A Quick Weekend in New York City

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

It's been awhile since I've been to New York. I know it was before I self-published my first short story - which takes place in New York - but if I recall right, the last time I visited was when I was about to be a sophomore in college. So...it was 2012. 6 years ago. Wow.

But anyway, it was good to be back in this city again, even it was for a little while.

So, cue the highlights.

The Burger Joint

It's become tradition for my family and I to go to this burger place whenever we come to the city, even when it's super late at night. That's exactly what we did; we got into New York very late, and within 30 minutes, we were at this super secretive, super cool, super delicious burger shop.

It's behind the check-in desk at the Parker New York. Just follow the burger sign, turn a corner, and you're there.

The only things on the Burger Joint's menu are hamburgers, cheeseburgers, grilled cheeses, and fries by the paper bag. And, yes, the burgers are delicious.


Hey, Sav, you may be asking me, Haven't you talked about Norma's before? Isn't it in California? Well, yes. There is a Norma's in Palm Springs, and yes, I've raved about it. But there is a Norma's in New York with a slightly different menu, but guys. It's SO good. I got the nutella and fruit crepes.

Keep in mind that if you do visit New York and want to try Norma's, make sure you get an OpenTable reservation. They don't take anything else.

Ground Zero

Last, but certainly not least, we went to Ground Zero, also known as the September 11 memorial.

We had never been to this part of New York before. But this place holds even more significance for me because I remember where I was the day 9/11 happened.

I was 9 years old, and I was in a homeschool group at the YMCA. We had just finished our gym period, and were about to start arts and crafts. When we went into the arts and crafts room, they had the scene on TV: two towers burning. A plane had just crashed.

It was somber to visit the place where so much tragedy happened, but it was so nice to see how the city gave back to the families who lost loved ones that day. They place roses on the names of the victims around the fountain that marks where the old towers were on their birthdays. A whole entire mall was built (the white building shown below) to symbolize peace and tranquility in a place that must bring back hard memories.

And on top of that, they are rebuilding a second tower next to the new One World Trade Center. This shows how strong of a city New York is, and how they aren't letting the tragic actions of seventeen years ago keep them from being even more unified in the future.

Thanks for reading my recap of New York! Have you been to this city lately? What is your favorite part of NYC?

ATX Travel Guide || Packing, Food, Shopping

Monday, June 4, 2018

Austin, Texas.

This was a place that I'd wanted to visit for a long time. I finally got to go this past May with Mom for Wild for Planners' Go Wild conference. This was the same conference I attended in New Orleans, and I got to go to that same conference in my home state last year, so it was cool to finally get the chance to go to Texas.

In short: I love Austin. A lot.

In this post, I want to tell y'all how I packed for Texas (and what stuff worked), the food we tried, and the shops we loved.

How to Pack for ATX

First, before we start, I have to say I love writing out ATX. Tennessee really doesn't have any abbreviations like that, except for maybe Nashvegas.

But, anyway, let's talk packing. Texas weather is like Florida weather, meaning that it can change at the drop of a hat. If any of y'all have traveled to Florida and experienced their random, short pop-up showers, the exact same thing happens deep in the heart of Texas, too. (And that song reference was totally intentional.)

So, that being said, Texas this time of year was mostly what you'd expect: pretty hot. It got up to 89 degrees at one point, so I was thankful for sleeveless blouses and dresses. The only thing I would change is that I'd pack pairs of shorts next time.


It's true what they say about Austin being known for its food. Mom and I didn't find a restaurant that we didn't like.

Here are the two places we kept coming back to:

  • Torchy's Tacos: We. Love. Torchy's. These tacos are easily the best I've ever had, and I wish that we had a location back home. This is a taco restaurant that has unique tacos, from fried avocado (my and Mom's favorite) to catfish (my other favorite), to jerk chicken (my mom's other favorite beside the fried avocado), and so much more. In fact, I got so good at ordering what I wanted that somebody asked me if I was a local. But, y'all, these are good tacos. Also, try the hillbilly queso (queso dip with chorizo and guacamole) and the street corn.

  • South Congress Cafe: Just down the street from our hotel (and the Torchy's location we visited) was this awesome brunch spot. I got the Crab Benedict with chipotle hollandaise sauce (I love spicy stuff), and Mom got a shortrib hash that was awesome, too.

