A new Star Wars movie came out yesterday!!!! So you probably think you know what I’m blogging about today, right?! Amazingly, Rogue One isn’t the topic. I did see it last night and really loved about 80% of it (the other 20% is up for debate), and I’m going again tonight so we’ll see if that number fluctuates before I post about it exclusively.
Instead, I’m sitting in front of a space heater, watching it sleet outside and reflecting on days spent at the beach. For many people, a day at the beach means hot temperatures, warm water and roasting oneself in sunshine. I prefer something a bit more rustic: rocky shorelines, pine-crested bluffs and the fewer people, the better. Foggy and overcast is A-okay by me, and I’m perfectly content not venturing too far into the waters of the Pacific (COLD!). So it should come as no surprise to anyone here that Washington and Oregon are my go-to happy places.
Back in September, I spent a week on the Oregon Coast with my momma; naturally, we had a fantastic time! Temperatures topped out in the mid-60s, and each day boasted a beautiful mix of sun and clouds. One very special afternoon was dedicated to visiting what is perhaps my favorite place on earth, Indian Beach at Ecola State Park. Just north of the bustling Cannon Beach tourist destination, Ecola is a divine mix of old-growth forest and pristine shoreline. Though hikers and surfers and casual revelers like ourselves typically flock to Ecola, this day was blissfully quiet. Our own perfect little slice of heaven, shared with only 4 or 5 other people and their canine companions. As the golden hour fell before sunset, the tide quieted and mirror-smooth water lapped against the shore, create exquisite reflections of the soaring landscape. I wanted desperately to capture the beauty through the lens of my camera, but I found it difficult to concentrate on that task…instead, I let the serenity of my surroundings wash away my self-imposed anxiety over capturing a perfect image, took in as many mental images as possible and left the rest up to my trusty iPhone.
It’s hard for me to overcome the feeling that every moment needs to be documented. Heaven knows I have enough photographs of even the most trivial bits of life stored on my phone, computer and external hard drives. But when you stand in the midst of natural splendor like Indian Beach, sometimes the strongest desire is to simply soak it all in sans camera. I hope you’ll enjoy the reflections I did capture, imagine the salty brine of crisp ocean air and unplug from the bustle of the season for a moment and do some reflecting of your own.
In stark contrast to the peace and calm of Oregon, my husband and I found ourselves in Los Angeles at the beginning of December. In addition to christening our new Universal Studios Hollywood annual passes—Wizarding World of Harry Potter with waaaaaaayyy shorter lines than Orlando!!!—I thought it would be great fun to photograph architecture and Hollywood landmarks and all of the things that make Southern California so different from my beloved Pacific Northwest. And then I got sick. Really sick: a 104 fever yielded a diagnosis of flu and pneumonia from the minute clinic in Burbank, CA. So the first 2 days of our trip included quarantine in the hotel room and even without having cable at home, it wasn’t awesome. The nurse practitioner had instructed me to wear a mask if I went in public, which seemed like a miserable option. Instead, we found a loophole: avoid people. As you may know, this is no small task in southern California. With a little help from Google, we drove an hour and a half north of Los Angeles to a quiet beach in Oxnard and were shocked to discover we were the only people there! A couple of fishermen showed up later, but the majority of the day was spent simply walking the shore and breathing in the healing power of the ocean.
Unlike the ragged cliff faces and thick vegetation that leads to Indian Beach, Ormond Beach is surrounded by flatlands that feature a U.S. Navy base to the south and an abandoned (I think?) power plant on the northeast side. Instead of the fairy-tale forest walk to the shore, it felt more like navigating a postapocalyptic wasteland, complete with signs for rattlesnakes. My illness kept my quest for adventure at bay, so I mostly just sat on a little sandy ridge as we waited for sunset over the beautiful, blustery Pacific. I would have preferred to be healthy for our little trip, but the limitations made me slow down and be deliberate about taking care of myself. If that’s not a worthwhile way to spend a “free” day from work, I’m not sure what is.
I’ve worked for Hallmark Cards 8 years now in various editorial roles, currently as a writer for the e-commerce team. This year, the Creative division decided to start at its core by giving each employee 5 days to use (apart from regular PTO) for finding inspiration and tapping into creative outlets that may not be leveraged in our everyday positions. A couple of days exploring the West Coast were just what I needed to refuel! #My5Days
If I’m being honest, I have to admit that before this last trip we’d never spent more than roughly 24 hours’ time actually in Seattle. We can luxuriate in a relatively bustling city scene here in Kansas City if we really want to (we generally don’t) but have nothing comparable to the ocean and mountains and temperate rainforests, so most of our time in the PNW is spent enjoying those natural splendors. And indulge in the outdoors we did: we walked stunning ocean shores, hiked to waterfalls, ventured to the northwestern most point of the continental U.S., decompressed with beautiful lakeside vistas and paraglided for unrivaled sights and exhilaration.
