Cutest candy store ever!!

This past weekend, while up in Sonora, CA, I went with William to the cutest candy store called The Candy Vault!! It reminded me of the candy store in Willy Wonka. It was filled to the brim with sugar goodness. I loved the way they displayed their candy and the neat little niches they created to make it a whimsical place. Here’s some fun pics!

The Candy Vault Lollipops
Fun lollipops welcomed you inside the store!

The Candy Vault in Sonora
Here’s the outside. They had great branding that was throughout the entire store. Love that! By the way, I found an overview photo here, if you want to see what the store looks like as a whole. I forgot to take one!

Beans & Bokeh
Rows and rows of jelly beans, M&M’s and more.

Another candy view.

Candy Wall
Here’s the display from back. So colorful.

Tiddly Winks
There were lots of vintage games on the walls for décor. I particularly connected with this tiddly winks box (I had a tiddly winks game as a kid, not as cool as this one though).

Candy Galore
There were big bins filled to the brim with various candies!

Candy Mail Boxes
I loved how creatively the candy was displayed in these vintage mail boxes!

Door to Willy Wonka room
One of the cutest rooms was a Willy Wonka room that used to be a bank vault.

William in Willy Wonka room
Here’s William inside the Willy Wonka room. It had a GREAT mural on the wall. They played Willy Wonka non-stop (this has to be fun for customers, but annoying to employees). They also had pictures of the Willy Wonka characters all grown up!

I give this place 2 swell thumbs up!
I give this place two BIG thumbs up.

If you are ever in the Sonora, CA area do stop by. They also have ice cream, vintage sodas, homemade chocolates (and did I mention chocolate covered potato chips)?

Until next time Swellions!


I went to a hot air balloon festival

I would call this a “Wednesday is Lensday” post, but it’s not actually Wednesday anymore. Whoops! Anyway, this past weekend (with my friend Silvia, I took some fun photos at Clovisfest in Clovis, California! Clovis is actually right next to Fresno and they merge together. My work is right on this border, but that’s really beside the point.

Anyway, here’s some fun pics of the up in the air action. I had never seen hot air balloons before and it was a treat! I would like to go up in one!

rainbow bright

balloon beauty

away they go


full of hot air

ready for liftoff

If you ever get a chance to go to a hot air balloon festival, I totally recommend it. It may require you to get up early, which was a rare, rare feat for me, but it is totally worth it. Next time I would even get up earlier so I could get photos of them blowing the balloons up!

That’s it for now. Until next time Swellions!


5 things I’m noticing about Fresno

fresh lemons

1. People have a lot of fruit trees. The lemons above came from my co-workers lemon tree. How cool is that? In Kentucky, I was lucky to get the occasional tomato or cucumber during the summer, but here people bring in fruits year-round to share. That lemon was the bomb in my diet coke, BTW.

2. People around here make a LOT of U-turns. It is acceptable, too…the signs even say it’s ok to do it. I still get a bit nervous when I do it now, cause back home, you’d get a ticket for doing it. It’s not something I’m feeling too comfortable doing.

3. There are a lot of people who stand on street corners here advertising stuff. Back home, I saw an occasional guy trying to promote the “Hot ‘n Ready” pizza deal from Little Caesars, but here right next to the tax place, I have seen 4 people dressed as the Statue of Liberty on each corner of the intersection. Also, it’s not uncommon for you to pull up to a fast food place and have someone there to take your order. For some reason, it was told it helps productivity and efficiency in getting you through the drive through. Beats me.

4. And I thought Lexington had a lot of Starbucks! On Shaw Avenue, the main drag next to my house, there are 3 within a mile of each other. I guess people really like their morning espresso and muffin!

5. The same goes for Target…there’s like 10 in this town! I think Target here is like Wal-mart back home. There’s a couple of Wal-marts here, but honestly I haven’t had a need to go to any for groceries or anything. There’s just a lot more options and you know the headache you get when you go in that place. Maybe it’s for the best anyway. Ha ha.

Well, must get ready for bed. Until next time Swellions!


Clearing up California & Kentucky misconceptions

I just moved to California having lived in Kentucky all my life. I can’t say I am now an official expert on California, but I wanted to let you in on some things you may or may not know about this state. I can’t say this is going to be a long post, but there are a lot of things I am discovering living here and it is a nice change. I’d also like to address a few things Kentucky while I’m at it. I have been talking to a few coworkers about the differences and we’ve been having some great discussions. Anyway, here goes…

Things about California I’ve discovered

– California isn’t just about “Your going to Hollywood, dude!” it’s a lot more than showbiz related stuff. It’s about agriculture! I live in the Central/San Joaquin Valley. This central part of the state as well as a lot of other parts is totally dedicated to raising the produce that is in our grocery stores. So, the next time you go into a market and pick up a head of lettuce or can of green beans, it’s very likely it was grown and processed in California.

