Monday, September 12, 2011

Latest Salvation Army Finds

On Saturday I made a trip to my local Long Beach Salvation Army and added these babies to my cupboard: two striped vintage mugs and two sunny retro dishes for just around 2 bucks. Score.

They even packaged my finds up gingerly in adult diapers (unused FYI)--just another reason why I love Salvation Army; aside from being helpful and housing the occasional treasure, S.A. is quirky (whether they know it or not).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Road tripping - Oregon

Last week we made the drive from Long Beach, CA, up through central Oregon, and back down the Oregon Coast.

Can I just say that Oregon is awesome? We liked so much about it. For instance, the gas attendants there fill up your tank FOR you AND clean your windows, AND don't stick around expecting you to tip them. What!? Yeah, this is unheard of. At first I was a bit suspicious about all of this kindness (sad, I know), but it turned out to be a legitimate that's-just-what-we-do-in-Oregon sort of thing.  As if this weren't enough to make Oregon steal your heart, there are wild blackberries pretty much everywhere just waiting to be picked and made into delicious blackberry shakes. Really.

I can easily say that this is one of our favorite vacations together to date.

More of what we liked: 
  • Ashland, OR--A quaint town nestled near the woods with a lovely uptown area of Victorian houses and charming shops. They hold annual Shakespearean festivals--awesome. The English nerd in me wanted pretty badly to partake.
  • Seeing plenty of deer and elk. For some reason, this is always so exciting for me. 
  • Camping on the Rogue and Umpqua rivers (Kiffy was in fly-fishing heaven and I had some of the best sleep feeling cozy in a tent).
  • Picking wild blackberries with Kiffy's aunt Bonnie
  • The best fish and chips in Newport, OR.
  • Climbing endless sand dunes.
  • Lighthouses galore
  • Misty beaches.
  • Ferndale, CA--Victorian town, hidden gem
  • Driving through the California Redwoods on the way home.

Crater Lake in all its glory

Friday, August 5, 2011

Mahalo, Hawaii

Hawaii is great for many reasons: the weather, pristine beaches and lush vegetation, its diverse landscape and its wonderful people (though there are always the few angry locals with anti-haole sentiments, but let's not get into that). 

What I especially appreciated this time around was its abundance of wild roosters (and chickens for that matter), the fact that 85% of the time I felt like I was in a scene from Jurassic Park and/or LOST, and most of all, I think, having time to just relax and read a lot without any distractions. Yup, I needed to be whisked away to an island paradise just to get some reading in.

Here is some of the beauty I saw:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Best in the West: East L.A.'s Mercado

I'm a big fan of Sunset Magazine because it covers quite a few of my interests (gardening, travel, design, great food/recipes) as they pertain to the West (as in Western U.S.).  I especially love the weekend & day trips they cover each month.  In the January 2011 issue, the featured Southern California day trip spotlights the Mexican mall in East L.A. (El Mercado), which is close enough to home for me to make a quick trip, so I packed my camera, a few bucks for the delicious goodies I planned to eat, and hopped on the 5 freeway up to East L.A. for a change of scenery.

It was a splendid time!  If you go, I recommend you take a stroll through the three different levels of tiny shops to explore all that El Mercado has to offer, which is a lot! You'll find an array of products ranging from moles, mariscos, spices, cheeses and sweets, to leather cowboy boots complete with crocodile heads, leather cowboy boots without crocodile heads, kitchen gadgets, piƱatas, and felt bulldog statuettes ... yeah, even those!  I wish I would have brought a few extra bucks for a pair of really cute leather huaraches I spotted in my size--something to plan for next time.  Last, but not least, be sure to purchase a bag of fresh churros and an icy raspado--the flavor selections are endless--on your way out. 

As a warning, do be discreet with your camera (if you take one); management there doesn't like photos being taken.

sweets & nuts

crocodile boots
 la Virgen

This woman was eager for me to take a picture of this miniature Bible from her assortment of miniature books for sale. I tried to get her in the shot too, but she was shy.

aguas frescas

strawberry raspado

Sunday, February 20, 2011

I'm walkin' here

I thought I walked fast, but my pace has been beat.

New Yorkers are some of the speediest walkers I've come across.  I'm telling you, don't get in a New Yorker's way. They have places to be, trains to catch, and don't mess around when it comes to getting to where they are going.  From my observations, they aren't in the business of taking leisurely strolls (except for maybe on the weekends).  Their legs are their transportation and they'll ram into you if, say, your shoulder falls into the line of their path.  I speak from experience. 

Anyhow, this past January, I spent a week in New York with my former New Yorker friend, Kate.  It was freeeeezing cold (like in the 20s freezing), but it was lots of fun.  We bundled up and spent most of our time outdoors, walking really fast and doing touristy things--it was my very first time to New York.  We ate lots of really great food--warm candied nuts from street vendors, pizza in Brooklyn, hot dogs, pasta galore, crepes, and homemade Jamaican food thanks to Sharon, who graciously played host to us while we were there.  

Here are a few photos from our trip! 

Various scenes from Coney Island. Dead in the the winter (for obvious reasons).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Us of Late

Slowly, but surely, I'll be moseying my way back into the blogosphere. Welcome to post number one. Now for an update...

Me, I've been spending my days tutoring, schooling, and reading a plethora of American novels (fun) in preparation for my MA comprehensive exam (GUH--thinking of this exam makes me want to double over and hurl). Kiffy has been in a similar boat: teaching Microbiology things at CSULB, thesis proposing, and reading in his lawn chair in the sunshine.

We've also been driving around the newest addition to our family, our (my) new Hyundai Tuscon. She's a beaut! We drove her down to San Diego last weekend to visit with our dear, dear friends, Becca, Ryan, Gweener and Logan. Apparently, last weekend marked some anniversary of something navy-ish, so the Coronado navy base held this air "show," but it was really more like an air "demonstration"; there weren't any exciting, death defying stunts, just simple, um, fly-bys I guess is the word. Yeah, I saw a demonstration of planes flying. It was neat, but not exciting, but that's totally fine 'cause it was a beautiful day, we were with our buddies, and I snuck in a power nap on the cool navy base runway as planes hummed overhead and the crowd watched on with reverence and awe (not at me, but the planes). It was a fun getaway. We ended the day with delicious burgers, a bit of harmless gossip (which Becca and I are suckers for) and Ryan's famous milkshakes. Perfect day.

This weekend reminded me that my favorite seasons, spring and summer, are coming. I come alive in the spring and summer and I'm excited by the signs they're on their way.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Bests!

This holiday season, Kiffy and I have been celebrating with some of our Christmas favorites. In the vein of Oprah, and because I'm in a very listy-slash-Christmasy mood, here are some of our Christmas bests. 

Best Christmas Movies:   
D: The Snowman

D: Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer 

K/D: Home Alone
K/D: Christmas Vacation
D: Love, Actually
D: Pee Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special

Best Christmas Album:
K: A Charlie Brown Christmas
D: Mariah Carey!

Best Christmas Beverage:
K: Hot Cocoa and candy canes
D: Eggnog, but just a little bit...

Christmas Tree:
K: Douglas Fir
D: Noble Fir (but on the verge of converting to Douglas Firs?)

Christmas Song:
K: "O Little Town of Bethlehem"
D: "Happy Xmas War is Over" (the hippie in me), "Little Drummer Boy"

What are we missing???????