Part 2 San Francisco

Part 2 San Francisco

Okay! Back again with San Francisco. If you have not read part 1, here is the link, San Francisco Part 1. I am still daydreaming about the weekend we had honestly. On Saturday of our weekend trip, we started the day off by going to my favorite place in San Francisco, the tile steps! I think I love it here so much because of the artistry behind the steps, and the beauty that they hold. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for art. I am in love with the colors, and the view from the top is like nothing else I have you to see in San Francisco. Also, how cool is it that it is just smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood! Could you imagine living a short walk from such a unique and breathtaking attraction? For being a well-known place, I was surprised that it was not crowded at all, and we had the stairs to ourselves for a while. If, and when I go back, I want to just take a good book up to the top of the stairs and hang with a sandwich. Soaking in the surrounding and basking in the sun on these steps would be a dream come true right now with the weather I have had the last two weeks.

After that we took a stroll down to a local, phenomenal breakfast place called Zazies! It was the best breakfast I have had since Australia and the best eggs benedict I have ever had. It is a cute but small place and super busy, so you have to be willing to wait (I promise it is worth it). Our table also shared a Carmel French Toast which was soooo sweet I could only have a couple bites but… Wow.

This was our big walking day, after breakfast we had to walk off all that food, so we went to Haight Street. This is my best friend Kayleigh’s favorite place. It is so hippie and fun I felt like I was stepping into another era. There is a lot of shopping, from vintage shops, to modern boutiques, and a lot of intriguing people. Although there are some wackos running around, I never felt unsafe and honestly found their presence kind of entertaining.

Our final stop before dinner was Ashbury. This is known for the Full House show with all the famous houses and park. This was a fulfillment of one of my childhood dream, like most my 20 something readers we grew up on this show, and my obsession surely has not faded with age. The park itself is beautiful as well to just stroll through on an overcast afternoon.

After all the pictures and walking we grabbed a coffee from The Mill, for my coffee drinkers, I am not a huge coffee girl unless it is loaded up with sugar but my friend Brena got a normal coffee but on nitro. I had a taste of it and it was soooo smooth it was something new to try and I liked it surprisingly. From there we went to another personal favorite… Sausalito.

Sausalito feels somewhat separate from the city, and honestly driving through it made me think I was driving through the hilly coasts of Southern Italy. We got dinner at The Trident, where we sat right on the water at sunset. I am hopelessly in love with Sausalito. The dinner was fantastic, I got a steak and I was having extreme nostalgia from Australia. There were just beautiful hints of those feelings as if I were back in Australia. This place is to die for. It was the perfect close to the night!

On to… Sunday! My final day in San Francisco!

Xx

Gabi

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Haight-Ashbury

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Mount Lemmon

Mount Lemmon

Tucson, Arizona does not host very much to do unless you put in the effort to find the hidden gems. It takes ambition, an empty stomach, and a Groupon account to really appreciate the surrounding area usually.

Tucson really is not as bad as I am making it sound, I promise! I’ve suckered my friends into attending nearly every sporting event because I have a blast cheering on our sports teams. Tucson also hosts some beautiful hikes along the Catalina Foothills and if you’re feeling up to it, the iconic Gates Pass is always there for your sunset photoshoots. All that aside… my all-time favorite place in Tucson is Mount Lemmon.

It takes about an hour and a half to get to the top of Mount Lemmon but boy, you will not regret it! It is like you have been taken out of the desert and dropped into the middle of Colorado.

Whenever anyone mentions Mount Lemmon, I have this affinity to magically appear. If I felt that my car could make it up Mount Lemmon every weekend, you would find me nowhere else. So, when my friends mentioned that they were going to Mount Lemmon you can bet that yours truly was joining them.

We stopped at Subway along the way, when we finally made it up the mountain one of my friends, Ryan, decided to show us a beautiful landing that looked out over the mountains and the desert below that did not even know existed. It is a pretty surreal sight, seeing oak trees suddenly give way to saguaro cacti! We sat there for a bit taking everything in and listening to some oldies. It was a fantastic morning and I could have sat there all day, but we had other plans! Ryan decided to show us his campgrounds which were “right down the hill”. I have always known that women’s spatial skill are superior to men’s (look it up, it’s fact) but wowza, Ryan just reaffirmed my beliefs. His “right down the hill” was about 100 yards down a cliff (okay maybe a slight over exaggeration but nearly a cliff) and through a grove of hedges.

