Friday, January 29, 2016

En Route to Vacation

I am stressed out sitting at the airport waiting to catch a red-eye out of Sea-Tac Airport. Just three short hours ago I was frantically wrapping up a project at work, racing home to pack and fighting traffic on the way to the airport. Here I was finally getting a minute to catch my breath sitting exhausted in a crammed chair by the gate. Knowing myself and knowing I wasn’t in the best mood I turn to my beau and in my kindest voice possible asked if I could have 5 minutes to myself. Of course being the sweet angel that he always is he gives me a quick kiss and without a word walks away. Some time goes by as I gather my travel documents, my thoughts and organize my in flight materials when he returns. He slides a donut next to my side table and says, ‘I know you wanted some time to yourself but I just wanted to say something. I hope you eat, pray and love on this trip.’ I burst into laughter and that was the end of my bad mood.

I still laugh whenever I retell this story. Often times when we travel we will squeeze every minute possible to account for the time spent flying to our destination. This results in plenty of red-eyes after a full day of work. More often than not I’m usually the one stressed out because I tend to struggle with mentally checking out at work. To create a hard break, the time spent en route to vacation is used to help me relax, unwind and sleep as much as possible. When people ask me if I’m excited about an upcoming trip, I usually answer with, ‘not until i’ve boarded the plane’ and it’s so true. Combine the day I just had with my fear of flying it's so important to me to be as relaxed as possible while flying.

Here are a few of my favorite things I always need on board with me:

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Sleep Mask & Ear Plugs // I love flying delta because they provide complimentary sleeping mask and ear plugs. They also provide you with 16 oz bottled water throughout the flight to keep you fully hydrated. I try to drink about four.

Glasses, Hair Band and Hair Tie // I pop my contacts out and put my glasses on before I fly knowing I will sleep throughout the majority of the flight. My hair has gotten so long and I hate having it in my face therefore the first I do is put it up in a bun and pull back the baby hair with a headband.

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Hand Sanitizer // I picked up this habit of using hand sanitizer while working at the hospital. I always have it on me and I use it all the time especially before eating or touching my face.

Make Up Remover & Wipes // I learned about DHC Deep Cleansing Oil while in Japan and I love it. If time permits I will wash my face with this make up remover in the restroom before boarding the plane. It takes all your secrets off. Otherwise I use the yes to cucumber wipes gentle enough to not irritate my skin and it smells fresh.

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I try to stay hydrated as much as possible with:

Avery Rose Water // after a clean face I use this moisturizing spray to hydrate and set my skin for some serious work (see below)

SK-II Essence // contains holy water or so I read but I believe miracles are sold separately.

SK-II Face Mask  // I will only put this mask on if I am sitting by a window seat after the lights are out to avoid embarrass my beau.

Skin, Inc Pure Deepsea Hydrating Mask // This is my back up hydrating mask if I'm too tired to deal with all the fuss of the sheet mask. My face absorbs this thing up so quickly it doesn't really do much for me. Tip: reuse the little sample jars from Sephora to eliminate taking up too much space in your carry on. Plus it's easy to toss out when you're done.

EOS lip balm // may not result in kissable lips for everyone but I love it

SK-II Moisturizer // magical and creamy! I would eat this jar if I could

SK-II Eye Cream // keep the attention on those sparkly gorgeous eyes

Caudalie Hand and Nail Cream // for soft and smooth hands to hold on to babe during turbulence

My skincare products are SK-II heavy and I definitely don't look like Jennifer Lopez after using La Mer but I love that my skin reacts well to it and doesn't break out.

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Other miscellaneous things that are just as important:

Altoids // necessary for fresh breath when trying to kiss babe and flirting with the flight attendant for some free pretzels

Notepad and Pen // to jot down ideas, inspirations and thoughts because you never know when you'll have an epiphany!

A Book // not pictured is my kindle which holds all the stories one can dream of if the imagination is lacking

Happy travels and where to next?!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Weekend in Walla Walla

My beau and I average two trips per year to Walla Walla for the past (almost five) years we've been together and it's usually to attend a wine release party which means time to stock up on some good wine! For this occasion, we attended Rasa's fall release; the 2007 QED blend is by far my favorite of theirs. We decided to make it an extra special romantic getaway by taking a day off work extending the weekend and staying at our first ever bed and breakfast. After reading all the glowing 5 star reviews online we landed on Cameo Heights, a secluded charming house on a hill surrounded by orchids and vineyards. I'm happy to report that it did live up to all the hype.

