Monday, February 29, 2016

My 5 Favorite Destinations

Every time I try to plan a new holiday, I always weigh the option of visiting somewhere new to visiting a favorite place. This year, I think I want to do a little of both (after all, there are still eight months left in the year). I have Greece on the horizon but I think I want to hit up London during the same trip because it's my first love and I haven't really blogged about that babe of a city here yet.

So, while I was retrospecting, I decided it would be fun to do a little roundup of some of my favorite destinations.
Frankly, this was kind of a difficult post to put together because I've thoroughly enjoyed every destination I've been to. But, I kind of forced myself to make some cuts and harsh decisions and this is what I came up with.

Monday, February 22, 2016

DIY Puppy Step Stool

I love my little dog, but he has some annoying habits. Every evening, when I'm getting ready to sleep, he asks to climb up into my bed. I help him in and we fall asleep together. Then, in the middle of the night, for whatever reason, he'll get up and leave. I don't know what he does because I'm asleep; I suspect either going for a wee or a drink or maybe to play with toys. Actually, sometimes I know what he does. He gets up to bark at whatever apparition he sees outside.

Anyway, after he's finished his little jaunt, he comes back and cries because he can't jump up into the bed. It wouldn't be so bad, but when I get up to reach for him, he backs up and I have to uncomfortably lean out of my bed to reach for him or worse, I have to get up and out of bed to help him. If I don't help him, he will cry for hours.

As a solution to my sleep disturbing pup, I decided I needed to get him some puppy stairs. Unfortunately, the cheaper options were rather ugly and I wasn't willing to spend much more than $20. So, I turned to my favorite option: DIY. I got a Bekvam stool for our kitchen a few years ago (which comes in rather handy since I'm "vertically challenged") and I thought it was the perfect base. So, on our last Ikea trip I bought another one to make GM his own little stairs.
You'll need:
Bekvam stool ($15)
scrap plywood 8" x 16", with notches cut out
½ yard sherpa fabric
staple gun
non-slip furniture dots

Thursday, February 11, 2016

72 Hours in Arizona: Video Diary

I basically slapped together this video the day I returned from Arizona. We landed half past noon, so when I got home, I basically had five hours before I had to start dinner so I occupied myself by editing photos and making this video diary.
I always love making these because I can relive the trip. As much as I love photography, I love the flexibility of videography and the interactive nature. I also think it's a more fun way to share my trip with others; I mean, there's definitely a limit to the number of photos I can force someone to look at but a video under ten minutes requires almost no coaxing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

72 Hours in Arizona: Day 3

Our third morning started bright and early too. We wanted to get up in time to watch the sunrise over the red rock formations. So, we got up at 6AM and didn't really bother doing much else besides brushing our teeth and throwing on our warmest clothes (since we figured we could put a little more effort in once we got back). We borrowed some blankets from the hotel so we could cozy up outside and then we piled into the car. Luckily for us, getting to beautiful scenery only required a brief jaunt in the car.
We decided to head back to the Doe Mountain trailhead because we'd enjoyed it so much whilst stargazing and this way, we could see what it looked like in the daylight.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

72 Hours in Arizona: Day 2

Day 2 of our trip began before the crack of dawn. We were up and on the road by 6:15. We popped by McDonalds to load up on some caffeine and a road trip-style breakfast (hash browns eaten at sunrise are amazing). We made a beeline for Page, which was a hundred and sixty mile drive.
It was actually pretty easy to wake up early because of the time difference, which was lucky because we had a v. full day ahead.

Monday, February 08, 2016

72 Hours in Arizona: Day 1

Visiting Arizona was extremely rewarding. We comfortably managed to squeeze a lot into three days. In fact, we did so much that it felt like we'd been there for a week. We had a couple of 'musts' that we scheduled for ourselves but we were so casual and spontaneous about the fringe activities so there was zero stress; it was 100% enjoyment. The state is so vast and we experienced totally different topography and plant life and weather from our starting point in Phoenix to our northernmost stop in Page. It was definitely a whirlwind experience and I loved every minute of it.

We both woke up early on Friday morning in our respective homes and met at the airport. Security went super smoothly, we boarded our flight, and landed an hour earlier than expected in Phoenix.
Here's what I packed:

Monday, February 01, 2016

Packing for a (Light) Hiking Holiday

This morning I'm returning from a short jaunt to Arizona. Planning this trip was somewhat of a whirlwind. Usually I spend weeks to months planning a trip and this one was slapped together in a matter of days. But let me be clear, when I say "slapped together" I mean meticulously planned with a v. well-organized itinerary because we wanted to make the most of our short trip.

Maybe this wasn't on purpose, but we ended up with a pretty active set of plans. But I guess when we decided to go to Arizona, that was our fate. I hadn't ever gone on a trip like this before; I mean, I've definitely done hiking trips before but they were usually day hikes a drivable distance away. I hadn't ever flown to a destination with the intent of being (relatively) active.

So, I had to put some thought into my packing list. The tricky aspect of this trip was that we'd be in really varying temperatures (basically summer weather in Phoenix and winter weather in Page) and I needed to have somewhat nicer clothing for our evening activities. And everything had to easily tuck into a carry on bag.
I wanted to dedicate a post to some packing essentials for light hiking holidays; I figured it might come in handy for others as well as for my future-self. I need to put an emphasis on the word "light" because this is honestly the type of stuff anyone would use to go for a walk around their neighborhood. There are no ropes or carabiners or tents. This is for the amateur hiker flying out to some cool hiking spot, like me; basically the opposite of Reese Witherspoon's character in Wild.
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