travel

Countdown to Tokyo

by tatiana on April 24, 2012

Photo credit: Lost in Translation (Coppola, 2003)

I’ve alluded to it in past posts, but it’s officially freak out time… in THREE DAYS my friend Jane and I will be in JAPAN! I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am. So excited in fact, it almost doesn’t feel real. It probably won’t feel real until Thursday morning when I peel myself out of bed at 3:30am to get ready to leave for the flight. Man oh man. All of that saving and planning over the last year is totally going to be worth it.

In other news, I am slowly redesigning my site. Tonight I decided the site was complete enough for a soft launch. What you’re seeing right now (if you’re reading this before all of the pages have been populated with fabulous content) is a website that is 75% complete. Should be 100% by the end of this week! I’m pretty happy with it so far. It was about time for a redesign.

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“How old are you now?” – my dad asks me, pretty much every year on my birthday. This year I answered, “28,” since that is technically my age (I still feel 24, just smarter), and he replied with a face that read “hot damn, ouch, oh lord help you, you’re getting old,” and then I gave him my faux mal de ojo and we chowed down on some Fresh Banana Cheesecake and everything was dandy.

Actual cheesecake, shortly before it was devoured.

I feel like 28 is going to be a great year, and apparently my Chinese horoscope agrees with this (hey fellow rats!). Here are some other things that happened this month:

1.) Casino time with Mom

San Manuel Indian Bingo & Casino in San Bernardino, CA

$50 in free play from your local casino? Why wouldn’t you want to go?! I did and won a nice chunk o’change. Most importantly I got to spend the day hanging with my Mom, which was the best part. The buffet was also a plus. In addition to having too much fun at the penny slots, it was great to be home visiting family and friends… and finally try that Buffalo Wild Wings place I keep seeing on the TV.

2.) Handmade Birthday Cards

“Hold on tight, spider monkey.

Each year I receive a handmade birthday card from Cathy. Last year’s featured Lil Jon and a ilustrated version of me vomiting from drinking to many “Shots, shots, shots, shots, shots!” This year I’m being admired by one Edward Cullen. Much more pleasant, right?

3.) Hanging with Rocio

Roc and I in a great vintage furniture shop on Valencia Street

My good friend Rocio was in the Bay Area for a conference, so we got to hang out! Always great to see her. We explored the fun shops on Valencia Street and later ordered in because it was FREEZING outside.

4.) House of Prime Rib

I first learned about House of Prime Rib on No Reservations and wanted to check it out immediately… this was almost 3 years ago, so it was about time I went. I figured my birthday would be the best time to drag my friends with me — and in actuality, everyone was really stoked to go, which was awesome. It was not a disappointing experience. That salad! Those cocktails! That cute corn bread thing! I need to go again, and soon.

5.) A Gift to Myself

So, this is what I got myself for my birthday. Don’t even act like you don’t buy yourself birthday gifts. And don’t make me reference “Treat Yo Self” and force you to watch the YouTube video. (Side note: Can Parks and Rec come back now, please?) Anyway, a friend I highly respect suggested this book, so I picked up a copy and am SO HAPPY I did. It’s pretty stellar.

6.) Cathy in SF!

My good friend Cathy road-tripped up to San Francisco to celebrate her birthday (yay, fellow Pisces!). She drove up with her BF, and our friend Maggie from college drove up from San Jose to spend the day in the city. (Anteater reunion!) We all went to Alcatraz (which explains the ever-so-stylish ponchos in the photo) and it was a soggy morning… particularly for those of us who decided against wearing rain boots (ahem, me). Anyway, it made for another great memory with these ladies and I want them to come back ASAP… or move here. Moving here would be more than acceptable.

And that concludes my birthday month, 2012! Thanks to everyone who made it extra special.

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It’s the truth. Sorry I’m not providing photo evidence, but you’re better off just using your imagination. My former boss once reacted to it by calling it “very Golden Girls.” I took that as a compliment, naturally.

So, here I sit at SFO waiting patiently to board my flight to Portland. I’m using my shiny new Macbook Air which has improved my quality of life exponentially, but I unfortunately haven’t had time to upload any photos from my iMac, hence the Portlandia image up top, which is relevant yet impersonal, but whatever. It’s all good.

