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20 Weeks! Halfway There!

Twenty weeks is a wonderful milestone in pregnancy so I thought I’d post an update!

I honestly can’t believe I’m already halfway there. I don’t even know where the time went. Half of the time I didn’t even feel pregnant. If it weren’t for my belly growing, prenatal appointments, and my little snowpea rolling all over the place in my tummy, it wouldn’t sink in me that there’s really a growing human being inside me. Oh, I love those little kicks. It’s such a lovely feeling. 🙂

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How far along? 20 weeks!!!

Gender? Boy! 🙂

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Baby BOY on “board”

Stretch marks? none (yet)

Belly Button? still in. 🙂

Maternity clothes? My normal clothes are already feeling too tight around the boobs and tummy. I splurged mostly on maternity workout clothes since I figured it will be the clothes that I’ll be wearing for the most part of my pregnancy. I got them from this online company called For Two Fitness. 

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I love them that I wear them even when I’m just lounging around at home or going out in the mall. They’re so soft and comfy.

I also got a pair of maternity jeans – AG jeans from Destination Maternity.

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Oh boy, these jeans are wonderful! It felt soooo right! I was actually insisting on buying maternity clothes but when I bought these, I began to understand the logic behind maternity clothes – how they were made to accommodate the ever-changing growth happening around the belly area. It was instant relief from the discomfort I’d feel as I continued to force myself into regular pants.

It’s nice to have a pair of maternity jeans but when they’re in the laundry I use these gems!

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I got these extenders and belly band from Amazon and they work wonders. They allow me to continue wearing my normal non-maternity pants. They’re a real blessing!

It’s still around 20 degrees here! :/ I can’t wait for spring so I can wear some of my looser dresses for casual day time.

Sleep? My full sized pregnancy pillow is a life saver! It’s shaped like a big squidgy letter “C” that I can hug when I’m sleeping on my side. It’s an awesome pillow and very beneficial for my  body to support the growing bump.

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Food Cravings? Lately, I have been craving for milk chocolate candies and chocolate cookies! And because it’s still cold, I crave for ramen and pho noodle soup too! 🙂

Miss anything? Red wine!!! …But upon seeing posts about Shirley Temple’s death, I remembered this non-alcoholic drink made with lemon-lime soda and grenadine. I searched for the recipe online and made it. The best non-alcoholic beverage ever!

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Anyone tried this drink?

What I’m looking forward to? Getting a proper looking bump so I’d look really pregnant instead of just a bloated looking tummy. 🙂 LOL!

What I wish people knew? Hmm… this is going to be a long one.

When I had friends who got pregnant before me, I remember how I used to comfort them (though I couldn’t relate to them at that time yet) when they opened up their feelings of how they got affected towards comments of some people. People may think their comments may seem like a compliment or showing care but some can really make pregnant women paranoid and worried.

I now know and feel what my friends felt. I, myself, pregnant, am experiencing a lot of those weird statements and I get so affected easily. It seems as if society has this way of discouraging women, scaring us with horror stories instead of encouraging us welcome, embrace, and look at pregnancy, birth, and having a newborn, more positively. For some, to be a first, second, third time mom already brings more than enough concerns on its own. I just wish they don’t put more to that anymore.

I’m going to share a couple of statements I got so far from my 20 weeks of being pregnant. I know I’ll get more ’til the end of my term, and up to how I raise my kids. People will always have something to say. It will never end. There are certain comments that we’ll never get used to even if we have learned to laugh them off. But I’m glad I am now learning to put my emotions aside and shrug these things off. As I knew whom to and not to believe, whom to take seriously, from those who deserve attention and consideration. And if there’s one thing I picked up from talking to my mom friends from all walks of life, is: every pregnancy, every woman, every child is different …TRUE!

STATEMENT 1: “You’re blooming, you’re going to have a baby girl. You become ugly if it’s a boy.” (Yikes!)

Me: Uhm, thanks! But, I’m having a boy. I hope you still think I’m blooming. LOL!

Of course, I appreciate these remarks. Compliments never felt this good! But basing the gender on how you look during pregnancy? I say, don’t believe in this. Our looks change because of the way our hormones affect us, as well as our diet. Whatever physical changes you go through are caused by the way you carry the baby and not because of its gender. I have a lot of friends who carried baby boys and were very gorgeous throughout their pregnancy. It’s common for pregnant women to get the unwanted fat and dark lines and these things will go away after the term. They’re not only specific for moms carrying baby boys. The other thing is, I learned to put extra effort to my looks ever since I found out I was pregnant. The bump can be pretty awkward sometimes so I really take time to fix myself and pick clothes that will make it look better. I make sure to put some effort into things that will help me feel good about my pregnant self. 🙂

STATEMENT 2: “What?! You’re still running?”
“You should take a break, it’s 
dangerous for the baby.”

I get bombarded with these comments when I post pictures of me running while pregnant on Instagram. Apparently some of the people over there become experts and perfect. That comment to me sounded like I am the worst mom-to-be in the world. I just want to say that I am NOT going to do anything that will harm my baby. According to what I learned in my years in Medical School, exercise is incredibly beneficial to the health of pregnant women and baby. If you ran/exercised regularly BEFORE getting pregnant, it’s fine to continue – as long as you take some precautions and FIRST CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR. It is recommended to eat healthy and exercise during pregnancy BUT, it’s NOT the time to try a new fitness routine.  I have a “go” signal from my OB and from my husband who’s also a medical doctor. I have all the medical guidance I can get, so it’s OKAY! 🙂 For me, exercise not only helped me a lot with my nausea during my first trimester, but it kept me sane, with energy and no aches and pains.

STATEMENT 3: “Enjoy (insert activity) while you still can.”
You will never again have time to (insert activity) once the baby comes. In fact, you’ll never have time to do ANYTHING. You’ll simply be a shell of your former self.” 

Haha. 🙂 Yup I get this …A LOT! 🙂

I happen to know plenty of awesome parents who still watch movies, play sports, and enjoy dinners at restaurants. I know many working moms with successful careers and happy children. So I’m not buying this whole idea that life suddenly ends when you have a baby. Sure, life changes a lot!  Maybe my new exercise routine will be pushing my babies around the neighborhood in their jogging stroller (which I am very much looking forward to! :)) My night outs with my husband will have to be planned instead of spontaneous. But neither of us would have it any other way. We know that we’ll just have to adjust everything accordingly. 🙂

There’s more but I’ll end it here. I think I said more than enough. 🙂 Really, there’s more I can think of that people and social media can do to paint a horrible picture of pregnancy, birth and motherhood in general. I am in favor of good and enjoyable pregnancy (and delivery, and motherhood) and that starts with the act of choosing to listen to the better, positive, more encouraging, realistic side of things. I think that’s what really is helping me more now to focus on the blessing of having such a wonderful miracle. On the one hand, it is reading stories and talking to my wonderful mom friends that boost faith and courage, and be inspired by them. Pregnancy does not necessarily have to be restricting and burdensome. God designed it to be 40 weeks so we can muster enough knowledge, courage, and faith to bring about the wonders and challenges of a new life.  I still have a halfway to go and I pray for even more vibrant pregnancy.

How about you, pregnant or planning to be, have you ever encountered these statements? What do you wish people knew?  

