When you get sick of Seattle winters, you get out of town. Am I right? Since it costs $20 to fill up our gas tank, and we have a car we can sleep in the back of, we have been on the move constantly. The last time Ryan and I were on the Oregon Coast was our honeymoon 3 years ago in the dead of winter. It was crisp and cold, and we stayed inside the whole time. That's what honeymoons are for though ;) This time, we decided to see the whole coast, stop at all the cool spots, and hopefully get some sun. We started in Seattle and drove down along the coast. Such a beautiful drive, and so quick. I love that the coast can be so crisp and chilly, but so beautiful. It's very different from the Hawaiian coast we are used to, but I appreciate it nonetheless. We got a gorgeous sunset in Cannon Beach, and warm tshirt weather in Pacific City. Cape Kiwanda was our favorite place- warm sand dunes and rock cliffs to climb. That's our kind of playground. We splurged on a hotel one night because we didn't want to sleep on the side of the road in a sketchy town, and car camping in a camp site is lame and expensive. At least we got complementary breakfast in the morning and a shower. We stayed at my cousin's lake house in Lincoln City for couple days. On the third day, I started to feel really sick, and by that night I was on the couch, watching Lost with a fever and a million blankets on top of me. Ryan got sick the next day. It was the best though, laying in bed all day together watching Netflix. That's what vacation is all about. We ate an entire lasagne, meant to feed a family, in bed. Pasta really is comfort food, and I think it cured my illness. That and the gallons of oj I consumed. We hit up Portland on the drive home for some $6 Pad Thai from the food trucks, and a solid donut from Blue Star. Portland is weird, but they know how to make a donut right. I had a blueberry basil one and a marionberry chili filling with peanut butter powder on the outside. Whatttt. Try it, trust me.
I feel like we just came out of the dark, it's finally March! Winter is almost over! The cherry blossoms are blooming outside and it's warmer. I hope March brings us luck and hopefully what we have been waiting for will finally happen-a job, a home, a vision of our future. Crossing my fingers! This month's inspiration is clean, fresh, and blooming.
If you live in the Seattle area, chances are you have been to Rattlesnake Ridge. It is one of the most loved hikes in the PNW. For good reason too! It is beautiful. Ryan and I have been there a few times in the last couple months to take photos. The views from the top are incredible, and the very steep hike gets you in shape really fast!
Photos by Ryan Holtom | Edited by me
I'd love to hit up all the National Parks before I die, but I'm realizing the unlikeliness of that. However, we are at like 10 right now. On Monday, we returned to Mount Rainier National Park in Washington. Although we forgot our snow shoes, Ryan and I hiked up Paradise to breathtaking views of the mountains. It is so gorgeous up there with all the snow we've had this year. Everything is white, it's so clean and beautiful. The best part was that is was warm and sunny- t shirt weather! That feeling of being outside in fresh air, the quiet and peace with no one around, it's like nothing else. Freedom. Being the best day of the year-National Pizza Day, we ended with Dominos pizza and cinnamon sticks- just making sure we gain back all the calories we lost hiking ;)
Silky smooth love songs. The classics, the indie wedding songs, the cheesy songs about love at first sight and yelling from the rooftops love. It's all here. So many genres in this little list. Yay love! 3 days til the day of love. I don't care if you don't like Valentine's Day- you can't deny your love for some old lovey Whitney Houston.
1 | Painter-Valentine by Lapsley
2 | This Sweet Love by James Yuill
3 | Somewhere Only We Know by Keane
4 | I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons
5 | How Long Will I Love You by Jon Boden
6 | Friday, I'm in Love by The Cure
7 | All I Need by Radiohead (not available on Spotify)
8 | Truly Madly Deeping by Savage Garden
9 | Total Eclipse of The Heart by Bonnie Tyler
10 | Kiss Me by Sixpense None the Richer
11 | How Do I Live by Leann Rymes
12 | I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston
13 | Beautiful by Christina Aguilera
14 | Don't Find Another Love by Tegan and Sara
15 | Black Metal by Max Jury
Listen to it here
It's the month of loveeee. Instead of swooning over all the tacky Valentine's Day teddy bears, conversation hearts (although i do love them), commercialized cards and expensive flowers and diamonds. Lets focus on just LOVING- plain and simple. Show appreciation for your significant other or if you don't have one, make a homemade card for a neighbor or friend. This month is all about blush hues, bright neon pink screaming out "I love youuu!!" and deep, romantic red. Do something for your loved ones that show you know them, you listen to them, and you are lucky to have them in your life. You have 13 days, the countdown begins! Happy February!
