Sie sind mein Liebster blog

Thank you to Ms. Ellis over at Ellis Goes on Holiday for the shout out! She has a great blog all about travel and adventure, so check her out!

Liebster is the German word essentially meaning dearest. The award is passed between bloggers and is a fantastic way of discovering new sites. The idea is to pass it on to blogs you love that generally have less than 500 followers and get to know the blogging community.

The rules are:

(a) Thank the blogger who gave it to you.

Thank you Ms Ellis for the nomination! I love reading about her adventures in travel and life all over the world! In particular, the posts about California (my neck of the woods) bring me joy. Stay golden!

(b) Answer the eleven questions they ask.

1. What is the first thing to do on your bucket list?

The first thing on my bucket list is to get my book published. It’s still in the works, but I am writing a fantasy quest series that is just the joy of my life. I love lifestyle blogging, but my life has truly been touched by the process of world creation and story/character development. Maybe I’ll feature more of that on the blog in the future, give you all a little sneak peak.

2. Tell me about your hometown. If I was visiting, what should I do there?

I’ve moved around so much that I don’t really have a hometown, but I go to school in Portland, OR. Portland’s motto is (I kid you not) “Keep Portland Weird.” It definitely lives up to its name. Common sites are unicycle-riding, Gandalf-costume- wearing, bagpipe musicians, androgynous young people, and bikes…EVERYWHERE! Powell’s City of Books is a can’t miss, Portland City Grill is pretty posh as well. You can read about that here . If you’re in a “nature-y” mood, Forest Park is right next door to NW 23rd, an awesome street of shopping and food in the Alphabet district.

3. I have a habit of getting lost whenever I’m travelling but I find when that happens, I discover the best places. Do you agree and where have you found?

I absolutely agree, though most of my stories from being lost have involved a certain degree of precariousness. I tend to follow goat-trails up random hills and find the loveliest of views!

4. Chocolate and peanut butter: yes or no?

Yes! Add bacon and bread and you have one DELICIOUS sandwich!

5. What is your signature dish?

Does coffee count? Actually, the one thing I can never not order if it’s on the menu is grits. As far as me actually cooking? I make a mean margarita.

6. What is your best food discovery?

Sriracha Hot Sauce. I’ll put it on everything.

Do you have a song which reminds you of a certain travel story? If so, what is the song and story?

Take it Easy by The Eagles always reminds me of roadtripping. The particular road trip was driving from Indiana to California during the summer. There were so many thunderstorms and tornado warnings. We even had to seek shelter under an overpass in North Dakota! It was crazy, but fun…crazy fun!

What is your best travel tip?

Adopt an Hakuna Matata philosophy. Travel should be easy going; let things happen to you and let yourself happen to things. There is a certain kind of beauty in randomness, the best adventures are products of unforeseen spontaneity

What is the one thing you always take travelling with you?

I always bring a spiral notebook (generally with a fetching classical painting cover), and a pen. I am also incapable of traveling anywhere without a pair of gigantic sunnies! Yes, I’m one of those people who wears their sunglasses inside of the airport.

Where is your favourite place?

So far? Paris. That city is magic. Beautiful in so many ways, the sites, the sounds, the smell of fresh bread. I cannot get enough of it. Read about my experience here if you’re interested!

Tell me about your biggest travel mishap.

This is silly, but my biggest “face to palm” moment was getting on the plane to Hawaii. I had flip-flops on and tripped, completely ripping my right one in half.

My best travel “mishap” was getting bumped up to Business class on the way back from Paris to Seattle. I’m not going to complain about that one!

What is your favourite blog post that you have written?

That’s a tough one…my favorite pictures came from Napa I think, but writing about Paris and Amsterdam was probably my favorite. You can read these here and here.

(c) Nominate fellow bloggers.

Panda’s Pastries

Foreign Wanders

Hipster Rapunzel

Natalie’s Lovely Blog

Project Light to Life

(d) Ask these eleven bloggers eleven questions.

1. Pirates or Cowboys?

2. What’s the most delicious thing you have ever tasted?

3. If you could only keep one of your five senses, which would it be and why?

4. What would your dream vacation be?

5. If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?

6. What is your favorite color (specific, ex. lavender) and why?

7. Who is your style icon?

8. What is the one thing you must have with you  when traveling?

9. Write down your favorite quote/motto.

10. What book most influenced your childhood?

(e) Let these bloggers know that you have nominated them.


What gets you on the dance floor?

I LOVE to dance. It doesn’t take much to get me out on the floor, but there are some songs that just have that special power over me. They need dancing to be complete! I am happy to oblige. This is the song on my radar right now.

