Archive | travel RSS feed for this section

Hanoi, Vietnam : day one

28 May

10150734_692571127473167_18666876098301565_n

The first stop on our honeymoon was Hanoi, Vietnam. We decided to start the trip in Vietnam and end it in Bali knowing that Vietnam would be filled with frenetic energy and Bali would be calm…and we wanted to end the trip on a calm note. After twenty-four hours of traveling, Brian and I arrived in Hanoi at 11pm. I always find it off-putting to arrive in a foreign country at night. It only adds to feeling totally out of sorts. After battling the longest customs line ever created, we walked out of the airport doors and were immediately swarmed by a sea of cab drivers trying to get business from us. For some reason everything we had read about negotiating the fare first went out the door- I blame the twenty-four hours of traveling and the long customs line.

So after getting ripped off by our cab driver (lesson learned- always negotiate the price BEFORE getting in the cab) we got dropped off at our hotel located in the Old Quarter, also known as the “36 Streets”, one of the oldest parts of Hanoi. Formerly a center for resistance against the French, this part of town evolved in the 13th century when artisan guilds were concentrated along each of the original 36 lanes. Tinsmiths were found on Hang Theic (Tin Street), bamboo basket makers on Hang Bo (Bamboo Basket Street), Hang Bac (Silver Street), and so on. While much of the Old Quarter has become modernized with cafes, restaurants, hostels, hotels and shops, you can still see the remnants of the original 36 streets- a very interesting juxtaposition.

After a solid night of sleep we woke up ready to explore the city by foot. I quickly learned that getting around bustling Hanoi by foot is a harrowing adventure. The narrow streets are packed with motorbikes, bicycles and cars; crossing the street feels like you’re playing a terrifying game of chicken. Considering there is rarely a break in the traffic flow, you just have to brave it and cross, in hopes the sea of motorbikes move around you. My plan of action- close my eyes and let Brian lead the way across each street.

We spent the morning wandering around the Old Quarter & Hoan Kiem lake, taking in the city.

IMG_  68

IMG_  70

IMG_  46

00

photo-38

IMG_  43

My favorite thing we stumbled upon during our morning walk was this scene by the lake- a bunch of very happy Vietnamese women dancing together to loud music. The more I watched, the more it became clear that it was some form of a (public) group exercise class. You couldn’t help but smile watching them- so lively! I was about to join in, when the music abruptly stopped, clearly, saving Brian from definite embarrassment.

IMG_  45

After a few hours it was time for our food tour – something both of us were very excited about. Prior to our trip, I learned through my research that hiring a guide to take you on a food tour was very helpful. One, because the street food scene is better understood by a local and having a guide who spoke both Vietnamese and English was very helpful when trying to order at non-tourist spots. We were not disappointed by this experience. The food was like nothing I have ever experienced before, each dish was an intoxicating mix of new flavors. Our guide, Chingh, a twenty-five year old girl born and raised in Hanoi was incredibly knowledgable and had quite a spunky personality. She didn’t just tell us about the food at each stop but also shared stories about her family life and her drive to work in tourism despite her parents disapproval of a career that it considered better suited for a male in Hanoi. She had such a great spirit. I always love talking openly with locals- it makes the city come alive and opens up your eyes to the world around you.

We made seven stops on our food tour. SEVEN!

1st dish – Mien Luon (eel noodle)

IMG_  48

2nd dish – Nuoc Mia (Sugarcane juice)

IMG_  49

3rd – Bun Bo Nam Bo (southern beef noodles)

IMG_  51

4th – Cha Ca (grilled fish)

IMG_  52

5th – Banh Cuon (mushroom + pork roll)

IMG_  54

6th – Banh Trang Tron (mixed noodle dish)

IMG_  58

7th – Cafe Trung (egg coffee)

