Travel Inspiration Shows 2018

documentary, food, geek, Travel

While having down time, I often seek out some great travel inspiration (travelspiration) via shows. Often Netflix is my new favorite land of travel shows that offer an intense, personal, and inspiring reflection on the world.

Here is my list of what you should watch to learn more on the world around you.

For Foodie Travelers

It should be a given, but chef’s table is an awesome way to see what the top restaurants in the world offer. I am quite fond of what I consider the more obscure places that reflect a deep and rich cultural identity such as Central and Gaggan.

Weird Food Lovers

The travel channel loves cornering the market on this, but between Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern, there are dozens of shows to watch on the oddities and snacks that exist in the world.

Hotel Lovers

My absolute favorite one from the last few years, and one I binged in 24 hours was Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby. This fantastic show did more than just show where you can stay and what is up for offer. This well-planned, and elegantly executed show delved deep into what it takes to make a hotel work. It also questioned the ethics, social, and economic impact of these global locations. This paired with fantastic shots, enjoyable and informed hosts, created a wonderful show for information and inspiration.

For Those that Love Cultural Reflection

Even if Bourdain is an old fart that complains about vegetarians, I do love his writing style. This amazing writing and ability of this chef turned travel journalist offers an enjoyable look at the world. In Parts Unknown, I especially enjoy the episodes that visit places that have been forgotten or are only now being discovered. 

For the Spiritual Travelers

Believer was a phenomenal look at religions around the globe. Regardless of the politics of Reza Aslan, he’s a great researcher and writer. As a researcher and professor of theology, his books and media works show a truly in depth glance at the systems of belief around us. See the few episodes that were released, because they are really great. 

Travelers that Love to Laugh

My house is one that loves to laugh, so An Idiot Abroad is the best option for my husband and I to sit, and just die laughing at. The show matches wit, with the goofiness of a candid camera show, and just attempts to torture the said “idiot”. Ricky Gervais is one of the mad men behind the scenes, so you know it was a level of humor that can’t be beat.

Happy Travels, even from the couch 😉

travelspiration

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When Nerds Unite

family, geek, love, wedding
Ryan and I have many interests that differ, opposites attract if you will. He loves Star Wars, we love Harry Potter. He loves Star Trek, we love X-Files. I ylove costumes, we love jeans and t-shirts. I love traveling, we love vacationing.
We balance it out and find a happy medium. So for our wedding we needed something that blended our quirks into one. So we blended my love of romantic art nouveau, Alphonse Mucha pretty details with our nerdiness to make a fun and entertaining blend of us.
Example A: Our cake. Traditional white frosting with a variety of autumnal saturated colored flowers and leaves. The cake was delicately pieced together to make a stunning result. Then, being us, we had to have a Millenium Falcon crashing into the side. Thank you Das Meyer for working your wonders!
Exhibit B:
We needed something to celebrate my love of Harry Potter, well OUR love (I’m the bigger fan though).
So we brought our wands and had some fun.
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And FINALLY Exhibit C: We entered to the Imperial March from Star Wars, complete with a Vader helmet…
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So that is us, a mix of love and crazy, and nerdiness….

A DIY Wedding

colorado, geek, wedding
If you saw my post on my wedding dress, the other side of that is that I made a majority of what ended up in my wedding. I did the bouquets, the center pieces, mercury glass jars, flower girl petals and leaves. I put together signs and activities, I even dyed my own hair extension.
This saved us a lot of money and brought our budget down, probably by half. If I had bought flowers or paid for each item fully made, I would have spent probably $2,000 more on the shindig. Instead I bought items on sell at JoAnn and online, I used coupons, and I looked on facebook for freebies or just inexpensive items for sale. For instance I got a giant box of glassware from someone on Facebook for FREE! I then bought “Looking Glass” spray paint to make fake mercury glass, and cheap autumn leaves and a glue gun to create the festive candle holders I used. The dollar tree was my best friend for the leaves and LED candles. I do believe the results were grand!
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For invitations I bought kits on clearance and used my home printer, saving hundreds. I designed my own “Save the Dates” and had them printed with VistaPrint for a reasonable price. Finally, my programs were hours of my own printing, cutting, and tying together to make a charming keepsake. 
I used old Alphonse Mucha calendars and dollar store frames for some table art, if they were too narrow I backed them with scrapbooking paper that matched our aesthetic. Making each frame maybe $2 per table. Saving significant money and recycling the art from calendars I already had enjoyed. For signs for food, gifts etc. I used my graphic design skills to put together themed signs and placed them around the venue with their dollar store frames.
For my midnight snack, I used up my girl scout troops left over cookies (I paid for them so we could go camping as a troop) which let people take as many or as little as they want. I was handing out whole boxes at the end!
All photos are from Stefan Rodriguez 

If You’re Mourning Carrie Fisher- Laugh

geek, love, musings, United Kingdom

Carrie Fisher the very big Star Wars actor that we knew and loved. The Princess that didn’t needed saving, and that could fire a gun and actually hit her enemies….. well she passed away this week.

Huge Star Wars fan, or not, many of us have taken time to reflect on her contribution to film and women in film. She was also the daughter of another iconic performer, Debbie Reynolds, who they say died of a broken heart the day after her daughter died. Reynolds contributed a hell of a lot in her life too, and the loss of both this week is a blow to film nerds around the world.

Yet, while I am saddened by these losses, I know there is something really cool we can all do right now. It not only honors the memory of these performers, but it also cheers the soul. I did this when Bowie and Rickman died in January, I took to their art and I devoured it. I watched movies and listened to music and loved their art. I’m doing this right now with Fisher.

I just read her book Wishful Drinking over the last 48 hours and I laughed my ass off. It’s a hilarious book, full of comical  (intentional) stories and moments from both Fisher and Reynold’s life. I plan on reading more of Fisher’s work and just enjoying her contribution to the world. Ya know what, she would have wanted it that way.

Weirdly Wishful Drinking is almost prophetic of her own death and passing, but in a loveable way. In a “it’s gonna happen” way. Because, that’s the end for all of us.

Because that’s this planet, this universe, and not so far far away or long long ago. We’re all mortal, and we’re all trapped in that truth.

So, wipe the tears (don’t deny them) and enjoy what artists made when they pass. That was the whole point, a lasting contribution on a world that’s ever changing and temporary. Laugh at their jokes and their writings, and love that we get to live NOW and enjoy these pieces of humor and life. Also cry if you must, that’s okay too. We’re laying to rest and saying goodbye to some friends from our own journey.

From Wishful Drinking:

George comes up to me the first day of filming and he takes one look at the dress and says, “You can’t wear a bra under that dress.”

So, I say, “Okay, I’ll bite. Why?”

And he says, “Because. . . there’s no underwear in space.”

What happens is you go to space and you become weightless. So far so good, right? But then your body expands??? But your bra doesn’t—so you get strangled by your own bra.

Now I think that this would make for a fantastic obit—so I tell my younger friends that no matter how I go, I want it reported that I drowned in moonlight, strangled by my own bra.

Why We Mourn Celebrity Deaths

geek, love, musings, Uncategorized

Bulletin: Debbie Reynolds has also passed away, a day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed away. Debbie was 84, Fisher was only 60. It’s just two more names to a very long year and roster of celebrity deaths.

For most of us, we’ve never met these people. We’ve never shaken their hand or even had a glance from them. We haven’t had meals and we haven’t had coffee or any type of human relationship. Yet we mourn them when they die. We cry and we hold onto relics and we tweet and share and mourn. All around. It’s not the same is it would be for a grandma or a friend, but we care and our hearts ache.

It’s odd. In all reality that we care so much about people we know only from movies or books or television. People that are almost god-like that dance and sing for us. It’s not a normal intimacy, yet it breaks us when they’re gone.

However, it’s nothing new either, when rulers died and today when they die thousands cry and attend candlelight vigils and show up for funeral processions. This has happened for as long as there has been written records and it has happened all over the world. When someone we recognize as a person we “know of” or celebrate, then we care just that bit more.

queen-victorias-funeral

Funeral procession for Queen Victoria in 1901

We celebrate our close relationships and we celebrate those that are disconnected. Think of celebrity weddings and engagements. We celebrate because they give us a feeling of connection or inspiration or drama, maybe theatrics, maybe laughter.

For Fisher, it was Star Wars, she was Leia and the things that character did were loveable and fun and millions looked to that character,  year after year and generation after generation.

Reynolds was a dancing queen and someone that touched generations with her movies, comedies, and poise.

We love a feeling that is attached to celebrities and their artistic contributions. We have emotions around people that play a part  because that’s the whole point of art.

Leia was a “Princess” that fought the bad guys, was beautiful, and had time for romance in her own terms. She broke down stereotypes and led underdogs to success. The feelings surrounding first time viewers are seen in my 9 y/o step-daughter just now becoming a Star Wars fan. We all had those moments too. Those moments of awe and inspiration, carried forward by a performer that we loves and adored.

Debbie Reynolds was not only Debbie, but she was Kathy in my grandma’s favorite movie, Singin’ in the Rain, which we watched hundreds of times in my house growing up. The movie is amazing, and the dancing spectacular, but the emotions of my grandma and of loving dance and of music and comedy are all there on the couch with me.

The story goes on, but with each death we recognize we have something attached there. Even with artists that I didn’t know  well, such as Prince, there is an important acknowledgement to his musical contributions. His music shaped people and genres and the loss of someone so young and talented is very sad.

We attach our loves, hopes and dreams to characters and performers and artists, that when they die we see our own immortality. Our own failure to fight death and disease and sad accidents. And we mourn because they were friends, they journeyed with us for a time in our lives and made us feel something. They were a part of our own life and our own path and maybe changed how we felt about the world.

It’s not a silly thing to care that they have passed on and no longer can share their talents, because they’re real emotions and ideas. And as we send on those celebrities and maybe family members that also passed, let’s just imagine them all getting to have a final picnic, having a dance, maybe a cocktail, and going onto whatever is next. I like to imagine my grandma and Reynolds are having a good laugh right now.

 

When You Can’t Find It…Make It

geek, History, wedding

I am strictly budgeting my wedding, as a sort of boycott to the extravagance of American weddings.

I am having a hell of a time finding a wedding dress that’s under $700 and that is ACTUALLY a style I want. At this point I am just being picky.

However, I had found “the one” that was about $500 and gorgeous. It was going to be perfect. The company in Ukraine even made it custom to my measurements!

THEN…the dressmaker over DOUBLED the price of the dress

😦

to $1200

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SOOO I will not be ordering that dress

I have also been searching other places for “the dress” but I can’t stand the overpriced and gross polyester nightmares that David’s Bridal sells.

I have looked all over etsy and nothing compares….or I don’t like the neckline

I haven’t seen anything on other websites that blows me away and I want something made from a fabric I can STAND to wear for 9 hours and not sweat all over and feel gross on my wedding day.

Short and curvy I look terrible in strapless

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I want something romantic without being terrible and poofy

I don’t look good in anything without upper support for my large twins….

at this point maybe it would be easier to just make something…..

oh yeah, I do that….

I can sew. I sew pretty well.

I also have been dreaming of making a Chemise A La Reine (18th century style gown)

so….that’s what I’ll be doing.

I just ordered my fabric for $32

Meaning I may make my wedding dress for less than $50….I call it a win

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Land of Enchantment

geek, History, musings, new mexico, Travel, Uncategorized, United States

A few weeks ago I had the great luxury of being able to go to Santa Fe on a road trip with my fiance. The main reason we were going was for a family get together/surprise 50th anniversary party for my Great Aunt and Uncle, the second reason was the excuse to get away for a long weekend and do something different.

I am very much an artistic and creative person. It’s kind of my reason for living so the chance to go to a city dripping in art, that wasn’t in another country, was like an elixir of joy and artistic energy that I desperately needed. Since graduating from my MA degree things have been…rough, to say the least. So I have been trying to find energy and joy in the small things.

From the Fort, Santa Fe is between a 6-8 hr drive depending on traffic and route and if you obey speed limits.

Photo Jul 20, 6 47 20 AM

We left at 4am on Thursday and got to Santa Fe at about 10:45am with a few pit stops so I could pee, stretch my legs and get a little something to eat. We also stopped at a tourist center in Raton for a few guides on where we were going and what to do.

The nice part about leaving so early was that traffic was minimal and not backed up in Denver and Colorado Springs. This made everything easier and less stressful. It also meant we got to Santa Fe at a good time to get lunch at a local diner called Joe’s, and see the New Mexico History Museum.

Joe’s offered some amazing huevos rancheros ( a go to for me) with the most amazing green chili! Ryan got a bison burger and all around the staff and environment proved to be comforting and tasty. They also offered an EXTENSIVE list of Gluten-Free options (extra win).

The history museum was also a fantastic adventure. Stations off of the plaza in the oldest part of the city it starts in the Palace of the Governor’s and winds into newer buildings as it moved forward in history. The collection of native arts and Spanish influences paints the picture of how New Mexico changed under European influence and they spent a good amount of time discussing the conflicts that it brought. For instance the Pueblo Revolt was very influential in the history of New Mexico and the Americas.

Photo Jul 21, 2 24 28 PM

Casta paintings represented the different “races” and categorized them into hierarchies depending on one’s ancestry of Spanish, Native American or African.

Ryan found much of the military history intriguing and enjoyable and we finished the trip through time reflecting on the Nuclear test sites around New Mexico.

For dinner we ate some food we brought with and stayed the night in the well-priced and well-maintained Super 8 that sat about 15 minutes from downtown. The best part was the artwork that covered the hotel by a P S Romero. The large sun piece over the front desk was the best, and I desperately wish I could own it.

Photo Jul 24, 9 18 01 AM (1).jpg

Added bonus: mini murals were painted throughout the hotel!

