The best time to escape the Northwest is when the rain starts, which is end of September usually. The clouds move in and you are under what seems endless clouds all fall, winter, and most of spring. On my blog and Instagram you may have remembered me talking about my love for the ocean and swimming. Thats why I was so excited to visit Punta Cana, and stay at Occidental Caribe, which is right on the ocean. I had a whole list of activities I wanted to do there, but mostly it was to relax by the beach and get some well deserved Vitamin D.
One of my favorite parts of the trip was watching sunrise on the beach with Raimee. I am not a morning person, but for me it is so important to watch the sunrise especially if I am right on the beach. The sky lite up in the most beautiful colors! If you have the chance to watch a sunrise in the Dominican Republic, you must take it. When we returned to the room after watching sunrise we ordered room service. It was perfect. We both ordered fruit and oatmeal, and lots and lots of coffee to wake us up.
What captures my heart and soul when I travel are the people that I meet abroad. I was blown away by the kindness of the local people and their hospitality. I loved getting to talk to the staff and practice my Spanish, and be able to laugh with them. I am so excited for my next adventure to return to the Dominican Republic and play in the beautiful ocean once again. It has inspired me to get better on my Spanish as well!
Till next time.
One of my favorite things to do every fall is to see a new place and explore it when the color there is in full display— thats why Kyle and I decided to pack up the car and head out to The Grand Tetons. I have never been there before, and it was top on my bucket list. We made sure to pack lots of snacks, suitable clothes; such as my new favorite Fjallraven sweater and beanies, boots, cozy leggings for the chilly weather and comfortable for long car rides, and of course a big enough backpack to hold all my camera gear and lens’. We awoke and got some coffee, loaded up the car and headed out to a spot that turned out to be the highlight of the trip for me, Schwabacher’s Landing. I brought out my film camera and started shooting right when I got there, I saw so excited to finally see this place. I love how film slows you down a bit, I am so excited to see how to photos turn out. When I go on road trips, I try to pack light and bring the necessities, because sometimes it involves car camping and it makes my life a whole lot easier if I pack light.
After a bit of shooting and documenting, we sat and enjoyed the view and talked about how happy we were to be here. It turned out to be a really fun road trip and with lots of laughter, jokes, and singing to songs in the car. Until the next adventure!
All my clothes for getting outside are from one of my favorite stores Backcountry.com, a community and company of gearheads that are able to help you whenever you need to pick out gear or clothes you need for your next adventure! I am always stoked to partner with them share my discount code ‘JOELLE15’ to receive 15% off your order.
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The end of summer has been bit of a dreamy blur for me, constantly traveling and always on the go. I just got back from spending one month abroad in Europe, and was home for 3 days to be back on a plane to West Virginia. We arrived with fog, rain, and wind: autumn in our hair and fingertips.. I brought stylish cozy layers along with me: warm sweaters, a rain coat, and hats from Backcountry.com. My favorite thing to do is to look at their New Arrival section and find pieces that work well in the outdoors, but also are perfect for everyday wear. They have so many sales and great deals on clothes I love such as Fjallraven, Brixton, Patagonia, and Blundstone. Furthermore, I’m so happy to be back in my fall clothes, pieces of nostalgia that I missed so dearly this summer.
The first stop of the day was exploring a cute, organic, nonprofit farm called Wardensville Garden Market. We had the chance to walk around the farm, learn about their mission, and taste their delicious food straight from the farm and bakery. I studied a bit of agriculture in college, so it was nice to talk to the farmer about their goal to be the first organic farm in the county. As we walked around the farm, I noticed all around us, the deciduous trees were starting to to turn different colors. The weather in West Virginia has been a bit strange due to lots of sunshine and rain, so the colors weren’t in their full effect like they usually are this time of year. We went down to the fields and I got to ride around on their ATV, and of course swooned over all the adorable pumpkins everywhere.
We loaded up in the car and took an hour-long drive to Seneca Rocks, and finished the day with little hike—about 3 miles. The weather was humid and hot, but once we got to the top I put on my shell and kept my body a perfect temperature. I climbed a bit higher and saw rock climbers summiting the rock. The sun was out and hit my face, warming my whole body. It was a beautiful, serene moment. I was stoked to see wild places like this to visit in West Virginia. It made me so happy to finish off the day with a little bit of an adventure, and a place I haven’t seen photographed very often.
