Road-tripping from Colorado to Washington…and back again

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As I mentioned in my previous post, our Christmas in Washington was awesome!
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On our drive up to Washington, we decided to take a different route than the one that we took when we first arrived in Colorado. We thought that it was too much of a risk to drive through Montana and northern Idaho with the snowy weather and mountain passes. So this time around we drove north in to Wyoming, then west into Utah, then into Idaho and Oregon and finally crossing north in to Washington.

It was a long 2 day drive, but the views were absolutely incredible!
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We’ve both decided that even from the small part of Utah that we got to see, that it looks like a beautiful state and we wouldn’t mind moving there! We also stopped in Boise Idaho for a short while and decided that it looked like a cool city with a beautiful backdrop of foothills.
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Below are some photos that we took during our road trip.

I hope you enjoy them 🙂
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Christmas 2015- A Family Affair

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This Christmas was truly the best Christmas that I’ve had in a long time! Living abroad is an amazing adventure but it’s always the hardest at Christmas time, not being able to spend it with your family.

This year both myself and Jason were feeling pretty down about not being able to be with our families, so we decided to risk the snowy roads and drive up to Washington to be with Jason’s family.
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Honestly, it was the BEST decision that we’ve made in a while!

Once we arrived at Jason’s sisters house it was like we had magically landed in Narnia! Snow was falling, there were beautiful evergreen trees everywhere and once inside her house it was so festive.
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She was making cookies and Christmas movies were playing while their beautiful Christmas tree lit up in the corner. It was perfect!
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We spent our first few days just playing in the snow with Jason’s niece and enjoying our time away from job searching and other frustrating things that happen when you move to a new city.
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Then on Christmas eve all of Jason’s family came to his sisters house to celebrate Christmas a day early. Jason’s mom and some of his siblings still didn’t know that we were going to be there so it was a lovely surprise for them, especially his mom, to see us and the Elliott siblings were all together for Christmas for the first time in five years!
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We had such a wonderful day, the snow was falling outside, the views from Ambers house were just magical.
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We ate so much food, I introduced the family to Christmas Crackers and we all exchanged secret santa gifts by the Christmas tree. I think I had a perma-smile on my face for the entire day because it was absolutely perfect.
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That evening we drove to Soap Lake, where Jason’s parents live, to spend Christmas day with them.

On Christmas morning we woke up and opened our presents in the guesthouse that we were staying in. Afterwards we went to Jason’s parents house to watch the kids open presents, cook an Irish breakfast, laze around, eat a great ham dinner and play board games.
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It was such a wonderful Christmas, definitely one to remember…even if it did take 2 days to get there and another 2 days to get back!
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My Top 5…Moments of 2015

IMG_7947Oops, I’m a bit late with creating this post since it’s already over a week into 2016, but I guess late is better than never!

 

2015 was an incredible year and one that I won’t forget anytime soon! Myself and Jason are, for the first time, heading in to a new year with so much uncertainty and a bit of fear. I hope that 2016 ends up being an amazing year, but for now I’m going to focus on how great 2015 was.

So here are my top 5 moments of 2015:

5. WWOOFing in Washington

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This was a great chance for both myself and Jason to firmly leave our comfort zones. We worked hard, learned a lot and most importantly had fun while working at Paradisos Del Sol Winery in Zillah Washington.

I highly recommend WWOOFing to anyone interested in getting off the beaten path and seeing the world in a unique way.wpid-img_20151003_084246.jpg

4. Weekend trip to Seattlewpid-img_20150910_074009.jpg

For Jasons birthday I got him tickets to see the Mariners play baseball. That, coupled with the gourmet food tour that our friend Ian gave us, created an awesome weekend full of fun memories that I’ll cherish for a long time to come!wpid-img_20150908_120110.jpg

3. Beomosa Temple Stay

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What an incredible experience! We got to live in a temple for the weekend, meditate, pray, eat and drink tea like monks. We also learned a lot about Buddhism and were able to clear our minds for that wonderful weekend. IMG_9292

2. Finally Spending Christmas with Family

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It had been 6 years since I’ve spent Christmas with any family. Both myself and Jason were getting down in Denver thinking about spending another Christmas alone, so we made the decision to load up the car, drive 2 days to Washington and spend the most incredible 2 weeks with his family! We even had a white Christmas…it was so perfect and gave our spirits a badly needed lift.
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1. Our honeymoon in Singapore and Bali

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Ever since myself and Jason got engaged we both knew that if we had to choose, we wanted our honeymoon to be the highlight instead of the wedding. At the end of the day, we care way more about travel and experiences than we do about dresses and place settings so we did exactly that, had a low key wedding and enjoyed the most wonderful 2 weeks in both Singapore and Bali. We splashed out and stayed in an amazing villa with a private pool in Ubud and the memories from our honeymoon are going to stay in my mind forever.wpid-img_20150224_073315.jpg

 

So there we have it, my top 5 moments of 2015. It was so nice to look back on them while writing this.

