Category Archives: Travel

Book It Across the Pond

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I love the warmer weather because it means I can sit outside and do a little reading. Though the problem I’ve found: when you venture outside of the park, there isn’t much in the way of bench seating. Yes, you can sit on the concrete steps of Diversey Harbor (like Harry Potter and I did this weekend), but I can never get comfortable. There’s something about sitting on a bench and reading and having the backdrop of a Lake behind you.

It seems London and the National Literacy Trust have cured my current dilemma by teaming up with with a cartoonist and How to Train a Dragon creator. The Books about Town campaign brings to life classic book illustration interpretations on 50 park benches. Yes, there are book benches strewn about London begging for you to sit and read and they depict some of your favorite books. As we know, I love a seek and find when it comes to the arts.

Heavy sigh. Via BBC News Entertainment & Arts

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P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins by Artist Darel Seow

Michael Bond's Please Look After This Bear by Artist Michelle Heron

Michael Bond’s Please Look After This Bear by Artist Michelle Heron

Charles Dickens' Great Expectations by Artist Ivan Liotchev

Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations by Artist Ivan Liotchev

 

 

The Great Outdoors

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“What are your thoughts on a family camping trip where you and I stay in a cabin?” Mom asked me back in December. I said of course. And before I knew it, it was time to head back to Missouri and drive to Bennett Spring State Park with a car packed to the brim (including a waffle iron and Keurig). It truly was a little insane the amount needed to sustain the two of us, for two days, when we didn’t have to bring a tent.

I was nervous. Mainly because while I’d like to think I’m a frontier woman, I sorely am not. Now don’t get me wrong, I love being outside. I love staring at the sky aimlessly wrapped in a blanket and just sitting and staring at water. Though I love knowing a bed, four walls and few bugs wait for me at night.

Needless to say, the Ladage Family Camping trip was stellar. Growing up, we ran a pretty tight-knit group. Most often, aunts, uncles and cousins all felt like extra Moms, Dads and siblings. Though as everyone started school, getting married, moving, we started seeing each other just around the holidays. I felt like a kid again spending more than just an evening and afternoon with everyone. There was always an empty chair somewhere around the fire. Someone ready to play cards. Someone ready to make s’mores. Someone needing to make the trek to the bathroom in the dark.

We learned that Cousin Kate and Uncle Rob dominate yard games while Mom and I do not. That the way to anyone’s heart is through a Bacon Station. That fresh fish from the river is divine. That the Olympic theme song truly is inspiring. That beverages make things funnier. That hiking is truly fantastic when you have Cousin Alli ready to play the ukulele on demand. That seeing a bald eagle fly over your head while you’re in a kayak paddling around the river bend is pretty damn American.

And that it’s always a Good S’morning when surrounded by your favorite people.

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No Place Like Home

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This past weekend, Lisa, Baby B and I headed back to Kansas for a much-needed reunion. And even though we didn’t get to see stars up in the sky, we still had our Mi Ranchito, Mama/Papa Z day, and surviving on Peanut Butter M&Ms traditions.

“Oh, you’re the best friends anybody ever had. And it’s funny, but I feel as if I’d known you all the time, but I couldn’t have, could I?” — Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz

Belated Birthday Celebrations for Katie and rockin' a new Spring 'do!

Rockin’ a new Spring ‘do at Kati’e Belated Birthday Celebrations

Baby B getting her Jayhawk shopping on

Baby B getting her Jayhawk shopping on

Travel on the Write Track

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When I packed my bags and moved to Chicago, I arrived by train. And ever since that May day in 2009, I find myself taking the train quite often. While the CHI—STL length isn’t nearly as glamorous as travel up on the East or West Coasts, there’s still something comforting in the travel. Train travel seems timeless to me, classic. I love finding myself in Union Station and knowing the rush of traveling and the look of the building were what people many, many years ago experienced.

