This catchy lil synth pop number is giving me all the feels and dancing in my skivs with the spring breeze floating in is the only response. Ahhhh. I just love when winter is over. Have a listen:
The energy of @baddiewinkle is always on par with my #moodgoals
I may be a good cook, a lousy housekeeper, a strong artist. I am messy, disorganized except as it pertains to designing, a demon for creative detail, and not real interested in details like polished shoes and floors.
My life is my art, and when it gets dull, so does my work. As an artist, I may poke into what other people think of as dead ends: a 60s psych rock band that I mysteriously fall for, a piece of classical piano that hooks my inner ear, a giant sequined pineapple pin I just like and add to a nice outfit, thereby "ruining it."
As an artist, I may frizz my hair or wear weird clothes. I may spend too much money on a vintage dress that I'll never wear because the pattern lets me paint about Paris in the sixties.
As an artist, I design whether I think it's any good or not. I paint things that other people may hate. I film vignettes just to say, "I was here in this moment. I was happy. It was a Tuesday and it was perfect."
As an artist, my self-respect comes from the work. One design at a time, one sketch at a time, one painting at a time. Two and a half years to finish a painting. Twelve drafts of one design. Four years and counting and still not finished with that sketch. Throughout it all, daily, I show up at the morning pages and I write about my ugly couch, my rotten outfit, my delight in the way the light hit the trees on my evening run.
As an artist, I do not need to be rich but I do need to be richly supported. I cannot allow my emotional and intellectual life to stagnate or the work will show it. My life will show it. My temperament will show it. If I don't create, I get crabby.
As an artist, I can literally die from boredom. I kill myself when I fail to nurture my artist child because I'm acting like somebody else's idea of an adult. The more I nurture my artist child, the more adult I am able to appear. Spoiling my artist means it will let me type a business plan. Ignoring my artist means a grinding depression.
There is a connection between self-nurturing and self-respect. If I allow myself to be bullied and cowed by other people's urges for me to be more normal or more accommodating, I sell myself out. They may like me better, feel more comfortable with my more conventional appearance or behavior, but I will hate what I've become. Hating myself, I may lash out at myself or others. When we are not creating, artists are not always very normal or nice -- to ourselves or to others.
Creativity is oxygen for our souls. Cutting off our creativity makes us savage. We react like we are being choked, we will react as if fighting for our lives --- we are.
To be an artist is to recognize the particular. To appreciate the peculiar. To allow a sense of play in your relationship to accepted standards. To ask the question, "Why?" To be an artist is to risk admitting that much of what is money, property, and prestige strikes you as just a little silly.
To be an artist is to acknowledge the astonishing. It is to allow the wrong piece in a room if we like it. It is to hang on to a weird coat that makes us happy. It is to not keep trying to be something we aren't.
If you are happier writing than not writing, painting than not painting, singing than not singing, acting than not acting, directing than not directing, for God's sake (and I mean that literally) let yourself do it.
To kill your dreams because they are irresponsible is to be irresponsible to yourself. Credibility lies with you and God -- not with a vote of your friends and family.
The Creator made us creative. Our creativity is our gift from God. Our use of it is our gift to God. Accepting this bargain is the beginning of true acceptance.
(excerpt from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, adapted and edited to fit my life and perspective)
I love The New York Times series #SundayRoutine! There is something beautiful and intimate in knowing what a person chooses to do with their day of rest. I have a special place in my heart for a Sunday. Since I am maniacally forward-driven every minute of a day, I have to require myself to slow down, rest and rejuvenate for one day of the week. I have to literally force myself to slow down. It's so incredibly easy for me to keep moving forward, thinking about the next goal and living every minute in the future. It's also incredibly unhealthy if I let it get out of hand. Yes, it's very valuable to plan, grow and develop yourself toward where you want to be, but it's also very dangerous. By living, breathing and focusing so much on the next, you completely miss out on the present. And being aware of the present. And with awareness of the present and consciously paying attention, comes true gratefulness and content. The auto-pilot mode that is now our society's default mode is frighteningly easy to let take over your life. It can drastically affect your ability to retain memories and information and jeopardize our ability to go deeper within ourselves, each other and our communities. Thus, I've learned that my Sunday is ever so important to take seriously. Here's how I choose to spend it most of the time:
The Start: How you begin your day is how the tone of the day is set. Since the goal for me is to strip my autopilot habits and forward-thinking, it's quite the arduous task to break that mold after six days. So, it's down to the fundamentals. BREATH. Yes, being consciously aware of breath will slow your mind and body to start to achieve mindfulness. I choose to start through a 5 min meditation, a yoga class or sequence, or just opening my eyes just after I wake and mindfully being aware of my first 5 deep, deep breaths. This is followed by a quick reflection of gratitude and a self-check on what I want to improve within myself.
