Beer with a Blogger: Hyperion Public in Silver Lake

With temperatures hitting record highs here in Los Angeles, it only seemed fitting to cool down with a brew or two.

Which is why I was delighted when a Twitter friend agreed to be featured in the next installment of Beer with a Blogger! It was a no-brainer when we realized we lived just a couple miles away from one another, and we met up at one of my favorite local spots.

Laura Donovan

THE BLOGGER

Laura Donovan, an L.A. native who is a regular contributor at Hello Giggles. (She’s also written for Mic, The Maude and more.) Laura is a master of writing listicles and how-tos with an authentic, relatable voice. And in real life, she’s as easy to talk to as you’d expect from her writing. Not only is she super friendly and fun, but Laura is also smart and thoughtful. I always say a good sign that someone is a genuinely nice person is if they ask more questions than you do. Laura’s that kind of person. Check out her writing here, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Hyperion Public

Hyperion Public

THE BAR

Hyperion Public, a popular neighborhood pub here in Silver Lake with a classy-yet-casual dining room up front, a dark and cozy bar room for sports-watching in the back, and a handful of sidewalk tables for people- and dog-watching outside. They have happy hour seven days a week (late nights during the weekend), and the F Yeah Fries and truffled mac are for real the bomb. Best of all? Hyperion Public is right around the corner from me, so I can enjoy myself with a beer (or two) and walk home!

Hyperion Public

THE BEER

I enjoyed the El Segundo Citra Pale Ale while Laura had the Trumer Pils. Both were incredibly refreshing on a 100-plus degree day.

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Hanging with Laura on a Sunday afternoon was the perfect way to cool off from the heat. We had plenty to talk about, and it was such a trip meeting someone who I feel like I’ve been following online for ages, even though I can’t remember how we came across one another. I’m so happy to have made a new friend!

Cassie & Laura

Are you a blogger living in (or visiting!) L.A.? Do you like beer? Shoot me an email at wittycassiehere (at) gmail (dot) com, and let’s go to happy hour!

Interweb Finds: How to eat sushi, grown-ass women & more

Manhattan Beach Pier

This weekend, I fell in love with Manhattan Beach.

Like, what-do-I-have-to-do-to-move-here in love. The temperatures in L.A. were as high as 110 in some areas this weekend, but you wouldn’t have known it at the coast. Manhattan Beach was a nice respite from the Venice and Santa Monica madness, and exploring made me feel like I was on vacation. So sweet.

My interweb finds posts will be monthly from now on, which means I’ll be throwing in more links with each post!

Check out this month’s web finds:

My new favorite band is Lucius, and I can’t get this song out of my head. These girls (and guys) are electric live.

For book lovers and list lovers: How many of these books have you read? I enjoy the writer’s challenging of a “Best American Novels” list to which this more inclusive list responds.

Sarah Von Bargen has been killing it with her Grown-Ass Woman series. This post on friendships might just be my favorite.

Aside from the claustrophobia and inability to walk, it’d be cool to be a permaid for Halloween. (See more photos on the mysterious permaid’s site here.)

This might be the reason we hate the word “moist.”

Do you know the right way to eat sushi? (I didn’t know you’re supposed to eat with your hands!)

So interesting: an Australian’s first impression of the U.S.

“Everything is ‘cute’. My top was cute, my hair looked cute, oh, isn’t that sign cute? I don’t think I’ve every called something cute if it wasn’t a small child or an animal…”

The oldest person to have ever lived just celebrated her 127th birthday. And sadly, the world’s tallest dog just died.

Reese Witherspoon seems so down-to-earth in this interview, and one essay argues that the upcoming films Wild and The Good Lie have saved her career. I can’t wait to see her portray Cheryl Strayed on the big screen.

College is a ludicrous waste of money. Strong words. Do you agree?

Such a thoughtful post from Shannon: Does your partner need to be a feminist?

“I think about how long it took me to understand the term, to not instinctually shrink away from it, and I wonder, is it more important that my boyfriend identifies as a feminist or that he acts like one?”

This post on getting stuck in the consumerism trap probably rings familiar for a lot of people. I’ve become much more aware of it myself lately.

