Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Big Easy - Overdue post

Between my previous job and my current job, I decided to take an incredibly impulsive trip to a destination that's been haunting me (quite literally) for a long time: New Orleans.

I don't know if Anne Rice's vampire series or my palate is to blame, but I have been obsessed with NOLA since I was young. My parents were also very open-minded with food, so soul food and Cajun food entered my life early. When I lived in Texas I had the opportunity to try authentic Cajun and Creole food often (sadly because many of the dishes I had were made by cooks displaced by Hurricane Katrina) and my loyalty was cemented for life. Prior to this year I had only spent approximately 1 day in NOLA *gasp*. 8 years later and I finally touched down at Louis Armstrong airport and had the opportunity to explore on my own terms.

Of course one of our first stops was Café du Monde. I have no idea how a fried thing could be so fluffy and NOT OILY. Their beignets are not to be missed. Iced coffee really made the humidity bearable.

I bought this lovely boater hat as a souvenir from Meyer the Hatter in the CBD. Fantastic customer service, and what a collection!

Slightly crooked Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral. Check out those beautiful blue skies!

Lafayette Cemetery #1. Yes, I'm one of those that finds these historical cemeteries a fun place to visit.

Every single building was eye candy... did I even blink at all?

I mean... isn't it all so beautiful? Don't even get me started on the FOOD. The gumbo, beignets and po'boys almost killed me. I can't wait to go back.

Thursday, June 18, 2015


So many changes are happening lately, sometimes I just have to take a step back and drink it all in. After two and a half years I will be leaving my current place of work and making a change. I've been feeling in a rut lately; not really sure what I want to do and if what I'm doing makes any damn difference at all (probably not). I'm always full of questions and lately I've noticed none of them are getting answered at work, or can be answered at work. That makes me squirm. So, on to different (hopefully better?) things.

Recently I also discovered a flash drive with photos I had forgotten about -- photos from my trip to Japan in 2008. Japan's been on my mind lately due to my job searching, there were two companies I was looking at; one was the U.S. "start up" arm of a large Japanese company, the other was an American company that sources its content from Japan. So I found it ironic when I found my old photos and it brought me back to the land of the rising sun. Considering I've already been there, it's not incredibly high up on my current "must see" list, but I'm sure I'll find my way there again fairly soon with my husband.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Wedding postscript

It is true what they say; your wedding day is truly a blur. Even though you think you're living in the moment and experiencing every detail, you really aren't (can't!). Our timeline flowed smoothly without a hitch (I love it when people are on time/early) and the weather was beyond gorgeous (almost 90°!). 

Planning and executing a wedding, even a small one, on a tight budget with no MOH/bridesmaids is really difficult. It was emotionally and physically taxing. It did just reaffirm faith in myself that I can get shit done when I need/want to. Also having a supportive and loving partner who's there to back you up is really important.

I can't thank the ladies of LunaBella enough for making me, my mom and Wei look absolutely amazing and ready for photos. I have no idea what Christin did to make my old Hollywood hairstyle but it absolutely blew my mind!

Now onto the next chapter of life, but first some photos!

I can't wait to see the rest of our photos and to make our album(s)!

Ceremony: Santa Barbara Courthouse
Reception: Olio e Limone Ristorante
Photography: Anna (Jockisch) Kranzle
HMU: LunaBella 
Flowers: Kaleidoscope Flowers
Cake: Wayne Kjar/Your Cake Baker
Dress and suit: J. Crew

Monday, March 16, 2015

10 Days Until Marriage

Have I ever been this stressed in my life? Probably not. The past few months have been a whirlwind of kissing my money goodbye, ordering things for the wedding and praying they got here on time, and trying to coordinate vendors and family into one cohesive schedule. I broke out into hives (all over my ribs and lower back), scattered adult acne (thankfully gone), gained some weight (fantastic timing...) and have had at least three migraines (one of which was two days ago). Mon dieu.

O b s e s s e d. I literally waited a month for our custom tote bags to arrive, sweating profusely each day. But they're here, they don't have typos, and they're the last component of the gifts I'm making for our wedding guests --insert biggest sigh of relief of my entire life--. I ordered a few extras so I could have one myself and I plan on obnoxiously carrying it around until it's in tatters. Then I'll reorder it. I managed to find two other unique Santa Barbara favors for our guests; soap made out of wine grapes and olive oil. I'm super excited to give these away!

