area is very touristy, but we had a chance to walk around Monterey and the town is very beautiful and clean!

Monterey Fisherman's Wharf


What a lovely city! The first time we visited Carmel, we went to Pebble Beach and drove part of the 17-mile drive. This time, we went to Carmel Beach and Garland Ranch Regional Park. Carmel Beach is an off-leash beach, so it was really fun going there with Minne. There are also a bunch of cute shops near the beach. We had dinner at Basil Carmel and had some of the best food we’ve ever tasted!! My husband had the 5 hour braised beef cheeks and I had the goat with lobster. The olallieberries cobbler was also delicious!

Garland Ranch Regional Park is a great park for leisure hiking. The first day we went there, we went on an easy 1.5 mile hike. Our puppy loved it (you can see how happy she was in this video). We were able to work on long distance recall and not worry about her running off into traffic or getting into trouble. We loved the hike so much that we went back the next day and went on a harder hike, and had just as much fun.

Garland Ranch Regional Park

Big Sur

Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge has been badly damaged due to winter storms and it will take up to a year to complete construction on a replacement. There are closures on Highway 1 but we wanted to drive down to see as much of it as we could. During the drive, we stopped at Garrapata State Park for a hike and enjoyed the beautiful view of the beach.

Garrapata State Park

Garrapata State Park

Now that we have a dog, we have been going to dog-friendly places because we prefer her with us than leaving her at home. This was our first time traveling with her and it was very easy because she doesn’t get car sick and so many places allow dogs. Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur are so beautiful, and not too far from San Francisco, so we will definitely be making this trip more often in the future.

Life, Lifestyle, Travel

2017 Bay Area Bucket List – Top 10 List

January 28, 2017

2017 bay area bucket list

Minnesota is awful in the winter, so I had to leave. Instead of creating New Year’s resolutions this year, I created a bucket list specifically for the Bay Area to encourage me to go out and explore during our first year of living in the Bay Area. Here is my top 10 list!

  • Half Moon Bay – Great hiking spots and seafood restaurants
  • Yosemite National Park – May and June are great months to visit to see the waterfalls
  • Lake Tahoe – Combines mountain and beach activities in the summer
  • Big Sur Coast – Absolutely stunning; my husband once said the cattle in Big Sur must be the happiest in the world
  • Napa and Sonoma
  • S’mores and bonfires year round on my brother’s rooftop
  • Hop on the swing on Billy Goat Hill – Instagram worthy picture
  • Paddle boarding in Marin
  • Listen to music in Golden Gate Park
  • Outdoor brunch

If you have any suggestions for places to visit within driving distance of San Francisco, please leave a note below!

Lifestyle, Travel

Short Trip to the Grand Canyon

November 30, 2016

img_0761Jacket: The North Face // Pants: Lululemon // ShoesNike // Headband: Echo // Gloves: Club Monaco (similar) // Sunglasses: Versace

My husband and I went to the Grand Canyon over Thanksgiving Break this year. It was a great place to visit for a short trip! The temperature was in the mid 50’s, which was perfect for hiking. We hiked about 7 miles around the rim and the view was breathtaking! Pictures really doesn’t do it justice! It was the first time in my life when I felt the world is a huge place and that feeling was overwhelming (now I understand why people cry when they first see the Grand Canyon). Of course I already know this is a big world, but it’s hard to feel that when I’m often within feet of someone else and can easily call anyone thousands of miles away. When I looked out at the view, I felt like such a tiny person. I’m in awe of how the Grand Canyon was formed over millions of years and I’m so happy these beautiful wonders still exist in this world! We will definitely go back again!

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Break. Only 3 weeks left of work and 4 weeks until Christmas! Are you flying anywhere fun for the holidays? We will be flying back to Minnesota–it’ll be our first time back since our move to California so I am excited to catch up with everyone.






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Beauty, Lifestyle, Skincare, Travel

Taiwan Beauty Haul and Trip Highlights

March 30, 2016

Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been gone for a couple of weeks. I was in Taiwan for two weeks working on a school project! Before the trip, I made a long wish list of Asian branded beauty products and I was able to purchase most of them! I will be writing about them in the future after I get a chance to try them out. Most of these are cult products so you may be familiar with some of them. I love Asian skincare because the product innovations are typically 3-5 years ahead of the US. For example, they have many skincare items with snail mucin (gross, right?), which is said to do everything from fading dark spots and scars to plumping creases and battling acne. The venom found in snails relax muscle fibers to battle wrinkles. It also stimulates the production of elastin and collagen. I purchased so many items with snail ingredient–sheet masks, moisturizer, serum. I’ll try not to think about where they came from as I’m using them! I cannot wait to try everything and review them for you!


