Things To Do In Salt Lake City

I consider Salt Lake City my home town. I was born in Texas, and after a couple of moves, settled in Utah when I was about two years old. I lived there until I moved right before I started the fifth grade, when I moved yet again to settle in southwest Washington. The time I spent in Washington was longer than the time I spent in Utah, but I consider my time in Utah an imperative part of my childhood. For years I have been talking about going back and revisiting places I have nostalgic feelings for, and last weekend I was finally able to do so! A dear friend let me stay with her and was willing and eager to be my transportation while I visited, which is the route I suggest taking if you’re planning on visiting… anywhere, if it’s possible! All I had to spend money on was an excessive amount of food.

I took a ton of pictures, and I’m not sure a lot of them will be “interesting” to anyone who isn’t a part of my family. I visited a lot of places I have fond childhood memories of, and did some very personal adventuring, so I will try to condense this post into places I recommend visiting if you make a trip there yourself!

 

The food:

The first restaurant I visited upon arriving was a new, plant-based Mexican joint called Boltcutter in downtown SLC for dinner. The menu was small, but I can say with honesty it was the best Mexican food I’ve had. If you’re looking for authenticity, this might not be the place for you, but the food and cocktails are delicious and even though everything is vegan, I could see the food appealing to meat-eaters as well!

The next morning, my friend had to work so I walked to Gourmandise the Bakery for breakfast. Gourmandise the Bakery is a French bakery/cafe right outside downtown. It’s a beautiful open space and I had a pleasant time hanging out here. The only drawback happened when I tried to pull out my computer to work and the advertised WiFi didn’t work. I didn’t take too much offense to this, though, because I was too busy savoring my crème brûlée oatmeal. I tried to go back a different day for pastries, but it was late and they were closed. Next time I’ll be grabbing an eclair to-go!

The last restaurant I want to recommend is in Park City – a brunch place accurately named The Eating Establishment. The Eating Establishment appeared on quite a few “Best Brunch in Park City” lists and we decided to head there based on its veg-friendly capacity. It was Sunday morning busy but we were sat immediately and all employees we interacted with were super friendly. Our breakfast food was pretty good, but what we saw on others’ tables as far as lunch went looked phenomenal. It might be a better place to go a little later, and based on the liquor shelf behind the bar, I bet the cocktails are pretty good too.

 

The Coffee:

I’m not even going to pretend I didn’t drink an unreasonable amount of coffee while there. I have some quick thoughts on the shops I visited. All are located downtown!

The People’s Coffee is open late and pretty cozy. The walls are covered in eclectic art which gives the space a feel suited for creative types.

The Rose Establishment also serves breakfast so its indoor area is bigger. I don’t do dairy in my coffee so I asked for a café au lait made with their house-made cashew milk and it was SO creamy. I also got a peach-filled doughnut that was delicious. Do I think all doughnuts are delicious? Probably. But this one had a very.. fancy feel to it. I would highly recommend this place if you’re looking for a “sit down and catch up” atmosphere.

Speaking of outrageous pastries, Three Pines Coffee also blew me away with their apple & rosemary scones. Also a small and cozy space, its minimalist interior reminded me of many coffee shops in my current city of Portland. They actually brew Heart Coffee Roasters which is a PDX-based company. The space seems like a great place to settle in and read a book or do some work.

 

The places:

I spent most of my time in SLC, but went to Park City for a morning. Both cities are SO beautiful! My favorite thing about Utah is the presence of all four seasons, and I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t a little upset it hadn’t snowed when I was there. It was really unfortunate to have the pretty architecture take the spotlight, I know!

Temple Square is right next to downtown Salt Lake City and hosts the main LDS church as well as quite a few other religious gathering buildings. I’m a little ashamed to admit I didn’t remember Temple Square included buildings not related to the LDS church. I’m not religious, but some churches are incredible to look at and this area houses some of the prettiest. There were at least five wedding congregations around the LDS church and every bride looked stunning. It was an amazing sight to behold!

