Archive for ‘Places’

September 15, 2013

Lassen National Park – Camping

Lassen is now my favorite place to camp! The drive from our home was very smooth, no traffic and no inkling of feeling lost. There is really a bit of everything here. Whether you like trees, lakes or waterfall; there are wildflowers, mountains, and yes volcanoes! Lassen offers some unique hikes. One of Lassen most popular places to visit is their hydrothermal sites. Once we arrived, we decided to do the Bumpass Hell hike. This is like entering a steamy cauldron of smelly sulfur. A nice boardwalk takes you along to see mudpots, boiling pools, and steaming ground. Such a different side of nature, but still beautiful in its own way.

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The next day was quite an adventure to the Cinder Cone. I was excited to see this, but also nervous about the hike to the top. Firstly to get to the area, you’ll drive on an unpaved road. (It is a nice dirt road, drive slowly if you are concern.) At the start of the hike, there is a mile long sandy trail. You’ll see the Fantastic Lava Beds along the way to the volcano. Once the trees clear, the sight of the Cinder Cone stands alone and is just impressive and perfectly sculpted. Now the daunting part is to hike 700 ft up a steep angle path with no resting stop and nothing to grab on to. A few small children pass us and went up like it’s nothing. Two elderly women headed up as well. So me, healthy 20-something should stop being chicken and work it like everyone else. Sigh! It was so tough. Every two steps forward is a step back due to the loose gravel. Good thing, I found a walking stick on my way to the Cinder Cone because without it, I don’t know how I can manage to reach the top. I just look down at my feet and gave myself pep talks. I simply kept going and tried not to stop. This way I won’t get scare and freeze up.

At the top, you’ll see a magnificent landscape of wonderfully animated Painted Dunes, lava beds, and the devastation area — all created by the eruption of the volcano. You can even hike down inside the crater of the volcano too. We meet the elderly group from Washington and the East Coast who visits a different National Park every year! We enjoy a small packed lunch and walk around the rim before calling it a day. You’ll be glad to know that the going  down the Cinder Cone is much faster and easier. Some people even have fun sliding down. For me, I like to take it slow and steady. This is definitely the most unique hikes I’ve ever done.

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March 18, 2013

Spring Time Hike — North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve

Spring is around the corner! Last year during April, we went on an awesome hike in Oroville. Yip knows how I love fields of wildflowers (my fantasy of twirling like the Sound of Music). He found an amazing spot for us to explore called North Table Mountain. On the other side of Lake Oroville, the snow had not yet melted. But on the North Table Mountain, it was sure spring time and even felt like summer! A nice drive led up to the top of the plateau filled with many different wildflowers, cattle grazing, little critters, plus waterfalls! What appeared to be flat terrain, actually had rolling hills, volcanic rocks, and small canyons. Being out in the wide open field with no shades in hot weather did not make this an easy hike. However, the sight of waterfall next to wildflowers and sea of yellow and green was just so pretty. Peak wildflower blooming season is March and April.

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February 26, 2013

Snow Day with My Cat

Having hibernated through the winter season, we finally got off our butts to do some outdoor activities. While still cold, but with sunshine, we headed north to enjoy some snow! This time, we decided to take our cat Yun Yun on a road trip with us. I’ve always wanted to go on trips with the pets. Although dogs may be more ideal, right now I only have cats, therefore my perfect candidate is Yun Yun for her sense of adventure. We left Bumbe to snooze contently at home, knowing well that any disturbance in his rountine will stress him completely.

On our drive, we saw a turnout at Eldorado National Forest and decided to take a look. Yun Yun was most excited being out of the car and on solid grounds. We attached a leash on her and she immediately took charge exploring her environment. Suddenly the shock underneath her paws were cold and wet and Yun Yun just froze in one place. I held her and she quickly accepted and wanted my warmth and protection. I felt so needed and loved:) Yun Yun perched on our shoulders as we stroll around the winter park. I gave her the detachable furry part of my hood to wear. She looked ever so precious and glamorous. We ended the trip making a snow-kitty. After a day of new experiences, Yun Yun fell asleep on my lap all the way back home.

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November 21, 2012

Fall Camping — Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park is one my favorite place to camp. It is absolutely breathtaking and amazing being surrounded by the tallest and biggest trees ever. My bf and I went camping in the fall time and the weather was cool as the park sat along the coastline, yet moist. We experienced some rainfall, but being deep inside the woods, all the gigantic trees gave us good coverage.

