September 29th, 2014

hiking in china camp state park.

September 26th, 2014

outfit no. 99

I’ve been putting off getting a haircut for what seems like forever now. I am not entirely sure why — perhaps because it’s been almost a year since I originally decided to sport this asymmetrical bob and I feel that with the passage of time my hair should change along with everything else. I debated on attempting some sort of ombre, growing out the bright blonde to my natural, darker blonde or even (gasp!) cutting it evenly! Ultimately, I’ve decided to just touch up the roots and call it a day because I actually really like my hair at the moment and changing something that I like for a reason that doesn’t make sense didn’t seem entirely wise. This is a really long way of saying, I have a hair appointment today and I am not excited about it. Does anyone else just really loathe hair appointments? They make me so sweaty and nervous and it always takes SO long (which I appreciate because it means they care, but so much sweating). I do not feel pampered or fancy, just incredibly stressed. The same thing happens when I get a pedicure, I spend the entire time thinking “when will this torture end??” So I wore this outfit to work, people keep remarking on my “fall colored” wardrobe, but what they don’t know is that I wear orange sweaters all year round. My life is one long rotation of autumnal hued sweaters.

Sweater: thrifted // Skirt: Target // Boots: Old Navy // Socks: UO

September 24th, 2014

so long, summer.

This summer was full of unanticipated wildness and memories I intend to cling to like honeysuckle vines. Summer has always been my season — due in no small part to my occupation and the coinciding date of my birth — so it makes sense that summer would be what awakened me at last.

I feel I should iterate that my life in Texas was fine —a bit soulless, but, realistically, just fine. However, my mind remained plagued by the detritus of perchance and I knew that something had to be done. Once the impetus for change was realized, things fell into place without any need for aggression on my behalf. The chrysalis of perchance became a fully formed concept, with wings of it’s own, and, instead of dreaming, I found myself standing on a precipice overlooking the Grand Canyon, waking up to watch the sun rise in White Sands and sleeping in a concrete wigwam on Route 66. On the way to something wonderful.

In the dense mist of a foggy San Francisco summer, I’ve thrown myself open to the wide embrace of possibility. To this end, I’ve connected with people I knew tangentially online, who I now consider to be some of my dearest friends. I’ve open sea kayaked, sea-lion spotted, hiked through Redwoods and rock formations and climbed into WWII bunkers littered with spray paint cans and garish, neon symbols. I took a winding, wind-in-my-hair roadtrip up Highway 1, attended a county fair, watched Joan Jett sing “I Love Rock n Roll” and camped under the stars with nary a stitch to separate me from the night. I’ve inhaled all the pine and salt and sea and exhaled happiness. I’ve attended yoga classes in search of balance — both literal and figurative, I’ve gone to church and devoured book after book with my new library account. I’ve eaten burritos filled with French fries, partaken of wine in the expansive vineyards of California wine country and had the absolutely terrifying, yet oddly thrilling, experience of my first earthquake. I finished a tea-themed half-sleeve tattoo on my left arm and celebrated my twenty eighth birthday. Initially, I struggled desperately to be frugal, and, finally, I’ve started a new job, new grad school classes and, well, a new life.

I write this now so that I can piece together the fragments — the pieces that threaten to slip away — because this summer was both overwhelmingly big and so, so small. I’ve discovered so much about my relationships and myself; my journal overflows with observations and an incessant stream of emotions. Presently, my life is colored by the feeling of contentment that has entwined itself within me and makes everything look somehow different. And, were I to teach the novel of myself, I would label this summer the “rising action.”

September 22nd, 2014

exploring san francisco // the golden gate bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge persists as a timeless icon of San Francisco. Although one may question whether it’s pigmentation tends more toward the orange or red end of the color spectrum, one cannot deny it’s incalculable majesty and the feat of engineering that was necessary to create this monolithic structure. When I first arrived in San Francisco and glimpsed the bridge, shrouded in fog, I thought, “Wow, I did it. I’m here.” The bridge has since become something of a symbol for my new life, for staring over, as I’m sure it has for countless other Bay Area transplants. When I drive home from Trader Joe’s, I can see it’s jousts crowning just over the crest of each hill, a poignant reminder of where I’ve dropped my pin on the Google map of life. Since arriving, I’ve driven across the bridge in blinding fog and aggressive wind, but I hadn’t walked on it — not yet.

My dear friend Terra visited this past week and walking across the Golden Gate Bridge was an item on her life list. As one who is a fan of playing tourist in her own city, I complied with her request and off we went. The day was beautiful and blue, the bay shimmered back at us, preening in all it’s craggy-coasted glory. Sea lions, wind and tourists abounded as we leisurely conquered the 1.7 mile gap between San Francisco and Marin, snapping photos as we went. After a confusing experience with the commuter bus, we rewarded ourselves with beer, cider and guacamole in Sausalito — the adorable town just over the water.

Photos of me were taken by Terra.

