The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon has earned the reputation of being a bucket-list topper. Lucky am I to have had a chance to visit one of the seven wonders of the world, and happy am I to share my experiences!

To get a full understanding of how awe-inspiring this canyon is, you must see it from all angles. The standard bus tour offered my family and I our first glimpse. The tour guide was quirky enough, but even his tired jokes would not stifle our giddy laughs as we pulled up to the edge of the canyon. I won’t bore you with my sub-par descriptions, you just have to see this thing for yourself.

Our second perspective was from the air. The helicopter tour was paired with a 2001 Space Odyssey theme song, which might have made the experience cheesy, but it did quite the opposite. “Many people cry,” our pilot commented, as if he was comforting the non-existent person crying. Although my tears were few, it was truly a magical experience that I, once again, cannot put into words.

Lastly, we got a chance to experience the Grand Canyon from below as we took a float trip down the Colorado river. At this point I replaced my, “see the Grand Canyon,” bucket-list item with a, “white water raft down the entire Colorado,” bucket-list item. I am not kidding, this short float trip has inspired me to take the entire 4 day, 3 night trip. I will post at a later date once I cross that off my list!

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November 16, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

That is correct, I am writing a positive review about my hometown’s rival! But wait, I was born in Tulsa, so whose loyalty must I uphold? The answer is both.

Most of my experiences with Tulsa involve a late night drive to Cain’s Ballroom to catch a great concert. Cain’s is a historic venue that seems to attract a diverse menu of acts. Lucky for me, many happen to be my favorite musicians! From Ghostland Observatory to Railroad Earth, from Pretty Lights to Snoop Dogg, Cain’s has something for everyone. My favorite part about this venue has to be the floor. The floor, you ask? Yes, the floor of the ballroom is loaded with springs. On an especially good night you might just get bounced around by all the excitable fans dancing around. It is quite the experience!

My other memorable time spent in Tulsa was attending my older brother, Eric’s wedding. What a special occasion! Held at the Dresser Mansion it was a simple and elegant Sunday affair. The mansion is clad in antique woodwork and furniture with surprises at every corner. The men tended to congregate in the basement by the television and pool table, and the women stayed upstairs in the sun room and garden. If you have a special affair, the Dresser Mansion comes with rave reviews from me.

Whether you are going for a fun night with friends, or an unforgettable afternoon with family, Tulsa has a wide variety of venues and entertainment to keep you and yours content.

November 16, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

San Francisco, California

San Francisco is a city driven by the love everyone, hippie mentality. If this isn’t your cup of tea, stay tuned! I hope to convince you in a few short paragraphs that San Francisco is for everyone.

Looking for a family activity? San Francisco offers that. At the California Academy of Sciences I found myself swimming in a world of exotic fish, plants, birds and more! Did you know there is such a thing as an African Penguin? I sure didn’t until I visited this educational museum. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, head to the Living Roof to step into a world straight out of a scene from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Looking for a sophisticated afternoon? San Francisco offers that. Strolling past Salvador Dali originals and expansive installation pieces, it dawned on me. “Chelsea, you’re not in Oklahoma any more!” You simply do not get exposed to this quality of art very often in life, which is why the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is a can’t-miss attraction. I could have spent hours staring at one painting, but the good news is that you don’t have to! They allow photos to be taken in the museum.

Looking for the quintessential hippy afternoon? San Francisco offers that. I’m not telling anyone anything new when I say this, but San Francisco is full of psychedelic charm. Honestly, seeing Haight Ashbury street in person was a huge thrill. Reflecting on all the American history that took place in this district will give you that emotion. If you’re feeling tired after roaming the streets there is always a nice park with a comfortable plot of grass waiting for you and your afternoon nap.

November 16, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Dallas, Texas

I have found that Dallas is intriguing to many people for many reasons. Maybe this is because I, myself have been drawn to Dallas for many reasons.

During my freshman year of college I took a trip to Dallas that is still my most memorable. At this time I was majoring in Fashion Design and I was on my way to an education event held at the Dallas Market Center. After a grueling day of meetings and seminars, my gang and I decided to let loose in the city. The evening would have been fine except that we chose a place that was much more wild than we had bargained for. The little person bouncer at the door of Club Purgatory should have been our first clue to the wild night that awaited us. Although I would never go back, I think if you want a true city experience, Club Purgatory can give you all you can handle.

Having turned 21, I have gotten to check out the legitimate bar scene, and it is nothing short of spectacular. Whether you’re going to a dueling piano bar, an 80’s flash back bar or simply a pub offering hundreds of drafts you will not be hurting for a good time! A reasonable distance from Oklahoma City rounds this town out as the most sought after weekend get away.

November 15, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is truly a majestic land. Okay, wipe that dismissive look off your face. If you have ever been there you will agree whole-heartedly! I never been to a town that I can physically feel it’s mystery, wonder and history.

I had the pleasure of spending a summer in Taos just a few years ago. I assume the Taos Inn is still serving the best heuvos rancheros in town, the Rio Grand Gorge is still as breath-taking as ever and the adobe that makes up nearly every wall in the area is still holding strong. On the other hand, I couldn’t tell you which up and coming chefs have opened a restaurant, whose hearts have been touched by the pueblo indians story or what art exhibit is hanging proudly on the Taos Art Museums and Fechin House’s walls. For a town filled with such historic consistency, it sure is buzzing with new and enticing attractions.

