We’re so excited to debut the new design for our Wildlandia trips today! This allows us to use video and incorporate other interactive elements so you feel like you’re there with us. New design built by the ever talented Trey (I’m a lucky girl!), words and photos by yours truly. Hope you like!
I don’t usually wear a lot of make-up in general, and when I travel I find I tend to wear even less. Some mascara, a tinted lip balm, and sunscreen are my go-tos, but sometimes the occasion calls for more and over time I’ve found a few favorites. The best places I’ve found that sell good mini-sized products are Sephora’s Travel Section and Whole Foods (secret’s out!).
My travel essentials are:
Clinique High Impact Mascara – My favorite mascara in mini-size.
Bare Minerals Pure Radiance Highlighter in golden peach - I just started using this to brighten up my face and love the peachy color.
Bumble & Bumble Surf Infusion oil +sea salt hair texturing spray – I just ran out of this, but it’s perfect for whenever you need to wash and go and want a beachy/tousled look.
A reef safe sunscreen – I usually buy this when I get to where I’m going so it’s one less thing I have to pack (and liquid restrictions on airplanes are 3 oz or less). This one is left over from swimming with the whale sharks in Mexico.
Korres Lip Butter in pomegranate - for when you want some color but don’t want to wear lipstick.
My Travel pouch is from Topos and can be found here.
In the summer of 1967, in a house in the woods outside of Woodstock, lived Bob Dylan, The Band, and a dog named Hamlet. They were recording The Basement Tapes, a part of arguably one of the most influential chapters in American music. In an interview with a Rolling Stone reporter about the album at the time, he recalled “That’s really the way to do a recording: in a peaceful, relaxed setting. In somebody’s basement. With the windows open…and a dog lying on the floor.”
We feel you, Bob Dylan.
This wouldn’t be the first or last time his love for dogs was stated publicly. He references dogs in the lyrics of his songs (“Little Buddy“, above), they’ve made appearances on album covers, and it is one topic in interviews he seemingly has no problem talking about (if you’ve got the time, his early interviews as a salty, critical youth who opposed authority are. so. good.). Recently, in 2013 he released a children’s book based on the lyrics from his song If Dogs Run Free.
There’s no denying Bob Dylan is one of the biggest cultural and musical icons ever. I grew up listening to my dad play his songs on guitar and in college I was really inspired by his writings. Something about those catchy four-chord rhythm progressions he put together, and how rad it was that he wrote songs about edgy things like opposing societal pressures and the status quo way of thinking. Lyrics like “Don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” always really resonated with me. But finding out he’s a dog person? Next level fan for life.
Right now I’m sitting in the empty claw foot bathtub in my bathroom, eating kale chips with ranch dressing and reflecting on the past year. The kale chips are clearly just a vessel for the ranch, but you already knew that. 2015 was a weird one. It was a lot of fun, but also really different than any other year I’ve ever had. I hope you guys all had a good holiday…apologies for the lack of posts around here. I missed writing, but needed to take a break from it for a while.
Over Christmas Trey’s grandfather (who he’s named after) passed away. Trey was really inspired by him, especially the engineering work on a NASA mission he did that Trey says influenced him to become an engineer too. So, Trey flew back to the east coast for the holidays to be with his family and sent me some pretty amusing text messages about riding in a mid-sized sedan with his mom, dad, sister and brother for 5 hours while driving from North Carolina to the funeral in Tennessee.
While he was gone, I took the dogs and drove down to LA. Los Angeles is one of those cities that’s big enough to feel lost in. There’s an anonymity to it that feels good. I spent a lot of time thinking and talking to friends I hadn’t talk to in a while. I had told Trey I felt tired mentally, especially these past few months, but didn’t really know why. It was frustrating to not feel inspired or motivated about life, especially when there was nothing identifiably wrong in my life. I didn’t talk about it much here because the last thing I wanted to share with the world was my personal onset of jadedness and melancholy. I’m more of the self destructing type. I’d rather go for a long drive and blast music with the windows down, or self medicate and forget about everything. I’m not recommending that or anything, I’m just saying that’s usually just what happens.
There were a lot of times this year when I felt restless and claustrophobic. I function best in chaos. I like complicated. Intensity is exciting. When everything gets routine, that’s when I derail. This past year was a lesson in sitting still, something I hadn’t done in a while. I added it up the other day and since leaving home after high school I’ve been to 46 states, driven across the country 5 times, lived in 7 cities/towns, and been to 10 different countries. I got good at being that friend/girlfriend/daughter/sister who texts and emails from afar because I was off doing things. I perfected the art of saying goodbye. It was a formula – go out, get drunk and stay out late, look them in the eyes and kiss their face and tell them how much you love them, then leave in the morning.
