Thursday, April 24, 2014

Adventures... in Arizona


Do you ever read those Buzzfeed articles titled "[A superfluous number of] Places to Visit Before You Die"?  Well I do, and I get mixed feelings about them.  

On one hand, the pictures are drool-worthy and inspires such wanderlust, but on the other hand... you're setting me up for failure, Buzzfeed.  First of all, I couldn't tell you where Chapada dos Guimarães is located, so how am I supposed to get there?  Second, I have a job and every day person expenses, so even if I could find the nearest airport and an air carrier to get me to Lençóis Maranhenses, how many Etsy signs and kidneys will I have to sell to pay for it?  And 29 places?  29?  If I get 10 days off a year and see two places in those 10 days, it'll take me almost 15 years to finish just that one list.

Okay, enough with the math problems.  The point is, I kept seeing these pictures of natural sites in Arizona... oh, hello neighbor state!  So why couldn't I just get in my car and go?  One place in particular struck my fancy... Antelope Canyon.  This isn't my first time seeing this dreamy sandstone creation (see below - Britney Spears "I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman").

So in early 2013, Dustin and I planned out our first three-day trip together to Page, Arizona to visit two of nature's greatest creations -- Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.  We desperately wanted to see The Wave too, but you really have to be ahead of the game when booking that one.  The waiting list is really long and they only allow a certain number of people on it per day.  

Moving on!  Here are the when/who/where/how's of the CA --> AZ --> NV --> CA trip:

6pm: Departed Los Angeles ... Yay! Road Trip!
12am: At this point, it was hitting us that leaving so late was not the smartest idea.
2am: Commence driver switch.
3/4am: Arrived in Page, Arizona

8:30am: Travel Advisor tourists highly recommended Antelope Slot Canyon Tours by Chief Tsosie for an awesome tour of Antelope Slot Canyons.  You can't see it on your own, so I don't recommend "winging it".

We took the 8:30am time slot because we heard it gets really crowded any later than that.  I'm glad we did, it was packed towards the end of our tour.  Chief Tsosie knows the canyon like the back of his hand and often took our cameras to get the best shot of the canyon walls.

Afterwards, we stopped at the Big Dipper Ice Cream shop for duh... ice cream!  It was perfect!

With no time to waste, we were on our way to Horseshoe Bend!  From Page, AZ drive south on Highway 89 to between mileposts 544 & 545.  Look for the exit lane and prominent dirt road on the west side of the road which you can drive a short distance on to the parking area.  You walk up this hill and the view from the top is just breathtaking.  We spent an hour or so walking around the "Bend" and snapping picture after picture.  Truly one of the world's great natural wonders.

We capped the night off by eating dinner at Fiesta Mexicana which was so delicious and the portion sizes are HUGE!

We checked out of the good ol' Holiday Inn Express and went on our merry way to the next destination... Las Vegas, NV.  The drive was beautiful going back through AZ and UT, keep in mind that the drive there was basically pitch black, so we finally got the chance to see the beautiful rock formations across the vast land.

We arrived at the glorious Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas.  It was Dustin's first time staying here and he couldn't get over the sheer size of the suite; it was like Christmas.  After checking in and playing with the controller watching the motorized window treatments go up and down a few times, we had to make our next tour - the Neon Boneyard.  

I think I first heard of the Neon Boneyard or Neon Museum on the Travel Channel.  I'd been dying to check it out because I suppose I have a fascination with old Las Vegas and the historical signs not being thrown away but rather living in a retirement home at the end of The Strip.  The days and hours of operation are very particular, so pay close attention to those.  You must book a tour in advance through their website.  It was really fun and the guides know so much about the history of the signs and Vegas.  If you're looking for something a little different and unexpected on your Vegas Vacation, try this on for size!

We went back to our room and spent the rest of the day watching VH1's 100 Greatest Songs of the 90s.  We'd been driving and touring for hours, so this was where the actual weekend took effect.  It was awesome to say the least, and that evening we enjoyed a nice dinner and walked up and down The Strip.  

Driving alllll the way back to Southern California.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Crafting... Wedding Signs

It's been a long time since I've done a project like this one.  I was beyond excited to help my BFF and Bride-to-Be out with some wedding signs, and it felt really good to dust off the ol' "fontagraphy" skills!  We had a really good time and I'm actually considering opening an Etsy shop for wedding signs now.

You better believe I'll be posting about the actual wedding, but this was such a fun day of sign making and girl time, that I had to post about it.  I think it's so important that all signage match, and if possible, all paper products for a wedding.  It sets the tone throughout and ties everything together.  

We leveraged their wedding invitation design for the cornholes and used her favorite Bombshell font to keep it all consistent.  I don't trace because I tend to put more pressure on myself that way and am actually more likely to mess up.  Paint pens (big and small) are my medium of choice, and I'll usually write it out in the big pen and go back over it a couple times, using the small pen for the finer details.  I'll type out what I want to write and then go at it, and after a while, I'll remember how each letter should look so I no longer need to reference the actual typeface.  I don't consider myself a calligrapher because I'm not original with the style... I just like to mimic fonts, which is not a bad thing, it's just different.  Jenny bought and stained the wood, both purchased from Lowe's (stain is Dark Walnut).  

Enough of the chatter, here are the goods! :)

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Crafting... My Bridesmaids Proposal

As the first official item on my "To Do" list post-proposal, I knew I wanted to make my "proposal" to my bridesmaids pure awesomeness!  This special group of ladies are my everything -- they're all magical, thoughtful, kind-hearted and hardworking women.  My connection to one is so different from the other, but when they are brought together, it is like they'd somehow formed their own little electric dream team.

Okay - enough sap - I knew I wanted to make a video.  I'm not super fancy - I use iMovie, but I've made videos for every birthday celebration since I was 21.  They likely wouldn't expect anything less from me.  So, I wrangled in one of my best guy friends (shout out to Bob!) who has a lot of experience in the realm of video production.  We found ourselves a lapel mic and equipment and hit the road.  Without further ado, please enjoy... [if you don't want to stick around for the intros per girl, the fun part starts at 3:27]!

In addition to the video, I made boxes (how original! :sarcasm:).  I spray painted them in white and added a hunter green bow and their first initial (everything purchased at Michaels).  I'll be really honest, I got lazy - painting after work at 9pm on a little apartment patio is rough, so I didn't paint the inside.  I cut out a piece of gold glitter scrapbook paper to line the bottom, and I included a personal card (below), a booklet of wedding details and chocolate in the box.  I also added in a Bath & Body Works candle and small bottle of vino from World Market. :)


Mood Board!
Yes, I PhotoShopped their faces on the dresses.


I kept the tone light-hearted and funny...
(purchased on Etsy from Finch + Hare)

And guess what... they all said YES!!! #success