30 April 2013

Waterfalls and Red Rocks and Calcium Carbonate

At Havasupai the water is the most crystal blue you could ever imagine. The Grand Canyon explodes with the reddest rock on Earth. The luscious green vegetation envelopes this cliffs and complements the blue and red to van Gogh's artistic satisfaction.

 My weekend spent in the wilderness couldn't have been more serene, more challenging or more glorious with sunlight. The 10 mile hike to the waterfalls of Havasupai not only gives you strong glutes but also rejuvenated my love for the outdoors.

Saturday was spent wading and climbing over the rocks of Beaver Falls.

Did you know? The water is naturally blue because calcium carbonate deposits found in the red rocks.

 The 10 miles back to the car were exhausting, hot and so gratifying once I was greeted with a victory collapse in the shade next to the port-a-potty.

28 April 2013

A Little Taste

This weekend I went to Havasupai. Here's a little taste of the waterfall wonderland that's there. 
More to come soon...

20 April 2013

Wearing My Red Welly's, Chapter 2

Here's the 2nd chapter of my London adventure.

Chapter 2
Did it start with the Clash? Probably not, they say that the Buzzcocks were the originals anyways. However, I do believe that Joe Strummer was better at proclaiming his love for his beloved city.
My second day in London would have me adventuring into the hip side, east of the river. This Saturday morning in which I woke up to new unknown roommates I realized that I literally could do whatever the fuck I wanted. I would go to this concert I had bought tickets to; that was a no brainer. But as far as the morning went, I didn’t have to show up to the all day festival “on time”. Well, to be honest, I still was slightly on someone else’s hook. Andrew Bird was to take the stage at 3 PM, but I would let him hook me anytime anyways. Other than a famed violinist; heck, I could make my entrance whenever I wanted. 
I looked at my map that was already tragically and heroically creased from my grotesquely long and fulfilling walk from the day before. Where is one to go when they are about to indulge in musical glory? Camden Town Markets, that’s where. Off to the tube I went as it jetted me to the above ground underground punk scene of yester-year. I was less than impressed by the stereotypical Camden Market experience. The long street lined with tacky tattoo shops and tourists finally crossed the river into what I had truly sought out: the rows and narrow passageways of food carts. Indian, Moroccan, African, crepes, American bistros, the largest donuts topped with anything and everything sweet; etc etc… how is a girl to choose what to indulge in?! I must’ve walked and pushed my way through the packed streams for a good thirty minutes. Finally, I settled on Indian grub made my a second generation woman who talked me through how she had made each dish herself. My inner Bourdain was instantly sparked. It’s funny how when you’re traveling by yourself you start to collect your memories as if you’re about to do a television show for all the folks back home.
After a scrumptious meal and dizzying adventure through all the different stalls of handmade goods and tourists traps, I sped off tube-wise to the East side of the river. The concert was being held at Victoria Park; an area claimed by all hipsters. And hipsters I did see; with their ratty hair, bright lipstick and striped shirts. The collection was magnificent and almost obnoxious had I not secretly wished that I had the balls to look and act such a cool fool. I made a pact once again with myself: for one day only, I would do as the hipster does. 
I also had to find a way to make myself feel less awkward about swaying and singing at the concerts throughout the day… Something I usually enjoyed with my best friend standing next to me. Looking around at all the 16-28 year olds I noticed just how Urban Outfitted they were and it got me thinking. What if I posed as an art student? Studying fashion… and music… and duh! how they influence one another. In my solitude I would make myself useful, in a pretend project kind of way. Off I went, the American art student studying music and art. I started approaching people with my point-and-shoot camera and sincerely asked “If you would have to pinpoint what music influenced your style, what would it be? A sound? A band? A frontman/woman?”