When we were in college, we road tripped down with a group of friends to Moab, Utah for our Spring Break. We camped along the river, hiked during the day, cooked up big meals at night, and enjoyed southern Utah. Recently, Ryan and I returned to this favorite spot for a getaway just before Thanksgiving. We car camped this time inside Arches National Park, and it was a lot warmer than sleeping in a tent along the river. We had already seen all the big sites, so we enjoyed exploring and hanging out without the pressure of seeing everything. We grabbed pizza from our favorite place in town, and booked it back to our campsite to watch the sunset with dinner. Can't get much better than sunsets and pizza, can it? We climbed Double O arch, and met new friends along the way. The wind was out of control, so we enjoyed driving around and sightseeing from the car. Waking up to chilly, fresh air and views of red rock is one of my favorite things, not much compares to that feeling of freedom. Next time we will be back with mountain bikes!
Lately, we are Seattle dwellers. Enjoying the green pacific northwest, and trying to enjoy every minute of it. Last weekend, we took a trip to Whidbey Island and Deception Pass. Chilly ferry rides, isolated roads, and ocean views were magical. I live for spontaneous getaways.
JANUARY MIX TAPE
It's winter, in Seattle. It's raining, and cozy. This month's mixtape is full of sick beats, stuff that will make you dance in the DMV, and will make even the darkest people smile (with a couple cozy inside, baby makin' tunes thrown in). This is gooood stuff, enjoy.
1 | Shake Shake Go - England Skies
2 | Headlights - Robin Schultz (saw this one ^ live in Amsterdam-unnnnnreal)
3 | Petals - Basenji, Scenic
4 | Classic - The Knocks, feat. Powers
5 | Pumpin Blood - The Chainsmokers remix
6 | Beautiful World - Blaster Jaxx, dbstrf
7 | Sunset Lover - Petit Biscuit
8 | Tidal Wave - Sub Focus
9 | Roses - The Chainsmokers
10 | Disarm You - kaskade, Ilsey
11 | Hold on We're Going Home - ASTR
12 | Leaving You - Savoy
13 | Bodyache - Purity Ring
14 | Stole the Show - Kygo
15 | Faded - Alan Walker
Listen to it here
This month's inspiration comes from the moody Seattle weather- cozy, rainy, lushious. I am inspired by modern texture, plants, raw beautiful food, and earthy natural light. Lately, I have been doing a lot of sitting by the fire designing, sitting under a big fluffy comforter while watching movies with my hubbie, eating home cooked meals with grandparents, and wearing beanies, and shawls-aka socially acceptable blankets ;) It is the month of being inside, family time, and lots of design projects. I'm loving this time, even if I'm missing Hawaii 80% of the time. Happy Winter! Enjoy it while it lasts.
We took family photos a few days ago while everyone was home for the holidays. Sarah & Keegan flew in from Idaho, Ben & Kayla came from down the road, and Ryan & I came from visiting his parents in Utah. It's the first time we've been together since Sarah and Keegan got married. Taking group photos is tricky, especially when you take them with self timer. After this experience, I suggest taking them when it's warmer than 35 degrees outside, letting people wear whatever they want, picking a location beforehand, and get an actual photographer. Love these people. Everytime we are together, someone is crying from laughing so hard, we eat too much junk food, eat out a few too many times, go see all the movies playing in theater. We end up being forced into playing a board game that goes on far too long, making fun of our technologically impaired parents, snap-chatting embarrassing videos of each other to all our friends, and laughing at mom cry over movies that are barely considered tear jerkers. Can't believe the holidays are over, and everyone has left. It always goes by too fast.
Our life living in Maui in '14-'15. A crappy quality video thrown together from clips on my phone that show favorite moments in paradise.
love, The Holtoms
We've had a blessed year full of sun, love, culture, and adventure. We visited 6 countries this year, ate a LOT of pizza, lived at both our parents houses, moved 5 times, stayed at 13 hotels, conquered Road to Hana 4 times, watched a lot of Friends and Criminal Minds, scootered hundreds of miles, traveled via sailboat, ferry, taxi, train, plane, tube, bus, car, uber, innertube, surfboard, paddleboard, skiff. I designed by the pool, drank gallons of coconut water, and enjoyed watercolor painting. Ryan became a blondie working on the water, and picked up photography/videography. We went to a Music Festival in Amsterdam, and a EDM concert in Park City. We made lots of new friends, and caught up with old ones. 2015 was Gooooddd to us, let's see what 2016 brings.
