Monday, March 4, 2019

California

A few days turned into a month and a half, apparently. If you read my Oregon post from January and have been waiting to hear about what we did in California, I apologize. This blog has been seriously neglected lately, but life is what it is and here we are. 

We left off on Thursday, October 18th with us driving out of Oregon after spending the day at Crater Lake which was gorgeous
The drive from Crater Lake National Park down to our hotel in Crescent City, CA is approximately 4 hours long and absolutely beautiful. We tried to avoid major highways as much as possible on this trip. We did 1,600++ miles of driving through the western states on this venture and the journey was just as much fun as the destinations we hit. We checked into the Curly Redwood Lodge around 5:00PM and unloaded the entire car into our huge room. I really wish we could have stayed there more than just one night. The entire motel was built from the wood of one redwood tree. It opened in 1957 and it is the cutest, most retro little spot we stayed at. We spent the evening organizing our luggage, sorting our laundry, reading, watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, and generally relaxing and stretching out as much as possible before hitting the road again the next day.

Friday, October 19th: this was the driving day of the trip. Maybe you're laughing right now saying, "Hannah, there hasn't been a day you've talked about so far where you weren't in the car anywhere between one to four hours or more!" And that's true. But this day we put over 400 miles on the rental. That's about a quarter of the driving of the whole trip. In one day. We started the day in Crescent City at the very top of the state and made our way all the way down to San Francisco. It's been pretty much impossible to pick a favorite day from this crazy adventure spanning three giant states, but if push came to shove, this one would probably be mine. (And for the record, Cody's would probably be Heceta Head or horseback riding.) The first couple hours of the day, we spent driving down the rugged California coast.
We then moved into the Redwood National Forest, drove through an actual tree, and toured the Avenue of Giants stopping to get out and explore a lot
Y'all. Look at these massive, beautiful trees! (Can you even call these trees?? Towers is more like it.) We took our time hiking and exploring and climbing onto old fallen logs. I felt like I was lost in a world created by Tolkien or Lewis. It was so awe-inspiring. Being in California made me feel so tiny and insignificant most of the time which was just good for my soul. To think that God created so much massive, expansive, awesome beauty, yet He has numbered the hairs on my little head...what do you do with that?! You worship Him.

I tried to be super selective with the photos, but I could only narrow it down to about 60 for California so....sorrynotsorry.
If there's only one thing you do in California, go drive through the Redwood National Forest. 

We drove out of the forest and right into the Napa Valley. So, I mean, how many synonyms can we use for beautiful because I hate to be repetitive but...
Our day worked out so that we were actually driving across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco at sunset.
Once over the bridge the traffic was insane. We definitely hit the getting-off-work rush, and I think it took us something like an hour to go a measly 5 miles. Welcome to the big city. We finally got to the Mirage Inn & Suites and ordered in from Taraval Pizza for dinner. All said, from the time we left Crescent City that morning to getting in to San Francisco that night, we put in about a 12 hour day of driving and exploring. 

We loved our hotel in San Francisco. We loved it so much that we ended up spending the entire day on Saturday, October 20th in our room. Everything was clean and up-to-date, we had a gorgeous view of the bay (the beach was literally right down the street), and by this point of our trip, we had been going and seeing and doing pretty non-stop. We didn't plan a hotel day, but it was so nice to take a day to rest and recharge before hitting the city.

Sunday, October 21st: Golden Gate Bridge. We spent this day exploring the Golden Gate Bridge from every angle and it was so fun. We walked all the way across it and back. The day itself was perfect. Started out a bit overcast but by the time we were out on the bridge it was sunny and breezy and apparently the perfect day for boating. There were so many sailboats out in the bay and we also stopped in the middle of the bridge to watch a whole pod of dolphins playing down in the water right below us. We recreated some of our favorite moments from Extreme Days and just had a blast. 
Yummy Pasquale's pizza for dinner (there was a Pasquale's right next door to our hotel! we miss you in Winter Haven) and then a solid night of sleep before really hitting the city the next day.

