To infinity … and beyond!

Time to travel to space! My husband’s #1 favorite place other than the warmth of my embrace.

Right honey … ?


(He said this suit smelled so bad!)

It was recently my husband’s birthday and while I had planned a big romantic gesture, when I called to book it everything was full! I went through about 8 different ideas before finally giving up and accepting that I was married to someone that never knew the next month’s schedule more than a few days in advance. It really puts a damper on my absolute neurotic need to plan things WAY ahead of time but hey I’m the travel tech’s wife I got this.

So I took him a children’s space museum!

To be fair we absolutely love museums of any type, size, shape, theme, etc. if you haven’t already noticed.


Welcome to the Chabot Space & Science Center!

We crossed the bridge from the South Bay to the East Bay (I am just now getting the hang of which bay is what) and made our way to Montclair for a little breakfast. I am a big fan of birthdays and everything *must* be kept a secret until we arrive at our destination. So seeing his face light up at the sight of a Noah’s Bagel shop was so sweet!

One of his coworkers brought them in to work one day and he fell in love.

We then back tracked a bit and headed up a winding hill through Joaquin Miller Park. It was beautiful and I was hoping we would have a chance to walk through it later!

We almost blew past the sign (at 25 miles per hour) for the space center but made it in and got a parking space. Cue another little happy dance from my space geek husband. Parking, I was pleasantly surprised to find out, was free and plentiful even though we showed up on a Saturday! I am still used to my wide and rambling Idaho parking lots for even things like Chipotle ……………

Anyways, I had already purchased tickets online so we waltzed in, got our tickets scanned, a map and schedule of the planetarium shows, and began exploring!

It is somewhat of an odd set up that does lend itself well to being very “space-y” if you get me. One thing that we noticed right away was how absolutely amazing and state of the art everything was …. for 2000. Does anyone remember Ask Jeeves? If not, please remain silent, I don’t want to be reminded of how old we are. 😦 The planetarium held the name of the pre-Google search engine featuring the answer fetching butler.


He’s excited I promise, just not for the picture! Or any picture …

The space and science center was originally in downtown Oakland in 1883 until light pollution became too big of an issue. It took 16 years from the decision to relocate to actual ground breaking in the new location. Real construction though doesn’t begin until 2 years later in 1998. It opened in August 19th, 2000 and so far it looks like very few updates and repairs have been done since then.  Read more about the history here.

We were determined to make the best of it though so we headed through the exhibits and made plans to catch a couple planetarium shows later. The planetarium show list was expansive but when the ticket taker was writing down the times manually for the shows, there was only one showing of a handful. I’m not sure if this is because they rotate shows or if they just have not updated their map/schedule.


I convinced the birthday boy to crawl through a very authentic black hole.

I actually learned a lot between the signs and a more in-depth and less child-friendly explanation from Brent! Did you know we are destined to smash into a nearby galaxy in the next couple billion years?

Looks … comfy.

After an hour or so perusing the displays we caught our first planetarium show that focused on the Google competition to send a rover to the moon, the Google Lunar XPRIZE. Unfortunately, ***spoilers*** no one was determined able to make it to the moon to complete the competition’s goals and the program is now defunct. We were just wondering how much longer the space center would choose to play the program before switching it out for a new more updated one…

Unfortunately for my little astronaut, he grew 2 inches past the cut off height for sending to space! The official “top height” is 6’4″. You can tell that everything would have been a bit uncomfortable if he had been even a little shorter and continued trying to accomplish his childhood dream!


This looks absolutely vile but I was actually surprised at how “fancy” in space food could be! If only we could have had a taste test.


Don’t mind me, just chilling in the space station.

We headed outside to take a peak through the telescopes even though the sun was shining bright. We got to see a star through one of their older telescopes, and the sun with a portable one they had set up outside. They admit themselves that their telescopes aren’t the best in the world in the most optimum location but they are still cool to explore the sky with! On Fridays and Saturdays from 7:30-10:30pm observing is free, weather permitting.

The next planetarium show was much better and even taught my husband something. It was all about the Large Hadron Collider and particle acceleration.

It did not take us too long to go through the entire museum, I had planned to spend the entire day there but we finished 3 hours before closing.


Overall, we both had a fun time and learned some new things! Admission ($18 in March of 2018) seemed fair, and honestly I wish I had extra to donate so they could plan an update. It made us sad that so many of the pretty cool exhibits were dirty, broken, or missing parts. There was a very large children’s section with do it yourself exhibits on stop motion and (pretty randomly) fashion design. I’d recommend spending a day there, but I’m not sure I would return except for maybe a free night sky viewing.

What makes you the most excited about the future Andromeda/Milky Way collision?


Controversial opinion time

Deep breath, it’s just about an aquarium


(Don’t worry dude, it’s what’s on the inside that counts)

Today I’m talking about the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

I remember going to this aquarium on a trip with my family many many years ago and being absolutely blown away by the magnitude and wonder of it all. I remember walking through what seemed like an entire country full of kelp forest and baby octopi.

