Posts tagged travel

Altitude Design Summit – Home

So, the Alt Design Summit sounds like something I would want to go to. Totally. It’s a conference for design bloggers. And. AND! It’s held at the same time as the Sundance Festival. Does it get any cooler than this?

According to their site, you should attend Alt if you fit any of the following criteria:

– People that love talking about design in all its iterations. What it is. How it’s changing. Why it’s important. (Check.)
– People that read sites like Apartment Therapy/drive German cars/subscribe to magazines from Europe. (Check – well, that Apartment Therapy part)
– Design or lifestyle bloggers who want to (finally!) meet their fellow design and lifestyle bloggers. (Check. That’s right. I’m a stalker.)
– People from across all the design disciplines: graphic, industrial, fashion, interior, product, textile. Plus illustrators and photographers too. (Check.)
– Business Owners who make pretty things and want to figure out how to get their products on design sites. (Erm, ok, not me, but interested in learning about this kinda stuff!)
– Advertising Agencies and Marketing firms that want help creating social media campaigns for their design-minded clients. (Not exactly me either, but I’m sure it would be educational nonetheless, n’est-ce pas?)
– Employees who would love to get credit for working while actually hitting the slopes. (I think this fits Simon, so ok, check.)
– People who create inspiration boards. (Check!!!)
– People who look at inspiration boards. (Check! Is anyone still checking?)
– Big-Love fans that want to find out if polygamy is for real. (Um, no. Not me. We can’t win ’em all.)
– Star-struck film fans obsessed with the Sundance hype who want to spend a weekend celebrity sighting.  (Ok, who are we kidding – check.)
Now, will childcare be provided?? Just kidding. Kinda.
Doesn’t this sound like fun, though? I’m thinking super fun.

 

Altitude Design Summit – Home.

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Mayo – Day 3

Just updated! So sorry – Flickr is doing weird things with my photos and it really angers me. Hopefully these will all show up again. Apologies!


I’m not even kidding you when I tell you that coming to the Mayo Clinic is being in an episode of the Jetsons. That’s what it feels like – some kind of cosmic little city where everybody buzzes around and things are whisked away on conveyor belts. We keep using the phrase “well-oiled machine” but really there is no better way to describe it. Everyone is ridiculously courteous, but not falsely so. The employees are precise and exacting. It is almost perfectly timely. They give you this printed schedule of activities, including very precise instructions for your specific tests or examinations. It’s insane. As a visual communicator, I can really appreciate the level of “togetherness” they have when it comes to keeping the patient informed and on time.

At 9:40am, I showed up for my blood tests. I was waiting in a large hall with probably 100 other people, but right at 9:40 on the dot, my name was called, identity verified, and then I was whisked into a room to have my blood drawn by the most capable phlebotomist I have ever met in my life. And let me tell you, I have been stuck more times than I can count. Then my blood was sent in a little box on a conveyor belt to wherever the conveyor belt goes. And that was that.

So we grabbed Mom & Dad, and hopped into our rental car. The valet dude at the hotel had told us that there was a really gorgeous scenic drive up to Wabasha (the city where Grumpy Old Men was filmed apparently) and it sits on the Mississippi River. Um, wait. The Mississippi??  Where was I in geography class? I had no idea it came all the way up here? We hopped into the car and began a gorgeous scenic drive through the Minnesotan hillsides and saw not only the most bucolic little farms, but some really amazing foliage. I know,  I know – I sound like I’m 90 years old, but it seriously was gorgeous. I can totally imagine living out here. It’s beautiful.

A nice drive across the Mississippi and we entered into Wisconsin. What the heck? We’ve never been – might as well go since we’re here! Before we knew it, we had entered into yet another charming town and fell upon the Nelson Creamery. When in Rome, do as the Romans, and when in Wisconsin, eat cheese.

Piling out of the car, I was reminded a little bit of a grocery store we had visited in Napa. This place had the same charm as many of the little towns and shops there. So then we were back on the road, enjoying the foliage and the crisp, cool weather. We drove down the Mississippi on the Wisconsin side, and then crossed over into Winona, which is yet another charming Minnesotan town. Man, Minnesota has the market on cute! Who knew?









