Seattle

I am so excited to share our Seattle adventure with you! Mitch and I made our way up to the Northwest for his brother's wedding. While celebrating Dan & Jessica, we also squeezed in some time for us to go be tourists in a city that Mitch and I have been dying to visit. Spending 3 1/2 days in Seattle was not nearly enough time for everything we wanted to do, especially since much of the time was dedicated to Dan & Jessica, but we still managed to fit in our top Seattle spots into our long weekend.

 
 

The first night in Seattle was spent in Pike Place Market with Mitch's parents & sister, Rachel. It was such a fun and surreal experience to see the farmer's markets, fish markets and beautiful flower vendors line the street. When we met up with Lori, Scott and Rachel they had been stationed at the famous Pike Place Fish Market where the employees are known for throwing fish to one another. Right before we got there, Rachel had just caught a fish that one of the employees had thrown to her. As we stood in the crowds watching the flying fish, one of the employees asked me, "you catching a fish too?" He recognized Rachel from being there minutes before and now was pressuring me to catch a fish! I'm not one for crowds, especially crowds of people watching me, so I really didn't want to get in front of everyone to catch a smelly, gross, dead fish. Nonetheless, I caved in and got behind the counter to catch a fish! I felt so cool standing behind the counter, like I knew someone who knew someone that could hook me up with a back stage pass -- but it was really just some employee asking random people if they wanted to catch a fish. I was also really nervous that I would drop the fish and look like an idiot! Luckily that didn't happen! I caught the fish perfectly and it was so fun! After I caught the fish no one told me what to do with it. All of the employees were scurrying around going about their business and I was just standing in the middle of it all with a dead fish in my hands. I felt like Baby in Dirty Dancing, "I carried a watermelon." Awkward and uncomfortable. Finally I ask, "what do I do with the fish!?" 

 
 

After my great fish adventure, we continued to walk though Pike Place and scope out a place for dinner. One of the locals recommended The Crab Pot. This was a fun restaurant where loads of seafood are dumped on the table for the taking. I'm not a seafood fan, so I stuck with fried shrimp--my go-to at seafood restaurants. The rest of the fam got a mound of Dungeness Crab, Snow Crab, Clams, Oysters, Shrimp, Corn, Sausage & Potatoes. It all looked divine, but I knew I would not be able to handle taking the head off of a shrimp that I was about to put in my mouth! 

After dinner, we spent 30 minutes walking around Seattle looking for Lori & Scott's rental car. Losing your car seems like a must on any vacation though, am I right? After finally finding the car, Mitch and I were dropped off at the Space Needle.

Before we left for the trip, we bought a CityPass that I would highly recommend purchasing before a trip to Seattle. It got us admission to a night and day viewing at the top of the Space Needle, a Harbor Cruise, the Seattle Aquarium, Chihuly Glass & Garden and tickets to the Zoo. We didn't have time to use our passes for everything, but the few places that we did use them for it was worth it. The pass was $75 per person when we bought them online and each attraction listed above was $20 per person if not more for admission. 

The views from the Space Needle are breathtaking. I always enjoy exploring big cities, but viewing the city from 35 floors in the air was awesome! And we got a free, cheesy picture to commemorate the experience! We didn't end up using the day viewing for the Space Needle, but I would love to do that if there is a next trip to Seattle in our future. 

We didn't actually stay in a hotel in Seattle during this trip. Some friends of Lori & Scott's were so gracious in letting us all stay in their Tacoma apartment that they only use a few months out of the year. The apartment is set right on Commencement Bay that is lined with adorable coffee shops, a movie theatre, restaurants and gelato shops. It was a wonderful place to stay, so we used Saturday to sleep in (we had a 7am flight into Seattle the day before) and grab lunch before the wedding! We ate lunch at Two Time, which had amazing fries and delicious sandwiches. I'm like Joey from Friends, I cannot deny a sandwich!

The view from the apartment we stayed at was amazing!

Mitch was the best man for Dan & Jessica's wedding so he ended up getting to the venue much earlier than the rest of us. It was so nice to be with family on such a joyous occasion. 

The last leg of our trip consisted of hitting up more top sites on our bucket list. We started the day at Pike Place where we could not resist having fish-n-chips for breakfast from a local market called Jack's Fish Spot (we were their first customers of the day!) We also hit up a cheesecake shop shortly after that had to-die-for cheesecake. After, we used our CityPass on the Argosy Harbor Cruise, which is a 1-hour narrated cruise around the harbor--well worth it! We did a harbor cruise in Boston and loved it, so we knew that we would really enjoy getting back on a boat for a Seattle harbor cruise. 

