2017 Year End Recap | November & December

Wow, I am so behind. I never got to do a recap of the end of year for 2017 😦 Sorry guys. November and December were filled with adventures in National Parks and celebrations!

November –  November is my favorite month and is filled with celebration. Not only is it both of our birthday month, but it’s our anniversary month too! Every year we try to do something special and different for our celebration month. Last year, we went to Hawaii and spent a week in paradise. But for 2017, we decided to keep it pretty light and decided to spend a weekend up north in the Monterey Bay area. Since we are saving for a wedding in 2018, we wanted to do something fun and new, but not spend as much money as we did when we went to Hawaii. We planned a long weekend up in Northern California to check out the Monterey Bay area and to the check out Pinnacles National Park… cause you know us, WE LOVE NATIONAL PARKS! (Support your National Parks!)

Instead of driving up to NorCal, we decided to fly up to San Jose and drive down to Pinnacles National Park. We arrived mid morning and picked up our rental car. Since it was our celebration month, we wanted to get more of a special car rather than a normal rental car. If you know me, you know that my dream car is a Dodge Challenger! I know, so random. So we booked it, but unfortunately, when we got to the airport the car rental company had already run out of those type of cars. Instead, we were able to get a new Dodge Camero! It was actually pretty cool, but I was a little bumped that we didn’t get the Challenger. So, after we received our car we headed down to Gilroy to get some breakfast. Gilroy is such a cute little town. I’ve been to Gilroy before for the Garlic Festival, so I knew that this would be a good stopping point for some food. We found a cute little hometown cafe.

After breakfast, we headed down to Pinnacles National Park. When we got to the National Park, it started pouring so hard. At that point, I felt like I hadn’t seen real rain in so long, so I wasn’t that mad about it to be honest. The rain let up and we went to one of the trail heads. This National Park is one of the newest national parks so it’s not yet set up like a normal, more established park. The park really has only one road, but has some long trails. Since we only had a half day to explore the park, we did the Bear Gulch trail and some of the High Peaks trail. This trail takes you through some of the popular areas and through some really cool caves and you see some unique rock formations. At the end of the trail you get to the Bear Gulch reservoir and then after you take a part of the High Peaks trail to get back to your car. I really wanted to do the High Peaks trail, but its one of the longest trails in the park and we just didn’t have enough time to do it. Just as a warning, some of the trails are not clearly marked so just make sure you have a map with you and especially if you’ve never been there before, make sure to bring someone with you. This park is now one of my favorites. Even though it was raining, I think it added to the beauty of the park. Since the park is covered with rocks and moss, the misty-ness of the sky added to the environment. It was so beautiful.

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After Pinnacles, we headed towards Monterey Bay and arrived in the early evening. After we checked into our hotel and rested for a little bit, we headed out to dinner at the Fisherman’s Wharf. We found this cute Tiki Bar and got some clam chowder, some seafood, and a fun island drink. Since it was a little cold, there weren’t that many people out, but ended the night watching the sea lions and exploring some of the shops on the wharf.

The next day, we headed down to explore the Monterey Bay area and Big Sur. We headed for breakfast at Cafe Trieste in Monterey. Its a cute Italian cafe and had a very filling and delicious breakfast. After, we did the 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. It’s a nice and easy drive through Pebble Beach with marked stops and vista points. We took our time and it took us about 2 hours to do the whole thing. The 17 Mile Drive was so pretty and because it was a clear and crisp day, it made it even better.

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After we headed down towards Big Sur and our first stop was Bixby Bridge. I’ve seen so many pictures of this bridge and was excited to finally see it. When we got there, I was a little disappointed. I think people edit the pictures so much that it makes it look so much impressive than it is in real life. Granted, the engineering is pretty cool, but I was a bit disappointed to be honest. After, we headed down the Highway 1 and made some stops along the way to look at the beautiful views along the highway. We also headed towards the Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park to check out McWay Falls. For lunch we ate at Nepenthe, which was the cutest restaurant that was right off of the highway and had amazing view of the ocean and the coast. After taking our time going up and down Highway 1, we headed towards our hotel to rest and get ready for dinner. For dinner, we found a little seafood restaurant but it wasn’t that good… I was disappointed. After we headed towards Cannery Row to check out the shops and bars they had. We ended up spending the night at an arcade and played some fun games.

