The Swiss Army Victorinox Hiker pocket Knife has 13 functions which include a freaking wood saw and a Phillips screwdriver. It weighs under 3 ounces, lighter than a 52 deck of cards but more than 2 slices of whole grain bread. Only 4 inches in size small enough to fit in your palm and take with you while traveling through TSA on an airplane headed to Washington, D.C.
…it’s difficult to find your backpack at the end of the day. There are literally dozens of bags in our employee break room, but my Del Dia stands out like a beacon among them. I love that my bag is like no other. It’s beautiful and unique, well made, and durable. It’s big enough without being too big. Seriously, I’ve never had a more perfect backpack for daily life than this one.
So I basically wore a variation of this outfit every day of the road trip. I was mostly in cold climates so I needed to wear a jacket and I just kept gravitating towards my vintage Levi’s denim jacket. And, of course, I basically never wear anything other than my blue jeans and boots. Plus, when you are in and out of a car all day it’s just easy to keep it simple.
This bag from Korchmar was also my main bag on the road trip. I’d pack a few days worth of stuff in it so that I only had to bring one bag to the hotel room. I actually used the dopp kit for underwear and socks, as well as deodorant, earplugs, vitamins and my toothbrush. The essentials. And it was nice that it hung because it made for easier access. I also love using hanging dopp kits for travel diaper bag stuff.
The final stop on our road trip was Flagstaff. We have been there a few other times and always love it. It’s a Route 66 town, but it has been built up so there is a lot to offer besides the cool retro hotels and historic downtown area. On our drive from Santa Fe we were finally able to stop at the Painted Desert National Monument, which had quite a view!
Immediately when we arrived we settled in the hotel and headed to our favorite pizza place Pizzicletta. It’s authentic Neapolitan style pizza with a local twist. They make their own mozzarella and use a lot of locally sourced ingredients. Their specials are always great, too, like the smoked cauliflower and Calabria chili white pie I got.
The next day our boy woke up at 4:30 and wouldn’t go back to sleep so I put him in the car and drove towards the Grand Canyon. It was such a nice drive because the sun was rising and it is all pine trees and mountains. Once he napped in the car we headed to breakfast at Macy’s. We did some antique shopping and local downtown shopping after that.
After we left Denver we drove down through Garden of the Gods and into Taos. The main area in Taos was closed, which was a huge bummer, so we pushed through to get to Santa Fe before going insane with our upset baby haha. We arrived at an awesome little adobe style AirBnB, grabbed some quick food, and hit the sack. The next morning I woke up, popped on my new digs from old navy (this jacket, this shirt, these jeans) and headed into town for some coffee at Iconik Coffee Roasters. We had La Choza for lunch and I got the christmas chile relleno, which is just red and green sauce on chile relleno haha. After that we headed to the crazy art installation that is Meow Wolf. It’s like a sci-fi fun house and you can, and are encouraged to, touch everything. Some things make music, some light up, and some open doors. It was definitely something worth going to. Our little boy even enjoyed it very much, though we had to kind of rush through it because he needed a nap. After his nap we went to the Georia O’Keefe Museum, because you have to. It was cool seeing some of her lesser-known works. Then we checked out this really cool vintage western shop and ate pizza with green chile!
I wanted to give another shout out to Old Navy because I have been wearing these jeans for about 3 weeks now and they are amazing. And they only cost me $25! I have posted Old Navy stuff in the recent past but that is because they are really doing some great things with their fit and styles, and of course their prices. They have a lot of new fall stuff out that is really nice. I’m looking forward to wearing this jacket more since it never really gets TOO cold in San Diego, but it does rain from time to time lol.
We had never been to Denver before but had heard so many good things about it from so many people that we knew we had to go on this trip. Once we left Iowa we headed for Denver. It was a new drive for us, but most of it was through Nebraska which is just super boring lol. Once we arrived in Denver we were immediately impressed with its downtown area. There was a baseball game happening when we arrived so there was a bunch of traffic but we navigated through the streets and to the Spring Hill Suites to unload our crap. Then we immediately headed for pizza, of course. They were having an Octoberfest downtown too, so that was kinda fun. But mostly we just walked around a bit and checked out the downtown buildings.
Denver has a bunch of different neighborhoods, and you’ll need a car when you are there, but everything is pretty close and easy to get to by car. The second day we were there we first went to the Red Rocks Ampitheater to see the iconic music venue. Wow. It was awesome. I can only imagine how great it must be to play a show there or see one. We had lunch at City o City, which is a great vegetarian/vegan restaurant, then checked out Queen City General Store next door.
