Hiking Australia’s Blue Mountains

DSCN1890After visiting the gorgeous oceans of The Great Barrier Reef we headed onto the next leg of our journey: Australia’s famed Blue Mountains.  The Blue Mountains are a really unique phenomenon.  I’m not just talking about the blue hue the mountains get from the water droplets in the atmosphere either.  After only an hour and a half car ride from the hustle and bustle of Sydney, we ended up in the beautiful Eucalyptus-filled forest teeming with wildlife.  We even had cockatoos come begging for seeds on the balcony of our B & B.  We stayed at the Valley of the Waters Bed & Breakfast and were simply blown away.  It is situated right up against the forest (I took the pic above from our balcony) and only 2 doors down from the nature reserve center which is the start of the famous nature walks.

There are tons of different hiking options, from slow and easy to full day treks.  You can even visit Scenic World to take in the beauty of the Blue Mountains without having to hike at all!  Just make sure you’re prepared with lots of water!  It got HOT while we were out there.  Overall it’s an absolutely beautiful National Park that will make you feel like you’re a million miles from the big city.

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Bula from Fiji

imageBula!  You hear that everywhere in Fiji.  When asked what it meant, they just replied, “It means everything!”  So we heard it coming and going and just as a joyful acknowledgment.  The people were so warm and welcoming, I felt like I was home.  If home was the most epic beach location.  I wish!

It’s hard to describe the color of the beautiful water surrounding Tokoriki Island.  It’s the most inviting blue I’ve ever come across.  It’s so toasty warm I could snorkle for hours.  And after a long snorkle, we could simply relax in the quiet of an adult only resort with a beverage and the sound of the ocean lapping at the shore.  It’s magical how beautiful Fiji has been to us.

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I Got To Feed A Buffalo – Olympic Game Farm

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For all the years I’ve been heading to Washington to visit family, I can’t believe I (the super duper animal lover) was the  only one in my family not to visit the Olympic Game Farm.  Not only is there a pretty incredible variety of animals in this little park, you can feed them while driving your car through it!  Hello!  This is a Chelsea dream come true!  Have you ever gotten to feed a Yak?  Or a buffalo?  How about a BABY buffalo?!  I knew I was in for a treat when the attendant tells you to “just keep moving” when you get to the Elk/Buffalo enclosure.  And let me tell you, those Elk are just as tall as our Suburban!

I had the pleasure of going in the Spring after all sorts of babies had been born.  I mean, come on!  All baby animals are just plain cute.  A lot of these animals are rescued from bad situations which makes me extra happy to see them roaming this beautiful place.  Many of the bears are retired from show business and will sit back and give you a little wave for their treat too.  Talk about cuteness overload!  If only we could hug them…

For more information on this super fun game farm, head on over to their website here.  My only recommendation is… get a car wash soon after.  Hehehe.

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DSC_0143 Hungry Deer!

I've never had a deer so happy to see me!

I’ve never had a deer so happy to see me!

Bear Yoga

Bear Yoga

Baby llama sleeping in the grass

Baby llama sleeping in the grass

Hungry buffalo!!  I couldn't believe they walked right up to our cars!

Hungry buffalo!! I couldn’t believe they walked right up to our car!

Uh oh.  There's a yak in the road...

Uh oh. There’s a yak in the road…

Hungry yak!  Look at those teeth!  He has a bit of an underbite going on there...

Hungry yak! Look at those teeth! He has a bit of an underbite going on there…

Isn't this the sweetest face?!

Isn’t this the sweetest face?!

This guy trotted after us as we drove away!

This guy trotted after us as we drove away!

Uh oh.  Another yak on the road...

Uh oh. Another yak on the road…

Home on the range.  Not a bad place to be living.

Home on the range. Not a bad place to be living.

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Chicago Recap: My Favorite Pics

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Even though I was only there for a long weekend, I fell in love with Chicago.  I spent most of my time in the River North area (where I did my styling) and Lincoln Park.  For you San Diegans, the way Chicago is split up reminds me a lot of how San Diego has these little neighborhoods with their own vibe.  Each neighborhood is unique and only if you spend some real time there do you truly learn them.  I’ve included a picture of a map our friends had to show each section.

We totally lucked out weather-wise while we were there as well.  It snowed and got into the single digit temperatures but that famous Chicago wind was apparently on vacation.  I’m sure our long walks exploring Lincoln Park wouldn’t have been as much fun if the wind was following us.  All in all, we loved every second of our stay and we will be back!

