Road Trip

6/29/12

Jeff took these photos on our drive down to San Diego last week. I may be a little biased, but California is so beautiful. You don't even have to go very far to find somewhere to get lost in the scenery. You don't even need to get out of your car, but exploring by bike or on foot is much more satisfying. I took this for granted when we left the country for a while and now that I'm back, I make a conscious effort to look at the mountains every single day. Luckily, I can see them from the backyard.

I've driven along just about every major California highway at some point in my life. As a kid, we took a lot of road trips and as a college student, I traversed the state to go from school to my Mom's and back whenever I had the chance. Unlike some people I know who groan at the thought of sitting in a car for hours on end, I'm one of those weird people who actually enjoys road trips. The longer, the better.

It's been about the journey and not the destination for as long as I can remember. Some of my fondest memories are about the random pit stops we've taken along freeways, like rest areas, fruit stands, and restaurants. I still have a silver and turquoise ring that my Mom bought for me at a rest area somewhere near the Mojave Desert that always conjures up road trip memories of my childhood.

We have a few more road trips planned this summer and hopefully we can go on a few unexpected ones, too. I'm usually the one that does most of the driving because of my high tolerance for long drives and I make sure to hand Jeff the camera when I can't take pictures myself. Wanderlust strikes again as I look at these photos and think about driving somewhere. But for now, I'm just glad I get to see the mountains just by standing at the back door. 

15 Hours in San Diego

6/25/12

This past weekend, we managed to spend more time driving to San Diego than we spent actually in San Diego. Jeff and I drove down on Saturday morning to make it to a friend's wedding on Saturday evening. On Sunday morning, we headed out of SD early and got home in the afternoon. I think we only spent about 15 hours in San Diego, which was less than the time we spent in the car. I love road trips and driving, but even I must admit that this was a little crazy. 

The drive normally takes about seven and a half hours from San Jose, but because of traffic in LA, it took us over nine hours! We made it with enough time to shower and get dressed before the reception started. The bride and groom are total foodies and treated their guests to a five course dinner. It was a beautiful night and totally worth the ridiculously long drive. 

It was actually the first time I've ever been to SD, but I didn't see much of it besides the country club where the wedding was held. If I ever make that drive again, I hope I can see more of San Diego. 

Photos from top:
1. Signature cocktails
2. Palm trees and a beautiful sunset
3. Wedding details
4. Jeff and cousin Austin, who was the Best Man at the wedding

My First Bike Party

6/21/12


Last week, I rode late into the night with a few thousand other cyclists in the monthly street party known as San Jose Bike Party. It was the first time I had ever participated, but it definitely won't be my last. Bike Party is one of the most fun things I've done in a long time. Bike Party intends to build community through cycling and they're doing a pretty good job of it. For the most part, riders were having a fun (and safe) time on the road. There were a few jerks that showed up and give Bike Party a bad name, but these folks were definitely in the minority.

Bike Party, for those who have never heard of it, is a bike ride that takes place every third Friday of the month in San Jose at 8 pm. Each month, the route goes through different neighborhoods and has a theme to go with it. June's ride was called the "Legs Ride." People wore funny socks, tights, or really short shorts. Some people chose to forego the theme and just wore whatever they felt like. I saw a lot of really weird outfits and hats, but it was all fun. My favorite was riding along someone who had a nice sound system on their bike.

I really wanted to ride The Pidge, but she hasn't been the same since the movers disassembled her for the trip over here. I've been meaning to take the bike to a shop and didn't have time before Bike Party. So Jeff bought me another, much safer bike to ride. One with working brakes and reflectors and a seat with a bit of padding (The Pidge had none of these). I love The Pidge, but she is just not that reliable on a 20 mile bike ride.

Next month, there are two rides: The Olympics Ride on July 20th and the Ladies Ride on July 14th. The Olympics Ride route will be posted 24 hours before the event on the SJBP website. The Ladies Ride is a special event ride which starts at 5 pm in downtown San Jose. This location will be announced later, too.

Hopefully I'll be at the next ride! Have you ever been to Bike Party? Will you go to the next one? 