I couldn’t have been more thrilled about the emphatic responses. Some people really took the time to detail the artist that influenced while others had no idea but gladly had their photo taken. As I stood next to an Austrian girl and Andrew Bird started spilling his music I began feeling weirdly guilty about duping all those kids, it was just too easy. As he strummed his last note, I decided that I would stop this and become more of a spectator of the festivities. I awkwardly walked around as the hipsters made jokes with each other, laughed and drank too much apple flavored beer (not cider). At one point I must’ve looked vulnerable carrying my huge coat and purse because all of a sudden a shrill British voice yelled at me to take her picture. Of course, I conceded and took a photo of her and her friends.
Like most typical British girls, she had thin blonde hair and a really round forehead on top of bright blue eyes. She must’ve been around 25 but dressed like she was trying to look quite a bit younger. Now, I wish I could describe her as this hippy that was dressed in tie-dye but this was the complete opposite of the truth. Her bright lipstick clashed with her pink shirt and her shorts were slutty-short. This was the London hipster and well, for this one day only I was going to do as they do. She heard my accent and instantly introduced me to all her friends. 
“Are you here alone?” she shrilled.
“Yes, I was supposed to come with a friend but she missed her flight”, I replied.
“Oh well honey, we’re your friends now! That’s right come hang out with us!”
I was a little overwhelmed with their welcoming arms, because I literally was hugged by all of them. An apple flavored beer (not cider) practically flew into my left hand as I sat with them in the sunny grass. We chatted and pretty soon the group of girls and I were comparing concert agendas like we were planning on being BFFs (Best Friends For the rest of the day). We headed over to a punk show that I really wanted see and they gladly followed. I couldn’t figure out why they were so nice. Like, ridiculously nice. Like, really getting to know me nice. It was starting to freak me out. Am I really that cool? No. Are they going to steal me off into the night, rape me and then take all my money? Probably not, they had cute British boyfriends and at least 100 more British Pounds in their wallets than I could ever dream of. So what was their deal?
As we entered the musty smelling tent riddled with black t-shirts and anarchy signs, I could not help but be exhilarated by my situation. it was one of those obnoxiously sentimental flashbacks where I had to laugh at my life. I was in London, with the stereotypical British gaggle at a punk concert. 
There’s this television show that I used to watch with my best friend when we needed to take a break from all things real life. It was called Skins and took place in Bristol, England, for those of you who might have indulged in it as well. The show was basically a teenage soap opera that followed seven lives filled with pre-marital sex, heavy drug use and wrecked home lives. I guess it did kind of paint a picture of typical British teenage realities and well; next thing I knew, I was swallowed up in it. Literally.
They offered me MDMA, or molly. Now I refused about seven times but I had remembered that it was an upper and usually non-habit forming (Mom, don’t worry, I survived). 
“Why don’t you just give it a go, we’ve all been doing it today and well we’re pretty normal”. Well yeah, except that you’ve been tiresomely nice; I thought to myself. I had never succumbed to peer pressure as an awkward high schooler and here I found blonde Brits actually talking me into something not-quite-herbal. One of the girls fished out a little crystal and dropped it into my very sweet apple flavored beer (not cider). With a grin on all of our faces, we cheers-ed and took a sip. 
After the punks were done moshing and I was done chickening out of getting in the middle of it, it was time to go back to the large stage to watch the six-man accordion led indie number, Beirut. The sun was setting which meant that just about every one in the audience was drunk. It was a cathartic moment. By this point, I was literally convinced that this was the only place in the world where I should be. It was about that singular moment, standing amongst so many other trashed people that I thought I had found complete spacial awareness. Now luckily, I had also found this at other points in time before and after, in other places, at events more meaningful and sober; so I can somewhat conclude that this is a recurring phenomenon for me and not just amphetamines. 
However, contrary to my usual state, I was convinced that all the fellow tipsy music sheep were my BFFs. I was so excited to see everyone, and everyone was just that much more exciting as the last. As we waited for the concert to start I talked to a tall guy who was trying to write a book about what life would be like if all appliances were miniatures, got on someone’s shoulders and met The Cheese Farmer.
