Tuesday, December 30, 2014

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chilling out in granada

Upon arrival in Granada, I got my first taste of the "good vibes" that Lonely Planet mentioned so often in their "Central America on a Shoestring" guide.  Best known as a town to wander aimlessly, partake in cafe culture, see colonial architecture, and easily access lakes and volcanoes, I practiced the art of relaxation throughout my few days in the city.  As I mentioned in my first post about Nicaragua, I kind of just showed up without a plan--no idea how to get anywhere from the airport, very little conversational Spanish, and only a vague plan as to how to spend the next few days.  Just my luck: Granada is the perfect place to enjoy having no plans at all.

Sightseeing highlights from a very light-on-sightseeing few days: crumbling churches, yellow bright churches, stuttering through a $7/hour one-on-one Spanish lesson, cooling down from the humidity with an aqua fresca in Parque Central (the main town square), spending some quality time with a glass of sangria and a new book at the Garden Cafe, communicating in sign language at the Cafe de Sonrisas, a hammock factory/coffee shop employing deaf locals, plenty of hammock time at my hostel, and banana pancakes every morning for breakfast (with a smile and nostalgia for the Banana Pancake trail in SE Asia).

Beating the heat with a watermelon juice (or Tona, come 5 o'clock), book in hand, while lounging in a hammock, is probably the best way to spend a Wednesday I can think of.  Especially when you're wearing a swimsuit, escaping a frigid December back home!

Monday, December 22, 2014

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is it just me...

or is Zara killing it right now?!

I want everything.

embroidered jacket

glitter booties (aka the ysl knockoffs everyone should buy)

faux leather fringed jacket

Image 6 of LOW-RISE SKINNY JEANS from Zara
patch skinny jeans

messenger bag with metallic fastener

buckled moleskin mini skirt

high-heeled leather boot

side note/slightly related: I am having a major 70s moment rn.  I blame this Instagram (and this one too)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

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mucho gusto, nicaragua

I just got back from Nicaragua!  It was amazing.  I want to move there now.

So remember how I made these lofty New Year's resolutions? Lol.  Although actually I just re-read them and I think I didn't do too bad (no BM though).  I kept thinking about them throughout the year, and my #1 was to visit a new country.  I have this sort-of-kind-of goal of traveling to 30 countries by the time I'm 30 (rule: airports don't count), and to make that really happen I need to stay on top of it and not go a year without a new country.

So when it was November and I didn't have any plans (and not many vacation days) I started to worry.  I did my time report, which left me with 3 days to spend by the end of December.  Cue the Airfare Watch Dog Alerts to like 6 countries, close monitoring of Skyscanner, random browsing of my "Caribbean Islands" Lonely Planet, frantic emails attempting to persuade friends and/or family members to come with.  First one friend wanted to come, then another, then neither, then my parents considered it... half-assed itinerary research continued and then all of a sudden I saw one of my alerts appear for half-price, from JFK to Managua for $408.  Where was Managua again?

After no real answers from potential travel partners, I took it as a sign to commit to Managua, and bust out the "Central America on a Shoestring" travel guide instead, and read up on Nicaragua.  One spontaneous afternoon I clicked through, booking a flight 3 weeks out.  My lackadaisical approach continued: I kind of absent-mindedly ignored the idea of practicing my very rusty Spanish skills, didn't read much more than a few paragraphs about each destination in Nica, and packed a few bathing suits but no flip flops the night before.  I booked 1 night in a town 2 hours away from the airport, and hoped I could figure it out in broken Spanglish when I landed.  (I have to be honest: THIS IS SO UNLIKE ME.  I work in PR, if you know anything about that, it means I am usually highly organized, a planning freak, prepared for every best and worst situation.  I think SE Asia truly changed me! Slash work is stressful and makes me lazy.)

Despite my carefree/careless planning for this trip (which made me worried I wouldn't have a great trip, see effects of vacation planning anticipation on happiness aqui), I HAD THE BEST TIME EVER.  Nicaragua is amazing--it's one of my favorite places I've ever been.  I've told this to everyone whose asked upon my return, and find describing why I loved it so much very difficult.  I'm kind of reduced to "so many good vibes there!!~~" which is a seriously lame description.  Lo siento!

Here's another attempt, picture this: "Wake up and look out your window to greenery and an ocean view.  Head to breakfast, where a fresh fruit smoothie is $1, huevos rancheros another $1, or maybe some iced coffee from the coffee plantations a few hours inland.  Power nap in a hammock until the next activity, but no rush--at 1pm you get picked up in a truck to ride 30 minutes through pastoral countryside and then a jungle to the beach.  Surf's up!  The waves are just right in December--small, consistent, and the water's still warm.  Post surfing, relax and watch the sunset with a $1 Tona, reggae in the background.  Ride back to town, eat some tacos with new friends, and dance to some throwback Enrique Inglesias while throwing back a rum and coke or another beer.  Tomorrow?  Rinse & repeat."

