California

Woodsy Weekend

It's been a long time since I've written anything here. I've been wanting to get back to this blog, but it's just easier to post a quick photo on Instagram. Yet, I want to get back to it so here it is.

A couple weekends ago, I spent time in the woods with my husband and dog. I am starting to think we have a knack for finding the best spots on Airbnb and VRBO. Sure, there are amazing $400 a night places that look like a dream, but the ones we find are way better than pictured and a lot less money.

Our actual back deck view.

Our actual back deck view.

We headed past the Golden Gate Bridge, which is always good in my book. I can't count the times I've said I could live in Marin or Sonoma County, which my husband laughs at. You'd understand why if you were familiar with Marin housing prices! They should give me a discount because, you know, my name :) This area has the best mix of ocean, forest, river, farm fresh food and seafood. Maybe all I need in the world.

Cat corner.JPG

I loved this corner of the cabin: a purple and orange cat painting with records (including Patti Smith, Sam Cooke, Leadbelly and George Harrison). Listening to records while painting and looking at the view in the first picture was pretty much the best way to spend the day.

Cabin interior.JPG

With this painting, I wanted to keep it super loose and maybe even abstracted. I tried painting it once and realized the green chair was too big, so I started it over. It turned out way more detailed than I wanted it to be. I have been thinking about this lately.: how I want to keep things loose and wild, but they end up rendered and as they should be. Maybe I shouldn't fight how I naturally paint?

These Douglas Iris were everywhere

These Douglas Iris were everywhere

There were a million wildflowers out: Indian Paintbrush, Douglas Iris, yarrow, poppies and many more. We tried to go on the Chimney Rock hike in Point Reyes, but they don't allow dogs. I plan on going back next weekend since the hike supposedly has over 90 types of wildflowers!

So many poppies.

So many poppies.

Pride of Madeira shrub

Pride of Madeira shrub

Ice plants in Point Reyes 

Ice plants in Point Reyes 

This was one of the prettiest places I have ever been. The water was a mix of blue and aqua, flowers in full bloom and waves crashing around. I love these kinds of "you can tell the earth is round from up here" views.

An imperfect photo of a perfect sunset in Stinson Beach.

An imperfect photo of a perfect sunset in Stinson Beach.

We stopped in Bolinas for beach time and dinner at my favorite Coast Cafe. Then watched the sunset along 1 at Stinson Beach. Best weekend ever!

Weekend in the North Bay - Pt. 2 Cazadero

The day after we were in Bolinas with our good friends Chris and Claudine, we went to Cazadero with our good friends Nate and Lucia. What spawned this trip was Lucia messaging me about an open house for an A-frame in the redwoods. How could I say no?! Of course I would drive 3.5 hours away to hang out with these guys!

Totally worth the drive, right?

Totally worth the drive, right?

Cozy, glowing and welcoming

Cozy, glowing and welcoming

If you know me, you know I love an A-frame. When I was a kid, I had a book on houses and homes that had all kinds of unique dwellings in it. I still have it (pictured below). It has the most interesting homes, like roundhouses, A-frames and more. I also loved looking at architecture magazines and would draw up my own designs. 

The Children's Book of Houses and Homes

The Children's Book of Houses and Homes

The cabin is in Cazadero, one of the best smelling towns I've been to. The air is so fresh and smells of forest and calm. It sits among redwoods and has a nice sized property, although the neighbors are still visible. 

View from the back deck

View from the back deck

The lovely little kitchen.

The lovely little kitchen.

I really loved the kitchen. From the front of the house, it is on the left-hand side when you walk in. The angled ceiling made it very cozy. The dark area to the left in the photo above is a large freestanding cabinet that houses a pantry and refrigerator. Such a great design!

The mid-century modern living room

The mid-century modern living room

I always thought my home style was more artsy, rustic vintage, but after seeing this cabin, I may need to seek out some mid-century modern style furniture. Look at that fireplace! Isn't it stunning! Notice the outlets angled on the wall/ceiling. 

Lucia in her new bedroom (not really, but she can dream!)

Lucia in her new bedroom (not really, but she can dream!)

To access the upstairs, you climb an angled ladder. This is the view from the bedroom. The realtor told us the house comes with the authentic lamp. Imagine waking up to this view. 

The loft bedroom

The loft bedroom

The loft bedroom has windows on the flat wall, as well as windows built into the angled walls on either side. Waking up to redwood trees sounds good to me. 

The rear view of the house. There's a separate deck to the side. 

The rear view of the house. There's a separate deck to the side. 

As you can see above, the property is filled with trees, though there is an open grass area as well. I pictured some tents or tiny houses for other guests to stay. Nate's out on the deck, making himself at home. 

The nearby beach

The nearby beach

Another plus with Cazadero is that you are only about 15-20 minutes from the sea. It's fairly close to Jenner, a tiny town with a population of 136. I've always wanted to kayak in this area. 

Sketch of the cabin

Sketch of the cabin

After exploring Cazadero, I realized I need to come up this way more often. I have been to the Russian River, Jenner and other places nearby, but not Cazadero. The North Bay and North Coast of California is so incredibly beautiful. With farms, forest, ocean and friendly people, it remains one of my favorite places to go. 

Weekend in the North Bay - Pt. 1 Bolinas

I like doing wacky things sometimes, like driving up to the North Bay coast two days in a row, with two different sets of people. The drive is maybe 2.5 hours to Bolinas and 3.5 to Cazadero. Let's start with Bolinas.

Gospel Flat Farm - This is a family farm. We live here so please smile and say hello.

Gospel Flat Farm - This is a family farm. We live here so please smile and say hello.

We started by heading to Gospel Flat Farm, a family run farm in Bolinas. I had never stopped here before, usually because I beeline for the beach and on the way home, it looked closed. I learned they have a 24 hour farm stand that operates on the honor system. I love Bolinas even so much more now. 

