Colorful hot springs, clouds of sulphuric steam rising out of almost every inch of the park, magnificent Bison just strolling around and hissing fumaroles make Yellowstone National Park a very alluring place to visit. Without a doubt, it is one of the most exotic and pristine National Parks in the country and it also happens to be the oldest! During our short long weekend visit, we only managed to cover most of sights on the West and South sections of the park. It was certainly not enough time to take in all the spectacular geothermal features.
In a barrage of thunder and hailstones, we drove up from Salt Lake City, Utah towards West Yellowstone, Montana where we were going to be staying. The landscape throughout the drive was quite mesmerizing. I happen to love rain and thunderstorms, so it was the perfect start to the weekend. As we got closer to Montana, the skies cleared up and the lovely crisp mountain air welcomed us. After checking in at the lodge, we immediately set out to the Old Faithful Inn to witness the dutiful Old Faithful. The park is big, it is also very busy and after parking at the Old Faithful inn, we began to wonder if it all the spots in the park were going to be as busy. The crowd sort of takes away from the charm a little bit, but as you hike deeper into the park, the crowds disappear and all is well again :)
The next morning, we started out early morning to make sure we were able to cover as much of the park as possible. The Bisons crossing the roads slowed us down a little bit, and caused a few traffic jams, but no complaints there! Just watching them calmly walk across was a treat. Apparently it is the only park where they have lived continuously since prehistoric times and roam freely, sublimely indifferent to the cars and people. We continued on to the Fountain Paint Pot, where we witnessed 4 hydrothermal features – geysers, hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles. It was quite fascinating to just stand and observe these features. Boiling mud randomly squirting over the mud pot, creating interesting sounds as the gases bubbled through the clay and a constant stream of Sulphur laden steam, leaving us nearly soaked as we walked off the wooden walkway!
One of the most remarkable sights was that of the Morning Glory Pool. It is about a 3 mile hike from the Old Faithful and the best part is that you get to see a number of other geysers and springs on the way, including the Castle Geyser. By the time we got to the Morning glory, the crowds thinned out and there were only a couple of other people. The gorgeous blue, green water and microbes that give it its characteristic orange-yellow fringe make it one of the most picturesque sights.
Spots such as the Grand Prismatic Spring, which is the largest spring in the US, and the third-largest in the world seem to draw the highest number of visitors in the park. I would recommend visiting the popular spots early in the day and then heading out to the other less popular sights.
Having heard so much about the Grand Teton National Park, we decided to drive through the park on our way back to Salt Lake City. What a gorgeous drive it was! Since the direct road from inside Yellowstone was blocked, we had to take a detour, which turned out to be one of the prettiest drives I have done. Narrow meandering roads and lush green meadows leading us towards the snow capped peaks in the distance. Since this post is primarily about Yellowstone, I will stop right here and just add a few pictures of Grand Teton below :). Would love to go back and explore some more some day.
Yellowstone National Park is home to some of the most visually breathtaking hot springs, geysers and very diverse wildlife. It is one place anyone can fall in love with! On my next trip, I plan to cover Lamar Valley, the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone and Mammoth Springs and of course, go back to all the spots we covered on this trip.
It’s been unusually cloudy this last week. No, I am not complaining. I couldn’t be happier, it is totally my kind of weather! I have been feeling so inspired and positive and ready to take on just about anything. A lot of grand plans are brewing in my head and I am really looking forward to the rest of the year. On that note, here are some beautiful things that have been adding even more cheer to my usually mundane week.
1. Loving these mugs from India Circus! Can’t wait to get my hands on a few.
2. Stella Jean FW 2015 Runway collection is so eclectic, exotic, and colorful.
3. I can’t stop humming Everyday by Buddy Holly since I heard it on one of the final episodes of Mad Men. It is SUCH a happy song!
4. Oh, I would love these blooms on my wall! Acrylic on canvas by Canadian artist Bobbie Burgers.
5. Such amazing Food maps! Just looking at them makes me hungry. Love the typography on the maps too.
7. This incredible project called Impossible City, run by Sawhorse Revolution – A group of enterprising teenagers have teamed up with designers and builders to create a moveable eco-village for Seattle’s homeless.
