Tag Archives: adventure

Creativity Sparks | Creative Space | A Creative Haven

 

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I’ve been doing a little soul searching. Really digging deep. Thinking about how I can be more deliberate with my life.

In general, I’m pretty successful with that as it is. I dream, scheme, and plan. I make intentional choices about my time. I go big, and I push myself to take bold steps and be brave. But I figure a little extra soul searching can’t hurt anything, right? Right.

From all this thinking, here’s something I’ve come up with: I want to bring more of myself into this site.

You see, I have another site called In Search of Squid. I adore that site. It was truly a living document of my life as I struggled to find what it was that I loved, the things that would make my life meaningful and worthwhile. I wrote on that site for years about my journey. And then one day, I found that I outgrew it. Not in a bad way, mind you. More in a…wow, I’ve figured out what I love, I’m no longer searching…kind of way. And so In Search of Squid didn’t really fit me anymore. Because — Squid Found.

Fast forward to today. I started this new site a little over a year ago. Initially, it was meant to document my journey as a photographer. But then I sort of missed the personal aspect that was In Search of Squid. I missed telling stories.

Thus, as my journey has grown, so has my purpose for this site.

I’ve struggled a bit with exactly how I should post here. What do I write about? Do I only write about photography? Do I include the personal stuff? Do I expand to include my passion for yoga?

I haven’t known what to do, so I’ve continued posting, and I’ve continued pondering.

And in the last couple of days, it hit me. My life, my passion — it’s all about living a creative life, doing what I love, and being intentional with those choices. And there it is, exactly what this site should be. Sometimes, yes, it’s all about photography. But sometimes it’s about so much more than that. And I want to share that too.

It’s a continuation of my journey. It’s personal, and it’s me. It’s a creative haven for my work, for everything that I love. It’s my stories. It’s a way for me to connect with my online soul sisters, my in real life friends, and the myriad of other awesome creative women that somehow find themselves in my little corner of the internet. It’s my place to share art and photography and yoga and adventure. It’s an honest look at the beauty that is this life of mine.

So yeah. That’s a peek into what I’ve been thinking. And I thought I’d share.

Here’s another tidbit, in case you don’t know: since setting up the art room, I have been full-on OBSESSED with creating. I am absolutely in love with painting. I can’t remember the last time I felt this way. It’s almost surreal. So while the iron is hot, I’m totally jumping on this bandwagon and taking it as far as it’s willing to take me. I hope you’ll join me for this journey too!

Until next time, my friends, sending love and light.

xo

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Creativity Sparks | Mt. Charleston Phot Walk | The Camera You Have

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We’ve all heard the cliche: the best camera is the one you have with you. And there’s usually a reason something becomes cliche — because, at least to some extent, it’s true.

In this case? Totally 100% TRUE.

Here’s the perfect example. That photo above? Taken with an iPhone 5c. I went on a photo walk yesterday. I thought I’d drive myself up to Mt. Charleston and take a hike I hadn’t been on — Mary Jane Falls. I wanted to capture a few nice shots. Maybe do a few yoga poses. Have a nice afternoon strolling about the mountain.

I got about  a quarter mile into my hike and saw a tree stump that I thought would be great to sit on for a creative self-portrait. I walked over and scoped out the scene. I found the perfect angle to set up my tripod. I checked for the best light and best background. I started setting up my camera equipment — put the camera on the tripod, adjusted the angle and height of the tripod, checked the ISO of my camera. And then. Yeah…then. Then I noticed an error code reading on my camera screen. Well, crap. I left my memory cards at home!!

At that precise moment, I looked up and saw how perfectly the light was hitting my tree stump. I slumped over a bit. I was thoroughly disappointed. What a great picture that would have been!

After a momentary moping session I decided I wasn’t going to skip my photo. I had a back up camera. Sort of. I had my iPhone!

I literally repeated that mantra in my head: the best camera is the one you have with you.

So the iPhone is my best camera. So what? Take your picture. Capture your moment. Don’t let the memory pass simply because you don’t have the fanciest camera to work with.

I still wasn’t sure how to take this picture. I didn’t have my phone tripod with me. How would I even prop the phone up? I almost gave up and settled for a handheld selfie. But then I noticed a spot on my regular tripod in which I might be able to wedge my phone. I didn’t know if it would hold or if that spot was even the right size/width. But I stuck the phone in there, and the darn thing stayed (honestly, I think it was quite a brilliant idea — I may just use that ridiculously large tripod to hold my little phone in the future for things like this).

I’m sure a person or two noticed my little turquoise-cased phone being held by a rather large tripod. But so what? Let them think it looks silly. It does.

But I captured my moment, a moment that would be otherwise gone.