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Sunday was our last day in NorCal. We checked out of hotel and headed back towards Santa Cruz and towards the Mystery Spot. We signed up for tour of the area and was a fun spot to spend the morning. We learned about the history of the area and got to experience the “gravity pull” of the Mystery Spot. After, we spent the rest of the day at the Santa Cruz pier and at lunch at the pier and checked out the carnival games and rides of the area. Then it was time to catch out flight out of San Jose. Although it was only a weekend up north, we made the most of the time we had and saw a lot and had an amazing anniversary weekend.

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The rest of November, we spent at Wesley’s parents house to watch their dog so we couldn’t go on anymore trips for the month. For Thanksgiving, we spent a night in Dana Point with my parents. We had dinner near the water and watched the sunset near the break water. It was so pretty. I love the Dana Point area and it’s s chill over there.

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November was great celebration month filled with family and some adventure.

December – For the beginning of December, I planned a trip to Joshua Tree for Wesley’s birthday. Wesley’s birthday is technically in November, but since we had to dog watch we couldn’t go out to celebrate. We left a little early from our apartment and headed towards to National Park. When we got there, we got onto the Ryan Mountain trail… and let me tell you… I died on this trail! Although this trail is only about 3 miles roundtrip, the elevation is about 1,000 ft which is really steep in a short amount of time. But once we got to the top of the mountain, it was so worth it. At the top, you could see the whole valley of the National Park. After we drove all the way to the end of the park near the 10 freeway. Towards the end of the day, we checked out the Hidden Valley Nature Trail. We watched the Sunset and climbed some rocks. After exploring some more of the park we headed towards our Airbnb in Joshua Tree. I rented a small, but cute house in the area. For dinner, we had pizza at Pie for People although it took a long time to get our food, it tasted so good! Worth the wait for sure! 

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The next day was our last day and headed towards the park to do some more exploring and hiking. We did the Baker Dam hike and the Ryan Ranch. Both were pretty easy trails. Baker Dam had a lot of water, which I was surprised to see. Ryan Ranch had an old abandoned ranch at the end of the trail that you can explore. After taking our time leaving the park, we headed home.

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Later on in the month, Wesley’s company had their holiday party in Hollywood. We stayed at the Mondrian Hotel and it was so bougie! But I was very grateful to be able to stay there. We had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant and it was so pretty! They had strung cute lights along the open air patio and had beautiful floral centerpieces. After dinner, the company had reserved an area of the lounge area and we enjoyed drink service and some good music. But to be honest, I felt so out of place at the lounge because of the people there, but overall it was good experience and I’m glad I pushed my self out of my comfort zone.

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During the Holiday season, my sister was in town! I was so excited to see her! While she was visiting, we went to get my wedding dress!  A few of my bridesmaids joined me to get the right dress and I got it! I’m so excited for 2018 because we’re getting married at the end of the year! I can’t believe it’s happening! For Christmas, I just stayed home with my parents and Wesley and we had chinese food for lunch. A few days before New Year’s Wesley and I had an engagement party with our friends and family. It was fun to see everyone meet and get to know each other. And then lastly for New Years we celebrated at our friends house and counted down to 2018 with champagne and good company.

2017 was a great year filled with friends, family, and some adventure. I’m excited for 2018 and although we are already 2 months in, it’s already been off to a great start. Thank you for reading all of this and making it to the end! I promise to update my blog more often!

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2017 March Adventures: Joshua Tree Dry Lake, “See you later”, & Yosemite

Can you believe March is nearly over?! It went by so quickly! March was a fun-filled month. It was filled with some emotional highs and definite emotional lows, with a close friend moving all the way across the globe. Also, this month truly kicked off the next couple of months I have ahead, since April, May, and June will be quite hectic. So let’s delve into to the month of March.

Joshua Tree Camping: The month of March started off with a good old camping trip to Joshua Tree… yes, again. I can’t get enough of this place… can’t you tell? My fiance and I went camping with the same group of friends. We spent the days hanging out and enjoying the environment around us and the night exchanging stories around a camp fire. It’s always great starting off the month camping and disconnecting from the real world for a weekend.

