Never forget.

New York City has always been fascinating to me.

Every year I would anticipate planning our week long NYC trip consisting of bagels and cream cheese, Ray’s Pizza, broadway shows, and people watching galore!! There is no such thing as a diet in New York. Psh, you’ll walk it off anyways. That’s what I’ll tell myself now anyways!

This magical city is held close to my heart because of the fond memories I have of it.

One of the best days was taking the subway to the very tip most southern point (Battery Park) and walking up Manhattan with my dad. Wall Street, China Town, Strawberry Fields, we saw it all. Exploration at its finest.

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Another was when my mom got me out of school in the middle of the week for a long weekend because we had to go to New York to see one of her favorite artist’s newest installations through Central Park.
P.S. If you don’t know who Christo and Jeanne-Claude are then please do yourself a favor and do some art research. The Gates was unreal to see in person.

Soho introduced me to my love of boutiques and fashion and Central Park made me slow down and enjoy my surroundings (yes, even in the NYC hustle and bustle).

I love seeing a city so diverse and so proud of it. People are my inspiration. Of course being a sociology major in college comes with realizing and seeing some issues differently than others. And I think that’s why I’ve always been so attracted to this city and its people.

September 11 is always somewhat of a haunting day. That was the day my favorite city fell to its knees. But it has been unbelievable to see this city come back to life.

I cannot express my excitement that I’ll be in New York City for my next mini vacation in November. I can already feel the crisp air and the smell of Barney’s. Plus my boyfriend has NEVER been!

What the hell!

AND we are definitely using the amazing Airbnb to make our living costs cheaper. Hotels are fabulous but seriously I do not have $2,000 to sleep for three nights! Instead we’ll be staying off Lexington on the East side. Can you say fabulous?!

This will be the trip of a lifetime! + I can’t wait to write about it!

LETS GO!

Tea makes the world go round

Whether you like it cold, shaken, green, or black, tea is one of the world’s most favorite drinks. Literally!

For me, tea was one of those things that got super trendy and I had to somehow start liking it! Yep, that’s right, I forced myself to like tea and voila! Now I love it!

Of course I LOVE my shaken black tea with two pumps of sweetener from Starbucks but tea is a wordly obsession! Seriously everywhere that I’ve traveled to for longer than a couple days, tea is a staple to their diets. Like it means something more than just a yummy comforting drink.

In the United States we get so caught up in all the health benefits. That’s unfortunately how our culture works. There has to be something we can gain rather than just doing something for enjoyment. And ya, I sure do love knowing that tea has great antioxidants, anticancer properties, and can attribute to weight loss, but those things don’t really cross my mind when I’m in front of the barista.

In other countries I’ve really spent some time in like Kenya, South Africa, and Turkey, tea means something more! It’s a way of saying ‘you are welcome here’ without actually saying those words. The community as a whole is based off of such a simple drink that brings people together no matter how different those people really are or what kind of culture they come from.

Having Turkish cay. Offered to us by a shop owner at the Grand Bazaar.

Having Turkish cay. Offered to us by a shop owner at the Grand Bazaar.

Kenya: Hot chai tea was a staple when I visited. Crazy to think that the first international country I visited when I was 10 years old was in Africa. HAH! I could slap myself for not liking tea at the time because chai is soooo good! I was crazy. It was offered constantly! Some of the poorest villages and poorest houses we visited ALWAYS had chai brewing and ready. If that’s not hospitality then I don’t know what is.

Serious love for this country

Serious love for this country

South Africa: I studied abroad in this amazing country my Junior spring semester of college. I’ve never drank so much tea in my entire life. Every kind of institution has two tea times built into their daily schedules. So cool, especially when you are going crazy in a 5 hour class and need a freaking break! Rooibos is the nation wide tea of choice and I fell in love. Tea time also means loads of cookies and fresh bread. I had to give this up for lent that year because that’s two daily temptations too many! I kept the tea habit though! I miss getting together with all my friends twice a day to catch up and say hi over tea.

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Twice a day. Everyday.

