I’m Baaaack!

You just can’t get rid of me! I’ve been on a moving/travel sabbatical for the past few weeks and I’m excited to be back blogging because I’ve got plenty to share. Before I introduce my new work digs (I have my own studio workshop!), explore my research on how to move cross country on a budget, and of course my last minute road trips and Los Angeles excursions, I want to start by sharing my trip across the US.

CrossCountryMoveMap

Los Angeles to Hamden, CT is quite a journey. I took my time, but didn’t “dilly-dally”. As the map shows, I started in LA and drove to the Grand Canyon. From the Grand Canyon I passed through 4 Corners (where Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico all meet) and headed on to Durango for the night. From Durango I went to Denver, CO where I stayed for several days over the Thanksgiving holiday. After Denver I spent a night in Omaha before connecting up with RISD friends in Chicago for a couple nights. I continued on to Cleveland after that, and then made my big push with the longest driving day getting me into Connecticut. This is the short story.

Here is the long story:

10817792_455883557886083_610027035_n

My friends through me the sweetest going away party at Golden Road in Glendale. So many people came and of course I was crying. After I went out for sushi at Octopus (one of my LA favs), then I spent some time freaking out and panicking instead of sleeping. I left Sunday morning after packing up the car, going for my last regular Toluca Lake walk (not my last ever- no lasts!) with my friends and then I hit the road. I cried/weeped for most of my ride to the Grand Canyon. My cheeks had the ultimate cry bath and were very pruny upon arrival.

When I left LA it was 75 and sunny and when I arrived at the Grand Canyon, it was about 22 degrees and pitch darkness. I was poorly dressed in my tee shirt and yoga pants (perfect comfy driving attire but not perfect winter clothing). But this was all fixable with a winter jacket (thank you, Uniqlo!), a hot meal and a cold beer.

10326415_1505040636434287_1730050933_n10817857_805660969480510_2017350428_nI was very proud of myself, as the following morning I woke up at 6a to get dressed (in many many layers) and make the 7am sunrise at the South Canyon rim. As the child next to me said “I’m freezing my eyeballs off!!”. My sentiments exactly.

After watching the sunrise and tracking down a warm english muffin and coffee, I hit the road as I had a 7 hour drive ahead and so much to see along the way! One thing I didn’t realize is that the drive through Arizona takes you right by Monument Valley. It didn’t make sense for me to go there (the entrance was actually still a drive away and it would add many hours to my day), but it was fun seeing some of the “monuments” along the way. And this way I was seeing them for FREE! I cheated the system.

10755905_1562754047270999_1984731859_n

As I made my way out of Arizona and onto Colorado, I had to stop in at one of my favorite childhood vacation spots: 4 Corners. 4 Corners is where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona meet and it’s gotten a whole lot fancier since I was a kid. As a child this was all dirt with a plaque in the center (where of course I sat, so my butt was in 4 states at the same time), with wooden shopping stalls surrounding the plaque. It has gotten a whole lot fancier:

10809543_1501063186840049_1570193732_nIt was freezing and windy so I didn’t spend a whole lot of time walking around.

10802657_1498147110449912_1056502716_n

As I got closer to Durango, the weather and landscape changed pretty dramatically.
Thankfully while it was snowing in the air, not much was sticking so the roads weren’t too bad. I made my way into Durango after dark and enjoyed a beer and dinner at Steamworks Brewing company before making my way to my hotel and crashing for the night. Durango is an adorable town and I highly recommend visiting it.

The next morning I left around 9am and made the trek into Denver. I was most nervous about this day, so I allowed a lot of extra time and took a not-very-direct route to avoid snowy mountains. If this was summer I totally would have gone to Aspen and driven in through the Rockies and it would have been beautiful. Since this is December and I had all my belongings crammed into my little mazda 3, I opted for the longer but less mountainous route.

10784927_323932951131876_1937589053_n10831906_289895434543168_1413373203_n10832177_831249406917734_522342244_n1558481_773640266666_1075878021001016580_n

But I made it! And in record time too. No snow and no ice, yesss! Above you can see some images from my several days in Denver. I stayed with my uncle (bottom right) who was very generous and always the perfect host. We even got to go to a night showing of the Chihuly exhibit at the Denver Botanical Gardens (top right). It was a really fun visit. I even got to meet up with a childhood friend who just moved to Denver, and I’ve known her since nursery school days. Ah, to be young again.