I got slapped in the face by every branch along that mountain, but I was laughing so hard my sides hurt. My other friend Kayleigh was not as entertained at the time although we can all look back now and chuckle about our adventures. Even when we thought we were safe at the campsite, NOPE! Turns out we still had to climb down another hill. Now us ladies were not expecting too much physical activity on our trip so none of us wore very sensible shoes. Mix bad shoes with dead pine needles and a steep hill and things get really bad, really quickly. We made it down however (without serious injury) and headed back down the mountain.

After scaling the mountain, Ryan brought us down to the shooting range located at mile four. The extent of my gun skills is the Call of Duty game I sometimes play (on beginner mode). Turns out I am as bad at shooting a real gun as I am at shooting a virtual one (who knew). Even though I missed the target every time, we had a blast (get it?) and got to shoot some incredible weapons. It was a perfect day! The weather was 75F and I was surrounded by good company, good music, and beautiful views.

Cannot wait for our next trip up to Mount Lemmon, if you have any questions about Mount Lemmon just ask me, the EXPERT!

Peyton

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Further Into Sedona

Further Into Sedona

Before our break was over and we would dive headfirst into another semester of school, my friends and I decided to escape for a daytrip up to Sedona.

We left as early as we could muster (granted we are college females so that was about 8:30am) and drove up to Sedona. Despite the fact that it was early January, it was in the upper sixties, so we decided to roll the windows down and listen to our music on full volume.

If you have never been to Sedona, you can liken it to the movie “Cars”. Sandstone spans the entire valley, vibrantly red against the cloudless blue sky. The town itself is small, with only about 11,000 inhabitants, but there are millions of tourists that come every year, hoping to enter the “vortex” (Read Gabi’s blog to get a better understanding of what that is) and align some chakras. Honestly, I don’t understand the “vortex” but we were asked to help locate it by some fellow tourist so evidently our camera bag totting bodies seemed to know what we were doing.

A friend of mine was meeting us along the main shopping strip (near the Pink Jeep Tours) for some lunch but since we were ahead of schedule, we stopped to hike Bell Rock. It was an awesome hike but very short from where we parked. You’re able to climb quite high in a short amount of time and once you get high enough, you have a beautiful view of Cathedral Rock and all of Sedona down below. It is definitely a hike you should do in some good shoes since some of the hills require you to use your hands to balance/pull yourself up, but the short exercise is definitely worth the view. Altogether it took us about thirty minutes to get from the parking lot to the upper third of Bell Rock and back. You could get higher than where we stopped on the mountain but I didn’t trust myself to not fall off the side, and I had food waiting for me 😉.

We ate a quick meal at the Canyon Breeze Restaurant which has a beautiful view of some of the red rocks and then we drove over to Devil’s Bridge.

The hike roundtrip is about 4 miles with a large part of it consisting of walking down a dirt road. Once you get to the actual trailhead, the hike gets much prettier and it only takes you about twenty minutes to get to the bridge itself. Although the Bell Rock hike was significantly shorter, I thought it was a little more vigorous than Devil’s Bridge. Keep in mind that our trip to Sedona was right after I came back from ten days in Wisconsin. Aka ten days of building up some insulation for the -30C weather that I had to brave myself against every time I walked outside.

Once you’re at the top, the view looks down on a beautiful valley. It faces east, so there are some problems with shadows depending on what time of the day you go. By the time we were there, it was about 3:30 and part of the valley was already in shadows. It was a bit overcast that day so the pictures didn’t turn out poorly but if you’re wanting to go for the prime photo opportunities, consider going in the morning or midday. There are plenty of millennials milling around at the top who will be more than qualified to take your picture. I got a few pictures looking over the cliff (reckless, yes; stupid, extremely) and sent them to my mother (who has a terrible fear of heights), and I can quite confidently say that she was not nearly as amused as myself. But hey, I’m still alive aren’t I?

Sedona houses some incredible shops showcasing incredible artwork, delicious food, and lots of goodies pertaining to spirituality and one’s connection with the “vortex”. It is an incredible place to visit and I don’t think you can ever fully describe the beauty of Sedona unless you visit it for yourself! If you enjoy hiking, swimming, meditation, or simply a good time Sedona is a place you must visit!

Peyton

 

Sedona

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Petrified Wood National Park

Petrified Wood National Park

Part 3: The Petrified Wood Forest is located smack dab in the middle of the Painted Desert in Northern Arizona. For those of you who do not know what Petrified Wood is I will link everything you need to know about it below!

The forest is located on Navajo and Apache land and the space is covered in fossilized trees. This is cooler than it sounds I promise. Honestly, for the longest time I did not even know trees could fossilize like this. They look a lot like really intricate rocks, I like to think a lot like granite, but it is not even close to actual rock. They are trees that are just millions of years old. The pieces range from pebble size to the sizes of trees like you would find in the mountains of Colorado. They are smooth to the touch and feel nothing like a living tree. All of the wood in the forest is untouched and has not been moved from its original resting place by any park officials.

