Wednesday, April 16, 2014

My Big Sur Favorites

Me @ Big Sur, CA

One of the places in California that we frequent for a vacation yet never get tired of is Big Sur. What I love most about Big Sur is that it combines two of the Earth's features that I love, the mountains and the ocean. Though between two California big cities, Los Angeles to the South and San Francisco to the North, yet this strip of Pacific Coast appears as wild as it can be. 
The Wild Pacific Coast @ Big Sur, CA

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Ways to Cool Down During Summer

Summer is near, are you excited, or do you dread it? Though all seasons are great for me, because each season is unique and we get to see the many faces of nature. Photography wise, my favorite season is spring! Despite my allergies, I just can't get enough of the blooms, whether they be wild in the fields or in garden.
The Flower Fields, Carlsbad, San Diego County

I love to imagine myself as the "flower fairy", hahaha, dancing in the middle of the flowers. But could I dance? haha, that is the big question!! But I could smile, at least! :)
No Dancing :) But Rejoicing

In terms of photography, after spring, my next favorite season is fall. I love how the autumn leaves become like flowers in terms of colors.

Hiking wise, my favorite season is winter. Somehow, I  find myself being able to hold better in cold than in heat. 

Hiking in heat  gives me very bad headache most of the time. However, I still do try my best to hike even in 70s F (or low 20s Celsius ) temperature.

So, where is summer in my list? Is it my most dreaded season? Hmmmm, actually, summer is my MOST FAVORITE SEASON! Surprise? Or no?

Let me count the ways why summer is my most favorite season. Or actually, let me share with you the ways to cool down this summer! They are not only my way of cooling down, they are the very reason why I love summer!

1. Enjoy the chilly breeze of the ocean.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Weekend Wanderings (6): Butterflies

picture collage done through
( to learn more how I create my photo collage through, you can visit the post I wrote for The Salitype Society here )

Saturday: April 12, 2014 @ The Buttefly Jungle, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

I know, I am not even done sharing our recent spring adventure at Big Sur, Yosemite National Park and Eastern Sierra, yet, here I am, sharing our Weekend Wanderings not even a week after we got back from our 9 days adventure trip. :) We got back home Sunday night from Eastern Sierra, Monday- Friday, back to work, Saturday, well, time for weekend wanderings again! Our rest and relaxation is not couching at home, but enjoying the gifts outdoors. For those familiar with the rest and rejuvenation brought about by physical activities I am sure could relate so well that exercising is healing, allowing our body to breathe in therapeutic inspiration and breathe out stresses.

Anyway, last Saturday, we did not do any strenuous hike, because we wanted to enjoy the gifts of "butterfly joys" @ The Butterfly Jungle in San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Though after the butterflies, we took a long walk as usual at the Safari Park, but I will share the other non-butterfly photos later. Meanwhile, let me share here some butterflies photos I took last weekend.
Camera Settings: Manual, f/2.8, 1/160 seconds , ISO 100
Camera Settings: Manual, f/2.8, 1/100 seconds, ISO 100 ( and same settings for all pictures below )

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Big Sur, Yosemite and Eastern Sierra Road Trip from Southern California ( part 2 of 2)

Before I proceed to Day 5, let me share first the summary of days 1- 4 of our Big Sur, Yosemite and Eastern Sierra Road Trip from San Diego, which I shared in part 1 of this series.
Day 1- drove from San Diego to Big Sur
Day 2- explored Big Sur, with hikes at Point Lobos State Park, Garappata State Park, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. We also revisited Pfeiffer Beach.
Day 3 - sightseeing drive from Big Sur to San Mateo via coastal highway, with stops at Moss Landing and Santa Cruz. We did very little hiking and sightseeing this day because of very heavy rain.
Day 4- From San Francisco International Airport, we drove to Yosemite National Park and explored some parts of the Valley.

Now, moving to Days 5- 9.

Day 5: Explored some parts of Yosemite Valley, then, hiked to Vernal and Nevada Falls.
El Capitan @ Yosemite Valley
hike to Vernal and Nevada Fall via John Muir Trail

Vernal and Nevada Fall is considered to be the signature hike in Yosemite National Park. The Park ranger said that if we only have time for one hike, then, Vernal and Nevada Fall must it be, especially that these two waterfalls can't be seen at all from the Valley Floor. I've done this hike before, but it was summer 2008. The trail climbs 2000 ft in 3.5 miles. I believe the early summer hike was a lot better than our hike this year, which was in between periods of snow. I was counting how many times I was hit by a snowball that were falling from trees. But it is not the rough, icy and slippery conditions that made me think the summer hike to Vernal and Nevada Falls was a lot better, it was the closure of Mist Trail. The mist from waterfalls that still turns to snow because of freezing temperatures makes the Mist trail not safe this time of the year. I was a bit disappointed not to see the beauty of Vernal Fall face to face, but only from the footbridge.