If you were to ask me what one of my favorite places to roam around in is, Mt. Rainier would be at the top of my list. Why? Growing up in Washington, when the clouds finally clear, it shows itself so majestically. It towers over Western Washington and makes itself known. It has a powerful presence to it. Mt. Rainier is one of those places that I started going to as a young girl. My best friend's mom would take us up every summer and show us its beauty. We would howl out the window like wolves, feeling the air on our face as we drove through dense green forest up the mountain. Our summers were filled with exploring and hiking, playing on rocks, and basking in the sun. It became tradition to return back and till this day I try to make it up there every summer. I am happy to show you guys a little photo journal of how beautiful it is there this time of year, and to go into detail about what gear I use from Backcountry.com when I hike and backpack! I am stoked to show you guys my favorite place to get geared up and I LOVE getting help from the Gearheads because they are so knowledgable!
I packed my 46 lt Osprey Bag full of gear I needed for a one night backpacking trip. Short but sweet-- this is a perfect way to start backpacking. Plan a one nighter, not too long, and not too heavy of a backpack. It is good to start small. When I started backpacking I eased my way into it. I packed all the necessary equipment: my camera, extra batteries, mosquito repellent (THEY ARE SO BAD THIS TIME OF YEAR!), tent, dehydrated food, headlamp, extra pair of socks and underwear, leggings, fleece, rain jacket (always want to prepare), mug for coffee, instant coffee (that is a MUST), two Nalgene bottles, water filter, lightweight sleeping bag, sleeping pad, first aid kit, and MSR Windburner. Trust me when I say this, EVERYTHING adds up. You want to bring the bare necessities. Some things I would usually bring on a longer hike would for sure be hiking poles, an actual mosquito net, binoculars to look at wild life, and a GPS just in case I was backpacking somewhere I wasn't too aware of. I used to wear normal t-shirts, but those get all sweaty and gross-- so now I always wear something good for sweating, like this Patagonia shirt. Even active wear underwear are a lifesaver. Take my word for it.
As the sun started to set we made our way up to higher elevation and made it in time for blue hour to see Mt. Rainier in her full glory. I was blown away, we were the only ones up there. It started to get a lot darker and we soon pulled out our head lamps to guide our way to our camp spot, facing the mountain.
I started setting up camp and had a few snacks for a late dinner. I set up my tent and sleeping bag so when I was done making dinner I could just cozy up. It was pretty warm outside, so there was no need to rush. The stars came out, but the moon was so full that it was hard to sleep during the night. It was SO bright out.
Let's just say, due to the moon being so bright I could hardly sleep that night. I was tossing and turning, had a lot on my mind, but the pure peace of being outside and feeling closer to my surroundings made staying up not so bad. I was quite happy to be there. As Walt Whitman says, "Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” One of my favorite quotes, ha!
As the sun slowly started to rise, I still was awake. I heard the birds chirping and bringing in the new day. Although it sucked to not be sleeping, it's a peaceful time to be awake. I got out of the tent and saw a little bit of color starting to show. I started to warm up some coffee and ate some breakfast, to be able to watch sunrise while I ate. The sunrise was incredible, and I felt full of energy even though I hardly slept. Goes to show how good nature is on the human spirit, well, I guess for mine. Tell me a story in the comments below of any fun summer camping experiences! I would love to hear them, OH and also your go to item while backpacking!
MANY MANY thanks to David for taking these photos!
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Every now and then, you discover a hidden gem in your travels. You know that feeling when you spend some time in a new city and know beyond any doubts that you'll be back? That's how I felt exploring Reno Tahoe. From the moment I arrived everyone I met made me feel like I was home.
On the first night, I met up with a team of explorers and bloggers from all over the US at the Renaissance Reno Downtown to hear what our week would look like. The sunset out the window started to steal my attention from the live music and yummy snacks and I began to wonder if I could make it somewhere to watch the sunset in the wild. Because Reno is so close to Lake Tahoe, I was able to hop in my car and make it to the lake before sundown. Zack & I parked on the side of the road and found a trail through the woods to a rocky outcropping. We sat up top and watched the light fade over the bright blue waters of Lake Tahoe.
The next morning we kickstarted our day with coffee at Hub Coffee Roasters. I almost wish I didn't try the quiche, because I can't find anything like it at home and now I know what I'm missing! Finding tasty gluten free snacks isn't easy, so Hub won a piece of my heart pretty quickly. Once we were fuelled up we headed out to Lake Tahoe to paddle board. When the sun is overhead, you can see right through the water to the rocks below. It's some of the clearest water I've ever seen!
Anyone who knows me well knows I love playing around in lakes whether it's swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding or even cliff jumping. I got to do all of that in one morning at Sand Harbour!
The next day we explored Virginia City, an old western town that totally made me think of Westworld! I teamed up with Christine for my adventures and we had a blast exploring together.
We spent the next whole day in the city taking in Reno's arts culture. We started with an amazing brunch at the Nevada Art Museum and toured their incredible collection of pieces. Then we walked around the city to check out the murals and art installations. I loved seeing such thought provoking and beautiful pieces everywhere in the streets. Some of my favorites were the sculptures brought back from Burning Man. We finished it off with dinner and drinks at the most beautiful distillery.
On my last morning in Reno we took some bikes out for a spin through the city... and of course stopped by Hub one more time.
During my time in Reno I also got to help out with a video! The crew we worked with along the way were so laid back and had such great senses of humour. I can't wait to see the video they made!
I'm counting down the days until I go back to Reno Tahoe. The week I spent there really showed me how much more there is to explore, and any time I can have amazing gluten free snacks and paddle board crystal clear waters in the same day, I'm a happy girl.
photos by Zack Melhus
Before any photo shoot or hike, one of my favorite things to do is piecing together my outfits. Its so fun for me to research the landscapes and colors of my destination and decide what colors would compliment it. My favorite place to find the gear I need is hands down Backcountry.com. Not only do they have a wide selection of brands and styles, but you can get expert advice from their gearheads. They were SO helpful for me and made sure I got exactly what I needed for my hikes.
My friends Bill, Nathaniel, and I decided to do a morning hike up to Rattlesnake Ledge. Its not too hard of a trek at about 4 miles, so its a great option for catching sunrise without having to pull an all nighter. I woke up at 3:30am so I could meet the guys at 4:30am and start the hike. It was dark and a bit rainy as we arrived. We all decided that coffee was a good idea, as we had each only got 3 hours of sleep.
The sun was rising as we started making our way up coffee in hand. We talked about our ideas for the summer - hikes, gear, and road trips we've planned.
As we neared the top of the ledge, we saw a thick layer of fog settling over the horizon, creating beautiful pastel hues while the birds sang their morning songs. Energy and excitement coursed through my body when got to the top. I quickly ran to the edge to take it all in and pulled out my phone to capture what I saw.
The sun got brighter and brighter, and the warmth greeted us. As I got warmer I took off my jacket and felt a light breeze cool me off. I was thankful that I wore light layers and a hat to shield me from the sun.
Photos by Bill Kim
I've linked each piece I wore on this hike as well as a few different style options to help you get ready for hiking season. Some of the items are selling out fast, so I linked other options as well. Their Memorial Day Sale is happening this weekend for deals up to 50% off!
Its that time of year when its technically spring, but in the mountains it's still snowy and looks like winter. We decided to change it up a little (and get some well deserved heat) and go find some hot springs in Oregon. After hearing about these hot springs years ago, I finally was able to check them out. I got a group of friends together and we made a road trip out of it with a quick stop in Portland. The next day we woke up early and headed into the mountains. The road started out foggy and misty, the perfect conditions. As we got closer to the hot springs, the rain slowly turned into snow which I was not anticipating. I panicked a little inside, because my car is not 4 wheel drive and doesn't have snow tires. We decided to keep going anyways, whats a good adventure without a bit of risk. We took it slow, and agreed to turn back as soon sit became unsafe.
After following another truck's tracks for a few miles we arrived at the trailhead. The snow was dumping on us at this point, and I put on my winter coat and beanie to stay warm underneath wearing my Prana long sleeve shirt (which is the most comfortable material I have ever felt), and Patagonia shorts. After a couple mile walk through the forest, we finally got to the hot springs. All of them were empty, so we started to fill up one of them and hot water came rushing into the tub.
I took off the layers and my boots, and I got into the tub and watched the snow fall down, it was so relaxing and peaceful. I am so happy I brought my birks - they were so easy to slide on whenever I needed to get out to cool down.
I've partnered with Backcountry to show you guys pieces from their Spring Collection. As most of you know, we have such a short summer in the Pacific Northwest, so you don't see a lot of posts of me wearing swim wear. To feel confident, I like swim wear that is practical for moving around in and playing in the water. I am obsessed with this Solid and Striped heigh waisted swim suit to adventure in - its so cute, unique and comfortable. I love the stripes and pop of color.