While we were busy with Go Wild, we did have some time to shop, too. 

Here are the shops we loved:

  • MODCLOTH!: I finally, finally got to visit Modcloth's flagship Fit Shop. A Fit Shop basically means that while I could try on any of the clothes, I had to have them shipped since all they typically have in stock clothes-wise is the items to try on (i.e. they had each size to try on and that's it). But it was the coolest to actually try on clothes from and visit a store that I'd been buying clothes from for years.
  • Erin Condren: I bought a planner from the Erin Condren flagship store! I'll be doing a full blog post on this soon, so please stay tuned.
And that wraps up my Austin, TX travel guide, guys! Thanks so much for reading, and have an awesome day!

Want to pin this guide to your Pinterest? Pin the image down below!

Camp NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up: What an April.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

So I know that it's been a while since Camp NaNoWriMo ended, but I'll get straight to the point: I achieved my goal of 25k words. I wrote an entire novella. I won!

To those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo/Camp, you don't actually "win" anything, nor is there a ranking. All "winning" means is that I achieved my goal. That's it. And, I can actually say that I wrote twenty-five thousand words in a month.

In this post, I wanted to share with y'all how the rest of my writing adventure went, and what I learned from this month of writing a novella. Also, I want to tell you about the actual novella itself and FINALLY give y'all a synopsis of this thing I've been working on. :)

How'd it go? What'd I learn?

I'll be honest, I kind of lost momentum writing this novella. And you know what? That's okay.

Writing anything in such a time crunch as a month isn't always easy anyway. I mean, when I was doing NaNoWriMo back in November, and I told people I was having to write at least 1,337 words per day, people's reactions varied from cringing to "wow, I couldn't do that." Does that mean it's easy for the person writing it?

Well, it depends.

I figured out that the secret to projects like this is heavy outlining. I heavily outlined my NaNoWriMo novel, and I found that it was way easier to meet, and even exceed, my daily writing goals. Being a little more spontaneous with this project made it a little more challenging, and I wish I would have outlined my novella more this month.

But the thing that ultimately led me to finishing this novella was the story I was trying to tell. I knew that if I didn't finish writing the first draft of this story, I would regret it, because I loved the plot I came up with. Having that goal in mind was what kept me going, and I'm so glad I was able to finish the novella and have another finished first draft in my hands...well, on my laptop, but still.

Savannah, tell us about this novella already.

...sure, okay. ;)

Jessica Smith is about to live the dream. She’s a bright-eyed twenty-something who’s just moved to a place of her own - in the suburbs! It seems like everything is falling into place. She’s hired for a great position at a great job, she meets a cute guy, and her new community is picture-perfect.
Or so she thinks.
Soon, cracks appear in the surface. Why do her personal belongings keep disappearing? Why does the guy she’s dating seem too good to be true? And who is the brooding, handsome runaway who’s stopped at her doorstep in the middle of the night, and why is he telling Jessica she’s in danger?
This is “Do Life,” a novella by Savannah Cottrell that’s a high-stakes adventure that takes place inside a video game that asks the question…what does it mean to be able to make your own choices?

And I guess y'all want a cover, too? That...will have to wait until closer to release...which is going to be this Fall, because I have my debut novel releasing this summer. Stay tuned for that!

Thank you guys so much for following along my novella-writing journey. Y'all are amazing. :)

Writing Update: Halfway Done With Camp!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Hey hey!

It's been a minute since my last update, but I come with great news. As of the middle of last week, I am officially halfway done with my novella!

I wanted to take time in this post to tell y'all how it's been going, what I've learned writing a novella as opposed to a novel, and my plan for finishing this thing.

So, how's it going?

Today's progress. TEN THOUSAND WORDS LEFT. (Insert confetti here)

Long story short (...ha!): Writing a novella is fun!

It's different from writing a novel not just in the length, but how I'm writing it. I've outlined this novella in almost the same way I outlined my novel (more on that in a little bit). And my word count per day is way shorter than what it was when I was writing my novel, too (834 words, give or take, versus 1,333 words) so I can meet my final goal of 25k words.

And, y'all, I love this story. I love where the plot is going, and I can't wait to tell you guys about it!

...I may disclose the synopsis once the novella is done. ;) But what I can tell you is that my novella is called Do Life. It'll make more sense once I tell you what it's about.

What have I learned writing a novella?