Thanks for listening to my rants, confessions and hormonal monologues. LOL! :) 

To end this post, I’d like to share our baby website here

(http://Ja-and-Leo.ourbabychannel.com/). 


Feel free to sign our guestbook as you check in! 🙂

Have a great week!XoXo,
Ja
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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 6: Spokane, WA and Vancouver, BC (Last One!)

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Hi Everyone,

This is my last recap of our trip (finally), then back to my blog’s regular posting. 🙂

For our next and last stops…

Orlando, FL  {recap here}
Los Angeles, CA {recap here}
Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P ) {recap here
Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!! {recap here}
Seattle, WA {recap here}
> Spokane, WA
> Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Spokane, WA & Vancouver, BC

From Seattle, hubby and I took a roadtrip to Spokane (pronounced as “spo-CAN,” but often mispronounced as “spo-CAIN.”) to see what this other big city in Washington has to offer.

As we drove out from Seattle to Spokane, I noticed the sky was starting to clear up from no visibility, fog, and low lying clouds to clear skies. It was a whole new place once we got over the mountains. It was cool to see that transition.

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from foggy…

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…to sunny

It was nice to see sunlight (finally), which was scarce in Seattle.

The drive from Seattle to Spokane took us less than five hours. It was worth taking the trip and see some of the attractions along the way. We made a stop over with a beautiful view and a monument that was a scene of wild horses running on the top of a hill – super cool! Overall the drive was beautiful and relaxing.

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We made it to Spokane, with no problems. It’s a very pretty little city. While Seattle was chilly, Spokane had sunny, blue skies, and 70-degree day. 🙂

We pulled into Spokane around noon and checked-in at Oxford Suites which was just in downtown Spokane. We ate our check-in chocolates, enjoyed our very large, posh room, and got some rest.

After our rest, we headed out for a late lunch and explored the city.

We ate at this seafood restaurant called Anthony’s at Spokane Falls. We chose this place because of the view of Spokane Falls outside. For me, this is “THE” date spot in Spokane. Combine a beautiful view, nice ambiance, and reasonably priced seafood, and you have a winner.

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After our late lunch, we walked around and explore downtown Spokane.

Spokane seems like a blast from Seattle’s past, but in a good way. Not retro, but progressive, urban, and close to nature. My favorite part of their downtown is the Spokane River Centennial Trail. You’ll see a lot of runners, bikers, walkers, and in-line skaters along this riverside trail. I was kind of jealous of the scenery runners get here. Beautiful!

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Their downtown has gondolas which I thought was cool.
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Then, walking around Riverfront Park, we saw this giant Radio Flyer.

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How cool is that!? Well, the handle is a slide.  I would rather it be a real handle (and free wheels), so I could drag the thing home around the park. But that’s probably not going to happen. 🙂

I like that Spokane has the Riverfront Park where there are many things to do and see and take photos of.

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As I’ve mentioned, Spokane is a city close to nature. There are many trails and parks that are just driving distance away from the city. The next day we went to Mount Spokane State Park which was about 45mins drive from downtown.

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We drove through this nice paved road that goes all the way to the top of Spokane Mountain.
The road up to the top was a curvy mountain road, which you will have to drive on carefully. The final few miles is a little hair-raising and we were glad to meet no cars coming down.

Here’s a video of the road, but this one I took on our way down from the mountain (please excuse our craziness, LOL!).

The view from the top didn’t dissapoint. It was truly lovely.

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If only I had known that there were tables and great views, I would have packed a lunch and had a nice picnic up there.

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If you look closely at the pic above, there were little white pipes that you have to look through which is directed at certain landmarks. I thought that was clever.  One of the pipes allows a view of Canada (Alberta) which was pretty cool.

It was hot in Spokane but the temperatures at the top of the mountain was 15 to 20 degrees cooler. NICE!

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Mount Spokane is a great, natural place worth seeing!

After venturing out in the park, we were back in Downtown Spokane and roamed around some more.

I found this nice sculpture of runners in downtown park. It is called “The Joy of Running Together”. It depicts runners of all kinds and it celebrates Spokane’s tradition of Bloomsday, the largest timed road running race in the world. Awesome! I am convinced that this city is perfect for runners, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

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Found their specialty running store!

Ja on the RUN

For dinner, we ate at Melting Pot.

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Ja on the RUN

It’s our first time eating at a Melting Pot restaurant. They had good service. We had the four course meal which was a good option for me and my husband. We started with a cheese fondue. It came with bread, apples and veggies for dipping. The next course was a salad which was tasty. Next was the main course. We had a choice of meats with a broth of special seasoned mixes. Then came the chocolate fondue for dessert, served with sweets and strawberries. We had the caramel chocolate which was okay. The price was a little too high for the quality but it was a good decent meal. Nothing that really stood out. It was just something new and different to try for us but not really something that we rave going back again.

The next day was our road trip to Canada! Yay!

Before leaving Spokane, we made a quick stopover at Method to get some snacks and drinks for our road trip. 🙂

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They offer fruit-vegetable blend smoothies, healthy snacks like chia pudding, soups, and salads.

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I got the “Natural” juice blend smoothie: cucumber, pear, spinach, pineapple, romaine, coconut water, agave syrup; while hubby got the “Integral” juice blend smoothie: coconut water, agave syrup, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry. We also got some chia pudding to-go. 🙂

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I was so happy to find this organic juice bar before we headed out for our roadtrip.

We were then off to Vancouver! Yay!

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We arrived in Vancouver in time for dinner. We met up with our friends from med school and they took us to a nice dinner at Bubble World. This place is amazing. They have awesome food and bubble teas!!! They sure knew where to take my husband and me. We really enjoyed the food and of course their company. It was fun catching up with them and reminisce on our good ol’ med school days. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

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That night we headed over and stayed at another friend’s (a friend from college) house. They have the most adorable kids. 🙂 The following morning they took us for a road trip to Whistler. The drive was amazing. I planned to snooze on the way since I was still exhausted from our trip from Spokane but it didn’t happen. The views were amazing!

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We made it! Hello Whistler!

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Ja on the RUN

It was my first time to visit Whistler but I heard a lot about this place from friends and family. They say this place is great during the winter. But being here in the Summer was nice too – green mountain peaks are topped with a blush of snow here and there and the village is full of mountain bikers. Whistler has miles of biking trails through the nearby woodlands, mountains, and around lakes. There are other summer activities that are available too, like white water rafting, bungee jumping, ATV rentals, and hiking in and around the area.

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my friend and her adorable kid.

We rode the gondola up the Whistler Mountain.

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mountain bikers

Once we reached the top, we saw the famous Olympic rings!

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And more pictures!

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Of course we jumped in the Olympic Luge. 🙂

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At the top of Whistler, we boarded a Peak to Peak Gondola to head to Blackcomb Mountain.  The Peak to Peak Gondola is just amazing.  It’s smooth, and you feel like you’re flying across the valley in between the 2 peaks.  It takes about 10 minutes to cross, and if you feel like waiting a few extra minutes to board, you can ride across on one of the glass bottomed gondolas for an even better view, which we did! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Inukshuk

There were actually people still skiing and snowboarding there. Yup, in the middle of summer. Apparently, they have a year round skiing on the glacier which really boggled my mind. 🙂

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After taking a couple of touristy shots, we took the ski lift chairs to head back down. It was a little weird taking those lift chairs going down.

