August 25, 2017

Crater Lake

Ehhhh, who wants to see another lake?! I wasn't too thrilled to be honest, but it seemed like a good stopping point on our way to Portland. I obviously hadn't seen the images of Crater Lake and all its beauty before we arrived.

July 25, 2017


The Redwoods are so incredible. They were huge, but it was actually hard to really fully visualize because they were so tall we couldn't even see the tops in most areas. The Redwood National and State Parks were unlike any other National Park we've been. There isn't an entrance gate or really any entrance at all. The national park is made up of state parks and it is a string of protected forests, beaches and grasslands. 

Chico & Redding

Chico and Redding were those awkward in-between stops where we have to stop so the drive isn't unbearable. We didn't do much in Chico accept go to the Sierra Nevada brewery and visit the Bidwell mansion. Cayenne liked Chico. Our RV Park and the mansion both had home depot's (gazebos) for her to sing in. 

July 7, 2017

Reno was in Reno

Truth be told, Reno wasn't on the top of our must-see list. At least not the adult-list. However, this is a once in a lifetime trip and Reno had two requests: go to San Francisco and Reno. That's it. We felt we had to oblige. 

Lake Tahoe

We went to South Tahoe for our day trip. We weren't super interested in spending time in the place itself-- it was a ski town with lots of areas to eat and shop. Not our thing, really. I found Sand Harbor, a state park and we decided to head that way which would also give us a different route back to Reno. 

July 6, 2017

San Francisco

We surprised the kids with a sleepover in the city. We dropped Cola off at a pet sitter's place and then headed to the city for an overnight stay at the W. To tell you that the kids were excited is an understatement. We pulled up to the hotel and they were chomping at the bit. Once we got up to our room we could barely get the boys out to explore.

June 28, 2017


As soon as you read Napa, what comes to mind? Wine and lots of it! I pictured walking the streets of Napa vineyard-hopping shall we say. I can honestly say doing it with kids wouldn't necessarily be my first option. Nonetheless we did it and we had an awesome time (once we got past all of the idiosyncrasies of Napa)!

June 26, 2017


We went to Monterey mostly for Big Sur. Everyone we met in California, I mean EVERYONE asked us if we'd been to Big Sur. We figured it was a must-see. We didn't want to take our mammoth of an RV onto those tight, cliff-gripping, windy roads so we decided Monterey (and exploring it's beauty) was our best bet. We parked the RV in a cozy park far away from the PCH and drove our car instead. 

Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Yosemite

We headed to Kingsburg as a one stop shop to meet up with friends and to visit 3, yes 3 national parks. The RV park where we stayed definitely wasn't fancy, but the views were incredible. We were right on the river. I'm talking like 2 feet from the river. I quite literally pictured us floating down it the couple times it rained. There was a horse farm off of the walking trail, a tiny beach in front of our RV and just room to roam.

June 23, 2017

Cayenne's 3rd Birthday!

Luckily, we were in LA during Cayenne's birthday. It couldn't have been more perfect. We were staying with the Maciel's and they helped make it super special.  

Cali Peeps

Being in LA, we were able to reconnect with the Maciel Family. Edson has known Potato and Julia for years. They even came up to VA to visit when we had a birthday bash for Edson's 30th. They moved to the LA area a couple years back so we knew when we were headed that way fun times were ahead. 

June 21, 2017

LA Beaches

Going to an LA Beach felt like an event. It isn't something the average Joe does on a weekday. You make plans to get there. After all, you will likely sit in an hour of traffic getting there so you better be prepared. I'm talking bring everything you need for an overnight affair. Food, drinks, a change of clothes, towels and a porta potty if you have one (it's a necessity in our family with a traveling toddler). I literally started carrying all of that every time we left the RV in LA. Yes, the traffic is just that bad. I'm just sayin' might want to consider toothbrushes, too. 

