Photography in Goldfield, Nevada

Goldfield is a tiny town in the middle of the state of Nevada. Also known as a ‘ghost town’, it more so resonates with an old-fashioned town with a country vibe of the old Wild West movies. According to the Goldfield Chamber of Commerce, you can find “Goldfield, located in Esmeralda County is 26 miles south of Tonopah and 180 miles north of Las Vegas on US Highway 95”. Easy, right? Well, it is a long drive out, but well worth the trip! Plus I firmly believe all Nevadans should get to know all of their state! This town is a hidden treasure from the Gold Rush days that is just too unique not to recommend! 🙂

The dirt roads, aging homes, nostalgic cars strategically placed everywhere, and many of the well-kept vintage homes, all make for an eclectic and inspiring scene. As I walked around with my Canon camera, I had such an adventure snapping off photos at each Historical Point, easily found by looking at the walking tour guide booklet from the Goldfield Historical Society.

I definitely plan to check out more of their annual events and understand more of the town’s culture, including the upcoming Gold Field Days event in August. But being more on the tourist side, I feel inclined to share that the town’s restaurants tend to close a bit early. For example, the Dinky Diner closes at 7pm, Sundays at 2pm, which is perhaps a bit early for most out-of-towners! Most of my commutes through Goldfield are usually early morning, after staying the night in the other interesting but larger nearby town of Tonopah. I will write a post about Tonopah soon, definitely a fun place to visit, and the locals are great!

While I have never stayed the night in Goldfield, I would like to cross out lodging at the Santa Fe Saloon off my bucket list! It is said to be Home of Nevada’s Meanest Bartender as well as Nevada’s 2nd Oldest Bar still in business. Now, in case you are wondering to who the title of the Oldest Bar in Nevada goes, it surely goes to Northern Nevada’s very own Genoa Bar, Nevada’s Oldest Thirst Parlour since 1853.

I hope this post gave you some fun information about Nevada’s Best Places to visit and to try the Road Less Traveled! More photos are available on 🙂



New Etsy Shop: Stained Glass Window Panels, Suncatchers, Fused Glass Necklaces, and Photo Art Prints

Please visit my new Etsy Shop: JessicaBalesStudio

You can purchase stained glass suncatchers, stained glass art, Stained Glass Window Panels, Fused Glass Necklaces, Fusion art, Photography gifts, Photography art prints, and other handmade gifts coming soon. Glass art is my newest passion and hobby so bear with me as I post a bit about my newest craft obsession.



Last Day of being 26!

Big 2-7. YIKES. Does that sound old or what? That means I’m reaching the end of my 20’s,….and that’s basically a hair shy of my preferred age, 23, A Very grand year I might add.  But getting old has it’s very own perks so far.  Respect, stability, education, and most of all, living more freely with a more down to earth sense of being.

To recap on what I have learned and/or accomplished this 26th year of life is a lot but try I must, try I will.

  • Healed from a pretty gnarly (but oh so fascinating!) Periacetabular osteotomy (PAO)  where I learned how to be the most patient person on this earth with the gift of being in a wheelchair for 6 weeks while the bone regrew. No, this isn’t a Halloween funny. Ha-Ha. -.-
  • Finished my education for Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the University of Nevada, Reno.
  • Married my other half who also happens to be the most interesting weirdo, war vet, and responsible man I know.  August 2nd, in Reno Nevada. This is a special place that many Californian’s take for granted. The obvious lure of such a place is Lake Tahoe, but if you spend some time in the town and trying some coffee shops it’s sure to steal your heart inevitably, and quickly.
  • Left my internship-adopted new job and moved to Las Vegas to follow my husband’s military career. Supply Chain intern to Microsoft Online Inc (Advertising Operations) Analyst to…gaming industry Sales Account Manager for a kitchsy tech firm based out of San Diego called Impact Display Solutions. Don’t let anyone tell you can’t do something different or won’t get a job in a new city.. You will often surprise yourself! It is here I am learning new things everyday, and have grown a more refined respect for Sales, Gaming, Distributors, and the end customer.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Cheesy I know, but this really does come into play more and more each year. Always be grateful for those moments of realization where you know you need to re-tune your attitude and keep walking on. This year I found myself in moments where I finetuned quite often and found that it yielded better results for me, my natural reactions, being conscious of your words, and more. 🙂
  • Found a new but old passion in photography. Everyone knows I love, no, adore photos! But I have always been the model, never the photographer. This year I decided to get more time understanding the anatomy, terminology, and settings on my DSLR. Needless to say, I am still on my photography spellbound journey of learning to ‘speak photographer’ and understand these gosh darn settings more! IT’S Not Easy!! But I find it’s an ongoing project where I am learning so much more each time I pick up the camera and spend a few hours with it. My Website is in the works slowly but surely while I am scheduling model shoots!! It’s very exciting!
  • Discovered how much I love long long long (healthy) hair. Silly one but this still counts!
  • I have developed a sushi addiction. But it’s not serious. 😉
  • My love for cats keeps growing. I love my two furballs of love to absolute pieces.
  • I love my gramparents more than ever. Strange huh! You move away from home and then This happens! I also miss the Sheebah and Butternut pug and Azuzu more than ever.