We stayed at the Jedediah Smith Campground. Since this trip was off season, there was no reservation taken and our host allowed us to circle around the campground to find the site we liked. We decided to be nearby the river and set up tent between two huge trees to shield us from the rain. The camp site was beautiful, spacious, and peaceful. It had a nice cobblestone wall separating each campsites and acted as our front door to the home sweet home for the next few days. There were hardly any other campers around, which gave us lots of privacy and the whole park to ourselves. Our “backyard” with the river view had lots to explore like cute little frogs.

Hiking in the redwoods was such an unbelievable feeling. It was completely shocking, quiet, and time just about stopped for a while. Simply just you and nature. I came realized how small I am in comparison to this world. Some of the hiking trails were closed for the season, so we basically wandered around the lush woods, thinking we were following a trail and losing it again. I was hoping, “Let’s not get lost … let’s not go too deep.” Worried about my lack of survival skills, despite a marathon of watching Man, Woman, Wild, we were swallowed by the forest and not a person in sight. Yip would say, “Let’s walk for a little more” and a little became hours. Definitely quite an adventure, and we made it back to camp happy and hungry.

Our other favorite thing about camping aside from wondrous scenes nature offers is Camp Food! I love Yip’s cooking and so thankful he does it all. During our trip, he cooked a whole chicken, eggs and bacon for breakfast, steak and rice stew, plus perfectly baked potatoes. I contributed by making s’mores:) Plus leftovers on the ride back home were super delicious!

Our tent set up kept us perfectly dry! We really want to go back again because there is so much of this beautiful park to explore.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

March 20, 2012

Spring in Napa


Happy Spring! During the weekend, we spent a day in Napa photographing a sweet couple for their engagement session. It was a bit chilly, but a beautiful day! At this time in Napa Valley, there are fields filled with yellow mustard flowers! Just lovely! This is a sneak peak for our couple, check out more of our recent work on our facebook page: IpomoeaFilms

At the same time, March 20th is Macaron Day! Lucky enough, while we were in Napa, we stopped by Bouchon Bakery in Yountville for some wonderful macarons!

Our favorite, oddly, was the banana flavor. It has a slice of caramelized banana inside the filling. Surprise:)

March 7, 2012

Blossoming Almond Trees

During March, the almonds trees come to blossom and they make a lovely scene of soft white petals. California grows so much almonds. You’re able to see rows of blossom trees driving on I-80 around Dixon and Woodland. I am lucky enough to live close to them and eat fresh almonds all year long. They might be my favorite nut! As you may know, I blog a lot about orchards and farms…well I love it out there! Yip and I stopped by one of the orchard and it was a dream come true to run around ’til sunset in such a beautiful sea of flowering trees. Blossoms are sweet like snow flakes, without the cold and wet. Definitely a romantic place to be. Perfect for an engagement session! Just let us know if you like a photo shoot!

Also I just found out this Sunday, March 11 is the Capay Valley Almond Festival. I have never attended and unfortunately I made plans this year too. It’s an event that seem interesting to me, so if you’re there, let me know how it goes.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the sight of my kitties and the blossom tree outside my window:)

August 14, 2011

Art Show + Ice Cream on Top

Last weekend, I went to the Meridian Interns Program (MIP) reunion show’s opening reception at Meridian Gallery. When I was in high school, I worked at this non-profit art gallery, located in downtown San Francisco. For this year’s reunion show, alumni interns were asked to submit their artwork, so I was really happy for the opportunity to display my work.  I submitted a painting, drawing, and a collaborative video with Yip about our business Ipomoea Films. And of course cat inspirations in all three pieces:) I got to see some friends, wonderful art work and even made a little speech! The show will up til August 20th. So check it out, if you’re in the area.

Also on our way back home that day, we stopped by Berkeley and got some ice cream at Ici! Wonderful creamy ice cream with quality ingredients you can taste. They have some creative flavors and hand rolled cones. Their shop is just cute and pretty and I love their logo.

Got the Candied Cacao Nibs! Perfect end to a great day in the city:)

(Yea I’m wearing a sweater because summer in the bay is cold.)