The Cheese Farmer was a charming Irish man with a funny accent, which should be especially noted because from my point of view everyone in London has an accent. Like all the other people I had met that day, he was hip and friendly and we became instant BFFs. We were standing under the purple lights exuding their grandeur as Beirut’s jumpy accordion and serious ukulele soared through the air. This seemed to serve well as nothing more than elevator music. The Cheese Farmer went into great detail about the recipe he used to make the best French cheese, Tomme and even tried to convince me that it was better than any Tomme originally from France. He specified the different cooking temperatures one has to use to make a nice firm cheese and the grasses he feeds the cows to create that special nutty flavor.
The timing Gods were on both our sides that evening; for I had just recently been taught how to make Tomme at the cheese farm I was WOOFFing at and therefore able to contribute to the conversation while he was getting away with swooning a girl with a cheese recipe. I chimed in with the temperatures I was taught and suggested he try feeding the cow before milking rather than during. The fact that this was scored by Beirut who takes the ukulele and makes it sound serious is simultaneously brilliant, ridiculous and way too cheesy for me (ha). As The Cheese Farmer and I babbled on, nonetheless charmed by each other’s savoir-faire de fromage, we were quietly oo-ing and aw-ing at the music that was trumped by a wheel of cheese. 
After the concert, he suggested another band of which I had never heard of. To be honest (I had to sometimes step out of my pledged ‘hipster mode’), they weren’t that good. But it had started raining outside and it was nice being in a tent surrounded by the best people watching I’d ever witnessed. We quickly pushed our way through the crowd to stand next to a bearded man and a very belligerent 20-something who convinced me to take a picture of them. It might be my favorite picture of the whole trip.
The concert wailed on and soon this would come to a pouring close. All that was left of the festival was the tail end of Franz Ferdinand. By this time it was pouring and The Cheese Farmer quickly grabbed my hand and pulled me running into the rain. As the green lasers finished off with the last drum beat of the final song, he whipped me around and slapped a good ol’ Irish smooch on me. Now, I’ve been a closet sucker for kissing in the rain and with the whirlwind of a day behind me, I could’ve sworn this was as passionate as Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun in The Notebook. Reality might say differently, but everyone’s allowed to fib the truth once in a while right?
Soon thereafter we were transported back to the muddy field in London as the police rounded up all the unruly and tattered kids. The Cheese Farmer and I followed the crowd and he continued to tell me about his prized Tomme. However, hearing it the second time wasn’t as cute as the first and soon, I tried to find a way that I could meet up with the rest of the group. The Cheese Farmer had their phone number and I had no phone. I asked him to call them and they instantly invited us to their nearby apartment. Usually, I would be weary but within ten minutes I was on their couch. They had promised The Cheese Farmer and I an after-party at some warehouse but as they laid on the ground too intoxicated to move I realized they weren’t going anywhere. And then it hit me like a brick, I came to and freaked myself out. 
  1. I am at some girls’ apartment far from the center of London. I am in London.
  2. The Tube is about to shut down and I need to get back to my hostel. There’s no way I can walk back from here.
  3. The Cheese Farmer is getting ideas. Not in a creepy way but in a normal guy way. You’re cute but I’m a prude.
  4. I went to the bathroom and I had just started my period, sorry The Cheese Farmer! I wouldn’t want to do that with a stranger anyways.
  5. I want to be in my hostel bed. Even though I have to sleep surrounded by snoring Australian body builders.
I stood up like Apollo 11 on July 16th, 1969, excused myself and booked it towards The Underground with the rain hitting my face like, you know, those particles that fall off as the rocket ship is breaking gravitational barriers or whatever. 
I was going to get “home”.

14 April 2013


Is it self involved to have a post of just pictures of me? 
Probably, but it's not very often that I have nice photos of myself. 
Some friends and I went around Flagstaff and took our very own graduation shots. This is the result. All camera credit goes to Rebecca Rice

02 April 2013


Now if I was a snazzy artist I would call this 'Mistress'.
 But I'm not, 
so I'm calling it 'I painted some silhouettes on red rocks'.