Monday, October 22nd: called my Dad from the most notorious prison in America to wish him a happy birthday. We spent the morning exploring Alcatraz Island. 
This was not my first time on Alcatraz but it was just as much fun the second time around. The audio tour is fantastic (not boring at all) and the view of the San Fran skyline from the island is out of this world. We really enjoyed everything about our Alcatraz experience. (And I ended up buying a book and reviewing it on this very blog so check that out if you haven't already.)

Once we escaped from Alcatraz, we made our way down to Pier 39 for the best clam chowder in a sourdough breadbowl you ever did taste. 
After lunch, we found Musée Méchanique which was the funkiest little joint ever. For any unfamiliar, this is the spot Mia Thermopolis takes her grandmother Queen Clarisse Renaldi in one of my favorite movies The Princess Diaries. We beat the arm wrestler, got our pictures made in the vintage photobooth, and had a great time checking out all the antique games and machines. 

After we were done exploring Fisherman's Wharf, we walked to Twitch Headquarters so Cody could check it out while I grabbed a Pumpkin Spice Latte at a Starbucks down the street. The original impetus for this entire trip was Cody's desire to go to TwitchCon 2018 which was being held in San Jose. When we decided to make that dream a reality, this insane roadtrip of epic proportions was born. So he took a quick peek around the headquarters, came and got me from Starbucks, and then we went to Blades Co. Barber Shop for the best haircut of Cody's life (shout-out to Brandy!). 
After Cody's haircut, we made the trek back to our car and got to our hotel in time for Wheel and Jeopardy. (Don't laugh at me for my 80 year old tendencies. Those are my two favorite shows on television and we don't have cable so it's a treat to stay at a hotel where I can watch normal TV on vacation.)

Tuesday, October 23rd: checked out of the Mirage, said "Sayonara!" to San Francisco and began the three and a half hour drive east toward Yosemite Pines where we'd be staying the next two nights in...
...a covered wagon. That's right. Just go ahead and check off all my Little House on the Prairie dreams right now. This was so fun I can't even stand it. Before I say any more though, I have to mention that we stopped at In-N-Out for lunch this day because California, amiright?! 

Anyway, we made it Yosemite Pines and got checked in to our covered wagon which was so cute and cozy inside.
As you can see, there are bunkbeds inside so if you're planning a family trip to Yosemite, I can't recommend this place highly enough. They have wagons that will easily sleep six (with room for more if you have littles and don't mind getting cozy) and there is a pool and playground on site. 

We had dinner at California's oldest saloon the Iron Door (established 1852), and then got a good night of sleep before our day at Yosemite. 

Wednesday, October 24th: Yosemite National Park. Pictures don't do it justice. Wow.
We were up long before the sun to make the almost two hour drive from our covered wagon to Glacier Point for the sunrise and man-oh-man was it ever worth the 3:30 wake up call. We watched the sun come up singing How Great Thou Art and then drove down a little ways to Washburn Point to check out the view from there. My parents, brother, and sister had been out to Yosemite the summer before and said the popular spots like Glacier Point and Washburn Point were crawling with people and parking was a nightmare, but we were the only people at Washburn Point and we had no trouble finding parking all day everywhere we went. Highly recommend visiting this national park during off-season. Late October was a dream for us. We also beat everyone to the top of Sentinel Dome where we were commanded by my mother to go when we visited. (She was right, like always. Sentinel Dome was awesome.)
We probably had a solid 30 to 45 minutes on Sentinel Dome completely to ourselves before other hikers started making their way up. It was phenomenal. 360 degree views that will absolutely take your breath away.
Definitely put Yosemite National Park on your list of places to see if it's not there already. I don't have many words for it. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. We spent our last night in our sweet covered wagon before checking out the next morning to head back west to San Jose.

If you are reading this and you've made it this far: you are a trooper, I applaud you, and we're almost done, I promise.