IMG_  59

With our sweet guide Chingh

IMG_  60

After eating our weight in Vietnamese food we decided to head over to the backpackers district, more specifically a street named “beer street”…for as I’m sure you guessed…a beer. We had been reading about “Bai Hoi”- the local beer made fresh daily and sold for the insanely cheap price of 3,000 dong per glass which translates to 16 US cents. Hard to believe, right? So we found a patio spot and sipped beers while taking in the scene (this area is filled with young travelers from around the world, although Australians seem to make up the majority). IMG_  62

After a few beers (not the best beer I have ever had but certainly refreshing on the hot afternoon), we went back to our hotel to take a nap before heading out for the evening. We had a quick dinner at a neighborhood Vietnamese spot – before setting out on foot through the Hanoi night market, also known as Dong Xuan night market, which is a weekly market held on weekends in the Old Quarter.  I originally thought it was going to be just a food market but instead the stalls were packed with clothing, shoes, jewelry, decorations, toys, etc, as well as a few food stalls. The market was crazy and a tad overwhelming with jetlag, but equally fascinating. The market was filled with locals who seemed to come to the market not just to shop but as a social activity. Young couples strolled arm in arm as little kids excitedly ran around at our legs. The market was a complete sensory overload.

IMG_  66

IMG_  67

After the market we crashed at 8pm. It was the perfect way to end our first day in Vietnam.

*

find me elsewhere: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook 

 

Advertisement

home sweet home

21 May

IMG_2297

We’re back from our honeymoon adventure! How did it fly by so fast? Seriously, it blows my mind that we are already back. The trip was everything I hoped it would be. Every stop on the itinerary brought with it something wildly different. I loved our time in Vietnam but Bali really stole my heart. There is something magical about the island and it’s not just the white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. I told Brian that we are going back to Bali as soon as possible and as many more times as possible.

Not only was the actual trip fabulous but being away with my husband reinvigorated me. I was in a crappy place before the trip. I was feeling bogged down by negative thoughts and fears- feeling a bit directionless, a tad depressed and I was having a hard time connecting to myself. You could say that I was even indulging these emotions. I was feeling drained and I am sure I was also draining to be around. The two usually go hand in hand, don’t they? I just didn’t feel like myself.

But the trip awakened me. There is nothing better than traveling to far off lands to remind you how teeny tiny you are in the universe. It’s humbling to climb out of your little world and get a new perspective. The world is gorgeous place filled with beautiful people.

Can’t wait to share all about our trip!

*

find me elsewhere: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook

let the adventure begin!

24 Apr

photo-38

Sorry I have been MIA this last week. I’ve felt like a chicken with my head cut off (is that how the saying even goes?) trying to wrap everything up before we leave for a month. A MONTH- I still can’t wrap my head around that. I’ve never traveled for that long. So excited. I spent yesterday running a million errands and beautifying (it is my honeymoon and all). It seems like everything is in order. Bills are paid for the month, Frank’s schedule with his various watchers is in place (he’s staying one week with his lovely dog walker, two weeks with my mom and one week with Brian’s parents), bags are packed (well, mostly) & our travel itinerary is locked.

I plan on blogging every few days from each destination unless it becomes impossible. Hopefully I will check-in in a few days from Hanoi, Vietnam!

Follow along on instagram (@kate365) in the meantime!

*

 

trust your gut….

14 Apr

2803b27eb12b7201ecb68c5aed9f9e33

This past Saturday I went to my first yoga class since my mini surgery a few weeks ago. Honestly, I’m not sure if I was technically “ready” to get back to working out but seriously I HAD to. I was so sick of being stagnant! I’ve also been missing the calm that my yoga practice gives me and considering I have been in a F-ing storm recently…I was craving the calm. Clearly, Brian (my loving and super cautious husband) did not think going to a yoga class with incisions on my belly was a smart idea but I assured him that I would mostly go just to “stretch”. It all got very dramatic…I even draped my hand over my forehead and said, ” If I don’t go to yoga,  I WILL DIE”. So, I went to yoga Saturday morning.