Well, here are a few things:
  • Just because it's shorter doesn't immediately make it easier. I'm still having to find ways to add length to this novella because I'm finding myself reaching my main plot points super quickly. In high school, I was taught not to be so wordy, and while that's great for academia, it's not for novels (or, in my case, novellas). 
  • Make your outline detailed, no matter how short your project is. My novel was detailed down to the letter, because for NaNoWriMo, I wanted to make sure I was intentional with my writing. For a novella, I've learned that I have to do the same thing, or else I just flounder and pad the chapters with text that I'm afraid might be unnecessary. But, hey, the joy is in the journey, right?
  • No matter the length of a project, you still have to budget time to get it done. I set goals for myself. For example, if I write 1000 words (as opposed to my required 800-something), I can play Fallout 4. Or something like that. Also, if you only have a limited amount of time, try timing yourself to write as much as you can within ten, twenty, or thirty minutes. The NaNo Word Sprint twitter page is great for this, but if you're not able to catch their sprints in real time, check out Fighter's Block.
  • Figure out what time is best for you to write and stick to it. Even with the shorter word count, some days, I've felt less motivated to write. But I've figured out that I write best in the mornings, so I do my best to write before lunch. Or, if that can't be helped, because life doesn't operate by a set schedule all the time, I do my best to either allocate time at the library or just write when I can.
  • Speaking of motivation, it's okay to take a break. 
  • At the same time, do not be afraid to write ahead. I took a day in the first half of my novella to write 3,000 words. I wound up getting to the halfway mark two days early, and that was the best.

How am I going to finish this novella?

I'm determined to finish this thing strong. And early!

I finished my novel a day early last year, and I feel like I can do that this year, too. What I'm going to do is make my outline way more detailed going forward, and then, just go in swinging, so to speak.

I'm excited to get this thing done, and I'm so thrilled and thankful that you guys have followed me in my writing adventures thus far. :)

Writing Update: Revisions, Camp NaNoWriMo, Etc.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

So I've been on a writing steam train lately, and I've been loving it.

Speficially, writing planning. I've had to get myself back into revising - which, while fun, isn't near as fun for me as writing a first draft - and I decided spur-of-the-moment to do Camp NaNoWriMo this April.

I guess I'd better talk about this one at a time, shouldn't I?


As stated earlier, I've been in kind of a revision rut. It's easy to be like, nah, I'm planning on releasing my book on Amazon this summer, I can wait, right? or it's easy to sink hours into Skyrim. (Whoops.)

However, as also stated earlier, ruts are some of those things that you have to jump out of. There's no easing out of a rut. You have to start somewhere.

That being said, revisions have been going well. I'm actually adding more than I'm deleting, which is kind of surprising. But, nonetheless, I'm super excited about it, and I can't wait to see what the finished product looks like. I still have to do things like design the cover, lay out the final book, etc.

Right now, expect my debut novel, Swept Off My Fins, to be out this June or July.

Here is a synopsis:

Lisette is a mermaid, the youngest of five sisters, and is a darling of the Sea Kingdom of Aquamarine, protected under the careful, watchful eye of her father the king. The only thing her family and her people wishes she’d work on is her singing voice.
But what they don’t know is that she can write like no other.
And write she does, keeping secret stories hidden in her grotto of what she imagines the world above to be like. Not only does she write stories, but there are letters from a prince just beyond her ocean home.
But when her friendship and budding romance with the prince is jeopardized, and her dreams of sharing her stories seemingly shattered, she bargains with one of the darkest powers of the sea to try to get ashore and see the world she’s been writing about for herself.
Can Lisette share her true voice, outsmart a sea witch, and find her prince? Follow a daring mermaid’s adventure in Savannah Cottrell’s debut novel, a retelling of a classic tail…er, tale…that you won’t want to miss.

My Novella?

Yes, I'm writing a Novella this April during Camp NaNoWriMo. On top of revising my first book.

What am I doing?

At the same time, why not? I mean, as a writer, you need to keep writing and honing your craft, whether that's in starting a writing project, revising, editing, or whatever.

So, why a novella? Well, the biggest difference between Camp NaNoWriMo and "regular" NaNoWriMo is that you can set the word count. Also, it's not an actual camp; it's just another opportunity to write something, big or small. Camp happens twice a year, too: April and July (I would recommend the July one to you students out there). So, I set my word count for Camp to be 25,000, which is in the sweet spot of the typical length of a Novella (about 17,500 to 40,000 words, which is actually kind of a massive range).

