Beach Love

This is Sandy Beach and it’s in Juneau, Alaska. During the winter the water is just above freezing so right around 32 degrees. It’s a great place to walk your dog. Even though the beaches in Alaska may not be as pleasant as the ones in California I still love them because of how peaceful they are. The crisp air, the crunchy snow, the few people. The coldness scares some people inside, but for me I always enjoy layering up and exposing myself to the winter air.

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The beaches in Alaska and California are very different, and I’m sure that many people would prefer the Californian Beaches rather than the Alaskan ones. In Santa Barbara there are lots of great beaches. I especially like Butterfly Beach, and Thousand Stairs. They are both relatively quiet and very beautiful. I absolutely love going to the beach, to swim and lay in the sand to get “tanner” even though I don’t tan very easy. You can read, play frisbee, listen to music and just relax.

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Here’s my sister, our dog, and I last September when the weather was super warm at Thousand Stair beach.

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The beach is a great way to get away from school and homework. Even during the middle of winter beaches in California can be full of people surfing or just hanging out. Also, if you don’t want to get all sandy, just biking along the beach is very refreshing and it’s interesting to see all the different people.

Where is your favorite beach you’ve ever been to?

Ice Sculptures like no other

A few years ago while I was at a swim meet in Fairbanks, Alaska, one evening my team I went to go check out the World Ice Art Championship. It was possibly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. There were rows and rows of the most exquisite ice sculptures that people spent days working on.

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A ballerina beautifully spinning on top of a finger.

The weather was about -35 F so it was freezing, but that didn’t stop us from looking at every sculpture. The process is really interesting because each person is given a huge block of ice that was harvested from a nearby pond, and over 1,500 tons of ice are used for the competition! Each sculpture can only be worked on for several days, than judged. People from all over the world come to compete for the honor of being the worlds best ice sculptor.

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A mask at the Ice Championship.

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Here’s the big sign at the front of the entrance.

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Freezing slides everywhere.

Along with the magnificent sculptures there were lit up slides made up ice. Also, there were ice mazes where basically you and your friends all start on one side and race through the maze to see who can get to the other end first, and not going to lie, it was pretty scary having this huge ice blocks towering over you, and pitch blackness, while being confused and lost, but that didn’t stop me from having a great time.

Would you like to visit this place?

~Lexi

Rustic Lands

A couple posts I talked about a place called Elfin Cove which is a little community of about 50 people. However, today I am here to talk about a place even more unheard of. This place is called Chatham, which is located in Southeast Alaska, with the closest town about a 20 minute boat ride, and an hour or so away from Sitka. It was originally a cannery, but after that closed, it was uninhabited until my Grandpa and another person decided to buy the land to make something of it.

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Here’s my Grandpa’s old cabin he had there, which was recently demolished by a storm, so a new place was built.

They worked to save what buildings were left, rebuilding what needed to be rebuilt and making it a cute rustic area. My family and I come and visit here and go fishing and crabbing inside this tucked away bay during the summer. During the winter only a caretaker lives here to watch the place, but during the summer there is typically only 2-3 people living here, as well as occasional visitors. Food is either flown in by float planes or boats bring food from town.

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Here’s a population sign I made when I was younger which usually has a very small number on it. Every time someone comes, they change the sign.

I absolutely love it here, from walked on the very isolated beaches collecting beach glass, to making fresh berry syrup, it’s a great place to escape, get away and relax. There used to be a hammock  made from a net that hung from two tall pilings where I would lay and read for hours at a time.

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It’s an absolutely stunning place in Alaska and I cherish every memory I had there, and hope to make more in the future.

Do  you think you would like to visit such a isolated place?

AK Fashion vs. CA

After attending high school in both California and Alaska for some time now, it’s safe to say that both places have different fashion necessities. So here’s how we’re going to break it down. This is what a typical Alaskan and Californian outfit looks like on a normal school day, but there are lots of other things to pair each garment with.

ALASKA

Jacket: Black North Face raincoat, which is great as a windbreaker.

