Tag Archives: camping

road trip inspiration – big sur

23 Jul


I’m back in road trip planning mode after a long break. As I’ve mentioned before, we originally planned on doing this trip last spring but life got in the way so we decided to push it to fall. Although, now that we’ve settled on fall I wonder why I ever thought spring was the right time to go? With a chill in the air and the leaves changing fall seems like the better choice. Am I right? At first I thought we’d travel in November to tie it in with our 2nd wedding anniversary but then I thought maybe the weather could become an issue at that time? Could we possibly hit snow as we get further North? Anyway, the fear of sketchy weather made me go with early October instead. Now that we have dates on the calendar I am getting excited. I feel like I am planning a mini version of the cross-country road trip I took a few years ago. I love the planning process- it gives me such a rush researching each city.

The first stop on our itinerary is Big Sur, one of the most magical places on earth, in my opinion. The scenery is breathtaking- rocky cliffs, blue ocean, sandy beaches and tree covered coastal mountains all rolled into one. It also smells incredible there- like fresh pine trees.

Brian and I have been to Big Sur a few times together. The first was when he introduced me to camping (it happened to be one of my ten goals when I started this blog four years ago- an experience you can read about here, here & here) The second trip was on our mini moon after getting married in 2013. As you can probably imagine Big Sur holds a special place in my heart.

Despite having traveled there a few times I still feel like I have so much to explore. I’m dying to visit the Esalen Institute. How have I never been there?

Here are some of my inspiration photos for stop one. Do any of you lovely folks have Big Sur recommendations? Restaurants? Coffee joints? Hikes? Hotels? Drives? Anything!







treebones 2






images found via pinterest



inspiration, gratitude & surprises

1 Aug


We are off on another weekend getaway with the Garahan’s! This time we are going camping. I’ve definitely warmed up to the whole idea of paying to sleep in the dirt since the first time I camped with Brian in Big Sur a few years ago. This will be my third time camping (last year we did Mammoth with Mike & Loni). This weekend we choose a campground a little closer to home and are heading to Ojai. Considering camping was on Brian’s “summer to do list” I know he’s very excited about the next few days. Surprisingly, I’m actually looking forward to it too. Nothing better for the soul then a little nature, right?

what inspired me this week?

I saw the movie “Boyhood” and simply loved it! Such a beautiful and poetic film. I think Richard Linklater is a genius

 “Things don’t happen to you- they happen for you”

this quote…”Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.” – unknown

This weeks project 30 post

what am I grateful for this week?

the arrival of baby Liam

Erin Haslag for letting me know about the brilliant website Skillshare. What an amazing resource. I’ve already watched a bunch of online classes on photography. love

what surprised me this week?

when I received a bill from my the surgeon who performed my gallbladder surgery for 63,000….yes 63,000!! After I had a full blown panic attack, I called his office, only to learn that they had made a mistake and forgot to include my insurance. I actually owe 0…yes 0. Seriously, they could have killed me!


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365 til 33

30 Jul


If you’ve been following along with my blog since the beginning then you know that I come up with a list of goals to tackle each year. The first year,  365 til 30 my goals included driving across the USA, learning French, learning how to tango, going camping, spending a week at Tassajara, Learning how to cook, volunteering, getting a French bulldog & publishing my writing. I was pretty damn successful that year in accomplishing my goals. To the point of obsession actually. Accomplishing those goals before turning 30 was all I could think about for 365 days. Brian was very happy when that year was over. HA. Over the last few years I have continued to create a list of goals…doing so helps me focus on the things I want from my life…a framework if you will.

365 til…33!


Every year you can pretty much guarantee that one of my goals will be travel related. I am a travel nut! Seriously, why can’t I just travel the world and get paid for it? (Is anybody listening? I’m totally available if you want to pay me to travel) During 365 til 30 my travel goal was to drive across the country (check!)…during 365 til 31 my travel goal was an overseas trip (Brian and I went to Hong Kong and trekked Nepal!)…365 til 32 my travel goal was again an overseas trip but this time for our honeymoon (we took a month off and went to Vietnam and Bali) This year my travel goal is much simpler, all I want to do is take a road trip with Brian. I love road trippin’ with that man. Actually, it was on our first road trip together that I knew I loved him. We were only a month into dating when I asked him if he wanted to take a road trip to Santa Fe with me to visit my friend Chantal. He must have thought I was crazy. Who would want to sign up for that many hours in a car with a person you’ve only been dating a month? The answer to that question is ME! And him I guess Brian as well because he said yes. Luckily, it was a total success. This year I’m thinking a road trip from LA to Seattle. My ideal stops along the way would be….Big Sur, San Francisco, Ashland, Eugene, Portland, Olympia & Seattle.


