All posts tagged: nature

sakura.

I went to Japan! Kicking off Japan posts today. ūüôā My number one reason to go to Japan in the Springtime: to see the sakura (cherry blossoms)! I followed the 2019 Sakura forecast on the interwebs and picked Nagano as my prefecture of choice for spotting the blooms (it worked out with the dates we were able to travel). I monitored the forecast up until we left for Japan, just in case we had to change any trips. The timing was perfect! We spotted so many different types of sakura. Here’s where we went: Garyu Park, Suzaka, Nagano, Japan The trees weren’t fully bloomed yet, but it was still worth the trip because the park was so peaceful. The reflection on the water made for some postcard-worthy shots. We enjoyed food on sticks from a local vendor and strolled around the pond. Ueda Castle, Ueda, Nagano, Japan Here, the trees were in full bloom. So impressive! We arrived in the afternoon so it was a bit crowded with both tourists and locals, but it was …

sunnies and snacks.

I love planning events, trying my hand at making different foods to share, and setting up activities for friends to try. For birthmonth I threw a picnic party – great friends and yummy snacks all afternoon made for a fun and relaxing day. For snacks I made tabbouleh, a green salad with tahini lemon dressing, sunomono cucumber salad, veggie wraps, and French onion dip. I also gathered shortbread cookies, nuts, mandarins, blackberries, chips, and black sesame crackers. My new fave (accidentally made) snack: what I’m dubbing “tabbouleh nachos” topped with Greek yogurt French onion dip. I can’t wait to make it again! I set up some crafty play stations – origami and photo decorating. Plus park friendly activities – bubbles, lawn bowling, dominos, and sportsballs (Hubby taught me how to properly throw a football!). My niece also brought the Bean Boozled jelly bean game. Gross fun! And party favors because that’s how I roll: everyone got a pair of sunnies. More picnics please! What are some of your go-to picnic foods and activities? Do share!

butterfly in the sky.

I was lucky enough to see the monarch butterflies while they were at their overwintering site at Ardenwood Historic Farm in Newark. As part of “butterfly season” the farm hosts monarch butterfly info sessions in December and January where you can learn all about monarchs, their life cycle, their migration patterns, and how we can help sustain their habitats and food sources. I probably learned about the life cycle in grade school, but hearing about the different stages from an Ardenwood docent was a different experience and I learned so much! After the lesson, docents take you out to the overwintering site to see the butterflies in person. Butterflies in the sky! And they’re up in this tree, I promise! I’m not one for insects, but butterflies are a definite exception. Monarch butterflies are fascinating! They migrate from Canada down to California or Mexico (depending on what side of the Rocky Mountains they reside) and back. It takes 3-5 generations of butterflies to complete the full migration loop. Each generation lives for 2-8 weeks, but …

flowerland.

Current project: planting a garden in our patio dirt. But first, inspiration! Flowerland is one of my favorite garden shops. From their retro marquee always sporting a fun quote to the colorful patio furniture, I find myself dreaming about my future garden every time I visit. A garden is a¬†place to relax and enjoy nature, a place for calm and mediation, a place for fun and celebrations. I feel all the feels when I visit this nursery. I could definitely use one of these gorgeous giant plants! They’ve for a great selection of indoor plants, too. We don’t have much of a garden right now, but we’ve got a little patch of land in our apartment patio. I’ve been ramping myself up to plant a brown-thumb friendly garden. Hoping to share more on that soon! What grows in your garden? Share, share, share!!

glenview gallivants. 

The East Bay is the best place for exploring neighborhoods and discovering all the flowers. There’s always something in bloom! The Hubs and I have put “walk new neighborhoods” on our list of fun things to do together. ūü§ó First up: the Glenview neighborhood of Oakland. See Glenview through my eyes…   Where should we explore next? Share your neighborhood stroll ideas below! 

roses are…not all red.

The roses are in full bloom at the State Capitol Park World Peace Rose Garden in Sacramento. I spent part of my afternoon strolling through the park, sitting, and enjoying the scenes. Look at all the¬†varieties in bloom! I especially enjoy¬†the roses that are¬†as¬†big as my face¬†and the ones that don’t look like “typical” roses. Which one is your favorite? Share below!

anniversary adventures.

My fianc√© and I celebrated our 8th love anniversary a few weekends ago by adventuring to the Sutro District and Land’s End in San Francisco. It was our first time, and it was spectacular. We felt like big kids playing in a (somewhat dangerous) playground.¬†¬†Our first stop was the Sutro Baths which used to be an indoor saltwater swimming pool complex pre-1967, but is now an historic site, popular amongst both locals and tourists. I for one, was extremely stressed out climbing on the ruins for fear of falling and hitting my head on something hard. But it was a must! The views are lovely. We continued our adventures through the cave and heart spotting.¬†Can you spot the hearts below? And then it was onwards towards Land’s End. This is a wonderful place to hike, explore, and spend time outdoors. Best part – you can’t get lost because most of the trails are loops, and there are plenty of signs and maps around. There are many places to stop for photos and enjoy the crashing …

our backyard.

I’m throwing back to the time my feyonc√© and I¬†explored Memorial Grove (Fall 2015). The view is lovely, especially on a clear day like this one. Ok, this isn’t really our backyard but it’s so close, it’s basically our backyard. We can see our apartment complex from up here! There are¬†patches of trees and scattered benches. Beware of poison oak and narrow pathways that look like trails – they aren’t trails! We got a good workout climbing back up a path we thought maybe led somewhere. Wherever you walk, you’re close to neighborhoods and roads. There were many people hiking around solo in this park. It’s the perfect local getaway when you need a simple nature break. We spotted a¬†rock spiral, too, and decided it would be a good idea to walk through. It wasn’t. We both got dizzy real fast. Whoops! On the way back home we found a smiley happy bush. Now that’s crafty! Where do you explore in your neighborhood? Share below!

volcano!

The outdoors! We finally had a weekend off and planned a little hike in Oakland. We adventured to Sibley Volcanic Regional Preserve. I’m not sure what I was expecting to see but when I heard we could hike on/near an old volcano I was convinced it was going to be awesome. The fog had taken over for most of the morning but as soon as we started on the trail the sun began to peak through. We didn’t have an exact path in mind; instead, we wandered around, deciding on forks in the road as we came across them. This is supposedly part of the old volcano wall (unless we read the map wrong). What do you see? A spade? A heart? It’s nice to get away from buildings and responsibility to recharge, even for a short while. I love breathing in the fresh air and admiring all the greenery. I wonder what this place looked like before the drought; maybe it was even more lush? I can’t wait for my next nature hike. There …