14 August 2017

The Homey Boardwalk Town

 The mountains on the drive to are ginormous-- just look at the telephone poles.

Looking out to the river at the rest stop. 

Hello, everyone! Recently, my family did one of the most uncharacteristic things ever-- take a last minute trip to a town over three hundred miles away from where we lived. I remember doing some online research one Saturday evening when my parents announced us leaving the following day for the overnight trip, prompting me to find the charger for my cameras and scrambling to download some episodes of Downton Abbey on my phone in case the trip droned on. Just as a small note: this town is the southern most town within our region of the state that's reachable by car. 

On Sunday morning, my family packed ourselves into the car with a day's worth of amenities and a cooler, and set off. The episodes I downloaded went unnoticed on the way to the town. It had been over five years since my family drove that many miles away. All I could do was watch as the coastline traded in for rocky shrubbery, to mountainous terrain, all the way down to picket branches. We passed by the fishing and clam beaches and proceeded to drive an additional hour just absorbing in the volcanoes and glaciers, with eighties songs, such as "It's Just a Fantasy" and "99 Luftballoons" playing in the background.

 One (of four) dormant volcanoes that are visible on the drive to the town.

 This particularly strand of boardwalk had a bubble blowing station. A bubble blowing station!

 A bike.

 Sadly, we didn't have a campfire during the trip.

Yes, "How Far I'll Go" actually is appropriate to sing when looking through the door... 

 All of the shops are this cute on the inside.

One of the interesting aspects of the town is the small long strip of land formed millions of years ago due to several geological features seceding away. The road goes on for about five to seven miles, and lined all around the edges are a ton of boardwalk shops. At first, we didn't know how long the strip actually went-- we only saw one strand of boardwalk and decided to explore it for a bit, as our parents were trying to look for a specific soap brand from the area. All of the buildings look cool, even the tattoo shop, and it just fit perfectly! The buildings all had large windows that looked out to the bodies of water as well as the ocean dwellers that lurked near the coastline.

This town has its own unique charm-- I feel like it's one of those places where the locals know each other very well and are super sweet. It's definitely the kind of town that I'd love to host the Blogger Party at. Somehow, the area has made fishing gear, painted signs, and flowers combined all together visually appealing. Every angle had a different color, and if a certain sign or picture was just a dark color, the blue and green background made it pop! Tons of people crowded the roads as they went from store to store, whether it be one of many seafood eateries, a knapsack store with a wood-wall interior and bags hanging from the ceiling, or a gift shop selling super sassy coin purses. Pretty much just imagine the first little bit of "Belle" from Beauty and the Beast, and this describes how the town is.

 There are many flags that go around the docks, and each one has their own symbol for something. I forgot what this one represented, though!

 Painted signs are all over the place.

 Some fishing equipment.

Wooden carved fish! It's about five feet tall. 

 I haven't had clam chowder in forever and this bread bowl was just delicious! It's probably because the clams have been freshly caught.

If driving constantly is difficult, rent some bikes! There were over fifty people getting around the area with them. Just be sure to pay attention to the long road where cars are constantly going by! 

 How did this log get to an upright position, and why? Some questions of the town can never be answered...

 Some beach houses on the edge of the area.

 People walking along the beach.

 Hiding away from the immense heat the sun has to offer.

 The dock here is twice as big as the nautical town, but like many towns bordering the coast, the main livelyhood involves fishing.

 There weren't any checkers or chess pieces available! It's a pity, too-- my brother and I had to wait at this table as our parents asked for directions. My brother was about ready to pluck off some flower petals still on their stems to use as checkers pieces and I was ready to scream out. Don't kill the span of flowers-- that's just cruel.

 The wind slowly caresses the wild grass.

 My family watched people cut some fish. The net and the rotten piece on the top left corner is supposed to ward off any wildlife, particularly seagulls and bears.

 Unlike the wooden fish, these ones are real and freshly caught, so the smell reeked!

 There are so many animal wooden windmills!

 Flower beds border the edge of the boardwalks.

 A dock station featuring some private and charter boats.

 Some wildflowers!

 Some other wildflowers-- all of the wildlife is just so lively!

 "She sells sea shells by the sea shore!" Still can't say that tongue twister...

Seagulls kept squawking-- I was tempted to burst out singing The Seagull Song. 

 I love the ocean!

 This eatery is adorable-- it has an upstairs floor that's awfully reminiscent of a tiny house.

This is under the small shack from the picture above. 

 Wood-stoved pizza, friends. Wood-stoved. The one pictured above is also vegetarian friendly (no meat)!

 A photo of the abandoned ship graveyard, where boats that are no longer in use go to pass, for a lack of a better word. 

