Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Travel Tuesday no.40 // Zhangjiajie

Zhangjiajie has some of the most epic scenic views I've seen in my lifetime. It is a city in the north-western part of Hunan province, China and is widely known for its dense forests, incredible mountains, limestone caves, and towering sandstone-quartz pillars. The Wulingyuan scenic area that's found here is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is comprised of several points of interest and national parks, including the famous Zhangjiajie National Forest Park.

This past April, I traveled to China for a week and a half to see the sights of Zhangjiajie (with a quick visit to Shanghai as well). Normally, we like to explore cities and places on our own but this time around, we went with a Mandarin-speaking tour for this leg of our journey. It may be possible to travel here alone and there are certain limitations and time constraints when traveling with a tour group to consider, but overall, I'm glad we chose to go with a tour in Zhangjiajie.

China isn't the easiest place to travel around and with the language barrier and cultural differences to factor in (I've had my fair share of terrible travel tales here and the fact that there is no concept of queueing for many of the mainland Chinese tourists is beyond me), I find it much more convenient to have a guide navigating the places for you and showing you the best sights.

01 // Tianmen Mountain 

We spent our first day in Zhangjiajie visiting TianmenShan (Tianmen Mountain), and it was actually photos of this place that convinced me to go on this trip. I was really looking forward to the beautiful and unique views here, especially the 99-turns road nestled in the mountains that I had heard so much about. 

Unfortunately, the morning started with pouring rain. While it tapered off in the afternoon, it was still incredibly foggy when we reached the peak of the mountain. There was some initially disappointment in the group because we couldn't see much at the top, but I actually loved the fog - it made the place look so mystical.

There is a glass walkway built along one of the edges of the mountains and while some people were terrified of it, it wasn't really scary since the fog obscured much of our view when looking down. Yes, we had to wear shoe covers while walking on the glass.
The fog did eventually clear and we were rewarded with beautiful views of the mountains like this one.

02 // Zhangjiajie National Forest Park

On our next day, we visited the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park. This is the most famous place in Zhangjiajie and internationally, this area became more well known in the recent years as the location that inspired the Hallelujiah Mountains of Pandora in James Cameron's 2009 film Avatar. We were lucky that the weather had cleared up today as it was quite sunny and warm up in the mountains. Though people can easily spend two or three days in this national forest, we only had a day exploring the highlights. Like I said, time constraints when being on tour!
It's hard to capture and translate these views into photos and I don't think these pictures do the place justice. The landscape up here is just incredible and I was in complete awe of the towering pillars of limestone-quartz that formed naturally through weather and erosion.

Let's keep things real. As beautiful as this place was, it wasn't a calm and relaxing trip to the mountains. There were certain scenic areas that were jam packed with tourists and we had to literally squeeze ourselves to the edge of the railings for better views of the places. And we apparently went on a 'good day' and this was considered less tourists than normal. Crazy. This was one of the reasons why I was glad we had a guide leading us around.

03 // Baofeng Lake + Huanglong Cave

One of the other attractions we went to in Zhangjiajie was Baofeng Lake, a jade-colored lake that is surrounded by beautiful mountains and steep cliffs. It was a really picturesque area and we spent an hour or two here, riding a boat and exploring the area. It was one of the more relaxing things we did, so it was really enjoyable and a nice break from the crowds.

In the afternoon, we also visited one of the largest caverns in China. What makes Huanglong Cave unique is that there are underground rivers in the cave, so it is possible to ride a boat inside to admire the limestone rock formations. I thought that was pretty cool!

As I mentioned, these are simply some of the highlights of the area since we went with a tour. I know there are lots of other places to explore and even more beautiful scenic spots in Zhangjiajie. I'm glad to have gone to this place but I probably wouldn't return in the future, ha. Once is enough - too many crowds to endure! This wraps up my Zhangjiajie travelogue; happy Tuesday! xo.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Life, lately // no.17

Snippets of my life, lately.

Watching the Olympics, all day every day. It's really nice to have on in the background while I'm working, and I love how almost all the Canadian medals won so far are won by women. #girlpower ;)

Reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I'm torn between savoring the story and reading it slowly or zooming through and reading it in one go!

Enjoying summertime, every last bit of it. Just as I thought summer was beginning to fade, we got another little heatwave these past couple of days. It's been great having warm and sunny weather! This weekend, my friends and I had a picnic in the park one afternoon and hung out at the pier another evening. I love summer evenings.

Designing printables for my shoppe, new stamps for Studio Calico, and another little collab happening soon. Fun stuff!

Making Project Life spreads. All my traveling this year has thrown off my PL schedule, so I've got lots to catch up on. I just started May's pages so I basically have May-August still to do.

Loving this mini-book kit that Tina designed for her upcoming workshop. I loved her first class and am a big fan of Tina's designs and style, so I'm really looking forward to seeing her work her magic in this class!

Wanting this 'dont' overthink it' enamel pin. A new Fjallraven backpack. Cole Haan trainers. So many random things on my wishlist, ha.

Feeling a bit stressed with how busy the rest of this month is, since I have a lot of project deadlines and things to complete. Gotta hustle and also manage my time better.

Excited for more adventures <3 I recently booked a few more trips for the rest of the year, so I'm definitely excited for them. Forever in a state of wanderlust, I tell ya!

Happy Monday xo.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Shoppe Update

Hey everyone! I just updated the In a Creative Bubble shoppe with a bunch of new journaling cards and printables. This is the first release for August and as always, I'll try and squeeze in a second update at the end of the month :) This time around, I played around with incorporating my own handwriting on the new designs. I wrote out words and phrases until I was happy with how they looked, then I digitized them in Illustrator for these products. I also digitized some doodles which you'll find in one of the new sets :)  This was a lot of fun to do and possibly something I'll experiment more with in the future. You can find all the newest items here in the shoppe, and here's a quick recap on the new designs.

Olympics 2016 Journaling Cards
I actually uploaded these in the shoppe a few days earlier since the Olympics have been in full swing for almost a week now. Anyone else glued to the screen watching the games? This is probably the only time I ever voluntarily watch sports (ha!) and I enjoy having it on in the background while I work. As I said, I included some of my own handwriting on these cards. The 'team' card is perfect for you to fill in your country! I'm rooting for Team Canada ;)

School Days Journaling Cards
I started seeing tons of back-to-school advertisements at the end of July, and it seemed crazy to think that school is starting again so soon. Then I realized that all districts/provinces/states have their own schedules and some kids have already gone back to school. Where I'm from, school doesn't normally start until the first week of September, so there's still a bit of summer left to savor. Regardless, I thought these School Days cards would be useful for some of you! This set was really fun to work on. I doodled lots of school-related icons and turned those doodles into a fun, patterned card. Again, there's more of my handwriting as well as some simple and versatile designs.

School Days Digital Stamps

Dwell Journaling Cards
Home - one of my favorite themes. I'm such a homebody at heart and I find lots of pleasure in simply staying at home and hanging out - watching dramas, crafting, designing or enjoying a good book. This set was designed with those thoughts in mind and these cards are perfect for documenting simple everyday moments at home.

Dwell Stamp Brushes

Storyteller Journaling Cards
This hobby that we love is all about storytelling. Stories from the heart. Stories that we want to remember. Stories of converstaions and big + small moments in our lives. I wanted to make a simple set of cards that can be used to help record these stories and I hope you like them! Again, lots of my own handwriting incorporated on the cards. Bright colors and clean designs - my favorite :)

Storyteller Stamp Brushes

Hope you find something that interests you :) Thanks for checking out my shoppe and I can't wait to see what you make with the products! Happy Thursday xo.