The Travels of a Culture Vulture, Weekend Warrior

Hello Winter Wonderland

It’s finally December & officially Christmas season. I’ve finally recovered from my Thanksgiving food coma, and so I thought I should share some moments from my little winter wonderland in Lake Tahoe this past weekend.

As you may know, I’m not a fan of the cold but I do find the snow to be truly beautiful and magical. When it looks this beautiful outside, you almost forget that your face is about to freeze completely off. It ranged from 10-20 degrees F throughout the day.

The lake even froze over around the more shallow edges, and my friends braved the cold to walk onto the lake the first day we arrived. The ice was pretty solid but I had a deep fear about falling through the ice and having a Titanic-like death experience. However, we were able to make it past the docks and slightly past the boating speed signs. If this isn’t the face of a daredevil, I honestly don’t know what is.

I made Filipino adobo the first night and we had a lovely time eating, drinking, gossiping, and playing games together. They wanted to go to the Casinos so we toured around the city at night time and all lost a little bit of money. I really don’t enjoy gambling, so you can imagine my disappointment when I lost $5.00 playing a penny slot with puppies on it. I could have bought an In & Out cheeseburger and fries with that! Peer pressure man.

The next day, we went to the Heavenly Resort to snowboard. It was honestly so beautiful, I could cry. However, 80% of the mountain was still closed and there were literally only 3 runs I could do as a seasoned beginner. I actually have all my own snowboard gear now and didn’t have to rent which was awesome, but it was my first time using my new board and it was super slippery. I’m so glad Jackie came along to do the easy runs with me, otherwise I would have held the boys back–there was no way in hell I would go down the blue runs and make it out alive. We had fun anyway, making snow angels and coasting through the bunny slopes.

 

My friends also built a snowman the first day and it lasted the entire weekend since it was so cold outside. I avoided the cold and instead sang the entire soundtrack to Disney’s Frozen inside a little too many times. (Just kidding, there’s no such thing as singing Frozen too many times.) I did go outside for a bit to participate in a snowball fight and then pretended like I had made a contribution to the creation of this snowman by taking pictures with him before heading back home.

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This photo perfectly describes us.

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Weekend Warrior

Hello Wente | Wine Tasting & Tour

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Weekend Warrior

East Bay Festivities

Friday | April 03

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Oakland, CA | First [Good] Friday at Art Murmur, followed by a hoolahoop contest at Lost & Found.

The solution to California's drought.

Berkeley, CA | The Albatross with the solution to California’s drought.

Saturday | April 04

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Oakland, CA | Brunch at The Grand Tavern followed by a visit to the Oakland Farmer’s Market

Oakland, CA | Park-bench-lounging at Lake Merritt

Oakland, CA | Park-bench-lounging at Lake Merritt

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Piedmont, CA | Mountain View Cemetery for the Qingming Festival

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Berkeley, CA | Treasure hunting at Ohmega Salvage on San Pablo Ave.

Berkeley, CA | Another night cap at The Albatross filled with an intense game of darts (which I had surprisingly won!)

Berkeley, CA | Another night cap at The Albatross filled with an intense game of darts (which I had surprisingly won!)

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Outfit Details | Gap Striped Blouse | Michael Kors Tan Anorak | Mossimo Black Bottoms | Mossimo Wedged Booties | Dooney & Bourke “Florentine Medium Pocket Satchel” |

Sunday | April 05
Brentwood, CA | Golden Hills Community Church with a special Easter Sunday sermon.
Hercules, CA | Lunch with the family. #FilipinoSpaghettiOnFleek
Pinole, CA | Phonomenal Vietnamese for dinner
Davis, CA | Homeward bound after a long, eventful weekend! #sleepdeprived

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TBT, Weekend Warrior

TBT |Snapshots of Mt. Rose Snowboarding

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At the start of the year, my friends and I reunited in Reno for a quick weekend getaway in the snow. Most of us hit the slopes at Mt. Rose, and I tried snowboarding for the second time in my life. Unfortunately, whatever skills I may have picked up when I tried snowboarding for the first time as a 10 year old, did not translate the second time around. I was essentially falling–no, face-planting is more accurate of a term–down the mountain. At one point, I flew up and landed on my chest…it was not a pretty site. It was funny though to be failing so hard so many times with all of my closest friends watching. But with each fall on that first run, my determination to just make it down alive (in one piece) grew stronger. And with each fall, the more I laughed at how terrible I was doing–it was better than crying about it. By the time I made it down, I was exhausted and felt so defeated. The score: Mountain-1 Kristin-0.