Kaaaaale

Kaaaaale

Look at all that kale! Their farm was beautiful. So many good things growing here. 

Family laundry hanging on the line

Family laundry hanging on the line

Chris and Claudine

Chris and Claudine

The reason we came to visit the farm was because of an art show title Nature Babes. I knew of one of the artists from Instagram. Chris and Claudine came along with us and as you can see, they had a blast. We were lucky to spend their 5 year wedding anniversary with them. I enticed them with the following question: "Wanna go to an art show on a farm with wood-fired pizza and wine in a small beach town and have a killer dinner and pie at the Coast Cafe afterward?"

Who could say no?

Wood-fired pizza with toppings from the farm

Wood-fired pizza with toppings from the farm

Pretty huh? Work by  Maria Schoettler

Pretty huh? Work by Maria Schoettler

It was nice to meet Maria Schoettler in person. We follow each other on Instagram and I must say, these kinds of things make you love the internet. Her work is so lovely. The textures and colors are pure bliss.

Lindsay Stripling, part one of two of one artwork

Lindsay Stripling, part one of two of one artwork

Linday Stripling, part two of one artwork

Linday Stripling, part two of one artwork

Aren't these pieces gorgeous? Lindsay Stripling created this diptych of an invasion of a campsite. Looks like the wolves and turkeys took over everything. 

Work on paper by Emily Ritz

Work on paper by Emily Ritz

Emily Ritz created highly detailed watercolors with ink details. You can see the scale of this one by looking over at that window sill. The work is really insane closeup. So much detail!

Inside the gallery, work by Emily Ritz

Inside the gallery, work by Emily Ritz

You know I love a good A-Frame. Another one coming in Part 2 of this weekend:)

Yosemite Part One

In March of this year, I won the permit lottery to climb Half Dome at Yosemite. Last year, I wanted to accomplish some sort of grand physical feat. This year, after talking with my friend Rachel about hiking Half Dome, we both applied for a permit. I applied early the first day applications opened and selected a few full moon dates. A month or so later, I received the good news that we would be hiking Half Dome for the Harvest Moon. it is fairly difficult, though many do it and it doesn't require any expert training. I imagine you can't be too scared of heights and you have to be able to hike 14 strenuous miles. 

An old book and a painting from when I was a kid.

An old book and a painting from when I was a kid.

When I was a kid, my parents would take me to the bookstore and I was allowed to pick out one book. One time, I picked out the above Sierra Guide. I have perused this book since I was about 8 years old and the cover picture of El Capitan has stayed with me. I also painted this picture as a teen with some cheap paint on board. Still, as a child or adult, I never visited Yosemite, fearing the endless tour buses and crowds I had heard about. I felt I had seen enough Ansel Adams photographs and could just leave it to my imagination. 

Nick at El Capitan

Nick at El Capitan

Soon after entering Yosemite, you see El Capitan. It's no wonder that everyone uses the words majestic, magical and captivating when they describe Yosemite. It really is. All the Yosemite photos in the world can't capture actually being there. We stayed at Upper Pines Campground, which was a bit crowded but really it's the company and surround landscape that matters.

Rachel, very happy to be in Yosemite.

Rachel, very happy to be in Yosemite.

Rachel had warned us there was a fire last week in Yosemite. There was also one that started the day before our arrival. Being the positive group we were, we allowed fate to decide whether we would actually be able to climb Half Dome...well, actually the rangers decided by closing the trail gate. When we were informed of the closing, I can't say I wasn't disappointed. I had been looking forward to this for 6 months! 

The mystical Yosemite Valley

The mystical Yosemite Valley

We decided to do the the Four Mile Trail as an alternative since it would be a 9.4 mile roundtrip hike. As you can see the views are spectacular. Just layers of rock and layers of trees under a gigantic sky.

Above the valley.

Above the valley.

Getting higher.

Getting higher.

And even higher.

And even higher.

We saw a double rainbow over the valley while walking through some rain. It was one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. The rain cooled us down as we pushed ourselves to the top. The thunder made me just a little nervous, but luckily it cleared up.

We're giddy to be here.

We're giddy to be here.

People on the trail laughed at my reaction after coming around the bend and seeing this view of Half Dome. It sort of appeared magically and I couldn't get over its beauty. 

Another surreal peak of Half Dome.

Another surreal peak of Half Dome.

Um, yeah.

Um, yeah.

Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir spent 4 days up here at Glacier Point. I am thankful this park is preserved.

3,214 feet above Yosemite Valley

3,214 feet above Yosemite Valley

Hahahaha. We convinced Bryan to do this. Such a good sport.

Hahahaha. We convinced Bryan to do this. Such a good sport.

The whole crew.

The whole crew.

Bryan and I hiking back down. 

Bryan and I hiking back down. 

Glacier Point from the valley. Yup, we hiked that.

Glacier Point from the valley. Yup, we hiked that.

Camp dinner with my sweet crew. Utterly grateful for to have these people in my life.

Camp dinner with my sweet crew. Utterly grateful for to have these people in my life.

Aquarius and the moon

Aquarius and the moon

When my friend Gabby looked at her sky app, we found that our sign, Aquarius, was on the full Harvest Moon. How perfect is that? We're definitely going to apply for the permit lottery again next year. I had hoped they would give me other options, but I was sent a refund the day after we were supposed to hike. Yosemite was as stunning as I imagined and then some. It was more populated than I am used to for camping. I also thought frequently of the original Miwok who were booted from the area and how odd it was to see tour buses and campgrounds of people spending time enjoying Yosemite in their place. It is sacred and beautiful land and I felt it to be a privilege to be there. 

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow.