Category Archives: Travel

etc. / Travel

NYC Top 10 things to do and see

September 22, 2014

I’m back from an amazing 5 days in NYC.  On Thursday I attended the Better Homes and Gardens Stylemakers Event. But, I actually flew out on Monday so that I could have a couple days in the city by myself. Lately I’ve been feeling very burnt out and just kind of blah. I was lucky enough to get invited to the BHG event again and my husband suggested that I take a couple more days to get lost in the city. I’m so grateful. I walked and walked and ate all kinds of amazing food and just enjoyed being by myself. I highly suggest a couple days in the city to just people watch, sight see, walk and just have some time to think. 
Lon and I spent 5 days in NYC last Summer to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary and then last Fall I went to the BHG event, so after this trip, I feel like I’m a lot more familiar with the city. I thought I’d put together a Top 10 for NYC, kind of like I did for Maui. These are definitely not all the top tourist sites, but they are the things and places I would totally go back to and not want to miss if I’m in NYC again.  
1. Ride the Subway! Get yourself a Metro pass (I got a 7 day unlimited pass for just $30). It’s not only efficient and convenient, it’s a great way to people watch.  I put the Embark app on my phone, and it never steered me wrong.  
2. I have lots of food suggestions for NYC, but Dough Brooklyn is AMAZING! I’ve had their Lemon Poppy Seed and Passionfruit. 

3. The Met is a must. I love seeing the impressionists and this time I made it to the roof top garden. If the weather is nice, definitely have a Jalapeno Lemonade (with or without Tequila).

4. Use the Citi Bikes. It’s a great way to see the city. Lon and I even biked over the Brooklyn Bridge a couple times.

5. The Brooklyn Flea is a fun stop if you are there on a weekend.

6. See a Broadway Show!!! There’s nothing like it. My favorite show so far in Once, but everything I’ve seen has been amazing.  Buy your tickets the day of the show at TKTS in Time Square and save up to 50% off, that’s how we’ve seen everyshow.  Why spend $140 when you can get tickets for $70, and we’ve gotten amazing seats everytime.

7. Eat Pizza! No really, NYC has amazing Pizza. This time we ate at a fun place in Brooklyn called Roberta’s. They have a fun outdoor eating area, and someone was chopping wood for the wood oven during the meal.  Grimaldi’s is supposed to be the best, but every piece I had in the city was really top notch.

8. Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge (or bike).  It’s a gorgeous bridge and the views of Manhattan and Brooklyn from it and amazing.

9. Take a picture of Manhattan from Dumbo in Brooklyn (especially at night). It’s also fun to take the Staten Island Ferry for a good view of the city.

10. And last, but definitely not least, visit Central Park.  It’s gorgeous and you can’t believe you are still in the city. If you are traveling with kiddos, be sure to take them to Heckscher Playground in the park.

And because there really is so much to do and see in the city, here’s a few bonus things to add to the list:

– Have a bagel at Ess-a-Bagel
– Visit the Flower District
– If you love dishes, Fishs Eddy is a must.
– Have a shake or just frozen custard at Shake Shack by the Flatiron.
– Eat ANYTHING at Eately.
– Brunch or breakfast at Sarabeth’s.

etc. / Travel

Exploring the Redwoods

July 24, 2013

Yesterday was my sweet mom’s birthday! We celebrating by taking a little day trip to some new and some favorite spots in the Redwoods. I really do love California. I’ve shared before that I was born Canadian, but actually grew up in Papua New Guinea. So, California is where I chose to live 14 years ago. This state really has so much to offer and I love to share my favorite Cali spots with my readers.

So, we did a very touristy thing, that my kids have been wanting to do ever since my parents moved to Eureka, CA 4 years ago, we rode the Sky Trail in the Trees of Mystery. It’s about a one hour drive North of Eureka and just a few minutes drive South of Cresent City. The little hike up to the Sky Trail takes you through a very dated, quirky walk through some beautiful Redwoods. In the 60’s the Trees of Mystery attraction was put in and there really hasn’t been much of an update. There is funny dramatic music that accompanies the guided self guided tour featuring the tale of Paul Bunyan. And we really enjoyed the whole retro package. The ride on the Sky Trail gave us a tree top view of the Redwoods. I really do recommend trying out this attraction if you are in the area.

We also hiked through Fern Canyon. It’s an amazingly lush steep canyon. The walls of the canyon are covered in beautiful, green ferns. It’s a fun little hike over log bridges and in and out of the little river up the canyon. It’s definitely a must see in Northern Cal.

