Friday, January 29, 2016

She Said Yes To Her Dream

My sister always wanted to work in Film Production. It's been a dream for her ever since she was a little girl. 

So she made it happen.

She went to school in SoCal and majored in Film Production even though it put her states away from her then very serious boyfriend.

She endured grueling internships in LA during the summer months.

After graduation, she worked a secure office job while she submitted resumes for a career in her desired field.

And when one finally came through, and paid way less than she was making at work or expecting at all, she hesitated.

She debated back and forth. 

And then, she took the risk head-on. She fled the secure for the dream.

And it has been a true dream for her.

She's worked her tail off the last 10+ years to move up in the company.

She met her British husband there.

Which brings with it her son, her beautiful house, her regular travels to England ... her life as she knows it.

All because she always followed her dream, even when it was scary. And paid less. And made her cry in the beginning as she worked endless hours. She stuck with the dream.

Of course the dream was always just "the job" for her. But with it, I have seen that the dream she acted on actually cultivated the well-rounded life she loves even more. And that makes me incredibly happy to witness as her friend, sister, fellow human.

With respect to that, on this fine Friday, I'd love to share the newest trailer from the latest film that she (and my insanely-talented Bro-In-Law!) is working on:

It looks truly cool (voices include Rooney Mara, George Takei, Matthew McConaughey, Ralph Fiennes and Charlize Theron) and I can't wait to see the 4th film she's been a part of.

Proud of my sister for following her dream and in doing so, letting that shape the every day reality of her life.

Think of all that she wouldn't have if she had just let it pass her by.
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Paris Adventures | The Last Day

And here we are, we made it to the last day of our Paris trip. A day that started the same as all the others: With strong, rich, black espresso and shared reverie at a café where we both checked emails and munched on a European breakfast in animated silence.
That was followed-by getting our packing out of the way in the little AirBNB and getting dressed for our final day together, which, ironically, was going to end in a couples date with our good Oregon friends (more on that below, obviously. Like I’d leave that out.). Jay and I had big plans to walk all over the city in our final send-off, having day dates at places we found at our leisure. Not surprising since it’s a mantra we embrace in our day-to-day life. But really, if you have nowhere specific to be and had already hit all the big areas on your list, why not cap it off this way?  For us, it was just perfect.
^Focus on the streets, focus on the [hunky] man.
^Just a girl and her tripod, making their way in the big city. For my post about what I packed for Paris, click HERE.
^Apparently Jay can take a really cool pic if he feels like it.
^I love lipstick. I just really, really love bright/bold lipstick and I'll never let go, Jack.

As we bounced around through the lively streets and pointed things out to each other, I couldn’t help but note the beautiful eclectic style of this famed city. Of course there are tourists aplenty tarnishing the authenticity of each place (us very much included), but one quick look at the locals reveals the deep saturation that art and beauty play in their worlds

Older men wearing well-loved newsboy caps enjoyed a midday drink, croissant and cigar. Women so done-up as they barrel past you it’s hard to envision a scenario that is anything other than the fact that they walked down a fashion runway and just kept going into the real world. Businesspersons adorned in rich textiles and mahogany suits making their way as they yelled loudly into their phones. Everyone was just so beautiful, both conventionally and otherwise. Paris was just beautiful. We had no plans to visit a museum this day but I felt as if we were readily getting our art fill. Paris is its own breed of art. 

^Mailing a postcard from Paris. I just love this pic.

^That's a clickable video :)
^We are savory, not sweet, people. So when I realized we hadn't yet had a proper sweet treat, I grabbed this from a road side stand. It was just okay, I think it was prob. a chain company.
^The image on the left there is one of my favorites from the entire trip. Getting that lighting right took a lot of work.

^These are forgotten iPhone pics from earlier in this week that I wanted to share- late night antics and we actually tried escargot (it was pretty dang good but that's really because it's a whole lotta butter).
^I love him!

One thing I must note is that as we went between so many cafes, we found ourselves outside the Le Carrillon Bar and decided to stop for a quick glass of wine. We ended up sitting next to two Americans, both students, and we chatted with them about our respective trips. The conversation was painted with a brush of happiness as we discussed the things we had seen and how nice it was to just be there. We were probably only sitting there, right outside, for about 25-30 minutes. However, we would mentally return to those seats weeks later as they were all over the news when the Paris massacre struck. We had been sitting right in the same spot that was now readily plastered all over the news as evidence of the horrible event. And it made us sick to our stomachs. Bad things seem so far away, don’t they? “That will never happen to me” or “nothing bad will happen here”, etc. My hope in bringing this up is a reminder, to myself more than anything, of the humanization of these acts. I’m sure the café that fateful night was full of regulars, of newbies, of tourists and students who had missions just like us: To enjoy life for a moment on a casual evening in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. I hope to carry my thoughts on that for the rest of my life. It might have happened across the world but it was on a seat that I had called home for 30ish minutes. The seat could have been you or me. The seat could have been filled by anyone.
^Humans of Paris.
^Note: These images were taken at the cafe we went to right before Le Carrillon, they are not of us there.

