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Third Trimester: 28 Weeks Pregnant

December 18, 2016

Holy Moly, we are in the third trimester at 28 weeks. I can’t decide if it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever, or if it’s been speeding by. All I know is that I find myself battling between enjoying this time and counting the days until our little babe is here.

We went to mammoth with our family this week, last time we went most of the snow had melted so it was wonderful to get to see it as a winter wonderland this time around. Of course, I stayed inside for most of the time since I am banned from snowboarding. (Alright I admit even if I was allowed I probably would have skipped it). Instead I got to fulfill my baby fever by watching my sweet niece and our little girl’s future best friend, Avery, who is 2.5 months old.

Third Trimester – Symptoms:

  • Sore ribs: Ugh, I know it’s minor but my ribs, particularly on my right side are completely bruised.
  • Nesting: Definitely nesting, I just want to make the house perfect. However, since we just moved in May, there is a lot left to do and on one income, at least for now, it makes it really hard not to spend money on the extra things. These include art and decor, toys for our wee one and other items that would help with convenience but we are obviously surviving without. – Just gotta wait for those sales!
  • Sleeplessness: I guess I should just take it in stride, (and just get used to it already) but every night I wake up for a few hours and can’t fall asleep/get comfortable. Seems like it’s normal with all the changes happening, I literally have to throw my belly side to side to flip over in the bed.

I’ll add to the list if I think of anything else, but this is all that comes to mind right now.

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Grand Canyon Road Trip

November 27, 2016
Antelope Canyon

Over the Thanksgiving holiday we decided to take some time to check off another bucket list item before this little girl gets here. We opted to do a “Grand Canyon road trip” through Southern Utah and Northern Arizona to see a few of the national sights on our way to San Diego, where we ultimately celebrated Thanksgiving with Andrew’s side of the family.

We had a lot we wanted to see and covered a lot of ground in a very short amount of time. I’m sure we would have loved to add a few more stops but being preggo and it being cold outside is slightly limiting as far as intensity of activities and flexibility to camp where-ever. May not be such a great idea to camp in the snow on a deflated air mattress while lugging around those extra lbs on your belly. Don’t ask, but I will say, getting in and out of an air mattress that isn’t completely firm is near impossible while expecting. – If I may though, I have to give myself credit for being ok camping and sitting in a car for 2000+ miles considering the circumstances.

The ride was well worth it. Here are the stops we made:

Death Valley: Our first stop was in Death Valley. Here we stayed at Stovepipe Wells a first-come first-serve campground with a solo bar and general store. We arrived as the sun was going down and got to see an amazing light show by way of the infinite stars and when we left in the morning got to walk out through the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. 

Zion National Park: Our first day here we were able to do a couple hikes through the park and overnight it started to storm. On our way out, due to the flash flooding, we were in for a treat because the entire national park turns into a bed of a million waterfalls. – Anywhere you can imagine water pouring, there is. It was quite incredible. I am just sorry I don’t have any good images capturing the beauty of it.

Antelope Canyon: It was actually quite pricy to get in here, about $46 per person, which to me is a lot for what lasted about 30 minutes. The land formations are unlike any other though, and I don’t regret splurging to have checked it off our list. Our guide was really informative and, due to the rain, which miraculously let up as soon as we got inside, the crowds had dispersed leaving us to take some really wonderful pictures without interruption.

Horseshoe Bend: Horseshoe bend was one of the most beautiful places. We were standing on top of the cliffs and it simply didn’t look real. The photo where I am sitting on the ledge I remember thinking, and it took a moment to realize how small and vulnerable we are in this huge and incredible world.

Monument Valley: Monument Valley closes around 4:30 in the wintertime so I would definitely recommend looking into that before you go. We got there at 4:31 and after a little shameless begging, somehow, convinced the lady at the gate to let us in. We had currently been watching WestWorld which made us appreciate the amazing monuments even more.

Grand Canyon: BRR! We got up early for some sunrise pictures, froze our fingers and noses and didn’t even get anything worthy – you won’t see any of the pictures we took here. However, it was definitely awe inspiring to actually be there overlooking the landscape as the sun woke up.