I’m glad I got a chance to see this place in a different perspective and we will definitely plan on going back in the Winter for a snowboarding trip! 🙂

All in all, it was an amazing trip! Vancouver is a beautiful city! If only my husband and I can live there! It’s one of those beautiful cities I’ve ever been! 🙂

Anyone else been to Vancouver or Whistler?  If so what did you end up doing while you were there?  I am looking for more ideas if/when I go back. 

So, finally, I have almost cleared this blog of all backlog; almost a thousand pictures and stories of every place we have visited in North America. 23 days, 7 states , 3 SD cards, 3 rented cars, 5 airplane rides, different kinds of weather, countless miles of driving, and the people we met, all worth the time and money (’cause when we got home, we were so broke, LOL!).

It was definitely a wonderful and memorable experience for me and my husband. I learned a lot from this month-long trip and I felt so blessed in so many ways (Thank You!). We don’t know when the next time we would ever be able to do this kind of adventure again but, I’m telling you, we’re hooked! 🙂

My husband and I get magnets and Christmas ornaments as souvenirs from the places we’ve been to together, and here’s what we’ve accumulated so far.

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I can’t wait to hang these on our Christmas tree! 🙂

Some people were asking what my top favorite places from this trip where.

1.) Jackson Hole, WY – Amazing! (recap here)
2.) Hoover Dam – WOW! (recap here)
3.) Vancouver, BC – I want to live here! 🙂

XoXo,

Ja

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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 5: Sleepless in Seattle

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying the month of October as much as I do! 🙂 I love running in crisp and cool air. I also love how the beauty of foliage – bright yellow, orange and red leaves, make an amazing view for a run. Not to forget, pumpkin pies and Pumpkin Spiced Latte (Mmm). I love everything pumpkin!

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably knew already that I strained my IT band. Yup! I am in the process of recovering right now. I am doing lots of stretching, deep tissue massage, and strengthening exercises the past few days. I firmly believe I will recover quick and be back to running soon! Wuhoo!

So while I take my much needed days off from running, allow me to share with you my next adventure after the Jackson Hole, WY trip.

Our next stop…

Orlando, FL  {recap here}
Los Angeles, CA {recap here}
Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P ) {recap here
Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!! {recap here}
> Seattle, WA
Spokane, WA
Vancouver, BC (Canada)

 Seattle, WA 

Seattle is indeed an exciting Pacific coast town with unique views, the freshest seafood imaginable, and yes, soggy weather.

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While in Seattle, we took a road trip to Spokane and Vancouver (which I will have to share on a separate post), so, we planned our sight-seeing in this city efficiently. I thought the title would be fitting for this post because literally, we didn’t get much Zzz’s on this trip. Every minute we were on the go. 🙂

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This was my first time ever visiting Seattle, WA and couldn’t wait to explore. Below are the places we visited:

1.) Pike Place Market.
I loved the sheer insane energy of this place. It’s famous for it’s seafood market where fishermen toss their freshly caught fish of the day. There were restaurants, French cafes, and street-corner musicians. There were also plenty of locals selling their trinkets and artwork for the tourists. And oh, we tried the Rainier Cherries! They were delicious!

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2.) Original Starbucks!
I am a huge Starbucks girl. It was neat to go here since I have given them so much of my money over the years. From my college allowance I got back in the days when their coffee was the only thing that kept me awake during my endless study nights, to my post-run reward these days. Yes, I embrace my coffee addiction!

This is the busiest Starbucks out there and the line was out the door when we got there. There were actually more Starbucks a few blocks away (with less crowd) but we chose to endure the long line of this particular Starbucks. Well, heck yah! It’s the “first ever Starbucks”! This had to be done!

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I like this brown setting of the original Starbucks much better than the green motif they use for all their other stores.  It had a classic feel and appeal, and reminds you of what you are there for, COFFEE!

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My husband getting his souvenir tumbler.

I chatted with one of the baristas while waiting for my coffee and he told me an interesting fact – they are the only ones who still grind their coffee beans manually, unlike other Starbucks that use fully automatic grinders.

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I must admit it was very special and cool to enjoy my grande cup of Pike Place, the real thing at the real place 🙂

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If you’re a fan of Starbucks like me, it’s worth visiting this place just so you can say that you’ve been to the original Starbucks. 🙂

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3.) Crab Pot.
We had to look up online for a nice seafood restaurant to eat for lunch and we chose Crab Pot. This restaurant is right by the Waterfront and is right around all the touristy stores/spots in downtown Seattle.

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It was actually a little difficult to find the entrance to the restaurant. The restaurant in the photo above isn’t actually The Crab Pot – confusing huh? We had to walk down inside a hall of shops to the right and that’s where the actual entrance was.

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We ordered one of their seafests, which is apparently their specialty and was good for 2! We got The Alaskan which had king crabs, dungeness crabs, snow crabs, shrimps, clams, mussels, sausage, corn on the cob & red potatoes.

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For two people, they gave so much food! Seafood was fresh and since this place was just right next to the water, makes you feel like they just caught them that day haha. Who knows if they did, but it felt that way. Overall we had a lot of fun smashing the crab shells.

Plus we got to do this:

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I’m not a seafood expert. I’m sure there’s much better seafood place in Seattle, which I would not be surprised at all, but their crabs were sweet and succulent and both my husband and I had no complaints. Afterwards, we got to stroll along the waterfront and the day was all just super nice. 🙂

4.) Seattle Waterfront.
It was a surprise for me as how much waterfront land Seattle has. Everything is right on the water! There are places that you need to ride a ferryboat in order to get there.

Then my husband and I saw this Ferris Wheel (they call it Great Wheel) and decided to ride it.

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After the ride, honestly, I wasn’t that impressed in terms of the view we got. The Ferris wheel was nice and I think it’s a beautiful addition to the Seattle waterfront, but I think you get limited views of the city on board and walking by the waterfront gives you pretty much the same view. I think you’ll get much better views of the city from the ferry ride tours and the Space Needle, since they have pretty much the same price.

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View from the Ferris Wheel.

5.) Alki Beach.  I love this location. The view of downtown Seattle from this area is wonderful.

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We bought the Seattle CityPass for this trip which includes admission to 6 must-see Seattle attractions. We got to visit only 4 of them but I still think it was worth it and cheaper rather than paying for them individually. We did the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Space Needle, The Museum of Flight, EMP Museum. We skipped Seattle Aquarium and Pacific Science Center because we didn’t have enough time to do it.

6.) Argosy Arbour Cruise.
This was my favorite portion of the Seattle City Pass. I love that the sun was out when we rode this. It’s a 2-hour harbor tour where a tour guide tells you full of entertaining facts about Seattle. The tour guide we had was very informative and really enthusiastic. It’s the day I found out that Seattle doesn’t really get that much rain compared to most U.S. cities. It only drizzles a lot in Seattle but the amount of rain they get is less compared to other U.S. cities. 

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I love that you can see Mount Rainier from every part of this city. It was very pretty. It was like a painting in the background.

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The tour provided a great view of the city. It’s definitely a perfect way to see the Seattle Skyline.

