A Home Away from Home in Raglan, New Zealand

Raglan New Zealand Floor

This is a post from my “Photo Rescue” project where I’m rediscovering all my pictures from New Zealand. Read all posts about New Zealand here!

Our AirBnb in Raglan, New Zealand was too cute not to get its own post. I was enamored with every bit of it – the interior design, the views, the record player. This place had it all!

We decided to stay in Raglan almost by accident. We flew from Christchurch to Auckland with a plan to book a place in the city, but we changed our minds at the last second. Instead, we booked a place in Raglan – a small town by the ocean with great spots for surfing, kayaking, and enjoying the water.

We spent most of our time in this sun-filled room with a view of the bay….

Bay View Windows in Raglan New Zealand

The perfect spot for me to keep re-reading The Hobbit 🙂

I loved all the midcentury style furniture and the overall color scheme of this room. Plus, the light fixtures! Love the look of these and the wide light they cast at night.

Here, see the fireplace in the background with the mantle styling? Love how the colors there pick up on the colors of the seating in the foreground.

And then, this nook just off the kitchen was perfect for a morning coffee…

Let’s see a beauty shot of that floor. The color story, the intricate tile-inspired designs – I love all this, too!

Raglan New Zealand Floor

And speaking of the kitchen, here is a peak at it. I love the juxtaposition of that yellow light with the aqua cabinet doors. Gives it some real pop, y’know?

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And last but not least, the bedroom with this amazing dresser + mirror.

Raglan, New Zealand was a great place to stay as our central hub on the North Island. From here we were able to head out on day trips like Waitomo and Hobbiton. But my favorite part might have been this cozy home away from home!

xx Kate

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Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa

This is a post from my “Photo Rescue” project where I’m rediscovering all my pictures from New Zealand. Read all posts about New Zealand here!

I have been waiting for this post! I couldn’t wait to share the photos from our experience swimming with dolphins in Akaroa, New Zealand. Everything about this was a once-in-a-lifetime amazing experience for me. Let’s dig in!

We did Akaroa as a day trip from Christchurch on the South Island. In November, it was a very doable and scenic 1.5 hour drive.

There are a few choices of tour guides for Akaroa experiences like this one, and we went with EcoSeaker. We chose them because we liked their longer tours, commitment to education, and history of conservation/habitat protection.

Only 12 people go out once a day to minimize any potential impacts on the environment or wildlife. Here we are on the boat…

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Everyone is provided with wetsuits to help you float in the ocean. They are fully buoyant and keep you warm!

At the time, I was not the strongest swimmer (I could tread water and swim around slowly) – but once I was accustomed to the sensation of the wetsuit keeping me afloat, I had no trouble at all!

On the boat in the harbor in Akaroa
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My husband, who is a very strong swimmer (he grew up with lots of #lakelife in the Midwest!) thought the wetsuits were good quality and moved well with him through the water.

Swimming with Dolphins in Akaroa

Everything about Akaroa harbour and the ocean water is beautiful and vividly colorful, like stepping into a painting. I just love that turquoise water.

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And we saw some dolphins! These Hectors Dolphins are a small, inland type of dolphin and very rare in the world. We felt so lucky to see not just a group of 5 or 6, but many more!

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See the dolphins in Akaroa swimming with some of our footage in our New Zealand highlight reel here.

Akaroa Harbor

Part of your tour cost goes towards Hectors/New Zealand Dolphin research and education – and that means more opportunities for conservation.

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You can learn more about EcoSeaker, the Hectors dolphins, and Akaroa on EcoSeaker’s site here.

Definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

xx Kate

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Horseback Riding in Glenorchy

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This is a post from my “Photo Rescue” project where I’m rediscovering all my pictures from New Zealand. Read all posts about New Zealand here!

A couple of days after our wedding, we drove out to Glenorchy for a horseback riding tour. It was an easy, beautiful 1 hour drive from Queenstown out to the meet up point. We did our tour with High Country Horses and loved our experience.

First things first, the views in Glenorchy are unreal! That definitely makes it a unique and perfect place for something like a horseback riding trek where you can cover a lot of ground, take in a lot of the terrain and scenery, and get a feel for the land in the area.

New Zealand Glenorchy Horseback Riding

The tour we chose was “Isengard” – a half-day trek that was suitable for all experience levels. It included just a bit of trotting and a few river crossings! Here I made friends with my tour buddy….

About halfway through our ride we stopped for photos. You might recognize the backdrop here as the setting for Isengard in the Lord of the Rings trilogy!

Here are some shots from the actual trek. First up, a river crossing:

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The horses were totally pro and accustomed to these trails….

