roaming the deserts

I’ve been spending a lot more time exploring the treasures of southern California after realizing that I’m surrounded by such incredible beauty and don’t explore it nearly as often as I should. I’ve also been getting over my irrational fear of ‘finding parking’ and thus, venturing out more.

This past week I went to check out the super bloom in Lake Elsinore and to Desert X in Coachella Valley. Both were incredible experiences that I’m so grateful to have had. I’ve included some of my favorite shots taken on my DSLR from both locations below. Looking through my lens at works of art and the art that is our world truly brings peace to my heart. Grateful for the means to go on these adventures and the joy they bring my soul.

 

explorin’ home 

As I’ve said before, hubs and I try to take a short trip after every block. At our school we only have finals so that really adds a lot of stress to each set of exams since our entire grade rides on that. With all the stress of trying to figure out my new schedule for boards and remediation, I didn’t get to plan anything in advance. Last minute, we decided to have an overnight stay-cation in downtown Los Angeles. Then we realized that we’re not hip enough to hang out there and then decided to go to Pasadena instead.

Because it was so last minute, all the hotels were going to be really expensive so we decided to try out Airbnb. I’ll hopefully have another post separately on advice on using Airbnb in the next few weeks.

I’ve been living in California for well over a decade but still haven’t really explored all the touristy spots in SoCal. Because we wanted to stay local for our trip, we decided to go to Pasadena and check out places around there. Our first stop was The Huntington. I’ve included some photos below from my ‘real’ camera.

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kohl’s adoption story

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know this but we recently adopted a kitten! I thought I would share a bit about how we got him and how it’s been as a first time pet owner.

We adopted Kohl from a local rescue group about three weeks ago and he’s quickly moved his way into our hearts. He’s currently roaming around the room as I type this, playing hide and seek with himself, and I can’t imagine our home without him. While we were doing research, we saw that black animals (both cats and dogs) had lower adoption rates due to superstitions and stigma associated with them, which completely broke our hearts. How ridiculous is it that humans are even racist against certain animals!?

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arizona adventures

Last week, hubs and I took a trip to Arizona for our winter vacation. We try to take a short trip every time we both get some time off at the same time, since that so rarely happens. We’re both pretty much homebodies so it’s nice to take a few days away to get our fill of adventuring.

We spent a night in Sedona, two nights in Page (where Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are) and two nights at the south end of the Grand Canyon. In hindsight, I wish we’d stayed two nights in Sedona and only one in Page because there wasn’t really much to do there.

Below I’ve included some info on where we stayed and a couple places we ate. And at the very bottom of this post, I added some of my photos from my ‘real camera.’

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hi-def warmth

Every year we have Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house and the past couple times we’ve had gatherings at her house, it rains! We were joking around that we’ve solved the drought – we just need to keep having parties at her place. Someone call Governor Brown!

Below you can see the rain soaked tables. Thankfully the covers from her previous party were still up so the rest of the tables were nice and dry.

My cousins did an awesome job with the decor, as usual! I loved all the fall colors in everything – so many autumn vibes. It was pretty chilly because of the rain but that actually made it feel more like Thanksgiving.

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a homier home

So I know that I’ve been promising this post for ages, but it’s finally here! Because I’m such a homebody, it’s really important to me to create a home that I truly enjoy being in and actually feels like home. So below I’ve shared photos of the majority of the decor in our home. Everything pictured below is still a work in progress, I’m constantly adding and moving things but I thought it was finally time to share where we’re at now. I’ll add more details about each space below but just a few general tips:

  • Frames – Check out stores like Ross, Marshall’s and TJ Maxx to find cheaper photo frames. I personally haven’t gotten a chance to do this but also check out your local dollar store! If I see something I like, I usually just pick it up and worry about what I’m going to actually put in it afterwards.
  • Gifts – As you’ll see when I describe each photo below, a good number of things we have around our apartment were actually wedding gifts from friends. While we didn’t request anything like that, I think people just thought to give us gifts like this because they knew we were starting a new home together. If you have a birthday, graduation, etc coming up and someone asks what you’d like, you can ask them to give you a gift for your home that they think describes your personality. It’s so nice to have things around our house from people who mean so much to us.
  • Souvenirs – In the past year or so, hubby and I have been lucky enough to travel to a couple places around the country. We have a mug collection so we buy a mug from every city we’ve visited together. But I also really like buying ‘functional’ souvenirs for our home. You’ll see a calendar below that we picked up at the Chihuly Garden and Glass.
  • Thrift/Antique Shops – I’m a big believer in supporting small and local businesses so these shops are one of my favorites. I’ve picked up a few of the pieces around our home from a local antique shop.

As an amateur photographer, I really enjoy taking photos during our travels. I mostly photograph architecture but occasionally I get really great photos of hubby (left). I love printing these photos and putting them in various frames I’ve picked up while shopping. This is probably my favorite wall in our apartment. When studying gets to be too much (and feels like it’ll never end) I love having this reminder of all the fun places we’ve been to and that we’ll continue to do so. I still have to pick up a couple more frames to add shots from our trip to Northern California last week. The letters were used at my bridal shower and I painted the two letters a couple months ago (same paint that I used for the cork boards in a previous post!).
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the ‘real’ stuff

Tomorrow I start MSII and it would be an understatement to say that I’m not ready. I wish I could just skip over this year, especially boards. So not looking forward to that but it’s a part of the process. It’s hard but I need to keep perspective about why I’m here and putting in all this work.

I wanted to post a few shots from my DSLR (aka my ‘real’ camera) before I get too busy with school and procrastinate. Hope you all have a great week!

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