Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunday Fun-day: Byxbee Park, Half Moon Bay, Capitola, San Jose

A compilation of past Sundays where Sean and I ventured out to beautiful parks, sunny beaches, rose gardens and an Egyptian museum.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What It's Really Like to Leave New York

A lot of people have asked me what it's like to move from NYC to the Bay Area. Sometimes their tone leads me to interpret it as, Was it worth it? After six months of living in California, I still find it hard to answer the question. See, it's not that I didn't want to move to California and it's not that I wanted to leave New York--both are true, and it has tormented me to pick a truth. That was until my recent trip back to NYC.

I spent a week in the city last March, my first time back since moving away in September. I stayed in the guest bedroom (I know right?) of my best friend's Fort Greene apartment that was nearly 30 floors up with 180-degree undisrupted views of downtown Brooklyn AND Manhattan (I'm not kidding). Every morning I'd wake up to the city skyline. The beautiful Statue of Liberty on the left, the Empire State Building planted in the center, and the bridges Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg connecting life between the two masses. This is undoubtedly the life.

My first day I had lunch at Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill. Before I could eat my fried brussel sprouts and smoked meat poutine, my eyes started swelling. Sean looked at me, and he knew. He knew that I wanted to move back. Deep inside we both knew this would happen--it was inevitable that I'd pass a dog park, street corner or bodega and a memory would hit me so hard in my footsteps that I'd breakdown in tears. Thankfully that didn't happen (could you imagine me being that girl crying on the street?) and I was able to pull myself together and finish my poutine.

The truth-truth is New York means too much to me to not want it. It's where I spent most of my 20s, it's where I became an adult, it's where I've shared a million experiences with close friends and absolute strangers - it's the mother-effing City That Never Sleeps.

But the question is not whether I want New York or not--it's whether I wanted to leave. And that is where I found my closure. After five years, I did want to leave.

I found it hard to make decisions in New York - you know, life decisions. The ones where you decide, Where do I want my career to go? Where am I going to live in two years? Am I willing to pay the insane rent? What makes me happy? In a city of choice, I strangely felt limited by my options. There was always a trade off; if it wasn't money or time, it was some excuse. I can't blame a city on my decision-making capabilities, but the distractions and exhaustion of work and play muffled my ability to clearly think and make life decisions. So I forced myself to choose an open answer and made the first decision--move west.

During my first weeks in the California 'burbs, I felt like an alien or that I was in an alien-land. New York made me uniquely multi-dimensional (and maybe even slightly demented)--like a sheet of metal that's been sculpted, bent and warped, and if you place me on a perfectly leveled table, of course, I'll wobble and struggle to stay still. Well, I wobbled.

Separation from my friends gave me anxiety and the sleepiness of the suburbs put me in deeper isolation. Perhaps the transition would have been easier if I lived in San Francisco, but I wasn't looking for easy (or the 2-hour commute). I was looking for an ass-kicking, wake up call, detox of sorts. Through it, I'm hoping to gain clarity on what I want or don't want going into my 30s.

Slowly, I'm learning to appreciate the quiet. The weather is beautiful, the people are nice, and my time here is my time. I have time to do things like read, run and hike. In the mornings I take a shuttle to work and stare out of my window at the commercial office buildings, freeways, cloudless blue sky, hypnotized by its banal repetition. But before I can even think about missing the L train--its hipster fashion and crazy characters, I regain focus on an idea I've been working on or a goal I've set for myself. I regain focus on the future.

Now, it's my showtime.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Oscars Dinner Party survives in the California suburbs

This year's Oscars award show was pretty unmemorable with the exception of Lady Gaga's surprisingly tame but talented Sound of Music tribute. The BEST part of the Oscars was the dinner my friends Amara and Arlen helped put together to keep the #oscardinnerparty tradition alive for the third consecutive year. With only three days notice, they managed to pull together a coma-inducing spread inspired by this year's Best Picture nominees.

I've received a lot of comments on Instagram asking to be invited to my Oscars parties, and as always, I believe the more, the merrier! I encourage everyone to turn the snooze-fest awards show into something fun by coming up with creative and delicious dishes. It's easier to do than you think (easier if you actually watch the films) and proof of this is I thought of Adult Lunchables for Boyhood the day of the Oscars and spent less than $15 to execute. The magic is in the story behind the dish--for Adult Lunchables, I had 12 crackers, salami and cheese on the plate to represent the 12 years it took to make Boyhood and Arlen made lobster-stuffed steak for American Sniper because that is what the Army served soldiers in Afghanistan every other week.

Whiplash was the only movie that wasn't represented since no one saw it before the Oscars; however, now that I've seen the movie, I think I'd take a container of cool whip, make a cylindrical ring around the container to look like a drum and drizzle red food coloring all over the top like blood and make churros to be drumsticks. See? It's easy.

Here's a recap of all the dishes:

 Until next year!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tomales Bay Oyster Company and Point Reyes Seashore [PHOTOS]

Exactly a year ago, I was wearing tights under my jeans, a heavy down jacket and making sure I didn't eat it on the scary black ice that covered my path to a warehouse show in Brooklyn. This year, I've got sunscreen on my face and am shucking fresh oysters at Tomales Bay in 75° sunny Northern California. I'm not trying to create weather FOMO - because I still miss NY very much - but am trying to illustrate how drastically different life is on the west coast.

Sean and I spent President's day weekend with two of my close friends from Hawaii and their boyfriends, exploring Point Reyes - disconnecting ourselves from commercial office parks, suburban apartment complexes and the internet. I realized that when you have sunshine, the outdoors and a car, you can have a different and broader type of "fun" - it's no longer restricted by restaurants, bars, museums, movie times, wait times or crowds - I now have full autonomy on how I want to spend my time. And how did we spend our time? We BBQ-ed for 6+ hours at an oyster farm, put together a puzzle that was missing pieces without looking at the final picture and "painted". It was a fun, two-day getaway that nearly beats USA's shootout win over Russia at the Olympics last year. Nearly.