A Babymoon in Paris

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View from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. 

Paris is always a good idea. Especially when you’re five-going-on-six months pregnant. Last month, my husband spoiled me by taking me on a trip to Paris. We wanted to enjoy a fun trip together before our first baby arrives in March and debated endlessly on where to go. We visited Paris two years ago over Christmas and had a wonderful time. After some research, we found some great flight/hotel deals to Paris and decided to go for it (perks of traveling to Europe in November: off-season prices!)

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Discovering Dayton & Five Favorite Places

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View of downtown Dayton.

Now that we’ve lived in Dayton for two whole months, I’ve been able to explore some of the city’s famous landmarks and better understand the place they call “Gem City”. The history of this area is so fascinating, especially as its pivotal role as the birthplace of aviation.

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Three Midwest Myths Busted

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View of downtown Dayton and Miami River.

Now that I’ve been a Ohioan for a whole month, I’d like to bust some myths that my West Coast friends and acquaintances have been asking me about living in Dayton. To be fair, not everyone on the West Coast thinks these stereotypes are true. But most of my friends have never been to the Ohio, so there is a general curiosity/confusion. I’ve been receiving the same three questions often enough that I felt it was only fair to address them head-on:

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Ohio, We Have Arrived

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Our new Dayton home.

West has officially landed in the Midwest. I’ve been meaning to write this post sooner, but the cross-country move wiped me out more than I thought it would. Good news is H and I have been in Dayton a little less than a month and it feels like we’re starting to settle in. All the moving boxes have been unpacked, we’ve made the mandatory pilgrimage to Ikea (twice so far), and purchased more area rugs than I’ve ever seen in my life (the flip side of living in a modern apartment…those concrete floors).

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Orcas Island Weekend Travel Guide

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How stunning is this view? Picture taken from Doe Bay on Orcas Island. 
When friends ask me what my favorite spot in Washington is outside of Seattle, without a beat, I always enthusiastically answer, “Orcas Island!”. If you’re unfamiliar, Orcas Island is the largest island in the San Juan Islands and is located in northwestern Washington. I liken it to a Northwest version of Hawaii. The island is covered with lush vegetation and evergreen trees, while surrounded by the deep blues of Puget Sound. It has that magical power that makes you feel worlds away, when actually it’s just a short weekend trip from Seattle.

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Three Things Making Me Happy This Week

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Creamy Carrot Farrotto topped with an arugula-carrot salad and parmesan. Recipe courtesy of The Skinnytaste Cookbook. Easy to make and delicious!

I don’t know about you, but this week has felt a little off. Perhaps it was the surprise firing of the FBI Director, which I cannot stop reading or listening about. Or maybe it’s that Seattle still cannot figure out whether it’s winter or spring. Or it could be that we were out-of-town last weekend for a friend’s wedding in Cincinnati, which was loads of fun but always throws things out-of-rhythm.

Despite the topsy-turviness of this week, these three little things are making me happy. Nothing revolutionary, but I like to share a good thing when I see/cook/read/watch it!

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It’s Gonna Be May and Moving Update

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Praying those April showers are a thing of the past. It’s time for May!

May has finally arrived. After a seemingly endless winter, signs of spring are starting to slowly pop up in Seattle. The flowers are nearly full bloom. The temperature has crept up into the occasional 60s. My down coat has officially moved towards the back of my closet. And that Justin Timberlake meme is now everywhere.

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Healthy Almond Date Granola Bars Recipe

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Dates, honey, oats, almond butter, and almonds. That’s it! 

In case you couldn’t tell, I have a thing for granola bars and almonds. I’ve been on the hunt for a healthy, satisfying granola bar that combines a sweet chewy texture and the satisfying crunch of almonds. Folks, I’m happy to report I found the recipe that fits the bill.

These bars are a perfect concoction of sweet dates and honey mixed with oats, almond butter, and almonds. That’s only five ingredients. Compared to store bought granola bars that contain 20-plus ingredients that I can’t pronounce the names of, I’ll take these any day! Plus, these bars are no-bake so no oven is required. They’re a great breakfast or snack on-the-go, or even a healthy dessert treat. You’ll love them!

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Top 5 Northwest Weekend Road Trips

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Taking in the views at Ebey’s Landing on Whidbey Island.

There’s nothing more I love than a good weekend road trip with my husband H. Busting out our old high school CD case and singing along to all the classic jams. (The original NOW! That’s What I Call Music CD is my personal favorite.) Sitting in the passenger seat and not being able to move my legs because they are covered by an overabundance of water bottles and snacks that would last anyone weeks. (You can never be over prepared.) It’s the journey, not the destination people!

But I digress. We are lucky to live in Seattle where there are so many unique and beautiful places to visit that are within a short driving distance. Now that the countdown clock is ticking towards our move date to Ohio, I am hurrying to book trips to some of our favorite places. Here’s a list of our top five favorite Northwest weekend road trips:

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Almond Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe (Gluten-Free)

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Meet your new favorite cookie!

Say that name five times fast. I know, the cookie name is a doozy but when you taste this trifecta of ingredients you’ll understand why it’s essential to include all three in the title. The rich almond meal base is highlighted by sweet chocolate chips and hearty coconut flakes, with coconut oil bringing all the ingredients together. (Excuse me while I eat another cookie after writing that sentence.)

Did I mention these cookies are 100 percent gluten-free? I do not eat a gluten-free diet personally, but I do have some friends with celiac disease and these cookies have become my go-to recipe for them. But don’t just dismiss this recipe for just for gluten-free eaters, as gluten eaters love these cookies just the same. I made a batch for my parents while they were in town last week and they were devoured in one sitting.

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