Friday, August 30, 2013

Simple Pleasures

Ten years ago today, I arrived on campus for my first day of college. I was excited, a little scared, and I had no idea all of the adventures I was about to embark on. I studied hard and I played hard. I was thankful I didn't have to work during those years, but I did have a few stints at Abercrombie & Fitch and of course did some extra work in L.A. I made mistakes, I made memories, and I made lasting friendships. I only wish I could see those friends more often.

The best of friends.

My first roommate and I...and my amazing purple chairs.

My roommate and I stole someone's Pumba and created a ransom poster. 

Sunday Afternoon.

Before our formal dance

Also the best of friends. 

Perfecting the selfie before it was called a selfie.

I had the greatest time in college and while nostalgia tends to rear its ugly head, I'm excited for the adventures that are waiting for me in the future.  


Thursday, August 29, 2013


It's summertime in California and it's inevitable that there will be some fires along the way. The Rim Fire has been a blazing inferno for nearly two weeks and these dry conditions can be incredibly dangerous. Yesterday I had my own encounter with flames as I was cruising with the top down on 84 going towards Livermore. I didn't think much of the smoke and assumed it was a fire that was already under control, but within minutes the plumes were growing larger and darker. I knew I'd have to drive by the fiery hillside, but it was impossible to tell if I was going to have to drive through a curtain of smoke as well. As a precaution, I decided to pull over to the side of the road and raise the top up. It was obviously the safe thing to do and I was thankful I did, even though it turned out not to be entirely necessary as the smoke hadn't settled down and was instead hanging over the highway. However, that didn't stop me from literally feeling the heat from the flames as I drove by. Firefighters were not on the scene yet and I didn't see them until a few minutes later after I had descended the hill and pulled over to put the top back down. 
A quick picture of the smoke from the other side...
In spite of the breezy conditions, the firefighters were able to extinguish the fire before it could cause too much damage. It's unclear how the fire began and it is still under investigation, but hopefully it wasn't caused by a careless smoker flicking a burning cigarette out of a car window. Now if we could only get a summer rain storm (without lightning) to help prevent some of these fires or at the very least slow the ones that are spreading. 


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back to School, Back to Traffic.

As I drove in to work today, I was smacked across the face with the reality that school is back in session. While it means my short commute across town is far more congested with traffic from parents dropping off their children at school, it really means that people act like total idiots.

Since I no longer stop at Starbucks every morning, I don't have to contend with the high school kids flooding the lines anymore, but I do have to deal with their neurotic parents trying to get them to school on time. It's a miracle there aren't more fender benders.

The scariest part about this whole thing is that everyone (myself excluded, of course) seems to have forgotten how to drive like a capable adult. It's like they've reverted back to their days as Student Drivers and are relearning the basics.

Where is the gas pedal? 
Is that one the brake? 
Do I really need to stop at this stop sign? 
Maybe I'll just go when I want to and let other people wait for me.
Good thing that guy's brakes are operating properly!

These are just some of the things I witnessed today from those driving around me. Before I could truly experience the joy of driving among these lunatics, I first had to turn right and merge onto the busy street. As I patiently waited for a break in traffic, the woman to the left of me who wanted to cross over traffic decided it was a brilliant idea to keep inching forward even though her chances of actually completing her left hand turn in the next five minutes were basically slim to none. Unless of course she was planning on bolting out into the heavy stream of cars and hoping for the best. So instead of waiting, the genius decided to pull forward even more and turn left into oncoming traffic all so she could make a cramped U-turn to go back down the street she had come from. She's seriously lucky she didn't cause a major head-on collision, but she's equally lucky she didn't back her car into my door because I would have gone ballistic. That is, if the Jaw of Life didn't have to come pry me out. It would've been okay though, I had the license plate on her white, Chrysler 200 filed away in my short term memory folder just in case.

I just don't understand what the issue is and what makes people lose their minds on the first day/week of school. Maybe it's a matter of getting back into the swing of things, but I'd like to think that people are capable enough to practice patience and utilize sound driving skills even if they are running a few minutes behind and it feels like they're experiencing a mini Carmageddon. Wishful thinking, I know, but wouldn't it be nice if people were considerate of other drivers and weren't so damn selfish? Be safe out there!