This & That

6/11/12

Here are a few things that have happened lately, none of which I feel like writing an entire blog post about at the moment: 

I got a random package in the mail last week--a Sock Gram from Jeff. Too cute. I giggled when I opened the package to see a pair of Chuck Taylor-esque socks and a note for me. It makes me feel good to know that Jeff knows me well enough to send me socks instead of something like flowers (although I must say, it's nice when I get flowers, too). And it always makes my day when I get a pleasant surprise in the mail. 

My dogs have unlimited access to a large backyard with beautiful, green grass to run amuck in. And yet, they'd rather lay down on the steps or on the brick walkway leading up to the grass. When Jeff's cousin comes over with his dog Dodger, my dogs won't play with him on the grass. I guess living in apartments all these years will do that to a pup. 

We went to a Spring Release Party at Hatcher Winery in Murphys, CA a few weekends ago and are stocked up on wines for a while now. Hatcher is one of our favorite wineries and tasting rooms. This photo is not of their wine though; I took this a few months ago and never got around to using it. I really like it.

Before I left Singapore, I was asked to contribute a story to a book called Great Expatations. It's a story about the most surprising thing I took away from my time abroad: a newfound ability to tolerate spicy foods. I wrote a little about this before in a previous post. This book was also the first time I've ever had something published in a book. Go me! 

Review: GlassesUSA

6/10/12

As someone that needs to wear glasses everyday (I probably would be a hazard to myself and others without them), I often find myself browsing those websites that sell affordable frames in cute styles. I've always been hesitant to order any prescription glasses online though because I'm so used to trying them on before actually buying some.

I was asked recently to review GlassesUSA.com, a website that sells prescription eyeglasses. Ordering from them was easy. Simply find a pair of glasses that you like and that fit you. If you are unsure about what size to get, use the Virtual Optician feature and enter the measurements found on a pair of glasses that fit your face.

Once you find a pair you like, fill in your prescription. I asked my optometrist to print it out for me and entered it online as I was checking out.

To make choosing which glasses look better on your face, there's even a Virtual Mirror you can use on their website to "try on" the frames you like. (Look for it above the product description.) You can either upload a photo or use your webcam and the Virtual Mirror will place the frames on your face.



I am really happy with my new glasses and the whole online frame buying experience. I will probably buy glasses online again since it was so easy and affordable (most frames I looked at were less than $90). The only thing I had to do after I received my new glasses was get them adjusted at my optometrist since the frames sat a little crooked on my face, but that was a quick fix.

My new glasses c/o GlassesUSA. I got the College frame in Tortoise. I love vintage-looking frames.

If you're in the market for a new pair of frames, GlassesUSA is offering a 10% discount for my readers if you enter the code "blog10" at checkout. Make sure to also visit their Sales and Coupons page for the latest deals. You can also follow them on twitter or facebook for exclusive discounts. 

Hats Off to You

6/6/12


The town of Murphys, California has a great tree-lined main street dotted with wine tasting rooms and boutiques. It's also a good place for a day trip in the Sierra Nevada foothills from the cabin. Despite having been to Murphys dozens of times, we still find something new when we're in town.

This past weekend, we headed into town and discovered La Folia Wine. Not only is La Folia a tasting room, they're also a hat shop. At first I thought wine and hats were kind of an odd combination, but it works because we bought a few. I am now the proud owner of a top hat. Maybe I shouldn't be allowed to shop while wine tasting anymore...on second thought, I really do love my hat!

My First San Francisco Giants Game

6/1/12







I have lost count of how many San Jose Sharks games I've been to in my life, but I can count the number of baseball games I've been to on three fingers. That includes my first ever San Francisco Giants game, which I went to this past Wednesday with our friends Jon and Laura. They took Jeff and me to the game for Jeff's birthday.

AT&T Park is a really nice and relatively new ballpark that's right on the bay in SF. When completely sold out, it can seat 41,503 fans. For comparison, HP Pavilion, where my beloved Sharks play, seats 17,496. You can kind of see in the top picture how huge the stadium is.

The Giants lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-1, but we still had a really great time. It was fun listening to the fans cheer the Giants and heckle the DBacks. I really want to come back to another Giants game this summer. Maybe baseball can tide me over until hockey season starts back up again.

Photos from top:
1. The view from my seat
2. Lou Seal, the Giants mascot
3. At the entrance to the ballpark
4. Watching Tim Lincecum warm up
5. Jeff and me outside of AT&T Park after the game
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