Honky Tonk Woman, The Rolling Stones



What gets you on the dance floor? Leave a comment!



2013: A quest for cranberries

It was on Christmas day that I had my first taste of my Mom’s new Cranberry Salsa. It may seem odd to end a year with a post about searching for cranberries, but stay with me. After tasting this gloriously sweet-with-a-dash-of-spice dish, and I immediately found myself craving it when it was gone. The next day I went to Raley’s, the local grocer…no cranberries.

“Hehe how odd. Obviously, I am not the only one with a taste for cranberries. Either that, or a lot of people are naturalistics with UTIs….likely the former.”

No matter, we went to Walmart the next day. NO CRANBERRIES. With each failure, my perceived future pleasure of delicious salsa was heightened.

Safeway, no cranberries.
“What is this new devilry?” My brows furrowed as I panned the scene.

This exceedingly simple and surface struggle hit me as the tangible translation of the year in question, 2013. My resolution for the past year was broad, definitely not a SMART goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time oriented). “Go make the things you want most happen. Just do it.” And I’m happy to claim great success.

What did I want?
Skydiving–> umm…because badass
Travel somewhere AWESOME–> Hello Paris and Amsterdam
Do something to make yourself proud–> Does a marathon count? What about a Spartan Race?
Do something cool for someone else–> Bridesmaiding? The act of making the bride as happy as possible.

These, my friends, were my cranberries. They were the things I had wanted for years and years. And through sheer determination I got those cranberries. In both instances.

Back to today, the cranberries were finally obtained at Whole Foods. The recipe follows:


1 bag fresh cranberries
1 clove garlic crushed
3 green onions thinly sliced with greens
3 limes juiced
½ C sugar
1 jalapeno pepper diced small
½ C chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste

Boil cranberries in water for 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Add other ingredients. Serve with “scooper” chips

And that’s all she wrote. Stay tuned for 2014 Resolutions!

PDX Marathon

It was a rainy day in March when I thought to myself, “Hey now, what a joke it would be to run the Portland Marathon in October….”

Well, 7 months have passed and yesterday I ran the marathon.

I can honestly say it was the hardest and most amazing experience of my life!

Nothing compares to gliding along with thousands of people, breathing in the sweet air ripe with the mantras of fellow runners. Such a testament to the human spirit is not often found, and not likely forgotten. Crossing the finish line 4 hours and 41 minutes into the race, I found myself overcome with emotion but with no fluid in my body to form tears. It was more of a hyperventilation. Although I have been walking like a baby giraffe for the past 24 hours, I’m already looking for my next victory! Running keeps the world sane I think!

Happy Running my friends!

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Powerful beyond measure

“Who are you?”

The announcer’s voice echoed through the holding pen as the clock counted down to the 10:00am heat.

“I am a Spartan!” The reply boomed from hundreds of ordinary people about to test their limits. We answered with our hearts and voices. The air horn signified the beginning of our journey and like the crack of a whip we dashed into the unknown, out onto the dusty path determined to make ourselves proud.

This journey started long ago. I had always wanted to run a “Spartan Race,” but the timing was never right. But here’s the thing…if you wait for the timing to be right it never will be. With my marathon only about two months out, I was slightly worried about getting injured and falling behind in training. Luckily, my friend was able to convince me sign up with her.

Both of us have a passion for fitness, and therefore were excited to train. We learned how to properly climb a rope and spent a decent amount of time at the gym, you know…packing mass or whatever.

Nothing can really prepare you for this kind of race though. The first mile and a half were steep hills covered in soft dirt. As we slowly climbed, breathing in copious amounts of dirt, our ears were filled with the multitude of “What the f*** man? I thought they said it was relatively flat…” coming from almost every competitor. I confess that those first few hills almost did me in, but after my body warmed up (around 1.5 miles) the race became fun and challenging as opposed to challenging and 7th circle of hell.

I tried to keep repeating to myself, “I am a Spartan, failure is not an option.” If you tell yourself something enough you start to believe it. Physical challenges are really all about the mind. Your body is almost always capable. We pushed ourselves and wound up finishing with a decent time despite our declaration that we were simply “running it for fun.”

Crossing the finish line after the final obstacle of being hit in the stomach with a “Spartan club” (people pummel you with plush clubs at the end) was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment. Nothing beats the feeling of finishing a race! Great memories with great friends! I would highly recommend the race to anyone interested in feeling AND being awesome.

So, who am I?

I am a Spartan, I am powerful beyond measure, and you can be too. “Aroo, aroo!”