August 21, 2013

One thing last week: SF segway tour!

Dan's birthday is coming up but he will be in Virginia for training, so we decided to celebrate his birthday a weekend in advance. I had originally planned an entire day of cool activities, but Stuff Happened as they are wont to do, and we ended up having a late brunch at Art's for hashbrown sandwiches and to the Golden Gate park to walk around and say hi to the bison.

And then came the surprise!

Everytime we saw people on segways whiz (ha ha) about the city, I had always commented how dumb they looked, and Dan had always talked about how much he wanted to ride a segway, how cool segway technology was, etc. This year I couldn't figure out a good present to give him, so decided to gift him a segway tour around the city. I booked a night tour of Chinatown and Fisherman's Wharf and here are some pics:

We look like an intimidating army (not really), but a quick review: I really enjoyed the tour but it could be because we are actually from the Bay Area, but nothing the guide said was particularly new (unlike the SF walking tours! I always learn something new and cool from those). The tour was not cheap, but I think it was worth it for Dan's expression when he realized we were taking a segway tour and for the experience of actually riding the segway. It's a really cool machine that was a little scary to get used to intially, but after a while it was really awesome to climb hills so effortlessly.

And then we had a late and fabulous dinner at Cotogna on Jeff's recommendation - be sure to ask for the focaccia bread at the start and get the corn triangoli. Those were our favorite dishes of the night.

Can't wait to move to SF for more fun SF adventures!!

Last 2 pictures from the SF Segway Tours Facebook page.

August 16, 2013

Resolution check-in: August

I've previously written about my resolutions this year, which were to keep myself more accountable to being more creative, to taking better care of myself and my body, and to saying yes even to situations that make me uncomfortable.

1) Learn something creative every month
I've fallen so behind on this unfortunately! The one thing I'm really proud of though, is how much DEEPER I'm going into my creative pursuits. I'm taking more time with this blog and I'm writing poetry at least 3 times a week. Writing so much (more than I used to at least) has really changed the way I view the world - I take more time with words. My favorite quote from high school philosophy class was Wittgenstein's, "the limits of my language mean the limits of my world," and in many ways this has become more real to me as I write and find the words to describe my experiences living in this strange world. There is so much more beauty in the world the more we speak it into being.

This month: I want to spend more time disconnected from the world and with myself. I want to focus on writing EVERYDAY, no matter how tired or stressed or not in the mood I am. I also want to focus on practicing calligraphy, at least 1-2 times a week!

2) Start treating my body as a priority
This I have to say I have almost completely NOT worked on. This month though I want to bring more lunches to work (I need to build my savings up to move to San Francisco!), maybe run a little more (ha), and hike at least twice a month!

Actually I have been hiking. Just not as much as I did when my job wasn't so crazy.

3) Say YES
I have. I think beyond saying yes though, is also saying yes to opening up of yourself to someone else, to accepting help from others BEFORE you're on the brink of collapse, and offering yourself to others before they ask. I want to work on being a better person - specifically in complaining less, actually helping when I see that others need help, and being better at calling my family or keeping in touch with them.

And finally:
I think the quote above really sums up how I want to be in the next half of this year - more PRESENT. I have found myself drifting off when people are talking, like thinking about work/ what I need to do next/ FOOD. But I think the best gift of all is that of ATTENTION, and I don't really like the kind of person I'm becoming with regards to this.

What are your goals for the last half of the year? How can we work towards being a better version of ourselves?

Image from Thorn and Sparrow

August 14, 2013

Fall uniform

Some startling points of note: 1) dear God how on earth is it already August, 2) when will San Francisco start finally experiencing some SUMMER, 3) yes this is a post about Fall dressing when it seems like summer just started yesterday.

And the saddest point of all: 4) yes I've already started wearing this outfit repeatedly to work. In the summer. Oh, San Francisco.

It started with an innocent pair of boots. They were tan, buttery soft, and the epitome of what I had envisioned to be the perfect pair of tall riding boots. They were also by Corso Como and at Crossroads for a ridiculous $40. I promptly grabbed it off the shelf and clutched it anxiously to myself (while darting my eyes left to right in case some aggressive shopper decided to rip it out of my hands) (we shoppers are crazy folk).

Since then I have not taken them off, except when showering and sleeping.

fall uniform

Pictured: Topshop cream cardigan ($96), black tights (I like Uniqlo's Heattech ones but they aren't in stores yet), Forever 21 boots ($40), Uniqlo silk dress ($70), Madewell tote ($168), Michael Kors watch ($250)

Firstly I have to say that I own that Uniqlo dress and love it to pieces. I would wear it everyday if I could. I sized up because of my pesky child-bearing hips, but the silk is divine and it travels remarkably well. That Topshop cardigan pictured is THE definition of the perfect boyfriend/ fisherman/ slouchy sweater and I behoove everyone to go out and purchase one similar to this RIGHT NOW.

