7 Magic Mountains

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Signs of fall have slowly been inching into Reno one-by-one.  Many people would disagree with me, as it’s still in the 80s and 90s during the day, but as an early-morning barista, I know the true story.  It begins when I wake up in the morning before anybody else, and grab a sweater on the way out the door, because it’s 6:00 a.m., it’s in the late 50s, and my tank top isn’t cutting it.  I head to work, and still groggy, brew the drip coffee first thing.  I grab a mug, letting it warm my hands as I turn on the grinder.  The sunlight finally appears as I switch on the open sign, and Reno starts to warm steadily.  The kicker of this situation is that Reno is always at least a little bit cool when it’s dark outside.  That’s what makes it the perfect place to host bonfires and sit on the porch late into the night mid-July.  However, there’s a different feel to the air when it starts turning into fall.  It’s slightly colder, and the air smells different.  I don’t know how to explain it, but I know it when it appears.

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Although I absolutely love fall, it also signals the beginning of classes, which I will be attending in just a few, short days.  Naturally, I’m already missing summer and all of my little adventures.  A few weeks ago, I visited Vegas for my brother’s graduation party and to help my parents move some stuff into their new house in Reno.  I had recently been told about the 7 Magic Mountains, an art exhibit by Ugo Rondinone located in the middle of the desert, by a friend from the Nevada Museum of Art where I regularly volunteer.  Hearing about it, I knew I had to go.  Huge, brightly colored boulders in the middle of drab, dry Southern Nevada desert?  Amazing.

The drive out to the 7 Magic Mountains is super easy but a little confusing.  Just take the I-15 South to Sloan Rd., turn left onto Las Vegas Blvd, and drive for about 15-20 minutes.  However, you won’t see the exhibit itself until the last minute – this is the confusing part.  You’re driving and driving, and all you see is flat desert.  Then, a tiny hill, and then…suddenly there’s an enormous, rainbow sculpture right to the left.  Luckily, there’s a parking lot right out front.  After a short walk, you’re looking straight up at overwhelmingly large, neon rocks.

Now, I went to the 7 Magic Mountains in the midst of Vegas summer, when heatwaves radiate off of the pavement late into the afternoon, and you get an instant sunburn walking to your car.  While the exhibit was amazing, it was absolutely not the best summer activity.  But Vegas fall?  Beautiful!  This would be an amazing Sunday afternoon activity in late October/early November.  If you will be traveling there, please take a break from casinos and drinking, and go see this!  Locals of course should take the trip – Nevada culture is flourishing and so important to support!

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Accidental model pose.

Unfortunately, the 7 Magic Mountains have already been vandalized (this is why we can’t have nice things), but they are still breathtaking and worth the visit.  However, because of this, I want to give my little spiel on art: Artists work incredibly hard to improve this world through beauty, whether it’s painting, music, dance, sculpture, or any other medium.  Please be respectful to their art, support it, and love it.  Spread the word.  Help your community by supporting local museums and events.  If Reno can change as drastically as it has in the past few years, many communities can also.

Click here for more information on the 7 Magic Mountains.

Does the dress look familiar?  This might be why.  It’s one of my favorites!

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Full Circle by Half Moon Run

 

 

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The Perks of Being a Wildflower

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When I was younger, I loved looking up the symbols of birth months – birth stones, astrological symbols, birth flowers; being a July baby: ruby, Leo, larkspur.  But, I was never all that excited about my birth flower, not compared to April with sweet peas or August with lilies.  I never saw my birth flower growing wildly in fields near my cabin in Utah or daintily posed in the floral section of the grocery in puffy bouquets sprayed with dense TDZ.  I had no idea what a larkspur was, and I had completely forgot about them, right until recently when, while scrolling through the Travel Nevada Instagram, I noticed a picture featuring a vibrant, purple field of flowers with an orange sunset setting the scene.  Larkspurs!  I had finally found them, and they were so close!  I was (clearly) excited, until I reached my destination and realized I was actually looking at…

Lupines.

Also, I had missed prime lupine season, so all I was going to find after an hour drive to Lake Tahoe at 7 p.m. after an 8 hour shift was a bunch of green bushes with a few leftover purple flowers slowly closing for the season.  But never the matter.  I was at the lake, it was a beautiful day, and fields of green and purple are even better than just fields of purple, in my personal opinion.  However, my favorite color has been green my whole life, so I may be biased.