 

That’s all for this month! Check back Thursday for the return of Beer with a Blogger.

Feminist to Follow: Kate from Clear the Way

Contrary to what comment threads on any website might indicate, there are a lot of thoughtful, intelligent and well-meaning folks on the interwebs.

Such folks give me hope that we’re not doomed to a future of violence, misogyny and overall mayhem. (And it’s tough not to feel that way when reading the news these days.) That’s why I’d like to take some time to highlight the people who are spreading good on the web by fostering important discussions and inspiring new ways of thinking.

Enter the “Feminist to Follow” series, in which I introduce you to awesome people writing about feminism.

Every month, you’ll meet a new blogger who touches on the topic in engaging and meaningful ways. And I’d like to kick off the series with the lovely Kate of Clear the Way.

Kate of Clear the Way

I only discovered Clear the Way somewhat recently, but I’m already a huge fan.

Earlier this year, Kate launched the series Feminist Fridays to open up a regular dialogue about all things feminism. And “dialogue” really is the appropriate word to describe the series, as it’s filled with words and interviews with other bloggers about their experiences. I love how the series manages to encompass everything from sexism and the patriarchy to art and music. The series is as diverse and entertaining as the rest of Kate’s blog, which also touches on fashion, decor, vegan recipes and writing.

What I love most about Clear the Way is that it has everything I love in a lifestyle blog—style, food, thoughts on blogging—but it goes beyond the basic requirements of that genre and ties in feminism in a way that makes it accessible and relatable.

Here’s Kate in her own words:

“Blogging about feminism is important because your blog should be an extension of yourself, and if you are passionate about feminism you should share it. Opening up about feminism on my blog through my Feminist Fridays series has been amazing for me and my blog because it has allowed me to talk about the things that are really important to me and connect with others who have similar passions.”

Some must-read posts from Clear the Way:

How Do You Deal: Disapproval  – in which Kate and several other ladies discuss criticism of their feminist views from others
Fem Fridays: Be Bright – a message of inspiration and support for those inevitable dark days
Everyday Feminism – a series in which guest contributors write about how they live out feminism every day

Today, I added my own thoughts to Kate’s Everyday Feminism series, and you can check it out on her blog here.

For those not already a fan of Clear the Way, make sure you check out Kate’s blog. What other feminist bloggers do you love to follow?

Through the lens: photos from August

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Why does the week after a long holiday weekend always seem to last longer?

I’m not sure what the deal with that phenomenon is, though I’m gearing up for a long, busy September. But before I do, here’s one last look back at August in photos. I spent most of August soaking up summer, playing tourist around L.A. and going bicoastal to spend some time with family at home.

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These two gorgeous girls are my little sisters, except they’re not so little anymore. When I went home, we took a trip to Oxford, Maryland, the cutest little coastal town. My sisters have spent a lot of time there, and clearly they were in their element longboarding and biking everywhere we went. They gave me a tour of all the (adorable) waterfront homes.

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And when my college roomie/BFF came to visit me here in L.A., we went to all the must-see places in the city, including Malibu, the Griffith Observatory, Hollywood and more.

Processed with VSCOcam with se3 preset observatory capitol-records Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThis month, I’m starting a new paid internship, going home again briefly for a wedding and hopefully having a little fun between classes and work. One goal I’m really striving for is to find a comfortable work-life balance to manage my time better. Ideally, that will mean good sleep every night (no super late nights!), efficient time logged online and an up-to-date calendar that’ll prevent me from letting anything slip by. Do you have any tips for time management while balancing school, work and life?

Check-in time: What are you looking forward to in September?

 

Long live summer

Long Live Summer

The internet would have you believe that summer is over.

Fall fashion this! Pumpkin spice lattes that! they say. In fact, there are still three weeks and some change until the autumn equinox, and I’d prefer not to rush things.

Never mind that I went back to school this week (my last first day of school ever) or that it’s Labor Day weekend. Never mind that I, too, enjoy all the things that make fall fall. (Except pumpkin spice lattes. I just can’t get on that train.) It’s still technically summer. Long live summer.

