There's lots of exciting projects on the horizon and I hope to share more soon! For now, here's a few hand lettered designs of my favorite motivational phrases, submitted to the Uppercase Magazine 2016 mini Creative Calendar.
Today I'm sharing some inspiration from my weekend adventure exploring the legendary Mount Rainier National Park. If you find yourself in the Pacific Northwest, I hope you have a chance to see this majestic beauty — on a clear day, 'the Mountain' is even visible from Seattle. Every time I see it, I'm overwhelmed by it's epic beauty. It's one of my favorite things about this region.
This trip I stayed at Cougar Rock Campground, in the southwest part of the park, appropriately named "Paradise". The campground was fairly large, but still felt somewhat private and cozy in a sweet little spot surrounded by trees. If you're into camping, I highly recommend it!
I was lucky to spend a beautiful, sunny day hiking the Skyline Trail in Paradise. The trail travels through a diverse + incredible landscape, with epic views of alpine meadows, mini waterfalls, lava rock formations, and an up-close view at the Nisqually Glacier.
One of my favorite parts was the stunning views of Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and the Cascade range from Panorama Point. We did a few other hikes in Paradise, but the Skyline was my favorite.
For brunch one morning I used leftover ingredients to make my signature tofu scramble, breakfast taco style with grilled veggies, black beans, and plenty of avocado. ;) I'm new to cooking with cast iron on a fire, but this was so easy & delicious!
Other than the tacos, we kept breakfasts pretty simple: fruit, granola, almond butter & coffee.
For lunches, I made a big batch of my Greek-spiced chickpea salad, which I'll feature in another post since it's super easy, delicious and travels well in a mason jar on the trail.
Dinners: stir fry with veggies, tempeh & peanut sauce; loaded campfire sweet potatoes (with homemade black bean salsa, so good!!); another stir fry featuring chickpeas & mixed veggies. I taught myself how to open a can of beans with a Swiss Army knife, so that was pretty cool. ;)
Of course, indulging in campfire classic s'mores was a must, with a decadent twist: dark chocolate peanut butter cups. If you haven't tried this before, I encourage you to — it's a game changer!
Roadside farm stands are a favorite detour on my roadtrips. While I don't always know where they'll be or what they'll have, I've found it's a great way to score some of the sweetest deals on fresh, local produce at its peak season.
I packed/made all my meals for this trip, but I did notice a vegan Boca burger at the Mount Rainier National Park Inn dining hall (in Longmire).
Wondering how I became an official Jr. Park Ranger? Here's a sneak peek...
Also, sending letters from camp was fun. Postcards are my favorite souvenirs — In addition to my friends & penpals, I always send myself one postmarked from my travel destination as a special reminder of my experience.
camp gear wishlist
Exploring the Pacific Northwest is a passion of mine, but I've only been camping a handful of times — I didn't grow up doing it, but I'd love to do much more of it. With that said, I'm still acquiring basic camp gear. I thought it'd be fun to share a few things I hope to take on my next camping trip!
After using my friend Carrie's rad vintage plates (in the taco photos), I'm obsessed with finding my own set of speckled enamel dinnerware to add to my camp kitchen. Thrift store goals!
OK so this isn't really "gear", but going back to next-level s'mores, these s'mores cookies by my client Fettle Vegan look AMAZING! Fettle Vegan just shared their list of the "Top 5 Vegan Camping Must Haves", which includes some great tips + inspiration.
More camp gear inspiration from my awesome clients includes the cozy Eno Hammock photo by Margaret of the Plant Strong Vegan. Margaret's love & enthusiasm for the Eno always made me curious... I finally got to try one out, and now I'm hooked! I hope to get one soon!
I'd also love to invest in practical things like a nice camp stove, cast Iron cookware and a headlamp. Are you surprised most of my wishlist is food related? ;) It's kinda my thing!
Are there any items you always pack when you travel (camping or otherwise)? Would you like to see more travel + adventure posts?
Thanks for reading about my Mount Rainier adventure!
This spring I had an incredible opportunity to make one of my dreams come true: a solo journey to the coast for my first-ever artist retreat. I was lucky to participate in the Artist Residency program at The legendary Sou'wester Lodge, an eclectic "hodgepodge of private cabins, vintage travel trailers, suites and campsites". The Sou'wester is a magical place, just minutes from the beach in historic Seaview on the Long Beach Peninsula.
Mini collage art sketchbook from last year's trip to the coast, showing my route from Seattle to the coast.
I've visited this beautiful part of the Washington coast every spring for the past few years and was excited to return for an Artist Retreat at the Sou'wester. This area is one of my favorites because it's close to the Washington/Oregon border, with cozy Astoria and the beautiful Oregon coast just a short drive away. There's lots of opportunities for biking, hiking, beach combing and of course, a break from busy city life.
A few shots from exploring the Discovery Trail, just steps from the Sou'wester. My rental beach cruiser bike was perfectly named "Good Vibrations".
Travel Trailer living at the Sou'wester Lodge
Here's a glimpse into my home & studio for the week, a cozy vintage travel trailer named "The Earl". I loved the simplicity of living with just the essentials and was surprised how easy and comfortable it was. The cool retro decor, creative atmosphere and awesome staff at the Sou'wester made the experience even better!
My creative project: Handmade Mail Art Kits
This is one of the initial sketches I submitted in my Artist Residency proposal to the Sou'wester:
"My goal in creating the letter sets is to share inspiration from the Washington coast; celebrating nature, travel, friendship & self-discovery. I hope to inspire others to create and share tangible memories from their adventures, in the form of hand-written cards and letters.
The letter sets will include a mix & match variety of post cards, writing sheets, envelopes and ephemera, embellished with hand carved stamps, drawings, and imagery that celebrates the Northwest experience"
The final Mail Art Kits contained everything needed to mail 3 letters, including postage. A limited edition of 20 were created specifically for visitors of the Sou'wester, available only in the adorable Lodge shop.
I'm not including photos of the opened mail kits to preserve the sweet surprise for anyone who might purchase them at the Sou'wester Lodge. ;)
Exploring the Oregon Coast
I got to spend an afternoon exploring Oregon — including my second visit to the infamous "Goonies" spot, Cannon Beach. Since I made most of my own food during the trip, I treated myself to an incredible picnic lunch from the Cannon Beach Cafe, which had amazingly fresh, flavorful & creative vegan options.
Unfortunately I didn't have much time to explore Astoria this trip — but that's just another reason to go back! I did get to drive over the epic Astoria-Megler Bridge a few times; it connects the Oregon and Washington borders along the Pacific coast. I love the costal/industrial vibes and old grungey bridges common in the PNW.
I stopped in Olympia on my way home — just long enough to browse in a few antique malls, experience an interesting interactive art event at K Records and eat delicious vegan pizza at Vic's.
While there were some unforeseen challenges (like trying to find a printer in a tiny beach town), it was an awesome, rewarding & worthwhile experience pursuing a creative project on the road. I hope to make the Artist Residency + Retreat experience at the Sou'wester a new tradition, and plan to return again soon for more inspiration & adventure! If you have an opportunity to visit this magical place, I highly recommend you do!