8. Tearable wallpaper by Znak! Looks so easy and fun to apply.
9. This immediately made me smile. SHAKE Puppies features over 130 full-page portraits of puppies photographed mid-shake: flapping ears, flying drool, adorably distorted expressions, and all.
Have a lovely rest of the week! :)
Quick weekend getaways are all the husband and I are able to find time for these days. There is nothing I like more than to go out and explore new places, so I am a little bummed about not being able to just head out and see the world. However, I am trying to save up all the vacation time I can for a long holiday in the fall. Until then, weekend/long weekend trips will just have to do. Our weekend in San Diego was quite a welcome break after non-stop slogging since the year began. Obviously, I had a list of places I absolutely HAD to visit in and around San Diego (and no, it did not include the zoo and SeaWorld…I cannot bear to watch animals in that artificial environment). We mostly just relaxed, took long walks on the beach, ate a lot and savored every moment of that weekend in the laid-back, charming city of San Diego.
Here’s a quick list of places you can visit in 36 hours:
(You could do a lot more as the distances are so short, but we decided to take it easy and not pack in too much!)
1. Scripps Beach – After landing early in the morning, we decided to head out directly to La Jolla to check out some of the not so busy beaches. Located just north of La Jolla shores is Scripps Beach and this was our first stop. We parked near the Lifeguard Tower and walked all the way to the beautiful and most photographed Scripps pier which is owned and operated by Scripps Institute of Oceanography.
2. The Salk Institute – Also in La Jolla, the institute was only a short drive away so we headed there next, in hope of doing the Architectural tour. The institute was established by Jonas Salk, M.D. and he selected Louis I. Kahn to design the facility. In December 1959, Salk and architect Louis Kahn began a unique partnership to design this facility. Salk summarized his aesthetic objectives by telling the architect to “create a facility worthy of a visit by Picasso.” Kahn, who was a devoted artist before he became an architect, was able to respond to this challenge. I truly envy people who are able to work, live or study in these functional pieces of art! The Institute is overlooking the Pacific Ocean and is quite an architectural marvel. Unfortunately, they are only open for tours only on week days so we just walked around the campus for a bit.
3. Gaslamp Quarter – After stuffing our faces with some of the best tacos I have eaten at The Taco Stand, we drove back to downtown San Diego to check-in, shower off all the sand from the beach and explore the Gaslamp area. The entire strip is quite lively and fun. We walked almost the entire length of it and it is lined with a variety of restaurants and bars. There were also some art galleries and stores hidden between the food places. We stopped for dinner and drinks at The blind Burro. After dinner, we went looking for a popular speakeasy called Prohibition. It is nicely concealed behind a door labeled ‘Law office’. You knock at the door and are are let in. The rest of the night basically involved some great cocktails and bar hopping in the Gaslamp Quarter.
4.Old Town San Diego State Historic Park – This was my favorite part of the trip! I absolutely LOVED old town. I am a sucker for old buildings and love anything that has some history so I was instantly enchanted. Old town has a lovely old world charm, beautifully preserved structures and so much art. There is a theater, blacksmith, tin shop, a few restaurants, the Cosmopolitan Hotel, a stage coach exhibit, candy shop, soap shop, teas and coffee shop, an olive oil shop and so much more to see. It was the perfect place for a leisurely afternoon stroll.
5. Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial – The drive up to Mt. Soledad is very scenic and on a clear day, you get to see clear 360 degree panoramic views of San Diego from the memorial. The wall of veteran plaques surround the foot of the cross on top of this hill. It wasn’t too crowded when we went up there so we were able to find a spot to park quite easily. We walked around for a bit, took in all the sights and then decided to head over to Coronado Island to relax by the beach.
