Jamie Sinz in Other Places

Where we’ve ever been

November 15, 2014 by Jamie

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Since I was making maps anyways…I figured that I would make a full map of all of the places we have ever been in our entire lives! These two maps document both Nik and I’s travels showing the places we have been together and on our own.

There is so much more to see!

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Where we’ve been

November 2, 2014 by Jamie

20141102_JS_USA-1Nik and I just got back from one of the best long weekends that confirmed the United States has the most stunning natural landscapes and the kindest people. So…I created a couple maps of where we have been over the past five years to see where we should go next!

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An Alt Design Summit Freshman

January 24, 2012 by Jamie

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.

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The Island of Kaua’i

February 2, 2010 by Jamie

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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A week in New York City

December 15, 2009 by Jamie

The Chrystler Building (we could see it from our window!)

The Chrystler Building (we could see it from our window!)

A couple days after all of the out of town family left, I hopped on a plane to New York to see one of my closest friends, Alex. It had been nearly two years since I saw her, and those two years have been quite an adventure for both of us. Needless to say, we had a lot of catching up to do.

One of the great things about visiting Alex is that when I am with her, I feel like I’m at home. She is the kind of friend that no matter when or where I see her, it feels like I’ve seen her every day.

When I arrived in the city, I dropped off my bags and set off to explore. I stopped to get coffee near Gramercy Park and then made my way down to Sullivan St. to drool over fabric and yarn at Purl Soho. When Alex finished work, we met up and did what girls do best….we shopped for jeans! I found a pair I liked, but she wouldn’t let me buy them because she receives Levi’s discounts almost daily through email. The mid-rise straight legs would have to wait.

Our next stop was this little sandwich shop on East Broadway & 20th, ‘wichcraft, that is now open for dinner and has a great upstairs dining area. Alex happens to have an new-found interest in this place, so the dinner was even sweeter than just two old friends grabbing a bite to eat.

On my second day, I woke up with a pretty bad head cold. After Alex made breakfast coffee and toast, she forced me to take cold medicine before she left for work. They worked like a charm and I was out and about wandering in no particular direction for a few hours. I stopped by the Union Square holiday market, happened upon Idle Wild Books, and even found the downtown location for the Brooklyn Flea Gifted market. Unfortunately, I walked by around 10:30am and they didn’t open until noon.

I made a large northwestern loop past the Fashion Institute and Madison Square Gardens before my legs turned to jelly and my cold took over my breathing. My exploring for the day was done, and I barely moved for the rest of the afternoon.

Broadway Comedy Club

Broadway Comedy Club

The next day, Saturday, was the day my mom and sister arrived for our “girls weekend”. For the three nights they would be in the city, we rented a studio apartment on 46th and 2nd from the vacation rental company, Urban Living. If you plan to take a personal vacation to New York City, and want to stay in an apartment, I TOTALLY recommend that you go through Urban Living. Not only is it owned by Alex’s mom, but our apartment was exactly what they said it would be, and was perfect for the three of us!

To prepare for Keisha and Mom’s arrival, Alex and I went to the one and only Trader Joe’s in Manhattan on 14th Street. I never knew I could be so excited about going to a grocery store, but shopping that morning was dreamy. I made sure to pick up 12-items-or-less (because the regular lines take about 1 1/2 hours, and the “express” lane only takes 45 minutes), but I easily could have filled four shopping carts. Trader Joe’s is one of the many reasons I loved Portland!

Mom and Keisha arrived, and we hit the ground running. Lunch at DeFonte’s sandwich shop, taxi to the rental apartment, comedy show at Broadway Comedy Club, Times Square at night, and a delicious chocolate cake for dessert. We were giddy to be in New York together, but exhausted by the colds that were swelling in our heads.

Downtown with the Statue of Liberty

Downtown with the Statue of Liberty

Sunday, December 6th was my mother’s birthday, and the real reason we were there. It was gorgeous outside with crystal clear skies, so our activity for the day was a no-brainer: The Empire State Building. Of course, we weren’t the only ones that wanted to take advantage of the weather. We stood in the well orchestrated and deceivingly short lines with hundreds of tourists for about an hour while talking about New York and trying to decide what languages everyone was speaking around us. The pay-off was worth it. We could see all of Manhattan and the surrounding Burroughs while the sunlight glistened off the rivers and rooftops.

Uptown...in sepia

Uptown...in sepia

Macy's

Macy's

Our next stop was Macy’s on 34th Street because a New York visit during the holiday season is not complete without seeing the department store windows. We peered into the fairytale land of letters to Santa and then braved the crowds inside to find three seats on the Mezzanine. We sipped hot chocolate while watching hordes of men and women shop for jewelry, accessories, shoes and fragrances. Once our legs were rested, we set out towards 5th Avenue to peer into the other shop windows and decided to head home once we had a glimpse of Rockefeller Center.

The Main Terminal at Grand Central Station

The Main Terminal at Grand Central Station

Mom looking up

Mom looking up

On Monday, our goal was to check off two more big-ticket New York items: Grand Central Station and The Statue of Liberty. We casually made our way down to Battery Park via Grand Central and purchased ferry tickets before sitting down for lunch in a local eatery. As we thought about riding the ferry and walking around the base of the statue, we realized that our heads were not equipped for the cold, sharp winds. Luckily, there were about 10 street vendors that had anticipated our needs, so we quickly purchased three similar-but-different fleece lined stocking caps for $5 each. Yes, we were the three ladies wandering around New York City in matching hats!!!! If Mom had done this to us when we were teenagers, Keisha and I would have screamed. But somehow, as adults, we loved it. Everyone looked at us kind-of oddly, and each time they did, we laughed.

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

We completed the audio tour just in time to catch the last ferry of the evening, and then took the subway to 10th Street to have dinner at Grafiti. The only problem with this is that Grafiti was closed. Mom seriously thought we were playing a joke on her, and was not very happy. Once we convinced her that that wasn’t the case, we found a quaint little Italian restaurant for our last supper in Manhattan, and had a wonderful meal. To prolong our evening, we went back to Rockefeller Center to have a better look at the tree and then caught a late movie.

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center

We all packed up the next morning, and went on one final shopping excursion. Then I put Keisha and Mom in a cab to the airport and I caught one myself to go back to Alex’s. Our four days in the city were perfect even though none of us were in top form. These were days that we will always remember….and Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom's Birthday Weekend

Mom's Birthday Weekend

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