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Italy – Positano, Amalfi Coast

September 25, 2016

Positano was like a dream. Cute shops and boutiques overlooking the mediterranean, salty sea water, fresh salami and prosciutto, basil, tomato sandwiches, cotton candy sunsets, and what feels like a million stairs to climb.

I have always been inspired by the mediterranean for my home decor so I was in heaven for the three days that we were in Positano and on the Amalfi Coast. I just want arches of morning glory and bougainvillea dripping from my fence. – Luckily both of these grow pretty easily around here so perhaps next summer I can make my vision come to life.

We dipped our toes and floated in the sea, looked for sea glass, made some friends and on our last night we attended the locals’ annual fish festival, listened to live music, and worn out and sun-toasted passed out in our beds only to be woken up a few short hours later to the booming of a major firework show right outside our balcony. Ugh, take me back to Positano right now please.

 

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Italy – Tuscany, San Gimingano and Siena

September 22, 2016

As I mentioned last time, we spent a day taking a guided tour through Tuscany, San Gimingano and Siena. While we were extremely worn out by the end of the day it was a really wonderful way to get to see all of these places with someone knowledgable to show us around and teach us about the difference cultures, wines, histories, architectures etc. For example, did you know that Siena was a gothic city? Now you know ;-).

San Gimingano was a small medieval village that is, unfortunately, completely taken over by tourism. That being said, I realize it’s hypocritical that we took a tour there, and we did get an immersive experience, visiting cafes where Andrew and Aileen got wine, and I got chocolate.

Note: unless you REALLY love pepper don’t opt for peperone rossa chocolate. Contrary to my assumption, this does not mean you are buying some exotic rose flavored Italian chocolate… I am not a picky person but didn’t feel right throwing away expensive chocolate but every time we opened our bags the [incredibly potent] smell would overcome us until we finally gave up and tossed it.

Tuscany we got to wine taste (well Aileen and Andrew did) real Chianti in the Chianti region and eat lunch overlooking the rolling hills.

Siena was an amazing little town with gothic architecture and a wonderful history. I love that there has become a mix of buildings that are so archaic and modern shops in so much of Europe. It is so much more immersive, like you really feel as if you get to be a part of history; unique from having to stand behind a bunch of ropes and just look.

 

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Italy – Florence

September 21, 2016

I received insight from so many people that despite Florence being walkable, it was worth staying there longer than we did Rome. We were trying to decide where we wanted to spend three nights and I am really glad with our decision to stay here for the time we did. This allowed us to take a day trip to see the Tuscan countryside, Siena and San Gimignano, which I will post about in a separate update. Between the friendly pigeons, historic sights and architecture, delicious food and amazing street music we had an amazing time. The only thing I missed out on was being able to consume wine on the streets, a good trade for the opportunity to go with our little babe. – Already so well traveled!

I think one of the most magical moments in Florence was when we were walking through the streets and stumbled upon three string instruments being played in the courtyard of the Ufizzi Gallery. We had a chance to just sit and enjoy the beauty and really absorb the culture.

Aside from finding hole in the wall restaurants the one big name meal we would recommend getting is La Giostra, order the pear ravioli and you won’t be disappointed! Yum!! Ironically, we also had really good ramen in Florence, right by our AirBnB. It was what changed Andrew’s mind, he wasn’t a big fan prior.

Again we were able to walk all of Florence, and did so numerous times, twice (again) with our suitcases, those poor suckers really held up well!

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Italy – Venice

September 18, 2016

We had been anticipating going to Italy for 10 months. I bought our tickets last February after I got a new job, Andrew had never been to Europe and I was excited to get to see the parts of the Mediterranean that has long inspired my home decor tastes. Due to the limitations of Andrew’s rigorous job, we had ten days to squeeze in as much as we could of the historic and scenic country from Venice to Positano.

Here is our itinerary:

1 night in Venice

3 nights in Florence

2 nights in Rome

2 nights in Positano

1 night in Naples

After all of our anticipation, as travel does, our trip’s start didn’t get off on the right foot. Our first flight was delayed which would have caused us to miss our connection. Long story short, we didn’t get to Venice until 12 hours after we were planning. Hence why all of our pictures are during the night time and very early morning.

