Here & There

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Whaler’s Bay in Pt Lobos State Park

Since I last posted I have mostly been working, but I have also had a few spare days here and there to wander around California, skip over to South Carolina to surf the waves with my family, hang out at the ranch in Montana with the whole Johnke clan, see a couple friends get hitched in Malaysia, pass along a handmade to two of the coolest people I know, and even made an origami star for our home made christmas tree.

I have also been without a camera of my own for a little over two years now since my Canon G9 decided to quit, and that just changed. An Olympus D-10 now happily resides in my purse whenever we take long walks or hop on planes. I’m excited because the image quality is definitely better…but the photographer is a little rusty. I’m making rookie mistakes of using the wrong ISO, forgetting about white balance, composing frames awkwardly, and generally taking crappy photos. My goal is to carry it around more often…so we’ll see!

In the meantime, here are a few photos from the past year or so.

Buffalo in Yellowstone

Buffalo in Yellowstone

The spectators at Old Faithful - June 2013

The spectators at Old Faithful – June 2013

At the top of Heavenly - February 2014

At the top of Heavenly – February 2014

The Pacific

The Pacific

Katie & Gregg - Christmas Eve 2013

Katie & Gregg – Christmas Eve 2013 (Photo by Nik)

N - June 2013

N – June 2013

This place

This place

An Alt Design Summit Freshman

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

I will be the first to admit: I did not know what I was getting myself into.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait on Day One

On November 15, I signed up to go to a conference in Salt Lake City called the Altitude Design Summit (Alt). Several of the bloggers I have been following for years were speaking, and since I like reading their work online, I figured I might enjoy hearing what they have to say in person too.

After the holidays, chatter about Alt picked up everywhere. Some bloggers were hunting for tickets and hotel rooms while others were creating ‘what to wear’ boards for every hour of the conference. I watched it all from the sidelines and gave in a little because I did stress about what I would wear for the dinner-en-blanc party. But generally, seeing everyone so worked up about what clothes and accessories were going into their suitcases concerned me. I was interested in this conference because of the content and the people, and not their outfits. I’ll be honest, I am intimidated by overly fashionable people.

Fast forward to last Wednesday when I passed through the doors of baggage claim at the Salt Lake City airport and walked to the passenger pick-up area. To my right and to my left, there were ladies in high heels looking lost. We were all searching for the airport “shuttles” which consisted of a few sedans with magnetic logos on the side, and we were all slightly guarded. We were all bloggers, and most of us were there for the first time. We didn’t quite know what our blogs were or where they were going, but we were here for the same reason…to figure that out. The few that had been there before seemed unapproachable in their confidence. We were freshman and cramped their sophomoric style.

The Grand America where the conference was held

Fifteen or twenty minutes later, I packed into a car with two other ladies and went to the main hotel to check in. I split off to rest a bit before leaving for the scheduled dinner with ten others. The evening was the perfect start to an intimidating weekend. The food was prepared by Stephanie and Romina and served in five courses. Over each course, I got to know Molly, Mindy, Taylor and Ruth (all freshmen) a little bit better. By the end, I had four names and faces that I could connect with throughout the week. The only question was would I actually recognize them given the drastic costume changes that would occur.

The following two days were a blur of high heels and red lipstick, with spots of clarity and inspiration thrown in here and there. During the first panel, one of the speakers did elude to the fact that we chose our friends by the clothes they wear, and I must say that that was not what I wanted to hear. I was there because this group of people was giving this new platform of personal expression their all, not because they all wear cute clothes.

After all of the sessions, I came to the conclusion that these bloggers have all been successful thru calculated chance. Blogging is so new that none of them expected to “go pro”, and the platform is also nimble enough that each of them made mistakes and recovered quickly. I also learned that “design bloggers” are not all “designers” in the traditional graphic, interior, industrial, fashion, or architectural sense. They simply have developed an appreciation for their own personal design whatever that may be. I am very interested in knowing what others think design blogging is. We all design our own lives to make ourselves happy, so are we all designers? Or is there a particular rigor or discipline that distinguishes a designer? I am not a design blogger, but I am a designer that blogs. Is there a difference?

