Category Travel North America

A First to Yellowstone

Oh give me a home where the buffalos roam and the deer and the antelope play. Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all day. – Bing Crosby.

I got the inspiration of this song from my brother in law, who thought about it after seeing my pictures from Yellowstone.

Where do I even begin?  I’m completely new to camping, and although for the past two years I’ve been stalking wanderlust boards on pinterest that are all about the “great outdoors”, I’ve never really set my foot out on dirt.  So when the opportunity came that we were invited to join a few others to go to Yellowstone over the weekend, we quickly grabbed it.  Although I would have preferred to stay a little longer, the 2.5 days we had there was great as an introduction.

All 8 of us flew in to Salt Lake City, and from there we drove about 7 or 8 hours to reach Yellowstone.  To add to the charm, we used an RV which would semi-qualify as luxurious: it came with a shower and a proper lavatory, plus beds which fit exactly 8 people.  Along the way we grabbed whatever food we could possibly survive on, and though it’s now banned to start a fire in camp, we still managed to have fun and bond over other things.  We saw bisons, geysers, canyons, forests, elks, cubs, the list goes on.  Imagine me saying that last sentence like it was a common thing. Yes, there still exists a place where animals are free to roam and nature is open to do it’s own wonderful thing.  I’m already wishing I could go back and stay there for longer.

Now I understand why people are drawn to camping and hiking ~ it’s because our brains are forced to go on survival mode, and we make the most of what we have.  No showers, no mobile connectivity, no real food, no clean sheets and most certainly no deep sleep… it all doesn’t matter.  That’s when you realize the beauty of what you really came there for – to inhale those deep woody scents and get back in touch with nature.

Salt Lake City Salt flat Bonneville Salt flat Into the woods Camping truck woods AutumnFishing bridgeForestYellowstoneNational parkgirl reach the topbisonsYellowstone National parkGrand canyonsWaterfallsLandscape PhotographyArtist Point YellowstoneTravel photographerTravel photographyStrange thingsMammoth SpringsMammoth YellowstoneLandscapeLandscape photographerabstract treeMountain rangeOld FaithfulGeyservisual textureSunset at YellowstoneNature photographyGeyser poolCampers

Chicago…not just another big city

Truth be told, I had no expectations of Chicago to begin with.  Under the radar – it’s not one of those places you’d see often in magazines or hear about in travel forums, but I was still surprised at how much you could do in this city.

People seem genuinely nice, which is apparently something common among people from the Midwest (although in the map it seems closer to the East).  Even when my good friend from the west coast, Sabrina, came to the city, she also found it surprising that the people were so nice.  Beyond what you’d normally expect in the US.

During my time in the city, I got the chance to experience attending some events I had never tried before.  First there was the Taste of Chicago, which is a big festival of food and music held in the park and attracts thousands of attendees. Other than that there was also mealsharing with a handful of people at someone’s house (mealsharing is a website that connects people and lets you host and attend meal gatherings).  And going to a full-moon fire jam near the beach where hundreds of people gather around a circle and firedancers dance to the beat of tribal music within the circle (it happens every month during the full moon and a lot of locals in the area didn’t even know about it).  Who would’ve thought random people could be so connected in such a huge city, right?

In case you didn’t already know, Chicago is said to be the main inspiration for Batman’s Gotham City.  The first film was even partly shot in this city, not just in New York.  I hope that gives you an idea of how big the city is, and how high the skyscrapers go. Check out the photos I took below and find out what Chicago is really like, if you’ve never been.

sunset skyline sunset city metropolis fun chicago travel Mahalo Chicago Shedd Aquarium aquarium chicago sardine fish travel photographer drone photo garden chicago Garfield Park Conservatory Peggy Notebaert Museum Cultural Center Chicago Chicago art museum Cinderella Dome Minimal Architecture beautiful Chicago skyline Trump Building Cool grafitti Chicago Grafitti street art chicago Chicago foodie traveler chicago travel photography chicago from above city travel photography

New York Weekend

Two weekends back, my love took me to the Big City to celebrate my turning a year older.  The first time we had gone it was still cold, somewhere during springtime.  But this time we came during the hottest time of the year, and we still enjoyed it.  We skipped doing all the touristy stuff that we had done before, like going to Times Square and queueing for more than an hour to see the view from the Empire State Building.  This time we were lucky to catch up with our friends, whom we didn’t get to see the first time around.

I’m a very simple girl I must say.  I don’t fancy getting gifts that I think would be last year’s toys in a few weeks time.  My idea of having a good weekend is just enjoying good food and company, and maybe seeing or experiencing a few interesting things along the way.

Scroll down below if you want to see some of the stuff we saw, did, or eat during our weekend in the city.

Met Cloisters Met Museum NY Downtown NY Pastel Hues NY travel photos Travel Photographer Le Coucou NY Le Coucou Brooklyn coffee shop NY Rooftop Party Rooftop Bar NY Travel Photography Reynards Brooklyn Soho Brooklyn eats Rooftop Party New York

11 Howard

Over the weekend we flew to New York on a spontaneous trip for my birthday.  My love wanted me to choose a hotel, and we ended up staying at this nice boutique hotel that’s tied up with SPG.  11 Howard is situated right in the heart of Soho, just a stone’s throw from Manhattan’s Chinatown and Little Italy, as well as some other less touristy streets where good food can be found.

The moment we entered, I knew we made a good choice to try a different kind of hotel.  The doormen were wearing white Chinese collared shirts with dark cropped pants and dark loafers.  Not only that, some of them had hairstyles that looked like it came out of a stylish men’s magazine, and one or two could even pass as male models.  But aside from the people, the overall aesthetics was just a good change from the typical hotel.  There were no reception tables where a person stands behind the counter, just a round table in the middle of the lobby where there were two tablets to facilitate check in.  Similarly, you could find a tablet in your room that lets you request any service you might need to make your stay more comfortable.

When we entered the room, we were greeted with some welcome drinks, as well as a nice pack of gummy bears and chocolates.  And shortly after plopping onto the bed, a knock came from one of the crew with a cake and a handwritten note from the team.  All throughout our stay, the staff were always welcoming and helpful every time we passed through the building.  It’s these little details that make you feel you’re treated well, just how you’d like to be treated when you’re on vacation.
minimalist library Boutique hotel 11 Howard Hotel

By the way, this is not a paid ad, just sharing my unbiased customer experience from this hotel. 🙂

Location: 11 Howard St, New York, NY 10013

Traces of Summer: Cali

The wind in my hair speaks of summer in the air.

Polite provisionsIf I were to sum up in a few words what I thought San Diego was like, I’d say the best that would describe my thoughts of it would be: a good balance of bitter and sweet like a good cup of coffee.  Almost everywhere you go you’ll see a laid-back atmosphere, even among working crowds.  There are a few tall buildings in downtown, but majority of the area is flat and spread out.

The city’s aura could be largely due to it’s proximity to the ocean, which allows it’s residents to relax on the beach and enjoy some waves anytime they want.  I uploaded a few photos of the said beach just a few days ago here.

The areas I liked the most was downtown, Little Italy and North Park, where you could easily find a number of good restaurants.  The photos above are from Polite Provisions and Soda & Swine, which are connected to each other at the hip.

The US Grant Luxury HotelAbove: The Grant Luxury Hotel in downtownSan Diego GaslampBelow: The Balboa park botanical gardensBotanic Garden San DiegoBelow: colorful tiles at the Spanish village, Balboa ParkFood in LAAbove: Bottega Louie in downtown LA