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Posts from the the week…ends Category

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i spent the last weekend in the finger lakes region of new york state for my dearest friend’s marriage and wedding. you may remember the bachelorette party post in utah. this was the big weekend. i was so excited to get to explore a new region of the country. i have been to NYC many many times, but have never explored much else in the state, but have always dreamed of doing so. it was a perfect and festive weekend. on fourth of july we had a picnic in the park playing yard games and drinking beers on a lake with amazing scenery. we stayed in ithaca at the inn on columbia, but most of the festivities took place out in the wine country of the region. we were shuttled around and ate good food, drank lots of good wine, and shared many laughs. these guys are total foodies and winos- my kind of people! the day of the rehearsal guests had the choice to either go for a hike or go wine tasting. most of us ladies headed out to watkins glen state park for a beautiful hike.  the rehearsal was held later that day at a farm and for dinner we were served a hog roast. it was delicious!!!!

day of the wedding, we bridesmaids spent the morning doing yoga and eating a lovely breakfast at the inn. we got all dolled up together and took a limo out to the farm. on the way, stopping for pictures at barns and vineyards, not to mention a pit stop to take a shot of tequila at a local bar! my friend was possibly the most beautiful bride i have ever seen. she, her man, and her wedding were breathtaking. i know every one says that about every wedding, but this one truly was special. it would be the kind of wedding i would want to have. seeing your friend so happy and relishing in all the love she deserves is pretty awesome too!  during the ceremony the birds were chirping, the sun shinning, and the tears flowing. once again we were served the most delicious meal and quite possibly the most delicious panna cotta i have ever had! dinner followed with a blue grass band in a barn and lots of dancing…as well as sweating. the humidity was intense!

every place you looked was picturesque! they were moments you want to savor and remember forever.  i admit i am sad the weekend is over. larissa and sean are off to france for two weeks. i could not be more proud and happy for one of my dearest and oldest friends.

if you look closely too, you will notice the DIY flower garland from the previous post being put to use!!!PicMonkey Collagerght PicMonkey Collagerthw photo 3 PicMonkey Collagerths photo 4 PicMonkey Collagersh PicMonkey Collage

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IMG_8463we all know i love a good party. any excuse to get crafty and make my friends feel loved. when larissa asked me to be in her wedding, i was more than flattered and honored. i love this girl so much. we were invited to park city, utah for a weekend of hiking, yoga, and indulging!

larissa’s maid/matron of honor, ally,  planned a weekend to the T full of larissa’s favorite activities. ally also openly welcomed me doing a little sun and glory craftiness. together we collaborated on a bachelorette kit, dinner, and decor. ally made up an itinerary for the weekend and was so good at organizing all of us ladies  getting us from one place to the next. that is a tough job. we even illegally smuggled wylie into the house. even if we did have to hide out in the car while the manager came to the property. we just couldn’t get off that easily, but wylie was the perfect little addition for the weekend.

i missed thursday night, but friday morning we did some yoga lead by leslie (larissa and leslie are both instructors). i have not done pigeon pose in so long that my hips were screaming. ( i have since started up yoga again, what a great way to be inspired!). after yoga we hit up a hike that we aren’t exactly sure was a hike, but more of walking around in the wilderness and campgrounds of this beautiful area. we still walked for a few hours and had a lovely gloomy afternoon. followed up by taking the tram up to the st regis in deer valley for drinks. park city was empty while we were there, it is shoulder season, the place felt like it was just ours.  the manager at st regis kindly let us bring wylie into the restaurant even though they don’t really allow dogs, apparently it is called “bark city” not just park city. the food and wine director also gave us some great hikes to hit up for the following day. he kind of became our new best friend.

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the next hike was gloomy at times, sunny at times, rainy at times. i was exhausted after the previous day of drinking prosecco in the hot tub to only be hungover by the time we made it to dinner. i have never been a good day drinker.

i wouldn’t say we got lost exactly on this hike, we just weren’t sure where we were headed. we did a huge loop in the mountains, probably 7 or so miles. even though i thought i was going to die, it was so incredibly worth it.

