Category Archives: Photos

Visiting Clear Lake

A few weeks ago, I visited Clear Lake for the first time. We stayed at an awesome house in Lucerne, Lake County. The sunset views were definitely the highlight of the trip for me. The views all day and night were amazing though.

Although the first weekend of November wasn’t the best time to be at the lake, there was still plenty to keep us busy. Past summer and well into fall, no one was renting boats at the lake so we couldn’t go kayaking or canoeing as hoped. Most other people we saw were locals or retired couples who come up in the off-season. We did have several free wine tasting coupons though so after eating deli sandwiches next to the lake, we headed to the nearest winery. Definitely enjoyed the tastings at Ceago Winery but the views were the best part. It’s beautifully landscaped garden went right up to a pier where we walked out to enjoy the views of the lake. There were plenty of fish swimming beneath us, as they regularly stock the lake for fishing. The Brassfield Estate Winery, though not right on the water, had impressive views and a beautiful building. Almost like an old castle, tasting at Brassfield was great. We even bought a bottle to enjoy outside on their picnic benches.

After wine tasting we made it back in time to grill on the balcony and watch the sunset. Though less eventful than most trips to the lake, it was a beautiful place and I’m glad I got to see it.

Guest post for Tripping – Destination Guide: Oaxaca, Mexico

Destination Tips: Oaxaca, Mexico (originally published on Tripping)

Katie volunteered in Oaxaca, Mexico in fall 2011 after studying public relations at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA and is now working as the Volunteer Director at Go Overseas. Go Overseas is the Yelp/Trip Advisor for programs abroad including listings of every volunteer, study, teach & intern abroad program in the world, with ratings/reviews and more. Follow Katie on Twitter: @VolunteeReviews and read about volunteer abroad opportunities on Go Overseas.

Oaxaca, Mexico is unlike any other place I’ve traveled to – the combination of old and new, indigenous and European cultures, family life and the bustling city, all of which go together well and make Oaxaca the amazing destination that it is. (Don’t let the name confuse you: Oaxaca is a state in southern Mexico. Oaxaca city, the capital of Oaxaca state, is located in the Valley of Oaxaca.) Oaxaca is the fifth largest state in Mexico, and number one in biodiversity. I spent an amazing 2 months volunteering in Oaxaca and here is a list of things not to be missed while in Oaxaca!

santo domingo church, oaxaca

Santo Domingo Church, Oaxaca

Monte Albán – Monte Albán, the most important Zapotec ruins, is one destination every visitor must see. These archeological ruins are one of the oldest pre-Columbian cities, which housed more than 30,000 Zapotec people around 500 BC. Located atop mountains just outside of the city of Oaxaca, Monte Albán had great religious and political importance in its time, with temples, tunnels, a grand plaza, and a ball court to explore. You can discover the views of the Valley of Oaxaca on top of a temple from this historical and cultural site, visit the museum and gift shop, and picnic in the beautiful gardens. Just 15 minutes outside of town, tourists can easily get a ride and a tour at Monte Albán.

Visit the Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán

Visit the Zapotec ruins of Monte Albán

 Mitla – The ruins of Mitla are just a 25 mile taxi ride outside of the city of Oaxaca. Although Mitla is much smaller than Monte Albán, it comes in second as the most important Zapotec archeological site – not to mention that more of the ruins and detailed mosaic designs are still intact. Mitla is even listed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

Katie at the Mitla ruins

Katie at the Mitla ruins

Markets – As with many other areas of Latin America, the markets of Oaxaca are a huge attraction. Throughout Oaxaca, you will find traditional markets where locals do most of their shopping. These are great places to buy souvenirs to take home. Bartering is common but keep in mind that a few extra pesos may not matter as much to you as it does to those who make a living at the markets.

Hierve el Agua – Hierve el Agua, which translates to “the water boils,” is a natural wonder like no other. Just an hour or two outside of Oaxaca City, Hierve el Agua is made up of natural rock formations that resemble huge waterfalls. These “petrified waterfalls” have formed from a small amount of water over thousands of years. The region is also the site of an ancient Zapotec underground irrigation system. Above ground, there are a number of large pools (natural and artificial) where visitors can swim, relax, enjoy the views of the green mountains and valleys, and hike for the day.