There is a lot more within the Petrified Wood National Park than just fossilized trees, but also a large number of other fossils from prehistoric creatures that have all been discovered in the area. The history behind the whole area is mind boggling and I highly suggest going into the parks information locations to learn more about it, it is not boring like some of the other information centers I have wandered into.

The pieces within this desert that have remained untouched range in price from hundreds to thousands of dollars, and none of the wood in the national park is ever sold or moved from the location but protected by the park.

To find the forest you head on the same track as the Painted Desert seeing that one route turns into the next. This is not an activity to take up a whole day, but if you are in the area and have some time use your day doing both the Painted Desert and the Petrified Wood Forest, it is well worth learning about and seeing.

This was an awesome road trip, and I just wish I had more time to explore even more places, northern Arizona has not seen the last of me.

Xx

Gabi

What is Petrified Wood?

The Petrified Forest

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The Painted Desert

The Painted Desert

Part 2: I visited the Painted Desert on my way back from the Grand Canyon. This is one of the coolest natural things I have yet to see in my twenty-one years of life. The colors range from pink to black, the pink rocks having bands of lavender and beige running through them, and the black weaving through reds and blues that take on an almost volcanic look to them.

This is something you can drive through and it stretches for miles in Northern Arizona. There are a variety of stops to get out of the car and look at the different hill ranges that have so magically formed within the desert. To drive the whole length of The Painted Desert I would say was about one or two hours depending on how much time you spend getting out of the car.

This is a rarity, since it is national park but is viable for anyone since you can be in the car the whole time or hike around. There are a couple of legitimate hikes ranging from less than a mile to four miles I believe, so it still can appeal to my avid hikers that read the blog. To this day I do not believe I have seen anything like it. It is not comparable to any other of my blog locations we have discussed thus far, but I will let y’all know if that changes. I am going to include pictures below but just a sneak peak to inspire you to go check it out on your own!

Xx

Gabi

The Painted Desert

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Part One of the Arizona Road trip

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

I am going to do a three-part series this week. This was all one giant road trip that I took through Arizona in December, but I want to split it up so you can really read up on the places I talk about, if case you are interested in seeing them for yourself!

Part one: I had my first trip to the Grand Canyon! I know that seems wild since I have lived in Arizona for three years now, but sometimes I seem to find life scurrying away from me. I do want to go back again when it is warmer, but this was a super fun experience even though I froze my booty off.

We camped in the park campgrounds. Surprisingly there were more people there than I thought there would be for winter, but it was not nearly as crowded as it can normally get. The campgrounds were generic with a firepit provided. During the winter season when we were in attendance, the site only cost fifteen for the one night that we were there.

The wildlife was awesome! We saw elk, and even got up close and personal with them (safely). They were not even frightened in the slightest. Also, you could hear coyotes at night… and they were close. The cackling of a clan of coyotes celebrating a kill could be heard in the middle of the night, which I am not going to lie made me a little sad but also was a unique thing to hear.

It was cold, cold, cold, during the night, but the stars made all the layers worth it. I have never seen a night sky like that one before. Star gazing is one of my favorite things, so this was a treat for me to be able to see more of the galaxy then I could ever see in the city. I highly suggest anyone who has studied astronomy to go out to The Grand Canyon for some perfect viewing opportunities. It was an incredible first time of exploration, but this definitely was only a scratch on the surface. I cannot wait to come back and explore more and go into The Grand Canyon.

Which leads me to my announcement… I will be returning to The Grand Canyon in May to do Havasu Falls! I am so excited and if any of you have been would love your tips and expertise. Drop me a comment or send me an email to trade tips or if you have any or questions about my first trip to The Grand Canyon. Later this week I will post about my trip to The Painted Desert and The Petrified Forest.

 

Xx

Gabi

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Weedon Island

Weedon Island

My life has been infused with tons of adventure and nature from living so close to the Tampa Bay. For as long as I can remember, my parents would take my younger brother and I out to the Weedon Island Preserve that has been around for thousands of years, in order to experience aquatic and onshore ecosystems. Many people walk the trails, boardwalks, and fishing pier to learn more about this fascinating preserve. It never ceased to amaze me how the city of Tampa would protect the wide range of diverse animals and natural resources located in this area. As a family we would take jet skis out along the banks of the island or paddle board through them to experience close encounters with numerous wild life.

