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.)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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The reverse loft

I'm all about the current trend of small space living--as a Conversation and Resource Studies minor I often felt depressed after my classes about all the things we're doing wrong as a human race to our planet.  So it makes me happy to think about all the things we're doing right!  And as a bonus, these small space living arrangements are often artfully designed, making them functional and beautiful.

I'm especially loving the reverse loft--I remembered seeing Charlie's space on Girls, with a bed below, closet to the side, and space on top for work (the first two photos).  While he might need a little more space for the bed ;), the idea was nearly flawlessly executed by Production Designer Laura Ballinger.  It utilizes space without having the difficulties of cleaning the sheets of a loft bed!  Although there is something undeniably cozy about the top bunk...

images via 1 2 3 4 5 6

Monday, March 17, 2014

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Sushi night

^^ our masterpieces!! 

my new favorite way to have edamame... sesame oil + lemon

cuteness provided by Bodhi 

^^ my rolls!  not going to wine a beauty contest... but hey, they tasted delicious.

Zack's family is an all-around fantastic bunch: they're friendly and outgoing and so welcoming, I was quickly accepted as a part of their extended family.  But my favorite thing about them is their love of food and cooking... dinner parties are a weekly occurrence and I look forward to every single one.  Each sibling & both parents are foodies and acclaimed chefs in their own right; Bob is the master of the BBQ, Gail fastidiously tends to her garden for the freshest veggies, Rob brings the best of his personal experiments to dinner (his buffalo chili recipe is apparently to die for), Michelle somehow makes the healthiest food taste ridiculously delicious (she makes the type of stuff served at vegan restaurants, but it always tastes better than any veggie restaurant I've been to), Tyler whips up the most amazing & stiff drinks (and acts as expert sommelier), and Zack supplies top notch prepping skills and adds the perfect (read: way too much for a normal person) amount of garlic into every dish.  Am I the luckiest to get to call these folks a second family or what?!  My stomach is the happiest, that's for sure.

Their infamous dinner parties range from widely attended Thanksgiving, complete with turkeys raised on their property to simple yet equally delicious BBQ nights with plenty of tasty produce from Gail's garden.  But my favorite has to be sushi night: a few birthdays ago the siblings gifted Tyler a high quality sushi knife and family dinner has never looked the same again!  Sushi night involves picking up caught-that-day fish from the Santa Barbara Fish Market, making plenty of rice to go around, preparing some veggies for the rolls, and tempura-ing up a storm.  Then it's a free for all!  Ever wanted to design your own custom roll?  Yep, it's bomb.  While they don't look quite as pretty as what you'd find at a restaurant, they taste just as good.  This time my favorite was a tuna roll with asparagus, mango, avocado, cilantro, and a chipotle sauce, but I'm also a fan of making vegetarian rolls or just going simple with nigiri.  We have a blast putting together unique combos then sharing it all; Zack likes to spice it up with seriously random ingredients (he tried goat cheese once... not for me!).  Best part?  It only costs $5 a person... much better than $15 a roll!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

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Vacation from a vacation

"It's more fun in the Philippines."  We saw this phrase splashed all over photos of white sand beaches, towering rice terraces, lush jungles, and turquoise water, as part of a marketing campaign from the Tourism Board of the Philippines.  When your Mondays are spent eating mango pancakes, lounging on the beach, enjoying the perfect warm water temperature, and then catching the sunset with 2-for-1 beers, I'd have to agree, it's more fun in the Philippines!

Although I spent most of my six month trip in Southeast Asia solo, I was joined by my boyfriend Zack for three lucky weeks in the Philippines.  We started off in the maze of Manila, the most densely populated city in the world, but soon got a plane (with handwritten boarding passes, lest with think we were back in America) off to the idyllic beaches of Boracay, a small island in the Visayas.  While I had heard it was touristy, overcrowded, and had a Starbucks (the horror!), we couldn't pass up the postcard white sand and perfectly blue water.  Awarded the "Best Island in the World" honor from Travel and Leisure in 2012, the throngs of tourists were worth it--it didn't disappoint.

Lazy days started with made-to-order breakfast in our guesthouse (Dave's Straw Hat Inn, highly recommended!), with the obvious choice being mango or banana pancakes.  Next up was scuba diving for Zack (I convinced him to complete his PADI Open Water Certification while there, threatening a break up if he didn't), some serious sun tanning/reading for me, another slowly enjoyed meal, usually on the beach, more swimming/diving/laying like a beached whale, and then my favorite part of the day, watching some of the most epic sunsets I've ever seen with beers + whiskey at the kooky German bar.  I mean... tough life.

While of course the white sand and gorgeous turquoise beach was the main draw, the hodge podge group of expats and their bars and restaurants gave Boracay a quirky culture of it's own.  We stayed in Station 3/Angol area, which is the least developed and thus least touristy of White Beach.  Nights were spent at Bei Kurt Und Magz, the aforementioned German bar, for sunset happy hour (they were also the ONLY place I could find American Sriracha the whole six months, I unsuccessfully tried to buy a bottle from the brusque German owner who said he had to import them from Germany), then on to Red Pirates for the best BBQ, friendly crowd, and true island vibes (reggae and strong drinks included), or Cowboy Cocina for trivia night, populated by old, white men and their harem of young, Filipino women.  While we lost trivia night, we did win (a wine bottle!), for best name: I Thought I Was Smarter Than This.

Ahh, take me back.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

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Grand Central Market, round 2

More photos of the market... I couldn't fit them all in one post!  I took my Fujifilm x100s and while I'm still trying to learn my way around it, I have to say I'm already smitten.  The silent shutter is golden, the manual dials are really fun, and of course it's just a great looking camera.  My only complaints so far are that ISO is kind of annoying to change (pretty sure I can fix this in my settings though), and that when I've used automatic shutter speed the photos come out a little underexposed (which is easily fixed in Lightroom, or by doing manual exposure).  I LOVE using the electronic viewfinder and the battery life is surprisingly awesome (I was nervous it would run out on my tour, but it lasted and haven't charged it since despite using multiple times), and of course, the small size is wonderful.  It's so light!  It fits in my smallest purses!  And people barely notice you're taking photos of them... sly for street photography.

Okay, didn't mean for this to turn into a mini review of the x100s but it did so here you go. ;)  

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