Palm Desert Trip

Hey friends!

Bry and I are back from our amazing 8-day holiday in Palm Desert!

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And YOU GUYS. I played tennis. Like, for real. And I only hit one ball into a cactus garden. I feel very successful. Maybe I should start tweeting the Williams girls or Anna K or someone!?

We left early mornin two Saturdays ago and made it into Palm Springs around 4:30 pm. After we picked up a SASSY rental car we headed to Ralph’s for groceries. Our room had a pretty nice-sized kitchenette so we filled our cart and headed for our hotel.

We pulled in at the Westin Desert Villas and after checking in we sat down to a great dinner at the hotel restaurant, Agave. The hotel continued to amaze us all week, with really friendly staff, beautiful pools and delicious food+drinks. YAY.

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Lots of our trip was spent laying by the pool, playing tennis, grilling burgers and watching Below Deck on Bravo (SO good). I also brought along the Steve Jobs book, by Walter Issacson and devoured the whole thing in 7 days. What a guy. An a-hole, yes. But a genius, and now I want a Mac laptop…

Flank Steak!

Flank Steak!

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Highlinghts from our trip include firstly, a jaunt up to the top of Palm Desert’s popular (rotating) aerial tram. We decided to do a 5-mile loop once we got to the top and I am happy to report that I actually went FASTER than Bryan. I was SO Legolas. Also, we passed a troop of Army guys on the trail in full gear so baaaasically I think that makes me a Marine. Green beret.

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After our hike we did what any Californian would do.

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We also drove the hour or so over to Joshua Tree! Unfortunately my allergies decided to flare up HARD so I was a complete mess the whole time we were there. I could only manage a quick 2-mile hike but lemme tell ya – it was absolutely beautiful. It’s amazing in a way that words cannot describe. The trees and plant-life are very Dr. Suessy which was completely fascinating too. Josh Tree, two enthusiastic thumbs up!

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Feelin like crap

Feelin like crap

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After two days of wilderness adventure I decided it was high time I drag Bryan along for a taste of MY kindof fun. The OUTLET MALL. Palm Desert’s Desert Hills Outlets were the ticket. The place is absolutely enourmous and a bit palatial. Plus, it’s a designer outlet mall so it had the big boys. Prada, Alexander McQueen, Carolina Herrara, Gucci – I was dyyyyying. The most exciting (for me) shops were Nieman Marcus Last Call, Barney’s Outlet, Saks Off 5th, Tory Burch, J.Crew Outlet and of course The Cosmetics Company.

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I ended up with a couple things from J.Crew and 1 Mac Mineralized blush from The Cosmetics Company. Bry was a sport and studied for an upcoming exam he has to take for work at Starbucks. But you guys, I could have spent ALL DAY at this place.

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We had some delicious meals and ended up utilizing the BBQ at our hotel 3 nights too. I learned to swim underwater kindof and do a tennis serve. Bryan learned that sunblock should always go on the back of your neck and why the clearance rack at Barney’s Outlet is something to squeal over.

All in all, an educational and wonderful desert holiday!

Labor Day Fun

Happy September internet pals!

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Y’all ready to get yer PSL on!? Oh wait. Apparently those are bad for you now, nrrmind.

So. Last weekend was the big’n. Labor day. The holiday that marks the last day where one can acceptably wear white on one’s bottom half, or at least that’s MY interpretation. It’s a bit bourgeois, but hey. Thems the rules.

Bry and I planned on a camping trip in the eastern regions of our fair state, but a surprise interview popped up for yours truly on a SATURDAY (more on that later). Sunday morning we headed out early into iffy weather. I think Bryan could sense my hesitancy as he let me sing along to the ENTIRE Moulin Rouge, Legally Blonde and Sister Act 2 soundtracks on the way there.

We decided to try a brand-new campground in Cottonwood Canyon and it was just that – NEW. Beautifully situated in (you guessed it) Cottonwood Canyon, the area is gorgeous. The campground? A bit, er….desolate. No grass, no trees no campfires and plenty of wind. We immediately took off on a trail run because we are hard-core like that.

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I was wearin’ my trusty, hideous REI hiking pants which have tear-away bottoms so they can become shorts – which meant that I was the foxiest lady on the trails.

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You know, just being normal

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air guitar?

