Archive | travel RSS feed for this section

Hey yo 2012

5 Jan

I’ve considered deleting this blog altogether, but it is such a nice, healthy outlet. It’s funny how that parallels my feelings about therapy. Lately, I’ve been considering stopping my weekly runs to see a therapist; but have yet to pull the plug because it’s a positive, mindful place to be. Also, I feel like if I stop going, I’m going to regret it and be screwed into dealing with my anxiety and over-thinking by myself.

Anyway, I digress. Lately, I’ve been thinking about  Starting a Podcast. Podcasting is to radio as blogging is to the opinions page in the newspaper. It’s totally grassroot, mostly free and you can do/say whatever you want. Since I’ve been thinking about starting a podcast, this is what I would talk about in my podcast this week:

The story is these five baby girls were born in 1934, and were the first recorded occurrence of quintuplets surviving infancy. The Canadian government took guardianship of the quints shortly after their birth, claiming their parents unfit to care for the five babies. The government built “Quintland” across the street from the girls’ family home and made the everyday lives of the infants/babies/young adults into a tourist attraction. There were souvenirs and viewing areas at Quintland. The girls were surrounded by scientists, doctors, nurses and the curious public FOR YEARS! At one point, Quintland was more trafficked than Niagara Falls. So basically – the Canadian government profited from their lives. After many years, and a custody battle, the girls were released back to their parents, where they claimed their father sexually abused them (though, later in life, they disputed these allegations). They all moved out of the home at 18 and 2/5 died in early adulthood – one from a stroke and one from a seizure. Another passed away in her 60s from cancer. There are only 2 remaining sisters alive and NO ONE HAS MADE A MOVIE ABOUT THIS! There were a couple television movies from what I can gather, and maybe an old movie, but HELLO! We need to hear/see this story!

  • Nootropics – what are they? do they work?
  • Why am I obsessed with song? FLO RIDA
  • I went antique shopping over the holidays – searching for Christmas presents. It got me thinking about the massive amount of things in the world. So many THINGS. And I love things, but where do they go and what happens to these things. I’m also reading a book, The Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund De Waal, which discusses this a bit so far. What is my role in things? Do things have to be tied to consumerism?
  • Upcoming vacation in Hawaii with my sister, who is in Afghanistan right now


6 Apr

I recently had the privilege of experiencing what has got to be kitschiest place on Earth — the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. My friend has been obsessed with this mecca for some time. I have no idea how she heard of it, but we saved our shekels and traveled down CA-1 to stay for a night in the acclaimed Inn.

The Hotel has 109 rooms, all hosting a different theme. The most popular is the “Jungle Room.”

We were really hoping for that one, but I think we checked in to late. On the way down, my friend, Lindsay, convinced us all that she “would do the talking” when we arrived at the hotel. She believed she had the knowledge to save us around $20 total. After listening to her 5 minute pitch on why we should let her do this, we were pretty sure she would be able to handle this task. When we got there, she walked with authority to the reservation counter and began her deals with the bell-hop. When all was said and done, we each ended up paying $30 more. That’s the last time we let Lindsay try to bargain. However, we landed in a luxury suite, called “The Traveler’s Suite.”

Gigantic couch, rock wall with fireplace, rock-wall mounted flat screen TV, 2 king beds, and a free bottle of water… yes, please!

Ashley and Emily enjoying wine by the fire in the complimentary pink bath robes.

Ornate lamps in our room.

Seriously though, the most interesting part of the room was the toilet. It was a bidet, with a heated front and rear stream, which were both power adjustable. I had never used one before, but the idea of conserving toilet paper by using a bidet has always sort of appealed to me. The seat was heated too, which really ruled! Overall – I was impressed with the contraption. It wasn’t really as intrusive as I was expecting.

Cutesy patio furniture.

Beautiful (heated) pool!

Pink gate!

The whole trip was totally fun and relaxing. Unexpectedly, San Luis Obispo is a really cute college town and they had a hoppin’ farmer’s market the night we were there, which was really quaint.


30 Mar

I recently went on a road trip with a few of my bests… I will blog about that soon. BUT – I was totally inspired by this really cutesy boutique in the college town of San Luis Obispo, CA. The only thing I could afford were their button rings, as everything else was like $235, but the decor was fabulous!

#1 – spray painted stenciled carpet. really rad way to make nasty rugs cute!

#2. spray painted lace stairs. using lace as a stencil to chic up plain wood stairs.

#3 – the alley outside of this shop looked like this:


even closer:

that’s right, an entire alley covered in gum.

Muir Woods…

19 Mar

…is so close to SF! I never realized this. I took advantage of the beautiful weather today and ventured north to the federally protected sanctuary. It was just gorgeous!

