The California Coast

One of my favorite places to visit is the California coast. The cool air, the beautiful beaches, and the gorgeous sunsets are hard to top. Last summer we rented a house in Sea Ranch for the fourth of July and had a much-needed relaxing weekend. During the days we went on long walks along the coast and to the beach. At night, we made delicious dinners, sat in the jacuzzi on the patio overlooking the water, and drank a lot of good wine. Oh…and we played a little Yahtzee. Or a lot of Yahtzee…it was the only game at the house and actually turned out to be pretty fun!

It turned out to be a great weekend with great friends (and their adorable dogs). Here are a few photos from our trip that I took with my little Sony point and shoot.

I Heart Travel, Part VIII – England

Not much to say about my short trip to London. I loved London, but I usually love most European cities I visit. We stayed in a cute little bed and breakfast, did a lot of sight-seeing around the city, went up in the London Eye, ate fish and chips and English breakfasts, went to a few art museums, and saw an amazing performance of Wicked. I just wish I had my new camera back then so I could have really captured the city! Next time I guess.

A List Above Other Lists

I love lists. I use them almost daily. I use lists for the grocery store, at work to keep myself sane, at home to remind myself what I need to do on my days off so I actually get off the couch, when I’m planning a party or some sort of event, and the list goes on and on.

The one list I have never made or even attempted to make, is a bucket list. I think the idea of a bucket list has always scared me a little because it means I have to actually do all of those things. But today I decided, what the hell? Why not? I have a pretty long time to finish all these things on my list, so why not give it a shot? I am sure if I wrote a bucket list 10 or 20 or 30 years from now, my wishes and my priorities would be drastically different. But who says you can’t add-to or edit your list once it’s been written?

So, here goes.  My bucket list.

– Write a book (okay, okay, I’m starting off big, but I didn’t say it had to be a long book… )

– Learn to paddleboard (been once, I was horrible)

– Climb Half-Dome

– Hike to Kjeragbolten in Norway again (click here if you don’t remember what that is)

– Run a half marathon (working on this now)

– Own my own company some day

– Rescue a dog (or multiple dogs..I have a while..)

– Buy a boat and become a wakeboarding rockstar

– Jump out of a plane

– Ride in a hot air balloon

– Never forget that I’m an artist- continue doing creative projects forever

– Visit at least 40 countries (about 15 down, 25 to go)

– Be a great parent (someday)

– Have a closer relationship with my brother

– Travel to Minnesota and get to know my family there and see where my mom grew up

– Go to a broadway play in New York

– Travel to Chicago more often to see my family

– Learn to let things go and move on

– Teach someone something important

– Become a talented photographer even if it is just a hobby

– Take classes about things I enjoy (photography, Italian, cooking, Italian Cooking!)

Continue to be best friends with my husband for the rest of our lives and always remember how lucky I am

– Live in a new city, state, country, whatever…just somewhere new. Somewhere where everyday will be an adventure

– Take a life-altering photo that I keep forever. Multiple life-altering photos would be nice, but one will do

– Learn how to bake (I am a terrible baker and I can have the chocolate chip cookies to prove it)

– Last but not least, keep adding to my bucket list! Oh, and crossing things off too.

That’s all for now!

I Heart Travel, Part VII – Spain

Barcelona was such a fun city to visit. The architecture was so unique and intricate that I could stare at buildings all day. We spent the days walking around the city and even took a bus tour to see all the sites, and then spent the nights dancing our hearts out. This is truly a city that doesn’t sleep. There is something to do all hours of the day and night and I would love to go back someday.

I Heart Travel, Part VI – Oktoberfest in Germany

I have only been to Germany once (if you don’t include the airport layovers) and I was pretty consumed with Oktoberfest so  I didn’t see much else when I was there. I’m not complaining because it was one of the most entertaining/fun times of my life. We woke up early, went straight to the beer tents, ordered giant beers, and sat at huge picnic tables all day. We met people from all over the world who were there for the same reason we were…to drink beer and have a good time. I have no idea how I was able to finish more than one of those beers back then, because I’m pretty sure I’d be asleep in 10 minutes if I drank two of those now!

Actually, that is kind of a lie. I actually DID fall asleep pretty quickly after having a few of these giant beers. Here’s what happened – we sat down with some tough looking Italian guys and all ordered our drinks. When I was over half way finished with my beer, I looked around and noticed I could almost finish mine before everyone at my table. So, I made that my mission. I finished my beer, slammed it down on the table and said- “Ha! Finito!” I was so proud. Until one of my American friends said “Prima Finito, Prima Dormito,” which in rough translation means, “first to finish, first to sleep.” Everyone laughed (at my expense) and then shortly after I went back to the hotel for a nap. Moral of that story? Don’t try to act tough when deep down you know you’re not.

Here are some photos of the little I saw of Germany.

I Heart Travel, Part V – Hawaii

My husband and I recently went on a trip to Hawaii to meet up with my friend from Norway and visit with his family who lives there. We spent 10 days on Oahu and tried to soak up as much sun and relaxation as possible. So far my favorite island is Kauai, where I spent my honeymoon last year, but there are a few islands I’d still love to visit! Here are some photos from our latest trip!

This hike had so many stairs, 1,043 each way!

I Heart Travel, Part IV – Nice & Paris, France

Nice was one of the cutest little towns I visited in Europe. The people were friendly, the food was delicious, and the beaches were beautiful and relaxing.