Buuut..kind of like that really amazing ex that you don’t know WHY you broke up with, as soon as you go back you realize it really wasn’t THAT great.

But let me start at the beginning.

We started the drive not quite as early as I would have liked, at about 10am which is also opening time. I’m one of those stand in front of the doors while you watch them unlock it kind of gals (thanks mom) so I blame my husband for our tardiness.

We got to Monterey about 11:30 am and lucky for us I had done my research on parking. There are quite a few places to park so don’t panic if you go on a busy day. There are multiple Cannery Row parking garages and lots that aren’t too crazy expensive but prices do rise with crowds. But if you know anything about us by now you know that we are major cheapskates and free parking is music to our ears.  I had heard a tip that if you continue down the road past the aquarium until you pass all of the parking meters you might luck out with a space alongside the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. We were there early enough still surprisingly that we were able to find a spot!

It also helped that we went on a weekday so people were at school or work. There is a cheaper garage ($7 a day) at 340 Tyler Street with a free trolley that stops at a few tourist locations but it only runs on weekends.

It took us about 10 minutes to walk back to the aquarium but we weren’t complaining.


I had been worried about a crowd at the ticket counter so I pre-paid for our tickets online, an exorbitant $50 each. There are very few deals on tickets, and if there ever are any, they are mostly for locals only. We did feel alright about the price though because the money goes back in to ocean research! Also, a tip about tickets …. quite a few airbnbs in the area will lend you their passes to get in for FREE!


The first part of the aquarium is a little history about the building and its surroundings. Parts of the aquarium and other shops and restaurants nearby used to be fish canning factories. Make sure and take a moment to read up before rushing over to the tanks, it’s interesting stuff!

What I thought was so incredibly cool is that not only do you get a map with all of the shows and feedings so you can plan your day around that, there is also a number you can text that will sign you up for all aquarium updates! This includes whale sightings out the back of the aquarium and random feedings throughout the day that are not on the schedule. When you are done for the day just text STOP and you are unsubscribed.


We saw all kinds of jellyfish that light up like a neon sign with strobing lights, sea otters being fed and retrieving balls, a scuba diver feeding the giant bass from the picture at the top, and penguins swimming through hoops for fish.


This guy’s beak curves up. What is that life like?

And now … my favorite:


How are these cuties even real??


My cell phone camera doesn’t do these flamboyant little guys justice. Literally these guys are flamboyant cuttlefish.

I had planned on staying all day at the aquarium and probably even needing more time but we were done early! I am very in to not skipping anything and reading every single sign so I was surprised. As a “big kid” now, everything was just … a lot smaller than I remembered.

Which brings me to my review!

I love animals. So much. I have lived my entire life going to every single aquarium and zoo I even hear a whisper of. I remember when my now husband and I were on one of our very first few dates he tried to impress me by telling me that the male seahorse was the one that carried the babies.


I pretended I had no idea :]

I think it was just because I was expecting to see some sort of magical treasure trove of fish I had no idea existed or an exhibit with a real live whale but I was a tiny bit disappointed in the aquarium.  If you have been to multiple aquariums like I have, maybe don’t plan your whole California trip around this one like so many people do. I found out that this aquarium is a major sight seeing spot for people from all over the world!

I’d give this aquarium 11 out of 10 stars if I wasn’t so jaded!  This aquarium really is fabulous and is set up beautifully in a very charming building.


After the aquarium we walked all the way down famous (and incredibly kitschy) Cannery Row and back. We saw quite a few harbor seals just chilling in the water which was nice. There are plenty of places nearby to eat if you get hungry, and the aquarium itself has a cafeteria as well that you should avoid at ALL costs during normal lunch hours! It was a ZOO inside that aquarium!

A tip for viewing the feeds of the animals: get there early! Some of the viewing areas are small and even though there are screens set up above so that you can get in on the action if you got there late and are short (me), it’s just not quite the same as seeing it in real life. I’d recommend arriving 30 minutes before, and probably even earlier during peak times during the Summer.

Have you been to the aquarium? Did you think my review was too harsh?


A day at De Young

We love a day of artistic beauty, especially when it’s free!


I stumbled across this page recently that lists all free museum days in San Francisco! The De Young Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco just so happened to be free the next weekend, and on a day that Brent happened to have off so us being the cheapskates we are said heck yeah!

We didn’t quite get up as early as I had wanted to to get there at 9:30am when it opens Saturday so we arrived at Golden Gate park where the museum is located around noon.  Just as I suspected it would be, the free parking on the streets throughout the park was nonexistent. We hate paying for parking but we gave in after a couple laps around the park and entered the parking garage. We had to go quite a ways down and across the underground parking to finally find a space.