After soaking in the springs for a good hour, I packed up everything and put it in my Fjallraven backpack. I dried off, suited up, and we headed down the trail back to the car. The adventure wasn't truly over until we had cruised down the road out of the snow and back into the infamous Portland rain.
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Happy New Year everyone! The holidays have been so crazy for me! I am sure for you guys as well. I haven't been adventuring as much as usual, instead I've decided to slow down and return back to the place I grew up to be closer to family during the holidays. As I have shared on my Instagram, my newborn nephew Rowen has had some heart issues and I've really enjoyed the little moments with family more than ever. It’s so fun to play with my nephews and they helped me a little bit prepping the room to paint.
Since it is so cold outside, I really wanted to remodel a space for indoor shoots and create a place to retreat to when I am back home at my mom's house visiting. I decided to repaint my sister's old room, because the color was outdated and was not neutral like I wanted it to be. I partnered with HGTV HOMETM by Sherwin-Williams to use one of their colors from the Quiet Comfort Color Collection and I am so happy with the results. The best thing about HGTV HOME™ by Sherwin-Williams (available at Lowe’s!) is that they offer different designer-inspired Color Collections with 20 colors that go together in any combination. By sticking to one Color Collection, it’s super easy to choose colors and create a cohesive look in your home. I’ll definitely be turning to the Quiet Comfort Color Collection for my next project!
The room was previously used for storage, but now after organizing it a bit, it is a new studio space for me. Here are the before pictures of the color of the room.
After moving out all the stuff that was in the room, I taped and my little nephew Carter helped me dust the walls. I put down sheets of paper to protect the floor. This was the hardest part for me, but next came the new paint! I chose to use Olympus White (HGSW1447) from the Quiet Comfort Color Collection. It was so nice to see how different the color of it was against the teal blue color. A wave of excitement hit me! I started to outline the walls first and then fill them in with paint with my roller brush. These are all the supplies I used.
For this project, I used two gallons of HGTV HOME™ by Sherwin-Williams INFINITY Interior Paint & Primer. It is a one coat coverage paint, so it really eased the process while painting using the Purdy brushes. Here is the finished result! My nephews joined me as we celebrated the room and set up a little spot to listen to old Christmas records of the Grinch (they won't let Christmas go yet) and dance around. I showed my nephews how to take a few photos on my film camera, and they decided to bring down some of their own decorations to decorate the space with me. I love the new color so much; it makes a world of difference with how I feel when I enter the room. I am so excited to continue to decorate this room as time goes on, and so excited the boys love it too!
As much I love the snow and wintertime, I am such a sucker for warmth and playing in the ocean. Three years ago, I used to live in Hawaii, and I really wanted to revisit all the places that I loved while living there. I decided it would be fun to make it a girls trip so I invited two of my close friends to explore the island life with me. It feels necessary to get away from the endless rainy days and dry off a bit!
To kick off our first night in Hawaii, all of us girls got dressed up to have dinner and watch the sunset after snorkeling most of the day. I decided to go for a light and airy vibe for my outfit paired with my Teva Flatform Velvet sandals. I love these sandals because I feel like they are so unique and fun. I tried adventuring in them and ran through a coconut forest today. I was surprised by how supportive and comfortable they were! Its rare to find a sandal as comfy that you can dress up or down.
Being back in Hawaii with new friends and adventures makes my lil heart happy. Are you heading anywhere fun for the holidays?
Check out an interview I did for Teva here!
I am so happy to finally sit down and write to you guys! This summer has gone by too fast for me, I've gotten the chance to travel a lot more than expected and I hit 100K on Instagram - which was a huge milestone for me, something I still cannot grasp! As most of you know from my first blog post, I started Instagram and modeling as a little hobby and now it is turning into a full time thing. Thats unreal to think about and I am beyond thankful for all of you, and for all of your sweet comments/dm's. They mean the world to me and give me life! So thank you!
To end the summer on a happy note, I am partnering with Splendid for a giveaway! I wanted to show you guys more of the outfits that they just launched for fall and give a little inspo for colder days. I loveeee fall attire and of course denim (you guys see me wear it all the time while adventuring), so it was so cool when they asked to partner with me on this. The prize is a $150 gift card, and all you have to do is enter is 1) follow @splendidla & @joellefriend, 2) tag a friend in the comments; this is for US only and you must be age 18 & over!
Below are the outfits I put together from their collection. I decided to adventure with Tiffany to a secret farm where I grew up, and found beautiful sunflower fields and tons of other flowers! The outfit is linked at the bottom for you to check out, let me know your thoughts in the comments and what fall trend you are most excited about.