Paris was a very different kind of trip. My husband (boyfriend at the time) got food poisoning and we ended up spending the first day and a half in the hotel room. After that he sucked it up and we climbed the stairs to the top of the Eiffel Tower, went to the Louvre, saw Notre Dame, and walked around the city (we walked everywhere because there was a transportation strike going on). Despite all of that, it actually turned out to be a great trip once the first two days were over!

I Heart Travel, Part III – Cinque Terre and All Things Italian


If you know me, you know I love Italy and all things Italian. I love the big cities, the country side, the language, their demeanor, their busy coffee shops and their AMAZING cappuccinos. Oh and of course, the wine. Oh, the wine…

Growing up I always wanted to go to Italy, so when I had the chance to study abroad in college, Italy was my first choice. I lived in Northern Italy, in a town called Torino and studied there for a semester. Very few people in my town spoke English so I tried to pick up the language as best I could. While living there, I travelled all over Italy and Europe. In Italy, I travelled from Torino, to Venice, Florence, Rome, Pisa, Milan, Santa Margherita Ligure , Portofino,  Asti, Genova, and Cinque Terre.

Cinque Terre was one of my absolute favorite places in Italy. My roommate and I hiked through all of the five towns and at the end, rewarded ourselves by jumping in the Mediterranean. I LOVE these little towns. They are so Italian and rustic and beautiful. The views change throughout the towns and each one is more beautiful than the next.

These are some of my favorite photos of our trip. I cannot wait to go back with my husband (we might add this stop to our May Europe trip) so we can sip cappuccinos near the water. yum.

Here are a few more photos from my travels through Italy:

I Heart Travel, Part II- Greece

Oh, Greece. How I love thee. I dream about you often…..

I have been lucky enough to visit Greece twice. Once as a recent high school grad with about ten Norwegian girls, and the second time when I was almost finished with college with my roommate. The first trip was amazing…I had never been somewhere so far away and so beautiful. But, I was also 17 and able to drink legally for the first time so the trip may have had a little bit of partying involved. We went to Crete and stayed in a little party town called Hersonissos for two weeks. We made friends with the bar owners across the street, drank homemade Greek wine and watched the sunset every night. Then we went out all hours of the night and walked back to our hotel at sunrise and sometimes even swam in the Mediterranean as the sun was rising. It truly was the most amazing experience of my life at that point. I wouldn’t trade that trip for anything.

Here are some photos from that first stay in Greece.

Years later, when I was just about to finish my last year at Chico State, I decided to go visit my friend in Norway. My roommate wanted to come along so we planned our trip for about a three week stay. Once we were there we decided we wanted to travel to at least one other country. My Norwegian friend found us an amazing deal to Crete, Greece for 7 nights so we jumped on it. We stayed in Crete and ended up taking a boat to Santorini, a city I have always wanted to visit. It was beautiful and exactly what I imagined Greece was like. This is the city where all the buildings are white and blue and the water such a gorgeous backdrop to the white buildings.

Here are some of my favorite photos from my second trip to Crete and my first trip to Santorini.


I Heart Travel, Part I- Norway

I love to travel. If I could do one thing in this world I would travel around it and see every place I haven’t seen. My dream has always been to close my eyes, point to a spot on the map, and go there. If my time, money, and life in general allowed for that I would be one happy woman. I would go somewhere new every chance I could.

But, this is not my reality. I have to work through the week, so instead, I plan ahead. I often decide on a trip I want to take and start working on it a year in advance. It gives me something to plan (which I love) and something to look forward to (which I also love). It has been a few years since I have taken a really BIG trip and I can’t wait to do it again soon. Right now I have a trip to Norway and possibly Spain in the works. I am getting so excited I can barely take it. The trip would be in May, to go to a friend’s wedding in Norway, and then to stay at her parents beach house on the coast of Spain. Not too shabby.

Now you may be curious why I have a friend getting married in Norway when I am from Northern California… So here’s the story- In high school, my best friend had an exchange student from Norway and we’ve been bff’s ever since. I have visited her in Norway twice, one time staying for 3 months, we have met up in Italy when I was studying abroad, and she has come back to the states 4 or so times since she left. I love her, and will continue to visit her for the rest of my life. She was just here last month when we met in Hawaii for a week and then she stayed with us in Sacramento for a week. I usually use any excuse I can to go visit her and this one is just perfect!

For this travel blog post,  I was going to post some pictures and a little information about why I love each place I’ve been. But then I realized that would be the longest blog post in the world. So, I am going to do this in sections. One post per country or city that I think is worth blogging about. For the reasons above, and the fact that it really is one of my favorite countries to date, I am going to start with Norway.

For those of you who haven’t been, Norway is one of the most beautiful places in the world (okay, so I’m biased, but it’s still true). There are beautiful bright green fields, gorgeous, soft sand beaches, amazing, huge fjords, and so much more. The people are beautiful of course, and so friendly and welcoming– not to mention they speak perfect English even though it is their second language, which makes getting around a little easier if you don’t speak Norwegian.

Here are some of my favorite photos from my trips in Norway. Keep in mind they were in 2003 and 2008 so the photo quality is not what it would be today. I can’t wait to go back with a real camera and truly capture Norway’s beauty. (so far) This is on a hike in Norway called Kjeragbolten. Don’t mind the blurry, scanned photo circa 2003. This will always be the coolest hike I’ve ever done. (this is me and my best friend on ‘the rock’)

Who knew Norway had such beautiful, prestine beaches?

And there is a beautiful, woodsy area by my friend’s cabin that is so nice in the summers.

Some of my other favorite photos around Norway