If you squint you can see where the sign is …. or was?

When we entered we still had to get a “general admittance” ticket and put the included sticker on our clothing. We didn’t know why until later…stay tuned.

The day that we went was also an MLK day celebration so they had several fun musical programs in the center of the building, one of which, a drum performance we happened to catch a bit of. A very enthusiastic audience member was having the time of his life dancing to the beat! I wish I had gotten a picture or video.

We went upstairs first to the New Guinea exhibit. I love when you can learn a little bit of history along with appreciating the art and the De Young museum did a great job of that.


We can’t go to a museum without reading every little thing!

This exhibit also had a thought provoking film shown in the back called The Living Need Light, the Dead Need Music by the Propeller Group. I thought it was incredibly interesting. You’ll have to see it yourself!


This painting reminded me of Hawaii

Photography is allowed in the museum as long as you do not use a flash and don’t bring along your tripod. There are certain exhibits where no photography is allowed at all, so make sure you pay attention to the signs around you or you might get a stern warning (that echos throughout the exhibit! No it wasn’t us we promise)

We took our time walking through all of the exhibits, including Art of the African American South, The Maori Portraits, Art of the Americas, and Worldwide Embroidery Traditions.


Whoa there Punch! Not sure that is the most appropriate response …

Then we went down to the lowest level and found out why we needed general admission tickets even though the museum was free that day – not everything was free! We hadn’t noticed before but some people had a “T” on their sticker while ours just had “GA.” This got them in to the Teotihuacan exhibit in the basement. We saw the ticket takers explain many times why not everyone could waltz in. We peeked in as much as we could then decided to move on. According to the website, it looks like entrance to this exhibit would have been an extra $28 each.

We next went up to the Hamon Observation Tower with its beautiful views of Golden Gate Park and San Francisco. There is only one way to get up there – by elevator. It was a packed ride up and down!


Oh hey didn’t see you there.

Some of the views … and my finger. Oops.

Definitely heard someone making fun of all the people taking pictures of the view with just phones and not DSLRs but hey – do what you gotta do!

We waited our turn to ride the elevator back down (be aware of where the line is!) and then headed out to the courtyard to see the lawn art.

Make sure you explore everything, that little tunnel was way in the back and led to a pretty cool art piece about the sky!

While walking around Brent wanted to research the museum a little bit more so he did a little investigation on his phone and found out that the De Young museum ranks 5th in U.S. art museums!

There is a little cafe there in case you are feeling peckish but we decided to walk around a little bit more then go home for some homemade soup.

Right across from the De Young museum is the California Academy of Science which I’ll be doing a post on in a week or two. Directly in the middle is a little square that when we were there had local artists set up displaying their work.  A very talented man also began playing a beautiful piece on a full blown upright piano that we weren’t quite sure had been there or if he had brought it!

We walked around Stow Lake in the park as well. We didn’t see everything in the park (it’s HUGE! 1,017 acres) but we are looking forward to going back to see the Japanese Tea Garden, the bison, the Conservatory of Flowers, and all the other fun things to explore!

I almost forgot to include the worst surprise of the day 😥 Upon leaving the parking garage, we were shocked to find out that parking was $30 for the 4ish hours we were at the museum and park. It is our fault for not reading the signs but hello expensive, they’re not kidding when everyone complains about SF pricing! We did think it was worth it to see the museum though, and while we do recommend the museum we also recommend doing maybe one more lap around the park to find that sweet street parking! We would recommend getting there much earlier than we did, or if you don’t mind not spending the whole day there going a little later as spots seemed to really open up in the afternoon.

What is your favorite museum in San Francisco?

Kaiser Permanente Moanalua Hospital Review

This might be a bit of a boring read for those not interested in traveling as a tech, but even if you’re just a little bit curious about the process, let’s go!


We are currently on our second assignment in Redwood City but I wanted to go back and do a little review on the Oahu location that we experienced first! Some of it might sound familiar as I did an in-progress check in a while back here.


Everyone was so nice and accomodating, not only to us as temporary residents and friends, but to Brent as a co-worker and employee. It was a genuinely good time to get together with the people from his hospital even outside of work!


Hawaii is home to some of the most amazing hikes, and NO snakes or ticks so happy trails!

We highly recommend Kaiser Permanente as a patient, the level of care that Brent saw was incredible. Nurses and doctors actually care not only for their patients but for the lab employees and other hospital staff. This is pretty different from what Brent has seen at previous hospital jobs. Doctors will yell and scream at lab workers for test results or delays out of their control, nurses will draw the wrong patients or order the wrong tests, etc. We also think that the kind and caring attitude we saw in Hawaii was due to the Aloha culture of compassion and friendliness.


We had a pool!

A big pro was being able to go to the beach no matter what! Sprinkling rain? Very hot? Not quite sure what else to do? Go to the beach!