Thursday, October 25th-Monday, October 29th: I'm grouping the last several days together because once we checked into the Wild Palms Hotel in Sunnyvale, CA on Thursday, it was a pretty chill weekend. Cody spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at TwitchCon winning stuff and meeting cool people while I laid out by the pool reading and hanging with my brother (who made the six hour drive up from LA to spend the weekend with us) living my best life. It was a great way to wind down from such a huge trip before heading back home on Monday. 

And a fun anecdote from our return trip that is pertinent to the actual purpose of this blog: I got stopped going through security at SJC because my carryon had too many books in it. Cody got a big laugh out of that.
California : done.

9 states down, 41 to go. We've got 4 states already on the calendar for 2019 so stick around to see where this quest to #SeeAll50 takes us next!

Have you been to California? What part? It's crazy to think that we didn't even cover half the state on this trip. Cody and I have both been to Southern California separately before this, but I just can't get over how spread out this state is.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Casual Fridays

It's 2019 and after getting January and February under our belts, I've created a grand total of 4 blog posts around here. Pretty sad considering that even the very first year I started this blog, I didn't even start till February and I made 10 posts that first month alone. But things are changing around here. I can't live to blog, y'all. It's a hobby, not my job. 

That being said, I do enjoy this little hobby and plan to keep it up. Just not quite at the same level I have in years gone by. I'll still be posting my yearly book lists and accomplishments, and the recaps aren't going anywhere. Starting this project has done wonders for my reading life, and I love that. I definitely still plan to keep blogging through our goal to #SeeAll50 (Cali post comin' atcha Monday!), and I love saving quotes that have struck me in my little Word for Wednesday posts. I'm sure I'll pop in with a Tuesday Confession every now and then, and I may crank out a Casual Friday post every once in a while to share some Link Love which is what I'm doing today. I guess what I'm saying is: nothing's changed. I'm just checking in and telling you that I'm not dead and there will probably be fewer posts from here on out. (Or maybe we're just going through a dry spell and things will pick back up again later.) Let's end this obviously well-thought-out stream of consciousness and talk about some links I've loved lately. 

@hannahisobelhancock : I have come out from under my rock and created an Instagram account. I'm sharing this first because this is why there will probably be very few (if any) Casual Friday posts from here on out. Casual Fridays have kindof been my excuse to share photos and talk about whatever I want so if you really liked that aspect of this blog, feel free to go follow me over on Instagram for your regular dose of my ramblings and cute pictures of my dogs. 

@booksugar : And while we're on the topic of Instagram, go check out my absolute favorite account. Maria takes the most gorgeous photos of her book collections and I can't get enough

Gifts for Booklovers : This gift guide for booklovers is perfect. My personal favorites (feel free to share this with my husband) are #1 (what booklover hasn't got bubbled up pages in some of their favorite books from reading in the tub?), #11 (I can envision exactly where I'd put this shelf in my house), #15 (because of course), #16 (which I would utilize on my new leaning shelf, duh), #29 (because how clever are these?!), #35 (perfect in and of itself, but if I could personalize the titles displayed—even better), and #38 (because how fun, right?!). 

Marry Me : Meghan Trainor's new music video (which doubles as her wedding video!) is the sweetest, and I love it. Even though the lyric "a fancy wedding's not for me" is absolutely hilarious given the video you're watching.

How Many Books Can You Read? : I found this article and corresponding test super interesting. I have no idea of the accuracy of it, but my results said that if I spent 20 minutes a day reading, I could read 26 books in a year. 

What Jane Austen Teaches Readers : This article on Austen's emphasis on readers and reading in her work was fun for this diehard fan.

Lip Sync Karaoke with John Legend : Jimmy Fallon plays the best games on The Tonight Show, but this one takes the cake. I died watching this. Please do more of these.

Little Tree Library : I can't. This is the best idea and the result is magical. Would love to visit and see it for myself.