This year I am dying to learn more about photography. For a girl who appreciates a beautiful photograph, it is a crying shame I can’t shoot one as well as I’d like to. Especially when it comes to this blog, I would love to post higher quality photographs. Well, I guess I do sometimes but sadly they are not shot by me and instead by my photographer husband. With that said, I will be signing my ass up for a photography class as well as making Brian teach me all his tricks. He even has an extra Canon Rebel camera waiting for me. Winning!


You can also pretty much guarantee that one of my goals each year will also have to do with writing. This year it is travel related. I want to publish my various travel (road trip, Hong Kong, Nepal, Vietnam & Bali) essays. Wish me luck!


I want to go vegetarian for a month. Ever since my gallbladder surgery a few months ago I have had the hardest time with my digestion. It’s been driving me crazy! I’ve decided that meat might be the culprit. This coming from an Irish gal who loves a good steak. Sigh. I thought what better time to test out vegetarianism then now! Oy…I’m scared. Any vegetarians out there want to offer some advice?


Decorating our new home has been on hold for a bit now…between shelling out money for our wedding and honeymoon we have been neglecting our home. The space totally deserves more! I plan on decorating with the help of pinterest and my very talented interior designer mother. So here we go…one room at a time.

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25 Jun

this picture speaks volumes about our response to camping

So, you know how couples sometimes go on one last trip before they have their baby? It’s referred to as a “babymoon.” Well, Brian and I just did just that last weekend before Frank comes home in four days. Granted if I had my choice, I would have chosen a relaxing and luxuries few days in Palm Springs instead of camping, but I believe in compromise. Considering Brian has been dying to get out into the wilderness and sleep in the dirt, not shower, cook on an outdoor grill and hike through mosquito ridden mountains all winter, I thought it was best if I just went the flow. I also figured I can survive anything for three days. So off to Mammoth we went with our friends Mike & Loni who happen to be some of our favorite people to travel with because they are game for anything. The last trip we took with them was to Pioneer Town and it was a hysterical few days in the desert.

Things I learned this weekend-

-California really is a gorgeous place

-eating hotdogs off a campfire grill is somehow much tastier

-bug repellent really does work considering I’m the only one who didn’t put it on and now I’m covered in bites. I kinda look like I have the chicken pox

-Seeing Brian so happy really does make me happy

-camping with wine is the only way to do it

-I look pretty horrid when I don’t shower for three days

-the Alabama Hills are AMAZING

Here are some pics from our trip-


on the 395


Brain in his element




welcome home!


Mike & Loni


I’m a lucky gal, eh?


camping is totally doable with wine


emerald lake


the view from our lunch stop


lake mono


lake Mono


June lake


the breathtaking Alabama Hills


feeling very small in a good way


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inspiration, gratitude & surprises

21 Jun


what inspired me this week?

my extremely talented little brother debuted his first short film (that he also happened to fund by raising money on kickstarter ) this week to close friends and family. I was so impressed with it and him. He’s only 18 and he wrote, produced, directed and edited a FILM. He’s crazy talented and inspires me every day.

summer nights! On Wednesday night Brian and I took a looooong walk in the early evening to grab dinner. It stayed light until 8:30pm. Heaven.

pushing myself with taking writing classes and showing up for therapy sessions. Is it totally ridiculous to inspire yourself?  I hope not

what am I grateful for this week?

you guys. Seriously, thank you for commenting and supporting this blog…I am beyond grateful for you.

the new girlfriends in my life. The last year has been a year filled with new connections and I am so grateful to have their energy in my life. Like REALLY REALLY grateful.

my bright and cheerful home

unexpected monday date nights with Bri

I finally got “365 til” trademarked! It’s been a long battle and I was shocked when the piece of mail came this week announcing the news.

what surprised me this week?