These three short months of the year have always been my favorite, and it’s no different now that I live in Southern California. The season holds a certain kind of magic that doesn’t exist the rest of the year.

In recognition of the fact that it is still indeed summer, I plan on doing all of the following:

Going for long walks and bike rides at sunset. Nothing like soaking up the last rays of sunlight while walking around the neighborhood. My apartment doesn’t get much natural light past 5 p.m. these days, so late-afternoon walks make the days last longer.

Eating al fresco. Whether picnicking or hitting up the fish taco stand up the street, I love eating outside and people-watching.

Whipping up piña coladas. Actually, John is the blended beverage expert, so that task is delegated to him. I’ll be sure to offer up a salud.

Taking a day trip. Hopping in the car to explore a new (or old favorite) spot is the epitome of summertime adventures. You can find me at the beach on the weekend.

Checking things off my to-do list. The closet I’ve been meaning to clean out? That recipe I’ve been wanting to try? There’s no better time to do all the little things that need to get done. I like my summers productive as much as I like them leisurely.

So for all you fall lovers, be patient.

You’ll have your chunky-knit sweaters and color-changing leaves soon. (When you do, will you send some to L.A.? At some point, I’ll begin to crave them.) But for now, enjoy the summer. Don’t rush it out the door.

How will you enjoy these last few weeks of summer? Have you made the most of the season?

 

How to be a good host (in a tiny apartment)

A small apartment feels significantly smaller when there’s an extra person taking up space.

And yet, when you finally have a place all your own—a place that’s yours to decorate, and I’m talking grown-up, the-art-on-the-walls-is-actually-framed place—you want to invite the people you love into that home, no matter how small it might be. Still, it can be a challenge.

Last week, my randomly-paired-college-roommate-turned-best-friend Justine came to visit all the way from New York. My and John’s apartment is just big enough for two people (and a dog, ideally) to live comfortably, but with three people, it becomes a little tight. Luckily I had months to impatiently await and meticulously prepare for Justine’s arrival, and I learned a few key things.

how to be a good host in a tiny apartment

To be a good host in a tiny apartment…

Start with the bed. Whether your guest is staying a night or a week, they’re likely going to be exhausted, yet sleeping in an unfamiliar place can lend itself to crappy rest. If your parents or any older relatives or friends are coming to stay and you don’t have a spare private bedroom, offer them your bed with fresh sheets and take the couch. For other guests, make sure you have all the bedding essentials (don’t forget a pillow) and try to create some privacy. We have a $50 air mattress that we use while camping that Justine slept on, and every morning after she got up, she folded up her blankets and put them off to the side, and we leaned the mattress up against the back wall where it would be out of the way. That way, our living room didn’t feel like a bedroom the rest of the day.

Designate spaces for the basics. Outlets and closet space can be hard to come by in a small apartment, but make the effort to free up an outlet near where your guest will be sleeping so they don’t accidentally unplug your only light source or TV to charge their phone. If they’re staying for several nights, go the extra mile and make a few closet hangers available for them to use. When Justine was here, I also let her borrow my (clean) robe so she could go back and forth between the tiny bathroom and her suitcase comfortably. I let her change in the bedroom, too, so she didn’t have to get dressed in the small, steamy bathroom post-shower.

Show them how they can help (and how to help themselves). Dishwashers don’t come standard in most apartments in L.A., so we wash everything by hand here. After showing your guest where all the food, utensils and coffee are, encourage them to wash up afterward and show where clean dishes can dry. If they’re good houseguests, they’ll be happy to help out, and your apartment won’t suffer from piled-up clutter.

Help them spend as much time out of the apartment as possible. Even though they might be here to see you, it doesn’t mean your guest wants to spend their whole visit at your place. (We’re talking tiny apartments, not hillside villas.) Get a sense of the kinds of things they’d like to do before they arrive, and whether they’re exploring off on their own or you’re playing tour guide, have a loose itinerary planned. Think of your apartment as their crash pad to cater to their basic needs, not the main attraction.

And just some good hosting etiquette in general:

Stock up on snacks and toilet paper. Show your guest where they are and they won’t have to ask your permission to eat (or, y’know, wipe themselves).