Well, that’s my list! I am getting old. What more is there to say without repeating it over in a new way? 🙂

27, Let’s Do This!!


Learning to be Bilingual: An Immersive Experience

BA French

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
‒Nelson Mandela

Learning a new language is tough.  Many cultures of the world carry long oral tradition and pass along much unwritten history, stories, and the unique speech dialects to the next generation. I suppose this is what makes each beautiful, the articulate differences color specific languages sharply and make it more difficult to learn without truly understanding the origins, customs, and attitudes of each one. Even regionally, the dialect of the same language will greatly vary and sound completely new. I had this experience in 2001 when travelling between Arequipa and Lima, Peru. The dialect of Spanish was sharp, fast, almost witty in Lima, while in Arequipa it was more slow, relaxed and much more easy for my ears to comprehend.

Taking it upon myself to learn the French language is a gritty challenge but also a personal and spiritual goal. My great grandmother Louise McGee earned her Bachelor of Arts in French degree at UC Berkeley. I feel it would be only the beginning of a special tradition to follow in her footsteps, learn French, and live in France for four years to solidify the language.  An idea I have been musing on includes trying to integrate readings of French and European period history with learning the language. At the moment, I am using Rosetta Stone French levels 1-5 to help me make my goal a reality. Rosetta Stone is unusual yet very effective in it’s teaching style, as it uses only photos and verbal tones to teach the language. As a visual learner, it is great for someone like me! Even though I am admittedly still on level one, I have no deadline as of now as I am also finishing my Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of Nevada, Reno. Time is all I need.

Oddly enough, my European girlfriend Julie who is bilingual with multiple languages (Dutch, French, Swedish, German, and Italian) said to NOT learn French from the Canadians…she said Jessica, No! You will speak terrible French! That is just not French! It made my laugh heartily and reminisce over how much I miss Europeans. However, for sake of learning the words and price of plane tickets from the US, I may just take my chances and fly to Ottawa when I reach a moderate level of French speaking ability.


According to Voxy News article,”Why it Pays to be Bilingual”, the benefits of learning languages include:

  • Increasing cognitive development and abilities
  • Improve metalinguistic skills
  • Advance verbal and special abilities
  • Augment memory skills
  • Become a better multitasker
  • May protect against Alzheimer’s disease when switching between two language systems
  • Might make more money with such a marketable skill as an asset
  • Become more bicultural and understanding of separate cultures


“The time lost, the eternal return, time found, it can be thought of together. Moreover every writer a little interesting only interested in time and how to get out … but the time defends, time has its enthusiasts, the time has its clergy. Time will continue to be the time it takes. “

Philippe Sollers, on Proust, in praise of infinity.

When learning a language, take your time to understand the heritage(s) underlying the words you are speaking. Realizing why irregular verbs are so different and absorbing the impact it has on you as an individual all make the experience more fulfilling and dramatic in the best way. Just imagine the future experiences, such as when you can dream in German or Spanish or whichever language you wish to pursue. Enjoy!

Are you currently learning a language? Which one? Do you aspire to learn several languages one day? Please comment below.


