I've been waiting to cross Banff National Park in the Canadian Rocky Mountains off of my bucket list for quite a few years, and it did not disappoint. The electrifyingly blue water is something you just have to go see with your own eyes. The beauty of this place is indescribable.
Never in a million years did I ever think one day while hanging out with my friends along a river that a moose would decide to take a surprise dip about 30 feet away from us. The locals told us that they had never been that close to a moose before, even after living in the area their whole lives. It was such a special moment for all of us. You can check out our moose friend in the video below.
Now, I have to go back when there's snow on the ground for a different perspective of Banff.
Thank you so much to Shelby, Kaylee, Evan, Zoe, and Rosalie for your hospitality and for showing me and Lindsay the best time.
Day 1: Coffee pit stop in Calgary at Caffe Beano, followed by an hour and a half drive to Banff National Park.
Our first taste of Banff. Shelby and Kaylee brought Lindsay and I to an easy hiking spot on the outskirts of the park where we could chase some waterfalls. Lindsay got a little too daring and sliced her foot open one hour into our trip... classic.
The downtown area of Banff, where our hotel, the Douglas Fir Resort & Chalets, was located is super quaint and walkable. We absolutely spoiled ourselves with the food here during our stay at the foot of the national park. Here's a quick little list of my favorite places we stopped for a bite:
BeaverTails - a local delicacy, a top notch dessert (I got Nutella on mine)
Melissa's - a steakhouse with incredible brunch, whose interior resembles an old log cabin
COWS Banff - ice cream that was worth the wait out the door
In the afternoon we made sure to take a quick dip in a nearby lake despite it being absolutely freezing! The water is runoff from glaciers, so you can imagine how cold it is. I'm also a huge baby when it comes to the cold, what can I say?
Our final stop of the day to watch the sunset, followed by a little bit of wandering around Downtown Banff at night.
Day 2: The electric blue lakes! My bucket list destination came full circle. We got up before the sun rose that morning so we could beat the touristy crowds. Banff looked like a scene out of Twin Peaks at this hour.
The first lake we visited was Moraine Lake. I truly cannot accurately describe how beautiful this place is. I had wanted to see it for so long, and it lived up to every expectation I had built up. We took an easy, short hiking trail up the rock pile to a great viewing point and let it all soak in. Next time, I need to be sure to give myself enough time to go canoeing.
Next up was Lake Louise, which was much more crowded, but just as beautiful. Highly recommend getting up as early as you can to see these two lakes, so you can have them to yourself for a moment!
I am so grateful to Shelby and Kaylee for being the absolute best, most passionate tour guides! When people come to visit New York City, the last thing I want to do is bring people to touristy Times Square. S & K happily drove us all over this area around Downtown Banff, showing us as many places as we could squeeze into two days. My favorite way to see any destination is through the eyes of a local, and I'm so thankful for the experience we had thanks to the two of these ladies!
Music: "Where is the Love" by the Monzas
December 11: Holly drives us out to the desert.
The decor inside the diner was beautiful, and Holly blended right in with the leather booths!
We made it to Joshua Tree just in time for sunset. I'll definitely be returning and spending more time during my next visit.
December 8: My first day back in LA breathed creativity back into me that I tend to lose my grip on during winter in the northeast. Forever grateful to Holly for being such an incredible friend, artist, muse, and human being.
After my plane landed, Holly brought me straight to brunch (kidding, we chatted catching up for 3 short hours, then rolled up to brunch around 2pm) in Echo Park. This place, the Brite Spot, is now one of my favorite breakfast spots in LA.
Los Angeles in the dead of winter.
Dinner at the timeless Pacific Dining Car, a 24-hour steakhouse in Downtown. We ended up eating next to Conan O'Brian (had my LA shocking celeb moment and kept my poker face on).
Midnight stroll around Downtown with Holly, Ray, and Kim. What a crew.
The winter is always a time of reflection for me. Digging through hard drives and reworking past captured memories is honestly therapeutic when it's too cold and dead outside to make new work.
Many times I can't tell if I keep looking back on specific photographs because I've genuinely created something beautiful, or if the sentimental value of that moment just makes it more important to me. This is a small collection of some of these moments, from all across the United States.
You can't put your arms around a memory.
Whenever an opportunity presents itself to me to visit filming locations, I always jump on it. I couldn't pass up exploring North Bend, the town where most of one of my favorite TV shows, Twin Peaks, was filmed.
Snoqualmie Falls aka "the Great Northern"
Audrey Horne's stomping grounds, and home of the incredible picturesque waterfall which serves as the exterior for the opening shot during the show intro credits. You can walk the nearby trail which brings you to the foot of the falls for a different perspective.
Twede's Cafe aka the "Double R Diner"
It wouldn't be a fully authentic visit to Twin Peaks without stopping by the place pies go when they die. Though Twede's suffered a fire and no longer has the same interior look as it did during the show filming, it's still worth it to sit down for a damn fine cup of coffee.
Shi Shi Beach, Cape Flattery, and a bunch in between.
Cruising and hiking through the Olympic Coast in Washington. August 2016.
Music: "My Forgotten Favorite" by Velocity Girl
I hesitantly followed my friend Lindsay down a steep, desolate trail for about three quarters of a mile in the middle of the night with minimal knowledge of what was to come, other than that we were going to a unique place. After the trail, we walked along train tracks in the dark until we got to a clearing that led us out onto a beach filled with kids swimming and sitting around fire pits.
Lindsay said I had to go into the water even though it was freezing. I went in this freezing water up to my knees and saw that there was bio-luminescence in the water! Every time I moved, glow in the dark trails of light would follow my movements.
This really is such a special place. There aren't many bodies of water in the United States with bio-luminescence, which makes me hold this experience with one of my best friends even more close to my heart.
After drying off, we climbed some of the cliffs surrounding the water and looked out along the coastline to see the freight trains passing in the night. This is my favorite place and memory from Bellingham.