Tuesday, April 30, 2013


If you tell someone you're going on vacation to New York City or Jamaica, they won't really bat an eye. But if you tell them you're going to Delaware, a strange look passes over their face and they ask, "Why?"

It originally started off as just a trip to Delaware with the possibility of going to NYC. A friend of mine, Ken, is considering accepting a transfer position from California to the tiny little state on the East coast, but since he had never been there he wasn't sure whether or not he wanted to do it. So, he decided to take a trip to check it all out and invited me to come along so I could give him a second opinion on the whole thing. I thought it sounded like fun and a nice little break from work. We talked about stopping over in New York since it's relatively close and then it just morphed from there.

Our 545AM flight from San Francisco was made more appealing by the fact that we were flying first class. Let me tell you, between the food and the seats, I was happy to be sitting where I was sitting. We waiting until after our layover in Colorado to begin drinking (by then it was 11) and I thought it was the perfect time to order a Bloody Mary.

Lunch followed shortly thereafter, and even though I was still a bit full from our earlier inflight breakfast, I decided to indulge myself anyway...hey, I was on vacation!

Once we finally reached our destination in the city of Newark, we went out to dinner to check out the night life and see what Main Street had to offer. Newark is home to the University of Delaware, and with a bunch of twenty-somethings roaming around, it's undoubtedly a college town.

We ate dinner a little after 8 at Klondike Kate's, a rustic little restaurant with miss-matched chairs and wooden tables and an incredibly friendly staff. The Hummus Wrap I ordered was delicious and the service was wonderful. Definitely a place to frequent if you were to live there. Afterward we wandered around, but since it seemed like activities didn't pick up until a couple of hours later, we found a place that had something to offer us right then. With the sweet sound of live music floating through the open door of the Santa Fe Mexican Grill, we found a place to enjoy one last drink and the rest of the evening.

The band instantly captured my attention. Song after song I found myself swaying to the sound of the Chorduroy Band's acoustic trio. It was like they knew what songs I wanted to hear and they were playing every single one. Before we left, I went to find out who they were because I wanted to listen to them play all day every day. Seriously, if they had an album for sale, I would have bought it without a second thought. When they found out where I was from, they asked if there was a California song I wanted to hear, but I told them I was just happy to hear the songs they were already playing. Then, the guy on the left with the dark hair and the hat who was playing one of the guitars said he knew a California song. I wasn't about to walk out before hearing what they were going to play, and when he started playing that Led Zeppelin song, Going to California, I nearly fell in love. It certainly didn't hurt that he was easy on the eyes and had a great voice. I've already mentioned that I fall in love with a voice, and that's exactly what happened when I heard him take the lead on that song. I could've sat there all night. It was truly a great way to start my vacation.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Back to the Daily Grind

The worst part about vacation is returning back to normalcy. The thrill and excitement of traveling to new destinations is done and there's nothing left to do but a mountain of laundry, mental preparation for the upcoming work week, catching up on television programs, and planning the next vacation.

I'm still in La La Land thinking about the whirlwind that was Delaware, New York City, and Jamaica. Even though I spent less than a day in NYC, I'm pretty sure I conquered the subway system and could navigate my way around like a homegrown New Yorker. Then, while I was in Jamaica, I kept trying to figure out a way to move there. Seriously, everyone there looks half their age. It must be because they're all on Jamaica Time and it's a much more relaxing atmosphere. There was obviously a distinct difference in pace between New York and Jamaica, but somehow I couldn't help but love them both.

In some ways it's good to be home and sleeping in my own bed again, but I'm certainly going to miss being in vacation mode. I guess all good things must come to an end at some point! This next week I'll be reliving my vacation through my posts. I never really remember to take pictures, but I somehow managed to get a few good ones so I'll be sharing some of them here! In the meantime, here is a view from a window...

Possibly somewhere over Colorado

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Rent The Runway

To buy or to rent. 

Usually this question pertains to things like buying vs. renting a house. Or buying vs. leasing a vehicle. These days, however, you can rent jewelry, handbags, and dresses instead of forking out the big bucks for a designer item. 