Turkey: Cay (pronounced chai but it’s just black tea) brought the community together like no other. You would constantly see business owners and friends outside of their shops drinking tea together. It’s served in these precious glass tea cups that you have to hold by the rim or else you’ll burn your fingers off. I remember going into a Turkish delight shop with my mom and the owner gave us endless free samples and offered us tea. We were instantly friends and felt so welcome.

Free samples? Ummm, I'll take one of everything!

Free samples? Ummm, I’ll take one of everything!

 

There are so many kinds of tea and each one is known for something different. These three stand out to me so much and have a special special place in my heart.

Now sold at Ikea. Turkish tea carriers are getting to be mainstream!

Now sold at Ikea. Turkish tea carriers are getting to be mainstream!

Whether it’s based on the antioxidants or the taste, enjoy a cup of tea and relax in the moment.
What does tea mean to you?

who knew Long Beach was cool

Some might know Long Beach as having one of the largest shipping ports in the world. Other might know it to be the birthplace of Tiger Woods, Sublime and Snoop Dogg.

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When I went to college in the L.A. area I honestly had no reason or curiosity to venture out to these parts.

Well, I’m graduated, living in San Diego and FINALLY had a reason to go! aka a free ride to L.A. and good friends to meet up with.

My friend Natalie and I have been friends since freshman year of college. We were known for going to chapel in our PJs (it was early OKAAAY!) and blasting Alanis Morissette in the car.

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Anyways, so Natalie met up with me and we adventured in Long Beach all day and hey, it’s pretty cool!

Here’s a list of 5 top spots in Long Beach

  • Blackbird Cafe
    Coffee and a club sandwich go good together right? I’ll take that as a yes. My food combos never make sense but I sure loved this place! Vintage boutique stores on all sides too. Take a look while you wait for your table or after you’re done eating. That inspired us….
  • Garage Sale Saturday
    Nat needed a new project and new furniture pieces for her room so what’s better than roaming the neighborhood for sales?! We hit the JACKPOT! It’s been awhile since I’d been to or had a garage sale and Saturday is THE day! So many sales, met nice people, found a few pieces (Pottery Barn table for $20 SCORE!), and even stumbled upon Ferris Bueller’s neighborhood.
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  • 4th Street
    Super trendy spot a friend told us about to do some vintage shopping and thrifting. Even though we didn’t eat there (so full from earlier) there were some suuuuper cuuuute restaurants in the area. We fell in love with some boutiques and hipster coffee shops.
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  • Time to Cruise
    Long Beach is the major port for shipping boats and cruse ships in LA. I’ve never boarded a cruise from CA, being from TX and all, but I’ve known people to go on fabulous cruises to Mexico, Hawaii, and Catalina Island. Natalie and I accidently drove to the Queen Mary, an old stationed cruise ship that is now a museum, hotel, and restaurant. Not sure I would ever stay on a boat if I didn’t wake up somewhere tropical the next day but hey, whatever floats your boat (I got jokes!!)
  • Shoreline Village
    We ended our day at Shoreline Village, which was SUPER touristy but amazing people watching and sooo entertaining. You gotta understand that Long Beach is a major port city so these cruise ships are in and out everyday. This place was filled with arcades, funnel cakes, and photo booths to say the least. Cool part was that you can rent sailboats, bikes, and even do sunset cruises, so there ARE positive activities that come from this area 🙂

    photo 4We ended our day with watermelon wheat beer and a great dinner with even more friends. Cheers!

    XO,
    S

bath time

So, I haven’t really mentioned it yet, but traveling is like my numero uno passion in life. If I won the lottery the first thing I’d do would be to travel around the world. I’d be on a budget (more places, duh!) but still fabulous.

I totally get that people have different loves in life but honestly I think it’s pretty lame when people have ZERO lust for the world. Like, are you serious?! Get up and go put yourself in a new environment for once (even if it’s just another state!). That’s what makes you grow as a person, expands your mind and ideas, and you will definitely make so many crazy relationships along the way.