Little Town Review

25 May

Whenever I take the train, I pass through Benicia and Martinez. It occurred to me that these places might be worth visiting, because from the train window they look like old-Western destinations. On Sunday, my friends and I headed over “the hills” to check these locations off of our “places to visit” lists.

Martinez was a tiny little city, nestled behind olive-colored mounds and snuggled up against where the river meets the bay. The town was hosting its weekly farmer’s market while we were there and along the main strip (Main Street), there were several antique shops and second hand stores. The prices in these joints were refreshing. In SF, you can’t get an old, holey tee-shirt for under $10, and in Martinez, I got the raddest pair of vintage sunglasses for all of $1.00! We scored major at Alley Cats, a co-operative thrift store, with a plethora of vintage furnishings, clothes, jewelry, and toys. They have no Web site, but here is their Yelp! Profile. I got this most amazing resin switch plate for $3.oo:


Benicia (once the capital of California), was more touristy, with an enormous amount of chic-y boutiques. I was really set on finding the “glass beach” that I had heard about. We didn’t see it, and none of the locals could point us in the right direction. It remains a mystery.


An added bonus: we got to spend the entire afternoon soaking in the sun that was hiding from San Franicsco yesterday.

Locomotive Breath

20 Apr

Today I took the train, a more frequent occurrence than ever before, now that my parents live just a short ride away. The train is way better than sitting in the traffic that builds up between SF and Sacramento. It can be brutal… 90 miles has taken me up to four hours! But, alas, the train saves me from this painstakingly boring, frustrating and road-raging journey. I just sit back, in the AC, watch the scenery and think about how I am on a train. At rare intervals, you can see the line of cars on the freeway, moving at snail-like speeds. All I think in these moments is “suckkkkers!”










The most amazing thing about training in CA is that there are so many different landscapes in such a short amount of time. 2 hours meant I traveled through farmlands, marshy fields, industrial parks, neighborhoods, over bridges, and along the coast.

why are we (I) so afraid to be alone?

23 Jul

The only time in my life (that I can recall) where I have ever physically been alone was in Alexandra, Victoria, Australia. A part of the “experiential learning” program I did as a semester abroad involved a weekend stay in a remote town at least 2 hours away from the city (Melbourne) and the comforts of known faces (home-stay families) and Americans (other students in the program). I received the name of a town and a bus ticket from the program director… the rest was up to me. I booked a room for two nights at the Shamrock Hotel and Pub, and loaded myself onto an empty bus headed North East.  I listened to the Pixies on the way there and arrived in Alexandra (population 2,000) with big hair, a rolling suitcase and a poka-dot cardigan.

There was little to do there. Apparently, it’s kind of a stop off between the mountains and the city, though at that time of year, I seemed to be in the company of only locals. I walked through the swinging wooden doors of the tavern I was staying in and was greeted by the eyes of about a dozen confused, on-the-way-to-waisted, individuals who all appeared to know one another. Crickets were chirping in the background – for two solid minutes that’s all I could hear. Trev, the owner/bartender/ hotelier passed a “G’day” my way and Bev showed me my room. I put my suitcase on the twin bed and went downstairs to sit in a corner table and drink a beer. No one approached me, and I sure as hell didn’t approach any of them. After a few glasses of some ale, I returned to my room, where I waited for the weekend to be over.

I was alone. I wasn’t miserable. But I was bored. I attempted to make a time line for my semester studies, I played a lot of spider solitaire and I walked aimlessly around the one block of town. I returned to life with not much to report and was told to try to look at the lack of activity as something in of itself (Australians don’t make friends easily, are weary of strangers, cultural differences…). This was hard to do, given that 4 of the other American girls in the group had stories of gallivanting through the woods with burly Aussie men, drinking with a pack of surfers and hooking up with a sailor from New South Wales. Of course, they were all skinny, trendy and conventionally “American” – so their cultural experience was totally different (on many levels, this jut being a prime example of exactly the kind of Americans I was dealing with over there. This is not to say that a few of the Americans in the group ended up being some of my closest friends – they were not however the ones having drugged out orgies with Aussies).

I’m thinking of all of this because I am embarking on journey in about a week and half, and I am preparing to be alone. Of course, I won’t be physically alone very much. I will be living with people I don’t know too well, in an apartment with no common space, surrounded by a city I know only sort of. I’m nervous I will be lonely. I keep reminding myself that I have done so many things completey alone and always loved them. The things that I’ve done independently have always turned out to be amazing and have bettered me and my life. I only hope that this step follows the upward trend. We shall see.