I'm already familiar with Bag Borrow or Steal which has plenty of designer handbags you can rent by the month. They also have things like jewelry and sunglasses. For people who don't have thousands of dollars to spend on designer luxury, this is a great way to pretend like you're rolling in the dough. Fake it 'til you make it? 

There's also Rent the Runway. This site seems to be slightly more up my alley than BBS because I'd be more likely to rent a dress for a big night than a handbag. So, if I need a killer dress quickly, I'd be paying anywhere from $40-$450 depending on the type of dress and who the designer is. To be honest, if I'm going to spend a few hundred dollars on a dress to wear for a night, I'm more likely to go shopping and find a $200 dress in a department store that I get to KEEP. Not that I regularly go out and drop a couple of hundred dollars on dresses!

However, if we're talking about a $300-$500 dress that they're renting for $100 or less, I may be swayed into thinking this is a good deal. Depending on my mood of course. I'm not the type of person who likes to just throw money away, so renting a dress doesn't exactly come across as something that is incredibly desirable to me. I'd prefer to save up some money and invest in a quality, timeless item. When push comes to shove though, I do have good (read expensive) taste and I have a tendency to pick up the most expensive dress on the sale rack like I did that time at the Nordstrom Rack when a $1200+ dress was on sale for $800. Not exactly my idea of a deal. Overall, Rent the Runway is a good idea for super special occasions when you want to look like a million bucks, but not for every occasion.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Words in my head, a song in my heart.

I started this post last week, but like so many other things, it was left unfinished. Hopefully I'll get it done this time!

Iris lyrics found here

If I'm being honest with myself, one of the first things I ever dreamed about being as a little girl was a singer. From there my dreams morphed into various other professions like being an astronaut, or a police officer, or an actress, an archeologist, a marine biologist, an architect...the list goes on. But that initial dream remained deeply ingrained in me.

I know I don't have a big voice, but I can carry a tune and I sing on a daily basis. With shows like Glee, Smash, and Nashville, I'm constantly inspired and American Idol makes me feel like I could make my little girl dream come true. 

I've been writing "lyrics" for quite some time now. Secretly of course. I dare not share anything with anyone because I don't want to hear if they're awful or not. I also use quotes because I'm the only one calling them lyrics. Others may just call them poems, but I beg to differ. Sometimes the words just come to me out of thin air while other times I hear a short tune and suddenly I've got a completely different song in my head and it's my own. It's more than just replacing words with an existing chorus, it's transforming a clip into something new. 

The hard part for me is completing a song. I have partial songs written in more places than I can count, but the ones that stick around in my head are the ones that really make progress. A lot of times it's nostalgia that triggers these lyrics to come out and it's my way of working through that nostalgia. I have a hard time letting go of certain things and writing them out in song form seems to help. I've even got some melodies floating around in my noggin. One of these days I'd like to sit down with someone and work on a song together. I'd even like to record it if it were good enough. Who knows if I'll ever have the opportunity to fulfill my wish, but it is nice to dream. In the meantime, who wants to start a band?!


Monday, April 22, 2013


I have this terrible habit of overpacking. I do it every single time I take a trip. I'm the type of person who has to pack, unpack, and repack several times before getting it right. After a few attempts, I finally did. At least I think so anyway. I'll find out soon enough!

The hardest part about packing for this trip was packing for two completely different climates. The east coast is still practically winter weather (at least in my Californian opinion), so I had to make sure I had close-toed shoes and a sweater or two. Jamaica was a little easier with shorts, dresses, sandals, and one too many bikinis. I think I'll be alright with what I packed, and if I need something, I can always buy it. I was just trying really hard to not overpack by much. So far, I think I've succeeded. I'm already a couple of days into my trip, and while I definitely enjoyed the time I spent in Delaware, I really can't wait to arrive in good ol' NEW YORK CITY!!! It won't be long now!


Friday, April 19, 2013

Simple Pleasures

TGIF!!! It seems like it's taken forever, but my trip is nearly here! I.Cannot.Wait.

New York City
Photo found here
I've never been to the Big Apple, but I'm looking forward to seeing Time Square and some other sights before jet-setting to Jamaica! Who knows, NYC may draw me in with the hustle and bustle and make me want to return there again in the very near future!