A few days before our trip, the weather forecast does not look nice in Yosemite, however, when I called for a change of date, I could not change dates without paying for 2 nights lodging, because of 7-days cancellation policy in Yosemite. We did not want to pay for something without us enjoying it, thus, we just came prepared. We brought with us tire chains ( required in California for mountainous icy driving ), ice trekkers for icy hiking and hiking poles.  The ice trekkers and hiking poles really helped us a lot since the trails past Vernal Fall footbridge started to become snow covered, some parts very icy, and getting icier to the top. 

Please visit my previous post about hiking Vernal and Nevada Fall if you want to learn more details of this hike. Though I may write about this trail again, for a spring or icy hike, since the last time we hiked this trail was summer 2008. 

Day 6: Hike Upper Yosemite Falls Trail, then, drove to Bakersfield after.
 Yosemite Falls from the Valley

More than 90% of the tourists in Yosemite see Yosemite Falls from the Valley floor only. A small portion of the visitors would take the hike up Upper Yosemite Falls trail to be up close with the falls. Upper Yosemite Falls hike is a giant stairmaster, the trail climbs 2600 ft in 3.8 miles. It is like climbing to the top of Empire State building via stairs not just once but more than twice. But unlike climbing stairs in a building, the hike up is surrounded by gorgeous scenery around. 

Like our hike in Vernal and Nevada Falls, the trail was getting icier and icier towards the top. Getting up close to the thundering power of Yosemite Falls and seeing the Valley below instead of looking up high from the Valley is worth the climb.

Friday, April 11, 2014

9 Reasons to Visit Croatia this Summer

Croatia is one of the most astonishingly beautiful countries in Europe and thanks to its beautiful landscape, history and diverse culture is simply a must visit. However, if you don’t believe us we’ve compiled a list of 10 different reasons you need to go this summer.

photo from wikepedia
The Water
Turquoise water is just one of those things that spells holidays and will take your breath away and Croatia’s is just that colour. Enjoy the country’s thousands of beaches, inlets and islands in the sunshine.

The Climate
Croatia is a Mediterranean country and so has a Mediterranean climate. In fact the country has a total of 2600 hours of sunshine each year on average. This makes it one of the sunniest countries in the whole region.
The Nature
Croatia is situated along the Adriatic sea and has any number of beautiful beaches and mountain ranges for visitors to enjoy. Plitvice Lakes National Park is one of the most beautiful areas in Europe and a must visit if in the country.
Plitvice Lakes ( photo from wikemedia commons )

If you love sailing and getting out on the water you’ll love Croatia and there are plenty of options to charter a boat or yacht for a day or more and get out on the water. Sailing is a Croatian’s favourite pastime and something worth enjoying when you’re there.

Light Houses
Croatia is filled with light houses, mainly due to the coastal area’s length and also the number of islands of the coast. Visiting lighthouses is a fun and also an exciting way to see some of the quieter areas of the country when visiting.

The Culture
Croatia is a fantastic country and though modern is also very laid back. There’s a real ambience in a lot of the areas, although it’s still an exciting place with plenty going on.

Red Bull Air Race
A fine example of something fast paced and with plenty going on is the Red Bull Air Race which will take place in the town of Rovinj in April of this year. It’s set to be a fast, exciting and thrilling site and one that will see the town packed. If you’re in the country or have the opportunity to visit the Red Bull Air Race, then look for Maistra hotels and then visit.

The Food
Croatian food is fantastic and thanks to its location it’s one of the best places to eat in the area. Croatia is only a short distance from Italy and so enjoys plenty of influence from arguably the tastiest country on the planet. In addition, it’s also got fantastic land and is right on the sea and so having great fish, wine, meat and other foods. Delectable could be one word to describe it.

Croatia has been at the centre of the cultures of the world for millennia and so has a long and notable history. From stone age sites, where the first Europeans lived, to historic towns, to fantastic architecture the country is one that’s been influenced through the ages and it still shows today in its rich heritage.
Croatia is a fantastic nation and the perfect place to consider for your holidays this year – mark it in the diary.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Big Sur, Yosemite and Eastern Sierra Road Trip from Southern California ( part 1 of 2)

 Big Sur, Yosemite and Eastern Sierra, California

Whatever the season, Big Sur, Yosemite, and Eastern Sierra are some of California's best nature get-away. We left San Diego early morning of March 29 ( Saturday) looking forward to have some relaxation and rejuvenating fun with nature. Let me share with you our 9-days, 8-nights itinerary of the trip.

Day 1: Drive to Big Sur from San Diego, CA.

We did not expect to be able to do anything on this day, because of rainy conditions. But thankfully, the rain was on and off, that we were able to have some moments enjoying Big Sur. 