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Apparently, the best time to visit the lupines is in June, when the weather is warm, the lake is higher, and the water can reach the bushes.  There are fuzzy, mostly-black bees swarming the flowers, and little orangey-red ladybugs fly around with them.  I also found a tiny, secluded beach where the wildflowers are abundant, and I spent a quiet evening relaxing in the sand and watching the sunset.  After a few hours at the beach, I stopped by one of my favorite local pizza places, Wild Garlic, where I had cheese pizza with plenty of jalapenos, ranch, and honey (for the crust.  A Reno thing, I believe).  After a long day at work, I was very excited to relax and enjoy some me time, especially in such a serene place.

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Pictured here: My new Lucky dress, which is definitely a favorite. Similar.
My old, trusty lace TOMS that I wore to my high school prom years ago. Similar.
Jewelry made by my aunt 🙂

If you’re visiting Reno or Tahoe, and want some good local recommendations, feel free to reach out!  I’d love to share my favorite spots 🙂

XO Sara Lynn

*Song of the Day: Asleep by The Smiths

 

Tahoe Green

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When class gets cancelled, you brunch and go to Tahoe.  That’s the unspoken rule anywhere within an hour radius of the lake, but I’m bringing it to light.  If there’s an opportunity to hit the forest and hang on the beach, regardless if there’s snow or not, you take said opportunity, because life is too short and whatnot.

Also, you eat ice cream for lunch, which I did, because I’m an adult and I can make those kind of life choices.

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Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to spend St. Paddy’s week, because…well, it’s green.  Really green.  And during the middle of the week in March, no one is there, and you can explore as long as you want without interruption.  Plus you don’t have to listen to people talk about March Madness all day thank God.  (On a side note, March Madness is for basketball, right?)

One of my best friends, Andrea, and I went to Tahoe to hike, but we actually just ended up climbing on rocks at Sand Harbor and jumping over random streams in the middle of King Beach.  It was a little chilly at first, but ended up being in the 60s and absolutely sunny and beautiful.  The forest is one of my favorite places in the whole world, and I feel so at peace whenever I get to spend a day in it.  Taking a Tahoe trip was definitely a great way to kick off spring break and give myself a day to relax and enjoy the privilege of living so close to such an incredible place.

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Happy Spring Break to college students, and happy Spring to everyone else!

XO Sara

*Song of the Day: 80’s Comedown Machine by The Strokes

My Happy Things 6.11.15

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Hello friends.

I hope you are all having a wonderful Thursday night.  (It’s Thursday right??) (Probably).

Anyways, I am currently in Las Vegas for a night before I leave for London.  Even though I’m not there yet, I thought I would start with “my happy things” to kick things off and prepare for blogging abroad.

Here are my happy things for the week:

The trailer for Inside Out!  Like many people (mostly kids, I presume) I’m obsessed with Pixar/Disney, so I was super stoked when I first saw the trailer for this.  That was about a year ago, so this movie is a long time coming.  I’m not sure when the release date is in London, but since my mom is also crazy about kids’ movies, I’ll probably have to wait to see it with her anyways.

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These tulips in my kitchen.  I’m not sure where they came from (I imagine my roommate got them for his girlfriend), but I don’t care because pinkish purple tulips rock regardless of where they came from.

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Spending a day at Tahoe with one of my best friends!  I have a theory that there is no way to be sad if you are in Tahoe.  It’s just not even a possibility.

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Drinking coffee and reading my Bon Appetit at my favorite coffee place.  This is totally the usual, but I never complain when I have a pour over and a magazine full of beautiful food pictures.

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The pretty quad at UNR.  My iPhone does it no justice, but it’s truly one of the most amazing places on campus.

Fun fact: Every single time I walk through the quad, “Campus” by Vampire Weekend pops into my head.  Without fail.  Every time.

This video of one of my favorite bands/albums.  The Lonesome Crowded West is an amazingly nostalgic album even if you’ve never heard it before, and I always find it very raw and emotional.  Lately, I’ve really been on a Modest Mouse kick (actually, when am I not?), so I was really excited to stumble upon this video.  I haven’t watched the whole thing yet, but I definitely will be tomorrow during my 2 hour layover.

Other random things that made me happy this week:

Eating Mexican food with my dad and grandpa tonight after my plane landed.  Going home to the house I grew up in and seeing my puppy.  Finding a really amazing thrift store dress at half price (will make an appearance soon).

More happy things to come soon!

I can’t wait to show you all of the amazing things I find in London and Paris!  Ah!

