Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Stripe-y Stripes


Nautical stripes have taken over the stripe world, and while I resisted this movement for months, I finally ended up buying a dress (on sale!) with these navy and white stripes. It's cute, yeah, and fun for the summer, but I also feel like I'm just taking on a temporary fad (a preppy one at that) every time I put on that dress.

Although nautical stripes are one of those things that come in and out of style, stripes in general are a fun pattern that tend to make their mark in width and color every year. I tend to forget that I like them, but one of my favorite sweaters is mustard yellow and grey stripes, and I always feel like myself when I put it on. So now let us praise the non-nautical, other stripe!


For my brother.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Exploring the Island

Beach Drive

In between job hunting and trying to find cheap furnishings for the apartment, Jon and I have been exploring Vancouver Island little by little. I am constantly surprised what beautiful sights there are to be seen with a 10, 20 minute drive from our apartment. 

Beautiful and shallow underwater world. 

We haven't done a lot of the touristy things yet, mostly because they're expensive and scoping out beautiful landscapes is free (if you don't count the gas used sometimes to get there). While we do intend on checking out Buchart Gardens, The Empress Hotel, and the Royal BC History Museum, I feel a much stronger pull to take in the beautiful sites of what will be our home for the next four years first. The Empress Hotel's high tea will always be there, but what we see on a certain day at a certain time on the island will be completely different on another day and at another time. 

Banana slug

Pebble beach at Devonian Regional Park

Washington in the distance

The nature around here is so different from the east coast of the US. The water is much clearer everywhere we've gone, beautiful snow-capped mountains can be seen often in the distance, and the old growth temperate rain forests give a sense of fairy magic everywhere we go. I might be romanticizing this a bit, but I cannot get over how beautiful it is here and how much of it there is to be seen. 

Swimming at the Sooke Potholes 

Only a 40 minute drive from downtown Victoria!

I love living here

Friday, August 16, 2013

Work Worries & Outfits

Welp, it's finally hit me: Unemployment panic. I went to my first interview on Monday and it was for an employment agency. I thought it would be a good way to get the job karma flowing, but by Tuesday evening I was panicking that I hadn't heard from any other employers. I've applied to about a dozen jobs, many of which I thought I might have even been over-qualified for, but I've only heard back from that one agency. By 8pm on Tuesday evening in middle of my anxieties, I applied to four Starbucks locations and have yet to hear back from them-- what gives?!

Part of this is my impatience, I know that, but I realize that another part of this is my insecurities. I was warned months in advance that there's tons of humanities majors in Victoria looking for work, and that I would be among the sea of many, but I guess I suffered from a type of post-graduate program disease where I thought I was better than everyone else. After all, I went to a two year graduate program, unlike Canada's 1 year program, but I suppose experience and skills are what employers covet the most. To top off my insecurities, I took a standardized Microsoft Office skills test for the employment agency, and while I didn't quite bomb it, but I didn't do great, either, and scored below the national average. All of my self confidence has flown out the window since about 11:00 this morning, and I don't expect it coming back until I have another interview or job offer. 

In the mean time while I've got work on the brain, I can't help but be drawn to adorable fall work clothes...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

New Apartment

Sunset seen from our balcony

I've been having way too much fun decorating this apartment. Most of the stuff Jon and I have found on either craigslist, in thrift stores, or even on the curb! The only new thing we've purchased so far was a mattress, but it's even Canadian made, so I feel very morally happy knowing that our stuff is recycled and local.

Because of the nature of our furniture and furnishings, our apartment is acquiring a vintage look. While this is something that I wanted, it wasn't something that I intended. I feel inspired by lifestyle blogs that I follow (like Delightfully Tacky and Oh So Lovely Vintage) and the aesthetics that I've seen on EtsyModcloth, and Anthropologie. Whether or not that inspiration shines through in my decorating is debatable, but I'm really liking the look of things!

Come on in!

Steamy bathroom! 

Bedroom still needs work... 

A lot of our artwork and accent pieces were done by either one of us or friends/family members of our's, so that adds a bit of a home-y touch, too. I like being surrounded by loved ones, even though we're thousands of miles apart.

Mermaid print by Plankton Art Co.

Bunny & Turtle wood print by Lovesville

Triangle banners by a friend.

World traveler friends. 

Kitschy kitchen

By far my favorite feature is the balcony. It was a view of the Vancouver Island Ranges in the distance, and the sunsets are unique and alarmingly beautiful every day. 

