Oregon (Part 3) | Staying on the Oregon Coast and Sand Dunes

When I was going to college, one thing my roommates would look forward to was the weekend. Not because of the parties or sleeping in, but because sometimes we’d visit the Oregon Coast and Sand Dunes! I loved that two-hour road trip with my best friends, it was so special. So when I visited again after all these years, all those great memories came rushing back.

*Before you read on, have you checked out Part 1 and Part 2 of my Oregon trip? 😊

oregon coast oregon coast

My “Great American Road Trip” began on the Atlantic Ocean, and I made it all the way to the Pacific Ocean. It felt incredible standing here, staring out at the Pacific—an ocean that I grew up with in Hawaii. The ocean has a way of making you feel small, doesn’t it?

pacific northwest map oregon lighthouse

Fun fact: Lighthouses are one of my favorite things in the world. There’s just something about being that light. Their job is to shine and guide ships to shore. I want to be like a lighthouse—shine and help people. (Cheesy? Too bad 😛)

oregon forests jasmine eclipse oregon coast jasmine eclipse

I turned 26! 🎉

oregon fog oregon coast fog

I’ll never get tired of morning fog. It’s so cozy.

oregon coast forest oregon forests german shepherd puppies oregon german shepherd puppies oregon

While on the coast, I got to play with puppies! This was one of the best days ever. It reminded me how much I love animals, and can’t wait to adopt again!

oregon forests oregon lake

Oh, Oregon. You’re too beautiful for words. I love you.

*Some links may be affiliate links for my coffee habit 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.

Oregon (Part 3) | Staying on the Oregon Coast and Sand Dunes

Oregon (Part 2) | Visiting my College Town in Eugene

I graduated from the University of Oregon close to five years ago now (yikes), and visiting my college town in Eugene was so surreal. When I graduated, I didn’t think I’d be back. Don’t get me wrong, it was amazing and I have nothing but love for the school and the place, I just thought that chapter was over. When I went back this summer, it felt so strange! Everything had changed, yet it had all simultaneously stayed the same.

Here are photos from my second leg of my Oregon trip. If you haven’t yet, check out Part 1! And catch up on my other posts from my Great American Road Trip 😎

johnson hall university of oregon Lundquist College of Business

I’m totally biased, but the University of Oregon is the most beautiful campus I’ve ever seen. The buildings are gorgeous, they’re the birthplace of Animal House, there’s over 400 species of trees, and everyone’s smiling all the time. It felt so good walking across campus again. This was probably one of my happiest days. So many great memories are rooted here, I can’t wait to bring my children here one day!

king estate winery king estate winery king estate winery king estate winery king estate winery

If you’re ever in Eugene, one thing you have to do is visit a winery. They’re everywhere! I stumbled on King Estate while driving around aimlessly in the countryside, and it was beautiful! The most amazing thing was the owners started the winery without knowing anything about wine! They just started growing grapes because it was something they were passionate about—how cool is that? While I was there, I got a free tour and samples, and spent the rest of the day in the sunshine.

register guard eugene eugene oregon camping

Mornings look like this lately. I’ve been having one of my favorite breakfasts, and made the switch to tea. I’ve been ignoring my phone and computer until about 10am, and I’ve been reading the news or books instead! If you can, I recommend doing this. I’ve been so much happier!

eugene oregon farm stand

A good reminder for peaches and people 👍🏼

oregon blackberries fern ridge eugene fern ridge eugene

Blackberry bushes are everywhere. I’ve been snacking on these nonstop, they’re so, so good! Best part? They’re free!

eugene oregon

In August, I celebrated my second month on the road here in Oregon (and spoiler: I also spent my third month on the road in Oregon. I’m that behind on posting haha). I’m grateful for this season in my life, because learning so much, seeing so many places, meeting so many people, and seeing who I am becoming and realizing who I want to continue to grow into.

If you have the opportunity to take a break from life and road trip, DO IT.

*Some links may be affiliate links because student loans don’t pay themselves 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.

Oregon (Part 2) | Visiting my College Town in Eugene

Oregon (Part 1) | Eastern Oregon & Mt. Hood in the Summer

If you follow me on my Twitter or Instagram, you know I’ve been in Oregon since July. JULY. I’ve been sitting on this Oregon content for a while because at first, I wasn’t quite sure how to put it all together. So, I’ll be rolling it out in parts (four, to be exact!). As soon as I crossed over the border into Eastern Oregon, I relished in the sweet Oregonian summertime. Here are photos from my stay at Mt. Hood in the summer!

welcome to oregon oregon road trip

Crossing the border into Oregon felt like a warm, overdue embrace. The last time I was here, I was graduating from University (which was over four years ago now!). Coming back here felt like coming home, and after months of traveling to new and foreign places, that was a great feeling!

