Nature Amplified in Crested Butte

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This summer I revisited Colorado with my partner Dave and met up with my brother Alan and his family. We’ve done a few trips together, but this vacation was one of the most memorable ones. After flying into Denver, we packed our car and drove west through beautiful winding roads to Crested Butte to disconnect for the weekend. Hard to imagine such lush scenery a few hours away from the busy city! All we could see were miles of untainted nature.

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Waking up to this view was stunning. (Click here for our house rental info). No Instagram filters here! Sunrises were magnificent, and sunsets were equally gorgeous. In New York, I get glimpses of golden hour every so often, but nothing compares to the sun descending behind the pristine snow capped mountains in the horizon.

Almost every day we went on beautiful hikes full of wildflowers through rolling hills and unending trails. One of my favorite hikes was an 11-miler to West Maroon Pass. The entire hike connects Crested Butte to Aspen, but we only did the first half. The next day was a well-needed flyfishing recovery session!

Traveling reminds me how humbling nature can be. And whenever I find myself in these spots, I’m reminded that these spaces need our protection. Modernization is critical in our fast-paced world, but preservation is just as important. With seasonal tourist influxes, some sites can’t rebound as quickly and sadly become destroyed. It is important to remember to respect nature and to leave no trace. I want us to be able to enjoy these beautiful landscapes for as long as possible.

Check out the photos below to see more of my trip! Thank you Colorado, you are beautiful!

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Three cheers for Crested Butte!

Taiwan -- A Hidden Gem

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My mother was born in Hualien, Taiwan and then raised in Taipei until she was 19 when she moved to the US. My brother and I have always wanted to visit Taiwan, and were finally able to take the trip as a family this past New Year!

I have heard the rumors of the amazing food, and the tropical/sub tropical climate. My mom has told me many times about the tall volcanic mountains, turquoise blue water, the fresh fruits like mangos and guava, and also the amazing food… did I mention the food? Well, it totally lived up to the hype. I was actually quite blown away by how magical this place was, and even how diverse it was in landscapes and climate. The island is divided by the Tropic of Cancer, and so the northern half is sub tropical, and the southern half is beautifully tropical, with wild monkeys and banana trees growing in abundance.

We started out in Taipei. We rented a perfect Airbnb apartment in the Da’an district which is known for being a bit more high end, and also having the best restaurants. My mother, my brother Alan, his wife Jenn, and their little baby son Luca, and I all met in Taipei to start our trip. We went to the night markets to try all kinds of street food, and lots of affordable shopping. We ate at the famous Din Tai Fung, which definitely lived up to its reputation — mouth watering soup dumplings and delicious cold side dishes. We wandered through a giant flower market, and visited some temples. We even climbed Elephant mountain at sunset to see the view of the city, and the majestic 101 building. Almost every morning we’d walk our way to the nearest dou jiang restaurant. (Dou jiang is a savory soy milk soup commonly eaten for breakfast). It rained almost every day in Taipei, but that definitely didn’t stop us from exploring and seeing the city. We connected with some of my mom’s family for meals, and even had a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration at a family friend’s apartment in the city where we watched the extravagant firework show coming from the 101 building.

After Taipei we took a train to Hualien, to visit the city where my mother was born. We spent just a couple days there. Hualien is on the coast, and just a couple hours south of Taipei. When we arrived we could already tell the weather was getting warmer. Hualien is known for their pineapple cakes, which we ate just a few of. :) In Hualien we rented a car and started our drive south to Dulan.

Dulan… Wow. This is a small coastal town, with many great surf breaks. There are just a couple surf shops that you can rent boards from, and a handful of restaurants (that were all delicious). This felt like a quiet paradise that no one knew about. There were hardly any surfers on the waves, and my brother, Jenn, and I had multiple surf sessions just us, paddling around in this beautiful 75 degree crystal clear water. The giant green volcanic mountains as the backdrop covered in palm trees was incredible. I honestly felt so lucky, and grateful that I was able to see and feel this untouched natural landscape.

We wanted to stay longer than we did, but we were off to our next destination of Kenting. Kenting is the most southern point of Taiwan. It’s on a little peninsula and surrounded by a National Park. It was beautiful with great beaches and crystal clear water. It’s a bit more built out with more restaurants and shopping than Dulan, and seemed more touristy. We rented another very affordable airbnb near the night market, which we frequented every night for dinner. We spent one of our days at the white sand beach — Baishawan. It was the perfect beach day. They sell fresh coconuts and fruit right by the beach. There were many tourists visiting the beach as well, however we were some of the only people in our bathing suits! All the tourists would come by in full long sleeve pants and shirts, and even jackets. Keep in mind it was around 75 degrees F. (!!)

After Kenting we headed back up towards Taipei. We had planned to make a few more stops on the way there, but realized we had been on the move so much it might be nice to spend our last 3 nights in one place, and in Taipei. We found another great Airbnb that was super convenient to restaurants and shops. There was even a dou jiang place right on the corner. :)

I could write another 5 pages about our trip to Taiwan, but I’m trying to keep it short. I’ll leave you with some photos from our trip. This post and these photos really don’t do Taiwan justice, so I’ll just say this — you should probably go. Every time I travel to another country I always feel like, this might be my ONLY trip to this place. I have so many destinations that are on my list of places to go that it feels like every trip will be the only one. I can confidently say that I will be back to Taiwan, maybe not this year, but definitely soon.

If you're thinking about going to Alaska... GO.

I was lucky enough to travel to Anchorage Alaska this past month. Yes, I went to Alaska in the winter time. I initially had to go for some work, but decided to make a vacation out of it, extend my stay and invited my boyfriend Dave to come with so we could make an adventure out of it! Maybe its because I had pretty low, if no, expectations for what it would be like, I was completely BLOWN AWAY. The beauty is unlike anything I've ever seen. (I've also travelled quite a bit, nationally and internationally -- driven cross country 4 times.) I'm also someone who tends to do warmer vacations to the beach. I'm an island girl, so take me anywhere by a coast and I'm happy. And maybe thats why Alaska really did it for me because you are on a vast beautiful ocean, and then you just shift your gaze upwards and your standing in front of these 10,000 foot mountains, right from sea level. 

I flew into Anchorage and spent a few nights there. Saw a moose on the side of the road the second day I was there and got VERY excited about it. (My very first moose sighting.) Had amazing seafood, salmon, black cod, calamari, etc. The food in general was amazing, homemade doughnuts, reindeer sausage, lots of veggies (to my surprise.) After Anchorage Dave and I headed to Girdwood where Alyeska mountain resort is to get some time on top of a mountain. The snow was epic! We lucked out with 2 feet of fresh powder right when we arrived. The views on top of that mountain, OMG the views! I would snowboard down the mountain, get on the chairlift up to the top, take 20 photos, and then repeat that sequence 10X that day. I have A LOT of photos. Which brings me to this. I'm not going to say anymore, I'm just going to let you enjoy this photo gallery of some of my favorite photos from Alaska. I was there for only 7 days, and all photos are taken on my outdated Iphone. I'll definitely be back. Next time I'm thinking of heading there in the summer. 24 hours of sunlight, I'll take it. If you're thinking about going to Alaska, you should just go.