Archive | May, 2011

What to do on a long layover in an airport

30 May

I have been to a lot of different airports in my time and somehow there’s no avoiding a long lay over every now and then.  When traveling by yourself it’s key to pack light enough or check your bags so you can really have some freedom to move around on long layovers.  Some things that I have found to be entertaining to pass time by in a new place I have listed below:

When walking around the main areas of the airport, don’t forget to look up or around you!

Every airport has some sort of structures, fountains, and/or something really unique to separate it from the others.  In the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport I noticed they had HUGE unique skylights around the different terminals.

  Take a walk around on the moving walk ways!  You can cover much more ground and know you will make it back to your gate in the same amount of time.

Take a ride on the trains if the have them.  The architecture on the outside of airports is usually pretty unique as well.  Riding the trains allows you to see more of the outside of the buildings without having to go outside and pass through security which can be an unpredictable amount of time.

Here are some interesting over-hangs outside the Minneapolis airport.

  The end of the train line.  They might not all go full circle but not to worry.  If they don’t they will just go to the end of the line and then head right back in the other direction.

Sit by a window!  There are usually windows in airports that directly look out on all the runways so you can watch all of the planes taking off.

These are some entertaining, time consuming things that could keep you entertained in an airport.  Just make sure to be keeping your eye on the monitors so that you can keep track of any time or gate changes for your next flight.  If you feel confined to your gate, you can also always update your blog with the wi-fi that all airports have 🙂

 

 

Fitz and the Tantrums!

26 May

Fitz and the Tantrums were kind enough to come serenade us yesterday on our lunch hour.  They have such a unique sound but also very fun vibe.  The two lead singers were so animated and into their own music, it made for such a great performance.  They danced the entire time and sang their hearts out.  Right now their song that’s on the air is “Money Grabber.”  It’s fun, upbeat, and a great summer song. 

My personal favorite song and performance of theirs was “Don’t Gotta Work It Out.”  I love the jazzy piano and vocals in this song. 

They really brought all they had in them, too.  They have a full drum kit and sax/horns.  This is not the usual case for a lunch set at our work.  It was a really special performance and they gave us their all.  If you ever get a chance to see them live, don’t miss out!

Travel Bug-Where mine came from and a look back on Western Europe

25 May

When I was in college, I studied abroad in one of the most amazing cities on this planet… London.  I don’t know where it came from but I’ve always just had that get up and go in me, no holding back.   When the opportunity to get to go to London for six months came up in 2007, you could say it would take a world of people to hold me back from going.  Right before I left I was studying graphic design in college and was really at a turning point.  I wasn’t sure that was the right choice of career for me so this was the perfect time for me to skip town and re-evaluate what I wanted to do post college.  Needless to say, this journey definitely led me to photography, film, and media.  Here are some of my first travel photos:

The Louvre court yard.

Arches in Paris.


My first trip out of London was to Paris… I mean isn’t it everyone’s dream to see this amazing Tower?!  This photo was taken from a boat on the river.
It was just as incredible as I could have ever imagined.    I also could have died over the chocolate crepes…!  The Louvre was beautiful as well of course and the Notre Dame.  The tourist sites are worth the while when in Paris, they will blow your mind.

The next out of London experience I had was visiting Cardiff, Wales.  The city of Cardiff was so amazing but the language there is so hard to understand let alone comprehend learning!  We caught a bus up to Caerphilly Castle which was so interesting because some of the walls were literally splitting.  Here was the magnificent entrance (above).


The unique entrances and crevices all over the castle were very interesting.  Not your average cut outs.


A view of part of the mote that surrounded the castle.  I remember this day being very cold but still wanting to stay outside and see all around this castle.

After the trip to Wales,  we hung around London town for awhile.  I don’t have many touristy photos from London surprisingly.  We were living in the west end and could walk to anything and everything tourist based which we did.  Walking to the palace or Trafalgar Square were easy.  Here are two of the only London photos that I have in my files (below):

Above is the Imperial War Museum.

It was travel overload living in London but in the best way possible.  Every time we wanted to go somewhere, we did.  Every time we came back to London, it felt like we were traveling some where else just because you can get comfortable in six months but there is always something else exciting to see.  We saw a lot of famous people where we lived in London as well.  We saw Leonardo DiCaprio, Beyonce, Kelly Osborne, and more.