After our run, Bryan was dead-set on setting sail in our two-man tube RR for a bit of floating. After our last disaster floating adventure, I was a little skittish about jumping right back in. However, the river looked calm, shallow and yes – even a bit appealing, so I obliged. Things started out honky-dory – I had my juice box (aka wine-in-a-box) and the sun was starting to come out.

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About 15 minutes in, we spotted a couple of folks fly fishing in the distance. As we got closer, we both agreed that we should make portage (look at me and these official words!) around them and carry our floatie on the rocky river bed. We clumsily paddled our way over and somehow managed to make it safely ashore without slipping on the slimy river rocks. As we carried the raft around those GD fly fishers, I noticed something move quickly right next to my feet.

IT WAS A MOTHEREFFING SNAKE.

I shrieked, dropped the raft and ran up the embankment towards Bryan. Of course by my reaction, he had to think I was bitten by a cobra or scorpion or some other terrible creature. We switched sides carrying the floatie back into the water and I basically jumped in, arms and legs shaking furiously. Two or three sips of wine calmed my nerves but MY GOD. Bry assured me that he too, saw the sn- the one who will not be mentioned – and said it was tiny. I BEG TO DIFFER.

After my brush with death I did what anyone would do. Proceeded to assume there was a snake everywhere. In the raft, the cooler, my hair – you know. Once our float was over, it took us a good 20 minutes to find a trail leading us back to the camp site, but eventually we did.

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We were muddy, wet, a bit cold and super hungry upon returning to our car and my run-in with nature had really taken it’s toll. Bryan simply looked at me and said, “I think I know someone who would rather sleep in her own bed tonight.”

TEARS OF JOY, you guys. THIS is just one of the many reasons I love my husband.

He then packed up the entire shambangle while I sat licking my wounds in the passenger seat, inhaling a turkey sub and listening to The Producers with the heat blasting. We got the hell outta there as the wind realllly started to pick up and I couldn’t have been happier.

That night for dinner, we both had a serious jonesing for Mexican and decided to try out a random place we found on Google Maps, Mi Mole or something. We ordered a bunch of food, margs and sat down to guzzle liters of water. I ordered a kind of bean+rice+guac mixture which I just dipped chips into. Bry ordered seafood tacos. We later discussed that the use of “seafood” when referring to a type of taco can be a bit misleading, as seafood is a fairly broad term.

The tacos ended up being shrimp, and the toppings? There were carrots. Lots and lots of cooked, mushy carrots. Neither Bryan nor myself are the least bit opposed to this vegetable – sure, throw it in a slaw and serve it on a taco. But to cook down 1/2 a lb of the things and pile em high on a seafood taco? hmmm…

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Just a part of the aftermath

The carrots became a catalyst for a larger, deeper conversation over dinner that night. Sometimes we get so caught up in going going going – we forget to simply look at eachother as honestly as a person can and ask “How ya doin?” While Portland has been a fun adventure for us both, we are still trying to determine if it’s the city for us. If we fit in, if we WANT to fit in and if so, where that might be. It’s a little scary, but exciting too.

The next morning was pure perfection. Our planned breakfast for camping was bacon, egg and tomato sandwiches on ciabatta with pesto and oh lord were they good. After that, we did a little mini-golf and hit the sack early, what a great Labor Day weekend!

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Until next time, tootle-oo!

Summer Glamping

Hey pudding pops!

All I can say is thank God Bryan and I purchased THIS last summer:

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Since it’s first appearance last 4th of July, our two-man island of fun has srsly been our BFF. The three musketeers, we are. And when the hot Portland sun is pouring through the windows in our AC-less apartment all I wanna do is cannonballs all. day. long.

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A few weekends ago, Bryan and I packed up the Jeep and headed east for a little overnighter in the desert. After striking out at THREE different campsites, we finally nabbed one on the river at Peach Beach, which sounds like a cocktail.

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We sprang out of the car, inflated the RR (River Run), dumped a six-bomb of BLLs and a river drink for moi in the COOLER and set sail. I also applied m’trusty 70 SPF because my mamma didn’t raise no fool. We floated until lunch time and then I had the PB&J Bry so lovingly made for me with potato chips. We went through almost an entire gallon of water too. I always talk about our dranks, but we DO drink tons of H20 as well.

