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hiking in Sedona

Ash Huang is an independent designer, illustrator and writer. You can find her at ashsmash.com or on Twitter as @ashsmash. Ash spends much of her time clacking away at her laptop and picking up strange hobbies. You may mistake her for a giant squirrel and/or cookie monster. It wouldn’t be the first time.

Sedona is one of my favorite places on Earth. I visited Sedona for the first time thirteen years ago and it made such an impact on me that I’ve centered a whole cross country road trip on getting there. It’s definitely a hiking town. But with a plethora of hikes to choose from, I was paralyzed, as I only had three days to hit the trails. Cue hours of intense research. There’s something for everyone — easy scenic views, scrambles up slide rock, wending through canyons.

hiking in SedonaBroken Arrow Trail
How long: 3.5 miles round trip, we ended up turning back after a mile or so because of time constraints.

This trail is an intimate hike very close to Sedona’s city center. The drive in is rugged (no pavement… some artful driving is required) and only wide enough for one vehicle to pass at a time. You’ll see a lot of jeep tours coming in, but they’re separated from the walking/mountain biking trail. Everyone is very polite and will tell you how many vehicles are in their party. Take Morgan Road from 179 and drive all the way to the end. Where it seems to just be dirt? Drive through there. This will take you to a parking lot. I did this in a Toyota Echo and saw a fair share of Priuses, so you’ll be okay.

hiking in SedonaThis hike is quiet and stunning. You get to see formations up close. The trail is a little less formal, going over stretches of rock. Look for white marks that will lead you back to the path.

hiking in SedonaAirport Mesa Loop
How long: 3.5 miles round trip
This is the longest hike we did. It’s great for dizzying views of the city. Watch prop planes land at the top of the mesa and see many of Sedona’s most famous rock formations. I suggest going in the morning, the light over the land is stunning.

How to get there: From 89A, follow signs for the airport. To the left, you’ll see a parking lot. This is the beginning of the trailhead. However, before you do that, I’d suggest you keep driving up to the top of the mesa. There’s a big parking lot to the left, and a scenic view spot.

hiking in SedonaCome back down and park in the trailhead parking lot. To your immediate left is the Airport vortex. You’ll know because there will probably be people on it. Sedona is famous for vortexes, which are tunnels of uplifting energy. I’m dubious, but it was hard to be anything but uplifted with a view like this.

hiking in SedonaWalk the trail from here. It’s a slow and steady climb with very little dramatic incline.

hiking in SedonaThere are options for other trails towards the north side of the loop. I was getting hangry, so we continued on the trail. It ends across the street from the trailhead parking lot.
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miscellaneous adventures

Here’s something you may not know about me: I’m obsessed with tiny spoons and have quiet the collection. So when Kelly from Design Crush sent over a link to Miscellaneous Adventures I may have squealed. So many spoons! So many outdoorsy vibes! So much wood! Kelly is a good friend, indeed.

miscellaneous adventuresMiscellaneous Adventures was created by illustrator and craftsman Andrew Groves and serves as a place for design to meet traditional craft and outdoor skills (aka my personal heaven). You know what else is awesome about them? They believe in FUN. So, not only do they sell stuff, but they also host incredible workshops to learn skills like woodcarving and wild camping in the woods. I don’t know about you, but I’m all for anything that gets me outdoors more and more.

miscellaneous adventures miscellaneous adventures miscellaneous adventuresp.s. there’s a slingshot!

images via Miscellaneous Adventures

the beach people // jojotastic.com

Meet The Beach People — bohemian, beachy, sexy goodness. With an online shop full of  beach carts, totes, and one awesome round beach blanket, they’ve got everything you could possible need to finish up this summer. What’s funny to me is that this feels oh-so-California, especially with the model’s mussed blonde hair and the golden hour light. Yet The Beach People hail from Australia. Makes sense though, I’ve always felt like Australian beaches and Californian beaches were like long-lost cousins.

the beach people // jojotastic.com

the beach people // jojotastic.com The Beach People’s motto (according to their Instagram) is ‘bringing bliss to your sea adventures’ and it couldn’t be more perfect. I loved the laid back vibe they’re throwing out there. Now, who wants to go to the beach?

the beach people // jojotastic.comImages via The Beach People. Found on SF Girl by Bay.

escape to the mountains

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to take after my dad more and more. One specific way is that I feel most peaceful when I’m surrounded by mountains. The sight of them actually takes my breath away. And, as I’m writing this, I can smell the cracked dry earth and scrubby plants. I feel like myself when I’m that deep in nature, especially when the cellphone service cuts out and I’m alone with my thoughts. Recently, I headed to Colorado (Frisco, Denver, and Red Rocks) with a couple of friends and Noodle. Here’s a visual diary of sorts.

