Sunday, July 17, 2016

Sunday #16: A Month

desert, refinery, california, road trip

Things have been pretty busy the past month.  After the camping trip, I left California for most of the week to support family for an important surgery.  I got back on Friday and I've been trying to work with a lot of difficulty concentrating.  The trouble concentrating has more to do with the stress of all I have to do (in so little time) than anything else.  I'm a ball of anxiety and frustration.  In light of keeping this blog relatively positive, I won't dwell too much on it here.

PHOTOGRAPHY.  I was going through my shots for Big Pine and realized that I need to pay more attention when I'm shooting landscape.  I usually just look through the eyepiece for a decent view and snap.  If I'd paid more attention, a lot of my compositions would've come out better so I'd have more working shots.  I was happy to find the photograph above in my outtakes.  The picture was taken as we sped by on the highway.  I think the building is a refinery or factory of some sort.  It's one of my less popular shots on Instagram, but a definite personal favorite.

SELF-PORTRAIT.  When I was playing with my camera, I took a few self portraits (right) instead of my usual snaps of flowers with plenty of bokeh (left).  I feel a bit awkward in front of the camera; I photograph myself a lot less without the excuse of a "fashion" blog.  If I could see the old me now, I'd tell her that she would spend nearly 99% of her time dressing for function and not fashion.  T-shirt and jeans, Plain Jane all year round.  This was the best shot of the whole awkward bunch so on the Twitter and Instagram it went.  Oh, by the way, I've since donated 8" of my hair and feels pretty liberating!  I love walking around without a heavy blanket of hair in this heat.  Also, is this the part of getting old where I start wanting to take my hair shorter out of convenience?

  The entire world has been hooked on Pokemon Go and I am no exception.  My boyfriend and I have been partaking in Pokemon Go dates.  It's the single greatest driver towards getting people to exercise.  I've been looking forward to taking 3 mile walks to catch Pokemon and I hate walking.  Pretty sure everyone around me is sick of hearing me talk about the game, but I have a Jynx, Jolteon, and Vaporeon so that's pretty huge.

KIND.  I spent some time with people I don't get to see often recently.  I'm usually extremely introverted and socially awkward, but I wasn't so around them.  Everyone was genuinely warm and kind.  To see and exchange goodwill among them was such a pleasant experience.  It was a strong reminder to my guarded mind that there are truly good people out there.

I will start a section of these Sunday series to share posts/recipes/etc I like.  Check out:

•  Gillian celebrates her 6 year blogaversary and reflects on how blogging has changed
•  Jane wrote about internalized racism and Asian representation last month that I wanted to shout from the rooftops.
•  Chicken paprikash is one of my boyfriend's most requested meals.  This week's may have been my best rendition yet!
•  Anu climbed Mount Kilimanjaro - an impressive feat!
•  Kandice demonstrated her street photography skills on the streets of Tsim Sha Tsui in Hong Kong.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Big Pine

Big Pine Creek, Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness, Nature, Running water, Camping
Big Pine Creek / River.

I went camping in Big Pine, California this past weekend with my boyfriend and friends.  We went to the Palisade Glacier Group Campground, a campsite that is situated in the mountains of Inyo National Forest.  The site was right by Big Pine Creek (river?) which had all the glacial runoff from the mountains.  It was really soothing to hear the rapidly running water all afternoon and night.  I wanted to wade in, but had forgotten to bring flip flops.  

Big Pine Creek, Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness, Nature, Running water, Camping
Stella, Jack Russel Terrier, Terrier
The group campsite; Stella loves camping.

The plan on Saturday was to hike the Big Pine North Fork Trail which includes a steep ascent ascent of over 2,000 feet over 4.5 miles to a loop with multiple mountain lakes.  I made it as far as the Fourth Lake in the loop which meant I ascended to 10,700 feet.  I had purchased hiking boots for this trip; I don't hike very much, but wanted the extra support and grip for this journey.  It was a good thing I did because I ended up hiking over 14 miles round trip! 

Big Pine Creek, Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness, Big Pine North Fork Trail, Mountains, Hiking
Big Pine Creek, Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness, Big Pine North Fork Trail, Mountains, Hiking, First Lake
Hiking up Big Pine North Fork Trail; First Lake.

The water in the first few lakes was turquoise.  We were discussing whether the water was this color due to mineral runoff or Rayleigh scattering affected by the depth and the consensus was the latter.  We stopped on the banks of First Lake for a quick bite before heading on our way.  At this point, I was starting to get dehydrated and was trailing fairly behind the group.  I wish I'd had the strength and stamina to hike more because the rest of the group went much further on the trail.  A few friends of mine hiked over 24 miles!  Altitude sickness 5 miles into the hike took a toll on me so I stopped to rest for a while on the banks of Fourth Lake.  There were a few of us who opted not to take the longest hike up towards the Palisades Glacier.  Either way, we ended up separating into smaller groups.  Unlike other hikes, the way down the mountain felt much longer than the ascent.  It was easy to get lost and most of us took some wrong turn on the descent.  One of my friends actually forded the river back to the site carrying Stella.