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 that evening we all pitched in on a sun and glory feast. grilled steaks, kale salad, and sweet potato fries with blue cheese. not to mention the prosicutto/mozzarella/melon skewers and fondue and smores for dessert. the night was complete with a whiskey bar and a dance party.

i wanted to make the table special. i bought some succulents while i was in LA and  wrapped them in brown paper. the table runner was the same brown paper adorned with air plants, plastic horses, and seed starters on the plates.

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i made a pinterest board a while back and ally and i both loved the idea of a bachelorette box. i tend to go overboard with ideas and have hard time narrowing down the things i should and shouldn’t put in these things. i bought some canteens and painted my beloved triangle on them. i also painted sticks, and made sun and glory keychains. i  threw in granola bars, mini whiskey’s, coconut water, sunscreen, rock candy, blistex, a bandana, and a little mini white cowboy hat that looks like a white blob in the photo. everyone had  blast with it.

we also did a photo shoot. american flag and all…see the next post!IMG_7851IMG_7878PicMonkey CollagehdhfIMG_8413PicMonkey Collagegsr

IMG_2597 it is amazing the kinds of things one must catch up on after two weeks of traveling. well, not really…that seems pretty general actually, but those duties have kept me away from the blog. i am finally starting to catch up on my list, to only leave again in a week and a half.  it was nice to get back to colorado, but i am already excited about my trip to LA in a few weeks for work.  i fear there is no cure for my wanderlust. although, it could have something to do with the fact that it has been snowing here since sunday night and will continue through the night. i would say there is almost 2 feet out there. i admit it is beautiful, but i got such a lovely taste of spring on my trip, that it was really hard to come back to a week in a winter wonderland. because…it is april, what they call spring. where is she? cause she ain’t in colorado right now.

let’s talk about NYC.  yes, i love nyc, however, you won’t catch me wearing the t-shirt that says so. i love flying into this vast land of buildings and sea. it seems every time i drift into this place from the sky it is from a different angle with a different view point. this time, i was just in awe of this crazy land built on an island. building after building. it literally is a concrete jungle. there is something pretty spectacular about flying over this earth where you get these views that look like images vs. the reality of what it is. translation: it looks fake. quite astonishing really, to see the world from 30,000 feet.

as much as i am a nature girl, i am city girl too! i thrive on the restaurants, people watching,creativity at the epicenter, even the transportation. i still find it a novelty to ride in subways and taxi’s- after spending ten years in my car in LA. i feel so powerful hailing a cab, i even admit i like the smell of the subway. not the pee smell, but whatever else it is…which i have no idea how to describe it. i only got one subway ride in this trip, but lots of hailing the good old yellow cab.

i went to NYC to help my friend style a photo shoot for her new line of soaps.  most of my time was devoted to shopping and shooting, but of course we did manage to squeeze in some good food and i met up with a few friends too. it was still such a great trip and i wasn’t ready to leave. my friend dahlia lives in the lower east side in a little 4 foot walk up flat. her apartment is to die for and i will feature more of it soon.  the photo shoot turned out amazing, not to mention my inspiration for good food!

i love you new york!

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1. flying over NYC into LGA

2. chelsea

3. happy hour with me myself and i at the smith on 3rd avenue and 10th street

4. brooklyn taco co in essex market, lower east side

5. me and dahlia after brunch and cocktails…followed with a nap

6. west village

7. view of new jersey

8. houston and broadway

9.  west village

10. dahlia’s apt: shower in the kitchen

11. dahlia’s living room

12. dahlia’s kitchen

13. prep for the shoot

14 & 15. sneak peak of the shoot!

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this past weekend was filled with food and silliness with some of my favorite people! sunday, we spent the day on the colorado homestead working on a photo shoot for sun and glory ( behind the scenes to come soon!). that evening we turned on the super bowl, looked at the photos from the shoot, got silly, ate a big dinner, played yatzee, and had yet another dance party. on the menu: filet mignon, potato nests, salad with avocado dressing (a donna special 🙂 ), and for dessert i made cupcakes and an almond grapefruit cake (both of those recipes to come soon on the blog!). donna’s birthday is on valentine’s day and even though we celebrated the night before at oak at fourteenth in boulder, i couldn’t help but to make treats! i love entertaining at my house and having everyone around my table. maybe one day i will get an actual dinning room table that seats more than 2 people! maybe it will even be in a dinning room! there was something cozy about sitting on the floor though, especially with these guys!