A photo of me standing across from the Arc de Triomphe de l’Étoile

Update: Red, White, and Tahoe Blue

Arriving at Incline Beach for the Red, White, and Tahoe Blue event, I saw a scene unlike what I had originally expected. Bikini girls everywhere, families’ barbequing, live concert jamming, volleyball games, and sunbathers everywhere. I was not sure why this was a surprise, as I should have known the scenery would’ve resembled Summertime in its finest. Hula bars, hot dogs, and coolers full of beers everywhere, the beach was a hot spot for fun! However, I had not premeditated this scene and had brought only the clothes I had on…so I opted to watch the fireworks from the rocks near Hidden Beach. From here, one can have a professional photographer snapshot view and enjoy full size fireworks without the noise levels completely piercing the ears too much. Fireworks that came in all sorts of shapes: peace signs, hearts, smiley faces, and more. It was definitely a sight to see and remember.


A photo I snapped off from the rocks of Hidden Beach at night.

Next year though, oh, next year will most definitely have a surprise. The event can expect a fully aware and ready Jess, ready with full on tan, bikini, beach chair, sunscreen and a full cooler of chilled beverages. This was my first Red, White, and Tahoe Blue as a new Reno local!

Any other tips you have for next year’s Red, White, and Tahoe Blue event? What is the best time to arrive? Please leave comments below.


A photo of Hidden Beach during the day.

Highlight: Tips on Surviving the Bridal Shower


Bridal Party: Don’t overwork yourselves!

Whether you are traveling far far away or a simple road trip to visit family four hours away, preparing for your ‘vacation’ is more than necessary. This is especially important when an event is foreseen. For me this weekend, it was being the Maid of Honor for the Bridal Shower of my best friend Lindsay since kindergarten! Not so much of a ‘vacation’ but more so a mandatory pre-wedding event! Nonetheless, my essential ‘emergency packing kit’ included many items in case this three-hour situation called upon my honorable services due in order to live up to my title. To name a few: my camera (fully charged), band-aids/Neosporin, make-up of all sorts, bottle of wine (never show up empty-handed), and pain killers. Some duties the MOH (Maid of Honor) needs to accomplish are not so easy to identify, such as being the mother hen for the emotional bride. Fortunately for me, Linds is just not that type of gal. She is more of the two Sangria drinks only followed by coffee, drive the MOH to bridal shower, chocolate fountain with strawberries, tri-tip eating, Bridezilla chemical engineer/country girl (is this possible? Well, in short, yes.)

Attending the bridal shower, co hosted by mother and grandmother of the bride, I was under high radar and observation. Imagine you are surrounded by all female friends and family of the bride, and all of these females will be attending the wedding accordingly. The pressure can be intense, but just remember whom specifically you are there for and chat with those you feel best striking up a conversation with. This is a great opportunity to get to know who will be at all of the pre-wedding events, including many who will be at the rehearsal dinner and others for the bachelorette party. It’s also a great idea to engage more with the other bridesmaids and chat about the upcoming bachelorette party planning and their ideas for it. Also, one bridal shower game was plenty for this older crowd, they all sighed with relief after the ‘How Well do You know the Bride~To~Be?’ questionnaire game! Be sure to include prizes for these games as well, it seems to help smooth the process.

With some patience, a night of full sleep, and a chilled glass of Chardonnay in one hand, you can follow these tips from The Knot to help you maneuver a Bridal Shower when that time in your life may arise:

  • Dress up, not down! It is important to make a great impression even when most are dressed pretty casual. Keep it fun and ‘bridal party’ friendly though.
  • Speak of the bride as the ‘topic of choice’ and invite her over to pitch in on hints about her dress, shoes, etc.
  • Offer to plan the bride so that she can have as many drinks as she would like. (Again, my bride~to~be is the Control Type, which meant I drank more while she drove!)
  • Engage everyone with the games, help collect answers with the hostesses.
  • Take plenty of photos! Get creative and set up the bridal party next to the view or pretty garden pavilion.
  • Keep track of which guest gave which present, and another should make sure cards stay with the right boxes — then thank-you notes won’t be a nightmare for the bride.
  • Help with clean up, picking up tissue paper, and putting away dishes.

Don’t forget, always say thank you to the hostesses or co-hostess of your bridal shower!

Have you recently attended a bridal shower? Was it a success or failure? Did the bride~to~be love it?


Lindsay trying on the Maid of Honor sash on me!


The tables outside where we were able to enjoy the Summer sunshine!

