Sunday, July 29, 2012

On the road again + really recent pictures

I am back in the world of hotels, upgrades, travel-sized deodorants, and finding crafty ways to maximize my Marriott points balance. Briefly.

This time I find myself in the suburb of Blue Ash, about twenty miles outside of Cincinnati, Ohio. The stint for me here is only three weeks long and I am starting week two tomorrow - time sure flies by when you're livin' la vida loca up here in Blue Ash!

Ahem. Didn't mean for that to come out so sarcastically. I actually quite enjoy being in the suburbs/in a low-key place as opposed to a bustling and busy city like NYC or San Francisco. Don't get me wrong - I'd travel to either of those cities before you could say "flim flam!" - but I've also learned to really appreciate quiet weeknights filled with such adventures of granny Rose as grocery shopping, going to the gym, Skyping with the boy, and maybe even purchasing a small thing of ice cream from the hotel lobby if I'm feeling particularly reckless. You know. Yolo and all that.

Chicago from afar. I've been playing a lot of Katamari Damancy lately and this looks like it'd be a fun city to roll through.

Thundercat hanging out in one of her favorite spots on the couch

She's fuzzy and she knows it.

The 7 PM ORD to CVG flight is short and sweet and optimal for gazing out of the plane window.

Not a bad sunset. A++ would watch again.

The glamorous life of a consultant. Ta-da.

One quick last note - thank you for reading my blog. I'm always pleased and surprised (pleasantly surprised, one might say) when somebody tells me in person that they liked a certain post or that I should update more often. Which I should. Which I always, always should. Anyhow, I appreciate the encouragement and it really does make me want to write more. Thank you.

Monday, July 23, 2012

my camera's first steps-er-I-mean-shots

above: my T3i's first picture







first thoughts: I know I'm very much still in the honeymoon phase, but boy does this camera take some stunning photos, even in its simplest mode. it makes photographing things 100x more enjoyable when you end up with some great footage as opposed to just pretty good footage.

I am smitten. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Preparing for Peru

As mentioned previously, I'm going to Peru for vacation in three weeks! I will be going with the boy and two other couples, so it'll be like an extended triple date. One that involves not showering for several days - aww yeah. *cue sexy mood music*

The itinerary is, as it always is, jam-packed, likely stupidly so. We start off the adventure in Lima (the capital of Peru) and spend one night there, fly to Cuzco and spend two days there, embark on the hike upon the Incan trail to Machu Picchu for two days and two nights, try to refrain from developing altitude sickness, spend one more night in Cuzco, fly to out Puerto Monaldo, explore the Amazon for two nights, and fly back to Lima for one night in a beach town before heading back to the States. Just typing that out made my head spin.

This trip will be my first time in South America and I have little to no idea what to expect other than buying an inordinate amount of wool sweaters. Although we've spent a lot of time planning and making reservations for big activities within the vacation, like the trail and the jungle tour, I find myself most excited just to do some random and unguided exploring/walking around the different areas we'll be in - I think that's the best way to experience the tastes, the sounds, and the feel of a foreign country. Random-ass walking for the win.

We're staying mostly in airbnbs and hostels that are run by locals. I'm convinced that airbnbs are wholly fantastic and are infinitely more interesting to stay in than hotels, especially if you're feeling adventurous, not too picky about where you stay, and are traveling with like-minded company. This time we're staying at these two: Lima, first night and Lima, last night. Ones I've stayed in in the past and have loved include Michael & Hugo the Mastiff's lovely apartment in Vancouver and this insane startup/incubator in SF. I think my rampant adoration for airbnb just might justify a future post dedicated to this topic.

But back to thoughts on Peru. I'm a tad nervous about the hiking we'll be doing in Cuzco at elevations upwards of 12,000 feet. We will have a bit of time to acclimate to the higher altitudes but I've never been up that high before and everybody's body reacts differently to the altitude change, regardless of health, age, lung capacity, horoscope, etc. I keep picturing myself getting all excited and prepared in my hiking boots and pants and dorky explorer's hat and then ending up barfing my brains out all the way across the Incan trail, which might temporarily be renamed to "Remnants of Rose's breakfast" trail.