IMG_20170731_190023365_HDR (1)

Along with all of that, we were thankful the usual travel tech provided bonuses such as free housing, a free rental car (since we couldn’t bring our own to the island), and a small stipend for various other things. Brent’s company even bought us cockroach poison after we asked what we could do about the problem!


Fresh seafood! Garlic shrimp, swordfish, moonfish, and so much more.


Unfortunately, there are quite a few of these for us!

The housing provided was horrendous. The building was disgusting and not taken care of. We found gigantic dead cockroaches in the stairways, used condoms, and handles of alcohol that someone was obviously hiding from whoever they lived with.

The owner of the unit we were in did not care that we could barely exit from the balcony door, and told us to spray WD-40 on it, as if that would fix the door from needing a team of 10 oxen to open and stop it from constantly popping off the rusted track. She tried to tell us that she had spent $400 on a cleaning company between tenants but seeing as how the previous peoples’ laundry was still in the washer and dryer we highly doubted that.

We lived on the 2nd floor and because there was no AC (other than gigantic portable units that we previously thought were vacuum cleaners, ha! And that were only somewhat cool when standing directly in front of them) we constantly had to have the windows and doors open and hope for a breeze. This meant that anyone could look right into our place. We had zero privacy. When they started construction on the parking garage for the apartment building it made it even worse. It continued the entire time we were there, and with Brent being mostly scheduled for night shifts his day time sleep was rough even with his trusty wax earplugs.


The view from our balcony

We could have fixed this issue (or at least tried) by attempting to find our own housing after the first 3 month lease but at that point in time we really didn’t know what we were doing. That is on us! We should have tried harder, but it was still quite the drawback for newbie travelers.

Expensive groceries!

Brent’s main complaint for the hospital itself was that nothing was automated. This introduced quite a bit of human error due to having to manually do most things. For example, they had to type in all test orders to the machine instead of scanning the blood collection tubes and letting the machine read the barcodes itself. The urines that needed to be processed did not use the Iris machine which automates everything and takes a third of the time it would take a human. When using the Iris machine that most hospitals now have, the test results are more uniform and remove human judgment on things like how much is poured off before beginning the test. Overall, everything was much less scientific at the Kaiser on Oahu.

At the hospital, work was constantly being created in an attempt to remain busy. If you remember reading my previous post, Brent was happy that the lab was essentially over-staffed compared to his previous hospital experiences but that meant lots of busy work was constantly being created to make sure everyone had something to do, however insignificant. They even kept a color coded chart for each patient that was completely unnecessary for the lab, and would have been more suited for a nurse or doctor that was in constant contact with the patients they were caring for.

Another point previously touched on was that the Moanalua Kaiser was permanently stuck in the past. They refused to revise old policies that were practically stuck in the stone age. Healthcare changes regularly and a hospital should always stay on top of the newest and best techniques, but this Kaiser was not open to this at all. At Brent’s previous hospital in Idaho although everyone wanted to advance and revise and do the proper studies in order to implement these things, no one had the time. The hospital was just too under staffed. On Oahu with all of the extra unnecessary staff doing busy work, this would have been the perfect environment to really get ahead and be on the cutting edge of innovation. For example: Difficult anti-body work ups need phenotype matched units of blood. It is a very expensive process to work up and needs to only be done once as the patient will always be incompatible with those same anti-bodies. At the Moanalua Kaiser, these incredibly expensive phenotype matchings were done every single time a patient needed a new type and screen which was every 72 hours if they were still at the hospital. Talk about wasteful!


Hopefully, if you are considering a travel assignment to Hawaii, especially to this hospital in particular this helped you! Or at least entertained you no matter what your profession. 🙂 We have no regrets, we learned a lot from this assignment and now know how to look out for our best interests as well as keep bosses happy.  It was fun learning about Hawaiian history and culture as well. We enjoyed our time in Hawaii but know that we don’t want to go back, at least to Oahu. We are not really big fans of re-visiting the same destination anyway, whether for work or pleasure!


If we were to go back, which island would you suggest we visit? Comment below!

Beware the locals


I have a cousin that lives here, I guess I should be wary!

Brent and I took a day to drive down to Santa Cruz which is about an hour South of where we live now.  They are famous for their boardwalk so we had to check that out, and as we are both head over heels for animals we had to say hello to the sea lions!

I did a little bit of research and parking for the whole day was $12 at the boardwalk. Brent and I are the ultimate cheapskates though and don’t mind a little bit of a walk! We ended up parking on a residential road about a mile away. It didn’t look like the best neighborhood, but there was nothing in our car so we figured we were safe. Hey, if anyone wanted to steal that 1992 almost 300,000 mile car they must need it more than me!

Some tips for parking like idiots like us: if you are going to leave your car somewhere you are not 100% sure is a safe area, DO NOT leave change visible in your car, covered items (I mean, who knows, there might be a bar of gold under that coat!), or important documents in the glove box. Car thieves look for items that might even remotely be something worth stealing. Also, park in a well lit area and absolutely do not leave your windows down even a crack.