Trading the Sun for the sun

I've been indulging in a little fake 'n bake action in preparation for the Jamaican sun. While the Sun (the model of tanning bed I've been using) has been more than good to me, I'm ready to ditch the bulbs and soak in the real rays. 

New Luggage

Photo found here
Since my orange suitcase now has a gaping hole in it (thank you airport baggage handlers), I had to get a new one for my trip. Luggage can be incredibly expensive, but I have the most amazing mom in the entire world because she's the one who bought me my new bag. I'm pretty sold on the hard case, four-wheeled spinner types because I can pack things on two sides instead of one large space, but the plastic seemed so flimsy on them all that I couldn't justify letting my mom spending that kind of money for one. Then, there was the orange fabric spinner, but I knew it'd be ridiculously dirty by the time I got home. I couldn't make a decision, I was beginning to get discouraged and I was thinking of settling. I didn't have to though because my mom came to the rescue when she found a garment bag style bag! This Guess Waldorf bag gave me the ability to pack on two sides as I like to do, was in a great dark charcoal color, and the price was right for the quality of the item. This bag originally retailed for $500, but you better believe no one shelled out that kind dough. Thanks for the bag Mom!


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You are more beautiful than you think.

The way we see ourselves is often drastically different from the way others view us. I can only imagine what my sketch would turn out like if I were asked to describe myself. I think I've come a long way over the years, however I'm sure there is still a piece of my awkward teen self image burned into my mind a bit. Everyone has flaws, but many times we are the ones who amplify them into something more prominent than they really are. So embrace yourself, love yourself, and know that you are more beautiful than you realize.


Monday, April 15, 2013

Weekend Recaptured.

This weekend was a whirlwind. I woke up this morning and couldn't hardly believe it was Monday again! Here are some of the things that kept me busy this weekend.

Friday Night @ the San Jose Improv with David Spade
Photo found here
Usually by Friday afternoon I start to regret making plans for Friday night. Not because I don't want to go out, but because I'm so exhausted from working all week that all I can really think about is sitting on the couch and watching television all evening. Instead of giving into my laziness, I went out with a friend of mine to the San Jose Improv to see David Spade. While his energy was definitely a little lower than Todd Glass and Kevin Farley who opened the show, it was still immensely entertaining. Afterward, we stopped at McCormick and Schmicks and had a fantastic dinner. If you haven't tried their Shrimp Kisses appetizer, I highly recommend them. DELISH.

Saturday Night @ The Vine Wine & Tapas
Photo from Yelp
Because I was out pretty late on Friday, I slept in until 830 the next morning and then spent the majority of my day cleaning. Five hour later I was beat, but I had plans to see Max, so I tried to keep myself busy so I wouldn't fall asleep. That didn't turn out well because I made the mistake of lying down on my bed. Luckily my phone ringer was turned out so when I got a text from Max (who had just woken from a nap himself), I was up in a flash and getting ready for dinner. I met him out in San Leandro and we went to The Vine Wine & Tapas. I didn't dare have a glass of wine since I was already so exhausted, but we did chow down on their Greek Olive Mix, Hummus Trio (curry, garlic, and red pepper), Bacon Wrapped Dates, and Chorizo Flatbread. By the time we were done we were pretty stuffed and we both knew we were too tired to make it to a movie, so we called it a night because the next morning we were going to...

Sunday Brunch @ the WestWood
Photo from Facebook
I love brunch. If brunch were a formal daily meal, it would be my favorite. Maybe it's the bottomless mimosas or maybe it's the Bloody Marys, but I've grown to appreciate a good brunch. Max and I met up with some other people in the city at The WestWood and continued to make a day out of it by going to Sunday Streets in the Mission District, which is basically a huge block party. One of the streets is shut down and there are plenty of people walking around with their dogs, dancing, hula hooping, and performing. It was a lot of fun. When we made it to the end we continued on to Zeitgeist, a Beer Garden, for, wait for it...BEER! Fancy that! We stayed there long enough for a couple of rounds before heading over to Dolores Park for some people watching and good old-fashioned hanging out. Overall, it was a great day. I ate some good food, had some good drinks, and made some new friends. Hopefully I'll be looking forward to another day of excitement in the city in the near future.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Simple Pleasures

Happy Friday!