So if you’re just getting into photography, and you’re feeling intimidated by all the professional photographers with big, expensive, fancy cameras — don’t be. If the only camera you have is a point and shoot, use it. If the only camera you have is on your phone, use it. If you have an old, clunky, first-generation DSLR, use it. It doesn’t matter what you have. Use the camera you have. Get to know it. Get to know light and shadow and the settings you can change. Find out what makes for the best pictures on your camera and what makes for the worst.

I’ve seen people with state-of-the-art cameras take poor pictures. And I’ve seen people with mediocre cameras take stellar pictures.

Do what you can with what you have, and forget the rest. Enjoy the creative process, and don’t look back!

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See The World | Travel Photography | Lake Peten Itza, Guatemala

These photos are from a perfect evening spent cruising Lake Peten Itza by boat in Flores, Guatemala. My friend and I chartered a local fisherman to give us a tour of the area by boat. The fisherman’s name was Carlos. He knew we were from the U.S., and he wore his U.S.A. t-shirt. Although he spoke broken English, he talked with us the entire time, working hard to understand our broken Spanish. We had dinner with him that night and met his wife and daughter. He invited us into his home without a second thought. He was the sweetest man, and made the biggest impact on my trip to Guatemala. I truly believe some of the best experiences are had when you branch out from the tourist areas and meet with the locals. They change your perspective of the world (not to mention, they know the best places to see).

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See the World | Travel Photography | Flores, Guatemala

This next set of photos is probably my favorite set of travel photos to date. I took these in a tiny town called San Miguel, just across the lake from Flores, Guatemala. My friend and I stayed at Chaltunha Hostel, which is actually an adorable set of cabins on a beautiful hillside property with a to-die-for view of Flores.

I had on my bucket list “eat empanadas from a street vendor” (yes, I actually have a written-out bucket list). It was a random item I put on the list one night while at home, dreaming of traveling the world.

So one evening while sitting at a table with Neil, the owner of Chaltunha, my friend and I mentioned that I had this item on my list. We asked Neil if he knew where we could get good street food. And he did! Neil took us down to the vendor himself and introduced us. We attempted to use our broken Spanish, ordered a ton of food (including these empanadas), and asked if we could take pictures of the cooking process. They were happy to let us.

One of the things I love about these pictures is how raw and real they are. San Miguel is a town of locals — it’s not a tourist destination like Flores. This vendor made food for people in the town and rarely interacted with tourists at all. They were incredibly sweet and were happy to meet us. They even showed us their home, just behind the shop. It’s moments like this while traveling that I simply adore, the moments you get a real glimpse of life in another country. Tourist destinations are beautiful, as there’s a reason they become so popular. But moments with locals, experiencing different cultures, eating local food — those moments are priceless.

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See The World | Travel Photography | Northern Ireland Coast

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I look at this photo, and it makes me smile. (Don’t they all?) This one though — it’s special. This picture was taken on the last walking day of my holiday in Ireland with my dearest friend, Christy. Christy’s my partner in crime! For reals. She lives in Seattle, and I live in Las Vegas. We started traveling together a few years back, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have such an awesome, inspired travel friend. She’s just crazy enough to want to go on all the crazy adventures I want to go on, too!

So, like I mentioned, this picture was on the last walking day of our vacation. We were in Northern Ireland at the time. The last day was freezing and windy, and the weather was starting to get to us. It was one of the longer walking days. I want to say it was 15 miles. But maybe it was only 12. You know how hindsight makes every walk seem miles longer? Yup.

We had just visited Dunluce Castle. Outside the castle was a little cafe. We stopped for hot chocolate because…well, because it’s hot chocolate. And it was cold. And who passes up hot chocolate at a little cafe outside an Irish castle? While sitting in front of the fireplace at the cafe, we met a couple that told us about a surfing competition up the coast a bit (I think they may actually have been in the competition, if I remember right). It just so happened that we were headed in that direction, and that beach was along our route.

Are there seriously people crazy enough to surf in this frigid weather? That was pretty much our conversation as we continued to walk.

Crazy fucking Irish. Yep, they were just nutty enough to hop in the ocean on such a glacial day.

But we loved it. We loved watching the trembling surfers as they stepped out of the ocean and into the ice-cold air. We suddenly felt rather warm in comparison to their dripping bodies.

We laughed. We smiled. We hurriedly walked to maintain our own warmth. And, of course, I stopped to take pictures about every five feet (which kind of negated the speed and what little warmth I had accumulated). It was a beautiful day. It was one of the most magical trips I’ve ever been on. And I would return to Ireland in a heartbeat (for reals!).

p.s. If you’re interested, I HIGHLY recommend the company that handled our trip. It’s a small company, and they provide lots of personal attention. It was a self-guided walking holiday. They provided maps, gave us all the details, booked the most awesome accommodations, suggested the best restaurants, and scheduled to have our luggage transported while we walked from town to town. Seriously. They’re amazing. Hillwalk Tours Ireland. I can’t say enough good things.

