Five Things Friday- 2017 Travel Goals

I have to admit that I haven’t really been keeping up with Five Things Friday posts for the past few months because I feel like they end up being posts about what I’m looking forward to over the weekend and then I do my weekend recaps and it feels like a lot of repetition. But over last weekend an older post popped up on my news feed about the five places that I wanted to visit in 2016 that utilized our Companion Pass.

All about my 2017 Travel Goals- where I'd like to travel to in 2017 that utilizes Southwest Companion Pass!

So I thought that I’d see if I actually visited the places I wanted to this year, and where I’m looking forward to traveling to in 2017. Chris officially earned Companion Pass status again for 2017, so that means that we’ll have the opportunity to travel as much as we want again!


  1. Portland, Oregon– We made our first trip to the Pacific Northwest together this year, and it was to Portland! We had the best time in this quirky city, and after this trip I totally fell in love with that part of the country! I’m already wanting to go back for another visit!
    The Wandering Weekenders- Travel Goals 2017
  2. Seattle, Washington- I got my wish about visiting the PNW again when we visited Seattle this summer. Even though I thought that it couldn’t get any better than Portland, Seattle totally blew us away! The food was fantastic, and I loved getting to spend some time in the mountains. I also loved the fact that we got to spend so much time near the water too!
    The Wandering Weekenders- Travel Goals 2017
  3. Niagara Falls, New York- Unfortunately, this trip didn’t happen this year. I didn’t realize that it was going to take almost a full day to get up there as far as travel on Southwest, which is the only way that we fly in the States, and at the end of the day we just ran out of vacation days (thanks Europe trip, but you were totally worth it!). Hopefully that means that this trip will happen this year!
  4. Charleston, South Carolina- I visited Charleston in the beginning of the year with some of my favorite girls! We had so much fun exploring that beautiful and historic city and learning so much more about Charleston. I really fell in love with Charleston and would love to have the chance to go back for another visit!
    The Wandering Weekenders- Travel Goals 2017
  5. Albuquerque, New Mexico- This was another trip that we had planned, but unfortunately we had to change our plans earlier this year and this trip had to be canceled. I’m hoping that we’ll get to make it over to Albuquerque next year for the International Balloon Festival because it looks so beautiful!

So overall, we were 3/5 as far as checking places off our list, which I think is pretty good! We did end up visiting some new to us places through Southwest and some places not through Southwest during our Europe trip. We were also able to travel to some places that we had been before, but we explored new places in those cities which I loved!

So after looking back on our 2016 travel here are the places that I’ve never visited but would love to visit in 2017 that would utilize our Southwest Companion Pass!


  1. Niagara Falls, New York- Obviously this is still on the list from last year. I’m thinking that we’ll be able to make it there sometime during the Spring, and I would love to stay on the Canadian side since that’s supposed to be more beautiful. We’ll have to fly into Buffalo and then drive to Niagara Falls, so you’d better believe that some Buffalo wings will be consumed before we head back home!
    The Wandering Weekenders- Five Things Friday 2017 Travel Goalssource
  2. Albuquerque, New Mexico- This is another duh because we didn’t get to make it there this year. The International Balloon Festival is obviously the major reason for wanting to visit Albuquerque, and with the festival only happening for two weeks out of the year, we’ll be heading there in the end of September/beginning of October. Fingers crossed that we’ll be able to make it happen in 2017!
    The Wandering Weekenders- Five Things Friday 2017 Travel Goalssource
  3. Phoenix, Arizona- I might have an obsession with the desert in 2017, just to warn you! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about Phoenix and Sedona, which is only a short 2 hour drive from Phoenix. I’d love to take a trip out there and spend some time in this beautiful part of the country that I haven’t had the time to explore.
    The Wandering Weekenders- Five Things Friday 2017 Travel Goalssource
  4. Salt Lake City, Utah- Chris has been talking for years about going skiing, and we’re thinking that 2017 might be the year that we actually make it happen. When we were thinking about where we could go, I started thinking about all of the commercials that I saw advertising Salt Lake City as a great ski city. It would be a perfect city to visit because it’s one that we’ve never been to together. We’d love to get a group of friends together and head up to Salt Lake City for some fun in the snow!
    The Wandering Weekenders- Five Things Friday 2017 Travel Goalssource
  5. Portland, Maine- If you remember from my Things I Learned post from Portland, Portland, Oregon was actually named after Portland, Maine. I think that it would be awesome to visit that quirky city’s name sake, and to see what it’s all about. From everything that I’ve seen and read about Portland, Maine, we can expect to see lots of lighthouses, eat lots of lobster and lobster rolls, and see some beautiful fall colors in the fall! I’m thinking that a trip during October would be perfect!
    The Wandering Weekenders- Five Things Friday 2017 Travel Goalssource

So obviously, this is a very short list of where I’m hoping to visit in 2017, and hopefully all of our traveling next year won’t be limited to these 5 places. My fingers are crossed that we’ll be able to make it all of these places and even more, and now I want to start planning all of the trips! Happy Friday everybody, and I hope that y’all have a great weekend! I’m linking up with The Farmer’s Wife for the Oh Hey, Friday linkup!