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Niles Flea Market

The Niles Flea Market is a Fremont summer staple. Shop owners push their antiques out into the street, normal Joes bring their vintage worldly possessions to try to sell them for a pretty penny, and homeowners in the neighborhood drag out their trash treasures because the hoards of people roaming the streets make for ideal conditions for garage sales. At the very least, they're selling bottles of ice cold water for a buck or two and there are even a few ambitious folks who try to sell their homemade soaps and crafts.

One booth on the main street was The Curvy Elle. I've known Laurel pretty much my entire life, so when she posted she was going to have a pop-up shop there, I knew I had to stop in and say hello. You can see some of her items for sale here and I have to say I absolutely LOVE this Lips & Lashes tee. I have to commend her for her efforts because it's certainly not easy to get out there while it's still dark out, set up an entire booth, stay there all day long in the heat, and then break it all down at the end of the day. I'm exhausted just thinking about it!

The die hard antique hunters are out there ignoring the cold and searching for that special find with flashlights well before the crack of dawn, and likely before everyone is done setting up, in hopes of finding the best items first. The hustle and bustle certainly doesn't stop when the sun comes up as there were plenty of people driving in when I went. Parking is an issue if you don't want to pay $5 for it, but lucky for me, I already had a driveway parking spot reserved. So, when I leisurely arrived at noon, it was easy peasy.

I wasn't going with the intent of buying anything, but of course I came home with something. Two somethings, really. While I was sauntering down the main street, an adorable little girl looked up at me with her big brown eyes and asked me every so politely if I'd like to look at their feather jewelry. I simply could not say no. There were some ridiculously cute crocheted baby items in there that I instantly wanted to buy for my cousin's new baby, but I had a feeling she wouldn't have even used them. So, I continued to browse the wall of jewelry and hair clips. Feather earrings aren't exactly my style, but the feather that was peaking out of the dainty flower hair clip was so understated that I was opening my wallet before I could think twice about it. Sneaky schemes sending out a bright-eyed child to lure in unsuspecting shoppers!

The other item was a vintage cat pin complete with googly eyes. The owner said it was likely from the 1950s and at $10, I was sold. It had a good weight to it and it just plain made me smile.
I know it seems silly, but it was totally worth it to me. Cataract googly eyes and all. 

I've always had a love for "old" things, so the Niles Flea Market is right up my alley...and hey, sometimes you find the most unexpected treasures. 


Monday, August 26, 2013


Do you ever have one of those days where you have things planned out and then they don't turn out quite the way you planned? Oh wait, that's basically every single day of my life. Saturday anticipated a nice leisurely day with some "to-do" items scheduled in between. Take my tire to be repaired, stop at Starbucks, go to Nana's and help her with her iPad for a bit before heading home for a relaxing evening.

The "slow leak" I had in my tire wasn't very slow after all and the it had been losing pressure within a matter of days after filling it back up. Such a pain in the arse. So I took it over to the trusted tire place. The man who was working there was incredibly helpful and even though he wasn't sure it could be fixed, he decided to give it a whirl anyway. After he took the tire off, he brought me back to show me how someone had attempted to patch it. It was shoddy workmanship at best. To be honest, the way the goo dried, it basically looked like a small dog had defecated in there and left its surprise just for me. I half expected it to smell. So he went to work and pulled it out, patched it the proper way, and since I was watching him in action, I saw a nice little fire show, too. I paid for the services with a smile and was on my way feeling happy and confident it would hold (it's still going strong!).

When I was at Starbucks, there was nearly a hitch in my grand plan for the day when I almost didn't get my beverage of choice, but before I was overcome by an irrational level of disappointment, the barista came back and told me all was well in the world and I could have my beloved iced beverage. In a matter of minutes I was on my way to Nana's with the wind blowing in my hair. I was prepared to sip on my drink while teaching Nana some things, but then she told me about her tire. I walked out to the garage and wouldn't you know, it was flat. Not flat like my tire had been, but FLAT. Like, don't even try to drive it to the gas station to fill it up with air because you'll be riding on the rim kind of flat. So, I did what every good granddaughter would do. I called AAA.

