horseshoe bend & antelope canyon.

There’s not a whole lot of adventuring going on these days, so here’s a few throwbacks from a summer road trip to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Arizona!

In a previous post, I wrote about our separate (and totally different) road trips that we took across the country when we moved from Texas to Oregon. These two stops were some of my favorites. So much so that I sometimes bring up to him how much I want to move to Arizona or Utah for a little bit. Maybe one day!

 

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

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I walked around this place for hours. It was so beautiful.
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Stayed for a dreamy desert sunset. 💛
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Love seeing all the layers.
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I never ever imagined having the opportunity to do this trip by myself, and I am so freaking happy I was able to. 💛💛

 

 

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

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The trucks you ride in on to get to this place.
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There’s a lot more people than I expected!
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Compared to the outside temperatures of over 100 degrees, it was so cool and refreshing in these slot canyons.
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Do you see the bear?!?

On the tour to get to Antelope, I sat next to this beautiful family. They noticed I was alone and was so incredibly friendly by sticking by my side during this adventure. Very grateful my paths temporarily crossed with these folks. I think I even still have the daughter’s phone number somewhere. Anyway, thanks to these three for their kindness and the memories.

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They also took a few photos of me! Hahah

 

You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover is yourself. Alan Alda

overlooking the oregon coast.

This weekend, we decided to just go outdoors to get away from the craziness that’s happening in the city and to try to distance us from other people.

We hiked Neahkahnie Mountain and ended the evening with a stunning sunset at Cannon Beach. We did this hike when we first moved here and it was amazing to come back. The view from Neahkahnie is absolutely breathtaking! It’s a little rocky at the top, so if you go, watch your step. Once you find a spot to sit, all you have to do is enjoy the view. 💙

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The hike up to the top!
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Stopping to look at these heart-shaped leaves!
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These were the leaves I was looking at. 💚

 

Neahkahnie Mountain, Oregon Coast

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We made it to the top!
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Loveeeee this view. So peaceful to watch the waves from above.
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Magical.

 

Cannon Beach, Oregon

This is such a classic spot in Oregon. As touristy as it can be, it’s such an amazing spot to visit and spend the evening. Last night was an example of how beautiful it is there. The pinks, purples, blues, yellows, and oranges in the sunset were a sight to see.

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Sometimes you just gotta be a tourist in your own state.

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I see a lot of people being like, “I would survive the coronavirus. I’m taking my chances.”

The way I see it is yeah, I’d survive it. But I might carry it to someone who wouldn’t. And that, folks, is the problem.

There’s a lot of hysteria going on right now regarding coronavirus, which is understandable to some degree. Michael and I both work in healthcare, and I work directly with immuno-compromised cancer patients. It’s definitely weighing heavy on my mind that even though I have a very small chance of becoming severely ill from this, I could potentially carry the virus to my patients. Michael and I are trying to distance ourselves from people as much as we can. The temporary sacrifice is worth it, especially if it can help in anyway.

I’m hoping people are staying safe, being smart, and thinking practically in the next few weeks as it this unfolds even more. 💙

trail of ten waterfalls.

If you visit or live in Oregon, you have most likely visited this magical place! And if you are from a totally different state, like how we are from Texas, this place will never cease to amaze you. What hike in Texas or Oklahoma, or even California would you ever get to see ten waterfalls?!

Anyway, here are some of the waterfalls we captured and I even attempted to label the names of them 💙 :

 

Silver Falls State Park, Oregon
South Falls

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Standing behind the waterfall!!! I think this is South Falls…

 

Lower North Falls

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Just a pretty forest view.

 

Lower South Falls

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Double Falls

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This fallen tree is along the path and we wanted to climb it!
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One of the waterfalls in the back. 💙

 

We are all naturally seekers of wonders. We travel far to see the majesty of old ruins, the venerable forms of the hoary mountains, great waterfalls, and galleries of art. And yet the world’s wonder is all around us; the wonder of setting suns, and evening stars, of the magic spring-time, the blossoming of the trees, the strange transformations of the moth… Albert Pike

finding love in this.

Here are a few messages to give your social-distancing days a little more peace, love, and positivity as we all go through this together. ❤️

It takes grace to remain kind in cruel situations. Rupi Kaur

It’s a beautiful thing to have lungs that allow you to breathe air and legs that allow you to climb mountains, and it’s a shame that sometimes we don’t realize that that’s enough. Unknown

In every crisis, confusion and doubt, take the higher path — the path of patience, alertness, courage, understandings and love. Fears and uncertainties are temporary. Amit Ray

You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. Marcus Aurelius

Home is where love resides, memories are created, friends always belong, and laughter never ends. Unknown

 

dog mountain sunset hike.

