travel and leisure

Scottsdale Arizona - Hotel Adeline

Nate & I traveled to Scottsdale for a job with a sponsor of a Golf Tournament in February & we were lucky enough to stay at the Hotel Adeline for our first night in town! It had just barely opened, so we were one of the first guests they had! It's such a beautiful spot & has the most amazing pool & lounge courtyard area down the middle of the property. [psst, locals, they do an insane staycation rate during the winter months!!]
We checked-in in the early evening & walked down to Fashion Square Mall for a Shake Shack burger & then came back to our hotel for a drink by the fire! 
The next morning we grabbed an Uber to Four-til-Four Coffee & sat out on the patio [hiiii perfect weather!!!] before heading to breakfast at Farm & Craft. We spent most of the rest of our trip filming & photographing Golf Courses & events around the Scottsdale area, which is SO beautiful. Who doesn't love a desert cactus at sunset?
If you ever find yourself in the Scottsdale area, I highly suggest staying at Hotel Adeline! 

San Francisco on a Monday.

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Nate & I traveled to Northern California for a wedding in early September, so we had a day to spend in San Francisco with our friends who were also attending the wedding! It was so fun! There was a 'freak' heat advisory the weekend of the wedding, so when we got back to San Fran we had one normal day in the city. 

I had driven over the Golden Gate before, but man it's a magical experience every single time. Also In-N-Out forever.

Sorry but HAD TO take photos of the sunrise & the insane shower at our airbnb outside of Occidental [which we loved]. It was so magical! & also coffee stop at Saint Frank

 

^^ photos of two of our best friends whom I love & take photos of whenever I get the chance. Because they are so beautiful. & also the sunlight at the ocean is the most ideal backdrop.

^^ I mean.. West Coast Best Coast. No question. Ever. 
Also I love Nathan Happer & I'm glad Chris took these photos of us. 

Just some photos in & around our hotel. Which we loved. Which we booked using old faithful, Hotel Tonight

We had all day Monday to be in the city. We went to Hayes Valley for coffee in the morning, Palm House for brunch with the whole crew and then Mission Dolores Park to chill & enjoy the weather! I enjoyed San Fransisco, but not quite to the point where I'm dying to go back. We were there on Labor Day Monday, which made it pretty quiet, but it was fun to spend a day there with our friends!!  

Palm Springs Vacation

Man. Palm Springs touched my heart. I know that sounds deep or extreme or whatever, but I loved it so so much. This blog post is more of a collection of memories & portraits than a 'How to see Palm Springs Travel Guide' which is okay with me. I can definitely give recommendations, but in this post you will get 1-to-3 of those :) 

I was so looking forward to driving from San Diego to Palm Springs & stopping at Salvation Mountain. It was definitely one of the most bizarre trips to experience, you drive through some weird towns & see a whole lot of nowhere to get there. It's not a destination. It hasn't become commercialized. It's made of dirt. That's what to expect. But it's stunning & beautiful & so peaceful. Highly recommend.  
I also wish we had time to stop somewhere & enjoy the Salton Sea, it was so beautiful to drive along, but we only had a day in a half in Palm Springs & I was not wasting a single moment!

We spent our time in Palm Springs at the Ace Hotel which we both loved. It is really a great place to stay [or just spend the day at the pool & enjoy the grounds!!] & it such a unique experience. 

I love taking photos & I love my beautiful friends. Here are some photos of my beautiful friends.

We ate food twice at the hotel & honestly, neither times met our expectations. The Kings Highway breakfast spot is beautiful, but we didn't love the food! That's okay though because there are 100 other options in town that we loved!

But the pool area is incredibly iconic [can I use the word iconic if it's only been there less than 10 years? I just did..] & relaxing and THE MOUNTAINS. I mean. I could live there forever.

We had SO MANY intentions to rent scooters or bikes or anything that wasn't our car, but it did not work out in our favor. Palm Springs has lots of rules about things happening past dusk & not riding scooters or bikes is one of those rules. So we drove around the neighborhoods & looked at the doors & the cactus' & the houses & fell in love. I did my research & followed the map from The Salty Canary including the ever famous 'Pink Door' & we were happy. 

ps. does anyone else go on vacation & feel so good about the amount of photos they take & think things like 'we drove around for 30 minutes & looked at all the doors!!' & then come home & realize they took 1 photo of 1 door? the balance of living life & documenting life is something I struggle with SO MUCH.

more photos of my beautiful friend Lauren. she is my person & she is also a total babe. 

After the doors we drove out into the nowhere land that surrounds Palm Springs & enjoyed the last bit of sun & took some photos [duhhhhhh]. 

