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Featured: A Sacramento Guide on Design Sponge

Featured: A Sacramento Guide on Design Sponge

I'm traveling later this week, but I'm a huge fan of exploring my own city. I've spent most of my life in the Sacramento area and have watched it grow into a really wonderful place to live! Compared to California's larger cities, Sacramento's cost of living is still relatively low, our weather is pretty great and — best of all — the creative community here is thriving

I recently had the opportunity to share an updated Sacramento City Guide with Design Sponge and you can find it over on their site today! Though it was impossible to write about all of my favorite spots in the post (because, let's face it — I could fill a book), sharing some highlights with Design Sponge readers is such an honor. 

Go check it out today, if you have a moment, and if you're in Sacramento, feel free add your favorites in the Design Sponge comment section



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Sacramento, I Love You.

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Strangely enough, I have really fond memories of hanging out in malls as a young girl. I remember spending full days at Sacramento's Downtown Plaza, filling bags with sweets at the candy shop, buying cheap jewelry at Claire's, spritzing ourselves with an obscene amount of fragrance from The Body Shop, sitting on the soft, crushed velvet couches at Z Gallerie and dreaming of the day when I would be old enough to own a fancy purse from Wilsons Leather.

We lived in the suburbs of Sacramento at the time, but when we headed Downtown for the day we'd wander much farther down K Street than we were supposed to (sorry, parental units...it's true). We'd check out the crisp work shirts at Joe Sun's and spend hours in the stacks at Records. Fast forward several years and I'd be getting my belly button pierced at Sub Q with my best friend by my side. A few years after that, I'd be walking out of the mall with that Wilsons Leather purse as a reward for landing my first job after graduating college -- a job with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership.

While this may not mean much to those of you who live outside of the Sacramento area, having local landmarks and institutions -- those that have closed and those that remain -- as part of my upbringing completely influenced the person I am today.

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I've lived in the Sacramento region of California for approximately 70% of my life. Sacramento is the city of my birth. I spent summer vacations and holidays here during a handful of my formative years (see the 'obscene amount of fragrance' reference above) and studied literature in the shade of Sac State's ever-expanding tree canopy. I've learned to love this place over and over again in each new season of life.

Over the years, I've lived in Davis, West Sacramento, Sacramento and unincorporated parts of Sacramento County -- all of which are about a 30 minute drive from one another. I met my husband and have grown a career here. This place is my home. As residents, we sometimes forget how good we have it and head down the well-worn path of inferiority. Yet, we have amazing events, happenings, restaurants, outdoor activities, shops and artists here in the Sacramento Valley that keep us busy and our lives full. As a community, we're supporting new landmarks and reviving old institutions.

Because I've enjoyed so much of what this area has to offer, I've decide to create a Sacramento Guide as a way to share some of my favorites with all of you:

See the guide...

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If you've never visited, I hope you'll make your way to the Sacramento area soon. Our region isn't comprised of the biggest or brightest cities in California and I'm so happy for that. Both residents and visitors are beginning to see the Sacramento region as it should be seen: not as a less-than-shiny object when compared to other places, but as a wonderful place in its own right. 

I'm here to tell you that it's about damn time.



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App Update: Exploring the U.S. Northern Rockies

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I'm happy to announce an update to my Exploring the U.S. Northern Rockies travel guide app! I've added a few more of my favorite places and if you've already downloaded the app to your Apple devices, you should have an update notification waiting for you.

I've thoroughly enjoyed working with my friends at Everplaces to create FREE travel guide apps for two of my favorite regions in the country: the Northern Rocky Mountains and Northern California. 

If you haven't had a chance to download the apps, you can do so here and here. I hope you'll find them useful in your travels! 

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There are so many fun and helpful travel apps out there. What apps do you use most often? Be sure to link up to your favorites in the comment section so I can check them out!  


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Video: Yellowstone + Grand Teton National Park

I found some lost footage ya'll!

Okay, so the footage wasn't really lost, but I had forgotten about it. After Monday's post about our upcoming trip to Glacier National Park and the fantastic cabins we stayed in near Grand Teton National Park, I couldn't wait to dig through my old files to see what I might find. The video quality isn't great, but it brought back so many fond memories of that trip.

That last bit of footage of the sun setting behind the Teton Range is one of my favorite memories. Making our way back to the cabins after our final day of exploring, I captured that short video and promptly asked if we could stop at the next turnout.

We got out of the car and BAM!

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See what I mean? The place is stunning, folks. If you ever have the opportunity to go, seize it. You'll be glad you did.

Making plans, yourself? If you're heading to the U.S. Northern Rockies any time soon, be sure to check out a handy collection of my favorite spots here.

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Trip Planning: In the Works + A Look Back

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Trip Planning: In the Works + A Look Back

Friends, it has been nine months and three weeks (and about two hours, if we're really keeping track) since I last stepped foot in the Rocky Mountain region of the U.S.I know I may sound a bit dramatic, but a huge part of me really misses it. I'm blaming Andrew Evans of National Geographic for basically live-tweeting his latest trip to the area and making it impossible for me to resist the lure of the mountains, the iconic parks, the people, the history... sigh...

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{Photo courtesy of Glacier NPS on Flickr

Anyway, we've had a trip to Glacier National Park in Northern Montana on our travel list for a long time and this is the year we'll be making it happen. We've been looking into cabin rentals, researching hikes and sightseeing opportunities and trying to find flight deals.

I'll, of course, keep you all posted on the fun details. Meanwhile, I wanted to take an opportunity to share my favorite find during a road trip we took to Montana and Wyoming back in 2009. It was my first trip to Wyoming and second visit to Montana and I have to say, the experience really solidified my love for the area. I've never blogged about the trip and since it was in my pre-blogging days, it has been passed over for more current adventures. Let's rectify that, shall we?

First up: our lodging near Grand Teton National Park!

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When we started planning, we knew that our lodging would be a mash-up of different things depending on the various stops we needed to make and what would be available in each town. There are so many options available in the area around Grand Teton National Park, so narrowing things down was a bit of a challenge.

We had heard great things about the town of Jackson, Wyoming (they're all true, by the way), but we wanted to stay somewhere that felt more connected to the beautiful landscape and scenery. Staying in either Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park was cost-prohibitive at the time, so we started looking at vacation rentals and lodging just outside of the parks.

I can't quite remember how I landed on the Moulton Ranch Cabins website after hours of reading reviews and following links, but I'm so glad I did. You know the sound you hear when someone hits the jackpot on a slot machine? Yeah... it was like that.

The small collection of cabins is located just south of the entrance to Grand Teton National Park and about 40 miles south of Yellowstone. It's also a short drive from Jackson, which has great shops, restaurants and more. Just look how cute the cabins are!

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While we stayed in the least expensive cabin and didn't have views of the Teton Range, many of the cabins have stunning, unobstructed views:

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The cabins are located on Mormon Row, which has an incredible history.

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We even woke up to bison in the "back yard" almost every morning!

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A quick walk down the road will take you to what is thought to be the most photographed barn in America. You can see why:

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I couldn't help taking a picture of photographers taking a picture of the most photographed barn in America. :) So meta!

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Needless to say, the area in and around Grand Teton National Park captured a little piece of my heart. I haven't stopped thinking about going back since 2009 and our stay at the Moulton Ranch Cabins is a huge part of that continuous pull. I'm not sure I'd be able to stay anywhere else!

A few things to note about the cabins:

  • They are only open seasonally, May through September.
  • While the prices have increased since our 2009 stay, the Cottage is still a very affordable option in the area.
  • They book up quickly, so be prepared to snag a reservation early (they allow reservations no more than a year in advance).

The cabins are nearly booked up for this summer season, but there are a few pockets of time still available. If we were heading back this year, I know I'd snap up a few days! If you're looking for tips on the Northern Rocky Mountain region, I've collected all of my favorite spots (including the Moulton Ranch Cabins, Mormon Row, The Moulton Barn and more) in a handy app. You can download it from the App Store here!

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Anyone out there have a favorite Rocky Mountain getaway spot they'd like to share? I'm always looking to live vicariously though the travels of others, so feel free to link up in the comment section. Here's hoping we can find a place just as cozy for our trip to Glacier National Park. Wish us luck!

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