Sunday, August 29, 2010

Oh Victoria

Me and some friends took a day trip to Victoria BC on what, to our pleasant surprise, turned out to be a sunny August Sunday. We travelled on the Clipper from Seattle to Victoria in about 3 hours. I'd personally suggest considering alternate transportation if it's affordable. There were people literally getting sick on the ride there, and the food and ride over was on par to that of an airplane.

When we arrived we left the rainy day in Seattle behind the find a lot of sunshine, flowers and people shuffling about. We began by hunting down the Choux Choux Charcuterie, which was closed on Sundays. Strike one. So, we headed back towards the water and found the Cactus Club Cafe, which had good food and is led by the only Iron Chef in Victoria, Rob Feenie.

Afterwards we wandered through the Sunday market, not finding too much of interest. Then we came across Chinatown. Chinatown was one of my favorite areas because it had a lot of restaurants and interesting shops. I really enjoyed our discovery of the Fan Tan Alley, easily missed, but worth finding. It was very cute and had interesting shops with original artwork that was both decent and affordable.

After that we headed to Lo Jo (Lower Johnson) for some boutique shopping that proved fruitful. All and all I'd say it was a pretty good day - minus that whole bird incident (that occurred twice). So I leave you with two words of wisdom - never forget! And wear a hood for protection. There's some crazy birds out there.

Photography by me and Sarah Ramee

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Base. Camp. Muir.

Mt. Rainier (highest peak in Washington @ 14,411 ft)

I've been lacking in updates lately, mainly because I've been so busy hiking and working that there hasn't been any time leftover. But, after a gorgeous weekend at Mt. Rainier I think it deserves the spotlight.

Mt. Adams (2nd highest peak in Washington @ 12,277 ft)

Some friends and I are planning to summit Mt. Rainier on September 1st. Our last big hike was to the Base Camp, Camp Muir. We stayed overnight in order to get a good feel for the altitude, temperature, etc.

It was a gorgeous weekend without a single cloud in the sky. At night (unfortunately after my camera battery died) the sky was a gorgeous navy blue with a perfect crescent moon that was so large it looked like you could grab it right out of the sky.

The photos explain the rest!

Talk to you after the summit!

Photography by me

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mystic Marfa

Marfa is a small desert town in West Texas with a population barely exceeding two thousand people. If it weren't for the railroads it may not exist today. But, what truly brought Marfa to its current situation was the move of minimalist artist Donald Judd from New York city. He claims he went to Marfa to get away from people, but now Marfa has become a common stop for travelers looking for kitsch. In addition the famed Marfa Lights draw tons speculation and interest. The Marfa Lights even made it on the popular show Unsolved Mysteries.

I personally went to Marfa on a road trip with my college roommate to get away from the city and see something new. We successfully saw the Marfa Lights on the first night and roamed around town the next day. Food is hit and miss in this town. There are a lot of modern restaurants, but the hours are often limited to Thursday - Sunday. We went on Tuesday and Wednesday. Also, the food tends to run out if you get there late. Oh the small town charm...

My favorite eats included the Food Shark truck. They even sold Mexican Coca Cola, which is a favorite of mine made with real sugar (not corn syrup). I also enjoyed Cochineal and Squeeze Marfa for breakfast.

In addition, the art galleries have limited hours. We were able to visit a few though, the Galleri Urbane, Second Floor and Etherington Art. I personally fell in love with a Mexican artist that paints the stray dogs that he adopts. Often times he also paints the back of the painting with another picture. I almost found myself making monthly payments just to own one. If you ever visit, I suggest booking a tour of the Judd and Chinati Foundations. Those are the main attractions, and I wish I had seen them. Also, the art installation Prada Marfa is about 25 miles outside of town, but a must see in my opinion. If you're a Gossip Girl fan, you might recognize the art from the Van Der Woodsen's home.

Marfa from your couch:

Watch Giant with Elizabeth Taylor

Watch Two Sculptors: Donald Judd's Marfa Texas and Tony Cragg

Photography by me.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Desolate Marfa an Artsy Mecca

This is a great article about Marfa, where I just went on my vacation. I will be posting my full review soon!

Article from Vancouver Sun

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Good Old New Orleans

View from Dauphine Hotel balcony

New Orleans is one of those places I've always wanted to visit, but never had a good enough reason to go. That is until this past January when my best friend turned 30 and decided to celebrate there. It was fantastic to see Nicole and her family, as well as meet some of the people that are a part of her life now that she lives in DC. We definitely don't get to see each other often given how far away we live.

Staying in the French Quarter there was plenty to do in the immediate vicinity. We did the cocktail tour together to get the party started on Saturday night - the big celebration. Along the way we went to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, which was by far my favorite bar. It's the oldest bar in the country.

It was a great place to have fun, while avoiding the really disgusting bars further down the road on Bourbon Street. It's also really dark, so lots of movie stars hang out there to avoid being seen, although I think it's because they love the Voodoo drink. Beyond that, we enjoyed the Krazy Korner because the upstairs area was not too crazy, had pool, people dressed in hot dog costumes and 3 for 1 beers - 'nuff said.

We had plenty of beignets and coffee from Cafe Du Monde, and the Taste of New Orleans pretty much everywhere else. My favorite red beans and rice were at Oceana. But enough about food.

Is there any good shopping in New Orleans? Yes, but you have to look for it. The French Market was pretty cool, but it would be easy to buy lots of touristy items and feel regret later on. However, they had adorable voodoo dolls for only $1 and I simply couldn't resist. Interestingly enough, my voodoo doll had two white pins in it - which apparently means I can only use it for good.

Beyond that there were some cool vintage handkerchiefs. Further down Decatur street, past the crowds, I found an antique store called Rare Finds. I bought a one-of-a-kind club charm bracelet from a Mardi Gras ball in 1959, with a real pearl and jade. It's fantastic!

I didn't stop there. On Monday I had some time alone, walked to the art district galleries, hopped on the trolley, walked through Audubon Park and down Magazine street. It was fun, but I wish I had worn more comfortable shoes!

St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square


Photography by me and Nicole Pelfrey

Friday, January 1, 2010

Snowshoe Surprise

I celebrated New Year's day snowshoeing in the Mt. Baker National Park with my friend Cheriss. We were a little disappointed that it was raining (not snowing) and that there has been very little snow this year, compared to the norm. However, as we approached a bridge we found these cute little snowmen that someone had built. I just thought it was a nice reminder that even when things don't turn out exactly how you'd like them, that life has a way of surprising you with something else.

Sorry for the poor image, we left the real camera in the car!