We are heading to the Mammoth this weekend to camp (it was Brian’s one and only request before we get Frank next weekend and are homebound) and I’m actually excited about it! I’ve grown a lot since the early days of this blog, huh? If you have never read about my adventures camping before you can here… PART 1, THE TENT & THE HIKE & THE CHICKEN


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things that have been making me happy…

14 Jun

Hello all! Apologies for being MIA this week- it’s been a pretty crappy few days over here. It started with Brian’s beloved grandfather passing away and never got any better. It’s just been a heavy and stressful week. So in hopes to combat my mood I decided I wanted to do a “happy post” today.

Things that have been making me happy lately…

– receiving this new picture of Frank from the breeder. I mean, seriously do pups get any cuter?? I can’t believe how much bigger he has gotten in two weeks and those nails are crazy!

crazy dog

– Brian planned us a little date night tonight and I am SOOOO looking forward to it. We need a night out on the town together to get out of our funks.

– daydreaming about the next five months….getting Frank, my 31st birthday, summer bbq’s, bachelorette weekend in Sedona, wedding shower, WEDDING, honeymoon…let the fun times roll!

– writing for hours at my favorite little coffee shop

– finding the perfect wedding shoes and the ridiculous picture that followed of my mom and I both wearing them. She just HAD to put them on too. Next thing I knew we were doing a photo shoot with the shoe salesman. Then my mom almost fell over- in her defense she’s not much of a heel wearer anymore.


– drinking beers and watching the sunset with Bri on our patio

– celebrating Brian’s grandfathers life and meeting all of his extended family members- they are a good bunch

– My step-mama and I are going to try on my wedding dress tomorrow and look at veils! Still on the fence about the whole veil thing but I will take any excuse to put my dress on.

– planning our camping trip next weekend in Mammoth. I know, me going camping again? What has this world come to??

– taking long showers while the bathroom is bathed in morning light

What are the little things that have been making all of you happy this week? Post below!

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26: Dear camping

12 Jun

Dear Camping,

You and I were not fast friends. In all fairness, I wouldn’t say that I am your target demographic- I don’t like bugs, dirt, cold weather or sleeping bags, not to mention that cooking chicken out of a cooler gives me anxiety. What’s that? Why did I put you on the list then? Good question. For two reasons, actually: the first being that Brian (the man I happen to love) is a huge fan of camping (It speaks to his soul or something like that) and I wanted to try something he loves. The second being that I always felt a tad left out when I would hear people talk about camping and they always seemed happy when sharing their stories about you! So I decided to stretch myself and put you on my list.

The highlights from my time in the wilderness include making s’mores (they really are a lost dessert) , cuddling by the campfire with Brian (can you say romantic) and the beautiful mountains of Big Sur (jaw dropping).

The other highlights include an 8 mile hike (complete with over-grown brush, poison oak, a supposedly “cute” snake and a bobcat sighting on the trial where I happened to be wearing a backpack filled with cured meats), having to shower in a communal shower (gross), sleeping on rocks (awe-some. If you haven’t tried it you must!) and having to walk through the dark woods in the middle of the night to pee (facing fears over here people!).

But, despite all my complaints about you, I still look back on our time together with fondness. You taught me to appreciate my bed. You gave me the opportunity to see  how cute Brian looks when building a fire. You made me feel connected to nature. You made me laugh. You  brought out a fun, brave and silly side of me and well, I appreciate you for that.

Will I be an avid camper? No. Will I camp once a year? Maybe.

Kind regards,


A trip down memory lane…

The tent.

“My first thought upon seeing the folded tent was “Now what?” I had no idea what to do with that heap of fabric lying in the dirt. I told Brian that I would do my best and to just give me a job. After 15 minutes we had a tent!! My first thoughts when I saw my new home was…I like its color scheme and “now what?”.

 ”Now what?” was a constant thought during my camping trip. The other refrain was “This is some backwoods shit.” No matter what was happening I would refer to it as “backwoods shit”. Brian hated it when I would say it. He informed me that nothing about my situation was “backwoods shit”  because we had  hot water to shower in and a flushing toilet house. He also didn’t think it was a very “PC” thing to say. In the attempt to not offend, I ended up whispering it to myself every five minutes. I couldn’t help it because I saw some crazy shit.”

The hike.