And if you really believed that last sentence, you obviously don't know me very well. Please. I changed the damn tire myself! Thank you dad for teaching me to be self-sufficient when it comes to my car! Don't get me wrong, if I had gotten a flat on the freeway, or on a dark winding road, or in a seemingly dangerous locale, I'm calling someone. If it's a flat in a garage, or a parking lot, or somewhere I don't think I'll die, I'm taking care of business. Like when I changed Jenn's tire while three guys stood around being absolutely useless...
So, I told Nana not to worry. I'd take care of it. I took her spare tire to the gas station to fill it with air, got the flat tire off, the spare tire on, the flat in the trunk, and we were on our way back to the tire shop I had left earlier that morning. Needless to say, the man was surprised to see me back so soon, but he was relieved it wasn't for the tire I brought in initially. He was also clearly impressed that I had changed a tire. Is it that surprising? I mean, is that something most people don't know how to do these days? Whatever the case, they, they repaired it, mounted it, and we were driving back home in under 30 minutes. Unfortunately, by the time I left (which was several hours later) it was losing air again. It seemed like it was all for naught, but at least her spare was filled up and ready to go today for another round at the tire shop.

Long story short, I'm the girl you want in your car when you're on a road trip. 


Friday, August 23, 2013

Simple Pleasures

I started Simple Pleasures as a way for me to stop thinking about all of the chaotic things going on in my life and start appreciating the simple things. There's always a silver lining! Whether it's a person, a candy bar, an acting opportunity, or just enjoying the weather it's a reminder to enjoy the blessings I have around me no matter what curveballs life is hurling my way. 

A Cat Video

This is a little more involved than the cat GIF I posted way back when, but I found it to be oddly entertaining and did not regret spending those 3 minutes of my life watching these cool cats. 

NARS Makeup
I'm a bit of a beauty addict, so when something says "Limited Edition" it immediately increases my likelihood of purchasing the product. Terrible for me. Brilliant for them. I'm already a fan of NARS' Orgasm Blush, so this little number gives me some more of that, but also 3 other colors that seemingly make up its famous hue. 

Niles Flea Market
Okay, so it's officially called the Annual Antique Faire and Flea Market, but whatever. I'm determined not to miss it this year. I went last year and came home with a comic book. And even though it's going to be CRAZY there with swarms of people, how can I miss it?? Who knows what unnecessary treasure I may discover! If I do find something, it's gotta be something I can't live without because I'm already limited on space. Maybe a funky bauble or a unique ring. That'd be easy to hide!


Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Have you heard of Everlane

If not, you need to go there. Immediately. 

What is it? It's a revolutionary online clothing company that provides transparency in its practices, quality clothing and accessories, and affordable prices. 

Their designs are simple, basic pieces, but that doesn't mean they aren't stylish. Take this silk blouse, for example. It has a rounded collar and hidden buttons, but the real appeal to this item is the blue trim - an unexpected pop of color that gives a simple blouse a little something extra.

Rounded Collar Silk Blouse in White Blue

When it comes to accessories, a black belt is a must-have in my closet. This one is just slightly thicker than my usual skinny belt (this one measures in at 3/4"), but it could work out well enough that I wouldn't have to worry about replacing it in 6 months from overuse. I have a sneaky suspicion it will wear nicely over time. The fact that you can wear it at waist or hip level makes this belt all the more appealing.

High-Low Belt in Black

I can be a bit of a hoarder when it comes to bags, especially bags of the overnight variety, so I'm incredibly taken with their Weekender style. It also makes me want to pack a bag, jump in my new convertible, and take a trip somewhere down the coastline for a much needed vacation.

The Weekender in Mustard

Speaking of bags...while I'm not usually one to haul around a backpack, sometimes you just need one. They offer an assortment of colors, but I just can't seem to decide between the Reverse Denim or the Charcoal.

Snap Backpack in Reverse-Denim

Snap Backpack in Charcoal

And don't even get me started on their slouch t's and french terry sweatshirt. Those are items I want to live in. I might want to try the Men's PK shirt too, which is essentially a polo, but is described as a "dress shirt" for summer.
The Women's French Terry in Stone

So, what are you waiting for? Go check out Everlane and see what items you can't live without. 


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Get the Glow

I had two samples of GlamGlow before I committed to buying the full size product. If I'm going to shell out the cold hard cash for something like that, I want to make sure it's going to be worth my while. 

In my honest opinion, it is totally worth the money. 

