Category Archives: Travel Guide

City Guide: 36 Hours in Bangkok

if you haven’t heard…b and i recently returned from a 10 day trip to thailand.
it was an amazing trip full of everlasting memories
& b may or may not have the travel bug now (yipee)

we decided to visit three different cities while in thailand. although, i do i feel like we could have spent 2 more weeks exploring this wonderful country; we made the most out of the time we had and really got a great glimpse of thailand. b is already talking about when we can return.

first stop, bangkok!

City Guide to Bangkok, Thailand


10am: arrive in the bustling city of bangkok via airport taxi. bangkok is full of high rises and little grocery huts within feet of one another. we immediately noticed the diversity of living quarters in this up and coming city. the drivers here are aggressive and scooters flood the streets (just the way b likes it). so take it all in as you enter the city because i don’t think i have seen anything quite like it.

12pm: everyone i spoke to prior to heading to thailand raved about the street food. i must admit i may have one of the most sensitive stomachs out there so i was a little skeptical. i also can’t take that much spice in my meal which made me that much more apprehensive about trying street food but when in thailand, right?
we stayed at the park plaza sukhumvit hotel and i would highly recommend it. the park plaza sukhumvit is located walking distance to the sky train (so easy access to all parts of the city) as well as lots of shops / restaurants.  for our first lunch, we decided to throw caution to the wind and wander the streets for some grub. we definitely were among the locals that afternoon!
don’t miss out on the fresh juices located on almost every block in bangkok. a nice watermelon juice was the perfect treat in the heat!

1pm:  travel to the grand palace via sky train + express boat or taxi
we decided to go by way of taxi to the grand palace because i was extremely jet lagged and the heat was not helping. it is about a 30 min ride from our hotel and taxi service is cheap in thailand!
the grand palace is always insanely crowded but a beautiful and iconic site to see. i love the peaceful feeling when entering the temple. it is recommended to arrive in the early morning (temple opens at 8:30am) as to beat the crowds but b and i were not able to fit it in so in the afternoon we went.
tip! entrance fee is 500 Baht, inclusive of access to wat phra kaeo, the royal thai decorations & coins pavilion and queen sirikit museum of textile, which are located within the grand palace compound, and to vimanmek mansion museum on ratchawithi road. additional 100 Baht for a rental personal audio guide in english, french, german, spanish, russian, japanese or mandarin. be sure to dress appropriately so you can enter the temple. pants are recommended and be sure to cover your shoulders.

2pm: chatuchak weekend market
you do not need too much time at the grand palace because the crowds can become exhausting. head on over to the chatuchak weekend market (open 9am-6pm)and peruse the hundreds of stalls for souvenirs and  diverse food.
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6:30pm: dinner at the local bangkok
this restaurant is on the pricier side in bangkok (approx. $40 usd for two people) but boy is it good. the service is exceptional, the food is flavorful / perfectly cooked and the atmosphere romantic. we especially loved the authentic menu to welcome our taste buds to thailand. do ask for the milder version of their dishes because even the mild version was a little much for b to handle (i could not handle ha). my compliments to the chef!
another bonus is this adorable restaurant is walking distance from our hotel.

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7am: breakfast at park plaza sukhumvit
every hotel we stayed at offered an american style buffet but the park plaza was by far my favorite! their selection of fruit, cereals, breads and egg dishes was divine. i could eat the museli they made for every meal.
we booked the breakfast when booking our room but outside guests are also allowed to visit the hotel’s restaurant for any meal.

8am: take a tour with Pandan Tour group
this was our favorite part of bangkok.
before heading to thailand, i greatly wanted to tour the floating markets but the iconic one was located a couple of hours outside of the city (time we did not have) so i looked into other tours. after much research, i came upon pandan tour group. pandan tour group offers many different tours as well as customized tours. at first, we were going to have pandan take us to a closer floating market but after more research (i research everything) it didn’t seem like the local floating markets hold a candle to the one outside the city. so we changed gears and settled upon a customized half day canal tour. for this tour, they gave a long list of sites and you were to pick two from the list. i liked doing a customized tour because then it was just us and the guide and we felt like we had a more local experience.
pandan tour group picked us up at our hotel and took us to the boat express for travel to our first stop,  the flower market (my choice obviously). our tour guide, tao, mentioned the flower market is more busy/bustling in the evening but we had an enjoyable time perusing the market at a slower pace. this is the fifth largest flower market in the world (first being in brazil). tao had us try some of the local fruits and explained what the different flowers are used for — give you a hint it is not for a man to give to his significant other!