I know it’s tacky to talk about how one has been avoiding the blogosphere for an extended period time, but I’m going to do just that and outline what have been huge (but productive) and/or great time sucks for me:

  • My Sister Got Married! – That’s right, kids. And with a wedding comes lots of events, lots of time with family (which was really great, my family is a lot of fun), and of course dancing, good food, and laughs.
  • San Francisco Holiday Renegade Craft Fair – which involved crocheting and planning every day. EVERY DAY. EVERY WEEKEND. It’s fun and was totally worth all of the work, but it didn’t really allow for much else… the exact reason why I am happy to not be a full time crafterprenuer. Yes, I made that word up. It probably exists.
  • Sewing – Once Renegade was over, my wrists rejoiced and I dove right into my “to sew” pile which currently consists of 4 dresses and 1 top. Fabric has been cut, everything is slowly being assembled. And I’m still very much in love with my serger.
  • Reading – I reached my goal of reading 30 books in 2011! Yes. Thank you for the applause. You can take a look at what I read here.
  • Reuniting with Friends – Well, not really reuniting. I see my SF friends on either a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but due to craft fair stuff I became somewhat of a hermit, actually announcing my ‘hermit weeks’ in various social media, as a way of warning my friends to not ask me to hang out. I’m kind of a jerk, no? I try not to be. Also, my friends are the coolest people on Earth.
  • Freelance & Pro-Bono Projects – I just finished my 3rd commissioned logo last week, and this week got the great news that I’ve been chosen to be on an amaaaazing Taproot project that I’ll be starting work on soon. 2012 is going to be a great year for my professional life. I can feel it. (At least I hope so!)

Anyway, I’m going to do another post that goes over my 2012 Resolutions, as well as my 2011 Year in Review. All of these things are written and in my ‘drafts’, so stay tuned.

But, back to vacation mode…

This is my first time ever traveling to Oregon, and although I hear it’s going to be quite chilly, I’ve been looking forward to this all month. I’m especially excited to see my Seattleite friends whom I have not seen for over a year. OVER A YEAR. That is just unacceptable. I’m happy to be remedying this this weekend. I have my Instax Mini, emergency granola bars in my purse, and my trusty Hello Kitty umbrella handy. Will post more about the trip when I get back!

 

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Lake Tahoe, Summer 2011

by tatiana on September 12, 2011

Lake Tahoe Postcard c. 1940 (Source)

Living in a city where it’s not only cold in the summer, but also packed with buildings and people can really make a girl want to escape to the wilderness, and that’s exactly what we did this weekend. Four gals, one rental car, and one decades-old family cabin. [click to continue…]

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London: My Top 10 Experiences

by tatiana on March 10, 2011

My week in London was a trip I will never forget. There is nothing like experiencing another culture, especially in a city that is so incredibly rich with history.

I went with my pal Bri with the goals of taking in as much of the sights and experiences London had to offer – and to spend some time with Miss Kendra, my old roomie who is going to grad school in London and is quite the amazing lady. I heart Bri and Kendra mucho and I’m happy that the trip happened. Here’s a countdown of sorts of my favorite things that I experienced while visiting this great city.

10. Trifles from Sainsbury’s


Ingredients: fruit + gelatin mixture, custard, shortbread, whipped cream. It came in a little single-cup portion, like pudding. I was in heaven… several times throughout the trip.

9. Ginger Beer


Crabbie’s. Alcoholic. Amazing. You can put ice in it! One of the things I loved about London was that the drinking culture is so different than the United States. Big, burly men drinking fruit ciders and ginger beer with ice in it… my kinda place.

8. Clotted Creme


Another food experience! Yes. This luscious creme came with our scones at high tea in St. James Park. It wasn’t too sweet, but it was sweet enough. Like buttah, but creamier. I die.

7. In-Your-Face Daytime Lip Color


On the tube, at museums, basically everywhere I went I saw gaggles of super cute gals rocking the bright florescent red or pink lips. Absolutely stunning and a nice contrast from the gloomy weather. After a trip to the MAC store, I too was a part of the bright lips party.

6. The Tube


I live in San Francisco and am one of the few who rarely complain about our public transportation system… but that’s probably because I’d never experienced the Tube… holy moly is that thing efficient. A train comes every 2 minutes or so. Absolutely wonderful. The train cars are clean, and although they can get quite crowded, everyone is usually really polite.

5. Not having internet or GPS on my phone
I’m kind of happy I decided to not pay the $30 extra (or however much it was) to have internet access on my phone while abroad. It forced me to check email and social media accounts at the apartment only (or when I stumbled upon free wi-fi, which was rare). I was able to really focus on and absorb my surroundings. On the other hand, I didn’t have instant access to my interactive map with GPS. But I luckily downloaded a London Tube map app (which I’ll also blog about later) for my iPhone before the trip. That was pretty damn helpful.

4. Paul’s Patisserie


I really think that my friends are sick of me talking about this place but really… there are no words to describe how incredibly mindblowing their macarons were. And the strawberry tart… and the prosciutto sandwich! Delicious, amazing, oh my god.

3. British Television


I really need to write a separate post about my favorite British television shows, but they were just so informative and fun and slighty different than American television. That’s fo sho. When I was tired from a day of walking and navigating the city, I was excited to come back to our gorgeous apartment and take in an episode of Take Me Out, or My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding (photo above).