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7.) The Museum of Flight. 
This place was great! We got to climb onto the former Air Force One, Concorde, the first Boeing 747, into cockpits of fighters, and a satellite launchpad! 

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8.) EMP Museum.
This place is a music-geek-nerd lovers dream! The place took me back to my high school days with Nirvana. The sound lab was neat and my favorite part of the museum where you can play on your own in a booth. It was a lot of fun!

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And last but not the least, the iconic….

9.) Space Needle.
It was certainly on our list of things to do. We waited until night time since we preferred seeing the city lights of Seattle.

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The 360-degree view was cool.

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view from the Space Needle

However, I got pretty nauseous up there. I’m not afraid of heights by any means, but there was something about the sloped floors that really disorientated me. All in all, it was ok. I’m glad we went up the Needle but the Arbour Tour was still my favorite. 🙂

One of the main point of this trip was to decide whether or not to move here someday. So other than the touristy stuff, we also went to a few suburbs close to Seattle and visited neighborhoods to see what it is like to live there. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a thing that really influenced us to move. For one, the weather. We were there for 3 days and only saw the sun just a few hours in the afternoon. It was gloomy for the most part in the morning and gets gloomy and dark again in the late afternoon. Notice how people were wearing long sleeves and jackets in my pictures for the most part and we were there in the middle of the summer. We had a great stay. Seattle is nice and is a unique city in its own way, and the fruits, and seafood (OMG!) are superb! But I don’t think I will ever get used to mostly overcast weather forecast for most of my days.

Have you ever been to Seattle?

Xoxo, Ja

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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 4: Jackson Hole, WY

Hi everyone! How’s September treating you? For me, I am loving it! I love running in cooler weather!

I’m excited for this next recap. This is my most favorite part of our trip!

Our next stop…

Orlando, FL  {recap here}
Los Angeles, CA {recap here}
Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P ) {recap here
> Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!!
Seattle, WA
Spokane, WA
Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Jackson Hole, WY

WARNING: Words like …AMAZING, …BREATHTAKING, …BEAUTIFUL, …GORGEOUS will be used a lot in this post! 🙂 I can’t even begin to put into words how BEAUTIFUL this place was.

We included Jackson Hole to our Coast-to-Coast trip ’cause my mom was going to be there with her friends for a vacation. When she told me about that, my husband and I decided to take a trip to Jackson Hole too and meet my mom there. 🙂

So, after LA, we flew in to Jackson Hole! 🙂 Unfortunately, our flight was delayed. Our supposedly brief layover in Salt Lake City became an overnight stay. Our flight the next day to Jackson Hole was at noon so, there went our day for the supposed Yellowstone National Park tour. Delayed flight sucks! 😦 What could we do? 😦

Salt Lake City to Jackson Hole is about a 45-minute flight. I recommend a seat by the window so you can look out and see those fabulous Tetons when you land <– AMAZING! We flew in on just a small airplane (puddle jumper). When we exited the plane, there was no jet bridge. Instead we took the stairs to the airport entrance. The moment we stepped out of the airplane, we immediately smelled  the crisp mountain air of Jackson Hole along with the beautiful scenery of the Tetons around you. I loved it!!!)

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After getting our luggage, we took one of the shuttle buses to the rental car place (we rented a car from Alamo) which was in the city proper, about 15 minutes away from the airport.

After picking up our rental car, we headed to our hotel and checked-in. We stayed at Wyoming Inn and it was a GORGEOUS hotel. Aside from the Keurig coffee maker in our room (ah, perfect for a coffee lover like me), we also had the most BEAUTIFUL view of the mountains from our window. Can’t complain! 🙂

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The day we arrived was actually the day we were supposed to do the Yellowstone tour. Since our flight was delayed we already missed half day of the tour. After we settled in, we still went ahead and drove to Yellowstone and just met my mom and her friends to the place where they were already at from the tour.

On our way to Yellowstone, we had to drive through parts of the Grand Teton National Park.
The scenery didn’t disappoint. 🙂 Absolutely BREATHTAKING! I was speechless! 🙂

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As we drove along, we were on the lookout for wild animals. I was hopeful that I’d see a bear crossing the road. The only animals we saw were horses from the horseback riders and an elk that was running like a Kenyan that my Iphone camera wasn’t able to catch up for a picture. 🙂

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The drive to Yellowstone from downtown Jackson was approximately 3 hours. We met up with my mom and her friends at one of the parks in Yellow Stone called Mud Volcano and Sulphur Cauldron – which were exactly what they sound like – muddy, sulfury and smelly geysers and mud pits.

Ja on the RUN

This place was pretty cool! There were bubbling mudpots, splashing hot springs, and the large, steaming Dragon’s Mouth Spring which is a cave that has boiling water coming out of it

Ja on the RUN

I read somewhere there that it was called Dragon’s Mouth because when the original settlers of the area came upon this cave, they had thought that there was a dragon that lived inside because of the steam coming out of it and the roaring noise that the boiling water was making as it was coming out. Pretty cool. It’s amazing that boiling water can actually come out of the Earth, naturally. 🙂

This place has a short trail (1/2 mile) that loops around and passes through more mud geysers and mud volcano.

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Ja on the RUN

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Unfortunately for us, this was already the last leg of my mom and her friends’ Yellowstone tour (ugh flight delays!). But it’s ok. At least we got to see a little bit of Yellow Stone. I was looking forward on seeing more like the Old Faithful but they say, it’s another hour to get there and it’s already getting late. Oh well, next time! And please no more delayed flights!

On our way back to our hotel, we stopped at several spots to admire the views and take photos.

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You can see the mountains pretty much the whole time you’re driving through the main highway.

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We were surrounded by beauty everywhere we looked!

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The Tetons were so majestic and this was our view the whole time we were here. 🙂

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DAY 2:

My husband and I woke up early the next day and started our day with a morning run. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to go for a run in this BEAUTIFUL place. Had to be done! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

We ran at the National Elk Refuge, located just at the edge of downtown Jackson. It’s a nice paved pathway that runs several miles long. It is wide open and next to the main road where a lot of cars pass by so, I didn’t have to worry much about startling wildlife. Yes, it would be awesome to see some wild animals (far away from me),  but I don’t fancy elks and grizzly bears joining me on my run! LOL!. 🙂

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It was an absolutely BEAUTIFUL run. We got in a nice little 4-mile out-and-back and took in a lot of BEAUTIFUL sights. This pathway goes a long stretch, so you can easily go for more if you want to. We just had to go back right away to our hotel and get ready for the day’s planned activities.

That day, we rode the Jackson Hole Tram up to the Rendezvous Mountain.

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This place is actually a ski resort in the winter. We are definitely putting this place on our list to go for our snowboarding trip! Jackson Hole ski area boasts the largest vertical drop, double black diamond trail in the US. The trail is called “The Peak” of Rendezvous Mountain. You canNOT make me go snowboard down that trail even if you pay me millions of dollars. No way! That thing is very high and very steep. I’ll leave that to Travis Rice! LOL! Definitely not for the faint of heart like me. It’s worth the trip up there though if you are for nothing else than the views. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The tram was about 9-minute ride from the base of the ski resort and glides 4,139 vertical feet to the top of Rendezvous Mountain. To really appreciate just how big the Jackson Hole Valley is, you need to ride this tram.

