San Juan, Puerto Rico:
Basseterre, Saint Kitts and Nevis:
My mother and I were very blessed to get out of the house for the weekend and experience the wonders of San Francisco. With the keys to a rental car and a list of must-see places, we were on a mission.
We started our journey with the very famous Golden Gate Bridge. We drove over it and ended up hiking up some mountains to obtain views that took our breath away. Literally.
Amid our adventures, we stumbled upon several tiny gardens. The flowers were so vibrant it made our hearts dance with joy. My mom is featured in the photograph above feelings the grass between her toes. We were simply living.
This is the famous Lombard Street: a one-way street in the heart of San Francisco that literally resembles the curves of a snake. Did I force my mom to drive us down it? Yes. Yes I did. She may or may not have screamed the whole time.
The Painted Ladies- featured on the intro of Full House!
Day two: We headed to the Piers/Fisherman’s Wharf by the Bay. The sunshine was in full force and the sunflowers danced in the wind. The energy alone gave me life.
We decided to take a spur of the moment boat ride under the Golden Gate Bridge. IT WAS GRAND. We saw dolphins, a humpback whale, cruised next to pelicans and took a ride around Alcatraz island.
A wonderful addition to the Piers is the happy guests who have made themselves at home. Most of them were either sleeping and sunbathing, or competing to see who was the better Alpha-male. These guys were hilarious. My mom and I took a solid 15-20 minutes to just observe them.
Ghirardelli Square; home of the original Ghirardelli Chocolate factory. It also had cute shops and nice views- you can’t beat that.
Baker Beach around golden hour. Charming, but absolutely freezing.
Twin Peaks; daytime and at night. Appreciating San Fran from that high up was the best way we could’ve possibly ended our trip. We made beautiful memories together and I’m more than blessed that I was able to do so with my best friend.
It boggles my mind how, even after fourteen cruises, the beauty of it never ceases to amaze me. From the warm glow of the morning sunrise peeking over the horizon, to the white caps of the salty waves crashing into the distance. There’s something so incredibly calming about every detail of the ocean. I have no words for how thankful I am to live the beautiful life that I do.
A photograph of my mother and I mesmerized by the sunrise. Taken by my wonderful Dad.
Prior to this trip, I sat down on my bed with a pen in one hand and my journal in the other. I wanted this trip to be unique- an adventure. I wanted to see and experience New York like I never have before. So, I did some research. I jotted down events and locations that caught my eye, and made a tiny checkbox next to each one. It was my mission to check off every single box.
DUMBO, Brooklyn; this was my very first time visiting this part of town and let me tell you- I was utterly and completely in love. It was an artistic community filled with gorgeous buildings and lovely coffee shops. If I could pack up my things and move there tomorrow, I most definitely would.
Here is a photograph of me in a state of complete happiness, complimented by the ever-so-glorious Manhattan skyline. The photo is a bit overexposed and the shadows on my face are weird, but my smile is so genuine that I just fall in love with this photograph every time.
Turtleneck gal (me) in a subway station
Another first: visiting Chelsea! If you ever find yourself in this part of the city, check out The High Line. (It actually runs through multiple parts of town: Lower West Side, Meatpacking District, etc). Anyway, The High Line is an abandoned railway that was eventually repurposed into an elevated public park. It’s filled with so many lovely plants and flowers and you get to walk through and above the city. HOW AMAZING IS THAT
Washington Square Park; finally got a chance to walk under the Washington Square Arc and take in the gorgeous scenery of this park. (didn’t intend to make that rhyme)
Lastly, I took a ride on the top of an incredibly touristy sightseeing bus. Whether you’ve lived in NYC or not, I highly recommend spending the money to take this tour. My parents and I learned so many interesting facts about the city, like how the Oreo was invented in Chelsea. On top of that, I got amazing photographs of the city that wouldn’t be achievable from walking around on the streets.
Overall, I managed to complete my checklist and experience one of the most incredibly unique trips to New York I’ve taken thus far. This city never fails to inspire me and keep me coming back for more. You have my heart, New York.
Losing a loved one has always taken a unique toll on me. While it does hurt and bring me down, it also gives me a newfound sense of optimism. Loss tends to reveal the bigger picture. It reminds me how special our lives here on Earth are and how minor our problems are. It reminds me to live each day like it’s my last, with no worries. The gift of life on Earth is so precious and I believe that we should value every minute of it. Be thankful to see the sun rise every morning, as it is the start of a new day- a new sense of hope.
Yesterday I held my great grandmothers warm hand for the last time. I talked to her about our memories together and how wonderful her time here on Earth was. While her story is coming to an end, we are all able to look back at the pages that are filled with millions and millions of memories. I could only hope the same for every one else. Live a happy life with many memories, as this story of life isn’t forever- it’s only a mere chapter of what will come next.