The Walk: The walk is my most favorite part of Sundays. This is were the breakdown of truly being aware and present starts to blossom. To instill routine in my Sundays, I look forward to walking to my local church for a Sunday morning service. When you walk, you inevitably take your surroundings in at slower pace and your ability to notice the innate details of life increases significantly than if you were to just drive by as a usual routine. Julia Cameron, one of my favorite authors, writes this from one her most cherished books, The Artist's Way: "The truth is that a creative life involves great swathes of attention. Attention is a way to connect and survive...survival lies in sanity and sanity lies in paying attention." I wrote more about the importance of paying attention here. It's truly the one thing that I can come back to when things are overwhelming or seemingly out of my control. You know that you are always all right when you stop to pay attention in that exact moment you are in. And in that you can find peace. You can see beauty. You can find contentment in the present, no matter what has been or what is to come. To begin, bring along a friend or better yet, slough off the initial apprehension with your favorite playlist or podcast.
The Treat: You can't go wrong with a little delight. For me, I take great pleasure at stopping at my favorite neighborhood coffee shop, Pablo's, on my way to church to grab a cup of their amazing tea and a homemade scone (my favorite being lemon currant).
Reflection & Community: When life becomes so jam packed with events and goals and movements and thoughts, I can easily get lost in myself and forget community. And it's especially easy for me to want to avoid community when I just need a break from it all. But, I really believe that it's important for me to be forced outside of my inner world and learn about new perspectives, an exercise in empathy and a notion of self-growth. I find all of these things and more at church. Giving myself the time to escape from the madness and loudness of the world so that I can actually hear the soft whispers with which God communicates is ever so important. This quiet and earnest listening deserves more than just a Sunday morning in my life.
Wandering: After church, I love to exist without a plan. It's so rare for me not to plan every minute of life, but in those unplanned moments is where the most inspiration occurs. From here, I aimlessly wander through different neighborhoods and can easily find myself at the library, a new shop, a beautiful park or at no particular destination at all. And that's the exact point.
Create: After a healthy dose of wandering, I most always find myself full of inspiration. From here, the most important step for me is action. The past couple of years have brought to light a very troubling side affect of the world we live in. I absolutely love how technology has crumbled barriers to being exposed to art and creativity of all kinds. However, if all your time is spent intaking this inspiration and never physically creating as a result, your creativity will greatly suffer. William Barclay said it best, "The oftener we feel and fail to act, the less likely it is we ever will." Constantly intaking inspiration without every creating yourself puts us at a great danger to never create at all. Action is important and the first step is always the hardest. For example, this post I wrote today! I was inspired after reading Tim Gunn's #SundayRoutine in The New York Times. Now, I could've easily just keep reading and moving to the next story, but instead I put it down and started writing my own #SundayRoutine. Don't get caught up in what to start, just start! Picking up a pen to write or sketch is often how I begin. I also keep a "What the hell, I might as well" list of any and every urge I've ever had to explore from making a playlist to taking a photo and mailing it to a random friend to picking a recipe from my Pinterest board and creating it. I often refer to something on there and just begin!
Nourish: After I feel creatively filled, I usually find myself on another walk, this time to the market. If it's in the summer I usually walk to the farmer's market in the morning to peruse inspiration for the evening's meal. This is my day to really take time to thoughtfully prepare an evening meal and I always want it to be not only comforting by fresh and unique. I love picking a new vegetable or fruit that I'm unfamiliar with and figuring out what the heck to do with it!
Prepare: From here, I will go home and make sure my spaces are clean and ready for another week of adventure. It's an extra step towards being stress free when I can take time to make sure I have a clean foundation in my home to live from!
Relax with loved ones: My goal for every Sunday is to end it with a Sunday Supper. The perfect method to savour the last bits of the weekend and welcome a new week is among friends over a delicious meal. Whether it's just Mark and I or if it's a lovely gathering of a handful of beautiful friends, Sunday Suppers are the perfect cap to the weekend where you relax over wine, share a creatively-made meal and hum to a few records on the player.
I hope you enjoy whatever day your Sunday is and may it bring you rejuvenation, love and content!
So excited that Elsie and I and a gang of the greatest people are headed to the new Eaux Claires music fest this summer! More details to come, but you can follow our party train through our camp hashtag #EauxMG!
Because I live in the best up and coming creative city (read: Denver), I feel the need to share my favorite jaunts and havens where I devote my time. When I want a true cultural art fix, one that pushes the creative imagination and inspires wonder, I head to Wonderbound. It's edgy, it's modern, it's ballet. What more could you want? My favorite performances to date have been A Gothic Folktale and 2014's Love. But don't even worry about that. Every performance is awe-inspiring. My admiration comes from their collaboration across all creative mediums in Colorado. Featuring live music in every production, you'll find everything from a traditional Baroque Chamber Orchestra to indie folk band Chimney Choir. The costuming is a delight, the multidimensional mix of media art is divine and the choreography, oh the choreography. Where else can you mix modern ballet with indie music, magicians, videography, audience interaction and straight up wonder? Garrett Ammon and his wife Dawn Fay are responsible for this company of wonderment in the heart of Denver.