And I love my new app, Over. I added this great text and artwork to my instagrams using this app. If you follow me, I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot more of it very soon. And the app even uses fun illustrations and text from one of my favorite bloggers, Megan Gilger of The Fresh Exchange.

etc. / Travel

Maui Top 10 things to do and see

July 16, 2013

Well, sadly we are back to reality. No more paradise, boo hoo. But is was amazing friends. I keep thumbing through my super tropical instagram feed, longing for fresh fruit and warm waters.
Since this is our 4th trip to Maui in the last 10 years, I thought I’d put together a Top 10 list of our favorite things to do and see. I kind of feel like we know the place pretty well now. We are not the sit back and relax type of vacationers, we like to go, do, and see as much as possible when we travel. So, here’s what we think is some of the best Maui has to offer. 

1. Hike the Iao Valley. We love to hike through the rainforest and then swim in the river. In years past we’ve even picked ripe guava’s as we hiked. They weren’t ripe yet this year.

2. Have a cold treat at Ono Gelato on Front Street in Lahaina. I have Passion Fruit and Coconut, both were amazing.

3. Visit the Fabric Mart. It has the most amazing selection of Hawaiian prints. I bought fabric for a quilt for Olivia this time in pinks, greys and greens. I few years ago I made a quilt for myself and the last time we visited, I let the kids pick fabric for their own quilts as well.

4. Swim with Sea Turtles! We always stay on West Maui, and there’s turtles right outside our little condo everyday.

5. Rent a stand up paddle board. We rented this one for the whole week. It might be my favorite activity. It’s a great work out and once you get out of the water, it’s so peaceful.

6. Ride the Sugar Cane Train, especially if you have little ones. Olivia and I had a blast doing this and she is still talking about it.

7. Eat at the Haillaille General Store just outside of Paia. AMAZING food!

8. Enjoy a Pina Colada or even better Coconut Creme Brulee baked in a pineapple at The Hula Grill.  There’s always live music and you get to sit with your feet in the sand looking out at Kanapali Beach.

9. Hike the Kapalua Trail from the Kapalua General Store to Kapaplua Bay. The snorkel and swim and Kapalua Bay, it’s one of my favorite beaches.

10. Get up really early and be at Honolua Bay by 6:30am and snorkel the best Maui has to offer.  We were lucky enough to get to swim with about a hundred spinner dolphins one morning. On other mornings, we saw manta rays and a 4 foot white tip reef sharks, not to mention thousands of amazing fish.

etc. / Travel

My Maui Must Haves

July 9, 2013

Believe it or not, I’m still in Maui.  Our trip will be winding down soon, but we’ve had an amazing time and are so blessed to get to do this. I am far from a fashionista, but I do like a little funk in my wardrobe. I don’t really know what my style is, but I if I had to give it a name, I’d probably call it California Comfy. I love graphic patterns and pops of color paired with classic solids.

I really didn’t buy much for this trip, but these are a few of my favorite pieces that made their way here with me. Of course I brought a good swimsuit and other essentials, but I’ve really gotten a lot of use out these items in particular. 
The tank and palm tree pants are like wearing pj’s in public. And they were super comfy for the flight over as well. The hat went to NYC and now I’m getting a lot of use out of it here in Hawaii. Not only does it give me sun protection, but if I don’t want to do anything with my beach hair, it stylishly covers the mess. The towel was a “want” but sold out before I could get it at my target, but my old one is still cute. Target’s Up and Up spray sunscreen is the best! Take it from this fair, freckled, redhead – it’s reasonably priced and does a great job even in and out of water. Coral is the color of the season, I love this Essie polish and the Bare Essentials Peach makeup. They both add a touch of soft color that isn’t too harsh and super made up. And Born shoes are always great, but these 3 toned brown sandals look great with jeans, shorts and dresses. The are my go to shoes this summer and I can wear them comfortably all day long. 
Do you have some Summer or travel must haves that you’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of this season? Please share. 



July 2, 2013

I will seriously understand if you hate me. Yes, I am in Maui and will be here for a couple of weeks. We are totally blessed and know how privileged we are to get to do this. The honest trust is, we wouldn’t be here without the generous help of Lonnie’s parents. This is the 4th time in the last 10 years that they have helped make this trip to paradise a reality.  I LOVE my in-laws.

Oh my friends, it’s amazing here. We have been wet and sandy at least 50% of our time here already. My kids are in heaven, well really we all are. We’re enjoying lots of fresh, tropical fruit, soaking up the scenery, playing in the sand, and snorkeling with turtles.