How about you? What are your favorite memories of 2015??

 

A WWOOFing Experience!

wpid-fotor_144570817906154.jpgMyself and Jason spent a week WWOOFing in Washington state recently. I guess before I go any further, I should explain what exactly WWOOF is. WWOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. You can work on an organic farm and learn all about farming in exchange for a place to stay and all of your meals.wpid-img_20150929_111024.jpg

It’s a great concept that allows people to work on farms all over the world. It is very popular in Australia and New Zealand but you can find it everywhere!

Myself and Jason had been wanting to do something like this for some time. We both really want to learn more about growing our own fruit and vegetables and hope to become more self sufficient over time.wpid-img_20151003_084246.jpg

So how does it work?

Well every country has their own country specific website. For the WWOOF USA website, you must pay a year subscription of $40. This allows you to see all of the farms that are looking for WWOOFers throughout America, gives a description of them all and allows you to contact them.

While searching for farms, it was exciting to see all of the opportunities that were available to us, goat farms, fruit and vegetable farms, animal farms, ranches and wineries.

We ended up choosing to WWOOF at a winery. Why? well they actually called themselves a farmery as they had animals, vegetables and grapevines on their farm so we figured that it would be a great learning opportunity.

After making contact and introducing ourselves, we agreed on a date that we would work for them. We would work a 20 day work week (about 4 hours a day) but if we wanted to work any hours over that then we would be paid a bottle of wine an hour…it sounded great to us! Also, they love dogs and Willy was more than welcome to join us.

So the winery that we worked for was called Paradisos Del Sol and it was located in Zillah in Washington State. It was owned by a great couple, Paul and Barbara. Paul taught us so much about the winemaking process, including how to properly taste wine.

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When our workdays were over we spent our days tasting wine at the other nearby wineries (there were about 15 on their road alone!).wpid-fotor_14457084315716.jpg

wpid-fotor_144570813949491.jpgWhat did our days look like?

Every morning and evening we “punched down” the red grapes that were busy fermenting.

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wpid-fotor_144570797468982.jpgOn our first day we did the final harvest of grapes, so it involved a long day of picking grapes, but it was fun to see the different types of grapes that make different types of wines and to taste them all.wpid-fotor_14457082214857.jpg

Day two, we took the grapes that we had picked and brought them to a bigger winery to use a machine that detaches the grapes from the stems and gets the juice out of them.wpid-fotor_144570826420837.jpg

Day three, we spent the day picking hops. Jason makes beer so it was fun for him to see some fresh hops, Paul even gave us a box full of them to bring home with us!wpid-img_20150930_092656.jpg

wpid-fotor_144570837645052.jpgDay four and five were spent taking bird netting off of the vines. Because they are organic, they can’t use any pesticides or chemicals on their grapes so the netting helps to keep animals out.wpid-img_20151003_183347.jpg

Before we knew it, it was time to leave. We loved our time on the farm, it taught me that I actually quite enjoy repetitive tasks. Willy loved being a farm dog for the week and we loved the tranquility of the area…will we WWOOF again??wpid-fotor_144570805648812.jpg

ABSOLUTELY!

A Baseball Game With a Difference

wpid-fotor_144399349067166.jpgWay back in March I was struggling trying to come up with an amazing 30th birthday gift for Jason…I got to celebrate mine in style in Bali so how could I ever come close to that?!wpid-img_20150224_073315.jpg

After lots of searching I decided to get him some baseball tickets to go see the Seattle Mariners in Safeco Field. While I was looking at all of the tickets and the different prices, I stumbled across the Diamond Club. Once I read about it, I knew that that was the perfect gift for him!wpid-fotor_144399368072864.jpg

So, what is The Diamond Club? Well, it’s much more than just a baseball ticket, it’s an experience! The Diamond Club is the first 20 seats right around the diamond. They are the best seats in the house…but when you buy these tickets you get a whole lot more included in the price.