*With Oregon now having a stay-at-home order, what better time than to be a little nostalgic for one of the more rewarding hikes we’ve done.

Dog Mountain trail. 7 miles. 2824 feet elevation gain. Kicked our butts.

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In spring of 2017, Michael and I were visiting Portland because he was visiting his new workplace and I was interviewing at OHSU. We talked to a stranger about local recommendations and they suggested this hike.

We didn’t read about.
We didn’t look it up.
We just… went and did it.

It ended up being one of the hardest hikes we’ve both ever been on. The elevation gain was so difficult. I’m almost thankful we didn’t know what to expect, because we wouln’t have done it otherwise. We even got cheers once we got to the top by the people that passed us because we told them we were struggling haha 😅.

In May last summer, we decided to do it again to see the sunset at the top and to hike down at night. We can definitely report that the hike is still very difficult! However, the sunset made it so. worth. it. It was like we were seeing a live painting because the color changes were unreal. And we finally saw all of the wildflowers!! 💛

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When we made it to the first clearing and saw this view!
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Michael waiting for me.
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It’s impossible to not stop a million times and take in this view… or to take a breather. 😅

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The last two at the top!! The two guys we met took this picture before they hiked back down. We got to enjoy this place with just us… and some double stuffed Oreos.

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Those bird sounds and wildflowers. 😍

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We can officially say that we were so freaking exhausted after this hike.

As much as I would love and wish to go outdoors on my days off, it’s not a time to be selfish. What better time than to work on house projects and do some spring cleaning!

Take care, everyone. 💛

Also, Feel

under the stars.

On nights like this when the air is so clear, you end up saying things you ordinarily wouldn’t. Without even noticing what you’re doing, you open up your heart and just start talking to the person next to you—you talk as if you have no audience but the glittering stars, far overhead.
Banana Yoshimoto

With what’s going on these days, Michael and I are definitely distancing ourselves from everyone outside of work. He’s works for the government to monitor infectious disease, bioterrorism agents, and when needed, even COVID-19. I am treating immunocompromised cancer patients with radiation at a few different hospitals. Neither of us want to risk the chance of not doing what we love, and I definitely do not want to put my patients in any more risk than they already are.

With everything going on, I’ve been reflecting a lot about us and our lives and some of the things I really really appreciate.

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  1. You all. We just reached over 100 followers on this blog, and I feel so grateful. Every single one of you who have chosen to click that follow button to join us in our adventures through our love and our life in the Pacific Northwest means a lot. Thank you for sticking along with us and sharing your stories as well.
  2. Photography. All through my teenage years, I was always painting. I loved art so much, but it became really hard to keep it up when college started. Just a couple of years ago, I picked up the camera to just capture a few moments. Since then, my love for outdoor and food photography has grown into a creative passion that I truly can’t imagine life without anymore. After working so much since graduating, I finally bought us a brand new camera and upgraded our old one this week. Goodbye T3i, helloooo EOS-R!
  3. Us goofing around. Michael and I are almost always messing around, wrestling with each other, having tickle fights, or even… grabbing each other’s butts. My personal favorite… his kiss attacks when I’m in a funky mood because it always somehow gets me out of it. 💙So grateful for him for always finding a way to make me smile, even when it’s really hard to.
  4.  Family. My parent’s always reaching out with concern for my health and safety and… sending me all the congress updates on how I can get student loan debt relief during this time hahah. They’re the best. Also- big s/o to my in-laws and my (basically) aunts for sewing masks for me and my coworkers in case we run out. Ya’ll are incredible!
  5. The selfless frontline or essential workers out there who are sacrificing their health and safety right now in order to help others, and I do not mean just in the hospital. For one small example, I know a few teachers who are using this time to make sure their students are getting fed each day and given resources for education beyond the school’s means. There are soooo many stories like this. I can’t say enough words to say how absolutely incredible and heroic they are. Sending so much healing love to people like this every single day.

I know it’s tough these days. When you can, take a few moments to just reflect on the good things, even if it’s small. If what you are thinking about brings a smile to your face or makes your heart happy, do that thing a little more every day. 💙

portland cherry blossoms.

Michael & I could sit on a park bench and stare up at these beautiful trees and flowers for hours.

The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short. Homaro Cantu

These days, the sun is staying up a little more in the evenings, the flowers are beginning to bloom, and there’s less rain in the forecast. Just those little things make us pretty darn happy as the season is changing. The end of winter is sort of near and we are ready for it.

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When cherry blossoms bloom here, you can find me and my nifty fifty running around.

naturally painted hills, or.

The painted hills are truly a natural wonder. All of the layers of yellow, gold, reds, and blacks reveal millions of years of history. It’s incredible. Eastern Oregon is the other side of the state that gets a little bit overlooked sometimes. Yes, it’s a lot less green and a lot more desert-y, but it is still breathtaking in its own way.

Life has been pretty darn crazy since the year started! How is it already March!? Even though it’s been busy, it’s been an amazing start so far. When things get like this, it’s hard not to get nostalgic for some past trips we’ve had. Here’s a few photos from when we visited this place with our friends, Seanne and Scott Holmes. 💛

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Exploring life together is the best thing ever.
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Look at that cutie recording some videos with his drone.
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Seanne & I. 💜
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Seanne made these beanies and they’re so amazinggg.
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The Holmes & The Bitzers!

We are hoping to plan a few more camping / road trips with these two! These are the friends that have become a part of our family here and I’m so thankful to have them in our lives.

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“Painted Hills is named after the colorful layers of its hills corresponding to various geological eras, formed when the area was an ancient river floodplain.”

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Hahahah some candids because Michael has the remote and always takes shots when no one is ready. Gosh, we love these people!

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We are coming up on our one year wedding anniversary next month. I still can’t believe how fast time is flying! There is so much planned for this coming year, and we are definitely looking forward to all of the opportunities and adventures to come.

You can pack for every occasion, but a good friend will always be the best thing you could bring.

We couldn’t agree more. 💙

mesmerized by mountains.

Sometimes words aren’t enough.

Sometimes it’s just the two of us in a mutual awestruck silence taking in how extraordinary Mount Hood really is.

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I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, ‘This is what it is to be happy.’ Sylvia Plath

 

Tamanawas Falls, Mount Hood

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Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature — the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. Rachel Carson

chance encounters.

How do you meet new people, and by chance, they will end up becoming meaningful relationships for the rest of your life? Especially when you aren’t relying on meeting others through school or work?

Well… we got so incredibly lucky with the people we have met here in Portland so far. Every time we think about the strangers that became more than that, it always blows our mind. We moved here without knowing a single soul in Oregon and we just feel grateful.

Michael and I met by a chance encounter when I stood behind him at a coffee shop. From that moment on, we’ve embraced keeping an open mind when it comes to meeting people.

Here are a few of our favorite stories that now have a special place in our hearts. 💙

 

Our Landlord

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Homemade by our landlords.

In 2017, we were visiting Portland for the first time together. Michael already had a job lined up, so he was doing a site visit. I was interviewing to go back to school. We were looking all over downtown for a studio apartment and geez, it was expensive. We decided to stop looking one night and go to a dessert bar. There was such a huge wait, so we initially decided to get a dessert to-go. As we were being handed our to-go box, two seats opened up at the small bar. I immediately asked if we could snag those two bar seats! The restaurant got our dessert plated so we could enjoy it there.

As I was laughing and talking with Michael, my shoulder bumped the older man beside me. I turned to apologize and the man ended up laughing at me and asked what dessert we were having! We ended up talking to this couple for the next hour or so. We found out that they were both in the healthcare field and had a connection to the school I was applying for. They asked about our situation and story. It was so easy talking to them. At one point, I noticed them kind of give each other a silent look, the kind of look that showed they were communicating, but we had no idea what it was…

Turns out, the couple had two homes and they were wanting to rent out one of them, but they did not want to put it on the public market! They said they could sense that we were genuine people, so they offered us to come over right after my interview to see their place!!! We were FREAKING OUT. Of course we said yes.

We brought over two bottles of wine. And when we arrived, they had so many little appetizers. After chatting for awhile, we enjoyed homemade baked salmon, sautéed greens beans, and a side salad. It was soooo delicious and thoughtful of them. We got lost in so many conversations over 4-5 hours of being there.

A few days later, they negotiated a deal with us and umm.. it was a no brainer.

These wonderful humans have become a second family to us. Without their generosity and guidance, we wouldn’t be where we needed to be. We are forever grateful for this family for what they have given us.

 

Our Friends

This one is a strange one, too. We met all of these folks through Instagram via our mutual love for hiking, adventuring, and photography. I won’t make this too long, so here’s a few photos of our adventures together. 😊

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Spent a weekend camping at Mount Hood.
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Waterfall chasin’.
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These ladies are so wonderful.
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Couple’s trip to the painted hills!
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A bunch of us celebrating Christmas. Truly a family away from home.

 

My Mom’s Childhood Friend

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My mom is on the right.

This is my mom’s childhood friend from the 70s-80s.