Last weekend, I got to experience the delight their latest production, Marie, the valentine's interpretation of the famed Marie Antoinette. The lobby was enticing with a special gallery of Marie-inspired art by Michael Dowling, curated by Eric Dallimore and Eric Nord of Leon Gallery - another great gem in Denver. It was just as inspiring as the performance and the perfect complement to delight more of your creative senses!
Wonderbound, 2014 + Whim + Fancy Photos of Gallery Show
One of the best kept secrets of Denver, Wonderbound is modern ballet that will win over people that never even thought they would be excited by the ballet. It's about $25-50 a ticket and never a terrible seat in the house. Or, become a season subscriber and get reserved seats and a seriously great deal for each show!
Next up for them? Boomtown with Chimney Choir April 17th - 25th. You in? Chimney Choir is possibly Denver’s most adventurous folk/rock band, creating genre-bending music and medium-defying performances – a perfect fit for a Wonderbound collaborator. Adventure into the realms of personal myth and the power of place in a land where the mountains meet the plains and humanity endeavors to leave a mark worthy of the earth beneath its feet.
See you at the ballet!
The perfect setting under the sun © Whim and Fancy
My brother is my best friend. And, I love him to death. So, since his 30th birthday was quickly approaching, I knew I had to do something to honor him and show him how much he means to me and all of our friends and family. He said he didn't want anything crazy. Well, A: I don't know what "not" crazy is, and B: I'm his sister so I don't have to listen to him all the time. Thus, I decided to throw a Harvest Moon BBQ with good friends, good food, good music and a few surprises!
Setting up! © Whim and Fancy
Party time! © Whim and Fancy
As usual, this party was done on a budget and with lots of creativity. I had some amazing people team up with me to make this happen! Everyone came together to pull off a wonderful party - Big shout out to Terese, Koye, Rachel, Randi and my parents for all their help and resources!
For the theme, I was inspired by the long farm table rustic dinner party. We have a small backyard, so I decided to utilize the alley parking lot instead for the space. It's bordered by a rustic brick structure and lots of greenery. It was a beautiful foundation for the theme!
It's all in the lighting © Whim and Fancy
My good friend Koye is a wizard. Seriously, any idea I throw at him, he just miraculously does it with ease. He installed a wired system for hanging lights over the space. Needless to say, it was perfect and really set the ambiance for the party. We also added mason jar lights throughout the space that also acted as a barrier between the party and the alley street.
To execute the farm table dinner look, we needed a long table to fit everyone as well as white table cloths. Luckily, my good friend Terese came to the rescue and provided these things! For the centerpieces, I wanted to utilize burlap table runners and empty wine bottles as candle holders for an extra rustic ambiance. Thanks to Novo Coffee in Denver, I picked up several burlap sacks that came from family coffee farms all over Africa and South America. My team and I cut them into table runners for the party. Thanks to my friend Rachel, I didn't have to consume 25 bottles of wine before the party and she brought some from a bartender at a wine bar she knew! We filled them with water for extra stability and added candles that melted beautifully throughout the evening. My mom also handpicked fallen aspen branches from the mountains to add an extra bit of rustic warmth.
For food and drink, we served Blueberried BBQ Pulled Pork (as mentioned from this party), homemade Moscow Mules, my signature Lavender Lemonade, Ryan's favorite (and famous) Strawberry Cake from NoNo's Cafe, some speciality sides and everyone brought additional sides and drinks to share!
One of my brother's favorite poems is "Shake the Dust" by Anis Mogjani. He literally manages to show everyone this poem within 10min of meeting them. It's incredibly inspirational and focuses on living and loving your best. Take a look here. I wanted to make it a central message. Thanks to Pinterest, my incredible team and I used this project to convey it rustically and beautifully. Plus, he got to keep the sign as a gift!
I couldn't let the night slip away without a few surprises. Ryan and I's favorite local bluegrass band is Trout Steak Revival. They are so laid back and talented and really get the party goin. I just had to call them to make a surprise appearance at the party. They came up the alley singing Happy Birthday and really blew us all away with their entire set. Even the neighbors were opening their doors and windows because they enjoyed the music so much!
Since we were headed to Ryan Bingham at the Ogden Theatre for our last event of the evening, I couldn't just let us walk. We had to arrive in style! So naturally, I hired a hay ride to take us around the city and drop us off at the venue. It was the perfect end to a perfect evening!
If you haven't checked out Foster's The Burning House, do yourself a favor and check out the blog and his new book based on the project. The project is derived from the question, "What would you take with you if your house was burning?" It's an incredibly interesting viewpoint and glimpse into lives of individuals all over the world.