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I don’t know about you, but I have a thing for abandoned places. I love visiting run down places and towns that time forgot about.

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In the four years I lived in Oregon, I never once visited Mt. Hood. Ever. So I was really excited to finally visit this time. And it was BEAUTIFUL. I can only imagine how gorgeous it is in the winter!

mirror lake oregon mirror lake oregon

At Mount Hood, I visited a place called Mirror Lake. After hiking to the lake and eating breakfast here on this log, I sat and let the beautiful silence envelope me. I sat and thought about how I got to this point—not here at the base of this mountain, but here at this point in my life.

Remembering that just a year ago, I was living in another country with an entirely different life, struggling with my own mind. And when I was sitting there watching the world wake up before my eyes, watching the mountain, birds, and wind reflected in the lake, I knew I’d made it. I felt content. I felt joy burning through my cheeks.

My life has made a total 180 from where I was last year, and I’m so unbelievably happy with the person I’m becoming. I’m glad to have left the person I once was behind, because this new me is so, so, so much better—and it’ll only go up from here. Thankful, so thankful.

snake river oregon

On that hike, I also found this poem in the forest. I took it as a gentle gift from the universe. I hoped to meet the author out there in the woods. Maybe next time.

“Delving into muted expressions, like a record stuck on repeat,
the rest of the album waiting to be sung.
The song that was never heard, beckons a melody of truth
more poignant than the last drop of aged brandy.
Tongue trembling,
jaws clenched,
your eyes shed a mirage.”

Thank you, mysterious writer. You’ve inspired me to write again.

snake river oregon snake river oregon snake river oregon snake river oregon mt hood camp

I was very, very happy here in the woods, walking up the riverbed, wading through the water, drinking in the sunshine. It felt so great to be back in Oregon, and my stay at Mt. Hood was a wonderful welcome!

*Some links may be affiliate links for my Dalmatian and coffee fund 👍🏼. Visit my Disclaimer page for more info.

Oregon (Part 1) | Eastern Oregon & Mt. Hood in the Summer

Do you believe in miracles?

I haven’t always been the type of person to believe in miracles. But as of late, I am.

When I was in the Wyoming desert, I got a phone call I wasn’t expecting.

And from this day forward, Wyoming will forever be known to me as the place where I experienced heartache, grief, and a reunion all in one. Wyoming will always be bittersweet.

My grandfather went into surgery, and a part of me wanted to call and talk to him beforehand. But I didn’t, because I was afraid that since we hadn’t spoken for upwards of five years, that it would be “awkward.” Looking back, I realize how silly that sounds.

The next day, he left this earth.

I remember receiving a text from my aunt: “Give me a call when you have a chance.”

I remember that sinking feeling. She didn’t say it, but I already knew that it wasn’t good. Before I knew what was happening, I felt that emptiness.

My aunt and I hadn’t spoken for almost 10 years, but I called her and we cried on the phone together. And I’ve never felt so close yet so far away at the same time.

Then she asked a question I knew was coming, but didn’t want to hear: “Has your dad called you yet?”

My dad and I don’t have the best relationship. The love is there, but the closeness isn’t.

My aunt gave him the chance to reach out to me and tell me the news, but he didn’t. So I decided to reach out to him, just to make sure he was okay.

He didn’t answer when I called, but I wasn’t surprised. I left a voicemail, not expecting anything in return.

The next morning, he sent an email as though no time had passed at all. It had been nearly a year since we last spoke to each other, but somehow it didn’t feel like that at all.

We’ve been talking a few times a week since then.

Before this, I wholeheartedly believed we wouldn’t ever have a relationship. That the next time I heard from him, it would only be because something had happened.

In a way, I have to believe that in my grandfather’s passing, it was his dying wish to bring me and my dad back together. Because that’s exactly what happened.

With the loss of my grandfather, came the rebirth of our relationship. With his departure, I’m now in touch with my aunt and that other side of my family again.

In this tumultuous world we live in, I think it would be crazy to not believe in miracles of some sort.

