Friday, August 31, 2012

Summer 2012: A Look Back

Happy Friday everyone!
Labor Day weekend is upon us aka the unofficial end of summer.
It seriously seems like just yesterday I was writing out this list of fun things I wanted to do this summer, right before Memorial Day. Now tomorrow is September and the start of football season. That's crazy to me. It honestly makes me a little sad because the summer here in Tahoe is so beautiful and it's made me fall completely in love with this gorgeous place. Plus, I enjoy everything about the summertime from dining al fresco to flip flops to fresh produce, and I'm going to miss the warm weather and longer days. We've had such a wonderful summer though, and so I thought it would be fun to look back and see how I did on accomplishing the things on my list! I crossed off the things that we did, as well including the links to my posts about them :)

 Summer 2012
-Read at least 10 books
(Ok, I'm not sure that I actually read 10, but I did read some good ones--this was one of my favs!)
-Go golfing
(We never got around to this...and to be honest, I'm not really sure I have the patience for golf! Maybe we can sneak in a game of putt-putt before the snow flies though!)
-Take the gondola at Heavenly up to the observation deck and have a picnic
(Definitely high on the priority list for September!)
-Try standup paddle boarding
(We actually did it in both Bend and on Lake Tahoe!)
-Go to Carmel/Monterrey/Big Sur
(I put up my post about Carmel, but I have more pictures from Monterrey/Big Sur I'll be sharing next week!)
-Go to back Yosemite National Park and hike Half Dome
(So apparently you need a special permit to hike Half Dome? So I'm not sure if we'll do it in the future, but hopefully we'll get back to Yosemite again at some point! Here's a recap of our visit there back in May in case you missed it!)
-Go back to Napa/Sonoma
-Go back to San Fran and visit Alcatraz
(We'll hopefully be doing both of these activities in the fall!)

-Celebrate 3 years of marriage to my wonderful husband! :)
-Get a new grill for our deck

-Barbeque at least one night a week

(This recipe was a favorite!)

-Go to a blogger meet-up
-Get a bike...and actually use it
(Maybe one day...)
-Run a 5K
(I was hoping to do a Color Run this summer and never got around to it, but I'm actually signed up to do a 10K along the lake at the end of September!)
-Start training for a half marathon
(This was actually one of my new year's resolutions but over to the course of the summer, I've changed my mind and decided I'm really no longer interested in running a half right now given where we currently live. The roads around our house are so steep and windy that it's actually pretty unsafe to go running. In addition to that, there are so many other activities that I'm really enjoying more like hiking, kayaking, yoga, and working out at our new gym that I love, plus ski season will be starting before long! Maybe when if we move to a different environment that's more conducive to running I'll take it up again because I do like it, but for now I just want to enjoy all the other fun active things that Tahoe has to offer!)
-Find an organization to volunteer with here in Lake Tahoe
(We were so busy traveling this summer, I didn't have a chance to get plugged in but it's definitely something I want to do this fall!)
-Stay consistent with doing yoga

Continue eating Paleo
(I'm working on putting together a FAQ page about Paleo and my personal views/experiences on the topic, so if you have questions be sure to email me! Also, if you're looking for a great Paleo recipe for this weekend, give this a try!)
-Use my ice cream maker at least 3 times
(Ok, so I didn't technically accomplish this...but I did make this homemade ice cream once this summer, and I ate about 3x as much as I should have!)
-Go to South Carolina for a visit
(I was originally going to accompany Cam on his work trip back to Greenville, SC earlier this month but by the time he got the details confirmed, my flight would have been over $700...Cam still wanted me to go, but I thought if we're going to spend that much on airline tickets we might as well just buy two tickets to NYC intead :) And that's why we're taking off to the Big Apple this weekend...marriage is all about negotiation compromise! :) Plus we will be going back to South Carolina next year for a friend's wedding which I'm so looking forward to!)
-Go camping and make s'mores (one of my favorite summer treats!)

-Relax and just enjoy living in Tahoe! :)

(If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I definitely checked this item off from the excessive amount of lake/sunset photos I post!) 
Looking back at this list, we really did do a lot this summer! It's been an incredible past few months full of gorgeous weather, time with familyand friends, and lots of great memories. And even though summer may be starting to wind down, I hear that September in Tahoe is beautiful so I have no plans to put the grill and the kayak away just yet. At the same time, I'm also really excited for the fall. I can't wait for sweater weather, changing leaves, hearty recipes made with squash, apples, and pumpkin, Michigan Football (which starts this weekend--GO BLUE!!), and a whole new season full of new memories to make.

And because I'm a compulsive list maker, I'll definitely be posting my fall bucket list soon!

In the meantime, I hope everyone has a fun, relaxing, and safe Labor Day weekend! We're off to NYC tonight on the red-eye and I'm so looking forward to seeing my sister and enjoying this last little weekend getaway to close out the summer! See you next week! Xoxo

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Camping in the Redwoods

Happy Hump Day everyone!

This weekend we went camping up in Humboldt Redwoods State Park in California, which contains one of largest areas of old-growth redwood forests in the country. I thought it would be the perfect place to go spend the weekend in these majestic trees and get a camping trip in for the summer. I also wasn't really thinking about the fact that it's over seven hours from our house...kind of a lot of driving to do just for camping/just for the weekend! Whoops. But we ended up having a great time, and driving through Northern California is still really interesting to me because there are so many pretty areas, along with so many areas that are extremely remote. Here are some snaps from the weekend...enjoy!