Are you planning any trips for next year? What’s on your short travel list for 2017?

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All about my 2017 Travel Goals- where I'd like to travel to in 2017 that utilizes Southwest Companion Pass!

A Kayak Adventure in La Jolla

When people think of San Diego, one of the places that probably comes to mind first is La Jolla. La Jolla is a wealthy, coastal neighborhood of San Diego that is known not only for its beautiful beaches offset by its rocky coasts, but also for its sea caves and all of the sea lions and seals that come to bask in the sun. During our 2015 trip we didn’t have the chance to visit La Jolla, so I definitely wanted to venture out there to see what this famous community was all about.

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

Our friends definitely know how to make plans because instead of just exploring the beaches and sea caves in La Jolla by foot, we got to go on a tandem kayak adventure in La Jolla with the company Everyday California. Our friends found a Groupon for the company and got a great deal for all four of us to have a kayak adventure for the afternoon.

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

Now I know that I haven’t written about it yet, but during our trip to Hawaii we also did a tandem kayak adventure, and even though in the end we had a great time, we also ended up fighting a lot because navigating a tandem kayak down a small river is quite difficult. They’re called divorce kayaks for a reason! Well you can imagine our surprise when after we got our safety instruction, got our kayak and got pushed through the surf on the beach, that Chris and I were actually pretty good in a tandem kayak out in the open water, and that maybe our issues were more from navigating a small space than actually kayaking together.

Kayaking In La Jolla

Anyways, back to our kayak adventure! Everyday California has 90 minute kayak tours that leave about every hour or so with groups of 20 people or less. You’ll have two tour guides with you that will help you to navigate La Jolla, keep you safe, and also tell you all about this beautiful area.

When you arrive at Everyday California, you’ll sign your life away in a waiver, get outfitted with your lifejacket and helmet, and lock your personal belongings in a locker that you don’t want to get wet or lost at the bottom of the ocean while on your adventure. This will also be your last place for a pit stop as well! Before you head down to the water, you’ll be introduced to your guides and they’ll tell you all the normal safety instructions.

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

It’s a short walk from the Everyday California storefront to the water, and there you’ll leave your shoes, grab your oars and hear the last little bit of information about how you’ll be pushed in your kayak into the water and try not to tip over as your being pushed in. I’ll have to admit that I was a little scared that we were going to lose our balance and flip over once we were getting into the water because of all the waves crashing on the beach, but it really wasn’t that bad. Believe me, if Chris and I can do it, you can too!

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

Once we made it into the ocean, we kayaked further out and heard all about La Jolla from our guides. We learned about some of the crazy characters that have lived there, like Dr. Seuss who based some of his famous books after La Jolla, the marine and wildlife in La Jolla, and all about the sea caves.

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

You also might see some of the marine life that your guides are talking about while you’re out kayaking! We saw a couple of seals, and they’ve been known to see sea lions and fish and other animals. Don’t worry though, you won’t see any sharks because the kelp is too thick for them to swim through!

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla
Do you see the seal?

And before you know it, your hour and half of kayaking will be over and it’ll be time to go back to shore. I was a little worried about getting back to shore on our own too, but your guides will tell you all about the trick to get back quickly and safely, and there’s somebody on the shore to help you out! Then it’s time to grab your shoes, head back to the store, and return the rest of your equipment.

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

Overall, we really enjoyed our time with Everyday California, and can’t recommend a kayak adventure in La Jolla with them enough! Here are a few tips if you’re planning on a kayak adventure in La Jolla!