September 17th, 2014

outfit no. 97

There are so many places to get milk tea in my neighborhood. Milk tea became my favorite thing only slightly before leaving for Korea. Then, Asia significantly intensified my burgeoning obsession. Presently, it’s a personal challenge to go one day without sneaking off on my lunch hour to try a new tea shop. I’ve started Instagramming my daily tea of choice and, although other people may not care, I am having a large amount of fun. Today I went to T-Pumps — the tea shop with the biggest hype due to it’s customizability. I prefer to go during the day in order to avoid the post-school rush of tweens and the increased volume of pop music blaring onto the streets. The line snakes down the block, past a bar where men spend their time drinking to forget. But that doesn’t matter, the neon-clad kids are so obviously oblivious to anything but their sugar fix. My go-to drink there is a rose, honey black milk tea with no boba. I get it “very little sweet” — which is an off-the-menu option I only recently learned of. However, to avoid the aforementioned lines, sometimes I forgo T-Pumps altogether. If I go to Honeyberry, my order is always a Thai tea — which is usually great, depending on who’s mixing it. Quickly serves their varietal in a squat container, lovingly referred to as a “chubby cup.” When I visit their bright orange establishment, I usually get black milk tea, plain, only detouring occasionally for a Tiger tea (Thai tea + milk tea mixed together).

Anyway, I wore this outfit to grab some chicken wings and a tea to-go. Our weekend was filled with laundry, tea-drinking, napping, reading and eating amazing chicken wings. It was really nice to just slow down and spend time together since we’ve both been really busy. This is my super-chill, slow-down outfit, featuring a weird mix of cold + warm weather staples because SF still can’t decide if it’s summer or fall. I’m okay with it’s indecision because I genuinely like the weather at the moment.

Scarf: Korea // Shirt & Sweater: UO // Tights: H&M // Sandals: Ross

September 15th, 2014

my one day juice cleanse reset.

Earlier this year, I did a 3-day juice cleanse that entailed highly beneficial results, but it was provided to me via a juice press company. I didn’t have to do any of the heavy lifting, so to speak, of actually making the juices from raw ingredients. In my often famished state, this was entirely preferable. However, recently I haven’t been as diligent as I’d like to be in my consumption of raw fuits and veggies. In an attempt to reset my system, I did a quick one-day juice cleanse that I prepped and bottled myself. Juice cleanses might not make everyone feel super-awesome (you know your own body), but I love them. I feel recharged, energized, I sleep great and I lose any belly bloat I might be hanging on to, for whatever reason. My insides also get a good flushing (pun intended). A few people have asked me about it, so I thought I’d throw down some information here.

I prepped all the juice the morning of. It took about a half hour to 45 minutes. Then, I stored the juice in these glass bottles, which were a gift from my mother.

These are the recipes I used, created from a mish-mash of various sources online and suited to my own taste. Obviously, you should do whatever is most effective for you — this is what works for me, my body and my budget:

Juice One

1 ½ apples
4 ribs of celery
half a cucumber
3 whole romaine leaves
½ a lemon

Juice Two

2 apples
half a pineapple

Juice Three

1 ½ apples
4 ribs of celery
half a cucumber
3 whole romaine leaves
½ a lemon

Juice Four

4 lemons
cayenne pepper

Juice Five

3 apples
2-3 carrots
1″ knob of ginger

Juice Six

Almond milk
(from Trader Joe’s)
agave (to taste)

September 11th, 2014

outfit no. 96

I wore this outfit to a dinner party in Oakland. I was nervous, both because I am not always awesome at meeting new people and because I have seldom driven our car since the initial Texas to California road trip. While Jared drives to work outside of the city every day, I walk the (utterly overwhelming) two blocks to my school, and take the MUNI anywhere else I need to go. Oakland, however, involved crossing the Bay Bridge and navigating an entirely new cityscape. In the midst of checking street signs and listening to my meandering navigation, I got pulled over on the street where said dinner party was to take place — yards away from my intended destination. The cop took pity on my suburban roots and was incredibly nice, proffering me only a warning. I expressed my heartfelt gratitude, of course, and then spent far too long anxiously parallel parking. Eventually I joined the other ladies and proceeded to drink wine, listen to Nigerian records, communally devour a peach pie and stay out past my bedtime. Just another fab adventure.

This sweater is a new purchase. Jared took me to a very nice H&M near Fairfax (the one in Houston was dirty and clothes were always on the floor, I hated it) and I fell in insta-love with this sweater, so much so that I bought one in orange as well. As if I don’t own enough orange sweaters already (spoiler: I totally do).