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Song of the Day: Long Distance Drunk–Modest Mouse

P.S. I made the header picture from scratch all by myself using PicMonkey!  That website roxxxxx.

DIY Reversible Coffee Sleeve

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In case you’re wondering if it’s a good idea to drink coffee anytime after 4 p.m., the answer is no.  It’s not a good idea.

Even if you have a test the next day and plan on spending the whole night studying (and don’t), maybe just fight the sleeping pains, and don’t drink coffee.

Or you’ll be writing on your blog at midnight when you still have to pack for vacation.

Uhhhhh.

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Anyways, I made these for my friends for a “Merry Late-mas” gift.  That’s when it’s February and you still haven’t given your friends their gifts.

Or something.

They were super simple to make, and I think they turned out pretty cute.  I actually like to put them around my coffee mugs at home as opposed to actual disposable coffee cups.  1. Because I always forget it when I go to a coffee shop, and 2. Because I’m one of those weird people that grabs the actual coffee mug and not the handle.

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Coffee places are actually one of my favorite places in the whole entire world.  You can catch me at a coffee house at least twice a week, maybe even more.  At one point, I went to my favorite place five times in one week.

It’s not something that I’m proud of, but I have to accept my flaws.

Also, as many of you know, I plan to open a coffee shop after I graduate from college.  So really, my nonsensical coffee obsession is all in the name of research.

My favorite place to research is called The Hub, and it’s a local place here in Reno.  They roast their own coffee beans, and their coffee actually saved my life.

They’re the kind of coffee place that make you realize the reason that Starbuck’s puts so much sugar in their coffee is to mask the taste of their sub-par coffee.

Sorry Starbuck’s.  It’s nothing personal really.  I still hit you up sometimes when I have a giftcard or something.

Anyways, back to The Hub.  If you’re ever in Reno, it’s a must stop.  I prefer their location on Riverside (by the Truckee River…amazing!) but they also have a location on Cheney, which is the OG Hub.  Order a pour-over (my favorite) or a latte (my second favorite) and you’ll be the happiest ever.

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I really love their logo, which is why there’s so many pictures of it on here.  Also, I have to show some coffee shop love for all the time they let me spend there studying.

P.S. These photos were not taken in The Hub.  Partially because I didn’t have my camera when I went to there on Tuesday, and partially because sometimes I just don’t want to be “that girl taking pictures of her food” in public.  I like to keep my food picture-taking a private affair.

But I did do my best to make my house kind of look like a coffee shop.  Which really isn’t too hard, because it already kind of looks like a coffee shop.  I mean, we have a Chemex, an Aeropress, a coffee grinder, the scale, the mugs…all we’re missing is the espresso machine (we’re taking donations).  (6.11.15 Update: We now have an espresso machine…)

Plus, when I was setting up my coffee table for the pictures, I realized that my Fleetwood Mac “Rumours” album was the perfect accessory.  My favorite coffee + one of my favorite albums ever = very happy Sara.

Unfortunately, I’m still trying to figure out my camera, so many of the pictures came out blurry 😦  Boo.  Hopefully when I visit my family this weekend, my brother can help me figure it all out.

Alright, sorry for talking so much.  Here’s how to make these:

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Materials:

2 different fabrics (about 1/4 yard each to be safe)

1/4 yd. iron on adhesive fabric (I got the medium kind for insulation)

Elastic

Button

Thread, needle, sewing machine, etc.

Begin by taking a coffee sleeve from your favorite coffee shop.  Trace it onto some printer paper, and cut out.  (These were the blurry pics, so I didn’t post this step.  It’s pretty simple, really).

Trace the shape on to your two different fabrics and your adhesive fabric.

Iron the adhesive fabric onto the wrong side of one of your fabrics.  Lay your two fabrics good sides together.

Cut a two inch piece of elastic, fold, and place between the fabrics so a little bit is peeking out.

Sew around, the sleeve, making sure to back stitch over the elastic to ensure it stays in place.  Make sure to leave a two inch gap.

Flip the sleeve inside out.  Fold the seam in around the two inch gap, and top seam around the whole sleeve.

Fold the sleeve around a coffee cup, and mark where the elastic should meet the button.  Hand sew the button in place.

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These are the ones I made for my friends.

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And if you want, you can flip it inside out and make it reversible.  Or you could sew a button on the other side if you feel so inclined.

(I did not).

(But I may in the future).

Goodnight beautiful people.

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*Song of the Day: Never Going Back Again–Fleetwood Mac*
(obviously)