So, that’s what I’m holding onto during this time of grief and longing.

What about you? Have you ever experienced a miracle of any kind? If you have, please share them below. I’m in the mood for miracles ❤️

*Check out more of my writing.

Do you believe in miracles?

Wyoming | Rock Springs & the National Rodeo Competition

I’ve been to Wyoming a few times, mostly when I was really young. So when I went this last time, it was really different and special. I was there for a rodeo competition, which was a whole new world in itself. I also started a new job while I was there. I explored Rock Springs, which is home to most of the dinosaur fossils in the U.S.! Overall, the two weeks spent in Wyoming was relaxing, it was different, and it was new – exactly what this trip is all about. Here are some photos from my trip!

rock springs wyoming sweetwater events, rodeo competition

The more I see mountain ranges like these, the more I fall in love with them. When I was young, my great grandmother had a painting similar to this photo. When I visited her in the summers, I drank my hot cocoa at the dining room table and stared at that painting – wanting to be in it. I think maybe that’s why the desert has such a pull on my heart.

rock springs

Two words: Dream. Car.

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Half of me will always long for an apartment with a fire escape. The other half wants a house with a huge yard and tons of animals. I’ll have to find a happy medium.

laundromat rock springs

If this doesn’t make you feel like running off to have tea in Hobbiton, I don’t know what will!

rock springs wyoming rock springs wyoming rock springs wyoming

My stay in Wyoming was hot, dusty, and long. But it was sweet. And I’m happy I was able to visit and experience it in all its warm, July glory.

Wyoming | Rock Springs & the National Rodeo Competition

Utah | Touching REAL fossils and bones at Dinosaur National Monument

Are you caught up with my travel posts? Check out my full Travel Across America trip! 😊

I’ve been to tons and tons of National Parks, but this was by far one of my top 5 favorites. Dinosaur National monument was the most incredible place and I’ll forever remember this as one of the best days of this trip! Here, I was able to touch REAL dinosaur fossils, rocks that were billions of years old, and hike up a side of the mountain to see REAL dinosaur bones in the mountainside. I had a major fangirl moment for the few hours that I was there and I already want to go back. But until then, I’ll relive my trip with these photos. 🦖



I’m a huge, huge, huge fan of rocks. When I was little, I looked forward to driving down into the canyon because of all the changing rock colors and formations. And an embarrassing tidbit: I used to collect “egg-shaped” rocks because I thought they looked like dinosaur eggs (and I named them all Courtney). Yes, I know I was a weird child. And I’m still a weird human, but hey that’s okay. 👽

welcome to utah welcome to utah

How awesome is this sign?! I’ve seen tons and tons of state signs on this trip, but none that were on this level of cool. Seriously, I want one of these to hang on a wall in my house.

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A REAL dinosaur fossil. It’s REAL!!! How cool is this?!

dinosaur national monument

Honestly. How. AWESOME.

This quarry wall was full of dinosaur fossils because millions and millions of years ago there was a terrible drought and they all died. Then there was a monstrous flood, which brought mud and tar and all kinds of things into the area and then they formed this wall of fossils into the side of the mountain. It was amazing standing here looking at this. I almost cried haha.

dinosaur national monument dinosaur national monument

I was obviously very happy (and embarrassing). But how often do you get to touch REAL dinosaur bones?! Total nerd moment.

utah road trip

Nothing better than an open road ahead of you, right? 😊

Utah | Touching REAL fossils and bones at Dinosaur National Monument

Colorado (Part 2) | Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge & soaking up the sunshine

Have you seen Part 1 of my Colorado trip? 😊

If you’ve never been to Colorado, you need to add it to your list. I only spent about two weeks there, and easily fell in love. During the second half of my trip, I stayed in Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge – both are huge ski and snowboard towns, but were surprisingly busy during the summertime as well!


How magical are butterflies? I love seeing them!

colorado colorado hiking colorado hot springs

Fun fact: I have a friend who actually hiked up to the Mt. Everest base camp and brought back prayer flags like these that were blessed! Super awesome guy. 👍🏼


I need real hiking boots, if you have any suggestions please leave them below! (Under $200 please!)

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Warming a cinnamon roll on the dash is the best way to heat a cinnamon roll 👍🏼

breckenridge camp vintage rv

How amazing is this RV?! I saw it in a thrift store parking lot and I wanted to take it with me! I wish the owner was around so I could take a peak inside, but this photo will have to do.