June 20, 2017

The Giving Tour: Adopt-A-Block

Every Saturday hundreds of volunteers serve the most underserved communities in LA. It all started in the year 2000 when a young pastor named Matthew Barnett set his desk outside on his church sidewalk. When someone walked by he asked "How can I help you?"

June 18, 2017

Catalina Island

We wanted to do something fun with the Maciel's so we all decided on Catalina Island. A ride in a yacht (more like a boat but I want to sound fancy) and a day of fun and sun together? Yes, please. It was an all day affair with delightful views around every corner.

June 15, 2017

Olvera Street

Truth be told, I only wanted to go to this place because I reallllly wanted to get some Mexican blankets for cheap. I saw some online and it seemed best to check 'em out in person. I didn't end up getting any blankets but we came back with so much more. A great day exploring an old part of LA. This Mexican Marketplace was brimming with activity and wonder. The smell of fresh churros, the sounds of mariachi and vendors selling all sorts of goods. 

Palm Springs

We did it-- we played hooky. We woke up and decided to roll out of LA. We gave the kids a get out of school free pass for the day and Edson took the day off and we made our way to Palm Springs. 

June 13, 2017

California Science Center

We LOVE us some science centers! Give us one that has free admission and all you have to pay for is parking and we are there guaranteed.


We had to check out Pasadena when in LA. We'd heard from locals that it was a great place. We went to the City Hall, hung out with Jackie and Mack Robinson, stopped by the beautiful library and then drove by the Rose Bowl before heading to the Kidspace Children's Museum.

June 11, 2017

Griffith Observatory

I love parks. I really do. Big parks with sprawling green manicured lawns are my jam. When they are filled with museums, science centers, hiking trails, playgrounds and observatories I mean I might as well MARRY them. Griffith Park is one of those amazing places that encompasses all of those things. 

June 9, 2017

LA Area Hikes

In addition to the Old LA Zoo our friend, Otavio (more commonly known as Potato-- or Hot Potato to Cayenne) took us on a couple hikes that are totally post worthy. 

June 8, 2017

Anaheim Packing House

We didn't technically stay right in LA. We were in Orange, right around the corner from Anaheim aka Disneyland stomping grounds. That wasn't my favorite thing in Anaheim though. It was this gem-- The Anaheim Packing House. We went back a few times during our 6 week stint in LA as it was really just that fun. 

June 7, 2017

Old LA Zoo

The Old LA Zoo is nestled into Griffith Park. It was home to many animals from 1912 to 1966 when the Griffith Park Zoo closed and animals were moved to the shiny and new LA Zoo. It's now a small treasure in the midst of chaos in LA left for all of us to enjoy.  

June 6, 2017

The Flower Fields

Carlsbad is closer to San Diego but the Flower Fields hadn't yet opened for the season while we were in town. I was willing to back track for these flowers. 

June 5, 2017

La Brea Tar Pits

image VIA

How often does one get to visit the world's only active Ice Age excavation pit? I'd say it's a once in a lifetime kind of thing. We paid admission, toured the museum and went on the free (included with admission) excavation tour led by an extremely knowledgable staff member who gave us a blow by blow of what went down in these parts of LA over the last oh, 11,000 years. 


We met a family in Tucson that was from LA. One of her few suggestions was to go to LACMA. We were thrilled when we found out it was free to all kids under age 18 that had a "pass". Each kid also got one adult in free. This was one of the few times having 3 kids has benefitted us financially. I'm just speaking the truth here people. 

June 4, 2017

Santa Monica & Venice Beach

One of our first stops in LA was Venice Beach/Santa Monica area. First, we hung out on the beach and the kids played. We saw a ton of LA beach bodies pumping ze iron. Ok, not pumping iron but there were muscles bulging and men and women in tiny bathing suits.

June 2, 2017

San Diego Favorites

We realized this week that we initially hadn't planned on going to San Diego. We could've missed all of that greatness! We are SO glad we changed our minds. We both really enjoyed the laid back outdoorsy vibe.

