scenes from st thomas

snapshots of scenes from st thomas

this is the landing strip for the only airport in the upper US virgin islands. on the day that callie and i went to that farmer's market, we stopped here and watched a couple planes land. it's scary how close they get to the water!

there are a couple spots around st thomas where the surf picks up during the winter months. a friend took callie and i to hull bay to check out the waves. callie went out and gave it a shot, but i opted to stay on the beach with a book because the break was a little to close to shallow reef for my liking. so i still have yet to learn how to surf... crossing my fingers it'll happen in costa rica or hawaii this spring! :)

this is a heavenly dirty chai latte from my favorite cafe on the island, called barefoot buddha. and that's my little travel wallet, which i lost near a bus stop in havensight. i went back and looked for it, but no dice. but over a week later, i was sailing around the british islands with friends, and amber called to tell me someone turned my wallet into the yacht haven security office! of course, it was missing the $30 i had in it (finder's fee?), but at least i got my peace back :)

one monday, kim and i took the ferry over to water island for movie night. a couple of silly boys met up with us and made us laugh through the entire thing. and to be honest, i was way to enamored by the beauty of our surroundings to pay attention to the film anyway. they played cartoons as the sun set---perhaps cause they knew the REAL show was behind the screen ;) but when the sun was gone and the movie came on, i could not take my eyes off the STARS. and then the cute faces on the rows of people watching that projection hanging from two palm trees. and then a cute sailor boy with blonde dreads sat next to me and we talked about sailing and traveling and thoooose STARS :) nature is my favorite form of entertainment.

my sweet kim works at a pool bar at a resort on the south side of the island. i love going down to visit her, and bringing along a few of my best friends. because, besides the excellent service, it's the perfect spot to relax and have real, genuine, uninterrupted conversation. it's quaint and quiet and only a stone's throw from the beach. i'll take that over a rowdy sport's bar almost any day ;)

scenes from elmira

scenes of family and home // just before the great unknown

1. i've been getting my cuddle fix at this little man's expense. he usually runs from me when i try to grab his face. but if i just sit down and politely ask for a kiss, he'll come lay one right on my lips! haha!

2. these toddler hands have been trying their damnedest to get at my phone. funny, because he has HIS OWN IPHONE (to play games and music and look at pictures). it's nicer than mine... and he knows how to use it perfectly. 

3. my other baby cousin isn't such a baby anymore. she's going to high school next year! i am endlessly proud of her intelligence and maturity and strength. she's one of my very best friends.

4. my beautiful abuela is a downright magician in the kitchen. i don't know if i was unusually hungry this visit to vegas, but the food she made for me was the tastiest of my life. and all of it made with love! :)

5. this is his just-checking-to-see-if-you-were-looking face. cause if you aren't looking, he likes to go tug on the christmas tree and flick ornaments clean off! every time. it's skillful, really.

6. my dear daddy is my rock. that's unforgivably cliche, but there's no simpler way to put it. he is my strongest, most unwavering source of love. and i am grateful beyond words. 

scenes from ohio

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1. a harvest moon overlooking downtown canton and a lovely community of people i wish i could keep around me forever.

2. we went to a coffee shop to watch open mic night and soak in some local music. upon my request, john king came just to play us a couple songs. he is the sunshine of ohio.

3. a night of cheap beers and philosophical talks and private performances in an open garage filled with the smartest characters and most talented musicians i've ever met. these people are the real thing: all truth and sincerity.

4. i did a six day juice cleanse after i returned from europe. i wanted to kill something the first couple days. but then i got used to the feeling of starving and lost every pound i gained abroad (read: months full of cheap brie cheese and homemade french bread). pure nutrients did the trick. my body is still thanking me.

5. we went to cleveland to see the avett brothers and it was magical. halfway through the night, it started pouring buckets. steady streams came through cracks in the pavilion and raised the vibrations of everyone around. thunder growled and the crowd cheered louder. the avetts sang to us under the rain, on the water, with big lit up ships sailing behind the stage. at the end of their set, and before their encore, a huge ship heard our cries and blew its horn until the boys came out again. 