10831851_724688220946970_228980403_n

But alas, I had to continue on my journey so I cleaned off the mazda and drove through Nebraska (above) to get to my destination for the night, Omaha. The following day I was up early to continue through more of a similar landscape as I went through Iowa and eventually made my way to Chicago!

10843999_493302704142888_1625228574_n

In Chicago I have some RISD friends I was excited to see. I also stayed at this awesome, cute and cheap airbnb in Wicker Park (message me if you want the info on it). Since I love walking and had been cooped up driving the past few days, it felt so good to park my car and just spend the day walking around the city and poking my head into the cute shops.

10838742_1513769062231750_199465722_n

I ended up walking all the way to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and saw the David Bowie exhibit. They were very fussy about cell phones/ cameras since this is the  only US stop for the exhibit, so sadly this is the only photo above. It was a very fun exhibit featuring a lot of his most famous outfits/costumes, Bowies lyric notes, and footage showing his progression as an artist. This exhibit really is only about Bowie as an artist and I wish we got more of an idea of his personal life. I would have loved to see photos of David Bowie eating breakfast in his kitchen on a Saturday morning, or anything to show that he’s human. Does he shop at Ikea?

After 2 fun nights visiting with friends in Chicago, it was time for me to continue onward to Cleveland. Why Cleveland? I’m glad you asked. In the tv show 30 Rock, Liz Lemon visits Cleveland and everyone asks if she’s a model because things are just different there. I was hoping to have my Liz Lemon moment in Cleveland. Also they have the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and were the natural place to stop and spend the night before getting into Connecticut.

10832017_1509904932612277_157743826_n10848176_404059413077943_1978144327_n

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is right next to a sport stadium (football I think??) and is an awesome pyramid architectural shape. I took SOOO many photos in there, but I don’t want to bore you so I figured I’d share he most impressive iconic item they had (in my opinion): Michael Jacksons glitter glove. They had much more Michael Jackson clothing, about 8 of Beyonce’s outfits from different music videos and events. They also have a wall dedicated to the Rolling Stones and to the Beatles. This was a very fun place to visit and I highly recommend it to people driving through Cleveland. As for the sporting arena… sure, I bet you could visit that too.

10848170_907283672630092_1367525894_n
I made my last drive from Cleveland to Connecticut, which was the longest stretch. I knew it might be an 8 and a half hour drive but with traffic in New York and bathroom/coffee stops, it took about 10 hours. Bummer. But at least when I made it to CT I got to sleep in my own bed, and get started on all of the projects I have going on and there are SO MANY! Now it’s time to apartment hunt (anyone know of any apartments for rent in East Rock, New Haven?), setup my shop in Meyer Wire, and get going on all my design projects!

Next up: This week I’ll be back-tracking a bit to tell you about my road trip up the coast from LA to Portland and back. I’ll also do a post dedicated to the cheapest way to move cross country. And lastly, I’ll introduce you to my new digs: Meyer Wire. I’ll share all of what it entails. I hope moving forward to start updating you about Connecticut events and doing “Do This Today” posts, although it’l take me some more time to amerce myself in the scene to pass along all the details.

Balboa Island + Newport Beach

10735447_565794846885023_1195723414_n

Sorry I’ve been MIA for the last week. Since announcing my move back east I’ve been trying to check a lot off my to-do list. Moving is such a big undertaking. I’ll do a post talking about the most economical way to move in the future. I also owe you a post all about my northern road trip from LA to Portland and back. The trip was beautiful and we did it on a very tight budget. I swear all of this is coming soon.

10693317_1522374884669385_669156153_n10735057_564552776980242_426105646_n

In addition to moving, I’ve been trying to enjoy my last few weeks in LA. One place I’d been curious about seeing is Balboa Island, Newport Beach area. They talked about it a lot on Arrested Development. My friend Jamie and I made the trek down and it was the perfect day. It was 75 degrees, and sunny with a light breeze. We walked a full loop of the island, stopped in some cute shops on the main drag and enjoyed a yummy lunch before heading to Newport Beach. We walked the pier and boardwalk before sitting down and watching the sunset. It was such a gorgeous beach day.

925951_332950383554431_1502618425_n

Celebrating July 4th in Big Bear (Mountain-Style)

Did everyone have a fabulous 4th of July? Did you check out my instagram? I was in Big Bear for the 4th of July an it was AWESOME! A bunch of friends chipped in on renting THIS cabin from HomeAway and boy was it fun.