Venice is incredibly magical with hidden secrets around every corner, and when they say Venice is a city to get lost in, that’s exactly what you do there. You might think you are going west and somehow find yourself going north. Either way, we were able to walk around the entire island, to our AirBnB and then to the train station – even while dragging around our suitcases.

We took a water taxi to the island where we had to get off at the Ospedale stop which Andrew pronounced osen-dayle in his very Californian accept ::forehead smack:: it took us about 48 hours to realize that ospedale actually means hospital in Italian; which explains why the first place we walked into, looked like some sort of campus, with everyone dressed in white…. Imagine someone walking into a hospital with their suitcases asking where they are. Ah memories.

Now excuse my photo dump:

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Holding the wine for effect, don’t worry I only tasted it 😉

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Preggo at a Bachelorette

July 31, 2016
Preggo at a Bachelorette

Here is a riddle for you. You are seven-almost eight weeks preggo at a bachelorette, how do you hide it? Well, it was pretty hard for me. I actually had a great time, considering I wasn’t drinking. However, between, pouring my champagne down the sink when no one was looking, (what a waste! I know,) and feigning headaches/hangovers etc. it became a little overwhelming to keep up the charade for an entire long weekend.

Luckily the bride is one of my closest friends and I did end up revealing it to her halfway through. I hit my tipping point when I asked the bartender for a virgin vodka soda with fruit in it, and he brought me some elaborate Mai Tai. Of course someone ended up tasting it while I was away from the table, paying my tab and trying to cover for the “virgin” that was going to end up on the tab. ::sigh::  Whatever, luckily it became a lot easier to just stop drinking at that point, AND there was another “preggo at the bachelorette” (as I have now lovingly coined it) who was incredibly sweet and insightful and I spent my time with her.

The rest of the girls were courteous enough not to ask what was going on and why I wasn’t indulging in any libations.

My recommendation if you’re really trying to keep it on the DL? Bring/request some vodka and supply with soda water. Another mixed drink that I invented, and love is a Bloody Mary with soda water, particularly Lime La Croix. – This way you don’t have a drink that is all just Bloody Mary Mix, and the fizz adds something special.

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Still no bump, (no wonder) and taking advantage.

Mai Tai

Extremely sweet Mai Tai – The bartender really up-sold me on that one, without even asking…

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Beautiful sunset over Lake Tahoe, I made everyone sprint to catch the colors on the clouds, still I couldn’t do it much justice.

 

Honeymoon in Thailand

April 26, 2016

This post is long over due, but what can I say, sometimes I get the urge to blog and sometimes I feel none. We went to Thailand on our honeymoon back in November and it was an amazing trip. Seems like it’s the place to go these days since it is so cheap but really absorbing the culture is something else. Aside from Turkey, I’ve never been to Asia before, and Andrew has never left the continent so it was a very eye opening experience for both of us.

I have shared our itinerary below as a full overview of our trip. I have included recommendations and what we did. If anyone has the opportunity to go for 16, or so, days like we did I would recommend doing exactly what we did as we don’t really feel like we missed out on anything except a Half Moon/Full Moon Party.

 

Flight to Bangkok  (with a layover in Gangzhou, CH) – (2 Nights)