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The views were AMAZING on the way to the top!

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And views got even better as we made it to the top!

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GORGEOUS view!

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Once you are on top, it will give you a bird’s eye view of the region and trails that offer some great day hiking opportunities. Don’t forget your bear spray! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

We spent the whole morning exploring the mountain

Ja on the RUN

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Words are inadequate to describe how AMAZING this place was!

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Also, on top of this mountain, you’ll find a casual dining restaurant called, The Deck and a fine dining, Couloir. I read good reviews about these restaurants. We will have to try them next time. Just imagine dining-in with awesome views on top of the mountain – MUST DO!

Ones we were down, we took a mandatory picture in front of the Jackson Hole cabin._MG_8098

For our next adventure, we went horseback riding. 🙂
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In the pic below, our guide was just telling me (casually, like it was no biggie) that we’re going to climb to an elevation of 8,000ft up the mountain. Say wah?! Uhhhhm, I, who have never been on a horse, and here you are telling me we are climbing those steep mountains – that kinda freaked me out! LOL! Then, I asked him if I can back-out. 😛

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Well, as you can see in the pic below, I’m still there …looking so helpless. LOL! 🙂

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I am glad our guide didn’t let me back-out or I would miss this AMAZING experience. He probably knew I would regret it had I chosen to be left behind. It was definitely a wonderful two-hour ride with everyone  (my husband, my mom, and her friends). My nervousness went away and got the hang of it as we went on. The steep up and down was manageable and enjoyable for all of us.

Ja on the RUN

The part where we were literally climbing up by the cliffside was a little scary for me but I learned to calm myself down. Deep breaths! I had to woooooosah a few times. Haha. 🙂

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Once we reached the top, the view again was of course LOVELY! 🙂

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I love the experience. It kinda made me feel a little like real cowgirl! 🙂 I already miss my horse, Clinton. He was very good and so gentle to me. I barely needed to guide him because he was trained and knew the trail so well.

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After that, we had dinner at the barn included in the package for the horseback riding. Then, everyone called it a day, back to our hotels, and end of DAY 2. 🙂

Onto our Day 3!: 🙂

We went to the visitor center to ask for an easy, short, and nice scenic trail to go for hiking. They highly recommended the Jenny Lake Trail.

Ja on the RUN

There’s so much to do in Jackson Hole! Can’t decide which one to do first!

Jenny Lake is not far from the city proper and is located just inside the Grand Teton National Park. It is one of the most popular trails that it was crowded when we went. So much so that we couldn’t even find a parking spot after multiple orbits of the main lots down near the campground.

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Once parked, we paid for a shuttle boat to take us across the lake to the trail.

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From there, we started hiking up to Inspiration Point

The hike followed this river/stream.

Ja on the RUN

Half way through the hike, you’ll pass the Hidden Falls. I really love waterfalls, so I loved seeing this gem! So BEAUTIFUL!

Ja on the RUN

The pic below was a spot where people climb up to get the best view of the falls.

Ja on the RUN

After Hidden Falls, we continued our hike up to the Inspiration Point.

Ja on the RUN

We allowed ourselves to rest during the hike and enjoy the scenery.

Ja on the RUN

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It was a bit of a strenuous climb and might be quite a challenge for some, but it was a lot of fun! My husband and I got some good exercise that day. 🙂

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Ja on the RUN

And finally, we made it to the Inspiration Point at 7200ft.

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With a BEAUTIFUL view like this, definitely worth the hike. 🙂

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We stayed for a while to enjoy the GORGEOUS GORGEOUS view!

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Back down to the trail head, we took the shuttle boat again back to the parking lot. The ride across Jenny Lake was definitely lovely and refreshing. 🙂 It was hot that day but the hike was a lot of fun!

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After our hike and much needed lunch (whew, that hike made us really hungry), we were then off to our next adventure.

We went White Water Rafting! YEAH!!! THAT ONE WAS SOOO MUCH FUN and probably the highlight of our Jackson Hole trip. 🙂

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For the whitewater rafting, we were 9 on the boat including our guide and each were given a paddle.

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After being given a short lesson on paddling, we were off down the Snake River.

In case you are wondering, whitewater rapids fall into 6 different classes/categories. 6 is the toughest. This one we did was Category 3.

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Our guide gave us instructions on what signals he would give us at the appropriate time in the rapids.

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Everyone in the boat, including me, was a first timer. In situation like this, I can’t help but feel anxious. Naturally, I didn’t know what to expect.

P1020141We drifted for a while to become acclimated, but as we got closer to the rapids we were instructed to paddle through it. We went down a total of eight miles of the snake river.

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Some waves were stronger than others that felt like I was going to fall off the boat. LOL!

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But our guide had instructed us on how we should position our feet underneath the folds of the raft so that we’d be less likely to fall overboard. And oh, we got really soaked! Our group was laughing and getting drenched happily as we rode wave after wave.

Ja on the RUN

We were also fortunate enough to see bald eagles, ospreys, and their nests along the way. Our entire trip through the snake river was like a picture postcard….BEAUTIFUL!

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About 3/4 through the ride, our guide took us to a nice spot for a picnic-style-BBQ-dinner-by-the-river which was already included in the price.

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Dinner included a 9oz. sirloin steak or trout, potato salad, pasta salad, garlic bread, corn on the cob, dutch oven cobbler and hot/cold beverages.  My husband got the steak and I got the trout and both were exceptionally tasty. I love the peach cobbler too! Everything was actually good! 🙂 $80 for 3-4 hours and a solid dinner is definitely well worth the price! We also had a chance to get to know our fellow raft mates during the picnic and ruminate about how great the day was. We stayed there for about 30-45 minutes and then off to hit the water again. 🙂

Ja on the RUNThe rapids along the Snake River each have different names. I forgot the other ones but what I remember the most was the “Champagne”. It’s the deepest part of the river and the oxygen in the water bubbles up like champagne. Pretty cool!

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The entire journey lasted about 4 hours. All in all, it was a great and exhilarating experience.

I couldn’t resist buying these photos for $45/each (notice that I’m not really paddling, LOL :P).

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I can now cross this off of my bucket list! And I will definitely do it again!

Another nice thing, there were bathrooms and changing rooms in the parking area. So, I grabbed my dry clothes from the bus and changed. 🙂  It was nice that I didn’t have to be soaking wet and shiver in the cold on the way back to the city proper. So, BRING EXTRA CLOTHES!

Mad River let us rent their waterproof camera which had like a floating device attached to it so it just floats in the water if you accidentally drop it. You can ask for one If you plan to take pictures. 🙂

It really was a fantastic experience and I can’t recommend it highly enough. I challenge anyone who for whatever reason tend to play it safe by sticking with the usual mundane activities on holidays to TRY THIS! Dare to try something different!

Day 4: Last day 😦

We spent our last day exploring downtown Jackson. 🙂

Our flight that day was not until later in the afternoon. We decided to check-in our luggage first thing in the morning at the airport. We did that so we didn’t have to worry about getting late for our flight while we explore and make the most of our last few remaining hours in Jackson Hole.
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Jackson Hole Airport and the Tetons in the background! GORGEOUS!

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IMG_3764After checking-in our luggage, we were off to check out downtown Jackson.

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There were lots of t-shirt stores, souvenir shops, bars, and restaurants.

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And if you missed your chance to get a photo of the antler arch at the airport, there are 4 antler arches in the town square.

_MG_8307We searched in Yelp for good restaurants in the area for lunch. We decided to try Sweetwater. We went there and got a table at their patio outside. We were in the middle of summer days that time and it was extremely hot. So, I asked if we could be seated in the dining room inside where it’s cooler with a ceiling fan on. Unfortunately, they weren’t opening that inside area for that day. So, all diners had to be seated outside and sweat in the blazing heat! Combine that with a waiter who was lacking in interpersonal skills, not to mention SSSSLOWWW. :/

Ja on the RUN

Anyway, I ordered their Veggie Wrap and Vanilla Pear soup which was yummy! So, that kinda compensated the situation. Ha! Just feed the hungry lady already so she can stop complaining! LOL! 😛

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Last meal in Jackson Hole!

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After lunch, we roamed around some more, bought souvenir stuff, returned our rental car, and
took the shuttle bus to the airport. 😦
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It was hard saying goodbye to this BEAUTIFUL place. We had a bit of rough start with our flights being delayed but we definitely had a wonderful time! There were no dull moments. We were on the go from morning-to-dark everyday taking in all the Jackson Hole area has to offer and we still didn’t get to do everything! There’s so much to do! Now, that we finally got a taste of it, we are definitely going back!

Ja on the RUN

So long Jackson Hole! It was one helluvah fun adventure!

If you have never been to Jackson Hole before, go there! I highly recommend it. Prepare for your first visit to be mind-blowing. The people are AMAZING and the scenery is out of this world!

There you go! Three more stops to go and I am completely finish with my vacation recaps. Then back to my regular postings! 🙂 STAY TUNED!

Have you been to Jackson Hole before? Which one is your favorite activity?

Xoxo, Ja

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> FINALLY, I HAVE A TWITTER! I HAVE A TWITTER! : @JA_ONTHERUN

Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 3: Hoover Dam & Las Vegas

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Well, hello everyone!

It’s time again for another recap of my coast-to-coast trip! 🙂

Catch up on part 1 here  and part 2 here in case you missed it.

Our next stop…

July 6-9: Orlando, FL  {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 1: Orlando, FL}
July 9-11,14-15: Los Angeles, CA {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 2: Los Angeles, CA}
> July 12-13: Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P )

July 16-19: Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!!
July 20, 26-27: Seattle, WA
July 21-23: Spokane, WA
July 23-25: Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Hoover Dam & Las Vegas

On our 3rd day in LA, my hubby’s aunt and uncle took us for a road trip to Las Vegas!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Before heading to Las Vegas, we dropped by Boulder first to check out Hoover Dam! It was about a 45-minute drive from Las Vegas.

On the way, we passed by Lake Mead which offered some lovely views from the road.

Ja on the RUN

We didn’t go on the Hoover Dam tours due to time constraint. I’m sure it would be awesome to know more about the history and to see what’s underground. The tour lets you go underground and walk thru the whole power plant. Sounds pretty interesting.

Ja on the RUN

I was in awe of this enormous bypass that connected both sides of the canyon. It was the first thing I saw as we reached the dam.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

This was my first real glimpse of the dam. It was really neat. I had only seen this place before in pictures and they don’t do it justice. This thing is massive in person! I felt so small the moment we arrived at this place.

I first heard about this place from my parents when I was still in the Philippines. I was busy in med school and couldn’t join them when they visited. I’ll admit it though, when my parents mentioned about this part of their Vegas trip, I was like, really? A dam? That’s lame.

Well boy was I wrong! The scenery was astounding! I gave myself a bonk in the head for thinking it was nothing. I definitely recommend to include this place on your “must visit” checklist.
Ja on the RUN
Ja on the RUN
I was even able to time travel between Arizona and Nevada. Thank you. LOL!

Ja on the RUN

It was a different time on the Arizona side than it was in Nevada. Arizona is in the Mountain Time Zone, while Nevada is in the Pacific Time Zone. To add to the confusion, Arizona does not use Daylight Savings Time. Interesting! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The rock discoloration indicates the former water level and shows that large quantity of water has been lost in the past couple of decades.

Ja on the RUN

In the pic below, I was wondering there what would happen if you let a rock roll down the dam. I was sooo tempted to do that. LOL!  I was also holding my phone so tight like crazy. I was too scared I’d drop my phone while taking pictures. YIKES!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Another new thing I learned that day, that gigantic bridge, the Hoover Dam Bypass, was only recently completed in 2010. My next thought was – it would be amazing to run a race here. I googled it online that night and found this – Hoover Dam Marathon. Cool!

Ja on the RUN

This place is beautiful. We could just stare at it for ages! It’s amazing!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

I was so impressed that a “Hoover Dam selfie” had to be done! LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

We made our way to the Hoover Dam bypass to see what the dam would look like from up there!

This bridge connects Arizona and Nevada.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

If you walk towards the middle of the bridge, you get this kind of view (pic below). When the bypass wasn’t built yet, the cars had to wind down the road and cross the dam to get to the other side.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

This is definitely a well worth the short trip before heading to Las Vegas. I’m glad we went ’cause we enjoyed the “dam” thing! LOL! 😛

Then, we headed to Las Vegas. It was my first time there along with Tammy and Paul, and my husband’s second time.

Well, what happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas because I’m going to share every amazing second we spent in Sin City!

Ja on the RUN

Hoover Dam drained our energy and made us hungry. We first checked out Vegas style buffets for an early dinner.  I’m not a buffet fan but I figured I had to try one in Vegas!

We went to Carnival World Buffet in Rio Hotel. We had to wait for a while to be seated ’cause there was a long line. This buffet place must be one of the best since it seemed popular.

Ja on the RUN

And finally we were in. This buffet place is huge. I’m actually still in the process of recovering from the effects of eating so much from this trip. LOL!

The food was separated by continents and each continent section had specialty food from each part of the world, like Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean,  etc. The food was greasy, fattening, and deep fried. In other words, it was delicious! LOL! I actually enjoyed the farmed crab legs and shrimps the most! There was also huge salad bar and fruit section! Oh, and the desserts and gelato section, that was AMAZINGLY GOOD! The price was $50 per head which was pricey but that was already expected in Vegas.

Even this souvenir mug agrees! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The buffet restaurant is located inside Rio Hotel. We parked at the roof deck level at one of the parking lots at Rio, which had a beautiful panoramic view of the vegas hotels. Pretty awesome! My hubby’s aunt and uncle said that they would go at this parking lot and watch fireworks on fourth of July. Nice!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

After our super-duper stuffed full of delicious food dinner, we hopped in the car and headed to Freemont Street. When we arrived, the Beatles show was on. They say every night on the hour, they play music and have a light show on the ceiling.

Ja on the RUN

It was pretty cool. It felt like you are sort of outdoors and sort of indoors. Since the place was packed, we only stayed for just half an hour and then decided to roam around the Vegas strip.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

You probably should think twice going to Vegas in July, unless you enjoy sweating profusely. This city is in the middle of dusty desert and IT WAS SO HOT! And if you’ve never been to Vegas, you don’t realize how much walking is involved! And it’s not just a straight shoot down the street walk. There were lots of stairs, escalators and bridges which resulted in lots of zig-zagging to get to where you want to go.