Sweater: H&M // Tights: StitchFix // Boots: Thrifted

September 8th, 2014

outfit no. 95

This past week was really a weird one, and I am still recovering, to be honest. In the midst of everything, one of my camera lenses decided to stop working — so, in order to attain anything moderately decent in regard to outfit photography, and to avoid the customary SF morning drizzle, I took outfit photos in the hallway of our apartment building (isn’t the new carpet fancy?) because I was itching to document my ootd’s again. Anyway, I felt really snazzy in this outfit — it’s a mix of ex-high school psuedo-goth meets current high school lit teacher. Also, if there’s one closet staple I can’t get enough of it’s a good, billowy cardigan (and colored socks, of course). The weather outside today felt so much like autumn that I had to resist twirling around a light pole (or parking meter?) and singing. Instead, I bought a pumpkin spice chai that I paired with a Jenny Lewis / Fleetwood Mac lunchtime dance party, and that was just as good.

Dress & Boots: Old Navy // Socks: UO // Cardigan: gift

September 5th, 2014

the mountains are calling // camping in yosemite.

A few weeks ago, I applied to co-lead a Trail Mavens trip. My first experience had been so overwhelmingly positive that I wanted to become a more integral part of the group in the future — little did I know how quickly that “future” opportunity would present itself. Sasha asked me to co-lead the Labor Day weekend trip to Yosemite, naturally I responded with a resounding, “Hell yeah!” Having never lived in California at any previous point in my life, I never had the opportunity to explore America’s first National Park, the one that inspired idols of mine like John Muir and Ralph Waldo Emerson to compose lyrics, letters and poetry. Because how can you not write poetry whilst ensconced in the winding trails that climb craggy, purple mountains and snake between sprawling Sequoia groves. Because this is a landscape that can make you believe in something greater than yourself. The very least it deserves is poetry.

Getting to Yosemite is a three hour trek from SF, and there was a caravan, fruit stand and cafe involved in our sojourn — but eventually we arrived at the Crane Flat campground and pitched our tents. This time I was an active participant in the tent pitching demonstration (insert muscle flex). For extra adventure points, Sasha and I created a sleeping palette on the ground, where we were covered only by Yosemite’s thick blanket of stars. The first day involved a quick jaunt around Tenaya Lake. Although I slowly became accustomed to the awe-inspiring sights that accompanied every turn in Yosemite, Tenaya Lake was the first place to take my breath away. The impossibly blue water seemed to reflect every inch of sky in it’s mirrored pool and I could have stayed there for hours, basking contentedly in the beauty. Then, we stopped by Olmsted Point to take copious jumping photographs before heading back to base camp for fire starting, veggie packets and wine.

The next morning was D-day. I knew going into this weekend that I would also be completing my longest, most grueling hike yet. My interests tend to go from zero to obsessed in a matter of days, and hiking has been no exception to that rule, so I was all in. Sasha and I rose early to get breakfast and trail snacks ready for everyone. We made it to the trailhead and began. Start time: 9:07 AM. Four Mile Trail was first, and it provided a quick, switchback-filled ascent in elevation, also it should be noted that the trail is not actually four miles. My trail buddies, Katie and Suki, and I took our time ascending and that decision was for the better. Our brief breaks left us with enough energy to complete the hike and allowed us to really enjoy the panoramic views.

Four Mile Trail ended at Glacier Point (elevation 7,200 ft) where we reconvened and ate lunch under the sun’s persistent glare — the clouds remained stoically absent. Collectively, we stared down the tourists who had driven to the Point for perfectly posed photos. “We earned this view,” was our mantra, and it was nothing if not empowering. The Panoramic Trail was our longest trail and wound in and out of trees and waterfalls, most importantly, there were very few people and I didn’t feel rushed or overwhelmed by anyone’s presence. At the top, an older European couple offered us raspberry Milano cookies as a reward. I smiled, dug a cookie out with my dirt encrusted fingernails, and proceeded to proclaim it the singularly best cookie I had ever eaten. Perhaps it was.

We descended down the Mist Trail, which was an exercise in controlling my anxiety as I navigated the crowds and treacherous stone steps. It was not an experience I am in any rush to repeat. I saw the JMT, just to my left, and was reminded of my goal to hike the entire thing, a dream that seemed significantly less impossible by the completion of my first 14 mile hike. End time: 6:34PM. That night I ate the best black bean and avocado burrito I’ve ever had (to accompany the best cookie), talked about lady things and nursed my feet in the warmth of our campfire. Adventure through adversity.

We ended the trip with an open air tram ride (to spare our feet) through Mariposa Grove to view the giant Sequoias. I don’t feel adequate enough to describe the majesty of Yosemite’s Sequioas. How can you describe a tree that reaches indefinitely toward Heaven in an earnest search for endurance, a tree that survives what would destroy any lesser flora, a tree that has become a metaphor for eternity. Theodore Roosevelt went camping with John Muir in Yosemite’s forest and wrote: “The first night was clear, and we lay down in the darkening aisles of the great Sequoia grove. The majestic trunks, beautiful in color and in symmetry, rose round us like the pillars of a mightier cathedral than ever was conceived even by the fervor of the Middle Ages.”

And now I am back home, just waiting for the mountains to call again.


August 29th, 2014

hiking the marin headlands.