Accessories: you can get the Madewell tote monogrammed (how adorable is that), and the Michael Kors watch is a staple. I've been wearing my hair in a low ponytail (I mean I say this like I wear my hair any other way...) and just focused on glowy cheeks. I've been loving Benefit's Watts Up highlighter on my cheeks - I received a mini version in my birthday gift from Sephora and I don't think I will ever finish it up; I've used mine everyday for 3 weeks now and there's barely a dent.

I have literally worn a version of this uniform EVERYDAY for the past week. It's been great breaking out all of my shorter shift dresses which I can't wear in regular time because my height makes most things I wear look rather ridiculous and disproportionate, but with tights and calf-lengthening boots it all works quite well together.

I do believe the one biggest thing I will miss most if I do get deported back to Singapore is being able to wear boots. Leather is a thing of beauty guys.

August 12, 2013

One thing a few weeks ago: Camping!

Around 3 weeks ago, I went camping with a couple of friends who were plenty more adept at building tents, hiking, and cooking food that they caught with their bare hands than I am. We chose the relatively civilized county of Mendocino and it was such a nice weekend - being away from the city and from work for 2 days. My camera chose to die after the first day, so these are some pictures of the beautiful Russian Gulch state park and our hiking adventures there!

The bridge is really spectacular and spans across this little inlet:

Of course we needed to take a group picture with 50% of it being the ground. My camera was perched on Kevin's backpack because our first attempt to hang it from the tree branch failed (see below):

And as we skipped past patches of poison oak (legitimately thought this was a made-up plant), we landed up at a beautiful little waterfall:

This is what makes California for me: we drove 3 hours out of the city and landed in NATURE and sheer gorgeousness. We stayed in a weird little campsite, but cooked our Costco food and it was just so peaceful and unreal to be sleeping out in the open under the stars.

Ending with my favorite picture of the trip:

May you have many beautiful and transcendent experiences this week!

August 9, 2013

Beauty buys on my radar

My skin has been inept lately. I think the reasons for this are a mix of: 1) crappy lifestyle where I get home at 10pm and scarf down some microwaved dino nuggets (from Costco, seriously the best thing ever), 2) sheer laziness, where all I want to do when I'm home is fall facedown in bed, and 3) committing the cardinal sin of sleeping without taking my makeup off.

Looks away shamefaced.

I know, I know. I need to change my LIFE. But I'll start with my skin. Here are some skincare/ beauty buys that are on my radar, even though I'm fully aware the first step is to actually USE the ones I currently have:

1) Kiehl's Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque ($23)
I had a sample that I used to the very last drop and I loved it. It reminds me of the Aesop Parsley Seed Mask but is less than half the cost (!), and though my heart is still very much with my Aesop mask, I’m afraid my wallet cannot be. My skin is brightened and deeply cleansed after use, but it doesn’t make my (extremely dry/ dehydrated) skin tight and uncomfortable, which I find many mud masks to do. All in all a great little trooper and a mask that is next on my to-purchase list.

2) Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm ($28.50)
Caroline Hirons is my go-to skincare guru, so when she says that this Clinique face balm works well and is great, well then. I've been wanting to try the Emma Hardie cleansing balm but it's so expensive and only available in the UK - this balm from Clinique is so much more affordable and easily available (no begging my brother to bring this home for me). I'm running out of my L'Occitane cleansing milk and am looking to shake things up a little with my skincare, so this will probably be the next cleanser I purchase!

3) Nuxe Lip Balm ($19)
Essie Button, one of my favorite Youtubers (Dan recognizes her voice now because I'm always on her Youtube channel...) recommended this in a recent empties video, and that's pushing me over the edge into purchasing it. I've heard good things about it from others as well and my lips are terribly dry. I have no idea why, but SF weather is crazy and cracked lips are painful and not cute. The only thing stopping me is the PRICE. I cannot possibly justify paying 19-freaking-dollars for lipbalm when I have legions of free chapstick.... decisions.

Any beauty buys you have your eye on/ need to recommend to a dry skinned, lazy, overworked and perpetually tired girl? (That was such a poor and yet sadly accurate description of myself).

August 7, 2013

Currently Obsessed: Dainty Jewelry

It's been absolutely berserk lately around here. Work has been very very fulfilling, but also halfway crazed, and I'm also trying to kickstart my freelancing editing business (hire me! I do fast and affordable work), and dealing with the possible BART strike, etc etc.

In my time of distressed busyness, I think the only recourse is SHOPPING, and more specifically - JEWELRY. In the past I've gravitated towards large statement pieces, but now I'm leaning more towards a daintier, slighter aesthetic:

Top: Dogeared wishbone necklace, ASOS arrow necklace, HL Collection initial necklace
Bottom: Kate Miss bronze crescent necklace, Kris P Studio sterling bar necklace, ASOS ditsy triangle necklace

I love how they add a little interest and sparkle without being too over the top and crazy - especially when working at the store I tend to forget to accessorize because most of my accessories are inappropriate for a store setting!

Alrighty back to work. It's hard balancing everything I want to do (metalsmithing! baking classes! jewelry making! poetry writing! life-living!!) with everything I want to accomplish - does that strange imbalance make sense to anyone else?