Guanajuato

After the Day of The Dead festivities ended in San Miguel De Allende, we moved on to the city of Guanajuato to finalize the last leg of our trip. I have been to Guanajuato a couple of times and I have so many fond memories from walking its streets and I always felt it was a place Josh would love.

The best way to hop over to Guanajuato from San Miguel was via cab. Some people like to do the bus but when you have 3 people, the cab ride is far more cost effective and convenient. An hour ride will cost you about $25-40 depending on your driver. The ride was incredibly scenic. Along the way we got to see tons of clouds and a funeral procession in the streets of nearby pueblo.


Guanajuato is a really kooky little town and there is an entire network of underground tunnels. These tunnels make you feel like you’re on the Pirates Of The Caribbean ride. You go in a tunnel and next thing you know there are minutes worth of dark, dank pathways. (click on the link above to witness)

It was entirely way too complicated for our cab driver to get us to our hotel so we got dropped off underground and just walked our way up. Quick!

I chose a centrally located hotel called La Casona de Don Lucas. It had some average reviews but I didn’t really care because convenience/location was key. Here is where it gets interesting. We walked in to our room and had a full on HOLY SHIT.  See that top left balcony? That was our room.

This was our view. Total wow for us especially considering the place we stayed at in San Miguel (more on that later). The room was HUGE and was everything we could have hoped for as a place to close our trip out. That particular area is very hustle and bustle, can be very loud at times but the doors are so thick that they cancelled out the noise so well and we slept like babies besides the singing in the streets at 1 a.m. We all spent quite a bit of time on that balcony, reading, drawing, taking in the daily life of Guanajuatenses to the sound of church bells ever hour on the hour.


Guanajuato is a beautiful, colorful labyrinth of stacked architecture. Narrow alleyways take you into another undiscovered jewel only to loop you right back into the heart of downtown. Unlike San Miguel, it is extremely walkable and far more forgiving on the feet. It definitely has some very steep areas so good walking shoes are still a must. But you can hussy up your feet a little more here without a high risk for ankle rolling.


The city itself has a heart that I didn’t feel in San Miguel. Far less touristy and definitely has a beat to a different tune. There are sculptures on corners, wheat pasted art that shows a contemporary embrace and a nod to Don Quijote everywhere. Once a year they host the Festival Internacional Cervantino, usually in the month of October, where the city is overrun by music, theater, art, concerts, art installations, crafts and dance… in venues and on the streets. People from all over the globe flock to the city and immerse themselves in a cultural experience of the arts. It’s a pretty fun experience if you have the opportunity to go, just make sure you book your stay far in advance because you won’t find an empty bed in the city.  Also, since it’s not as touristy as San Miguel, I found it to be far more affordable because they’re not gouging the man. You can seriously live like a king here depending on the dollar exchange. Just note, if you plan on changing dollars while there, your bills better be crispy, new, unmarked, and un-torn in any way. They simply just won’t take them.

Highlights include…

Nieve de Garrafa which pretty much OWNS traditional ice-cream any day of the week. And it’s cheap! This cup of heaven was less than $1. To say it wasn’t a daily treat would be a LIE. So so tasty.

A visit to the infamous mummy museum, las Momias De Guanajuato. Not for the squeamish or easily affected by the sight of bodies. It can be pretty graphic for those with a weak constitution. Even more because part of the museum is under a portion of the cemetery so it can get pretty dank.


And of course the cemetery which happened to be right next to the mummy museum. Different air at this one since we were catching it post Dia De Los Muertos so there was no one there and we were able to freely roam without making anyone feel uncomfortable. A lot of the Day Of Dead type altar/offerings had already been cleaned up by the time we got there though, boo!

Visiting the birthplace and former home of Diego Rivera, now turned museum. We were not allowed to photograph any of the artwork but rest assured it was a real treat to see many pieces by this beloved Mexican treasure.

Wandering around the Mercado, where amongst all the kitschy, touristy crap, you can find some real gems to bring home with you.

And of course no trip is complete without a lot of tasty eats (ice cream!), hunting for bad ass souvenirs, naps, hotel room lounging. There was a lot of that. Especially since I got slammed with monthly chick shit that no one wants to deal with on vacation. Note to you ladies: pack your things cause using tampons you’re not used to sucks BALLS. Yes, TMI. I don’t care.

So about the hotel vs AirBnb. Ok so after doing both on the same trip, I can say that we preferred the hotel experience FAR more. Not that the room we booked through AirBnb was bad, but honestly it’s hard to completely relax when you’re in someone else’s home. You have this air of accountability and you just can’t chill. Not like in a hotel. In a hotel you can get purple hair dye drip on a towel and not worry they’re gonna have your ass over it. Add free breakfast buffet, room service, sending away your laundry to get washed and folded for next to nothing,  getting your bed done for you every day? That’s vacation! And honestly well worth spending the extra peanuts to make it happen. Sorry AirBnb… not sorry. 😉

The trip home was a long one with too much time to kill at the Leon airport, an insane layover in LAX that entailed hustling through immigration and customs and hauling back to another terminal with barely enough time to stop and pee. I will say this, the international terminal at LAX has certainly changed since we were last in it and they were ninja quick in getting us through since we had a connecting flight to make. Add another hour drive upon landing in SFO. Still, for the cost of the airfare, it was so worth it. ($400 rt – it costs more to fly to the East Coast! Just sayin’)

So what did I bring back? To be continued….

