Thursday, November 29, 2012

Heather Lake Hike - Kings Canyon {California 2012 Recap}

Kings Canyon National Park is awesome.  Kings Canyon is home to some of the biggest Sequoia trees in the country.  The drive in alone is breathtaking.

We stayed in the town of Three Rivers right at the entrance of the park and made sure to head in every day to explore.  One day we went on a 10 mile round trip hike up to a lake that was situated on top of a mountain.  It was a steep vertical climb up, but so worth the views.

Unfortunately, this was the only longer distance hikes we did while in Kings Canyon.  We had plans of going on many awesome long distance hikes, but... funny story:  When we arrived in Kings Canyon for "part 2" of our California vacation, I developed as serious toothache.  It was so bad that Brett ended taking me to an urgent care center in the neighboring town our 2nd day there.  Well, turns out, my tooth decided to pick the worst time ever to develop the need for a root canal.  Yeah...  But instead of getting a root canal ON VACATION, I decided to just take the medication/pain killers that the doctor gave me to relieve the pain until I got home and could get a root canal with my own dentist.  Therefore, I was on an antibiotic and Vicodin for the remainder of our vacation.  Womp.  I couldn't drink alcohol and any strenuous activity made me really dizzy and nauseous.  Hence the reason we only ended up doing one big hike while in Kings Canyon.  It kind of really sucked, but we made the best of it!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sunset River Hike - Kings Canyon {California 2012 Recap}

When we arrived at the Rio Sierra Riverhouse, it was already late afternoon.  We still wanted to get in some kind of hike on our first day, but didn't have enough time to make it into the Kings Canyon National Park before the sunset.  So instead, we hopped in the car and drove down the road to a little hiking path we saw on our way in.  It followed right along the river that pours out of the Kings Canyon mountains and into a giant lake.  We got in our hike right at dusk and finished up just as the sun was setting behind the mountains.

Perfect timing.

Monday, November 26, 2012

{5 Things I Loved About This Weekend}

Thanksgiving Edition!

Here are 5 things I loved about the long Thanksgiving weekend...

1.  Getting to spend time with our little nephews while visiting Erie
(This is Andrew; Bradley wouldn't sit still long enough for me to take a picture of him!)

2.  Making waffles (especially with the added fruit topping Brett made), listening to Christmas music,
and watching the (first!) snow fall of the year

3.  The ugly Christmas sweater contest my family had on Thanksgiving
(which will have to be worn on Christmas)

4.  The fact that Thanksgiving is now over, meaning it is officially Christmas time
and it's time to bust out all the Christmas stuff (including my Christmas pajamas!)

5.  How baking cookies can make me feel much better

What did you love about this Thanksgiving weekend?*

(See things I've loved from past weekends here!)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Up until this point, I did not know that a Charlie Brown Thanksgiving existed!  I have always been obsessed with the Charlie Brown Halloween, but now this is opening a whole new world!  I must find it and watch it asap.  

Back to the real reason for this post: Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you are enjoying the day with your family and friends, thinking about all the things you are thankful for this year.  I know I am.  We are currently in Erie visiting with my in-laws, then it's back to Pittsburgh to celebrate all over again with my family.  That's a loooot of turkey.  ;)  But I am so grateful that we are able to see both sides of our families during the holidays.  I know it's not as easy for other people.  And the holidays just aren't the holidays without family.  :)

Have a nice long weekend!
(And good luck if you are planning on tackling the crowds for Black Friday tomorrow!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Promise Me."

Back when I was planning my wedding in 2009, I was obsessed with wedding blogs.  I remember coming across a post on one wedding blog (which doesn't even exist anymore) that really made me stop and think.  I copied the text in the post and saved it because I thought it was really important advice.  Somehow I came across this saved post again recently.  As I was rereading it today, now over 2 years into our own marriage, I find it more relevant than ever.