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thanks zach driscoll, for sharing photos for this post!

photo credit: zach driscoll, photos 4,6,7,13,14

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for new years, wylie and i took a little road trip around my old midwest stomping grounds. one of the luxuries to my parents being within driving distance and having a car. i forgot my camera, and have to surrender to doing this post with iphone pics,which i admit bothers me deeply. i may be more type A then i am willing to admit.

we started off the weekend with a trip to indianapolis to visit some of my childhood best friends. i lived next door to these girls for quite sometime growing up and may have spent more time at their house then my own.   it is so much fun to laugh at all the silly things we did growing up and it is more than precious to get to hang out with all their babies. sara, brenna, and lauren are like sisters to me.  it fills my heart up to see their families grow and inspires me for my own.  when i arrived to the suburbs of indy, the snow was coming down intensely. i have been waiting so long for this! it was so beautiful and also wylie’s first time to frolic in such a thing. he loved it, but also had to be blown dry every time he came back in because the snow would just clump to his hair. poor guy! we spent the weekend eating dim sum, visting, and playing. brenna even made me homemade chicken nuggets and mashed potatoes. it was my favorite meal their mom made growing up and kind of a running joke!  it was so nice to be around these guys again!

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from indy i drove up to my home town of Crown Point, Indiana. i stopped by to see my friend lisa and her family. lisa currently lives in russia and i love hearing about all her stories from her european adventures. i visited her in london a few years ago on a last minute trip and got to meet her 10 day old son, cayden, at the time. so, fun to see cayden a big boy now! i didn’t get any pictures of lis- sorry lisa- you know i love you and yours! from there i did a quick little tour of Crown Point, briefly driving through the town square to snap a quick photo. i have not lived here since i was 15. sometimes it feels like a dream, maybe a nightmare-just kidding, but so familiar at the same time with so many many childhood memories. i still have many friends from this small town and well, that certainly says something. next, i drove to see my old college roomie, mandy, and her husband and kids. natalie, my dearest that lives in colorado, was there too, they are sisters. i had yet to meet mandy’s kiddos (pictured above), and they are as cute as can be. mandy, natalie, and johnny were a big part of my college years, but they too are from my hometown. they have just redone a beautiful house, filled with john’s crafty workmanship. i hope to one day share it on the blog!

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the area i grew up in is only 30-45 minutes from chicago. needless to say, going to the big city was a treat, but also not an uncommon adventure. the drive on the freeways, the crisp cold air or hot humid days, the lovely brick architecture and yet sometimes awful 70’s/80’s buildings,and the people bundle up on the corners take me so far back. this is what i love about chicago- how close i feel to it, yet at the same time i have so much to constantly learn about it. i have spent much time here over the years coming to visit all my friends that have lived in this great city. i admit i have often contemplated moving here, and sometimes regret having not done so. i will say one thing, it is cooold. the cold air pierces your skin and my nose hairs. waiting at the bus stop growing up, my nose hairs would freeze together. most people don’t get this when i try to explain it…..so, i shall say no more and just leave you with that.

i think of one my favorite things about this city, besides my friends, the beauty, and the memories…is the food scene. i think it is one of the best the country has to offer. you get this midwestern approach to good food that is creative and innovative without the intimidation of new york. it is accessible and booming all the time.  luckily, i have foodie friends that know how much i love doing this and always take me somewhere i cant stop thinking about!

amanda, one of my dearest friends that i actually met in LA my first year living there, has lived in chitown for a few years now. even though she left LA, i was happy she went to chicago, because it is somewhere i obviously visit often. she took me to cafe selmarie in lincoln square, a suburb north of downtown. i ordered the corn beef hash, which was possibly one of the best things i have ever eaten for breakfast. the corn beef was shredded vs. cubed. yumola! we also picked up a few delicious pasties for new year’s eve. my favorite being the banana eclair. good grief!

a few days later, we did another breakfast, this time at lula cafe in logan square. chicago hipsterville! i loved going into a restaurant in a different city, filled with hipsters so that i can people watch and spy on the fashion trends. between the food scene , craft scene, and the hipster fashion, chicago could be the midwestern portland. bonus points too, when the bus boy commented on one of my sun and glory necklaces i was sporting that day! but back to lula. anther thumbs up and another yumola!!  amanda ordered the baked french feta (which i will totally be making at home now) and i ordered the ham and raclette panino. i hate/love when you want to order everything on the menu. i would go back here in a heart beat.

