The Bluest Water I Have Ever Seen

Hey guys, happy Friday! I am back with part 3 of 5 of our Mediterranean adventure Zach and I went on in June this year. If you have been following along, you know that we started our trip in Venice, Italy and moved on to Croatia. Montenegro was our next stop on the cruise.

In all honesty, before this trip, I could not have pointed out Montenegro on a map. I mean, I vaguely understood it was in the Mediterranean, but that's about as far as I would have gotten. It's a little embarrassing to admit my lack of geography awareness but I am doing it here on the internet anyway so you all can understand why I had basically no expectations at this port. All Zach and I were hoping to do was to see something cool and eat something yummy.

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When we got off the ship everyone in our group loaded up on to speed boats and headed off to some caves that were supposed to be cool. Don't get me wrong, the caves we got to swim in were spectacular. They were these incredibly smooth cutouts from years and years of the sea beating against the rock. What was really mindblowing, though, was the water. Right before we gt to jump off the boat into the water the tour guide told us that the water was about 6 meters deep. Looking over the edge of the boat and not being used to working in metric units I immediately thought that the guy meant 6 feet. I could see straight to the bottom where the rocks and plants were. It wasn't until Zach jumped in and I could see where his legs reached in contrast to the bottom of the ocean that I realized the ocean floor was actually approximately 18 feet down.

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Maybe this post is making me sound... not so intelligent. I mean, I didn't know where Montenegro was and I temporarily thought that 6 meters meant 6 feet... If you could have seen the water in Montenegro, though, you would understand. When you go to the beach here in Southern California you can hardly see the ocean floor once the water is shin high. If you go to the bay you might be able to get in up to your knees before you lose sight of the bottom. To be able to look over the side of our speed boat and see eighteen feet straight down through the most beautifully clear turquoise water was almost too much to comprehend.

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After a short swimming break our tour kept going. We saw submarine hideouts from World War 2, tree-covered hills, and the cutest little coastal towns full of brightly covered buildings. About halfway back to the port, we stopped for lunch at a little beach. We ended up eating lunch at this sea-to-table fish restaurant that sat right over the ocean. Our lunch had to be the freshest fish I have ever eaten. We chose a gigantic snapper and had it grilled up for us. Zach chose this meal as the best one of the trip!

Our last stop before getting back on the boat was at a little church called Our Lady of the Rocks. Apparently, a long time ago the people living in the area took over 200 ships, filled them with rocks, and sailed them out to where the church sits and sank them. Once they sank enough ships they were able to build the church on top of it. t used to be a church used for weekly services and people would sail to church each week. Now it is just used for special occasions like baptisms and weddings.

I still can't get over the color of the water in Montenegro. The water all throughout the Mediterranean was beautiful, but the water we got to swim in that day was really something else. Have you ever seen something so common and unique at the same time? What was it? Now that I know traveling means finding things as mind-blowing as the water there I know to be on the lookout!

4th of July Adventure

For the first time in 6 years Zach and I did not go up to Lake Arrowhead with his family for 4th of July. Instead, we headed up to North Lake Tahoe with my family for a family vacation! We were nervous about taking a break from tradition but it was SO MUCH FUN! Check out our adventure and let me know what some of your family traditions are I the comments below!

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What I Wish I Knew Before Going to New Orleans

If you didn't read my last post, Zach and I just got back from our spring break trip to New Orleans! We thought we were really prepared for the trip, but once we arrived we realized that we weren't as smart as we thought we were. We had prepared for the weather, the humidity, and made plans for what to do while we were there but we still missed preparing for some things that would have been helpful to know. Just in case anyone was wondering, I thought I would share the things I wish I knew before flying 3/4 of the way across the country.

1) Walking is the fastest way to get around. Unlike here in Southern California, taking a Lyft or an Uber is not going to get you anywhere in a hurry. Every night on our way to dinner we would check to see if calling a car would be easier or faster but it never was. Walking everywhere not only saved us a ton of money, but it also saved us 10-20 minutes everywhere we went! The French Quarter is so crowded in the afternoon and evening that some of the streets get closed off to cars. The rest of them have so many people in them that it just takes forever to get through. Zach ended up with sore ankles from wearing the wrong shoes and I ended up with multiple blisters in places I wouldn't have even thought possible. If you are planning on doing anything more than just staying in your hotel, make sure to bring comfortable shoes that you won't mind walking all over the city in.