Here's the blog post I saved back in 2009 from that wedding blog:


Last night, I ran into a professor I have crossed paths with over the years at the university I work with.  He is a quirky, thoughtful, poem-emailing literature professor, probably in his mid-sixties, who lets long pauses happen in the middle of conversations.  I don't see him very often, but have been given very weighty topics to think about every time I do.  The last time I saw him was over a year ago.  I was walking with some co-workers to get lunch, and he was walking in the opposite direction, and I waved, and he called out, jokingly, "Why don't you get married and change your last name so I can finally pronounce it?"  (Like I said, quirky.)  To which my response was to hold up my left hand, since I had gotten engaged only a week earlier.  His eyes got very wide, and he gave me a congratulatory hug, and then told me that his wife had passed away from a long battle with cancer... a week earlier.  When I asked him why he was already back at work, he said he didn't know what else to do.  And then he looked at me very seriously and said:

"My best marriage advice for you is to never, ever put off what you want to do.  No matter how good the excuses seem, or how little money you have, or how practical it would be to wait - don't wait.  Travel, move, experience new things together, and do them right away.  Don't ever put these things off.  Promise me."


Time really does fly and you need to stop and put things into perspective every once and a while or else years might pass by before you know it.  I'd like to think that Brett and I do a good job of living our lives the way we want to and doing things that make us happy.  This is just a really good reminder to make sure we continue to live that way together and taking advantage of every opportunity that comes our way.  No regrets.

Monday, November 19, 2012

{5 Things I Loved About This Weekend}

The weather was awesome this weekend!!  It really doesn't feel like it's the middle of November.  I'm certainly not complaining.  We were sure to take advantage of this sunny weather all weekend long.  I was even able to go for a nice long run outside on Saturday.  Happiness!

Here are 5 things I loved about the weekend...

1.  The start of all the Christmas festivities
include the Christmas beer tastings at Sharp Edge

2.  Going on a bakery run Saturday morning

3.  Finally making our way over to the authentic Mexican grocery store & Mediterranean store
and scoring big time when they both had food stands outside of them

4.  The fact that Brett loves to cook so much & that he is so darn good at it:
homemade black bean soup... yum!

5.  Munching on fresh pitas and hummus while planning our Spain trip

What did you love about this weekend?*

(See things I've loved from past weekends here!)

Sunday, November 18, 2012


If you follow me on twitter or instagram, you most likely already know...

We're going to SPAIN!!

We'll be spending time in Spain between Christmas and New Years and we seriously cannot wait.  Our plan is to fly into Madrid, hop a train to Barcelona, then back to Madrid to celebrate New Years Eve.  If you have any suggestions of must sees/dos/eats, we'd loooove to hear them!  We are trying to learn a ton about the area and any tips would be greatly appreciated.  Neither Brett nor I have ever been to Europe, so to say we are excited is an extreme understatement!

Now I just need to learn some Spanish... ;)

{Photo of Barcelona via}

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rio Sierra Riverhouse - Kings Canyon {California 2012 Recap}

 I have been so busy lately that blogging about our California trip has seriously been thrown to the side.  Which is pretty obvious seeing as how we went on our vacation in September and I am still trying to blog about it in November.  Yeah... Better late than never, though!  These vacation recap posts are my favorite ones to look back on years later.  So how can I not post them?  Moving right along...

After spending the first part of our trip in the Napa and Sonoma wine country, we headed down South for part 2 of our trip: Hiking and relaxing in Kings Canyon.  Our original plans were to spend part 2 of our trip in Yosemite, but after the whole deadly virus thing, we made new plans.  And you know what, it worked out waaaay better than we expected!  We came across the most amazing place to stay and lucked out big time that they still had availability (seeing as how we booked only a few days before leaving for our trip!).

The Rio Sierra Riverhouse.  Translation = Heaven on Earth.  This amazing little bed and breakfast seriously exceeded all of our expectations.  It was perfect.

Welcome to the Rio Sierra Riverhouse...

But we didn't stay in the main house.
No, no.  We stayed in a magical, relaxing, and cozy little place at the end of this wild flower path...

The "Hideaway"...

And right outside the door of this sweet little tucked away camper...
The most amazing grounds & views.
The most perfect place for relaxing and just taking it all in...

And the rest of the grounds that were on the property were literally amazing.
Swimming holes, huge rocks, little coves, incredible views, and kitty cats.
When we weren't up hiking in Kings Canyon,
we were just relaxing and enjoying this amazing property.

And we ended every night with a warm campfire and star gazing...

This place was perfect.  We definitely plan on returning some day...