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.

August 27th, 2014

outfit no. 94

Monday was my sixth first day of school, as a teacher. Excuse my momentary outburst of disbelief, but wow! I’ve been teaching for six years. When I first started in the education game, I was so naive and fresh-faced and just out of college. Then, I got laid off and cynically vowed to never enter another high school, so I honestly didn’t think I’d make it to year six. And yet, teaching is an inextricable piece of who I am, of who I am still becoming. It’s also worth mentioning that no matter how many times you participate in the agonizing ritual, first days of school are still first days of school. They’re nerve-wracking, fast-paced and, no matter what your intentions, un-scripted.

I re-mixed this blazer previously here. Apparently I tend toward a similar navy blue and orange look when I want to appear professional. This particular skirt is really special to me. It’s my grandma’s skirt that Jared’s mom hemmed for me (because I’m short) and has a fabulously subtle herringbone pattern. I have another one in mauve, to be featured soon. In other news, I got a new camera lens (yay!) and can’t wait to post some of the photos I’ve been taking with it (this is not one of them).

Blazer: UO // Shirt: Everlane // Skirt: vintage // Shoes: thrifted

August 25th, 2014

doing time on alcatraz.

If you break the rules, you go to prison. If you break prison’s rules, you go to Alcatraz.

Having never seen a movie about Alcatraz (I know, I know. I’ve watched a lot of OZ though, so I think that’s the same or something), I had few expectations about visiting The Rock. My parents, Jared and I took an official cruise to the island, which is a National Park and bird sanctuary and housed Al Capone — and I had no ideas about any of this. Once we arrived, we watched a quick movie where I discovered even more hidden history — there was a 19-month Native American occupation on the island from 1969 – 1971. I was so fascinated that I did a little bit more reading on the topic and found that this protest brought attention to the Native American plight and the concept of Indian activism was then reinforced by the federal government (read more). Eventually, Alcatraz was designated a National Park and that’s how it has remained until the present day. However, as you tour the island there is a strange juxtaposition of prison barracks, spray painted messages of Native American pride and protected seagull nesting grounds. This is definitely a must-do on any SF visit, but book in advance. We had a hard time getting tickets 6-weeks out.

August 21st, 2014

sonoma valley // gloria ferrer & nicholson ranch.

I suppose you aren’t a true Californian until you take a trip to wine country. While my family was visiting, we opted to go to Sonoma Valley for a wine-tasting vineyard experience (my first). We did minimal research beforehand because it appeared that you could pretty much drive up one road, hitting the wineries as you went. However, we did take note of two wineries we wanted to visit — Gloria Ferrer and Nicholson Ranch.

We left early, arriving in Sonoma around 11AM, both the traffic and drive from SF were quite mild. We went to Gloria Ferrer first, because it seemed more civilized to start getting morning-drunk on champagne. The patio was moderately crowded, but we were still afforded a fabulous view. My parents wanted to do a bottle service, so they let my brother and I choose the bubbles. I was insistent on something pink, for no real reason, and we settled on their Brut Rosé. Coincidentally, this first wine was also my favorite of the day. It had bright, crisp, summery flavors that I really enjoyed. Although we didn’t tour the caves (I didn’t know they charge extra for that), it was still the perfect first stop. The only downside was that due to the mixing process in mid-August, the patio gets rather swarmed with flies. So if you go anytime soon, sit inside.

Our next stop was at Nicholson Ranch. Okay, this place is what I always imagined wine country to look like. It was picturesque and afforded us a much closer inspection of the vineyards (for no extra charge). We sat outside under umbrellas and enjoyed the sunshine and the views — I actually garnered a bit of a sunburn on my back, because what is sun? Here we did a Club Service Tasting (my mom’s choice) and sampled six wines each, plus we devoured a cheese board. Our family favorite was the Chardonnay Cuvée Natalie Reserve Estate which had buttery caramel and vanilla undertones. I also enjoyed the Cactus Hill Pinot Noir.

Our last stop was for lunch at Fremont Diner. Apparently it’s been featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, which heralded additional popularity for the tiny establishment and so, it’s always packed. Jared and I couldn’t get over how much it looked as though they had plucked a restaurant right out of Austin and set it in California wine country. I had such a weird feeling of deja vu the entire time we were there. We drank sweet tea (the first place I’ve found that serves it here) out of mason jars and I ate a hearty meal of chicken and waffles. We listened to live country music on the patio — because apparently in California they sing about the “good life” in Texas, and in Texas they sing about heading west to California. Chickens pecked the ground nearby while we watched the sun sink lower behind a verdant backdrop of rolling vineyards. It was the perfect way to punctuate our experience.

August 20th, 2014

outfit no. 93

I’m sure a lot of you have heard of Everlane, they are a San Francisco-based t-shirt & clothing company. I had read several reviews extolling the virtues of their t-shirts on various style blogs. At the time, I was on the search for the perfect white v-neck, and I bought one from Everlane. First of all, their white t-shirts are far from opaque — which is fine, if you’re just wearing it for leisure, but I wanted one for the workplace. That was my first disappointment. Then, within a couple of wears, two small holes developed near the bottom seam. Irritated, I relegated the shirt to my “workout pile” and moved on. Still, I kept reading glowing reviews online. Normally, I never return things, or complain, mostly because I don’t like confrontation — but I had opinions about this. When I finally mentioned said disappointment on Twitter, I was contacted within an hour by the Everlane rep and offered a replacement shirt, despite it being past the return date, and credit toward a new purchase (the sweater featured below).

There was no added catch to do a write-up of any kind on my blog, but I wanted to share my honest opinion about this company. I think it’s rather rare in today’s day and age to have a really positive customer service experience, especially in the online clothing retail industry and with a real person. Everlane generally has excellent and timely customer service and a dedication to being transparent about their production and policies — if you want quick attention, contact them directly via Twitter. Additionally, the new products feel of superior quality to the original shirt I ordered. I’ve spoken to a few other bloggers and we concluded that I may have gotten a defective tee (although, in my opinion, it was still too transparent for everyday wear) and I hope that these new pieces hold up past one wash. For now, I will say that I am very pleased. I love the soft mauve color of the sweater and I am still not tired of pairing my sweaters with tights and a dress or skirt. I think I am actually falling in love with the foggy, drizzly San Francisco summer.

Sweater: Everlane // Dress: UO // Tights: StitchFix // Shoes: Ross