New Year, Old Traditions

Growing up I spent a handful of New Year’s in Rio de Janiero on Copacabana beach, where my mom is originally from. Brazilian tradition involves wearing all white on New Year’s Eve to symbolize peace and renewal. It also includes putting flowers into the ocean as a gift to the goddess of the sea & to bring good luck into the new year. These traditions date back to the 1500’s. Ever since I’ve lived in San Francisco I’ve made it a point to take advantage of my close proximity to the ocean & walk out into the water on new years. There’s something so peaceful about going to the beach & thinking about the whole year to come.

I’ve spent the past five new years working in the ER. I always choose to work NYE for a few reasons: 1. it’s endlessly entertaining in the ER 2. I love my coworkers & we bring a ton of food & decorations & have lots of fun 3. I want to have Christmas off so I always volunteer to work on NYE.

Turning the page on 2017 & going into 2018 is so exciting. 2017 was filled with so many wonderful memories. We spent an incredible two weeks exploring Spain & Portugal, we enjoyed SF Giants spring training in Scottsdale for my birthday, we saw friends get married, camped in Timber Cove, found out in late summer we’d be having a baby & so much more! I’m excited & anxious for the year to come, I know it will be our biggest one yet! With everything on the horizon, it feels good to lean on old traditions. Even though this past weekend I’ve been combating a terrible head cold while working 11 hour nights I’m so glad we made a point to get to the beach & throw our flowers in the water. I can’t wait to do it next year with our baby in tow.

Happy New Year! I’d love to hear what some of your New Year traditions are, leave them in the comments below.

Ocean Beach Adventures

^^ no one can throw driftwood for the dog like Chris can 🙂

This weekend we changed up our normal beach routine, instead of heading over to Baker Beach, we decided to venture a little further & hit up Ocean Beach.  Baker is super close to our apartment & has sweeping views of the Golden Gate so it’s our usual go-to. The weather this weekend was SO beautiful that we knew Baker Beach would be saturated with tourists and locals alike so we decided to try & find a spot with a little more room for Juno to run around. We went to the south end of beach & it ended up being perfect! I think spring may have finally sprung in San Francisco & hopefully we’re past all the non stop rain. All this warm weather & sunshine makes me so happy & excited for summer! Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesdays with Ocean Beach


  
  
  
  

My favorite time to visit Ocean Beach is mid week when you share the 3 miles of beach with just a handful of people. I swear there were more people in the water than on the actual beach itself on Tuesday. After living here for 7 years Ocean Beach just never loses it’s appeal, even when it’s foggy and cold I still think it’s one of the best / most beautiful places in the city. Tuesday was a perfect day to head to the beach in sweatshirt with a good book in tow. Above are some of the photos that were captured on this spur of moment beach trip. Hope you enjoy.

Monday Through Friday – Kauai Edition 

 

This past March I was lucky enough to spend a week in Kauai with my best friend. We are both nurses and have flexible schedules that allow a Monday through Friday vacation to happen, unlike my husband who spends m-f in the office.

If you’ve never been to Hawaii, GO! I was certainly skeptical before my first trip, having traveled to Brazil multiple times as a young adult I thought I knew what a real “beach vacation” was. Hawaii however is spectacular in it’s own ways, not to mention the fact that it’s significantly easier and more affordable to travel to than most tropical locations.  If you are traveling from the west coast you can typically find some great deals on airfare to the islands. For more details on how we managed to make our trip affordable see the Real Talk Section down below.

Some background on Kauai, it’s the most tropical of all the Hawaiian Islands and the northern most point is actually considered one of the rainiest points in the world. However don’t let that deter you, sun can be found easily by traveling south. With all the rain Kauai sees it’s incredibly lush and green, which made it the perfect setting for the filming of the original Jurrasic Park! In fact you can even take a helicopter tour to the Jurassic Park waterfall.  

Nearly the entire eastern border of Kauai is unreachable by car. The eastern side is made of sheer cliffs and canyons, known as the Napali Coast. Just because you can’t drive along it doesn’t mean you can’t experience the breathtaking views. On our trip we explored both by foot and by land. 

I have to say my number one Kauai recommendation is hiking along the Napali Coast. Not only are the views are incredible, but you are surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. I will mention that we only hiked about 4 miles in, although the trail continues on for many more miles for those who are eager enough to tackle more, and for those who are more prepared than we were! (oops for not bringing enough food / water – rookie mistake). 

The Napali Coast Trailhead. The parking lot for the state park can fill up quickly, so getting there early is a good idea, although we were able to park in a dirt lot about 0.5 miles from the trailhead.

 
Much of the trail looks like this, it can be very muddy / slippery in spots. Old shoes are definitely recommended. We saw many people hiking in sandals, i would not recommend this, I’ll add those people looked fairly unhappy.

 
Another example of the slippery / wet terrain.

 
Aside from the trail being muddy & slick, much of the trail has breathtaking views of the sheer cliffs like this one, definitely worth the price of admission.

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Some of the vivid botanicals seen along the hike! 

 
Parts of this hike can be very steep & rocky. My partner in crime hiking down one of the steeper parts of the trail. When we researched the hike, there was little mention of the difficulty / trail conditions. Luckily for us we wore appropriate shoes & are generally in shape. But I definitely felt bad for those who were surprised by the tough conditions.

 

By the end of the hike our shoes were pretty much done for. Luckily there is a shower  / faucet for you to rinse off. I’d strongly recommend a change of clothes and shoes though.

   
One of our days we spent on a guided boat tour, exploring the Napali Coast from the Southern end. It’s canyons and cliffs for miles.  You can tell by the photos the day we went out wasn’t the sunniest. The water was actually quite rough and we weren’t able to explore the caves but it’s on my list for next time. We did manage to see packs of dolphins and whales so can’t complain! 

 Another Kauai highlight – the best snorkeling can be found easily off shore, no need for expensive boat tours. We found excellent snorkeling at Poipu Beach, located south. It’s a safe well populated beach location that does have on duty lifeguards as well for those who are nervous about ocean swimming.  

Poipu Beach – where the snorkeling photos below took place!

  

Enough fish for ya?!

 
On our trip we rented an Airbnb near Lydgate Beach, which is located on the western side of the island about halfway between Poipu and Princeville. We were able to catch both a spectacular sunrise and sunset at Lydgate Beach.

Full moons & headstands.  

Can you tell I was excited to be celebrating my belated birthday on the beach!?

The morning before our flight we forced our nightshift bodies to wake up early and catch the sunrise. A must if you’re in Hawaii. 

One of the most gorgeous sunrises I’ve been lucky enough to capture.   

My best friend makes for not only an excellent travel companion but she’s a great model 🙂

  

Real Talk

We made this trip economical by booking on off season and were able to find a good deal on our flights. We also found an airbnb that was minutes from Lydgate beach and only ran us about $50 / person / night! having an Airbnb makes meals significantly less expensive than staying at hotel or resort. We went to a nearby grocery store and bought simple things for breakfast as well as wine / beer.  Food can be one of the most expensive additional costs to any vacation, so being able to store / prepare your own food can help save big bucks!

Hope you enjoyed this peak at our Hawaiian getaway  🙂

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT

 |  San Francisco Based  |  ER Nurse  |  Etsy Shop Owner  |

Featuring photos of: San Francisco | Travel | Botanicals | Culinary Successes | Etsy Creations

& anything else my Cannon can capture.

Find me on Instagram: Nopa_Love

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