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johnsons corner colorado

Yes, yes I do. Always 😎

colorado desert

I absolutely LOVED my stay in Colorado. It’s one of the most beautiful states there is, and I can’t wait to go back and explore some more!

Colorado (Part 2) | Steamboat Springs, Breckenridge & soaking up the sunshine

Colorado (Part 1) | Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park & Garden of the Gods

Have you caught up with all my Travel America posts? ⚡️

You know when you visit a place and you can’t stop singing a certain song? (ie, “New York, New York” – Sinatra. Or “California Love” – Tupac). That’s how I felt when I was in Colorado. I don’t think I’ve ever listened to “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver as much as I did when I was in the “Mile High City.” But hey, I’m not complaining. Denver’s one of my favorite artists of all time.

Anyway, here’s what I was up to during the first half of my stay in Colorado. 😊

Garden of the Gods Garden of the Gods Garden of the Gods Garden of the Gods Garden of the Gods Garden of the Gods

The first stop in Colorado was the Garden of the Gods. This natural rock park was full of these incredible formations and there were tons of hiking, biking and horseback trails. The best part? It’s free to enter AND you can even drive through the park and get up close to all the formations, if you don’t feel like walking through!

colorado highway

See that baby moon? One of my favorite things so far on this trip is being out in nature for all the phases of the moon. I love being able to stargaze with totally clear skies – it’s incredible! It’s also the perfect setting for writing, which I’ve been able to do a ton of!

rocky mountain national park rocky mountain national park rocky mountain national park rocky mountain national park colorado highway

The Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited in my life – and I’ve been to some pretty incredible places. With an elevation of over 12,000 feet, hundreds of different animal species, over 150 lakes, 1.7 billion year old rocks, and a temperature range of -39F to 96F – Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the most diverse and stunning parks in the U.S.

I did the driving tour, which took about an hour and a half with a lunch break at the visitor’s center (at the highest elevation!). It was beautiful, and I can’t wait to go back one day soon!

colorado sunset

One last thing, the sunsets in Colorado knocked me off my feet. If you know me at all, you know I’m a sucker for sunsets, and these did not disappoint!

Have you ever visited Colorado? What was your favorite part of the state? 😊

Colorado (Part 1) | Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park & Garden of the Gods

26 trips around the sun | 26 Things I’ve learned (so far)

I woke up this morning and circled the sun for the 26th time. When I stop and really think about that, it’s hard to believe because I feel like I’ve been here for a lifetime longer and a lifetime shorter at the same time. And so much has happened in my life in the last year alone, that I feel as though I’ve aged at least 5 years. Aging is strange. While I feel like I’ve accomplished and overcome so much at my age, I also feel like I should have accomplished so much more. But alas, here are 26 things I have learned so far, anyway. ⚡️

1. Your feelings are valid. Regardless if others have it worse. Everyone struggles, but your doubts and fears deserve to be understood too.

2. You are never too young to fail because you are never too young to learn.

3. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, ask yourself: “What could I make out of this absence? What DO I have?” And be grateful for that.

4. Even in leaving, you have to take your time. Don’t rush just because you’re uncomfortable. Take your time to breathe the air then breathe it out. Go with your first instinct, but be gentle.

5. Love in different ways. You’ll receive it back in different ways too.

6. Accept things for what they ARE, not what you think they SHOULD be.

7. Hold onto your faith for the simple fact that it makes you feel good.

8. Where you’ve been and who you’ve been does NOT equate to where you’ll go and who you’ll become.

9. Don’t take life so seriously all the time, it’s really not that serious. Just be happy.

10. There is not a single human being you wouldn’t LOVE if you knew their story. Get to know people, put yourself in their shoes, have an open mind. Love their differences.

11. You cannot change someone into being someone they are not, simply because it is what YOU want for them. Everyone is their own person. Focus on yourself.

12. Love ends sometimes. What you thought would have been forever was squeezed into a smaller infinity than you are used to – it’s as simple as that.

13. With every heartache and struggle comes a very, very, very important lesson and opportunity for growth – never take this for granted.

14. A lot of people have come into your life and a lot of people have left, and that’s okay. A close friend once told me people come into your life for 3 reasons: for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.

15. Let things come and let things go. Nothing is promised to you, so stop acting like you are entitled to things and stop getting so upset when things don’t go your way. Simply appreciate what you have while you have it, and once it’s gone, let it go.