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After that first run, I took a long break. I didn’t want to repeat the horrible experience again and I didn’t want my friends to have to keep waiting for me every time I literally fell behind. But I thought that I should give it another try 1) because I’m not a quitter and 2) the snowboarding gear and lift tickets were effing expensive. The second time around was still pretty bad, but it was better and my body was starting to figure out how to navigate and more importantly, stop without falling so hard on my ass. That being said, my greatest fear wasn’t falling, it was getting on and off the damn ski lift. I’m terrified of heights and I hate being in confined (inescapable) situations, but I wasn’t about to climb up the mountain on foot so I just had to deal with it. On my last run, my friends convinced me to go with them to a higher peak, which required taking two ski lifts. To be honest, that final run was my redemption and I’m so glad that I tried it. I actually made it down with only a few minor falls and most of my run was spent balancing upright like a boss. Plus, it was less crowded on that side of the mountain so it kind of felt like it was just reserved for us. With the sun setting as we reached the bottom on the mountain, it was a peaceful conclusion to a difficult yet exhilarating experience.

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Weekend Warrior

Monterey Bay | Asilomar Beach Feb.14.2015

Oh my, I’ve finally awakened from my long winter [blogging] hibernation! Hello friends, I’ve missed you!

A lot has happened since we’ve last spoken: I’ve taken on another job, Mac turned 5, I got my first car, and most importantly every season of F.R.I.E.N.D.S is now on Netflix. I know I’m late with all this, so to catch up…Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and finally–Happy Valentine’s Day! 2015 has just hit the ground running, and I haven’t had much time to catch up my blog until now. I know, I know, that’s a terrible excuse, but I really miss this thing so I’m trying to make a schedule and get back in the swing of things. I will make a future post to properly catch up, but for now I will just share the most recent experience I had spending the sunny Valentine’s Day in Monterey, CA.

I feel like Valentine’s Day is just another day to celebrate the loves in your life and not just the one day of the year where you get chocolate and flowers. (Personally, I believe everyday is a suitable day to give & receive love! And chocolates and flowers for that matter!) However, I also enjoy trying to make the day extra special and think it’s a nice excuse to spend the day trying something new or doing something a little different–you know, to spice things up! So this year, since Alex and I finally had a free weekend together, he decided to plan a little surprise day trip to Monterey.

My morning started off with attempting to serve breakfast in bed, but it basically just turned into regular breakfast at the dining table since Alex had already waken up and white sheets and ketchup don’t really pair well together anyway…haha.

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“Omelette you finish, but first let’s go to the dining table.”

After breakfast, we started packing and got ready to hit the road. At that point, Alex was still keeping our exact plans a secret but he did tell me that we were going to a beach and that I should bring a dress to change. Whilst in the car, I found out that we were heading to Monterey & then to both of our surprises, 30 minutes later, we were stuck in soooo much traffic. Apparently, everyone took the day off and wanted to make the most of the three day weekend as well.

A slight detour, 3 Carl’s Jr. chicken sandwiches (#necessary), a few skin tones darker, and 3.5 hours later, Mac finally set paws on the shores of Asilomar Beach! We were all so happy to have arrived and it was such a gorgeous day outside that it was hard to believe that we were still in the middle of winter. Surprise completed, or so I thought.

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#LovingCaliforniaWinters #GlobalWarming??

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We spent the rest of the afternoon eating and drinking on the beach, preventing Mac from sniffing too many other doggy butts (and vice versa), playing in the sand, avoiding getting submerged in the cold Pacific Ocean, playing cards and football, taking pictures, and generally just enjoying the warm sun and perfect company.

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Since the opportunity to watch the sunset on the beach was too good to pass up, Alex postponed our dinner reservations (the second surprise) and chilled out a little longer. It was really beautiful and romantic, and I was just completely satisfied being able to enjoy the moment with the ones that I love (…and with all the other people on the beach taking sunset selfies….lol.)IMG_4689

We eventually arrived at Schooner’s, after washing up & changing, and were seated at a table for two by the window over looking the city across the shore. Dinner and dessert were good and surprisingly the restaurant wasn’t overly-crowded. All the ladies were given a long-stemmed red rose and some chocolate truffles after dinner which was a nice touch. And all in all, it was a nice way to end the eventful day before heading back home.IMG_4696

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Weekend Warrior

Hay girl, hay!