I can't think of a clever and fitting way to end this entry post ramble about Peru, so I leave you with this completely unrelated prank video that I spent way too much time laughing at over the weekend:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tee Three Eye

Every year I promise to do two things for myself:

1.) Go on vacation
2.) Buy myself something nice

I've got the first part figured out - in exactly a month I will be frolicking about in the fertile lands of Peru. (More on that in future posts.)

For the second, I wasn't sure what I wanted this year. Last year's big splurge was my mattress, which looking back I still think was kind of startlingly expensive but also completely worth it because I spend a third of my existence on it and couldn't be happier with it. A new, nice mattress was also fitting because it marked my transition from living in a door-less sunroom in an old and craptastic* student apartment to a real room in a nicer, more residential neighborhood.

This year, I've held off on my splurge purchase because I was really happy with everything that I owned. A year and a half of constant travel and living out of a suitcase had instilled in me a more or less minimalist approach to living. Nothing seemed it was going to be that perfect, duh item that was going to enhance my life. Other than fifty boxes of these.

Then about a week and a half ago, a notion sprang in my head and would not leave, and I immediately knew what I was going to purchase. It made so much sense: my current job and stage in life provide me with the opportunity to travel frequently while I am still young, healthy, and hungry for new sights. I blog semi-regularly and love sharing and looking back on pictures of adventures with my friends and family from afar. And I always love the challenge of learning my way around unexplored technology, to fiddle and tinker with a new gadget. I knew that somewhere out there was a dSLR with my name written on it.

Fast forward to yesterday. After many, (probably too) many hours of Googling, visiting Best Buy, reading CNet reviews, e-mailing friends and family, flipping coins, chewing my nails, bashing my brains against the wall, and blabbering to anyone still had the patience to listen to me list the pros and cons of Nikon vs Canon, I made that fateful click and purchased my new baby.

*cue "Hallelujah" as the heavenly skies part to make way for sparkly beam of light*

The dSLR I purchased was the Canon EOS T3i (otherwise known as the EOS 600D outside of North America). I got it with the standard 18-55mm lens - I'm not going to bother with learning about glass until I get a hang of the camera's body first - and also purchased a much larger memory card, a bag, extra batteries, and a copy of the all-important Canon T3i for Dummies.

When selecting which dSLR, I had a pretty tough time deciding between the T3i and its younger brother, the T3. Both cameras are fantastic in their own right but have different feature sets and price points. After reading tons of comparison reviews and spending many hours of soul-searching and muttering to myself in Best Buy ("do you REALLY need that swivel LCD screen, Rose? Do you really?"), I was still not sold on the price difference being worth it. But ultimately I went with the T3i for several reasons:

  • I knew it would make me happier and that I wouldn't look back at the T3
  • If I held onto this camera for five or so years, which seems very feasible, the price difference would more or less be negligible 
  • This was supposed to be my yearly splurge to offset all the normally rational budget decisions I make. This was supposed to be expensive and make me mildly uncomfortable, damnit!
  • T3i isn't even that expensive - it's around the same price as an iPad
  • I really do need that doggone swivel LCD screen

Towards the very end I sorta had to coax myself, "It's ok. Breathe. You can buy it. It's ok. Because you're worth it. Maybe it's Maybelline. Yes, put the damn camera in your damn virtual cart. No you will not be homeless after this. Breathe in. Then out. Do not pass out again."

Now that the order is (finally, irrevocably, permanently) made and my baby is en route to me somewhere in the hands of a UPS stork, I am RIDICULOUSLY excited to get to know my T3i and to take a bazillion photos of my cat. And I guess Peru and L.A. and India and these other places I'm visiting in the near future. But mostly just portraits of my cat as she licks herself in unmentionable areas and dips her silly head into a jug to drink water.

Dear Thundercat, I'm ready to take you and your antics to the lands of dSLR!

* don't get me wrong, I had some of my fondest memories in the Shire. But boy was it crappy

Monday, July 02, 2012

self portrait

drawing faces can be infuriating. if you don't get the proportions right, it turns out looking like somebody else entirely.

this exercise, however, has been a good reminder that i should probably get a hair cut. or all of them cut. badum tish!