26 March 2009

road trip chronicles continue

Since I'm on the road a lot lately, I apologize if that's what I'm posting about...there will probably be more to come, as well. But hey, at least I'm trying to make it interesting with some photos! (Albeit quite blurry and not so hi-res, since I take them from my camera phone taken while driving at 70mph, not even looking where the camera's pointing) :)

bridge linking small islands • approaching the Skyway

The beginning of this week I was out on the central Gulf coast of Florida and spent a lot of time driving back and forth over bridges, more bridges, and even more bridges between one small island to the next. It does make for a prettier drive I must say, as the water on in the Gulf of Mexico tends to be so beautiful and much more turquoise than the water on our Atlantic.

views on the Sunshine Skyway

One of the bridges I went over, after paying my toll, was one of Florida's most famous bridges, the Sunshine Skyway. This connects the Tampa Bay area with Pinellas County to the south and is a little over 4 miles long. It was rebuilt in the 80s after the first one collapsed, and is now one of the world's longest cable-stayed bridges.

On my (long) way home I drove away with a gorgeous sunset to my back and even spotted a crazy dino out my passenger side window!

I really wish I had my camera ready on several occasions that I would have loved to have shown you...but I can't always be prepared when an amazing sign, like "Fresh Mullet" or "We're SHUT" quickly appear then disappear from view on the backroads of this state. (I promise, the context of these in their environment make them really funny...because I'm laughing now, even though you probably aren't. Oh well...had to be there I guess.)

...more to come.

21 March 2009

photos of florida

driving down A1A • view from the car • Beachside Motel (no I didn't stay here...just thought it looked funny)

It's that time of year when fall's fashion lines get shown to buyers...so thanks to my new job, I'm becoming a bit more familiar everyday with this state that I've called home on and off for over 23 years of my life. Driving driving and more driving on the interstates, highways, and coastal stretches like A1A (BEACHFRONT AVENUE!)...all with 6 huge garment bags, rolling rack, a box, and two extra file bags...in my little VW Beetle. Almost every appointment I stop at, I get asked "How did you fit all this in your little car?!". Practice. Lots of practice. And a bit of shoving.

view from the towel • looking up • we stayed until the foggy sunset

I can tell you that my weekends are a lot more valuable now to me, and the downtime I get with friends, even more special. Last weekend our friends from Atlanta came into town, just as we left town to spend the weekend with my family in Central Florida (although I did get a nice girl afternoon at the beach a few hours before we drove out).

big alligator • little guy that I think is smiling • Mom found this tree top limb that looked like a jumping frog

While we were gone, we visited a new nature reserve with my parents on a former 1267acre cattle ranch. We saw dozens of alligators, lots of osprey, a bald eagle with two chicks in a nest, and even watched a reptile presentaion...all in the most perfect of spring weather.

shuttle launch

Then within minutes of us driving back home on Sunday evening, there was a shuttle launch from the Kennedy Space Center just down the coast, so we parked right at the beach before even dropping our bags off at home and watched as it went up into space leaving a plume of smoke behind it. The sunset turned it to a beautiful gradient of colors, and there were oh's and ah's heard up and down the beach.

This week was full of long stretches of road-- but to make it a bit more fun and not so boring, I leave myself ample time to reach my next destination so that I can enjoy the journey. By mid-week I began putting my iPhone to good use (btw. love that thing), not only using the GPS to get me where I needed to go, but also snapping away as I saw good photo ops on the road. So to pick the highlight...here's one of the things that warranted an actual stop-on-the-side-of-the-road just to get a picture:

drive-in Christian Church in Daytona Beach • "tune into 88.5fm for worship" • stopping at a beachside coffeeshop between appointments

Yep. It's like a movie drive-in...just instead of an actor, you get a pastor.

I'm learning to take my long days of driving with thankfulness, and to find the fun, interesting, entertaining, and even relaxing moments. It's a nice time to reflect, pray, find things to appreciate in my life (all while keeping a responsible eye on the road :) ). I take the time to stop and smell the roses drink mint chocolate-chip blended coffee drinks at cute local coffee shops with straw roof covered decks...

...I'll keep you updated on the next couple of weeks of my roadtrip/worktrip through the Sunshine State!

10 March 2009

weekend of music (and more music)

ferris wheel • Girl Talk with impromptu stage dance • crowd in the sunset

What do you get when you mix carnival rides, 4 stages, thousands of (dirty) people, funnel cakes, camping, LOTS OF MUSIC, and 3 days of perfect Florida springtime weather?