another dear dear friend, larissa, also from my home town, but also a college friend and LA friend, whom has been back in chicago for 4 or 5 years now, always showers me with yummy food. new year’s day i spent an evening with her and her fiance, sean, and a few friends as well. one of whom is a big wine guy in the city. the meal was accompanied by only the finest of wines and what a treat, because it is one thing i enjoy, but know little about. we had a delicious cheese platter (and i brought the stinkiest cheese!), followed by a salad with apple and red onion. next, beef stew followed by pies from hooiser mama pie company, a name after my own heart- go hooisers! we had the orange cream pie and ginger custard. let’s all say it together- yumola!!!

my last night in town larissa took me to au cheval, a chic greasy spoon in chicago’s west loop on restaurant row.  we devoured a burger (holy moly!), fries with béchamel and a fried egg, a green salad (not your ordinary as it was fresh and the herbs pungent), and root beer. this place was so damn good. i walked away happy from food and good conversations, with a new album for my playlist per the music playing during dinner, and a sick idea/plan to come back to chicago for a week to hit up as many restaurants as i can and blog about them. oh, my day dreams sure do have a mind of their own.

now, this trip was centered around food and friends. not much different than any other trip, but i didn’t do a whole lot of touristy stuff besides hitting up top shop and a quick stroll down  michigan avenue before deciding it was too damn cold and hiding out at my friends office downtown. two things are for certain: 1. i love my friends and am so lucky these people are such an important part of my life and 2. it is time to start weight watchers.

a few of my favorite things to do in chicago besides eating:

rent bikes  at millenium park and ride around the city. such a great way to see the neighborhoods. obviously, you want to do this in the summer.

architectural tours on the river. another summer funday.

the art institute, the modern museum is great

a stroll on the water front.

shopping-anywhere

riding the “L” train. you can actually get some really great views of the city this way. i have a thing for trains though.

any of the museums are great in this city

 at christmas time- walking around the macy’s chirstmas windows . we did this every year growing up- when it was still marshall fields, when the windows were not so “modernly disney” oriented, eating around the huge christmas tree in the walnut room,  and when we could get marzipan from the basement candy store department. it was just better back then, i am biased. still good for the kiddos today though!

millennium park– so much to do here. ice skate in the winter and watch concerts in the summer. this park wasn’t around when i was growing up, but the concerts in the park are my favorite as an adult.

some of my favorite neighborhoods for shopping and charm: wicker park, lincoln square, lincoln park, and logan square.

don’t forget to get a Chicago dog, eat chicago deep dish pizza, and get a cup of coffee from intelligentsia! amongst so much more!


Indianapolis on Dwellable

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things have been a little crazy around here. i am so behind on blog posts and have a lot pending. my poor kitty lola has been in the hospital the past few days, needless to say, i am stressed out.  before the poor girl got sick, i took a little road trip to taos, new mexico for a few days. taos is one of my favorite places in the world and it holds a special place in my heart. my first trip there was in high school when my brother moved there. we went a few times to visit and one summer took a big family vacation there. my dad’s grandparents had a motel in albuquerque, so he too grew up going to the land of enchantment.  a few years ago i was traveling there a lot. i got to know the area pretty well, the best burrito places, and the best bead store i have ever been too. it was a 14 hour drive from LA, but now i am sooo close- about 6 hours from my new house. i would have moved to new mexi, but i though there were better opportunities here in colorado with the booming denver/boulder/ft collins. being so close to taos, is amazing, and i couldn’t be more excited about that prospect. i called up my friend natalie in denver and asked if she was up for a road trip! i more or less wanted to go to the bead store for more supplies, and it was certainly a good excuse!

we entered taos from a different route than i am use to,which was pretty spectacular.  there is something about that place that is addicting, exhilarating, and spiritual. the sunrise, the sunset, the clouds are like none other i have seen and each day the sky gives you a different picture to look at. it never gets old, never. the mountains frame the town while the mesa looks as though it goes on forever. it is simply, beautiful.