After the final presentation of the project, we had a couple of days off to explore. Taiwan has high-temperature springs with crystal-clear water, usually both clean and safe to drink. These hot springs are commonly used for spas and resorts. We went to a hot spring in the town of Yilan. The room we booked was the best place I’ve ever stayed at. It has three levels: the first two levels have the beds and the third level was a private deck. We had an indoor and outdoor hot spring, which was super nice because we spent the day in the outdoor hot spring, and at night we relaxed in the indoor hot spring while streaming a movie on our laptop. We also hired a private driver to take us to different places around Hualien, with the highlight being Taroko Gorge and a 2-mile hike in that area.

I am happy I had the opportunity to visit Taiwan and explore parts of the country. It reminds me of Japan except with less traffic congestion and people. If there were job opportunities I’m interested in, I think it would be a great place to live. The country is safe and clean, the people are quiet and polite, and things are extremely affordable there (when compared to US standards). A tasty large meal might cost $3 max, and a large milk tea is less than .50cents! Seriously I had 2-3 milk tea a day. I was so spoiled. Now I’m back to paying $5 for fake powdered tea, aahh! Now that I’m back in the US, I will be blogging more often. I have lots of new content ideas so please subscribe! Thank you!


















Fashion, Travel

Costa Rica Street Style

December 29, 2015

costa rica street style jumpsuitJumpsuit: Ella Moss (Kona print sold out, other prints available here) // Shoes: Michael Antonio (sold out, similar) // Bag: Rebecca Minkoff // Sunglasses: Burberry // Necklace: Topshop (sold out, similar)

Many of you know I recently traveled to Costa Rica. You can read my trip highlights here! For most of the trip we were traveling through the rainforests and volcanos, and we did not get to a big city until the end of our trip. We spent two nights in San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. Like most urban centers, it has the restaurants, nightlife, museums/theaters, and other attractions. It is a vibrant city with beautiful historic buildings and architecture. I was excited to explore the downtown area in my Ella Moss jumpsuit. I had purchased this a few months ago but had never worn it. The fabric is soft and lightweight–perfect for 80 degrees weather–and I love that it has pockets. This Kona print I picked out is fun and easy to pair with different accessories and shoes. I can’t wait to wear this more next summer!

costa rica street style jumpsuit

costa rica street style jumpsuit

costa rica street style jumpsuit

While searching for this jumpsuit online to see if it’s still available to purchase, I came across with pictures of Selena Gomez wearing the same Ella Moss jumpsuit! Who wore it better?? 🙂

costa rica street style jumpsuit selena gomez

Photo Credit: Spencer Liu

Lifestyle, Travel

Breathtaking Costa Rica

December 21, 2015


I just got back from a wonderful trip to Costa Rica. What a beautiful country! I am excited to share some highlights and pictures from my trip! (Photo credit: Spencer Liu)

Tamarindo: Day 1-2

We flew into Liberia Airport and took a taxi to Tamarindo, a town in the Northern Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It has a lovely beach and is a great place for surfing. We spent the two days exploring and relaxing on the beach. The sunset was beautiful, but my favorite part was walking on the beach late at night. The beach was completely dark so it took a while for my eyes to adjust, but then I was able to see thousands of stars. I cannot remember the last time I looked up at the sky searching for stars!


DSC_0244 (1)





Arenal/La Fortuna: Day 3-5

We hired a driver to get to Arenal/La Fortuna. My advice to anyone traveling long distances in Costa Rica is to book a driver/shuttle/van/bus. Do NOT try to drive around on your own because the roads are very hard to drive on! The ride was so bumpy that I logged over 7k steps on my Fitbit while sitting!

The resort we stayed at was very nice! It had about 20 small houses/units, and a couple swimming pools and hot springs. Arenal was my favorite stop of the entire trip. I went paddle boarding for the first time. I was scared because I don’t know how to swim, but having a life jacket on helped. The scariest part was jumping off the boat when we were in the middle of Lake Arenal. It was difficult getting up on the paddle board in the beginning, but after doing it once it was a lot easier. I had a blast paddle boarding around the lake and I cannot wait to go paddle boarding again. We also visited Arenal Volcano, which was a very easy walk/hike to the outer edge, relaxed at the Baldi Hot Springs, and went on a safari rafting trip. We saw many species of birds, monkeys, cows, and beautiful trees/plants.

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