Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Chico calling…

August 22, 2007

All roads lead to ... chico?

I had decided yesterday, after quietly going crazy working all day in my (now air conditioned!) room, it’s time to get out of town. Yes folks, the great town of Chico is calling my name, and I’m happily leaving Pasadena’s summer lull of work and study behind me … for a few days.

As if I needed another sign or intuitive prod to do something as crazy as drive 8 hours north to Chico to see some amazing friends, I opened up the new issue of Via, and found a full-spread picture of one of my favorite spots in C-town staring right back at me: One Mile at Bidwell Park.

All doubt of my newly planned trip quickly vanished, replaced with a mental note to pack my Mexico blanket. During my undergrad, I spent countless afternoons among those huge trees with a good book and slurpee in hand. Life doesn’t get much better.

As if that weren’t enough, The new Real Simple had something to add to my building internal conversation too: they featured the Chico Bag. Created and originally sold in Chico, this little nylon bag is a local staple for the farmers market attendees and the environmentally friendly.

Ohhh I hear you Chico, I’m coming…


Who needs a jewlery box?

August 16, 2007

Who needs a jewelry box...

I came back from Mexico a few weeks ago with enough new jewlery to double my modest collection. While it’s very exciting to have some fun new earings and necklaces, it posed a question of storage … where do I put this stuff? Even more, where do I put this stuff so I see it, remember I have it, and will actually wear it?

I started looking at jewelry solutions online, and the box I liked at Pottery Barn ran $100. Hmm… There was the cheap plastic storage options at the Container Store, but I’d rather put that money towards the nicer box.

Then I started thinking … what about those coffee sleeves?

I think I’ve mentioned my strange compulsive collection… I made a wreath out of them last fall (again a reaction to not wanting to spend big bucks for a nice seasonal wreath) and I’ve been hoarding them since. In addition, my friends pass theirs along (special thanks here for Scott and Tracy who kept their collection at home and recently handed me a worthy stack of about 50!).

Well… my conviction that these sleeves have more functionality than preventing burns finally paid off… I started stapling them together into a honeycomb pattern to create little cubbies to store my necklaces, bracelets, anklets, clips, hair bands, etc.


I created three units out of seven sleeves each, and strung them from two nails in the wall. I didn’t know if it would hold, but they’ve done a fair job. Each cubby is a little unique, so it takes a little coaxing sometimes to convince pieces to stay, but overall, it works well. I poke earrings through the sleeve material letting them dangle.

While I will probably not store my jewelry in coffee sleeves forever, I have to say, I’m pretty satisfied. I saved $100, worked with my hands, and finally justified my crazy collection habit!

Day 11, Last day

July 30, 2007

Riverside Walk ends

Day 11
Zion National Park (pictured), Baker

It finally came … the last day of the epic road trip. Ellen and I visited Zion National Park, and drove back to Pasadena by way of Baker, CA and some incredible Greek food.

If you haven’t been to the Grand Canyon or Zion, some advise: Go peer over the edge of the Grand Canyon, but camp and hike in Zion. It’s amazing. I wish I’d had more time and knowledge of the park to hike farther up the canyon and get deeper in the picturesque Narrows. Someday, it’ll happen.

Over all, this massive 11 day road trip was amazing. California and the Southwest are beautiful parts of the country, but more than I realized, such an integral and native part of myself. Not only was I born and raised in Cali, but I’m a 6th generation Californian. My Mother’s family came west over the Sierras before the Gold Rush, and even rescued the Donner Party on the way out. They did quite well as farmers in the Central Valley (and now have shifted to become a family of dentists…but I digress).

While I loved living and traveling in Europe (and hope to see Asia, Australia and South America some day), California is definitely home for me. There is something to say for staying close to my roots that seems particularly applicable for this period of study and reflection in my life. And it doesn’t hurt that the west continues to offer a worthy answer to my travel and photography itch, and I’m quite happy with that.

Day 10

July 26, 2007


[note: Sorry for the lapse, I went on another mini-road trip this past weekend to Baja, and it’s taken a bit to catch into the photo editing/upload pattern again.]

Day 10
Grand Canyon, North Rim (pictured)

Oh the Grand Canyon … what can you say? It’s big … and it’s also a long way down. Some might say my refusal to walk to edge would indicate a fear of heights, but I think it’s common sense. I mean really … a mile drop off? Hey, I have an idea: let’s go up to the edge and peer over! Ugh, no thanks. At least my cautious self won’t be featured in the “Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon” non-fiction reading available in the gift shop. Geesh.

Day 8/9

July 20, 2007

Japanese dinner!

Day 8/9

Birthday weekend in Vegas, good times.

Day 7

July 19, 2007

big sky

Day 7
Bodie (pictured), Bishop

This was my favorite day – and scariest. But not for the same reason…

We got a break from the heat and explored the ghost town of Bodie in the morning. The wind (foreshadowing…) kept it cooler than the 100+ degree weather we were in the rest of the week, it also gave me trouble keeping my hat on, my skirt down and my camera in focus. I probably looked like a spastic fish out of water … nothing new right? I wish I was more graceful, but then again some of the other photogs were decked out in photo vests. Yikes.

The scare came later in the day as we were making our way down highway 395 in the Owen’s Valley where lightning had started several brush fires. The smoke was like a wall, and driving into it was like driving from the daylight straight into night. I was staying calm so I and Ellen wouldn’t be too bothered, but it was quite unsettling. Yet traffic kept moving, so I figured it was ok to keep going until it became obvious we shouldn’t. Sure enough, the fire jumped the highway and CHP closed the road and signaled traffic to turn around. We headed back to the last town we went through, Big Pine. With hotel reservations on the other side of the flame in Lone Pine, we were in a quandary… in the end Ellen voted to head one town further away from the flames, back to Bishop, which was good instinct as Big Pine was later evacuated. Whew! Not too dangerous, but enough to get our stomachs in a knot for a bit.

Day 6

July 18, 2007

Mono Lake wind

Day 6
Yosemite, Mono Lake (pictured)

Day 5

July 17, 2007

Shot for Grandma

Day 5
San Francisco (Fort Point (pictured), Japanese Tea Gardens, Beach Chalet, Beach)

Ellen came to California with a few itinerary items. This photo in San Francisco with flowers in her hair is one of them, as requested by her grandmother.

Day 4

July 16, 2007

grapes on the vine

Day 4
Napa Valley (Clos du Val, Hess, and Sterling)

So it turns out … I’m not a wine connoisseur, or even really a fan. *Sigh* This is so depressing, and I feel slightly uncultured. Yet I can’t deny I’d much rather kick my feet up with a cold beer…

That said, Napa Valley was definitely worth the trip. It’s pretty unforgiving I’m from the Bay and haven’t been yet. Having Ellen around made it the perfect chance to try it out, and it’s even more beautiful than I thought. To top it off, my friend Beth came down from Chico with a packed picnic for us (she’s an angel who knows how to cook!). We visited three wineries, one of which had an art gallery (Hess) and took in some awesome scenery. Good times!

Day 3

July 15, 2007


Day Three
San Francisco (Chinatown pictured) and Oakland A’s game

While I don’t know if I’ve left my heart there, San Fran is still “the city” to me. We poked around Market Street, Union Square, Chinatown and Fisherman’s Wharf before catching BART into Oakland to watch the A’s loose to Toronto Bluejays. For the record, it’s the first time they’ve lost when I’ve seen them play. Hmm…