we stayed at the la dona luz inn, a 200 year old adobe, and booked the la madonna suite. we both brought our dogs and they serve a sweet little breakfast in the morning! the inn is walking distance to the main shopping of taos. the room smelled of fire ( i love that smell) and the charm that is new mexico was practically bleeding from the walls. it was hard to eat out with the pups, so we had to do a lot of takeout-but we for sure got a lot of good stuff in (a few to try guadalajara grill, Michael’s kitchen, historic taos inn). we of course, did some shopping hitting up the bead store, a consignment shop that is to die for, and the local fare the town has to offer. the hike we went on was everything i remember about my time here: peaceful, beautiful, and enchanting. there is this silence on the mesa, that if you just stop and breath, you will never hear anything else like it in your life. you have to just do it, to know it… and i of course, highly recommend it.

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the last few photos give you a taste of the light. we were driving down the road to the taos pueblo and the light was this intense yellow. twenty minutes later we got to the hotel and the sky was pink. not an uncommon thing for the area. just a little taste of what it can be.

i have had some pretty amazing experiences there: hanging out in earthships, floating down the rio grande in inner tubes and a white water raft, or hiking down into the rio grande, pitch-black outside mind you, swimming naked in hot springs, made some art (this is where my jewelry line was inspired), and gazed at breathtaking stars. once, i even thought i saw a spaceship. pretty sure it was a satellite!  i learned a lot about myself in all the time i spent there, i learned a lot about myself after. it certainly has always made a mark.

i can’t wait for more.


Taos on Dwellable

so, i am giving you another “the week…ends” post today. i spent the past weekend in olympia, washington visiting my brother and his family.  i have posted about olympia before, but it seems i can never get enough of the sweet little town. just about an hour from seattle and two from portland, olympia is kind of an undiscovered gem.  the capitol of washington and the home to evergreen state college, the town has cute shops, good food, the puget sound, a view of the Olympic mountains, and the PNW written all over it. being an epicenter for the puget sound, the city has some great seafood, and we always manage to hit those places up! their food truck scene is growing and the farmers market is one of my favorite. full of so much color and great merchandising! i always make point to go.  over the weekend we were lucky to have two days of some great sunshine. something we take for granted here in LA, something to be coveted in Olympia. well, i might be a sun snob!

it was just a quick 2 days for me, but we managed to get in some fun stuff. my bro’s kids are just the cutest and i am a sucker for the little ones.  general play time is always a fun event. on sunday we hit up a apple/pumpkin farm and ate too many good treats…like the best apple fritter i have ever had (and the longest line to get one), some tangy apple cider, and a cream puff we brought home for later. which the 3 of us adults inhaled after the kids went to bed…not an uncommon event when i visit these guys!! we all share a sweet tooth.

i will leave you with one post about a weekend trip as i am about to pack for another. yes, i travel a little too much. besides the stress of finding a dog/cat sitter, i wouldn’t have it any other way. before i found my cabin in colorado i went on a little adventure with some friends up to big bear, california. big bear is a quick mountain getaway from LA. only 2 hours away, it is a skiing hot spot if you don’t want to do the trek to mammoth or tahoe.  i personally don’t ski, but i enjoy a good mountain town anytime. obviously, it isn’t ski season either…but it was oktoberfest, which we somehow managed to miss.

big bear is full of rustic charm with a little bit of a back woods feel. if ya know what i mean. we stayed about 15 minutes from the center of town, but the road is packed with antique stores and a plethora of bear statues. it is a sweet little town filled with plenty of things to do.

the first night we knocked on the neighbors door to ask for some firewood, to which he gladly gave us some, and then about 2 hours later he came over and told us it was illegal…ha! so, we moved the fire inside. we made dinner, with limited utensils in the rental kitchen. somehow the girls managed to make guacamole with no cutting board…and i made homemade tortillas with no measuring cup.

the next morning donna made sausage and egg biscuits and i made chocolate caramel croissants and concord grape jam ones too. after breakfast we took a little hike that was right outside the front door. although, we only hiked for a bout 30 minutes total…we collected rocks and sticks and saw the most amazing white birds in the sky that at the right turn, would glow with the sun. it was pretty cool. you can kind of see them in the photo above. not the moon, but the other faint white spot on the photo! hard to capture, but sensational to watch.