Part II

Tea Makes Me

colorado, geek, musings

Tea is one of those almost bizarre human things that we gather around in ritual and enjoyment. Imagine the first person that decided to take a plant, dry it and throw it in a pot of hot water?

Well I am sure it was nothing that simple or elegant. Likely someone tried eating said plant, noticed it gave them energy, tried drying it, tried eating it, then tried water, tried it as powder, tried it……okay you get the idea.

Tea is this sort of elixir of life, it goes back centuries and it compels the drinker to ponder the world, ponder flavor, wake up, dream, and explore new things. With so many tea blends and kinds there are endless options in the world of tea!

My favorite place in Fort Collins is Happy Lucky’s Teahouse in Old Town. They are one of the first places I found when I moved to Fort Collins and they have become an absolute favorite over the years. I’m even lucky enough that they let me do their social media for them ;). They sell over 180 kinds of tea, which means there is something for everyone. Their funky and modern but relaxing design makes for a lovely sitting and sipping experience and I am friends with almost everyone on the staff. They are wonderful people that do a lot for the community and the world. 10% of their profits goes to Sustainable Schools International which helps educate and empower children in Cambodia. It’s pretty damn cool!

Before Happy Lucky’s I spent hours at Montague’s in Colorado Springs, and before them it was my kitchen and my living room in the mountains of the house I grew up in. Where tea parties were frequent and company split a pot with us.

Tea has been a constant event and enjoyment for myself, and I hope to enjoy it for years to come. As Happy Lucky’s Teahouse suggests, enjoy daily and nourish your happy.

 

I was listening to NPR on Sunday, and not that that’s surprising because of all the media I listen to NPR is the most common. Anyway, they were discussing the media bubble that is creating difficulties for NPR to make money and the conflicts of podcasts etc. Which is really interesting and something for another day.

They did say something else that I think may be even more important than that of the money/journalism bubble or at least equally important. They were discussing how NPR and for instance, All Things Considered, was established in the 1970s to promote intelligence and knowledge across the country. To cover minorities and give voice to the voiceless kind of story.  Which I would say they do make real attempts at doing and which is a real reason I try to listen a couple of times a week. Yay *applause*

But then the conversation took a turn to what is the reality of our culture and where real money in the media lies.

Let’s start here, TLC, The History Channel and the Discovery Channel and its subsidiaries were made, in ways, to replicate PBS-style stations. Where there was documentary type learning shows, that depicted and told stories around the world. This is the type of stuff I ate up day after day as a kid. The stuff I loved! Some of it was sappy and a little fluffy like “A Baby Story” or “An Adoption Tale” but other shows that talked about gender-identity and mental conditions or strange medical conditions were fascinating to me. I feel they gave me a more compassionate and thorough understanding to the world. Yet as culture changed and reality TV became more profitable and popular those stations changed to telling those stories.

In the last 10 years we have had Honey Boo-Boo and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (an admitted guilty pleasure) and Ice Road Truckers. All of which lack much of the substance of previous shows and station goals. My fiance jokingly calls TLC “The Loser Channel” but I honestly don’t know if that’s too far from the truth. Some of the shows really inspire me to care for people I don’t understand with more compassion, like my 600lb Life, while others leave me buying up stereotypes and inconsiderately dismissing other groups, such as 19 kids and Counting and it’s HUGE sex scandal mess that broke last year.

Ok all of that aside my point is that TV often reflects society like a mirror, and the unfortunate side is that most people embrace this gum-ball machine mess of television of a quarter in and sticky crap that rots your brain out.

What’s most upsetting is that while these shows are consumed and even loved, other REAL programming with great information on radio, TV or other gets bumped out. News even gets mushed up to be click-bait and full of thorough and honest information. Just this week I got into a conversation on Charlie Chaplin on Vice and had the author block me for calling her out on cherry-picking history.

Anyway, that aside I am BEGGING all of you to get out and learn. Something like only 78% of Americans read a book a year. And the number steadily increases for more than 5, 10 etc. There is research to indicate that this next generation will be less educated than any previous, a turnaround from the past. And it’s not just reading that’s important but the ability to think, analyze and understand what is happening around someone.

It’s not even just things that come from a good education but information that can be assessed through alternative means and through independent learning. This means pick-up a book, read a magazine that’s not fluff, have your kids watch a documentary on animals with you. Discuss the universe, have a lunch date with friends and talk about making the world a better place etc. etc. Jump into the fun of learning and take someone with you. You don’t have to make learning your only activity, but make it one that is also a part of your life.

My family, with all its crazy, constantly pushed for learning, and that is something that I will always push for others.

 

Anyone want to borrow a book?

Best,

Rebecca Lee Robinson

Lifelong Learning- Why We All Should

family, geek, History, musings