P.S. – Lou Malnati’s Chicago-style pizza was epically delicious.  I’m talking so good you’ll eat yourself sick good.  I got the famous special with house made sausage on top.  To die for!  I’m drooling just thinking about it…

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This map gives you an idea of where all the little neighborhoods are located

 

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A typical street in Lincoln Park

 

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The ice coming out of the rain gutter was so cool to me! It’s like it just froze instantly!

 

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I’m so jealous of our friend’s office view…

 

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Got to love a girl who can rock ruby red heels (Oz Park)

 

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The face of pure joy. I loved playing in the snow! Could you tell?

 

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Hawaiian Sunset Montage

Sunrise in Oahu

As a finale to my Hawaiian adventure, I’ve compiled all the beautiful sunset/sunrise shots from throughout the trip.  I never really did get used to the time change so I was up by 6 am and usually passed out embarrassingly early every day.  I actually liked it because I got to see both the sunset and sunrise!  I’m everything a morning person is not so I can’t remember the last time I saw a sunrise!  I have to say… I kind of like them!!

Thanks for following me on my Hawaiian Adventure!  We have a few other trips in the works and I can’t wait to share more details with you when everything gets nailed down.  Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@WanderingHeels) for all the details!

Sunset in Hawaii

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Ocean sunetHawaiian SkySunrise over a mountainSunset at the KahalaSunset at the north shore

 

Hippy Chic Birthday Brunch

Hippy chic look

My friend recently had a Hippy Chic themed birthday brunch in Ocean Beach.  Why don’t we do themed birthday parties anymore?!  It was really fun to get dressed up with a specific idea in mind.  The birthday girl even made us all flower headbands to wear at brunch.  Let’s bring back themed parties!!  This is my take on a modern hippy look.

 

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Hat: Vintage (via Bad Madge & Co), Sunglasses: Dior (old) Necklace: Cara (old), Shirt: Majestic (old), Skirt: 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target, Shoes: Sole Society

 

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Resort Review: The Kahala Resort

Rainbow over Hawaii

I don’t even know where to start with The Kahala Resort.  It’s so luxurious and amazing!  Coming here was a total surprise from my honey for our 4 year so as we walked in, I was floored.  Not to mention my eyes welled up with excitement when I saw the dolphins (see my last post for pictures of the happiest girl in the world and her dolphin pal).

We might be the luckiest people to have gotten an upgrade to the 9th floor with views of the ocean and the dolphin lagoon.  We were able to sit on the balcony, enjoy our celebratory mimosas, and watch the dolphins play frisbee with their trainers.  The Kahala is also a hugely popular place for weddings and we saw at least 3 happening daily.

The resort is a place for relaxation and since cabanas come with the room, we spent many hours soaking up some rays, eating lunch in the sand, and snorkeling the reef that starts just feet from the shore.  You can paddle board, kayak, and do yoga classes on a paddle board as well but we decided to be lazy so swimming and snorkeling were our activities of choice.

The Kahala is also home to Aracino, one of the best Italian restaurants we’ve ever been to.  We had the 5 course meal with wine pairing and could hardly believe how delicious everything was.  The service was amazing as well and they were able to answer all Tyler’s questions about the meal (he’s an aspiring chef so there were many questions!).  If you’re on Oahu, I highly recommend coming here for dinner.  It’s one of the top 3 meals I’ve ever had so this is an absolute must-visit in my book.

Overall, The Kahala has everything a relaxing Hawaiian resort should have.  I did not want to go home at all after staying here.  I mean, life is good but there’s just something about a vacation that makes everything even rosier.  5 stars Kahala… 5 stars…

You would have found me in this position often

You would have found me in this position often

The Grand Entrance of The Kahala Resort

The Grand Entrance of The Kahala Resort

Super excited about the view for our balcony

Super excited about the view for our balcony

I loved watching the sea turtles swim

I loved watching the sea turtles swim

The view from our balcony

The view from our balcony

Sunset in Oahu

Sunset on the balcony

Sunrise in Oahu

Sunrise on the balcony

Swimming Pool at the Kahala

Look at those people doing that exercise thing *sips mimosa*

Look at those people doing that exercise thing *sips mimosa*

There's a gorgeous wall of orchids that leeds down to the beach

There’s a gorgeous wall of orchids on the way down to the beach