Several years have gone by and I still constantly come to this place spending great weekends with friends that love adventure as much as me. The fishing is incredible throughout the protected mangroves. There is an abundance of fish, the most popular ones in this area tend to be Snook, Red, and Trout. It is so peaceful outdoors on the water, with the Florida sun giving off a strong heat. My Ranch Bucket gives me the perfect shade whenever I am on the boat or at the beach with my friends. Not only does it look great, but the fit feels perfect especially with any type of movement. The only problem was that all my guy friends were stealing it from me saying how good they looked in it…told them to get their own!

That same day we caught about six Trout and four nice sized Snooks. Both fish are great to eat but we decided to let them go back to their aquatic ecosystems to live another day (I feel guilty sometimes because I love animals so much). The sport of fishing has really become a hobby of mine, because of the exhilarating game that is combined with patience and fight on the water. Weedon Island Preserve gives this feeling to those who love to fish, which is why the location gives off a strong attraction. I wish everyone could see this beautiful environment to remind them the damages of air and water pollution.

I cannot wait to come back during my spring break and spend all my time on the water. Now I am back at University of Central Florida located in Orlando, so it is time for me to explore this busy city. So keep up to date with me!

New year, same world so take care of it!

~ Explore ~

Devin

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Michigan the Upper Peninsula

Michigan the Upper Peninsula

Had the pleasure of going up to Michigan for New Years Eve this year. It was about a six-hour drive from where I have been staying in Chicago. The six hours were surprisingly not dreadful. I slept the majority of the time which definitely made the hours go by a little faster. I have been spending a lot of time in cars and planes recently, and especially in the last year, so honestly six hours seemed like a piece of cake.

We drove past Lake Superior, which was frozen solid with many people out ice fishing on it. Ice shantys were everywhere which was surprising this early in the winter season. There was lots and lots of snow, and if I remember correctly I think it snowed the whole entire time we were there. We stayed in a beautiful little cabin that was very isolated from the rest of the world, at least it felt that way. No internet, cozy, warm inside, but carrying with it that extremely wintery feeling that comes with Cabins.  It was one of those places right off the page of a story book.

I got to go snowmobiling for the first time which I really enjoyed. The only downside was that there were certain trails that had yet to be groomed so they were super bumpy which hurt my neck. Unfortunately, before our trip I had a little accident and injured my neck and back. I fell down a flight of stairs the next day which definitely made the injury worse, so the bumpy parts took a toll on me in that way, but when we were smooth sailing I really had fun. After stopping for lunch at a lodge in Shingleton, Michigan we decided to make our way back to the cabin on the snowmobiles, this is where things took a turn.

The belt on the snowmobile broke! Anyone who knows me knows that the thing I hate most in this world is being cold. So being stranded for an hour in the cold was not my favorite moment, but I napped in the snow (I know counterproductive) while everyone else built a snowman.

We were finally able to get home and relax where we spent the night playing cards and watching movies while ringing in the new year – cabin style!

All in all a very calm but warm and fuzzy new year!

Let’s make this new year a great Ranch Bucket style one!

XX

Gabi

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Sedona

Sedona

Okay, this is hands down my favorite place in Arizona. I have been living in the lovely desert now for three years and Sedona is by far the most beautiful place I have experienced, in the state.

As you already know due to a previous post I hiked Devil’s Bridge, which was a great hike, (I will link my review of that below) but we did a few other things besides that while there. Sedona is known for it’s spirituality and for these things called Vortexes. Vortexes are supposed to be center points in Sedona that swirl with energy (not something you can physically see, this confused me a little too don’t worry) and are said to bring with them healing and a strong sense of self-exploration. Many people report a sense of peace when visiting them as well. All of the Vortex locations in Sedona have the most beautiful views as well, so even if you are not a “believer” the view is well worth the visit anyways. There have been many reports that it also causes the feeling of your blood stirring and the sensation of being recharged and inspired.

Sedona is often referred to as a “healing heart” and the whole town is essentially known to be a vortex, but there are four specific sites that are considered the most intense in feeling. I will link a list of these locations below! All of these places are easily accessible to all age groups.

The town is very hippie and is all about auras and spirituality, if you are into this stuff, this place is for you! The place is swarming with mediums and all sorts of cool healing rocks. I purchased a salt lamp here and I am in love with it.

If you are not a believer in this kind of stuff my suggestion to you is to take everything and everyone’s words with a grain of salt. Just really focus on enjoying the natural beauty. There are plenty of hiking trails and rock stores to check out while in town. If you are a believer or even slightly intrigued by the concepts, let it take over your experience and really let in all that Sedona has to offer you.