2) California has different standards of dress than the rest of the country. I packed some sundresses, jeans, t-shirts, and sandals figuring that I could pretty much make an outfit for any occasion out of what I packed. Just for good measure, I threw I medium-formal dress, a blouse, and a pair of wedges. In Southern California, wearing jeans is acceptable for almost any occasion so I figured I would be fine. Zach, luckily, packed a blazer and a couple of button up shirts for the trip or we really would have been in trouble. Most of the restaurants we went to for dinner had a business casual dress code that specified no jeans. Some of them even said jacket preferred. Even just for day-to-day activities, I noticed that all the locals, or at least people visiting from the south, all were dressed much cuter than I was and NO ONE (besides me) was wearing flip-flops. If you live outside Orange County, maybe you think I am crazy for saying jeans were my plan for the whole trip, but if you are from here and are planning a trip to New Orleans, make sure you bring plenty of "dressy casual" and business casual clothes.

3) Everything moves just a little bit slower. This really was not something I was expecting. From the moment our plane touched down, the passengers got off the plane slower. When we caught a Lyft to our hotel, the driver drove slower. People talked slower and waited longer to take our order at restaurants. When we were walking in the streets everyone walked slower and nobody seemed to mind. People ate slower shopped slower and greeted each other slower. I loved it! Zach was going insane.

I really try to plan for every trip we go on. I hate being unprepared and try to think of everything I can before a trip. Still, almost every time there are things I miss when planning. Have you ever had something pop up on your vacation that you weren't prepared for? Did it work out or did you have to scramble to come up with a solution? Let me know in the comments below so I know I am not the only one this happens to!

New Orleans, Louisiana

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As a teacher, March is the WORST. Those of you who have normal, year-round, 9-5 jobs are all about to start making fun of me, but it's true. It is the only month of the whole year where you have students every day. There are no random holidays, no teacher work days, and no professional development days- just 4 1/2 straight weeks of students coming to school every day with spring fever. If you are a teacher, you get it. If you are not, I dare you to try teaching in March.

As someone who likes hanging out with my husband, April is the worst. Not as bad as being a teacher in March, but it's still not great. Zach has a work trip almost every weekend in April which means I am home alone a lot. Even when he is home, there is work to catch up on from being gone and in-town swapmeets to run. It seems a little unfair that these two months back up against each other, but right in between there is a magical week where everything seems to go right- Spring Break!

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When Zach and I picked a wedding date, we really over thought it. We thought about birthdays and holidays, work schedules, we changed our minds 100 times, and finally settled at the end of March. The first week in April is spring break every year and we decided to get married just before that so we could take a spring break trip every year. Last year, we went to Maui, Hawaii for our honeymoon and this year we went to New Orleans.

Across our 5 day trip, Zach and I visited 4 state museums, took 2 tours, ate at 12 different restaurants (some of them twice!), and walked over 62 miles. Neither one of us had been to Louisiana before and we loved exploring the city together. The people, the buildings, and the food gave us the perfect respite from our crazy lives.

Our favorite part of the whole trip was just walking around and looking at all the beautiful architecture. From walking around the French Quarter and admiring the shops and shotgun houses to wandering down St. Charles street and shopping for our imaginary other life we loved seeing all the architecture that was so different from what we have here in Orange County. We both felt like we had stepped into another world where uniqueness was celebrated and conformity did not exist. Instead of pre-planned neighborhoods where every house was one of 3 floor plans each house had its own unique styling and details that made it stand out from the next.

I learned that Zach loves wrap-around porches and traditional details. I learned that I love bright colors and rocking chairs. Neither one of us would have been able to tell you that we liked these things before spending hours walking around the streets of New Orleans aimlessly taking picture after picture of strangers homes hoping they weren't watching us.

It ended up being the perfect way to wrap up a month straight of teaching and prepare for a month hardly seeing Zach-After all the activity we managed to cram into one week we were both ready for a break from vacation. I don't even think Zach minded waking up early for his work trip the day after we got home after being stuck with me 24/7! Either way, it was the perfect way to break up the two worst months of the year in a way that made each one totally worth it.

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Zach and I set a goal to visit all 50 states together as a married couple and so far we have only been to a few. We live in California and have visited Hawaii, Indiana, and now Louisiana (we also visited Utah, Arizona, Florida, Missouri, and Oregon while we were dating). Where should we take our next trip to? If you have a favorite state to visit, let me know down below and tell me if there are any can't miss things to do! We are already thinking about our next adventure and I know we will go somewhere next year for Spring Break, too!