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Romantic to us is dedicated time with each other running away from daily responsibilities, brainstorming the art we'll create (me photography, him paintings) and appreciating each other's fun personalities outside of chores and routines! Romantic right?!

On our wine trips I am always the driver and my beau the taster which usually makes those pouring him wine feel extremely bad for me. What they don't realize is he will bring home only the good stuff for me to enjoy. I see it as a win-win situation! 

The wineries we visited on this trip:

Waterbrook // always our first stop when we reach Walla Walla 
Rasa // for the wine release party
Foundry // art and wine, the best of both worlds! 
Tamarack // to stock the wine frig with ready to drink / drinkable wine
Charles Smith // leave the car at the hotel and walk to this open and full of natural light tasting room to enjoy charcuterie and a glass of wine
Corvus // cork and seal your own wine here

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Recently I purchased a 35mm lens off of eBay for my Pentax and this was my first time putting it to use. After two years of shooting with a 50mm lens I finally caved in and bought another lens. I realized all my photos looked too cropped for my liking. My iPhone photos feel too far and the 50mm too close making the 35mm the perfect focal length for me. It truly is how my eyes see the world which reminds me of this quote by Robert Car, 'If your pictures aren't good enough, you aren't close enough.' My problem was just the opposite!


Although we loved the bed and breakfast, we found it a little far from the places we frequent so on our second night we went back to our usual, the Marcus Whitman Hotel. When you find yourself waiting 40 minutes for brunch like we did, I suggest going to the Maple Counter Waffle Company for some delicious chicken and waffles with a cup of great drip coffee. It was by luck we found this gem and there was absolutely no lines!

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Walla Walla // November 2015
Kodak Tri-x // Developed and Scanned at Photovision

Monday, January 11, 2016

This is Home

We landed last Wednesday night from our travels around Europe and the next morning I was back in the office (we take our PTO seriously around here). This past weekend was spent getting life back in order so that we can return to our routine as responsible adults contributing to society i.e. working and paying taxes. We shall see how long this last before I get the travel itch again. Another part of the weekend was spent catching up with our family and friends which is ultimately why I called this place home. I’ve always wanted to leave Seattle but have never mustered the courage to. It’s just too hard to leave this beautiful city, my family and my stubborn beau who won’t go with me but I’ll save that story for another day.

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We lucked out on our first weekend home or so everyone tells us. We missed potentially the only snow for the winter while we were gone. This weekend was full of sunshine in the high 40s creating the most beautiful light across the city. The days are short, the sun sits low but the results of that are magical. One thing I did every day for the past 15 days was carry my camera around with me; something I did happily. On Sunday, after three days of not shooting, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I picked up my camera and walked around one of my favorite places: the waterfront. The most beautiful sunsets are usually seen from here. When I want to clear my thoughts I’ll spend time here with my camera in hand. It works like a charm every time.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Big Magic // Elizabeth Gilbert

Love, Youa

Happy New Year!

Amazon recent opened a brick and mortar store in University Village which is where I picked up Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic book. After reading the first few pages I couldn't put it down so I brought it home with me and finished it over a span of 4 days. I believe the right things come into our life when we need it most and this was certainly true for this book. I was not giving any time to my art; I wasn't shooting or printing in the darkroom to the point my beau wondered if I had lost interest in photography altogether. I was finding every excuse to avoid creating and after reading this book a lot of it touched on much of what I was feeling at that time: fear of being judged, not finishing a project because it wasn't perfect, and at the end giving up altogether because what's the point.

Here are my favorite top ten things I highlighted from the book so that I can reference when I should get back in this mindset because let's admit; this isn't something that you address once and you're completely freed of it. It will come again and again as long as you want to keep creating.

01: “So this, I believe, is the central question upon which all creative living hinges: Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

02: “Ideas are driven by a single impulse: to be made manifest.”

03: “creative living... living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear.”

04: “Recognizing this reality-that people's reactions don't belong to you-is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you've created, terrific. If people ignore what you've created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you've created, don't sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you've created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest - as politely as you possibly can - that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.”

05: “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”

06: Creative entitlement simply means believing that you are allowed to be here, and that - merely by being here - you are allowed to have a voice and a vision of your own.

07: Why do people persist in creating, even when it's difficult and inconvenient and often financially unrewarding? They persist because they are in love.

08: Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes-but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work. Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end project is never going to be satisfactory, so they don't even bother trying to be creative in the first place.

09: An abiding stereotype of creativity is that it turns people crazy. I disagree: Not expressing creativity turns people crazy. ("If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you don't bring forth what within you, what you don't bring forth will destroy you.' --Gospel of Thomas.)

10: A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.