The minute I walked in, I was overwhelmed with negative thoughts….maybe I’m not ready to get back?…what if I make a fool of myself because I actually can’t do this?….what if I hurt myself??? But, I kept walking up the stairs because my heart needed it.

When I saw the teacher, Audra, I immediately informed her of my situation. She kindly listened and with a big, loving and gracious smile said…”trust your gut, literally!” Such a simple reminder but it hit me like a ton of bricks. I haven’t been trusting my gut recently- sadly, I’ve been silencing it. Over the last few weeks I’ve been delivered many blows and I think I could have avoided a few of them if I just listened to my gut.

I knew the minute my gallbladder attack hit that it had to come out. I KNEW IT IN MY BONES. But, instead I smiled, listened to the doctors, took the vicodin prescription, went home and planned for my best friends bachelorette party (It came out in emergency surgery a week later). During recent arguments I have silenced what I know to be my truth in hopes that I wouldn’t offend. (Never good). Recently, I have lost a few big accounts (Oh, money and bills…I hate the control you have over me) but instead of trusting my gut that it’s all happening for a reason I’ve been in a tailspin. TOTAL TAILSPIN.

My yoga practice was slow that morning (I spent a lot of time in child’s pose) but my practice has never felt more honest. My ego about performing was gone, my gratitude for being able to move my body (I have been naive enough to assume that this is a given) was strong and my love for my journey was deep.

Moving forward I promise myself that ….I will always trust my gut. So, thank you verrrrry, tiny little organ for teaching me…again…to always trust my gut…oh, and for making me pause.

*

This is when the magic happens: right when you feel like everything is going wrong, shift your attitude to accept that it’s actually going right.

If you’re going through a storm, hold the belief that it’s the perfect storm for you.

You are always taken care of, exactly where you need to be and your efforts are rewarded exactly when they need to be.
—Jackson Kiddard

bali…bali…BALI!

19 Mar

wpid10325-hitherandthither-11

(photo via Hither & Thither)

I have wanted to go to Bali forever. Well, maybe ever since I watched the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”…kidding…kinda. In all seriousness though…Julia Roberts made Bali look magical and I am hellbent on getting a reading from Ketut, the medicine man in the movie. I’m sure Brian just read that and rolled his eyes. Don’t worry babe…I won’t force you to get a reading from Ketut…I promise.

We have the first half of our honeymoon in Vietnam planned out- on April 24th we fly from LA to Ho Chi Minh (with a layover in Tokyo). We stay in Ho Chi Minh for five days before we head to Halong Bay for a three-day boat trip. When we return from the bay we will then fly to Hanoi which is located in southern Vietnam for another five days before we fly to Bali (with a layover in Kuala Lumpur…don’t even get me started about my current anxiety over flying on Malaysia Airlines through Kuala Lumpur after recent developments. You could say that I am slightly obsessed with the missing plane. Brian probably just read that and thought…slightly?????) Anyways, then we have twelve days in Bali! We still haven’t figured out how to break up our time there yet. I’m thinking half in Ubud (inland Bali) and half sitting on a beach doing absolutely nothing.

I was researching Bali this morning and stumbled upon a Bali Travelogue on the blog Hither & Thither (which I am now obsessed with) and her pictures of Ubud left me speechless. I’m already in love with Bali and have decided we must stay at this villa while there.

wpid10092-hitherandthither-12

wpid10009-hitherandthither-3

wpid10137-hitherandthither-4

wpid10078-hitherandthither-5

*

inspiration photos: halong bay

12 Mar

This past weekend Brian and I put the finishing touches on our Vietnam itinerary and I am getting SO damn excited for our honeymoon. We leave next month! One of the things I am most excited for is our three-day boat trip with Buffalo Tours through Vietnam’s Halong Bay- Halong translates to ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’, According to local legend, the Vietnamese had to ward off invaders when they began to develop their country. To assist them in defending their land, the gods sent a family of dragons as protectors. This family of dragons began spitting out jewels and jade. The jewels turned into the islands and islets dotting the bay and linked together to form a wall against the invaders. Magically, the numerous rock mountains appeared in the sea ahead of the invaders’ ships, and the boats struck the rocks and each other. After winning the battle, the dragons chose to live a peaceful life on Earth and made their home in this bay. The place where the mother dragon descended was named Ha Long.