This place has a beauty to it that is hard to compare to anything else, with similar colors to Zion in Utah, but terrain almost like the desert or Garden of the Gods in Colorado, it is just unparalleled. Everything is flawless and vibrant. The temperature in December is cool but not unbearable. I loved this trip and I plan on going again at some point in 2018!

XX

Gabi

Devil’s Bridge

Vortexes

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Devil’s Bridge

Devil’s Bridge

This past weekend I went on a roadtrip through Arizona. Contrary to the fact that I have lived in Arizona for three years, I have hardly seen any of this spectacular state. One of the highlights from the trip was hiking Devil’s Bridge in Sedona. I am absolutely in love with Sedona and this hike was only one of the many that Sedona has to offer.

We decided to hike right before sunset, which was a fail on our part because we were on the wrong side of the mountain to watch the sunset properly.  Nonetheless it was still beautiful, and the sky still filled with the most beautiful lighting and colors. This hike is an easy hike for all ages and skill levels.  It was about 25 to 30 minutes roundtrip if you do not include the time that we spent at the bridge.

The hike starts at a parking lot, but you also have the option with the right vehicle, to off-road to the trail head. Our Jeep Liberty could have made it all the way, but we only took it about half way until we pulled off to walk the rest of the dirt road. Eventually you will hit the trail head. Everything is well marked and there is only one semi difficult part where you have to scale some rock steps. Besides that it is just a dirt trail with slight inclines along the way.

Once at the top there are amazing views. Even in December, there was no snow, it was relatively warm, and everything was so green. The bridge itself was exhilarating. It can be somewhat scary for people that have a fear of heights but besides that it is just awesome. Sedona has the most breathtaking color scheme, ranging from the greenery to the red rocks.  It really reminded me of my hikes in Zion National Park in Utah, and quite frankly the colors are some of my favorite natural color combinations.

I would highly recommend this hike to anyone and will most likely make an attempt to visit and do it again!

 

Xx

Gabi

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UTAH HIKES YOU MIGHT LIKE IF YOU FOUND THIS HELPFUL:

Review: Noosa National Park  

Review: Emerald Pools and Optical Point Zion National Park Utah

The Thing About Angels Landing…

Utah Trip to Zion National Park

 

Thanksgiving in the South

Thanksgiving in the South

I have a strong love for the south. My entire family, besides my parents, reside in the south ranging from Texas to Florida. This year I had the pleasure of spending the Thanksgiving holiday with family in Georgia! My Aunt and Uncle live in a small town outside of Atlanta called Roswell, Georgia and I am absolutely head over heels in love with it. It was about a four-hour direct flight from Phoenix, and an hour train ride into Roswell. The train I took goes from the airport and makes multiple stops all over the city and suburbs of Atlanta. It is called MARTA, and it is soooo helpful especially during the holiday season when the airport is  congested. Australia made me grow to love public transportation and since I have yet to experience a lot of it yet in the United States this was a nice change.

Atlanta in the fall is gorgeous. Unlike Colorado, where I was about a month ago, it is still full of vibrant colors adorning the tree branches, mild temperatures, and sunny skies. For Colorado the leaves had all fallen by mid-October, so you could say I was pleasantly surprised by this difference. I loved that I got to experience the hustle and bustle of the city while also being able to escape to the suburbs in Roswell. It made it feel very holiday like, but not to the point where it was being thrown in my face.

Besides the normal Thanksgiving eating and football watching, we had a couple of other fun activities we did while there for the week. We went down to Canton Street, which has to be my favorite place in Georgia because I am a huge shopper and I love the vibe of the area. Canton Street is essential a street full of restaurants and small businesses. It’s got an old timey feel that I love while being very authentic and unique. I shopped at a different couple places that all had great small gifts for Christmas and my mom went crazy for all of her work friends there. They were all moderately priced and all high-quality gifts down on Canton Street.

 

We also went to the Georgia State and Georgia Tech football game. My cousin is a senior at Georgia Tech on the football team and I have yet to have to opportunity to watch him, so this was an incredible treat to get to watch his team play. I got to watch his final home game and really be a part of the whole friends and family cheering on a loved one experience.

Besides those two activities and a lot of relaxation, we went to the local movie theater and saw Wonder which was such a cute and uplifting family movie.

Now on to the good stuff… food! We are a pretty ordinary family when it comes to our Thanksgiving food, but I will let you in on what we had this year that was a little bit different. Before we had Thanksgiving dinner we had Broccoli Cheddar Soup. It was absolutely delicious, and not too filling that it ruins your dinner. We had it around three in the afternoon and our dinner at six.