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Le Bua State Tower – Where they filmed Hangover II and where the famous Sky Bar is.
In Bangkok we took a river boat to Chinatown and walked all the way through to where the temples are. (About 6 miles) where we got tricked into going to get Andrew a suit. – Whether you get tricked into doing it at a specific place or not I’d definitely get a suit though – We spent about $400 for pants a jacket a shirt and tie btw. – You could probably get it for less.
It WILL rain on you, have a poncho or a lightweight umbrella and don’t wear leather sandals lol – I would actually suggest buying a couple of the cheap ponchos for your bags too incase you end up traveling on a rainy day.
Flight to Chaing Mai – (3 nights)
We considered spending 1 night in the city of Chiang Mai instead of 3 nights at the Spicy villa but we were already bouncing around so much that we thought it would be nice to stay in one place for a longer period of time. I don’t think either of us regret this.
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Spicy Serene Villa – We spent $40 a night plus $300 total for transport from the airport and back, river rafting, jungle trek to the waterfalls (about 7 mi), elephant rides, thai cooking class, all of our meals and we had a tour guide who hung out with us for the entire time and taught us about all the plants, villagers, lifestyle, cooked us all our meals, etc.
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I can’t say enough good things about this place.
This place is basically one step above camping. You will basically stay on a random mattress with a comforter (no other bed sheets) a bug net and four pieces or parchment board nailed together and plastic lining on the floor. The shower is basically above the toilet and there is no wifi and just newly electricity. – THAT BEING SAID if I can handle it you can too. Just don’t go in with high expectations because it was amazing.
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Flight to Phuket – (2 nights)
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Kata Beach Resort & Spa – The hotel is nice but don’t get massages at the hotels, the massage places are EVERYWHERE and are super cheap. – I mean you can get one if you want to splurge (Thailand splurge) but… try the ones that aren’t part of the hotel first cause you may be able to get your fix.
Phuket was a little lack luster (maybe because this is where I found out I lost my job) but there are a TON of tourists, we just got huge beers and got drunk in the water. Played in the pool, got overly expensive ( for Thailand $15?) cool looking drinks that we didn’t even use the photos of because we were too buzzed to take good ones.
We got three massages in two days AND the fish massage. We went to Patong Street which is where the Lady Boys and ping pong shows are. Took a tuk tuk. MEH
Cab & Ferry to Koh Phi Phi – (3 nights)
We had left a night open between Koh Phi Phi and stayed here an extra night to recoup. We were tired of packing up our bag every two days so it was nice
Koh Phi Phi Cabana Hotel –  (site seemed to be down, not unusual for Thailand ha) This hotel is prime placement. It’s super close to the ferry, there is a beach on either side of the hotel and our room had the most perfect view out into the bay. You are really close to all the bars and shops too so it’s not a long walk to get anywhere – Actually it isn’t a long walk anywhere on the island regardless of where you stay but it seemed like this was one of the best hotels in general.  There are no cars on the island
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It seemed a little dead the first day that we got to Koh Phi Phi because we didn’t realize that you just have to turn left into all the streets where all the people are! Once we figured this out we were able to find lots of people watching and much better food. We took a longtail boat the day after we got there and we did the full day. – When deciding between full or half day, I’d just say do the full day because you are going to have someone showing you the best spots to snorkel and sightsee, plus you get to sit back and enjoy which is a nice breather. We made some friends on the boat that showed us what they had learned so it was also nice to hear other people’s experiences. – I’d just bring your own booze – There is a booze cruise but I kinda wanted to be sober for all this stuff we were going to get to see for the first and maybe last time. – Eventually I was like, ok I’ll have a drink haha.  – The lunch they serve you is rice and eggs and watermelon so don’t have high expectations for that either. – Though it wasn’t bad.  – Oh on top of the price of the long tail trips you will have to pay an extra 400 baht a person or something like that for a “national park fee”. They don’t tell you this until you are at the island and they won’t let you get off the boat unless you pay it…. everyone eventually caved and paid it because no one wants to sit in a boat the entire day. – Also worth noting that I had to pee really bad and the guy let me pee off the boat while it was speeding along – would NEVER happen in the US.
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The longtail boat includes Monkey Beach and Maya Bay (or more famously The Beach)
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View point – Not as hard as you would think. We climbed up there in ~15/20 minutes for an awesome view and I was just wearing sandals.
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Get a bucket. Alcohol + Booze super fun.  – We found a bar where a guys was singing all of the most popular currents songs you could sing along with him and people watch.
There are also fire shows and stuff on the beach, worth watching.
Ferry to Cab to Longtail boat to Karbi/ Railay Beach – (5 nights)
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Railay Village Resort  – This was the best part of the trip. It was pouring when we got there and we had just dragged our suit cases along in the rain and mud ACROSS the peninsula (which isn’t that long) but we were wondering what the hell we got ourselves into.  As soon as we got to our room we were super impressed it was beautiful and the beach was lovely too. There are two sides to the peninsula (duh) a three minute walk across. The first place we stayed was on the far side (but the one with a bit more of a view) Not to say the other side doesn’t have a view too.
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We drank and ate good food, we got a Kayak and paddled around the corner to a couple of the islands and through a cave – AWESOME – honestly I don’t think you’d need the kayak for more than 1.5 hours though, unless you’re really trying to get aggressive. This is when we found PraNang Beach and Caves. We returned the kayak and if you walk to the side of the peninsula with the pier and walk all the way south, you can walk BACK across the peninsula (around some cliffs) where there are often a ton of monkeys! And to the caves/ beach.
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This may be just about the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen and there is a cave with a bunch of wee-nees too – not so beautiful but interesting….
We loved Railay so much that while we initially had plans to take the ferry back to Phuket stay a day, fly back to Bangkok and stay a night we actually just decided to stay here an extra two nights, ditch the flight and get a new one directly from Krabi > BKK. Definitely a wise decision and this is the only thing I would really do differently.
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When we extended our stay we were being cheap so we decided to stay here:
Railay Princess Resort  – Still not too shabby at all.
Tipping is not mandatory though some people expect it and sometimes you feel like a jerk if you don’t. I kinda let Andrew decide who we tipped and didn’t (definitely tipped our tour guide in Chaing Mai as much as possible though.)
We didn’t do a full moon party but that would be something to look into – Another place people go is Koh Phangan for the partying but we didn’t go there either.

