Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, WA

Back in November a friend from back home came to visit and we spent some time in Seattle and Sequim where his parents now live. It was fun to get to see other parts of the state so soon after moving in October. We drove to Olympic National Park at Hurricane Ridge and walked around and played in the snow. IMG_3387.JPG

Love this picture of the windows and the majestic mountains. IMG_3388IMG_3389IMG_3400

We just had on our gym shoes so we didn’t walk far in the snow but it was nice to get out and stretch our feet a little. IMG_3403

Our friends got married in Olympic National Park in the fall, and it was fun to see it in the winter. Now that we live in the state we look forward to spending more time here and at the other national park in the state: Rainier! Washington state is pretty great ya’ll 😉


Cross Country Skiing to Maroon Bells

Back in January 2015 we drove home to Chicago from California for the holidays. On our way back out West, we stopped in Colorado and visited one of our favorites places, Maroon Bells in Aspen. It had been years since we last visited for the first time, back in 2012 or 2013 on one of our road trips.

So we were really excited to go back and visit in a different season. We asked around how we could get in to see the mountains and they said either through snowmobile (which was not cheap to rent) or cross country skiing. We are both snowboarders so this was our first time cross country skiing. It was a great workout and took quite a while for us to get to the mountain. We started early in the morning and finished by mid afternoon. IMG_5418

It was gorgeous and sunny out and we couldn’t ask for better weather. IMG_5416

We brought snacks and had little picnics when we got hungry. The mountain didn’t seem that far but it was a couple of miles. We kept saying, “we’re almost there, we’re almost there.”


It was absolutely beautiful to see the mountain covered with snow. I love how harsh the lines on the mountain are.


The last time we were here it was cloudy and drizzling and we could barely see the mountain.


Had to get in our jumping pic. IMG_5467

We decided to walk down to get closer to the mountain and had to trudge through some pretty deep snow. IMG_5483IMG_5494-2IMG_5495-2

Oh Maroon Bells, we love you. IMG_5485

Jumping for Joy Part 2

Back in July I put together all of the jumping photos from the last few years. We started the tradition in 2010 on our first road trip together and have been doing it since. It is one of my favorite traditions and am so glad we have kept it up. I thought it would be fun to do a little update of the latest editions of the last few months of travel.

July 2015 -Chicago Suburbs. My parents sold my childhood home so we had to take a picture before it was gone forever. 😦

071915 Julie's Half Marathon & House-90

AugustDenali National Park, Alaska



October – We took a road trip (that I still need to blog about) with our best friends and my brother and his fiancé, to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Zion National Park in Utah, and Las Vegas.



Before we moved out of California we spent a day in Santa Monica (where we lived the first year we lived in Cali) and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take a jumping pic in front of our old apartment building.


October – Our old place in Southern California with our roomies, the day we drove to Seattle for our move


DecemberLake Crescent, WA


January 2016 – Snowshoeing in Mount Baker

IMG_4369FebruaryFremont Troll, Seattle I missed the jumping memo on this one 😉


March – Moran State Park, Orcas Island, WA



What fun travel traditions do you guys do?

Linking up today with :


New Year’s Snowshoeing

Continuing with our first snowshoe day adventure, here are some more awesome moments. The snow was so pretty that I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking. close


Our entire group, minus one more dog. These two couples have been so welcoming since we moved to Seattle. We spent Halloween, Thanksgiving, and New Years together. Moving to Seattle and already knowing people has been amazing and really made it feel more like home. group


It was beautiful and sunny out and we had such a good time. We stopped for lunch, walked a little more, then headed back to our cabin.    walk.jpg

I loved waking up everyday to see the lake. It would be realllly nice to get a lake house someday. But I wold also just love to get a cabin every now and then. 🙂

cabinSo that wraps up our first Christmas and New Years together in Washington. They set the bar pretty high for future holidays huh? 😉 Living in such a beautiful place gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘staycation’ because there are so many gorgeous places here.


Linking up with Amanda for:


Friday Favorites!

This week flew by. I can’t believe it’s already Friday but I’m so happy it is! This is my first time doing Friday Favorites in a while. It feels good to be back to blogging this week. I will try my hardest to keep it up next week.

Thank you for guys for sticking with me and still reading and commenting. It’s so nice I can come back and still find you guys here. 🙂 I need to get back to read all your blogs and catch up on the last few weeks! Moving took a lot out of me and threw my blogging schedule for a loop, way more than I thought it would.


This week I finally recapped our Christmas on the coast of Washington. We went to La Push, Lake Crescent, and Ruby Beach. They were all gorgeous and amazing to see. It was our first time seeing a Washington beach.




On Tuesday two of my friends and I went to the Central Library downtown to hear Gretchen Rubin speak. She’s the author of the Happiness Project and does a podcast with her sister called Happier, I’d recommend both! She has also written other books, Happier at Home and more recently Better Than Before (which I need to read.)