for the afternoon, donna suggested we hit up the go carts. so, we ended up go carting, eating cotton candy from a machine, and hitting up the alpine slide. we ate some dinner in town and later hit up the local brew and then ate another late night dinner in town. somehow, i ended up almost winning both games of elimination on the pool table, even though i am absolutely horrible. it was so nice to just be silly and trot around town with little worry for the day!

now, there a whole lot of other things to do in big bear: like the glorious lake, serious hikes, skiing in the winter, shopping, antiquing, lounging, and so on. this was our own little big bear experience…and it was perfect!

i left super early that monday morning and man was that drive back down the windy mountain road  stunning. high above the fog and gloom that was covering LA, the sun was shining perfectly and the layer of white over the city was breathtaking.  once you get back onto the freeway to LA, it’s as if big bear was some sort of magical enchanted forrest.

i took off again last week for a little get-a-way…this time it was just me and wylie. we drove about an hour and 15 minutes north east of LA to a small town called Ojai. i have been wanting to come to this little gem for some time now and decided it was time to cross it off my bucket list since my days in LA are starting to come closer and closer to an end. on this little journey i came up with a new sector for the blog called- the week…ends. since i am often going on these little weekend adventures i thought why not categorize them as such… plus, it is just incentive to continue these small  adventures. (i also have this small dream of having an airbnb blog…maybe someone would pay me to review places! oh, the ideas i come up with!) for the longest time i think i was waiting for a man to come around to take these little trips with. i was always a bit scared to do it on my own…but no more waiting around, i am a big girl now (with a dog).

i rented a little cabin on the east end of Ojai off air bnb called the Wabi Sabi house. my friends stacy and allan stayed in the bigger version of this small cabin for their mini-moon. they convinced me the place was well worth it, and well, they were right!

a little one room cabin with charm and love. perfect for one or two people with just the right amount of amenities.  complete with some coffee, a bottle of wine, and pellegrino. although, i was dying to stay in the other house which was featured in marth stewart living, i settled for the cheaper  place. i have to say i am happy i did. i think my favorite part was the bathroom. a japanese style outhouse where the breeze and sunlight hit it just right. after a long hike outside the front door, i took an afternoon soak in this tub. it was just me, the birds, the sunshine, and wylie hanging next to me. the breeze would sneak through the small open windows and hit my skin. it was as if someone was blowing whispers.  it was heaven.  frankly, i didn’t want to get out.

we went hiking both days and it was the first time i felt like fall had arrived in california, and  i loved every second of it. i have to admit i miss seasons like crazy this year, perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it is suppose to be 100 in LA today on October 1! there wasn’t another soul on the hike the first day, just us and the critters.  i picked a whole bunch of california white sage (illegally? i don’t know?) and even went back for more the next day. there was an empty soccer field just right before the hike that wylie got to do his favorite thing, run! i absolutely love watching him do this…it cracks me up!

this place is filled with so much charm, peace, and spirituality.  if i hadn’t already settled on colorado,i could totally settle in here. it is everything a california town should be, to me anyways. orange trees, health food stores, good restaurants, hiking, mountains, 20 minutes to the beach, art and lots of it, locally owned stores (all that is allowed, no chains!), artists, farmers, sunshine, yoga, hippies, sometimes the rich and famous, swimming holes, just to name a few things. small town living with  some culture…something i certainly can’t say for my home town! ha! poor CP!

i have to admit i spent a bit more time on the computer than i had hoped too…but it was nice to do away from my desk.  we hiked, drove around town, and hit up a few of the eateries and such. i bought some groceries from west ridge market, got take out from boccalis (just down the street from the house) and hip , a vegan hot spot. hit up bart’s books, the coolest little outdoor bookstore, walked around downtown -full of cute shops, and drove up to meditation mount for the most glorious view! on the way out i stopped at knead and got the best breakfast sandwich ever…and maybe a nutella croissant too.

even though i didn’t want to leave this place, as i took the 101 south to LA, listening to Karen Dalton, “are you leaving for the country“, i felt happy. happy, knowing my decision to move on, out of LA, is right. i will begin a journey to find a more realistic and simple approach to this life of mine. i couldn’t be more excited to begin this next chapter.