Farther uphill from Temple Square is the Utah State Capitol. Never in my life have I sought out a government building but this one was so impressive I had to look inside. Everything was marble and I was very glad I had decided to take a peek. I was also glad I wasn’t the only one to have thought to photograph in the area- there were three different groups of professional photographers taking pictures of clients there. If I could have taken pictures of the interior without also capturing a ton of people, I would have… But in all honesty, you should probably just go visit yourself. I took so many good pictures of the whole building, I could only narrow down what I wanted to share to three. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Main Street in Park City is a stark contrast to Salt Lake City’s older, mostly Gothic architecture. The buildings all look fairly new and are very colorful. Very good walking without a purpose other than taking in sights. If you’re a fan of window shopping, Main Street is the perfect place to do so.

A fun Easter egg: There’s an authentic Banksy on the side of one building! It’s the first one I’ve ever seen in person. It was covered by glass, presumably to keep vandals from defacing the piece, but that didn’t detract from the excitement I felt when my friend pointed it out.

The protective glass is cracked which makes an interesting view for cameras

Going back through all of this information, I’m surprised I have even more to share. It seems like a lot in text so I am going to quit while I’m ahead, with one final thought. Nostalgia aside, Utah is a great place to spend time if you love to be outside. All I did was wander through a couple of towns but there are a myriad natural landmarks and national parks to visit all over the state. I can’t wait to come back in the summer to camp, and in the winter to ski! And if you decide to plan a vacation here, take me with you. I’m excited to go back soon!

MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM Los Angeles

I have an affinity for Instagrammable places.

Maybe that’s a silly thing to say, but it’s totally true. I am a child of social media and won’t deny my love for easily photographed venues. A little while ago, I was talking with a friend about my plans for weekend getaways coming soon, and she said, “You really like museums, huh?”

Yeah, I guess I do!

I had never given it much thought but I realized she was right. I love art, I love knowledge, and I love photographing. Museums are a trifecta of enjoyable activities. I must not be alone in this sentiment, because other entrepreneurs are taking note and opening pop-up museums that are less “museum” and more experience. You see that with the Color Factory, which I visited in September. And last weekend, I was able to visit one of two locations of the Museum of Ice Cream, the product of a woman who has branded herself as the future “millenial Walt Disney.” The Museum of Ice Cream is more for young adults than it is for kids, but that’s a hard sell when you mention the sprinkle pool. There have been three locations so far: New York, which is now closed; Los Angeles, which is closing at the end of December, and San Francisco, which hasn’t announced a closing date as of this writing. I visited the Los Angeles location, and I had a blast! The rooms were interactive and the Museum guides are fun and great at what they do. Each location features different rooms, so I will have my eye on ticket releases for the others. Who would turn down the opportunity to eat bottomless ice cream in a building full of people who don’t judge?

The telephone room is the first room you enter. Somehow we spent the most time in this room, as I was eager to keep going but my boyfriend held the receiver up to his ear and listened to who was on the other end. He insisted it was Seth Rogan.

More street signs made of ice cream in the real world, please!

Gwen Stefani has actually been in this room which is B-A-N-A-N-A-S

The only life I’m interested in. This room was my favorite. I love mint green, there were troughs growing actual mint plants, and I was given mint chocolate chip mochi!

See what I mean about mint green? It’s so pleasing to my eyeballs.

These Popsicles did NOT taste as good as they look.

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The final ice cream you are given in the final room of the museum: Pink vanilla with an Oreo cookie in the cone!

24 hours in Bend, OR

I have been working SO much lately. A normal month would give me blocks of up to six days off, but I’m picking up trips left and right to pay off my debt. On top of my work, I started fall term at school and my classes this semester are intense. Anybody else wouldn’t have time to sit down, but I schedule in some fun once in a while. Last weekend I flew into Redmond to see a friend and had roughly a day for her to show me around. I didn’t take a lot of pictures but I will share what I have! Bend (and the surrounding area) is SO gorgeous. Seeing the Three Sisters on the horizon is a view that should be in stock desktop backgrounds. I will absolutely be making another trip to explore more.

I flew into Redmond Friday afternoon after I had been working and my friend picked me up and took me downtown. She insists people in Bend do nothing but drink all night, and after this night I’m inclined to believe her. She took me to Velvet (http://www.velvetbend.com/) first, this very small but very rustic space with outdoorsy decorations and comfy couches. I ordered a Blue Velvet and I can honestly say it was the best drink I’ve ever had! It was, simply put, a blueberry lemonade vodka and I could drink those all day. Velvet actually sells the mix for this drink in 64 ounce Mason jars, and I regret not taking one home.