July 24, 2011

Book Surprise

Two weeks ago, I stopped by Meridian Gallery to drop off my art work for an upcoming intern’s reunion art show. To my surprise, the gallery was having a book workshop at that time. It was the “Gertrude Stein and her Contemporaries” book workshop, a collection from Dickran Tashjian, Professor Emeritus of Art History, UC Irvine. I work at the library and have a background in book conservation, therefore I am always thrill to view rare and special book collection. Prof. Tashjian showed me some wonderful children’s illustrated books, circus pop-ups, and many fascinating art books. The books were definitely eye candy for me! I was able to touch them and examine them up close. What’s more of a surprise is I meet his daughter, who is also a book conservator! I never meet anyone outside the library with the same unique skilled profession. And yep she knows my teacher too! What a small world!

Yip took some pictures of the workshop:

Meridian Gallery is located in Downtown San Francisco. Check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/MeridianGallery for upcoming events. They have lots of wonderful exhibits and shows. I’ll be back there in two weeks! Come and see a few of my personal artwork.

July 18, 2011

California State Fair 2011

California State Fair is here! Our schedule has been quite busy lately and there are so much activities and editing to do. We were contemplating whether we should go or not, and I’m so glad we did! The weather this week is in its 80s, sunny and a little breezy, which is perfect for walking outdoors. What I like about the state fair in comparison to other theme parks is the variety of attractions, such as animals, rides, exhibits, live shows, competitions, and yep the FOOD! Everything is deep fried and on a stick! And there are many interesting creations too like raccoon on a stick?! By far the most scary sign I saw was “Deep Fried Butter”! Aside from the weird stuff, we saw a lot of typical carnival food like funnel cakes, cotton candy, and corn dogs. We went Friday after work and I was pretty tired from the day. But once we arrived, I was so excited about our fantastic unhealthy dinner! I got the energy to last through the night!

A very popular item at the fair is the Turkey Leg. This is a huge smoked turkey leg smothered with bbq sauce. Definitely the tastiest thing we ate at the fair: cooked perfectly, fresh, moist, and big!

I also like the Catfish on a Stick and deep-fried artichoke hearts. The Giant Blooming Onion looked like a lot of fun, but it was too greasy and there was not enough dressing.

Here’s our Cherry Icee to wash everything down!

We were pretty full and grease out, so we explored other parts of the fair. The farm animals are so cute and you can get really close up to them. People bring their best animals to the state fair for prizes.

Before we knew it, the sun was beginning to set. We spent some time at the ferris wheel, games and rides section. I love looking at  all the lights and design of the rides. Given that there was no peer pressure, I opted out on participating in being locked up in any torture spinning and scary height dropping machines. Yep I’m chicken >_<!

One thing I recommend seeing at the state fair this year is the Big Bug Exhibit. Very cool giant robotic bugs!

Even though we were having fun and relaxing on our day off, Yip wanted to do some filming. So stay tuned for some short clips!

We ended the night watching fireworks before the state fair closed.  Overall, I enjoyed all the novelties of the carnival. Food was overpriced, but expected. Had more fun this time than few years ago. Didn’t have enough time to see everything, but I’m extremely happy spending date night with my sweetie. What a fun-filled Friday night and a great start to the rest my weekend!

There is still time to go! The California State Fair runs from July 14-31, 10am-10pm at the Cal Expo in Sacramento. $12 general admission + $10 parking.

July 7, 2011

Fruit Orchard, Part 2- More fruit picking

Last week, I talked about my favorite fruit to pick, cherries. Well, I’m not done yet because there are so much more fruits at my local u-pickin’ farm, Impossible Acres. They are open for picking all summer long!

Let me explain how it works: when you arrive, there is a front stand where you ask for boxes to put your fruits in. Then you may go ahead and pick any fruits and veggies you like. When you are done having fun, bring your crops back to the front stand and just pay for what you pick! The average price is $2-3 per pound, depending on the type of fruits. There is no admission fee or time limit. It is really a fun activity for family and fruit lovers, without spending a whole lot of money.

Don’t forget to wear a hat and protect yourself from the beaming sun. Even though there are lots of trees, they are not tall enough to provide enough shade.

I love the smell of peaches. White peaches are one of my favorite fruits!

Apricots trees are so pretty!

Look at all the cute name signs!

Berries are delicious!

We meet some friendly animals nearby:)

So many fruits to pick: raspberry, strawberry, and plum.

Late in the summer and fall, there are apples available for picking!

Our colorful fruits and vegetables, hand picked fresh! They are such great inspirations for cooking and baking:)

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