This weekend is going to be busy busy busy for me! I have places to go and people to see. Even though I won't be adventuring out to Coachella this weekend, I'm still excited for what the weekend has in store for me. But first, here are some simple pleasures.

Mystery Plant
I put together a little flower arrangement at work, but the plant on the left is a mystery to me! Those curled tips will eventually open, but for the most part, I feel like they'll be staying the way they are. I wasn't sure if they'd go with the arrangement, but I had five of them, so it was balanced and it turned out to be an interesting combination. I even got a compliment from a person delivering flowers!

Smith Sunglasses

I've had these glasses for years, but I've been a little afraid to wear them. My original pair were more of a tortoise brown rather than this pearly stone color and I always thought these didn't look quite right on me. I've since overcome that irrational notion and have embraced them. Good thing, because these are my FAVORITE glasses. EVER. I used to go to Marshalls or TJ Maxx and buy myself a $20 pair of black plastic Michael Kors sunglasses, but they were more for fashion and less for function. These Shift sunglasses give me the best of both worlds and I've taken better care of these than any other pair I've ever owned. I've only dropped them a few times, compared to every other day. Having a case to put them in also helps keep them from getting scratched when I toss them into my purse with my keys and whatever else I've decided to lug around.

New Makeup
Photo found here
Since I've been prepping my skin for the real sun, I've discovered that I'm at least a shade or two darker than I was when I started. That's good because it means I'm less likely to burn in Jamaica, but it also means that my current Dior foundation is a bit too light for me now. I'm hoping this new shade in Linen works out and I don't have to return it for the darker shade of Sand. I'll find out next week if I'll be making an emergency trip to switch out the colors!


Thursday, April 11, 2013

San Francisco Passport Agency

I've been a little behind this week with my Monday entry posting far later than I would have liked. Tuesday wasn't any better since I didn't post anything at all and Wednesday, well, I spent my morning in the city and was too tired by the end of the day to focus. And even though this post is likely to be later as well, hopefully I'm back on track now. Let's begin.

Being spontaneous is great, but being unprepared isn't. I mentioned that I'll be going on a little holiday and it turns out it will be in Jamaica! Because I didn't want to chance missing my renewed passport in the mail, I made an appointment at the local passport agency in San Francisco.

If you're traveling within 14 days, you can make an appointment at your regional agency and they will issue your passport to you on the spot or you can pick it up the next day or whenever they tell you it'll be ready. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pick mine up yesterday, so I told them to send it to me. Then, I panicked and wondered if it would make it to me at all because the mail gets mixed up at my complex at times, so I tried to get them to change my delivery preference. The woman on the phone this morning assured me it would be in my mailbox by Tuesday, so if it's not there by Wednesday, I'll be going back to SF on Thursday for them to issue me one right then. Overall, a minor hiccup in the grand scheme of things and nothing that can't be handled. Unlike a couple I met yesterday morning, I wasn't trying to get mine renewed on the same morning I was traveling. Now THAT is being unprepared. Not to mention they also had to go retake their photos. Even though you could feel their sense of urgency, they were surprisingly calm through their whole ordeal. Hopefully they were able to make their flight to Cabo.

The lesson to be learned? BE PREPARED! If you are making an appointment at the agency, make sure you have everything you need. It will make the process easy and painless.

Fill out the application online, print it out, and bring it with you. Or print it out and fill in the blanks while you stand in line. Whatever suits your fancy. The hours on the door of the agency say they open at 9AM, but they opened earlier and I was done by 830.

If you have a confirmation number, have it handy because they will ask you for it as soon as you make your way to the window.

Make sure you get your photos taken at a place that does passport photos (I took mine at Costco), so your face is the proper size - not too small, not too big. You don't want to have to retake them if you don't have to. Also, even though you're stapling one to your application, bring the extras because they will need an additional one.

Bring in your old passport if you have it. They'll take it from you, but rest assured, you will get it back. If you don't have it, bring in your birth certificate.

Also, bring a photo ID, like your driver's license. They didn't ask me for mine, but you should have it just in case.

Some agencies don't require you to show proof of international travel within 2 weeks, but San Francisco does. So, bring a print out of your itinerary. You can bring your actual ticket if you have it, but I just assume bring the itinerary so you don't have to worry about misplacing your ticket during the process.

