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A Cozy Winter Weekend in North Lake Tahoe

This story begins with a pair of boots.

Well, a pair of boots and a long-standing tradition!

We'll start with the tradition. Each freshman dorm from my alma mater plans a trip to Lake Tahoe in the winter for a weekend of skiing during the days and drinking at high elevation during the nights. It's typically a grand affair, and many groups then turn it into an annual reunion event. 

Weekending in Tahoe, especially in the winter, is also very much a part of the Silicon Valley tech culture: leaving at 2pm on Fridays to beat traffic going up to Tahoe is very common, and sometimes entire teams or smaller startups will even head up there together.

That's kind of the backstory of how we found ourselves up there this weekend: Hanna's friends from her freshman dorm booked a cabin, and two days of hot cocoa and frolicking in the snow and quiet hikes by the lake just sounded too appealing. 

But I also had an ulterior motive.

You see, in December, I kind of went crazy while Christmas shopping. As in, I think my bank account was physically shivering until it finally greeted the morning of December 25th with a sigh of relief thinking I'd give it a rest...

...until Camp Patton posted these darlings at 60% off and I gleefully clicked Purchase, completely ignoring the fact that I live in California in a city where it hovers around 60 degrees 340 days out of the year and 80 degrees the other 25. My bank account gave me a stern talking to and I rolled my eyes saying,

you'll see. They're going to come in handy. 

Immediately, I started planning a trip to Iceland and my bank account was like,


Aaaand, so Tahoe it was.

Please also disregard the fact that I just typed out a full conversation between me and my bank account, it's fine, I swear.
The joke was on me and my boots a little bit though because the forecast deemed it to be a warm and dry weekend. 

Undeterred, I shoved them on anyway and meandered over to wherever there was even a splotch of snow, barely sweating. See, the boots are HELPFUL.

When I wasn't being an idiot, we found ourselves savoring life up in the mountains.

All the fresh air,
and breakfasts at quaint restaurants called The Old Post Office Cafe where WiFi is non-existent and cell phones are not allowed. 
You guys, this place was so good.

Mimosas for $6.50, huge portions of hearty brunch food, and a host who I am still convinced is Luke from Gilmore Girls, 20 years after we last saw him.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the name of this restaurant was actually Hollow Stars," Cassandra agreed. 
After breakfast, we were determined to "go on a hike around the lake."

We dropped a pin, and everything.

But then somehow we ended up over in Nevada, at a brewery playing a kids' game. 

I never knew I'd be such a fan of hiking!
I highly recommend the Apple-Cranberry cider at Alibi Aleworks by the way; it's practically juice! 
After that detour, I promise we did try to find the lake.

But then some of us "really had to pee" and others were "really, really cold" aaaaand before we knew it, we were all cuddled up on twin-sized bunk beds taking a two-hour nap.

Other activities I participated in:

Ultra-competitive rounds of Taboo, coffee & Bailey's on the patio while wrapped in my snuggliest fleece jacket, eating all the junk food I could get my hands on, and hiding in a room with a paperback like a grandma while a heated game of Rage Cage was going on upstairs.  

In addition to dragging my friends out of bed early for a photo shoot in the snow, that is:
Which got real weird, real fast. 
All I wanted were some nice portraits I could frame... 
but instead, once Cassandra rigged up a tripod out of nature... 
It was middle school photos all the way.

Remember that? When you would set the timer on your digital camera for 10 seconds and then strike all sorts of weird poses and use all kinds of moody filters. 
 I'll save the more embarrassing ones for my speeches at their weddings.
All's well that ends wellith a bloodied knee, frozen hands, and jeans soaked through with snow.  
Another successful winter weekend in Tahoe in the books!

With that, we packed up the car, cranked up the aux, and made a beeline for the first Taco Bell drive-thru we could find on our way back home. 

How do you cozy it up in the winter?

Here & Now | February 9, 2018

Happy Friday! I don't much have to report on - this was likely the most routine week ever, but it was bookended by two short getaways so no complaints here. First, I spent a self-made three day weekend in Seattle with my nephew Mr. Chubby Cheeks. By the way - I highly recommend self-made three day weekends where you're not scheduled for any exploring or errands or anything except savoring down time with family. It does much good for the soul! In a couple of hours, I'll be driving up to Lake Tahoe with my friends so looks like there's another fun weekend awaiting me.

Eat & Drink

Is there anything on this planet better than mom's homemade best? And my mother really knocked it out of the ballpark last week. The woman was hand-pulling noodles and getting up early to make naan breakfast sandwiches so that I wouldn't be hungry before my early flight. Will anyone ever love me this much again?!