Sweatshirt: A popular sweatshirt is an Alaskan Amber sweatshirt, which is the local brewery in Juneau, so a lot of people like to support it.

Top: Usually even inside school it’s really cold, so the majority of kids just leave on their jacket or sweatshirt.

Bottoms: Nice dark wash jeans are a great buy to have, which can be paired with a lot of things.

Shoes: Either UGGs or Xtra Tufs depending on whether it is just cold, or rainy. It’s common to make your wool socks peak out of the top of your boots too.

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Photo by Ginny,  ginny-life-is.blogspot.com, 2012

Photo by Ginny, ginny-life-is.blogspot.com, 2012

CALIFORNIA

Jacket: Black puffy Patagonia’s are popular, which are great to have, especially during chilly mornings.

Top: A nice cozy flannel is a great top to pair with just about anything.

Bottoms: Lululemon leggings are an essential, and although they are expensive, they’ll definitely be worn a lot.

Shoes: Converse, for sure. Everyone likes a different style, depending on color, or style. From simple black, to patterned, converse are a great simple option for both boys and girls.

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What do you think about these two outfits?

~Lexi

Family Fishing Experiences

Growing up with two older brothers who loved fishing, as well as my dad who commercial fished all of his teenage years, it’s safe to say that fishing has been in my family for a long time. My brother, sister, and I all commercial fish during the summer which I’ll cover in a future post.

My family and I would go out  sports fishing on our boat a couple hours out of Juneau and fish for the freshest salmon you could imagine. When I was younger I would love fishing, but once I got into my teenage years, I became way to impatient to fish with a rod. Usually I would just wait inside while my brothers did the labor of catching them so we could have good dinners featuring fresh salmon, which is my favorite fish. If I wasn’t inside, I would be either on the top of the boat feeling the soft breeze, or at the very front just feeling the calming waves hit the side of our aluminum boat. I would close my eyes, and just listen to the repetitive relaxing sound of the waves that are like a metronome that never ends.

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Heres a good fresh catch of the day to share with friends and family.

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My dog Sophie  is not so amused at the salmon as she takes a nap with them.

There’s all types of great fish in Alaska, from halibut, salmon, trout, and much more! Also, there are other great seafood like crab, shrimp, and clams.

What’s your personal favorite type of seafood to eat?

~Lexi

A Great Ridge View

The Mount Juneau Ridge is a great hike to do during the summertime in Juneau. I would strongly recommend this hike to anyone who enjoys being outside. The hike is about 11 miles from start to finish, and it will take a lot of your day, but it’s totally worth it. Along with the hike comes a beautiful view of Juneau, and all kinds of different terrain which can be a lot of fun. The hike begins with a nice flat forest covered area, which then leads to the hard part: climbing up to the Mount Juneau peak. It is very steep but  beautiful with streams flowing down the grass-covered hills. Once you finally reach the summit, you begin your traverse across the ridge.

Heres my dad ahead of us on the pretty hike. The nice clear, weather makes the hike even better.

The snow coated mountains fill this photo, and the cool way of seeing both sides.

It is really pretty at the top, because on both sides of you are two totally different views: to the north is Lemon Creek Valley and to the south is downtown Juneau. Its super chilly up there, but it’s refreshing after the steep incline.

My sister, our friend and I sliding down the snowy mountain on our way down.

After hiking along the ridge, you begin your decline back down. The descent is my favorite part of the hike, which includes sliding down the snowy mountain. The bottom leads to a basin which is absolutely breathtaking. The oranges, reds, and greens paint the mountainside. If you go during the right time of the summer, there may be fresh blueberries, which is a great sweet snack to have during the tiring hike.

A super pretty backdrop in the basin.

A super pretty backdrop in Granite Creek Basin.

Whats your favorite hike you’ve ever done?

~Lexi

A cute place called Elfin Cove

Throughout my childhood, my Grandmother owned a place in a tiny town in Southeast Alaska where my family and I would visit during the summer. It was very remote: only 50 people or less lived there year round.

The first time I went, I was only a couple days old, and my family took out our boat. From then on, we would visit almost every summer.