The second day, dark overcast clouds loomed over head, so my family and I ended up going over to visit a ton of museums and other areas. One of my favorite places I ended up spotting is the boat graveyard, where all of the boats that are no longer in use go over and just lay. It's kind of creepy, but it's neat to look at the progression of what boats looked like five or ten years ago. For example, one of the boats (the brown large one pictured above) has a living space on the inside-- there are still books and vinyls covering the windows.

On the drive back, we passed by all the lakes and rivers again. We probably drove over fifteen of them, which is an insane number, and that doesn't even include the ocean that borders the left right when driving north! I brainstormed fifteen blog post ideas and drafted a few, which should last me the remainder of the year, took photos of the lakes, and then watched a few episodes of Downton Abbey. It was bliss.

 There are some other nearby towns, but they're only accessible by boat or plane.

 Some clay cups shown at a museum.

 This painting is meant to symbolize an ocean, and it's made by watercolor and tide book pages.

One of the many lakes on the drive back home.

Have you ever visited a boat graveyard? What are some qualities you like about small towns? Do you like wood-stoved pizza? Also, be sure to sign up for the yearbook, friends!

10 August 2017

How Blogging Helps Express Personality

Hello, everyone! Today I'm presenting the project May, Charis, and I have teamed up with for Gracie's Bloggers for Change blogging project, entitled "How Blogging Can Help With Social Anxiety." Today, I will be sharing Part One of a three-part series, which I tackle How Blogging Helps Express Personality.

A quick disclaimer / note: I'm not a medical professional. A lot of what's written here is based on a ton of research taken in by talking to those with social anxiety, as well as Ted Talk videos and numerous web articles. If you're someone with social anxiety, know that while blogging is a potential way to help, it is not the ultimate cure and you should talk to medical professionals in the field. Also, to those with social anxiety, if you have any clarifications for anything we wrote or additional comments, please feel free to calmly chat with Charis, May, and I, as we'd would like to approach and address the subject matter appropriately while also gaining a better understanding.

Let's get started!
One of the amazing things about the blogging community is there is a plethora of individuals from all over the world around your age, but more importantly, they're the most supportive people out there. They are also like you, finding outlets for self-expression and creation and gawking over the writing, sketches, photography, and films everyone's made, but out of everything, they are fighting the same monsters and tribulations you are facing. If you travel a lot, why not post about your adventures? First and foremost, you're doing this for yourself. It's a beautiful thing!

If writing under your real name sounds terrifying, a nom de plume that represents your personality can be carved out! In fact, this is how I started in the blogging, under a sense of anonymity. Many bloggers actually go this route, for privacy reasons.

As a blogger, artist, and a person, one of the most terrifying things to do is to put yourself out there. Whenever something big happens, like getting awarded and recognized for an art piece you've created, the first thing to do is to end up burrowing down somewhere and just hide. Do you like wearing sweat pants while munching on Swedish Fish while everyone else around you is out and about? Go ahead! You don't need to, neither should you, stifle that aspect of yourself.

One of the important things to keep in mind that bloggers have a habit of falling trapped under is the quality versus quantity race. Don't ever feel for one second you have to pretend and write certain posts that don't best reflect what you personally want to write just to gain followers. Blogging shouldn't be a competition; it all comes down to being authentic and supportive. Here's something aide learned in over four years of blogging: you actually gain more followers when you're not worried at all about the follower count and you're focused on doing what you love. Pretty neat, huh?

DESIGN IS ONE OF THE MOST FUN THINGS IN BLOGGING EVER. The aesthetics are almost as important as the post quality-- after all, this is a little nook of the Internet you've created. Are you someone who enjoys painting with simple grays and loves Wes Anderson's signature look in his films? You can combine your two loves and render them together to create something that's visually appealing. Again, falling back to the judgement point, there are many supportive members in the blogging community who are more than willing to help you out, on the way.

This is perhaps the most important thing of all. It's almost kind of like in Inkheart when Meg reads novels and the characters sprout to life. As the sole owner of the blog, you get to decide on what to post and what to create without feeling restricted. It almost seems too surreal to even comprehend, when you step back and think about it. If you want to post about your love for anime or antique shops, great! If you don't want to take photos of yourself and post, you don't have to! It's up to you to decide.

One of reasons art is just an immersive experience is because true artists are able to create something that is raw, refreshing, and personal, by channeling in everything they take in and producing a piece that helps others understand what they see. There is a risk associated with showcasing your work to the world, the sense of vulnerability that climbs up your throat and the pressure is too real, but when you resurface and people are loving your work, then the payoff is worth it.

How does blogging help express your personality? Will you be staying tuned for Charis and May's post for the next two days? Also, be sure to check out and sign up for this year's yearbook!