I had googled Abel Tasman before I left and this was one of the stops I was most excited about on the tour. I mean just check out these pics and you'll know why. So I was a little bummed that we woke up to MORE RAIN!!! It wasn't too bad so I hoped it would pass quickly, we hopped on our Aqua Taxi and headed out. I may have been running a little late (mornings aren't my strong suit) so I was in the back of the boat aka the part that was not covered by the awning- always good when its raining. A little rain soon turned into a lot of rain especially when the boat is flying across the water. Us back row seats were drenched in no time but it was a blast and I was laughing the whole time so being wet didn't really seem to matter....plus we saw a little blue penguin!!! Yup a penguin! Everyone should be jelly about that one as they are adorable. We had stopped to look at some seals and since I didn't have my glasses on I shouted 'Is that a fucking penguin?!?!' as soon as I saw its little head over the waves...lucky everyone ignored my...umm...colorful outburst and freaked out themselves over the little guy.
A quick flight in the morning and I was in Wellington being welcomed into the airport by Gollum...creeeeeepy! I made it to my new hostel Nomads Capital but couldn't check in until 2 so I stashed my bag in the luggage room and headed out to find food...by that point, I had reached epic hangry levels. Luckily right next door to the hostel is Finc: Food Incorporated where I had the Sticky Tamarind Chicken Skewer with Vietnamese salad and chili jam...yum status. Also I took full advantage of the free wifi- its funny how obsessed you become with free wifi when traveling...anything to avoid paying $4 for an hour of internet. Anyways by the time I finished lunch it was officially a shit-tastic weather day so I cancelled my usual plan of wandering aimlessly around a new city and headed straight for Te Papa.
The following things have been on my bucket list for years: go to New Zealand, go to Australia, go to Bali, hold a wombat and a koala, go bungee jumping and go on a spa vacation. Well what better time than the present right? After deciding to take a month off of work (and getting approval from my manager) and waiting a looooong 7 months, I packed up and headed out for an adventure! On the itinerary was New Zealand for 3 weeks, Bali for 5 days and Australia for 5 days. To say I was excited was an understatement....focusing at work the last month was near impossible. Luckily my trip exceeded my expectations. In an effort to help my poor memory (worst. memory. ever.) I'm going to try and write down everything that I remember meaning these will be long and most likely rambling...although the longer it takes me to actually get through all of these the less I will remember so you never know. Either way you have been warned.
There's a blog called Fun Cheap SF and I follow it like a champ! Some of the events aren't really my thing but their goal is to find fun and cheap events in SF which is exactly what I love to do. When I saw an event that promised campfires, cabanas, booze and food trucks I knew we had to check it out! It's called Twilight in the Presidio and its going on every Wednesday in October- next week is the last one...major sad face that its already over. We went for the first time on the 9th which also happened to be Rebecca's birthday! Since all birthday girls need a cabana (seriously- I only want to spend my birthday in one from here on out- cabana on the lawn, on the beach, by a pool...many options) I got there suuuuper early to snag one of the cabanas since we figured it would be packed. I swung by the amazing Suzy Cakes to pick up some cupcakes and who do I run into but the birthday girl herself! After picking up pretty much all the cupcake flavors available (hands down favorite was the flourless chocolate cake with espresso frosting) we headed over to the main lawn to set up camp. We got there at 4 (event started at 5) and weren't even the first ones there! Umm yea this is the view by the way:
I've been an uber slacker about posting lately but thats because so many fun things are going on and sitting at my computer writing about them is taking a backseat. Anyways to catch up, waaaaay back in September my dad and I went down to Pier 27 to watch America's Cup races. I know literally nothing about sailing or sailing races but it was a gorgeous day so we couldn't pass it up - plus 'America' is in the name so I had to check it out.
The blog is two years old! Like last year I totally forgot to do this in August but whatever its still exciting. And in keeping with my two year anniversary of being 'Murican and writing this blog, I am celebrating by drinking wine (this one from Whole Foods mmm) and binge watching Sons of Anarchy- only on season 1 so don't go spoiling any plot points. Can we just take a moment to appreciate Charlie Hunnam- he is some serious hotness. Anyways, the list has grown to 54 items and I've completed 26 of them making me 48.15% American. Hells yes! I've had an amazing year thanks to my awesome family and fabulous friends- can't wait for another! Thanks to everyone who's made me more American these past 12 months!
Anyways, first up was bookclub on Friday night- got my inner Martha Stewart on and decorated the mason jars and baked a cake (this cake to be exact). However I did not extend the Martha skills to the actual dinner and just ended up ordering pizza...mainly so I could spend all my time holding the tiniest member of the group (she's so cute!!).
BBQ. I love it all: the meat, the sides, the sauce...bring it! I especially love how it always feels like summer when you're eating a delicious BBQ meal. Anyways as part of my American list I decided I needed to learn how to BBQ and my friend Kelda (aka K-sista) makes a mean BBQ chicken. What makes her BBQ chicken the most American? That would be the Bud Light beer can up its butt...'Merica!
Golden Gate Fields has Dollar Days on Sundays in the summer which means for the low low price of $1 each you get: parking, entry, a program, beer and hot dogs! Horses, cheap beer and hot dogs?!?! Uh yea this event is right up my alley. They also theme each Sunday and it turns out we showed up for Hispanic Heritage Dollar Day- they also have live music playing so we saw mariachi players wandering around between races. We got up not so bright and early (my B but sleeping is just so fun) and got to the race track just in time to hit some serious traffic - the freeway exit is the worst intersection I've ever seen and at least three cars almost got hit while we were waiting to turn. Finally we parked (be sure to ask for the $1 parking-which they do not advertise- or you'll pay $8) and headed to the entrance just to see a giant line of people waiting to get in.
One of my summer goals was to explore all the hikes in the Presidio so Lindsey and I headed out for a walk on Saturday and ended up walking for over 9 miles! We headed over to the Presidio Golf Course and passed some gorgeous houses along the way.
my list together and started planning on how to get it all done. First up was the Exploratorium After Dark event. Its the first Thursday of every month (this month's theme was 'Freestyle') from 6-10pm and for adults 21 and over which means....drinks!! Awesome way to spend a happy hour. Bonnie, Pete, Tom, Rebecca and Elisabeth came to check it out with me.
I already covered Hayes Valley, The Mission and The Dogpatch so next on the list was checking out the NOPA area on Divisadero. At least I think this would be considered NOPA- some places identify with Western Addition or Lower Haight on their website...whatevs you get the idea. Elisabeth, Rebecca, Lindsey and Alicia joined in on the fun which was good because the goal of the day was to eat as much good food as possible. We ended up walking so we were able to take a quick detour and stop in the very crowded B Patisserie in an attempt to snag a chocolate banana croissant before starting the food fest- yup all that melted banana chocolate deliciousness combined with buttery flaky goodness mmmm. They were actually out and we didn't feel like waiting plus we knew the eating we had ahead of us so we were willing to take a pass this time around but can I just highly recommend that everyone go here and get a croissant at some point...totally worth it.
The other weekend I was looking to experience some good ol' American wholesome outdoor fun so I headed up to Point Reyes and hike the Tomales point trail- it was awesome!!! Seriously if you're ever in the Bay Area and looking for a fairly easy hike then check this one out- I mean you get to see tons of elk (photo above is my fav of the day) PLUS you get amazing views like this:
the list! Yup I got all dolled up in my 'Merican finest and celebrated Independence day at my parent's house. Please note the use of my USA beer mitt- best purchase ever! I love my parent's house and affectionately refer to it as my 'summer home'- anytime its foggy in SF its usually super hot and sunny where they're at so its worth the trip over every time (plus seeing my parents is cool too). It was over 100 degrees so I spent most of the day in the pool- mainly lounging with a beer...relaxation at its best.
- Go see 'The Way Way Back'
- Go to Dollar Day at Golden Gate Fields
- Spend the day in Mill Valley
- See a movie at a drive-in theater
- Go paddleboarding
- Hike all the trails in the Presidio
- Check out the Exploratorium at night (Thursdays only fyi)
- Learn how to BBQ
- Go camping (as much as possible)
- Play a game of paintball
-An American flag onesie exists and I don't own one?!?! What is this world coming to??
-Bacon flag print- dress up your apartment plus mmmm bacon
-the weather in SF has been pretty awesome lately so you might need these aviators
-24 proud patriots (omg I'm so sorry but #3 is totes NSFW or for your eyes in general-#7, 13, 19 and 20 also NSFW)
-Totally bizarre pieces of Americana- some are super creepy
-20 things America has done right
-17 epic pieces of presidential fan art
-21 red white and blue desserts- yuuummmm
Canuck for the day. Now ideally I would like all my Canada Day's to be on a Thursday/Friday/Saturday kind of situation but at least this year it wasn't on a Sunday (unlike last year). So how does one celebrate their homeland while at work in American? Easy! First lots of Canadian flair is needed- basically anything red and white will do but bonus points if a majestic maple leaf is on it.
this?!?! Now just have to justify the purchase when I'm supposed to be putting money away to save up for a super expensive partial crown- I hate the dentist. Ruining all my fun!
Z Tejas in the Austin Arboretum which was a super cool spot and AMAZING, TO DIE FOR cornbread...for serious.
jury duty- even got paid my whopping $15). Instead fun things like a visit from Dog have been happening- just check out his adorable face! He even let me put slippers on him before a bedtime cuddle sesh (he may or may not look unhappy about the situation).
my list. Scenes from Law & Order, Legally Blond and A Few Good Men were playing in my head- I was ready for some drama and excitement!
last trip to Austin and was not disappointed...actually I was disappointed that I physically could not eat more of the deliciousness that is Black's BBQ. So when I read a Serious Eats article (totes thought I had read it in Sunset magazine and spent a good 20 mins trying to find it before realizing it was SE) about Hi Lo BBQ opening up in SF, I was all over it! As a post- exploring the Dogpatch dinner we headed over there Sunday night and I was literally struggling to contain my excitement. All my pics are blurry because I was moving so quickly just trying to get to the counter to order- per usual I had already looked up the menu and decided what I wanted to order.
batting cages I ended up walking downtown and wandered through the Dogpatch. I was planning on heading there on Sunday with friends so it was cool to scope it out a bit beforehand. After getting the lay of the land, I headed home to get ready for girls night. Rebecca, Elisabeth and I ate an amazing dinner at Pacific Catch then got our drink on with Bonnie along Polk street. Per usual I obviously used good judgement and totally did not over indulge on whiskey (lies! totes did!) and giant donuts the size of my head (double lies! so good!).
the list this weekend! I was up bright and early Saturday morning to go to the batting cages...well that was the plan but in reality I was up at 12 and even then I didn't actually do anything for a good 45 min. Anyways, once I got going I ubered over to Potero hill to check out the SF Baseball Academy. It was pretty far out and in the middle of a bunch of warehouses (uber driver for sure thought I had the wrong address) but once I figured it out it was easy to find.
Has this week seemed crazy long to anyone else? I spent all Monday thinking it was Tuesday and all day Thursday thinking it was Friday...sooo glad it is actually finally Friday. Here are some links if you need a mental break at the end of the week like I usually to:
Michael Scott would say 'as asap as possible') or the year will be done and I will be no closer to being a true American. Despite being terrible at doing American things, I have been keeping myself busy these past few weeks- with the exception of when I had the worst cold/fever/flu/cough of all time and laid around the house feeling sorry for myself for a week.
hosting a Super Bowl party but this year was a little different. The biggest difference being that I was suuuuper hungover..I kid I kid...the biggest difference is that the SF 49ers were in the Super Bowl. So exciting! Rebecca and I rallied and headed to a local bar to watch the first half of the game. I rallied from a fun night of drinking but Rebecca was rallying from running a half marathon (and setting new PR) in the AM! Despite said half marathon running there was no talk of soreness, instead Rebecca got to hear about how bad my head hurt and how hard it was to get out of bed at 12:30 (yup cry me a river right?) all the way to the bar- luckily for her its a short walk.
Dad's birthday! Family and friends flew in to celebrate with us and we had a lot of fun deceiving (I'm a good liar) and decorating for the big day- he was totally surprised. I can't wait to see the photos *ahem Elisabeth aka party photographer*
My Dad celebrated a big birthday this month and we surprised him with a big party! My favorite part- besides getting to see family and friends- was going through all the old family photos. I think its no surprise to the people who know me that I like taking pictures - currently have a space issue on my computer (ugh REALLY don't want to deal with that)- and this is exactly why! Its so much fun to look back and see what people were up to at different stages of their lives. For example, looks like my Dad's love of all things bike related started at an early age:
When starting this blog my goal was to feature all things American (aka 'Murican) but it turns out I have developed a second focus- all things beer related. I even have a 'beer' label which I have added to many a post. I've cornered the college beer market with keg stands and shot gunning beer (and my general willingness to drink cheap beer when necessary- since its practically water, I'm essentially hydrating). I've learned how its made when I visited the Budweiser factory. And most importantly I've done extensive research on beer related fashion in the form of headgear and fancy holders. Well, I thought I was done and then- to my surprise- one morning I got an email from Beer Glove USA (no, I'm not kidding) informing me that I could get a discounted Suzy Kuzy American Beer Mitt. Now I'm trying not to dwell on the fact that 'Beer Glove USA' is emailing me but I think that its because the famous Skuuzi (of which I have purchased four mitts from) has become Suzy Kuzy (winter mitt still available) <--this would be a legitimate reason as to why they would have my email from a previous purchase. However, if this Skuuzi to Suzy Kuzy merger never happened then I might have to question some life choices/purchases but I'm choosing to focus on the positive as Beer Glove USA was correct in assuming I wanted one. Purchased within minutes of getting the email and I've never been happier.
Rebecca decided to take on a Cook the Books challenge for 2013 and I'm joining in this month! This really is an awesome idea especially considering in the last week alone I bought three- yes three!!- cookbooks (Amazon Prime I love you). The three cookbooks? Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi (vegetarian), Canal House Cooks Every Day by Hamilton & Hirsheimer (seasonal cooking- its divided up by Month) and True Food by Andrew Weil MS (as the cover says 'seasonal, sustainable, simple, pure'). Cookbooks become addicting fast- the pictures just look so good! I've found that I really have to make an effort to crack them open and pick something rather than obsessively reading food blogs but once I do I'm usually happy with the result.