Travel French Riviera: NICE, FRANCE (Côte d’Azur)


Nice, France. Also known as heaven for those who adore French culture. While walking down Avenue Thiers, making a hard right to a perpendicular street from the central station (Gare de Nice Ville), prepare for the ultimate ocean view of the Mediterranean Sea. You will see fashion strip malls lining down streets, declaring Niceville on the large entrances of downtown building.  While you can opt to rent a car in Nice, I recommend the sleek gliding street-top trains gracefully and quietly tote locals around the town and have easy ticket stations to purchase rides at each stop. Bakeries galore adorn the streets in and amongst shoe and shirt boutiques, men’s specialty clothing stores, and mini food markets. Evidence of Carnival is still very visible as clown statues, colorful posters, and remnants of confetti glitter lazily on the sidewalks, strangely enhancing the beauty of such a small beach city.

When to travel to capture locals in a more natural state: March/April (off-season)

To Budget: Buy all train tickets for England and France before leaving with Rail Europe. Italy was the most affordable for transportation of all three countries. (Meaning, we saved hundreds of dollars with this choice).

Hotels we recommend:

  • Hotel Suisse, we only stayed here because it was absolutely heavenly. Perfect beach sunset and dawn view, large beds, huge garden bath, delicious breakfast brunch, need I say more? Location is everything and this hotel is built under La Tour Bellanda, where you can step out of the hotel, drift up the garden stairs to the very top and see all of Nice! There is a private beach, discounted rates, and not to mention the staff was very trustworthy with our backpacks and belongings since we could not check in until noon. They stored our items while we wandered the shopping alleys and had pastries on the beach, where Josh actually proceeded to fall asleep!

Places to see:

  • Chateau de Nice, La Tour Bellanda
  • Lou Castéu
  • Vieux Nice (Old Nice), Panaromas-Cascade
  • Nice Port
  • Morgan De Toi
  • The beach!
  • Buy gelato from any of the many offerings in the marketplaces.
  • Buy a bottle of Bordeaux, cheese, and a fresh baguette and picnic on the beach like many of the locals do.
  • Wear your bikini and swim in the mellow turquoise surf. Just be sure to wear sturdy shoes to the beach as there is no sand, it is more so a pebble beach.
  • Walk down the Promenade des Anglais (click the link for a webcam clip), which is the main street running down the entire beach.

Nightlife to Enjoy:

  • Les 3 Diables, a fun dance club where the locals sang Nancy Sinatra’s 1966 classic “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” with such vigor and gust that the men ripped their shirts off and sang even more loud! Definitely a stop one needs to see for an “American dejavu” experience of Frenchmen and women singing American classics wilst sipping cosmos and mai tai’s gingerly.
  • Wayne’s Bar, a surfer California tiki bar. Covered in American license plates and Hawaiian décor, this bar is a blast filled by a majority young clientele. Walk in to find it packed to the brim, get your beer on tap or a spritzer, and make your way to the back to find a superb dance floor ready for you to get your moves on!

Next time, we will make more time to swing to Monaco before jumping on a train to Italy! I hope you enjoyed reading my recommendations for Nice, France. Three days, two nights was not nearly enough time to enjoy this French Riviera paradise!



Nice, France. The views everywhere are fantastic!


Delicious pastries I found at the marketplace in Old Nice.


My fiance and I at Wayne’s Bar.


Are you motivated to back pack to Nice, France? Have you been to the French Riviera? Are there nearby places to Nice you recommend? Please leave comments below.

Stan Rushworth, A Living Memoir of Native History & Today’s War

After four years at my beloved Cabrillo College, walking away with an Associate Degree in Business Administration was the epitome of a bittersweet experience. It was here I learned how to maneuver through the public California academic system, file for financial aid, and pay gas in cash and leftover credit on my cards for my 95’ Ford F-150 to get back up the mountain and home for another day.  However, it was here I made milestones and learned life’s most essential lessons, such as independence, going from nobody to somebody, becoming influential, having a voice, being self-aware, speaking to emote, and including above all else, leading life as a skeptic.