After the afternoon session we had covered all relevant topics; how we want to parent our offspring someday, which is truly the best of the 3 Ninjas series and obviously we played last meal.

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At Peach Beach no campfires were allowed (SONOFA) so our dinner was puuurty sad. We boiled water for hot dogs and then roasted mallows for s’mores over the tiny flame of the Jet Boil. It was a little pathetic but it worked.

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Then we watched about an hour of Wolf of Wall Street (told you it was glamping) in the tent and fell asleep. The next day we headed home to get some errands done but decided to head back the very next weekend. Can you tell we had fun?

The next weekend, we headed the same direction but decided to make it a day trip. And this time, we weren’t lazy bums. We ended up doing a 6 mile hike along the Deschutes River and I LOVVVVED it (yes it was totally flat). We hiked up a bit and then back to our car along the old railroad trail which was beautiful but long.

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We got back and immediately got RR in the water. A ranger explained to us that we were free to float along a stretch of the river all the way to the Columbia if we wanted. Things started out innocently enough until I suggested we paddle over and take a little tributary (that’s what I was calling it, but, LIKE I KNOW what a tributary is). As soon as we paddled over, poor RR was going through rapids, skidding over huge river rocks and Bryan and I were swirling around out of control. Things only got worse as we made our way down – it was so narrow, rocky and full of rapids that we were totally freaked. I was getting shoved into trees and foliage full of gross spider webs. I was screaming and being dramatic per usual.

Then Bryan was a prince. He got OUT of RR and pulled us back against the rapids. He was literally IN the water, pulling hard against the rocks and he basically ruined his swim trunks in the process. When we finally got back to the calm water, I made us do 25 tick checks and cleaned all the debris off RR. I had a few sips of wine from my wine cube and everything was all better. We ended up tying ourselves to a rock and spending the day lounging in the waist-deep water and catching some rays. Another eventful day out on the riv!

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Wrong way, genius

Also, what is more surprising: That football season starts in just WEEKS or that I actually care?

H-Moon Part 2: Lovina

G’day gents!

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

So. The last day in Seminyak I began to get a bit of a sore throat, but only mildly and in the AM. I thought nothing of it and just hoped it would go away. Well, it did not and cold symptoms began to progress.

The day we drove to Lovina was an uneventful one. I had gone through about 9829q8 Kleenex and now had to endure a 4-hour car ride through the INSANELY windy roads of Bali. We managed a quick stop off at another famous Balinese temple, called Ulun Danu which is situated on a lake. It’s breathtaking.

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The gal on the left is FIERCE

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Little Indonesian deer friend

Once we were up and over the mountain, we finally arrived at our destination, The Damai. To us, this felt like the real “Bali” experience. Unlike being in Seminyak (a city), The Damai offered a tranquil, lush, zen-like setting for the remaining 6 days of our honeymoon.

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Entrance to our villa

 

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Ocean views in the distance!

I was exhausted from the car ride and we were both famished so we immediately had his and hers lunches of club sandwiches and I hit the hay HARD until dinner time. I could have smacked myself for not bringing any cold medicenes. Y’all know I’m a self-confessed pill popper, so it would have been nice to have a little Sudafed, or at the very least some Nyquil. Luckily, I had some de-contestants which helped a little.

The next morning we made our way to breakie.

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They grow their own herbs, a lot of produce and all the grass is hand cut

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Breakfast was also included in the price we paid for the room and the spread was utterly fantastic.

To start, they brought coffee, juice and an array of local fruits. I was instantly repulsed at the banana (obvs) and that sliced open thing with gooey seeds in the middle? I couldn’t do it. Any of it.

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But then. All of THIS came:

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In addition to this smorgasbord was ALSO our full-sized entrees of food, my favorite being their pancakes…

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Words cannot describe how much I loved these crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside discs of unadulterated buttery bliss. Our glutton-fests breakfasts each day EASILY tided us over through lunch and allowed me to look four months pregnant during our late-morning dips in the pool.

::cues Enya::

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Before dinner that night, I drank an Asian Red Bull.

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My face tho

At dinner, we ordered a bunch of seafood and my prawns still had their little exoskeletons and those gross little legs and also, they were spicy. It just wasn’t my night.

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The next day, we decided to venture up to the “community” pool with the peasants. Hahaaaahhaaaaaaa. I put “community” in quotes because there are only like 15 villas in the whole place, so it’s not like it was a gross urine-infested cesspool like at Silverwood.

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The next day we ventured into the little town of Lovina to watch the sunset.

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Still not feeling 100%

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Then we headed out for dinner.

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Bry bein’ scurry

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tee hee

 

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i feel like I’m bushbaby in this pic

Bryan ordered some kind of curry and I decided on pizza after debating what would make me the least sick.

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Tasted like a Totino’s party pizza with extra mozz on top

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The next morning we woke up bright and early to go dolphin watching!

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so pitty

so pitty

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We ended up seeing a ton of dolphins but they are hard to photograph! Quick little buggers…

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The only semi-useable dolphin shot

Then I tried to commandeer the boat and it didn’t work…

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darn ‘ttractive

Later on, we changed and shopped around before we headed back to our room for a two-man pool party.

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Tropical drinks!

Whilst pool-partying, I asked Bryan if he enjoyed the Kelly Kapowski swimsuit butt and he did not know what that was. The horror!! So. I had to demo.

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Bryan had fully caught my cold at this point and the next day it rained 😦 so obvs we laid on the couch all day and watched movies. Btw, The Count of Monte Cristo is SUCH a good revenge flick. So satisfying to watch.

Our last days were spent laying low because of Bryan’s worsening cold.

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Our very last full day, we decided to go to Spice Beach Club and spend the day lounging under the umbrella.

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And since we had sooo much fun during the day, we came back at night to watch the sunset and have dinner.

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When we got back to our room that night, we had a special gift from The Damai for our honeymoon!

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The next day, Bryan was still really sick with a horrible cough and we had the following ahead of us:

  • 4 hour drive from Lovina to the airport
  • 5 hour flight to Taipei
  • 2 hour layover
  • 12 hour flight to Seattle
  • 2.5 hour drive to Portland

It was really joyous. The best part I’d say was the 12 hour flight for sure. Bryan woke himself up coughing every 20 minutes. We were directly across from the flight attendants little HQ and every meal was chicken + rice in a thick sauce By the time we got to Seattle, I was thoroughly thrown-off, hungry, and just haggard. We took turns driving and arrived around 10:30 PM.

I took a loooong, hot shower, used a ton of Lush, brushed my teeth with water FROM THE SINK and just soaked in all those comforts of home I had missed. By the time we fell into bed, it was near midnight and I gotta tell ya – climbing into bed that night had to be the most satisfying feeling EVER. You know the one. YOUR sheets, YOUR pillow. Before long, I drifted into a deep, peaceful sleep.

Traveling to foreign lands is tiresome. It’s expensive, uncomfortable at times and it is never “easy”. People keep asking us if it’s what we expected or if we wished we’d just gone to Hawaii. And while I LOVE me some Maui, I also think it is important (for me, at least) to push myself and experience these amazing cultures. All the head-colds, lizards and typhoid-infested drinking water couldn’t stop me from seeing everything there is to see and having a partner who feels the same way is the icing on the cake.

Until next time Bali. Until next time.

H-Moon Part 1: Seminyak

Hallo!

You would think that after a two-week stint in Indonesia I could greet y’all in the native language. But, no. I got nadda. In fact, on our layover in Taipei we both realized how little we knew about this big island we were about to inhabit. Ah. Well.

Thankfully in Taipei, we stumbled upon one of my favorite kitty-cats EVER on EARTH.

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YOU KNOW I died.

And so. Armed with little knowledge of Bali, our plane touched down after a grueling 23 hours of solid travel to sticky-hot temps and absolutely bat-sh*t CRAY traffic. You see, in Bali there are no traffic regulations. Sure, there’s the odd stoplight. One would think the yellow and white lines on the asphalt should at the very least HINT to the illusion there is any kind of order – BUT NO. If driving on the left side wasn’t enough to kinda freak me out, surely the use of the horn was. Scooters whizzed by as bits of jungle and tiny shacks selling peanuts and Bintang quickly faded into a blur of people, buildings and noise.

Overwhelmed but excited, we checked in at our hotel in Seminyak, Le Jardin Villas. Upon arrival, we were given wonderfully fragrant leis and welcome drinks. Our breakfast came as part of our package so we made our selections for the following day and were escorted to our villa.

