Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Top 3 Breakfast Spots in New Zealand

Hi Foodie Friends!

Welcome to the blog – New Zealand Breakfast edition.  One of my favorite meals of the day is Breakfast.  So, I of course had to explore all the brekky spots when I was in New Zealand.  And let me tell you, New Zealand doesn’t mess around.  They take their breakfast VERY seriously!  I was blown away by the restaurants breakfast options because not only was the food always farm fresh and homemade (bread heaven!) but the presentation was always on point.  So, I took one for the team and slowly but surely tried all the restaurants I could around Dunedin, NZ.  This was no simple task. Countless eggs, toast, and coffee were consumed in the making of this post.  So let’s get right into my top 3 breakfast spots in New Zealand!

Starfish Café

This is my TOP spot and if you are ever near Dunedin, you have to stop at this café.  This is non-negotiable people – you must go here.  This cute café is nestled on the beach in St. Clair, not too far from downtown Dunedin.  The restaurant itself is adorable and the aesthetic is just perfection.  And the food is next level; It’s almost too beautiful to eat (but I managed). They offer an assortment of eggs served in different styles and ways, but the Starfish is the café favorite.  I was also a fan of their fancy French toast and their delicious treats to go (my absolute favorite was their raspberry cheesecake bar).     

Starfish Favorite!


Copper is located in the hills of Roslyn.  It’s cute, corner store location sets it up for an amazing spot to people watch on the corner while enjoying your brew and brekky.  It’s super trendy and has amazing treats as well.  I ordered the eggs benedict and have to say that my eggs and the presentation was incredible.  But again, that did not stop me!  It's a great little spot to stop and grab a cup of joe and enjoy your mornings.  Most definitely one of my favorite spots to grab a quick bite to eat in New Zealand.

Kitchen Table Café & Bakery

Only a block from the Octagon, this café is convenient and quirky.  The café itself is unique and has a style of its own.  Along with fresh-made bread every morning, they also provide the BEST bars, treats, and snacks EVER!  You can definitely tell that this stuff is made with love.  Of course, when I came here (multiple times) I always got the eggs benedict, because this eggs benny was by far MY FAVORITE out of all the restaurants and cafes I tried.  It’s bread and sautéed mushrooms set this baby apart from the rest.  I’d 100 percent recommend stopping by here for breakfast and after filling your tummy with some love, explore downtown Dunedin. 

So there it is!  That completes my Top 3 Breakfast Spots in New Zealand.  If you're ever visiting Dunedin, NZ or if you live there you must stop in to these little breakfast spots and get a coffee and treat for me!  I'd love to know if you try out any of these sweet cafes, so make sure to let me know what you get.  Thanks again for stopping by and I hope you've got some brekky inspiration.

xo Dane

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

3 Best Hikes Near Seattle

Hi Friends!

The days are beginning to cool down and a crispness has returned to the air.  But don’t fret, Summer hasn’t abandoned us quite yet.  At least up here in the PNW we have a few more days of sunshine left, so let me tell you WE must Carpe that Diem!  Whether you’re a student going back to school or #adulting (not by choice),  I’ve compiled my 3 best hikes near Seattle that I highly recommend before we say au revoir to Summer. 

Rattlesnake Ridge

Park Pass: N/A

This is one of Seattle’s MOST POPULAR hikes, hence why it made the list for being one of the best hikes near Seattle.  I highly suggest that you go during the week (Monday-Thursday) to avoid crowds because weekends are a madhouse.  But if you choose to brave the crowds (I commend you) and go during the weekend, I recommend going early in the morning-perhaps catch the sunrise!  This hike is highly frequented for its easy access (parking & trailhead), groomed trails, and amazing views.  Getting to the trailhead is simple and once on the trail it takes you up to the first, and most popular ridge that overlooks the valley and stunning lake.  This is the most popular spot to take your Insta-worty pic from. You have to wait your turn to take a picture, like in Disneyland, and once it’s your turn you have a small window to capture that perfect photograph.  I was able to get a few quick photos from this spot.

But I’m going to fill you in on secret!  Just a little ways up the trail is an even-more-amazing view that is significantly less populated where you can get practically the same exact photo!   You will have the whole rock to yourself AND enough time to have your own mini photo-shoot (like I did lol).  I would definitely recommend going to both spots on this hike for optimal photo opportunities. 

Bandera Mountain

Park Pass: Northwest Pass

Okay, if you are planning on hiking any trail from this post, please I beg you to do this one!  This is BY FAR my holy grail hike in the Seattle area, yielding it THE best hike near Seattle (in my books).  It’s a tad bit harder than Rattlesnake Ridge, but easier than Mailbox. (the struggle was real).  This hike yields so many possibilities as well because the trailhead leads to other popular hikes like Mount Defiance and Mason Lake (which is another AMAZING hike I recommend). 

Prior to planning this trip I have to preface that you MUST purchase the Northwest Pass.  They sell these passes at places like REI for only $30 (trust me this is a steal) and it is good for a variety of parks throughout Washington and Oregon. I highly recommend purchasing the pass (don’t risk it for the biscuit), because you will get ticketed (I feel like the gym teacher in Mean Girls, but I’m just doing you a solid).  JUST DON”T DO IT! Okay rant over.

This hike is the best of both worlds.  You are able to walk through a shaded forest to begin the hike while making your way up to a rock pile that you can climb.

Once you’re through the rocky portion, you will make your way to the Bandera turn off point.  Warning: after this point, IT IS A TREK!  This portion is short and oh so sweet!  And by sweet I mean hot, fire flames on your booty. It’s pretty steep, but well worth the struggle.  Just think, your getting your workout on outside in the fresh air surrounded by nature and it doesn’t get any better than that!  And trust me the views will not disappoint.  Once you make it to the first summit you have panoramic views that overlook Mason Lake and the valley.  Besides the incredible views, the wildlife was beyond adorable.  We made cute little birdie friends, and I fulfilled my life long dream of becoming a Disney princess. Since I accomplished such an amazing accomplishment (I was practically Cinderella) we decided to call it a day and head back down the mountain.  I’ve read that the views don’t get any better, but if you’re the type of person you wants to hike from start to finish I would go for it.  But the phenomenal views, friendly wildlife, and accessibility are what makes this hike one of the best hikes near Seattle.

Mailbox Peak

Park Pass: Discover Pass

And then there was Mailbox Peak.  I will start by saying I’ve never felt so many different emotions on a hike. EVER.  This hike absolutely kicked my butt.  I hiked the new trail, which I highly recommend but if you’re a rebel with a cause, I believe some people do hike the old trail.  Either way, you make it to the top.  The main difference between trails, and also the bane of my existence, are the switchbacks from hell.  These switchbacks aren’t that steep, but they go on and on and on FOR-EV-ER! And once you think they stop, oh no, they keep on going.  Despite my personal vendetta against these switchbacks, they are completely doable and I wouldn’t be too worried about them (I’m just preparing you).  Once you make your way through a majority of the trail with a bit of forest and rock sections you will make it to the scramble point.  At this point on my hike I was done, so over it, and just could not be bothered.  And at this stage of the hike, I made my biggest mistake – not eating.  I’m going to do you a solid and let you know that you will definitely, without a doubt need food and water on this hike.  They are not optional.  You must bring food and water (repeat it with me – food and water). Okay now, you need to eat your PB&J, regroup, and get your mind right because its an uphill battle from here.  BUT, let me tell you if I made it up that hill, SO. CAN. YOU.  I highly recommend taking lots of little breaks and once you make it to the top it will take your breath away (if you have any left).  The views are absolutely stunning and there is even a cute little mailbox (hence the name) at the top.  If you are looking for a killer hike, I would definitely recommend this bad boy.

And that concludes my top three Best Hikes near Seattle.  I hope that you are inspired to go out and hike one of these amazing trails in the near future. I’d love to see and hear from you if you do or if you already have!  Hopefully you took away some helpful tip and tricks from this post, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did.  Until next time, thank you so much for stopping in and I hope you have an amazing day!

xo Dane  

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Visiting the 8th Wonder of the World

Hey Friends!

Two words: Milford Sound

So technically there are only 7 Wonders of the World BUT unofficially Milford Sound is considered the 8th Wonder of the World, and well it really lives up to it.  There isn’t much in Milford and getting there takes you up into the mountains and through a single lane tunnel that is just unreal. Let me tell you it's quite the trek. They run cruises throughout the year that take you on a 2-hour tour throughout the sound.  We were lucky enough to go on a day with lots of wind, rain, and the occasional thunder rolling through the hills.  I can’t even explain how beautiful this place was so just grab your drink of choice, keep scrolling, and be amazed by the 8th Wonder of the World.

These orange jackets are so trendy

Fun Fact: Hugh Jackman (you know Wolverine from X-Men - no big deal!) was shot jumping off this waterfall when filming the movie.

Thanks for stopping by and fun things coming up on the blog next!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Road Tripping through New Zealand

Moeraki Boulders

First stop was just up the coast from Dunedin at the Moeraki Boulders. The actual drive is amazing and quite scenic with random places to stop off and admire the coastal breeze and beaches.  A short hop, skip, and a jump and we had finally made it to the infamous boulders.  Randomly strewn across the beach, these huge boulders can only be seen at low tide.  Iconic and mysterious these boulders are legendary and quite peculiar.  I have a few theories on the origins, but we will save that for a later date (I’m thinking extraterrestrial!).  This is a definite must when visiting the South Island of New Zealand.  Along with the boulders, there is also a café, gift shop, and a mini petting zoo fitted with the cutest llamas and deer. 

The Church of the Good Shepard

Another stop on our road trip included a detour to the renowned Church of the Good Shepard.  If you’ve never heard of it (join the club), I would highly recommend hopping on the Internet and doing some research. You can thank me later.  This famous church is iconic for being in one of the darkest places on earth; which means that the stars at night are out of this world (literally!).  You'll be shocked by the stars and Milky Way at nighttime.  It’s picturesque placement right on the water, framed with mountains and trees give this church a little extra pizazz during the day as well.