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The rest of the photos from this leg of the trip can be found over on our flickr page.

San Miguel De Allende

It’s so hard to conjure up a post to describe your travels when you know that the photos and what they depict can say it far better than you ever could. Maybe.

After 8 long years of vacation time being spent on familial obligations, we decided it was time to check the F out of the country. Just us. And that we did.

It has been a long dream of mine to share Guanajuato with Josh. For him to experience the real Mexican interior, and with the Day Of The Dead holiday looming, a search for ticket costs turned into a last minute “let’s do this shit!”. We split up our time fairly evenly between San Miguel de Allende and Guanajuato (the city, not the state).

First stop, San Miguel.

We took the red eye out of SFO and had a small layover in LAX which almost didn’t happen cause they were over weight capacity and bribing people to get off the plane with vouchers and hotel stays. We came this close to doing it too ($700 in vouchers per person) but someone beat us to the punch. I am seriously surprised we didn’t get sick cause that flight greeted us with 4 fucking kids in the row in front of us and one of them coughed THE. ENTIRE. FLIGHT. So much for sleeping on the red eye. Exhaustion, party of 3.

We hired a car service to shlep us from the airport to San Miguel. It costs more but is infinitely more convenient than a bus, even more when you’re tired as fuck. We arrived at 5 a.m. and the ride out to San Miguel was another 90 minutes. It was still dark but the beauty of it is we got to watch the sun rise on the horizon.

San Miguel doesn’t seem like much till you get deep down in it. I could totally make a sex joke right now but will refrain cause I am trying to adult here. We showed up to the place we booked through AirBnB. We knew they weren’t going to be ready for us so we dropped off our shit and immediately took off to walk around and find something to eat. Note to self: don’t ever book shit like that again… pay so you have the time to roll right the hell in.

We were beat as all get out but managed to make the best of it and going through the photos, it paid off cause we had a very sleepy city and little to no hustle and bustle to work around.  The streets are narrow, cobblestoned (more on that later), and color in every shade of the rainbow. Since the city is crawling with ex-pats, we had no problem finding a Starbucks to get some delicious “keep me awake” fuel. Yes, they spelled my name right.

First off, the door porn here is amazing. All unique, rad knockers (*snicker*) and since the holiday was looming, some had beautiful floral arrangements around the entrance. There were lots of door photos.

San Miguel de Allende has a heart, a beautifully landscaped square and gazebo but the meat of the burrito is the Parroquia de San Miguel Archangel (church). Incredibly picturesque and will be the backdrop to one a many photos in the days to come.

The town itself is incredibly walkable and cab rides are really cheap ($2-3) but what the guides don’t tell you is that you will be dealing with cobblestone streets, uneven-steep-narrow sidewalks, lots of dog shit, and lord will your feet HURT. The stones are not even in the least so a good portion of the walking is a delicate balancing act in ankle stability. So if you ever go here is tip #1: Bring good, comfy, flat shoes. Leave your heels at home unless you plan on using them for hotel sexy time only, or you want to roll one of those babies straight on to Fracture Island and end up ruining your entire trip, by all means, bring your Louboutins. TRUST ME. Considering I saw a couple tourists on crutches, I know how they got that way. Don’t let the above picture fool you… what Josh is really thinking is “Fuck this street, my feet and calves are on FIRE!”

We were there for the Festival La Calaca, aka a planned out Day Of The Dead festival. The actual holiday is 11/1-11/2 but the celebrations started a couple days prior. The city was abuzz with it. You could see it, feel it, smell it. It started filling up with people, obnoxious tourists, vendors and marigolds galore. There is so much color it is almost blinding when the sun is at its highest. Some of my photos needed little to no editing because yes, it was that vibrant.

As the days go on, they had an inaugural celebration complete with an Aztec blessings and dancing, chains of flowers, smells of copal incense and marigolds, papel picado banners everywhere. It is a truly magical experience, even more when witnessed with far more authenticity. You sense the community coming together to build their altars and installations in a way that you can just feel inside you. It reaches in and punches you in the gut when you least expect it. You realize that there is far more to the holiday than fancy face make-up and catrina cosplay. It’s a celebration of reverence, where every color, flower, offering has a significance. A cultural tradition that should be treated with respect.

Highlights from the festival include…

The perfection of this couple in the parade along with hundreds of kids and adults in awesome costume. Skull faced mariachi, stilt walkers and giant towering paper mache skeletons, devils and catrinas.

This gigantic pyramid compiled from a bunch of “nichos” (enclosed altar/tributes) that was set up in a local park along with a craft fair. 
The market that had nothing but sugar offerings, papel picado, candles and candy  for the graveside and altar installations.

Exploring the cemeteries that were fully decked out, covered in petals, candles, candies and bees. So many happy bees. Beautiful, meticulously put together altars and floor murals made of grains and sand.




Make no mistake, amongst all the festivity and cheer there is also a very somber feeling when we visited the cemetery. This is a very real thing for those who are local, part of which I did my best to be respectful of and not take a lot of photos. At one point I recall turning a corner, and there in front of me was a woman who stood in front of what had to have been her Father or Husband, a hand over her heart and tears in her eyes. This is what it’s about: honoring those who have left us by walking the space on the day when the veil is thin.