6. we accidentally rescued this puppy from the lonely pastures of Kentucky last month. i fell for her immediately. I named her Shiloh after the beagle in that children's novel I loved so much---the name I always knew I'd name my first puppy (I even wrote it on my bucket list). i diligently trained my darling little girl for two weeks and grew SO attached, even though i knew i couldn't keep her. i couldn't bear to cancel months (years, really) of half-sketched travel plans for a dog who deserves someone who can really take care of her :( so my brother will be taking her to florida soon and i just know she'll be happy there with his other beagle to be her playmate. but boyyy do i miss that perfect face!

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scenes from las vegas

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1. in october, i drove a vehicle for the first time in exactly a year! i'd like to say i'm still a good driver, but i think i terrified everyone who got in that car with me (including myself)...

2. when christine visited, she and a bunch of friends stayed in a suite in mandalay bay. i took full advantage of their view!

3. i had my first ever vegas club experience with christine. and while it was fun (and free), i can't say i'll do it again. i'm more of a quiet corner pub kinda gal ;)

4. i worked in the forum shops at caesar's palace for all of three weeks before the superficiality of it all really got to me. materialism is gross.

5. this is my favorite of the new downtown murals! the details are outta control. thanks again to life is beautiful!

6. i discovered this perfect little coffee shop during the festival and fell so in love. there was a handsome local man playing piano in the corner. i was slightly tempted to skip the crowded concert i was planning to see, in favor of that quaint string-light comfort (but it was alabama shakes, so of course i went ;) .

7. the festival also introduced me to the nearby arts district that i was unaware even existed. i went for first fridays by myself and talked to everyone who crossed my path. and then i met an artist whose story and charisma struck such a chord in me that i started crying 5 minutes into our long, heartfelt conversation. it was the strangest thing---i'm not sure i've ever been so inspired.

scenes from 9th floor sliema

1 & 2. the view i drooled over for over two weeks. // 3. noelle swimming in the sea. // 4. two of the loveliest people i've ever met. // 5. saying goodbye. // 6. the dining room where we spent hours upon hours talking. // 7 & 8. the little prince we took care of. // 9 & 10. creativity. // 11 & 12. dinners on that balcony. // 13. my favorite spot to write. // 14 & 15. my bed & to the roof. // 16. a view i could never grow tired of. 

kees and mich left us their perfect home and perfect view and perfect puppy for two whole weeks. mich also gave us a phone when we went hitchhiking form amsterdam to berlin, so that we'd be safe. he bought our plane tickets to malta. kees made sure we had leftovers of her brilliant cooking. and they even gave noelle and i each money, so that we'd be able to explore the island...

unbelievable. all these gifts would thrill anyone, really, am i right? but it wasn't the gifts, it was the circumstances in which they were given---it was the kindness and selflessness and sincerity behind them---that left me feeling so inspired. 

all i could do was stutter out "th-thank you. i... i. am eternally grateful." to which mich simply requested that i just keep smiling throughout life. god, how could i not, knowing people like them exist?

scenes from sapphire beach

i don't think i've ever posted pictures of my sapphire apartment. amber and i shared that little st vincent studio for 4 months. for the first month or so we even shared the bed... and then we realized the couch was a pull-out and every bit as comfortable as the damn bed ;) haha!

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we grew to love our little space so much. because the inconveniences that came along with the apartment (zero privacy, high energy bill, lack of internet, uncomfy beds) were all forgotten when we took a peek at that incredible view. i didn't ever mind waking up at the crack of dawn to go to work when i opened my eyes to all those beautiful colors.

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and it was safe and convenient. we were on the safari route, so we rarely had to hitchhike. we had a cute little gated community. redhook was right down the road. and the beach was a 5 minute walk away.

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we would have friends come over on days off to hang out and play volleyball on the beach. we would go snorkeling on days off too, in case we didn't get enough of that while working ;) and i really loved being able to take long phone calls down by the water while the sun was setting.

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if you ever get a chance to live near a large body of water, take it. there's something so healing about the presence of water nearby. perhaps it's just the perspective of how small you are against the great mass of it, which makes anything troubling you seem pretty insignificant.

it does wonders for the soul.