This stuff is amazing. I have pretty sensitive skin, but this doesn't irritate it at all. I apply it, let it dry, wet my finger tips and exfoliate lightly before rinsing it off completely. It definitely tingles, but it doesn't burn. Unless of course you have areas with broken skin and then it's slightly uncomfortable and borders on a burning sensation, but to me, that just means it's working. After using this stuff, my skin glows for three days. That's right, THREE DAYS. When I initially tried it, I had been experiencing a break out and this definitely helped clear it up quickly without excessively drying my skin out or being overly abrasive. Truth be told, I used it last night (even though I had used the peel the night before) and I was still just as pleased as always with the way it works. My pores appear smaller, my skin is smoother, and it exfoliates more effectively than any other product I've ever used. This is definitely something I've added to my nightly beauty routine on a weekly basis, if not twice a week. Since you only have to apply a thin layer, the product should last a decent amount of time.The tea leaves are a bit chunky and don't really dry with the resk of the mask, but I'm not complaining. It just adds to the awesome effect of looking like a mud monster for the ten minutes you're indulging yourself in spa-like treatment.  


Monday, August 19, 2013

Review Time

I wasn't able to fully review the Birchbox I got on Thursday until Friday morning and the weekend, but let's just say, I was fairly pleased with the rest of the products.

Just to recap: 

Party Proof Lipstick in Dusk Till Dawn: Keeper
Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes: Meh. I could do without.

Photo from Birchbox
So, Friday morning I tore open the shampoo sample of Miss Jessie's Original Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo and used about half of it. It was strange. The scent was great, but it was a little slimy. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it was just something I wasn't used to. When I rubbed it between my hands and pulled them apart, it was literally like slime with threads of shampoo clinging to both of my palms. It was unusual to say the least. Lathering it into my hair was initially a little tricky because it seemed to want to stay on my scalp and not move through the rest of my hair. I added a little water and that seemed to do the trick. As soon as I rinsed, I could tell this shampoo really did do what it promised in the detangle department. I can't say that I didn't condition afterward, but I used a lighter one that I usually have to follow up with a leave-in post shower. This time, I didn't have to. The detangling effect held true. I used it Saturday as well and was still pleased with the product. Call me crazy, but when I woke up on Saturday, my hair seemed less oily too. That's a checkmark in the Pro column for sure. Long story short, I liked the shampoo, enjoyed the smell, but the consistency takes some getting used to. It left my hair feeling clean and light without drying it out. I'll consider purchasing the full size product.

Photo from Birchbox
After my morning shower I continued with my routine and did my makeup. I already planned my outfit around the Sumita eyeliner and I was really looking forward to seeing how it performed throughout the day. Usually by mid afternoon, my black smudge eyeliner has indeed smudged in some capacity. I was impressed by the way this one held firmly in place. I checked on the progress periodically throughout the day and when I realized it was staying put, I forgot about it until the evening. It came off easily enough with my makeup remover and I can definitely say I'm replacing my old olive green liner with this one. I may even give a few other shades a try. This is a product you want in your makeup bag.

Photo from Birchbox
Lastly, the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peal for sensitive skin. I first used this Friday night and while I wasn't overly impressed with it, it did leave my skin feeling pretty soft afterward. It didn't tingle, but I did feel a warming sensation as it dried. I used it again on Sunday night, applying just a little bit more than I did on Friday, and I only felt a tingling on a small area where I had a bit of broken skin and it wasn't uncomfortable. I like the fact that it's organic, but I'm not sure if I'll see any benefits from using this product long term. I will absolutely commit to using the deluxe sample until it's gone, but I'm still unsure if I'll be willing to purchase the full size product.


Thursday, August 15, 2013


I am so in love with Birchbox. I was hoping it wasn't going to be one of those things where I fall in love with the first one and the second one leaves much to be desired. Quite the opposite. This month's box contained:

Jasmine Seven Fresh Feet Wipes
Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel 
ModelCo Party Proof Lipstick in Dusk Till Dawn
Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner in Hansa (Olive Green)
Miss Jessie's Original Super Slip Sudsy Shampoo

First of all, Miss Jessie must know I have an affinity for alliteration, so that means I like it already! I'll be sampling that sudsy shampoo first thing tomorrow morning. I'm hoping it conquers the tangles like the description says it does. We shall see! If not, then I'll just have to spritz on some of the Prep & Protect leave-in conditioner from last month, which works wonders.

The people over at Birchbox must have heard me complaining the other morning that I couldn't find my olive eyeliner because they sent me one! I already tested it out on the back of my hand and it seems to have some staying power. I smudged some of it off immediately, but it's still holding it's own. I'll be sampling this one tomorrow morning, too. I already know it's going to glide right on, but I'm interested to see how it lasts on my lids as the day goes on and if it ends up all over the place. 