Only 2 hrs outside of LA, it felt like a real getaway without being too difficult to get to. I drove up after work on Thursday the 3rd. I stopped off at a Ralphs to get some food essentials to share with the gang. I arrived around 10pm on Thursday evening to see our awesome bear-themed cabin. Everyone was in the hot tub when I arrived.

The house had a master suite, 1 bedroom with a queen bed, and a bedroom with full size bunk beds and another queen bed. We also had two sitting areas, each with fold out couches. Lets just say our huge group fit comfortably. Everyone brought some food along and we ate each meal at the house (a money saver) plus it was super fun cooking and helping prepare the food. I’m not a good chef, so my way of helping was on the cleaning end.

The cabin was also so full of activities: a hot tub, ping pong/pool table, picnic table on a big deck, foosball table, and giant dining room table which was perfect for boardgames. One of my favorite things to do on any vacation is get up early and do a neighborhood walk. This was especially nice in Big Bear, as we were on the south side of the lake in a great walking neighborhood. There were several spots with views of the lake.

On Friday our first big activity was renting a pontoon boat! We walked to the docks, then realized we made a reservation at a different dock and raced over to the right dock (on the north side of the lake).

10474974_1510286659190406_126432708_n

By the first dock was a pirate boat for rent! That was a bit more than we needed, but I still needed to take a picture with my boyfriend (above), Black Beard.

10513782_1439722169635822_519158919_n

After making our reservation at the right dock we took the boat out on the lake for 2 hours of pure boating bliss. We packed sandwiches and snacked out on the water. Our plan was to swim (technically not allowed) but the water was so cold we just put our feet in. The clouds came and went and we even saw a rain storm brewing on the mountain.

At 2pm we made our way back to the cabin where it became hot tub/shower/nap time for most of us.

Around 5pm we walked to the Alpine Slide at Magic Mountain where for 4 dollars you ride a chair lift up he mountain and sled your way down.

10488704_254684954739196_1710033299_n

Here’s a shot (above) of some of the group preparing to sled down. Super fun and super cheap! I highly recommend this even for young kids visiting the lake. We also had tremendous views from the top while waiting in line.

10514143_553682098075561_331154815_n

After Alpine Sledding, and a bbq at the house, we packing up our to-go drinks and walked to the water for an excellent view of the fireworks show over the lake.

10474953_265898816931132_879986866_n

The next morning while making breakfast we experienced a pretty big earthquake! The cabin was a’shakin! After the quake, some rain storms rolled in so we decided to have a big game of 7 Wonders at the giant dining-room table. It was a lot of fun, especially playing in teams due to the large number of people participating.

Another great group game we discovered on this trip is Quickwits. It was developed by a coworker of mine and is a great party game. We ended up playing this multiple times throughout the weekend. It’s got a similar vibe to Cards Against Humanity, is super easy to pickup, and doesn’t take too much focus/time so it was a great “lets play around while the food’s grilling” game.

Once the storms passed, we made our way out for a short hike. Turns out the hike required pretty much off-roading in order to reach it. My Mazda 3 was SUPER not happy about it. But we did get some exercise eventually, which was the goal. And it was on this hike where I took the above photo. You can see the clouds started rolling back in again.. we even heard thunder! It was exciting for us city-folk.

10522286_822602394425743_1396299128_n

Here’s a shot of the hikers above. When we made our way back to the house and rejoined the rest of the gang, we had a fun bbq’ing night. After dinner I had to take off to try to beat the sunset down the mountain and head back to LA. The group continued on for another day, kayaking and picnicking out by the water.

I think it was unanimously a fun weekend full of good times. Especially given our large group, it was great to find so many activities we could all participate in. I’m loving these staycations! Big Bear for the 4th was a big hit and I totally recommend it to people looking to get a taste of the mountains.

Happy July 4th, 2014 Weekend!

Happy4th

Are you one of the lucky people already on vacation? Or Are you half-daying it today? Lucky! I’m going to sneak away from LA for a couple days. Last year friends rented a house on Manhattan Beach and it was such a fun staycation. This year we are doing the same thing but in a new (surprise) location. Follow me on instagram to see my real-time photos and see if you can guess where I am!