There are a handful of outstanding professors that I can describe endlessly from pure memory, but the one that hit me the hardest and resonates most closely with the intent of Cabrillo College is Professor Stan Rushworth. At age 5, he was raised by his grandfather, a mixedblood Tsalagi Indian man returning to the traditional ways in Oakdale, CA. His journey to Guatemala infused his understandings to a very complex level of how the true indigenous bloods of the lands we call divided countries now, of the tribes once founded from North America thrived through Central, South America, and further.

“I want to use my little corner here at Cabrillo to expose people to that material. Not only the knowledge that it carries, but the implications it has.”

Rushworth made a clear point of how these men, women, and children are not merely “Indians”; these Mayan Guatemalans, Inca, Aztec, Winnebagos, Cherokees, Apaches, Dakotas, Tsalagi, and other tribes are real people that have lived generations of ‘realities’ and perspectives the average person cannot fathom being put in our history books.  There is history out there that further defines the diversity of our country today…the Natives also need to know how important their role lies in the future.

 “I think U.S. policy can change when people become educated. Its not an easy change, but we know so very little about our own indigenous history, much less outside our borders,” he said. “Indigenous people are kind of invisible, really, to the American imagination. I think that has really horrifying repercussions today not only outside our borders but within our borders as well.”

From branding, brutally raping, and successfully dehumanizing the tribal people to a formal apology as loud as a ‘tree falling in the forest’. It was on Saturday, December 19, 2009; President Barack Obama signed the Native American Apology Resolution into law. No one heard a sound. It made no difference.

Moving forward, seek more knowledge to further understand modern political battles between tribes in Guatemala and the corruption of law. There is much to do with helping to achieve balance so that all cultures can live in peace. From the health of local reservation lands such a Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe to the Mayan Guatemalans, it is important to be cognizant of the world’s affairs and how it may one day affect your ‘reality’ of this life.

“I’m just one guy with one opinion. I think American students should really do research and make their own decisions,” he said. “That’s my goal. Not to have people take my word for it, but look into it because there’s a connection between indigenous experience in the U.S. and throughout the Americas.”

Did this shed light on the depth of Native history ‘mixing’ with American ancestries? Do you feel learning more about the cultures of lands between tribes and modern political battles will influence you to take action, whether that is to pass on the word or personally help the cause? Please leave a comment below.


Stan Rushworth himself.


Stan Rushworth’s novel, full of imagery-rich short stories, prayers, and essays.

Local Event: 4th of July Red, White, and Tahoe Blue

It has been rumored and historically noted that the origin of Kings Beach lies in an old story where a superb player named Joe King earned his poker earnings fair and square from opponent George Whittell. The prize was in the form of the beach town of Tahoe, suitably known nowadays as King’s Beach. Accordingly, there is also the annual Joe King Poker Tournament. There is nothing more sweet than cruising over to the beaches of North Lake Tahoe for a day of relaxation and natural beauty.

Here one can find white sands soft enough to sun bathe on for hours, proceed to float the warm waters and play in the light surf. For lunch or dinnertime, the restaurants range from tasty taquerias to breweries galore. Boutiques, hippie stores, tattoo parlours, and small proprietor shops renting kayaks and paddle boards line the streets. For any visitor or local, a visit through Incline Village and crossing over to Kings Beach is an absolute must for one to absorb varieties of cultural roots in an exciting and fulfilling day trip.

Among the O’Neil Tahoe SUP & Paddle Board Races, gorgeously adorned weddings, the summertime Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and among many other events, I recommend a special trip to see this year’s sixth annual Red, White, and Tahoe Blue. This spectacular event runs from July 3rd-6th, displaying aerial practices, land military demonstrations, wine tasting, parade, art vendors, musicians, and of course, the grand finale of firework shows on the lake.

There is nothing more beautiful than watching the explosions of celebration glare back reflectively from the aspen waters. A great idea would be to use a boat service to ensure the best seat on the lake. The service I would consider most ideal is the local Action Water Sports Incline Village, catering to multiple tastes with options including private boat rentals or fireworks cruises. But on the other hand, you may just find me nestled among warm blankets on the plush sands of the shore, with a hot Irish coffee in hand. The options of the Reno-Tahoe area are certainly endless.

How do you plan on celebrating July 4th? Please leave a comment below.


The firework show will be stunning.

Tahoe Vista Point in Incline Village

A photo of me at the Vista Point in Incline Village, NV.

Source: North Lake Tahoe