Don’t you just love that story?

For three days Brian and I will sleep on a small 12 cabin wooden junk (boat) and float around the jade bay exploring caves, swimming at different beaches, kayaking & eating fresh seafood from the floating markets.

And from the looks of pictures…it seems like it is going to be a magical few days.

_DSC3413

4e9f702156479ebfdb2d674f8abc4a69

5cbb0d51f6d36e5303c1c7ae0999e0e9

14d69df4a5d6893148da6e2da36b95f5

145b99a87e0e43e158611cfba1cbd1bc

HalongBay

989b957c21349d1c4fbc91bd0e2904feI mean… it looks like heaven right? Has anyone ever been? I need tips!

around these parts…

16 Jan

1604675_10153718368385092_634166311_n

the above picture has nothing to do with this post- I was just compelled to share the cuteness with you all.

I could not be happier that the weekend is almost here. It’s been a bit of a blah week for me. Not for any specific reason..my head space has just been BLAH. I think I might finally be coming down from the high of the wedding. I didn’t really have a chance to mourn that it was over because we went straight into the excitement of the holidays. It was a joyful few months and I don’t think I was prepared for it all to end. I’m not saying that life can’t be joyful after the wedding…I’m just saying I’m a little sad it’s over.

Despite my blah mood, I was able to make some progress with a few of my goals this week.

I worked on a travel essay about our trip to Nepal, which I plan on submitting as soon as I finish it (hopefully this weekend).

Brian and I finally settled on our honeymoon destinations- Bali and Vietnam here we come. I just LOVE having a trip to look forward to.

I have my very first date with my little sister, Briana set up for this Sunday. I still have no idea what to do with her…must come up with something…soon.

We’ve also made a lot of progress with our home this week- we picked paint colors, met with a furniture builder and found two killer pieces at the rose bowl flea market this last weekend- a fabulous new turkish rug and mirror for the entryway. The mirror is currently white but I plan to paint it coral this weekend!

Other than the thrilling activity of painting the mirror coral this weekend…I plan to do a bit of cooking (paleo cauliflower soup), reading (finding your own north star), writing (travel essay), organizing (the clutter that has developed in our cabinets is crazy…I was almost killed by a falling juicer the other day) and taking a few walks on the beach with my pup and husband.

Hoping that I will have a little more umpf next week!

On another note…did you see the new header on the blog?! I love it. I just die over Frank’s regal pose. Thank you, One Part Gypsy for creating such a fabulous header for me.

*

Find me elsewhere: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook

honeymoooooon

14 Jan

photo-38We finally picked the destinations for our honeymoon…The Glodney’s are coming for you, Bali and Vietnam! We still have to zero in on the exact dates but sometime this spring…most likely a window in late April and early May. The minute we finalized the destinations I ran out to the book store (yes, a few still exist) and purchased travel books. I’ve pretty much read them both in three days and I’m already so excited! Have any of you been to Bali or Vietnam? I would love your recommendations on hotels, restaurants & sights to see.

Vietnam_SMALL

vietnam_halong_bay_0

133460709324924689671_1

vietnam-photolibra_1851816b

BALI-BALI-MAP

bali

Bali-Pura-Ulun-Danu-Bratan-Water-Temple-in-Bali-Indonesia

Bali-Best-Beaches

*

let’s do this 2014

6 Jan

photo-38

My vision board for 2014 is finally done! It took me a bit longer than anticipated. I usually finish it in one day but this year I found myself more contemplative (is this a sign that I’m getting older?) about what I wanted on it. Since 2013 was focused on my home life…I hope 2014 can be a year focused on my career…and maybe 2015 the year of the baby? Brian just read that and probably lost his breath a bit. HA! I have so many career goals and I felt like they took a back seat this last year. I’m not complaining…I feel like some years have themes and everything ebbs and flows. But now I am raring to go. That doesn’t mean I want 2014 to be allllll about my career because that would be just plain boring. Life is so much more than just your career.