Cheers to your adventures!
Elsie and I went out last weekend on a little trip to explore the Colorado mountains. I can't bare to think she'll be hibernating soon! I'm going to make sure and take one last trip to see the Fall colors before I put her to bed for the season. For this adventure, I took my best gal pal and headed Southwest to Crested Butte.
The Fall colors are already changing!
We had to stop at "Coney Island" for some giant hot dogs. A definite MUST.
I loved rolling in and out of summer rains and, of course, catching rainbows.
I hope you savor those last bits of Summer and get out on the road!
original image here //
I'm not one to get excited for Fall. Don't get me wrong, I ABSOLUTELY love the slightly cooler weather, the rich colors and kicking my feet through the leaves. But, it gets me one step closer to winter and... I'm not gonna lie, I'm not thrilled about the upcoming freeze. That is, until I saw the September 2012 Free People catalog. IN LOVE. It's my perfect mix of bohemian chic meets edgy meets fem. It made me SO excited to break out my leather skinnies and boots.
Basically, the cold weather uniform. Perfectly fitting skinnies, detailed calf boots, statement coat (love the peplum cut), and studded/fringed accessories.
Add a tunic-length statement sweater to your wardrobe. Trust me. You'll be so glad you did!
Leather leggings or skinnies is a go-to basic for cold weather. Add a broken in vintage tee and a girly-girl sweater or jacket and you're styled for stardom!
A good chambray is a popular item this Fall. You can pair it with skinnies or a mini skirt and it's boyish shape will have you looking a well-balanced sexy.
Bring on the crushed velvet! I love this dress with sheer hosiery and rocker knee boots. Still love the addition of fringe to every outfit!
A pair of light denim is always easy to warm up for Fall.
Leather and glam are always a sure combo. Pair this rebel meets fem look and you'll always be a statement!
Are you excited for the season now?! I'm getting there, too. Now, if I can just find one of those long haired, bearded men to complement my outfits!
Take a break from your day and watch this new Cyrus Sutton short, The Fruits of Dystopia. It's described as: "The Fruits of Dystopia" is a short film about having fun in a less than perfect world. Cyrus Sutton explores an escape from modern trappings through excerpts from classic dystopian novels "1984," A Brave New World," and Fahrenheit 451."
The video is not only beautifully shot and edited, it serves as a reminder to simply enjoy our imperfect lives as they lay out before us, just as they are meant to be. I love the excerpt, ...so it is suffering and evil which makes possible the recognition of virtue.
Original photo here //
I've been thinking a lot about purpose lately. There may be millions of things you can do and thousands of things you're passionate about, but, at the end of the day, I believe your main purpose is to LOVE. So, regardless of what I accomplish today on my to-do list or how far I come in my art, if I have loved, then I certainly have lived.
This video is pure perfection for this realization. Bey does it well, per usual, and I would definitely full screen this badboy. If you're feeling useless or without purpose today, just take a moment to love someone. Write an encouraging e-mail, open the door for someone with a genuine smile and hello, or pick up the phone and thank someone for being who they are.
In honor of the recent World Humanitarian Day, how will you have made your mark on the world today, tomorrow and thereafter?
Here are my best bets for a rockin' good time this weekend in Denver. Savor those last bits of summer, people!!
Mile High Soul Club (my favorite)
When: Friday, August 10th (occurs monthly on the second Friday!)
Where: Meadowlark Bar, 2701 Larimer St., Denver, Colorado 80205
What: Only the best DJ's in Denver! Denver's biggest soul happening is back August 10th at The Meadowlark and we will be on the patio once again! This month we are joined by one of our favorite guest dj, DJ Stefano! Wanna hear Northern, Funk, R&B and all things SOUL, MHSC is the place to be!
Denver Beer Co 1st Anniversary
When: Saturday, August 11th
Where: 1695 Platte St.
Cost: Free Admission, bring cash for food and beer
What: We are closing down the street and having a party! Join us for live music, food trucks, and over 12 different beers on tap including a limited release of Imperial Graham Cracker Porter!
Music from: Casey James Prestwood and the Burning Angles Chain Station Mountain Music
Tasty food from: Basic Kneads Pizza Chile Billy The Uber Sausage
Denver County Fair
When: All weekend!
Where: National Western Complex
What: This annual event celebrates the creativity and personality of Denver, with events, exhibitors, blue ribbon competitions and more!
Denver County Fair honors the fine traditions and values of America’s county fairs, which have been enjoyed by millions of people for over 100 years.
But, we are NEW. Although land was bought for a Denver Fair in the 1800s, that plan was interrupted by a little thing called the “Civil War” and no fair was ever launched. (That land is now City Park, by the way.) Somehow, the idea never came to fruition until NOW – in the 21st century, when Denver is a modern, bustling metropolis, forging a reputation as “the new creative capital.”