We were there to be “studying” and we did but our courses were in history, going to the amazing museums and humanities going to the rotating plays.  We had more courses but all of them were really centered on really becoming a part of the British culture.  Although we did have a regimen schedule, there was always room for more out of country adventures.  When we were allotted a Spring Break you can bet we were prepared to take full advantage of western Europe.  My flatmate and I decided we were going to hit Italy and Spain for 9 amazing days of travel and food.

We flew into Rome to start our travels.  I can say truly, I have never had such amazing Pizza in my life as I did in Rome.  The flat bread crust is beyond to die for.  I didn’t think it could be possible for me to order a large pizza and eat it all by myself but I did!  The people we found in Rome were also very friendly.

Another tourist site in Rome I loved was the “wedding cake.”  They called this site the Wedding Cake because it clearly looks so perfect and symmetrical, just like a wedding cake.

The Spanish Steps was another great site.  You’d think going to see stairs would be very boring but there was something very exquisite about this area of Rome.  It felt very safe and preserved.  At the top was a beautiful cathedral which I don’t have pictures of because I wanted to be respectful of the natural art and religion that takes place there.

Ahhh, the Trevi Fountain… You see it in movies and I personally always hoped that someday I’d be able to throw my penny with a wish.  Nothing is ever exactly how you expect it to be and I think the reason why I have this crazy travel bug in me is because everything is always a million times BETTER to me in person.  This fountain was a million times more beautiful to me in person.  I probably visited this fountain four or five times in the few days I spent in Rome.  Although, I only made one wish and I should have been throwing pennies in there every time I went =)

Trevi at night… This was a gelato night by the fountain.  It’s so strange the details you can remember back on when you are having such life changing experiences.

You can never spend enough time in one place when traveling and with our time frame we decided to move on to Venice.  Another dream of mine to go peruse the markets and little cobble stone streets.

This was the very first photo I took in Venice and it became one of my favorites of my Spring Break.  This sums up Venice to me, sparkling water and old beautiful arches everywhere.

Classic Venice.

I had to ride a gondola, it was the one and only time I’ve been to Venice in my life (so far!).  This picture was taken of my friends in another gondola from the gondola I was in.

After a few days of strolling the streets of Venice and eating more amazing pizza, we decided to head to Spain to catch some sun and Flamenco dancing!

This market off of La Rambla had every possible type of food you could want!  Not to mention every kind of home made Spanish candy there was.  I had to be careful though because it’s so crowded and I actually caught someone trying to go into my empty backpack.  Hold your valuables closely if you ever make it to this market.  We also got to see the coliseums and fantastic cathedrals.  Unfortunately at that time they were all under construction and the exteriors were covered up.  They were still incredible to see.

This was me at the Arc de Triumph, happy as a clam.

We got to go to the Barcelona zoo, see the beaches, and walk through history and amazing architecture.   We also indulged in tapas, sangria, and a flamenco show.  All of these memories are branded in my life forever.

After Barcelona, my flat-mate and I headed home for some much needed rest.  Within the following weeks, I was lucky enough to have my dad and step mom come visit me!  We really toured England together in the week they spent in London.  They stayed right next door to where my flat was and we had such a great time exploring together.  It just so happened to that during the week they were in London was the only day in the entire year that Stonehenge allows ONE group to go in and touch the stones.  OF COURSE we had to do this.  Stonehenge is normally roped off and you can look from a distance.  The special excursion we got was only available at sunrise too and I don’t know if the blogging world is even aware of my obsession with beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and any beautiful natural lighting but I am absolutely in love with those things.

Here they are in all of their glory at sunrise.  It was truly magnificent.  I was so happy we could all share this experience together in another country.  I have to give some of the credit for my travel bug to my dad and step-mom Vicki because they took me on same great adventures when they were in Europe.

Not that there was anything great about the texture of these rocks specifically but the story behind them was just incredible.  That a group of people had carried this HUGE slabs that weighed tons for miles before the wheel was even invented!  So cool.  I’m definitely a big history dork so stories like this blow my mind.

After Stonehenge, we carried on to the Roman Baths.  The water was so warm and in such a beautiful setting.  You don’t get to go bathing in the water but I can only imagine the days where that was the norm.  How great to come down to the town’s center and take a warm dip in the middle of this beautifully columned structure.  We spent the day engulfed in adventures but they didn’t stop there.

The next adventure we carried onto was to see the Hampton Court Gardens.  Every garden area on the Hampton Court property was manicured perfectly.  These trees were just so incredible the way they perfectly shaded each positioned bench but left just enough room for the sun to poke through.