She’s a great speaker. She was really funny and made a lot of good points about habits and finding out what type of person you are and knowing what works for you. A while back I did a Happiness Project of my own (focusing on just a few goals per month) and I want to do it again this year. I’m a little behind obviously, but I will be starting it in February. 🙂



I saw this mural downtown near the Patagonia store and I love it! So much going on and it’s so detailed and colorful. I love a good mural as you might know.




One weekend Dave and I were craving a biscuit and I yelped and found the Wandering Goose. It has become one of my favorite biscuit places in Seattle now. They have delicious jam and varieties of toppings. Dave was so sweet one day and brought Katie and I biscuits at home. It made my day and Katie said it was one of the best biscuits she’s had. She was craving this biscuit for days after. 🙂

I highly recommend a visit here if you find yourself in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.






I just love this quote. While it’s true that not everyone has the job they are passionate about and pays them to do what they love, there are people who do, and if you’re one of them, you’re so lucky!

I’m still searching for my dream job/career, but for now I’m so happy working where I am and getting to go on amazing weekend adventures in and around Seattle. Those adventures really do make my heart and soul so happy.

Linking up today with Andrea, Erica, and  Narci:



Ruby Beach, WA

On the way home from our West Coast Washington trip for Christmas (La Push and Lake Crescent) we drove by the Hoh Rainforest and Ruby Beach. Ruby Beach is about an hour South of La Push.

Before we took off for home the day after Christmas, we stopped to eat at the Hungry Bear Cafe. The owners were so friendly and told us about all the cool places to check out in the area. They also told us funny Sasquatch stories. It was a diner and the food was great. And if you order a pancake, make sure you only get one, because they are huge.


A few years ago Dave worked on a show called Mick Dodge and got to spend a month in the Hoh Rainforest. While he was working there he said there were places he wanted to show me, so it was fun to finally see them. It was a pretty long ride home so we just drove through and didn’t end up hiking at all.


Ruby Beach was cloudy and it started to drizzle when we were leaving.

IMG_4009I love the different types of tree there are in Washington. IMG_4010

More Washington state beach driftwood. IMG_4014IMG_4017

We also did a balancing rock challenge and I won clearly. My British friend Toby always does this and it reminded me of him. IMG_4021IMG_4022IMG_4023

I’m so glad we went out on Christmas and got to enjoy some rare sunshine because it was cloudy again so quickly. You gotta take advantage of it when it comes!

Lake Crescent, WA

So yesterday I blogged about the first part of our Christmas morning at beautiful La Push beach. We rented our cabin in Sappho, a small town on the West Coast of Washington state. Since we were in between our next location, we stopped home for a quick lunch, then took off for Lake Crescent.


Years ago our friends got married in Olympic National Park. Dave was working in Forks, WA, so I picked him up and we went to our friend’s wedding and I drove past Lake Crescent and fell in love. This is what it look like from the road. It’s gorgeous! It’s hard to believe this is in Washington, because it reminds me of New Zealand. IMG_3868

When we got there, we parked at the lodge and saw a couple canoeing, and another guy took a quick dip in the lake too! I felt the water later and while it was cold, it wasn’t as freezing as I thought it would be. But I still wouldn’t jump in on Christmas!

canoe. JPG

This lodge is so quint and adorable. Dave and I always talk about possible wedding locations and this one is definitely a serious contender now. It would be so picturesque and beautiful.


How cute is this porch looking out into the lake? I mean come on!


And here is a seating area. I’m sure many people have gotten married right here. It would be a small and intimate wedding, which is just what we want.


La Push was a beautiful start to our day and this afternoon in Lake Crescent did not disappoint either.  It was so peaceful and pretty everywhere you looked.


Our traditional jumping pic, it has to be done. 🙂 We chatted with the couple who took this picture for us. They were a newly retired couple who lived in Sequim. Everyone we talked to all weekend were so friendly. jump

After we took in the beautiful lake and took our pictures, we headed for a short hike nearby. I obviously don’t know what the future holds for our future Christmases, but I’d loved it if they could involve beautiful scenery and maybe a hike like this year. And Dave and I also said we’d like to fly out our families in the future because that is what the holidays are all about.

I love the moss covered trees all over Washington. It reminds me of the Lorax, just fairytale/book like, it’s just so pretty.

bridgeThe name of the mini hike we did.


Our Christmas day waterfall hike.



That night we went home, cooked dinner and watched Christmas Vacation. I always loved Vegas Vacation as a kid but I’d never seen Christmas Vacation. It was fun and silly. It’s not one of my favorites like Home Alone, but it was fun to watch a Christmas movie on Christmas.