… So as we enter into our second year, expect us to do things differently than the fairs that were established last century, or the century before. We are new, we are urban and we are still pioneers!
Revolutionary Fair Design! This year we've got 14 interlocking indoor pavilions, each with its own exhibitiors, vendors, stage demonstrations, entertainment and open competitions! Even our CARNIVAL IS INDOORS!
Hope to see you there for the fun!!
Remember that life is a dance and not a race!
Editor’s Note: I’m back from my little jaunt on the West coast! It was amazing and I have so much inspiration to share. From the beautiful sights to the beautiful lessons learned from our ultimate destination of the World Domination Summit, the trip was a beautiful chapter of life. My brother and I took the trip together with my newly restored Elsie, a 1960 Shasta Deluxe, exploring Northern California, the Oregon coast, Portland and everything in between.
To hopefully inspire you in your everyday adventures and dreams, I’ve decided to share my personal essay of the past weeks. It will be posted in Part I, Part II and Part III and feature photography from the trip as well as the story behind Elsie. I hope you enjoy it!
Elsie won’t budge. She smokes, she cranks, she stubbornly stays. We coax her to one shop to diagnose and it’s closed. Another shop and nowhere to leave her overnight to hopefully be healed and back on the enticing road in the morning. Nowhere to land, but a quiet neighborhood park on a quiet street in Petaluma, CA. There’s something to be said about sleeping on a 45 degree angle, illegally boondocking, and waking up and walking outside in front of an unbeknownst a.m. yoga class. But, I’ll let you come up with that. Quickly running back in the car, we set off with a fire extinguisher between my legs in nervous anticipation for arriving at the now third auto place without Elsie catching on fire. The second wouldn’t work on my ol’ gal. The third shop was eager and happy to begin investigation on Elsie’s stubborn feet. As the testing began, we were released in to the nervous unknown to explore the town for the day.
It was a perfect place to force a stop. God knew all along. We could’ve easily encountered Elsie’s surprising stubbornness going 75mph on the highway. The adventure would’ve ended for all of us. Petaluma is the exact kind of place we wanted to find and it indeed happened without prior plan. The best experiences often do, don’t you think? We refueled at the most delicately quaint and passionate bakery café called Della Fattoria, indulging on a delightfully prepared breakfast and what Ryan still claims to this day is the best coffee he’s ever had. I loved that place. I loved having a plump and chewy molasses cookie at 8 in the morning and I loved having to tour through the entire kitchen set up just to use the bathroom. It made me want to eat more of the their food, walking through the energy and craft produced in methodically creative passion. Of course, with my senses increasing in life, I was able to notice this all. I was able to notice the woman staring at her artfully topped espresso in great delight and the lady next to me switching seats with her elder to protect her from the energy of the jostling counter. Do you get why your mind wanders to the road now? Do you see how awakening your senses also awakens your creativity? It was sad to walk out of that café, knowing that it wouldn’t be any anytime soon I could return.
“Bodega Bay is just 45 min away,” Elsie’s technician suggested. We pointed West and finally met the ocean. It was cold and alive with wind. We dipped our toes in the murky sand wondering how Hithcock was able to dream one of the most memorable thrillers to this day. I looked around for birds to try and put myself in the film’s scene, but they were few and far between. Anxious to get back to Elsie, we started to head back, stopping only when a sign made us realize we had a hankering for crab mac and cheese and hot chowder.
I specialize in awkward timing. © Whim and Fancy
On our way back, I couldn’t help but focus on Elsie’s fate. It was enough to mourn one day away from her, but what if there were more? We couldn’t wait any longer on our trip, we had a final destination to attain. I prayed for a miracle, but alas, it wasn’t meant to happen. “She needs a whole new axle,” the technician explained, “and they don’t make her kind any more. We need to either custom build one or retrofit a modern one. It will take about 2-3 weeks.” Cue stomach drop. Enter mild to moderate breakdown. All the blood, sweat and tears I (and my more than generous family) had poured into her and now she can’t even make it to the ocean? I have to leave her, go on without one of the main reasons for the trip? There was extreme disappointment, anger, embarrassment, failure and frustration all rolled up into one emotional outbreak. I thought I triple checked every renovation, upgrade and maintenance needed for ol’ Elsie. Turns out the wheel bearings weren’t greased when the new tires went on. Thus, they were grinding and aching and moaning across three states before they finally managed to cause the demise of the entire axle. Make sure the wheel bearings are greased. Seriously, Trailer Owning 101. It’s the first thing I learned, actually. I was so disappointed.