I am loving island life and the warm, humid weather it brings. Since I grew up in Papua New Guinea, Hawaii is the next best thing. It’s so much fun to see all the familiar island vegetation, eat tropical treats, and swim in warm waters. I’ll be sure to share some of our adventures along the way. Last time we were here I shared a recipe for Lemon Coconut Scones and Maui Mango Ginger Granita. And I’ve got some more recipes in the works.  And if you want to be totally jealous, you can follow my instagram (warning – a lot of cute pictures of Olivia at the beach).   

Be sure to come back tomorrow!  I have a great giveaway for you.

Find / Travel

The Brooklyn Flea

June 20, 2013

Well, I’m FINALLY back. Thanks for your patience friends, this was a much needed break that both my family and I needed.  We have been all over the place the last couple of weeks.  We drove to Idaho (a 14 hour trip), to visit Lon’s family. Then while we were there, Lon and I left the kiddos with his very generous parents and flew to NYC.  We got to spend FIVE days there, all by ourselves. Then we flew back into Idaho, spent a few more days with fam.  Then early Monday morning we drove to Lassen Volcanic National Park and met my parents there.  We spent yesterday exploring the park (it’s fabulous and I’ll be sharing that with you as well), and then this morning we drove to my parent’s place in Eureka, CA.  The kids are fantastic travelers and we are having a great summer. And there’s still a lot more Summer traveling adventures to come.
We are celebrating our fifteen anniversary this summer and wanted to do it in a big way. It was BIG friends – New York City big. We had such a great time and packed in tons of great stuff and lots of yummy treats. I’ll be sharing some of our NYC adventures in the weeks to come. Today I’m sharing our first destination in NYC – the Brooklyn Flea.  My husband is a good sport, and even though he is NOT a shopper, he does enjoy wondering around a flea market.  
Denali would have loved one of these brass owls or cats.
The view of Manhattan from the Flea
I’ve long been a flea market fan. If there’s one happening near by, I’ll be there (from France to Santa Fe to the Rose Bowl and everything in between).   The Brooklyn Flea did not disappoint. It was small and quaint and was a great mix of great old stuff and also local artisans work.  And probably some of Brooklyn’s best food was there. I wish I would have been a little hungrier, because there were many treats that tempted me, but I just couldn’t justify stuffing another thing into my face (especially People’s Pops, so I may need to buy their cookbook).
Lon’s favorite treat of the day was a Lemon Poppy Seed Donut from Dough. Oh my, it was warm and just a perfectly light yeast donut. They had lots of unique flavors like Passion Fruit Cocoa Nibs and Blood Orange Glazed.
I went for the more dainty, lady like treat – Grilled Maple Bacon Stick from Landhaus. It was the generous hunk of bacon, grilled to crispy perfection, then drizzled in maple syrup and topped with some yummy smoky salt of some sort. One stick was a meal. 
There was definitely a limited selection of furniture and vintage knickknacks, but what was there, was of high quality.  It was like a well curated Flea Market, without all the tacky junk.  I ended up coming home with a handmade mug as my souvenir. I couldn’t resist this cute fox piece by SKT Ceramics.  It was hard to choose from all her cute animals and gorgeous pastel glazes.  
Brooklyn was probably my favorite part of NYC. If I had to choose a place to live, Brooklyn would be it. It’s hip, young, artsy and is rapidly being refurbished. I love the potential of the place and the people who see that potential. And an added bonus is that Brooklyn has a healthy bike culture.
If you’re headed to New York anytime soon, I recommend you take a L train Sunday morning and spend a couple hours at the Brooklyn Flea. 

etc. / Travel

New York City – here we come!

June 3, 2013

You guys, I don’t even know what to do with myself, I’m just sooooo excited.  This Friday, Lon and I are headed to New York City for FIVE days, by ourselves!  This summer is our 15th anniversary, and we’re celebrating with this trip.

We’ve been planning out what we’d like to do, see and eat while we are there.  To be honest, I may be most excited about the food.  After years of faithfully watching Martha Stewart and the food network, now I can visit all those amazing places that they talked about.  We plan to walk a tone, so I figure I can eat anything.

But, we would love some suggestions of what is a must-see, must -do, or must-eat while in NYC.  I’d love to know where your favorite shops are or your favorite hole-in-the-wall pizza or coffee spot.  Help me out! We want to pack it in and see as much of the city as possible.  Please leave a comment with your favorite suggestions.