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second stop, wat pho (reclining buddah) and wat phra kaew (emerald buddah) (b’s choice)! so much history here! it was so incredible to see all the details (asthetically) that go into these temples. not to mention the architecture!

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(b and i loved the statues placed all around the grounds of the temples.)

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i think i snapped a photo every two feet because of how breathtaking these temples are and sadly, pictures don’t even do it justice. the thai know how to make temples!
tao really helped us learn the culture and lifestyle of thailand. i thoroughly enjoyed my time exploring these stunning structures.
we also walked by the temple of doom but sadly it was under construction. we hope we can return and see it once it is restored because it looked like another great temple to explore!

b likes to call me the monk stalker. i don’t know why but i loved seeing the monks roam the temples.

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following the tour, we said good-bye to our new friend tao and roamed the streets for lunch. i really enjoyed walking the city and experiencing what life would be like as a bangkok resident.

so technically, the above city guide is not even 36 hours but that is the exact itinerary we did and we loved every moment of it. if we would have had more time, we would have fit in the floating market (damnoen saduak) and dinner at issaya siamese club. b also would have enjoyed renting a scooter and seeing the city that way but many people warned scooter driving is too dangerous for a tourist.

before heading to bangkok, many people and blogs warned not to stay in the city too long. they said it is an over crowded city with much pollution and i do see where they are coming from. but there is beauty in the city of angels (nickname for bangkok). you just have to look a little deeper and enjoy it for what it is. i recommend making a stop in bangkok for any thailand trip!


linked to: treat yo’ self


5 Reasons to Visit Thailand

it has been a dream of mine for quite some time to visit thailand and last week i was able to do so. before visiting thailand, i had never been to asia so i didn’t know exactly what to expect when stepping off the plane. but let me just say that thailand exceeded my dreams and provided me with so many amazing memories that i will treasure my whole life.

here are 5 reasons why you need to visit thailand….

Reasons to Visit Thailand

1. the scenery. every where i turned i felt like i was walking through a post card. from the high rises in bangkok to the jungle in chiang mai to the white sand in phi phi. every part of thailand is breathtaking in its own way.

2. the culture. before heading to thailand, i read a lot about the culture and etiquette.  i think it is important to know customs of any country before heading there so you understand the people more and do not offend them (sometimes without even knowing it). for example, when entering a thai home or temple (or some restaurants and spas even) it is customary to remove your shoes. second fun fact – did you know thailand has had the same king for 60+ years? the king and all the royal family are held in extremely high regard and you must never speak negatively about them. if you do, you could find yourself in prison.

3. the spirituality. there are so many temples to see while in thailand and these temples are viewed as the holiest of places. our tour guide in bangkok, tao, told us that the country is 95% buddhist but they do have a catholic church in bangkok and respect those who are of different faith. he also explained to us that since most of the country is buddhist, they are very superstitious.  you must not walk directly on the bottom of a door frame because there could be spirits there and they would be angry with you.
i also could not get over the plethora of monks roaming the streets. tao (our bangkok tour guide) told us that most teenage men study in the temple and are monks for at least a couple years (he was a monk before becoming a tour guide). i really felt such a strong sense of peace while traveling throughout the country.

4. the animal encounters. where else can you bathe, feed, walk and love on asian elephants? where else can you chill on the beach with monkeys trying to steal your food? where else can you scuba dive with sharks? okay there may be a few other places to do all of the above but that is beside the point. b is such an animal lover (as am i) and that is part of the reason we wanted to go to thailand so bad. there are so many opportunities to be around wildlife in their natural surroundings.

5. the food. i honestly can’t do a lot of spicy food but one of my favorite experiences while in thailand was taking a cooking class. it was eye opening for me to see how different curries were made ( & how to make them less spicy ha) and the origin of these dishes. did you know pad thai is the national dish but it has only been the national dish for 50+ years? for how old thailand is that was a bit surprising. i also loved how there was fresh juice around every corner!

oh thailand, i adore you.

