Aloha from Waikiki, Hawaii

Aloha! I am in Hawaii this week and wanted to share a few photos from our first couple of days in Honolulu + Waikiki.

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First things first, here are a couple of pictures of the famous Waikiki Beach…

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I love that view.

I also love the view of this infinity pool along the beach…

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Awesome.

We went to a luau on our first night here, and it was so much fun. We went to the Paradise Cove luau and I’d recommend it if you are interested in learning a bit about Pacific Island culture while seeing a good show by talented locals and getting dinner.

We saw hula dancers and a man climb a tree to toss down orchid flowers (He made it look so easy!)

 

Here’s everyone lined up to learn about fishing traditions…

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We tried our hand at spear throwing…

…admired the plant life…

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…and enjoyed the sunset!

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The food has been great so far, too. I have been eating all the fish tacos. Haven’t met any here that I didn’t like!

We also tried this frozen treat, banán a dairy-free soft serve made from local bananas and fruit that tastes a bit like frozen yogurt. Yum.

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Now we are up on the north side of Oahu and excited to explore the area up here! I’ll share more photos from here later and in the mean time I’ll be posting over on instagram.

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Have you been to Hawaii? What was your favorite thing to do? 🙂

 

kate

How to Spend a Day in Cambria, California

Cambria, California is a small, lovely seaside town about 20 minutes north of Morro Bay. It makes a great stop if you are driving between LA and San Francisco, and is close to some cool sites in the central coast area like Hearst Castle, the elephant seals at San Simeon, and the Paso Robles winery region.

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We started our day with a visit to Moonstone Beach – a great place for a walk, a picnic, or to just enjoy the ocean. We’re visiting in April, so it was pretty windy + still a little chilly… but warm enough for a great walk. There’s a long boardwalk that makes the beach views accessible for everyone.

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There are also lots of hidden coastal access points off of Highway 1. We stopped at one rocky beach outcrop to explore a bit of the seaside by ourselves…

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In town, there are so many great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique shops…

Plus plenty of art galleries to stop in, some antique shops, and a little playhouse connected to the Harmony cafe. We ate at the cafe, and if you are in town check the adjoining J. Buckley Theatre’s schedule for frequent events like live music, local plays, and retro movies…

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Our favorite dish was the sea bass – really fresh!

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We also ate at the Indigo Moon on the other side of Main Street.

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We more or less ordered one of everything and it was all delicious!

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I love hidden gem places like Cambria! Do you love little seaside towns, too?

 

Kate

 

A March Day Trip to Sequoia National Park

Earlier in March, we took a day trip from to Morro Bay to Sequoia National Park. There are lots of cool things to see and do in both Sequoia and the nearby Kings Canyon National Park, but our mission was to see some of the tall sequoias in the National Forest and especially the General Sherman Tree.

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My number one hot tip for journeying up to Sequoia Forest in March? Check the weather forecast first!

We were definitely caught off-guard to leave Morro Bay in the upper 60 degrees F and find ourselves in Sequoia facing this:

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And this!

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All the cloud/snow/fog in that photo is obscuring the mountainside – we were at an elevation of about 6,000 ft here.

We weren’t deterred. We rented some snow chains for our tires and my husband put them on. He is from Minnesota so I figured, he knows what he’s doing!

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He told me afterwards he had never put snow chains on a car before, but he had put them on a lawn mower. Apparently, in Minnesota they attach snowplows to lawn mowers to clear snow in the winter! Me (from Atlanta) and the man renting the snow chains to us (from California) were both gobsmacked to hear this.

When we made it to the pull off for the trail to the General Sherman tree, the lot was sparsely populated and looked like this:

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Still not deterred! We made our way to the tree in 6 inches of snow.

Worth it:

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The General Sherman Tree is the biggest living tree by volume in the world – 275 feet tall, and 36 feet in diameter….

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It was awe-inspiring to gaze up and take in the size of this tree surrounded by so many tall, beautiful sequoias in the forest.

We made it back down the winding mountain roads safely, turned in our snow chains, and headed on. On our way back we stopped at In-N-Out and chatted the whole way about what an odd but amazing day it had been.

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This was definitely a unique experience for me and a story I think I will be retelling for many years!

p.s. – But seriously… did anyone else know that there are places where they put snow chains on lawn mowers?? I learn amazing things all the time.

 

xo

Kate

Painting the California Coastline – Part 1

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I’m working on an art collection inspired by the Central Coast area of California in and around San Luis Obispo county.  While I’ve been living in Morro Bay for a couple of months, I’ve been especially inspired by the ocean and the colors that form where the sky meets the water on the horizon.