Euro Photo Dump

January 8, 2015

I spent the first three weeks of December in Europe for a work trip. The initial two weeks in London, sans three days when our entire company was surprised with a wonderful trip to Seville, Spain. What a wonderful adventure that was! I had never been to Spain before this trip and Seville was the perfect starter city. Everything you would want from a European country, quaint streets that are authentic and well kept, children playing outside in the warm winter air until midnight, night owls drinking right outside the bars at all hours and most importantly tons of history.

Being in London for the second time in six months was great. It is a completely different experience to be in a foreign place and start to know your way around. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, it kinda starts to feel like you have a blank map of the world and you are starting to fill the pieces in by visiting different places.

After one week in Turkey, where I to see my family, and one awesome day back in London by myself when I missed my flight (WOO gotta love air travel!) I finally came home to where my heart is 🙂

I wanted to share some of the photos I took on the trip, all with my iPhone. Also, please excuse the sub-par outfits.

More news coming your way soon!

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Stuart Weitzman 5050 Boots | Nordstrom Infinity Scarf (similar) | JCrew Field Jacket

 Target Raincoat  (similar on sale!)

Epic August (Part 2)

October 8, 2014

So I survived New Orleans….barely. 4 days of work later, and we were off to San Diego for my friend Maggie and her fiance, Josh’s wedding. We drove through the night thinking we would dodge the ever dreaded LA traffic. Wrong! Just when we thought we were making good time, we hit a night time construction zone that had closed down all lanes but one going south on the 5 freeway. Just our luck, a 7 hour trip turned into a 9 hour trip. Oh well!

We finally made it to my mom’s house in Poway at 3am and called it a night. Naz had some work to do so I woke up in the morning and went for a run around Lake Poway for old time sake. Actually, I wouldn’t call it much of a run, more like a crawl. Dry 95 degree heat by 9am after 4 hours of sleep is not a good combination. -It felt good to reminisce the good ole’ Cross Country days of my youth though.

That night we got dinner at the Brigantine in Poway with my Mom and then headed down to Leucadia to see our friends Darin and Jen’s new place. We enjoyed some tasty bevs and took a night time walk on the beach. I think Naz and I both had the revelation that we would love to live in San Diego again. Maybe someday!

The next day we met my Dad and his wife Fern at the Bernardo Winery for lunch. We enjoyed some delicious sandwiches and cruised the grounds of the winery. It’s definitely a great place to check out if you find yourself in San Diego’s north county. They’ve got a nice restaurant, good wine, and some interesting little shops. From there we headed up to Temecula for the wedding.

Maggie and Josh got married at the Temecula Creek Inn. It was a really scenic outdoor venue with big oak trees and a large open lawn. The Ceremony was very nice, followed by a great dinner and reception. We spent time with old friends from college and danced the night away.

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Shaking off the fog from the wedding festivities the night before, we inhaled some California burritos and headed home. Three days of work and then I found myself sitting at SJC about to head to Cabo San Lucas for my friend Baker’s bachelor party. I could already taste the Mexican beers and street tacos as the plane hit the runway.