Ireland: Day 5 (Londonderry and Sligo)

March 8, 2013

In anticipation of St. Patty’s Day, I’m sharing more of our trip to Ireland last Spring break.  What an amazing county.  Going back through my pictures last night, I was reminded of how fantastic our trip was and all the amazing places we visited.  If you’d like to see more of out trip, I’ve shared pictures from Dublin, Newgrange, the Giants Causeway, and Dunluce Castle.  And today I have pictures from the walled city of Londonderry and the countryside near Sligo.  

We walked the wall on Londonderry.  It’s actually very large and wide.  And we wondered around shops and antique stores.

Then in the afternoon we drove through the peat bogs to a Bed and Breakfast at a charming little farm just outside Sligo.

Food & Drink / Travel

Campfire Nachos

February 19, 2013

We really needed to get away this weekend. Our family needed some quality time together. And really in my opinion, there is no better time with your family then when you are camping. There are very few distractions (no phones, TVs, or computers) and you all sleep in tight quarters which allows for great bedtime conversations. 
We took Riley out to Red Rock Canyon, we’ve camped there before, it’s only an hour from our house. This time of year it warms up to the high 60’s during the day and it’s a nice chilly 40 F during the night. The kids love climbing in the bluffs and going for hikes. I really do love desert camping, especially with kids. It’s really the cleanest camping there is, you just dust off the sand and you’re good to go without a shower for quite a few days.   
I really enjoy cooking while we are out camping. Yes, we do love a good hot dog over the fire, but it’s fun to mix it up with some other meals. I’ve shared a few of my other camping recipes here before (like Sweet and Sour Meatball Hobo Meals, Homemade Chocolate Graham Crackers, and Campfire Orange Cinnamon Rolls). This weekend I made a few new ones. The first one I’m sharing is really simple and uses absolutely no dishes. These campfire nachos were loaded with yummy, hearty toppings to keep campers happy and full.

Campfire Nachos
1 lb ground turkey
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can of chopped green chilies
1 can black beans
1 tomato
1 bell pepper
2 cups grated cheese
1 bag of corn chips

Cook and season the ground beef at home.  When it’s cool, place in a large ziploc bag and freeze the meat.  Doing this ahead of time will make things so much easier for you at the camp site.  And freezing the meat will allow you to keep it cold in your cooler for a couple days.

When you are ready to assemble your nachos, cut up the tomato and bell pepper and drain the cans of beans and green chilies.  On large pieces of foil, let everyone load up their nachos, ending with the cheese.  Wrap up the foil tight, because you want the steam to get trapped in the foil and help melt the cheese.  Place the foil bundles on a grate over a good hot fire that has lots of coals.  Everything should heat up and melt in about 10 mins.  You can serve with sour cream and salsa of course, but I like to keep the ingredients simple.  The less I have to keep cool in the ice box, the better, when I’m camping. Enjoy them while they are hot!

And here’s a look at our weekend. I don’t think I share a lot of family pictures here on O+P. So, here we are, without showers and makeup.
Olivia had a blast.  She is naturally a very curious and busy child, so she has a fantastic time exploring and wondering around the desert.  She also loved hiding around the back of Riley and playing peek-a-boo with us.  
I hope you had a great weekend. Where do you find that QUALITY family time? Is is outdoors in nature or do you have another favorite place where you connect? I’d love to know, so please share.  

DIY / Travel

Meet Riley

May 27, 2011

For years I have dreamed about owning a retro camping trailer.  We have always been tenters and backpackers, but I thought a little trailer would be fun for a different camping experience.

A week before Spring Break this year, we found this adorable 1948 Kit Companion Trailer on Craigslist.  Within hours of it being posted, we were in the car heading out to look at it.  By the time we got across town, the owner had 3 other people calling about it.  We fell in love with it and made an offer that evening and it was accepted.

I named my trailer “Riley”.  My dad has this saying when he sees my brothers being lazy or relaxing, “Oh, the life of Riley”.  I felt this was an appropriate name for a trailer that would bring relaxation and enjoyment for my family.  It is super cute inside and out.  The inside is wall to ceiling wood veneer and it has a cute black and white checkered floor.  It doesn’t have a bathroom, but I’m ok with that.  It sleeps 4 comfortably and has an oven, stove, sink and ice box.

For our first trip with Riley, we spent a week in Joshua Tree National Park and Anza Borrego State Park.  It needs a little bit a sprucing up on the inside, like new curtains, but I’m looking forward to getting to do that.