Big Pine Creek, Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness, Big Pine North Fork Trail, Mountains, Hiking
Big Pine Creek, Inyo National Forest, Fourth Lake, John Muir Wilderness, Big Pine North Fork Trail, Mountains, Hiking
Big Pine Creek, Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness, Big Pine North Fork Trail, Mountains, Glacier Run Off, HikingView of the mountains from the trail; forest around the banks of Fourth Lake; glacial run off that fed into Big Pine Creek. 

I'm glad that I went on the camping trip.  The views were pretty amazing and you don't get to climb up a mountain every day.  I would've preferred to not have experienced dehydration and altitude sickness which made parts of the hike pretty miserable.  There was a point where I definitely thought, "Why do people put themselves through this for fun?"  My bottom half was aching, I was sunburned, and my stomach seemed to jostle with each strike of the heel on the descent (stomach upset is a symptom of altitude sickness).  It took all of us the rest of the evening to recover enough from the hike to walk without hobbling.  Despite all the suffering, I'm already thinking about taking my hiking boots out for another spin.  Go figure!  With that, I leave you all with my one of my favorite pictures from this trip: a photograph of Mount Sill.

Big Pine Creek, Inyo National Forest, John Muir Wilderness, Big Pine North Fork Trail, Mountains, Hiking, Mount Sil

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Herbivore Botanicals: Rose Hibiscus Face Mist

I am a longtime lover of facial mists.  I'll be the first to admit that I didn't get the hype of spray on toners upon initial introduction.  There are a fair few I've sampled over the years that seemed to make my skin feel tighter afterwards rather than hydrating it.  However, I am a big proponent of oil based skincare and I find the best way to apply them is on damp, softened skin.  You could argue that I could just mist my face with water after I shower, but where's the luxury in that?  

My favorite facial mist at the moment is the Herbivore Botanicals Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist.  I picked up this 2 ounce bottle at Urban Outfitters for $16.  It's a little pricey compared to my usual mists from The Body Shop or Pixi.  Herbivore Botanicals touts its products as natural, animal friendly, without fillers (all ingredients are active), and chemical free, if those labels are important to you.  Personally, I disregard "natural" as a marketing ploy and "chemical free" as an outright lie (it's scientifically inaccurate). 

The Rose Hibiscus Facial Mist contains coconut, aloe, and rose waters preserved by Lactobacillus ferment.  It is lightly rose scented and distributes into a fine mist when sprayed.  It's recommended that you remove excess, but I leave it on for extra hydration.  I love using this after cleansing or using a face mask.  I find that my face is softer and more readily absorbs other skincare products.  The product seems to be used up faster than others in its category so this might be a pricey habit.  However, it's become an essential, effective part of my routine and I'll definitely be repurchasing this when I run out!

Do you use a mist as part of your skincare routine?  Leave your recommendations!

Friday, July 01, 2016

The Getty Villa

The Getty Villa, Pacific Coast Highway, Garden, Greek
Outer Peristyle at The Getty Villa.

The Getty Villa is a free museum in Los Angeles that exhibits Greek and Roman art.  My boyfriend reserved some tickets one weekend and we made the near hour and a half commute out to the Pacific Palisades neighborhood.  The Getty Villa is a very photogenic museum and non-flash photography is allowed!  I sometimes feel out of place lugging my DSLR places, but most people brought one so it was fairly normal on this day. 

The Getty Villa has a lot of beautiful gardens - it was one of the key features that really drew me to the museum.  However, all the fountains were empty because of the California drought and the only swath of water to be seen was the Pacific Ocean in the distance.  I loved the architecture in the gardens; the Outer Peristyle garden was framed by corridors that were held up by Greek inspired columns and contained bronze statues of gods.  There was a lovely symmetry in the layout of the long, rectangular garden. 

Basilica, Getty Villa
A basilica featuring a Greek Goddess. 

I really liked the basilica that was constructed indoors which housed sculptures of muses with a Greek goddess as the centerpiece.  I didn't take many pictures indoors due to the lack of natural lighting.  I also prefer to just appreciate the pieces on exhibition.  The craftsmanship of ancient jewelry, pottery, and metalwork always amazes me because I think of how people had to make these things without the aid of modern machinery and facilities.

Walking through the gardens.

I took some sneaky candid shots of my boyfriend as he was walking through the gardens.  He doesn't particularly like having his photo taken so I catch him when I can.  I took this one as he was strolling through the ivy overhangs.  Despite how hot it was, the gardens were surprisingly breezy and relaxing to walk through.  

Our last stop was the gift shop which sold a variety of plants outside, including baby olive trees.  We didn't get a plant, but I'm thinking of surprising my boyfriend with an olive or a banzai tree.  Pretty soon after, it was time to take the winding drive towards the Pacific Coast Highway and begin our journey home.