What a dream this place was. A train took us from Switzerland to Milan- it was crazy how drastically different everything was the second we went into another country. Things got busier and dirtier really fast. Milan reminded me a lot of New York. We only spent a few hours in the city. We went from the train to the subway system that dropped us at the Duomo di Milano. Definitely a tourist hot spot, but an incredible sight to see nonetheless. It was right in the middle of big elaborate buildings and a fancy mall covered in ornate gold patterns with only the top designer stores. The first thing I noticed were the gelato shops everywhere. They were like a Willy Wonka factory begging me to come and buy my weight in treats-when in Italy...right?
We learned how frustrating Italian transportation can be when we were on the train traveling to Florence. We bought a ticket, but we didn't realize we had to validate it before we hopped on our train. The train ticket man later told us the fine was like a hundred dollars, but he would let us off the hook for $20. Unfortunately, we didn't have any euros, only american dollars. He wasn't very pleased. I was waiting for him to handcuff us and drag us off the train, but right at the perfect moment some adorable students from Finland, who were sitting next to us offered to pay for us! I was so thankful! Maybe we should have gone to Finland instead of Italy!
Florence was the most perfect small city. Everything was old, but absolutely stunning. All of the sights were within walking distance, and the restaurants were the ivy covered, family business types. I ate the yummiest gnocchi in a cozy place right below our room. Our Airbnb was seriously the coolest! It was this giant 500 year old loft with tall arched ceilings, brick walls, and modern fixtures. It was in the very center of the city next to the famed, Duomo.
We took the train to Salerno, and from there a very windy taxi drive to Positano on the Amalfi Coast. The second we drove onto the main coastal road, I never wanted to leave. It was as charming as ever. The water was insanely blue, and the cliffs were breathtaking. We stayed in a hotel overlooking the water. We walked up and down the steep hills daily and earned our morning croissants. I think we went to the same restaurant twice because it was so good. I died over the croquets, and almost threw up the limoncello they gave me (not knowing it was alcohol or like drinking straight up lemon juice). We took a ferry one day to the island of Capri. Only an hour away, it was a little slice of heaven. A tiny little island, it was clean, and white. We raced to the other side of the island to see the famous Faraglioni and get some sun. We came across the center of the island where all the shopping is- some of the most expensive stores in the world all together in one place. It was unreal. A playground for celebrities. The hotels and private homes on the walk down to the water were Kardashian style. Ready to go back to Capri right this second.
Our last stop in Italy was Rome. Because it was the end of the trip, we really just wanted to cuddle up in our hotel room and not even see the sights. But we went out for gelato and saw the Colleseum, the vatican and the trevi fountain. Rome had a few too many tourists for us. I prefered the small towns of Italy much more. The lowest and maybe most comical part of the entire trip was next to the Ciampini airport in Rome. We were planning on sleeping in the airport, and flying out early the next morning. However, we both wanted a good night sleep so Ryan booked a cheap (really cheap, $40/night) hotel room. I expected crap, but what we got was even worth than that. The walk to the hotel was scary- fights, yelling, broken bottles being thrown. The hotel itself looked like it used to be a hospital or mental institution. Our room had bad lighting and felt cold and empty. We grabbed food from their cafe in the basement. It felt like a hospital cafeteria, and the waiter looked like a mortician. We were both laughing at how ridiculous the situation was. No hotel or motel will ever be as bad. However, the food, the architecture, the landscape of Italy blew me away. It is definitely a place I'd like to go back to.
Where we stopped:
The train ride through the country provided the best views and a lot of motion sickness. The mountains were grander than anything we could have imagined. They were magical. The sound of the cow bells making music in the town of Grindelwald made this picturesque country even better. One of the highlights was paragliding through the alps from First Mountain in Grindelwald over the town- our first time (and probably my last haha). Hiking through the alps was something neither Ryan or I will forget. The weather was mild enough for short sleeves; we were alone climbing up First Mountain- so peaceful! We ran down the mountain to make it to a restaurant with a mountain view before it closed. Thanks to a nice farmer couple for picking us up on the way down, we made it in time for cheese toast and hot chocolate. I loved our nightly walks from our hotel up on the hill down into town. We were lucky enough to find a restaurant that had $8 burger night. We thought that was a steal, considering we bought water for $8 earlier that day. And they did our American meal justice!