 Me @ Big Sur
 Rainy Day @ Big Sur

Rain Drops Are Falling On My Head: 4 Health Benefits of Rain

We all know that rain is great for the environment. It helps plants to grow and keeps the world working the way it's supposed to work. However, not everyone knows that rain also offers a number of direct health benefits to people. From muscle development to skin moisture, rain helps you look and feel your very best.

1. Running in the Rain

Do you like to jog? Running is a great exercise that keeps you healthy and feeling great. Unfortunately, many people decide not to go running when it's raining. There are a number of reasons for this, from concerns about slipping to simply not wanting to get wet. However, running in the rain is actually really good for you.
Not only will it help keep you from getting heat exhaustion, though, but it will also help you achieve longer workouts and to work more muscles. Heat stroke is an ever-present threat for runners when it isn't raining, though. If you do end up suffering from heat stroke, you'll need to immediately head to your nearby urgent care center. It could be a life-saver.

2. Emotional Value

When you stand out in the rain, you're getting more than simply wet. You're getting an emotional value that you just can't get any other way. Experiencing a rain storm evokes different emotions in different people. For some people, it leads to a cathartic feeling, allowing for some kind of emotional release. This is most likely to happen when you've been dealing with other emotional issues and stress. For most people, getting rained on leads to a sense of happiness and overall relief.

3. Moisturize Skin

Are you dealing with dry skin? You can use moisturizers, and they'll help with terribly dry skin. However, to ensure that your skin stays soft and supple, consider taking a different approach. Instead of staying inside and pulling out the lotion, head outside when it's raining. The water will help moisturize your skin. Rain water does this better than water from a bath or shower, which can actually dry your skin out in the long run. When you're sitting out in the rain, your body is also getting the nutrients it needs to give you healthy, glowing skin.

4. No Chemicals

If you're interested in getting all the benefits of rainwater, consider harvesting rainwater for later use. This will allow you to get all the health benefits, as well as lowering your water bill each month. It's possible to use fresh rainwater for watering plants, bathing, or even drinking. However, make sure that the rain water in your area is safe for consumption before you drink it. In many areas where there's safe rainwater, you're getting water that is free of chemicals, contains essential vitamins and minerals, and tastes great. Plus, you get to save money using the readily available rainwater.
There are many benefits of water for people. In addition to the benefits listed above, it's important to remember that the world would not be what it is today, of course, without the benefits of rainwater. Rainwater provides mood elevation, skin moisturization, and nutrients. Shouldn't you take advantage of everything it offers?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Spring Break!

It has been two days since we got back from our 9 days, 8 nights of exploring Big Sur, Yosemite National Park and Eastern Sierra. We sure had so much fun, but it is always great to be back home, and enjoying our normal food. :)

Laswa ( mixed vegetable), Tortang talong ( eggplant omelette) and green smoothie, anyone?

Got to continue eating healthy so we could continue enjoying the great outdoors!!

More about our spring break trip, later!!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014


hummingbird photo by ktl

Managing Tick Problems

Ticks are tiny, blood-sucking pests found all over the United States. These parasites attach to their host through physical contact and insert their feeding tube directly into the skin to suck blood from the host. A variety of ticks exists and can cause harm to the host, especially if the host is ill or old. Seed ticks will also attack cattle and horses or other animals. If a tick attaches to a human on the head or leg, it can be hard to find and remove once attached to the host. 

Ticks can transmit all kinds of diseases from one host to the next, including illnesses such as Q fever, babesiosis, Lyme disease and Colorado tick fever. Some of these cause severe health problems and can be fatal. It's important to wear protective clothing to prevent contact with ticks. Additionally, it's a good idea to always use repellent spray when you are outdoors in tick-infested areas. 

When ticks are fed, they become engorged and can reach about one centimeter in size. Even though ticks are found all over the world, they usually live in small crevices or areas with overgrown grass. Often, ticks are found in forested regions near areas of water because this is where they know their hosts will gather to drink water. People worried about ticks or concerned about how to get rid of them should avoid being around wooded areas unless they have applied protection with a tick repellent spray. 

Mosquitos are another tiny pest that can be harmful to your health. In most cases mosquitos are just an annoying and unwelcome guest at family barbeques. However, they have also been known to spread diseases such as Malaria and the West Nile Virus. Therefore, it is important to take the proper precautions to protect against them as well. 

A professional pest management company like Mosquito Squad can offer tick and mosquito treatment to get rid of these bug infestations. With a professional pest management company, the homeowner gets the treatment needed to resolve the problem quickly. The best thing about using an experienced pest control company is that they have the expertise and knowledge to do things right from the start. 

Once notified of a tick problem, a pest control company will guarantee a solution in a timely fashion. A qualified pest control company can eliminate ticks in a humane manner and safely without having to leave dangerous traps or poisons around your home.