Happy Blog-iversary!

As of today, I have been blogging for an entire year! I’ve had a couple of blogs in the past, but none that have lasted this long or had any sort of following whatsoever, so this is quite exciting. I’ve been able to unpack thoughts on this blog, as well as share fun facts about my life and travels.

What does the future hold for Perfect Harmonies? Since this is purely a hobby for me, I don’t plan on trying to make any significant income from it. However, it is a very fun hobby and I’d love to grow my content and readership, so I do plan on making some improvements and implementing some new ideas around here. Look for fun changes over the next few months!

To celebrate Perfect Harmonies’ first birthday, here are some of my favorite and most significant posts from the past year.

The realization that my life struggles happen for a reason.

A solo trip to the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studios in London.

How I view my role as a wife, and what’s awesome about being married to T.

Top five things I’ve learned from working at a dental office.

One of the most life-changing decisions I’ve ever made.

Why every kid needs cousins, and why we will eventually give our nephew some of his own.

The story behind my right-hand ring.

Traveling to Brazil? Here are some of my observations about the Portuguese language.

How I overcame one of my biggest fears.

25 days of Christmas music.

The greatest trip of my life.

How to be awesome at public transportation.

I hope you enjoy reading Perfect Harmonies as much as I enjoy writing it! What are some of your favorite posts?

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The Greatest Trip of My Life

Today I’m participating in my first blog hop, hosted by Casey at We Took the Road Less Traveled! It’s Fresh Face Friday and the topic is “the greatest trip of your life.”

Eight years ago, the summer after my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to spend three weeks in central Europe on a college choir tour. We sang our way through Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, the small Austrian mountain towns of Durnstein and Schladming, Munich, Oberammergau, Karlovy Vary, and Prague. It was an incredible experience for 18-year-old me… but that was not the greatest trip of my life.

The greatest trip of my life was the one I took right after that.

Two days after I returned home to my family and T, who I had been dating for two years at that point, we left for a week-long houseboat trip with some close family friends. Our lake of choice was Trinity Lake, where my brother and I had grown up camping every summer, and one of my favorite spots in the world to this day.

You can see why I love it so much.

You can see why I love it so much.

After three weeks of intense international travel with 100 other college students, getting in the car and driving to the lake with my family and T was absolute heaven. I will always remember that trip for a few reasons.

1) On our way there, something broke on our boat trailer, and we sat on the side of the road while my dad tried to fix it. Meanwhile, the car thermometer heated up beyond what any of us had ever seen, and though it wasn’t actually quite THAT hot, my brother, T, our friends, and I were thoroughly entertained.

131 degrees. Yep.

131 degrees. Yep.

18-year-old me and my brother's best friend.

18-year-old me and my brother’s best friend.

2) During the last couple days of our trip, the lake, which is up in the northern California mountains, became surrounded by wildfires. It didn’t endanger our trip at all, but the sky turned gray and orange and you could smell the smoke. This didn’t bode super well for T or for one of the other guys on the trip, who both had asthma, but T sucked it up enough for us to go wakeboarding together while the forest burned down around us. (Okay, not really, but we got some cool pictures.)

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Creepy, no?

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Sorry for the blurriness. This was taken by a 2006-vintage camera phone (lol what) on a very choppy lake.

3) After a stressful and long international trip, I got to spend the entire week sitting around a houseboat reading, napping, and playing card games with T, my brother, and our friends. Everyone was so relaxed and so happy, and it was the perfect way to recover.

T, our friends, and my brother playing a heated game of Family Business.

T, our friends, and my brother playing a heated game of Family Business.

My dad in his element, driving his boat.

My dad in his element, driving his boat.

T and me, all the way back in 2006, happily at the end of our long-distance relationship.

T and me, all the way back in 2006, happily at the end of our long-distance relationship.

What has been the greatest trip of your life to this day?

Photography Friday

Happy Friday! It’s opening night, so I’m spending the morning relaxing, going to work for a couple of hours this afternoon, and generally just trying to rest my voice.

I’ve got summer on my mind right now. Maybe it’s the absolutely gorgeous California days we’ve been having, or maybe it’s seeing all my friends and students posting about our upcoming youth group houseboat trip on Facebook as we try to take registrations in advance, but I’m dying to be out in the sun, on the lake or by the pool. So this week’s Photography Friday is brought to you by my favorite summer sunshine photos. Granted, these are just some of the most recent ones, because let’s be honest… when you live in California, almost every day looks like it could be summer, and you inevitably take a lot of pretty blue-sky photos.

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A sunflower field on the side of Highway 5. T and I were on our way home from a camping trip when something under our car came loose. We pulled over right next to this beautiful field, and while he crawled under the car in 100-degree weather with a roll of duct tape, I snapped some pictures. Typical.

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A pretty tree blooming on my way downtown. Allergies galore, but I loved the colors.

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Byington Winery, up in the Santa Cruz mountains. I went for a friend’s bachelorette party last summer and the views are spectacular.

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Sunset on Lake Shasta. I can’t wait for houseboats.

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Panoramic shot of Trinity Lake, my favorite place in the entire world. I’ve come almost every summer since I was little… plus T and I had our first kiss here in 2005 and got engaged here five years after that.