Monday, November 14, 2011


So I don't know what happened, but something clicked in my brain about two months ago and now I'm obsessed with succulents. I have always disliked gardening (and succulents in particular) so this was a major surprise. Maybe I just came to terms with the fact that any other plant I have slowly dies until I have to bring it to my mom for resuscitation, where it promptly springs back to life and flourishes. Or maybe I just realized that there are types of succulents that don't have thorns to stab you while you're trying to care for it. Regardless, consider this my newest hobby.

On a recent trip to Berkeley with Dyan, we stopped at a nursery to check out the plants. Obviously, I gravitated towards my new favorites.

Unfortunately, no photos of my own succulent plant--it's repeating history and I might have to bring it to the plant emergency room over Thanksgiving, where my mom can bring it back from a grave illness. sigh. It has lasted longer than most of my plants though. I haven't lost hope yet.

Thursday, November 10, 2011


So this is a shameless post about my dog Casey. I'm mildly obsessed with her. She's so fun to play with and just generally adorable. And she loves to go hiking and go to the beach which is perfect because I love to go hiking and go to the beach, too!

I went home a few weekends ago and took Casey to the beach on an early Monday morning with no one in sight. I love that dogs get so excited about things that we sometimes take for granted, like a crisp Fall morning with nothing to do, an empty beach and the smell of the ocean. It really makes you appreciate life.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


It's a sad day when you realize that all of your exciting travel posts are on past trips. But not to worry, I have so many amazing trips in the early planning stages... it's kind of overwhelming. But for the near future, I'll have to settle for revisiting the past.

One of my friends has a good chance of visiting Portugal in the near future (I don't want to jinx it! but I really hope so), and the mere thought of such a trip has plunged me into a feverish nostalgia. After all, Portugal is one of my favorite countries, and one of the few places that I would really love to live, outside of California. That's a pretty amazing statement, given that I've only spent about a week there, but sometimes you just know.

Anyways, the whole process set me into a frenzy, and I spent hours googling for recipes, nearby Portuguese restaurants and bakeries, and staring at pictures. I figured that this was supposed to be the major advantage of Los Angeles, right? The diverse array of food and culture? I might as well take advantage of it.

I had a whole plan: to find pasteis de nata, the delicious custard tart that is everywhere in Portugal, and to create a mouthwatering blog post that would surely encourage someone to hope a plane the next day. If not to Portugal, then to Los Angeles, or some bakery somewhere. After all, food is a major component of travel, right?

Alas, Los Angeles won this round, as I got lost trying to find the bakery (which was not close, nor convenient). Then when I arrived, none were ready for another hour! A classic fail moment. So while I haven't forgotten my quest for these tasty treats, a few pictures of Portugal will have to suffice until I can finally get to that bakery. Maybe this weekend?

Even though I posted about Lisbon awhile ago, there is always more to say about Portugal. For some reason I have no photos of the weekend in Lagos, in the Algarve. Lagos was the most laid-back place, with no rush or concern. It's the kind of life that reminds you of what really matters--and what really doesn't. Lisbon does too--but in a more urban sort of way.

From Lisbon, we took a day trip to Sintra, a small town with castles and charm. The views made the trek well worth it.

Oh Portugal, how I can't wait to visit you again sometime soon(ish).

Monday, October 31, 2011

Atlanta Halloween

I'm not a big fan of Halloween.  I just can't help but roll my eyes at the majority of what passes for costumes and decorations for grownups these days, and the ridiculousness of all those plastic pumpkins in place of carved jack-o-lanterns and the sheer mass of blow up Frankenstein lawn ornaments just makes me nostalgic for childhood... back when I was on the candy receiving, non-judgmental side of things.

My Halloween night this year was spent in Atlanta, a city I have discovered most certainly IS a fan of Halloween.  The decorations are abundant, both throughout the city and within the bounds of each front yard.  Here's a sampling:
Lawn bones
Lawn web

Cute little tree ghosts

Where kitsch goes to... die
Kinda creepy 
Super creepy
See?  There's really a little something for all Halloween tastes in Atlanta!  Unfortunately, only two trick-or-treater tots came to our door, but one asked to kiss my nephew ("Can I kiss your baby?") and the other was Elmo (did everyone see the man who voices Elmo on Jon Stewart the other night?  Amazing!), so clearly it was a quality over quantity situation.

I will totally decorate the socks off my future house if you'll let me live on Berkeley Road, Atlanta!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Santa Barbara

One of the joys of unemployment is the abundance of free time and energy with which to spend visiting (and chauffeuring) friends.  Since my Peace Corps soul mate lives in Santa Barbara, I recently enjoyed a weeklong stay in one of California’s most beautiful places.

Santa Barbara has so many perks!  Ocean breezes!  Beautiful architecture!  Cute dogs!  Fabulous seafood!  HAPPY HOURS! 

During one of my “alone time” days, I took a long walk to the Santa Barbara Mission, where I lingered on the lawn to both avoid tourists (a favorite pastime) and spend some time reading among the roses.

Did I mention the cute dog?

Being that I am an inland dweller, I never pass up an opportunity for ocean time.  Insert: Ellwood Beach “hike.”  Okay so this was much more of a stroll than anything, but it was gloriously cloudy, spotted with surfers but sparsely anyone else.  Such a lovely visit!

The best part of Santa Barbara = This girl

Saturday, October 15, 2011

weekend by the bay?

So there's a chance that I may be in the Bay next weekend with my friend, and I'm so excited by the prospect of my dropping by my favorite spots! One major upside of the potential trip: searching for the perfect elements for my next crafts project at Urban Ore, this amazing Berkeley treasure-filled store. Urban Ore helps the City of Berkeley progress towards its goal of achieving zero waste, by re-selling goods that would normally go to the dump. In this case, it could be just the place to find the perfect wood for my future garden table! Can't wait!

This, combined with a fresh cup of Philz coffee, brunch from Thai Temple and a view of the bay could make for an excellent weekend. *fingers crossed*

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Double Rainbow

A few weeks ago I spent my first cloudy (yay not 90˚+ weather!) evening in many months visiting with some friends in Sacramento.  Although I'm in and out of Sacramento pretty frequently, I hadn't been to Capitol Park in a really long time... so long, in fact, that my last memories of the area were probably from the viewpoint of my 4'9" fourth grader self.  Enter my surprise at how pleasant it is!

I love lamppost

A few days later it was on to LA, where against all odds I enjoyed some beautiful views from I-5.

Rainy I-5 all to myself
Double rainbow in Simi Valley
Such loveliness in the most unexpected of places.  Lesson learned: always have a camera ready.