Just about a year ago, Emily and I decided that our big trip would just have to be to Vietnam. She had never been to Asia (and the only Asian country I had been to was Singapore, which is basically “Asia light”), and we wanted a big, two-week trip to push us out of our comfort zones and help us really escape the grind that’s been life in DC.
So we did it. And oh, did Vietnam push our comfort boundaries. To start, we were a little worried about the flight situation — DC to LA is 6 hours, LA to Tokyo was 14, and then Tokyo to Ho Chi Min City was another 7 hours. So to say the least, we were trying to find all the hacks in the world to make this bearable (fwiw — this hack was a game changer for me).
Having grown up in Los Angeles, and being one of those people whose parents rarely understood the need to leave California, I could count on one hand the number of times I had witnessed snow falling. That is, until I moved to DC, where I heard it “rarely snowed,” and in my first winter, we got about 48 inches of snow.
There’s no better introduction to snow than one of those rare, city-shut-down, break out your skis blizzards. And since I haven’t seen snow quite like that first East Coast winter, getting to Montreal just before a blizzard gave me that magical winter wonderland that I had been craving for the last nine years.
My travel partner, hailing from Montana by way of Spokane, was less entertained – but nevertheless, entertained me by trekking through Vieux Montreal amidst a white out.
I never quite fell in love with printed pieces until my first shipments from Artifact Uprising came in. It was a couple of years ago at this point — I put together a family photo calendar for my stepmom as a Christmas gift, thinking it’d be cute. And after distributing gifts, other family members were so enamored with the calendar that I got back onto the site and ordered another set before Christmas brunch was even over.
So, needless to say, I’ve been pretty obsessed ever since. And now that I’m spending most of my days as a professional photographer, I honestly can’t justify printing my photos through any other service. I’m a stickler for going with the most affordable service, and while these prints aren’t the cheapest out there, the quality is by far the best I’ve ever worked with.
Also note that this post is so incredibly overdue — back in July, I traveled to Kauai for a week and got in touch with the team at Artifact Uprising to have some prints made, and life got away from me. But the prints are still there and just as vivid as they day they arrived!
After my recent trip to Iceland… where by day 2, we were four girls in a constant state of the giggles, I knew I wanted to have photo books printed for us.
I’m also pretty smitten with the fabric hardcover photobooks they have out there, and after the past year of travel, I’ve decided to treat myself to creating a year in photos for myself every year — just my top 50 to 100 photos from work, home, and abroad to remind me how incredible this world is.
A couple of weeks ago, I got the chance to check out the newly reopened Renwick Gallery here in DC. I visited the museum once, years ago, when it was called the American Craft Museum, but it’s been so long and the exhibit in there will hold fast to my memory for pretty much, ever.
Thanks to this dude, I got to spend a leisurely lunch with several other IGDCers, exploring the Wonder exhibit, which, you can tell by these photos, is mesmerizing to say the least.
The photos don’t do it justice. Go, and take lots of photos. There are signs throughout the building that encourage it 🙂
Last summer, I got roped into the organizing crew for Dîner en Blanc, an amazing event that happens on different nights all over the world, where thousands of attendees meet at an undisclosed location for a flash mob, picnic dinner.
This year, the location was so perfect — the Carnegie Library, located right smack in the middle of DC. And, since my assigned meeting point was in Chinatown, the 350 people headed to the location with me didn’t even have to get on the metro. Talk about convenient!
Just over six months ago, I started working for Cava. Man, how that time flies. Man, how cool is it that I get to create stuff like this, all day, every day? And it feels like things are just getting started. California, we’re comin’ for ya.
I had been wanting to get into some fashion-oriented photography for the past couple of years, so when I started working at Cava, I dropped a few hints at Liz to collaborate on some outfit posts.
Luckily, one of my favorite streets in DC happens to be the one I live and work on, and a quick afternoon stroll made for the perfect mini photo shoot. Check out Liz’s kicks — the brand uses sales and production to help entrepreneurs develop their businesses, all while creating a product that’s functional and beautiful too. You can see + shop Liz’s carefree but perfectly styled attention to detail here, and follow her on Instagram here.
If you’re not already convinced by the time you get to my recommendations at the bottom of this post, read those. Kauai is a more rugged island, and the weather is usually iffy, but we lucked out and managed to get some nice beach days. It’s definitely an island for the adventurer; those of you akin to strenuous hikes with rewarding views and swimming under waterfalls, this place is for you.
And if you’re not already following along on Instagram, I’ll continue posting images there @gurrity!
We stayed in an Airbnb in Kapaa — it was perfect for what we were looking for, but a little on the rugged side. It actually reminded me a lot of the Airbnb I stayed in when I visited Mexico, years ago now. But we really didn’t spend much time there outside of sleeping hours.
We ended up spending the majority of our time here. The northern and eastern shores are generally pretty rainy and quiet, so on the rainiest days, we hopped in the car and headed south, to the Poipu areas. But our trip happened to be on a rare summer storm that engulfed the island, so we dodged rain pretty much everywhere. The sunny photos of surfers happen to be from Shipwreck beach, where we saw a spectacular sunset (and a few cliff divers, probably on the crazy side, given the surf report).
The Queen’s Bath
A ridiculously beautiful sinkhole in a giant shelf of lava rock, with the bluest of blue waters. All in all, ocean porn. The hike down was short, treacherous, and very worth it. Julie was a bit apprehensive, but we were both awestruck by how beautiful the place is. And, to be honest, I had pinned a gorgeous photo of it years ago on Pinterest, so I was pretty ecstatic to learn that the place happened to be on Kauai. Go there.
Hanakapi’ai Falls + Ke’e Beach
If you take the island road all the way north, the road will just end and drop you off at Ke’e Beach. If you feel like hiking for a few hours and want some spectacular views of the Na Pali coast, take the trail 2 miles to Haena beach, and then another 2 miles inland to the falls. This trail is not for inexperienced hikers — if you trek after a few days of rain (like we did), prepare to be scaling some slippery mud cliffs and climbing through boulders. No joke, couldn’t use my quads for a couple of days after this hike. But the swim into the waterfall was worth it. After you hike back to the trailhead, proceed immediately to the crystal clear waters of the ocean.
Great for snorkeling, and my actual favorite spot to catch a good sunset. A perfect place to settle down for the day with a good book and great views of the water and the mountains.
It’s more or less a counter in a local grocery store, but it’s a glorious one at that. Tell William I said whatup.
Kilauea Fish Market
The best, freshest ahi wrap I’ve ever had.
Wailua Shave Ice We tried to go here every day, but we were a little crunched for time. This is what shave ice should be. I wanted to buy a bro tank for spin class, but they were out.
The Happy Taco (aka El Taco Felix) Ridiculously good taco truck in Kapaa. Open till 11 pm. We drank a pitcher of margaritas at the spot next door, and gorged on some tacos right after. Thumbs up.
Amazing ahi poke lunch specials — you can get a container like this for just over $6. Go early, because they run out and their hours are short.
While getting my flight to leave DC was a struggle, the struggle is definitely not real here. I arrived last night around 7:30, met Julie at our Airbnb (so many kittens around here!!) and we grabbed a quick dinner at a little spot called Mermaid Cafe. The stars were unreal on our walk home, so I had planned to go out and take some photos — but by the time I grabbed my gear and walked back out to the beach, it was pouring rain.
Thankfully, jet lag had me up again at 3 am, so I snuck out to the shore and caught a couple of good ones.
My phone will be on do not disturb mode all week. Not sorry.