Monday, September 30, 2013

Pacific Coast Road Trip 2013

Wow, what a whirlwind the month of September has been. I spent the first couple of weeks finishing a few freelance projects, creating some new work for my shop, and began a huge shop facelift as well. Then I spent a week in the Outer Banks with friends, then missed a flight to a beautiful wedding I was invited to (but made it to the reception), then spent this past week playing catch-up on all the orders I got while on vacation. I also learned the hard way, after a couple of shipping issues, that I'm not going to try to keep my shop open while I am out of town for extended periods of time. It was waaaay too tricky.

So now here it is September 30 (and my twin brothers' 28th birthday!!), and in a few hours I am going to hop on a flight to Chicago, spend the night with my friend Amber, then bright and early tomorrow we are going to catch a flight to LA. Driving up Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast has been on my bucket list for a very long time. I feel like a lot of people have a bucket list, but they just kind of keep it and never really do anything that's on it. They wait for the perfect time, or for when they have the perfect amount of money, or they say they will do it next year. Is it financially responsible for me to take two vacations within two weeks of one another? Not exactly. Would it be a more responsible idea for me to stay home and work on my shop and prepare for the (hopefully crazy) holiday rush? Absolutely. But thoughts like this are what keep peoples' bucket lists untouched and just wishful ideas. There are a million quotes floating around out there about how we only have this moment and the time is now and so on... but they are so true. Go do something crazy. Now. Today. Do something that some people are absolutely going to judge you for. And do not let it bother you one bit.

I cannot wait for these next few days... collecting inspiration, taking pictures, having great conversation, seeing parts of the country I've never seen before... I cannot believe we are doing this!!! If you follow me on Instagram (@Jenndalyn, or, I am going to be taking a million photos of this journey. Here is our route, although we have no solid plan. Which is awesome.

We must be crazy. It's a lot of driving. And I cannot wait to get started.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Heading to the Beach!

This week has been a total whirlwind. After deciding to stay in Chicago an extra night last weekend and not getting home until Monday night, I had to make a separate to do list for each day of this week, because there was so much to do. I feel like the crunch time before vacation (when you are freaking out and pulling your hair out and KNOWING you will never get it all done in time) make the vacation part all the more sweet.

I am heading back to the Outer Banks with my brothers and some friends (leaving at midnight tonight) and I cannot wait to go back. My time there last year was especially significant, because that Friday I had locked up my office for the last time, and that vacation was like the horizon for lord-knows-what that lay ahead. I was as scared as I was excited, and that has been a feeling that has stuck with me all year. That thrill of not knowing what lies ahead, the fear of not having a steady income, the exhilaration of knowing I'm doing something that "people don't do." Life is such an adventure.

Speaking of adventures, I didn't get to go anywhere cool this week to take pictures, due to aforementioned excessive to-do lists, so instead I made a photo set of my favorite forest photos:

"Into the Woods," available in my Etsy shop.
Playing with those photos made me incredibly excited for the Pacific Coast Highway road trip my friend Amber and I are taking in October, because we are visiting a place in Oregon that has a hiking trail called The Hobbit Trail. I'm a huge nerd and love anything having to do with Lord of the Rings and the Shire and magical forests and yeah. Cannot wait.

I also finished a (much belated) birthday gift for a friend of mine who lived in Hawaii for a few years:

"Alohabloom," which I also added to my shop.
I also finished working on a design for a clothing company whose style I really adore, kind of like Free People. They ask artists to create a design that is used on their shopping bags. Here is what I came up with:

So all of that is finished, I got all of my orders shipped, errands finished, visited my very pregnant friend one more time since next time I see her, she will have an "outside baby," as she calls it. Now all I have to do is pack and drive and then relax, tan, and perhaps enjoy some adult beverages. Responsibly. Walk the beach, take some pictures, smell the salt air and feel the warm sand. AND no hurricanes in sight. Party time :)

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and week and HAPPY FALL!!! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Clear Creek Metro Park in Hocking County (Tuesday Adventures Continue)

As a general rule, the state of Ohio is pretty flat. There are lots of farms and fields and a lot of places that just look country. From an airplane, Ohio looks like a quilt: a bunch of fields, one after another after another... until you get to eastern Ohio. Especially the southeast.

There's a region down there called Hocking Hills that nature nerds like myself enjoy visiting. Today I traveled to the westernmost border of it and visited Clear Creek Metro Park. Now in Columbus, metro parks are great but you can still hear the roar of the highway, constant air traffic, and there are usually quite a few people there doing the same thing as you: escaping the city for 45 minutes or so.

I didn't really know what to expect with Clear Creek, since it is due east and way out in Hocking County. As soon as I turned onto Clear Creek Road (and promptly lost my cell phone signal), I knew it was going to be amazing. And secluded. And quiet. I turned my phone off, had no idea what time it was, grabbed a paper map, and started to walk. Not once did I see another human being. It was the perfect day: sunny and almost 70. Walking around the meadows and woods, following the creek, hiking along a steep ridge, I had this overwhelming feeling that I was a guest. Nature is so amazing and vast and huge and magical... but sometimes we forget that. When we live in a world of high speed internet, on-demand cable TV, cars, wars, and airplanes, it's easy for some to forget what really governs the earth. Just take a walk alone in the middle of a secluded forest. I guarantee you will find your grounding fairly quickly.

Come revisit my journey with me:

The first trail I walked was called the Creekside Meadows Trail... it followed the creek and was a gorgeous mix of forest and, you guessed it, meadows. There were butterflies everywhere.

Tiny universes.

Sun-dappled spots, the sound of the wind rustling the leaves, chirping birds... heaven.

At one point I literally started dancing down this trail. I mean who cares. There wasn't another person for like... miles.

I continued dancing when the trail started to look like this.

The sunlight was perfect. The thought of not knowing what is coming next on the trail is insanely exciting to me.

Stumbled across this spooky old cabin (that white thing in the window is a bath tub) and got close to take some pictures, despite the "No Trespassing" sign.  Then a squirrel ran out of the basement window and I let out a blood-curdling scream and that was the end of spooky old cabin pictures.

Spiky trees....

Continuing the meadow trail.

Next I climbed beginning of the Cemetery Ridge trail... holy incline. This was at the beginning of the top.

After my spooky old cabin scare, I stumbled upon spooky old barn. IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE. I got this close then heard tapping sounds that sounded like footsteps.... and being that I was in the middle of a forest with no other sign of human life for miles I got the heck out of there. 

The only sounds I heard here were crickets, insects, birds, and trees blowing in the wind. The sun was warm, the breeze was cool. It was honestly perfect.

A meadow at the top of the ridge, while hiking towards the trail that declined down into the valley. 

There were butterflies EVERYWHERE. But they are quick and difficult to photograph :)

Found this when I merged onto the Fern Trail. I do heart the woods <3

Again, tiny mossy worlds. They are beautiful and amazing. 

Mushrooms are weird. And cool.

As I reached the end of the Fern Trail, I looked back and saw this lovely view.
I cannot believe it is September, and that soon these green landscapes are going to be on fire with red and orange and gold. Definitely going to upgrade my lens before then :)