Tuesday, July 19, 2011


We went on a super duper fun ATVing trip. It was my mom's idea, she saw an ad in the paper. It's a family owned business started by a newlywed couple. They inherited all of this amazing land just past Nojoqui Falls and they had the brilliant idea to make it accessible for tourists via ATVing! 

View from the drivers seat

My dad making dust storms

He was having a blast.  He would wait for us on the side of the trail, and when we rode up he would rev his engine and race us.

Here's everybody: Camille, a french friend who was staying with us for the week, me, my mom, my cousin Brandon and his mom, and Dad

Spectacular views of the valley

Brandon loved this dog. The dog rode on the back of one of the owner's ATVs.

Nice helmet, dad!

Everyone got to go at their own pace.

I saw the light coming through the trees, dust hanging in the air churned up from the ATVs, and I knew I had to stop. Photo opp!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hangliders at Elings Park

I've done tandem hangliding twice; once here at Elings Park when I was about 10 (my name was picked from a raffle!) and once in Argentina with my dad when we skiied off a cliff James bond status.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


I love the Santa Barbara Solstice Parade! Known for its crazy costumes, over the top floats, and out-of-the-box spirit, Solstice is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. It's always a hot weekend where the whole community (and thousands of tourists) unite for a celebration of weird fun. The theme this year was "Jungle!"


She's a bugcatcher for the giant spider!

Stilted hula hooper showing the little girl her tricks


Lots of sexy scantily-clad women

A throne for a jaguar?

Snake kid?

A human heart

Every year this amazing artist makes a huge inflatable float for the end of the parade. There is someone hanging from a curtain inside, dancing. So beautiful.

Hilary and Obama, in jail.

Dad's costume matched the zebra float.

Amber's Grad Party

McConnells Ice Cream Pie, wowza. Chocolate Raspberry Truffle on the bottom, Oreo Layer, Peppermint Stick on the top, topped with hot fudge and oreo crust and gummy bears to scare away the adults. Thanks Uncle Jimmy!!!

The Youngs know how to throw a party. Check out this dessert table. Three kinds of McConnells Ice Cream (black cherry, mint chip, chocolate raspberry truffle), two ice cream pies (one custom ordered by meee!), cheesecake, and a delicious coconut chocolate creation made by Kelly

So long college! Me and Lily

The Girls!!! Julia, Ajala Poetry Fox (great name, huh!), Kelly, and Kimber

Boys + trampoline = chaos

Family Photo

There was a DJ with music! Also, after food and dancing a few people made speeches about me. It was so sweet! Kind of weird to listen to people talk about you through a microphone. Luckily no one said anything TOO embarrassing . . . Thanks to everyone who could come!

Harry Potter!!!

Imagine thousands of Harry Potter fans, hundreds of them in costume, shoving each other to get into the front of the line, chants of HAARRRY POOOTTTEERR breaking out every few minutes, dozens of them having been there since 8AM, set up with their picnics and books and DVDs of HP... and in the theater someone in a golden snitch costume darted around the theater while four Quidditch players chased her around.

On Thursday night I went to the midnight premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2!! It was the best of the 8 movies, for sure. But that opinion is heavily influenced by my movie watching experience.

I was dressed up as emo Harry Potter - graduation robe, collared shirt and tie, glasses, scar, and spiked hair. It's fun having short hair!

Some people see this as the end of an era, but I know its not over for me because I'll always be rereading them.

Your house: Gryffindor
Your favorite character from the trio: Ron
Three other favorite characters:
Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Moaning Myrtle
Least favorite character:
Cho Chang
Favorite book: The Chamber of Secrets
One favorite moment:
the bank robbery
How you were introduced to the series
: Grandma Jeney had just gone on a trip to England and brought me back a copy early!!! Thats what I remember, at least. Who knows...

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Reading 2011

Amber's Summer Book Reviews:

The Kin of Ata Are Waiting For You
By Dorothy Bryant
This is a great book, recommended to me by my grandfather who reads all day long. It's about a womanizing asshole who, in the first 5 pages, strangles and kills his girlfriend and drives off a cliff. He wakes up in a hut on the island of Ata. The natives nurse him back to health and he finds he needs to assimilate to their naturalistic lifestyles. After learning their language, he realizes their society is based around their dreams; Atans use their dreams to influence their reality.
Atans think talking is 'donageo,' or bad; after I finished the book, I didn't really feel like talking. I pay more attention to my dreams and have been writing them down. I highly recommend this book.

Beatrice and Virgel
By Yann Martel
Known for "Life of Pi," Martel is a good writer and I enjoyed reading this book, but it didn't change my life.
Henry is a famous writer who moves to a big city after his first book makes it big. (Martel chooses not to label the city, letting the reader imagine their own setting.) Henry has been working on a new book about the Holocaust for the past five years, an essay and novel that he envisions will be published in a flipbook. But his publishers don't like the idea, and Henry gives up writing and finds other hobbies. But when Henry gets a letter from a fan asking him for help, Henry decides to go meet him. The fan turns out to be a creepy old taxidermist writing a book about a donkey and howler monkey named Beatrice and Virgil.
In the end, it turns out it's all a metaphor for the Holocaust, embedded within each other, layers upon layers; Henry's original book, the taxidermist's play, and even the book "Beatrice and Virgil" itself. There is some very good writing, especially the dialogue between Beatrice and Virgil, but I think the ending was a bit rushed.