Good vibes, right?!  I could have stayed for a month.  Nicaragua, te extrano mucho. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

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Fall Wish List

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

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Organic modern

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

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I moved to New York

I moved to New York.  It's 100% awesome.  So awesome, that I'm busy, and don't blog :(  But here are some photos. And a list (below the photos), because I'm tired, because every free minute I have here I just want to sleep from being out and about, and not sit at a computer any more than I do at work.  (Also, I fail so much at ever getting more than 6 hours of sleep.  Tonight I decided to skip wine night because I wanted to grocery shop and edit photos and blog, and then I sat on the couch and talked on the phone and now I'm still only getting 6 hours of sleep. Wah)

 ^^ i work near the flatiron and every time i walk by it i kind of pinch myself.  is this real? this is my life now? YES. yay

^^ when i first saw photos of the highline all overgrown i couldn't believe it/couldn't wait for it to ACTUALLY look like that.  guess what?  it does!!!  dreams do come true 

^^ yay, friends! friends whose birthdays i haven't celebrated with in awhile, it's great to live close enough to celebrate again

^^ springtime in new york is really as magical as they all say

Six weeks in: my favorite things about New York (aka, still in my honeymoon phase and loving it)
  1. $1 pizza.  And that whole $2.75 deal for 2 slices and a soda.  I've only gotten it once or twice but the fact that it exists just makes me :).  Also the fact that there's a Two Boots across from my apartment, but that's also kind of a least favorite thing because I want Two Boots ALL THE TIME.
  2. The buildings, the architecture, the neighborhoods.  My neighborhood.  Sometimes I'm in a bad mood but then I walk outside and I'm in New York, I live in New York, and I'm not sad anymore.  Or I listen to Bleecker Street by Simon & Garfunkel and walk to Bleecker Street and I smile.  
  3. My friends!  I have so many friends from college here.  It makes me beyond happy.  I love experiencing New York with them.
  4. Wash 'n' fold laundry.  At first I freaked out a little that so many apartment buildings don't have laundry machines, then I realized that made it acceptable to pay for wash 'n' fold, and then I was hoping to live in a laundry-less building.  Paying to get my laundry done was one of my favorite things about Southeast Asia, and it's one of my favorite things about New York.  Doing laundry sucks!
  5. Walking everywhere and jamming to my Spotify (except when it's Sunday and I'm lazy and don't want to walk or take the subway to my friends' just to watch Game of Thrones when I haven't showered... then I would kill for a car).  
  6. My cute bedroom with exposed brick.  It's really small, has no natural light, and I pay double what I paid in Santa Barbara, but I love it.  It's so cozy and comfy and the closet is normal sized, and there's just enough space for a mini desk with my computer.  And did I mention exposed brick? (insert heart-eyed emojis here)
  7. SEAMLESS DELIVERY, I think this might be my favorite.  Seamless is an app that has free delivery from thousands of restaurants, it's nearly impossible to decide what you're going to get.  One morning my friends and I were hungover on their couch, and ordered bagels from Seamless from the cafe IN THEIR BUILDING.  It was awesome.  New Yorkers are so busy, but also so lazy, which I love.
  8. Bottomless brunch.  Speaking of being hungover, bottomless brunch is the bomb.  I love brunch, I love mimosas, I love day drinking.  And I love that brunch is an institution here.  
  9. The people.  After being in homogeneous Santa Barbara for a year, it's amazing to be surrounded by diversity of culture (the cuisine is a major bonus of that too!).  New Yorkers get a bad rep for being rude, and yes people are short sometimes, but occasionally I experience these wonderful moments of humility and connection with strangers that leaves far more of an impression than any rude encounter.  You're around people nearly 24/7, and it can become exhausting, but those random experiences of affinity with strangers are much more intense. (Not sure I'm describing this accurately, eek)
  10. The wealth of things to do, restaurants to eat at, people to meet, places to explore: how do you ever get bored here?!  The energy of the city is so invigorating.  My least favorite thing is to sit in my apartment!  For someone who needs new experiences to remain excited (routine is dreadful), New York is the best city in the world.  

Thursday, March 27, 2014

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The best part of moving to New York

... is packing your whole life into two suitcases, and selling the rest of it on Craigslist!


This past week has been a continuous moment of feeling like I could laugh or cry at the amount of shit I need to do & pack by Saturday.

Friday, March 21, 2014

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All glory comes from daring to begin

After fastidious job searching every night for six weeks and way too many early morning wake up calls for Skype interviews, I've accepted a job offer with an amazing company.  I'm leaving California-- I'm saying goodbye to a job I love, a boyfriend I love even more, perpetual summer in Southern California, and a spacious apartment a mere 10 minute bike ride from the beach.  I'm moving cross country by myself, 3,000 miles away from my parents and many of my friends.  But aren't all the best things in life reached at the end of your comfort zone?

In two weeks, I'm moving to New York!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

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^^ poached eggs over crab cakes over potatoes with chipotle hollandaise... uh huh honey 

While Santa Barbara has its charms, one thing I wish was more of an occasion here is brunch.  I'm a brunch fan: long mornings that turn into afternoons, an excuse for champagne before noon, elaborate breakfast that I'm usually too lazy to make myself.  Plus the added bonus is that you don't have to make or pay for two meals that day!  Win win.

But despite the limited brunch options in Santa Barbara, there's one place that makes up the lack of brunchers... Boathouse.  Perched on the edge of Hendry's Beach, one of the better dog friendly beaches in town, the setting is seriously stunning as it's the only restaurant around and the interior has a wall of windows with 180 degree views of the Pacific.  The fact that the food is amazing as well?  Icing on the cake!  While everything I've tried is great, I'm partial to the Boathouse Signature Breakfast: poached eggs over Dungeness crab cakes over a bed of breakfast potatoes and topped with chipotle hollandaise, avocado, and pico de gallo (photo 3).  Another favorite is the Chilaquiles, slow cooked pork and fried corn tortilla chips sauteed in a homemade tomatillo sauce and served with two eggs and topped with queso fresco, avocado, pico de gallo, sour cream & green onions (photo 6).  While the wait can get long on the weekends, a stroll down the beach and back to watch the happy pups playing in the water will easily take up that annoying 30 minute starvation period that defines my pre-brunch appetite.  The drinks are great (try the Summer Fresca with muddled strawberries) and the crowd is a mix of rowdy college kids, families, and in-the-know out of towners.

Really, it doesn't get more California than this.  (And that's the beauty of it.)

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