We also celebrated my kitty nephew Jerry's birthday by ordering in hearty Paseo sandwiches which is much finer than any birthday meal I've ever had but he is superior to me in like a trillion different ways, so I do not object whatsoever.

Monday night, Cassandra and I survived public transportation woes and made a giant pan of lasagna that has sustained us all the way through my lunch today as a survivors' treat for ourselves.

See & Do

I tagged along on my sister's mini family field trip to the Seattle Aquarium mostly so I could see my nephew's puzzled expressions when looking at jellyfish and sea lions. But it quickly became him being 100% unimpressed with Nemo & Co and me completely fascinated by sea life. It's been SO long since I've been in an aquarium... did you guys know how colorful the underwater world is?! All the gorgeous pinks and reds! 

Read & Watch & Listen

This Man Repeller article on loneliness and social networks post-college was a great read. I'm so lucky to get to live with two of my very best friends but I can often go a couple of months without seeing anyone else socially without even realizing it. And that usually springs me into a do I even have other friends?! mood and yadda yadda yadda. It was refreshing to read this and be reminded that most other people aren't constantly living it up with all the friends in the world like it can sometimes seem.

Victoria's post about beginning to learn more about her birth country prompted me to watch Twinsters on Netflix last night. What a crazy story! And to think YouTube started it all... 

Unrelated to their story, but one of the twins mentioned an expression in French (which apparently originates from Voltaire) essentially translates to: best is the enemy of good. I quickly jotted it down because it was a bit of a lightbulb moment. I think it's inherently human to strive for whatever comes next, to want that slightly better version, to pursue what's better, faster, quicker, happier, more. But it's healthy to appreciate what is in your here & now (shoutout!) and to soak it all in as well.

Weekend Forecast

Lake Tahoe! No skiing for me, but hopefully we'll be ambitious enough for a hike before cozying up with all the hot cocoa. I'm really keeping my fingers crossed for some snow, but I'll keep you updated!

Oysters & Homemade Wine in the Adriatic Sea

Right after publishing this post, I looked over at my roommate and said “it reads a bit anticlimactic - I claimed it was practically the best day of my life but all that really happened was that I almost peed my pants and then went to 3 wineries.”


Oyster-tasting in the Adriatic was what really gave this day a solid spot on the Best Day spectrum, so that first post should not be read without also reading this one (perhaps a little too late for that but oh well, guess there’s just going to be a few folks out there who will always think the greatest day of my life was spent concentrating on willing my bladder to behave).

Shortly after our blue-eyed tour guide Stjepan picked us up from Ston, the town in Croatia known for its salt flats and Great Wall, we arrived at our next destination: the neighboring Mali Ston.

Now, a Croatian lesson. Mali = little. Ston itself was already tiny, and now we're at Little(r) Ston.
We followed Stjepan along the path to the water's edge where we all collectively gasped because this view was legitimately unbelievable. My eyes and brain frantically tried to process the sight before me but all it could really muster was

"oh wow."

As we dumbly stared out into the peaceful Adriatic, Stjepan was chatting away in Croatian with Mario, our Oyster Hero Of The Day. They led us to Mario's boat which was bobbing away in the water, and then gave each of us a hand to step into it:
... and off we went!
As our boat pulled away from shore, Mario directed our gazes towards the (extra) little village of Mali Ston, and the Great Wall of the neighboring little (but slightly bigger) town of Ston in the distance. 

Celebrating 6 Years of Blogging

Uh oh.

Looks like I haven't changed, not even an iota. If anything, I've gotten worse.

The deja vu while reading that post was out of control. Not only did I forget my blogging anniversary once again (missed it by a day last year, missed it by a whole week this year... for shame), but also I'm headed up to Tahoe again this weekend. That made me chuckle.

Exactly a week ago, my blog turned 6 years old! I have a full-fledged grade-schooler on my hands! To celebrate six years, I thought I'd play a little game: six "six things" lists, and I'm going to say SIX one more time because I'm superstitious like that and didn't want 3 six's in this sentence... you still here, friends?

Grab a cup of coffee, and let's go.

Six Things I've Committed To For More Than Six Years

1 // ...
2 // ...
3 // ... working out?
4 // ...
5 // (a hard no to the above)
6 // ...

... so yes, even if last year was hardly a real "blogging year," this is still a huge deal to me. I've stuck with this space - or more accurately, this space has stayed with me - longer than I was in college, longer than I've been in the working world. It's outlived any other hobby, as well as a couple of friendships here and there sadly. It's been here before I could really call myself a traveler or a resident of San Francisco or discovered a true love of lattes and red wine, all key to my identity today. It's wild to me!

