Sunday, December 7, 2014

Nesting, Part 10

You guys, it's the holidays.  Hmm, that's all I've got for now - but here's some snaps from around the hood and home of late:
Lotta's Bakery is a most excellent and unique little spot up the road from me - it's a cosy, old-school bakery and vintage store (?) catering to the divergent interests of the couple who owned it.  Also home to hands down best, blackstrap molasses gingerbread in San Francisco - a moist, dense brick of ginger goodness.
Early morning pastry rolling to bust out another one of these puppies for the slew of Christmas parties ahead.  A fair share of the grated fontina made its way into my mouth during the process.
Gigantor wreath up at our building entrance - not pictured is the huge Christmas tree in our foyer.  It really is the most wonderful time of the year.
Latest subculture discovery: HK cafes in San Francisco - I love seeing how 'fusion' foods go from this perspective, Smile House Cafe is a particularly great spot, this was my Tom Yum soup with a fancy puff pastry hat (of course).
I snuck out onto our fire escape one night to get this view of our beautiful Golden bridge, end to end.  Never gets old.

Hope your weeks have been just as well  x

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oh, hey N'awlins

I've been lax posting here, slowly catching up - first cab off the rank is reporting back on a most wonderful few days in New Orleans.

In an expat effort to get the most out of America, a buddy and I booked a last minute trip to spend three nights there.  Given that 'seeing New Orleans' largely comprises of eating and strolling the streets with a beer in hand, it was the perfect amount of time to cover this little city; and with San Francisco's weak summer, the hard beating heat was a welcome change too.  Some snaps of where our four day adventure took us:
The brass band playing onboard the last remaining authentic Steamboat Natchez (sounds like 'nachos'), a wonderful sunny afternoon floating down the Mississippi.
Mandatory beignets and cafĂ© au lait at Cafe Du Monde.  I'm not typically a fried sweet pastry fan, but these were powdery puffs of deliciousness!
An uncharacteristically tamer picture of the legendary Bourbon Street - although note that people are still wandering the streets drinking publicly from bar to bar.  Overall, I definitely recommend Frenchmen Street for authentic live jazz and a more local scene, but with the college football on and its proximity to our hotel, we always found ourselves wandering back to this frenetic strip.
Some of the prettiest balconies I'd ever seen!  I couldn't get enough of the pockets of greenery spilling over them, and just imagined how lovely it would be to sit out rocking on one of them, watching passers by - ditto the gorgeous porches which I regrettably have less pictures of.
A Sazerac at The Roosevelt's bar of the same name - apparently what many consider to be the world's first mixed drink.  It was certainly potent, but at least legions away from the Hand Grenade and Hurricane, which definitely did not need to be repeated.
Shrimp po boy from Johnny's Po-Boys in the French Quarter.  The fried oyster po boy was originally recommended to me, but this was a brunch and wasn't sure I could stomach it - this was damn tasty nonetheless!
Not pictured but recommended: catching a streetcar through the beautiful Garden Distrct for aforementioned porch-drooling, dinner at Commanders Palace (including turtle soup), the best meal by far at Cochon (book ahead of time!) - apparently anything that Donald Link does is excellent, the Frenchmen Street Art Market and the above-ground city cemeteries (note the early closing hours, which we didn't).

Another city off the list, and what a fine little one it was.  I have always believed in the kindness of strangers, thanks for your southern hospitality N'awlins.

Monday, October 6, 2014

On time

A quote that I have been marinating on for awhile now:
Crawling leaves on the streets of NYC.
"Hurrying and delaying are alike ways of trying to resist the present."

Alan Watts on the art of timing and the pleasure of presence here.

In the same camp, someone sent this to me, from Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities to me recently.  A working explanation of new pasts found by moving forward:

All this so that Marco Polo could explain or imagine explaining or be imagined explaining or succeed finally in explaining to himself that what he sought was always something lying ahead, and even if it was a matter of the past it was a past that changed gradually as he advanced on his journey, because the traveler's past changes according to the route he has followed: not the immediate past, that is, to which each day that goes by adds a day, but the more remote past. Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unpossessed places.

Beautiful words as another week begins.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

No apologies

A couple of snippets on making statements vs apologies, firstly the rise of Peggy Olson via -

And the ever excellent Tina Fey:

Speak in statements instead of apologetic questions. No one wants to go to a doctor who says, “I’m going to be your surgeon? I’m here to talk to you about your procedure? I was first in my class at Johns Hopkins, so?” Make statements, with your actions and your voice.

Somewhat related: Learning to Love Criticism.