Later, we met up with the family at Seattle Aquarium right off the pier. 

We had also heard that Bill Speidel's Underground Tour was a must. This was not on our CityPass but opted to pay the $17 per person for the 75 minute tour through Pioneer Square. This was also well worth it! The tour gives you incredible history on Seattle's beginnings and literally takes you through Seattle's underground to see how a city was built on top of a city!

After this tour ended we headed to the Chihuly Glass & Garden but didn't end up making it in time before closing. That will also be on next trip's agenda! Later that night we ate at Cutters Crab House, where we had incredible Fettuccine Alfredo topped with delicious, fresh shrimp. 

Our last day in Seattle was spent at Alki Beach. We love spending our time near the water, so breathing in the fresh, pacific air before our flight was the perfect way to end this trip. We ate a quick lunch at Duke's Chowder House right off the beach. Mitch got a delicious Clam Chowder bread bowl and I got yet another sandwich that was also delicious!

After we got back I made a Mixbook of our trip. Mixbook is a website that allows you to create a digital scrapbook and have it printed into a photo album. Lauren introduced me to this site when she decided to make a Mixbook of her & Tyler's honeymoon. The site has such cute scrapbooking stickers and backgrounds that you can add to your book and really personalize it the way you like! It is also a really user friendly site. I've included some screenshots of my Mixbook as I was creating it. 

 
 

Let me know your favorite places in Seattle! Mitch and I would love to go back and even extend our trip to Victoria one day!

 

Aloha, Maui

Honeymooning in Maui was probably the best decision we could have made “post wedding”. My grandparents lived in Kauai when I was little, and my parents took us there when I was maybe four (of course none of this I remember), so I was so excited to be able to go to paradise, and actually remember this time! As us ladies do when we finally nail down our vacation destination, the planning commenced immediately. Where we wanted to go, what we wanted to do, what we wanted to see... that lasted for about two days. I then realized that this was the one trip I didn’t want to plan for. I wanted to just show up and enjoy that “island life.” That’s exactly what we did, and it was perfect! With the right resources, Maui requires almost zero planning ahead.

We ended up staying at the Westin Maui Ka’anapali Resort. It was perfect, and after exploring some of the other resorts along the coast, I’m so happy we went with this one. As we entered their outdoor lobby, we were greeted with this beautiful waterfall that was surrounded by a huge koi pond. Our room wasn’t quite ready, and after an exhausting day of travel, we sat in their crazy comfy chairs facing the waterfall, sipping our complimentary citrus water (so fancy), staring at the scene in our relaxed, blissful, and married state.

Any time I travel anywhere, I tell myself, “We’re only eating a local ‘ma and pop’ places.” However, the day we arrived we decided to lay low and eat at Westin’s “in house” grill called Relish. It was the best food I’ve ever had. Seriously. It may have been the six hour flight talking, but it was SOOO good. We ate more of their fish and chips and burgers that I’d care to admit…you can only eat there if you’re staying at the Westin, and I’m SO glad we were. I could go on and on about how delicious this food was.

When we weren’t eating at Relish, we ate at little local places near our resort, all of which were within a five minute walking distance in Whaler’s Village, or near it. A friend had recommended purchasing the “Maui Revealed” app for a local’s inside scoop on all the best places and activities. It was SO helpful! A man and his wife wrote this travel guide. They are so funny and super honest about everything--the good and bad! They give you really helpful directions, best places to park, their favorite dishes at different restaurants, fun activities to do and where to go to get the best price. I really don’t think we would have had such smooth travels there if it wasn’t for this app.

 
 

Something I especially loved about our resort was that it’s literally on the beach. Count to thirty and you’ll be from the sidewalk to the water. Being from Tucson, the only ocean I’ve ever experienced is in San Diego, and you don’t really go to the beach there to play in the “warm” water. Tyler and I just couldn’t get over how warm the water was, but also that is wasn’t a bajillion degrees outside. The weather was perfect and the water was perfect, and if I close my eyes long enough, I can almost transport myself back!

By the third day we had recuperated enough from the excitement of the wedding and traveling, and were ready to do a bit of exploring. Tyler surprised me, and signed us up for a sunset cruise on the Teralani II. It was about two hours on the water, with food, drinks, music, and of course a beautiful view. I have an overly dramatic aversion to wind, and it happened to be particularly windy that evening. Just know, this is not the time to “dress cute” and put any amount of effort into your hair. Baseball hat and shorts all the way! The food was pretty good, our captain was so sweet and fun, and the view of the sunset as we came back in was SO worth it.