After we made it to the Boardwalk, we walked the length of it and went in to Neptune’s Kingdom, an absolutely bizarre ship themed space with arcades, mini golf, boardwalk food, beers for adults that need a little pep in their step, and a trio of canons that shot smoke rings every few minutes. I used the restroom there and I think I contracted gonasyphaherpalaids just from using the toilet. It was pretty disgusting!

The boardwalk is free just to wander, and the carnival games are an arm and a leg to make an attempt at getting a cheap toy that probably cost 5 cents to your 8 dollars. We took in the sights and the smell of corn dogs then walked down the West Cliff Drive path to the Santa Cruz wharf.


The weather alternated between pretty warm and decently chilly, so I was glad I brought a sweater. At the end of the night I wished I had brought two!

I had researched restaurants and found a pretty cool one called Splash on the Wharf that boasted portholes through the floor to see the sea lions and other marine life so we headed that way. We had to walk past what looked like an abandoned restaurant building that absolutely REEKED of decay. We felt really bad for the surrounding businesses because there is no way they could possibly keep that smell out of their own building! Our thought was that maybe the place had gone under before they could clear out their stock of seafood, and that is what was rotting and inviting the hordes of flies.

So after that pleasant mental picture, let’s talk about food! We got to Splash which was relatively quiet and they asked if we wanted to sit in the revolving section. Of course we said yes! I had not seen this feature advertised online but they have a funny little circle surrounding the bar that turns very very slowly so that everyone gets a “window seat” at some point during their meal. Unfortunately, it was right in front of the kitchen entrance so we were directly in the way for a couple minutes.

We got the lobster roll and clam chowder bread bowl, and while they were both good we have definitely had better (and we are no food connoisseurs!). The whole restaurant seemed really old and in need of a fresh coat of paint and a deep clean. The portholes mentioned earlier turned out to just be tiny slivers in the floor that were few and far between. Our server was super cute and fast though!

After that we walked further down the wharf to see these noisy cuties. It was quite the chorus! Don’t worry if you see one and it disappears, just walk further down and you will see 15 more.

There was a sand artist creating some amazing art to celebrate the new year, it was very fun (and soothing) to watch.

We got back on the path and walked further North and saw these brave souls



I feel chilly just looking at this picture. Yeah yeah yeah they have wetsuits on, but still … brr

We headed up quite a bit more and found a lighthouse that turned out to be a surfing museum! It was free to enter but donations were encouraged.



It was fun to see Duke again after living in Honolulu! Duke was the one that made surfing popular in Santa Cruz, but King Kalakaua’s three nephews were the ones that brought it over first from Hawaii. Read more here!

After that we decided to head back as it was getting a little darker and colder. We walked along the boardwalk one last time and debated riding the Giant Dipper, Santa Cruz’s landmark wooden roller coaster built in 1924 (that only costs $7 to ride! I was expecting way more) but the line was incredibly long.


Maybe next time!

We were not ready to go home so we collected our (intact and not stolen, yay!) car and drove South another 10 minutes or so to Capitola.


We found 50 cent parking up the hill above the town! We walked down their little wharf (miniature compared to Santa Cruz) and across the train trestle that Brent insisted on exploring even though it was active …. we were not the only ones up there though, it seemed like a popular thoroughfare.



We were up there!

The little town of Capitola was incredibly cute and looked like it was specifically made for tourism. We were there pretty late but shops were still open and people were still milling around and even sitting on the beach.

After all that exercise we were pretty ready to go home and relax!

How is the new year going so far for you? What are you hoping to accomplish this year? Comment below!

Christmas don’t go!

I don’t know about you, but my Christmas tree is still hanging around … I’d like to say it’s because I still feel the Christmas spirit but it’s probably more because I’m lazy and the trash bin is, like, 20 whole feet down the street.


Oh well.

Christmas is Brent’s favorite holiday (I am a big fan too but I also REALLY enjoy Valentine’s Day and Halloween!) and unfortunately this was the first year we had to spend it away from family. Also unfortunate was the fact that he had to work on Christmas day.

However, we are pretty good at rolling with the punches especially since we signed up for the travel tech life so we celebrated Christmas on Sunday instead.


When you can’t find a Christmas table cloth, wrapping paper will do!

In the lead up to Christmas we wanted to feel as festive as possible, so we did a little research, hopped in the car, and went light chasing.


We found “Christmas Tree Lane” which during the year is actually Fulton Avenue in Palo Alto (how cute is Santa’s mailbox with supplies to send letters!)

These people have a lot of time on their hands! I’m impressed.


Saw the big man himself


His new ride

And the cutest little Volk-ception

We also journeyed into San Francisco for a little light viewing.


