Thursday, August 29, 2013

2013 -- week 34 -- a gonzalez wedding!

lately, we've been living for the weekend. last weekend we went hiking, the weekend before we spent time in arizona wine country, and this weekend we went to dallas for a wedding. rcg's older brother's wedding. it was beautiful and a lot of fun. this wedding had it all:  an outside ceremony at the gorgeous texas discovery gardens, a cute flower girl, a bulldog as ring bearer, amazing music and dancing, and delicious wine. and of course, a happy couple; who both looked stunning!

congratulations pg3 & dbg!

i also appreciated the opportunity to meet rcg's extended family this weekend. all of whom are lovely people, and i can't wait to hang out with them more in the future. another highlight: i learned how to make salmon taquitos, DF street style salsa, frijoles rancheros, and the best tasting fajita meat ever! (i hope to share some of those recipes with you soon!)

and if you're worried about whether you need to step up your game for our wedding, you do. this is just a little snippet of rcg's parents dancing like pros, and it puts everyone else to shame. (don't you want to be like them when you grow up? me too.)

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2013 -- week 33 -- that time we almost died on a mountain

i don't think i understand hiking. 

don't get me wrong, i understand the desire to explore the world and to summit mountains. i guess i'm just confused as to why hiking is the means of transportation that one has to use to accomplish those things. and again, i understand it's "just walking" and people have been doing it for centuries, but i'm still a little baffled by the whole thing; maybe because i suck at it.

this past weekend we had planned to drive up to flagstaff to climb mt. humphries, the tallest mountain in arizona. but there was a forecast of rain, so rcg and i decided to cancel and do a hike around tucson. we met up with some friends at too early o'clock at the pima canyon trailhead and started off on our 12 mile (!) hike. i was feeling pretty confident because the first couple of miles are fairly flat, but that all changed a couple of hours/miles in: when we were stung by wasps. ouch. but we decided to keep going, and as we did, the trail started to climb. and climb. and climb. 

when we finally got to the top, a couple of hours later, the views were amazing. all of tucson was laid out in front of us. and we had a perfect view of finger rock, a tucson landmark.

 but then it was time to go back down. and going down is where i really struggle. my knees have been wonky for years, but every time i go hiking i seem to forget how bad they really are. so it didn't take very long for me to lag behind, but the guys i was with were super supportive and encouraging. and they really helped us make it off of that mountain alive -- i know that sounds a little melodramatic, but it was a little touch and go for a while. (long story short: because my knees were so angry about hiking, i took a long time, which made rcg run out of water, yadda yadda yadda, disaster.)

we celebrated our survival by hanging out in the pool and an early bed time! and with the realization that beyond the normal blister here and there, i may actually lose three of my toenails as a result of this endeavor. 

thanks again to jc and ts -- you guys are real lifesavers.
and thanks to rcg, who never left me. tkm.

as a result of all of this i have a couple pieces of advice (ie. things i should have known ahead of time):

  • bring more water than you think can possibly be necessary. in fact, double whatever amount you were just thinking of bringing. it might be heavy at the beginning, but it gets lighter as you go, and can save your life.
  • bring a couple of frozen gatorade/powerades. once everything else gets hot, those will start to melt, and the cold can really do wonders for your morale.
  • alternately, bring a lot of electrolytes. the frozen gatorade/powerade will help with this, but it's important to bring other things too. we really like sport beans, but peanuts, bananas, pretzels, jerky, and any number of other things can be very helpful as well.
  • check the weather -- the day we hiked had a record high for tucson, which might not have been as bad if we knew what to expect.
  • wear pants -- you never know what the trail is going to look like, and it would be better to be a little hot, than to get cut up.
  • wear a hat. it's sunny; protect yourself.
  • if you know you have injuries or parts of your body that are likely to go wonky half way through, prepare for that. (i should have brought knee braces, and i didn't. oops.)
  • don't be afraid to ask for help or to let the people you're with know you need to stop. y'all are in it together, and if you don't speak up it could be worse for everyone. (this is something i have a hard time doing, so this trip really humbled me.)
  • and enjoy yourself and your surroundings!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

DIY engagement photos

since i'm normally the one taking the photos, i'm rarely in them. so when my mom requested pictures of rcg and i for her birthday gift, it was difficult to find any that weren't "selfies". our friend helped us out by taking a few informal engagement type photos while we were hiking the grand canyon, but we were hot and sweaty in most of them. and while that's pretty much our normal state since moving to arizona, we thought it'd be nice to have a few where we aren't sweaty and gross looking. luckily for us, as we walked around william and mary's campus, we found a beautiful setting to take some pictures using nothing but the camera's timer and a beautiful background.


the college

in june two of my best friends got married in williamsburg, and it was an excuse go back to my alma mater and see how the campus has changed (or not) since i graduated. but after being in existence for over 300 years (!) not much has changed.

lord botetourt still welcomes you as you walk towards the wren building.


the wren building continues to be the oldest educational building still in use in the united states.

the sunken gardens remain that perfect green that calls out for a ultimate frisbee game, a study session in the sun, or a late night streaking.

the crim dell is still half romantic and half totally disgusting.

(the romantic: it's said that if you walk across the crim dell bridge with the one you love, you'll be together forever. the totally disgusting: the crim dell lake is super gnarly; they've even found a new kind of bacteria growing in there.)


the fish and turtles still greet you and beg for food.