After a very HOT walk around the strip, we made it to Caesar’s Palace where we spent most of our time.

Ja on the RUN

We spent a lot of time wandering through the stores. They have every expensive store you can imagine here. From Gucci to Celine, YSL, Chanel, Hermes, Christian Louboutin and more! It is definitely a designer lover’s heaven! And it just goes on and on and on!

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Then, we headed to the hotel’s casino and played the slot machines.I find the slot machines aren’t as cool as they really look. Haha!

Then we went to Bellagio and hit the roulette tables. My husband and I lost $100 in just two minutes. Gone, right away, and just like that! LOL! I realized I have no luck in gambling. Plus, I found the table games intimidating. I guess that’s how it is when you’re really not a gambler.

After our failed attempt of trying our luck in gambling, we decided to sit, grab some cocktails and relax for a bit.

We stayed so long in the Bellagio Hotel that we missed the fountain show outside. I heard awesome things about it.

Ja on the RUN

We continued to walk some more, hopped across the street (and by ‘hopped across the street,’ I mean took a series of four escalators and multiple pedestrian bridges over 6 lanes of traffic) until we became pretty exhausted and decided to pack it in for the night. We drove back to LA the next day. 🙂

It was really cool to finally go to Vegas. It is definitely like a big adult theme park. Although we really didn’t have much time there, it was still a blast. We actually did a lot in one day!!! 🙂

My husband and I had a fantastic time with Paul and Tammy. They were awesome traveling buddies. We talked about going on another trip together …soon! Yay! Though I didn’t come away with any winnings, I came away with memories that will last a lifetime. 🙂

Well, that’s a wrap for now! I have few more recaps coming! Stay tuned! 🙂

Xoxo, Ja

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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 2: Los Angeles, CA

{Part I here}

Hi all!  Hope you’re having a great day!

Gosh these past few days have just flown by. Since I had been eating like there’s no tomorrow during our month long vacation, I’m back to working out and running again! Yup, back to our normal routine and I have so much catching up to do!

Ok so here’s a recap of our next stop…

July 6-9: Orlando, FL  {recap here –> Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 1: Orlando, FL}
> July 9-11,14-15: Los Angeles, CA
July 12-13: Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P )
July 16-19: Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!!
July 20, 26-27: Seattle, WA
July 21-23: Spokane, WA
July 23-25: Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Los Angeles, CA

After our fun trip to Orlando, we flew to La La Land next. 🙂

I’ve been to L.A. several times long time ago before I even moved to the U.S. During my vacation from school in the Philippines, my family and I would fly to the US for vacation and California was one of the places we would visit. I had a lot of fond memories back then. After many years, it was nice to visit LA again. Going back this time with my husband and friends was definitely exciting. New set of people, new memories! 🙂

We landed at LAX late at night and starving. Our first stop in Cali…

In N Out Burger!
ja-ontherun.com

Hmm …fast food, while on vacation? Sorry, but it had to be done. There wasn’t much open  in Palmdale after 10pm. Plus I had to try this fast food chain from all the hype I’ve heard. I got the double cheeseburger which was ok. I don’t exactly know what I’m missing here but in all honesty, it was just a burger. There wasn’t anything too special about it or maybe the built up expectations from all the rave reviews let me down. People seem to love it as if this would be some blow your mind, can’t live without, amazingly delish burger. But …it’s not. I’m sorry to those who loves it but for me it was just an average burger. It’s decent, but no more, no less. (*sorry* :|) Well, at least I got to try it …and that’s enough for me. 🙂
Related: Great American Bites: Is In-N-Out Burger overhyped?

What do you guys think of In-N-Out Burgers?
Do you love it? Or do you think it’s overrated?
What’s the best burger place you had so far? Please do share! 🙂
– For me, nothing has yet beaten Wham! Burger. It’s the best I ever had so far!

We stayed at my husband’s aunt’s place in Palmdale. We slept right away after having our “most overhyped” dinner and woke up early the next day – too early because our body clock was still used to Eastern Time. 🙂

I loved the time difference though. It seemed like I was a legit morning person there. Haha. My husband and I would be wide awake by 5am and ready to roll. 😛 So, what did we do wide awake early dawn?

Ja on the RUN

We went for a run.

Hubby and I would go venture out her aunt’s neighborhood streets.

Ja on the RUN

And during our runs we discovered this scenic route that goes up to the desert mountains.
I was pretty amazed of the desert-y landscape you get in the Southern California.

Ja on the RUN

As we reached the top of these desert mountains, we were greeted with
a gorgeous sunrise and a nice view of the neighborhoods of Palmdale.

Ja on the RUN

There’s no better way of touring a new city than running it.  🙂

Ja on the RUN

Then, I had a deep conversation with this dog after our run. I was telling him about this beautiful place I went to. He’s been living in Palmdale all his life and had no clue where that place was. LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

We started off our first two days here meeting up with friends and family. I have a couple of friends and relatives who live in California and one of the things I looked forward to coming to LA was reuniting with them. Since this was only a short visit and our schedule was pretty hectic, we only managed to see a few of them.
(TO THOSE WHOM WE DIDN’T GET TO SEE, NEXT TIME WE VISIT, WE’LL MAKE SURE TO MEET UP WITH YOU. :))

On our way to visit friends and family we had to go through a lot of LA traffic. It’s endless! I lived in the city when I was in the Philippines and I think the traffic in LA is just as crazy as there already. I am not used to it anymore. I would sometimes complain here in Cincinnati about our “traffic” which isn’t bad. After seeing LA’s, I have nothing to complain about! Nothing! LOL!

Ja on the RUN

First, we visited one of my best friends back in the Philippines, Aiko.

Ja on the RUN

Her babies are are too darn cute! Aiko moved to California with her family a few years ago. It was definitely fun seeing and catching up with her and her super kind family. 🙂

Next, hubby and I met up with our dear Godparents. 🙂
(Remember the story about the origin of my name? I wrote about it here.)

Ja on the RUN

Gave them personalized Cincinnati Bengals beer mugs. Gotta represent! 🙂

 They knew we don’t get much Filipino food here in Ohio so they invited us for dinner and prepared delicious Filipino food for us. Awww-some!!!

Ja on the RUN

I had to save my appetite the whole day for that. It’s been quite a while since I had good Filipino food. I can only cook the simplest ones (like adobo) but other Filipino dishes are just too meticulous to make so I don’t cook them. LOL! 🙂

Soo good! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

My favorite was the pancit palabok (bright orange dish in the middle). It’s a Filipino noodle dish with shrimp sauce topped with cooked shrimp, boiled pork, crushed chicharon, and hard boiled eggs. It was very tasty that sure relieved my hunger and cravings. I had a couple of servings of that! So good! Oh and the crispy pata! That one was good too! Mmmm. Creating this post is now making me hungry! LOL!

Our friends, Tammy and Paul arrived that night too. They flew in from Houston to join us on this trip. I was beyond excited when I learned that they were joining us! Our trip was even more memorable with them! We definitely had an awesome time together! 🙂

My husband left for a bit to pick them up at the airport, then back to our Godparent’s place with them.

