Category Archives: Travel

Fun Music Music Playlist San Francisco Travel

Playlist: San Francisco Road Trip

Today Marc and I are getting a head start on the weekend and going on our much anticipated San Francisco weekend getaway. It’s only about an hour plane ride away from LA but we decided that it would be much more fun to take our sweet time, drive up the coast, and check out Solvang, San Luis Obispo, Monterey, Paso Robles and Pismo Beach along the way. And of course, a road trip just isn’t a road trip without a prerequisite playlist that you can sing your heart out to, bop your head to, or cruise along with while you relax and enjoy the scenery. With my musical taste all across the map with Dancehall, Reggae, R&B, Folk, Indie Rock and Pop and Marc’s towards Hard Rock and more Hard Rock, between the two of us, I think we’ve got this road trip covered.

A-SIDE: TO SF
1. Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen – Good Time
2. Janet Jackson – Escapade
3. 2Pac – California Love
4. Blondie – The Tide is High
5. Billy Ocean – Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car
6. MGMT – Electric Feel
7. LCD Soundsystem -Dance Yrself Clean
8. Led Zeppelin – D’Yer Mak’er
9. Daft Punk feat. Pharell – Get Lucky

B-SIDE: TO LA
10. David Guetta feat. Rihanna – Who’s That Chick
11. Chris Brown – Forever
12. Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
13. Prince – Little Red Corvette
14. M83 – Midnight City
15. UB40 – Red Red Wine
16. The Mamas and the Papas – California Dreamin
17. Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin – Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus
18. Phillip Phillips – Home

San Francisco Style Travel

What to Wear: Turban Two Ways – San Francisco Road Trip

Lately, I’ve been pretty infatuated with turbans in good part to it’s a classy quick fix solution to a big bad hair day dilemma. So it was a no brainer hairstyle of choice when figuring out what to wear tomorrow on our road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco, especially since we’ll be driving with the top down. Because the difference between having a glamorous wind against your skin Grace Kelly moment and an embarrassing hair in your face gaff is, more often than naught, simply a well placed head scarf around a thirty second bun. Because we all know that’s all we probably have time for the morning before leaving town anyways. So I came up with two turban inspired, simple California fun looks that are comfortable to wear on the road, and chic enough to make a statement upon arrival.

 

TURBAN TWO WAYS

ON THE ROAD

  • For those of us who are turban confused, here’s a great turban tutorial by the beautiful and very talented Keiko Lynn.
  • Classicly shaped oversized Lanvin sunglasses with the perfect amount of hardware make for old meets new Hollywood chic and enough coverage to protect our eye from the suns beautiful yet harmful rays, especially on those super sunny California days.
  • A flirty little feminine scalloped lace tee by Funktional make even the most casual outfits romantic.
  • I love these Cleopatra like earrings by Eddie Borgo, lending some architecture to this otherwise softer outfit.
  • Southwestern printed shorts by IRO for a South West road trip. What could be more perfect?
  • Slip on. Slip off. These glittery espadrilles by Jimmy Choo are perfect to slip on once you’re at a vista point and to slip off once you’re relaxing in the car with your feet on the dashboard.
  • This outfit would not be complete without a sunny punch of neon in the form of a Tory Burch snake crossbody bag where you can store all your road trip essentials.

UPON ARRIVAL

Travel

Travel guides: For the people. By the people.

Who said print was dead? By combining the immediacy and ingenuity of online technology with the portability, comfort and tactile familiarity of print, Stay.com has created the perfect balance in travel guides for the unique, organized and engaged traveler in all of us.  My latest and most favoritest website allows folks, like you and I, to leisurely peruse through virtual aisles of concise summaries of local attractions, restaurants, museums, bars and shops by city, which you can then add to your very own personalized and customized city guide.  Once the destination wish list is compiled, the little computer elves on the backend magically organize all the places you’d like to hit up in a practical little brochure-like list, fully wrapped, signed, sealed, and delivered with a pinpointed map that you can print and conveniently shove in your purse/butt pocket for quick retrieval and reference.