The Union Square tree was beautiful, and made me wish I had a better camera for night pictures.

Then we got to the best part.


No, not last minute Christmas shopping.

The SF SPCA Holiday Window! Every year the SPCA fills the windows of Macy’s with adoptable puppies and kittens. They adopt out 300+ bundles of joy every year. Even if you can’t adopt Fido or Fluffy from the window, they are always willing to accept donations as well!


While we were downtown we also stopped by the Palace Hotel


the Fairmont Hotel with its famous real candy gingerbread house


and letter box with helpful elves


and the Tiffany’s windows because, well, Christmas is about really expensive jewelry, right?

I’m just kidding, these guys were too cute not to take a look at though!

Unfortunately we did miss a couple light displays that we really wanted to see, we just ran out of time. The Tom and Jerry House is another big attraction from a Christmas-loving homeowner, and Illuminate San Francisco has a wonderful website with a walking tour of light installations both temporary and permanent.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday no matter what you celebrate, and I am so excited to continue this journey with you into the new year! Happy 2018!

Bay Area Babe


OK fine, BABES. Brent can be one too.


er …

Since Brent is currently on his training schedule of Monday-Friday daytime hours we decided to head up to San Francisco for a Saturday to explore!

We got some great information from one of his co-workers to park at Crissy Field … for free! If there’s one thing I’ve heard complained about the most so far living here, it is the cost of, well, everything, but especially parking. The only downside to parking at Crissy Field is that while you do get a great view of the Golden Gate (as seen above) it is also relatively far from most “touristy” things or just downtown in general. We haven’t had a chance to hang out (or park) downtown yet but I’m sure that will be an adventure all on its own.

On our way to park at the field, we drove past an incredibly impressive piece of architecture that we backtracked to after ditching the car. (and after putting on my hoodie … the sun is deceiving here!) It looked as though the Romans had gotten slightly confused, wandered over to San Francisco and built a few pillars and a giant dome, then moseyed on back home.


We aren’t quite professional photographers (no duh) but hopefully you can tell just how amazingly massive this place is. It turns out it is the Palace of Fine Arts, a wedding photography destination and host of a wide range of events such as The Nutcracker ballet, Kris Kristofferson in concert, and free movie nights!  It was originally built for the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1951. This world’s fair was set up to supposedly celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal, but everyone knew what it was *really* for … showing off how San Francisco had been able to recover so incredibly from the earthquake in 1906.

It fell into disrepair for quite some time until 1959 when the city rallied for its restoration.  You can read more on their website!


I told my friend that shot our wedding photos that she needs to come out here for our 1 year anniversary! (PLEASE BRANDY LOOK AT THIS BACKDROP) Ha!

We headed back over to Crissy Field and the San Francisco Bay Trail that runs through it so we could walk East towards Fisherman’s Wharf. We made a few pit stops along the way to pick up a patch and shot glass to make my collector’s heart happy, and to take epically crafted masterful photographs of the death defying hilly roads and city skyline.

IMG_20171203_141951234 (1)IMG_20171203_144839619

We arrived at Hyde Street Pier where we found out Brent would not make a good tugboat captain.


Although, most things don’t really come in size “Brent.”

There were quite a few historical ships that you could tour on this Pier, some activities to teach children about pulleys and how they assisted in loading boats, and quite a few informational signs about different types of boats. There was also a houseboat turned Summer cottage you could walk through. Overall, not super interesting, and we skipped paying the fee to tour the ships.

We continued on and finally made it to Fisherman’s Wharf! Eye roll of locals and prime tourist destination.


At this point we were starving so we stopped into Boudin Bakery for some warmth for our hands as well as our tummys.


I could have eaten three of these.

As we rolled out of Boudin full of clam chowder, a band started playing steel drums right underneath the wharf sign.

It was a long trek there and back, 6 miles overall, but if you have not noticed yet, I am a big fan of long walks and hikes! Some people call them death marches but … those people just don’t understand … ahem … *dad*.

IMG_20171203_171402304 (1)

Good night Golden Gate!

What should we do next? I am creating a list of things to do in the Bay Area, and I welcome any additions! Thanks for reading! 🙂

Innkeeper, do you have a room for us?

For two whole weeks?


Hello Redwood City! Thank you dad for helping us get here!

Can you tell I had no idea where my makeup was packed?

So, our welcome to Redwood City, CA was a little bit rough! With Brent’s new company, Comp Health, you are set up at a hotel as your home base while you review the housing options they offer you. We loved the fact that we actually got to choose! You could also elect to receive a stipend instead for housing and find it yourself, but we aren’t *quite* comfortable enough with the process to do that. Yet.

They set us up at the Comfort Inn for about a week, the last day being the day after Thanksgiving. We were expecting to be all moved in before we even needed to think about a turkey so we weren’t too bothered. We explored the area a little bit since we were right in the heart of downtown Redwood City.