Our nontraditional dessert was Oreo Balls. I spent the entire weekend eating these bad boys like popcorn, and they are so easy to make. I will include some good recipes below for both, and my favorite pie recipes.

It was a great holiday with friends and family and I absolutely loved wandering around the streets of Atlanta in my Ranch Bucket, don’t you worry Georgia I will be back!

Xx

Gabi

Oreo Balls

Pumpkin Pie

Broccoli Cheese Soup

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Blue Mountains and The Three Sisters

Blue Mountains and The Three Sisters

I have one FINAL post about my favorite place in all of Australia, Sydney.

So, I have not done an outdoorsy review since my hike of Mount Warning in New South Wales. Unfortunately, I have nothing to rave about when it comes to the Blue Mountains in Sydney. I had much higher expectations for this endeavor. The Blue Mountains have a lot of rules that come along with it, which often impedes on your ability to truly hike and explore them on your own as far as I found. We somehow got roped into being with a tour guide. I have said this before and I will say it again, I hate hate hate looking and feeling like a tourist, so naturally I hate guided tours. I wanted to hike the mountains and explore all that the nature had to offer on my own with my friends but that is not the experience I necessarily got. We hike enough to know what we are doing, and I feel we are all in good enough shape to do so. This is not what we got to do though this time around but hopefully next time.

We started off with the Scenic Skyway. This was cool since you got a full view of the rainforest and The Three Sisters (which I will discuss here in a minute), but it was over almost as soon as it started. It also just felt super touristy being smooshed into a small space, with a guy on a loud speaker, and little kids strapped to their dads in those hiking baby carriers. I would not pay to do this portion again honestly.

After this we were given a guided tour through a little path at the bottom of the rainforest. It was a path that should have been fifteen minutes, but our tour guide had to stop and talk about some piece of nature every two minutes, this just made me antsy. If you are looking for in depth information about the rainforest in Sydney, then I do highly suggest taking one of these tours, it was just not my cup of tea. The path eventually would lead us back to a railway where we took a train up and it released us back at the top of the Skyway where the gift shop was. All in all, we were done within an hour and a half.

All that aside, the rainforest was beautiful. It was super green, lush, and I felt like I was in the amazon jungle. There were so many weird sounds coming from within the forest. Ranging from intriguing birds and other unknown animals to me.

The Blue Mountains are full of history. Particularly they are known for the story of The Three Sisters. I am not going to go into detail about this story, but I will include a link below, so you can read about the legend. The story made the actual natural wonder seem even more mysterious and beautiful. I would have loved to explore and hike more on my own with the girls but maybe there will be other places and other times for that. I am just glad I got to experience another glorious creation within our world.

 

Xx

Gabi

The Three Sisters Story

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Other Articles on Sydney

Other Articles on Sydney

 

 

Continuation of Sydney

Continuation of Sydney

By popular demand today we have more on… SYDNEY one of my favorite of places! Last time I really only talked about my experience in Bondi, but it was not the only place I spent my time. Today I want to touch on the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Opera House, The Rocks Markets, and the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Royal Botanic Gardens are like a dream out of your favorite Disney princess movie. When we were walking through, there happened to be a wedding going on, adding to the magical delight of it all. I was just awestruck at the beauty within the gardens. They were in full bloom while we were there, which was in September. This time of month is pretty much their spring, so it was not necessarily warm, but everything was creeping into the new growth stage. It was relaxing and de-stressing to just stroll through the gardens, and there was more than enough to look at. I felt like I was a part of the fairy tale as I explored around. I wish I had more time to explore the area, and maybe even picnic in the park.

No architecture compares to The Sydney Opera House. It is just unparalleled to anything else I have ever seen. Being here was one of the most surreal moments of my Australia journey purely because it is one of those places we all grew up knowing existed, seeing pictures of, and wanting to visit. It could not have been any more unique. It was interesting to go inside and read all the signs explaining the history behind the monument, and although I did not do a tour due to time constraints, I feel like I got a lot out of the visit. The location of it was perfectly ideal to explore other parts of Sydney. One of my favorite things is to listen to music, and I am a sucker for street artist. This area has no shortage of them. We ate at a restaurant across from The Opera House while listening to street music, and what a surreal view that was. I will say the day we went was very windy, my friend Kate even had to chase her sunnies down the stairs of The Opera House, so pick a low wind day to visit!

