8 Wonders Of The West Coast

8 Wonders Of The West Coast

Scenic views and so many things to do

Here are some of my favorite beautiful scenic areas along the West Coast of North America that will never leave my memory. Each of these destinations have plenty of character, and they'll charm you enough to motivate a revisit... Or two.

1. Montaña De Oro

Montana De Oro, which means "Mountain of Gold" in Spanish, is just two miles South of Los Osos, California. This pebbly beach has the moniker "Mountain of Gold" due to the cliffs that are edged in golden wildflowers. This beach is perfect for skipping rocks along streams, listening to sea birds, or just enjoying the sight and sound of the navy blue waters smash against the arched coves.

2. Puget Sound

Puget sound is a sound along the Northwestern coast of Washington, near the city of Tacoma. The destination is beautiful in many ways. The sight of Puget Sound offers the urban lights in the distance, rich dark green peninsulas, gorgeous dark waters, and you may even catch the regal and striking Mt. Rainier in the background.

3. Solvang

Solvang is not necessarily coastal, due to the fact that it lays inland in the Santa Ynez Valley. However, I could not ignore this adorable and kitschy jewel of a town. Solvang offers itself as a miniature Denmark, with pastries and architecture that make you swoon. Solvang is essentially a version of a tourist trap, but it's so amusing and unforgettable that you'll have to stop the car. The cobblestone streets are calling.

4. Cannon Beach

Cannon beach is such a remarkable location that part of "The Goonies" was filmed there. Haystack rock is eerily beautiful, and the sunsets are stunning. This is usually a popular beach, but people watching can easily go along with nature watching. Cannon beach is a must if you're in the Northwestern corner of Oregon, and the town also conveniently includes a picturesque wharf landing.

5. Hermosa Beach

Hermosa Beach (translates to "beautiful beach"), is one of the many beaches in the South Bay region of Los Angeles. Hermosa Beach makes up part of "The Strand", which is a series of similar (yet different) beaches along the South Bay of LA. I included Hermosa because of its makeup of the classic Southern California image. The beach is dotted with sand volleyball courts, a surfer statue, palm trees covered in lights, and stylish bars and restaurants. Hermosa's also got a very cute pier.

6. Chinatown Night Market, Vancouver, BC

I recommend this visit during summer, when the weather in Vancouver is beautiful. Vancouver's Chinatown is so unique and special because of its cleanliness and quirkiness. Compared to the legendary Chinatowns in San Francisco or Honolulu, Vancouver's Chinatown is smaller and cleaner, yet still offers lots of interesting bustle.

7. Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach is located in the San Luis Obispo county, on the central coast of California. If you like clams, this is where to get them. If you also like seeing sand dollars, alive or as keepsakes, they are here. Pismo is a great place for a child, or child at heart. The waters are mellow, the sun is bright, and the sand is deep and fluffy in case you take a spill. Pismo also offers great camping.

8. Newport

Newport is a classic wharf town on the Northern side of the coast of Oregon. Newport is relatively small, but its charm is large. The town is full of fishermen and crabbers, and if old wooden docks and chilly air cut by rugged Oregon coast is your thing, Newport is for you. Newport also offers great seafood, accompanied by sea breeze and seagull squawks at no extra charge.

Safe travels, I hope something caught your eye!

Cover Image Credit: keyword-suggestions.com

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Abroad 'Grew' Me

Change can not even begin to describe it


"Abroad changed me."

It's the cliche, all-encompassing, slightly asshole-ish phrase that any student returning from a study abroad experience is bound to let slip at least once. As ironic and annoying as it may sound, especially when repeated 100 times, it's definitely not false. However, I believe it best gets its point across when modified slightly.

The one slight correction that can be made to this statement is the word "changed". I know for a fact that my study abroad experience opened my eyes to new cultures, new perspectives, and new possibilities. I was able to branch out and pursue areas of interest I had never imagined. However, I am still me. I did not morph into a new person or lose anything I once had before I boarded that plane. If anything the correct phrase (although not grammatically proper) should be "Abroad grew me". The path I followed in my experience, every twist, turn, and bump that hit me along the journey, helped me to become something more of myself.

My problem-solving, communication and overall interpersonal skills have become so much stronger than those which I left JFK Airport within early September. All of this combined, my confidence has grown tenfold. In terms of my self-confidence, I have never felt more validated or reassured of who I am, what my values are, and what I want out of this life. All of these things are due to the situation I was put into, but I would not call them changes. Because the word "change" insinuates I never had any of these skills or characteristics before.

Being brave, for example, is not something I typically would label myself as. But when you are lost in the streets of Morocco, frantically running in circles to find a blue building (in what is known as the "Blue City") when your bus is leaving in under 5 minutes, the act of going up to a complete stranger and getting your Spanish to somehow coincide with their Arabic is not just a show of bravery, but a necessity. It is how you survive. Although I quickly learned that after a few too many travel fiascos, I also came to realize how much better life can become when you let this bravery into other aspects of your life - not just the emergencies. The little parts like trying new foods, volunteering to make a fool of yourself and flamenco dance, stopping at the street corner to converse with the woman selling flowers, these are the small things that shaped my entire experience. And these are the biggest things that helped me to grow. This bravery was something that I always had, just never to the extent at which I tapped into during my time abroad.

Yes, coming back from studying abroad I feel like the world around me and my normal life have changed. I never could have expected it to stand still just because I was absent. However, I do not feel that I have "changed" from who I was before. A desire for a challenge is what led me to go abroad in the first place and I am extremely blessed to be able to say that my wish was fulfilled. With each new experience, I expanded my horizons, and piece by piece I watched myself morph into what I would now call a confident and well-rounded individual. This growth has brought me to where I am today, but it is only the starting point on my adventure to further explore cultures, the world, and where my place is in it all.

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