Six Destinations On My Bucket List

1 // the Istria region of Croatia, which borders Italy and is food-and-wine-central. Yes please.
2 // even more of Eastern Europe: Hungary, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, among others.
3 // Democratic Republic of Georgia - can you even?!
4 // Japan, so that I can eat my way through it.
5 // Portugal, for pasteis de nata and also because Lisbon is a sister city to San Francisco.
6 // Guilin, China - I've been dying to visit since I was a little girl!

The extended version is 60 if not 600 places too many to list, but for now these are on top. There are also so many places around the world that I want to re-visit / explore further, like Scotland and Spain!

Six Favorite Experiences Documented On This Blog

1 // My four incredible years at Stanford University, from once-in-a-lifetime opportunities like studying abroad for a quarter at Oxford University, to our very wacky graduation, to the extraordinarily ordinary moments vividly captured in the hallways of my freshman dorm. Having a home for these memories to live is priceless to me.

2 // In that same timeframe, I interned at NBCUniversal and lived in New York City for a summer, and it was one of the "omfg is this real life" experiences. (Relevant posts here, here, and here.)

3 // I mentioned this, but my love for travel (and the Balkans!) blossomed after the birth of this blog, which is fortunate because diaries from many of those trips are found here. I'm not even going to list favorites because that'd take forever, but you can read all travel-related posts here.

4 // Life in San Francisco: this is an magical city, and I'm so thankful to call it home. Writing about this city, its quirks, its restaurants and neighborhoods really pushes me to keep exploring too!

5 // Goes with the above, but blogging about my 20's as I'm living it has been so, so special. First jobs, moving to the city, learning to cook - for real, the first thing I ever cooked was proudly exhibited here - my first apartment... it's alllllll in these archives.

6 // Welcoming my baby nephew: this is one I haven't talked about in too much detail here to respect his privacy, but from the moment we heard about his imminent arrival Christmas of 2016, to feeling him kick in Maui, to meeting him in August and even snuggling with him this weekend - he is all the joy. Here is a little video I made when he was still a tiny little thing, if you're interested!

Six Things About My Life Right Here, Right Now 

1 // I live in a five bedroom apartment in a super hipster and SUNNY neighborhood of San Francisco. It was 80 degrees here this weekend, can you believe that?

2 // I'm the furthest thing from hipster. The furthest.

3 // In fact, I'm really more like a 75-year-old grandma who wants to feed you shortbread and coffee  and tell you stories about the days of my youth more than anything. Youth = the 1x a year I go dancing or stay up past 10pm.

4 // I live with two of my best friends... best idea ever or worst idea ever? 

5 // I work at a tech startup - it's a software company that powers social video so if you have any questions about all those Tasty videos on Facebook or the cute puppy videos you see on Instagram or if you're wondering if 'startup perks' really are a thing, hit me up!

6 // I rarely wear color. Neutrals - gray, especially - are my jam. I went to the Color Factory and just about had a conniption, and so I put myself in time-out in the black-and-white room. (Funny enough, I'm wearing hot pink right now... I think it's the brightest thing I have in my closet, and it's the first time I've worn it in months.)

Also, I'm...

Six Things I've Finagled Out Of Blogging 

1 // A personal history book: see "favorite experiences" section above.

2 // Internet savvy, which has influenced my getting multiple jobs and internships.

3 // Several really neat small businesses and cool brands being on my radar as a consumer.

4 // Recommendations for things to do, eat, and see in cities all over the world!

5 // Friends! What a privilege it is to be familiar with so many of your stories! (PS. a huge congratulations to sweet Jordyn who got ENGAGED this weekend!!)

6 // Awesome material goodies through collaborations and giveaways; some of my most worn items are a direct result of the blogosphere. Favorites include: Matt Bernson booties, this Lo & Son travel tote, La Canadienne Chelsea boots, and my classic Tory Burch riding boots. With an exception of the riding boots, I've used all of the above within the last 24 hours... the boots were too little for my calves from Day 1 but they're just. SO. PRETTY. whenever I do feel like cutting off my circulation.

Six Questions I Have For You

1 // What social media platforms do you prefer? Are you an Instagram Stories person like myself, or a Pinterest gal perhaps?

2 // Is there anything I don't write about currently, that you think I should cover?

3 // Is there anything I write about that you're like - no more! (I won't be offended, I swear!)

4 // How do you decide what posts to read for any of the blogs you follow? Do you go through your whole Bloglovin feed (that's what I do!), are you reminded through social media perhaps?

5 // Who are some of your favorite bloggers?

6 // What's your blog or Instagram URL - I want to say hi!!

If you're still reading... bless you! And, thank you. Truly, truly.