That next morning we went to Slappy Cakes. This is a breakfast restaurant with a location in Maui and Portland, Oregon. You buy the batter and make your own pancakes at the griddle on the table! It looked SO fun, but Tyler and I were starving and needed more than an 8 oz. bottle of pancake batter. I went with their “Truck Stop” dish. Holy moly it did not disappoint. It was some of the best breakfast food I’ve ever had, and their staff was so friendly.

Later that day we decided to do some paddle boarding. The Westin has their own little hut to rent from by the hour (which an hour was plenty for me!). The gentleman who worked at the rental hut was this awesome ex world champion surfer from Puerto Rico. When he told us how much lessons would cost Tyler said, “That’s okay, I’m sure we can figure it out.” I’m staring at him with my new “wife” eyeballs thinking, “Of course we have to get lessons!! We can’t just go out there and figure it out!” Well, pretty much you can’t get on those boards without a quick lesson, so this overly tan, and overly kind ex-surfing champion gave them to us for free. There wasn’t much to it, but there was no way I was going out there without knowing what I was doing! We had a blast, mostly laughing at each other as we’d lose our balance and fall in. We returned our paddle boards, walked a few feet and hoped in the pool to relax for a bit!

That evening was our luau! Everyone we talked to who had been to Hawaii said that we HAD to go to a luau. I was having a hard time picking which one though! We were also told that you get what you pay for. I wanted an authentic experience, but I also didn’t want to pay an arm and a leg. Fortunately for us (and unfortunately this doesn't help you all out), Tyler had quite a few credit card points saved up and we were able to redeem for one of the top (and most recommended) luaus--The Feast at Lele. I’m so glad we were able to attend this one--the food (and free unlimited drinks) was great, the performances were even better, and my favorite part (Miss Anti-Social)-- we got our own table. So worth it! 

The last big adventure we took was driving the road to Hana. It was an all day (and exhausting!) trip, but an experience that was beyond worth it and one I will never forget. Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe it. The views are truly breathtaking, and we kept saying over and over, “Oh my gosh, is this real?!” I brought my "real" camera, and my film camera (something I've been practicing with), and boy I'm glad I did, because a phone would not have done this place justice. We downloaded the “Road to Hana GyPsy Driving Tour”, which made things a million times easier, and a ton of fun! The man (who is from Maui and Hana) narrates the trip with really interesting stories, and is great with directions. He’ll let you know things like, “In about a quarter of a mile you’ll see a beautiful waterfall. If you’d like to stop and take a look, keep driving because there’s a pull out half a mile up.” He gives great history lessons and tidbits along the way. There’s no way we would have known to stop at any of the places we did without this app. AND! It doesn’t require wifi or use data along the way! Well worth the five dollars. We would stop and take mini hikes, drool over waterfalls... We stopped and had some banana bread and frozen yogurt at some random little stand off the beaten path--SO good. We also decided to splurge and rent a jeep for the week, which made this drive that much more fun!

One of my two favorite places we ate at (other than Relish) was Lahaina Pizza Company. It’s a really cool and laid back pizza place right on the ocean. Be prepared--their deep dish pizza is like stacking three normal pizzas on top of one another. So. Good. But of course, our eyes were bigger than our stomachs, and we got a large… we each ate about a slice and a half (which if you know Tyler or me is not normal!). It all worked out because we had leftover pizza on the beach the next morning when no one was up yet and the waves were calm. So. Relaxing. I'm not going to show you a picture of Tyler and I stuffing our faces at Lahaina Pizza Co. because I don't think that would be beneficial to anyone.

Our next favorite place we discovered on our last day! It was called  Down the Hatch in downtown Lahaina. I loved it because you have to walk downstairs off the main street--it feels “hidden,” like you’ve just discovered this awesome secret place. It’s this really cool outdoor “grill,” with the best shrimp tacos and fish and chips EVER. It was the perfect place for us to kill some time before our evening flight home. I wish we had discovered this sooner, because I would have loved to eat there a couple times! We spent our last day wandering around the rest of downtown Lahain, eating Hawaiian Shave Ice, checking out the Banyan Tree (which takes over at least an acre, but is all one tree), and enjoying our last day of paradise.