I know it’s just a trailer to some. But, for me, it was more. It was a chance to create another story and open a new door in life. More than that, my family made some significant sacrifices for her me. “I’m sorry Nay,” my brother consoled. I felt bad letting him down. We were both so excited for it. And I still knew that all the adventure lie ahead, just instead of via trailer it would be via tent. I just needed a little time to mourn and adjust expectations, you know? After drying off from the monsoon of emotion and unloading the trailer contents in the car, I reminded myself that another story will still be created and a new door would still be opened. In fact, it reminded me (once again) that I’m not in control of my story and, instead, I’m in control of only how I respond to my story as it unfolds before me. I found an odd glimpse of beauty in that uncertainty of life.
Driving off into the sunset sans Elsie, I caught a glimpse of the Francis Ford Coppola winery (I absolutely love Sophia Coppola, so we had to stop). Ah, what a perfect time to reflect on another day. It was a good lift of emotions, a restart that could be easily ignited with a new experience ahead. Actually, I’ve found that is the primary way for me to build up and move on after any trial in life. A new experience. Every breakup, every disappointment, every cusp between hardship and learning is jolted into new momentum with experiencing something new. A new hobby, a new club, a new sport, a new hair color, a new outfit. In this case, a simple new experience at a winery. And, of course, all the new experiences to follow helped even more tremendously.
As night fell all around us, we finally hit the ocean. I knew it as soon as the curvy road presented us with a vast freeing break of landscape coated in midnight black. I could smell it in the air and feel it in my hands as the wind rushed by. Where would we sleep tonight? Right by this magnificent wonder. The one wonder we are missing in beautiful Colorado. The ocean wasn’t far from the campsite we ultimately chose. We pitched our tent in darkness and fell into an exhausted slumber awakening only when we were fully renewed for the remaining quest ahead.
Bigfoot country. Actually, Redwood country. Both are equally intoxicating in their magnitude. Of course, the Redwoods don’t hold a candle to Bigfoot in my mind. They are magnificent. Magnificent in size looking up and over. They form a tall canopy that coolly blocks life from the sun and only occasionally lets the rays greet the greenery as if for the first time. They are stunning.
And quite musical. In fact, I think that’s where the tale of Bigfoot began. When you walk through the vastness of the Avenue of the Giants you are silenced in awe of their size. You feel instantly insignificant in the presence of their domineering age and stature. I kept hearing instruments. “Is there a band playing?” I ask my brother. Then, I hear a faint humanlike scream. My thoughts immediately go to Bigfoot. Oh gosh, here I go. But wait. It’s the trees! Each tree makes a unique song as it stubbornly sways in the comparatively weak wind. Some moan, some scream, some sing tenor, some bass, some soprano. It’s beautifully haunting.
Naturally, we find a place to set up our tent right among these historic creatures. Over whiskey, poetry, and smoke, my brother and I get to know these ancients and sleep peacefully among their symphony.
Onward we trek. Wearing the scent of campfire (the signature Colorado perfume) we set forth in search of the perfect place to celebrate our country’s independence. Camping was in our mind until we stopped at the little Oregon coastal town of Florence. Stopping at their main inn in the historic downtown, we instead settle on a cheap room near the boardwalk. After a delicious and fresh seafood dinner in a cozy eatery, we sit among the townsfolk and delightfully indulge in a blazing display under the stars. Happy Birthday, America. We cheers to new friends at the local watering hole and delightfully reminisce on how great this movie is so far.
Oh my gosh, how I love Oregon. It reminds me so much of Colorado only with the vast blue ocean at its rim. Driving up the Oregon Coast Highway, I marvel at each coastal town and break often to photograph the ocean splashing against the lush, green landscape. Music is crucial here. It carries us along the winding highway set perfectly with the crashing waves, massive trees and rolling mountainsides. Beach House’s latest album, Bloom, fits perfectly with its ethereal voice and crescendoing melodies.
We head straight for Cannon Beach, of course stopping at Tillamook and Blue Heron cheese factories along the way. My brother and I are suckers for cheese and it was a nice break. Approaching Cannon Beach, I quickly fall in love with its charm. We have no idea where to camp, but end up miraculously finding a perfect RV park right near the beach with a grassy plot to set up our tent. We grab a bottle of wine and take the short walk to the beach right as the sun begins to set behind the endless ocean. Now, being from Colorado, I’ve seen more than my share of heart-tingling sunsets, but this… this sunset may have very well topped a lifetime of them. The sand acted as a pure glass surface, reflecting bold reds, oranges, pinks and purples as the blue-crimson waves crashed over the palatte in anxious joy for another. My mind was still and couldn’t help being overwhelmed with the sound of crashing waves, graceful birds and whispering misty fog.
I quietly wonder if people who live here are as jaded with this sight as I am with the beauty of my Colorado home. I’m sure they know it exists like I do at home, but I can’t help but wonder if every day their breath is a little less taken away as their human nature calls it into familiar habit.
