Lots of change going on lately.

With winter rapidly approaching (nooooooo!!!!!!!!!!), I know I need to seize any and all opportunities to be outdoors.  A photography group that I follow suggested a meetup at the Morton Arboretum to check out the fall leaves.   What I thought would be a few hours of shooting turned into an all day hike.  The scenery was perfect, and the arb has a bunch of different trails leading you to the best of what nature has to offer in this transitional season.   I hope these photos bring you the same joy that this outdoorsy escape brought me!

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Since returning from my Asian Extravaganza, my budget has required me to stay local.  Thankfully, this is the best time of year to really appreciate the Midwest.  The weather is a perfect 55-65, leaves are turning colors and starting to fall, and pumpkin-spiced everything is back in action.  Last year, I organized an adventure day with a few friends to an apple orchard & brewery in Indiana.  This year, we decided to travel north.  Mission: New Glarus Brewery and Edwards Apple Orchard West.

Found an eponymous key store en route

Found an eponymous key store en route

Barrels of Beer

Barrels of Beer

Brewery Systems

Brewery Systems

Science of Beer

Science of Beer

Enjoying their brews

Enjoying their brews

Beer tasting like a boss

Beer tasting like a boss

Apples Galore

Apples Galore

Fall Delights

Fall Delights

The start of the orchard

U-Pick

This trip was the perfect fall kick-off, and there are so many fun filled fall activities to look forward to!!  Next stop:  The Morton Arboretum.  I hope you’re all enjoying your ciders, Oktoberfests, and pumpkin-spiced deliciousness!


Bali

15Sep14

Ok, picture this – you’re having a less than stellar day, and need to send yourself to a “happy place” mentally.  What do you think of?  Are there lush landscapes and mountains in the clouds?  Is there a sandy beach with bright blue water and pink sunsets?  Perhaps you’re a little more creative and are picturing emerald green rice terraces and palm trees.  Whatever the case may be, Bali has it.  It is a real live happy place.

I personally was most excited for the Bali portion of our Asian extravaganza.  I thought it might be the most relaxing part of the trip, but I was wrong.  Very very wrong.  We did it all in Bali, and I left feeling like I still needed more.  There was the sunrise volcano hike at 3:30am, white-water rafting, a shipwreck scuba dive, coffee plantation visit…  it was an adventurers paradise.  Silly me for thinking that I’d go to Bali and sit on a beach, although I did insist on finding time to park in some sand and catch the sunset.  As easy as it is to get caught up in the many activities that Bali has to offer, you still leave feeling strangely relaxed.  It’s like you’ve just been to your own personal paradise, and life is just so good.

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Here’s the thing…  I didn’t really know what to expect with Kuala Lumpur.  For one, we were flying Malaysia Airlines to get there and they’ve had some pretty unfortunate press lately.  Secondly, it’s a very different cultural experience and I was a little concerned about the local customs and lifestyle.  The whole thing seemed a little dicey.

Thankfully, I had nothing to worry about.  Flying Malaysia Airlines was a very pleasant experience, and the cultural differences made the visit that much more interesting!  That’s one of the most awesome things about travel, right?  You step outside of your comfort zone and put yourself in completely unfamiliar territory.  If that doesn’t toot your horn, than I don’t know what will.

When we were in KL, we checked out Central Market and the Petronas Towers (currently the tallest twin buildings in the world).  Then we took a tour to the outskirts of KL and the Batu Caves which is a Hindu temple built into limestone.  Although we were only there for 2 nights, I felt like we saw everything we needed to see.  Some of my travel buddies thought KL was the highlight of the trip, but for me, that’s Bali.  Ah, Bali…  those glorious pictures are on deck, so stay tuned.

 

Entrance to Batu Caves - Lord Murugan

Entrance to Batu Caves – Lord Murugan

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272 steps leading up

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Inside the cave

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Hindu statue/painting

Top of Petronas

Top of Petronas

Petronas Towers

Petronas Towers


A few weeks ago I was looking forward to a vacation in SE Asia, and then I blinked…  and now I’m back in Chicago feeling jet-lagged, with some vivid memories of a Balinese Bruno Mars look-a-like singing a cover of AC/DC, ridiculous sunsets, an infinity pool looking over Singapore, and a craving for chili crab.

When we initially started planning, we came to the realization that this trip was going to be epic…  and epically expensive.  Hence, we adopted the term “FuckingYOLO”.  Shelling out the extra money to stay at the hotel in Singapore with the infinity pool on the 57th floor?  #FuckingYOLO.  A second helping at the breakfast buffet?  #FuckingYOLO.  An off-the-beaten path hike up a volcano at 4am to see the sunrise in Bali?  #FuckingYOLO.  One more drink?  #FuckingYOLO.  You get the point.  We wanted to experience it all, no matter the cost (within reason, obviously) in sleep, money, or calories.  So, here I am…  back at home with a few extra pounds, a recovering bank account, hundreds of pictures to sort through, and the satisfaction of knowing that I vacation like a fucking pro.

Our first stop on this adventure was Singapore.  I felt like we (maybe inadvertently) planned this trip perfectly and spent just the right amount of time in each place.  We had 3 nights in Singapore, with the last night at Marina Bay Sands hotel.  The place lives up to the hype and it has it’s own surrounding master plan complex with a mall, the Art & Science Museum, beautiful gardens, and a plethora of other developments.  As an added bonus, the Art & Science Museum just happened to have an exhibit covering the life and work of Annie Leibovitz.  As to be expected, it was spectacular.  A little photographic inspiration was a perfect way to get myself even more hyped to document this trip, and I think I got the best shots of Singapore that night.  Here are my favorites.

Singapore Flyer & Cloud Forest in the Marina Bay Gardens

Singapore Flyer & Cloud Forest in the Marina Bay Gardens

Art & Science Museum

Art & Science Museum

The hotel to out-hotel all other hotels

The hotel to out-hotel all other hotels

The ridiculous pool

Ridiculous pool

Singapore Skyline

Singapore Skyline

Reflections

Reflections

On deck:  Kuala Lumpur.

 

 

 




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