After getting coffee at Black Eye Coffee, which is one of the coolest looking coffee spots I’ve been to, we headed to Bellwether to grab a whiskey and a coffee for my wife. And ice cream for dinner, why not?
Here is a map of some of the places we visited…
This post is in association with Spring Hill Suites.
We stayed in Iowa for a few days with some friends and I had a fashion shoot while we were there. But the day after the shoot I left my wife and baby and drove in to Chicago for an event with Spring Hill Suites. It was the kick off to their Art of Local event series and it featured a bunch of local artisans and a concert by Misterwives. It was a really fun event and Misterwives is always really good live.
Chicago itself was awesome. I have been to Chicago about 5 or 6 times, but I’ve never really been able to explore like I did this time. The hotel was so central to everything that I was able to walk everywhere. It felt like I was back in New York. I clocked 9 miles one day. It was a bit rainy, though, which was kind of a bummer, but it let up enough to not ruin anything.
I was still on we-have-a-baby time, so I was awake pretty early. But it was nice because after I grabbed some coffee from Intelligentsia I headed over to the bean and there was almost no one there! This sweet old lady was there taking selfies, though, which made for a great photo for me.
Saved by the Bell is one of my favorite TV shows of all time, and I am known amongst my friends as the trivia master. So when I heard there was a pop-up version of The Max I had to visit it. I popped on the train and headed to Wicker Park to see it. Unfortunately they were kind of jerks and wouldn’t let me take any photos other than the one I snapped before they saw me. But it did look cool. The reviews of the food are mixed, and you need to make reservations weeks in advance, but if you are a die hard fan it may be worth it.
Here is a map of some of the places I recommend in Chicago…
This post is in association with Spring Hill Suites.
We love hot springs. They are amazing. I have them bookmarked all over the country because I never know when I may be near them. I have had my eye on Mystic Hot Springs for a while, and they were part of our failed attempt to go to Bryce Canyon last year. So this time around I really wanted to visit them. They were every bit as amazing as I had hoped. The owners of the place filter the natural hot spring water into various bathtubs and pools to allow for more private soaking and at varying temperatures. We got to the hot springs around 7am and no one else was there. It was like our own private little natural oasis. Though it was a bit annoying and less-than-relaxing to have to deal with a baby while soaking, we made it work by putting him in his stroller and giving him something to snack on.
This was our THIRD attempt at going to Bryce Canyon. The other 2 times we attempted to go we were thwarted by the weather. But this time we were determined! However, though the weather through Zion was perfect, once we bean nearing Bryce it turned cloudy and rainy. But we were going to see that f-ing canyon even if we had to take a boat there! And we made it! And it was only slightly rainy when we were there. And the weather even made for some epic photos, both in foggy clouds and clear sun.
I wore some new boots from Frank Wright to the canyon. I love the wingtip and detailing on the boots because it allows for both dressy and casual wear. Check them out on the Frank Wright site. They are the Cypress Lace Up Boot.
My wife and I decided to embark on a 3 week road trip with our 14 month old son (see much more on my Instagram). It seemed crazy but we didn’t want to be afraid to road trip because it may be difficult or uncomfortable some times. So far things are working out way better than expected and I am going to do a wrap up with tips on how to road trip with a baby, but for now I’d like to share some photos from Day 2 in Zion.
We love Utah and our desire to go back was what sparked the idea of a road trip. We headed to Zion after sleeping over in St. George for the night. The weather was perfect; it was cloudy and about 70 degrees. Holy shit is it difficult to hike with a baby on your back,though! But this backpack made it a bit easier. We saw some deer and took in all the natural beauty of Zion and our boy squeaked and pointed the whole time. He loved it.
If you follow me on Instagram, which you should, you would have known that I was in Minnesota for several days for a photo shoot. It was a new state for my wife and me, which was exciting! And it is the furthest north we’ve been in the US. We arrived at the Minneapolis airport and immediately drove a couple hours north to Cloquet, which is where we stayed. Our friend, and creative director for the shoot, used to live there so we used it as a home base for shooting in nearby Duluth and the coast along Lake Superior. I LOVE small towns. It’s photo gold for me. I also love visiting the local diners and bars. The older the better. Once we wrapped up the shoot we headed back down to Minneapolis, which is a city we have been wanting to visit.