I was the first to arrive in Cabo. Thus, I took on the task of doing the beer and snack run to Costco. I picked up my rental car and hit the road. As I drove down the coast of the most southern part of Baja, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the trip to Cabo that Naz and I took back in January. Yep that’s right, two Mexican vacations in one year. I’m a lucky guy. I drove past my first “retorno” sign and hummed the little jingle that we came up with on the previous trip “I’m on a meixcan retorno”…don’t ask, you had to be there. I passed the sign for Chilleno Bay, our favorite beach we visited earlier that year. Before I knew it, I was pulling into the Costco parking lot.

The funny part about going to Costco in Mexico is that it’s not really funny; it’s exactly the same as Costco in America but everything is priced in pesos. I rolled up to the food court, ordered a slice of combo pizza in my broken Spanish, fumble over the pesos I exchanged at the airport and sat down and enjoyed my pizza in the outdoor seating area. Here I am, alone in Mexico, at Costco….Ha!

I proceed into the store and buy ten 24-packs of beer, some tequila, and a few snacks. A nice Mexican man expecting a “propina” helps me load my bounty of beers into the smallest car on planet earth and I’m off to find our Villa that is located in the “Pedregal”. I looked at a few maps of Cabo the night before but really have no idea where to go. All I know is that i have to find the entrance to this gated community in downtown Cabo and the guards should be able to direct me from there.

I drove down the highway and quickly found myself in the middle of Cabo “Centro”. I see the bars “Squid Row” and “Mandala” and have a premonition of the drunken madness that will most likely ensue over the next 3 nights. My vision is quickly washed away as pickup truck full of machine-gun wielding “Federales Municipal” come speeding passed me. Again, I really have no idea where I’m going. I reach what seems to be the end of the town square and I make a left hand turn because for some reason that’s what felt right. The concrete road turns to cobble stone and the tourist shops and bars turn to small dwellings. Just when I think I’m lost forever I see the most glorious sign, “Pedregal”.

The guards welcome me and hand me a terrible map of the huge private neighborhood. Again, my broken Spanish isn’t helping the situation but I get a pretty good idea of where I needed to go. I drove up abnormally steep cobblestone roads passing huge villas most likely owned by Mexican drug lords or famous movie stars and I somehow end up at our home for the weekend.

“Villa Lands End” is quite the sight to be seen. I walk down the front entrance of the compound with my jaw dragging on the floor. The first thing I see is the infinity pool that is practically hanging off the edge of a 150 foot cliff straight down to the beach. In utter amazement, I say to myself “This is going to be crazy”. I’m welcomed by the housekeeper and the cleaning crew. They help me unload our weekend supplies and then I’m straight into the pool with a beer in my hand. In a few hours this peaceful place will transform into a madhouse. 17 other dudes are en route. I’m excited, and scared at the same time.

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Waiting for the madness

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The rest of the crew arrives and just like me…straight into the pool with beers in hand. And so the madness began. We partied like we were never going to party again. So many funny things happened it would take a month to type them all out. I will let you use your imagination as you scroll through the photos below.

No yelling on the bus

“No yelling on the bus”

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“No Filter”

Let me hold your baby

“Can I hold your baby? Andrew, give her $20!”

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A “friendly” game of Snappa

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“This little guy…Dont worry about this little guy…”

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“I can do more pushups then you bruh”

Te "kill" ya

Te “kill” ya

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Success!

We woke up Sunday morning to the sound of beer bottles breaking and patio furniture being thrown about the compound. I thought that maybe somebody had pissed off a local but to my surprise it was just the wind. A storm was a brewin’. I gathered my buddies who were flying out at the same time as me and we got the heck out of dodge. I’m so thankful that we had an early flight because a few of the guys got stuck for an extra day because of the weather. Little did we know that this was just the start of the late summer storms that would devastate the Baja peninsula. Just three weeks later Hurricane Odile completely destroyed Cabo and surrounding cities. Not something to joke about but I can’t help but think that the debauchery that ensued during this trip threw off the balance in Cabo and somehow caused this terrible storm. Either way, we will always remember the time we barely made it out of Cabo alive. Another epic trip was in the books. August was over, and I couldn’t have been more excited for some time at home with my princess Naz!