Moving around and traveling a lot has its perks. Everything is new and exciting, all the time. It’s fun, really fun. It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a stranger, it’s exchanging a mutual smile with someone that says more than any word in any language ever could, it’s losing yourself to the moment and abandoning everything you thought you knew. There’s no time to think about the past or worry about the future when you’re so intensely focused on the present. But there are downsides too. When you’re moving around all the time, you don’t build personal relationships with people, or get to experience the stability that comes from having a place to call home. It’s sitting alone in a hotel room during the holidays, it’s your old best friend finding a new best friend, it’s finding out you missed your grandma by a day in the boarding line for a red eye flight home, it’s nothing ever being the same when you get back.
In 2015 something changed for me. I realized that I’ve spent a lot of time and energy running – from people and places I didn’t align with, from the status quo, trying to escape from a past that happened so long ago. This was the year when I got tired. This was the year I learned I didn’t have anything to run from anymore. When Trey got back, he told me he felt the same, for his own reasons. I think that’s why we have always worked…we both left the same small town and never looked back. But, traveling takes on a new meaning for us now. Getting to grow roots in San Francisco and finding the joy in the everyday things life has to offer here is really fun. It’s that barista who always gives you an extra shot in your latte just because, it’s that old guy at the dog park that’s always there with his irish wolfhound, it’s dinner parties with friends, it’s having a place to come home to.
I don’t know what the year ahead is going to bring our way. I’ve gotten it wrong enough times in life to know not to predict anything or plan too much anymore. Either way, good times are gonna be had. Thank you for continuing to follow along with us here. I love reading your comments and hearing your stories. Thank you for sharing this space with me. Here’s to good vibes in 2016.
There really is nothing better than finding a good pair of vintage jeans. I grew up wearing Levis, as I think a lot of people did. When it comes to my style nowadays, I’m still mostly a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl. Usually the clothes I like have the 3 Cs: Comfortable, Classic, and Clean. Which is something I just made up while typing this, actually. Most of the time I just wear whatever’s clean and hasn’t been laid on by Jack.
The other day I was walking around Berkeley and ducked into this basement shop because it started to rain. Inside there was a stack of vintage Levis 501 jeans in various washes, so I tried a few pairs on while I waited out the rain. I’ve been living in the pair I found every day since then. I love how worn-in they feel, the baggy legs, and how pretty much anything you pair them with looks effortlessly cool. Wearing a sweater or nice tee basically says “I give a damn” up top, while the worn-in jeans say “yeah man, it’s whatever” on the bottom, which is basically the perfect wardrobe dichotomy in my mind.
P.s – I tried to sneak a dog in these photos, but Trey (boyfriend, in-house editor) vetoed it. So, you’ll just have to imagine a border collie with an extremely long tongue hanging out just out of the frame.
More Tom Boy Style posts, right here.
I look over to see Trey quietly laughing to himself in the driver’s seat. “What?” I ask him, wanting to know what sorts of brain wanderings of his I’m missing out on.
“I just thought the most stoner/hippie thing in my head that sounded a lot like something Jeff Spicoli would say, but it’s true”, he told me. “Yeah?” I said, fishing for a response.
“In order to find yourself, you’ve got to lose yourself…mann“, he said with a half-smile.
I laughed, “Yeah that does sound very Spicoli“. Then I repeated what he had said in a British accent to make it sound philosophical. Trey cringed and shook his head. I have never quite understood his aversion to a British accent. Maybe it’s because Americans have come to associate a British accent with being more formal, or because he sees it as being snooty. Either way, he hates it. I think British accents are charming. David Attenborough talking about Antarctic penguins is basically an adult nursery rhyme for me.
The music’s on, we’re listening to Uncle Tupelo, Chris Stapleton, and Sturgill Simpson. I’m not the biggest country fan, but I’ve been listening to Sturgill Simpson a lot lately. The heater is trying it’s best on half-blast to warm the truck. The cold air seeping through the crack in the passenger’s side window where it doesn’t fully roll up isn’t helping. It’s raining a little. Big, fat drops on the windshield. The whole sky is one cloud for as far as I can see ahead. It’s definitely not your average “let’s go to the beach” day. But, I love gray days. In California you get a lot of sunny days, so when the sky decides to get moody it’s a good thing. A strong El Niño has been predicted for this winter, which will bring lots of wind and rain. I was interested in seeing the surf. So far we’ve already had a few strong storms with thunder, lightening and strong winds. Some containers fell off a cargo ship off the coast last week and it took them no time to wash ashore given the wind. Pretty neat.