All of these things reached my inbox over the last couple of weeks from various different sources.  I know gender equality is certainly the flavour of the season (did you see the Chanel show?) but there is substance to this groundswell, and it is relevant and necessary.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The ghost ship

Golden hour at different sides of the world.  This is bonfire time near Half Moon Bay -
- and dusk in magnificent #nofilter Sydney.
"I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us.  

There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore."

Another one from one of my favourites.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Nesting, Part 9

Two months MIA and I make a comeback with a french bulldog, stalker bougainvilleas and an aerial view of salami.  You're welcome, internet friends.
#dogsofsf continues, I found this little guy outside of Whole Foods aka my second home.  That face!
I can't seem to walk past a house overgrown with bougainvilleas without taking a photo.  What a untamable colour.
Golden hour from Alta Plaza Park.  When the sun is out I use this place as my beach, and bring a book and towel like a crazypants to sit in the sun.
Most delicious picnic on Crissy Field Beach for a buddy's birthday this weekend.  My contribution was a hungry mouth to eat this all.  It also proves you can make friends on the internet after all.
More better soon, always.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Happy feet

I know that this post will officially take me from 'quirky' to 'stalker', but I saw these happy feet enjoying the summer breeze walking home one afternoon (the block in the bottom right hand corner of the first pic is my place), and it just made me smile so big.
Thank you, owner of these tootsies.  And San Francisco, your summer ain't so bad.

Monday, July 7, 2014

LA weekend, redux

Visiting a city the second time around is always kind of nice because you can skip some of the classic touristy stuff you've done before and spend more time focussing on friends and lesser adventures, i.e. fulfilling cupcake dreams.  Additional to a 4th of July party that felt like something out of a movie, LA was a perfect escape from the fog, sharing a house with old and new friends.

My other food fantasy fulfilled: finally made it to eggslut and yes it definitely lived up to the hype!  Best scrambled eggs that I ever waited 40 minutes for. 
A stroll around Rodeo Drive, right after I got my cupcake.  Disappointingly put my camera away before I turned the corner to see a woman pushing a pram holding a dog wearing an LV collar.
The view from Griffith Park Observatory made me realise just how huge LA really is - 3.8M compared to San Francisco's 800k.  Right after this we found some friendly star gazers who showed us Saturn through their telescope.
LA - I couldn't live with you but I can't beat your weekend weather.  I'll be back soon!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

24 hours in Portland

I mentioned earlier that Portlandia is real - but outside of hipster spotting and fixie bike riding 'seeing' Portland is basically just 'eating your way through' Portland; there are some incredible eats in this city and being the fattie that I am that dictated a lot of our movements.  People really love their food here, the obsession with local produce is all too true, but refreshingly sans the San Francisco price tag.

Here's what we covered over 24 hours:

The famous longstanding Outdoor Store which is basically a man's paradise, selling everything to artisan hand knives to fishing vests.  C bought some cowboy boots from a guy who I think may have actually been a cowboy, and picked the right boots for him in one go just by looking at his feet.
Voodoo doughnuts!  This is 'Portland's official doughnut', perfectly puffed and filled with creamy goodness.  This was also the first of many times that we lined up for a specialty food (not sure whose idea that was... *shifty eyes*). 
We spent a good part of our day cycling around on fixies to explore the city - being very bike-friendly it was relatively easy to get around but do keep in mind that Washington Park is up a hill so if you're like me, get ready for some bike-walking.  This was their famous International Rose Test Garden.
As a part of our cycling around we got lost in Lower Burnside - Amanda was the friendliest local who helped us get on our way.  Lower Burnside = cute rows of vintage stores and galleries, retro side-of-the-road diners.
A specialty roll at Bamboo Sushi: the world's first sustainably certified sushi restaurant and some of the best Japanese fusion food I have ever eaten.  I recommend going to the Northwest location so you can window shop down 23rd Ave then wander back on 21st Ave for a cheeky drink at a bar.
Not pictured but also enjoyed:

Salt and Straw - pear and blue cheese ice cream - this was the second time we lined up for food
Aviary - explore the Alberta district while you're there, a bit of an emerging arts neighborhood
Boogies Burgers and Brew - in Lower Burnside, as a break from browsing vintage shops
Lovejoy Bakers - there's a few of these, if you're road-tripping, grab a flaky pastry for the road here
Stumptown Coffee - excellent coffee!  You'll be cheering to know there are multiple of these too
Voodoo Doughnuts - I know I already said this, but did I mention it's open 24 hours?!  Make an experience of it and line up at the original location on SW 3rd Ave.

Ok I'll stop now.  #nomnomnom

Monday, June 30, 2014

It just keeps arriving

Well, there goes June.