So what are you waiting for?  Check them out for yourself! Afterall, they did make this guide especially just for you.

Chicago Dining Food Food & Entertaining Fun Restaurants Travel

Getaway Guide: Chicago Edition – Hot Doug’s.

When I planned the itinerary for my Chicago trip mid last month, I didn’t have a doubt in my mind whose itinerary I wanted to mimic, live and breathe just due to the sheer fact that I am totally, completely and utterly obsessed with him.  This man is god and to me, his word is gospel.  In this facet of my life, travel, eating and writing, there is only one man that I have fallen under the spell of.  Thanks to his unwavering charm, his snarky quick witted comments, and discerning yet unelitist taste, I have become a fan of a fifty-four year old chain smoking Frenchman from New York who goes by the name of Anthony Bordain.

Yes, I am an Anthony Bourdain bandaid/roadie. In spite of his lanky, weathered appearance, hard eyes and guaranteed tarnished teeth and La Brea tar pit-like breath, the man turns me on to life like no other man has and I bow down to him for that.

So in my recent travels to Chicago, I just had to frequent all the locations Anthony Bourdain visited during his No Reservations: Chicago episode.  I mean after all, just because I’m not a religious person shouldn’t mean that I can’t go on my own makeshift pilgrimage, right? RIGHT!  So with my printed itinerary in tow, I set off to the Windy City to be where he had been, eat where he had eaten, taste the foods he had tasted and maybe, just maybe, experience levels of culinary euphoria that is usually reserved for the gluttons and the famished alike.

Among the places we dined at was the infamous Hot Doug’s, the same establishment that Bourdain, a self proclaimed “meat in tube form” enthusiast, determined housed the best hot dog in all of America.  Located in a suburban neighborhood in the north part of Chicago, my friend, Tony (name doppelganger to my beloved was coincidental), and I hopped on the northbound 52 bus towards California/Roscoe and made the trek to Hot Doug’s.  We were, for a lack of a better word, less than prepared for what was in store for us.

We got off at the Roscoe stop and to our left stood a brick building with a seedy motel vacancy like sign brightly announcing Hot Doug’s presence amongst a rather ghostlike and barren part of town.  I began to think, “Was this part of the appeal of Hot Doug’s? Because if it is, I’m buying it!”

Welcome to Hot Doug’s. We have 4 vacancies. You’ll just have to wait in the cold for two hours.

Immediately beneath that sign ran a long line of hungry and cold customers braving the fierce winds of Chicago, huddled up along the side of the building that moved at a snail’s pace.  Believe it or not, it made the TSA lines at LAX feel like the drive-thru at McDonald’s.

And there we stood, for two full hours, in the windy coldness that is Chicago, waiting patiently…NO…zealously for our chance to partake in these mighty dogs.

And mighty they were!  Of their copious menu…

We ordered everything!

Well, almost everything.  We got the Ale and Chipotle Buffalo Sausage pictured above in Tony’s left hand.  It came with a bacon-garlic mayonnaise and maple smoked cheddar cheese.  I had one bite.  It was aiight.  Nothing to write home about.

We also ordered the Shiraz and Sweet Cherry Pork Sausage pictured below.  It was slathered with a pomegranate creme fraiche which tasted more like creamy wine and topped with a large helping of snow white cheese.  Yea, it sounded good, but not unlike Communism, what sounds good in theory doesn’t always work well in practice.  So I’m sorry to say my fellow capitalistic cronies, but this particular dog wreaked of Chairman Mao.

Next was the infamous Chicago Style Dog that earned Hot Doug’s the title of Best Hot Dog in America by the Almighty Bourdain.  It was actually pretty good because the sweetness of the tomatoes and the tartness of the pickles balanced out the richness and heavyness of what one usually experiences when eating a sausage.  Also, the celery salt gave it that added savory sodium and msg laden punch that us Asians just love so much.  Cancer schmancer.

The Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage which came adorned with a beautifully fragrant truffle aioli, a smooth foie gras mouse and sprinkled lightly with fleur de sel was my personal favorite.  But that’s because I LOVE foie gras.  It makes everything, and I mean everything, taste that much better.  So with that said, my opinion of this dish is skewed for that reason alone because I do recognize that the duck sausage itself was overcooked and dry.  My recommendation: ask them to throw salmonella to the wind and cook it medium rare.

A heart attack waiting to happen.

And as if that wasn’t enough food for two, we decided to order a side of their duck fat fries.  Although I would love to announce that the fries were heavily laden with the savory duck fat aroma, in this particular order, they really weren’t.  And to be honest with you, I couldn’t even taste the difference.  Maybe it’s because I’m getting old and my taste buds are slacking off but I tried and I tried.  I even closed my eyes and imagined little ducks running around but nothing.  Nada.  The thing is, I’ve had fries fried in bacon fat at Laurel Tavern in Sherman Oaks, CA and that my friend, is hard to compete with.

All in all, Hot Doug’s is good eats!  However, I highly recommend not over doing it as I did.  Eat what you can.  Leave what you can’t.  The food there is very filling.  After standing in line for two hours in the freezing cold and risking hypothermia, I couldn’t rationalize not finishing this food that I treked so far and hard for.   So at 3pm that Saturday afternoon, even though I have never eaten more than one hot dog in one sitting, I managed to choke down two sausages (insert perverse comment here), as well as half an order of duck fat fries. How did I feel afterwords? Lets just say I was still so nauseous by midnight that I couldn’t even muster up the stomach to finish my drink atop the Hancock Building.

Hot Chocolate Pixie: Bailey’s Irish Cream, Butterscotch schnapps, hot cocoa

And having jumped out of a plane twice…

The most amazing thing you can do with your clothes on.

I can assure you that it wasn’t due to the heights.

View from the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building.

All in and all, I’d have to say that I’m glad that I’m allowing myself to let myself go, and somewhat follow group think, to a certain degree.  I’ve always had this fear that I would become this soulless drone of a person if I stopped listening to who I was and allowed myself to blindly follow the status quo, with no regard for what I truly wanted for myself. But what I’m beginning to learn is that it’s ok if what I want for myself occasionally coincides with what everyone else wants.  Because in the end, no matter what I own, what I eat, where I am, who I’m with or what I do…I will always be me.  Happy, excited, curious, lovable and enthusiastic little ole me!

Travel

The Travelholic

Probably not unlike many of you, I’m a child of the eighties and the nineties.  The year I was born, Ronald Reagan, a former Hollywood actor, was president and we were in the middle of a cold war.  Within the next decade we were able to put an end to that war through diplomatic actions between the US and the former Soviet Union which at the time, was led by a rather chubby cartoon like world leader with a cute borscht soup stain on his head.  Our economy was even worse than it is now, with over 10% of the US population unemployed.  Michael Jackson released the best selling album of all time, and my personal favorite, Thriller.  I woke up on Saturday mornings to watch Saturday Morning Cartoons and Saved by the Bell.  And I grew up with Duck Hunt, parachute pants and Marty McFly.  Fast forward twenty eight years later and surprisingly, it’s still pretty much the same story, just different characters and some minor plot changes.

Our president is now Barack Obama who, although was not a former actor, became the world’s beacon for Hope and Change which with the help of the internet, catapulted him to a celebrity status that quite frankly, the world had never seen before, let alone in any presidential election.  This, of course, helped garner him the votes that ultimately made him the most powerful man in the world, the Commander in Chief of the United States of America.  However, regardless of how hopeful we were, our economy remains to be one of the worst that it has ever been since the Great Depression and unemployment is at a staggering rate of 9.7%.  And unfortunately, we’re still at war against terrorism as well as Communism, continually in disputes with, once again, their rather chubby cartoon like dictators.  Only this time, he wears Coke bottle glasses, eats kimchi and sings to a different tune of “Ronery…I’m so ronery…” while he’s harvesting his nuclear weapons.  Michael Jackson, the most talented entertainer of all time has died, leaving legions of fans and skeptics alike shocked and dismayed as he was just about to embark on his final world tour.  His death was ruled a homicide.  AC Slater no longer has jerry curls, or wears parachute pants for that matter, and is now known as Mario Lopez.  Duck hunt has been replaced by Farmville, Mafia Wars and Café World.  And the kids playing these games aren’t actually kids.  Rather, they are desk bound corporate professionals, stay at home moms and tech savvy senior citizens.  “And what happened to Marty McFly?”, you ask.  No longer does he cruise through time in his Delorean.  He is now a hero in his own right, crusading to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.