I am a big art fan. I even took art classes from age six to seventeen, so I was not going to pass up the opportunity to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. It is located right across the bay from The Opera House. There is a multitude of sections and floors to look at with a wide range of mediums. I have a strong respect for modern art due to the variety it brings along with it, there are no rules. With no rules comes uniqueness, and sometimes some weirdness. One of the select things I was not as interested in was a video that was playing. It was a video of people just laughing to no end, and not in that cute infectious way but in a creepy way. The cool thing about it though, is even though that is not my cup of tea when it comes to art, I am sure someone out there enjoyed that or was at least entertained by its weirdness.

One of my greatest hobbies and greatest skills I might add, is shopping. I am never one to turn down a street fair or some good markets, and The Rocks Markets did not disappoint. There were tons of cute little vendors, a really good food selection, and a perfect location of across the bay from The Opera House. I got the cutest handmade coasters there for my mom as a gift made from limestone. If they are up and running when you are visiting, drop in and I am more than sure you will find a couple deals there.

 

Xx

Gabi

Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Ranch Buckets

Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Bondi Beach Sydney Review

Sydney was my all-time favorite place to visit in Australia, and I have a multitude of stories and places to share from there. I was afraid it was going to be just like any other city and nothing unique, but oh was I very wrong. We stayed in Bondi Beach, which is world renowned and absolutely incredible. I went with five of my girlfriends and we stayed in a hostel this time instead of an airb&b.

The hostel we stayed in is called Bondi Backpackers. They were reasonably priced for being a hostel, and it was clean (all important things to me). They have private rooms for six, so lucky us we all got to be together. They offer a lot of different perks that you can participate in as well. These include sunrise yoga, kickboxing, and different meal opportunities. They also rent out towels and have included Wifi, which most hostels do not so this made the stay more enjoyable as well. It was a great place to stay and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to stay in Bondi where it is less busy and closer to the beach instead of the hustle and bustle of the city.

If you do decide to stay in Bondi or even take a trip down there, I highly suggest taking a casual stroll down the street in the morning to Parisi Juice Bar. It is not even a five-minute walk and they have the best fresh pressed juices I have ever had. They also had a bagel shop around the corner, and if you are American and have been to Australia, you know how rare it is to find bagels in Australia, especially good ones.

The Iceberg Pool is an iconic Instagram spot… but here is a little secret, it’s overrated. It is a really small pool and only makes for good picture opportunities during high tide when the water is splashing up into the pool. Don’t get me wrong it is beautiful, but it is hard to find a time to get a good picture with high tide and it not being super crowded. If you are going for that picture-perfect Instagram then give it your best, but otherwise a casual stroll by it will do just fine and will save you a lot of time and energy.

Next there is the Bondi Beach Walk. The walk is a great exercise and should be alright for any age level to participate. It is kind of a long walk so definitely wear comfy shoes, but it is absolutely breathtaking and has many stopping points to check out along the way. Many people run the path and there are dogs all over, which I honestly did not see many of during my Australia travels. All of the dogs were a breath of fresh air. There are great beaches to stop at, monument marks, and great picture opportunities. The only part I did not like is the large portion that is a walk through a cemetery, purely because cemeteries give me the creeps. Besides that, this is a must do so carve out a good portion of the day to do so.

My final suggestion for my Bondi Beach goers, do your research on your food places. Long story short, with my groups lack of research we ended up in some pretty intriguing places and not necessarily intriguing in a good way. Boy did it make for some funny stories though!

Xx

Gabi

Hostel

Juice Bar

Some Pictures from the Trip! Iceberg Pool, Bondi Beach Walk, Parisi Juice Bar, and explored parts of Bondi!

 

 

About Our Product

About Our Product

Fall brings my favorite type of hat weather, especially wearing our Belize Orange Trucker and the South Water Key Brown Hemp Snapback. Even though these hats are undeniably cute and work well with all of my fall attire, there are many more reasons I am a big advocate for our hats. I wanted to share a little more about our hats since I am finding many of you who keep up with me and the blog have a lot of questions and do not know nearly enough about our brand. For starters our hats are all organic. We re-purpose our hats out of all recycled material. I am a huge supporter of all things environmental friendly and the mission to save our planet, and our hats really embody this. One of my biggest things when I look into new products for myself is how it effects our environment and specifically the effect it has on animals. The next great thing about our hats is the personality the company brings to it. The photography on the hats is taken by our brands creator and it really adds a special flair to the hats. Lastly, and I think this one is key for you, our customer, they can be personalized! If you ever want something specific out of a hat, send me a personal message and we will work with you to create exactly what you want and expect out of a hat!

Short and sweet for today, but wanted to field through some of the questions I have been receiving. If y’all have more inquiries please do not hesitate to comment below or message me privately!