(feeding the fish was one of the things that kept me sane during college.)

it's still nice to walk around new campus, enjoying the flowers, on your way to swem library.

and everywhere you look, william and mary continues to have that built in the late 17th century beauty that comes from hundreds of years of students calling it home and loving it for it's charm, education, and memories.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

grand canyon -- day 2 -- south kaibab trail


we made two big purchases before i went on the road trip from vermont to arizona: our fancy new canon rebel sl1 and a biolite camping stove. everyone knows about digital cameras and how awesome they can be, but the biolite stove was a surprise. an amazing, why don't we cook with this at home, surprise.

here's why we love our biolite stove:
(1) it's really small. (2) you don't have to carry fuel with you when you camp or hike, all you need is kindling. (3) since you're using twigs and sticks to cook, you're helping to clean up your campsite and making less trash. (4) plus, as you cook, you can charge your electronics. (5) and it's fun! you can still have a "campfire" without actually having a campfire, which means s'mores for everyone!

what's less awesome about our biolite:
(1) you have to make sure there's kindling available -- if it's been raining, you might be out of luck. (2) you want to be careful of the twigs and sticks you try to burn; some of them can be really smoky. (3) you'll have to continue to feed the fire for as long as you need it; unlike a camp stove that uses fuel, the biolite will go out if it's not maintained. (4) it costs $130. 

all that being said, we love our biolite. it makes me want to go camping, just so i can use it.

remember when i made that gif from pictures i took of the grand canyon? if you missed it, you can see it here!


**note: biolite did not compensate me for this post in anyway. but we love their product, and recommend it whole heartedly to anyone who's in the market for a camping stove.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2013 -- week 32 -- arizona wine country

i do a lot of driving for my job. sometimes over 1000 miles a week. and every time i drive down the back country roads lined with flowers, cotton, and other plants, i tell myself that i need to pull over and take pictures. it's so beautiful, after all. but i'm always in a rush (because i'm always late) and never have the time to stop. i finally decided enough was enough, and pulled over, even though i was already late to a meeting. i figured it couldn't take longer than 5 minutes, and it's something i've been meaning to do since i started my job last summer. plus, i can't resist daisies.

i plan on pulling over again as the seasons change, and the cotton is ready to harvest; i didn't get any pictures of the cotton last year, and i really regret it. i mean, who knew cotton grew in arizona? crazy right?

in other agricultural news, did you you know that arizona has a wine country? i know, me neither. until a friend of ours invited us on a wine tour in sonoita, a small town an hour south of tucson. we couldn't go the first time she invited us, but when the opportunity came up again, we jumped at the chance. especially since this time it wasn't just wine tasting; it was wine tasting plus camping, plus bacon, plus chocolate! we drove down to az hops & vines on saturday, set up our tent, and proceeded to drink the night away. but the best part had to be rolling into our tent at the end of the night and not having to worry about driving home. and there were chocolate bacon donuts and mimosas for us the next morning!

Friday, August 16, 2013

grand canyon -- day 1 -- the bright angel trail

before i even knew about the road trip with csv, rcg and i had planned to go to the grand canyon for memorial day weekend. so when it worked out that i could go to csv's graduation, drive across the country with her, and still meet rcg for a fun filled weekend in the grand canyon i was pumped. 

we decided to use flagstaff as a home base the first night since both cars wouldn't be getting in until late, but the rest of the weekend we planned on camping just outside of the grand canyon national park.  unfortunately, rcg and i like to leave everything to the last minute, so when we finally called to get a campsite in one of the official campgrounds, they were, understandably, already booked. we learned, however, that you can camp off of the forest roads in addition to the official campsites. so right before we got to tusayan, the last town before you enter the park, we turned off onto forest road 302 and found an awesome place to camp. for free! 


i've been to the grand canyon before, twice. but both times were over fifteen years ago, so it's safe to say that i was child the last time i saw it. and a child's memory makes memories larger and more awesome than they really are. but this time, my memory of the grand canyon was nothing compared to the real thing. it is bigger, and more amazing than i ever could have remembered! 

it makes you feel small just standing next to it. 




csv was nice enough to take some pictures of us in a little impromptu engagement photo session. these two were my favorite. 


i was hoping to be able to use the new camera to get some awesome pictures of the stars, since normally it is crazy dark when you're camping, but the moon was too bright. we actually didn't really need to use our headlamps to cook our dinner because the moon lit up the campsite so well.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

road trip -- santa fe, new mexico to flagstaff, arizona -- day 5

when we set out on our road trip from vermont to arizona, we figured we would be driving about 8 hours each day. as it happened we ended up driving much more than that, sometimes taking 10-12 hours to get from our starting point in the morning to our stopping point at night. but the reason we took so long was because we made so many stops along the way. we just figured what's the point of driving through this beautiful country if we can't stop and enjoy the pretty things it has to offer. 

well day five was no different. we planned to be on the road for five hours, but after walking around santa fe, going to the georgia o'keefe museum, stopping at the continental divide, and driving through the painted desert and petrified forest, we didn't get to flagstaff until 9 o'clock at night. but that's ok, we had a great drive. and you only live once! 


 i love this series of pictures. 

at each state line, we tried to take a picture, but for the most part, it really wasn't conducive to stop and get our picture taken with the state sign. but in arizona it was, so we jumped at the chance. literally. unfortunately, we're not really great at taking jump shots. especially since we weren't exactly sure when the camera timer was going to go off and take the picture. but we had fun! and i think the pictures turned out great.

i also love these next couple of pictures.

it seems like every place that sells awesome photos has a photograph that looks like this -- a beautiful, old, rusty truck or car, set against an unbelievably gorgeous background. and so when we drove by this junkyard on the way to the arizona welcome center at the new mexico and arizona border i begged csv to pull over so i could take a couple of pictures. and now i have a couple of those same pictures to call my own!

what is something you've always wanted to capture on film?