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See The World | Travel Photography | Whitsunday Island, Australia

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I took this picture at sunrise, sitting on the deck of an old sailboat — a tall ship. The ship was precisely as you would picture a pirate ship. And the setting was pretty much as picturesque as it gets. The sun’s rays skipped across the ripples of the water. Tongue Bay shone like a jewel. Whitsunday Island sat in front of me, taunting me to come hike it.

Everything about this moment sounds like perfection. But in typical HRM fashion, I’m going to tell you like it is. ‘Cause it wasn’t all perfect. I woke up early enough to see the sunrise simply because I couldn’t sleep. Oh man, that ship. Here’s something people don’t tell you about century old pirate ships: they’re super uncomfortable! The rooms are about as big as a packed cubicle.  And the smell. Oh, the smell. The smell of old gym socks permeated every crevice of the sleeping quarters. And don’t get me started on the two-minute showers over the toilet. Haha!

I don’t mean to complain. The crew was fabulous. The food was fantastic. They really did everything they could to make our experience wonderful. I just learned a little something about boats, ships, and the like. And here’s what I learned: you should take a look at those damn things before you book. You might realize you prefer a more modern, comfortable ship over the nostalgia of the tall ships of the past. I now know I prefer a yacht. For reals!

Though, honestly, looking back, I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world. The Whitsundays were beautiful. Pristine. Untouched. And I was fortunate enough to sail around them, scuba dive their reefs, hike their trails, and swim in their waters. And for that, I’ll be forever grateful.

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Coffee Monday | Love of Mini Adventures

Guess what day it is?!?! It’s Coffee Monday!

Yep. You may have noticed I haven’t had the chance to post a Coffee Monday video recently. Eeek! The last few weeks have been crazy, busy with shoots and planning and prep work. Occasionally, especially during one of the busiest seasons of the year, you’ll notice I have to step back from Coffee Monday videos. But have no fear — Mondays aren’t going anywhere! I’ll be back in the swing of videos soon. (Because I kind of love them, and there’s something about looking silly on video that appeals to me.)

And every so often, Coffee Monday will be a fun post instead of a video. Like today. Today I’m sitting in my pajamas on this lovely Monday, and though I enjoy looking silly in a good video…I’m not so keen on my PJs. 😉

But I digress. Because what I really want to chat with you about today is how much a love a good mini adventure. And perhaps I can convince you to start taking mini adventures of your own!

If you’ve met me, you know I travel. Kind of a lot. I love to plan trips out of the country. I love getting off an airplane, speaking little to none of the language and miming my way through an airport. I thrive on adventure. But you know what? Most of us, including myself, don’t have the chance to travel out of the country at the drop of a hat. Most of us have places to be and people to see and things to do. And we’re lucky if we get a few hours to ourselves, let alone a few weeks. So here’s what I suggest: mini adventures!

You don’t need several weeks to get in a good adventure. You can have a great adventure in a weekend or even a few hours.

Here are just a few of my favorite mini adventures:

  1. Hiking at Red Rock (and, OMG, the weather is cooling down and Red Rock hiking season is upon us!)
  2. Weekend getaways (think: the beach, the mountains, the desert — A quick drive to SoCal will get you to San Clemente, one of my fave beach towns; Zion National Park has been for years and still is one of favorite places on the planet and is only 3 hours from Las Vegas; Kelso Sand Dunes is just 2 hours from Vegas and is boatloads of fun)
  3. Stand up paddle boarding at Lake Las Vegas (check out Paddle to the Core at the Westin — it’s gorgeous out there and makes for an awesome day!)
  4. Solo movie going (I know this one may sound less exciting, but I absolutely LOVE treating myself to the movies. And I love going it alone! I pick a showing in the middle of the day at a point when I think there will be nearly no one in the theater. I load up on popcorn and soda and all the goodies I never otherwise let myself eat. And I pick the perfect seat — without having to negotiate with anyone about where that might be. Sometimes I make a day of it and stay for 2 movies.)

So be good to yourself. Make a list. Brainstorm. Start thinking about mini adventures you might like to take. And the next time you find yourself bored or having something to celebrate or with a little extra time on your hands — go on a mini adventure!

Here are some iPhone pics from my most recent mini adventure — a trip to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah! I’d heard of the sand dunes, but I had never been there. And seemingly random sand dunes placed in the midst of a forest? Count me in! It was super fun (and really just a strange sight). I highly recommend taking a drive up there!

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