As much as we love our family and friends and missed them this holiday, we really enjoyed our weekend cabin-Western Coast of Washington-first Christmas away from home-together just the two of us. Your significant other becomes your family and you start new traditions together, which I really loved this year.

Our new traditions we started this year that will hopefully continue:

  • filling our (new) stockings with little treats or candy
  • a hike or something physical, like our mini hike
  • going somewhere beautiful (probably a little unrealistic but a fun goal)
  • making and eating candied pecans (my favorite recipe here)
  • an ornament or two to recap our year (I got a washington state one made of wood, and a starbucks cup to symbolize our big move this year to Washington from California)

North Carolina Recap

So today is our only day home before we take off for another trip. 🙂 #firstworldproblems

My best friend Melissa and her bf Nico are flying into Arizona and we are meeting them and driving to the Grand Canyon and Zion National Park for a few days. Also my brother and his fiancé, as well as two of our friends in Colorado are meeting us in Zion for some hiking and camping. So it’s going to be an awesome time and perfect way to unplug from the working world and unwind.

But before we take off I wanted to do a quick recap of the last few days. I will for sure do a more involved daily recap of our trip once we get back.

  • We went to Chapel Hill, North Carolina last week, to visit Dave’s best friend from childhood. We stayed with them Wednesday and Thursday night and then again on Sunday.
  • chapel hill Friday we headed over to Bald Head Island to celebrate our friend’s wedding weekend. It was the most perfect, beautiful weekend.
  • houseIt was our first time to North Carolina and I loved the Southern accents and hospitality that I’ve always heard so much about.
  • The only real disappointment I would say was that I didn’t find the perfect biscuit that I was hoping to. Guess that’s just another reason for me to go back and continue the search! I would love to hear any recommendations if you have any, whether in the South or in other parts of the US!

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I loved this book. I couldn’t get enough of it. I wanted to know more after it ended. I wanted to know where she went next, how she transitioned back into real life in Portland and what lasting impact it had on her. (I know there are lots of interviews she has done since she completed the trail, and I have yet to see the movie starring Reese Witherspoon because I wanted to wait until I was finished with the book.) But those were my initial thoughts after I finished reading it.

As a woman one of my main concerns would be safety on the trail especially being by herself. So I was really interested to see how she dealt with that and how she told herself she wasn’t scared.


I really enjoyed hearing about the camaraderie she felt among the fellow hikers she met on the trail. She said they motivated her and lifted her spirits when she was feeling down or exhausted. It also must have felt nice to commiserate about the trials and tribulations of the hike.  For a while she was the only woman on the trail but later met other women. I felt a real sense of women empowerment and thinking how strong and courageous she and the other women were hiking this trail and taking on such a huge undertaking.

It made me really happy to see the kindness of strangers while she was on and off the trail. People gave her rides when she hitchhiked, offer to feed her and let her shower at their houses, and a free place to stay behind stores. It made me believe in the goodness of people. I, myself, would be quite nervous to trust people but it’s nice to see there were still good people while she was out there. (She hiked the trail in 1994 at the age of 26.) But there is one incident she talks about in the book that would have made me really nervous.

Being on the trail she was able to work through issues that she had been carrying around with her for years. Before she started the trail she had lost her mother to cancer at 45 years old, her family fell apart in the wake of her mother’s death, and her marriage ended. In the long hours and days she traversed the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) she had a lot of time to think about all those lingering issues and learned to make peace with them.

It shows real dedication and character that she hiked the 1,100 plus miles in the summer, mostly alone, when the easy thing to do would have been to quit and go back to her old life.  


One of my favorite things about her journey was that she was not an expert hiker to begin with. She had only done short hikes before. Not that this is something I would want to do, but it at least gives me and other hikers hope that they could do it. They just have to have to will power and desire to do it. I’m also super impressed that she and other hikers took on the PCT 20 years ago when hiking wasn’t yet that popular. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is thinking about reading it.