Ja on the RUN
They too enjoyed some good Filipino food for dinner! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

It was awesome catching up with all of them that night.
Great food, great company, what more can you ask for?! First few days in LA – definitely a thumbs up!!!

Ja on the RUN

The next day was our trip to Hoover Dam and Las Vegas, which I will have to recap on a separate post. 🙂

Before heading to Nevada that day, my husband and I talked about bringing Tammy and Paul to that scenic place we discovered in Palmdale. We just had to bring them there. It was too beautiful for them not to see. 🙂

So we woke up early and we took Tammy and Paul for an early morning desert run and stroll. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

We didn’t stay out too long. We headed back home after a few hours, ate breakfast, freshened up, and prepared our stuff for our trip to Hoover Dam and Las Vegas. We were so excited!

Stay tuned for a separate recap solely dedicated to our adventure in Nevada! 🙂 This post is just all about LA! 🙂

We stayed in Las Vegas overnight and headed back to LA the next day early morning. I told you, our schedule was hectic! We got back in LA and planned to roam around the rest of the day! 🙂

We went to grab some lunch first at a Filipino fast food chain, Jollibee.

Ja on the RUN

I was actually amazed as to how popular this fast food chain was there. They have Jollibee everywhere in the West Coast!

Ja on the RUN

Since my husband and I are so deprived of Filipino goodies here in Ohio, we splurged a little bit here. 😛

Ja on the RUN

Halo-halo 🙂 – so good!

ja on the run
Peach Mango Pie, a dessert made out of baked flaky pastry
filled with mangoes and peaches – YUM!!!

Ja on the RUN

Filipino sweet spaghetti!

My husband got the Amazing Aloha burger which he devoured right away before I could even take a photo of it. That burger was actually featured in Anthony Bourdain’s show <– must watch! …must watch! 🙂

My husband’s uncle and aunt actually took time off from work for us so they can drive and tour us around. Aren’t they amazing?! They were such awesome hosts! They took us around downtown LA, to Beverly Hills and a little tour of some stars’ homes. Yeah, tourist stuff! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

We visited Venice Beach per Paul and Tammy’s request. They have never been and were ecstatic to play in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

It was already late in the afternoon, a little chilly and gloomy. The water was freezing cold, but we enjoyed playing with the waves and walking around on the beach.

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

After numbing our toes to cold water, we decided to walk around a bit on the the strip along the shore. There were mini amusement parks, restaurants, and shops around the area. There wasn’t really much to see actually. The street was lined with small shops selling pretty much the same things; clothes, jewelry, and souvenir items. For me, Venice Beach is something I’d go visit just to see, but I wasn’t moved enough that I’d need to go back again. 😐

We had a quick dinner at a Korean restaurant, Genwa, went home and called it a day! 🙂

Ja on the RUN
Onto our last day in LA, we did more tourist stuff!

We had breakfast first at this diner, Crazy Otto’s!

Ja on the RUN

I LOVE this place! I love their decor of license plates all over their walls. I love the ambience, it’s very homey and their food is delicious! I ordered the Chorizo and Egg and was HUGE!!! They have great service too! I love everything about that place. 🙂

Leo’s uncle made everything so convenient and possible for us when we were there. They made sure we hit all of the “Hollywood Must Sees”!

First we headed down to Hollywood Blvd to look at the famous hand prints in the cement and the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on the RUN

The boys are a big fan! 🙂

We also went to Griffith Observatory to get the best view of the Hollywood sign.

Ja on the RUN
Ja on the RUN
You’d also get a nice panoramic views of the whole city from up there. I remembered this place being too crowded when I first went here years ago. Good thing it wasn’t as busy this time. :). We were able take a lot of pictures without other people photobombing our pics. LOL! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Ja on theRUNThe Observatory itself is beautiful, and so were the views. I remembered going to a planetarium here before and they have like an open telescope in the dome to view stars in the sky. We were obviously there during the day, so we missed that, but I’m sure that would be a cool experience with them.

And of course Universal Studios Hollywood! 🙂

I said hello to this place once again. It was like a travel down memory lane. First time I went here was when I was in high school and I remembered the Jurassic Park ride being my favorite back then. It was pretty much the same when I rode it this time. They still used the same mechanical dinosaurs that spit on you and when you look another way, you get spit at from another. Haha. I thought that was pretty funny and entertaining.  I liked it because the ride is pretty lame at first and you won’t expect the big drop at the finale. Of course this time, I knew about it already and that we would end up soaking wet. It was still fun though. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

The crowd that day made us so thankful we got the Front of Line passes. We didn’t have to deal with waiting in long lines in the heat of summer days …of CALIFORNIA!!! We got to do literally everything at a good pace. Front of Line passes are definitely the way to go! 🙂 It definitely saved us a lot of time and got pretty much done early. 🙂

Ja on the RUN

Along with In-N-Out, Randy’s is another LA staple. Arriving at Randy’s, we were greeted by this huge donut on top of the place. That was actually very appealing! It makes you wanna get some doughnuts! 🙂

Ja on the RUN

I got the apple fritter which was delicious! That was actually a great way to cap off our long, fun day! 🙂

So that about wraps up our time in LA.

All in all we had a great time exploring the city and spending time with wonderful friends and family. This visit with my husband and friends was definitely a complete different experience from my previous visits.  It was fun, fun, fun!

Bless you for getting to the end of this. That was uuber long! I wanted to get everything of LA into this post. 😛 Stay tuned for the next part!!!

Much love,
Ja

Other places to legally stalk me:
> My blog’s facebook page: Ja-ontheRUN Blog
> Check out my silly photo adventures on Instagram: @ja_ontherun

New Blog Name…Revealed!

Hello everyone! Today is a big day for me.

After days of renovating my blog and being MIA from the blogging world, it’s finally about time to share my new blog name!

Thank you all for waiting so patiently 🙂

So without further adieu… welcome to my new blog name: Ja on the RUN. 🙂

What do you think?

I know it’s not earth-shattering, not super cute or clever…

But it’s “me” …literally! This fits more of my personality than the previous one. This is the look, feel, and style I want to portray as I move forward with my blog.

I can finally breathe!!! Woosah! 🙂

I wrote a blog post explaining the reasons for the change here.

So what else is new?!

Domain. New domain is http://ja-ontherun.com. Although everything should redirect just fine for you, you can still update it on your reader if you are the O.C. type like me, just to make sure. 🙂

New e-mail. ja_ontherun@yahoo.com

Layout & Header. Thanks to my ever supportive and kind hubby for creating my new header! I love it! Feel free to look around and explore the new site. 🙂

Facebook Page – For me to easily connect with people who I share common interests with. So, if we share same passion for running, healthy food choices and wants to get motivated to live an active lifestyle, you can find a friend in me. 🙂 Here’s the link to my FB page. Send me yours so I can like you back.

Instagram – Follow me: @ja_ontherun.

Those are all the changes and I greatly appreciate your support.

Everything seems to be working well, taking things one tech glitch at a time.

Thank you everyone for sticking with me. Have a great day! 🙂

How did you choose your blog name? Do you like the name of your blog? Ever thought of changing it?