Category Archives: Travel

Chicago – and more importantly, WHIRLYBALL

I love how every city sparkles this time of year.  Christmas lights are everywhere and I am loving it.  photo

Spent last weekend in Chicago for the dude’s 30th (!!!!) birthday and ate my weight in deep dish pizza (ugh.) and played the best game ever invented.

Whirlyball.

I’m hyping it up big but I doubt you can not love this game (?).  You ride around in bumper car with a crank to steer, trying to shoot a whiffle ball – using lacrosse heads, into basketball backboard goals.  What the what?  Here.

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I did end up with some wicked bruises (boy bumper car bump > girl bumper car bump) but it was so worth it.  I will start this in DC.

(here are the specifics of the game if you’re  interested in that sort of thing  via wikipedia)

Giving Thanks!

Went to the Jersey shore last weekend to volunteer post Sandy.  I was seriously shocked to see how bad it still was – three weeks out.  It was heartbreaking .  Too many homes still didn’t have power and there were so many families that lost everything.  It was incredible though, to see the strength and support of the community as everyone came together to help out and rebuild.

The iconic shore without its boardwalk

There are lots of ways to still help out if you can’t volunteer and here are just a few!

-Donate directly to the different to the towns like the town of Belmar here or the American Red Cross

-Directly purchase items for those in need using their registry via amazon here

Paradise Part 1

 

Hey remember that time I went to Puerto Rico and forgot to upload my pictures? Sorry about that. I have finally gotten my act together and here by present to you part 1 of an amazing vacation. This was my first time in the Caribbean and it did not disappoint. Look at that water! The weather cooperated despite the dreaded hurricane season and we came back refreshed and sun kissed.

We explored on our own for the most part, but we did book a guided tour through the El Yunque rain forest and it was definitely worth it. We even got to swim in a waterfall (of course with 50 of our closest friends?)

 

more to come!

 

I get it.

Had a whirlwind visit to California this past holiday weekend for a few days full of friends, sun and so much fun.  The weekend ended with me begging Mr. J to promise me that we can move to the west coast at some point in our lives.  Yes, I liked it that much.

I had the pleasure of being part of one of the most beautiful weddings ever in Santa Barbara and will follow-up with that in a whole another post.  Before I flew out, I squeezed in one day with a good friend, Jenny, who just made the move out west.  Just like we all thought, she is already all over it.  In a good way.

I had my first In-N-Out experience, gobbled up donuts at 2am at TWO different donut shops (Magee’s was better) and watched some star caliber karaoke (is everyone in LA trying to make it as a singer/dancer/model/actress?!)

There is your Cali sneak-peak.

King of the pointy cone bra

I went to see the Jean Paul Gaultier From Sidewalk to Catwalk exhibit at de Young Museum in Golden Gate park; beforehand I  didn’t know much about JPG except that he was the designer behind those odd torso perfume bottles sold in cans and Madonna’s pointy cone bra.  It was one of those occasions where people who truly understand fashion (or pretend to) would say it was a deeply moving religious fashion experience. As someone who enjoys fashion but doesn’t buy into the whole “fashion is my religion and Channel is the high priest” movement I found the exhibit to be wildly entertaining. JPG is a creative genius—no question about this.  Each piece was mind-bloggling, took hundreds of hours to construct and completely original. You never wagged your finger and thought:  “Naughty, naughty, naughty! That piece is a little reminiscent of  one in Stella McCartney’s resort collection.” His inventiveness was the luminescence around what felt at times like a creatively dark exhibit (there were some Shades of Gray dominatrix type set ups—see below). After viewing pieces like the white tribal wedding gown, which only a betrothed goddess of a Mayan temple would wear (below), you can understand exactly why his pieces are adored and worn by celebrities like Lady Gaga and Madonna. On a more interesting note, some of the mannequins in the exhibit blinked, peered around, sang and were better at fluttering their eyelashes than I am.  Speaky! (Spectacular and freaky.) Lastly, let us talk about the lip smackingly delicious museum food at de Young Museum cafe. Who needs exhibits when you can make a beeline for the café and get slow roasted porchetta tartine, gruyere cheese, dijon, pear chutney, arugula and shaved fennel for $12 bucks?