Best Doughnuts in Orange County

doughnuts are definitely getting the spotlight lately.
move over cupcakes, macaroons and ice cream cookie sandwiches.
and frankly i would not have it any other way because
i am a doughnut enthusiast.
always have been always will be.
growing up, my mom used to buy a box of fresh doughnuts every monday for an after school snack. i would always race home to be sure i got one of my favorites (old fashioned, maple, apple fritter or sprinkle).

when we traveled down to southern orange county a month ago, my mom told me about a new doughnut place she had discovered. i knew i had to try it and so on the last day of the trip, we headed to sidecar doughnuts in costa mesa.

sidecar doughnuts serves the best doughnuts i have ever had.
my mom has always encouraged us to treat good food like an experience so that is exactly what we did. sidecar doughnut offers 10-15 different flavors (some flavors do change monthly) and we tried 8 of them. yes, 8.

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my favorites were huckleberry, lavender, cinnamon crumb, twist, and devils food cake. but even if they weren’t on my favorite list, no doughnut we tried was bad.  i love the creative flavor combinations, the gorgeous presentation and the melt in your mouth dough (like literally melt in your mouth). sidecar doughnuts makes their doughnuts daily and serves them warm. i think that may be another factor of why they are so gosh darn good.

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also did you all ever know the difference between doughnut and donut? i actually had to look it up. apparently donut is just a short hand version for doughnut that became popular in the 20th century (thank you dunkin’ donuts).

36 Hours in San Francisco

friday afternoon i was completely blindsided when i received a text from b asking,
“instead of just going up to the city for dinner on saturday, do you want to stay up there all weekend?”.
my mouth dropped. was he asking what i think he was asking?
i quickly said yes and asked questions later.
why was i so shocked?
b does love exploring cities as do i so that did not shock me.
the spontaneity shocked me a little but the big shocker was that he wanted to be in san francisco for 36 hours straight!
b doesn’t love big cities. he grew up in salt lake city and i think that is as big of a city as he would like to live in. he finds san francisco to be some what of a headache with the traffic, high prices for parking, hoards of people and aggressive pedestrians. he finds the city dirty and the people odd.
but he knows i love the city. he knows i love exploring. he knows this is my ideal weekend and he wanted to give me a little belated valentine’s day present. bless his heart. i will always remember this weekend because it was simply perfect . here’s what we did..



8pm: arrive in san francisco and check into the galleria park hotel.
the minute b asked me if i wanted to stay the weekend in the city, i scoured the internet for moderate priced hotels in good areas. i looked at both expedia and hotel tonight. have you ever used hotel tonight? it is my favorite travel app when searching for last minute deals. you are guaranteed a better rate booking through hotel tonight than expedia (i checked) but the catch is you can only book through the app 7 days prior to check in (it used to actually be the day of but they expanded their services).
the galleria park hotel is a boutique hotel located in the financial district (less than one mile from the ferry building). we greatly enjoyed our stay at the hotel. it was a stone’s throw from the bart station, the decor had a modern feel and the beds/pillows were especially comfy. the only draw back was the air conditioner was located in the window so you could hear noise from the street and the valet service was slow (despite paying $42/night — most hotels in sf charge this much or more for valet…)

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9pm: head to dandelion chocolate factory (via the bart),located in the mission district, for hot chocolate, frozen hot chocolate and desserts.
dandelion chocolate factory closes at 10pm on friday nights so don’t delay. i love their passion for chocolate and how they only use the highest quality coco beans. do try the frozen hot chocolate (not like serendipity at all– more of a dark chocolate, rustic taste) and brownies.

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9am: breakfast at il cane rosso located in the ferry building.
i partly picked this place because i can’t stay walking distance from the ferry building and not check out the weekend farmers market. and for how much b doesn’t love sf, he does love the ferry building (mainly for the cowgirl creamery).  this is a quaint cafe located next to blue bottle coffee. we enjoyed the french toast and slow scrambled eggs. do try to eat outside at their reserved tables so you can eat by the water (or bask in the sun as b enjoyed doing).

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10am: walk around the ferry building
check out cowgirl creamery (one of our favorites) because they give you free samples of all their cheeses! we also love doing the olive oil sampling and meandering through the farmers market for fresh produce.

