life on pine

new zealand! the tongariro alpine crossing

Kate ParrishComment

hello, nz! 

our 3-ish weeks in new zealand started on the north island where we flew into auckland and tried to pack in as much as we could before heading south. we started with the popular hike – the tongariro alpine crossing – and ended up going on one of the windiest days that year [120mph!]. i truly felt like i might blow off the side of the mountain and thus not many photos were taken that day. 

the trail runs through an active volcanic region in the midst of tongariro national park,  a 7-8 hour hike through dramatic volcanic scenery, offering epic vistas all the way to mt taranaki on a clear day.

some quick tips/things to know:

  • you will likely sleep in the town of taupo, nz on the nights before/after the hike 
  • it will take most of the day - the tongariro alpine crossing is ~12 miles long, on average the trek takes between six and eight hours to complete, so definitely pack a lunch + snacks + plenty of water
  • park your car at the end, and book a s huttle to the trailhead [then when you're done, your car is waiting for you :)] 
  • check out this site for all the info you need to know 

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back in mexico city

Kate ParrishComment

mexico city

this was the final stop on our trip before heading back to the states, and it was a prefect place to end [and meet up with kyle's dad & step mom!]. it was a short and sweet 2 nights, but filled with a lot of food, drinks and exploring. we hit up some of our favorites from the last time we visited, and also popped into many new places.

some favorite places from this trip:


why every traveler should be using google maps

Kate ParrishComment


honestly, i often hate apps and it took me a few months for kyle to get me on board with what i'm writing about to day. so if you have that mindset, please bear with me!

navigating a new city is hard. add in a packed agenda with no international data plan and it can be very overwhelming and expensive. don't get me wrong, we love a good old fashioned paper map and still use them often, but when trying to efficiently get to all the right stops we have found google maps to be somewhat life changing. we, [among others] are impressed with where they have taken the experience and how well they are integrating with international travel. not only are their maps far more accurate & reliable, the interface is much nicer and they seem committed to travel planning as they just released google trips


  • STARRING with this functionality, it's extremely easy to save & remember restaurants, bars, museums, hotels, trail heads, and more – and then see how close/far they all are from each other. we also use it to save the places we stumble upon and end up loving. all you need is wifi to save a location, and from then on it will be saved on your map even if you don't have wifi. 
  • OFFLINE MAPS avoiding international data charges, they let you download for a defined area. it will keep all your starred places and street names/metro stops/etc so it functions as a modernized city map. you'll be able to get around just like you were on wifi. 
  • AUTOMATIC SYNCING email/airbnb/hotel bookings/etc. – these all find their way to your map, too. example: i got lost in seville the one time i tried to go out alone [sigh] – and opened my map to see what i could find. and there was a little star that said "seville airbnb". my google had already synced it to my offline map and i was able to get home no problem.

E X A M P L E  F R O M  P A R I S:

as you will see on our international travel guides, we have made maps for each city with all of our favorite places that you can easily download to your google account to have on your phone. simple as that! some photos below to help better walk you through the process. 

L I K E  T H I S  P O S T?
P I N  F O R  L A T E R

a quick weekend in oaxaca, mexico

Kate ParrishComment

oaxaca city, mexico

it had been a dream of ours to go to oaxaca, but it was starting to feel like it might not fit in with our current plan [we were still in colombia and were meeting kyle's parents in mexico city, in about 5 days]. when katrina offered to have us stay with her and to show us around, though, we realized it was an opportunity we couldn't pass up [even if it did feel a little rushed].

oaxaca is one of those places i could dedicate a lot of time to – known for its mild climate, rich culinary traditions and of course the mecca of all things mezcal, we really only scratched the surface. most of our time was spent in oaxaca city exploring the town, tasting mezcal, trying as much food as we could and enjoying katrina's beautiful apartment. we also explored the surrounding area when we toured the small village the mendez family lives in [read more about that, here]. 

some quick favorites:

  • don't feel like walking? bicibella is a fun bike rental  
  • casa carmen is a cool hotel in town to explore 
  • mercado 20 de noviembre OG market to wander - find dona vali and try her mamilas - a traditional snack that is magical. (also visit central de abastos market)
  • cafe el volador is a great place for morning coffee and people watching in town
  • la biznaga or zandunga for lunch or dinner – try the traditional mole negro
  • oaxaca botanical garden beautiful cactus garden showcasing all of the local flora of the region
  • zocalo the big famous church in the middle of town
  • casa oaxaca brunch or lunch place with huge patio and great traditional oaxacan food
  • itanoni traditional place for breakfast – no frills and full of locals

for mezcal:


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august etta photo journal | oaxaca, mexico

Kate ParrishComment


ah, time flies too quickly

here we are 1 year from when katrina welcomed us into her stunning oaxacan home. 2 months prior to our arrival we were in ecuador and i stumbled upon the beautiful handwoven caftan & tunics on august etta's instagram through a mutual friend of ours [hello, kate!]. i started exploring the page in more detail and knew that i wanted to meet the gal behind this beautiful content – her texas roots paired with her eye for design and the fact that she was living in oaxaca running her own business, i knew she had to be just straight up cool  - so i sent her a note. 

emails were exchanged and she ended up welcoming us with open arms to come stay with her, learn about her craft, meet the mendez family, and even photograph some of her new pieces. we were both amazed by her kindness and generosity, and will be forever grateful for the friendship we made and the truly unique + local experience we had visiting this part of mexico. 

august etta

august etta, in short,  is handwoven artistry by women & men in oaxaca, mexico, designed by katrina herself. 5% of profits help support the women of fundación en vía. each piece is named after a person that is important to katrina [friends, family, mentors]... and is unique in it's own little way. the mendez family are some of the warmest, sweetest, most interesting people we met during our time in mexico. this was my first time to see a handloom in action, and learning about this process  gave me such a deeper appreciation for this kind of work. seeing the pieces grow from start to finish was so inspiring and i can only hope i get to return one day! 

in these photos i am wearing the agnes caftan and the elizabeth tunic paired with some no. 6 clogs



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