Washington D.C. Part Uno!

Okay y’all, I am back from the East Coast and while it’s always hard to get back to normal life after vacation, I have an apartment to pack up and I can’t say that I miss the humidity all that much. We were in D.C. for a week so I am going to break up the trip into two posts. The first couple of days were full of wedding activities and then we spent the rest of the week in complete tourist mode. Ask our feet; they’ll agree. Warning: picture overload may happen…

DAY ONE! // Our flight left LAX at 7am so our day started pretty early. We landed around 3pm (Eastern time) and went straight to the hotel to relax for a bit before we headed to Becca’s (Tammy’s fiance at the time and now wife) parent’s house. Dinner was yummy and it was good to see everyone again.

DAY TWO! // Michael had to work the night before so while he was sleeping in, I decided to walk around. Our hotel was near Dupont Circle and all the embassies so it was the perfect area to explore. I’ve been to D.C. twice, with the last time being about 16 years ago, so I didn’t remember much but one thing I loved this time was all the neighborhoods (and the city is SUPER CLEAN! LA, please take note). The Embassy of Zambia was at the very top of my priority list and I got to see dozens of others while on my walk to find it. I also passed by The Woodrow Wilson House. We had the wedding rehearsal that afternoon followed by dinner at evening. Michael and I definitely got the D.C. tour when we went to two wrong restaurants (but with the same name!) before we found the correct location. We were a little late… but it was all a-okay. It was fun meeting everyone who was in town for the wedding and talking with Michael’s relatives who I had yet to meet. The White House was just across the street from the restaurant so Michael and I snuck away for a few minutes to go get a peek.

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I loved all the colorful doors!

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Embassy of the Netherlands

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Embassy of Zambia 🙂

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The Woodrow Wilson House

DAY THREE! // Wedding day! We took it easy in the morning with the Dupont Circle Farmer’s Market and lunch. We got ready and headed over to the venue for pictures– the venue was beautiful on it’s own, but insert the flowers and other decor? Even more beautiful! Michael will hate me sharing this (sorry!) but at one point he had to walk away while Tammy and Becca were taking pictures because he was tearing up. He was definitely proud of his sister. The ceremony was beautiful. I’ve never attended a Jewish wedding and there were lots of traditions I was introduced to. I was really happy to be able to FaceTime with Michael’s grandma in Arizona who wasn’t able to be at the wedding– three time zones away, she got to see her granddaughter get married! The rest of the evening went by quickly with the reception, dinner, and dancing. The food was great, the music was fun, and the company of Tammy and Becca’s guests was even better. I’m really thankful I was able to be there.

DAY FOUR! // We started Monday off with brunch as a bookend to the wedding festivities and spent the rest of the day getting lots of steps in by walking to the National Mall and exploring some museums. I can’t tell you how easy the city is to navigate… last time I visited, I wasn’t the one who needed to figure out directions AND Google Maps did not exist. How people got around cities before Google Maps is beyond me! Anyways, our first museum stop was the Air and Space Museum followed by the National Gallery of Art (not for me… I cannot appreciate art). We walked over to the Washington Monument. The humidity truly takes it out of you. We ended up taking an Uber back to the hotel and relaxed until dinner.

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I love all things space!

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The National Gallery of Art

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I did like seeing this Monet…

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National Archives

You made it through the first four days! I’ll be posting the second half of our trip later this week.

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What’s Up Wednesday

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I am linking up again with Mix and Match Mama for What’s Up Wednesday. I haven’t been posting a whole lot lately so this post falls at a perfect time to cover all the bases of what I’ve been up to.

What I’m eating this week:

I am never eating anything too special. I don’t really cook full-on meals because of my current kitchen situation. Let’s just say that I am excited for a new apartment in July. Until then, it’s pretty easy meals. I did want to share two of my favorite Los Angeles restaurants so if you’re in the area, check them out!

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Home: There are two locations but I prefer the one in Los Feliz simply because of the outside seating area. It’s whimsical! I’ve only eaten here for brunch and but they have lunch/dinner options, too. Come early because it gets crowded!

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Panini Cafe: This is Michael’s favorite (thanks Kelley for the recommendation) and I’ve started to love it too for their breakfast options. I always get a breakfast wrap with fruit. Very filling and very yummy! The patio area at all locations are great for people watching, too.

What I’m reminiscing about:

It’s weird to think that I’ve almost been back in California for a year. I don’t know at what point I’ll stop describing me living here as being “back.” This time last year though I was finishing up the school year and packing up my apartment. I hate to admit that I was mentally checked out at work, but I definitely was. I was just counting down the days until I was done with my old school and was back home. Fast forward about 365 days later, and I am oh so much happier in every single way.

What I’m loving:

I am loving the spring weather! I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. Michael and I went hiking last weekend and checked out the LA Times Festival of Books at USC, where we ate lunch and read outside for a bit. My new school is all indoors so I don’t get to enjoy the weather during the day, but make sure to do a wog (walk/jog because let’s be honest, I don’t run) a few days a week after work. The picture below is the view on one of my walks this week. I love finding hidden gems like this one. The time change also helps and I love that it stays lighter later. Ask me in about 3 months if I’m loving the weather and I’ll probably say it’s too hot. I am enjoying it for now though!