Ojai on Dwellable

my most recent adventure to joshua tree national park this past weekend was short, but sweet. i have been to palm springs, desert hot springs, and coachella, but never to the park. the town itself of joshua tree is as small as can be, but with a few charming shops,cafes, and a health food store. you can’t be in the desert without a health food store.

 since, we had the doggies with us we couldn’t hike anywhere past 100 yards from a stop off. so, it was a scenic route in the car stopping off for photos. the place looks another planet… or something like the flintstones. i love the mountains,i love nature in general, but the desert has my heart.  it has always thrusted an immediate peace over my body and mind. i feel such a powerful spiritual prescence and yet a feeling of total isolation. there are few trees or mountains to hide behind, everything is out in the open, exposed to the sun and the sky. it feels safe to me, but then again i am generally an open book. the desert isn’t for everyone. some don’t like the heat, the dry air, the creepy bugs and critters…but this is all part of the beauty. you just have to search for it a bit more.

i am a nerd for geology, geography, and information. i find it fascinating the way the earth creates her own beauty through time and transformation. read the excerpt below for info on the park.

“The desert is immense and infinitely variable, yet delicate and fragile. It is a land shaped by sudden torrents of rain and climatic extremes. Rainfall is sparse and unpredictable. Streambeds are usually dry and water holes are few. This land may appear lifeless, but within its parched environment are intricate living systems, each fragment performing a slightly different function and each fragment depending upon the whole system for survival.

Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Few areas more vividly illustrate the contrast between high and low desert. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert, occupying the eastern half of the park, is dominated by the abundant creosote bush. Adding interest to this arid land are small strands of spidery ocotillo and jumping cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the undisciplined-looking Joshua tree, extensive strands of which occur throughout the western half of the park. Standing like islands in a desolate sea, the oases provide dramatic contrast to their arid surroundings. Five fan palm oases dot the park, indicating those few areas where water occurs naturally at or near the surface to meet the life requirements of these stately trees. Oases once serving earlier desert visitors now abound in wildlife.

The park encompasses some of the most interesting geologic displays found in the California’s deserts. Exposed granite monoliths and rugged mountains of twisted rock testify to the power of the earth forces that shaped this land. Washes, playas, alluvial fans, interact to form a giant desert mosaic of immense beauty and complexity.

The geologic landscape of Joshua Tree has long fascinated visitors to this desert. Geologists believe the face of this modern landscape was born more that a million years ago. Molten liquid heated by the continuous movement of earth’s crust, oozed upward and cooled while still below the surface. These plutonic intrusions are a grantic rock called monzogranite.

The monzogranite developed a systems of rectangular joints. One set, oriented roughly horizontally, resulted from the removal, by erosion, of the miles of overlaying rock, called gniess (pronounced “nice”). Another set of joints is oriented vertically, roughly paralleling the contact of the monzogranite with its surrounding rocks. The third set is also vertical but cuts the second set at high angles. The resulting system of joints tend to develope rectangular blocks. Good examples of the joint rock system may be seen at Jumbo Rocks, Wonderland of Rocks and Split Rock.

As ground water percolated down through the monzogranite’s joint fractures, it began to transform some hard mineral grains along the path into soft clay, while it loosened and freed grains resistant to solution. Rectangular stones slowly weathered to spheres of hard rock surrounded by soft clay containing loose mineral grains. Imagine holding an ice cube under the faucet. The cube rounds away under the corners first, because that is the part most exposed to the force of the water. A similar thing happened here but over millions of years, on a grand scale, and during a much wetter climate.

After the arrival of the arid climate of recent times, flash floods began washing away protective ground surface. As they were exposed, the hugh eroded boulders settled one on the top of another creating impressive piles of rock that can be seen today.

The “broken terrace walls” laced throughout the bulders are naturally occurring formations called dikes. Younger than the monzogranite, dikes were formed when molten rock was pushed into existing joint fractures. Light colored aplite, pegmarite and andesite dikes formed as a mixture of quartz and potassium minerals cooled in these tight places. Suggesting the work of a stonemason, they broke into blocks when they were exposed to the surface.

Of the dynamic processes that erode rock material, water, even in arid environments, is the most important. Wind action is also important, but the long range effects of wind are small compared to the action of water.

The erosional and weathering processes of the present are only particially responsible for the spectacular sculpturing of the rocks. The present landscape is essentially a collection of relict features inherited from earlier times of higher rainfall and lower temperatures.”sourced here