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As per tradish, they washed our feet before entering… in a bowl with tons of flower petals. SO COOL. But also, I felt bad for the girl who had to touch my feet…

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As soon as the tour of our villa was over and the door was shut – we both squealed with delight. Srsly, like little piggies. I mean, we were really THERE. In BALI. ‘Moonin it UP.

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The first day or two were spent aboard the relaxi-taxi (name that show!) and I had my first run-in with a true Bali native:

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Yes. I freaked out and started crying. Thank the baby Jesus I wasn’t ANYWHERE near this guy when I first spotted him in the bushes. After a few minutes, he decided to grace us with his presence atop our sundeck. Bryan was psyched and I was like “KILL IT, KILL IT!!!!” I was kidding though, I mean, he was just trying to catch a few rays I guess??

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I named him Professor McGonickle

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The third day we decided to head to our very first official temple for sunset. This particular one has been in the background of various movies and has probably graced the background of many screensavers as well.

I give you, Tanah Lot! The temple was originally built to worship Balinese sea gods and of course has heavy Hindu influence. It is literally IN the ocean during high-tide and provides one AMAZING backdrop for a killa sunset.

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After our cultural experience for the day, ’twas time for dinner. And since we had heard rave reviews for Sarong, back in Seminyak, we decided to go there. The restaurant was beautiful, the ice consumable and all the people were white. Haha. Dinner was fantastic, too.

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The next day we knew we wanted a little beach time, so we selected to visit one of Bali’s many beaches, Padang Padang. The entrance to the beach itself was CRAY. For a couple’a trees like Bryan and I, wriggling down the set of stairs which lay right up against a giant STONE WALL was intimidating, to say the least.

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The beach was SWELTERING and it finally dawned on me that we were basically sitting on top of the mothereffing equator. Bryan took shelter under an umbrella and drank from coconuts (I think they taste like armpit sweat) while I slathered on the 70. Yes, apparently such staggering levels of SPF can be attained.

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After a few hours of sun, we headed back to the hotel and quickly changed so we could do sunset drinks at another white-man’s haven Khu De Ta. Cocktails were ‘murican prices but oh well, it was swankers and the real estate was PERFECT to watch the sun sink into the horizon.

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The following day Bry and I hired a driver/tour-guide for 10 hours, which cost all of about $55, so that we could check off a bunch of the “to-dos” we had left on our list. Our first stop was to watch the Barong & Rangda, a Balinese Hindu dance. I confess I know little about the Hindu religion, our driver, Iwan, tried explaining some of the ideologies to us, but mostly I was flummoxed. From what I gathered, Hinduism focuses on balance. In this particular dance, the Barong and Rangda symbolize good and evil. The costumes are considered very sacred as well as the dance itself.

Here we are all-American and sh*t.

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Had to

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Making the offerings

The dance was beautiful and even though the dialogues were in Balinese, it didn’t matter because the message was clear: There will always be an ongoing struggle inside each of us with good and evil…or at least I hope that’s what the point was. If not, I WANT MY MONEY BACK. hee hee jk.

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One other cultural display I found interesting and a bit repulsive was a group of tourists who continued to walk around the arena and noisily snap pictures, during the show. At one point nearing the end, a woman rose from her seat to stand right IN FRONT of the stage and had her ENTIRE family take her pic as the actors were just feet away. The fervency in which this woman insisted on hundred of pictures OF HERSELF no less, truly baffled me. Have you no respect, woman!? GEEEEEZ.

After that, we stopped off at another Balinese temple and we had to wear SARONGS. Tres cool.

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After that, we decided to head further into Ubud to try a Balinese delicacy: Luwak Coffee, or as I like to call it – “poop coffee”.

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I had heard of “the most expensive coffee in the world” when I worked at Elevated Grounds and turns out, it comes from Bali. Essentially a little animal called a civet eats the coffee berry and then after it passes the fruit (I am being SO P.C right now) the coffee-makers collect it, clean it, roast it and serve it up to caffeine-crazed folks all over the world.

the civet

the civet

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the poops

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processed

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roasted

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ground

We tried an array of their other coffees and teas (not made with poop) and then of course ordered a $5 cup of the LEGIT stuff before leaving. End result: DELICIOUS! Smooth and perfectly balanced, the Luwak coffee captured both of our hearts…and taste-buds.