June 1, 2017

The Cat Cafe

I forgot about the Cat Cafe! So random, but worthy of a post. I found this hidden little animal lovers gem while searching for things to do. Seeing as though the boys and Edson are super allergic we made a girls trip out of it. 

May 18, 2017

Liberty Public Market

Liberty Public Market was a great one stop shop. We originally came here to visit Stone Brewing but were pleasantly surprised by all the other fun stuff they had there. We are talking a packed pottery painting place, an old school comic book store, a ton of vendors indoors complete with butchers, florists, funky eateries and a wildly popular placed called Bottlecraft. It was a HUGE beer shop that supplied beers from all over. It looked like folks would grab a bite to eat in the market and bring it in the shop and enjoy it with a cold one. In spite of our cool find, we decided to head to our original destination. We had juice, beer and apps at Stone Brewing out on their patio. It got cold and wet for about 15 minutes, but we stuck it out for a sunny and relaxing afternoon.

May 16, 2017

Sunsets over San Diego

Let's be clear, I am an east coast girl. Sunsets aren't something I'm super familiar with and well, sunrises aren't often seen as I don't go out of my way to get up earlier. These kids get up early enough every day. That being said, I'm a convert. I love sunsets! They can be summed up in one word: Breathtaking.

I 💗 Farmers Markets

I 💗 Farmers Markets. I really do. If someone would just give me a chai tea latte and take me to a farmers market with a big basket in hand it would make me oh-so happy. I mean really. A sunny day, a big basket full of fresh fruits and veggies and a sampling of local honey, hummus, fruits, meats, lotions, flowers and more? Yes, please. Throw in music by a local band while you peruse the tents and I'm hooked.

May 9, 2017

The Best of San Diego Parks

I'm always keen on a Top 5 list, so here goes. San Diego is full of great parks and outdoor areas so we had a plethora to choose from. 

May 3, 2017

Balboa Park

As soon as we drove into Balboa Park I was in love. It reminded me of when Edson and I went to London. Spending time with the Laryea family sipping champagne and picnicking in the park while everyone from every walk of life and every age frolicked around us was a beautiful thing. Anywho, that was Balboa Park. Lots to do, lots to see and a lot to just sit, watch and enjoy.

May 2, 2017

The Midway

We know a couple things about our boys. They like big jets, big ships and have a bit of a fascination with big guns. Should I be concerned about their future? Probably.

April 25, 2017

Go Outside!

We've not been in hiding, I promise. We've been on limited data and the kids school and E's job take priority. Therefore, the blog took a back seat. I'm hopefully back (wi-fi permitting, that is).

Being outdoors every second was totally my plan in San Diego. We loved every minute of it. Campland on the Bay was where we stayed and it absolutely allowed us to be outdoors to our heart's content. A bike path nearby, a small beach area right on the bay, kayak rentals, a stage for impromptu dance parties and more. We also visited Torrey Pines Nature Preserve, the Gliderport, Belmont Park and a ton of different beaches. Yes, yes and YESSSSSSSS!

April 10, 2017

The Donut Bar

Yes, there is such a thing. A donut place and a bar paired ever so tastefully in San Diego. Apparently, the west coasters know what they are doing. Bars that have realllly good donuts and serve alcohol seemed to have filled a need over in this part of the US of A. Whatever it is, the Cortes Crew is down with it.

March 29, 2017

Stinky Sea Lions

We went to Scripps Park in La Jolla in hopes of getting a glimpse of sea lions or seals. As we walked the path along the coast it hit us... the smell. We knew at that moment we were close.  There were sea lions everywhere basking in the sun. They were incredible (and stinky, but we could look past that). 

March 28, 2017

Date Night in San Diego

It's not often that the adults in the Cortes Crew get a night out. E's mom was visiting and we decided we neeeeeded to take advantage. We went out twice and both nights involved a local beer spot and dessert. We likey. The sun went down and we were able to get out and about as adults. 