I don't want to divulge the details of my novella yet, but just know I'm super excited about the idea, and I'm taking risks that I haven't taken before as a writer. I am SO excited to get started on April 1st.

Speaking of getting started, I've found an app that's going to help writing this novella be so much easier. It's called Pacemaker, and it's a task management calendar website. You plug in your project length, how many words, and other specifics, and it gives you a project calendar that's customized to your specific needs and schedule. As a planner, I LOVE this. I can plug the word counts the site gives me into my paper planner and Scrivener, and I can go to town knowing I have a plan in place.

You can access Pacemaker here. You do have to make an account, but to use the best features, it's completely free.

Anyway, I'm so excited for my writing adventures coming up, and I can't wait to share how they go with you guys! And yes, I will update you guys throughout Camp NaNoWriMo. That will be a fun ride, too.

Hope y'all have a great weekend!

How I Maintain Pink Underlights

Monday, March 26, 2018

...I got my hair dyed!

First of all, I love how so many people are dying their hair bright or pastel colors this year. When I was in California last February, I saw some of the best purple hair I'd ever seen, and purple underlights, too. Not to mention the fabulous ladies on YouTube who dye their hair pink, blue, or whatever they want on a regular basis.

But here's the thing: I'd never dyed my hair before. I've wanted to since college, but I haven't gotten to it until about 2 weeks ago, when I finally took the plunge and my stylist dyed my hair a fun color underneath.

I decided to go with cotton-candy pink underlights! The underside of my hair is an epic cotton-candy hue now. The pink is the most visible when my hair is pulled back, braided, or curled, but you can still see them when my hair is straight, too. (For the curious, my hair was originally dyed with Pulp Riot color.)

Pastel pink hair can be a biscuit to maintain. Sometimes, it's easy, and other times, it looks less pastel and more like pink-tinged faded blonde hair underneath, and the color can get uneven if you don't rinse with cold water or if you don't use color-safe shampoo.

But I THINK I found the best way to maintain my pink hair, and it's in the form of conditioner. Specifically, Overtone colored conditioner.

Overtone is a brand I discovered through a YouTube search I did on how to maintain pastel pink hair. It's not a dye, but it's a leave-in conditioning treatment that deposits color. You can tint natural hair colors, or brighten hair that's been previously bleached.

The day after I made my appointment to get my hair dyed, I ordered the complete Pastel Pink complete system, which comes with a daily conditioner, a weekly treatment, and a travel-size of the daily conditioner (that I actually used on a recent trip to Florida).

So, here's how I keep my underlights as pastel pink and unicorn/My Little Pony/mermaid-like as possible. I have two methods whenever I want to brighten the pink, or when I want to just wash my hair as normal without the pink fading.

Putting Pink Back In

To put pink back into my hair, I use the weekly treatment.

I separate the top section of my hair with a half-up bun on top of my head so all the pink underneath is visible. (If there's a few strands of dark blonde/my natural color lingering, I'm not too worried about it. It doesn't affect the non-bleached blonde at all.) Then, I just saturate my hair with the conditioner, concentrating on roots and ends after coating the strands.

I leave the treatment in for 20 minutes. That's enough to watch some beauty tutorials on YouTube or start an episode of your favorite show on Netflix. Once time's up, I rinse with cold/cool water; first the bottom (pink) section, then my entire head. As someone who loves hot showers, I'm not the biggest fan of this, but I've found it's the best way to lock in the color. I don't shampoo my hair after I rinse out the conditioner.

After that, I just blow-dry and style my hair as normal. The color is a vibrant, cotton-candy pink that fades really nicely and is easy to maintain.

Speaking of maintenance...

Shampooing with Partially Pink Hair

Washing my hair has become a little trickier these days, but I think I found a method that works.

The best part about this method? I can still take a hot shower with colored hair. That is the BEST.

I use a color-safe shampoo (my hairstylist recommended Biolage and I love it) all over my head, both my natural hair and pink underlights). Using the Biolage color-safe conditioner does not seem to keep the color in my hair all that well, so I opt for the Overtone daily conditioner instead.