Then there were three keynote talks that were all equally amazing. The first discussion between Pilar Guzman, Deborah Needleman, and Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan made me want to have coffee with each of them at least once a month. Then Ben Silberman’s discussion of what Pinterest is and will be gave me my biggest take aways of the entire weekend. First, you have to make things happen if you want them, and second, if you are in a position to expand your business, hire people that are smarter than you so that you can let go with confidence as necessary. Then the final keynote given by Gretchen Rubin was both encouraging and funny, and left everyone wanting to make changes in their daily lives to make them a little bit happier.

The remainder of the time really was a blur to me. All of the chit-chatting between sessions and at big parties was overwhelming. Since I came alone, I didn’t have anyone to serve as my social crutch, and pretty much felt like a loner. I eventually began seeing beyond the pretty faces and glitter, but by that point, I was way behind. Everyone else already had their friends, so I played the part of the wall flower, and I do not sit on the sidelines when I am confident. I must have still been intimidated. I did introduce myself to a hand full of people that I really admire, because I knew I would kick myself if I didn’t.

Then on the very last day at the very last moment….I asked a girl I had chatted briefly with if she wanted to have dinner that night. I know, I actually kind of made a friend!!! Who knew that would make things better? So my last hurrah of the whole experience was by far the best. My new friend, Meg, and I went out to dinner with her friend,  Allison, to a quiet dinner at the Copper Onion downtown. It was one of those evenings where the conversation never lulled, and we felt like old friends the entire time. It was constant and funny and inspiring and energizing and the food was delicious. I know that this is why the sophomores I met on the airport curb returned this year, but it took me, a freshman, some time.

My spot next to two friends

For more Alt recaps, go here.

The Island of Kaua’i

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
The North Shore

The North Shore

For the last week and a half of January, I went to the island of Kaua’i in Hawaii with Nik, his sister and parents for a good old fashioned family vacation. The goal of the trip was quality time and relaxation, and both were achieved. We walked/hiked a lot, laughed a lot, drove a lot, played a lot and swam a little. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t very good which meant the the surf was dangerously rough, but we managed just fine. Instead of swimming in the ocean, we looked at the ocean….and saw whales! Lots of them! Their whole bodies! Jumping out of the water! From the beach! We weren’t even on a boat! Nik managed to get one photo of a tail, but I was too busy watching them to pull out my camera. In fact, my general state of relaxation prevented me from taking very many photos at all during this trip. (Normally, I take 1/2 as many photos as Nik, but this time I think I took 1/10th) And those that I did take were of Nik, and that’s boring to everyone but me. So here are a dozen or so shots of what I saw.

The tree canopy

The tree canopy with blue skies beyond

Hiking through the mud

Walking on the beach

Nik walking on the beach in the fancy shorts

The driftwood shelter Nik and I built.....and the pathetic view from it!

A postcard to my mom...."Hi Mom, Wish you were here!"

The Daums at sunset

My sister's postcard..."happy birthday Keisha"

My sister's postcard..."happy birthday Keisha"

Washed away...

Little Birdie

Walking through the haze

Hiking through the highest swamp in America

Trip Highlights:
– Scrabble…and Nik quitting midway through because he kept getting all vowels
– The beach house with no hallway…which meant midnight snacks woke up the entire house.
– Waking up at the crack of dawn…voluntarily
– The most beautiful Costco…ocean on one side, mountains on the other
– Another stay at the Kalaheo Inn
– The best seafood dinner ever at Postcards
– Kaua’i Coffee
– A couple 8-mile hikes
– Playing tag in the front yard
– “Banana Smoothie” … “eihtoomS ananaB”
– Whales!

Nik’s posts….with lots more photos:

Hike on the Phinea and Alaka’i Swamp Trails

Various Moments on Kauai’s South Shore

Various Moments on Kauai’s North Shore

Kalalau Trail to Hanakapi’ai Beach and Falls

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