I am so thankful that Tyler and I were able to take such an extravagant honeymoon. It was so worth it paying a little more for a resort, and not having to think about or plan anything (other than booking our luau--definitely do that in advance)! Let’s just say we’re already planning our trip back…

My biggest piece of advice is whatever your “food” budget is… double it. It’s crazy expensive to eat there. We packed a lot of breakfast bars and snacks, and we still probably spent at least $75 a day on food. And that’s not including drinks--Tyler and I aren’t big drinkers and stuck to water most of the time. But we couldn't have asked for a better honeymoon. Maui is the perfect balance of urban and rural--plenty of hiking, plenty of shopping, plenty of nightlife. And did I mention how amazing the weather was in October??

If you have questions about any of the places we ate or things we did, shoot me an email!

Boston

After Mitch and I got married, we were so excited to save up for our first big trip together. We threw around several ideas of trips we wanted to go on - Seattle, North Carolina, New York City - but finally settled on Boston. I have always wanted to go to Boston. Not only am I obsessed with accents and wanted to hear & imitate authentic Bostonian accents, but I’ve always wanted to go to a Red Sox Game (I felt like a real fan buying tickets the first day they opened up!). We were also thrilled about being able to explore such an old and beautiful city and eat some delicious seafood!

On our first day in Boston, we headed to the North End, also known as Boston’s "Little Italy” to eat dinner at Trattoria il Panino. Mitch ordered a Crab & Lobster Ravioli that was THE best pasta we had ever eaten. You can see the aftermath below. After dinner, we grabbed some Gelato from Mike’s Pastry and toured the North End.

The next day, we braved the Freedom Trail, starting at our hotel, The Omni Parker House, and ending in Charleston at the Bunker Hill Monument. We were so happy to have picked this hotel, as it is not only an attraction itself, but it's in the heart of all the historical sites, good food, and attractions.

One of our favorite spots to relax and rest our aching feet was Copley Square on Boylston Street. Sitting in between the Boston Public Library and Trinity Church, Copley was the perfect place to people watch and scope out the city.

The next day we strolled through one of Boston’s best known neighborhoods, Beacon Hill. This cozy Boston neighborhood was full of enchanting homes, brick sidewalks, and beautiful tree lined streets. My DREAM home!

After Beacon Hill, we hopped over to Boston Public Garden. This was also one of our favorite spots. After walking miles throughout the city of Boston, we loved finding places where we could rest and enjoy each other’s company. 

Next, we jumped on a subway to Fenway park for a Fenway Park tour! In honor of my bestie, Sara, I “cried” when I entered Fenway. It was such a cool experience, being able to sit in the oldest seats in Fenway, stand on top of the Green Monster, listen to Fenway’s history and watch the players practice. Also, Fenway park is so much smaller than you think, which I was surprised by walking in. Even if you have “nose bleeds” seats, you still feel like you are part of the action. We bought some of the cheapest tickets for the game, and were perfectly happy with our back row seats. We were even able to move to primo seats once people starting clearing out a couple hours into the game. My first Red Sox experience was everything I hoped it would be, complete with a couple of Fenway Franks, cheering on Big Papi and singing “Sweet Caroline!” Red Sox Won!!

We finished our trip with a Sam Adams Brewery Tour, authentic Irish pub food at The Druid, and a self-guided tour through Harvard (I pretended I was Rory and Mitch was Lorelei when the girls first visit Harvard, but it didn’t really have the effect I was hoping for).

When we got off the Subway in Cambridge, we didn’t realize that our map was leading us in the wrong direction of the pub we wanted to eat at. We walked a mile in one direction just to find out that we needed to go a few miles in the opposite direction, which made our trek that much more desperate. I was hot. I was hungry. I had a melt down. 
Finally, we made it to The Druid. As we grabbed a seat at the bar, I knew that the long walk was worth it, because the bartender had an Irish accent! As mentioned before, I am obsessed with accents, so you could image that I was thrilled to carry on LONG conversations with our bartender. Then, come to find out that the whole pub was filled with employees with Irish accents. It was an exciting time for me. We got to talk to our bartender about our dream vacation to Ireland, best places to go, sites to see, places to eat at. Mitch also ate the best fish and chips he’d ever tasted and I had delicious chicken fingers and fries. After re-fueling, we headed to Harvard.

This trip to Boston was one of the best trips I have been on. If it weren’t for all the other amazing places Mitch and I want to visit, we would go back in a heartbeat.