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11am: catch an uber to the complete opposite side of san francisco to hike land’s end
let me preface by saying, i am not really a hiker. my mother wishes i was with all her attempts during our vacations while i was growing up but i usually complained the whole time. i will say, that i am enjoying it more now and if every hike was like land’s end, i would love to hike every day. there are some steep parts of lands end but it is not too difficult of a hike with stunning views. b and were literally taking pictures every two feet. we took the coastal path through the presidio heights neighborhood and ended up at the presidio. it was gorgeous. i loved every second of it.
on an uber note, have you heard of the uber carpool option? i hadn’t until this weekend and it may be only available in san francisco (i have to look more into it). it is where you share an uber with a person traveling to a nearby destination and right now it is only $5 for 1-2 people! i am talking $5 no matter how far the destination is (we paid $5 for 8 mile ride) but you do have to stay within sf. uber carpool is bumped to $15 if you want to go outside the city.

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12:30pm: then keep on walking to grab a sandwich at lou’s (located in the richmond area).i asked b his favorite part of the whole trip and besides spending time together he said lou’s. hands down. the sandwiches at lou’s are the best in the area (including south bay). b said it was some of the best turkey he has ever had. the sandwiches were thick and flavorful. i got the veggielicious sandwich and have never been so full in my life (considering no meat on the sandwich). you definitely get your money’s worth but be prepared to wait in a line and wait for your sandwich. well worth it as far as we were concerned.
do note, land’s end is not super close to lou’s. we were in the walking mood and just enjoyed the sunshine but it was a little bit of a trek. san francisco is known for making you walk miles upon miles though. b was monitoring his steps on his phone and we walked approx. 10 miles on saturday alone…


at this time, we headed back to the hotel to shower and give ourselves a bit of a rest. after feeling a little rejuvenated, we walked around the city a bit more and took in the sights. i loved the architecture and could have gazed at some areas of the city for days.

7pm: dinner at foreign cinema (mission district)
i had heard good things about foreign cinema and funny enough my boss was an investor of the restaurant when it first started. foreign cinema is not in the best neighborhood, but once you walk through the doors you are transported into a vibrant / modern atmosphere.  the menu is ever changing with the seasons, just the way i like it. the star of the meal for me was the key lime pie dessert and for b it was his sole entree (typical). we ended up sitting inside so we were not able to see the movie and next time will opt for the movie route because it sounded like a different dining experience.
only drawback with this place is service is a little on the slower side.

And after you have trekked all the way back to home base (ie your hotel) you may get hungry again. i know we did. but hey you are burning so many more calories so you deserve dessert after dinner’s dessert. just head on over to bob’s donut + pastry shop for classic donuts and take your time because it is open 24 hours. now this is the kind of big city living i would like!


9am: breakfast at tartine bakery (mission district)
yes, back to the mission and yes, 9am timing is a must (that’s when it opens). we made the mistake of taking a little longer to get ready and headed to tartine bakery around 10am and the line was insane! like 45 minute wait and i was getting hangrey at this point so truth be told we did not eat here but evident by the line (and my foodie sister recommended it), you should. we settled for craftsman + wolves and it was settling indeed. i was a little let down by my chocolate stacked croissant (lacked enough chocolate if you ask me) and b had the poppy seed muffin which was ordinary. lesson learned. wake up early for tartine bakery!

Guide to East Bay: Pepple’s Donut Farm

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i love a good donut. i love apple fritters, sprinkles, old fashioned and glaze oh my. i love soft dough and  extra sweet frosting. i will never turn down a chance to try a donut so when b and i decided to head up to oakland on saturday i knew i had to try the famous pepple’s donut farm.
pepple’s is located in emeryville which is just above oakland and fairly close to the bay bridge. a big draw to pepple’s is their donuts are vegan along with their entire brunch + lunch menu.
b was of course skeptical by this but is always a good sport and agreed to try since i had been wanting to check out pepple’s donut farm for some time now.


we walked into a run down / hipster looking cafe. it wasn’t too busy so we grabbed a table and decided to savor the moment. b and i decided to try blueberry, apple fritter and salted carmel. can i just say all three were above average donuts? like a good couple notches above average? of the three, the apple fritter was actually my favorite. i had never had dough that tasted that moist and delicious. do note their donuts on the cart (which included glaze, apple fritters, bear claws, etc.) are only sold on the weekend so i suggest stopping by pepple’s then so you can try it all.

we went with some friends and one of our friends got a cinnamon sugar donut. he said it tasted just like cinnamon toast crunch. yummmm. our other friend is gluten free so opted for the granola with hemp milk. guys it was my first time trying hemp milk and i completely loved it. i think i am going to sub it in for almond milk if i can find it as easily. it had a great taste. i also hear it is very good for your skin + hair.