I’ll be back to my old tricks on Sunday… in fact I have 2 wood bedside tables in the works. Now it’s time to make the drawers! Oh and I’ll be in Africa in 2.5 weeks?! Still so much to do…

1538458_350934385073536_1625486915_n (The view from behind)

The Oxnard Strawberry Festival

This is several weeks late, but my friends and I went on an Oxnard adventure one weekend to check out the Strawberry Festival. It was fun to get out of LA for the day and visit a fair filled with locals. Our original plan was to park at the train station in Oxnard and take a shuttle bus in (so it’s free parking), but the school bus we were on wouldn’t start and time was ticking. We decided to just drive ourselves and pay the $10 to park right by the fair. It wasn’t the easiest to get to (signs were misleading) but once were parked the day started going right.

Strawberry1

You can see there were plenty of local craft booths. One problem I had with the festival was the lack of strawberry jam! Not a single strawberry jam booth (from what we could find).

Strawberry2

Thankfully there were booths with puppets. Phew.

Strawberry3

Wendy herself was out and about serving up free goodies.

Strawberry4

The first strawberry themed booth we found was (white) chocolate covered strawberries, which of course I ate before I could take a snapshot. It was amazing. We then decided to share a bag of strawberry popcorn. Why go to a strawberry themed festival unless you’re open to eating crazy themed foods. Note the Bungee Jumper flying around.

Strawberry5

Yumm.. we got a fresh batch!

Strawberry6

Eventually we made our way to the food court area. We had to hit-up the make your own strawberry shortcake. Note the signs behind are advertising “Strawberry Nachos”, Strawberry burritos, and other odd strawberry themed meals.

Strawberry7

Strawberry pizza!

Strawberry8

After having our fill of strawberry margaritas, strawberry popcorn, and other strawberry themed treats, we took strawberry photos and went on our way.

Beach Yoga With Brad

This past weekend two friends and I decided to check out beach yoga in Santa Monica. We decided to take a Saturday morning class through Beach Yoga with Brad. There’s no pre-registering necessary, so we carpooled down to Santa Monica together and went to Marine Street and followed it out to the ocean edge were Brad was preparing for the day.

BEachYoga1

When we arrived there were only a handful of people which eventually filled out into a large (but un-intimidatingly large) group. Brad is very nice and offered up sunscreen to people who forgot theirs. He’s a music conductor too, so he has a booming voice and excellent rhythm.

Yoga2

Since his “yoga studio” is relatively endless on the beach, he can support a lot of people and we could also really spread out. The class we attended is from 10:30-Noon on Saturday and is a $10 donation. Being extra long meant that the last series of restful poses were held longer than in an average hour long class. These poses are my favorite so I was glad we spent so much time doing them and meditating. With the waves crashing and the light breeze it was a perfect day.

We ended up extending our stay long after class finished. It was a glorious way to spend a Saturday. I’m hoping the zen feeling lasts all week.

378609_10151327953181403_490128592_n
(Image taken from Yoga With Brad’s facebook page)

Here you can see I made Brad’s facebook page for the day (it’s not flattering, so don’t look too closely). If you’re interested in trying beach yoga, definitely friend “Beach Yoga With Brad” on facebook to learn more about his class. It’s great for all levels of yoga and there’s no need to be intimidated. You should do it!

Rosenthal Estate Winery

Do you like wine tasting? A few friends and I made the drive up the PCH into Malibu to visit Rosenthal Estate Winery where we had a fabulous Saturday.

Winery1

The weather was fantistic and this gem of a tasting spot is located right off the PCH (not up in the winding hills like the other wineries) which means it’s got ocean views.

Winery2

The tasting room has some indoor seating, but it’s best to pack a picnic and layout in the back of the property.

Winery3

While we were there, a group setup an engagement party in the back with flowers, homemade signs… the works! It’s looked like a pinterest board!

Winery4

There’s the ocean, just yonder. The heat lamps outdoors makes it so you can hang out on the patio long into the night (although they close at 8pm). We started our day with the $12 wine taster (which included 4 wines) and then purchased bottles to share among our group.

Winery5

Winery6

Be sure to bring plenty of snacks and boardgames!

Winery7

Oh, and they have goofy surfboards you can pose with. Here is me and my friend Grace being silly.

Add this to your Los Angeles to-do list. In fact, stop at Trader Joes (load up on snacks), hit the beach and then around 3pm mosey on over to the Rosenthal Estate Winery. Doesn’t that sound like a fabulous Saturday?