Minneapolis was definitely cool. It had so many different neighborhoods. We were fond of the Warehouse District and Uptown. We went to twodistilleries there, had greatpizza, and even went to the world’s only Vegan butcher shop! I’ve compiled a bunch of photos as well as a map of some of my worth-while places to visit in these areas if you are ever there. I plan to do more of these maps when I have time, but I’ve been to so many places that it is difficult to sit down and make guides.
The Pocket Shower is made of the same high quality, wear-resistant, waterproof fabric as our Lightweight Dry Sacks and features the same roll-top closure. Built into the base is a compact showerhead that operates with an easy-to-use on/off twist mechanism to adjust the flow of water. The black fabric soaks up sun during the day at basecamp for a warm shower.
Super compact and light: zips into a pouch that measures only 3 in x 6 in and weighs just 4.25 ounces
Gives about an 8 and a half minute shower with shower head fully open
Contoured shower head with graduated apertures for equal spray dispersion
Simple and easy-to-use twist mechanism for turning on/off and for flow adjustment
Bar tack attached Delrin™ D rings
20 foot cord included
For multi-function, the Pocket Shower can also be used as a regular dry sack to transport clothes or sleeping bag
I was in the desert (again) for another shoot a few days ago. It was hot. Very hot. Especially when you are shooting outside with no shade for 6 hours. Luckily the place we were staying had a thing called a cowboy tub. Essentially it is just a metal trough that livestock drinks water out of, but in the desert, it’s a cheap way to have a pool. I brought along these new swim trunks from the Nordstrom anniversary sale. I thought they fit in well in the desert with their geometric gold pattern and they are quite different from my standard super colorful trunks. Also, how epic is that last picture with our homestead cabin? It’s epic. Trust me.
A couple weeks ago I headed to Sedona as part of my collaboration with HP and their new Spectre laptop. I had been to other parts of Arizona and Utah but never Sedona. I have always heard about the energy vortexes and was very intrigued by them and their supposed healing/rejuvenating powers so I thought it would be the perfect place to visit and experience while using a laptop that is reinvigorating the PC world. I stayed in a dome house, which is always something I’ve wanted to experience. And it was a great home base for the trip.
The laptop was a perfect companion on the trip. It is so light and thin it barely made a dent in my suitcase. It provided a great home base to research the vortexes, look up trails, restaurants, and edit the photos I took over the course of the trip. I also took it on location with me and played some music while I experienced the vortexes. I love the way it fit in with the environment and the sound is great.
Throughout the trip, and definitely after being back home for a while, I kept feeling that I need to do this more often. I used to take road trips to beautifully landscaped places all the time before we had our baby, but things have slowed down since. I have my graduate degree in photography but most of the work I have been making over the recent years has been strictly commercial and commissioned and not necessarily something close to my heart. This trip made me want to try and do more personal work and connect more with the work I am creating. I hope you enjoy these images from the trip.
Having a baby means you need to pack A LOT more stuff when you go anywhere. I mean, even a trip to the market means bringing a bunch of “just in case” stuff like diapers, a change of clothes, food, and toys. Lately when we have made trips out to the desert or even our trip to Sedona we realized that hiking and doing stuff like that is much more difficult because of the extra stuff you need. And carrying a baby adds to that!
I got this backpack and toiletry kit from SWISSGEAR as a means to have one bag to do all the carrying regardless of the situation. The backpack is the perfect size for carry daily essentials, wether it be walking around the city or the mountains. I love that the toiletry kit, which is meant to hang in a closet or towel rack, can just be hung anywhere… like our car trunk or a tree. It’s perfect for when you need to change a diaper. The bag is also super light so it doesn’t add a lot of unnecessary weight and it’s compact enough to fit in a stroller or under a table at a restaurant.
So I like that I can have one bag that is just strictly used for daily travel. Wether it be a hike or a trip to the grandparents. It makes it easy to have one place to keep everything and not forget anything. Plus the bag is only $30! It’s a great bag that helps me transition to my summer travels and back into my day to day life. And it pairs perfectly with my ultra compact GB Pockit Stroller. I also picked up some of their hardside luggage for my travels as well. Check out SWISSGEAR for thesebags and many others!
This post was sponsored by SWISSGEAR. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
After a few days in Jakarta, Indonesia, you’ll most likely find yourself wondering what there is to do besides another shopping trip to the mall. The city’s canopy of skyscrapers and crowded streets leave little room for open spaces or clean air; while Jakarta is incredibly rich in culture and history, it’s not a destination for those looking to strecth their legs on an outdoor adventure. Just a short boat ride from the urban sprawl, however, you’ll find all the jungles, mountains, and beaches your heart desires.