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overall it was a great donut filled saturday morning with good friends. oh and one more tip, the donut prices will go up in march because minnimum wage is being raised so  check out pepple’s donut farm before then! it is already a little pricier than your average donut shop (we are talking about $2/donut) so act fast and try it out.

how was your weekend?

planning a getaway to the east bay? check out my other top eateries and things to do in the area here!

Best Restaurants in Salt Lake City

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before moving to the bay area, i spent a good 5 years living in salt lake city, utah. i originally moved there to attend the university of utah and then stayed an additional year as a newlywed before heading west to northern california.
all of my extended family resides in utah and that was a big reason why i chose to attend the u. i really hated utah growing up because i always longed for the beach and perfect sunny days. but after moving there, i really grew to like and even love utah.
the beehive state will always have a piece of my heart.
it is where i met and fell in love with b.
it is where i would visit my grandma for a couple of weeks every summer growing up.
it is where b and i started our life together.

and for me, as a self proclaimed foodie, part of loving a place is loving the food. i feel as though i have tried almost every restaurant during my 5 year stint and i can honestly say below are the best of the best in salt lake city. this is where you need to eat if you find yourself in slc.


The Park – yes, the park is your only option for breakfast because nothing even compares. the park is located across from liberty park in a cottage style home with limited parking. and if you think the atmosphere sounds adorable i can’t even begin to describe how good their food is. from their french toast to their hash browns to homemade jam, this place is legendary. i used to take all my visitors to the park and no one could believe a) how amazing the food was and b) how affordable it all was (especially since the portions are on the larger side). come early in the morning if you can make yourself wake up because you may be waiting for a hour otherwise.
yes, you may hear that eggs in the city is amazing or blue plate diner or ruths is where it’s at but trust me, the park trumps all these recognized breakfast spots handily.


Franck’s – hands down my favorite place to dine in utah. it is the priciest restaurant on my list but boy is it magical. franck’s entire menu makes me go weak in knees. i love their lamb, duck, escargot, salmon, mousse, the list goes on. i have met franck once and he was just as lovely as his authentic french restaurant. oh and did i mention this is where b proposed? well it is one of the most romantic spots in the valley.

Gourmandise – i probably frequented gourmandise every week for a year and i wish i could keep up the tradition. gourmandise is a wonderfully authentic french bakery and cafe. their pastries are some of the best i have had and their cafe menu is delectable. i have yet to try a better french onion soup.
okay, i know i said that the park is the only breakfast option worth going to and i still stand by it but if i had to pick a second it would be gourmandise. their creme brulee oatmeal and grilled cinnamon bread is parfait.

Tulie Bakery – okay technically tulie may not be considered french but they do serve to die for pastries / baked good so i am gonna sneak it into this list. their plain or ham croissants are their specialty but really i love their scones and beignets. you must be at tulie at 8am if you want to try their beignets because they sell out by 8:30am. and do order a hot chocolate because it accompanies the new orleans treat just perfectly.

Eva – another great bakery / cafe located in the heart of downtown. it is picture perfect from the outside and only gets better once you try all their amazing pastries / bread / small plates inside.


Bombay House – is it weird that although we have 100x more indian people around us in the bay area, i still haven’t found an indian restaurant i love as much as bombay house? their lamb saag, chicken tiki masala, mango lassi and rice pudding are out of this world. the flavors cannot be beat. b and i are determined to find something similar in the bay area because i crave bombay house on the daily. and yes, this is your only option because it is that good.


Cafe Trio – great atmosphere and wonderful food for small parties (tables are narrow). i adore the rosemary flat bread appetizer and all salads. if you come in the summer, there is great outdoor seating under twinkle lights!

The Pie – okay this is the quintessential college hang out but for good reason (not just because it is open till 3am on Friday + Saturday). the pizza is heavy and loaded with toppings. i used to get the cheesy pull apart almost every weekend during my first year at college (talk about freshman 15) and it was amazing. because who isn’t craving carbs and cheese at 2am?

Vinto – this is another great upscale italian restaurant. i would go to cafe trio for flat bread + salads and i would go to vinto for pizza and pasta. oh and vinto also makes homemade gelato! and guess what else? vinto is also located in park city (this location is great place to host large parties).


Kyoto – i don’t think b would ever speak to me again if i didn’t include kyoto on this list. but i am not just adding it for his thumbs up, this restaurant is amazing. their sashimi is fresh and rolls are diverse. but what really stands above the rest is their tempura. i don’t know how they do it but the flavor and crispyness of kyoto’s tempura cannot be matched at all. believe me b has been on the hunt for 2 years now.

Naked Fish – my favorite place for sushi. i love sushi (i could eat it every day for the rest of my life) and will suffer through some of the cheaper places to curve my craving but naked fish is a cut above the rest in the valley. i also love the atmosphere and the service.


Cafe Rio – yes, i realize this is a now chain available throughout the west coast but if you have not lived in utah you may be missing out on this americanized mexican restaurant. everything is good here but cafe rio is best known for their barbacoa salads and creamy tomatillo dressing. i usually get a steak tostada with a large tomatillo dressing (the size it comes with is never enough) and b prefers the barbacoa nachos or salmon tacos. you really can’t go wrong with any item and the service is great!

Lone Star Taqueria - lone star is located in the cottonwood heights area so it may be a bit of a ways from the heart of the city but it is worth it. their tacos (fish or otherwise) are delicious and incredibly fresh. and their guacamole is right on the money. this is another great affordable and quick option when your stomach is craving mexican.

Red Iguana – and for the best sit down mexican in the valley, i would have to give it to red iguana. this place is somewhat of a dive (especially since it is located west of the gateway mall) but it sure is delicious (and many people agree since the wait is usually outrageous). oh my goodness i really recommend every single thing on the menu. and please save room for tres leches cake for dessert!
ps don’t feel like sitting down and waiting in line? red iguana now has a to-go option in the city creek mall which is just as scrumptious (however, entree options are a little more limited).

okay and if you need some american food while in slc do stop by hires not only for their deliciously greasy burgers but for a root beer freeze.

best cupcake? check out mini’s. i have even tried some of their lunch box specials and was thoroughly impressed.

best shake?  B & D Burgers. i recommend the oreo peanut butter yummmmm.

best ice cream? Nielsens. technically it is frozen custard but it is the best in the ice cream genre.

anything i am missing?

Holiday in Park City, Utah

i was crossing my fingers for a white christmas in park city and guess what? i got it!

since being married to b, we switch off on which family to spend the holidays with and this year was b’s year. we headed to salt lake city (after being delayed 2 hours..typical) on tuesday night and right when we arrived b was whisked away to watch the hobbit with his brothers. i decided to lay low at their home with his mom where we chatted the night away.

the next morning was christmas eve. my mother in law, sisters in law and i started it off right by getting manicures and pedicures (i think i may have to add this tradition to my list when we have a family). it was a lovely morning spent with the girls and then we headed home for german pancakes and hot apple cider.

b grew up in salt lake city but his family owns a cabin in park city (about 40 min away from salt lake city). as a family, we decided it would be a fun to celebrate the holidays up at the cabin.
it was magical.
it started snowing in the evening on christmas eve and lasted throughout christmas day and the following day. it was how you always imagine a white christmas. we went snowmobiling, drank homemade eggnog + hot chocolate, played every game imaginable, went in the hot tub during the snow storm and cuddled by the fire.  we even chopped down a live christmas tree!
oh yeah & i made my first snow angel!

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i love b’s family and am grateful for the chance we had to be with them for the holidays. family is so important and i am so glad we could spend so much time  playing games, laughing and getting to know one another even better.

how did you spend your holiday?

Guide to Colorado Springs: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

promise me you will go to the cheyenne mountain zoo if you ever travel to colorado springs, okay?

i have been to a number of zoos in my day (phoenix, san diego, la to name a few) and none compare. i know what i am saying may be crazy because all you hear about is how amazing the san diego zoo is and although it may be bigger, the quality of animals and experiences available is unparalleled at the cheyenne mountain zoo. and one reason it may be so amazing is it is privately owned. something to think about…


anywho. i had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a tower (group of giraffes = a tower… i can’t make this stuff up).  like literally i was cuddling, feeding and kissing these adorable giraffes and was in complete heaven. right after that experience, i joked that the only way this day could get better was if i got to feed an elephant as well.
do note, you are able purchase leaves of lettuce from the hut to feed to the giraffes and i believe it was $2. also, don’t be the rookie and give them a full leaf. you want the experience to last forever so break up the lettuce into smaller pieces.

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if you look very closely you can see the giraffe’s abnormally long tongue as i was feeding him. such an amazing experience.
yes there are some other zoos that let you feed the giraffes (phoenix is one) but i have never seen anything where you get to get this up close and personal.

and i think this giraffe might have had a crush on b because he had no food and all this giraffe wanted was some loving from him.

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fast forward 30 min to when we approach the elephants’ home and see they are allowing visitors to feed them. as you may have guessed, i was on cloud nine.

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elephants actually use their trunk much like fingers when taking the food from you. i though it would be more like a vacuum.

and i think my face says it all. i was completely giddy.

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we also enjoyed seeing the hippos, tigers, leopards, a baby orangutan, gorillas and sloths.

and then we got to watch a grizzly bear swim around and attempt to catch a fish. it was incredible. i had never seen a grizzly bear before.

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we all agreed that this was our best zoo experience of all time. cheyenne mountain zoo even has better food than the average zoo. so if you are going to do anything in colorado springs, go here (oh and also garden of the gods)

what is your favorite zoo?

Guide to Colorado Springs: The Broadmoor

Guide to Colorado Springs

a couple days after thanksgiving, we decided to explore the beautiful city of colorado springs a little further by heading south to the older, more established part of town.

first stop, the broadmoor hotel.
it is the only five star hotel in colorado springs and they just put up their christmas decorations so we knew it would be a sight to see walking the grounds.
it felt old and historic. the furniture was lavish and the greenery was perfectly manicured. that view in the first picture is from the courtyard of the hotel. can you imagine peaking out of your window to that?
my dad vowed he would have to stay here one day soon.

Guide to Colorado Springs: The Broadmoor Hotel

there were about eight christmas trees scattered around the interior of the property and each had a different color scheme. all i wanted to do was race home and decorate our christmas tree after seeing these beauts.

i also loved those massive fireplaces. imagine sitting by one of those during a snow storm.
it would be dreamy.

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a poinsettia christmas tree? what a lovely idea.
oh and i was not able to capture a great picture but they also had a life-size gingerbread house that was completely edible.
it took me back to my childhood days of wandering the ritz carlton laguna niguel during the christmas season.

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those two munchkins melt my heart. i can’t wait for my sister to add another boy into the mix come march.

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it felt amazing to be reunited with these sisters of mine. they are the bees knees and i am so blessed to have 3 built in best friends.

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the broadmoor hotel in colorado springs is incredibly stunning and a perfect place to stay or visit. there are a million different reading nooks i would have loved to curl up in and a great restaurant to indulge your appetite. hotel rates can be more affordable when booking during the week. b and my brother in law calculated that it would cost about $70k to live at the hotel year round. and we decided that was a pretty great price given the amenities and location (yet still incredibly unrealistic unless you are kevin mccallister). another bonus is the valet is complimentary.

three cheers for the broadmoor.
i am crossing my fingers my dad invites me along when he heads back to the broadmoor hotel.

Guide to Colorado Springs: Garden of the Gods

although we did tend to stay indoors cooking and game playing, there were a few fun activities we just had to experience while we were in colorado springs.
garden of the gods was one of them.


garden of the gods is a national natural landmark of red rock formations. they are said to have been created during a “geological upheaval” along a natural fault line millions of years ago.  there is nothing quite like it in the rocky state. although it did remind me a little bit of southern utah. moab / st. george anyone?

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there were a fair amount of visitors when we arrived at the garden of gods and so we ended up having to park about a mile away. not to worry though, there are pedestrian trails all across the park to the main formations. it was a flat and paved walkway with beauty all around.

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we were able to tour the main formations in about an hour (but touring with young kids takes more time so you could probably do it more quickly if you want). there were spots to rock climb if you were the appropriate experience level and had a permit. b was jealous.

side note… i feel like we are all dressed for a different occasion / weather? b for an intense hike, sisters for a casual walk around the mall. littlest sister for a brisk walk around the city and so forth. ha that is the tates for you!

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garden of the gods is gorgeous and a must see if you are in the colorado springs area.
oh and just in case you are like where the heck is colorado springs… it is about an hour away from denver.