Currently, the price to renew your passport is $110 and it's an additional $60 for the expedited fee. There isn't any difference in price if you expedite it by mail or at the agency, so it really just depends on how soon you're traveling and if you can wait the 2-3 weeks if you go the mail route. I wrote out a check, but you can pay with a credit/debit card or a money order. The choice is yours.

For me, any excuse to go to San Francisco is a good one. I love the city. So, taking a few hours in the morning to ride BART, get a Chai latte, renew my passport, and people-watch is fun for me.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Birthday Countdown

In exactly one month I will be celebrating my birthday. I love my birthday because it's a day that's all about me and I get PRESENTS. 

Admittedly, that sounds a little bratty, but why shouldn't I enjoy the day that celebrates my coming into the world? Besides, there's always the downside of birthdays and that's turning another year older. Even though the presents are great, I've always had a hard time with aging. I used to cry at times when I was younger because I knew I'd never be able to go back to being 5 or 8 or 11 or whatever age my little heart yearned to return to. As I've gotten older, the aging process has gotten easier, but there are times when I still wish I were 17 or 22. Nostalgia sometimes gets the best of me and I doubt that feeling of wanting to relive a particular age will ever truly go away. Nonetheless, birthday celebrations do make me extremely happy. What's not to love about making a wish, blowing out candles, and eating a giant piece of homemade birthday cake that was baked with love by your mom? Birthdays are special days in my family and I'll be looking forward to my birthday dinner and lemon cake. No, spice cake. No, strawberry. It's really too soon to decide what I'll be in the mood for, so cake decisions will just have to wait until the day gets a little bit closer!


Friday, April 5, 2013

Simple Pleasures

Some weeks it feels like it takes forever for Friday to get here, but now that I have near-future plans, this week just flew on by! I usually don't post this late, but the day seemed to get away from me, so here are my simple pleasures...better late than never!

Mad Men
There are times when I feel like I was born in the wrong era. Occasionally I wish I grew up in the 20s and other times I wish I grew up in the 50s, 60s, or 70s. Right now I'm in a stage where I imagine life during the 60s because I've been catching up on Season 5 of Mad Men before the new season premieres on Sunday. Really, I'm looking forward to seeing what Joan and Megan will be wearing next season! 

Nike Swimsuit

With my vacation just beyond the horizon, I decided to go shopping for a new bathing suit. I really don't need one, but I haven't bought a swimsuit in a couple of years. My trip was the perfect excuse and now I have a great new suit to wear on the beach! I tried on at least a dozen swimsuits, but this one really worked the best. I don't wear frilly things very well at times and there were a few that definitely looked better on the hanger. This Nike two-piece works well for me because it's basic, well made, and works for my figure. Even though I may not be quite as toned as I used to be, I'm still thin and I still look pretty athletic. Besides, it's given me motivation to work out again!

I bought these small canvases ages ago, but I never seemed to get around to doing anything with them. Well, I finally made the time to break out my paints and brushes and start on something. This is a close-up of one of the larger squares and it definitely isn't close to being finished, but at least I started working on them! 


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Preparing for the Sun

I talked about how I have an impending vacation with my seester in October, but it looks like I'll be travelling internationally even soon than expected. Quite possibly to Jamaica!

Photo found here
Like I said yesterday, everything happens for a reason. I still haven't sent in my application to renew my passport, which turned out to be a good thing since I'll need it much sooner than I had originally anticipated and likely much sooner than they would have sent it back to me. So, I scheduled an appointment to renew my passport in San Francisco next week. They issue them on the spot so as long as I have all of my ducks in a row, I'll be good to go.

I've already started checking things off of my "to-do" list and I'll be starting to think about the clothes I want to pack so I'm not rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off. Wow, two bird references in one post. I'm on a roll!

Anyway, I've officially began my pre-tan process, which basically consists of me going to the tanning salon. I know, I know, it's bad for me. However, getting a really terrible sunburn on day one of my tropical vacation sounds like an even worse idea than my current plan to prepare my skin for some real rays. I usually don't burn, but my skin hasn't really seen the sun much over the past two years. I sat out by the pool one time last year and within an hour I was as red as could be. The burn was so bad it lasted three days! That was the last time I did that.