The first thing I pulled out of the box was the Juice Beauty apple peel. It's organic, which in my book is golden, and it smells delicious! Best of all, it's perfectly suited for sensitive-skinned gals like me! I'll be looking forward to using it for the first time tonight! Hopefully all goes well and it's 10 minutes well spent.

The Fresh Feet Wipes were so-so. I used one right away because I had been wearing my sparkly shoes and I figured my feet could use some freshening up. So I tore open a package, took a quick whiff of the wipe (it smells like peppermint!) and rubbed the bottoms of my feet down. These are alcohol free, but it didn't take long for my feet to dry. They did the job they were intended to do and I was left with clean feet. As an added bonus, my soles seemed to be a little softer than they were before. The only downside was that I felt like my feet were internally tingling for at least half and hour after using it. The best description I can give is that my feet felt restless. I likened it to the "energizing" quality of Mary Kay's Mint Bliss lotion for legs and feet. So, even though my feet feel soft, I'm not sure I care for the tingles it leaves behind. 

Lastly, the Party Proof Lipstick. I always smell lipstick before I try it on. If it smells bad, I'm not using it, so I popped the top and inhaled. I was pleasantly surprised to be met with a scent that was reminiscent of a rollerball strawberry lipgloss I once used many years ago. Interestingly enough, my mom had the same feeling from when she was younger. We both tried on the neutral matte shade, but it looked far different on her than it did on me. My lips seemed to be a little more on the pink side, while hers seemed to have a twinge of orange, but it complimented both of us nicely! Besides the scent of nostalgia, the lipstick really moisturized my lips. I didn't even have to apply any chapstick first, which is what I usually have to do. The result was great and the color is still going strong hours later. No complaints here! 

I was pleased that this month's box made it to me far more quickly than last month and I'm really excited to try the rest of the products. I'm convinced I should just be a professional beauty products tester. It might just be my calling.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Worthless Crap.

When I was initially packing, everything I owned seemed incredibly important. Even the trivial things. The tupperware containers in the fridge was suddenly essential to my well-being, the post-it notes that were buried in the junk drawer (and never used) were things I couldn't bear to toss into the recycle pile, and the mere thought of parting with a pair of jeans I wore during my trip to Paris, but haven't worn since last winter was unthinkable. Then I moved. Then I realized I didn't need the stack of papers detailing every oil change I had on a car I no longer owned. I didn't need stacks of magazines. I didn't need every piece of clothing or costume jewelry I had accumulated over the years. I had some work to do.

To say that I'm attached to my worldly possessions could quite possibly be an understatement. When I was a child, I wanted to keep everything. Why should I have to choose between keeping one toy over another. Why couldn't I keep both? There were times if I wanted something new, I had to get rid of something old. While it was particularly traumatizing to my younger self, I'm sure it prevented me from becoming the ultimate hoarder. To this day, however, I cannot part with my things unless I'm in the proper state of mind and usually not too much at once. So what state of mind might that be? There are two, actually. One is when I am so blinding mad that I want to throw everything away or set it all on fire. The second, is when I am so sad and upset that I want to throw everything away because I don't care about anything anymore. Truth be told, either state of mind really has the same effect.


When I sorted through what was coming home and what was going into storage, I realized I had a lot coming home with me, even though I was able to get rid of three large shopping bags of clothing while I was packing. And that was just because. I wasn't mad, I wasn't sad, I was getting rid of a few things I didn't need anymore or no longer suited my fashion sense. Then I got home and realized that my walk-in closet was enabling me to be a shopaholic and I should have probably implemented the rules of "get rid of it if it hasn't been worn in a year" or "bring something in, take something out". Unfortunately, I hadn't done any of those things because I didn't need to at the time. Then I returned to my 5ft closet and I knew I would soon be facing another battle. Luckily for me, the emotional roller coaster of moving allowed me to disconnect without becoming an angry bitch or a mopey crybaby and I began to toss things out left and right. It really is all a bunch of worthless crap, but so much of it holds meaning to me that it's slightly embarrassing. I probably should have gotten rid of everything and started fresh, but it would've been impossible for me to do. Instead, I started a donation pile of clothing, accessories, and a single pair of shoes (because asking me to part with my shoes is just absurd). I could still comb through my drawers and hangers a few more times, but I feel good about what I've done so far. Like I said, I can't do everything all at once. It makes me uneasy. I still have yet to figure out where to keep my bulky sweaters until I need them for winter and what items should have probably gone to storage in the first place, but I'm working it out. I'll get there. I just need to work a little more quickly so I don't have to be surrounded by the chaos of partially unpacked boxes and bags and then I can finally relax.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Temporary Digs.