ANYHOO…to make a long story short, my mom, aka my bestie, is my biggest inspiration. She has a lust for life I’ve never seen anyone else have. Currently she’s an international school art teacher in Istanbul, Turkey. You know what that means!!
I’M GOING TO VISIT!

I recently just got back from my trip to Istanbul and I’ll be periodically sharing stories from that adventure.


 

One of my absolute favorite things I did in IST was take part in the traditional Turkish bath. Like, I read about this stuff when I was taking Latin in middle school. You know I was stoked!

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Kalic Ali Pasa was unreal and over the top fabulous! Think of a day spa, Turkish style. And did I mention the building is ancient?! It was built in 1571! Can’t really fathom that thought.

The first thing you notice is the architecture. HUUUGE vaulted ceilings and pretty much everything is made out of marble (nbd!) You can instantly feel the heat and moisture in the air, but not in a gross sweaty way. Super quiet spa-like environment.

selfie!

selfie!

The traditional bath experience (what I did) is amazing. You also have the option of doing a massage after the bath (next time I’ll have more time). Men and women can both utilize this spa but not at the same time of day (PTL! Awkward!) Women have all day until about 4 pm and the men are scheduled in the evening.

The room where the magic happens

The room where the magic happens

I am not going to tell every single detail (I have to leave some kind of a mystery!) but I have never felt so clean in my life! You are scrubbed down good!!! I had so much dead skin (everyone does) and the ladies will show you and laugh! Just embrace it and laugh along with them. At the end, you’ll find yourself wrapped in a Turkish towel (you KNOW I bought a couple for my bathroom!) and you basically get to lounge and even sleep on these huge couches where you are served hot mint face towels, tea and snacks (if you want) until 4 pm. Next time I go, I would schedule my bath earlier in the day just so I can lounge longer afterwards. Why not right?!

Where you can pass out for hours afterwards. Delish!

Where you can pass out for hours afterwards. Delish!

If you ever find yourself in an ancient country like Turkey, you MUST go visit the baths. They recommend treating yourself every 4-6 weeks for skin health and exfoliation. I’ll be back.

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XO,

S


california here we come

Since I’ve lived in California, Laguna Beach has always been my favorite beach town.

That could possibly be because the O.C. was and will be my favorite TV show forever. And yes, I even had an O.C. themed sweet sixteen birthday party in Texas. You know the obsession is real.

Anyways….Laguna is the absolute best beach city in Socal hands down.

When I visited in high school it was all about spotting local celebs like Lauren Conrad and Lo Bosworth, now both amazing bloggers btw, but now I’m more grown up (although I would probs pee my pants if I met those girls!)

There are so many yummy places for drinks and snacks. One of my favs is The Deck. It’s super hidden off the main road, down Sleepy Hollow Lane (YES! TRUE!) and down a couple flights of stairs. BOOM! Then you’re overlooking the ocean having a peach vodka lemonade and homemade guac. Delish!

Yummy drinks at The Deck bar.

Yummy drinks at The Deck bar.

Laguna Beach is a HUGE art town! Growing up with my mother as an artist, things like this have always stood out to me. There are local galleries on every corner and every summer there’s a massive art festival throughout the area, Pageant of the Masters being the best part. And HEY, you can even bring in your own wine and apps! It’s an UNREAL show that words can hardly explain but the website sums it up pretty nicely…

A ninety-minute stage show of “living pictures” – incredibly faithful art re-creations of classical and contemporary works with real people posing to look exactly like their counterparts in the original pieces. An outdoor amphitheater, professional orchestra, original score, live narration, intricate sets, sophisticated lighting, expert staff, and hundreds of dedicated volunteers

Unreal sky before the show. Amphitheaters are the best!

Unreal sky before the show. Amphitheaters are the best!

It was a blast taking my boyfriend for the first time and seeing the show for the second time with my mom (but it’s different every year!)

Next time you’re in the OC, pack those binoculars (or rent them there for $10)  and make sure to check out all these hidden gems. But the Pageant runs only one month out of the summer so GO GO GO!

 

xoxo,
S