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Not Saying “Goodbye”, but “See you soon”: One of my good friends from middle school moved to Australia this month for an indefinite amount of time. Her family threw her a going away party and a bunch of us got together to celebrate her new chapter with her. I’m so excited for her to start this new adventure, but at the same time I was sad to see her go. Naturally, I nearly cried… I’m such a baby. But I know that I will see her in the near future. And now that it is so easy to connect with friends across the globe, I know that we will still stay close.
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Yosemite National Park: This past weekend, Wesley and I went to visit Yosemite National Park. We have both been before with family, but never have visited it together. We left the LA area early around 6:00 AM and headed out to the National Park. When we entered the park, it still took us almost an hour to get to the valley floor, but it was well worth it. We drove through the tunnel that leads into the valley and my jaw dropped. The view you see instantly takes your breathe away. The shear magnitude of the beauty of Half Dome, El Capitan, and the cascading waterfalls are so picturesque. We did a few hikes within the valley floor and I was in awe of the environment I was immersed in. After a long day of sightseeing we checked into our tent/cabin at Half Dome Village. Since we knew that it was going to be cold at night, we opted for a heated tent… which I highly recommend if you are staying there during Winter… even though it’s already Spring, it was still a bit nippy. Our tent was nice and cozy and just perfect for our stay. We had dinner and the hall within the village and enjoyed the free wifi and just hung out there for the rest of the night. The next day we woke up in the valley floor, which was pretty cool. We had breakfast again in the hall. The nice thing about staying within the National Park was that we could take our time leaving the park and we were able to enjoy the views just a little bit longer. Before we left the park, we did one more small hike to Bridalveil Falls and then we were off and headed back home.

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March was a great month and I know that the months are just going to get busier and go by quicker, but I’m not complaining! I’m really excited for the next couple of months. I’ll be sure to keep updating my blog! Thanks for reading and remember to stay curious and keep exploring!

2017 January & February Adventures: Joshua Tree, Hiking, Lake Arrowhead, & Las Vegas

The first 2 months of 2017 have been so much fun and have really set the tempo for adventure! I thought I would start a new series where I would recap at the end of each month on some of the adventures I went on throughout the month.

January:

Joshua Tree: My fiance and I started off the year camping in Joshua Tree with a bunch of friends. It was a great way to start of the new year. We spent two days enjoying the scenery and relaxing with our friends.
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Malibu Creek State Park: One weekend Wesley and I wanted to go hiking in a new area that we’ve never been to. I saw this hike and it looked interesting because they filmed the tv show MASH at the end of the trail. It was a pretty easy hike, but it was a little long, but very manageable. After, we decided to drive around PCH and enjoy the breeze from the coast. It was a nice short getaway for the both of us.

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February:

Lake Arrowhead: At the beginning of February my fiance and I went out to Lake Arrowhead with some of our oldest friends from high school. We rented a condo for the weekend and spent the weekend bonding, relaxing, and reconnecting with our friends.

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Las Vegas: Wesley and I were invited were to Vegas to watch Elton John with a few of our other friends. We hadn’t been to Vegas a while and nice getaway with friends. We saw Elton John the first day we arrived and he was amazing. He was so entertaining to watch and we were all in awe of a legend. After went through of some of the casino and just hung out and had a fun time. The next day we went to Top Golf and spent the afternoon there and ended the night at Ceasars. Vegas was a great way to unwind with our friends.
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These past two months we spent a lot of time bonding and reconnecting with friends. Hopefully March will be filled with just as much fun as these past two months.

Desert Weekends: Death Valley, Anza Borrego, and Joshua Tree

In February and March, Wesley and I went to 3 different deserts out here in Southern California. Within the past few years, I have truly fallen in love with the desert landscapes and the different varieties that these landscapes have to offer. I love how barren and simple the desert is and it really shows the true self of California. There is a simplistic and calming beauty that I find in these landscapes. To me, the desert is so peaceful.

Of course, when you are going out to the desert, it’s important to stay hydrated and to be smart and prepared out there. It can be dangerous if you aren’t fully prepared.

During the last weekend of February, we went for a day trip out to Death Valley. We had recently gone in January with a big group of people for a camping trip, but we wanted to see more of “touristy” things in Death Valley. Also, I really wanted to see the Superbloom. The Superbloom apparently it only happens once every decade and it was so worth it. We left the Los Angeles area around 3 AM to get to Death Valley by 9AM. I highly recommend getting there early to beat the crowds. It started to get really busy by lunch time. We went to check out most of the touristy spots within the basin of the Badwater Basin. Death Valley is truly amazing and beautiful. Because it is so massive (it’s one of the biggest National Parks in the United States), there is so much more that we haven’t seen. I’m excited to go back and to explore even more.