While searching for a hike near North Bend/Snoqualmie*, we stumbled across a film crew at a local diner. Perhaps you’ve heard about the resurrection of a cult favorite tv show, Twin Peaks… You guys, we were in North Bend while they were filming Twin Peaks! We really didn’t see much, as the flurry of crew members obscured most anything interesting and accessibility near the set was limited. (David Lynch was apparently unhappy with fan presence; this article was published the day before we coincidentally ended up on-site.) We might have been more obnoxious in trying to obtain photos had we binged all 22 episodes prior to going rather than just finishing it this week.
I can tell you that from a couple of blocks away, down a back alley, we saw the classic turquoise waitress dresses—couldn’t discern which actresses were wearing them. One gal had curly hair but looked too short and a bit too round to be the fictional Shelley Johnson.
*We never found the hike I had planned. Crews were working on Middle Fork Road, so that access was cut off and we opted to return to the hotel for an afternoon nap rather than search for work-arounds.
Twin Peaks wasn’t the only geeky indulgence on our vacation. The EMP Museum in downtown Seattle ensured that, as our time in town corresponded with the traveling exhibit “Star Wars and the Power of Costume.”
The exhibit itself was quite nice, if a bit overpriced. Past exhibits “Star Wars in Concert” and “Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination” showcased many of the same costumes, but that didn’t hamper my enthusiasm. This is, after all, the year of Star Wars!
EMP also featured brilliant exhibits for fantasy, horror and sci-fi costumes and artifacts. There was something for virtually every geeky indulgence, from Ghostbusters to the Wizard of Oz, Alien, Harry Potter, Doctor Who and Game of Thrones to The Princess Bride. I definitely recommend visiting if you can stand to pull yourself away from the majestic wilderness.
To see the full complement of photos from our trip, including MANY more geektastic exhibit images, trek on over to my share site (HERE).
When last we spoke, I was preparing for our latest adventure in the Evergreen State. We’ve been back nearly 6 weeks now and I’m finally getting around to posting photos and reflecting on our time away.
As I’m shoulder-deep in writing for Christmas 2016 at work (yes, you read that right, 2016!), I won’t be sharing much in the way of words here until early November. In the meantime, I offer some photos. The shots below are a few of my favorites from our hikes.
Next post will focus on the photos of geeky aspects of the trip—namely the Star Wars, fantasy, horror and sci-fi exhibits at Seattle’s EMP Museum as well as our serendipitous encounter with the North Bend filming location for Twin Peaks.
If you want to cheat and see the full complement of photos from our trip before I post them here, trek on over to my share site (click HERE).
I’m not big on the OOTD (Outfit of the Day) trend…mostly because my outfits are rarely noteworthy. But today I’m going to brag a little, as my shirt is pretty dang special and particularly fitting for what’s happening some 1,500 miles away at San Diego Comic-Con.
It’s Hall H panel day for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!
So what does that have to do with my shirt? Well, my shirt is an authentic TFA shirt from Star Wars Celebration—the story of my acquisition goes back to April 17, 2015. (no, this is not a glamorous photo)
After a good night’s sleep at the Alpine Inn we got up early and made the short walk to the convention center for Day 2 of SWCA. We arrived to find C-3PO himself, Anthony Daniels, greeting fans in the queue.
Our plan for the day included buying convention exclusives, enjoying the Carrie Fisher panel, meeting my blogger friend starwarsanon, checking out the cosplay contest and watching the premiere of Revenge of the Sith in 3-D.
Nabbing convention-exclusive swag was calculated and seemed simple enough: divide and conquer. As soon as the door opened at 10am, we were on our way to our respective assignments. Severus waited in the Hallmark line—no, working for corporate doesn’t get you out of waiting with the other lemmings—while I tackled the Celebration Store. Each of us had to wait some 25 minutes to get into the merchandising meccas, but the Carrie Fisher panel wasn’t scheduled until 1:30pm so there was no concern.
The concern began to bud when I decided to wait around for one of the elusive TFA shirts that were restocked only sporadically. Staff members were quite literally swamped each time they brought out a new rack of shirts, everyone hoping to get their hands on TFA. It was like a reenactment of the zombie swarm scene from the end of The Walking Dead pilot episode, only with slightly less blood.
Being the pushover that I am, I waited to the side of the trampling hoards and implored staffers as politely as possible, hoping that good favor might befall me. Finally a kind employee decided to hand out the shirts from a big box, ensuring that people didn’t grab armloads and prematurely drain the supply. And so, with coveted shirt in hand, I set out for the checkout line at 1130am. The line inched along with unanticipated sluggishness, moving mere footsteps over the course of each quarter-hour. The frustration morphed into anger as I mentally calculated the remaining time to reach my destination; anger melted to despair and finally urgency as I reached the cashier’s booth at 125pm. I was relieved to have conquered the line with mere minutes to meet Severus for the Carrie Fisher panel—thankfully, he had queued and saved a spot hours earlier. And my relief exploded into a rush of panic when I tried to enter the arena and was informed that they weren’t allowing anyone else inside. “But I have a seat waiting for me,” I pleaded. No luck.