Somewhere in between my last post in May and this last day of the Australian fiscal year, I saw fireflies in Ashland, drove to Portland (Portlandia is real, but more on that later) and had a couple of weeks back in the ol' hometown, where people still run topless during 'the coldest winter in 57 years'.  Now back where people don't swim at the beach even though it's technically summer, but I wouldn't have it any other way.  New job started last week, I'm really enjoying having too many questions and no idea about anything.  I'll hopefully find lunch buddies soon too, haha.

This guy.  On the sunsetting shores of Bondi.  Magnificently #nofilter
And, of course time with this one.  This is a tired little post, more just to start breaking the drought - but I will finish with a quote from a dear friend that I am overdue posting:

'Love is a train that just keeps arriving' 
- John Berger.

And so it does.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Read / watch

So, it's been awhile.  Again, there is a direct correlation between how much I plop life updates on here and how much is going on in my actual life.  A small handful of things I have collected along the way, that have stuck with me of late -

This thoughtful animation that takes a portion of George Saunders' commencement speech on kindness:

This quote from my beloved Elizabeth Gilbert:

"Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing."

And I've been really enjoying this woman's writing recently.

Read / watch.  These are are all thinking words.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I will never tire of you

New York.

All Coachella'd out, I hopped on a redeye last week to spend a few days over in the city of my obsession.  Seeing all the popcorn trees I realised it was one year exactly since my first visit, although no less magical than the first time.  Some snaps that I took between hurried steps:
Despite some snow, spring was well and truly springing - seasons are totally a thing over here.
Finally made it out to MOMA and this guy, which I completely bypassed the first time.  Good touristy fun.
I ran into this woman at a flea market on 5th.  She asked me if I wanted to take a picture of her ducky hat (yes, obviously) and then insisted on posing with her carton of Sexy.  HONY watch out  :)
A terrible photo, but captures the moment of swinging on a rooftop bar at 1am, cocktail in hand, celebrating that we were all wearing flat shoes for Sleep No More - which, for the record, I 100% recommend but it is definitely not for the faint hearted.  Four cheese and truffle pizza followed shortly after this photo was taken, of course.
Not pictured but no less wonderful: a walk along my beloved High Line, hot dogs in Central Park and Easter breakfasts with old friends.  Making a mental note now to not let a whole year go by before my next visit.  I still love you NY!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On vunerability

This weekend was a lot of catching up on life admin - laundry, getting keys copied, having pants hemmed and also catching up on talks and videos people have sent me as 'must watches' and just hadn't gotten around to.  As a part of that I finally watched this excellent talk on the power of vulnerability by Brene Brown - also the voice behind this piece on empathy that I raved about.  

Somewhat related to Louis C.K.'s rant on just allowing yourself to be sad, she hilariously and sincerely talks about vulnerability being necessary - don't block your emotions out with a "beer and a banana nut muffin".  Ok, I'm not explaining this well, just watch it.  Then after that, watch the her follow up on listening to shame.

Good thoughts as we enter the chaos of the working week.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Back. More to come.

Phwoar.  It's been a long time between drinks on this patch of internet o'er here.
The most excellent tattoo I ever had, courtesy of a buddy and inter-office mail.
Oh, where to start?!  Since I plodded around on here there have been so many firsts: I turned 30, added Utah and Washington to my visited states, had a spell in Latin America, enjoyed the most wonderful, special engagement party of my life (well, and the only one of my life really) and I'm officially a terrible skier.  There was a lot on, but I'm back.  Much to catch up on and too many great photos that must be shared.  Expect more #laterposts and love to come.

I hope you're enjoying the start of your weekend as much as I am!  x

Friday, February 14, 2014

Google hearts

I adore the Google Valentine's Day doodle today - throughly recommend that you listen to all of the hearts, intimate snippets of love stories from all walks of life.

Happy Friday everyone!

Monday, February 10, 2014


The rain this weekend was my Day 2.  Oh how I missed the rain!  It legitimises staying in and eating soup all day.
Discovered this happiness project via a buddy at work - can you be happy 100 days in a row

Successful participants noticed their mood lifted and found themselves becoming more optimistic.  I'm not opposed to that and I also love a good #hashtag hence I figured there was nothing to lose; currently finishing Day 3 and hoping to be part of the 29% that make it through to the end.  If you like, you can follow me here.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Being robbed of choice

Studying design in undergrad, I remember reading a quote about how "good design is when the user doesn't have to make any decisions that they don't absolutely have to".
Perfection at the end of a long day.  Burrata come to me!
I was thinking about this the other night when I was meeting a buddy for dinner at Cotogna, one of my latest restaurant discoveries.  One of my favourite things is when you sit down at a bar or restaurant and you want a glass of wine and your server will make the decision for you, instead of you navigating your way through a long list which, let's face it, is really just going to be a combo of looking for the type of wine you want and making sure the price isn't completely off the charts.  "Um, white... dry?" and they do the rest.  You can get back to catching up with a friend.