Cozy spot on the balcony.


Above all, having Mr. Clemens finally here makes it feel like home.

The new couch got his seal of approval

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Olympic & Beyond

Whole lotta miles

After we left Yellowstone, our trip-o-meter flipped over to 3000 miles. That's a long way! It was exciting to see that milestone in the emptiness of Montana.

Brush fires in the distance

We crossed through Montana and Idaho with relative ease and before we knew it, we were in Spokane, WA that night. We ended up staying in a motel and thanked the great indoors for internet access, a mattress, and pizza delivery. 

Driving through the eastern part of Washington was very interesting, and it's easy to forget that the state borders a sliver of Idaho that rubs up against Montana. Eastern Washington had a lot of plains, a view that contradicted my vision of lush forests and pines. We passed numerous brush fires, and learned that the summer has been very dry for this section of the country. 

I tried to soak in Washington as much as I could, knowing that this would be my definition of my home country once we were in Victoria. I know that sounds silly, since Victoria butts up against some Washington-owned islands, but this state would be my ticket home back to the east coast whenever I needed it.

Olympic beauty

Getting into Port Angeles and Olympic National park was exciting. This would be the last stop on our road trip. About two hours north-west of Seattle, Port Angeles has a ferry route that can take cars and its passengers to Victoria's inner harbor. After finding our way around a bit, we staked out a camp site in the beautiful Olympic national park. 

Olympic consists of a varied terrain, including rocky coast line, temperate old growth rain forests, and beautiful snow-capped mountains. While we didn't get to hang out by the coast, we saw some old growth around our camp site and got to have a terrific view of Mount Olympus and its surrounding cousins.

The Cascades

Beautiful old growth trees

In the morning we took the early ferry over to our new home. The ferry was fairly old in terms of boats (from the 50's), and rather slow, but it got us there in one piece. Finally our trip was over; we were in Victoria!

Goodbye, U.S.!

Leaving everything we know behind

So we finally meet!

And that concludes the cross-country road trip portion of this blog! I still intend on posting west coast adventures, recipes, themes, and other things, so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Yellowstone: Friends, Evergreens, Waterfalls, Hot Springs, Mountains, and Animals, Oh My!

So excited!

That's a long title for a blog entry.

For those who don't know the history, Yellowstone National Park was established as the first national park in the United States (possibly the world? I forget). It's larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined and has a wide variety of features such as mountains, plains, hot springs, waterfalls, wild life, geysers, among many other things. It's mostly in Wyoming, but does spill over a bit to Montana and Idaho.

The drive in from the east entrance

Our first night wasn't noteworthy, for we grabbed one of the last campsites available on a dusty lot with little to do. After hours of driving, we fell asleep around 9pm.

The next day we checked out some of the hot springs at the West Thumb area. This was our first interaction with the sulfur smelling pools that steamed and showed off their stunning colors. There were a lot of tourists at this particular point, but that didn't deter us too much from enjoying this unique natural phenomenon. 


The colors, dude, the colors!

After checking out the Hot Springs we went down south to Grand Teton National Park to meet up with our friends Caitlin and Mike!

Mountains and stuff at Grand Teton.

The four of us got to watch some bison play in a field for a bit before we grabbed our permits to do some back country camping. I was super paranoid about finding grizzly bears along the trail, but we were never bothered once (woohoo!). 


Backpacking to our site

Foggy morning lake

That next day we checked out the two of the (arguably) most popular destinations in the park: Lower Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and Old Faithful. Both, while beautiful and needed to be seen, didn't match up to our relaxed and fun experience back packing through the woods (even though it was only 2 miles in). These areas of the park were severely congested, and it was hard to have an intimate connection with the beauty there with so much noise. However, I'm glad we went to both of these spots, even if just for the sheer fact to say that we went.

Lower Falls as seen from a vantage point.

That famous geyser. 

We said goodbye to Caitlin and Mike as they headed their own way and Jon and I found a campsite close to the north entrance. From our site, we had some great views of mountains and easy access to some other hot springs in a less populated area. Our last night in Yellowstone was an early one (8pm!) and I can say with happiness that we thoroughly enjoyed our time here. I felt like this was a place that deserved all of the attention it receives and warranted the biggest chunk of our trip. I will eagerly come back here with in the future to further explore some other hot spring areas and backpacking routes.

Hot spring waterfall.

Location, location, location!