I want to share with you guys the behind-the-scenes process. Part 1 here focuses on some of the things that happen before any paint gets on a canvas.

1 – Finding Inspiration

First things first, some inspiration! It’s where the fun starts. 🙂

An early afternoon by Morro Rock…

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A late afternoon hike near Los Osos, CA…

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Dusk on the first not-rainy day after a stormy week in Morro…

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2 – Sketching Forms and Making Plans

When I’m organizing my thoughts about a place, I like to make some quick and rough sketches to play with relative scale, feel, and overall architecture of places I like. Like these:

Spending this time translating the world onto the page helps me decide which direction to take the eventual paintings.

3 – Study the colors

Along with the sketches (and before I start any work on the canvas) I like to play with mixing up colors to discover which tones I like, which hue best captures the feeling I’m trying to convey, and how well colors play together. I end up with a lot of splotches like these:

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And alongside the color experiments, I’ll do some just-for-fun/warm myself up paintings that focus on how I want the paints to come together and play off each other. For these I will use either some thick paper or inexpensive canvas boards from Michael’s (great for practicing on when you don’t want to waste a whole canvas!).

Here are a couple of examples of fast practice paintings I did to see how my colors might look in a composition:

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(When I work on these color studies, the kinds of questions I ask myself are: does the light seem right? Am I conveying the mood I want? Are the colors balanced?)

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So that’s an overview of starting the painting process! Finding inspiration, sketching out forms and plans, and studying the colors.

In Part 2, I’ll talk about how I am preparing my canvases and I’ll show more of the collection!

And this Thursday, I’ll post a time-lapse of the process for this painting:

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(I just love the clouds in that one.)

Let me know what questions you have in the comments!

 

Kate

 

Disney Vlog + 3 Tips for Visiting in 2018

As promised, here is the vlog from our Disneyland trip plus 3 tips for visiting Disneyland in 2018!

These are the 3 things that really helped keep our day fun and efficient:

  1. Disneyland App + MaxPass
  2. Start Fastpasses Early
  3. Rent a storage locker

I talk them through in more detail in the video starting at the 1:53 mark.

Let me know in the comments if these tips work for you or if you have any other Disney advice!

A dream is a wish your heart makes….

xo

Kate

Disneyland during Spring Break

Last week, we took my sister to Disneyland during her spring break! Wanted to share a few pictures.

Here she is in front of Aurora’s castle…

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We started off the day with my favorite ride: the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout (the old Tower of Terror!)…

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Got some awesome souvenirs, we all l-o-o-o-ved our Disney mouse ears – I got sparkly ones!

 

But maybe the coolest ones were these light-up Star Wars ears….

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Had a good time hanging out with the Frozen crew and getting our snowfies

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And here we are with Tinkerbell (clap if you believe!)

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I’ll be back on Thursday with the vlog + my top three tips for visiting Disneyland for a day.

May the force be with you,

Kate

A #TinyHouse Tour

Happy Thursday friends! We are currently enjoying rural California, and I wanted to do a little tour of our two-week #TinyHouse AirBnb.

Tiny Homes seem to be getting more and more popular over the past few years (there is even a “Tiny House” filter on AirBnb now!), so I’m excited to see one up close.

Here’s an outside view…

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…and inside….

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Tiny homes, for a lot of people, are a chance to cut clutter, live more simply, and reduce impact on the environment. For others, it is a chance to be more cost efficient, or manage a smaller place in retirement, or to work on an interesting design challenge.

Here is the living room…

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…kitchen area complete with a gas oven…

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… and our back to back work station!

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If you walk past the kitchen, you’ll past the laundry on your left (across from the bathroom and the stairs to the lofted space) on your way to the bedroom.

Tiny houses are all about creating storage space wherever possible – like the wall to wall closet and overhead shelf space in the bedroom.

And here the lofted space – perfectly kid sized!

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I am really loving being out in the beautiful California countryside – peace and quiet and it gets so very dark at night with sooo many stars.

And sometimes horses come right up outside our windows 🙂

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As the Tiny House movements grows and some people want to live in them full time or keep their Tiny Home on wheels, more and more communities are trying to hammer out details of zoning laws, building permits, and answers to other obstacles for people in those circumstances. For those types of Tiny Homes, it can still be a gray area in lots of places.

If you are interested in more about Tiny Homes, you can search for short term rentals on AirBnb or even look for a Tiny Home rental community.

What do you think? Let’s talk the #TinyHouse movement in the comments!

Kate