– The traffic isn’t that bad here. I think a lot of people have the misconception that California driving is awful. I haven’t noticed much of a difference. I even drove through L.A. last week. Yeah, there were more lanes, but it didn’t feel any different than driving in Louisville. There are considerate drivers here too that let you in. While I’m sure there are some that cut you off, there are those back in Kentucky too.

– California is a huge melting pot. I notice a lot of times that I’m in the minority. It doesn’t bother me, but I observe that there are a LOT more ethnic groups than in KY. In KY, there are mainly just whites, African Americans, and Hispanics, but here you have a wide range of people from different backgrounds. It’s actually refreshing to live in a place with diverse cultures. I’m glad I’m getting the chance to have a broadened perspective.

– Not everyone in California is thin and healthy. I thought moving here I would feel out of place size-wise, but there are a lot of people in different sizes. You do see a lot of people who are healthy and take very good care of themselves and their image, but you also see a lot of people who don’t. While in the grocery store, I observed a lot of people that looked like they were from my hometown. People are people, no matter where you go and they come in all shapes and sizes. In California, the weather is just better and you have much more opportunity to stay in shape (exercise outside) year round and eat fresher foods. I think that’s the advantage that the California people have.

– This one has to do with both Kentucky and California. I often am discouraged by the stereotypes that come with Kentucky. In movies and television, they portray Kentuckians as redneck/hillbilly people who are uneducated and poor. Kentucky is a large state…some rural parts and some more urban. I find that living out here in California, I am just as much in tune with them on a lot of topics or even more than they are (it just depends on what it is). There are a LOT of very progressive people in Kentucky just like there are in California and vice versa (KY has high speed internet just like anywhere else!). In Kentucky and in any part of of our country, including the major cities, there are going to be uneducated and narrow minded people. So when people ask (and I haven’t officially been asked this, btw), “Do you where shoes in KY?” that’s a pretty big insult to us Kentuckians. I think anytime you move to a new place or go to a new place, it’s important to help people better understand misconceptions about where you are from. I hope that the people who meet me will be able to learn from me and that I will be able to put out a positive vibe about Kentucky. I also hope I’m able to inform my Kentucky friends and family on the realities of California and what it is really all about as I learn more. I think that one way for us to stay educated is to share information and connect with each other. We really need to try to break away from the little bubbles we live in and get to know other regions.

For example, last week, I noticed while at a grocery store that vast amount of beans and ethnic foods available for purchase. In Kentucky, we don’t have as great of a selection of foods. When I told my co-workers about this, they were quite amazed and I made a point to tell them what growing up in a rural area and shopping was like there. For example, as a child, living in a small KY town, I was not exposed to exotic fruits or vegetables or even organic foods. I think things are just simpler there and without the broad band of cultural influences to influence the food in that region, we just had basic things. They found that quite interesting.

Well, I could write a book about this, but I think I will draw to a close. I just wanted to share some of my observances and misconceptions that people might have. I hope you found it informative 🙂

Until next time Swellions!


Why have I been M.I.A.?

So you probably noticed that I haven’t been blogging much. Well, there are a couple of reasons for that. First off, I’ve been without a computer for the holidays. My friend Zach is updating it and it’s taken a little longer than expected. That’s ok, though, cause I’ve been very busy and my computer would be a major distraction for me. Secondly, I am typing you from my iPhone and needless to say, it’s not the most condusive thing for typing blogs on (I also haven’t figured out just yet how to post photos to my blog…need to work on that one). And thirdly, my main concern right now is moving, cause I’m moving to CALIFORNIA! Fresno to be exact. I accepted a graphic design position with Duncan Enterprises. I’m honestly a bowl of emotions right now…excited, nervous, scared, hopeful, and a little sad. This is a big change in my life (I’ve never lived outside of Kentucky) and I’ve never made a leap this far. I know it will be different, but a good change and a great chance to learn more about myself! I’m mainly just sad because I’m leaving so many great friends and family to pursue my dreams. Man, I sound like Whitney Port of The Hills spinoff, The City. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the adventure ahead and will be back to my blog full time in a couple weeks! So keep tight, I hope to be offering up some fin projects and insight into my new life I in the weeks to come! So don’t fret my pet Swellions! Ha ha!

Until next time!