When Moving Day finally arrived on Sunday, I was surprised I was managing to keep myself together without too much anxiety. I actually slept fairly decently the night before despite waking up every hour. So, when I was up and showered and waiting for everyone to arrive at 7AM, I felt pretty good. That is until the moving truck pulled up and mild panic set in. Moving Day was suddenly a reality that I was physically prepared for, but not entirely mentally prepared for. I thought I had dealt with the demons of moving, but apparently I had only suppressed them.

My seester, bless her heart, brought me a much needed caffeine fix that I was able to sip on throughout the process. Without it, I might not have made it. Honestly. All was going well and the many hands that came to help were picking up boxes and moving them downstairs to the sidewalk, which enabled me to zone out a bit and go on autopilot so I wouldn't have to think too much about what I was doing and what was taking place. My mom apparently saw that I was not myself, though at the time I thought I was just fine. It wasn't until about forty-five minutes into the moving process that I found myself entirely overwhelmed. I was returning from my dad's truck where I was placing items inside that were going home rather than into storage when I heard my name being called. First of all, it was nerve-wracking because it was early and I knew we were likely disturbing my sleeping neighbors, but then it became more stressful because everyone was yelling my name. And then everyone was telling me my dad needed me even though I could easily hear him myself, and I was answering him, but he couldn't hear me responding from downstairs. So I made my way upstairs where my dad asked me about some boxes I still had in my room. They were things I decided I would just come back for, but he said we should just load them up so I didn't have to come back...and that's when I started to lose it. I very suddenly felt the impact that I was leaving. It caught me off guard and I struggled to hold back the tears, but a few managed to slip out despite my efforts. I needed a few minutes to pull myself back together and I did. Luckily, my dad was there to hug me and hugs followed from my mom and my seester. I took some deep breaths, wiped my eyes, and trudged on. There would be no turning back now.

The moving is always a little stressful, but overall the day was fairly painless. Everyone was in good spirits, there weren't too many hitches to overcome, and everything fit into the storage unit I had reserved back in May. The icing on the cake was that my king size bed, oversized dresser, and one of my oversized nightstands fit into my room. It was basically a mini miracle. Even though it seems a little cramped at the moment, I think it's going to be alright. I have paintings hanging up and it's actually quite cozy. I know this is only going to be temporary, but in the meantime, I'll be enjoying the comfort of my old room.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Simple Pleasures

Now that Moving Day is nearly here, I really have to ramp up my efforts to get everything organized and ready for 7AM Sunday morning. It's going to be a doozy. Tomorrow I'll be attending my cousin's baby shower, too, so that's going to cut into my preparation time, but I'm confident I'll be able to make it all work. Fingers crossed! So, in light of leaving the condo that has been my home for the past three years, here are some things I will NOT be missing.

Photo found here
There should really be a book (or at the very least a brochure) about being courteous to your neighbors when living in an apartment-like setting. It's astonishing how people can have such little regard for others who live around them. For example, don't slam the front door (or your walk-in closet door for that matter). Plain and simple, it's loud and it's rude. Also, make an effort to walk around lightly when you live above someone. I have personally experienced the joy of hearing my heavy-footed neighbor stomp around like Godzilla at all hours of the night. The icing on the cake is when he decides it's a good idea to kick off his heavy shoes one at a time and let them fall noisily to the ground, which is also my ceiling. This is especially great when I'm already having trouble sleeping because of....

Asshole Train Conductors.
Photo found here
I try to keep the cursing to a minimum, but even I have my limits. I know there are rules about sounding the horn when approaching a crossing and that they're set in place for a reason, but let's be honest, unless there's a car parked on the train tracks, there is literally NO reason reason for a conductor to blare the horn for so long and so loudly at 3AM except for their own sadistic pleasure. Some conductors are more courteous than others, but it's a rarity. It truly makes me want to find out where they live, sit outside of their house while they're trying to sleep, and blare obnoxious music or randomly sound a blow horn. Or both. The train is a touchy subject for me and even though I'll still hear it where I'm going, it'll be far enough away that I won't be able to see the passengers on the Amtrak train from my bedroom window while I'm getting dressed after I take my morning shower and...