View of the pools at Hierve el Agua

View of the pools at Hierve el Agua

Food and Drinks – Oaxaca is sure to please any palate. When it comes to food and drinks, my advice is to try everything – even chapulines (grasshoppers). It may sound strange but fried grasshoppers are a traditional delicacy. It’s said once you try chapulines, part of Oaxaca is with you and you are sure to return again. Other must-haves of Oaxaca’s cuisine include: cheese, tlayudas, mezcal and hot chocolate.

Volunteering – While in Oaxaca, why not find a way to immerse yourself in local culture while giving back at the same time? There are infinite opportunities to volunteer in Oaxaca – from orphanage work to health care campaigns to agriculture, find something that suits you.

Hijos de la Luna orphanage – Oaxaca, Mexico

Hijos de la Luna orphanage – Oaxaca, Mexico

But wait…there’s more! Art shows, plays, movies, festivals, churches – You will never run out of things to do in Oaxaca. The downtown center, called the Zócalo, always has something to do – from people-watching to browsing street vendors to eating and drinking. The capital city itself, along with Monte Albán, is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. There are many national parks, beaches, and festivals to keep you busy. For a list of current cultural events like movies, festivals, art shows, and more, check El Jolgorio Cultural and Oaxaca Calendar.

Oaxaca is a perfect place for anyone who is interested in traveling to a lesser-known Mexican destination full of life, culture, history, and more!

All photos by Katie Boyer


Sykes Hot Springs, Big Sur

backpacking in big sur, june 2012


campsite at the big sur river, sykes hot springs

campsite at the big sur river, sykes hot springs

campfire, big sur, sykes hot springs


Sykes hot springs, Big Sur

Hot springs

Go Overseas First Annual Summer Party

I got to put my party planning skills to the test last week for Go Overseas First Annual Summer Party. I’ve planned several events in my career (from Red Cross fundraisers to art shows and concerts) but this was definitely the biggest (people and budget-wise). I hope to plan more fun events in the future!

From the Go Overseas blog:
Last week Go Overseas threw its most ambitious (and successful) summer party to date! Last Thursday, more than 150 travel industry professionals met at the beautiful Go Overseas offices in downtown Berkeley. We got to spend some time getting to know university study abroad professionals from around the country, Global Internship Conference attendees, travel-tech companies like Tripping, Jetpac and Couchsurfing, Bay Area travel writers, program providers, and more. Thank you to everyone who came and helped make it happen – special thanks to co-hosts CRCC Asia and Berkeley Skydeck. It was a very special night and we hope to continue to bring people together to encourage cultural exchange and overseas travel all year!

cal jazz band

Cal Berkeley Jazz band really brought the whole night together

go overseas sunglasses party

Go Overseas Party Sunglasses

party go overseas

Travel Industry Professionals Networking

me at go overseas party map

There I am!

More photos can be found on Go Overseas Facebook page!

Bike to Work Day 2012

Free stuff from Bike to Work Day Oakland 2012

Thank you to the two great local bike organizations – Walk Oakland Bike Oakland and East Bay Bicycle Coalition –  that made this possible! Great to see the community and spirit of biking getting more support!

Cool blog: Cabin Porn

Awesome blog I found the other day! I want to go live in a cabin in the words.

Can anyone else recommend new blogs you’ve been into lately? Check out my links/blogroll section for more cool sites!

Another beautiful weekend in Oakland

Lovin’ Oakland as usual. Wanted to share some photos from my walk to the Grand Lake Farmer’s Market Saturday morning. About to go enjoy the lake again!


Views of Lake Merritt

Yeah, I love where I live.

The Lake Chalet and restaurant from my friend's balcony.


Lake Merritt and Oakland at night

Film Camera

I have been slow at posting here lately but good at spending time off the computer in my free time. Got out my old film camera (by that I mean my mom’s camera from college.) Excited to try it out soon, it’s been years!

My view from the office can’t be beat


Sunset from the Go Overseas office, Berkeley Skydeck