Give them your Wifi password. Why make them use up their data plan unnecessarily? Their phone will likely feel like even more of a lifeline when they’re traveling away from home, so help them use it for free.

Recommend local publications/guides/resources beforehand. Whether they want to scope out the nightlife or learn something about your town, your favorite go-to sites will probably be helpful to them, too. For the best Los Angeles-centric lists (of rooftop bars, places to eat brunch, hikes to check out), I recommend LAist.

Give them options. While I had a loose itinerary planned when Justine came to visit, I also made it flexible enough to accommodate different moods. Mexican or Italian food? Fancy drinks out or a casual happy hour around the block? If they’re relying on you for getting around and seeing the sights, giving them the power to decide in the moment what they’d rather do makes them feel like they’re not completely at your mercy.

Finally, cook for them or treat them to a meal out. No one knows exactly what to expect the first night they’re staying in someone else’s home. Treating them to dinner is your way of welcoming them and showing that you value their company. Even if you have a tiny apartment, it’s a nice gesture to give them a home-cooked meal. (John made pizza one night and Justine politely offered to help. I told her, “It’s too tiny for you to be any help” and refilled her wine glass.) A night out—your treat—is also a perfect way to welcome them and show them your town. They’ll remember your generosity when they’re cleaning up after themselves at home.

Have you ever played host in a tiny apartment? How did you make your guests feel comfortable? Or, if you’ve been a guest in someone else’s home, what gestures have you most appreciated from your hosts?

 

How do you prioritize?

priorities

When you think about your top priorities, do a dozen different things come to mind?

If so, we’re a lot alike. But I’ve realized what I call “priorities” pretty much encompass my entire life—everything from school to relationships to my health to this here blog make up all of my top focuses, which in fact makes it pretty darn hard to focus on anything, really.

Nicole wrote a very insightful post that made me reconsider what my priorities were. This particularly stood out to me:

“Before last week, since my mental health wasn’t my clearly identified top priority, other ‘priorities’ such as training, social and family stuff, and even work would often slip into that top spot and monopolize my attention. I didn’t have an iron-clad priority, which made everything seem like the priority, but the truth is that a priority isn’t a priority if you have 50 of them.

Simple, right? It was refreshing and kind of a relief to read this. I realized I wasn’t failing at life because I struggled to balance grad school, two writing jobs, my health, a social life, and my blog. I was just a normal person who had a lot on her plate and felt like she had to do all the things when in fact she should’ve focused on the first thing on her list: grad school. Are the other things still important? Absolutely. Are they the most important? Well, no. Not right now.

But how do you stick to one priority when other things are still important?

Obviously relationships and health shouldn’t go out the window just because school or something else gets top billing. The most helpful way I’ve come to think of it is to schedule your top priority in ink. Schedule the rest in pencil. 

In other words, plan time on your calendar that’s dedicated to whatever’s most important and stick to it no matter what. That way, even if you only accomplish one thing on your list, it’s the most important thing. Allow yourself to be flexible on the rest, and you won’t feel guilty if today’s cleaning session becomes tomorrow’s instead.

If you’re a master procrastinator, it also helps to identify your biggest distractors and schedule those, too. For me, scrolling through Twitter, Instagram and my blog feed is how I procrastinate. That not only takes away time from my top priority, but from my downtime, too. Now, I’m setting a limit on that time to 5-10 minutes in the morning and evening and 15-20 minutes at lunch. And blogs? I can catch up on those over the course of an hour on the weekends. That’s plenty of time to stay active and engaged online—but most importantly, that also leaves plenty of time to be active and engaged in the real world.

By keeping your number-one priority in mind every time you have to make a decision about how to spend your time, you’re a lot more likely to make the right decision and stay focused on the main goal. It helps to keep expectations for other aspects of our lives in perspective, too. In my case, that means from now on, I plain to aim on publishing two blog posts per week instead of three here at WTH. I have a lot of other writing responsibilities, and if I get too ambitious with my secondary goals, I’m unnecessarily setting myself up for disappointment if I fail to reach them.

