Back in March I went on an 8 day trek in Nepal through Langtang Valley. In 2015 Nepal was hit with a 7.8 earthquake. Many parts of the country was left in ruins and nearly 9,000 people died. My good friend told me about this trek relief that his friend started for Langtang Valley, a remote area in Nepal that was not receiving the funds and resources to help rebuild the villages. The purpose of this trek relief was to raise money and lend a helping hand to the people of Langtang Valley. If you reached your fundraising goal, you could join in on a a trek and volunteer if you'd like. The thought of trekking through the Himalayas and being able to give back to those in need sounded like an experience of a lifetime. I couldn't pass up this opportunity so back in March the fiance and I packed our bags and went on an 8 day trek along with 15 others and a group of porters and guides to show us the way.
Each day we trekked about 8 miles while gaining altitude. In the end we trekked a total of 70 miles and reached 13,000 ft in elevation. It was definitely the most strenuous activity I've ever done, which challenged me physically and mentally. We trekked through sun, hail, snow, rain, and rock slides. The most difficult condition was trekking through snow in wet soggy shoes and telling myself that I just had to keep putting one foot in front of another. Every few minutes I would look up and see nothing around us except for snow covered mountains and endless blue sky. I couldn't believe where I was and the breathe taking view was enough to keep me going.
I'm a neat freak and slightly OCD when it comes to being clean. The living conditions were definitely a challenge for me. We stayed in wooden lodges/tea houses that sometimes didn't have electricity and no insulation. Most lodges didn't have a shower. It pushed me far outside my comfort zone. Let's just say, if there's ever no bathrooms around, popping a squat is no big deal and a piece of cake now =X
Even though my knee was hurting by the last day, this was the most amazing experience ever. I was surrounded by so many amazing souls who were all so supportive and encouraging. I pushed my body and mind past limits that I never thought I could. This journey has opened up my eyes and heart in so many ways. It was the most humbling and fulfilling adventure I've ever been on. I left Nepal feeling so inspired and appreciative for what I have.
If you're interested, check out Trek Relief's website for info on how you can join this same trek or one of their other trips.
We helped this 70 year old man and his wife (standing above) rebuild their home that was destroyed in the earthquake
A Nepalese wedding that we attended. The bride and groom are sitting in the center of the table on the right while people present gifts to them.
Looks simple, but soo good. Every meal was amazing.
We happen to be there during the Holi Festival!
A memorial built for those who lost their lives in Langtang Valley
Breaking down what's left of this school so that we could rebuild it
I recently went to Seattle for a joint bachelor/bachelorette party. It was actually my first time in Seattle. My parents took us to Portland and Vancouver as a kid and I guess we skipped over Seattle. I'm even surprised I've never been. I always hear how rainy the weather is in Seattle, but we must've lucked out cause the weather was beautiful! Sunny and cool, which was a nice change from the sweltering heat we were having in socal.
The bf and I arrived a day before everyone else so that we could hike and explore outside of Seattle. We hiked to Rattlesnake Ledge, which had such an amazing view! (Pro Tip: don't assume it's an easy peasy hike and wear Converses. I learned the hard way) We also went to Snoqualmie Falls, which was probably the quickest visit to a waterfall ever. "Cool! Waterfall! Ok, lets go." Don't get me wrong. I like these things, but after waking up at 5am to catch our flight and driving an hour to go hike 4 miles in wrong shoes, all I wanted to do was check into our Airbnb and let my poor feet rest. That's also why I have no pictures of the falls.
If you're planning to take a trip to Seattle and want an idea of what to eat and do, here's my little travel guide.
Rattlesnake Ledge: The hike isn't that hard, but there is a bit of an incline. It's 4 miles round trip and so worth it!
Totokaelo: This store has a great selection of clothing and beautiful home decor pieces. It reminds me of the stores in NYC. Right around the corner is also Molly Moon's Ice Cream!
The London Plane: This place was just adorable! It's a cafe, grocery/bakery, and flower shop all in one! My kinda store! We stopped in for a snack and only tried their cheese board, which was delicious!
Other places to eat at that are not pictured
The Pink Door: I love a place that has live music during dinner. It's so entertaining and fun. Be sure to make reservations though. For even more fun, they have a dinner and trapeze show on Sundays and Mondays and a cabaret and burlesque show on Saturdays.
Beecher's Handmade Cheese: I LOVE CHEESE. I like to think I'm a pretty healthy eater but I could never be vegan and give up CHEESE. Just. Too. Good. All kinds! Check out the mac n cheese here if you're into cheesy goodness.
Pike Place Chowder: If you're unsure of which chowder to try, I recommend getting the sampler where you get to choose 4. I can't even say which one's my favorite cause they're all good!
Piroshky Piroshky: I hear a lot of ppl rave about this place and in my opinion, it was alright. I had the smoked salmon pate and the beef and cheese. I definitely prefer the beef and cheese. Eat it while it's fresh and hot!
Ba Bar: This place serves Vietnamese street food, which was pretty good. They don't take reservations but our group of 21 was seated within 10 minutes. Their cocktails were also really good.
Storyville Coffee: I love looking for local coffee shops to try when I travel and this place makes a good cup of jo. The Pike's Place location was fairly big with several couches and tables to hang out at.
Hope this helps and feel free to share any must try places in Seattle :)
(Cheesy title, but I couldn't help it) For our 6th anniversary this year we decided to keep it local. I've been seeing Ojai on several blogs and Instagram so we decided to head there for a night. The drive is about two hours from OC with no traffic. We took so many different freeways that I've never even heard of just to avoid the traffic on 101 (no surprise there). The original plan was to go hiking, but with the weather being in the 90s, we decided to do a bike tour instead with The MOB Shop. We biked pass some orange groves and an olive oil farm. After we checked into our Airbnb, we had dinner at Osteria Monte Grappa and grabbed drinks at Chief's Peak. We also checked out other spots the next day which you'll see in the photos below.
I have to say, Ojai was much cuter than I expected. Before the trip I was a bit worried since I read that it's known as 'an off the grid hippie town' but it turned out to be such a simple yet charming town. It's small, but it has the cutest home decor stores and almost every eatery I went to used local organic ingredients! I definitely plan on visiting again.
Biking pass all the oranges!
Bart's Book is such a nice outdoor book store to hang out at.
Knead Bakery has good a good breakfast sandwich!
Tipple & Ramble was too cute to not stop by and have some wine and cheese while shopping through their adorable store.
Stopped by Farmer and the Cook to cool down with an acai bowl.
deKor & Co. I really wanted to sit on that swing, but I saw a little boy try and he fell sooo I decided against it but how awesome would it be to have that in your house?!
Last but not least, check out the farmers market on Sunday!