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Over the weekend, some old friends came up to visit Alex and I to kick off this Halloween season and join us on our visit to the Dixon Cool Patch Pumpkins–which holds the Guinness World Record for largest corn maze in the U.S.

I hadn’t been to a pumpkin patch since I was a toddler so I didn’t really have any expectations going into the pumpkin patch, but I was pleasantly surprised. There were all different shapes and sizes of pumpkins on display and also growing on the pumpkin patches for fresh pickin’. There was a “Fun Zone” will a pool filled with corn grains and kids hyped up on kettle corn. There were teepees, a bunch of creative scarecrows made from a variety of materials, families pulling wagons stacked with pumpkins and babies inside, and hay….lots of hay. And since we arrived just as the sun was about to set, the setting sun cast a light that gave everything an extra tint of orange and created the perfect color scheme to welcome the festive season.

As for the corn maze, by the time my other friends had arrived, the light had completely disappeared and we started the convoluted maze in the dark. Luckily, we brought flashlights and something to mark the map with–we would have been screwed without them. I was pretty nervous (the usual…when I am trying new things for the first time) because being lost in the dark with no way out is what my nightmares are made of…plus, I was not as prepared as I had hoped. Though I wore comfortable flat shoes, it would have been much more appropriate to wear tennis shoes/trainers since the maze would take at the very least 1.5 hours to complete… plus the terrain is very uneven and dirty (not a good combo for oxfords with cutouts in them, lol.) But at least I wasn’t alone, so if I died out there in the middle of corn stalks that were double my height, someone would probably come looking for me.

However, we made it out of the maze alive and well. Thank goodness for Alex’s navigational skills and willingness to take the lead–we were out in 2 hours and only got slightly lost a few times (those convoluted circles in the beginning were confusing!) #GoTeamA[MAIZE]ing

Anyway, after completing the maze and a thorough leg workout, we grabbed some grub in Downtown Davis and then headed back home to catch up and play games. (Side note: I won Settlers of Catan for the first time, shebooyah!) And in the morning before our friends drove back home, we got brunch at Black Bear Diner to end the weekend the best way we knew how–with foodz.

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Foodie Faves, Outfit Diaries, Weekend Warrior

Hello French Toast & Flowers

Last Sunday, Alex took me on a “surprise date” which included some of my favorite-est things: french toast & flowers.

After church, we went brunching at Sacramento’s famous Tower Cafe. I hadn’t had a chance to try it yet so I was real excited because he had made it a surprise but mostly because I was promised French Toast. For a lot of eateries that get a lot of hype, I try to keep my cool so I don’t get disappointed with the long wait time and sub-par customer service, but I was pleasantly surprised by Tower Cafe. I enjoyed all the thought they put into making the dining experience enjoyable. The wait area is beautiful, with plenty of seats, and shaded by palm trees from the hot California sun–which are all things that my fellow hangry people can appreciate I think.

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I really enjoyed the outside seating (even though it was blazing hot) fully decked out with big trees and other flora which enveloped the entire place with shade. It was like eating in the middle of an urban tropical forest. The food was also very good with generous portions packed with flavor. I ordered a full serving of their Famous French toast (duh) and Alex ordered the Thai Steak & Eggs. My favorite kind of French Toast is the kind where they soak the bread in custard, and I hadn’t found a place other than The Cheesecake Factory that did this, so it was really nice to find an alternative. To be honest, I still prefer the TCF’s Brûléed French Toast but these are at a close second! I will definitely be back to try the Madame Cristo (a Monte Cristo with eggs) & for the awesome dining experience.

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After brunch, Alex took me to my second surprise at McKinley Park–where we took a walk through the Rose Garden. As a Davis “expat” from the Bay Area, I never really had any strong interest to explore Sacramento, so I had no idea that a place like this existed so close to me. It was a different side of Sacramento that I had never experienced before–a better side. It was blazing hotttt, as I already mentioned, but all the roses were in bloom and were all so pretty which almost made me forget about the heat. Seriously food and flowers, y’all. Food and flowers….I have to admit, he done good. ‘Twas an extra fun Sunday.IMG_4159

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Details | Mossimo Maroon Top | TopShop Plaid Midi Skirt | J. Aldridge by Sea of Shoes Gladiator Heels | H&M Gold Chain Necklace | Dooney & Bourke Florentine Medium Pocket Satchel | Cole Haan Rounded Acrylic Sunglasses |

 

 

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