There was a buoy swing which my siblings and I would go to for hours at a time. Each year I grew up I would get the nerves to go up another rung of the ladder.

It was a total fishing town where tourists would go in the summer and go learn to fish, and there were many people who commercial fished as well. Elfin Cove is basically made up of a wooden boardwalk which makes a loop around the town, two docks and a tiny general store.

Countless hours were spent picking berries, baking delicious foods and walking in the rain. I felt a little sad when I found out that my Grandma sold her cabin, because I’m growing up and no longer a little girl anymore. My sister, our friend Rosie and I would go into the woods, and make it be as if we were going into an alternate universe which we made up.

Do you think you would like to visit a place like Elfin Cove?

~Lexi

5 ways to have fun in freezing weather

People often think that since its super cold outside you have to be locked up, or constantly dreaming of of your next vacation to somewhere where temperatures aren’t typically below freezing. Streets are’t walked, fires stay burning, and driveways remain unplowed. However, I can think of 5 things that can make being outside in cold weather enjoyable.

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1. Go skiing. Skiing is a lot of fun even if you aren’t very experienced. Moving around will make you warmer. A good part about it is even you get tired, you can hang out in the lodge and then go back out once you’ve feel better.

2. Go skating on a lake. Just make sure there are other people out there so the conditions are safe, and the ice is frozen solid.

3. Go have a snowball fight and build a snowman, because no matter what your age is, its fun to re-live your youth.

4. Go sledding. It can be so much fun to sled down hills. Its better to go to places that people have’t been to yet, so the snow is fresh. Also just exploring and adventuring unknown places. You’d be surprised how different someplace in when there is nobody out and everything is covered in snow.

5. If you and your friends aren’t feeling up to going outside, staying in and drinking a hot drink is always an option. You could watch movies, play a game, bake something and relax.

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Which of these things do you think sounds the most fun to do in cold weather?

~Lexi

Berry Heaven

There are lots of berries in Alaska during the summer. My family and I would hike the mountain where they’re a lot of skiing in the winter and pick the juiciest, sweet, blueberries you could imagine.

Here is a great blueberry muffin recipe to have for breakfast.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or line up 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

 In a large bowl whisk together one lightly beaten egg, one cup yogurt, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, and one teaspoon vanilla extract.

In another large bowl whisk 2 cups flour with 1/2 cup white sugar, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Gently stir in 1 1/2 cups of blueberries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined and moistened. (The batter will be thick.)

Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake for about 15 -20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin just comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing from pan.

Makes 12 muffins.

Another great berry that there are lots of in Alaska are salmonberries. Like all berries salmonberries are only good if picked at the exact right moment, because if not then they are not sweet enough or too mushy. I would get scratches all over my legs and arms from going into salmonberry bushes, which are armed with thorns.

Here is the delicious view of the beautiful colors of salmonberries.

Be sure to comment below if there are any recipes that you would like to know how to make.

-Lexi

Light softly fading as nighttime approaches.

I have always loved sunsets, no matter where I am. From being isolated out in a boat watching the sunset, to walking along the beaches in California, they can be so beautiful. During sunsets, slowly less and less light is available, and that darkness is breaking. I took this top picture during the summer in Juneau, while I was staying with my friend who lives out the road. We went down to the beach and watched the sunset. Leave in the comments below where the best place you think is to watch sunsets are. I love to explore new places and seeing what more the world has to offer. IMG_1770

This next photograph I took during my first month of being in Santa Barbara. My sister and I had to walk our dog Sophie, who made the corner of this shot. We went down to Thousand Stair Beach, and went swimming and had a little photo shoot. Another great place in Santa Barbara to watch the sunset is on the pier.

This final photo I took in June while I was working on my aunts boat- I will talk more about my summer job in a different post. It was so peaceful feeling the cold air brushing against my face as I leaned out of the boat to take this picture. In Alaska, during the summer there is so much light, compared to winter when there is very few hours of light, so you have to appreciate what mother nature has to offer.IMG_1859

-Lexi