& then again, my lovely friend Lauren snapped some photos of us. She's good & I'm glad she knows how to use a camera. & of course we took some good old fashioned selfies.

Is it even worth writing this little blurb about what photos are coming next? 
It's not. 
So I won't.

San Diego Vacation & Travel Guide

Here's the thing about San Diego.
I enjoyed it, but I'm not dying to go back. I felt very disjointed from the people there & couldn't quite place my finger on the culture of the city. Which is something that I really value when we travel. Were there some cool shops & pretty beaches & did I have fun? Yes. But I happily checked it off my list & don't care if I ever go back. #sorrynotsorry

First off. We took the train from Anaheim [where we were for work] to San Diego. 10/10 recommend. Very enjoyable. We upgraded to business class & got a snack back & a drink for $12. We went right along the coast & it was beautiful. 
We stayed in Ocean Beach in this Airbnb & although it was cozy, it was the perfect home base for us & our friends!

Communal Coffee was my favorite place in San Diego. Actually, it was probably a tie with Pigment, but Communal had.. coffee.. & flowers... so.. it wins.
 I really just wanted to take 10000 photos & buy every single thing they had. So that's why it wins. It also had yummy snacks & couldn't make me a caprese because one of the girls had just 'run down the street' to buy more tomatoes & that kinda stuff just makes me happy?? moving on..

Pigment was more of an experience. The little sections of the shop, divided up my color & concept was incredibly inspiring & I spent way too long looking at all the little details. Then I found the photo booth area & we took probably 15 photos there. I only posted a few because I don't need to punish you with any more...but it was one of those stores that if I had it in my city, I'd be there once a week for gifts. So beautiful, so inspiring.
& then we went around the corner to Aloha Beach Club because Nate loves that place & he happily bought a few shirts. We also got donuts at Nomad & looked into the window of Holy Matcha, but didn't have time to get anything [it was made for the sole purpose of Instagram].

Some of our other favorite stops were The Crack ShackJames Coffee Co [the Little Italy location] & Underbelly [the North Park Location].
Later that night we went to Ocean Beach for sunset. We sat on an outdoor patio & had a drink & then walked down to the water & along the pier for sunset. It was so perfect. Lauren took some nice [and also some very real] photos of Nate & I. The last one just shows how much Nate loves when I am being very cool. :| 

Watching surfers from the pier is one of the most relaxing things I do in life. & I do not live by the ocean, so that shows how often I'm very relaxed. kidding. sort of. 
But really, standing on that pier in total silence, watching the surfers & the sun go down is one of my favourite memories from San Diego.

When we went to London to see an NFL game. Part II

The next two days were just straight up football days. We had a Chiefs meet-up at a pub downtown that was really fun. & then the day before the game, we got a walk through tour of Wembley Stadium thanks to a relative, & the guys loved it so much. It really was super cool!

& then it was game day. The morning was sooo foggy, I was really nervous what it was going to be like for the game. It was fun to see people all over the grounds, eating food & buying NFL jerseys [any jersey you wanted!]. I got a really awesome Chiefs t-shirt that said City of Fountains. Even Visit KC was there representing.

Spoiler alert - the Chiefs won, but it was a really interesting experience in the game. Because it's hosted in the UK, there really isn't team loyalty, they're just excited to watch an NFL game. So there were SOO many jerseys & so many people excited to watch. Then during the game, everyone got excited when one of the teams scored, but it's not as fast paced as soccer, so you could tell it was quiet & everyone was a little bored. 
We started off on the field for practice & warm up. Again, the guys loved it. & I got a great pic of Travis Kelce. Great success all around.

Nate's parents went back to KC after the game & Nate & I spent 3 days in London. We both really love London & it was really nice to be in the city. We ate breakfast one morning at an Aussie Cafe we found, actually we went pretty far out of our way to get there, but it was so worth it. Do I remember what it was called or where it was? no! but it was delicious.

Our home base was in Kensington, we stayed at The Ampersand, which we booked through our usual, Hotel Tonight. From there we basically just walked around neighborhoods, found lunch in whatever neighborhood we were in, got coffee & took photos. We LOVED Shoreditch, Notting Hill [Granger & Co is THE BEST. Hands down.] & just being in Central London. One night someone told us that we could use our Tube pass to take a Cable Car over the river & O2 Arena. So we made our way down there, of course it was the night of the U2 concert, so Nate was almost ready to buy us tickets. But really it was a cool view of the city & you can just go over & come right back! 
 

When we went to London to see an NFL game. Part I

Nate & I went to England with his parents in November of 2015. & just like every other family vacation & all the other personal trips we take, I never touch the photos. So. Here they are. 
We went because every year the NFL hosts a game in London & my father-in-law has had season tickets to the Kansas City Chiefs for one zillion years. So we went together to watch the Chiefs play the Detroit Lions. The beautiful thing was that all the British people just come to watch football [instead of fans coming to watch their specific team] so they just wear any jersey they have. 