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the good stuff

the good stuff

Once we arrived in Ubud I was positively TICKLED at the prospect of visiting Monkey Forest, a small bit of forest (jungle, really) inhabited by TINY BABY MONKEYS. Oh yes. Being a lover of any small mammal, I was simply in awe. Little monkeys, old and young, just roaming freely around a few acres of land, bein’ cute. You could buy mini bananas (MINI) and feed them but I sustained, as I didn’t want a  baby monkey bite.

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I didn’t want to leave Monkey Forest. At all. I wanted one. I wanted one SO BAD. I mean ROSS had one!?

Then we headed into Ubud to go to the market. Our driver warned us that we MUST negotiate prices if we bought anything at the market…. so basically yer telling me it’s TIME TO HAGGLE B*ITCHES.

And haggle I did. I procured five or six random chochkies and spent the equivalent of about $17, so job well done by me!!

 The next day we left for the second half of our honey-mizzle – to Lovina in north Bali!

Stay tuned my precious gems!

Weekending

You know when you just have one of those perfect weekends? Where you strike that perfect balance of knocking things off the to-do list while still enjoying two work-free days? Lately, those have been scare around here. CFA exam prep, weekends away planning our wedding. Mondays would come and go where neither of us felt that true satisfaction.

Well, last weekend was definitely the exception. And hopefully we’ll have plenty more to come.

Our friends from Seattle came to see us, we shopped for honeymoon clothes AND we snuck in a mini trip to wine country. Holla.

Saturday afternoon Kyle, Melissa and their daughter M arrived and instantly our weekend had begun. It has been an absolute joy to watch little M grow before our very eyes from a little baby, to the curious, precocious and beautiful 2-year-old girl she is today. I simply adore this child and Mel has an awesome blog you all MUST check out.

We unpacked and settled in a bit before hitting the waterfront for a little stroll before dinner. M couldn’t decide which was better, the stroller or stretching her legs and walking along the path – stopping to examine everything from flowers to rocks to puppies and the hissing Canadian geese (yes, they hiss and it is SUPER weird). We hit up Nike Town where the boys found some treasures and I realized my workout attire is in DESPERATE need of an upgrade. Unless for some reason, my sister’s old soccer shorts and pitted-out cotton tee shirts come back in stlye…

For dinner, we headed to NW 23rd street to meet up with some other friends and share a meal. The Lucky Labrador Brewery was the perfect setting for adults and kids alike, featuring an outdoor patio with picnic tables, dogs and lots of good food. Our gourmet veggie pizza was great, but watching the kidelts play and try to feed each other had to be the highlight of dinner.

Afterwards, Mel and I walked over to a NW 23rd namesake, Salt & Straw. With lines wrapping around the block on the daily, we surmised that getting a pint and getting the heck outta there was our best bet. I ran in, got 10-15 dirty looks and grabbed a pint of sea salt with caramel ribbons (drool). Then we headed back so M could go to bed and we could dig in. The ice cream was life-changing good and we quickly understood why people wait hours for this stuff.

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JOY!

The next day Kyle and Bryan did us a solid and ran down the waterfront to procure two Portland delicacies we desperately wanted to try. Stumptown coffees and Voodoo Doughnuts. I’ll admit the Voodoo Doughnuts thing is over-hyped. Lots of locals hate the place but tourists can’t get enough of the quirky, deep-fried creations. Personally, I don’t discriminate against any doughnut SO BRING EM ON.

Bry and Kyle returned an hour later toting Stumptown mochas and an array of sugary sweet doughnut combos that, admittedly, turned us all into giggling little kids. We got bacon maple bars, a chocolate doughnut with Cocoa Puffs, some staples like an old-fashioned and cake and then mine – The Loop. Yes, my friends. A vanilla frosted ring of sumptuous glory, dipped in none other than Fruit Loops.

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Turns out M was just as enthusiastic about my doughnut so we shared, much to the chagrin of her parents who shook their heads at her tenacity towards the rainbow-colored cereal covered in bits of vanilla frosting. When in Portland, kid. When in Portland.

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After breakfast (if you can call it that), we decided to walk off some of those delicious calories and head into downtown for a bit of shopping. Obvs the Rack had to be pillaged and I was happy to see everyone find some awesome finds (tax-free!).

