a mountain on my mind

hello beautiful friends! i'm back home in las vegas, after two months of non-stop travels through costa rica, ohio, florida, and the virgin islands!

i've committed this past week here to healing my exhausted physical being with as much yoga and veggies and tea as it can handle. i've also made a few haphazard attempts at kickstarting my creativity, since there's a lot of pent up ideas floating around that i haven't had time/energy to organize yet! but it seems my brain needs some nurturing too. so i've been feeding it jack kerouac and meditation and news and pinterest and cute movies and all the things i miss out on when i'm on the road and out of the loop!

until i find the drive to dig through hundreds of pictures and scribblings from life lately, here are some shots from a road trip my pops and i took to mt charleston right before i left for central america!

leaving las vegas

the city somehow always looks significantly more beautiful when i'm flying away.

and off into the unknown i go.

again :)

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 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.

life is beautiful // and oh, how it was

back in october, i volunteered for the first annual Life is Beautiful festival in downtown las vegas. i actually quit the spiritless retail job i had at the time, because they told me that i was absolutely not allowed to attend... some experiences in life are just too significant to miss out on, ya know? especially when whatever was holding you back was just an unhappy obligation in the first place. thank you Life is Beautiful, for being a VERY welcome (and badass) excuse to get outta there ;)

i won't bore you with geeky descriptions or shaky pixelated videos, but i WILL tell you that i had the best job a volunteer could have, and that i got to watch every artist i wanted to see (kings of leon, the killers, vampire weekend, portugal. the man, passion pit, etc.), and that my spot at the ADA access ramp had a better view than VIP... i seriously don't know how i got so lucky?! it felt borderline UNfair (so i picked up trash in between sets, to try and feel like i was actually earning it---plus it was fun! random drunk people joined in! haha). 

the best thing about the festival is what it did to improve the downtown area's economy and overall beauty. a bunch of really talented artists came and painted/sprayed/smudged some stunning murals around the festival area. and hallelujah, they are here to stay! 

downtown vegas was considered "the place to avoid" for as long as i can remember, so it's really gratifying to witness its transformation into this inspiring, art-splattered new hangout. 

the mountains are calling

my christine came to vegas in october (meaning she has officially visited me everywhere i've lived). we had one inaugural night out on the town. but after that, we escaped the chaos of the strip and headed for the invigorating quietude of the mountains.

we each had separate stressors plaguing us at the time, and i knew some mountain air would help replenish our bodies with crisp energy. mt charleston is only an hour drive northwest of the city, so it was perfect. we hiked a bit, with friends she brought along from florida. and everyone kept expressing how much lighter they felt out there amongst the wild air. like a big, mucky weight had been lifted from all of us. we left feeling so renewed. 

more from the canyon

see the first set of photos here.

because sometimes you just gotta

climb up / jump off of / dive into things that make you feel really small.

a canyon of red

there's a national park just outside of the smoggy, life-infested valley of las vegas. it's called red rock canyon. but i haven't figured out why ;)

the wide open spaces of the park are such a nice departure from the chaos of the city below. so my dad and i took drive out the other day to marvel at the great red mass of rock against the blue of the desert sky.

we retraced memories of hiking there when i was a tiny kid. and i gave him mini heart attacks every time i climbed, well, anything (because he still sees me as that tiny, wobbly child). then we drove along the curvy thirteen mile scenic loop of views before heading back to the city. and the weather was perfect all the while. it was a good day.