Xx

–South Water Key (brown): link

Belize (orange): link

Our Site

 

My Weekend Call To Action

My Weekend Call To Action

I think one of the most difficult things in the world sometimes is to be the first to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I have yet to figure out what is so difficult about this task, but it is undeniably a challenge sometimes. As human beings we are made to communicate and connect with one another, but yet, many of us find it so daunting to ask strangers simple questions. Social media can sometimes be a road block for this as well. It enables us to hide behind a screen, say more with less emotion behind it, and takes away the key social interaction.

Traveling on my own has done many things for me, but one of the greatest was forcing me to self-advocate since no one else was present to do so for me. The more I HAD to ask strangers questions for my own survival, the easier it got to just talk to strangers. Like all things, practice makes perfect. So, as we all head into our weekend adventures I want to challenge y’all to ask a stranger about their day. Why, well because I think it is time to bring back some good ole’ social interaction.

I promise you won’t regret trying it. Everyone has a story, and everyone has something interesting to say. When you are out relaxing on the beach this weekend, or climbing that beautiful Colorado fourteener, find someone new to meet. Sometimes targeting the people we so often peg as “off the beaten path” or the quietest people have the most incredible stories or the most intriguing secret lives they are leading.

Be open to listening to everyone, if you are going to ask a stranger about their day, care about the answers you are going to receive. If you do this, you not only will make someone’s day, but you will leave the conversation feeling like a better person than who you were when you entered into the day.

My last request… Message me about your weekend adventure and the new friend you make. Include a picture of you in your Ranch Bucket Hat and you might have a chance to be featured on our blog or on our instagram! Happy adventuring!

Xx

Gabi

Ranch Bucket: How it Fits

Our Website

My Favorite Fall Hat

Things I Have Learned in Australia

Always say yes, whether that be to a new experience, a trip, an event, or a party, always say yes. Who knows when the opportunity will knock again and do you really want to miss that opportunity to go somewhere, see something, meet someone all just because you decided Netflix and your bed were the better option that day? Money comes and goes, experiences do not.

Be friendly, this should be a given, you never know who you are meeting but this is especially important when in a foreign country. Get to know the people of the area, and be genuine with them. Some of the best people I have met I would have never come across if I had not gone up and just introduced myself. Go for it. When you make friends with the locals you gain new opportunities and knowledge which is priceless. (Shout-out to my dear friend Travis and his endless help and knowledge about my Whit Sundays trip. Also, the countless rides back from the grocery store when I did not want to do that dreaded walk.)

Choose travel over the party. If given the chance to get away for the weekend to a new place compared to going to the latest club, this should be an easy call, choose travel. There are clubs and bars and parties in every place you will go in life, but there is not a new culture or scenery within your usual Thursday night club.

Don’t forget to let loose. You still need to let loose every now and then. Dance your little heart out at that club, get up and sing karaoke, run on the beach until you are out of breath. You need to have fun and let go of the travel agenda every so often or traveling becomes a chore or a race to see how much you can see, and let’s face it, races are no fun.

Always go to the beach. See every coastline, every ocean, every shore, it will calm your soul and bring you answers in your life you did not even know you were looking for.

People will make fun of you for being American. Take it lightly and do not get to worked up about it, laugh along with them even if it bothers you. No country is perfect and although they are poking fun at you, I am sure there is something you could tease them about with their country. Be the bigger person and let it go.

America is not the end all be all. The world does not revolve around you because you are an American. So do not act like it does. Prove the dang stereotype wrong and do not subject yourself to the cliché American tourist appearance.

Try the interesting food places, by which I mean the places that are not chain restaurants and not that Instagram brunch place you found on the discover page. The best thing I have eaten here in Australia is from a little Moroccan food stand. I am now known as a regular of at least once a week, and all I get is dang cheese fries and a hot dog. I have never been so satisfied. I can only suggest you do not do this in third world countries as a safety precaution.

You don’t miss home, you miss the people. I do not miss 100-degree weather, I do not miss the desert, I do not miss the American lifestyle or the grocery store I used to shop at. I miss my mom when I get sick or when I am not sure how long to cook the chicken for. I miss my dad when it is the middle of the day in my country and midnight back home and I want to ask him a philosophical question. I miss my boyfriend when I am looking at the prettiest sunsets in the world, or doing my next wild adventure and all I want is his hand to hold so he can feel the excitement radiating off my body. I miss my friends when I see them having fun back home without me, realizing no one elses life paused when I took off. You don’t miss where you come from you miss who you came from.

Love the opportunity and the life you have been given. If you are traveling, whether it close to home or far far away, remember you are fortunate, you are blessed, and never forget to appreciate that.