Kindred Spirit Mailbox : And while we're on the subject, add this to my bucket list immediately. 

A Photo Appreciation of Libraries : Confession: I'm not much of a library patron. I prefer to buy and add to our home library. But these libraries make me swoon a little. 

Glitter Bomb Revenge : This is gold.

Yesterday : Movies coming out that I actually want to see?! 2019 comin' in hot. 

Poms : I am so there for this. 

In conclusion, I'm still here. I'm still reading. And I still love this tiny little corner of the internet. Here's a fancy picture I took for Instagram the other day of some of my blue books. Sharing here to show that I actually did get the books in the shot even if stupid Instagram cut the top and bottom off.
How has your life been in 2019 so far? What have you been reading? Have you read any of these blue books? Are you on Instagram? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Let's Bust a Recap : As You Like It

As You Like It. 

As it turns out: I didn't.

This one just wasn't my favorite. I don't know if this was because I crammed it right into the middle of the Harry Potter series (which I am currently reading for the first time in my life) or what, but As You Like It has taken its place at the very bottom of the list of Shakespearean comedies I've read so far. I just didn't think it was that funny. Especially when compared to Much Ado About Nothing or The Taming of the Shrew which are my two favorites to date. Let me see if I can hit the high points for you.

We open on young Orlando lamenting his regrettable position in life as Oliver's younger brother. You might be tempted to think like I did that this is the overdramatic whining of a spoiled, bratty kid, but then we actually meet Oliver and realize that Orlando's downplaying it. Oliver really does hate him and is plotting his death. 

Cut to Rosalind and Celia, fair cousins and BFFs having a conversation in which Celia is telling Rosalind she needs to buck up and be happy because who cares if her dad has been wrongfully banished by his brother as long as she's got Celia around to be her gal pal for life. 

Then Orlando shows up to fight Charles (a famous wrestler who is in league with Oliver to kill Orlando) and Celia and Rosalind and basically everyone around try to talk him out of it because he is for sure gonna die. But Orlando won't be swayed, and, as it turns out, he apparently has enough rage to kick Charles' butt at which point Rosalind falls madly in love with him. 

At this point, Duke Frederick (Celia's dad/Rosalind's uncle/the guy who banished his brother for no apparent reason) decides he's had enough of Rosalind hanging around and decides to banish her, too (also for no apparent reason). Celia would rather eat nails than be parted from her cousin/BFF so she and Rosalind concoct a plan to run away together assuming the fake identities of Ganymede (a homely guy played by Rosalind, because would this even be Shakespeare if we didn't throw some cross-dressing into the mix?) and Aliena (a peasant woman played by Celia). They run off into the forest of Arden and buy a cottage from a couple of shepherds. 

Meanwhile, Orlando has also run away into the forest of Arden because his brother Oliver is still trying to kill him.

And did I mention that the forest of Arden is where Rosalind's dad (the wrongfully banished Duke) has been hiding out ever since his brother double-crossed him?

So pretty much all our major players are milling around the forest of Arden.

Orlando is feeling all lovesick for Rosalind so he's carving their initials into every tree he comes across. And since this is a forest we're talking about, we can assume that's a lot of trees. He ends up running into Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) and she somehow convinces him to pretend that she's Rosalind so she can cure him of his unfortunate ailment of love. (What?!

In the meantime, we see Touchstone (a clown) and William (some country boy) both falling in love with Audrey (a country wench—Shakespeare's words, not mine), Phebe (a shepherd girl) falling in love with Ganymede (aka Rosalind in disguise), and Silvius (a shepherd boy) falling in love with Phebe. This makes for a couple of awkward love triangles, as you can see.

Well, while Orlando is "acting out" his courtship with Rosalind with the young boy Ganymede (aka actually Rosalind in disguise), he ends up saving his brother Oliver's life from a hungry lion. So Oliver, of course, makes nice with his brother and takes Orlando's bloody handkerchief to Ganymede (aka Rosalind) along with the story of how Orlando saved his life and couldn't make it to Ganymede's house in time for their date because he was basically bleeding out on his cave floor. Rosalind swoons over this valiant demonstration of love while Oliver is standing there falling in love with Aliena (aka Celia) at first sight.