On our way to Point Reyes, we stopped off at our favorite sandwich/grocery store, The Inverness Store. They’ve got this abandoned boat out back that I’ve been taking Jack’s photo in front of since he was little. It was muddy from the rain, so I carried Jack over my shoulder to the log to avoid him from getting muddy. “He’s so calm”, a woman who was there photographing the boat said to me as we walked past. Jack flashed a panty smile at her from over my shoulder. “He’s a good boy”, I said back proudly. Then we picked up a dozen Hog Island oysters for dinner and threw them in our old Coleman cooler in the back of the truck and continued on to Point Reyes.
Our favorite spot up here is North Beach. It’s the last beach before you get to the lighthouse. There’s cliffs, driftwood, dunes, and on a good day you can see the Farallon Islands offshore. It’s a good place to watch for gray whales and humpbacks migrating, and there’s a large elephant seal rookery just on the other side of the peninsula in Drakes Bay. Right now the whales are traveling down to the warm waters south of our latitude, avoiding the cold and readying to give birth to their calves. They won’t begin migrating back north again until early spring. Before long the male elephant seals will start arriving at the rookery near here to stake their claim of the beach, and by February the juveniles, females, and pups will follow. But for now, all is quiet and everyone is tucked in for winter, so to speak.
We got to the beach and the swell was huge. The waves swirled high and crashed with thunderous force. The tide was high too, taking up most of the beach. I told Trey we better keep the dogs close, else they’ll get dragged out into the surf and be goners. The riptides around here, combined with the cold water, are no joke. Trey climbed on a dune and flew the drone with the GoPro out over the beach. The dogs chased a tennis ball in the sand, then Trey made a makeshift bat out of a piece of driftwood and hit the ball far down the beach for them. Keeper is so fast. She’s my girl, so sweet and athletic.
The sun started setting and we made our way back down the beach to the truck. We toweled the dogs off, gave them some water, and then Trey snapped a photo of me and Jack in the front seat watching the sun set. Afterwards we drove home in the dark, Keeper had half her body out of the car, not wanting to miss a thing. It was the best day.
Christmas is coming (I said that like Jon Snow, god Nicole GET OVER IT). Perhaps you’re looking for ideas for that special someone on your list that’s outdoorsy, or likes well designed things, or both. Stanley is a built-to-last outdoor brand that offers a lot of good products that are great for that. I grew up with Stanley brand products. I still have an old lunch box that Trey and I use to this day to carry dog food in when we travel. I love how their products blend hip style and design with outdoor functionality. It’s great for those people on your list who appreciate products that last. There’s no going wrong with a good thermos to help them keep food and drinks warm, or a good flask to tuck into a jacket pocket during a hike through the woods. My new favorite is the cocktail shaker for making camp fire cocktails, and the vacuum growler to fill with your favorite craft beer and share with friends. Trey’s favorite is the vacuum pint – he fills it up with ice water every night, and it’s still icy water in the morning. You know, it’s the simple things in life.
For some good deals on Stanley products like the ones above, head right this way.
This post was sponsored by Stanley. Thank you for supporting brands who support Wildlandia.
This past weekend we went to the tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree. We returned to the same farm as last year to keep the tradition going. It’s fun to drive through the woods and walk through the rows of trees until you find the perfect one. The dogs ran around, darting through the trees like it was one big maze. Every now and then I’d hear a kid yell “doggie!” and look up to see Jack standing in front of a little kid wagging his tail. It’s fun to watch Jack interact with little humans. He’s so intrigued and wants to lick their faces off. I think it’s because he’s so smart, and they are about his size. After we found our tree, Trey cut it down, and we tied it to the top of Lola. Then it was time for some lunch. We stopped at Val’s diner for some burgers and french fries. It’s such a charming little spot. The older guy seating us told us to take “the fourth booth on the left…but walk slow cuz’ they’re still cleaning it”. Afterwards they give you little Andies chocolates. Then we drove home and strung lights on the tree and put up the stockings. I love this tradition we’ve got going. Just us, the dogs, and a 5 ft Douglas Fir poppin’ a squat in our living room. Tis’ the season!
Around this time in the 7th grade Trey and I first kissed. Since we’ve never had an exact date for an anniversary, we just randomly do sweet things for each other in November and December. The other night we were digging for christmas decorations in the closet and came across an old chalk board we used to write notes to each other on. It must have gotten buried the last time we moved. “Should we hang it?” Trey asked me, holding it against the wall above the dish rack in the kitchen. “Of course”, I told him. One morning last week I went to get a mug off the rack in the kitchen, still wiping sleep from my eyes, and saw he had written something on it… “I want to be your Jon Snow”. Then I noticed, wedged into one of the corners, was a note. “To: Nicole From: Trey”.