Sidenote: I was planning on editing some of these photos and then I was also going to put some of them into collages...but then I realized I take way too many photos to be able to do that, get them up in a relatively timely manner, and still have a life sooo all the photos you see here are SOOC, so straight out of camera! (So that explains why the color/exposure is not the best on some of them!)

Our campsite...very secluded
For breakfast, I made a batch of this stuff before we left and we just heated it up each morning
We did lots of this...
View from our campsite looking up
Someone being a sneak! (And I know, my flip flops with socks look is super attractive)
I realize I look like a total scrub, but to me that's the beauty of camping :)

The other problem with camping in Humboldt (aside from the fact that it was a super long drive to get there) is that dogs are not allowed on any of the hiking trails. So that left us at a little bit of a loss for what to do on Saturday. We ended up to Redwood National Park to check that out, which was another two hours north of where we were staying (crazy I know). Turns out Redwood National Park is not like Yellowstone or Yosemite, but actually a collection of state parks...and Humboldt actually has more trees I think! Needless to say, Saturday was a little bit of a bust since we spent a lot of it in the car for no reason. We did stop at the Lady Bird Johnson Grove of Redwoods though, and it was a really pretty area!

You'll notice that there are no pics of Cam and I from this part of the weekend...that's because we got in a little bit of an argument on Saturday driving up to the National Park. Mainly because I didn't want to drive all the way up to the park but Cam didn't want to just sit around the campsite the entire day...and then it just sort of snowballed. And the only reason I bring this up is because sometimes I feel like people read my blog and see all the traveling we do and think that we must have the perfect life/marriage. And I'll admit, we have a really awesome life and a fantastic marriage...but we're not perfect. Cam and I have very different personalities, and although we get along great 95% of the time, sometimes we butt heads about certain things. Don't get me wrong, I'm definitely not a fan of airing your dirty laundry on the internet as I think things like that in your marriage should be kept private, plus I'd rather focus on the positive things in life. However, I think sometimes when all you talk about is the positive stuff, people can mistakenly assume that you never have conflicts and it's important to me to be honest. One of the thing I really value about our marriage though is that when we do have disagreements, we are both very committed to talking through our feelings, sharing them with the other person, and then committing to work on improving in that area. Although it sucks to have arguments, in the end I feel like they help continue to make our marriage stronger because we always work through them together. And trust me, we had lots of time in the 4+ hours we spent in the car on Saturday! (Another redeeming thing about Saturday is that we stumbled upon this awesome natural foods co-op in Eureka, CA that was seriously one of the best grocery stores I've been too...which was totally random as Eureka is not exactly the nicest city!)
After working through our little quarrel, we headed back to Humbolt State Park and drove along the 30 mile scenic drive known as the Avenue of the Giants. This section of the park has lots of clusters of redwoods, along with turnouts where you can stop and hike. It was really pretty to explore this area, and I went back to taking way too many pictures of us... so all was right with the world again.

So I did edit this pic (obviously), let's just say the forest light wasn't exactly flattering on my pale skin!
Cam next to Founders Tree, one of the tallest in the world!

Driving along Avenue of the Giants, we decided to stop by the river and let Lola burn off some energy. Where we stopped, the Eel River was very shallow and warm and we all had fun playing in the water. And yes, I realize that I take an excessive amount of pictures of Lola...she's just so comical I can't resist!

Cam thought it would be fun to return to his shotput glory days...Lola was so confused.

Back at our campsite, we roasted hot dogs and made (lots of) s'mores aka my absolute favorite part of camping!

Camping essentials.
Honestly, I'm not one of those people who is good at taking "natural" photos, I'm all about the overly staged posed, even when camping!
Or ya know just looking like a tool, that works too
Sunday morning, we relaxed around the campsite before packing up and hitting the road...thankfully we were blessed with perfect dry weather so none of our stuff got wet. That's always the worst!

Lola is clearly over camping at this point
Lumberjack Cam splitting wood
Oh, just making a morning s'more :)

Sunday, we also checked out the Shrine Drive Thru Tree in Myers Flat, which was right by our campground. It was a neat little area and cool that they have a tree you can drive right through!

This Jeep has been across the country, gone to both oceans, and so why not drive it through a tree?
Lola in the backseat, confused as always
Lola so needs her own Tumblr of her looking snarky called Lola is Not this, LOL
How adorable are these little houses?
Avenue of the Giants
If you're ever in this part of Northern Calfornia, I'd highly suggest driving along Avenue of the Giants! It's so scenic and the perfect way to experience the majesty and beauty of the redwoods!
On the way home, we decided to take an alternate route and drive through the college town of Chico. Google Maps made it seem like this route would take about the same amount of time...which it definitely did not. We had to drive through this crazy mountain pass, and although it was a pretty drive, it was really long. We got to Chico around dinner time on Sunday and decided to check out the famous Sierra Nevada Brewery! Sierra Nevada's Pale Ale is a craft beer that's really widely distributed, but we weren't sure how their brewery/food would be. However, we were pleasantly surprised! We got to sit outside and have a great dinner, and I was really impressed by their beers that we tried, which were all seasonals they had on draft on not things that I've ever seen in stores. All in all, it was the perfect way to end the trip!

Beer cheese pretzels...these were amazing!
My goat cheese salad...yum!

Overall, we had a great time camping and although it was a lot of driving, we had a lot of fun! The redwoods are so peaceful and majestic, and I'm so glad we got to see them! Being in the forests is the most serene feeling, and it's incredible that those trees have been there for thousands of years. It's also pretty crazy to me that we spent the weekend around the tallest trees in the country, and then this weekend we're heading to New York City where we'll be surrounded by skyscrapers. I've got lots to do before then, so I better get a move on! Xoxo


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