Let this sink in… they hadn’t seen each other in over forty years. By the miracle of social media, my uncle found her profile and forwarded it to my mom a few months ago. My mom discovered that her friend immigrated from Vietnam to Portland!!! I was living so close to her this whole time. Our family flew her out to Dallas for our wedding which was so amazing. Michael and I also ended up spending an afternoon with her a few weeks ago, and she showed us this picture of her and my mom.

Unbelievable, huh?

That is life, isn’t it? Fate. Luck. Chance.

A long series of what-if’s that lead from one moment to the next, time never pausing for you to catch your breath, to make sense of the cards that have been handed to you. And all you can do is play your cards and hope for the best, because in the end, it all comes back to those three basics.

Fate. Luck. Chance.
Kelseyleigh Reber

exploring outside portland.

Psst! We are going to let you in on a little secret of ours…

 

When we have friends or family visit us from out of town, we have probably taken almost all of them (if the weather behaved) to these easy-to-visit-but-absolutely-stunning sights along the Columbia River Gorge. I mean.. how could we not?! The drive is less than an hour away from Portland. Even after visiting several times, we still aren’t tired of these views.

Michael and I both grew up in Texas, so we used to joke around about how when we would see a small stream on a hike back then, we would be so excited. Nowadays, we are constantly blown away by the mountains, the waterfalls, the rivers, the trees and everything else we get to see in the pacific northwest.

Here’s our little tour. 😊

 

Latourell Falls

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We loveeeee how moody the pnw can be. Look at all of the beautiful fog hugging the trees.
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This waterfall is gorgeous with the columnar basalt rock formations behind. It is amazing.
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It’s a big plus when you get to stand behind the falls!
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Latourell from afar.

 

Columbia River Gorge

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The drive along the gorge that separates Washington state and Oregon is breathtaking.

 

Bridal Veil Falls

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Michael climbed that big ol’ rock to get a close up view of these falls!

 

Multnomah Falls

If you visit Portland and don’t visit these falls, did you even come visit?!

Yes – it gets crowded. Probably the busiest tourist spot in Oregon, but worth a visit. She’s just so picturesque.

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Rowena Crest Viewpoint

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Driving further east along the gorge, you can stop aside to see this winding road!

 

Hood River, Oregon

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You have to stop in Hood River, Oregon for mountain views, local beer or wine, and delicious food. It’s a must! Also… if you see salmon on the menu, order it. 

 

I’ve posted this quote before, but it’s a personal favorite. 💙

Here in the corner attic of America, two hours’ drive from a rain forest, a desert, a foreign country, an empty island, a hidden fjord, a raging river, a glacier, and a volcano is a place where the inhabitants sense they can do no better, nor do they want to. Timothy Egan

sunrise at crater lake.

Crater Lake is known for its vibrant blues… but when you’re there at sunrise or sunset, the colors you get to see are unbelievably stunning. Seriously… on a clear summer day, take that road trip out there. It’s 100% worth it.

We had already planned to wake up early, but did not expect to witness the most magnificent sunrise. Seeing all of the soft shades of blue, pink, and orange painted across the sky was truly a sight to see.

We felt like we had the whole place to ourselves because no one was around us. This place is also very special to us because it was the last road trip we were able to take Layla on before she passed away.

Experiences like this always remind us to appreciate and love the little things in life. ❤️

Look at those morning sunrise colors!! 😍
This viewpoint was perfect. It felt like the lake wrapped all around you.
Sometimes you gotta hide behind a bush to get those ~*angles*~ of Wizard Island. Photography can be a pretty funny hobby.
Mount Thielsen in all of its glory in the early morning.

We also got to witness a pretty darn amazing sunset here, too.

 

Sunset at Crater Lake

Our little family at sunset. Miss you, sweet Lay.
The girls and the moon.

This grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never all dried at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal sunset, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. John Muir

koosah & sahalie falls.

I think we are going to go out on a limb and say… these are our favorite waterfalls in Oregon!

These two nearby waterfalls are incredibly easy to access and you will leave feeling like you were just in a scene straight out of a pacific northwest postcard. It’s incredibly beautiful. When you go, definitely wear waterproof everything and bring extra microfibers because your camera will get wet.

We also included a couple of photographs to compare the falls between the spring and fall season. 💙

 

Koosah Falls, Oregon

Behind the scenes of photographing the falls!
Spring | The falls are so full and powerful this time of year.
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Fall | It’s so different compared to the spring season. Look closely, there’s Michael!
Feeling refreshed being so close!

 

Sahalie Falls, Oregon

Michael was SOAKED after this!! It was a huge sacrifice for the photo, but there really is nothing like a good waterfall shower.
Happy dance because who wouldn’t when you’re surrounded by the amazing outdoors?