This trip has indulged in its due purpose and awakened my senses in pure delight. It’s even worked on the beauty I see back at home. But that doesn’t mean I still don't crave the sight of unfamiliar beauty like this. It’s exhilarating and it’s all within reach. A whole world of it. I feel so incredibly blessed to live on God’s most beautiful work of art. I indeed intend to explore as much of this gift as I can possibly cover.
I can’t imagine what it’s like to live in the same place your whole life and never travel. I sadly am all too familiar with how our human brains closes us in a familiar box of comfort, place, and habit. But, don’t be fooled by its apparent warmth at night. Only when your senses are alive, are you truly living as you were made to. Your soul was meant to explore, to discover, to learn, and to do it with ample feeling. Your life is meant to be lived and noticed. Unfortunately, with all the innovation in our society today, it’s easy to loose sight of this. We miss so much in multitasking and trying to be as efficient as possible to keep up with the seemingly important demands of society. We sometimes confuse this with the word life. Life is demanding, life is busy, we say. That’s not life. That’s just expectations you’ve accepted from society and the community around you. To experience life and all its treasures is to slow down and notice its beauty and its lessons unfolding in a quiet whisper before you. I have to constantly remind myself of this. And trips like this, where they heighten my senses and show me unfamiliar beauty are the perfect medicine to get back to the wellspring of life. Your soul, alive and fed with heightened senses.
How can there possibly be more than this? Well, now we head into Portland for a weekend of beautiful lessons and inspiration from another of God’s magnificent creations – people who are alive and living in their own unique purpose.
Look out for Part III next week!
© Whim and Fancy
Editor's Note: I'm back from my little jaunt on the West coast! It was amazing and I have so much inspiration to share. From the beautiful sights to the beautiful lessons learned from our ultimate destination of the World Domination Summit, the trip was a beautiful chapter of life. My brother and I took the trip together with my newly restored Elsie, a 1960 Shasta Deluxe, exploring Northern California, the Oregon coast, Portland and everything in between.
To hopefully inspire you in your everyday adventures and dreams, I've decided to share my personal essay of the past weeks. It will be posted in Part I, Part II and Part III and feature photography from the trip as well as the story behind Elsie. I hope you enjoy it!
What is it about traveling on the road that brings the perfect soul detox? A fraction of the process happens the same way via plane, but something about the vast landscape of this earth zooming by at 70mph brings a wonderment of the mind and sharpening of the senses I can’t seem to recreate elsewhere. I’m already back home and the feeling is just a memory I’m craving tremendously. It will fade with time and whenever I hear a quote or see an image of travel, the ashes will spark and an ember will again light the desire for the road. I don’t feel home now. It’s home with my family and close friends, but the rest doesn’t feel like home. My possessions are not my home. The environment I’ve known for 26 years isn’t my home. It only feels like home when I feel. When my senses are heightened and sharp and not dulled by my familiar story of how I’ve passed through time.
Oregon Coast © Whim and Fancy
There’s a quote by Donald Miller in his book Through Painted Deserts that I shared with you last week, “We are shaped by our experiences. Our perception of joy, fear, pain, and beauty are sharpened or dulled by the way we rub against time. My senses have become dull and this trip is my effort to sharpen them.” I couldn’t agree more.
When you’re on the road, you appreciate more, notice more. Your eyes are wide open, your thoughts are at high tide. It wasn’t even the things we ate or the places we stopped. It was the movement on the road. The true nourishment for the soul. We were stripped away of our creature comforts and had only what we needed and what makes us smile. In my case, I brought books to read, my camera, my music and my sketchbooks. I never read the books. I found too much of a story in my experiences across each landscape. It is only when you are in this observant, open state, that you are truly quiet enough to notice the subtle, but powerful romance of nature – God’s most beautiful expression of love.
I try to always go to new places in my home city. I try new foods, meet new people, attend the latest events, but it never seems to shed the jaded layer blocking my senses. It takes at least a full day, I think. In this case, I had been craving travel for so long that I dove right in as soon as we put it in drive. We entered through Wyoming and watched the first of many silencing sunsets along the way. The feeling of freedom ahead is thrilling. It’s almost the IV before soul surgery. It kickstarts your senses, wakes them up after months, sometimes years of hidden slumber. Oh, there you melting rays! I see you hiding behind washes of orange and pink, waiting for your red hot leader to sink into another day. Oh, how I feel I’ve never seen you before! But, alas it was my clouded senses that have been holding me back from this true sight. My brother asks, “Why don’t we set alarms every day for this magic hour?” He has a great point. Why don’t we allow a break from burying ourselves alive to re-center in front of probably God’s most romantic daily act of love? How much happier could we be if we stopped to realize the magnitude of another day faded and the cusp of new time born ahead? Our senses might actually get some due exercise.