Zermatt was a bit chillier than Grindelwald, but still breathtaking. There were no cars allowed in the village, just little mini buses that looked like a Disneyland ride. The store mostly fancy and expensive, but we found a small grocery store where we grabbed all the food we'd never seen before to try. We even grabbed McDonald's one night because it was the cheapest option. The other night we went to a restaurant for cheese fondue. I can't believe I ate all that melted cheese, potatoes and bread and didn't die! Zermatt village definitely reminded me of Whistler. We rode the train up the mountain to a view of the matterhorn- it was definitely better than Disneyland. Once in a lifetime experience that I wish everyone would get to experience.
After 24 hours of flying, London started off a little rocky. Ryan was exhausted, and hadn't eaten so he basically fell apart and passed out at 6pm. Dang jet lag. I, on the other hand was so excited to be there, I couldn't sleep! We stayed right in the city at my friend's air bnb. She was there for her birthday from Maui and was our tour guide for two days. We saw everything in those two short days. My favorites were Borough Market, Oxford Circus, and Big Ben. We went to Sketch for tea, where we peed in the most beautiful egg shaped bathrooms and ate mini sandwiches and scones. We shopped at Liberty's, where they have an entire floor dedicated to Christmas, year round. We ate scotch eggs at the Borough Market- basically a hardboiled egg surrounded in sausage and deep fried-yum! We waved at the queen at Buckingham Palace, and memorized the tube lines. I noticed the design when we first got into the downtown; every single shop had incredible branding and typography. I was blown away with how well designed the outside and the insides were of everything- grocery stores, barber shops, drug stores. London had the perfect mix of old historic buildings with modern skyscrapers right next door. Notting Hill was something else. It was straight out of a movie-perfect little houses lined up in a row, with cute little streets, and people outside walking their kids to school. I can't even describe how cool this place is, and the pictures don't do it justice. I can't wait to go back!
Maui highlights 2015. We left Maui for now. October 1st was our last day on the island. This was the hardest decision we've ever made. We went back and forth between staying on the island longer or moving back to the mainland. We decided it was a good idea to move back to the mainland to continue our careers, and accomplish some of our life goals before we settle into the tropical life. It will be nice to get back to more shops, family, roadtrips, adventures, and a lot more. I just don't know how long we will last off island! My bet is we won't even make it a year! Leaving the sun, friends, the food, the warm ocean water, sailing, the simple life seems stupid, but it's nice to know we can always go back. I can't put my feelings into words about Maui, but it holds some of the best moments since we've been married. It will always have a special place in my heart.
Our little Maui jungalow. My favorite home so far. We only lived in the Puamana Community for a couple months, but it was our favorite time on Maui. This neighborhood holds some good memories. Late night skinny dipping (whaaat ;) in the pool, sunset surfs, bike rides, running around in our swimsuits barefoot. I hope I never forget those days- they were the BEST. Just being able to spend so much time just Ryan and I was more than perfect. We got a great deal on our own perfect little condo in this cute community. It was a one bedroom, 2 bath fully furnished dreamhouse with a patio and backyard full of tropical plants and fruit. I loved all the plants we had in the house and outside. We were a skip away from 3 pools, and a throw from the biggest mango tree I've ever seen. I can't believe how lucky we were to live here. The private beach was where we spent Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, our Birthdays. It was our favorite place for a Sunday afternoon hammock, and an after work picnic. Dream life, it couldn't been real. There is just no way.
I have more favorite Maui days than I can count, but this was definitely one of them. During our last month on the island, our friend Eric came to visit. We rented a car for a few days and saw most of the island. One night, we grabbed Leoda's to go- salads and sandwiches, and my favorites peanut butter pie- the kind of pie you have to share with a large family or you will double your daily caloric intake! We raced up Haleakala to be there for sunset-a moment you don't want to miss out on while in Maui. It's magical. After eating food, enjoying a colorful sunset in the clouds, we drove the rest of the way to the top of the volcano. Ryan got some amazing shots of the stars. Although, I was freezing and had to wrap two towels around my body to stay warm, I've never seen more amazing stars. Its incredible to feel the many different climates Maui has to offer, and even better to get away from the humidity every once in a while.