For lunch, we went to the Nordstrom Café per Melissa’s recommendation and it turned out to be EXACTLY what we needed. Good food, good prices and speedy service. How does Nordstrom always get it right?

After lunch we reluctantly bid adieu to our friends, gave M MASSIVE hugs and sent them on their way back to Washington. Bry then mentioned the idea of heading over to McMinnville for a little wine tasting and wandering. Hmmmm…”OKAY”, was my reply.

The little downtown of McMinnville is literally SO cute, lined with restaurants, little boutiques and of course plenty of tasting rooms. We sauntered around a bit before hopping in the car to visit Eyrie Vineyards.

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Apparently this place bottled the first ever Pino Gris in America back in the 70’s…which is my fave wine. Who knew!?

Next we wanted to try someplace with a view. And we totally found it at Durant Vineyards! The tasting room was very well appointed, with rustic and tasteful décor and a really nice sampling of wines to try. Bry and I decided to just get glasses since they were closing down and headed outside.

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It was heaven.

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His and Hers

All in all, a very successful weekend indeedsy.

Our First Portland Hike

Hey hey hey!

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Last weekend, as a treat for Bryan completing the CFA exam, I decided to grace him with my presence on the hiking trail.

You see, while living in Jackson Hole, I lured Bryan into my clutches by pretending that I was somewhat of a hard-core hiking lady. Of course this couldn’t be further from the truth, but months of running had given my body the aptitude to take on 10 mile + hikes and thousands of feet in elevation gain. So, I would ho-hum along the hiking trail, impressing him with my ugly-but-cool hiking pants and alleged excitement of yet 75 more switchbacks.

Since then, things have somewhat changed.

While I do enjoy the out-of-doors and the odd camping trip, the boy is mine (as Brandy and Monica might say). I no longer have to work for his affection, and thus – I let my freak flag fly.

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I wear whatever I feel suits me best when I hike. Be it a sparkly VS hoodie circa 2006 or knee socks with shorts. Within the first 15 or so minutes, at least 2-4 complaints have escaped my mouth and probably another couple requests for the water bottle, granola bar, etc. I am needy. I talk too much. I get mad. But I’m also a darn good time.

Bryan and I decided to do a loop around Multanomah Falls, the largest waterfall in Oregon. We started out on a paved black-top and I must have made the comment, “Oh, I just love that this is paved!” about a million times. It was steep, but at least it wasn’t all rocky and full of tree roots.

The hike was full of twists and turns, bridges over bubbling brooks and mini waterfalls. It was DEFINITE unicorn territory.

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As the pavement slowly faded into earth, so did my motivation. My muscles were tired, the muggy air made my whole body sticky and I knew we weren’t even halfway done. Bryan told me we had gained about 1,200 feet and for that, I was grateful.

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Just before we reached our destination towards the top, I realized that my sentiments towards hiking, mirror the stages of grief.

1. Shock and denial – The initial shock of going uphill is never good. I’ll often ask myself, “I don’t remember signing up for this!”

2. Pain and Guilt –   The pain has set in. I’m hurting and I want to stop and devour all the m&ms out of the trail mix. But I don’t. I keep going because I will feel bad if I poop out now.

3. Anger and Bargaining – Then I just get MAD. Real mad. I see Bryan easily handling the steepness and I just wanna throw my water bottle at his head. Why is he putting me through this? Then I’ll try to barter, “Hey, if you go down and get the car now, I’ll make cookies for you tonight!”.

4. Depression, Reflection, Loneliness – After the anger has subsided, I’m just sad. Why is this hike so hard for me, yet so easy for all these other people? A tear might escape my eye. Bryan is now a good 15 paces ahead of me. “He doesn’t even care”, I think.

5. The Upward Turn – This is usually when we reach the top, or whatever destination we have been going towards. I know we are now going downhill and so I smile.

6. Reconstruction and Working Through – I’ve now told Bryan that I hate this hike, I hate these trees. I’m recovering from my tantrum and as the sweat dries up, so does my anger.

7. Acceptance and Hope – I’ve done it. It is over and I am better because of it. This is where I get really chatty, lovey-dovey and want to stop for little breaks to snap pics, hold hands and breathe in the moment.

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You see? It totally applies. Which brings me to my next idea, which is – hikes that ONLY go downhill. Yes please.

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