After shampooing, I section off my wet hair, and then just condition the under side of my hair using Overtone. I saturate my hair with the stuff, concentrating on roots and ends. Then I set my phone timer for 5-7 minutes (5 minutes for more of a pastel pink, 7 minutes for a brighter cotton candy pink). Once that's done, I rinse everything clean.

Afterwards, I dry and style as normal, and my hair is clean, conditioned, and vibrant.

Final Thoughts

Am I going to be keeping my hair this way for a while? 

Short answer: Yes. Very yes. 

Like I mentioned earlier, I've wanted to do this for a while now, and I'd been itching for a change to my hair. I knew the color I wanted was going to be a challenge to maintain, but it's so worth having that flash of pink under my ponytail and threaded in my messy buns, and I can keep it hidden as well.

That said, I'm glad I found Overtone. My hair would have faded so much faster if I hadn't started using it, and it's the best thing for my hair. The bleached underside doesn't feel damaged; in fact, it's probably the softest it's ever been between the daily and weekly treatments and that Biolage shampoo.

In the end, I learned that change is good. :) And this is definitely a change that's sticking around for a long time.

Disclaimer: I am NOT sponsored by Overtone. I bought their conditioner with my own money because I saw rave reviews and wanted to give it a try, and I wanted to share it with you guys!

February Favorites | 2018

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February came and went. What in the world?

I’ve been in a different state, I tried some new stuff (and loved it), and got some cool stuff done writing-wise.

It was an awesome month. Here’s what I loved in February!


This February, I began revising the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year. So far, I’ve added at least a thousand words and counting. 

The revision process is complicated. I’m at a point where I’m actually adding more words than I’m taking away - and next month, that may change. That’s okay. I just want to revise in such a way that I come out with a product that I’m 100% happy with.


This was the month that I decided to completely overhaul my skincare routine. (Read: start a skincare routine.)

Normally, my “routine” is use various cleansers and hope for the best. I have combination skin, so some parts will still be dry, while my T-Zone (nose, cheeks, chin, forehead) will get the breakouts. After doing research, scouring Pinterest, and watching various beauty gurus on Youtube, I found a routine that I think works.

Morning and night, I apply micellar water cleanser all over my face with a cotton pad. Then, I do the same thing with witch hazel/alcohol-free toner. Finally, I add moisturizer, and call it good. In the shower, I use a micellar gel cleanser, and I’ll exfoliate my face once a week.

This cleared my skin up, y’all. I learned that good products will not mess your skin up, and the best part is that those products do not have to be expensive. All the products I got were at Target, and each was under ten bucks, at least.

I wanted to do something to take care of my skin, and this was the best thing I could have done to do so.


Nothing much has changed on the gaming front, but I have been playing a lot more Skyrim Special Edition lately.

I’ve modded the game so that I can play as characters with candy-colored hair, which is the best. But even better is the “Alternate Start: Life Another Life” mod I installed that skips the opening sequence of the game in lieu of having you pick who your character is. You can be a wealthy property owner, or you can start the game by escaping a sinking ship, or anything else in between. This mod allows me to pick who my character is and add a cool backstory that I can elaborate on in my own way, and I can just start the main quest whenever I choose, and if I choose. As a writer who loves character development, this is nothing short of awesome.


This month, Mom and I took a trip to Palm Springs, California. It was SO much fun!

If you want to read detailed posts on that trip, check out my post on Salvation Mountain here, and my up-to-date guide on Palm Springs here.

What have you been loving this month?

Palm Springs, California | A Guide

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Well, hey there! How are you? I’m doing just fine, chilling here back home in the South.

I’m back from a vacation my Mom and I took to Palm Springs, California. We were out there for Planners Rock, hosted by The West Coast Planners. We decided to make a week of it and enjoy one of our favorite parts of the Golden State.

This was my third time to visit Palm Springs. As such, I’ve accumulated some favorite places that I’ve visited with my family over the years. I like to think I’ve gathered quite a few since the first time I visited Palm Springs three years ago.

So, here are some food and things to do that I love out in what I think is the happiest place in the desert.


King’s Highway - Located at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club, King’s Highway used to be a Denny’s, but after getting the “Ace” treatment, it’s an awesome retro diner with the coolest 60s-70s aesthetic. The food here is phenomenal anytime during the day, but my personal favorite is breakfast. I loved the breakfast burrito (with copious amounts of chorizo), and their yogurt and granola. Honorable mention: their chicken caesar salad with extra avocado.

