Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Adventures In Yakima

This past year, Husband and I moved from Maryland on the East Coast to Washington on the West Coast because of a new job position for him. I'm always happy to travel, and followed him here with no hesitation, looking forward to the new experiences that would come. I never expected that this little town where we live would be so peculiar though.

Yakima, Washington is a relatively central location, being only about 3 hours or so to the large cities of Seattle, Spokane, and Portland, Oregon. It's a small town, and for as much as I tease Husband about my rusticating here, it's actually quite a nice place. It has taken some getting used to though. First of all, where we come from there is no limit to the amount of retail outlets. I could easily travel to four malls in less than twenty minutes back east. Here, there is one mall and I call it a “mall” generously. There are also only three craft stores in town, all woefully small in comparison to what I'm used to (especially when it comes to fabric). Secondly, there is no place in town where you can get Chinese food delivered, but there is an excellent and very authentic Korean restaurant and Kabob restaurant with homemade hummus and tzatziki (two of my favorites!). Today when I was looking for local screen printers, I found eight. How this small town can support eight different and competing businesses like that, I do not know. There must be more sports teams here than I ever could have imagined. The disparities of what you would expect from a small town (like basic Chinese food) and what you actually get (authentic ethnic food you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere and a bevy of local niche businesses) is amazing.

My latest adventure in Yakima though, is especially unique. This weekend I went looking for some photography lighting so that I could take more, and better pictures for this blog and my up-and-coming Etsy store. (It's difficult being a budding photographer when you're a night person!) First I did a Google search looking for a local photography supply store. I prefer to buy in person and locally if I can, as that gives me a contact who would potentially be able to give advice and I enjoy supporting local, home grown businesses as opposed to ordering exclusively online. The only photography supply stores I found was a chain of three stores called the “Photo Haus”.

If you read my Twitter feed, you might recognize this image. The Photo Haus has always intrigued me as we passed by it. To see the sign, you think “Oh, photos and things,” but then there's the banner that actually says “Baked Potatoes and Hot Dogs!” I figured that today I would solve this mystery once and for all. I decided to go to the closest Photo Haus to my home to start with. I walked in and there was a bistro, a coffee bar, and a place to have your photos printed through a kiosk. I asked an employee if they had any actual photography supplies and she said that I should try one of their other two locations. I opted to head over to the location in the picture. I figured that if I didn't find what I was actually looking for, I could at least get some lunch.

At the second Photo Haus, they did have an expansive selection of frames, tons of tchotchkes, as well as the same photo kiosks where you could have photos printed from CD or memory cards, and the hot dog and potato lunch counter. I met a very nice lady who said that they used to carry “things like that”, but not since they put in the potato and hot dog restaurant. She said that I should try their third location for what I needed. I did end up having lunch there, a VERY delicious baked potato and they really do have 29 toppings to choose from. Highly recommended for a reasonably priced lunch, but not if you're actually looking for anything photography related.

Given my experience I didn't really have high hopes of finding anything more complicated at the the third Photo Haus than more kiosks, though I was excited to find out what kind of food they might have there. I was completely floored to find an actual, small photography shop. With actual photography supplies, helpful staff, and exactly what I had been looking for! No food though, which was a bit disappointing after having visited the other locations. I will definitely be visiting this location again though when I need supplies, and I'm actually looking forward to going back to the first location and trying out their bistro!

It's a very strange place where I live, but I've been totally charmed by the friendly people that I continue to meet and the bizarre adventures I go on as I find my way in this new place. Hopefully now that I have my new supplies I'll be able to update more often!


  1. its kristen! hey so this story is really strange ive never seen a place where its like 1/2 like that weird. really werid. anyways. i cant wait till you get your shop up! since ive been nagging at you, i saw that you had a yudo machine, did you just decide to get it printed else where? i have a yudu and i wish i didnt such a pain in the ass.


    this is the one thing ive gotten done with yudu. anyways cant wait to see your store open!! <3

  2. Yea, I haven't opened the box yet because I'm really intimidated by it. XD I plan to use it in the future, especially once my craft room is up and organized.

    I absolutely LOVE that butterfly! I was wondering how you did that!

  3. my friend designed it, ive been using the yudo and honestly its so pricy, i bought the hack the yudo system with liquid emotion and it was so messy and a pain in the ass, i would get the off brand sheets, they are cheaper and sometimes fuck up, but are the easiest, you just cant move it once its down, such a pain in the ass.

    im using liquid emotion again, bought it on impulse, but it works okay, just do it really thin if you can, here is where i get my stuff, really fair pricing. http://www.silkscreeningsupplies.com/product/YEMULSION-P

    im working on a pony print i will sent it to you when i get done. :)


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