Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gettin' my kicks Part 2 - Pre-trip

(I was fascinated by the laundromat chairs)

Prior to route-66'n it up, I visited my cousin in Springdale, UT. Well, technically she lives in Rockville, UT, a suburb of Springdale. Rockville is basically just one street. To give you some perspective, there is no brand-name grocery store or movie theater in either town. There is a small market and sometimes they show recently-run movies at the Zion IMAX in the off-season. People knew my cousin everywhere we went. Every store, every restaurant, and of course everywhere in the park (she works in the park). I'm all for small-town living, but that is pushing it. It is just beautiful there, though. We had tons of fun.

I visited my cousin here several years ago at around the same time of year, and a particular Christmas decoration always stuck with me. I was happy to see that it was still around and I snuck some covert shots from across the street (because, OF COURSE, my cousin knows these people). Yep, that's Santa there with Jesus in the manger. Yeah, I was confused too. 

Santa & Baby Jesus - Photographic proof

In addition to the delights of small-town living, there is a private hot springs just outside of town that had recently re-opened. My cousin and I love natural hot springs so we had to partake. The great thing is that you reserve the whole area for your party for a really reasonable rate so we were totally alone. The people who own the springs live nearby but their house is far enough away that you can soak leisurely without any other signs of life around you. Quite the decadent experience. We didn't have watches or phones with us, so when we eventually got hungry we dragged ourselves away and hiked back to the car (in the pitch black), hoping we weren't leaving early and wasting our soak time. On the contrary, we had stayed 4.5 hours of our allotted 3! Yeah, it was 9:30, way past closing time. I'm surprised that the owners did not come down and kick us out.


Three different pools of increasing temperature as you move closer to the source of the springs (back in a cave to the right). It is quite possible I left some of my belongings under those benches as, apparently, the recent remodel did not include adding lights that turned on at any point.

The next morning we went walking in Zion National Park. I say walking instead of hiking because we took the flattest trail as all of them were covered in ice and snow and my footwear was sub-par. It was unfortunately an overcast day, so my pictures weren't as great as I would have liked, but it was still beautiful. I am a fan of some flat lighting in photography, but the red cliffs really glow on a sunny day.





And, I know I end all my travel posts with this, but I really encourage everyone to go if they ever have the chance!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A little tidbit from Hawaii

Hello, I'm back! I was in Hawaii for a week, hanging out, diving, bridesmaiding, and all kinds of great stuff. I just want to share a little bit of the islands with you, before I do recaps, mostly because I have a ton of polaroids to scan still and photos to edit. This is my favorite picture from the trip:


If you know me, you probably know that I LOVE sea turtles. This little guy was ignoring everyone and hiding out in a dark overhang. All the other divers moved on as I waited for the sand to settle and he came out of his cave to hang with me and pose for some amazing shots.

More photos soon, plus Route 66 re-caps.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gettin' my kicks Part 1 - Going it alone


I love so many things about venturing out on road trips alone.You can listen to whatever you want, stop whenever you want, eat wherever you want, and no one can complain if you want to pull over at every scenic viewpoint and attraction to take pictures. With multiple cameras. You also don't have to ask nicely beg because you're always the driver. So much fun.

Don't get me wrong, there are several road trips that I have been on with other people and I wouldn't trade those experiences for the world (well, most of them), plus my husband is the greatest sport ever with regard to stopping at every single funky hotel sign along the road so I can photograph it with multiple cameras at many different angles, but I loved the freedom of it.


My goal is to drive all of Route 66 someday. Since I live in Arizona, I decided to do the first leg of Santa Monica to Flagstaff this year. Then, I can start in Flagstaff the next time I get a chance to finish the journey and have all the back-tracking to California out of the way.

For those who aren't in the know, Route 66 doesn't really exist anymore, at least not in the original amazingness it held before the big Interstates were built.  A large part of the route that I drove was actually I-40, but many of the little towns that the Mother Road ran through in the good old days are still there. Basically, I spent a lot of time exiting off of I-40, driving for a stretch, getting back on I-40, and then exiting off again. Here's my route map that I created using a combination of multiple historic route 66 maps and the awesome feature of google maps where you can drag your route all over the map.

Part of the appeal of driving along the road in present day is the inherent feeling of desertion. All those small businesses, little cafes, and hotels still struggling to survive despite the re-routing of all the traffic along a much speedier thoroughfare give a little glimpse into what it must have been like in its heyday. There is something haunting about it that I found so moving. It is what made this trip so amazing for me. Plus the signs. THE SIGNS, PEOPLE!!!

My last thought on going it alone has to be the listening material. Even though I went solo, I never really felt alone on my trip because I am pretty good at entertaining myself. I love music and listened to a lot of it to build the soundtrack to the journey (a combo of classic and indie rock, of course). But really, I am a big fan of the audio/podio book when driving long distances. Good ones make the time fly by, you almost wish you had more driving to do that day just so you can listen to a little bit more. I was joined on my trip by Sookie Stackhouse, Ishmael Wang, and Kate and Daniel. I never once felt tired of driving or burned out. The fact that I could download them onto my iPhone while traveling definitely didn't hurt.

I highly recommend the solo road trip. I felt so good afterward, I consider no time to be wasted on this venture.

More to come later!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Imaginary Oscars Party

Since this time of year is pretty crazy for me, I can't actually have a full-fledged Oscars Party with my friends. I would love to, though, so I thought I would invite you all to my Imaginary Oscars Party, the elements of which were crafted by far more creative bloggers. That's basically where ideas for my real parties come from anyway.

Did you enjoy your lovely invitation? It was designed by Twig & Thistle. They also designed the little popcorn holders that I lovingly printed for you.

Of course, we will be playing Oscar Bingo, thanks to Jess at How About Orange. The squares have clever things like "Brad Pitt is sporting a beard" and "more than 5 people get up to accept one award."

To toast the winners, we will be drinking Chambord and Champagne, a recipe made famous by the Hostess with the Mostess. She also thought up the idea for my gorgeous centerpieces. Aren't they great?

During the red carpet walk, guests can fill out their ballots, and see how well they can pick a winner. 

And, more important than the awards themselves, are the baked goods. Of course I have had the time and energy to replicate every single one of the connoisseur of the cake pop's  film-themed creations. Behold.

The Oscar cookie. Click Here for movie popcorn brownies, Coraline button cookies, Upcakes, Marquis cookies, and a lobster-topped Julie & Julia cupcake, complete with a candy pearl necklace. Genius.

If you're not full after all those treats, I have some candy for you, in really cute packaging, designed by Twig & Thistle. Of course it coordinates with your invites!

Dress code for the party is, of course, "worst dressed" thrift store attire - break out the ball gowns from the 80s!

I hope you had fun! 

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