Portland

Oh Portland, how I love thee. 

Portland is one of those places we visit every year. Usually when the Phoenix heat is getting to be a bit extra (like in August/September). But last year we went for a visit in December! (um. brrr.)

Our friends who live there thought it would be good for us to see the more dreary weather of the PNW (because summer is pretty dang great and my husband would totally move there). But... as cold as it was... and gosh it was cold. It was sunny. Every. Single. Day. No rain the whole week we were there! Our friends were kinda amazed that it was literally raining until we got there and then started back up when we left.

It's like the place is luring us in I swear. 

Here are some snaps of our winter time in Portland. 

 

portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
At least we got ONE family photo;) (Thanks Jess!) And yes, I wore slippers. They're really comfy, and I'M PREGNANT, OKAY!

At least we got ONE family photo;) (Thanks Jess!) And yes, I wore slippers. They're really comfy, and I'M PREGNANT, OKAY!

portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
that "it's late and it's cold and I'm hungry" melt down.

that "it's late and it's cold and I'm hungry" melt down.

portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather
portland | © Alexandria Whitefeather

The Ringling Museum | Ca'D'Zan

We spent the day at the Ringling Museum a few weeks back and boy was it pretty. 

A few years ago my sister told me about this place and that we "had" to go. Well, we finally got to it, and I'm glad we did. The whole property was so beautiful. The trees. The flowers. The water. Oh, and the house. If you ever find yourself in Sarasota you should definitely make a stop here. There's so much inspiration to be found in The Ca'd'zan.

© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather
© Alexandria Whitefeather

You & Me

We were on a little road trip driving towards home. I looked over at B and couldn't help but feel lucky. Even though life can throw the weirdest curve balls, and things don't always go as planned, I get to have him by my side. 

Here are some words that ran though my head during our drive, and some blurry pictures too. 
Maybe it's all of the Dr. Suess books I'm reading these days... because honestly, I haven't written a poem (if that's what you call this?) since that one literature assignment in middle school. 

Night Drive | Alexandria Whitefeather

I'm not sure why I decided to share this. Maybe it's because we celebrated our anniversary last week and I'm feelin' extra mushy? Or maybe it's because I feel like the world needs to share a little more love? Either way, I hope you didn't mind all the extra cheese in todays post. I'll be back to the normal amount next week. Promise.  

night drive - Alexandria Whitefeather
night drive - Alexandria Whitefeather
night drive - Alexandria Whitefeather
night drive - Alexandria Whitefeather
night drive - Alexandria Whitefeather

Have a beautiful week friends.  

xo

Let's swim with Manatees + 3 Tips!

On our most recent trip to Florida we swam with manatees... and it was amazing.

Now, I have done this once before, but I saw like two, maybe three...

Maaayybe. 

B on the other hand had not done this before, and I honestly wasn't sure how he'd like it. He's not the "swim in open water where there may be large animals" kind. Especially in a state that is known for gators. I mean I get it, but without really planning it too carefully with him, I booked it! (And he loved it!!)

One of the things I wanted to avoid was a touristy excursion where there was no respect for the animals, so I'm very happy to say that our captain and guide was wonderful with this. He was pretty clear that we were visiting their home, and all interactions were up to the manatee. He was also great about educating us on all the animals we came across, and he and his partner even greeted us with a "manatee mocha" after coming out of the water (into the FREEZING air!). 

Thinking about taking a dip with these gentle giants?

Here are my 3 tips:

swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather

1. Go Early:
We woke up at 5, hit the road, and arrived around 6:45am. (for a 7am depart) Now before you roll your eyes.... the first reason I say this is because you will have a gorgeous sunrise to watch from the boat as you make your way out. And secondly, there will (probably) be less people! We were literally with 2 other people on the boat. And that was a total win to me! 

swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather

2. Embrace the cold:
When I first realized that the day I had booked this experience was going to be the COLDEST of our whole trip, I was pretty bummed. I mean 38 degrees is pretty ridiculous if you are from Florida, and going in the water was not what I wanted to do when I woke up that morning (hint: I wanted to hide under a heated blanket). BUT as far as increasing your chances of seeing more manatees, the coldest day of the year is your best bet. And it's totally worth it.

swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather

3. Have respect:
While we were out near the springs, I did notice another group approach the manatees. DO NOT DO THIS. Our captain was super cool with us touching them, BUT only if they approached us. He suggested that we just swim (with out kicking too much) and observe. So, B and I kept our distance, but that didn't mean we didn't get up close and personal. 

The manatees were very friendly and curious, and quite a few would swim right up to us... like REALLY close. At first I would try to back up, but our guide told me to just stay calm and still and let them do their thing. It was almost like the people who approached them got less interaction, because the manatees were likely to swim away. Actually several of the manatees that came right up to me (like to my face! or directly under me!) were ones that were trying to steer clear of grabby visitors. So, just keep chill and they will come. Besides, there's nothing like the organic approach of a large wild animal that's just as curious about you as you are of them. 

swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather
swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather
swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather
swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather
swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather
swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather
swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather
swimming with manatees | Alexandria Whitefeather

Special Thanks to Gulf Coast Expeditions for an awesome time!

(See the travel diary video HERE)

Camping in Big Sur

After being away for over a month, I'm just getting into the swing of things here at home, and it feels like 2017 has "officially" begun.

I've been taking a little time to reflect on last year, as well as make plans for the year ahead. And I couldn't help but think back on one of my favorite days in 2016... Thanksgiving Day.

We took a road trip up to Big Sur for the long weekend. It was a way for us to just enjoy nature and each other and not worry about what to cook, and where to be. It was simple, and beautiful and I couldn't have asked for a more special day to give thanks. 

We truly enjoyed it so much. Buddy even looked at me while we were driving home and said "let's do that again next year"... and you know what? We may just have to. The only thing I would do differently is pack a few extra blankets, because I tell ya what... that gorgeous place gets COLD at night. 

Little babe in our tent.

Little babe in our tent.

Our home for the weekend. 

Our home for the weekend. 

The colors in our tent at sunset were seriously magical! 

The colors in our tent at sunset were seriously magical! 

My babes.

My babes.

Smooches from my girl. 

Smooches from my girl. 

Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
This little girl picked purple flowers every morning.

This little girl picked purple flowers every morning.

Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Hiking...

Hiking...

Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
This hiking path was seriously amazing! So so pretty!! 

This hiking path was seriously amazing! So so pretty!! 

Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Ocean love!!

Ocean love!!

Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Thank God for a sis-in-law who brings a bunch of pre-pasted, disposable tooth brushes.... and thank God for that view!!!

Thank God for a sis-in-law who brings a bunch of pre-pasted, disposable tooth brushes.... and thank God for that view!!!

She did this a lot. Afternoon sun soaks with Story dog.

She did this a lot. Afternoon sun soaks with Story dog.

Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Thanksgiving dinner! Rosemary turkey sandwiches on pretzel rolls, garlic stuffed hasselback potatoes, stuffing, and mac and cheese. Just writing this makes me want a do over on this meal... pretty please. 

Thanksgiving dinner! Rosemary turkey sandwiches on pretzel rolls, garlic stuffed hasselback potatoes, stuffing, and mac and cheese. Just writing this makes me want a do over on this meal... pretty please. 

Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
So thankful for them. 

So thankful for them. 

Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather
Camping in Big Sur, California, Travel and Lifestyle Blog | Alexandria Whitefeather

(You can find the video diary of our weekend here!) 

Hope you all enjoyed the first week of 2017!

Here's to you and all your beautiful weeks ahead!! 

Cheers!