March 23, 2017

The New Children's Museum

Earlier in the week we'd attempted to go to a children's museum about 25 minutes from the RV. We showed up and it was small and there were a ton of toddlers running amok. It just didn't look like the kind of place ALL 3 of the kids would enjoy. Sorry, Little Miss (as she would've loved it) but I had a flash of the boys complaining incessantly about being bored and just couldn't do it. 

March 21, 2017


We knew Coronado was a must-see on this adventure as a lot of people told us to go there whilst in San Diego. We decided to head to the dog beach to explore a bit with our pup. Honestly, not much to say about it other than it was a fun beach day and unlike our FL extravaganzas. The beach didn't have many shells and the ones it did have weren't very colorful. It did, however, have gazillions of small clams (I think) under the sand. The three of them dug and sifted and collected and swore they were going to take them all home and make dinner. Ummm... no, but it was a cute idea. I can picture them sitting in the RV for countless hours using their pocket knives to get the tiniest clams imaginable out. Putting them into a bowl and stinking up the RV only to realize they can feed the dog with the amount they would get. HA!

March 20, 2017

Cabrillo National Monument

We always look for National Parks, State Parks and National Monuments everywhere we go. Cabrillo was an unexpected delight! It was small, but full of goodness. The kids got a first-hand lesson from a real conquistador. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating but we went twice and this guy was in full fatigues and never once got out of character. It was pretty hilarious, but educational nonetheless. The boys even got to don the gear and armor and enjoyed a bit of a mock battle in the visitor center. 

March 15, 2017

Old Town San Diego

I found so much to do in San Diego and we had to start somewhere. Old Town San Diego was our starting point and we were ready to explore. We walked the streets, went to the train museum, passed by a few picture-worthy restaurants, the Sheriff Museum, did some window shopping, enjoyed some Mexican fruit popsicles and enjoyed walking through the Historic State Park. It was a lovely day!

March 14, 2017

Volunteer & Beer

We were finally in nice, sunny San Diego and we thought it only fitting to volunteer with an organization whose mission focuses on the environment. We definitely found the right organization to work with. The event involved two of our favorite things: Volunteering & Beer. 

March 5, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park was beautiful and unlike anything we've seen. It was literally a breath of fresh air. Nature is amazing. The only thing we'd heard about Joshua Tree is that it looks like something out of a Dr. Seuss book and it really does!

March 4, 2017

Vegas Baby!

Our first day in Vegas wasn't our best. Panic set in when the RV park we booked over a month prior had recent reviews that detailed countless thefts of bikes, motorcycles and even a break in to an RV. Panic subsided when 10 phone calls later and 3 RV spots later we found a suitable location for our family but only after we fought off gawking 50-something year old men and at one point could touch barb wire from our front door. Vegas and I quite obviously didn't start off on the right foot.

February 23, 2017

The Giving Tour: Project 150

While Vegas was challenging to find places to help we ended up finding Project 150 at the very last minute (as in 4 days before we left Vegas). It was an incredible organization and I couldn't be happier that we are able to highlight the work that they do. 

February 19, 2017

The Giving Tour: Cookie Crew

Vegas was a challenge. I was determined to conquer it. I must have called 30 places in attempt to volunteer. We want to help! It came down to the kids and liability. In my mind I just keep thinking I'll sign a waiver (as I have so many times before) but that didn't work. Finally, we found The Ronald McDonald House of Las Vegas and we were so thankful.

February 17, 2017


Our Little Miss calls Sedona, SEDONUT and it stuck. I don't know if I'll ever call it Sedona again. I think she was secretly hoping it was a town full of pink donuts.

February 13, 2017

Paige was in Page

It's not often you go to a place that has your namesake (they just spell it wrong).

We went, we saw and we conquered and all in one day. Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend were unexpected wonders. I'd never even heard of these places before we started this adventure. That's the cool part about researching everywhere we go, following other travelers on instagram and really just delving into a place to learn its ins and outs. It's exciting!