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What I’ve been up to:

Most days seem like Groundhogs Day: wake up, traffic, work, traffic, work out, make dinner, watch tv, read, sleep, and repeat. With the events (aka stress) of the last month or so though, I will take Groundhogs Day!

What I’m dreading:

I don’t really think there is anything that I’m really dreading at the moment.

What I’m working on:

I am working on some (potential) travel plans! I have a few trips coming up (roomies, we need to start planning for our next Roomie Weekend) and I think I can talk Michael into a weekend trip to somewhere like Santa Barbara or San Diego. I’m also hoping to take a bigger trip over Winter Break. I have three weeks off so it would be the perfect time. I am throwing out ideas to Michael and the latest thought was Costa Rica. I went in high school and loved it. I remember it being really affordable too, and I’m not against traveling to places I’ve already been. I’ll probably look into some other Central/South America destinations. Europe is at the very top of my list, but I’ll save that until I have plentyyyy of time to see it all.

What I’m excited about:

SUMMER! With Spring Break behind me, I am now looking forward to summer. We have 7 weeks off, but I will be doing summer school for a majority of it so 7 weeks off turns into 3 weeks off. I know I shouldn’t complain; teachers get time off/holidays off/breaks during the year, but teaching is a hard gig and I look forward to my time off! But I also can’t complain about summer school either– I basically make a full days pay for only half a days work. My three weeks off will be spent relaxing, traveling to Washington D.C., and hanging with my bestie when she visits. Whitney hasn’t booked her flight yet, but it’s been discussed so I am counting it as a done deal 🙂

What I’m watching/reading:

I am, of course, watching my usual shows. Pretty Little Liars started back up again and I am anxious to see how it ends. Married at First Sight is back on and The Bachelorette is also back next month! And not long after that, Bachelor in Paradise!

During break, I binged on 13 Reasons Why. I thought it was really well done and definitely worth a watch. It’s way heavier than I thought it would be though. I read the book years ago and definitely didn’t remember most of what happened. Some of the scenes are really graphic and I wanted it to have a happy ending (spoiler: it doesn’t) but still enjoyed it and found myself rooting for (some of) the characters even though I knew how it would end. If you need a new show, check it out. And then find something happy to watch after!

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As for reading, I am currently one book 9 for April with Cancel the Wedding. Not sure if I will be done with it by the time by April Book Review post is up, but at the speed I read, it’s pretty likely.

What I’m listening to:

I heard two really good songs while watching 13 Reasons Why:

The Only Boy Awake by Meadows

The Night We Met by Lord Huron

And I also heard this one during the movie, Gifted (highly recommend!). I know it’s old but I’d never heard it before:

The Wind by Cat Stevens (the video I found for this one is super weird…)

What I’m wearing:

If you are a reader like me and want to share your love of books, check out these t-shirts from Book Shelf Tees. I found the online store via Instagram and fell in love with the adorable prints. I’ve ordered one shirt and have sent another as a gift. And you’re in luck because right now, everything in the shop is 20% off with the code MOTHERSDAY.

What I’m doing this weekend:

I will be enjoying an after-work hike and happy hour with co-workers on Friday followed by spin class the next morning. On Sunday, Michael and I will go out to Corona for a birthday lunch for my grandma and to meet a new member of the family (stay tuned for that post soon!). I’m not sure what the plans are for Saturday. We haven’t been to Disneyland for awhile so that will probably happen soon and we also have a Groupon for The Museum of Tolerance that we need to use at some point. And of course, some work because lesson plans and grading never seem to end.

What I’m looking forward to next month:

There are no special plans for May yet, but it’s just that much closer to summer!

What else is new:

That’s about it!

Spring Break Part 2

Sadly, spring break has come to an end. Here is how I spent the rest of the week:

San Francisco was super fun; we packed a lot in to our three days there! Unforunately, we didn’t get to make it to Alcatraz. My fault. I booked our tickets for the 14th without realizing it. And I should have because we left on the 13th. Once we noticed the mistake, the other days were booked up. That was the ONE thing that was on my must-do list, but that’s okay. Michael tried super hard to get us tickets but it didn’t work out. San Francisco is an easy flight from LA (and cheap, too) if we ever want to visit again.

We stayed at a hotel near the airport and took BART in each day. BART is good for getting into the city, but definitely no help in getting around. My Fitbit loved me this week with all the walking we did! Not everything we wanted to see was walkable though and I found a Groupon for a 3-hour bus tour. We went through all the different neighborhoods and saw all the touristy spots: Lombard Street, Palace of Fine Arts, the Painted Ladies, the Golden Gate Bridge, Twin Peaks, etc. We definitely couldn’t see all that walking (and yes, I realize they have buses here but that’s a whole other thing to figure out!). The BART station where we got off was right in Union Square which was the perfect spot to spend the rest of the day—and shop. My favorite thing! Michaels? Not so much. He was a good sport with all the time I spent in the different stores.