Did you see all those gorgeous Tolix chairs in the Nelson Creamery? I died. It was so fabulous. Style oozing out of the grout of that building. And yes, we did buy a “Eat Cheese or Die” button.

At 2:40, I returned to the Mayo for my bone density spa exam which was like laying on a tanning bed in a hospital gown and then before I knew it, that was that. We were done for the day. It was decided that we would hop back into the car and make the haul into Minneapolis.

Internet, you know me. You know I can’t be thisclose to shopping Mecca (ahem, the Mall of America) and not go. That would be ridiculous. And really, there doesn’t seem to be much else to do here, and since our time is limited, we were off. We hopped in the car at 3:30 and by 5:00, we were parking by Nordstrom. Purchases made by 5:30. Really, my mom spoils me rotten. R-O-T-T-E-N.

To be fair, the MofA really isn’t all that impressive. It wasn’t as big as I thought it would be. The stores are the same you might find anywhere else like Dallas (Oklahoma STILL isn’t cool enough for a Bloomingdales or Nordstrom, so that still made my day). It just happens to have a giant rollercoaster and an aquarium in the middle of it. We had a good time finding things for Jude, though, too. For his birthday tomorrow, he will receive a darling set of fireman boots that will just totally make his day. But shhh – don’t tell him yet. 🙂

Oh, wanna see a photo of our room? It’s the gnarliest valance you’ll EVER see in your life. It drives me absolutely insane to look at it. It’s like a trainwreck of drapery proportions, and you’ll understand when you see it. Are you ready for this?

BAD.

Well, so what about the more serious stuff? We’ve had lots of talks over the past day about what we learned yesterday. No surgery will happen this week regardless of if  that’s what I decide to go ahead and do — I have to wait at least a month because I need to be off of the Remicade for 8 weeks before I can go in for surgery due to problems with my immune system and the fact that it messes with your body and its ability to heal itself. I’m halfway there, so hypothetically I guess I could go in for surgery as early as a month from now, if that’s what I so chose.

I just keep coming back to the idea of being UC-free. No more drugs, no more impaired immune system b/c of all the heavy duty drugs I’ve been on, no more prednisone (this is the biggie).  No more rollercoaster of digestive craziness or fear that I’m going to get sick when we’re out somewhere, or on and on and on. It is such a serious step to take – I mean, who really wants to make the choice to have elective surgery this major? This is going to sound like a funny metaphor, but in my mind, it’s like having to make the decision to put your dog to sleep. You don’t want to be the one to have to make that call – you want the decision to be made for you. Like someone else says, “You know, you absolutely HAVE to have your colon out or you are going to die.” Fortunately/unfortunately, it’s not that way with me. Colitis doesn’t kill anyone. It just makes your life crazy miserable. When you see it in black and white, it sounds like a fairly simple decision: just take the darn thing out and call it cured.

I think more than anything, I have to wrap my brain around all of this. There are several things I do know: I know that God has a good plan for me and that none of this shocks Him. I know that His ways are not my ways, his thoughts are not my thoughts. I know that He loves me more than I can ever imagine, and that He has only the best things at heart for me. And I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I want every last bit of this silly colitis experience for the past 3 years to glorify Him. Because it has to be worth SOMETHING. And He will wreak good out of it. I know it.

You guys, I can’t tell you how helpful – how cathartic – it is for me to write to all of you on this blog. We got more hits yesterday than ever before, and I know that each of our friends and family are checking in to see what’s happening and you are praying. That is awesome. You have no idea how loved we feel and I know that God is in control.

Ok. Enough for now. I’ve gotta get up in the morning for the pancreas CT scan. Love to you all –

xoxox,

Rach

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Mayo or Mustard?

Welcome to sunny chilly Minnesota! It’s been a long day of traveling. Our flight left Oklahoma City at 1 in the afternoon, and it was a very short flight up to Minneapolis – only an hour and a half. I was loaded up with a bajillion magazines (my favorite part of flying sans-child: I can indulge in all manner of magazines and books).