August has been amazing and filled with lots of travel and quality time with family and friends, and now I’m ready to get back in the blogging groove—albeit at a different pace than before. Now that I have more realistic goals in mind for this space and can focus on grad school, there’s no mistaking what my top priorities are any longer.

How about you? What’s your top priority, and how do you work toward it every day?

Interweb Finds: Cats against feminism, why we blog & more

Golden West

How has your August been going?

Mine has been great—I visited home, wrapped up my summer class, am hosting my visiting BFF/college roomie here in L.A.—but it’s also kept me away from this space. I’ve been thinking a lot about priorities, which I think I could write a lot about. There’s a lot I’ve been wanting to write about, and I’ll be sharing those thoughts here soon.

But for now, interweb finds!

The story of the skydiver who saved a woman’s life by breaking her fall with his body.

My new favorite meme: confused cats against feminism.

Vintage photos of Ellen O’Neal, the greatest woman freestyle skateboarder in the ’70s. (And a cool documentary about skate and surf culture during the same decade.)

Allie’s post “Why I Blog” resonates with me because I’ve come to similar conclusions about why I blog. (Plus, I’m also digging the sneak peak of her upcoming ebook, “Charge Up,” an ebook for introverted entrepreneurs.)

You need to read Hannah’s words on the fragility of life.

I’m fascinated by personality types, which is why Erika’s “Beginner’s Guide to Personality Type Systems” is so interesting!

Jenny Lewis has a new album out (have you seen her sassy video for “Just One of the Guys”?), so I really enjoyed this interview with her about life after Rilo Kiley, stories from her childhood acting days and songwriting while dealing with insomnia.

 

That’s all for this week! I’ll be back with more soon. Until then, enjoy the start of your week.

Summer Road Trip Series: a trip around Iceland

Do ponies, waterfalls and a glacial lagoon sound good to you? Then you’ll love Inness’ trip to Iceland.

Last year, Inness and her partner Tyler traveled clockwise around Iceland starting in Reykjavik, visiting thermal pools, wearing Icelandic sweaters and eating local fare along the way. She sums it up well here: “One of the best adventures of my life.” Read on!

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THE INSPIRATION

“We took our trip last July (2013) and it lasted 8 days. We traveled clockwise around the entire country in that time, although we didn’t reach all of the periphery (or the islands off the mainland). The main places we hit were Reykjavik, Snaefellsness, Akureyri, Myvatn, Northeast and East Iceland, Vik, and the Blue Lagoon. Every stop was a fun stop!

I had just turned 25 and I wanted to commemorate that milestone birthday with an epic trip to an I-named country (“I” for “Inness”). I told Tyler, my partner, to choose from Ireland, Israel, Iceland, or Italy, and he chose Iceland.”

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THE HIGHLIGHTS

“The most amazing thing, no, ONE of the most amazing things about Iceland is that the terrain is ever-changing. There is so much to see packed into one tiny little country, and that’s even excluding the entire middle! One minute you’ll be trundling through a lava field; then you’re barreling down a gravel path toward a humongous waterfall; then you’re rounding the bend and your breath is taken away by a sudden glacial lagoon that appears through the parting mist. You can see a lot in eight days, since it’s a small country, but you could also spend a month or more and never exhaust all of Iceland’s wonders. I highly recommend renting a car and getting out of Reykjavik, as cool and charming a city as it is – road trip is definitely the way to enjoy Iceland! (At least in the summer.)

Memories that really stick out to me: drinking Brennivin at midnight (with the sun still up!) in a thermal river; eating a giant bowl of perfectly buttery, garlicky Icelandic lobsters in Hofn (which is pronounced like a hiccup, kind of); trying to pronounce Icelandic words in general and failing completely; filling my water bottle from a waterfall; Akureyri’s perfect ice cream and weird parking rules; sticking my feet in Dettifoss, the world’s most powerful waterfall; picking out the perfect handmade Icelandic sweater; all the amazing pools. Also, the Icelandic people – they won’t always return your smile (they just smile less than Americans do, which is true of most other countries apparently), but they are outrageously kind and generous and will go out of their way for a stranger. They are also very well-dressed, and men and women alike appear to be very fond of tailored red trousers.”