It's so good to be robbed of choice sometimes.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nesting, Part 8

The first of nesting in 2014.  Some of the same, a new plant and more holiday candy.
Succulents were 50% off at my local paint store.  Needless to say I came home with a new friend over the weekend.
Ritual trip to Walgreens to check out the latest holiday candy.  Surprisingly could not find any Valentine-specific Peeps - yet Christmas and Halloween made the cut.
How many times can I say that I will never get tired of my view every morning as I scuttle down to the shuttle.  Just magnificent.  This was Saturday morning, before Karl the Fog crept in on Sunday evening.
The other side of living the expat dream: you stay up at night to write cards like these for sending.  On the upside, this letter-pressed beauty was pretty adorabubble - inside it says "it's me".
I have a thousand and one things to say about some new adventures I've been having - pirate bar!  SoulCycle!  Light graffiti! - but they will be featured in posts to come.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ok, 2014

It's a Christmas tree graveyard again, but with that comes a fresh new year.  
Seen in my hood, at my beloved golden glow hour.
This is a bit weird but I pretty much always miss my goals for the year that I'm in, but hit my goals for the year before.  I am only talking about S.M.A.R.T. goals of course, not general maturity and growing life richly and all that stuff.  I will explain it, so that in the explanation you will have some picture of how my mind throws brain cells at every day thought processes unnecessarily.

I told myself last year that I'd run a marathon.  I completely chickened out, but I ran three half marathons out of guilt (I realise that two halves make a full, but I ran the third one to account for interest over time - ha!)  In 2012, my goal was to run two half marathons.  Ergo, I will probably run a marathon this year, if I don't think about it and don't actually put it on my list of goals.  The key is that I can't actually *tell* myself I'm going to do these things, otherwise my mind revolts, but setting annual resolutions is a way of getting my brain to imagine loftier things for itself.  It just takes two years to fulfill - I'm a little slow, you see.

Anyway, the S.M.A.R.T. thing I want this year but may actually fulfill in 2015 is to write and illustrate a children's book.  Not publish it necessarily, but just write one and see where it goes.  Keeping it as the solo goal because it requires lots of steps and I'm also getting married this year.  Yes, I just realised how badly those goals sound in tandem.  No, it's too late for me to rewrite this, it's already late.  In reality I just want to tell a story about a bear, using watercolours.

Ok, enough brain cells have fallen for the cause of writing this post.  Here's to another good one!

P.s. An interesting little study in the importance of imagining your future self.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Guaranteed LOL

Someone asked me the other day if I had a YouTube clip that can guaranteed make me laugh out loud, every time - and literally, not just in typed 'lols'.  I know I'm slow on this one, but my brother sent me this a few days ago and it has been making the loops with me, it just gets funnier every time:

"And you're in *Yemen*..."
Love Kirsten Wiig.  Do you have a guaranteed IRL LOL?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Phils, again.

Does two years in a row make a ritual?  Not sure.  But after going every two years up until I was 16 (and then a big break) it does feel nice that the family faces we saw this time around were only a year older from the last.  Again we had a mix of old familiars and new adventures, and this time C even made it in time to ring in the new year.  Some snaps:
Kayaking over Pagsanjan Falls.  And by 'kayaking' I mean it wasn't rainy season and so our superfit guides had to haul our boats over the rocks where there wasn't enough water - they made it look so easy!  A highlight but not pictured was getting pulled through a waterfall on a raft.  Through a waterfall.  Drenched.
Beautifully serene infinity pool at The Farm at San Benito.  This place was amazing!  Think delicious vegan foods and different yoga and workout classes every day.  The perfect post-Christmas cleanse.
Riding tiny horses to the top of Taal Volcano and view of the Lake.  You can see from my attire that health and safety is their #1 priority over here.  There is still a gash on my leg from when my horse - named 'Papa Bear' - ran me into a tree, but the view at the top made it all worthwhile.
This was the cutest, happiest pup I have ever met.  His little tongue!  Found him in the greenhouse at Sonya's Garden where we had lunch while nursing horse-riding wounds.
Our smoky view of the city on New Years Eve, taken from a friend's apartment in Makati.  Most wonderful was having C by my side.  That, and they had a make-your-own-pork-buns at the party - I only have a vague recollection of this but apparently I was at that table all night hehe.
Not a food shot in site I know (?) but I can assure you it was the best way to welcome in the new year. Happy 2014 everyone!