The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

Tips For Kayaking in La Jolla

  • Don’t forget the sunscreen- You will be in the ocean for an hour and a half in the middle of the day, you WILL get sunburned if you don’t lather up! I suggest putting on sunscreen before you even get there because it’s kind of a fast process from checkin, to getting your life vest and helmet, to walking down to the beach. You don’t want to get a bad sunburn!
    The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla
  • Bring a waterproof camera or phone case- You’re about to go on a really cool adventure, the last thing that you want is to not have any pictures to remember your time. I suggest bringing a waterproof camera or a phone with a Lifeproof case with you on your trip.
    The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla
  • Pack as few belongings as possible before heading for your kayak adventure- Before we left on our trip, we tried to pack everything we needed in a plastic bag, which basically amounted to car keys, phone, credit cards, some cash, and that was it. Although Everyday California does have lockers that you can rent to store your belongings, they cost money. Your lifejacket will have a pocket that you can easily store a plastic bag of your belongings, so you don’t have to pay for a locker!
    The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla
  • Be very careful with any personal belongings you bring- With that being said, you need to be very careful with everything that you bring with you on your trip. I had my phone with me on the trip, and when we were initially getting in the water or when we were paddling, I had my phone in the pocket on my lifejacket. The last thing that you’d want would be to drop your phone by accident or flip over and lose it to the ocean! And the guides will tell you that they’ve had a lot of people lose things on the trips!
    The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla
  • You will get wet and cold, so plan your clothes accordingly- Remember where you’re about to go kayaking, the Pacific Ocean! The Pacific Ocean is known for being cold, and although you get used to it, if you’re one to stay cold you might want to wear a little bit more than a bathing suit. I wore athletic shorts and a tank top over my bathing suit and I was very comfortable in the middle of the summer.
    The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla
  • You might need some dramamine- You end up going pretty far away from the beach during your kayaking trip, and the waves can get pretty high. If you’re prone to motion sickness you might want to take some sea sickness/motion sickness pills before your trip. You’ll be thankful later!The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla
  • Look for Groupons or coupons for your kayak adventure- On their website Everyday California says that they have the best available price for kayaking tours, which means that you need to shop around and shouldn’t pay full price for their tour! Our friends found a Groupon for our kayaking trip, and I just looked on Yelp and there’s a 20% off coupon for Everyday California on there. You don’t need to pay full price for this awesome experience!
    The Wandering Weekenders- A Kayak Adventure In La Jolla

Overall, our second experience tandem kayaking was a lot better than our first experience, and we loved our time in La Jolla and getting to learn more about this beautiful part of San Diego. I hope that y’all get the chance to kayak in La Jolla! I’m linking up with Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for some Wanderful Wednesday!

Have you ever visited La Jolla? Have you ever kayaked in the ocean before?

Other San Diego Posts:

2015 Trip:
6 Things I Learned While Visiting San Diego
Weekend Wanderings- San Diego {Part 1}
Weekend Wanderings- San Diego {Part 2}
Weekend Wanderings- San Diego {Part 3}

2016 Trip:
6 More Things I Learned While Visiting San Diego
A Morning At Pacific Beach

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The Wandering Weekenders- A kayak adventure in La Jolla with Everyday California. We had a ton of fun, and it's a great tour group to go with!

Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge

It’s almost the end of October which means that it’s almost time for the Semi-Charmed Winter Book Challenge with Megan from Semi-Charmed Kind of Life! I needed a break from book challenges this summer and decided to not join in for the summer challenge, but as soon as I saw the categories for the Winter challenge I knew that I had to join in!

The Wandering Weekenders- My choices for the Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge with Megan from Semi-Charmed Kind Of Life Blog!

Of course there’s that one category that I had no idea what I wanted to choose, but that’s the whole point of reading challenges right, to challenge yourself! The challenge starts November 1st, so if you’re interested see the categories below and make your picks! I’m a little worried that I might not be able to finish all of my picks over the next three months with book clubs and everything, but if I manage to finish the challenge I’ll be really excited!

General Guidelines:

  • The challenge will run from November 1, 2016, to January 31, 2017. No books started before 12 a.m. on November 1 or finished after 11:59 p.m. on January 31 will count.
  • Each book must be at least 150 pages long. Audiobooks and large-print books are fine, as long as the regular print version meets the length requirement.
  • A book can only be used for one category, and each category can only be completed once.
  • The highest possible total is 200 points, and the first five people who finish the challenge will be invited to contribute a category for the summer 2017 challenge.
  • Have fun! Read some books you might not have read otherwise. Discover new authors and make new bookworm friends. (Yes, these are the most important rules!)