escape to the mountains

escape to the mountains

escape to the mountains

escape to the mountains

escape to the mountains

escape to the mountainsAs you can see, it was an incredible trip, one that gets the wheels turning and leaves me breathlessly inspired. And, as always, thank you to my amazing travel companions and all the kind people we met along the way (hi, Peter).

photography by Jojotastic

Turks and Caicos

To describe my trip to Turks and Caicos as incredible or amazing or mind-blowing doesn’t even come close; actually words can’t describe the impact this vacation had on me. Like I said before I left, I hadn’t taken a vacation in years. I’m talking over 5 years. I’ve just been go go go go gooooo without ever once taking a break and this year, I felt it. I really enjoy outdoorsy stuff, climbing, hiking, kayaking, etc. So one morning we woke a bit early and decided to venture out onto the ocean to kayak. There is something so peaceful and freeing about being in a solo kayak on the ocean, with land behind you, but just a stretch of the clearest turquoise water ahead of you. I could actually see the curve of the earth. That morning really got me thinking.

exploring Turks and Caicos
Travel is important. My first real takeaway is something that many people would say DUH to. As a kid, I traveled a ton. My mom made sure to show me the world, so we’d go somewhere every summer. From Greece to the Netherlands, even a cross-country road trip of the states, I grew up understanding how important it is to simply get away every once in a while. Somehow, as an adult I’ve lost sight of this. That clear morning on a kayak though, it became abundantly clear to me just how important travel is. This experience can never be matched and now I am itching for more.

sailing in the Caribbean
Learn Greek. I know you’re probably wondering what that has to do with Turks and Caicos, but bear with me. One of my biggest regrets in life is not learning Greek properly as a child. I understand enough to get by (maybe) and can definitely curse out someone, but that’s not the same. To this day, I fervently wish I was bilingual. Now that I’m back in Philly, I plan to enroll in Greek lessons. The reward for this? Why, a trip to Greece next of course!

sunset at Turks and Caicos
Hit the gym. I’ll probably catch some flack for this one, but I was just not happy with the way my body looked in photos. The truth is that after hours behind a computer, hours stressing out, hours not working out, I’ve gotten soft and I am not happy about it. I’ve already enrolled in a gym membership here in Philly and I’m meeting with my trainer today!

vacation!
This trip really was spectacular and I am beyond grateful for the experience. Now that I’m back, my mind feels fresh and clear and I am bursting with ideas!

For more information about your own trip to Turks and Caicos:

  • Harbour Club Villas & Marina — Marta and Barry are the owners and truly wonderful people. They made sure we had the best time ever with loads of suggestions. They even hooked us up with the amazing crew aboard the Atabeyra. I honestly cannot recommend this place more!
  • Atabeyra — This sailboat (and it’s crew) were so incredible that we went 3 times! The snorkeling was breathtaking (I saw an eagle ray), the sunset was magical, the rum punch was… happy juice. Highly, highly recommend.
  • For delicious meals, check out: Da Conch Shack and Bugaloo’s. Be sure to order conch with every meal! From conch fritters (think hushpuppies) to conch salad (similar to ceviche), it’s incredibly fresh and refreshing.

photos by Jojotastic

overgrown garden

Last week was a doozy! I’m pretty sure the super moon threw the universe out of whack and sent everything haywire. Needless to say, as the weekend rolled around, I felt the urge to skip town. I hit the road on Saturday morning to seek escape in the greenery around my parents’ houses in Maryland. And, while I consider Seattle to be my home, there is a part of me that will always find peace in the slower pace and lush greenery of Maryland. It’s just where I grew up, where my family is, and where I know I can relax. While visiting, I got to play with my best friend, Chubs the lab, lounge in my mom’s wild garden, and eat tons of great homecooking.

lush hydrangeas

my favorite hiking buddy

photos by Jojotastic using Instagram — follow me here!

Love the look of moody, vintage-inspired apothecary artifacts and scientific specimens? This tutorial from Terrain, assembled by one of their in-store display artists, teaches you an ingenious way to achieve this moody look using a basic scanner and some of the season’s freshest blooms. I absolutely love this project because it reminds me of making sunprints as a kid, but in a totally twisted way! Be sure to check out the easy and ingenious tutorial here.

how to style dark botanicals

images via Terrain