In a desperate attempt to find another entrance, I came across a couple of other people with the same plight. They gushed about having to use the restroom and finding themselves unable to get back in; I played along. An usher reluctantly agreed to let us in and watched very carefully to ensure that I did, in fact, have a seat reserved. With adrenaline pumping through my veins, I settled in moments ahead of the lights dimming.
Carrie Fisher, along with her lazy-tongued dog Gary, took the stage by storm. Ms. Fisher is an absolute live wire, spewing sarcasm and profanity and utter hilarity…though we enjoyed the raucous display they wrapped the panel a bit prematurely after she dropped the ‘f bomb’. Star Wars is, at its core, family-friendly and it was clear the organizers wanted to keep it that way.
After the panel, we caught up with my friend starwarsanon and her husband. It’s so much fun meeting online acquaintances in person! If you haven’t checked out her corner of the internet yet, please do—she’s a dedicated blogger, big thinker and absolute delight*! I also still owe her a Star Wars-themed Hallmark picture frame 🙂
*if only she weren’t a Patriots fan hahaha.
The cosplay contest was somewhat less impressive than I’d hoped, especially given the quantity of brilliant costumery we saw throughout the exhibit hall. Nevertheless, we had a mighty laugh when co-emcee Dee Bradley Baker mispronounced “crocheted” as “crotched”…you probably had to be there to get the giggles like I still do.
The night wrapped with a double-feature screening of Revenge of the Sith (3-D) and A New Hope (Special Edition 😡 ). The audience was a little noisy and the seats were pretty uncomfortable for 4.5 hours of sitting, but I LOVE seeing Star Wars on a big ol’ screen!
So that’s what Day 2 looked like. As always, if you’d like to see the rest of my photos, check out the shared album here.
Greetings, fellow Blog World™ denizens. Now that we’re a full 2 months past Star Wars Celebration (SWCA), I can safely assume you are probably already satiated from others’ musings. You can safely assume that I’m going to ramble on about it anyway, mostly because IT. WAS. AWESOME.
Severus super-surprised me with 4-day passes all the way back at Christmas 2013. Time crept ever so slowly until we finally hit April of this year and then everything kicked into lightspeed. Han’s 12-parsec kessel run would feel like a snail’s pace compared to how quickly the 4 days of SWCA flew by! So we’ll slow it down and take each day at a time with the blog posts.
First things first, we did not sleep on the concrete floor at the convention center overnight to catch the JJ Abrams panel. In fact, we bought our airfare well before the panel was even announced, let alone scheduled, so we didn’t stand a chance of getting there in time to make it to the main stage. Our flight arrived at LAX just after 7:30 am but a ridiculously slow rental car company ensured we wouldn’t make it to Anaheim until just before 10. That didn’t keep us from seeing the big Force Awakens (TFA) panel, though…kind of. We watched the live stream of the event on my phone. In the car. In a Burger King parking lot. And I cried like a little girl after they rolled the trailer.
Truth be told, I’ve gotten misty eyes every time I’ve seen the trailer. Every dang time—which is a lot considering I make a point to watch it frequently on Apple TV and we’ve seen it twice in 3D ahead of Age of Ultron. It’s so much better than I could’ve ever imagined, as it rings so true to the heart of the original trilogy. I’m going to be so broke when all of the merch hits stores Labor Day weekend!
When got to the convention floor just after the TFA panel wrapped up, it was pretty quiet. We passed a lot of people leaving, presumably to nap somewhere other than on concrete, which made the main hall very easy to navigate.
Because I was stupid or naive or just had residual clouded judgment from the emotional toll of the trailer, we didn’t take as many photos then as we should have. Instead, we walked around to get the lay of the land.
I promptly fell in love with the new TFA trooper armor that Anovos was displaying, only to find that it wouldn’t be available for preorder until later this year. Then I found some vintage toys that I wanted to buy, only to find that they were priced at least double what I was willing to pay. And so I kept my money for another day.
Day 1 also featured a panel with Emperor Palpatine himself, Ian McDiarmid. Never have I seen such a charmingly terrifying person. Truly, listening to him read an excerpt from “The Jedi Doth Return” is as satisfying as putting down a good scratch on a bad itch. But you don’t have to take my word for it…
To wrap up our first day, we visited The Force Awakens exhibit. Costume displays for Kylo Ren, Snowtroopers and Flametroopers were my absolute favorites; I’m so glad we got to see the details up close.
Obviously these pictures are just a first step into a larger world (Obi-Wan fans said “hey-o!”)—full photo album is up on my share site (here).
Coming soon to the blog, a look back at Day 2. Stay tuned!