I’ll be honest. I’m majorly overwhelmed and emotional today. It was really hard for me to leave my Little Red. Amy came and picked him up with all of his accoutrements, and it was like he knew that something was up. But he was happy to ride off in “Chuke’s car” and Amy sent us the funniest videos all day long of him. That really made my day because I got a little emotional in the car when Kim called to check in on me. Kim, if you’re reading, I was feeling like I had a major lump in my throat and that’s why I wasn’t too chatty. 😦

I really have no idea what to expect, and I think that’s the worst part. I have a bajillion medical records to give them, and I’ve filled out all my paperwork. But other than that, I have no idea what to expect. This is a tiny town, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. It’s amazing to me that some of the worlds’ best doctors are all congregated HERE of all places.

Oh, and for the record, it is so not okay to clip your fingernails while you are sitting on an airplane full of people. That’s just gross. Save it for your bathroom at home. Some grooming just doesn’t need to be done in public. (And don’t get me started on those places in the mall where you can get an eyebrow wax out in front of everybody – ick).

This photo above is of our hotel lobby. We’re up on the top floor – they upgraded us to a suite because the hotel was sold out. The suites haven’t been remodeled yet, but the bed looks comfy, and it has a great big bathtub and a freestanding shower.

So there you have it. Day 1 of our Minnesotan adventure. I’ll let you know how it all goes tomorrow!

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Rue du Marche St-Honore, Paris

This photo from The Sartorialist made me do a double-take, and then I caught the title of it – on the Rue du Marche St-Honore – just because it was shot on the street where I lived one summer in Paris. I had a tiny little studio that opened up onto a courtyard, above two restaurants,  and I was spending the summer of 2003 studying with Parsons School of Design (fine arts), as well as the Paris American Academy (fashion). My studio looked into the upstairs bathroom of one of the restaurants, but it took me a good couple of weeks to figure out that that’s what it was. There was a constant, um, stream of people in and out of it, especially in the evenings, and then it hit me. Oh. The loo.

It was the best summer I have maybe ever had. This photo reminds me of all the sights and smells of that street that I walked every single day. There was a gorgeous fish shop that had the most amazing oysters I’ve ever seen, a very smelly butchershop that received the largest slabs of beef I’ve ever seen, as well as a smattering of chic little consignment shops and wine bars. It also reminds me of the warm and cozy little bistro in the square there where I would sit with friends and we would consume all manner of amazing food for hours at a time. A creme brulee here and there, too. And there was this one chicken dish, with these delicious spiced apples… it was heavenly.

Ahhh, Paris. Thanks, Sartorialist — this made my day!

The Sartorialist.

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Dallas October Getaway

I hope you guys had a great weekend! We were able to steal away with my parents for their first (non-medical) trip in months. They were gracious enough to go down to Dallas with us to take care of Jude while Simon and I went to the wedding of an old friend.

The wedding was really beautiful. My best friend growing up was Sarah. We called each other Sarah Boo and Rachel Boo, and we were quite the pair. Her older sister Lauren met a really lovely guy (a doctor!) and they fell in love and were kind enough to invite us to their wedding. I don’t think I’ve seen them in over 12 years. It’s been a LOOOONG TIME!

The wedding was in a house called the iPlace. It’s like a retreat or conference center for church administrators. The property was gorgeous, but it had unfortunately decided to pour rain that day, so everything had to be moved inside. It was still absolutely beautiful. Definitely one of the most different weddings I’ve ever been to.

Sarah and I.

The lovely bride, Lauren.

Sitting at the dinner table. The food was delicious!

Here they are during the ceremony. Her Dad, Don, did the ceremony. He was our music minister  at our church when I was growing up.

The house was so charming. A great place for a party.

Ready for a night out on the town!

Other funny pictures from the weekend…

Ok, I don’t know what face I am making in this picture, but we have just cracked up at it all weekend. Jude was in dire need of a nap at this point on Saturday afternoon.

Please let me sleep!!!

Jude in the bathtub at the hotel – more on that later.

Simon and Dad. Dad is showing off his new shampoo purchase that promises to add body and life to his hair. 🙂

mmmm, don’t these look amazing?