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Zabriske Point
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Badwater Basin
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Natural Bridge Canyon
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Super Bloom!
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Devil’s Golf Course
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Artist’s Palette
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Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes
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The next weekend, Wesley and I headed out to San Diego County to Anza Borrego and Ocotillo Wells for a camping trip with some of our friends. Last year, we went out to Anza Borrego with some of the same people within the group. We camped out in Ocotillo Wells and explored around the area and in Anza Borrego. These areas are much more barren in comparison to Death Valley. Also, they aren’t as busy as Death Valley is too. This year, instead of camping at a traditional camp site, we literally had a GPS point and met everyone there. This was straight up primitive camping with no running water, no designated spot, and no bathrooms. It was actually a really cool experience. Oh yeah, and we also experienced our first legit sand storm. It was crazy and a little scary too. We also for the first time slept in our car, rather than set up a tent. The winds were just too crazy to set up a tent and Wesley has a huge car, so it was fine. The next day we explored both Anza Borrego and Ocotillo Wells. It’s pretty cool because we were just over on the other side of the Salton Sea. We saw the different places that this land scape had to offer and ended the day with the metal sculptures scattered around Anza Borrego. It was awesome to get to meet new people and see old faces. Can’t wait for our next outing. Hopefully it won’t be another year till we see them again 🙂

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The following weekend, Wesley and I headed out to our final desert destination of our desert bonanza in Joshua Tree. We love Joshua Tree. Before last weekend, we had never gone camping the park, but we have done 2 day trips out in Joshua Tree. Joshua Tree is one of the closest national parks to Los Angeles. Camping out in Joshua Tree was so amazing. We camped out in Jumbo Rocks campground with our oldest friends since high school. We were surrounded by huge boulders and the sites were secluded from each other. We checked out all of the different sites in Joshua Tree and climbed all of the rocks that we could. Joshua Tree is known for it’s rock formations and the Joshua Trees themselves. The rock formations make you feel like your in Bedrock, it’s so cool! It was awesome spending time with some of our oldest friends. We have all known each other since high school and it always awesome to make some time to hang out with them.

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Deserts in Southern California are amazingly beautiful and offer so much. There are so many things to do out there for everyone. If you live in So Cal, go and explore your own backyard. There’s adventure out there.

 

Cheers! Happy exploring!

 

Camping in Joshua Tree 

Last weekend Wesley and I went camping with some of our oldest friends in Joshua Tree and camped at the  Jumbo Rocks. We had so much fun hanging out and climbing anything that we could. It was nice reconnecting with them because it had been a while since we’ve had a group outing. Collectively, we all want to get more often and hopefully after this trip we can make it happen. We’ve all known each other for 10 years and it’s always nice making time in our busy schedules to hang out. 

Made a short video of our time out in the desert! Hope you enjoy! 

Pioneertown | Joshua Tree

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I along with our friends decided to explore Joshua Tree and near by Pioneertown. I really love the desert and what the landscape has to offer. Even though it was pretty hot… about 100 degrees… it was still a lot of fun! We first headed towards Pioneertown. Pioneertown started out as a live in set for old westerns that were made back in the 40’s, since then it has turned into a cute quaint town for vistors to explore. It’s super cute and they even have a town shoot out between two dueling cowboys. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay to watch, instead after our quick visit, we headed out to Joshua Tree. Even though my boyfriend and I went there recently, we couldn’t stay away! Since our friends like to off road and explore, we thought it be fun to explore some trails out in the park. I love that we are able to explore landscapes through dirt roads and off the beaten path. It gives you great opportunities to see the landscape in a whole different way.

This day was pretty spontaneous and so amazingly fun! Check out the video below to see what went down! Enjoy!

Pioneertown | Joshua Tree from Jasmine on Vimeo.

Photo Diary: A Day in Joshua Tree

This weekend my boyfriend and I wanted to go off roading and exploring for the day, but also near our place. We decided to head out to Joshua Tree, which is about a 2.5 hour drive from Los Angeles. While doing some research we found an easy trail to follow. We usually don’t like to off road by ourselves, just because it could be dangerous, but we did our research and found that this would be fine to do on our own. The trail is called the Geology Tour Road. It’s an 18 mile trail loop that goes into the center of the park. It give great views of the park and is an easy drive through the park. It is recommended that you use a four-wheel drive vehicle. But we think that you don’t necessarily need a four-wheel drive vehicle, but you definitely need a high clearance SUV. After we did the loop of the Geology Tour Road, we headed towards the Berdoo Canyon Road Trail. For this trail, you definitely should use a four-wheel vehicle. It does have some rough terrain that can be more difficult for none off-roading vehicles. At the end of this trail, is a sort of shooting range for amateur gun enthusiast, so you’ll see tons of shot gun shells everywhere. Overall, the trip out to Joshua Tree was amazing. I’ll definitely be back to do more exploring and hopefully some camping!

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