homes on Siesta Beach

Picturesque Siesta Beach

Wednesday September 2, 2015

Trail head Siesta Beach

Although Matt and I did take our 3 mile walk around Siesta Beach yesterday afternoon, it wasn’t enough for me.  Not enough beach time, and not nearly enough camera time.  Mostly because, due to my own oversight, I had stuffed my camera in my purse next to an ice cold can of Pepsi, so when I broke it out to snap a few photos the lens was completely fogged up and I was able to shoot a whole lotta nadda.  Plus, there are only so many times I can say to Matt, “Hold up a second, I want to get a photo”.

That’s why when all of our daily activity had tuckered Matt out and he needed a nap in the afternoon, I decided to take the five minute walk back with my camera, and no cold sodas to ruin my shots this time.  The day was still overcast and gusty with large waves rolling into the shore.  Normally this beach looks to be quite calm (from all the photos I researched online) with almost Bahamian pristine waters, but hurricane Erika was doing her best to stir them up a little.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes love this kind of weather though.  With all the sun and heat we’ve been enduring back at the boat yard it was nice to get a little shade and a fresh breeze.  Plus I was just hoping that the sky would grow black at any moment and I could watch a thunderstorm roll in over the water.  No such luck though.  What I did end up with was a wonderful 20 minute stroll through the sand, and five minutes of waiting for one of my flip flops to wash up back to me on shore after I neglected to keep an eye on them from waves as I strolled down one of the sandbars barefoot.  And since I’m on my last pair of Havaianas, that would have been a real shame.

Trail to Siesta Beach

homes on Siesta Beach

Siesta Beach, Siesta Key

big waves on Siesta Beach

sand bar on Siesta Beach

Siesta Beach, Siesta Key Florida

overcast skies on Siesta Beach

Siesta Beach, Siesta Key Florida

birds on Siesta Beach

Caldeira, Faial, Azores

Picturesque Horta & Faial, Azores

Monday August 18, 2014

Capelinhos, Faial, Azores

Wow.  I still can not get over how gorgeous everything here is.  Every time you turn around there is something beautiful or charming or captivating.  It really is something out of a storybook.  If you ever want your life to look like it came out of a fairy tale, move to the Azores.  If I had friends here to keep me company, I don’t think I’d ever leave.  Any takers to come out?  Here, let me show you some more photos of how fascinating this island is to entice you a little more.

Horta, Faial, Azores

harbor of Horta, Faial, Azores

harbor of Horta, Faial, Azores

harbor of Horta, Faial, Azores

Matt on the breakwater in Horta, Azores

Horta's breakwater and Pico in the distance

Grassy fields and Pico in the distance.  Azores

Farmlands north of Horta, Faial, Azores

Caldeira, Faial, Azores

blue hydrangeas on road in Faial, Azores

oceanic pools, Faial, Azores

Capelinhos, Faial, Azores

Capelinhos, Faial, Azores

Capelinhos, Faial, Azores

Capelinhos, Faial, Azores

Matt overlooking Machu Picchu

Picturesque Machu Picchu

Monday September 2, 2013

Matt overlooking Machu Picchu

I think it’s safe to say that I went a little snap happy with my camera while we were at Machu Picchu.  I’m positive I took over 300 photos at the ruins while figuring, I can always delete some later, but I don’t think I’ll ever have a chance to go back and add more.  I’m sure my hard drive is giving me a grimacing face right now as it’s bogged down with hundreds of raw photos, because even as I go back through them, I haven’t been able to find many I want to delete.  There just honestly wasn’t many times I could say ‘I don’t think I’ll ever want to look at that photo again’.  This place is just that amazing, where every photograph is special in it’s own way, a little trinket that I was there to experience it.

Now don’t worry, I haven’t loaded all 250 photos that I didn’t use yesterday.  I’m not that cruel.  But here are about 30 photos that I think highlight our time there and show off the different quirks and beauties of these sacred grounds.*

entering Macu Picchu at sunrise

overlooking Machu Picchu at sunrise

overlooking Machu Picchu at sunrise (horizontal)

sunbeams through the mountains

overlooking Machu PIcchu from Huayna Picchu

Jessica overlooking mountain

sun filtering through stones

road up to Machu Picchu

exiting cave in Huayna Picchu

stone house on Huayna Picchu

looking from stone house down to Machu Picchu

looking up at stone house on Huayna Picchu

view of Huayna Picchu from Wayna Picchu

stone walls and windows of Machu Picchu

stone house of Machu Picchu

stone tablet Machu Picchu

stone walls of Machu Picchu

grass steps of Machu Picchu

rooms overlooking cliff  Machu Picchu

dirt path through stone walls  Machu Picchu

ascending levels  Machu Picchu

Condor  Machu Picchu

tree behind stone wall  Machu PIcchu

grass levels of ruins  Machu Picchu

sacrificing stone  Machu Picchu

panoramic Machu Picchu

tree standing alone in sacred ruins  Machu PIcchu

llama grazing  Machu Picchu

overlooking Machu Picchu & Huayna Picchu


*If 30 is still to many, let me know and I can go back and delete a few of them.  I’d hate for any of you to get bored of looking at photos of nearly the same thing, before you even got to the end of the post.

Frederick Meijer Gardens Horse

Picturesque Frederick Meijer Gardens

Thursday August 22, 2013

Frederick Meijer Gardens Horse

With so few days back in Grand Rapids and so much to see, we used one of our afternoons to visit the Frederick Meijer Gardens with Matt’s mom and step-dad.  This is an area on the northeast side of Grand Rapids that’s composed of 132 acres of natural wetlands, woodlands, and display gardens.  It recently ranked in the top 100 most visited museums worldwide, and it’s right in our backyard!  Because of the 132 acres and because we’re still a little worn out from our non-stop running around here there’s no way we could see everything, but sit back and enjoy the parts we were able to catch.


Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory

Frederick Meijer Gardens Atrium

FMG Tropical Conservatory 1

FMG Tropical Conservatory 2

FMG Tropical Conservatory 3

FMG Tropical Conservatory 4

 Lena Meijer Children’s Garden

Children's Garden 1

Children's Garden 2

Children's Garden 3

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Is it just me, or do these flowers look like they’re flipping me off?

Children's Garden 5

Children's Garden 6

Children's Garden 7

Children's Garden 8

Children's Garden 9

Children's Garden 10

Children's Garden 11

Children's Garden 12

The Waterfall

FMG Waterfall 1

FMG Waterfall 2

FMG Waterfall 3



The Sculpture Park

Sculpture Park 1

Sculpture Park 2

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Sculpture Park 11

Sculpture Park 4

Sculpture Park 5

Sculpture Park 7

Sculpture Park 8

Sculpture Park 9

The camera was not on auto-focus.

Sculpture Park 10

Later in the evening Matt and I met up with some old friends for dinner.  Now if I thought that Laura and I were going for a long time at 19 years, I don’t have anything on Matt and Kevin who have been friends since they were four.  Joining us as well was Kevin’s wife Cindy, and then Korey, who joined Matt and Kevin’s circle of friends in high school, and Korey’s new wife Lindsay.  Have I also ever mentioned that the house Matt and I built in 2004 was kiddy corner to a house that Kevin built?  Yup, they actually lived even closer to each other as adults than they did as kids, and the secret tunnel plan between their two houses, that they had been dreaming up ever since they were kids, could have been a reality.  I can’t even tell you how many days of our adult youth were spent having BBQ’s on Kevin’s back deck, or enjoying a bonfire or hot tubbing at our place.  There have been many great times between this group.

We all met up for dinner at a little restaurant that we used to frequent all the time and was actually in walking distance from our old house.  We were also surprised and excited to see Korey’s dad, Les, there as well, as he used to come to Matt’s office and sit for hours as they talked, and has been an avid follower of the blog since we’ve been away.  (Hi Les and Mary!!)  Dinner was a great chance to see what everyone has been up to in the past year, and we were surprised and excited once more that night when we found out that Korey and Lindsay are going to be expecting a baby next year.  The first ones out of our group, and we’re so happy for them!  With so many new things to catch up on, there was no way we were able to get through all of it at dinner, and had to move the party to Kevin’s where we set some chairs up in the driveway and chatted under the starts until after 2 am.

I didn’t catch any good photos with my camera that night (they all came out blurry or had people blinking), so enjoy a few photos of our group from Kevin & Cindy’s wedding back in 2010.

Matt and KevinMatt & Kevin

Jessica and Cindy Jessica & Cindy



And just because you’ve been so good, a photo of our group (including my friend Laura) from when we had a dinner party at our house back in 2009.  Yes, I made those scarves for everyone, I’m such a dork.


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Picturesque Antigua Guatemala

Sunday August 4, 2013


Today was our last day for our girls weekend in Antigua, and our bus was heading out of town in the late morning.  I felt like I hadn’t been able to appreciate all the sights I had originally wanted to, so I rolled myself out of bed bright and early and strolled around town with the camera.  Quite a different town when rarely anyone is up and about yet.

I’ve enjoyed a chance to travel over land and see sights that don’t involve a sea shore, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little excited to get back and see the boat.  Oh yeah, and my husband and cat too.

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Picturesque Lighthouse, Great Inagua

Saturday April 27, 2013

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Today was such a busy day for us that I decided to break it up into two posts. Alright, so maybe it’s not much that we were entirely busy as much as it’s the fact I’d be putting up over 20 photos in one post, but I don’t know what your attention span is, even just for photos. After our exhausting morning of being driven around in a truck and looking at pretty birds, Matt and I retired to the boat for a little rest before we could squeeze in any more fun activities for the day. Once we were well rested and fed (finally) we met back up with Brian and Stephanie to walk up to the lighthouse on the outskirts of town and take a tour of it. The roads were mostly deserted on our walk up, most of the town attending a funeral for a highly esteemed member of the community, and we were almost afraid the lighthouse would be locked up because of it too. We caught the keeper just as she was headed out to join everyone else, she just quickly mentioned that the door was open and please sign the guest book, as she breezed her way out of compound. Opening the door we explored every inch of the lighthouse. It was magnificently beautiful and afforded amazing views of the island.

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Picturesque Double Breasted Cay, Ragged Islands

Sunday April 14, 2013


On our last day here in Double Breasted Cay, it was just a nice relaxing day.  The guys were out to do a little more fishing, but instead of diving they thought they’d try dropping rods and hand reels over the side of the dinghy in deeper water to see what they could catch (spoiler alert: nothing).  Stephanie and I decided to use the time away from them to check out the island via kayaks.  She picked me up from Serendipity, her in her own kayak trailing one for me behind her.  We went from one side of the island to the other, venturing out one side to the Exuma Sound and then to the shallow and almost dry banks between the cay we were at and the one that wrapped around it.  The water looked too enticing not to take a dip in it the whole time we were there, so we beached the kayaks and stayed close to shore where we could keep an eye out for sharks and avoid them if they came near.  The water was a perfect temperature, and for awhile we just floated around until we saw the guys coming our way after they had gone back to spear fishing.  Looks like it’s fish for dinner again…

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