Anyways, starting off we spent some time in London, walked around Borough Market & by the river. Our luggage got left in a rain storm in Houston, so Nate & I hit Zara spent the day with his parents in the city.  

The next day we drove South to Brighton, which I really loved. It was the most quintessential British coastal town.

We ate good food, walked along the Brighton Pier & then Nate & I went up in the Ferris Wheel over the water at sunset. It was so magical, the colors in the sky by the water were so sweet.

That night we drove up the coast to Dover. This was one of the places I had wanted to go the most, and I was really glad we made it. We got up super early in the morning & drove up to the Cliffs of Dover & I LOVED it. Being there so early was really quiet, it was just us & the donkeys. ha! *still too many photos of nate & I* 

From there we made our way back to London, but made a stop in Canterbury. We got coffee & breakfast at a cute little shop & then walked through the main street to see the shops & get some exercise. Nate's parents went through one of the Cathedrals, it was beautiful.

Spend a week in Puerto Rico & See the Whole Island

Nate & I spent a week in Puerto Rico with his family. We stayed in two separate parts of the island & drove & saw a lot more. Highlight number one was the El Yunque National Park Rainforest. Highlight number two was the ocean. Low-light was the amount of sweat that came off of my body. #sohot
Photo memory commence now:

We arrive in PR SUPER early, 4.30 am early. We sat in the airport [read: nate watched a movie & I slept on my backpack] until around 7am & then took a taxi into town to get coffee. We live #onmission for coffee. & we were so happy with this place. We chatted with the barista & he gave us some tips on other shops around the island. I think my favorite thing about traveling to other cities is seeing the pace at which they live life. Life in PR is SLOW. Which is great, but also can be a struggle. Anyways.. Cafe Con Ce is 10/10.

Our first few days we stayed at the El Conquistador, which I enjoyed. Like I mentioned above, slower pace of life was definitely evident here, but it was a good stay. We took the ferry over to the island to go to the beach one day, and it was so lovely. We got on early which I was thankful for, we got great spots on the beach & stayed basically the whole day. I love floating in the ocean more than almost anything else. I was so happy. Nate & I also hiked up to the top of the hill on the island & it was magical up there. also incredibly hot. 

Ok! Like I said, the Rainforest was one of the best things we did. We hiked [for what felt like forever, but really wasn't that long] down until we got to this waterfall. Nate & I jumped in the back-side, to try and avoid all these people. It was chilly, but so worth it! La Mina Falls was the one we stopped at & then hiked back up the other side. & that cool building up there ^^ that's the visitors center. *heart eyes*

The next day we had planned on taking the ferry over to Vieques for two days, but long story short, we got #touristed & didn't make it on the ferry. Or any of the ferries for that matter, which was incredibly frustrating, but we learned that locals know the secrets & we do not. MOVING ON. We ended up driving to Ponce, which was about two hours on the Western side of the Island. We stopped at the Faro de Punta Tuna [say that three times out loud. ha!] Lighthouse & it was stunning. They also had a bathroom *travel tips*

Nothing but pretty streets & photos from Ponce. moving on!

The next day we stayed up closer to San Juan. I knew San Juan was going to be the best part, but it really surprised me. It was incredibly beautiful. Nate & I started the day at a coffee shop in downtown San Juan, called Baraka. It was suggested to us by the barista at Cafe Con Ce & it was located in a cute little shared space called Santruce Pop. I bought a ring from one of the other vendors in the space & I was just so happy.
The owner of Baraka sent us to our next destination, El Patio De Solé, which we LOVED. It was so mom & pop & the sweet lady wanted to take a photo of Nate & I, and truthfully, she crushed it. Considering I had probably sweat my body weight walking around, we don't look dead. *praise report*. We made our way into Old San Juan & just walked around looking at all the beautiful buildings. It is very commercialized as that's where the cruise ships drop off tourists, but it's still kept that old charm. I loved it.

After walking around for a while we met the rest of Nate's family at Castillo de San Cristóbal which was absolutely stunning & had great views of the city. 

We walked over to the other fort for sunset & it was so nice to just sit & enjoy the view. 
By the end of the trip I had decided that I loved Puerto Rico, but it was just a tropical, Spanish speaking extension of the US. Which was great & convenient, but really hard for me to fully wrap my head around. Also it was so hot. all the time.
I left incredibly thankful to see it there & spend a week with Nate's whole family. I am so glad I married into a family with a sense of adventure.