A corridor of trellises.  In photography, I absolutely love and am drawn to symmetry like this.  You can probably tell from all of my photos on my blog how drawn I am to interesting shapes, architecture, lighting, and such.   After a week of exploring together, sadly my dad and Vicki had to return back to the states.  I’m so lucky and thankful to have family that likes to go on these special adventures.  They aren’t the only two in my family who share this bond with me…

There was some in between time before my next visitors came though.  So after spending some down time in London, we were off jet setting again.  This time to Ireland!  Just a weekend away but enough time to check out Dublin the week before St. Patrick’s day.  I wish we could have had more time to really go out to the country side and see the farms and hills.  I’ll have to do that on my next trip 🙂

Here’s the first authentic Irish castle I ever set my eyes on.

The official Bank of Ireland.  I love all of the pillars and columns in Europe.  They are so grand looking.

After returning from Ireland, I really wanted to soak in London and just get a few more weeks of culture in me before I knew I’d be leaving for a long time.  I took the chance to wander aimlessly and shoot a few photos.  I went to a few new museums and just took in every deep breath of London I could.  It’s a place that any time anyone says the name, my heart smiles.  It truly holds such a piece of my heart for everything it opened me up to, photography, independent travel, and different cultures to name a few.  My last day in London was heartbreaking, I couldn’t believe how fast time had flown by.  I was so thankful though for finding photography and realizing I could have these memories for forever.  It also helped having to leave such an amazing place that my mom and step dad, Darrin, came and met me for a few more adventures before I’d say goodbye to Europe for a while.  They came in on my last week of the London life and we took off on a jet plane.  Where to next…

AUSTRIA!!

This is one of my favorite photos because I would have never comprehended that a place this beautiful existed in real life.  The country side in Austria was mind blowing.  We flew into Vienna and spent some time there.  This photo was taken when the bus we were on to Salzburg, pulled over for a bathroom brake for some of the other passengers…. If this was a bathroom break stop, I hoped a lot more people were going to need to stop!

Part of one of downtown Vienna’s buildings.  I really like the Gothic architecture of it, so detailed and intricate.

Vienna is a place I need to go back to, I didn’t get enough.  My mom, Darrin, and I also went to Budapest, Hungary in our time in Europe together.  Unfortunately, I lost all of those photos with my last computer crash.  I’ll have the memories forever though and I’ll have this travel bug forever.  I’ve realized it must have come from both sets of my parents who I am very thankful for.  They have never held me back from getting out and really exploring the world.  I’m just lucky enough that I could share some of these experiences with them.


By the way, all of these photos were taken with a little Canon camera that was a very inexpensive camera.  I didn’t know how into photography I would get but wish I would have had my DSLR back then 🙂

Upcoming trip!

23 May

I’m very excited for my upcoming trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  It’s such a beautiful place and I enjoy every visit I have there!  I have had the chance to visit during every season and I can say it’s just as beautiful in each season.  One of my favorite seasons to see the UP in though is fall.  This past fall I had so much fun shooting photos all around Marquette with Ian.  Ian and his family are always so nice to have me and show me around.  I am very antsy for my next visit this upcoming weekend!  Here are some photos from this past fall in Marquette, MI.


Ian’s family lives right on Lake Superior so Ian and I walked out on the jetty by the harbor.  It’s a ways out to make it to the end but it’s so beautiful.

The colors are beyond beautiful in Fall.  Ian’s dad sails on this lake, although this isn’t him out there, he often goes out with some of his friends for sail boat races which are so fun to watch.

We like to do a hike to Hogsback which is one of the highest views around and you can see all of the amazing fall colors from the top.


Ian at the top of Hogsback.

I love the amazing skies in Michigan.  They have some of the most beautiful sunsets and beautiful skies when there is a storm brewing.  This day was one of the most phenomenal days for lighting but I don’t have any photos really from this day.  The next two are part of the only that I have.

Beautiful fall colors with the only beam of sun coming through.

Double rainbow.

This is Ian’s back yard.  You walk over a bayou and reach the softest sand at the edges of Lake Superior.  Such a clean and wonderful beach, it makes the most incredible back yard.

Duke dog taking ownership of his beach 🙂

I just love this photo of Duke in the beach grass.