Norma’s - Go get brunch at Norma’s at least once. Norma’s at the Parker Palm Springs (which is worth a visit to the hotel itself for its amazing interior decor designed by Jonathan Adler) is a sibling to the Norma’s in New York, just with different offerings, like their donuts. Speaking of their donuts, you need to try them, too. They’re my favorite thing to get there (I mean, who doesn’t like brown sugar donut holes you can dip in lemon curd and blueberry jam to your heart’s content?). But I’m sure you will find something you like here. 

Cheeky’s - Mom was recommended this place by a friend of hers. and boy howdy, it did not disappoint. They had an awesome selection of brunch offerings, too. I went with their Chilequiles - breakfast nachos - and they were the most beautiful chilaquiles I’d ever had. Of course they tasted awesome. Mom's Huevos Rancheros looked incredible, too, and she definitely enjoyed hers. This place is fun for breakfast, lunch, or late brunch out.

Manhattan in the Desert - A longtime favorite of my family’s, Manhattan in the Desert is a New York-style delicatessen serving sandwiches, soups, and everything else in between. I like their Lox (Smoked Salmon) bagels a whole lot.

Elmer’s - If you want a classic diner with the comforts of home-, almost Southern-style cooking, this is a great place, too. I got biscuits and gravy, because, hey, I’m a Southern gal. I crave things like that sometimes no matter where I am in the world.


The Aerial Tramway - Mom, Dad, and I did this last year during our last visit, and we loved it a lot. It’s a neat getaway from the city. Just remember to pack a sweater, because there is snow. And it’s a mountain, so you’re going to get that chill. Take pictures of the views!

Cabazon Dinosaurs!! - This is hands-down my favorite attraction in the Palm Springs area. Head west to Cabazon and visit the dinosaur exhibit out there. You can pay for a tour (which we still have not done yet, but I’d like to someday), or (my favorite), take quick photos with the giant T-Rex (named Mr. Rex) and the Brontosaurus (named Dinny, or as I call him, Littlefoot). It’s just a cool and weird thing on an interstate exit and I love it so much.

Salvation Mountain - I wrote a longer post on this that you can check out here. It’s a mountain handmade and hand-painted by a local artist that’s neat to see.

Joshua Tree - If you haven’t been to this national park, you need to go. Just drive east from Palm Springs - which, by the way, is an awesome drive that’s worth making in itself through Morongo and Yucca Valley and into Joshua Tree itself - and visit the national park while you’re in town. Also, if you have extra time, try Pioneer Town just a few roads away, a fun recreation of an old West cowboy town.

I hope you enjoyed this little guide I put together of one of my favorite places ever. Thanks for reading!

A Trip to Salvation Mountain

Friday, February 9, 2018

Salvation Mountain…oh, where do I start with you? (You know it’s going to be a ride when I start a blog post this way.)

It all started while I was scouring places on Pinterest to visit on my and my mom’s trip to Palm Springs that we took last week. We decided to try some new things this trip, so I mentioned one of my finds: Salvation Mountain. She thought the pictures looked cool, so we decided to make a day trip of it.

Here is my honest look and thoughts on my visit to Salvation Mountain.

Some Background

Salvation Mountain was a passion project by Leonard Knight, a man who wanted to spread the message of God’s love. He did so in such a unique way: he layered piles of trash with Adobe clay and countless gallons of latex paint, and after decades, Salvation Mountain was born. He absolutely covered his mountain with Bible verses and various sentiments about love itself; most repeatedly, “God is love.” If there was one thing he wanted you to take away from this experience, it was those three words.

Leonard Knight lived in a truck on the plot of land he built Salvation Mountain on (shown above), up until his passing in 2014. Now, the land is owned by the state of California, and it’s staffed by locals from dawn until dusk.

Also, it’s one of many filming locations in Kesha’s music video for her song “Praying.” (You can clearly see the mountain around the 2:56 mark.)

The Mountain

The mountain itself is a work of art. It’s almost Wonderland-like with all its mismatched colors, and Dr. Seuss-like with all its winding corridors and bright, twisting branches jutting in various parts of its caverns. And even the caverns had hidden messages and verses. You can walk on top of it - provided to “stay on the yellow brick road,” as various signs around the mountain direct you - but I would only do so if you have shoes with significant grip. (Mom and I didn’t, so we didn’t risk it, as there are no rails.)