I still can't wrap my mind around the fact that I will be married in ten days. How old am I? What year is this? What happened to my steely resolve against marriage (children of divorce, y'all hear me?)? Wei, you are the bright sun in my day and the glittery stars in my dark sky. There's no questions as to why it never felt right or worked with anyone else. Let's do this.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Santa Barbara, eu te amo

Last week I had the pleasure of flitting down to Santa Barbara with my fiancé for a long weekend/wedding planning excursion. I have never been to SB (although I almost attended UCSB) and I was absolutely dying for a break away from the Bay Area. I was not disappointed! The drive down 101 was pleasant and the hours seemed to fly by. Road trips are probably easier when you're with someone you can constantly chat with! 

I was a little surprised when we were walking around SB and I heard nothing but Portuguese, I didn't realize there was such a large Brasilian population but it was great to hear the language regularly since I last took classes. (Next stop: SP or Rio!? Eu falo um pouco de português, mas não tem amigos brasileiros na minha cidade...)

I was wondering what these antique-looking bells on the highway were until finally I saw a sign for one that said 'Historic El Camino Real'. It's fun to imagine how people have traveled down the same road for hundreds of years, and how much it's changed.
Old Mission Santa Barbara was lovely, as I knew it would be! We took the self-guided tour around the grounds before we headed to our wedding cake tasting.

Can you say YUM? We were completely stuffed after tasting (aka devouring) our custom cake request combinations and Wayne Kjar's standard combinations.
Everything is so close to the beach in SB, we had to stop by the waterfront and take in the fantastic weather once our wedding-related tasks were done.

I'm so relieved I was finally able to see SB in person since we're having our intimate wedding there. I was a little shocked the weather was so warm for January, but I ain't complaining! Truthfully, my heart hurt a little when we left. I can't wait to go back!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

2015 - Things to do

It's not New Year's Eve yet but I've been thinking so much about 2015. There are already a few planned happy events (my wedding, honeymoon and new position at work) and I've decided I'm going to make a practical to-do list:

  • Relearn how to use a sewing machine
    I learned when I was in high school and I used to be pretty good! But over the years I had less time (and less heart) to do it, and it's gotten to the point where I've completely forgotten how to use a machine. My mom also has a brand new machine that remains untouched by either of us. No more; I want to make my own tote bags, head wraps and some clothes!
  • Open a savings account and Roth IRA
  • Buy a camera and take more photos
    I have an Olympus point-and-shoot (man is it terrible!), a Canon DSLR (great photos but it's quite heavy, especially when lugging lenses around) and of course my Samsung Galaxy phone. Funnily enough, my phone has been my go-to for memorable shots in my life. While convenient since I have it with me anyways, I do want a medium to take higher res photos and videos. I'm going back and forth between a GoPro (I'm realizing more how videos are awesome to relive experiences) or a Leica. I'm not visiting Europe for the first time without a great (hopefully lightweight?) instrument to take photos/videos!
  • Blog regularly
    My intention is not to impress anyone or even command attention with this blog, I'm definitely doing it to record my thoughts and my life to look back upon later.
To be continued!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The piecemeal wedding - thoughts

I'm getting married soon!

The process leading up to this decision was very natural and just felt right. I'm with someone who respects and loves me for who I am, we are both able to be our dorky selves 100% and we mutually came to the decision to spend the rest of our lives together in our shared home one night -- no ring proposal; no fuss.

Ages 0-21 I didn't even want to get married. Around 21-24 I had a short phase of wanting a HUGE memorable bash with hundreds of people, but that quickly faded when I realized it wasn't really me. Now that I support myself and have a better sense of self, I think I've finally found a vision for my special day that will be memorable, practical and expresses us as a couple. I'm extremely grateful to have found someone that has not only given me room to grow as an individual but also is growing with me.

I kind of enjoy being an unorthodox bride since it gives me freedom to do what I want and when I want (I'm a Sagittarius, after all). The groom-to-be and I even decided to wear our wedding bands as soon as we received them from David Yurman and seeing it on my hand gives me such joy!

Wedding colors: Gold & light blue
Location: Santa Barbara
Season: Spring
Honeymoon: Barcelona & Paris (Purposefully delayed until Fall, but booked!). Vámonos/allons-y!