So here’s a breakdown of what you get:

  • Free parking at the stadium.
  • A free gourmet all you can eat buffet before the game starts.
  • Free alcohol and soft drinks throughout the game.
  • When the game starts you get waiter service to get you free game food and snacks so that you don’t have to miss a thing.
  • A whole wall of sweets and candies to choose from as well as ice-cream and popcorn.

wpid-fotor_144399378022277.jpgSo, a few weeks ago we finally got to use the tickets and let me say, even though the Mariners lost, Jason had an amazing time! We were four rows away from all of the action and he even got a wave from a few of his favorite players.wpid-fotor_144399387035355.jpg

The food…in one word, WOW.wpid-fotor_144399354029099.jpg

The buffet had an impressive salad bar, with so many amazing options. They had ribs, pork, beef, chicken and fish and then so many incredible cakes and pies as well as a chocolate fountain with strawberries for dipping. (I’m sorry, the photos that I took were shockingly bad, so you’ll just have to use your imagination)

We were so stuffed before the game even began, but we did manage to use the waiter service during the game to order some garlic fries.wpid-fotor_144399383389727.jpg

The drinks were also impressive, I had a mojito with my food and then drank alcoholic cider throughout the game. Jason drank the different craft beers that were on offer.wpid-fotor_144399358935628.jpg

We had such a fun day and it was so cool to be right up the front and to be so close to all of the action!wpid-fotor_144399373485880.jpg

They are expensive tickets but well worth it for a special occasion!

Where to buy the tickets:

I got my tickets on http://www.stubhub.com. They were electronically delivered and seemed cheaper than any other places.

A Quick Update


Hi everyone!

I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, we’ve been crazy busy with our international move, but I wanted to give you a quick update as to what is going on in our lives right now. So, we have been in America for the last two weeks, in that time we have bought a car, spent a weekend in Seattle, where we went to a Mariners game (baseball) and did a food tour. We also had a great party last Saturday with all of Jason’s family to celebrate our homecoming. We ate so much food and had TWO beautiful cakes! It was the first time that all of them were together in about five years, the sun shone and everyone had a great time.

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Our car!

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Jason’s family…I feel very lucky to call all of them my family now.

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Our flight from Korea went pretty smooth, Willy was a champ and when we went to collect him from the baggage area, his tail was wagging like crazy. We are now staying with Jason’s sister, Amber, in her beautiful home here in Spokane WA. She has a huge forest as her back garden so Willy is loving the freedom (although he doesn’t understand that he can go out by himself)wpid-img_20150910_103617.jpg wpid-img_20150912_113352.jpg

We aren’t too sure how long we’ll be staying here in Spokane. We are both busy looking for jobs in Denver and are ready to move there as soon as possible.

We’ve been back and forth on moving to Denver, it’s been our dream for the longest time but then we got a bit worried because the rent is so expensive there right now. We were considering Seattle too and the weather was so great when we visited, but overall I don’t think that either of us could handle the cloudy rainy weather.

So we are back on to our initial plan to take the risk and move to Denver…it’s going to be an exciting few months!

I’ll write about our trip to Seattle in a separate post because it was so good!

A couple of days in Seattle

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The beautiful Seattle skyline.


Seattle is an awesome city! I’m lucky enough that my husband is from Washington State so I got to visit Seattle while visiting his family. I must admit that I wasn’t very excited about seeing Seattle. It’s not usually mentioned as much as the other big cities in the US (New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco) and when it is talked about the “rain” word usually makes an appearance.

Being from Ireland I wasn’t too excited about visiting the American version of our weather, I had had 25 years of rain and I think that’s enough!

But as luck would have it, it never rained while we were there and we had an amazing time! If it wasn’t for the weather (and the cost of living) I’d live there in a shot!

We visited just after Christmas so the city was alight with beautiful Christmas lights and there was a crisp chill in the air. We are usually used to slumming it and were expecting to stay in a hostel but luckily Jasons sister Amber had booked a beautiful room in the Sheraton for us as a Christmas present. It was amazing we were right in the center of everything. She even gave us vouchers for different restaurants so that we had a place to eat dinner every night.

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The view from our room.

 

We spent a couple of days in Seattle and managed to fit in as much as possible in those days! On our first day we looked out our window and were pleasantly surprised by sunny blue skies. We decided that it would be the perfect time to visit the famous Space Needle. We got the light rail over there and once we got to the top I was mesmerized by the beautiful views! Unfortunately it was unbelievably windy outside so as you can see from the photo it was tough to even open your eyes outside.

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Myself and Jason on the light rail.
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It was so windy, but worth it for that view!
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The Space Needle.
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Beautiful Seattle.

 

After visiting the space Needle we decided to visit the Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum which is situated right next to the space needle. Washington is a state that has produced some amazing talent over the years and this museum celebrates the music from the area. It had a lot of Nirvana memorabilia including their first demo tape. We spent a couple of hours wandering around the museum and found out some interesting facts. Jason especially loved the EMP because he’s a big fan of Nirvana, he found it enthralling learning all about them.

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Jason inside the EMP.
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A ticket from Nirvanas last ever concert.

 

That evening we visited the Aquarium which was okay but nothing too spectacular. I think there are probably other ways to spend your time in Seattle but it was a fun couple of hours all the same. The view from that area of the city was incredible though.

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This is the view from the Aquarium…amazing!

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We had a great first day in Seattle and were excited for day 2 when we would be doing an underground tour of what Seattle used to be like in the old days!