Craft Chocolate Tasting for Newbies

I recently attended a craft chocolate tasting in the city hosted by Bar & Bean, and it was awesome! I learned so much about chocolate (the history, how it’s made, where it’s made, etc.). For instance, do you really know and understand what you’re choosing when you pick out a bar of “nice chocolate” at the store? I thought I did until this tasting session. And the delicious perk for attending this event? I got to taste a BUNCH of small batch chocolate bars from all different places! :) Among some of the fun facts received, I learned that 80% cacao can mean different things, and that all chocolate bars are not created equal. In honor of National Chocolate Day coming up on October 28, 2013, and with the help of Bar & Bean, I’m going to share some of the things I learned so you will know how to [Continue Reading...]

South America: Turning 25 Years Old in Cotopaxi and Quito, Ecuador

I got to hike the second highest volcano in the world on my 25th birthday with amazing friends–this day is going to be a hard one to top! Megan, Kristina, and I hopped in Paul’s car around 6am so we could get an early start to Cotopaxi, a national park just outside of Quito. Paul and Santiago, Kristina’s classmates, navigated the roads while the three of us tried to sleep a little more in the backseat. We had to get to the volcano early in the day because if you arrive too late, the fog covers up the entire thing and you miss the beautiful view. The five of us planned to leave even earlier than 6am but struggled to wake up on time. Hikers intending to climb to the summit usually spend the night at the base camp and start their trek at midnight or 1am in order to [Continue Reading...]

South America: Lima, Peru

Hey guys! I just spent last weekend attending Outside Lands, a music festival here in SF. It was so much fun! It’s also been over a month since I’ve been back from South America but I still can’t stop thinking about our trip. I was going to write this post and then finish with a recap of Ecuador but I’ve decided to split Ecuador up into two posts (there’s just so much to share!). Sorry it’s taking me so long to get all of these recaps out! Thanks for your patience as I slowly post these recaps–it means a lot to me that I get to share them. Lima was probably our least favorite city to visit but it could have been because a bunch of our friends told us to spend as little time there as possible or because it was so gloomy/rainy the entire time we were there. [Continue Reading...]

South America: Huacachina, Peru

The little town of Huacachina is beyond amazing. We only spent one night there but every moment of it was so much fun! If you are around the Lima area, I highly suggest visiting this place. Disclaimer: This post if filled with way too many sunset photos. But I don’t care! There was only one minor travel issue (yay!) on the way down which consisted of Megan and I hanging out too long at the airport after we landed in Lima, losing track of time, and then barely making our bus to Ica! The Cruz del Sur bus station in Lima is about 3 times as big as the one in Cusco so we didn’t anticipate such long lines to get our tickets and check our bags. The ticketing system at the bus station is sort of like going to the DMV–you receive a number from a self-serve kiosk based [Continue Reading...]

South America: Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu

This is sort of a long post (sorry!) so feel free to just scroll through the pics if you’d like. :) The bus from Lake Titicaca brought us back to Cusco and straight to the Cusco bus station so we could make our second attempt at going to Aguas Calientes, and we finally made it to the train! The PeruRail cars for the Vistadome train are incredible and put Amtrak to shame (to be fair, I think we got upgraded because we had to change our itinerary). There are huge windows on both of the walls and even the ceiling so it almost seems like the train doesn’t have walls and you can see everything around you. The beginning of the train ride was pretty normal and then all of a sudden the scenery turns into beautiful exotic plants and lush greenery that completely engulfs even the tiniest area of [Continue Reading...]

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