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See more about horseback riding in Glenorchy with some of our footage in our New Zealand highlight reel here.

All in all, we had a great experience with our horseback riding trek. If you are visiting Queenstown or exploring the South Island, I’d definitely recommend checking out High Country Horses and their different treks to find one that suits you! Some others we thought sounded cool were the multi-day trek around the mountain for more experienced riders and the Rees River Trail, another half day trek good for all experience levels. No matter your background with horses, there’s a chance for everyone to make great memories here.

See ya mate and take it easy,

Kate

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Queenstown, New Zealand

So, I decided to undertake a mini “Photo Rescue” project with my New Zealand pictures. I have so many good photos from our wedding trip there in 2017 that I never shared, and I really want them to have a home here on the blog. In the spirit of bringing these photos and stories back out to enjoy again – here we go, starting with Queenstown!

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My husband and I were married in November 2017 next to Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown. This was maybe the most scenic place I’ve ever been! Love it so much. And so happy to have made great memories there.

The day before our wedding, we had lunch at the Stratosphere Restaurant up high over Queenstown with amazing views of the area. To get up there, you take the Skyline Gondola to the the peak. The bottom terminal is within walking distance of the city center of Queenstown, so it’s an easy walk to make over.

views from the Gondola to Bob’s Peak

Having lunch by a window overlooking this? Totally amazing.

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The Stratosphere Restaurant was one of our favorite experiences in Queenstown. But there was plenty of other great food! I loved getting ice cream….

And Fergbaker/Fergburger is a New Zealand staple that is definitely worth the wait….

Queenstown Food Fergburger

Side note: I love this joking pizza sign…

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And here are some more shots of Lake Wakatipu…

Just look at the crystal clear water! So serene.

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Around the harbor is a great place to relax, walk around, and explore the shops and restaurants in the heart of Queenstown. I especially loved going there in the evening as the sun set and finding a spot right by the water….

That’s all for the first post of my New Zealand Photo Rescue (ha!). Can’t wait to share some more from our wedding/honeymoon trip there!

Kate

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Aloha from Waikiki, Hawaii

Aloha! I am in Hawaii this week and wanted to share a few photos from our first couple of days in Honolulu + Waikiki.

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First things first, here are a couple of pictures of the famous Waikiki Beach…

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I love that view.

I also love the view of this infinity pool along the beach…

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Awesome.

We went to a luau on our first night here, and it was so much fun. We went to the Paradise Cove luau and I’d recommend it if you are interested in learning a bit about Pacific Island culture while seeing a good show by talented locals and getting dinner.

We saw hula dancers and a man climb a tree to toss down orchid flowers (He made it look so easy!)

 

Here’s everyone lined up to learn about fishing traditions…

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We tried our hand at spear throwing…

…admired the plant life…

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…and enjoyed the sunset!

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The food has been great so far, too. I have been eating all the fish tacos. Haven’t met any here that I didn’t like!

We also tried this frozen treat, banán a dairy-free soft serve made from local bananas and fruit that tastes a bit like frozen yogurt. Yum.

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Now we are up on the north side of Oahu and excited to explore the area up here! I’ll share more photos from here later and in the mean time I’ll be posting over on instagram.

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Have you been to Hawaii? What was your favorite thing to do? 🙂

 

kate

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How to Spend a Day in Cambria, California

Cambria, California is a small, lovely seaside town about 20 minutes north of Morro Bay. It makes a great stop if you are driving between LA and San Francisco, and is close to some cool sites in the central coast area like Hearst Castle, the elephant seals at San Simeon, and the Paso Robles winery region.

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We started our day with a visit to Moonstone Beach – a great place for a walk, a picnic, or to just enjoy the ocean. We’re visiting in April, so it was pretty windy + still a little chilly… but warm enough for a great walk. There’s a long boardwalk that makes the beach views accessible for everyone.

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There are also lots of hidden coastal access points off of Highway 1. We stopped at one rocky beach outcrop to explore a bit of the seaside by ourselves…

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In town, there are so many great restaurants, coffee shops, and boutique shops…

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Plus plenty of art galleries to stop in, some antique shops, and a little playhouse connected to the Harmony cafe. We ate at the cafe, and if you are in town check the adjoining J. Buckley Theatre’s schedule for frequent events like live music, local plays, and retro movies…

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Our favorite dish was the sea bass – really fresh!

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We also ate at the Indigo Moon on the other side of Main Street.

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We more or less ordered one of everything and it was all delicious!

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I love hidden gem places like Cambria! Do you love little seaside towns, too?