The Line

October 2010, Ajka, Veszprém county, Hungary:

“around a million cubic meters of toxic waste were released after the burst of the retaining wall in one of the reservoirs used for the accumulation of MAL aluminium company rubbish. The spilling reached two meters high and started a destructive race trying to release its energy, flooding Devecser and Kolontár villages. Ten casualties were counted and the material damages were impossible to measure, including the destruction or irreparable deterioration of a big amount of houses, the disappearing of infrastructures and the poisoning of dozens of fields. The accident was fastly considered the biggest [environmental] catastrophe of Hungarian history.”

These striking photos were taken by Spanish photographer Palíndromo Mészaros 6 months after the  accident.  I happened to be in 45 km from the spill at the time visiting relatives in in Pápa. We willed it not to rain. Not to wash it into the Danube.

Unfortunately, it did.

The Mission District

Continuing a recap of my pit stop in San Francisco last week. I spent a lot of time in the Mission District—a gritty yet explosively artistic area of the city. I love the Mission District because it’s the sunniest part of the city and since it’s got Latin flair the scent of spicy and flavorful El Salvadoran, Cuban and Mexican food settles all over you like a fog the second you step off the BART.  The blocks are lined with life-changing (yea, I went there with life-changing) taquerías. (For $3.50 I got a super taco filled with juicy, grilled beef chunks, fresh avocado slices, onions, cheese and salsa that makes you want to samba.)  The Mission District also houses well-curated boutiques and quirky vintage shops—I’ve got a worn out credit card to prove it. I love the San Francisco emphasis on supporting local artists—it makes all your purchases so distinctive and unique.

1. A vintage lamp found in a thrift store on Valencia St. 2. A snapshot of Aldea boutique 3. On the way to Dolores Park 3. $800 (whattt!?) room spray from a boutique in Castro 4. Jonathan Alder matchstick holders 5. $3 Super taco! 6. Bearded papa cream puff 8. Lovely Ikat Dolce Vita shorts from the Bell Jar that I did not purchase because paying $170 for shorts is against my religion unless they come with Victoria Secret model legs.

Tartine Bakery

Last week I was in San Francisco which means I’ll be posting some images of my adventures. The first stop? Tartine Bakery.  A French bakery on Guerrero street that proudly bears the crest of their James Beard pastry chef award and is manned by a team of authentic hipsters that have a Parisian countryside vibe. We walked (or rolled?) out of Tartine ten pounds fatter than when we arrived.  Why? Because when you see those perfectly crafted pastries and well-plated confections you just lose it.  And after standing in line for so long (the bakery is pretty small) when you get up to the till you start ordering like a machine gun. I want “the morning bun, the wild mushroom croque monsieur, the lemon tart, the pain au chocolat…”  it all flies out like bullets at a shooting range. The brown sugar and orange morning bun tastes like a blend of a sugary donut, the heart of a cinnamon roll and three rays of sunshine. The open-faced croquet monsieur…I mean look at that image (below). Watch the gruyere drip. Words are not enough. The lemon tart (my favorite) was the crispest bite of citrus heaven with a dollop of fresh, whipped cream you will ever have. I felt like the cow was in the kitchen. I’m not a fan of chocolate but one bite of the pain au chocolat was enough to make me a temporary convert. The sinful dark chocolate refused to be confined, it oozed out of the flaky croissant with one bite. Go. In fact run to Tartine and roll yourself out. It’s some of the best baked goods I’ve had in America. Fact.

It’s berry season!

One of my favorite times of the year when I can afford not one, but maybe two packs of berries at the grocery store.  But man, those berries you buy are nothing like those berries you pick.

Berry season was early this year so I already missed most of the strawberries (although I got a delicious handful) but blueberry season is in full force!

I think I ate just about as much as I picked (whoops!)  We came back with 7lbs of blueberries that we had grand plans of distributing and baking with but they are like little crack rocks and we mostly just ate them ourselves…

Bar-ba-ba-bados

Busy bees indeed.  Not quite 12 hours after my last final, I was in Barbados for a wedding.  Spent a week in paradise where we celebrated a wedding, filled up on flying fish, surfed the waves and swam with the turtles.  I also indulged in far too many bags of plantain chips but it was vacation, right?

I’ve also got a new roommate!  But more on that later…