Is this little guy not the cutest??

However, as I’m sure you have guessed, things didn’t quite turn out that way. For some reason, Comp Health still hadn’t gotten us our housing options even though they had been promised a few days before we arrived. We had been wanting to look through and make some eliminations so that the first weekend in the city we could go take some tours and hopefully choose a new California home.

After several requests for our options, we finally received one. That’s right, one. The pictures were dark and blurry and the phone number provided was incorrect at first but hey it was something! Oh and it happened to come through a day or two before Thanksgiving. We had no idea where we would end up for the holiday.

We met with the realtor who was a very sweet older lady, Joan, that we made friends with easily and who told us all about the place and the area, and asked lots of questions about Brent’s job. Our assumption was that Comp Health worked with a few regular people or property management companies that they matched with their travelers but it turns out that Joan had never done this before. She sure was in for a treat 🙂 Luckily we absolutely adored the place! It was right on the water, had plenty of space, and was in the safest neighborhood I had ever seen (other than podunk little Boise our hometown! Ok, ok, it is growing..)

We were excited to see what else Comp Health would find for us since the first place was so magical but they let us know that actually, that really and truly was our only option as they could not find anything else for some reason.  I do believe it is probably harder to find a furnished place; I’m not sure I would want random people using my sofa and mattress!

We were given the go-ahead to move in by the housing coordinator at Comp Health so we asked Joan for the keys. That is when she told us that she hadn’t actually received any money and so she could not let us move in! Mistake after mistake was made by the housing company that Comp Health uses, they even tried amending the lease AFTER it had been signed by the owner. If you know anything about California real estate this next one will make you laugh – they tried to offer a lower price on the rent for the water front property. Ha! Luckily Joan had liked us enough that she worked through it all with them and held the place available for us.

But guess where we spent Thanksgiving while all of this was going on. 🙂

That’s right, the good ol’ Comfort Inn! Luckily my cousin is a wonderful human being and invited us to her Thanksgiving get together so we were able to get out of the hotel room that smelled like all of the spices I had been generously given by my mother and the dirty clothes that we hadn’t been able to wash. We both actually have quite a bit of family in the area that we are looking forward to hanging out with.


She also invited us on a hike with her family!

With all of the problems we kept having with the housing company, that by the way is not Comp Health but a company they use (which most likely contributed to the fiasco this became, with news traveling through multiple different people and companies), we ended up at the Comfort Inn for two whole weeks. I was grateful we at least had a place to be of course, but I wouldn’t wish two weeks in a tiny hotel room on anyone! We were also thankful for our microwave and mini fridge.

We are now in our beautiful little place on the water and we are loving life so far! What do you think, have I scared you away from ever trying the travel tech life or does this kind of how-will-it-end adventure excite you??


New contract, who dis?

Hello folks, we are now in Redwood City, California!


Which, if you don’t know, is in the Bay Area and quite close to this work of art:


No, not me 🙂 The Golden Gate bridge behind me! San Francisco is only a 45 minute drive away.

It has been quite the process to get from Honolulu, Oahu, to Redwood City, California!

We decided after 6 months in Honolulu that we were tired of how the hospital there was scheduling Brent, and being in Hawaii didn’t *quite* make up for it like we thought. He was worried that not renewing his contract would upset his boss, but she was very, very sweet and said they would welcome him back any time!

His co-workers were the absolute cutest and threw him a little going away party with a little Karaoke and a lot of Soju, and while Brent finished out his last few weeks on his contract I packed up our lives … again! I think our suitcases must have shrunk because it definitely all didn’t fit this time and we ended up donating quite a bit of clothing, household items, and food we didn’t end up using.

Brent ended up choosing a contract with a new, smaller, company, Comp Health, so he had to spend a couple days doing loads of paperwork and attempting to re-do things like drug tests. Comp Health does not have a location for him to get medical things done or to get things notarized so for most of the requirements we waited until we got back to Boise, our “home base.”

One difference between Aureus and Comp Health that we encountered was that Aureus had Brent do all of his paperwork and quizzes after he had the job and was in the lab, and Comp Health had him complete it before. Because of this, he didn’t know the answers to a lot of quiz questions such as who his direct manager would be, or specific requirements of the hospital.  We were not really big fans of the way Comp Health had him do this, and at the end his contact at the hospital just ended up giving him some of the answers because there would have been no other way for him to know.

We had a very chill last couple days in Hawaii, aside from the frantic packing, and although we were sad to say goodbye, we were happy to go on a little vacation between contracts and see family!


Took a day to take some last photos of our home


Goodbye Oahu!


We flew over a couple of the other islands, don’t even ask me which one this is though!

We finally landed in Idaho and took the next couple days to relax and see both sets of parents and all the siblings that we could.

We went to a couple weddings that happened to fall perfectly within the contract gap, took a peek around the ever changing Boise, and then took a little trip to Vegas!