When you look at this mountain as a work of art, almost like a museum piece by a man who dedicated his life to sharing what he was passionate about with others, you really get a sense of how much he loved God and how much he wanted others to know that He is love.

To be honest, it really made me think about how I presented myself as a Christian. Though this mountain isn't meant to be a sermon by any means, knowing that God loves us is always a good lesson to take away from anything. At the end of the day, I want to share Christ’s love with others, and I want to do so with the talents He gave me.

The Surrounding Area

If you sensed any chagrin or hesitation at the beginning of this post, this is the reason why.

As I was driving my Mom and I down California’s I-10, and farther and farther away from the city, we got an increasing sense of how alone we were in the desert. I get that its the desert, but it was unsettling how dead everything became.

Salvation Mountain is located near Niland, CA, just forty minutes away from the border to Mexico. While I’m all for exploring new places, I was very, very glad I was with someone. Long story short, it’s an unsafe area, especially at night, and especially alone. We kept describing it as “post-apocalyptic” and “Mad Max,” and not in a good way. 

Near Salvation Mountain is a community of drifters and those who choose a true off-the-grid lifestyle called “Slab City.” It’s a community of shanties and scrap metal that’s something out of a zombie movie. But this is real life. Honestly, it was saddening to see how people lived out there, in all that dust, surrounded by dilapidated buildings and closed down groceries. You couldn’t even get gas out there, unless you were willing to drive an hour away.

But, you know what? They need God’s love, too. So, looking back after being out there, maybe it was a good thing that they lived so near something so positive.

I just added these thoughts for safety reasons. God loves everyone no matter their station in life.

Final Thoughts

This is even more honest icing on this figurative truth cake, but I think this is the first time that I’ve ever been hesitant about recommending a place to you.

On one hand, it was cool to walk through. It was fun to know that I walked through some of the parts of the mountain Kesha walked through, and, hey, it’s about God and His love for us. If I can’t get behind that, I don’t know what else.

But the area is not for solo travelers. At all. Go in a group during the day. And I would not just go to this area just to visit Salvation Mountain. I know it’s about an hour and a half from Palm Springs, and it’s a few hours from Los Angeles. Wait until you’re less than two hours away to visit. It’s too long of a drive for artwork that takes forty-five minutes tops to visit.

But, if you want to take a quick trip to see a work of art with an uplifting message, it’s cool to see once.

Four Years of [S]iW

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Happy 4th Birthday to my blog! :D

Seriously, I can't believe this blog has been around for four years as of yesterday. I have documented so much of my life onto this little space, starting with my last semester of college.

Also, do you like the new colors and logo? I did a little bit of rebranding, and now the blog has a fresh coat of (holographic and neon pink) paint.

So, on to brass tacks - what can you expect out of [Savannah] in Wonderland this year?


Just me.

And my passions.

What do I mean by that? Well, to be honest, I burnt myself out on blogging a little bit last year. I became so wrapped up in adsense, potential blog growth, and other things like that to the point that I lost why I started this blog in the first place: to share my passions: faith, writing, and everything else important to me in my life, along with every adventure in between. I became so caught up in appearances and being "on top of things" that it just became a chore and a job more than a hobby I love.

So what else can you expect from [Savannah] in Wonderland in 2018?

  • So. Much. Adventure. I can't wait to share this year's travels with you! I will be going to a couple of planner events, and I'll be doing some other traveling, too. I also want to share some more packing tips (i.e. how to pack light, especially in the winter.)
  • Writing. I haven't really filled y'all in on the author side of my life since I created a separate author website, but this year, I'm planning on condensing both those sites here. [S]iW was always meant to be my one and only internet space. :) So, I'll be filling you guys in on my writing process, revising the novel I wrote last year, what I do as a writer and freelance editor, and more!
  • Faith. I've missed faith blogging, and I've had a lot on my mind lately. So, get ready for posts on that, too! I want to share some insights with you I've learned recently and over the years.
  • The little things. I love sharing Friday Fives, my favorite bands, and my favorite things with y'all. I hope to share even more of that with you, too.
I can't promise a set schedule all the time, because I am pretty busy these days. But I can promise you this: [Savannah] in Wonderland is going to have an amazing, bright - literally - and exciting 2018!