Le sigh, forward march :( : And after all of our day-tripping, we went back to the AirBNB for a little nap before waking to get ready for dinner. JJ and Jess are our good friends from back home who happened to have just arrived in Paris for their first night on our last night so we made plans to share a celebratory dinner together in the city of lights. What a delightful treat.
^Our cutie friends from Oregon, Jess & JJ.
^She loves 'Friends' as much as me and it makes my heart happy.

^Double-dating in Paris. How lovely!

^My dinner order and the four of us shared two bottles of this delicious wine.

And then, just as quickly as we had emerged from the subway and landed in our first café (that’s my first post HERE), it was time to head to bed and wake up at the crack of dawn for our flight. Thankfully, we both had a strong desire to see our dog and he served as the sweet part of the end of our jaunt. That and the fact that we left rejuvenated in spirit, family, our relationship, travel desires, art and history.

So if you wonder why I go on a trip in October and it takes me until January to finish each component, the answer is this: A) It's my blog, ha. B) Trips speak to my soul (as I’m sure they speak to yours!) and I take way too many pictures to try to put in only a few posts. I prefer to take my time, spread out the posts and think about what I want to say and what I’d like to remember. That’s better in condensed topics. And I’ve never successfully posted the full story on a big trip before because I get so overwhelmed with my thoughts and images, so I’m beyond thrilled to have finally completed one (especially because I don’t like cramming it all into one week of overload).

^A short video of us on our last day there, talking about our first morning arriving in Paris [that post here].

And with that, I say Au Revoir! Thank you for everything, Paris!
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Tuesday, January 26, 2016


San Francisco's Amazing Mexican Food Scene
You know what San Francisco doesn't mess around with? Its Mexican Food. As a matter of fact, according to my unofficial estimates, it might just be the only thing in this city that is priced totally fairly and delivers an incredible output. From the food trucks, to the Mom & Pop locations (or should I say 'Madre y Padre') to the upscale & fancy: The Mexican food scene in this hilly city is legit.

On an after work walk last week with the puppy through the Marina District, I passed this adorable alleyway which I had to stop and admire for a minute just to pay respect to its cuteness:
When I heard from others (one being Jodi!) that the Mexican restaurant to the left of it was delicious, I made a point to go there with Jay to test it out. Which is just what we did last Saturday.
^BONITA in the Marina District
^Sophie's Choice for food lovers.
^Bright colors, humming music and little outdoor tables will put you right into a Mexico state of mind.
^We both went with the Mexican Street Tacos (even those carrot & jalapeño slices were soaked in flavors and delicious)
^BONITA'S MEXICAN STREET TACOS: 3 Corn Tortilla Tacos Served With Onions and Cilantro. I ordered one Carne Asada, one Carnitas and one Rotisserie Chicken.
^And I was super, duper pumped about that.
^Eating like this with a lone dog near you also makes you feel authentically a bit South of the Border.
^Is there anything more beautiful? 
^I burn some of my calories by smiling at the food the entire time. #DietTip
^It's always summertime at BONITA.
^The couple who eats together ... stays gains weight together.
^A beautiful, zesty, fresh, tangy work of art, I tell you.

From the speed of the food, to the friendly staff, to the quality of ingredients, to the reasonable prices, to the light, bright and happy digs: I couldn't get enough of the spot. We're down in the Marina District quite a bit and very much plan to put this in our regular rotation. 

Located in The Marina District on Chestnut Street.

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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Last week, I saw about five posts about DIY Buffalo Chicken Wraps and I thought: Well, hey. We can recreate that in our own way pretty easily!
-4-5 chicken breasts
-1/2 diced onion
-1 diced shallot
-3 cloves garlic
-1 jar of Frank’s Hot Sauce
-Chicken Stock

-Butter Lettuce
-Diced Carrots
-Diced Celery

-1 Cup Plain Greek Yogurt (my store was out of Greek so used regular. Def. recommend purchasing Greek. I've made this before and it's better that way.).
1-Packet Ranch Dip


In a crock pot, combine chicken, onions, celery stalk, garlic and chicken stock (enough to cover your chicken). Cover with lid and cook on high 4 hours.
After 4 hours: Split meat with two forks. Drain liquid minus a little bit left at the bottom (about 1/2 - 3/4 cup). Return shredded meat to crock pot. Add Frank's Hot Sauce. Heat on HIGH for 30 more minutes. After 30 minutes, remove from crock pot, dish into butter lettuce "wraps", top with the ranch mix + carrots + celery.

Eat away!
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