Fight for Normal Water Temperatures.
Photo found here
I have yet to take a shower in my place and have the water stay at the same temperature I put it at. Quite honestly, there are times when I turn the knob to make it warmer and it gets colder. And vice versa. Then you have neighbors who decide it's a perfect time to do laundry or take a shower themselves and you have to fight for to get your temperature back to normal. You want it to stay there? No chance. You have to deal with it and occasionally experience a wicked hot or icy cold stream of water at random. Except now I won't have to. Now, if someone decides to do the dishes or water the lawn while I'm in the shower, I know who to take it up with. 

Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some things I'm going to miss about living alone (like being able to walk around in my skivvies whenever I like), but I'm still looking on the bright side knowing that I'll be saving money and my family will be close by.


Thursday, August 8, 2013


Whenever I am in the midst of chaos, I want to paint. I want to collage. I want to draw. I want to drop everything that is important, that has a deadline, that is confining me to "real life" and I want to create art. So instead of continuing my quest to pack up all of my worldly possession last night, I did something that I felt was equally as important - I tore pictures out of magazines. Well, pieces of pictures, anyway. And in my defense, I'll be recycling said magazines as soon as I'm done going through them, so it's sort of contributing to my packing progress.

Now I can appreciate a good fashion ad or campaign spread. The time and energy that is poured into these creative endeavors in order to grace the pages of a fashion magazine is astonishing. The end result is beautiful. But once I stop admiring the photographers skill at capturing the perfect moment, when I stop admiring the designer's genius, when I stop admiring the set design and the overall vision of the shoot, my focus changes and I see the smaller aspects of the shot. I see the textures. I see a section of a photo that has white painted brick. I see a corner of an ornate gold frame. I see gritty asphalt. I see the minute details that helped pull the shoot together, even though the main focus is obviously the clothing. And while some people may say the model is the focus, the reality of things is that he or she is a prop used to display the product and help bring it to life. But that's a whole different story.

I tear out these pieces to create something different. You might say that it's not really my own work since I didn't produce the material I'm working with, but I'd argue that it's simply appropriation. I tend to use things that aren't going to be blatantly recognizable in the sense that you won't know exactly where I plucked that flower from or what photo those planks of weathered wood were originally from. Like the birthday card I made for Jenn, you won't necessarily be able to tell me where each of those red textures came from, but you could probably figure out what publication I took the jellyfish from if you did enough research. One of my favorite places to pick textures from though, is the Restoration Hardware catalogue. It's a gold mine for textures, which is where this stack came from.

Collage isn't new to me. I've been making them for well over 10 years and as an Art major in college, I did my fair share of projects, like these blocks, which were from a series of 12.

While these aren't necessarily my best pieces, they were appropriate for what I was working on then. I certainly feel as though the aesthetic quality of my work has evolved over time, which could be because I'm putting more emotion into what I do these days rather than merely fulfilling an assignment.

I currently have a plethora of paper pieces just waiting to be used. I just need to find the time and the inspiration to complete something. That time seems to be now, but with everything I still need to accomplish before Sunday, it wouldn't be very wise for me to start assembling collages just yet. If only there were a way for me to be a full time artist, I think I'd be a much happier individual.


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

You're So Vain

Now that I have my new car, I'm kind of itching to get a vanity plate. I don't need one, but it'd be better than the generic plate that's on there currently. Unfortunately, most of the totally amazing ones I've come up with have already been taken. Figures. But, I do have a few ideas floating around in my head that are potential keepers. Truth be told, I've been spending an exorbitant amount of time on DMV's website trying to figure out what's available and what's already been thought of and used. I've got a list going, which I'll eventually have to narrow down, but I'm still hoping to have that "aha" moment when I figure out the perfect personalized plate. In the meantime, here are some slightly humorous, slightly odd, and slightly random vanity plates from Terribly Awesome Vanity Plates:


Monday, August 5, 2013

Art & Wine

Call it what you want to call it, but I will only ever call it the Fremont Art & Wine Festival. I'll likely drop off the "Fremont" part unless you aren't from the area, but anyone who actually calls it the Fremont Festival of the Arts is obviously a newbie. 

Moving on...

I spent not one, but TWO days at the festival. I went with my parents on Saturday morning, which proved to be beneficial because I walked away with a sweet new Bailey of Hollywood fedora style hat that my mom so graciously bought for me.