The flowers and trees are blossoming, Spring has finally sprung up here in Washington. As the days get longer and longer, sunset is easier to take advantage of. It gets me so excited to be able to stay out and have time to explore more!
I got a text from Jack shortly after I got done with shooting something commercial for some photographers, and it was about 75 degrees outside. I was ready to do something fun but had no plans. He asked if I wanted to go catch sunset with him and Michael. It was last minute and unplanned, but I have realized some of the best experiences come from spontinuitity, and not having an agenda.
Jack and Michael were some of the first photographers I ever shot with. Due to our schedules and love for travel, its been hard to meet up with them as much as I used to. We talked and decided we needed to change that this Summer.
We all jumped into Jack's new Land Cruiser and did some off roading near Snoqualmie. It's not a far drive from Seattle, but it allows you to get out of just enough to see mountain peaks and trees that align the highway for miles and miles.
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I can't believe it is already April. Time frigging flies! It is already Spring and the sun is shining through my window as a write this and I am in shock. As some of you know, I live in Seattle, WA and we are always (what it feels like) under constant clouds and rain.
Since I have been back from Europe, I have been taking care of my health again and trying to rest and give my body the attention it needs. While I was traveling, I felt like I constantly had a runny nose or sore throat (thanks Europe for all the delicious bread :) but it made me so sick!). After some much needed rest, I have enjoyed getting outside and enjoying the sun and of course that factors in being outside when its rainy as well. I wanted to share a little photo journal of my travels since being back in Seattle to catch everyone on up on what I've been up to after overcoming crazy jet lag!
As my airplane landed, it was rainy and very cloudy. I made a quick stop in Seattle to do some much needed laundry and to pack for my next trip to BC. BC is starting to feel like my second home! I had such a fun time seeing some waterfalls, going on little hikes, and of course having a bonfire while it was raining a little.
After being back from BC for a short trip, I did a lot more organizing, cleaning and self care. There are a lot of things that happen in daily life that are so boring and I don't talk about. A lot of catching up on e-mails, and a lot of cooking (I love home cooked meals). Maybe in another blog post I can talk about that if you guys are interested? Make a YouTube daily routine?
I also had the chance to meet up with @samuelelkins while he was in Seattle. We decided to head out to Mt. Baker for sunrise. Afterwards, we went to this cute greenhouse. Most of our trips are spent talking about life, jamming to his awesome SoundCloud playlist, and visits to local cheap diners in small towns.
As Sam and I were driving in Baker, hot springs came into the conversation. He and I both laughed at the fact that we could squeeze it in if we woke up really early, to both try to cram it into our schedules. After a few minutes of talking about it and how cool it would be, we both started to actually take the idea seriously and decided on that day to maybe do it. We both laughed about getting up at 2am and knew it would suck, but be worth it at the same time (aren't sun rises always like that?). So we jetted down at 2am to make it there around 10am (a painfully long 6 hour drive with a few stops), fueled by a lot of Red Bull and coffee. It was a very misty and foggy day, perfect weather to escape the cold and soak in some springs!
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The best days are when you are surrounded by great friends and beautiful locations. This was one of them. Zack, Mason, Jack, and I decided to get out of Seattle (Its only a 40 minute drive guys!) and take the Jeep out to Snoqualmie Pass to visit Snoqualmie Falls and explore out towards Snoqualmie Ski Resort. We decided to have our first stop be Snoqualmie Falls. We packed our snow shoes, jackets and cameras and made our way down to the falls.
The rocks were quite slippery, but I packed my sturdy boots and walked to the furthest point closest to the falls. It was so windy and cold but as you guys know, I am pretty stoked to be close to the elements. The water vapors from the falls were getting on my face and soon my pants were damp from the wind and water. Luckily we brought an extra raincoat to keep me dry.
Our next stop was Snoqualmie Ski Resort. By this time, it was snowing and we got out to take photos. It was really nice to just walk around and watch the snow fall. It was so cold out, so I decided to take breaks inside the Jeep to warm my hands and stay cozy.
I am really digging the classic old school sherpa jean jacket look, paired with some ripped jeans. The fur lining of the jacket kept me nice and toasty as well.
As the lighting started to fade and the sun set, we tried flying the drone but it was too cold to fly. After that, we all came to the conclusion to pack up and go back to Seattle. With these short winter days, I am getting excited for Spring and longer days to adventure.
All photos taken by @zmelhus