Local Adventures with Esther & Jacob » Travel, Food, & Photography

We’re currently in Zion National Park. We have our permits for hiking the Narrows and got here yesterday to set up camp and prep ourselves for today. Hopefully, the trails will still be open for us. There was a bit of rain over the weekend. If not, we’ll have to apply for permits again and wait until May.

Hiking the Narrows Zion National Park Utah.

Photo courtesy of Wesley Chan.

The older I get, I realize that I am becoming more and more fearful of things. I didn’t realize until we hiked Half Dome that I was afraid of heights (Kind of alarming to realize the moment I was about to go up the cables). Over recent years, I’ve noticed I’ve been collecting little fears here and there. I was fearless as a kid, and I don’t know where they came from or how they developed. All I know is I don’t like the fearful person that I’ve become and the only way to go is through it.

Conquering Fears by Hiking the Narrows.


  • That I won’t make it. We hike, suuure, but definitely not regularly. We took many months off of hiking in Vegas during the hot summer months, and have only gone once since fall started. Also, the guy at REI who did the hike told us that he went with a group of hikers (the real kind) and it took them all day to make it to the campsite. I’m not feeling super hopeful here.
  • That I will get hypothermia / sick. Some part of us will be in the freezing water the majority of the time. Also, the water levels might be slightly higher because of the rain over the weekend.
  • Pooping in a bag that I need to carry throughout our hike. Never done it before, so I don’t know what that’s going to be like. I’ll report back and let you know how it goes.
  • Flash Flooding. The forecast says there is 10% chance of rain, which is not high, but if by chance it rains, we gotta book it and start scrambling up the wall. One guy we met had a friend who broke his leg recently because it started flash flooding there and someone died last month. :/ I haven’t seen a flash flood first hand, but I’m hoping I never do.

Well, if we’re back blogging about our experience, then you’ll know we’re alive! Also, not sure if we will have signal throughout the park, but if we do, we’ll be sure to post something on my instagram or Jacob’s!

What’s a fear you want to overcome?

xoxo estherJacob

October is National Pet Adoption Month! :) The year Jacob and I got married (2010), we adopted two cats. When we first started volunteering at the cage-free shelter near our house, I had my eye on a pretty little maine coon. The maine coon unfortunately did not warm up to me, but instead two orange tabbies approached me asking for attention. One was known as the escape artist and reminded me of myself.

It took me a few weeks of getting better acquainted to them, but when the shelter told us that a lot of times the pets end up choosing you, they were right!

Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.

Though we love our two boys, they can sometimes make a mess. We only recently discovered how much litter our two cats track around the house. Our Vegas apartment has vinyl floors so you can see and feel everything, whereas both our home in Atlanta and our apartment in Los Angeles had carpeting so we never noticed it (kinda gross to think about now!).

Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.

According to the Swiffer Cleaning Index, half of Americans say that they don’t want to get a pet because of pet hair and shedding. 38% of pet owners also say the leading source of “pet cleaning tensions” in their home is hair, dust bunnies and/or shedding. Whether you have a pet already or want to get one, Swiffer can help with cleaning up after your furry friends.

Thank you Swiffer for sending us a Big Green Box full of goodies to help us clean up after our boys. We were already using a Swiffer to clean up our floors at least once or twice a week, but it was nice getting reinforcements. They are safe for pets and make cleaning quick and efficient. Our cats have even been enjoying the box… as all cats love a good box!

Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.
Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.

Our Orange Tabbies and National Pet Adoption Month.

Swiffer also sent us an extra Big Green Box to surprise a friend who has pets! Kitty has a dog and two pigs!

Teacup Pigs // National Pet Adoption Month.

National Pet Adoption Month & Teacup Pigs.

Teacup Pigs // National Pet Adoption Month!

I also love that Swiffer® is supporting the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in a year-long effort to help find forever homes for animals in need. They donated Big Green Boxes like the one we received to more than 100 shelters nationwide and gave each pet adopter a free Swiffer Sweeper during the ASPCA Mega-Match-A-Thon this past weekend!

Because we used to volunteer at a shelter, we know firsthand that the needs are many! I’m grateful that Swiffer is supporting these shelters and new families who have adopted.

If you want to see adorable photos of our foster kitties before they found forever homes:

More posts on our two orange tabbies:

Though I know we’re closer to the tail end of National Pet Adoption Month, and despite all the challenges with having a pet, they really have brought so much joy into our home. We highly encourage you to consider adopting, because we’ve had such a wonderful experience.

Also, if you love animals and want to give back, volunteer with ASPCA in NYC or find a shelter near you!


Do you have a pet? What kind?
Have you considered getting a pet?

Do you use Swiffer cleaning products at home?

xoxo estherJacob

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

So… It’s fall, and while my friends back on the east coast are enjoying the changing of the seasons, I feel like I’m missing out while living in the dessert. In an effort to chase away my grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side syndrome and be grateful for our present circumstances, I’ve been trying to find ways to bring fall into our home. One way is by cooking fall harvest foods.