So in an attempt to get a good base tan before vacation, I walked over to the tanning salon yesterday for my first ten minute session. It was quick and painless, but I already feel like my skin is just a tad bit darker. That's not saying much though since I'm pretty pale at the moment. I'm going to continue to go on a fairly regular basis until I leave for my trip in a few weeks. By that point, I should be feeling a little more comfortable spending a prolonged period of time in the sun. I'll also be looking forward to being super bronzed once more, which will definitely make me feel more comfortable when running around on the beach in a bikini.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Road to Foreclosure

When I initially moved into my place, I wasn't planning on staying very long. In fact, I was experiencing more than a little fear of commitment and I had a terribly hard time signing a lease for a full year. It made me feel like I was going to be stuck in one place forever. Had someone told me I'd be here for nearly three years, I would have scoffed at the notion. Now, as the 3rd anniversary in my condo approaches, I'm faced with so much uncertainty.

While I have been faithfully paying my rent, the owner has faithlessly stopped paying her mortgage. I've considered asking her if she'd be willing to sell me the place, but with the train and the recent humming sounds coming from a nearby unit, I'm not sure I want to. I have a feeling my price point would be lower than she'd be willing to accept if I did. So, while I know I have rights as a renter, I'm revisiting the idea of a more permanent option and looking at possibly buying a place elsewhere. Unfortunately for me, the market has been on the upswing, but if a short sale fell into my lap, I'd be one lucky girl.

Last week I found a condo for sale in the same complex that would have been perfect for me, but it was snatched up so fast that I didn't even have a chance to think twice about it. I definitely need a place that has at least as many square feet as I'm living in already because I don't want to have to sell any of my furniture. And even though I enjoy the condo life, ideally I would like a place with a yard so I can add a large furry friend to my life.

I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. So, there is a reason why that condo sold so quickly and why my place is in pre-foreclosure. It's definitely a learning experience, but it's nerve-wracking. The whole situation gives me anxiety because I have no idea what is going to happen over the next few months. So, I'm taking everything one day at a time. There isn't much I can do at the moment except be prepared as best I can...and pray. And the Lord knows I've been doing that.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Art Acquisition

This past weekend I kept things a little more low-key than I did the weekend before. Saturday was the leisurely day I intended it to be, but I ended up making my most expensive Starbucks trip to date. I left to get my Chai latte and returned with an empty cup and a few more items than I expected to bring back home. As I enjoyed my beverage, I stopped to peruse the items at a moving sale that was situated in a rather unusual location. The house was nestled in between a fast food restaurant and an equipment rental establishment and while it was a bit random, they seemed to have a TON of stuff. They may have been borderline hoarders. The cabinets and potential for additional storage were what initially drew me in, but I left without a single organizational option and instead picked up a few small items and a painting by an artist I know nothing about.

This isn't the first time I've invested in artwork, but this piece is considerably larger than the last one I acquired. The seemingly French setting of the painting captured my attention immediately, but it was the wooden frame which really solidified the deal for me. The focal point of the painting is clearly the pillar with a small undefined statue figure on top and it instantly reminded me of Paris and the Place de la Bastille where you can find the Colonne de Juillet and Dumont's Génie de la Liberté.

The man who was selling it didn't know anything about where it came from originally. He had bought it from an estate sale, so his only information was that it was an old painting, a conclusion I had already reached on my own. So I began to do some research when I got home. The artist's name proved to be unhelpful in determining the history of the piece, but I'm not too concerned. I wasn't expecting this to be particularly valuable, but it did evoke a feeling of nostalgia from my trip to Paris some years ago. I've looked at photos of the column and statue next to the painting and while I clearly see some differences, there is a distinct resemblance to the column and sculpture I originally reflected upon. I briefly considered it to be a rendition of the same sculptor's version of Napoleon on the Vendome column, but quickly dismissed it because the pillar was not segmented in the same way and Napoleon isn't standing on one leg, nor does he have wings. I feel it's pretty safe to say that my original assumption is correct.

Photo found here

I will continue to do research on the painting in hopes of finding more information about the artist, but in the meantime I'll be enjoying its presence in my home.