The 1st Annual Harvest of Hope Fest, which I attended this past weekend here at the St Johns County Fairgrounds. It turned out to be a super successful event, as thousands and thousands of people came from all over to the 3-day outdoor music festival which raised money and awareness for the Harvest of Hope Foundation who provides emergency funding to migrant workers and their families.

Rosa Loves booth

I still haven't heard the final number of attendees or money raised, but I know the HOH crew was pretty stoked at the entire turn out. Almost 140 bands filled 4 stages with non-stop lineups for each 12-hour day, and I was very happy to see some of the bands I was excited to check out, as well as hear some new ones. A lot of my time was spent hanging out at the Rosa Loves booths as they were selling their tees, and also had live screen-printing available for a limited edition tee which benefited the HOH Foundation. Luckily their booth faced directly to the main stage, so we could kick back in the shade (and a safe distance from the ruckus and dirt clouds which normally manifested near the stage) while we listened to the music, including Against Me, The National, Propagandhi, Girl Talk, Glaslight Anthem, Black Kids and Tokyo Police Club...just to name a few.

view of main stage from the booth • BLORR • Ra Ra Riot

There were several times though, that I voluntarily (and excitedly) joined the mass in the middle of the cloud of dirt...during BLORR (the sequined glam band, of none other than Jedidiah surf member, Chris (aka Bronco, aka Sugarhips) Hess) to which my friend Eric and I danced up the dirty field, SUNBEARS!, Inspectah Deck (Wu-Tang Clan), Ra Ra Riot (who were SO GOOD LIVE), and of course, Diplo.

colorful balloons over the Diplo set

It was SO amazing...right at sundown, and with tunes spinning at a chest-rattling volume, I don't know how the security guards stay so still...really. It's unnatural. Just at least bob your head or something.

Besides the music, there were lots of booths to visit, spinning carnie rides to puke on, and fair food to eat. Luckily there were an amazingly high number of healthy options, which we were all happy about...although I think we countered all the goodness, by scarfing down a super greasy funnel cake on the last day :). Oh, but it was worth it.

One of the best things about this event was the meaning behind why all of these people - musicians, vendors, volunteers, and attendees - were getting together...to support the HOH Foundation. The HOH booth was next to the Rosa Loves booth, so we got to talk to them a bit, and between music sets, the founder would give more info on their cause to the crowd, including personal stories of migrant workers and their needs. HOH provides financial, educational and service-oriented aid to those families all over the country. The social-awareness theme was carried through several other vendors including To Write Love on Her Arms, and I also met a really cool group at a neighboring booth, called The Love Alliance which works to educate individuals on social justice issues (including hunger, poverty, slavery) and then gives them ways that they can make a difference towards these issues in their every day lives.

exploring the carnie section

Maybe part of it is the new Daylight Savings Time (which I'm absolutely enjoying), but it's Tuesday and I'm still adjusting to a normal daily routine while my sore legs are recovering...and I'm already looking forward to the 2nd Annual fest - as I'm sure everyone else who was involved is too!

05 March 2009


So a few updates since my last post. Mainly I've been working working working in the week, but the surrounding weekends are more fun to talk about. Last Saturday I took some time away and managed to twist my body into crazy poses at a yoga workshop with my friend Sunshine. After three hours in a 90-something┬║ yoga studio balancing in all weird ways on our arms and standing on our heads - we came home with mat burns on the elbows, bruises on our triceps, but smiles for completing it. I wish I had photos to prove that I actually got into these balances, but alas, my camera probably would have malfunctioned from all the sweat :). yeah. gross.

This weekend is all about music. The Harvest of Hope Fest is coming to St. Augustine, and the 3-day music festival is complete with camping (no, I'm not doing that as we only live 15 min away), dozens and dozens of bands, art, and crowds. The entire festival is set up as a fund-raiser for Harvest of Hope, a foundation that provides emergency funding to migrant workers and their families. Rosa Loves will have a table set up there all 3 days, and I'll be in and out as I check out some of the bands I've highlighted on my flyer.

A few on my list: Ra Ra Riot, Against Me, Sunbears, Propagandi, Jimmy Reeves & The Wolf River, Toyko Police Club. Really sad though that The Faint and Devotchka pulled out :( But when they did, the next announcement was that a few more signed up...including Diplo, who I saw in Vegas the other week. yay. Wonder what it's going to be like seeing him in a field though...

Speaking of him - today on his site Mad Decent I was introduced to another great site, Thru-You by the creative Kutiman. He takes unrelated YouTube musical clips and mixes them together to create a new composition...pretty genius.

couldn't embed the video, so click on the screen shot to go to his site...
...you HAVE TO WATCH this

And lastly, I'll leave you with another very creative and inspirational visual & musical number...
email readers must click to online post to view

Hope to have lots of updates from HOH after the weekend...