My 2014 goals…

TRAVEL / SOUTHEAST ASIA

I can’t imagine a year that I won’t put a travel goal on my list. I live and breathe travel. My life feels the most full when I am traveling. The first year I stared this blog my goal was to travel across the country and I did just that with my lovely girlfriend Rachel. It was a wild adventure…a wild adventure that had us sleeping in tepees…, getting chased by what we thought was a tornado…exploring haunted cemeteries in New Orleans…touring Graceland…and so much more…it was a month of bliss. I still think about that trip, often. Last year my goal was to travel overseas with Brian and we ended up heading to Asia…we explored Hong Kong and trekked the Himalayas in Nepal. That trip changed me. Seriously, it changed me. It opened my eyes and my heart in ways I hadn’t expected. I had never been to Asia prior to that trip and I fell in love…hard. The experience left me wanting more. So this year Brian and I are planning on taking our belated honeymoon through parts of southeast Asia. The four locations we are looking into are Thailand, Bali, Vietnam & Cambodia. Depending on many variables…we could end up going to one location or all four. I’m sure you can imagine I would love to go to all four but we will see!

VOLUNTEER / BIG SISTER

Last year one of my goals was to join the BBBS program and become a big sister. I was niave enough to think this would be a quick and simple process but, it is not. After submitting may application…it took months to hear back…than I had to go through background checks and interviews…once given the OK I had to wait until I was matched with the right child. I will say that I think it’s amazing how thorough they are. They give a lot of thought on which child to pair you with depending on your likes, dislikes & background. When I finally got a call saying they had a child in mind it was a few weeks before our wedding and I knew it would be irresponsible of me to take it on at that moment, considering my head was being pulled in a million directions. So I told them I would call back after the dust settled in December. When I finally did I went through an interview with the family…first the child alone (to see if she liked me)…then her parents (to see if they liked me) and then each of us sat down with a case worker to see if we all liked each other. I’m kinda thinking this is the future of dating, no? Seriously! In the end we ALL liked each other! PHEW. Starting this month Brianna, my new little sister (who happens to be the sweetest, cutest and most creative 13-year-old girl) and I start our bimonthly dates. I’m so excited and slightly nervous I won’t be able to come up with fun activities.

WRITING / MY BOOK

Oh, my book….my book…my book. It’s been on my brain for two years now. I wrote the book proposal many moons ago…then the first chapter…a chapter in which I’m pretty proud of. But the problem with books…they just don’t contain one chapter. Writing a book also take a lot of time and focus…two things which I seemed to have none of this last year. But I’ve finally arrived at a place in which I have both time (well other than my new commitment to watching every “Walking Dead” episode- I’m obsessed) and head-space to create. My goal is to have a finished manuscript by the end of the year that I am ready to submit.

PUBLISH / SIX ESSAYS

I am a huge fan of personal essays.  I love reading them in all the forms they come…short, long, funny, sad, depressing, uplifting- I love the insight they give into different people’s lives. Because of my interest I took a personal essay writing class with the incredibly talented Taffy Brodesser-Akner a few months ago and decided that I not only wanted to read personal essays but I also wanted to write them. So I’ve made it my goal to publish six essays this year. Wish me luck!