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THE NEXT ADVENTURE

“I either want to drive around all of Ireland or Scotland, or drive through all of the lower 48 states in the U.S.”

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Inness’ Blog // Twitter // Instagram

Thanks for sharing your trip, Inness! Iceland is officially on my list of places I need to visit.

And just like that, the Summer Road Trip Series has come to an end.

We’ve met eight fascinating explorers with eight incredible adventures to share, and I hope you’ve enjoyed them as much as I have. (If you haven’t seen them all, you can check out the rest of the series posts here.) But just because the series is over doesn’t mean summer is yet. Do you have any trips planned before the end of the season? And what’s your favorite road trip you’ve ever taken? 

It’s been a busy summer around these parts (especially this month), but I’m looking forward to getting back in the blogging groove with a few minor changes to make balancing grad school, work and life a little easier. Thanks for following along!

Summer Road Trip Series: biking from NYC to San Francisco

A lot of people have driven across the country, but how many can say they’ve biked cross-country?

Our next Summer Road Trip Series guest can. Meet Anne Wave, a member of the Illini 4000. This nonprofit dedicated to fighting cancer just wrapped up its annual cross-country bike ride, and Anne was one of the 20 riders who braved the elements and elevation to ride exactly 4489.6 miles across 16 states. Badass? I think yes.

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THE INSPIRATION

“I decided last September that I wanted to join this group of crazed people so full of life, and we were going to bike from New York City to San Francisco. I just graduated from college this May so I wanted to take charge of my last possible summer, and biking coast-to-coast was my answer. Also! This group of folks happens to be a 501(c)3 non-profit that raises money for cancer research and support services. We’re at right about $90K for the 2014 team so far. The trip takes 72 days—I’m writing on the road!—so we left on May 24 and we arrive August 3. For a rough description, our route took us from New York through the Appalachian mountains through the plains (with a stop in my hometown, Chicago!) to the Rockies up to Oregon and down through the Cascade mountains, south through California so that we end in San Fran.”

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THE HIGHLIGHTS

“We’ve had really interesting days. The day we rode into Alliance, Nebraska was one of the more challenging ones for me; we had strong headwinds that whipped up across the plains plus intense heat. But! The end of that day took us to Carhenge, which is America’s Stonehenge made of old cars spray painted brownish tan. It’s like, a big thing. Car art. It was bizarre and awesome. Mostly bizarre.

Another day in Nebraska, we were stopping for a quick water break in Atkinson when a man came up to me and asked about all the bikes outside; when I told him what we do, he asked if I knew Jack, the kid that ran the touchdown in the Nebraska Huskers game last year. I said “yes! The little boy with cancer?” And he told me that’s his son. He and his wife started the Team Jack Foundation two years ago, have raised nearly $2 million for pediatric cancer research, and he happened to be at the gas station filling up before going in to work when my team and I stopped for a rest. He was such an inspiration for us; we dedicated the next day’s ride to his son, Jack.

The day we rode into Lancaster, Pennsylvania was also a riot. First off, Lancaster is the Amish capital of the country. We were about 15 miles outside of our destination for the night when winds whipped up and a storm came speeding towards us with such intensity that we had to get off the road. We were wandering the streets looking for shelter when an Amish man hollered at us asking if we wanted to seek refuge in his barn. We parked it there for two hours rationing out what snacks we could find in our pockets while rain and hail came down on the roof. Then we booked it in.”

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THE NEXT ADVENTURE

“As for my next adventure, I’m trying to get my post-grad life together to move to New Orleans when my trip is over. On the traveling side, I would love to see the Andes and spend some time in Ecuador and Peru. I’ve loved the time I spent in Central America—it’s time to go South. Maybe I’ll even bring my bike!”

Anne’s Twitter // Instagram // Team Website

Since Anne wrote this from the road, the group completed its ride and reached San Francisco. Read more about it here!

Any cyclists out there who would love to do what Anne has done? I’m pretty inspired myself to go on a long bike ride… up the street.

Check back this time next week for the final installment of the Summer Road Trip Series for some incredible photos from one of the most gorgeous places on earth.