Jude eating a chocolate donette. One of my guilty pleasures.

I love a good Halloween ROUS (rodent of unusual size).

Oh horrors!

Dad, practicing his scared face. Hahaha

Jude, in a tender moment.

Jude’s little Heavenly Crib – it had little cloud sheets and a little cloud rug to stick in front of it. He loved it and felt really special in it. We sat there in the windowseat and looked at some of his books that I brought from home.

If it weren’t for my parents and their awesome generosity, we wouldn’t have been able to make this trip down so fabulously. We stayed in an amazing hotel – the Westin at the Galleria. It’s been recently remodeled, but by the grace of God we were able to get a killer deal on a suite for us. It was nice because we also had access to their concierge level, which means free snacks all day. And when you’ve got a busy toddler, free snacks at all hours are imperative.

The room had two bathrooms – this one was maybe my favorite. That blue and green tile was awesome. Isn’t the sink gorgeous?

The living room with a pull-out couch.

The “master” bath. Impressive! Gorgeous tilework, and an amazing carrara marble vanity.

Did you SEE that bathtub? I can’t remember the last time I’ve gotten in a bathtub, and I got in this one twice. It was that good.

And of course, the most amazing Westin Heavenly Bed. There are pocket doors on either side of the bed that lead into the living room.

Jude, checking out the fancy digs.

Mom and Dad, you spoiled us rotten this weekend. We love love love you and are so thankful for you! More than anything, I’m just so grateful that Mom is up to traveling and being back to normal! Thank you for all the food, snacks, drinks, goodies, toys, etc., that you just lavished upon us. We can only hope to pay you back in some way!  xoxoxoxoxox

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Not My Style, But…

I think it’s important to find beauty in places that push you out of your comfort zone. I like to think that I can appreciate all different kinds of styles, even if I wouldn’t choose to buy it/wear it/live in it. So when I laid eyes on this space over at Apartment Therapy yesterday, I had an immediate emotional response to it. I love it — I would love to stay there, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Make sense? Anyway, look at this beeyootiful library. Isn’t that just a dream? My ultimate fantasy is to have a gorgeous book room — with a rolling library ladder.

And I would love to sink into this little daybed. It reminds me of a little hotel I stayed at in London once. Can you believe that all of this fits into 600 sq. ft. in Greenwich Village, NYC? Amazing! That side table just makes it for me. It’s a classic style that could easily mix with modern pieces for an eclectic look.

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malibu

A post on Malibu today, one of my most favorite places on earth. And I’ve got a ton of pictures – after all, a picture is worth a thousand words. And Malibu is… well, it’s a perfect, shimmering gem.

















I spent a year at Pepperdine, nearly ten years ago. I can’t hardly believe that it has been that long. It feels like it was just a year or two ago. And it was one of the best years of my life so far. Leaving it was strangely hard and so going back always unearths a whole lot of memories. Like laying on the beach in January or watching the ocean change colors with the sky. Or Simon coming to visit me that year, and taking him to all my favorite places. And finally, standing in the admissions office and revoking my student status. (That was hard.)

In many ways, Malibu is a vastly different town than it was ten years ago. The first time I saw it was on a trip to SoCal with my sister and brother-in-law. They said, “Do you want to go to Malibu?” And being the go-with-the-flow kind of girl that I am, I said, sure. And then I fell in love.  I was thrilled to get to go back with Jude and Simon this time. I loved wandering around the Pepperdine campus and letting Jude run free out at Alumni Park.

Do you know what my dream is? To have a little vacation rental right on PCH, right on the beach. Yeah, it’d be busy and crowded, but there it is. My dream spot – right there in the thick of it. Where I could just sit and stare out at the water all. day. long.

Things I want to remember from this trip:
Pepperdine with Jude & Simon
Playing at the playground in the Malibu market
The most perfect weather ever – no haze or smog!
Eating outside at Malibu Seafood
Exploring the tail end of The Colony
Jude’s first sight of the Pacific, and his joy at experiencing it
Random celeb sightings!
Seeing fire damage up in the mountains
Feeling like we’re at the end of the earth as we took curvy canyon roads up into the mountains

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