I absolutely can’t wait for my trip and I will have many more photos to share after my trip =)  It’s worth traveling to if you’re looking for a gorgeous outdoor vacation, I know I love visiting!

Finally the good weather is rolling in and as always I’m out for an adventure

21 May

With the weather coming around this week I was able to sneak out for some adventures and took photos along the way.

On Monday, my friend Chelsea and I were at Starbucks when Jason Derulo walked in.  We were pretty excited that that just so happened to be at the exact time we went out for a coffee.  He was probably at our work doing interviews but we didn’t know about it.  Anyways, he was so nice and chatted with us and let us take a couple photos with him.

On Thursday, Chelsea and I had heard about a bunch of roof-top gardens where you can eat your lunch so we went to check them out.  This one above is on the 15th or 16th floor of a building on Sansome St.  Anyone can go up there at any time and it’s really amazing to be able to look all around (and/or down if you dare!!).  I will get more info on it and post more pictures so if you are ever looking for an adventurous place to eat your lunch in San Francisco, you could be led here!

The next rooftop we went to was only on the third floor but you could look up at all these beautiful sky scrapers!  This pic above is the view up of a famous building in SF that I read is known for it’s “X” framing that is supposed to be more efficient in an earthquake.

This fountain is in the middle of the plaza where we ate our lunch.  This is also my favorite photo of this posting.  It may be hard to believe but this fountain was probably about 8 feet tall and about 12-15 feet wide.  It was huge!This was on Wednesday near Levi Square where you can see Coit Tower and many other beautiful sites.  I know my friends will be mad I used this photo cause nobody knew I was taking it but I seriously love this photo.

That same day, a co-worker brought in all of these amazing Taiwanese treats to share and they were AMAZING!!  I would love to go to Taiwan and sample all of these treats in real life 🙂

I chose this amazing egg treat and the tea.  The tea was so good, it tasty like a milky tea but had these little jelly balls at the bottom.  It’s hard to explain what it was but they were both so delicious and I was so thankful that my co-worker shared with us!

Yesterday, my friend Rani and I decided to go to Pier 39 on our lunch.  I’m so glad I have great friends at work that will geek out with me and be a tourist with me on our lunches.  Since I don’t live in San Francisco but work there, I want to make sure I get to see everything I want to see (if possible in one hour) in San Francisco.  I’ve been to Pier 39 a bunch when I was a little kid but I haven’t been in forever so it was really fun to go back.  It’s such a great area and it’s only about a 15 minute walk from where I work!  This carousel above you can ride for $3.  I’ll definitely need to go back more.  The next sequence of photos are from Pier 39 yesterday.

You can see Alcatraz from the end of Pier 39 and yesterday was such a beautiful day to see it!

Here is Rani and I!

We weren’t the only ones who came out to enjoy the sun.  This was my favorite, all of the seals sunbathing on the docks.  They all are calling to each other the entire time and rolling over each other or swimming freely.  They are such beautiful animals and I love their kind eyes.

More seals 🙂

This seal was swimming around in front of the crowds.  Pretty cute, this guy must have loved the attention.

Walking back to work, they have all of these neat sculptures and Coit Tower is in the background there.

Luke’s about to take on his second year in this world!

17 May

My baby nephew Luke just finished his first year in this world and it’s so amazing to get to see him learn and grow.  I love the way his eyes just grow so wide whenever he sees something literally completely new to him and I like to watch as he tries to understand.  He’s really special.  I have tons of pics but here’s just a few for now.

He’s walking now!  Just look for the balloon and then you’ll find him 🙂

I just love this picture of Luke and his mam, Nicole.  It’s too cute watching them together.

I’ll post many more over the next few days!

Lunch time walk

16 May

Last week, my friends and I decided to hike up to Coit Tower.  There are so many secret gardens along the way we had so much fun exploring them.  Here are some hidden treasures hidden in the financial district 🙂

One of the walkways up to Coit.

At the top of the walk but bottom of Coit Tower, you can see everything.  Here’s the Bay Bridge.

Zee Tower.

Lombard Street and the Golden Gate on the other side.

This is us, aka the Wrecking Crew at work…. haha just kidding 🙂

Darrell Street definitely has no car access, only walking.

So many amazing gardens.

And crazy stairways!  You can’t really tell from the photos but if you are afraid of heights, these stairs are not for you!

The stairs lead you all the way up.  There are a few different ways to get to Coit Tower from the financial district and all of them are very different but very beautiful!