weekly letters.

dear europe, your old world charm never ceases to mesmerizes me.  i'm so grateful to be here to experience this.  dear hubby, travel isn't the same without you.  let's plan a getaway stat.  dear data plan, i totally take you for granted.  i'll cherish the days of text messages and phone calls.  dear us of a, i'm forever thankful to call you home & can't wait to see you tomorrow.


weekly letters.

dear june, you bring so much specialness to our lives.  thanks for reminding us to slow down, celebrate love, and bbq often.  dear hubby, can you believe it's been 9 years?  i don't think we look a day over 22 and 23...wouldn't you agree?  i know it always hasn't been easy, so thanks for standing beside me, laughing at my corny jokes, being my best friend, and reminding me daily that a love like ours is always worth fighting for.  dear littlest sis, you graduated high school and i'm an emotional mess.  i'm so happy for the next chapter in your life and the many adventures yet to come.  cheers to you & your many great accomplishments.  dear hot tom oil, only 17 days until i get to mow-down on stretch bread and your goodness.


the san juan islands, wa.

i spent the better part of last week working in the san juan islands (rough life, i know...but someone's gotta do it).  the san juan islands are a cluster of islands off the coast of washington state and victoria, canada.  these hidden gems are breath-takingly beautiful and without a doubt, are currently ranked top 5 among the places i've traveled.  if you ever have the opportunity to visit, go.
when it comes to explaining this place, i won't even come close to serving the dynamic and diverse nature and culture justice.  nor will my photos.  so i won't even try.  instead, i'll share where i went, what we saw, and my overall experience.
 ***disclaimer: this is a pretty lengthy post***
flying to seattle from san diego is a short flight.  it's only about 3 hours, and direct.  in airline lingo, that's a dream.  once i arrived to seattle, i rented a car and my co-worker and i headed to pikes place market.  i had been there before but this was her first time experiencing seattle, so we walked around and took in the overwhelming sights, sounds and smells.  it was peony season in washington, and the scent of peonies and sweet peas wafted through the market stalls mixing with fresh fish, ripe peaches and freshly fried doughnuts.  we walked past flying fish and stopped to buy some peaches and rainier cherries for the ride north.  overwhelmed and not sure where to eat, we left the market and had a nice lunch at elliot's oyster house.
after an hour and a half drive, we arrived to anacortes, wa- our home for the next few days.  we stayed at the super-cute majestic inn & spa.  it's newly renovated and they can boast of a roof-top bar, freshly ground coffee grounds for the in-room french press, killer location and apparently, an amazing restaurant (we never had the chance to eat there...).  during our stay, we enjoyed meals at anthony's (unbelievable seafood), adrift, mary ann's kitchen (hands down, best breakfast) and a not-so-good option, secret cove (which was unfortunate since it came highly recommended from locals).
during our stay, we took the ferry over to friday harbor.  friday harbor is a quaint island that has the sweetest downtown, most gorgeous views, hikes and if you're patient, whale watching.  we basically did all of the above.  during our meetings, we were advised to drive out to roche harbor to see the beautiful celebrity homes and picturesque town.  we then drove west side road down to lime kiln point state park (it's considered one of the best places in the world to whale watch) and stopped to whale watch.  while sitting there, we wished we had packed a picnic lunch but then we were so excited to see whales that we probably wouldn't have eaten anyways!
after an hour of whale watching we drove south to the san juan island national historical park and went on a couple hikes through the beaches and meadows.  it was absolutely gorgeous (and again, we saw whales, making the entire experience so much more magical).
on our second day, we drove to coupeville, wa.  our day began with meetings at a local coffee shop and a drive south to fort casey state park.  then in the afternoon we headed up to deception pass state park- a mecca for hiking and stunning views.  we spent the remainder of the day lost in nature, hiking in the forest, along the coast and collecting photos along the way.  you guys, this place.  this place is a must do.
it was a whirlwind couple of days to say the least, but man-oh-man, was it worth it.  i'll be heading back in august and i seriously can't wait.  if you make it to the islands, i hope this helps you plan your travels and if not, i hope this inspires you to put this place on your travel bucket list.


weekly letters.

dear radster, after a long week of travel and busy days, you remind me how important it is to relax, enjoy the now and light a candle every now and again.  dear job, i love you.  i'm amazed at how much joy my career and company brings me on a daily basis.  i'm so grateful for this opportunity to thrive.  dear birdhouse, you might be a little dusty and a whole lot dirty, but i don't care.  i just love having a safe haven to rest our head and have the sweetest dreams.  dear a, you sir are my rock.  thanks for accepting that my open suitcase might have a new home in the center of our bedroom and my side of the sink might actually be yours as well.  your grace humbles me daily and i thank you for that.


greek salad, revised.

for me, simplicity is key.  i like my frozen yogurt tart, my vodka unflavored, my spaghetti with marinara and my salads greek.  & i won't apologize for this.

last night while glued to the news about the fire progress, we opted to make something quick, easy and cool (temperatures are in the triple digits) for dinner.  i'm a huge fan of greek salads and often order them any chance i get.  since we're not only trying to be healthy but stop eating out as often, we decided to try our hand with our own version of this classic salad.

it no doubt, was a winner.

greek salad (serves 4)
1 head green leaf lettuce, washed and torn into pieces
3/4 cup grape tomatoes, halved
2 radishes, sliced
1/2 cucumber, sliced
1/4 cup peperoncinis, sliced
2 small cooked beets, sliced
1/4 cup kalamata olives, halved
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

greek salad dressing
we used this one from ina garten (i added more mustard than called for and was very happy with that decision).

chop and put all ingredients into a large bowl.  for an extra hearty salad add grilled chicken, lamb, shrimp, salmon or tofu (shown).  add dressing as needed and enjoy.