New Interview Series : Featuring Tiny House Tiny Footprint

I am starting a new Interview Series here on the blog because I am perpetually curious and love asking questions to get to know people better. Throughout the series I will be featuring friends, fellow bloggers, and hopefully a familiar face or two. I am lucky enough to know a lot of very interesting and well traveled friends and I would love to share their stories on my blog. Some upcoming interviews will be about a friend of mine who lived in Australia for a year, another who moved to Spain and later volunteered in South America,  a friend who biked across America, and another who took off for a year mostly in South America.
For my first interview I wanted to feature one of my good friends from high school who I played on the tennis team with, Kathleen and her awesome boyfriend, Greg. After much consideration they decided that they wanted to give up their apartment to take a year and live in 140 square foot camper to reduce their footprint, while they simultaneously built their tiny house in Colorado. They were recently featured in the Huffington Post and were kind enough to grant me an interview as well!
Where did you get the idea of living(1)
A culmination of things led to us deciding to live differently. We wanted a place with a yard, but didn’t need an entire house. Greg lived in a minivan in New Zealand with his friend, Scott, in 2007 and it was easier than either of them could imagine. As a couple, the two of us thought that living tiny could free us up to spend more time together outdoors and that it was certainly worth trying! I was a little hesitant at first, but after living in a two-bedroom apartment with Greg, our dog Blaize and my former roommate, Stacey, I thought it might be worth a shot. We also care about reducing our environmental footprint, and because we’re reducing our square footage, we would be doing that automatically. When you’re in a small space, you’re conscious of how much water and electricity you use on a daily basis.
Where did you get the idea of living
We took a good month to go over the pros and cons of living tiny. I was worried about showering and getting ready for work in the mornings. I also thought it might be too small. Ultimately for me, knowing that we had the backup option to rent an apartment or a house at any time made it much easier.
Where did you get the idea of livingI told all of my friends first, but was nervous to tell my family. Eventually I did tell them and they were more supportive than I anticipated. Some of the people that I didn’t think would be interested in the project, are the ones that offer to help and want to hear updates every time we see them. I’m pleasantly surprised in the positive feedback. Some people are definitely skeptical and believe that we will be too cold in the winters. Only time will tell!
Where did you get the idea of living
So far our extra money has gone toward fixing up the camper trailer. We have been improving the existing insulation and purchasing materials to make our space feel more comfortable. Going forward, we will be saving our money for a tiny house that we will try to build ourselves.
Where did you get the idea of living
The number one thing, patience! Things might not always go as planned, but in a way, that makes life more exciting! You have to be able to think on your toes or have a backup option in mind. Downsizing my things made me appreciate the items I use on a daily basis. Most people don’t realize that when they travel, they are using less and are still just as happy, if not more. If we are able to do that for a few weeks or months, why can’t we do it for longer periods of time? It’s easier to pack for trips when everything we could possibly need on a daily basis is in our camper.
Where did you get the idea of living
We took out the existing toilet in the camper trailer and replaced it with a composting toilet. So far, it’s been great to have! It’s not a biohazard because the liquids and the solids are kept separate. It has no smell and it’s super easy to use! We do have a shower, and enough water for two showers a day. We have to refill our water cistern when we go through too much water. Since we are conscious of the water we use, we have been showering at the gym to save our water supply.
Where did you get the idea of living
We are connected to a hose and an electrical extension cord that we can plug into. Currently we haven’t used much of either. We charge our phones in coffee shops or at work. We try to use water that we carry into the camper trailer to wash our hands and the food we eat.
Where did you get the idea of living (1)
We’re doing the best we can so far! It’s only been tough when we both want to use the kitchen at the same time. We are finding that we’re spending more time outdoors. Blaize appreciates having a backyard of open space.
Where did you get the idea of living
Hardest: Showering at the gym isn’t ideal and means planning what you want to wear ahead of time. We are more selective of the food we eat because our storage space is more limited. That means we are more careful not to waste any of the food we have.
Easiest: It feels comfortable to sleep there and hang out in the space. It’s been easy finding storage space for clothes and outdoor gear. We have much more than I could have anticipated! We have had friends over for drinks and one guest has stayed the night. So far, our friends have been comfortable sharing the small space with us.
Where did you get the idea of living
We knew from the start that we wanted to build a tiny house. That will be an adjustment from a 1,000-square-foot apartment. Knowing that we’d have to downsize to make it work, we figured we’d start in one of the more inexpensive mobile housing options. We also thought that down the road, it would be great to have a camper trailer for trips and could leave our tiny house wherever we end up parking it. 
Where did you get the idea of living
It’s going to be around 270 square feet and will include two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen and a sun room/living room. We will have household amenities such as a stacked washer/dryer and a dishwasher. We will try to build these items around cabinets or our kitchen so that it will be part of the existing space. We would like to have a green roof and are exploring ways that we can use recycled materials for some of our furniture.
Where did you get the idea of living
Right now it feels like camping and it’s actually kind of fun! We’re working on some interior decorating, such as adding some photographs and curtains to make the space feel more like a house.
Where did you get the idea of living
I think it’s important to remember that you can always try it out and if it’s not for you, you can go back to living how you were before. I think we’ve been trained as a society to want more space and showcase our houses for our friends and family. We feel that relationships are more important than the items you own or how much money you have. Downsizing can feel liberating.
Where did you get the idea of living
Our website: You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.
I am so inspired by their efforts to reduce their carbon footprint in such a big way. But they’re right there are so many things you can do to consume less and not accumulate so many unnecessary things. We could all learn a thing of two from them! I think it will be fun to check in with them periodically and their progress of their tiny house and their adventures. Please leave any further questions you may have.