Courtesy of my brother © NoStepNoStory
My imagination flourished. I imagined new lives, alternate directions and would dive for hours around the simplest roadside beauty. I imagined life with Elsie and I and all the visions we’d see with wide open eyes. She was reluctant in her old age, but she puttered along, happier with wind in her original wings. The only break we took from the coast over asphalt was in the back of a sleepy Walmart. But, even then, imaginations continued to burn from the first day’s launch. I imagined this as a life and lived it accordingly. I played the part beautifully. I enjoyed the open breeze and the early delivery trucks. This is a part of the life, I told myself and I basked in it. Breakfast on the road was natural and energizing. We weren’t conforming to the societal crutch of the Mcmuffin, but instead delightfully indulged in the natural fuel of fresh fruit, granola and yogurt. It was a relief to know that taking a break from your life didn’t mean you had to sacrifice any of your core values that serve you well. Change where change is meant to be.
I was so happy to show Elsie off. I put blood, sweat, and tears into her (literally all three) and managed to recruit my family to endure the hardships of her transformation with me. We all wanted her to shine and be free – or was that instead what they wanted for me? I wanted everyone to notice Elsie and her polished natural beauty. Most passed by with their brand new RV’s that were three times the size of my apartment back home. But every once in a while, I would catch someone reminiscing in her sight. I loved carrying the stories she’s lived and giving her another chance to create memories. It’s most of what fuels my love for “vintage” – the stories, the history. The laughs, cries and fights. The confessions of love and honesty, the silence of nature in its awe-inspiring energy. It’s like you can still feel all of that in her 52 years later.
She was refreshed to give another go at life. Not unlike myself, she had been sitting in a halted state for years, underutilized and rusting in her old beauty. I rescued her in 2011 in a mad attempt to jolt myself out of a paralyzing life of other people’s misguided dreams. We both needed a makeover and a breakaway. I jolted her from her dead end grassy plot while I left my parked career path. And onward we went, testing our new found freedom for a couple of weeks. I wish it could’ve been longer. I have a good feeling that this will not be the end of the story, but rather the first chapter after a long preface.
The Salt Flats were beautifully symbolic. It is a vision of something dead, once alive, but now dried up in all it’s vastness. Though, I see more than that ending. I instead see a blank canvas, a large, pure and sandy white canvas. A canvas much bigger than you. Almost symbolic of the future ahead and you, as a tiny colorful, alive dot, making your movement and mark as you dance and skip and play. ‘Tis life, isn’t it? At least the best we could all hope for.
I wonder about people’s stories. I always have, and the combination of heightened senses and moving landscapes only exaggerates it. It’s the best kind of movie to watch – one that’s your own life with senses that are alive. I love it all the more as I see a vintage airstream roll by and I wave openly as if to connect our vintage affections together for a glimpse of time. He seems to not register – probably lost in his own movie, imagining the next scene.
The soundtrack is my favorite part. There’s always a perfect song for the moving, breathing, changing landscape. It engages you in your present time movie just like when you watch someone else’s. You don’t always notice it’s there, but that’s when it’s the best – when you suddenly come up for air and realize how the music took you to a whole other level of new that you were already watching, with more depth and injected passion and feeling.
Breaking at an RV park at the cusp of Lake Tahoe, I finally got a shower. It’s amazing how easy it is to be a hippie – only caring about needs as they come to you in their own natural path. Moving from vast mountain lakes to rolling countryside adorned with vines – ah, this is beauty I’ve never seen before. Fruitful, delicious beauty. We stop at a winery in Sonoma Valley, sweetly perusing the fields in curious wonder. It is so perfect that right then the sun continues on it’s descent and we can not more easily proclaim – what a beautiful day.
Courtesy of my brother © NoStepNoStory
Then, the fall.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Part II of Reflections on the Road.
Taken on the Oregon Coast © Whim and Fancy
I'm still on the road and the trip has been beautiful! My brother and I took my 1960 Shasta trailer Elsie J. and have been traveling up the west coast to Portland. I love all the new places I'm seeing and people I'm meeting. It's so beautiful how traveling transforms your senses and heightens them to a level of awareness that makes it possible to breathe again in true happiness. I love the quote above that came from Donald Miller in his book, Through Painted Deserts. I highly recommend it to motivate you to discover new aspects of your best self through travel!
I just arrived at the World Domination Summit in Portland, OR put on by Chris Guillebeau from The Art of Non Conformity. I wrote about his new book a while back and am so excited that he puts on this annual conference for artists and entrepreneurs all looking to make this world better than when they entered it. I'm looking forward to a weekend full of inspiring people and gaining a new energy charge on the pursuit of making an awesome mark on this world.
I'll be back the middle of next week to tell you all about it and the beautiful lessons I've learned along the way!
Make sure to follow me on Instagram for little updates along the way - under username lenaynicole!
I'm off to a little beachy jaunt for the week. I'll leave you with some sunny summer solstice inspiration until I return next week! Happy first day of summer!
First, a little beachy-keene playlist for your sunny day: