Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef And A Helicopter Tour

I’m so glad our friend convinced us to visit the Great Barrier reef.  When I told her of our plans to visit Sydney, Australia, she somehow got the idea in my head to see the reef.  I’m so glad we did because it’s a memory I’ll never forget!

There’s a bunch of tour companies to choose from, and we chose the one that included a helicopter tour, which was a package deal we found on  The boat ride was a rough 45 minutes to the first snorkeling sight and lots of people weren’t prepared for it.  Should you decide to snorkel the great barrier reef, I suggest taking motion sickness pills so you don’t puke on the boat.  As for me, I was fortunate enough to make it through but only because I popped 2 Dramamine pills before leaving shore.

The idea of snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef may sound romantic, but it’s definitely not easy to do.  I mean we did it, but the waters can be somewhat choppy and did annoy my ears.  Let’s just say it’s not like snorkeling the calm waters of Hawaii or at least Shark’s Cove anyway.

There’s also things that you should look out for like sting rays or jellyfish.  We didn’t wear wetsuits, but if you want to take extra precautions when you visit during stinger season, they offer wetsuits for coverage.

So with the boat we chose, we had 2 opportunities to snorkel at different locations.  We snorkeled the first time, got out of the water, forgot our towels, ate lunch, and decided to just dry off instead of going back for a second snorkel.  We only had a 30 minute window after lunch before our helicopter tour so we both didn’t want to miss our chance, and because we didn’t want to be wet and cold on the ride, we just decided to skip the second snorkel all together.

So things to remember:

  1. Dramamine
  2. A towel
  3. Extra clothes to change into.
  4. Don’t bring anything expensive.  There are no lockers.
  5. There’s options other than snorkeling like going on their glass bottom boat.  I kind of wish we did the glass bottom boat, but there just wasn’t enough time.








Visiting All 50 States – A Bucket List Goal

Does anyone else want to do this?  Visiting all 50 states with my husband is on my bucket list.  Below is a colored map of the states we’ve so far visited together, and hopefully next year we get to knock out a few more.  We’re thinking of visiting the northeast and driving up into Canada, but who really knows, our plans change so often we could be headed to Florida for all I know.



us map


When we visited each state:

Arizona – 2009
California – Home
Hawaii – 2010
Idaho – 2016
Illinois – 2012
Iowa – 2012
Montana – 2016
Nebraska – 2012
Nevada – 2009
New Hampshire
New Jersey – 2011
New Mexico
New York – 2011
North Carolina
North Dakota
Oregon – 2015
Pennsylvania – 2011
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Texas – 2017
Utah – 2016
Washington – 2018
West Virginia
Wyoming – 2016

Our 2 Day Stay in New York City

Below are just a few photos from our short trip to NYC back in 2011.  We stayed with my aunt in the Bronx so we saved a little money on accommodations.  Obviously, we had to prioritize our time so we made it a point to visit the Guggenheim, Central Park, and Top of the Rock.  We did just that plus a trip to Serendipity for their cold ‘hot chocolate’ and an unexpected musical to see Priscilla Queen of the Dessert courtesy of my aunt.  It was a fun filled 2 days in New York City for us newly weds.  Just a few months prior, we got married and this was our first trip together as husband and wife.

I could definitely do New York City all over again, but for an extended period of time.  I’d like to at least stay for 4 days just to soak everything in, and I’d want to go shopping, see a better musical on Broadway, and eat at Peter Luger’s because our friends told us so much about the place.  If we ever go back, I’d kind of want to go for New Year’s eve just for the experience.  I definitely wouldn’t want to be out in the frigid cold, but instead, I’d want to be in one of the hosted parties waiting for the ball to drop.

Roof of the Guggenheim
Had to get this because of the movie, Serendipity. #fomo


From Top of the Rock overlooking Central Park
From Top of the Rock
Times Square

Day Trip to Washington D.C.

Below are photos from our day trip to Washington D.C. in 2011.  At the time we were staying in Atlantic City and the drive down took 3 hours.  We didn’t mind the drive since it was our first time visiting the northeast.  In fact, it was rather an adventure for us although somewhat of a rude awakening because of the amount of toll roads crossed.  Over here in California we take our freeways for granted, and that was when I figured out where the name ‘freeway’ is from.

I’d definitely like to visit Washington D.C. again and spend a little more time in their museums since they’re free.  I’d also like to tour the White House because who wouldn’t right?  Historical buildings are just amazing to see!


Lincoln Memorial
The scale of the Lincoln Memorial is amazing.  I think seeing this in person blew me away.


Vietnam Memorial
Vietnam Memorial
U.S. State capitol building
U.S. State capital buildings

When We Went to Chicago

Chicago is a beautiful city.  We had the opportunity to visit in 2012 when our friends got married in Omaha, Nebraska.  And since we were in the mid-west, we made it a point to see downtown Chicago.  We purchased the CityPass because it gained us entry into the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck, Willis Tower, and the Art Institute of Chicago.  It was definitely a packed itinerary with a visit to Millennium Park, Lincoln Park Zoo, and gorging ourselves on deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati’s and Giordano’s.  It was a fun trip and we could definitely visit Chicago again.

Below are some of my favorite pictures from our trip.  Hope you enjoy!

View from the Shedd Aquarium balcony overlooking the city
Sue inside the Field Museum
Looking down from the Willis Tower
Cloud Gate in Millennium Park
Buckingham Fountain

Universal Studios in Hollywood

Our trip to Universal Studios was actually fun.  It was my first time ever going, and the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter park was the thing that got me to visit.  I can’t say I’m a huge Harry Potter fan, but I can say I did read all 7 books and watched all 7 movies.  So in a way, I am a fan but not unlike others who go above and beyond that.

The Harry Potter park is probably my favorite part of Universal Studios.  As a fan and also one who appreciates architecture, I loved walking through Hogsmeade and the castle.  The spaces are well thought out and creatively designed that it’s worth a trip despite the crowds.

Below are just a few photos I took at the park.  Hope you enjoy and find inspiration to go!

Trip duration: 2 day park pass (Aug 2016)

Waterworld show
Universal’s animal actors show
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

12 New Things I Did or Tried in 2018 Including Travel Destinations

white and pink flowerson a book beside eyeglasses
Photo by Burst on

2018 was definitely a growing year for me.  I had some happy moments, but also some sad and really stressful times.  Despite the hard times though, I’m thankful for all the new things I got to do and try that I want to share them below:

  1. Korean Skincare Routine – This was the year I discovered Korean skincare and I have been loving it.  It’s affordable compared to items on Sephora and best of all it’s effective.  I just love how it transformed my skin especially for makeup, which brings me to point #2.
  2. Makeup – I was never one to wear a lot that is until I discovered Korean skincare.  With smooth and soft skin as a base, my makeup goes on naturally and now I’m a Sephora Insider (almost made it to VIB, but not quite).
  3. Investing – This was the year I started investing.  I know I’m a little late, but I spent most of my twenties trying to get out of debt (student loans, etc.) and the start of 2018 was when I became debt free!
  4. I passed 2 of the 6 NCARB tests for my license, but I also failed one test 3 times.  The third time was a low point for me.
  5. Austin, Texas – We went for a week and did a day trip to San Antonio to see the Alamo.  We didn’t do much.  It was raining for most of the time we were there so we stayed in and watched quite a bit of TV.
  6. Vancouver, BC – We went for 4 nights and 5 days.
  7. Day trip to L.A. – It was our first time flying to Los Angeles just for a day.  We went to see the musical, the Color Purple, and  I’m very open to the experience again in the future.
  8. Kevin Hart – We saw his show, “The Irresponsible Tour” and he’s hilarious!
  9. Miss Saigon – We finally saw it this year because the show came to San Francisco, and although the music is phenomenal, the story is so sad.
  10. Gucci bag – My first ever luxury purchase was this year in Austin, Texas.  For me, buying a luxury bag was to celebrate my becoming debt-free.
  11. Cordless Dyson – This is a game changer because now I love vacuuming and I do it several times a week now.  Cordless vacuuming is highly recommended.
  12. Crush – We saw Crush’s show in San Jose and he’s so good live.  I’m quite impressed my his singing.

I hope next year will be a year of more new experiences.  If I’m not trying new things, then I’m staying stagnant and to me it’s all about life experiences for self progression.