Challenge Categories:

  • 5 points: Freebie! Read any book that is at least 150 pages long.
    I’m currently trying to wrap up Erin’s Book Challenge right now, so I really don’t think that I’ll be able to start my office book club book for next month until November. So that’s why I’m going to pick this month’s book as my freebie: The Curious Charms of Alfred Pepper by Phaedra Patrick (331 pages). It sounds like a really cute book about a man trying to find himself, plus it’s a Netgalley book too! I’m currently in a Netgalley hole, so I tried to pick as many Netgalley books as possible for this challenge!
  • 10 points: Read a 2016 finalist (longlist or shortlist) for one of the following literary prizes: National Book AwardMan Booker or Man Booker International.
    I’ll have to admit that when it comes to reading, most of the time I’m not one to pick out books that win literary prizes, so I had no idea what I was going to get for this category. When I saw the cover of Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson (192 pages) I thought that it was so beautiful, and then when I read the synopsis I was sold! It sounds like a really interesting read, and it’s definitely not one that I would have picked up on my own! 
  • 10 points: Read a brand-new release (something published between November 1, 2016, and January 31, 2017).
    As soon as I saw this category I knew that one of my many Netgalley books would be perfect for this category, and if you can believe it, there’s only one that’s being released between the dates of the challenge. So my selection is The Girl Before by JP Delaney (320 pages). In true Ashley fashion, it’s a thriller, and I hope that it’s as good as it sounds!
  • 15 points: Read a book by an author of a different race or religion than you.
    When I first saw this category A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini was the first book to mind because I loved reading The Kite Runner so much, but unfortunately I don’t own it! So once I started scrolling through the books that I owned I came across The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Sashimi (452 pages). I’ve heard that this is a really tough read, but I’m looking forward to reading it!
  • 15 points: Read a book featuring a main character who is of a different race or religion than you.
    I was scrolling through my Netgalley books and The Secret Book Of Kings by Yochi Brandes (416 pages) immediately popped out at me. This book is about a young Jewish man, so it fits the bill!
  • 20 points: Read a modern retelling of a classic (e.g. an Austen Project novel, Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler, etc.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kaity.
    I read Eligible earlier this year, so Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (237 pages) was the perfect choice for this category. Plus it’s a Netgalley book so that’s a win/win for me!
  • 25 points: Read a book with an alcoholic beverage (neat or cocktail) in the title. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Kerry. (And she was nice enough to come up with a long list of suggestions for you!)
    I was really surprised, but this one was a little bit harder for me to find, but maybe I should have looked at the list that was provided. I was hoping to find a book that had the word wine in it because if you know me, then you know how much I love wine, but then I stumbled across Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea by Chelsea Handler (264 pages). I’ve never really watched her show, but I’ve heard great things about Chelsea Handler books, so I can’t wait to read this one.
  • 30 points: Read a book with a character that shares your first or last name. (Alternate spellings are okay, e.g. Megan and Meghan or Smith and Smyth.) — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Ericka.
    Do you know how hard it was to find a character that’s named Ashley, and let’s not even try to find a character that has the last name of Lillis! I think that I was scrolling through Google for an hour and all I could find was Ashley Wilkes from Gone With The Wind (which I’ve already read, and it’s a 1000 page book!) and a ton of TV characters named Ashley. Then I found Lady Brett Ashley from The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (256 pages). This will be my first Hemingway book, so we shall see!
  • 30 points: Read two books: a nonfiction book and a fiction book with which it connects. For example: A is for Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie and one of Christie‘s mystery novels that features poison, or The Monuments Men and All the Light We Cannot See. The possibilities are endless, so have fun with this one! — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Bev. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 30 points! No partial points will be awarded.)
    The categories that have nonfiction always seem to be the categories that give me the most trouble, but surprisingly it was the fiction book that was hard for me to find this time around! I’ve heard great things about The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (288 pages) so I tried to search for books that related to it. The search for alcoholic parents didn’t pull up anything, surprisingly, so instead I googled dysfunctional families instead and The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (353 pages) popped up. This book has kind of had mixed reviews from a few people, but I’m excited to read it!
  • 40 points: Read two books: one by an author whose first name is the same as the last name of the author of the other book. For example: You may read a book by Martin Cruz Smith and a book by George R.R. Martin, or a book by James Joyce and a book by Joyce Carol Oates. The shared name must be spelled exactly the same, no variations. — Submitted by SCSBC16 winner Jamie. (And remember you must finish both books to get the 40 points! No partial points will be awarded.)
    I’m kind of embarrassed, I mean really embarrassed by my first choice for this category, but when I was scrolling through the books that I already owned the following choices just made sense, and they were the easiest. So I’m choosing Grey by E.L. James (576 pages) and Mary, Mary by James Patterson (413 pages). I love me some James Patterson, and I’ll totally admit that I loved all of the 50 Shades of Grey books, guilty pleasure, so this should be an easy category for me to complete, hopefully!

Overall I’m really excited about this challenge, and I have a lot of books that I need to read, want to read, and some that I never would have thought to read, which is the whole point of book challenges!

Will you be joining in on the Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge? 

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The Wandering Weekenders- My choices for the Semi-Charmed Winter 2016 Book Challenge with Megan from Semi-Charmed Kind Of Life Blog!

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