 

Kate

 

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Painting the California Coastline – Part 1

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I’m working on an art collection inspired by the Central Coast area of California in and around San Luis Obispo county.  While I’ve been living in Morro Bay for a couple of months, I’ve been especially inspired by the ocean and the colors that form where the sky meets the water on the horizon.

I want to share with you guys the behind-the-scenes process. Part 1 here focuses on some of the things that happen before any paint gets on a canvas.

1 – Finding Inspiration

First things first, some inspiration! It’s where the fun starts. 🙂

An early afternoon by Morro Rock…

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A late afternoon hike near Los Osos, CA…

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Dusk on the first not-rainy day after a stormy week in Morro…

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2 – Sketching Forms and Making Plans

When I’m organizing my thoughts about a place, I like to make some quick and rough sketches to play with relative scale, feel, and overall architecture of places I like. Like these:

 

 

Spending this time translating the world onto the page helps me decide which direction to take the eventual paintings.

3 – Study the colors

Along with the sketches (and before I start any work on the canvas) I like to play with mixing up colors to discover which tones I like, which hue best captures the feeling I’m trying to convey, and how well colors play together. I end up with a lot of splotches like these:

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And alongside the color experiments, I’ll do some just-for-fun/warm myself up paintings that focus on how I want the paints to come together and play off each other. For these I will use either some thick paper or inexpensive canvas boards from Michael’s (great for practicing on when you don’t want to waste a whole canvas!).

Here are a couple of examples of fast practice paintings I did to see how my colors might look in a composition:

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(When I work on these color studies, the kinds of questions I ask myself are: does the light seem right? Am I conveying the mood I want? Are the colors balanced?)

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So that’s an overview of starting the painting process! Finding inspiration, sketching out forms and plans, and studying the colors.

In Part 2, I’ll talk about how I am preparing my canvases and I’ll show more of the collection!

And this Thursday, I’ll post a time-lapse of the process for this painting:

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(I just love the clouds in that one.)

Let me know what questions you have in the comments!

 

Kate

 

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A Vagabond Experiment

Hi guys,

Taking a break from New Zealand photos (but I have so many more!) and wanted to share a bit about what life looks like right now.

For now, I am traveling around on the West Coast working on design projects, searching out art inspiration, and soaking up the atmosphere of a part of the country that I love so. much. In December, my husband and I packed all our things away in a storage locker in Minnesota so we could hit the road and live life wherever we found the opportunity.

Right now, we are in sunny California! Last week was spent in Los Angeles, enjoying places like Santa Monica pier…

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Santa Monica Pier…and Venice…

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Where I especially loved the afternoon light and ducks floating around at home on the canals…

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And we stopped by Chris Burden’s famous Urban Light art installation outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art…

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I posted some of my favorite pieces of art from the LACMA over on instagram and saved them into a story highlight if you are interested!

For now, I’ll be spending a couple of weeks in Paso Robles, California surrounded by countryside and vineyards before we move on to Morro Bay to take in the sight and smell of the ocean (my favorite).

Hoping to share more photos and videos along our way!

xoxo,

Kate

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Through the Fiordlands to Milford Sound

In November, my then fiancé and I headed off to New Zealand to get married. It was one of the best trips I’ve taken and I am so thankful we had the opportunity! New Zealand was stunning and I loved every bit of it, but I took so-o-o many photos and so-o-o much footage that it has been taking me awhile to sort through everything. I don’t mind though – going through it reminds me of all the fun memories. : )

So! I wanted to start off with some photos from Milford Sound which we saw on our first day in NZ. I hear it is beautiful in the frequent foggy weather, but it was also amazing on the sunny day we visited…

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To get to Milford Sound, you travel through the Fiordlands on the South Island. We stayed in Queenstown (where we were about to get married!) and made the four hour drive (on the left side of the road!) through beautiful landscapes…

DSC00535DSC00258DSC_7007Every stop and overlook along the drive held another beautiful scene, like this one with mountains in the background and the river calmly flowing….

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Once you reach Milford Sound, there are several great tour boat companies to take you around to explore the fjord. My favorite things to see were the waterfalls…

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After our afternoon exploring the Fiordlands, we headed back to Queenstown and enjoyed the sunset as we drove along.

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I loved Milford Sound and New Zealand!

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Seattle Weekend Photographs

I shared my Vlog from Seattle the other day, and now here are the pictures!

My favorite part of the weekend was probably the harbor tour – the weather was great and you can see such great views of the Seattle skyline.

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We also visited the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit – love the way light interacts and refracts through the glass art there.

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And we watched the sunset from the top of the Space Needle…

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I used the Lens story kit to document this trip – it was perfect since we spent a lot of this trip filming/photographing.

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I hope I get to revisit Seattle soon!

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