Bailey of Hollywood
I stopped at a killer t-shirt booth and bought a super soft silkscreen T made by Headband Apparel (they're on Facebook). All of the screen printing is done in Downtown LA, the vintage designs are great, and I really liked the fact that the artist, Damien Le Ballister, included some his own designs as well. Not to mention that they've been selling some at ModCloth, which I think is a pretty big deal. I loved my shirt so much that I wore it to the festival the following day when I went back with my seester. 

I knew I had to make a stop there again, not only because I wanted to show Damien how much I loved my new shirt already, but also because there was another tank I couldn't get out of my head. In fact, I actually had a dream that he had sold out of nearly every top there, so I was a little anxious to get back, but I kept my cool and moseyed through the booths. As we leisurely strolled I got just about as many compliments on my shirt as I did on my hat the day before! I was a walking advertisement and I made sure I directed everyone to his booth. It's just such a shame that I can't get away with wearing them at work! I literally want to live in these shirts. I had to rein in my urge to buy one of everything, but I have a feeling I'll be looking for a way to add to my collection in the future. 


Friday, August 2, 2013

Simple Pleasures

What a week. Thankfully I'll be relaxing soon enough. Here are my simple pleasures: 

Cruising Down 84
Whether I'm going east through the canyon or west through Woodside towards La Honda, 84 is one of those routes that I absolutely love. There's just something about the winding roads, the smell of the woods, and the cool air that makes me perfectly content. Now that I've got a convertible, the thrill of the drive is intensified. Looking forward to cruising through there more often with the sun shining down on my face and the wind in my hair. 

Blue Roses
I love seeing crazy colored carnations, but I think these roses really take the cake today. They're surprisingly cheerful and they smell amazing. Just what I needed to brighten up my desk! 

New Glasses
Every two years I get a free eye exam and a credit towards glasses and a prescription. Luckily for me since my vision is nearly perfect, I don't really need to wear them all the time. Although I do have a slight astigmatism, so it makes night driving a little bit harder for me, which is when I generally wear my glasses. Of course I want to take full advantage of the deal, so I after my exam I went shopping for new frames! These are the geekiest ones I tried, and while I liked them (Calvin Klein is one of my brands), I think I'll be getting the pair of Ray-Bans I scoped out instead. 


Thursday, August 1, 2013


I've reiterated it time and time again how much I love samples, and I'm sure by now most people are aware of the wonderfulness that is Birchbox. If you aren't aware, you should be. 5 samples delivered straight to your mailbox for ten bucks.


In this month's box I received:

Coola cucumber moisturizer with SPF 30. 
Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm for Lips.
Marcelle BB Cream in Golden Glow
Number 4 Super Comb Prep & Protect leave-in conditioner.
TanTowel self-tan towelettes. 

If they hadn't included a card with the products, I immediately would have tossed aside the Dr. Lipp product based on the name alone. Originally made for nursing moms, it's apparently a lip balm that you can dab onto parched lips. So, if I can get over the "Nipple" in the name, I guess it'll be alright. I still haven't tried it, but since I'm cruising around in a convertible now, my lips are ultra vulnerable to the sun and wind. It might be worth a try.

I'm not one for self-tanning products, so I may or may not use the towelettes, but we'll see. Maybe on a weekend when I don't have to see anyone in case my legs end up looking like a zebra.

The leave-in conditioner is my friend. Sometimes I need a little extra help smoothing out my tangly tresses after a shower and this stuff does the trick. The extra bonus is that it's sulfate-free.

The real showstopper in this box is the Marcelle BB Cream. When I saw Golden Glow on the front I had high hopes. When I opened it up and saw the color, I knew it was going to be a perfect match. When I actually applied it to my skin without moisturizing first and it blended in beautifully, I knew I was in love. So in love that I've already ordered the full size product. That's right. The Birchbox did what it was designed to do - make you buy the full size product. I nearly bought two, but I reigned my shopping impulse back in and decided one was enough. For now. As long as they carry it, I hope to keep buying it. It's a great alternative to my usual foundation. Some days I just don't feel like wearing a lot of makeup and this is a nice compromise to that. Not to mention it's perfect and light-weight for summer.

This box basically rocks. My sole complaint is that it took so dang long to get to me. Hopefully it won't take quite so long next time! 

Looking forward to what's in store for next month!