HOME / DECORATE

As many of you know we moved into our new home well, shit, almost a year ago and our office still looks like a bomb went off in it, we have no dining table & our walls are white. Try having people over for dinner without a dining table…dare you. I wasn’t aware of how far back we had fallen until our building hosted a loft tour for owners to show-off their units to other owners. You know…a fun way to meet neighbors and compare decorating tips. Clearly, I wasn’t stupid enough to sign our home up on the tour but I also wasn’t expecting to walk into units and feel like I was in the pages of Home Decor. Each unit felt wildly different and they were all beyond gorgeous. After the tour ended…I walked into our loft and I vowed I would change it…SOON. The funny thing is I love decorating- I find it so creatively full-filling. I blame our wedding for the fact that our house looks like we just moved in. I swear weddings…such time suckers! So now that the wedding is off our plates, I want to focus on finishing our home this year.

my motto this year:

“Your life shows up for you, when you show up for your life.” – Marianne Williamson

Find me elsewhere: instagram @kate365, twitter, facebook

2013

30 Dec

Did everyone survive Christmas? Kidding. But, it is a bit exhausting, huh? Ours was great. We did a lot of running around between all of our families, but I’m not complaining…problems of abundance, right? I’m grateful to have our families so close. We spent Christmas Eve at Brian’s parents house for a dinner they host each year. Actually, I learned this year that the tradition started forty years ago. Forty years! They always invite their core group of friends over for a night filled with a lot of laughter, good food and wine. This year Brian and I were trying to figure out if this was my third or fourth Christmas Eve spent at their house. We still don’t know! You’d think we would have been together ten years at this point.

This Christmas was our first year as husband and wife though and that made it feel extra special. I was thinking back to last years Christmas…Brian and I were newly engaged, had just returned from an epic trip to Nepal and were looking to buy our first place. We were high on life and possibility and 2013 did not disappoint. It was a year filled with abundance, growth annnnnd…challanges. We took on a lot this year and I definitely experienced some growing pains. I felt pulled in ways I haven’t before and I only imagine this intensifies as I grow. Some days I felt like I simply couldn’t manage it all and longed for a simpler time. But, I am so grateful for this last year because I’ve gotten everything I wanted. I look at last years vision board and I am wowed by how much has actualized. I have the kind of home that I used to only dream of. I have the puppy I would dream of. But, most importantly….I have the kind of husband that  they write about in fairy tales. Seriously, Brian is a everything I could have ever wanted. He’s my rock and my best friend and 2013 will forever be the year I became his wife. Actually when I look back at 2013 I see very clearly that there was a theme…my home life. While other years have been about my career…this year my home life took center stage.

We became a family this year…Brian, Frank & I.

A look back at 2013 through pictures…

packing up 313 Strand St

packing up our little apartment

moving into our new home!

moving into our new home!

locking down a wedding date

locking down a wedding date

finding my wedding gown

finding my wedding gown

dinner with my bro and Bri

dinner with my bro and Bri

Bri guy turns 31

Bri guy turns 31

photo-35

hosting a girls cocktail party at my house

hosting a girls cocktail party at my house

registering for wedding gifts!

registering for wedding gifts!

dinners with my Dad & Pamela

dinners with my Dad & Pamela

wedding cake tasting

wedding cake tasting

New York!

New York!

Ali's wedding

Ali’s wedding

engagement photos

engagement photos

finding our little boy!

Sedona

finding our little boy!

finding our little boy!

Alabama Hills

Alabama Hills

Franks first day home! (with his grandma:)

Franks first day home! (with his grandma:)

Franks first vet visit

Franks first vet visit

Happy 31st to moi!

Happy 31st to moi!

photo-38

growing pains

growing pains

bachelorette weekend

bachelorette weekend

tooooo much fun

tooooo much fun

my girls

my girls

this night will go down in history

this night will go down in history

go Frankie!!!

go Frankie!!!

enough said

enough said

and out the wedding invitations went!

and out the wedding invitations went!

babies!

babies!

wedding presents galore!

wedding presents galore!

packing for the wedding!

packing for the wedding!

night before the wedding!!

night before the wedding!!

wedding morning

wedding morning

hitched!

hitched!

photo-38

hahahah

it’s hard to pee in a wedding gown!

happy new year from the Glodney's

happy new year from the Glodney’s

*

“All of us every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives.”
Steven Spielberg