One may ask, “How does any of this relate to travel?”  Well you see, to me travel has never been just about, well…travelling.  It has never just been about arriving at the next destination and getting another coveted stamp in my passport.  It was never about taking a ton of photographs so I could come back home and boast to all of my friends.  To me, travel has always been about the journey itself; a journey that is given to us every single day.  It starts from the moment we get up in the morning, until the moment our heads hit our pillows and we fall right back to sleep again at night.

Although this statement rings so deep and so true with me, it was a way of life that I was only living by during my travels.  When I wasn’t traveling and simply going about my all day everyday life, I was all but ignoring this school of thought.  Then finally, it hit me.  The past twenty eight years of my life had gone by so quickly; actually, too quickly.   And as much as I hate to admit it, the old adage proved to be true.  The more things change, the more things stay the same. And all these historical events and pop icons that I, like so many others, so identified myself with was just history repeating itself.  Literally speaking, it was his story. It wasn’t mine. I had so few that I started recycling stories and eventually they all began to sound all the same as everyone else’s anyway so I just stopped telling them all together.  It wasn’t because I never accomplished anything.  On the contrary, I actually accomplished a lot.  The problem was that I didn’t treat my very real, everyday, local life like an adventure.  I treated it like a chore.  Everything was just another thing that had to get done in my long list of things to do.  I was so concerned with getting to point B that I missed out on the actual process of getting there which is half the battle and half the fun.  This entire time I wasn’t paying attention, cherishing, appreciating or valuing my journey because I put so much weight on the actual arrival, whether it was graduating from college, making x amount of money, starting my own business, building a new relationship or being independant and living on my own.  I didn’t care how I got there.  I just wanted to get there.  And in so doing, the vast majority of my life just slipped right passed me.  Rather than truly experiencing my own experiences, I was just treating them as another task to check off my to do list.  And in so doing, the things that I ended up remembering and artificially identifying my life with were the things that actually happened in the lives of others.  Politics, fashion, pop culture.  In the end, they didn’t have anything, really, to do with me in terms of what I experienced in my life.

So this blog isn’t necessarily about travel, itself. Yes, you’ll get a recommendation and review here and there; maybe even an “editorial”.  But more so than anything else, this blog will document the little (and not so little) things that move me, here, there and everywhere.  So as to show anyone who cares to read this, that we don’t have to go far to discover new, exciting, exotic and amazing things that in so doing, help us discover who we are.  You can literally go down to the South American café down the street and get to know the owners.  Order something new and riveting and off the beaten path and let those experiences be the ones that really move you.  So no, this blog isn’t just about travel.  This blog is about a traveler.  A traveler who is more interested in the journey than she is about the destination, whatever that may be.  Because happiness isn’t a destination.  It’s a journey.  It is through the cobble stone laden streets, the coffee permeated cafes, the little ethnic nook grocery stores and the genuine weathered faces of friends and strangers that I get to see what I was always meant to see, that I get to become aware of things that my spirit already knows to be true and that I get to come that much closer to where I am ultimately suppose to be.

I am a traveler. I am a thrill seeker. I am a curious mind and a compassionate soul. I am an open heart and a hopeless romantic. I am a writer and a lover.  I am a citizen of the world whose life goal is to completely surrender myself to that which is true within me and beyond me; to see, feel, taste, smell and touch everything that my life has in store for me, whether it is down the street from my house or half way across the world.  I will be there.  Mind. Body. Soul. And Passport.