You know how in Hamlet EVERYONE DIES? Well, in As You Like It, EVERYONE GETS MARRIED.

Rosalind (disguised as Ganymede) meets back up with Orlando and Silvius and Phebe and gets Orlando to promise that he'll marry Rosalind if she'll show up and gets Phebe to promise that she'll marry Silvius if she ends up refusing Ganymede for some reason. They all agree to meet the next day.

So the next day, with Rosalind's dad in attendance, Rosalind shows up to marry Orlando. 
Phebe obviously isn't going to marry a girl, so she deigns to marry Silvius. 
Celia marries Oliver. 
Touchstone marries Audrey. 
And a messenger comes bearing the good news that Duke Ferdinand has decided to stop being a jerk (for no apparent reason) and gives his brother back all his land and title. 

And they all lived happily ever after the end.

Like I said, not my favorite. It didn't really flow for me like Shakespeare's plays usually do, and even though this little comedy contains some of Shakespeare's most famous lines ("All the world's a stage...") and, sure, there are some funny parts, I just didn't find myself loving it. So sue me.

What do you think of As You Like It? Is it your favorite Shakespearean comedy? Am I missing the greatness? Was it just a dumb idea to read this coming off of The Goblet of Fire? What Shakespearean comedy should I read next?

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Oregon

Monday we left off in Camas, Washington which is the sweetest little small town on the border of Oregon state. On Monday, October 15th, we found ourselves driving through the gorgeous, windy Columbia River Gorge on our way to check out Multnomah Falls. 
Getting to Multnomah Falls turned out to be a little tricky, but driving around in the Columbia River Gorge trying to figure it out was not a bummer by any means. It was beautiful. The exit we wanted to take was closed so we ended up turning around a few times before we finally figured out where we needed to get off and park to walk up to the Falls. Multnomah Falls is lovely. Unfortunately, the hike to the top has been closed for some time so we couldn't go any further up than that pretty bridge in the photo. (And believe me, I looked for a way.)
Once we left Multnomah Falls, we headed into downtown Portland in search of Powell's City of Books. 
Powell's is, for sure, the coolest bookstore I've ever been in, including The Strand in NYC. It was massive and well-organized and I ended up with a few books from my Life List that are hard to find just anywhere. Other than Powell's though, we were not impressed with Portland. It was dirty, the people were snobby, and we were not at all interested in exploring it further. I had jotted down several different things to check out in Portland, but after grabbing some pizza at a fun spot called Sizzle we decided to head back to Camas to relax in our cute hotel for a couple hours until our Portland Underground tour that evening. 
At around 5:30, we headed back into Portland to make it to Hobo's Restaurant & Lounge for our 6:30 Shanghai Tunnel Tour. The whole tour lasted about an hour and a half, and I thought it was really interesting (Cody said he could take it or leave it, so if you're not a history nerd like me then this may not be a must-do attraction for you). A small group of us met up at Hobo's and once we were all assembled, we met our guide Haley who has been giving these tours for the past 2 years. She went over a few safety issues and then she pulled open this big metal plate in the sidewalk and we found ourselves underneath Portland armed with flashlights exploring tunnels that were once used to shanghai men and hold women who were used by white slavers for prostitution. The history was actually pretty horrifying, but it was fascinating to see these old tunnels and hear about some of the ways men were kidnapped (like the bars and saloons having trapdoors in the floor where they'd just unexpectedly drop some drunk down into the tunnels, never to be heard from again). Once our tour was over, we walked down the street to the original Voodoo Doughnut to pick up some sinful midnight snacks. I had to get the Voodoo Doll, of course, but honestly the raspberry jelly was a bit much for me. After that it was back to Camas and good riddance to Portland. 