16. When no one else is there, make sure you’re the first person you turn to when you need love, encouragement, and appreciation. You’ll always have yourself.

17. Some of the happiest moments of our lives are viewed in hindsight. Try to beat this by realizing a good moment while you’re IN it. Drop everything and fully embrace being happy. A smart writer once said: “A thousand moments that I had just taken for granted – mostly because I had assumed there would be a thousand more.” Don’t be like this guy.

18. What you’re struggling with right now is molding you into a new version of yourself, and without this hardship, you’d miss this growth!

19. Life is so, so, so short. Failure will happen to you. Struggles will arise. People will leave. You will question yourself, your abilities, your faith, your surroundings – and that’s okay, that’s normal, it happens.

20. Do not stop loving. Do not stop caring.

21. Forgive, forgive, forgive. Mostly, forgive yourself because oftentimes, you are in the wrong, but have too much pride to recognize it, accept it, and change it 🙂

22. The truth hurts, but get used to it (see: above)

23. Nothing will keep you from living your best life if you believe in yourself and your abilities.

24. A job does not equate to happiness or “having it all together.” You will not find comfort or JOY in a 9-5. There is no more stability in a cushy career than there is in loving the right person and creating a home. Everyone is on their own paths, and if yours looks different than the next person, there is nothing wrong with that.

25. It’s just after your darkest hour that the sun will begin to rise. Think back to every single time you were in your darkest hours, feeling lost and broken, but decided to keep holding onto that sliver of hope. What happened? The sun rose. every. single. time. And it will continue to rise, and so will you.

26. You are never stuck somewhere you don’t want to be.

I’m grateful for another chance, another year of life, more opportunities to grow and love and live. I hope these little lessons will help you, too! What are some life lessons you’ve come to learn and love? ❤️

26 trips around the sun | 26 Things I’ve learned (so far)

Christmas in July | Holiday & Christmas Photo Cards from Basic Invite

It’s the middle of summer, and you’ve probably been spending your days in the sunshine, out on the water, and BBQing with your friends and family. BUT, you should be thinking about Christmas. (I know… Jasmine… really? Yes. Really!)

Did you know that the offseason is the best time to save big on ordinary things? It’s true, and holiday business cards and Christmas photo cards are no different. My friends at Basic Invite are having a major Christmas In July sale right now, and I’ve got the hook up for you with special looks into their holiday and greeting card lines and a promo code to save you money!

The best part? When the holidays roll around, you’ll already have your holiday cards out of the way, so you can focus on being with family and enjoying yourself! 😊

Holiday & Christmas Photo Cards

basic invite envelopes

Whether you need fully customizable Holiday Cards for Business or beautifully unique Christmas Photo Cards, Basic Invite has everything you need and ONLY in July, you can get 30% OFF when you use the promo code: holi30 ⚡

Top 5 reasons to trust Basic Invite with your Christmas Photo Cards:

Almost Unlimited Colors

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers almost unlimited color options with instant previews online. Once you select a design you can change the color of each element on the card to over 180 different color options so you can make sure the card is exactly how you want it down to the littlest detail.

Custom Samples

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows customers the ability to order a printed sample of their actual holiday or Christmas Photo Card so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.

Over 40 Different Colors of Envelopes

Basic Invite is just as colorful with envelopes as they are with their Christmas Photo Cards. You can choose from over 40 different colors when it comes to envelopes so that you can make your greeting cards stand out even before it is opened. And, all of their envelopes are peel and seal so the envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.

Address Capturing Service

Basic Invite offers an address capturing service that allows customers to simply share a link on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other form of social media to request their friends and family’s addresses which will be stored in the customer’s account and can then be selected during the design process. Basic Invite also offers recipient address printing at no cost on all Christmas card orders!


Foil cards are available in gold, silver, and rose gold. Customers can choose flat or raised foil on all of Basic Invite’s foil designs.

Don’t wait until it’s too late, get your holiday and Christmas Photo Cards out of the way and SAVE with Basic Invite! Don’t forget to use the promo code: HOLI30 at checkout for extra savings 👍🏼

This post is made in partnership with Basic Invite, however all words and opinions are my own. I will never mention a brand or product I don’t personally love or stand behind. For more info about my sponsored posts please visit my Disclaimer page. Thank you! 

Christmas in July | Holiday & Christmas Photo Cards from Basic Invite