Las Vegas - Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire by Denise McMahon

We explored 2 parks, Valley of Fire State Park on the day we arrived and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on the last full day there. Both were equally awesome and had a lot of neat rock formations and TEXTURES GALORE. If I had to choose one to spend more time in though, I think it would definitely be Red Rock Canyon because there was just SO MUCH we didn't get a chance to do since we went in the afternoon (we ATV'ed through a desert that same morning, nbd). 

These images were taken with a new to me (but older) Fujifilm X100T 23mm 2.8 fixed lens. I bought it in hopes of using it as my personal/travel camera butttt after trying it out on this trip, I think I still prefer my trusty D750. This little guy is really great at landscape photos but the focus is SO nitpicky, I have a harder time figuring out and adjusting exposure with it, and I prefer something more consistent. I'm going to give it a few more tries but I'm definitely leaning towards bringing the workhorse with me to Italy in August instead.

Valley of Fire 

Fun fact, this is the oldest Nevada State Park. We didn't have tooo much time here so we were sort of rushing ourselves through while trying not to at the same time haha I am SO glad we went up Rainbow Vista though, and climbed up to the top of it. It was easily my favorite part of the park and worth the time we spent getting to it and back (the trail "markers" were...nonexistent). I was absolutely fascinated with the all the rock formations and the Aztec sandstone and limestone and there was just so much texture in all the imagery; I loved it!

Red Rock Canyon

This place...evokes such a feeling of "the mountains are calling", that going through the photos even a month later still make me want to drop everything and go hiking. We also couldn't have been blessed with a more BEAUTIFUL day. Or weekend to be honest. Highs in the mid-80s all weekend with little to no humidity was just an incredible feeling! Not unlike being in Colorado, another love of mine. Oh and all the cacti! I fawned over all of the cacti flora and fauna. So pretty and prickly! 

Seattle Part 2 - October 2017 by Denise McMahon

FOOD IS GOOD. FOOD IS LIFE. We walked our way around Seattle exploring by foot and ate our way through the city as we did it. It was divine, savory, and so so sweet. Commentary provided of notable parts and my top 3 selected.

  • Starbucks Roastery - Michael got this $10 hipster Whiskey Barrel-Aged Sulawesi coffee...and it was so well made and smooth tasting that even I liked it, whiskey aged and all.
  • Kizuki - pretty good ramen shop with Toyko-style noodles
  • Brewlab - Michael really enjoyed the beers here!
  • Biscuit Bitch - DELICIOUS buscuits 
  • Storyville Coffee Co - the coffee's good and I love that they are a company with a mission to end human trafficking but fair warning, it's ~$14-16 for just 8 oz. 
  • Lady Yum - macaron, macaron, macaron, MACARON! I love them and these were very very good! P.s. did you know I can make them (ish)?
  • (2nd place) Din Tai Fung @ Pacific Place - they're known for their soup dumplings (and yes, they're good) but I might've enjoyed the other dishes we got more than them (shh!). The shrimp fried noodles were my FAVE. 
  • General Porpoise - filled doughnuts I've decided are not my favorites
  • Sweet Iron - we popped by after grabbing GP(^). Glad I did because these waffles were yummy!
  • Ivar's Acres of Clams - when in Seattle, you must at least try a clam chowder :) everything else was eh?
  • (1st place) Wild Ginger - IF YOU HAVE NOT GONE, YOU MUST ADD TO YOUR LIST. My favorites: seven flavor beef, lobster & prawn dumpling soup, fragrant duck. And as an FYI, go with at least a group of 4 since this is a family-style fine dining experience. It's 100% worth the $.
  • (3rd place) Molly Moon's - mmm, fresh homemade ice cream with locally sourced ingredients. Nuff said.
  • La Fontana Siciliana - cozy little romantic Italian restaurant that welcomed weary, travel-worn tourists in their travel clothes. Delightfully good Italian food to go alongside the charm!
  • Caffe Vita - toss up between this and Stumptown for which beans I liked more
  • Taqueria Cantina - randomly chosen for lunch after going up the space needle - pretty tasty mexican food (though nothing super special).
  • Stumptown - I must've liked Stumptown more because I bought 2 bags for myself