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We walked the mile to the BART station on Wednesday morning and headed to Fisherman’s Wharf. One thing on Michael’s must-do list was have a clam chowder and there is enough to do down in that area for hours. We found a restaurant with clam chowder (and something non-fishy for me) and sat outside. The weather was perfect! After lunch we headed to Ghirardelli where I got extra samples because Michael doesn’t like chocolate and then went back down to Fisherman’s Wharf to Ripley’s Believe it or Not. My family and I went here about 17 years ago and let me tell you, it’s not as cool as an adult as it is when you are young. We also decided to do a bay tour since we couldn’t make it to Alcatraz. I didn’t think I would be getting on a boat again that soon but there I was… it was a really cool way to see the Golden Gate Bridge (sailed right under it!) and we made our way around Alcatraz on our way back to port.

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The other thing on Michael’s must-do list was to go to a Giants game. He hates the Giants and my dad texted me something about being at that “hell-hole,” but Michael is trying to cross off all the stadiums from his list. I will say that the stadium was super nice. I only have Dodger stadium for reference and yes, I get that it is historical and yada yada, but that’s just code for OLD. The one thing I did not like about AT&T Park (and what we struggled with all week) was the wind. IT WAS SO COLD!!! Rain was also in the forecast and it held off for most of the game. I finally convinced Michael to head out in the middle of the 7th inning; I owe him for that. And one other thing: what stadium does not have lids and straws for your drinks?! Dodger stadium at least has that…

Our flight left Thursday evening so we headed back into the city to Chinatown. I ate at Chipotle but Michael opted for some authentic Chinese food. We walked around and headed back to Union Square. Again, Michael was a good sport with my shopping. We ended up being super early to the airport because our flight was delayed and we didn’t get the notification until we were at the hotel to get our things. It was okay though because it gave us time to get caught up on some stuff (emails for him and tv shows for me! 🙂 )

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All in all, it was a very successful spring break. Like I said in my last post, I need a vacation from my vacation! Luckily, I am heading out to Corona this morning for some rest and relaxation. Oh, and some Pippa time! Hope y’all have a wonderful weekend and Happy Easter!

 

 

 

Passport Stamps

In preparation for my cruise next week, I needed a new passport. Mine expired in 2013 and sadly, I’ve had no reason to renew it in the las couple of years. I am actually going to just be using my birth certificate and driver’s license (and also bringing a print-out of the policy so if they give me any trouble, I’m not stuck on the boat…) but had fun going through my stamps. Here are the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit:

Costa Rica (2003): This trip was the reason why I needed my passport! I went to Costa Rica imagesbetween my sophomore and junior year of high school. It was one of those EF tours organized by my biology teacher, with about 15 students from school. The trip was so long ago that I don’t remember most of it but the highlight was definitely zip lining through the rainforest and white water rafting. I haven’t been rafting since, but loved it so much! Our guide intentionally tipped the raft and while I still don’t forgive him for that, I survived!

Mexico (2005): When I say Mexico, you’re picturing the beaches of Cancun or Cabo but the only Mexico I’ve seen so far is Tijuana. I went in 2005 with my church, just for the day, to help build a home for a family. Tijuana was one of the saddest places I’ve seen.

Unknown-4Canada (2006): And when I say Canada, you’re picturing Vancouver or Toronto. Freshman year
of college, a few of my friends and I went to Nelson, a tiny little city north of Spokane, only about 2 hours across the boarder.

 

 

Zambia (2008): I spent about four weeks in Zambezi, Zambia with my college’s leadership program. We engaged in servant leadership with the community, starting different programs from computer literary, health, and teaching. I taught 9th grade English and Geography at the Unknown-1local basic school. I would walk to the school, about half a mile maybe, every morning for classes and walk back after and help with the literacy program we were also running. Adults would walk for miles, one way, to come spend their afternoons with us. This was the first year of the program, and since then, it has grown immensely and I’m really proud of the work Gonzaga continues to do there. While here, too, we got to go on a safari (it has nothing on the Wild Animal Park) and explore Victoria Falls.

London (2008): Okay, this BARELY counts but I do have a stamp so I’m calling it good. We Unknown-2stopped in London for a short 24 hours (maybe less) on our way back from Zambia. I don’t actually remember what we did but I think we walked around and saw the big sights?

Zambia (2010): I spent another four weeks in Zambia (this time in Monze), working with pre-service teachers. We lived on campus with the students and observed them in their student teaching positions, led professional development with the facility, started a library/literacy center, etc. I am not sure what the status of the program is now as it was also the first year that Gonzaga’s School of Education sent teachers. We had plenty of time to explore including my favorite place again, Victoria Falls.

Unknown-3Botswana (2010): I went on an over-night safari in Botswana. We were only there for a short 24 hours but I did get a stamp so it totally counts!

London (2010): Again, I got to hang out in London on the way back from Zambia (also stopping in Johannesburg– no stamp because we didn’t leave the airport). We had our bags with us but took the tube in to central London and walked around the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, and had lunch in Piccadilly Circus (where we saw Usher).

And that’s it for my international travels! I have a super long list of where I want to go eventually. Traveling is expensive and unfortunately my teacher salary doesn’t allow me to travel as much as I’d like but I’m still young. Still plenty of time to see the world!