“Day 2, Brian and I decided to do a 8 mile hike. Well, actually Brian decided that we were going to do an 8 mile hike and I mumbled “yes…sounds great”. When starting 365 til 30, I made a promise to myself that I would simply say “yes” to things even if they didn’t fit into my idea of pleasurable. Reason being, I usually end up enjoying the things I think I won’t. So I happily agreed to an 8 mile hike AND to carrying a backpack full of cured meats for our lunch. Both of these were very hard for me to say “yes” to with a smile.”

The chicken.

“The Chicken consumed my thoughts prior to the trip. I simply did not trust Brian about the chicken situation. He attempted to assure me that it was ok to travel with raw chicken in an ice cooler and then…eat it. Even more disturbing…the plan was to cook the chicken on night two. This seemed wrong to me. Terribly wrong. But, I didn’t want to hurt his feelings considering he had already done so much to make my first camping adventure perfect. So after a few conversations I acted like I let it go. Cut to our drive up the coast when I slipped and asked “Hey Brian, where is the raw chicken in relation to the apples in the cooler?” He looked at me like he was worried about my mental health.”

“Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.”

George Carlin


21 May

I woke up this morning to this note from the universe and it could not have been more perfect considering I am 48 days away from turning 30 and my crazy journey is coming to an end.


The very best moment in any long journey that makes your dreams come true, Kate, comes not on the day you realize they have, but on the day you realize how little they matter compared to loving the adventure they’ve inspired. 

Don’t ask me why, I just know what I know – 
    The Universe


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7 Apr

We shot a 365 til 30 promo piece yesterday and it was so much fun to see the project and goals come alive in video! Here’s a sneak peek…

I’m off to Costco to get road trip supplies which should be a really fun place on a Saturday!


21 Feb

Coming off yesterday’s post, I am sure this will NOT come as a surprise to you- I have hit a bit of a midlife crisis with 365 til 30. Or, as Maggi, my life coach so kindly put it- “I think 365 til 30 is starting to run you now, instead of you running it”. Ouch. What a painful thing to hear but so true. The ten goals that gave me SOOOOO much joy 6 months ago have started to feel like chores- totally not the point of this project! Maggi has urged me to remember why I originally wanted to accomplish these goals and to focus on the joy and excitement the thought of experiencing them brought me.

 When I started 365 til 30 six months ago,  I was off and running right out of the gate. Full of excitement and wonder, I happily embarked on the adventure of camping and Tassajara. After accomplishing them I moved onto my other goals for the year- learn to cook, master the tango, speak French fluently, work with my favorite websites, publish my writing (I have a book proposal floating around at a publisher…fingers crossed) and volunteer. I have realized these goals are less finite and instead are an ongoing process. I am constantly tending to them.

The last two goals…Drive Across the USA (which I am in the process of planning for April) and getting Frank, my French Bulldog (which will happen when we move) are goals that I am still working towards. With the road trip fast approaching I happen to think about it all the time. I am DYING with excitement to drive across the USA with my girlfriend Rachel– she is the perfect friend to do this with and equally excited! This goal has always been one of my favorites on the list because it’s something I have dreamed of doing since I was little girl and I can’t believe I’m finally going to do it! As the trip approaches though I have started to feel a bit anxious about it. When I put it on the list I always wondered how I would take the time off to do it right. It’s not like it’s ever really convenient to leave your life for 3-4 weeks…work and money are valid concerns. My remedy for the fear is to remember the joy the idea of accomplishing it brings me and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

With so much on my plate I decided I needed a focused plan towards finding the joy in the goals again.

I start another round of tango classes on Monday the 27th for 6 weeks and I will not skip one class…not one!

I will find one new exciting dish a week to learn! (last night it was fish provencal! It was soooooooooo gooooood- post coming!)

I will continue my volunteer work at PATH once a week.

I will spend 4 hours a week practicing my French in preparation for my trip to Paris in July!!!

I will finalize all the details for our road trip from a joyful place instead of an anxious place so that we are ready to embark on the journey in April!!

I will stay positive and grateful about the fact that my book proposal is floating around  in the world instead of anxious.

I will re-stratagize my approach for working with Take Part and Explore- I have had sooooo many meetings with both of them and feel like the timing has been off…but maybe I need to re-think my approach.

I will commit to weekly sessions with Maggi starting this week. It doesn’t matter how busy I am! They will be a priority because they always keep me focused, calm, joyful and on-track.

Oh, and most importantly, I will commit to being grateful and enjoy the process….otherwise what the hell is the point right??!


Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.

Anais Nin