6. Coronado Island – This was our last stop in San Diego. You can either take the bridge or a ferry to get across to the island. We took the bridge. The bridge itself is quite impressive! It is about 2.12 miles long and looks majestic as it gracefully curves around the connect the island with the mainland. The beach looked very welcoming and is definitely one of the widest beaches I have seen in California. From Coronado Island, we decided to drive along this sliver of land on the I-75, down south towards Mexico. Nothing spectacular like some of the other drives we have done in the south, but might be quite beautiful in the evening to watch the sunset!
The Coronado Ferry landing is definitely one of the best spots to get a good view of the San Diego skyline. We decided to grab some coffee/tea, lay on the grass for a bit before heading to the airport to catch our flight back home.
It is quite hard to imagine that earrings were a predominantly male ornament, and the connotations were different for different civilizations in different times! According to the World Wide Web, this ornament actually became a fashion accessory in the 1590’s during the English Renaissance. The gentlemen would be seen wearing gold rings embellished with pearls or other stones around that time. I must admit, I have always had a fascination for earrings. I am often caught starting shamelessly at people’s earrings, especially if I like them a lot! A younger me would long to wear the bold statement pieces that would be dangling from my mothers ears. And I may have inherited a taste for similar stuff rom her.
She totally rocks these doesn’t she?
Now, I am constantly on the look out for one of a kind, crazy, unusual pairs. Back in India, there is no dearth of variety and the styles catered to my taste so finding the right pair was never too hard. But after moving here, I have found very few that were to my liking. And buying anything that is mass produced is something I just do not endorse. I like exclusive, I like whimsical, I like a little melodramatic… so I attempted making some myself :). Incidentally, that was also the birth of this blog! The name makes more sense now doesn’t it ;). I just never got around to blogging about my earring making efforts because life just got in the way. And something I JUST realized – today is also my 2nd anniversary with WordPress! Perfect occasion for this post then, isn’t it? :) When I look back now, I feel like 2014 is a bit of a blur. Yet, it is a significant year for me and I am so glad I got a chance to rekindle my passion for creating things while so much else was going on!
It felt amazing to be able to create exactly what I wanted (I am QUITE picky, you see). Of course, these are nowhere near perfect, I just picked up the basic tools, wires, links and some very exotic beads and other trinkets from old markets in New Delhi and got to it. Some turned out quite well, while others had issues with the wiring and the links and stones would keep falling off! Plus there was a lot that I couldn’t achieve purely due the my lack of knowledge or expertise in working with the wires and other tools.
I read a lot of blogs on jewelry design, watched innumerable YouTube videos and just kept at it. After about a month or so, I could tell I was getting better at it and the quality was far better than when I had started.
I love combining patters and textures so after a couple of weeks, I started experimenting with shrink plastic. Being able to create patterns and watch them shrink down to perfect little tiles for my earrings was so thrilling! Of course, I messed up a lot of them and none of the pairs I made were perfect or identical. Fortunately for me, I like a little imperfection. I feel that it adds a little more character to each piece. This also satisfied my urge to up-cycle and repurpose stuff that would otherwise be thrown away. Plastic salad take-out boxes became pretty little tiles for my earrings. The whole process was truly satisfying and rewarding.
I don’t think I ever left home without my black sharpie during this phase. I would constantly look out for opportunities to start drawing on plastic and then shrinking it down, much to my husband’s dismay. He didn’t like me staring at the oven, waiting for my wonderful little art pieces to shrink down to perfect (maybe not) patterned tiles. (I promise you, I read a lot about shrinking plastic and this is perfectly safe, provided you keep your windows open and don’t inhale the fumes directly!)
I also did a couple of bracelets and neck pieces with the odd shapes I ended up with. Linked them to old beads I had and voila, I had a brand new piece that looked great. At this point, I was pretty pleased with myself but unfortunately, this was also when things got really busy on the work front and I had to push pause on the earring/jewelry making.
I do plan to get back to making some shrink plastic jewelry and combine it with unusual stones and beads. I haven’t had a lot of time to work on any DIY projects in the last couple of months, but I plan to dedicate one night a week purely for this purpose.
Watch this space for updates… :)