Overall we had a great time between lounging in our room, shopping, exploring and going out to eat every day.  The food of course was glorious even if it wreaks intestinal havoc. Nothing a trip to the pharmacy and a bowl of menudo won’t fix.

We stayed there about a day too long though… after a while you have seen it all and as observant as we are, it was hard not to feel sad how a small little jewel like that is slowly becoming gentrified by the people who retire there and are driving the cost of living up. When real estate offices have prices in dollars, well that says it all.


Despite some curve balls here and there, which traveling with a sassy 9 year old who gave up Halloween will bring, we had the best time wandering around and exploring. So after a few days, we said goodbye to San Miguel and headed to Guanajuato.

To be continued…

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All photos/videos from the San Miguel de Allende portion of our trip can be viewed over on flickr.

2014: the recap

Here we are, a few days away from a new year. I went back and gathered some of my favorite moments and posts.

Notable Moments!

Altered my letterpress tray to put all my collectibles. It is all full now. I already have a blank on backup for the next round.

Had a couple pieces in two group/gallery shows. I really need to do more of that next year.
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I really produced a lot of art I liked this year, more than ever. Lots and lots of sketching.

Took a linoblock printing class.

Cut my hair off and went back to brunette land.hurz

The Mary Blair art exhibit with my new friend Caitlin. Yay for new, awesome friends!

Started volunteering with a feline rescue group. One of the best things I have ever done.

Collaborated with Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and had my art used for their Ligeia collection.
10612575_339230029581425_7050001566437258625_nStarted my artist website! Now I just need to do a better job at updating it. Heh.

Made my first Day Of The Dead altar in our home, a tradition I plan on keeping up.

Stats: Josh and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary (13 years together) and our 40th birthdays, Reza turned 8, our cats turned 3.

Reza: won a cosplay contest, started 2nd grade, was in the local paper twice, rode a bike for the first time, shaved off the side of her head, lost 5 teeth and continues growing into an awesome little person.

Shows: Forest Swords, Washed Out, Chvrches, Lorde, The National, The Knife, ††† Crosses… CHINO, in person. Bucket list item achieved!

Travel: Two trips to San Diego, a road trip to Portland and a reconnection with the motherland in Mexico.

The Good: 
A new car! Well, new to us anyway and I love our VW.
Slowly but surely making new friends and getting closer to some existing ones. It is always nice to see things move to the next level with those who value you.
Lots of new memories with our friends. Being back in CA certainly has its perks.
Lots and lots perspective.

The Bad: Josh’s brother Jared died and certainly tossed up a lot of feelings, my Mom got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and of course the coming to terms with friendships (or lack thereof) and where you stand with them. With distance comes the inevitable drifting apart. All of these things really hit me with a massive dose of perspective, a renewed sense to really work on making things count.

The Ugly: Had a bit of stressful things go down. Drama, health issues that weren’t getting resolved. Thankfully all of that seems to be working itself out slowly but surely.

Favorite new phrase: “shit show”. And considering how some things went this year, it merited my using it, a lot.

Music: my favorite album as a whole was the soundtrack to Only Lovers Left Alive. It is the one I keep coming back to. Yes, my favorite album of the year was a soundtrack. Only-Lovers_CD_cover-art-660x660

This year was an odd one for music. Lots of good tracks but albums as a whole, not so much. I also felt this year was the year of the woman as some of the better tracks to come out were from Team Estrogen. Well played ladies. I made a playlist of some of my favorite tracks from this year, you can listen to it over on Spotify. There are way more but not everyone is on Spotify.

Goals for 2015: 

  • Make more art (and sell it) – girl has got to pay some bills.
  • Work on debt reduction so we can look into buying a home.
  • Less time on social media, more time making memories and art.
  • Stop taking so many photos with my cell phone and use a real camera for a change
  • Write more: on my blog, a personal journal, snail mail.
  • Read more.
  • Focus on health. All aspects of it.
  • Gratitude and humility. Lots of it.

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In previous years: 2013 + 2012 + 2011 + 2010

SoCo > PDX

The beauty of living where we live, is that we are almost smack in the middle of two of our favorite places on the West Coast. An extended weekend presented itself and we jumped at the idea of a road trip up north to Portland to see family/friends and break up the scenery.

Road trips can be a royal pain but we have done it a couple of times already… this time I was prepared!
1. Do it with people you like and can talk to. This is key.

2. Clean your damn house after you’ve packed.  You have no idea how awesome it is to return to a completely clean place. It’s stressful but so so worth it. Trust me on this one.

3. Pack all kinds of snacks. It saves you the stopping in unknown territory and eating a bunch of BS.

4. Tunes. Lots of them. Between Spotify and Sirius XM we were covered nicely.

5. Do not rely on just your phone. “No coverage” will put you in a bind. Thankfully we had GPS.

We picked a good time to go because the Fall scenery just keeps getting better and better as we made the climb into Oregon. Beautiful, lush, colorful. The only bummer were the spots where the CA drought were very apparent. Dry fields and bodies of water that were much more shallow than they used to be. Kind of heartbreaking really. But then we hit the snow capped Mt. Shasta and it just melts you. A total beauty. (this shot was on the way back)


Portland was a whirlwind of awesome people and sadly, we never have enough time to see everyone. Way too many awesome foodies, weather that was far crispier than expected.. oof. We managed to escape before the cold snap really arrived.

Things about Portland you need to know!

The Fall is amazing there, especially if it isn’t raining.  Tons and tons of color every which way.

Portland takes their coffee very seriously and there is a lot to choose from. Don’t you dare set foot in a Starbucks or chain coffee joint, that is complete sacrilege. The food is ridiculous and fully expect to bring a portion of it home, as in parked on your ass. There was not one stinky dish the entire time we were there. Notables: the coconut banana cream pie at Papa Hyden and Pine State Biscuits. These donuts were cool to look at.


Lots of awesome shopping, or in my case, window shopping cause I’m on a budget. I did make a pit stop at Moonstruck chocolate to pick up something for a friend and one mayan truffle (my fav). There was also the necessary yet always overwhelming and jealousy induced visit to Powell’s City Of Books cause, lord. I don’t even with that awesome. Sorry but e-readers can eat a bag of dicks. Give me paper and covers any day of the week. Reza didn’t know what to do with herself.

Murals and wall art are some serious business. I haven’t seen that many since Philly. The Alberta area had some cool ones and I managed to slip in to Antler to catch a really rad art show featuring some of my recent favorite artists.

We spent a day in Eugene with Josh’s brother Jake who took us to Level Up. Reza had never set foot in a barcade before and she was absolutely stoked. I spent most of my time glued to the Centipede machine.

The trip was somewhat live blogged on my instagram account which was a lot of fun. Here are some more highlights…

As always, it was a wonderful trip and getting to see our peeps always feels like a refreshing cleanse in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. Thank yous to Carolin, Stephen and Mila for hosting us in their soon to be black house (\m/) and breaking our Cards Against Humanity cherries, Tanner and Connie for a lovely dinner/company and the awesome drive by with the Cutthroat Studio folks Erika & Drew who sent me home with a new skull friend and jar of blood gel. Portland just has so much awesome.

The rest of the photos/videos can be viewed over on our flickr page.

SoCal Summer

I just got back from busy,  sunny hotter than shit, two week trip in SoCal to reunite with the family. Crazy town! Look, get a bunch of Mexicans who haven’t seen each other in a long time, it is going to be chaos and LOUD. Yes people, this is our speaking voice. Loud and louder… unless you are my father who watches his novelas at volumes only dogs can hear.

I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have (as usual) and carting around the DSLR everywhere is a pain in the ass. Of course I regret it later to here is a hodge podge of phone, camera and stolen photos from the family. Pic spam will ensue!

So without further ado, here is most of  what happened, was seen, etc.

My place to stay fell through the day I was leaving. Stressville galore but thankfully we had some friends bail us out and fuck if I don’t owe them my right kidney. You try looking at hotel prices in the middle of Comic Con, it would be more than your kidney.

We arrived at the beginning of Comic Con and were not able to see, do or partake in any of it. I am not bitter. Nope.

Got to meet with my ladies Tania, Michelle (and their respective nuggets) and Paige for quick hellos over grub. Always nice to squeeze up on my ladies.

Goal #1 – get there and give Chewbacca a lopping. My hair was in a sad state of affairs and luckily Jason & Eryc were more than happy to oblige. Off it went… two days later I am back to respectable, purple and edgy conditions. And who can beat Jason giving me a good boob squeeze while whispering in my ear, “I just grabbed your boobs in front of your Daddy”.

A small gathering at the beach and got to see tons of my cousins. This is just a very small fragment of my awesome family… bunch of wonderful, colorful people! It was great catching up with them.

Got some solo, quality time with these awesome people. Damn I miss my sisters already.

Reza and I boned out to Mexico to spend the rest of the trip in Baja with my sister Liz who was awesome enough to put us up. We were later joined by the rest of the Garcia posse. I love Liz, she doesn’t mess around, is an awesome host and cook and always manages to make us feel spoiled and right at home. She lives right on the beach which is a blessing and curse cause she has the influx of out of towners renting condos in her building. One night was a massive clusterfuck in the form of a building jam packed full of people from Mexicali, who seem to think the elevator was a clown car (lol, typical Mexican stereotype). They shoved in it so much that they broke one of the two elevators, the building blew a fuse somewhere and we were without power and water for several hours. Did I mention we were on the 12th floor? JOY. Dinner by grill and candle light it was. Funny enough there were some outlets that worked and yes, we had no power in most of the place but the wifi router still worked. PRIORITIES. Adventure time! Still, the views did not disappoint.


I knew there would be some downtime so I packed up a couple art supplies and still managed to churn out some of my favorite drawings to date.

Bee, Reza and I did a lot of beach time and despite my efforts to stay whiter than white, I failed. Reza came home looking like the damn Coppertone girl.

Trip didn’t come without some downsides in the form of family drama, one of which was butting heads with my Father whose middle name should be “No Es Cierto” (it’s not true). The man loves to argue with us about the validity of things. He asked us questions, we answer and it is quickly followed by “no es cierto”. He loves to contradict us about shit he knows absolutely nothing about and it makes me insane. I just can’t chuck shit up to “that’s just the way they are and you need to let it go” when it comes to anyone. Our relationship has never been the best and as he gets older, he only gets more crotchety and complicated. He is price tag obsessed and living in Mexico for such a long time, he has become completely out of touch with the cost of living in the USA. Everything is “too expensive”, he makes rude comments about people, makes comments about everything we spend on, going anywhere with him was a production about prices and if we took him to eat it had to be cheap or needed “lime and chile on it” as far as he is concerned. I just feel like nothing I do pleases him. Mom has become very vacant in her stare, like the life has gone from her eyes and it was very heartbreaking to see. She has become very forgetful and absent minded which is scary since Grandma had really bad Alzheimers. We have brought it up and denial is very present there. As much as I hate to admit it, they have never been the same since my brother passed away.  It makes me angry because he was never around, never called them, yet here they are, destroyed over his absence. I get the part about parents mourning a child, but they need to move on and enjoy the life they still have. It’s like he took a piece of them with him… motherfucker. All of this paired with my impatience was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen and it was probably for the best I cut out earlier despite my wishing to be around so I could spend more time with Bee and Liz.

Lots of FaceTime sessions with my favorite dude. It really sucked traveling without him even more when were in Mexico cause I know he would have loved it so much. Thankfully I had wifi and was able to have lots of conversations with him. The man is my prozac.

Our homie Adrian came down from LA with his buddy Joe and there were some awesome conversations, beach and taco times. I love sharing the insider guide to Mexico with friends cause when we do it, we do it right, dammit. Although, I have come to the conclusion that I just can’t drink anymore. The very few times I drank rewarded me with a full on headache the next day. It’s just not worth it.

Lots of hanging out, walking around looking at curios. I also scored some Dia De Los Muertos souvenirs and was hella inspired for the next round of pieces I want to make one of which is another annual, limited batch of sugar skulls for the shop. Mexico never disappoints.

I came home with a very small amount of things, like Day Of The Dead loot, my lock of hair, a quartz from Liz and this awesome case for my glasses that Bee brought me from Japan. How she knew I needed/wanted a new one? Who knows but it matched my old phone case perfectly.


My  god, the eating…. freshly made churros, gorditas, tacos of all kinds. Pair that with Liz’s amazing cooking? I am going to have to live in the gym and eat plants for the next few months to undo it. It’s not like I get that business on the regular anyway but lets just say I have some work to do. I had to steal that beer and banda on the beach photo from Bee, that is some classic Mexico right there.

Reza got a lot of family and cousin time. It was really nice to expose her to family and all the Spanish. All things considering she did pretty well and everyone ate her up. She did get overwhelmed and bitchy though which was a tap frustrating at times.

On our last night we had dinner at a cliffside joint called Splash that’s between Rosarito and Ensenada. Fish tacos at sunset? Hell yeah. I will never tire of Pacific Ocean sunsets. I still can’t believe I let Reza stand out on that rocky edge by herself. But that shot? So worth the anxiety.


And just like that, the two weeks came to a close. I did my best not to have a full on ugly cry when saying my goodbyes with Bee. It’s always the hardest part when it comes to these things… but we were also so ready to be home with Josh and the cats who cannot be happier to have us home. I slept like the dead last night. Tasty!

I have a lot more photos and a couple videos over on my flickr set  if you are so inclined.

 

Life! It’s happening!

Holy shit has it really been almost a month that I wrote a post? DUDE, Slacker McSlackerson in full effect. I have been keeping myself occupied around these parts and unfortunately blogging kind of goes to the back burner.

Now, I fully admit that a lot of these things really merit a post of their own but really, who has all the time for that malarkey? I know you don’t and lets be honest here, you are only going to sift through the photos. It’s cool, I can take it.

What has been going on in the past month? Well let me get you up to speed!

I attended a class all about linoblock carving and printing. It was taught by a local artist named C.K. Itamura and held in this AMAZING space full of vintage letterpress and printing devices. I wanted to pack up my bags and move in, it was that bad ass. We all did the same exercise carving work and at the end of the class they were all put together and ran a print. Of course it didn’t come without some carnage in the form of a poked finger and paint stains. But those are the best kinds of injuries. Want to guess which one of those blocks was mine? Hopefully once I free up some comission requests I can get back to playing with this a little more.

We went hiking at Armstrong Woods, another redwood cluster that is a little closer to our house and far less congested than Muir Woods. Let me tell you, you have to drive through some wine country to get there, absolutely hideous. 😉

We climbed up a steep ridge and holy hell am I out of shape but hey! You got to start somewhere, right? Nothing like getting out amongst that class of majestic beauty. Incomparable, really. There will be more of this business as it warms up, that is for sure. Beautiful sights, textures, scents and photos really do it no justice. I really need to get hiking kicks though. Dr Martens don’t work too good for this kind of thing.

Got to see two pretty awesome shows in SF, just a couple of the MANY we have tickets for: Forest Swords and Crosses. Those of you who know me, know how much I swoon over Chino Moreno. In fact, seeing him was on my bucket list and I am happy to say that despite the plague I woke up with that day, nothing was stopping me from being in the same room as that man and his delicious voice. It was AMAZING and the fact he sang some Prince and Goodbye Horses was the cherry of a sundae of awesome. A total fangirl dream come true. Props to my dude for putting up with my gushing, I know how obnoxious it must be… but if I got to cross off only one thing on my bucket list this year, I am glad it was this one, cause, lord… I recorded Goodbye Horses. Yes, I was one of THOSE PEOPLE. I never do that at shows but this was something I wanted to remember. You can see it here

With Reza being on Spring Break and having some newly acquired wheels, I suggested a trip to San Diego last month. The family and I piled up in the car that we have not yet named and road tripped to SoCal. We took The Brown Route through Bakersfield which was ugly as all get out and yielded one too many entomological specimens on our windshield. It was a lot quicker than the scenic 101 though and time was key.

While in San Diego we got to see and squeeze a handful of our most prized of peeps, saw my sister Liz, my ladies, some dancing and laughter with my boys Jason + Eryc, shopping for bras and saucy red lipstick, good eats and partook in one too many Vietnamese iced coffees. Overall it was a quick but wonderful trip, which now that we know what to expect, will happen more often. Well, except for having to drive through the hell that is Los Angeles.

And me and my ladies, resembling a bowl of neapolitan ice cream right here. Love them so much.

I have continued with my volunteer work with the kitties and it always makes me beam when I get the updates that some of them got homes. I continue to hold out faith for the saucy calico Leandra, someone will understand her ways eventually.

Save for the San Diego shenanigans, Josh and I have really been focusing on shifting our dietary lifestyles. It has been a little tough but we are hanging in there. In turn I am seeing the changes in us both, within ourselves and toward each other. It’s amazing when you feel the clarity that comes with a shift like that. Sure, I miss stuff but you life trumps a cheeseburger, ya know?

I have been working like a crazy woman on my artistic contributions for the Haunted Mansion Icons show in May. This is a large part why I have been neglecting the blog. I finished them, they’re fucking awesome and I am contractually obligated to not share them. I KNOW. As soon as I can, I will share them… trust me. They are all paper cuttings done by hand and those of you who are diehard fans will get them when you see them. More info about the show can be found at the Gallery 999 Facebook page.

Then there is this….

What can I say…. Reza has been all kinds of interesting these days. She has developed a strong inclination toward Lego building, came home with a report card of beautiful scores (save for the Chatty Kathy part), is looking forward to more of her fencing classes and drew this awesome scene of an alien coming out of a girl’s chest that couldn’t have made us more proud. It blows our minds how smart she is and needs little instruction on how to do her homework and her spelling tests are usually 100%. She also has been digging falling asleep to the audio book of The Hobbit. Total nerd. This photo is a nice example of her goofy attitude which seems to come out quite often. She’s a hurricane for sure, always keeping us on our toes.

Bay Area life has been so kind to us and the more time we spend up here, the more it grows on us. The other night Josh and I are driving back from the Crosses show, it’s midnight, raining and we’re breezing across the Golden Gate Bridge listening to Prince. Hours before that it was a stormy Pacific Ocean sunset. We are constantly aware of the signs, those magic moments where we are receiving countless reminders that CA is just where we belong. You don’t know how many of my SD peeps pointed out to me how “good” I looked… and I know it wasn’t a superficial “good” they were talking about. Lots of comments about just how much happier we both are and it shows. Lots and lots of gratitude here… I got a piece of my life back and I am not disregarding it by any means.

So yeah. That is where I have been.

Sandy Eggo

After some deliberation, it was decided that I needed a weekend away to recharge my spirit a little. Josh was awesome enough to not only encourage it, but held down the fort so I could take off to San Diego for some much needed friend time and spoiling.

I didn’t say much about it because my time was really limited and I had a few key people I wanted to spend my time with. Last time I was there ended up being a family affair due to my brother’s passing and I didn’t get to see any friends. There’s only one of me and I didn’t want to spend my trip like a pinball bouncing off the walls, so I kept it relatively incognito other than the small handful who knew of my arrival.

This time I flew out of the Sonoma County airport. One direct flight, small plane, small airport, and although the ticket price was about $40-50 more than flying out of SFO, it was well worth it. Time, gas and Golden Gate tolls add up. A much smoother travel experience save for having to listen to Shosh and Marnie’s long lost twins for 90 min, yakking like crack heads, non stop about more than anyone on the plane ever needed to know.

I stayed with Jason and Eryc who are not only the best of hosts and friends, but also sent me home with a much needed color job, haircut and freshly shaved down side of my head. I dig it.

In three days I managed to squeeze in:
– A tasty breakfast outing with Paige & Michelle. Three words: cinnamon roll pancake. Much needed girl time reconnection. Holy shit do I miss my ladies.

– Hair appointments so awesome I might as well have been touched by the hands of Zeus himself.

– Seeing my sister Liz an dinner at a Battali’s Mozza. It was delicious!

– Coffee with the bff Spencer

– Finally getting to meet The Sheriff’s nugget, Alexander, who rolled over for the first time while I was there. It was great getting to see her… Been far too long.

– A trip into Tijuana, Mexico for another dinner with my sister and her main cheese. We went to a fantastic gourmet joint called Misión 19. Don’t let the word “Tijuana” fool you… It was some grade “A” business, with a side of a grasshopper salt rimmed, mezcal martini. Umphhh.

– I came this close to a cameo appearance at Sabbat but chose sleep instead. I’m sure it would have been hilarious but when you have to return a rental car at 9 a.m.? Not so much.

– Speaking of rental cars, I was a tight ass and rented economy: Toyota Yaris. Holy crap that thing felt like driving a go cart on the freeway. I think the Autopia cars at Disneyland have more balls.

– Hillcrest Farmers Market for some blended chai and flowers for my boys. Still the best Farmers Market I’ve ever been to… and some “reading” at the Before I Die wall.

– A visit to the new, painfully breathtaking, San Diego Public Library. Truly a magnificent piece of architecture and the resources! Good god, I envy you people. I highly regretted not bringing my DSLR that day. 9 floors of educational enlightenment. A true thing of ephemeral and architectural beauty.

– A quick jaunt to the SD Zoo where I witnessed a grasshopper orgy of epic proportions.

– Dinner with Jason and Eryc, lots of fantastic conversation over a beautiful focaccia with melted soft cheeses and honeycomb. INMYMOUFF.

Yesterday I found myself on the plane, lamenting my culinary choices… Yeah. No. I really don’t regret being BAD… you have to be bad sometimes. I caught myself getting teary to be honest. Despite the fact I want to go home to my beloved people and cats, it is bittersweet because I hate leaving San Diego and the wonderful people I know in it.

It’s a trip how much it changes every time I go back. Same hands with a different manicure… Some of it magnificent, some leaving a lot to be desired but despite the visible facade of a city getting bigger than its britches, the growing pains of overpopulation didn’t phase me because breathing in her air and seeing her beauty, felt like bathing in the waters of Lake Minnetonka. A fresh bath of life and perspective and then I’m back on Prince’s purple steed, my hair flying behind me like Apollonia herself.

Being there once more really cements just how much I wouldn’t mind going back to it and planting the roots for good. I truly do feel that in my heart of hearts, the day will come where that dream becomes a reality. I know I am not alone in this feeling.

To everyone who shared this time/trip with me: thank you for your time, accommodation, hospitality and love. You are all wonderful.

And then I got home to some very happy people and kitties… shit, even our car was so happy to see me that it pissed out all the radiator fluid in the Barnes & Noble parking lot. GOOD TIMES. Can I tell you how much I hate cars and auto repairs? Shit… that’s a whole other post.

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Never enough photos… but the few I took can be found here

SF in Photos

Lucky is the day where I have a lot of time to myself to wander around San Francisco, with camera in tow and with gorgeous weather? HORRIBLE.

The easiest way for us to get in to the city, is driving across the Golden Gate bridge. It’s a $6 toll mind you but well worth it. On the way in there are a few places where you can park and overlook the bay. It is usually packed with cars and tourists but on a Friday morning, it was solemn, flat and gorgeous.

I was kind of in a shitty mood when I got there but every time I see this bridge, it reminds me that we are back in CA and just how grateful I am to no longer be on the East Coast. My bad mood was instantly lifted.

After hopping in the car I just took turns without plans, ending up at Baker Beach. I collected a couple of nuggets for my letterpress drawer including this chunk of seaweed that ended up drying out really cool.

Having grown up in Southern CA and Mexico, I have always had proximity and a connection to the Pacific. I don’t know what it is but being near a body of water has always been important to me. The Atlantic never filled that hole. It always felt grey and angry. Surprisingly enough, we had not been to the beach since we moved back to CA in July and this was the first time I got to set foot on her shores again. It was very quiet and there were very little people there. I thought about putting music on my headphones but then I stopped myself cause the sound of the ocean was all I needed. I was standing there, not paying attention and in an odd timing, she came up and kissed my toes… like a long time friend, reacquainting herself.

After finding a few shards of sea glass and some dead lady bugs, I hopped back in the car and headed to The Mission district. The cherry blossoms seem to be a little confused by the weather cause they are already starting to show their colors all over the city. Sure, it’s January but I can’t say no to the sakura, they’re my favorite.

I stopped in a couple really cute stationery stores and an art gallery where I got some new names of artists to look up. While wandering around I managed to stumble onto Paxton Gate by complete accident. I have visited the Portland store and both are nothing but short of amazing. Lots of beautiful oddities, bones, bugs, books… but definitely not the kind of place to go when you are on a strict budget. BOO!

While there I came across the most incredible artist named Lisa Wood, who makes these amazing, miniature dioramas with real insects. Absolutely fantastic. Next time I am in the city I want to check out her studio/shop The Woods. Give the links a look, all of her artsy endeavors are pretty cool.

(photo by Lisa Wood Curiosities)

A couple more photos from The Mission…

Yesterday we came back in to show our friend Mike around… like a trip to Twin Peaks and Japantown for a nice bowl of necessary ramen. Holy hell I love this city.

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The rest of my photos can be viewed here

exploratorium

The family and I have been meaning to check out the infamous San Francisco Exploratorium since we moved this way. So in an effort to see new things, and spend time with friends, we made plans to meet up with our homie Pablo and his kidlets. It was a beautiful day for it that’s for sure and a Sunday which means avoiding football. I hate football.

The new location for The Exploratorium is located on one of the piers of the Embarcadero. The building takes up the entire pier and if you are a science nerd, it is an absolute must you go visit. Plan on an entire day though cause there is a lot to take in and despite the many hours we were there, we did not get through everything. I guess we will have to return, twist my arm.

In any event, the museum was more about experience and some things just don’t translate well for photographic purposes. Even then I managed to squeeze out a couple of shots and I will let them speak for themselves.







After several hours we ended up calling it cause all three of us “adults” decided we had enough audio/visual stimuli. It can be really overwhelming, especially after all the sight related experiments, your eyes start giving you the finger.

We walked over to a park so the kids could run around and we were met with the wild parrots of Telegraph Hill. I had no idea SF also has a population of wild conure! There were so many of them! (and LOUD)

And just like that all of the kids were turning into pumpkins so we said our goodbyes and parted our respective directions. And man, talk about a horrible view on the way home… just dreadful.

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The rest of the photos from this day can be viewed HERE

THNX PDX

Excuse the absence, things got hella crazy right after my birthday and just like every year, Thanksgiving creeps up fast and hard! This year we decided to road trip to Portland to spend it with our long time friends, Stephen & Carolin and their nugget, Mila.

We took off Wednesday afternoon and the drive up was relatively uneventful save for Reza deciding to puke her guts out in the middle of the mountains. JOY! Luckily I was prepared with bags, wipes and extra clothes. We still had to stop, clean up and strip the girl in 30 degree weather. Never a dull moment! I still feel bad about leaving the bag on the side of the road but there was no way we were driving for another 5 hours with a bag of vomit in the car. Limits yo, we have them.

Thanksgiving Day was very chill. The girls got along famously despite the 3 year age difference. It always makes gatherings easier when you’re not having to play referee to bickering children.

Carolin and I spent most of the time in the kitchen, my presence more on an assistant level. Save for the turkey that Stephen buttered up, everything else was non-traditional. My favorite being this bacon & brussel sprout slaw which was hella good. A small view of Carolin’s kitchen…

I did pick up a pie cause it isn’t Thanksgiving without some PIE. None of that gross marshmallow sauce malarkey.

I spent most of my time away from posting save for some photo sharing on Instagram. I know a handful of rad people in Portland and as much as I would have loved to see/meet everyone, this trip was very limited in time and was about these particular friends. With that in mind my phone was hidden most of the day other than to call some family. We only had one day where we were all together so I wanted to make the most of it.

Of course there is no going to Portland without bringing back some kind of goodness in the form of socks and coffee.

Like many of us that are addicted to awesome foot coverings, we paid a small (cough) visit to the Sock Dreams store. I know they have an online shop but trust me, it is not the same. The store has much more and you get to touch.

It is next to impossible to go there without dropping some cash, no, really. And now I got a husband and kid that are on my funky sock tip, some damage was done. But hey, like I always say, “it all starts with the feet”. I picked up more of these word socks cause the ones I got 2+ years ago are warm, still stay up and are hella comfy. Besides, how can you pass up 666 socks? I can’t.

One thing that Portland does and does really well is coffee. I have no idea how people there even go to Starbucks when there is so much independent awesome to caffeinate with. Well other than the fact a lot of them probably have a drive thru. In any event Carolin took me to her favorite joint called Heart and bestowed me with a bag of one of their roasts. I also brought home another bag from Oblique Roasters since Whole Foods had a section of all the local offerings. Good stuff. For the record, I don’t watch Portlandia and the only reason I got this one was cause it was sent to me by my friend Tanner and I liked it a lot.

Carolin and I took our respective nuggets out on Black Friday for some lunch and movies. As much as we didn’t plan on it, we had time to kill and ended up at the mall. It was across the street from the theater. We took the girls to see Frozen which was cute but something lacked and I can’t quite peg it. No, it was the music. It felt more like a Broadway Musical than a Disney movie… which is funny cause I said that not knowing one of the princesses was voiced by Idina Menzel, most known for her portrayal of Elphaba in Wicked. Still worth seeing though and the nuggets loved it.

As usual I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have. Caught in the moment! I did get ONE photo with my german beech though, even if it just a phone photo.

Yesterday was the big drive home. We made a short pit stop in Eugene (hippies!!) to see Josh’s brother, Jake. We squeezed in a game of Apples to Apples over coffee and then we were on our way home. The drive home was a little longer cause not only were there a lot of piss stops but Oregnonians do not know how to use a two lane highway to save their lives. A lot of clusterfuckers in the fast lane to say the very least… and most of them were driving Subarus. HA! Stay cliche!

The cool part about the drive home is we got to see what we missed on the way up due to the time of day. The drive through Oregon is absolutely gorgeous. Green, lush, enchanted. As we made way into CA, we managed to stop for more peeing and photo taking of Mount Shasta, at the peak of dusk when the skies are gorgeous shades of pink, purple and blue.

Road tripping with Josh and Reza was awesome. She did really well, he drove the entire time and there were many juvenile jokes at the expense of road signs like “long load”, “hooker” and the town “Weed”. Always a good time with my triangle.

There was a lot of sharing on Facebook and otherwise over the things one was thankful for. I remind the ones I love who they are, what they mean to me, I pick up when you’re down, I compliment and not just when you need it, I value what I have and try to be humble. Humility, gratitude and honesty: those are three qualities I try to embody. I would like to think that I am a person that lives their life with gratitude and not just on one day but every day.

I hope your holiday was awesome, I know mine was.

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the rest of the photos can be viewed here