 

Detroit Lake, Oregon

This was a little pitstop we had on our road trip. It was a beautiful lake.

If you look closely, there’s a stranger at the edge of the water. So happy we captured him in time before he walked away.

To find the universal elements enough;
to find the air and the water exhilarating;
to be refreshed by a morning walk or an evening saunter…
to be thrilled by the stars at night;
to be elated over a bird’s nest or a wildflower in spring —
these are some of the rewards of the simple life.
John Burroughs

guilty pleasures.

What’s my guilty pleasure? The thing is, I never feel guilty about pleasures.
Tom Hiddleston

We were talking about what some of ours were the other day, and we figured we would share them here. Here’s a few of them. 😊

 

a cozy campfire:

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Michael loves bringing life to a campsite by chopping up some wood and building us a cozy campfire. You bet there are s’mores when there’s a fire around! (That’s probably the most guilty part about it!) 

 

sweet treats:

Pecan Pie Bars
Vanilla bean ice cream on top of a warmed pecan pie bar??? Yes, please. It’s true… we are both guilty for having a major sweet tooth.

 

cuddling:

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This is from inside our home on a rainy day. We love love love being close to each other. Cuddling, wrestling, tickling, pranking, kissing, cooking, talking. Whatever it is, we just love being in each other’s company.

 

our backyard:

We got so incredibly lucky finding our current place. Our landlord is one of the most wonderful human beings ever. Favorite thing? Our bedroom opens directly into this upper level deck that has this view!! The guilty part? We prefer to stay home more than going out on most days.

 

building things:

Michael loves to build things! He removed the back seats out of our FJ cruiser and built a storage platform that has so much space AND can fit a full size mattress on top of it. There’s nothing like getting the bed set-up, opening the back window, and enjoying the view wherever we are. Also – check out the spice rack he made for me!! (I know, terrible photos. They’re from my Instagram stories haha.) It’s so nice that I can see them all now versus shuffling through them trying to find the right one.

 

pizza: 

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Need I say more?

 

cheese & charcuterie:

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Pretty much… adult lunchables. I am secretly a fan of The Bachelor series only because my classmates got me into it last year. Let’s be real, I think they easily had me at wine and meat and cheese. This spread above was just from last week when we had a girl’s night. My friend, Molly, had this all set-up when we got to her place after work!

 

Sometimes, you just gotta let yourself enjoy the little things in life. 💛

pnw captured in macro.

cold wrinkly finger tips & water droplets on pine needles.

We haven’t picked up our camera in a good while… but looking back at some of our somewhat-macro shots go us excited to shoot again. We are going on a trip this weekend for Michael’s birthday, and I think we are gonna finally dust off the little guy and take some photos again!

In the meantime, here’s a few of our favorites we’ve taken on some of our adventures. 🌿

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Snuck up to this little bee!
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Getting close up and personal with pine trees because look how beautiful it is!
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Moody tulip season.
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Pretty droplets.
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SO sorry for the terrible quality on this one because it was compressed… and I’m a little too lazy to sift through alllll of the old photos for the original.
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A field of daisies where we saw a view of Mount Saint Helens.
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The fall colors here in the Pacific Northwest are stunning. I’ve never seen colors like this before. And when it rains, we love seeing the water droplets on everything.

All taken with the good ol’ nifty fifty f/1.8 Canon lens.

I wish more people felt that photography was an adventure. To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.
Elliott Erwitt

an unexpected adventure.

This weekend we were planning to backpack up to a fire lookout in Mount Hood, Oregon. On the way there, we started noticing snow along the forest roads. I always get a little suspicious with road conditions once snow starts to appear, but Michael gets… a little ‘confident’ in his FJ when if comes to a lot road-wise. 😜

When we got to huge snow covering on the road, he pressed the gas and we plowed right through only to get us stuck in about 2-3 feet of snow. It took us an hour and a half to get out because all we had to use was a poop shovel, a skillet, and two hiking poles to plow all of the snow away from his truck. It was exhausting, but so hilarious after it was all done.

 

We obviously had to change our plans last minute, so we looked on google maps and found Timothy Lake was pretty close. There were also campsites you could backpack in!

It. Was. Beautiful.

We had absolutely no service with no one around us. After a stressful week of work and school, it was exactly what we needed to unwind. 20190511_143800

Once we set up everything, we hiked about five-six miles around the lake. We got back to camp right in time to set up the hammock and catch the sunset. 🧡41C51B51-3562-416A-8B8A-7505E545E9A1

Continue reading “an unexpected adventure.”

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