Next, she took me to Dogwood (http://www.thedogwoodcocktailcabin.com/), a bigger space with a vibe that’s hard to describe. It was dark, with table service and a disco show projected onto a bare wall. Also, somebody pulled a bunny out of his bag and set him on the couch next to me. Dogwood was a wild ride. I ordered a Thai One On and it was some coconut basil thing which, while interesting, had too many basil shreds in it for me to really enjoy. But I was happy to be there. That wasn’t the end of our night, but what story can I tell that tops a bunny hanging out with me in a bar?

The next morning we woke up early to drive to Terwilliger hot springs, which is about two hours east of Bend. The drive there was absolutely incredible. It was a grey, misty day, and I think gloom makes nature look so ethereal, and I can’t get enough of it.

Bend roadway

Bend roadway

The bushes changing colour were scattered within evergreens, or burnt soil, so they stood out in a remarkable way.

After that beautiful, beautiful drive, we turned our final corner… to a “Road Closed” sign. One of many forest fires burning here in the northwest is too close to the springs. We weren’t able to get there, but a firefighter recommended a place nearby called Deer Creek hot springs that we decided to check out.

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A pit stop on the way to Deer Creek.

We stopped where we thought the Deer Creek trail might start and walked around until we found the entrance. The firefighter had told us the hot springs was not even 1/4th of a mile in but we couldn’t find it initially. We hiked for maybe 10 minutes. Even without the springs, it was beautiful outside.

Deer Creek trail

It’s crazy nature can do this on its own!

At some point we figure we had probably gone farther than we should have and headed back. My friend mentioned she had seen something off the trail that didn’t look promising, but it must have been what we were searching for. We slid down a very steep dirt trail to where my friend was looking at what she had seen from above. It didn’t look like a spring.. but she turned around and there it was! The natural spring is very small and hidden in a cliff so it wasn’t visible from the normal trail. But we found it, and we had it to ourselves.

Deer Creek hot springs

Deer Creek hot springs. A literal hole-in-the-wall.

Deer Creek hot springs

The spring was right next to a very cold river. Nature is incredible.

It was a thrill finding this place. I felt like an accomplished treasure hunter. We had the hole to ourselves for quite a while, and it was a very cool experience!  If you want detailed instructions on how to get there… Don’t ask. 😉

 

San Francisco, CA: Color Factory

Yesterday my boyfriend and I took a quick trip to SFO to a pop-up “experience” I learned about through my employer. Color Factory is an interactive warehouse converted into different exhibits where color is the focus. Tickets took me 4 1/2 HOURS to buy and it was totally worth it. It was an Instagrammer’s dream! My only complaint was that I was definitely aware I was in a warehouse and the exhibits didn’t exactly blow me away like I expected them to. Regardless, it still provided excellent memories, and excellent pictures!

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The entrance. I had a better photo opportunity but I was holding up the people in our group.

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This rotating meringue wheel had charcoal lemonade on the other side! I don’t like meringue but I still took one. I have a hard time passing up free food.

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The disco room had buttons on the wall labelled with lines from popular songs that fit the theme. I played a Michael Jackson song you should be able to easily guess.

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The confetti room was sponsored by Method Home so one wall was covered in shelves of dish soap. This was my favourite room! Shane and I are professionals at looking terrible in pictures together, but I’ll be damned if this isn’t the best photo we’ve ever taken.

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Does this room need an explanation?

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Swatch your step!

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This isn’t an installation, just a hallway between rooms. Still pretty though.

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The ball pit was a load of fun. I was surprised to learn that 3 1/2 feet deep ball pits are hard to move through. I look at it as an unexpected workout!

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We grabbed miniature ice cream cones on our way out. His was vanilla, mine was Japanese milk coffee. I thought they tasted the same, but the bf STRONGLY disagreed.

There were many more rooms than what I show here. But if we’re being honest, it was very dark and I’m not a good low-light photographer yet! If they extend their lease, I highly suggest purchasing tickets. I believe the artists behind Color Factory created an activity enjoyable for just about every age, and I’m so fortunate I was able to experience it myself.