Common excursions from the land of skyscrapers and traffic include visiting the Thousand Islands or Jakarta’s sister city Bandung, or even taking the short flight to Bali. It takes just a few hours to be transported to prismatic reefs, rolling hills lined with rice paddies, or active volcanoes. But there’s one spot of special significance in Indonesia that’s as striking as it is historic.
From Jakarta it’s only a matter of hours to be transported to prismatic reefs, rolling hills lined with rice paddies, or active volcanoes.
A few hours’ drive west of Jakarta will put you on the western coast of Java. From there, any number of tour operators or private boats can take you the rest of the way to a pair of small islands due west; less than an hour on a speedboat and you’ll see them materialize through the distant haze. Once you arrive, you’ll be at the site of one of the most dramatic and destructive geological events in recorded history.
The volcanic island, Krakatoa, erupted in 1883 and killed more than 35,000 people, going down in history as one of the most violent volcanic events ever recorded. It is also said to have been the loudest eruption ever, reportedly heard more than 3,000 miles away. That eruption formed the smaller of the two islands, Anak Krakatoa.
When you reach the soft black volcanic sands of the shores on Krakatoa, the landscape is as alien as it is fascinating.
When you reach the soft black volcanic sands of the shores on Krakatoa, the landscape is as alien as it is fascinating. Entire arcs of the island are scored by red, porous igneous rocks from recent eruptions. Dense tropical vegetation springs up out of the black volcanic powder. In other areas, desolate remnants of wiped-out forests are dotted by lingering lava bombs perfect for scrambling over. As you ascend the mountain, the active volcano resolves into more detail – yellow sulphurous smoke billows upward from the ashen lip of the crater.
Guides won’t take you more than about halfway up the 800-meter slope of the active volcano, but Krakatoa hikes are often followed by a trip back to the shore for diving and snorkeling in electric blue waters. After working up an appetite by exploring several vibrant reefs around the perimeter of Krakatoa, take your lunch break back on the ebony shore. Just keep an eye out – massive monitor lizards (which grow up to and over six feet long) patrol the jungles and beaches, and they won’t hesitate for a second to steal your lunch.
If you can, keep tabs on Krakatoa’s activity before you head out to the island. If an eruption is imminent, many boats will moor at a safe distance to watch the fireworks – what some would call nature’s most explosive drive-in show. [H]
What Else to Do and See Near Jakarta
Pulau Seribu (Thousand Islands) Just 45 kilometers north of Jakarta’s coast lies an archipelago of 100 small islands of private bungalows, secluded beaches, and coral and fish of just as many hues as the place’s name suggests.
Bandung This sister city is less chaotic than Jakarta, and boasts more culture and history without the dense skyscraper sprawl. Take in the colonial architecture, make a visit to nearby hot springs, and gape at one of the most accessible volcanos in Indonesia, Tangkuban Perahu.
Bogor Botanical Gardens Located 60 kilometers south of Jakarta, this is one of the rare green parks in Indonesia and the oldest botanical garden in Southeast Asia, and is home to approximately 14,000 species of plants. If you’re lucky, you might be able to see one of Bogor’s five Amorphophallus titanium plants in bloom – giant arum plants reaching up to 2.5 meters tall.
Brian is a Washington, DC-based international development professional, freelance photographer, and writer. Frequent field assignments in developing countries allow Brian to explore and photograph parts of the world not often visited by others. Brian’s camera is most attracted to new culture, cuisines, and mountains.
The Museum of Maritime Science is a marine and nautical culture museum. The buildings architecture was inspired by the famous luxury ship Queen Elizabeth 2. The Queen Mary which is her sister ship has been used as a hotel & museum in Long Beach, CA.
Splurjj Magazine / Team Images that are not owned by Splurjj Photo Credit goes to the owner/photographer.
From backpacking to cycling to staying in shape and more, outfit your outdoor activities with the latest gear, clothing, and footwear at REI. REI has the coolest sleeping bags you’ll probably see in 2016. The Crash Sack makes your outdoor camping life easier and warmer. Without having to zip out and freeze your pompous off. You can zip open your feet and arms. The Crash Sack transforms into a 3 quarter triple fat goose down jacket. Simple essentials for The Crash Sack Lifestyle kind of crowd.