Last month Nick and I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Peru and hike to Machu Picchu, and at the end of the trip as we debriefed our time we both decided with absolute confidence that we wouldn't have changed a thing. The trip was a dream from beginning to end, and we had the very best time.

We planned our trip through OneSeed Expeditions and couldn't recommend them more highly. In my early 20's I was more of a budget traveler and preferred to blaze my own trail. These days, I want someone to pick me up from the airport, plan out every detail of my trip, and if a fancy hotel is included in one of the days, you won't hear me complaining. Oneseed met and exceeded all of our expectations. If you are looking to go on a trip, you should check them out immediately. 

Now as to our trip...

We explored Cusco, drank craft beer in the Sacred Valley, considered eating guinea pig for about .5 seconds, really utilized our hiking poles on the Salkantay trek, hung out with our fair share of llamas and alpacas (and learned the difference between the two), reached the highest altitude of my life (15,200 feet), ate like kings per our incredible cook, became very familiar with our waterproof hiking gear, spent time with our amazing guide Juan Carlos, learned the ins and outs of harvesting coffee beans with Freddie Loco, finally made it to Machu Picchu and felt the magic and wonder of it all, soaked in every second of our time together, and documented like my life depended on it (as is my custom).

So in case you like seeing pictures of someone else's vacation (I know most people don't, so just humor me), here are some of my favorites (you know there's obviously much, much more). I feel so grateful that Nick and I had this opportunity (major thanks to Nick's parents who watched Nora while we were away), and I tried my best not to take any moment for granted.

Until our next adventure...

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury

nora madeline grace lesley: personal.

In the past month my life has been turned completely upside down. 

Nora Madeline Grace Lesley joined our family on June 30th (exactly 2 weeks after her due date), and I know for certain that nothing will ever be the same. 

It's difficult for me to put into words what it means to be Nora's mom. Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed at how much I love her. Other times I feel like a crazy person when I'm trying my best to figure out why she's crying or how to just get her to sleep already. And other times I wonder if we will have enough money to buy all the bows that she clearly needs to be wearing at every second. It's been a wild ride, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 

One thing is for certain though...this little girl is going to be my new muse. I hope she likes getting her photo taken because this is clearly just the beginning.

Here are some of my favorites from our first month together...

vietnam and cambodia: personal.

A few months ago, Nick and I saw a promotion online for cheap tickets to Vietnam, where our friend Allison has been teaching for the last couple of years. It took about 2 minutes for us to decide that we were in! We’ve been so fortunate to take an international trip once a year since we’ve been together, and we wanted to keep that tradition going.

Nick knew that since we were already going to be in southeast Asia, we had to put Ankor Wat on our itinerary, so thus the Vietnam and Cambodia trip was born.

Minus a slight hiccup at the very start of the trip where Frontier thought it was a good idea to cancel our first flight to LA and we had to book with Southwest last minute (oh, and Nick lost his ID during the whole ordeal), the rest of our trip was pretty much perfect.

We spent a few days in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam following all of Allison’s recommendations, then took a short flight over to Siem Riep where we spent a few days with our amazing tour guide exploring Ankor Wat, and then it was back to Vietnam for the last leg of our trip, where we were able to celebrate Allison’s birthday and spend time relaxing and “babymooning” at the beach.

I think the best part of the trip though was just spending so much time with Nick. Life can get crazy and busy and full of little things that end up taking a lot of time and before you know it, it’s been way too long since you’ve spent quality time with the person you love the most. So beyond the breathtaking sites, delicious food, and photo worthy moments, it was the time we spent together, exploring the world, that I will cherish the most.

 If a picture is really worth a thousand words, these should give you a good idea of what our trip was like.


deep in the heart of texas.

ahhh, summer. the gift that just keeps on giving...when you're a teacher.

fortunately, i've never known a summer without a couple months off, and i hope and pray that i will never have to.

this summer i started off my travels with a trip with my friend kim to the great state of texas. we flew into austin, drove to san antonio, and ended the week in houston. in austin, we stayed with my wonderful friend jamie and her adorable family, spent most of our time on south congress ave., ate as much ice cream as possible, tried to keep hope alive in the midst of oppressive humidity, waited for hours to see millions of bats fly out from under a bridge, "learned" how to two step, and gave ourselves a tour of UT in the pouring rain. 

in san antonio we stayed with kim's cousins, ate (too much) delicious food, strolled along the beautiful river walk (just like the bachelorette), and remembered the alamo. 

we planned to head to the beach next, but our plans got interrupted by tropical storm bill and a whole lot of rain. never fear though! mathis, texas has a la quinta inn, complete with a gym and a continental breakfast! so it was pretty much the same as the beach. 

we ended our adventures in houston, where kim met up with one of her college friends and i spent the weekend with my wonderful family. it has been years since we had all been together, and i don't think words are adequate to describe how good it felt to be with them. the only way i can think to describe it is that it just felt like coming home. 

not only did i spend quality time with my aunts, uncles, and cousins in houston, but my sister and i got to visit our grandma who has advanced alzheimer's disease. although she couldn't talk and didn't know that we were her granddaughters, there was something so special about looking into her eyes, telling her we loved her, and giving her a kiss on the head to say goodbye. we played a song she love, gave her oreos, and filled her room with a lot of love and laughter.

i am so thankful for great friends, family, adventures, and the gift of time.

what a gift it is.