So imagine my excitement when I came across Amtrak Residency. There’s a ton of press going on about the program, though here’s the gist: Reporters tweeted at Amtrak how cool this would be. Amtrak agreed, and made said writers take a train ride. And now, the Residency is open to writers of all levels for various lengths of time.

What I really love about this whole initiative (despite the fact it’s right up my alley) is it came about from one writer just tweeting about a love for writing on trains. Amtrak listened and decided there was something powerful there. As more brands continue to use their consumer base for more than just customers, I’m excited for more things such as this to come to fruition.

As this weekend is another family wedding, I’ll be taking that well-traveled CHI–STL train ride. And I’m excited to sit there, put in the headphones and just start writing.

To see the power and beauty of train travel on the Coast, visit my gal pal Leela’s blog. Last month she spent 36 hours on a train from California to Seattle (now she’s moving all throughout Europe).

“At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves — that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves.” — Alain de Botton, “The Art of Travel.”

 

A Moving Installation

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Bristol Library celebrates its 400th year anniversary. Again, Bristol Library is celebrating 400 years. And they’re using an installation to recognize this feat. With Book Hive, it seems the library commemorates and thanks patrons opening and closing books throughout the many, many years of its service.

And the best part? The books open and close as visitors walk by. Love seeing technology and libraries coming together in a such a different way.

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Photos via Bristol City Council on Flickr

Book It to Algonquin Hotel

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When I’m staying at hotels, I’m always itching to get out of the room, no matter how immaculate it is. And then I saw this and figured my hotel ways would for sure change.

The Algonquin Hotel just announced a partnership with Simon & Schuster that will feature a Simon & Schuster Suite and Package. The Suite, stocked with bookcases of classics, book memorabilia and advanced copies of new releases, features a living room and king-sized bed and a turn-down service where you walk away with a soon-to-be-released book.

Should you decide to venture outside of the hotel room, there will be breakfast in the Round Table Restaurant and author readings. Rainy vacation days in NYC just got oh so fantastic, with a $459/night price tag. For a photo gallery of the featured room, Christopher Reynolds of Los Angeles Times provided some images.

Via Publishers Weekly

 

Discovering the Creative

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This past week, I spent time in New York City attending The Creativity Workshop. After getting the supplies list that included sketchbooks, I was a little nervous. Writing and cutting and pasting? I can handle that. But physically drawing objects, people, places?! I was insanely intimidated.

These drawing assignments challenged us to go out into the world, find someone and draw. Then after you were done drawing, you had to write a story. Either what they were going through at that specific moment in time, or their inner life. I found the writing part helped me shape my drawings. As I sat there thinking I had completed the drawing, all of a sudden I’d see something new from my story and need to add to the sketch.

That’s the number one lesson I’m taking from this course, that creativity is never finished. Even as the deadline hits and the pitch/concept goes out the door. Everything’s still a work in progress. Too often I think I look at that looming deadline as the be-all-end-all. And that the project, along with the ideas, just stop.

I’ve also learned to silence that inner critic of mine. That voice telling me as I’m typing, writing, creating to self-edit. It was hard at first to ignore it, but through loads of automatic writing, I’ve managed to quiet it down. After all, that’s what the editing’s process is for; why do double the work?

One of my favorite exercises was taking a blank piece of paper and just drawing lines and squiggles for about 10 minutes. All while you closed your eyes and held your pencil in a new way. It was extremely freeing and really challenged your imagination as you “remembered” where you’d already made lines. Then you opened your eyes and started to make sense of the squiggles by finding objects/shapes in the chaos. It was challenging at first as you forced yourself to make sense of it all, and then I found the more you just glance and scan, the easier it was to “see” something.

Our class was about 25 students from 12 different countries. It was insanely inspiring to hear the stories, the drawings and the thoughts of people I never would have had the opportunity to meet and collaborate alongside. And there was even another Hannah in the mix (from Saudi Arabia).

While I’m never really one for negative-based language, this was our mantra (from Samuel Beckett) throughout the class and it really did help me move past that inner critic that’s so used to being heard.

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