April 14 2014 // Posted in Art, Architecture & DesignHouse & Home

I love houses. Being the looky-loo at open houses, reading through all 1000+ Houzz tours, etc. — I am mildly obsessed with peeking into other people’s homes. And since taking up running mild-paced jogging, instead of simply glancing at my neighbors, I’ve had the time to appreciate their houses around me in a slightly more up-close and personal way. Imagining who lives in them, what they do, what they’re like.

Not too long ago, I took a tiny little street I normally pass, and found this trio of Victorians that as an adult, I found delightful for their historical value, but also made my inner kindergartner practically squeal with delight at seeing life-sized dollhouses.

Speaking of being a looky-loo, this yellow Victorian is on the market and was open for viewing.

And the inside is every Victorian lover’s dream. Original wood floors and trim, stained glass windows, cozy rooms, narrow rickety steps, it had everything. Not all that practical for most families, but as a protected historical building, updates and renovations would be kept strictly in check. Admittedly I couldn’t live in a house like it, but I’d love to know the people who do live in it!

And this last one is one of the cheeriest little houses I’ve ever seen.

Don’t you just want to have afternoon tea with whoever lives in there?


(Almost) Home Away From Home


April 07 2014 // Posted in Travel

It has been almost a year since I moved back home to LA, and the three years I spent as a San Diego resident have turned into wonderful though already somewhat distant memories. But man do I miss it. And go figure, local TV stations are constantly running San Diego tourism ads showing how amazing the city is. Every time I see them, I think, “You don’t have to tell me, I know how amazing San Diego is — I lived there!”

So when one of my grad school friends invited me over for a visit last Saturday, I jumped at the chance for a quick day trip to revisit a couple of my favorite haunts, and visit a place that, believe it or not, I failed to go to at all during the entire time I lived there: the zoo. (The absurdity!)


Silly me. Perhaps I was too insistent on discovering things that I thought a “local” should do, while avoiding the big “tourist traps.” But the polar bears! Why didn’t I at least think of the polar bears?

As it was a girls’ day and I was too caught up in chatting, gossiping, and all the general silliness of reuniting with a friend after so long, I didn’t get into touristy-photo-snapping-mode. But there were a few instances after our zoo visit as we walked through beautiful Balboa Park where I still couldn’t resist pausing for just a moment.


You can barely see the bride across the Reflection Pool in the next photo. We saw 4 wedding parties around the park that day, including a ceremony with a Mariachi band.



The organ at the pavilion was closed, so full disclosure: this next picture is from a random Sunday three years ago, taken during my very first visit, when I happened arrive at the park just as a performance was starting. But I thought why not include it here just because — so I did.


And while I usually find the willpower to resist Instagramming my food, I had missed Extraordinary Desserts too much to not show off this raspberry chocolate cake (truffe framboise) that I can almost still taste even now.


One day is not nearly enough time to spend there, but I’ll take it! And now, the obvious question is which spots do I visit the next time I head back down? Decisions, decisions…



The Ranch


January 24 2014 // Posted in PhotographyTravel

Allowing myself a much-belated “looking back” post, I wanted to share just a few pictures from a quick side-trip to Hearst Castle that I took on New Year’s Eve. It’s a landmark that I’ve wanted to visit for years, though far enough from Los Angeles to deter thoughts of a day-trip. But during a super short getaway to Paso Robles, I was able to spend half a day at La Cuesta Encantada before heading home. I love Citizen Kane, Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, etc. — really, all matters of the Golden Age of Hollywood — and I was so excited to visit a place that was a go-to spot for so many cultural icons that I adore.

My photography “skills” are still very much on a steep uphill learning curve, but my first visit there was enchanting and so these pictures are quite special to me. Except for the first one; I make no excuses for the cellphone photo!












January 09 2014 // Posted in Life

With it being over a week into 2014, and my new routines starting to take shape, it seemed time to finally reclaim this blogging hobby I once enjoyed so much. And the topic to get things started is, fittingly, resolutions.

Never having been a particularly “goal-oriented” person (that’s one phrase you won’t find in my cover letters), I want to challenge myself, but need to be realistic. As much as I’d like to lose weight or have more money, can I truly stick with losing X pounds, or saving Y dollars? Probably not. Instead, I’ve come up with the following list of concrete experiences and activities that I believe tie in broader goals I’d like to achieve.

A good effort to achieve these goals will hopefully have positive effects in the general areas I’d like to improve. I hope also any physical improvements will also positively affect my mental state as well. This is also the first year in which I am no longer a student, which means I must work harder than ever to reach results. However, in spite of the Great Unknown and many the changes that will inevitably come, both expected and unforeseen, I am more optimistic going into this year than I have been in a long, long time.


What’s the Plan, Phil?


October 30 2013 // Posted in Entertainment & Media

I used to be one of those people that never win anything — ever. This changed when I was one of the lucky fans invited to attend USA Network’s Modern Family Fan Appreciation Day a couple of days ago. A whole day with my BFF and all things Pritchett/Dunphy/Tucker-Pritchett? Yes please!


“Modern Family” has become a rather big part of my life in the last couple of years, because of the light-hearted escapism it provides. And my extremely addictive personality led me to become quickly obsessed. And this day was a nice escape from the “real world”. You can find more about the day with this overview and highlights from the Q&A, but here’s some of the fun we had, brought to you by my iPhone.

Like waiting in line for most of the afternoon. Hats were awarded for getting 3 of 5 trivia questions correct.


The event staff was amazing and kept things super fun. They had carts with swag (sunglasses, card decks, etc.) and cutouts to take pictures with the characters.


The Regency Village Theatre is quite beautiful. The ceiling was lovely.


The cast enters the theatre — look it’s the Dunphys!


Table reading and Q&A.


Ending with a presentation of the season 2 Halloween episode.


Event staff would pop up at the magic word (candy) and throw candy at us. I got beaned in the face with a fun size Milky Way.


The end of a fun day with the “family” and a fun little Halloween celebration.


“The most amazing things that can happen to a human being will happen to you, if you just lower your expectations.”