One of these attractions happens to be the most innovative form of housing in the world. Taos is home to the EarthShips. Instead of futuristic, “take me to your leader,” homes, think more rustic, man-made clay domes. A trip out to the EarthShips will get you an inside look at the process of building one, which includes layering mud with recycled glass bottles. The whole operation is actually very interesting, they leave no stone unturned. For example, rain water travels full circle after being collected, filtered, used for drinking, and then recycled to the garden to water the plants. Leaving the EarthShips might leave you feeling a bit wasteful, but it will definitely give you hope for this planet.

That is sort of what the entire town of Taos does to its visitors. A small town feel surrounded by incredible mountains, plains and rivers might just give you a renewed hope for corporate America.

November 15, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“Home is where the heart is,” is a phrase commonly used, but not truly treasured. Oklahoma is my home and it does hold my heart. So, why do I find myself complaining about the slow pace of one of our biggest cities? Often describing Bricktown as “played out” and offering sparse amounts of fun for young adults like me.

When I think about it, there is a lot to do in this developing metropolis. I can’t mention OKC without bragging about the Thunder. I supposed the lack of court action due to the NBA lockout is the reason why I am feeling so nostalgic about my city. If you have the privilege of attending a Thunder game in the Chesapeake Energy Arena (perviously named the Ford Center) you know what I am talking about when I describe the electricity you feel when thousands of Oklahomans rally behind their state. Just getting a chance to watch Kevin Durant, the NBA’s top scorer, in action is enough to feel that warm fuzzy pride for your state.

I am also nostalgic about my time spent in the heart of Bricktown. I’ve had an unforgettably delicious prom dinner at Jazmoz Bourbon Street Cafe, graduated from high school is the modern Cox Convention Center and continue to make the trip back to catch a concert at the intimate Civic Center Music Hall.

I have decided that I need to give myself the chance to reflect on all this city has offered me and all the people who have joined together to build it into the place that it is. When I do I realize that, “home is where my heart is”.

November 15, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Juneau, Alaska

Want to get away completely? Want to have rare, and memorable experiences? Heck, want to have a trip of a lifetime? I have just the place for you.

Talk about a special place in this world and most likely you will be talking about Alaska. Only minutes after stepping foot in Alaska, I had my first bear encounter. Calm down, it was only a very small, and very cute black bear. After surviving the bear encounter and sampling some fresh salmon and crisp Alaskan beer, I was sold.

Where else can you stroll the streets of a city’s down town at noon and check out a retreating glacier around 3? If you are lucky enough to go whale watching; walk, don’t run! I will never forget the moment that beast surfaced and I was eye to eye with one of the most majestic and mysterious creatures on this planet.

Needless to say, Alaska is one of those “can’t-miss” vacations. You need to grab your friends, family, neighbors and pets to check out this beautiful country that many do not get a chance to see.

November 15, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Seattle, Washington

Beautiful, rustic and relaxed. When I think of Seattle, these are just a few words that come to mind. I had the privilege of visiting this great city for only a day, but during that day I got to sample what I consider to be one of the best cities in the U.S.

That’s right, I said one of the best! I know there is a lot of competition out there so hear me out. Seattle struck me as unique from the moment I left the airport. Our “cabbie” was friendly and helpful, in fact, everyone we met was that way despite their diversity. We knew where we wanted to go first, Pike Place Market. I get my kicks from looking at decadent, exotic foods that I can not afford and refuse to indulge in. Pike Place Market let me entertain all of my vices. A shop just for cheeses, oversized “elephant” garlic and meat markets – Oh my!

We enjoyed dinner on the pier at a place simply named, “The Fisherman’s.” Clam chowder and pomegranate margaritas had me skipping out of there and tipping the street violinist on the way. One more stroll past flower-lined streets and it was back to our hotel, which was conveniently situated beside the space needle.

My only regret was not getting to spend more time in this eclectic city. So much to offer, and so little time – bon voyage!

November 15, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Destin, Florida

Destin; what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this city? If you say beaches, family fun, putt putt, crazy college spring break, and bars… You’re right! Destin is a surprisingly all-inclusive town that welcomes mothers, fathers and frat stars alike.

I took my first trip to Destin with my family when I was young. Those memories consisted of sand castles, sun burns and searching for sand dollars. It was one of our favorite places to go as a family because of its PG atmosphere and variety of activities. I even remember having a great time playing cards inside our hotel room as the heavens opened up and poured buckets on our lovely vacation.

These days I looked to Destin for the non-stop party we all refer to as; Spring Break. On this trip our daily routine would shift a bit. Instead of hitting the beach bright and early, my crew and I sauntered to the sand at the crack of 2 p.m. After a day of sand beer pong and cheap beer we would truly begin our day with a nice dinner (I suggest Guglielmo’s for down home Italian) and head to the nearest bar. In our case, we celebrated St. Patrick’s day at McGuire’s.

So, how could this be the same town? With a plethora of attractions and expansive beaches there is little need to cross paths with those loud college students, or sticky children.

November 15, 2011. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.