Right now there are 10 varieties of pears being harvested in the US, and if you’ve never tried poaching pears, now is the time to try it! This was my very first time poaching pears, and I will admit that in the past I was too intimidated to give it a shot. I mean.. I get anxiety just walking into a kitchen. It turns out that poaching pears is simple and as easy as boiling instant noodles. Good thing I’m a pro at that! :P

Yellow Bartlett Pear Recipes // Beer Poached Pears Recipe.

Originally, pears were only poached in wine and sugar, but these days you can get really creative with what you use. Since beer is our preferred beverage of choice, we used a black lager (New Belgium 1554). It enhanced our Thai Basil Chicken, so it was naturally our first pick for this recipe. We were happy with the result. The chocolatey flavor of the black lager went perfectly with raspberry.
Beer Poached Pears Recipe with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce.

Beer Poached Pears Recipe with Raspberry Chocolate Drizzle.

Black Lager Poached Pears Recipe with Raspberry Chocolate Sauce


  • 1/2 cup black lager (I used New Belgium 1554)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 4 bartlett pears
  • 2-3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 cup of frozen or fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder


  1. Peel pears but leave the stems on.
  2. Coat them in lime juice and set aside to delay the browning process.
  3. Combine the beer, water, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon and simmer on low heat (approx 5 minutes).
  4. Cook pears in over low heat in sugar syrup, turning them often.
  5. Remove pears with a slotted spoon when tender. (You can use a knife or fork to check).
  6. Boil remaining syrup and reduce to half (about 1 cup).
  7. Remove cinnamon stick and discard or keep as a garnish.
  8. Add raspberries and cocoa powder to syrup and stir in for 5 minutes.
  9. Drizzle your syrup over pears and serve.

Chef’s notes:

  • Pears that are crisp and unripe are ideal for poaching. You can also poach ripe but still firm pears.
  • You can tell if your pear is ripe by applying gentle pressure to the neck or narrow part of the pear. If it’s ripe, it yields to pressure.
  • You can halve the pears and pit them to poach them quicker and more evenly. It’s best if they are completely submerged in the syrup.

I’ve also been meaning to make it out to Gilcrease Orchards to pick out my own fruit to take full advantage of pear and apple season! :)

What ways have you brought fall into your home?
Have you tried poaching pears?
What’s your favorite pear or fall harvest recipe?

xoxo esther

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

We’ve been seeing flyboarding pop up all over the place and were excited to hear that there was a flyboard rental location opening up near us! Flyboard Las Vegas is brand spanking new and opened up 3 weeks ago. The only other watersport I’ve tried was waterskiing, and the majority of the time I was dragged underwater and eating it, so naturally I was nervous I would look a fool. Turns out it isn’t as difficult as I had anticipated. Their motto is “if you can stand, you can fly!” and that really was the case. :) woop woop!

Flyboard Las Vegas at Lake Las Vegas //  What to do in Las Vegas NV.

Las vegas to do list: Flyboard Las Vegas.

Took me a bit to get the hang of it, but I can fly! I can fly! I can fly! Jacob managed in only 2 minutes.
Flyboard Las Vegas at Lake Las Vegas //  Best things to do in Las Vegas.
Flyboarding at Las Vegas Lake //  Things to do Las Vegas.

Flyboard Las Vegas at Lake Las Vegas To Do List.

Flyboarding Rentals at Las Vegas Lake.
Flyboarding Rentals // Lake by Las Vegas.

Things to do Las Vegas Flyboard Rentals.

Flyboarding at Las Vegas Lake // Water sports in Las Vegas.
Flyboard Las Vegas //  Must do in Las Vegas.

Flyboard Las Vegas at Lake Las Vegas //  What to do in Las Vegas with Kids.

I had some pretty epic wipe outs (Jacob not so much, but we got one on video!):
Jet Ski Flyboard // Things for Kids to Do in Las Vegas.
Flyboard Jet Ski // What to Do in Las Vegas Today.

What is there to do in Las Vegas? Flyboarding!
Things to do Las Vegas - Flyboard Rentals.

Flyboard jet ski at the Lake by Las Vegas.
Flyboard rentals // Must do in Las Vegas.

Flyboard Jet ski at the Lake by Las Vegas.

What is there to do in Las Vegas.
Lake Las Vegas.

Flyboard Las Vegas // Flyboard Rental.

Flyboard Las Vegas // Best things to do in Las Vegas.
Flyboard Las Vegas Flyboarding Rentals.

Flyboard Las Vegas Lake.

Water sports in Las Vegas // Flyboard rental.

Flyboard Rental at Lake Las Vegas.

Flyboard Las Vegas To Do List.

We got to talk to the owner, Remco, and hear more about the sport and how they decided to bring flyboarding to Lake Las Vegas.

How it works:

The Flyboard is attached to the back of a jetski by a pump. All the water pushes through the hose to the flyboard. The jetski is now only acting as a pump and is rudderless being pulled by the flyboarder. The more gas you give, the higher you go. The maximum height can go up to 40 feet (but that’s with enough practice, and beginners seldom get up that high).\

Why Vegas?