#ThrowbackTuesday: Palouse Falls

My first post is going to include pictures from the first time I used my camera’s automatic zoom feature.. Although, none of these pictures were taken with it!

I love photography but it’s been a 2-year learning curve for me. I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t even know my camera had a lot of the features it did until I let a professional photographer look at it. I am slowly, sloooowly learning how to be a pro.

In July 2016 I road-tripped with an old friend into western Washington to camp at Palouse Falls State Park for a night. It was a blast and the scenery was gorgeous, both at the park and on the drive. Ever heard of #thatNWbus? We saw it.

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I love this picture and it is the crown jewel of my trip. I had an Instagram follower ask to purchase the high-res file and even though they ignored me after asking, that still felt pretty good! Stumbling upon this bus was an unexpected but pleasant surprise. And remember, that focus was manual.

After getting to the park we checked out the waterfall and I’ve never seen anything quite like it. The falls run into a basin, which I imagine is common in a place like the Grand Canyon but I’ve never been there so this was quite an experience.

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This picture doesn’t do a great job of showcasing just how high the cliffs were. I wish I could show how treacherous the climb to get to the base of the falls was! It took an hour and involved holding on to bungee cords and walking through a wasp colony. Dangerous, but so rewarding. There were a series of smaller falls and a river cutting through the canyon that were just as beautiful. And I haven’t seen wild sunflowers anywhere else before!

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We were only there for the night, but it was a great time. I love to hike, and becoming more knowledgeable about my equipment was very nice. I’ve seen some phenomenal shots of the falls in the winter, and would love to go back then. I’ve flown to a few places in western Washington but this has been my favourite experience so far!

Baby’s First Post

Hi there!

I’m Kirstyn. I wear many hats: Flight attendant, college student, learning photographer, and museum lover are some of the big ones. I have tried different blog formats many times prior to this one, but I’m determined to make a real effort to keep this one up. My life is finally interesting enough to generate a steady(-ish) stream of content!

A little about me..

March of 2016 I was working as a teller at a Portland credit union and I loved my job. Being an employee of a genuinely good company made me happy. I was inquiring about open positions in different departments. I remember telling a coworker that I might want to start building a career with this company.

And then, I was fired.

I made a mistake on a member’s account, and while it was only an accident, it was a big one. I worked a full shift and was let go at the end of the day. It was embarrassing, and I was absolutely devastated. I had never been fired from a job before, and had no idea how to handle the emotional turmoil that came with the change. I spent a solid week crying. I broke my (then) vegan diet. I had a difficult time facing the fact that, maybe, I wasn’t good at something.

But I couldn’t pity myself forever, because I am an adult with responsibilities and bills. So soon after, I was searching for a job. And I never applied for anything I didn’t think I would enjoy. I interviewed for customer service positions in every field you can think of. I sent resumes and interviewed with hotels and spas. I interviewed for my favourite doughnut shop. I even interviewed to do (ugh) accounting work for a property management company. And time after time, I wasn’t offered the job. I have never, EVER had so much trouble looking for work. It was devastating to my already shattered self-esteem.

I couldn’t tell you exactly what happened next. My savings depleted and I was incurring credit card debt to get by. I was losing hope and getting desperate. I don’t remember what brought this change, but one day, I said “I’m going to be a flight attendant”. And from that point on, everything I did was in pursuit of that goal. I took a job supervising an airport Starbucks in the hope I could network. I did, and three months in, I quit to become a customer service agent for Virgin America (even though I offered full transparency in the interview about my goals- they must have liked me!) and five months later, I was offered a job with Alaska Airlines’ regional carrier, Horizon Air. I graduated ground school in June of this year, and have been in the skies since.

I am so lucky to be living my dream, but it took a lot of ass-busting to get me to where I am. And the hard work will not stop. I’m striving to become a better person in multiple facets and that takes effort every day. The effort and energy I put into bettering my life is draining.. but so incredibly rewarding. And I hope, with this website, to accurately portray the best moments, and the moments that can help you!

Am I a travel expert? Not yet. Am I a travel expert-in-training? Absolutely.

I can’t wait to see you in the sky!