We saw some Cirque du Soleil, walked around all of the casinos, went up in the High Roller, had cupcakes from the Sprinkles ATM, and saw the aquarium at Mandalay Bay. We stayed at Excalibur which is always my hotel of choice because yes it’s old, but it’s cheap and right on the strip!

After jetting back, my dad offered to help us drive to California and since we had two cars to bring and I kind of hate driving, we said yes please!


On the road again ….


This is somewhere in Nevada on the way to Sparks


We spent the night in Sparks, which was .. interesting. It is very brown and sparse!


This little reservoir lake was pretty though!

So after 2 days straight of travel, our booties were pretty sore, but we had finally made it to Brent’s next contract, Redwood City!

Of course, if you don’t know by now, travel tech-ing is always full of surprises … but this post is already too long. 🙂 Check back for part 2!

Is the Oahu (or any) GO Card Worth It?

Everyone loves a good deal. I sure as heck do. Any event I attend, every activity I do, you better believe I am researching the absolute shiz out of Groupon, Living Social, Yipit, MyDeal, you name it.


The face of elation after finding a good deal. (p.s. this butterfly is in Haleiwa the surfer town!)


We were lucky enough to be gifted Oahu GO cards for our wedding but as we went along and chose/did the activities, we really evaluated the deal we were getting. We wanted to see if this was something we would have potentially bought for ourselves or would recommend to others.

The card that we got was for 4 days and cost $360 for 2 people.


-We were able to do a LOT of REALLY EXPENSIVE things! Pearl Harbor alone was $130 for the two of us, and included all of the major attractions such as the U.S.S. Missouri and the U.S.S. Bowfin.

-It opened our eyes to a lot of different options for activities (although I knew about most of them … I love to research things to do!)

-We definitely got our exercise running around to each activity trying to fit it all in!


-It was REALLY hard to fit in everything that we wanted to do in only 4 days. This was exacerbated by the fact that Oahu seems to close everything at 4pm!

-Some of the activities we were very disappointed in (looking at you DOLE)

-A lot of the “activities” were tricks. It showed a price like $22 to go on a hike BUT WITH US IT’S FREE!! When you look into it, you see that the hike (or whatever) is free, but the $22 is for transportation. Which would be cheaper if you just walked to it, rented a car, or sometimes even got an Uber or Lyft.

What do you think so far?

So overall if we would have done all of the activities on the card that we fit in and paid for it ourselves, we would have spent $556 for two people. The cards were $360 for two people so yes we would have “saved money” (if we bought it ourselves).  However, many activities on the cards we just didn’t want to do. One of the activities was “shopping.” A tour company would literally charge a (to me) crazy amount of money to just drop you off at a mall, but it showed on the card as some amazing “shopping” deal. It’s not, read the fine print!

Another thing is this card requires a LOT of planning ahead. We printed out the whole thing and by the end it was shredded to bits, highlighted all over, and scribbled on. We even drew maps on it!  Something to keep in mind is that you are (presumably) on vacation, and if you buy something like the GO Card, with limited times you can use it depending on how many days you buy it for, you will most likely overbook yourself. We had to do quite a bit of rearranging because we didn’t quite know how much time to give ourselves for say, Pearl Harbor or the Bishop Museum. Since we are crazy, we also wrote down prices for all of the activities to see how we could best get “our” money’s worth. (We are the people that go home hurting from the buffet because …. we paid good money dammit!)

Also, we were really silly and assumed we could pick as many as we wanted from the “premier attractions” at the top of the page. They included things like swimming with the dolphins at Sea Life Park, the luau + entrance fee + Ha: Breath of Life show at the PCC, and a sunset catamaran sail. Nope! Oops … we ended up picking the PCC and actually bought the sunset sail on Groupon for very cheap. Read the fine print!


Very worth it

I just went to the Go Oahu Card website and saw they have a handy dandy little feature where you can “build your own card,” so I tried building one that included all of the activities that we actually ended up doing and reached a total of $416. I didn’t include a couple things because they just weren’t on there, such as the Pineapple Maze at Dole. A MUST SEE!! (kidding… read this). The fun thing about doing it that way is that you have 30 whole days to use the card! So much nicer, but also more expensive for each attraction.

We had fun, we appreciated the gift, but I think next time I would really sit down and think about everything I wanted to do in that city first then compare it to the card. If all of the activities I wanted to do were on there and I thought we could smash them out with plenty of time, I’d do it again. If only one or two of the activities I wanted were included and ultimately I’d be paying more for a “deal” because I didn’t want to do 80% of the things.

What do you think? Have you used a Go Card before? Was it worth it?


I can’t end this blog without introducing my new baby! His name is Laniakea and he was crocheted by Brent’s coworker as a birthday present to me, how sweet is that? We will really miss the kind people we met here!