We decided to open up a Flyboard Experience location in Lake Las Vegas because: 1. The weather is perfect for water sports at least 9 months out of the year. 2. Three million unique visitors come to Las Vegas every month. 3. Lake Las Vegas is the closest body of water from the strip.

Remco also is competing at the upcoming World Cup in Dubai Dec 4-6th. More info here. So we can all be rooting for him! :)

Book your experience here.
They were nice enough to give our readers 25% off with promocode: localadventurer

FlyBoard Las Vegas Address:

10 Costa Di Lago
Henderson NV 89011

Local Adventurer

Have you seen flyboarding before? Would you try it?

xoxo estherJacob

Before I share our photos from our Greece trip, I wanted to start off with a post on what to pack for Greece. We’re always trying to figure out ways to pack lighter. After this trip with our friend who is constantly traveling to remote parts of the world for work, we hope to eventually pack everything in a 17″ carry on like her. Her packing is ridiculously impressive. For now, we both have a normal 21.5″ size carry on, but we left plenty of space for gifts to carry back home. Maybe we’ll try packing in one next time. :)

What to Pack for Greece // 10 days in a Carry On.


Tops / Outerwear

1. Mustard Yellow Sleeveless V-neck Blouse
2. Sleeveless Lace Gray Utility Top (similar)
3. Navy Striped Sleeveless Blouse (similar)
4. Balloon Chiffon Tank Top
5. Sevenly Black Racerback ($7 of your purchase goes to a new cause each week!)
6. Chambray Shirt (similar)
7. Patagonia nano-puff jacket


8. Two-toned black harem pants
9. White Legging Pants
10. Gray legging jeans
11. Semi sheer white maxi skirt with double slits (similar)


12. Emerald Zip Neckline Dress (similar)
13. Navy Confetti Dress (similar)
14. Grey maxi tube dress (similar)

Shoes & Accessories:

15. Swim Suit 1 top and 2 bottoms
16. Sunglasses (borrowed from a friend. I’m still trying to find the perfect sunnies.)
17. Wide Brim Black Hat (similar)
18. Multi-pocket Canvas Tote
19. Sanuk yoga spree thong sandals
20. Black Running Shoes / Sneakers
21. Wedge sandals (similar)

Not pictured:

22. Pajamas
23. Bras (5)
24. Underwear (11, 1 for everyday plus one extra)
25. Socks (5)
26. Toiletries / Beauty Bag (will post on this later)
27. Kindle
28. Converter
29. Phone & Portable USB Phone Charger
30. Camera Body + 3 Lenses (35mm/1.4L, 16-35mm/2.8L, and 70-200mm/2.8L)

Day 1 Travel Day to Athens & Day 2 Exploring Athens

What to Pack for Greece // How to pack 10 days in a carry on.
What to Pack for Greece // How to pack 10 days in a carry on.

Day 3 Full Day Trip Exploring Delphi

Packing for Greece // Travel Packing List.

Day 4 Exploring the Athens Marketplace and ruins. Second outfit for our nice dinner of the trip.

What to Pack for Greece // How to pack 10 days in a carry on.
Packing List for Europe //  What to Pack for Greece 10 Days in a Carry On.

Day 5 Transfering to and exploring Mykonos & Day 6 Exploring Mykonos and Mykonos Beaches

Packing List for Greece //  How to pack 10 days in a carry on.
Packing list for Europe in Fall // What to Pack for Greece.

Day 7 Relax until Afternoon Ferry to Santorini & Day 8 Explore Fira

What to Pack for Greece // Greece Vacation Packing List.
Packing for Greece // Packing List for Vacation in Europe in Fall.

Day 9 Explore Oia

What to Pack for Greece in September // Trip Packing List.

Day 10 Travel Home

10 Days in a Carry On Packing List for Vacation // Greece Packing List.
Packing List for Europe in September// What to Pack for Greece.

A few lessons I’ve learned in hindsight (because we all make mistakes along the way):

  • Even though we checked weather beforehand, going to Greece in late September meant it was moderately hot in Athens and Mykonos, but windy and chilly in Santorini. Pack layers and get plenty of beach time in Mykonos because Santorini was too cold for a swim.
  • The outfit choices were perfect for this trip, but I wish I did some rearranging. For example, switching days 6 and 8 outfits had I known that donkey riding is very popular in Fira.
  • Do not wear sandals if you are going down to the Port in Fira unless you take the cable car. You will be stepping on tons of donkey poo on the way down. My flip flops are RIP in Greece. Good thing I have replacement sanuks (I always buy double of something I love).
  • We also brought the 50mm/1.2L lens but didn’t use it at all, so I didn’t include it in my packing list
  • We also brought our waterproof phone case, but didn’t end up using it because we didn’t snorkel at all. I would recommend bringing it if you plan on snorkeling / diving during your trip.

How do you pack for international trips?

xoxo esther