Tuesday, October 16th: we checked out of Camas, said our final goodbyes to Washington state, and hopped in the car for the three and a half hour drive down the Oregon coast to Florence. Once there we grabbed some Taco Bell for lunch then went off in search of the Heceta Head Lighthouse. 

Y'all. If you ever find yourself on the west coast, do not miss this hidden gem. It was probably the most breathtaking stop of our entire trip and one of our favorite days. We spent the rest of the day doing lots of hiking, hanging out on the beach, dipping our toes in the freezing cold Pacific, and watching the sunset. 10 out of 10 would recommend to a friend. We (reluctantly) left Heceta Head and found our motel (the Villa West) then went to a local chowder house called Mo's for dinner. This was definitely our favorite food stop in Oregon, super-cute and right on the water (not that we could see it because by the time we were eating, it was pitch black outside). 
Wednesday, October 17th: checked out of the Villa West Motel and grabbed a hot breakfast at the Dunes Cafe which was a tiny hole-in-the-wall spot with the kinda people who make you feel like family as soon as you step inside. After breakfast, we had plenty of time so we ended up taking an unplanned detour around Mercer Lake which was gorgeous and no picture could even come close to doing it justice so I won't even try. We then went to C&M Stables where we were booked for an 11:30 ride through the woods, over the dunes, and onto the beach. 
This was too fun. Cody was on the biggest most majestic horse named Tennessee and I was on Duncan, my spirit horse. Our guide told us that she is able to get all the horses to get in the water regardless of if they want to or not, except Duncan. Brother ain't goin' in that icy water and I can relate and respect that. None of the horses went in the water that day, but we had fun trotting them down the beach. It was a perfect, clear day, as you can see, and this was a great way to start it before getting in the car for hours of driving. 
Driving that was an absolute pleasure. We ended up on the Old Mackenzie River Scenic Byway in the Deschutes National Forest climbing up to the Dee Wright Observatory. This was another unplanned part of our trip and it was awesome. We wound through miles and miles of tall trees until we broke out into all this open space and lava fields as far as the eye could see. 
By this point, we decided that all of Oregon pretty much belongs on a postcard. We drove through an old cowboy town called Sisters and kept beating it southeast till we made it to the last Blockbuster in America


Cody and I are '90s kids so we were 100% there for this stop. Nostalgia like you wouldn't believe. We browsed for a while, found a couple movies to buy, and got some souvenirs like the tourists that we totally were and then found an Olive Garden to sit down for some dinner before driving for another couple hours. Apparently, the Olive Garden in Bend, Oregon is the hot teen date spot which made for some entertaining dinner conversation.

After stuffing ourselves full of breadsticks and alfredo, we were back on the road for the two hour drive to Union Creek Resort in Prospect, Oregon.
Pro tip for the traveler unfamiliar with this area of Oregon: make that drive during the daytime. It was blacker than black and my headlights were barely worth anything. I spent the last hour of driving feeling very nervous about hitting a deer (we must have passed almost 100 on the roadside which we couldn't see until we were literally right next to them) and I was beyond relieved when we finally pulled into Union Creek around 10:45 and found an envelope taped to the front door with our name on it and a map to our room inside. We found our teeny tiny wood-paneled room and crashed.

Thursday, October 18th: got checked out of the lodge, found an ancient gas station (the only one around) to fill up before heading into Crater Lake National Park. And now I will flood you with photos of Crater Lake from every angle because wowza! It was gorgeous.
We spent most of the day driving around the lake, hiking up the steep sides, and taking our fill of the beauty around us before getting back in the car for—you guessed it—more driving. This was a massive roadtrip, you guys, and the driving was half the fun. We stopped in the cool town of Rogue River, Oregon to eat dinner at BeeGees Diner which was a fun spot with a huge menu. Then it was adios Oregon and onto California. Come back in a few days for my Cali post!
 Oregon : done.

Have you been to Oregon? What's the most beautiful place you've ever visited?