2. Hampton Court Palace


I really like “touching” history. You can’t touch old things at museums, so when I’m in an old building, I like to touch the walls. I don’t know why, I just like to know that I’ve touched something that’s been around, in the case of Hampton Court Palace… since the 1500s. This beautiful palace was built by Cardinal Wolsey, given to King Henry VIII and was used as a hotel/place of entertainment for foreign royals. Good times. You can see glimpses of it in the Showtime series The Tudors.

1. The Tower of London


Once again, I totally touched these walls (once I got inside, of course). This place was built in 1066 and is really fucking old. I spent a good 5 hours here.

The first hour was spent on a beefeater tour which I highly recommend because they are a.) knowledgeable, and it’s a good introduction to what you’ll be seeing, b.) funny, and c.) slightly intimidating.

I saw the crown jewels, the ravens, and lots of old armor. The photo above is of the Queen’s houses – where Anne Boleyn spent her last days before being executed.

Bonus: The Jack the Ripper Walking Tour

I can’t believe I almost forgot about this! It was a lot of fun, and silly, and really crowded but I recommend it for those who are fascinated by this unsolved mystery. (Photo above: Mary Kelly’s pub of choice).

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Greetings from London!

by tatiana on February 2, 2011

Good morning, and greetings from the fuuuture. It’s Thursday morning, around 6:58am right now. I woke up at 4:50 this morning with an intense craving for a sausage and cheese breakfast sandwich, but tried to make myself go back to sleep. That obviously didn’t work out so well. So here I am, catching up on Google Reader and eating this £3 lasagna that I picked up at the store yesterday (thank god!). I had a feeling I might want a snack at some point.

I’m pretty sure Brianna, my travel companion, is asleep right now. And I salute her. I wish I were too. We were planning on heading to Borough Market around 10am… but hopefully we can head out earlier.

We arrived yesterday afternoon and did a lot of walking our first day. Initially the idea was we’ve been on a plane for 10 hours, our legs need to move! But then around 6pm, which was when sleep deprivation hit the both of us, we couldn’t get back to the apartment fast enough.

Anyway, I’ll try to update while I’m here. It’s hard to upload photos since it seems this laptop won’t let me save image files, so my award-winning iPhone photography will have to wait to be shared with the public until I return.

Just for fun, here are some items on our To Do list: Tower of London, Fashion & Textiles Museum, Design Museum, V&A, tea in the park with Kendra, Jack the Ripper Walking Tour, visit Brighton, visit Oxford, go shopping. There’s a bit more, but these are the things I feel pretty confident about conquering in the 5 more days I have here. Yesterday we saw Trafalgar Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben, Parliament, National Theater, the Old Vic, and FLEET STREET (yes, I was singing the Sweeney Todd anthem in my head).

Anyway, I’m off! Hope all is dandy in the states!

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Gonna take 'er down to Thunder Road

by tatiana on November 26, 2010

This year I spent Thanksgiving day at the mister’s family’s house about 2 hours outside of San Francisco. Everything was great… and I opted to take a photo in their 1957 Thunderbird. If I look nervous, it’s because I was. I was sitting in an antique! Ugh. It was a beauty.

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I Saw the Sign: Sausalito Edition

by tatiana on October 10, 2010

… or, SAUCY-lito, as we are now calling it.

Anyway, for a few weeks now, Marissa, Jane and I had been planning to check out Sausalito. I have never been and I kept hearing that it was a great place to relax, eat good food and take in the pretty views. So we met at the ferry and escaped our little city that was bustling with Fleet Week excitement (and, rightfully so, lots o’ visitors).

There were a lot of really great signs in Sausalito, so I thought I’d share some of the ones I came across. Here we go! [click to continue…]

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We're baaaaaack

by tatiana on September 16, 2010

I just landed in Long Beach and am currently in el coche con mi familia. We’re on the 605 (or “on 605” as the NorCal kids would say) and on the hunt for food. Since I was running a bit late to the airport all I had to eat was Skittles Crazy Cores (which are not crazy at all, they taste pretty normal) and Terra Blue potato chips, which are arguably the best part of flying Jetblue. Anyway, here’s a pic my sister took with her fancy Samsung Rogue phone which has a one-up on my iPhone 3G since she has flash capability. Whatevs. Here are my sister Cheech and me in the car. I’m so excited to be home for a few days. Hooray!

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A Bit Homesick

by tatiana on August 27, 2010

The lights of Highway 18

This past week in San Francisco has been a warm one… well, we had 3 days of highs in the 80s. Today we’re back to the 60s, but during those days of blissful heat, I really started to miss my hometown and my fam.

So! Homeward bound I must go! I decided to fly down mid-September, which oddly enough is the same time I moved to SF last year. Anyway, I’m excited to see my fam, Bri & Richard and to just feel the dry hot hot heat of the desert… basically, get my fix and promptly return to my naturally air-conditioned city.

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