Upcoming Travel

In less than a week I will be embarking on a HUGE adventure…I’m going to PERU!!!! šŸ™‚ This trip has been a long time coming and as the days get closer it’s really starting to sink in. I’ve been busy reading all the things to see and do. Here’s what I’m most excited for:

1) Machu Picchu, duh!

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I spent an entire semester in grad school reverse-engineering this beast to figure out its function (nerd alert!). I studied the waterways, the layout, the stones, the architecture, the land mass and crop growth, all in a giant systems engineering analysis. Time to see this baby in person! I want to touch the soil, feel the stones, breathe the mountain air, stand where my old Incan friends once did and see if I can get an intuitive sense of why this mysterious city was built. Ooooh my body aches with excitement! We’re going to spend a couple of days here so I hope to do some serious meditation/thought cleansing as well. What better place???

2) Ceviche/Pisco Sours/Mate Tea

(1,2,3)

’nuff said!

3) Train Rides

I heart old trains (and new ones too)! There is something about the journey, and looking out the window, and…if you’re lucky…sitting in the old dining car. In my fantasy life we would hop on the Hiram Bingham and do all of these things.

However…we will probably settle for the Expedition. Still cool, but on a budget:

(all pics from perurail.com)

Funny thing…when I was searching for train schedules, I forgot to select the route. It gave me a pop-up but instead of saying “choose a destination” it says, “choose a destiny…”. LOL. I much prefer Destiny!

4) Nazca Lines

Pray for me that those little planes get serviced!

5) Keeping an Open Mind and an Open Heart

My dad always used to say: “Travel every chance you get, it will keep your heart open”. There is nothing like international travel to remind you how big the world is and how insignificant your problems are in comparison. I hope to meet the people, observe their lives, just live and be happy. It’s easy to get so entrenched in the day-to-day that my worldview grows narrow. I want this trip to be the shot in my arm to jolt my life force again.

6) TO GET AWAY FROM WORK! PERIOD!

This is a given. But we built in plenty of down time on this trip to actually relax/do yoga/write/all that good stuff. I can’t wait!!!! šŸ™‚

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FiDM

Today I took a HUGE step toward Operation: Freedom! I met with an advisor and took a tour at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FiDM). Even though it sounds like it’s all about Fashion, it’s really not, and they have a pretty sweet Graphic Design program. I haven’t disclosed what I’m thinking of doing in terms of future business projects yet…but all of my ideas will benefit from learning some core graphic design concepts and tools. The cool thing about FiDM is that they have a ‘Professional Designation’ series for people who already have a degree (like moi). It’s a fast track 1-year program and you don’t have to deal with any generals. Wham bam, thank you ma’am! Exactly what I’m looking for. Get in, get out, and let the business begin! It’s that easy, right? šŸ˜‰

Here’s a link to some of the final projects from the students who completed the graphic design program. Would LOVE to learn how to do just about any of these…

On the tour I got to see some “secret” things. They had a catalog of the 2013 fashion trends (kept behind the counter under surveillance). Apparently very exclusive. Did you know that the clothes you are wearing right now were actually designed about 18 months ago? Pretty neat. Also, they had these glamorous vintage Vogue magazines in the library. Some of them you have to wear white gloves with in order to turn the pages because they are so delicate. This would be an AWESOME source of inspiration for vintage fonts/layouts/photography. I enjoyed myself.

Vintage Vogue pics (1,2)

Here are the classes that are REALLY calling me right now:

Although pretty much every class sounds exciting to me. Wish I had done this in the first place!! So I got all the deets and all the swag…there was only one minor issue….

i am so jaded from the corporate world...all I could think was 'how much did that cost to print all that in color'?

The advisor told me that they don’t actually offer the Graphic Design program in San Diego…only in L.A. (and some parts in Orange County). uhhhh, what? But she assured me, as many students can attest, it’s a beautiful train ride up the coast 2-3 times per week.

the pacific surfliner. thar she blows!

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At first I thought…absolutely not! Commuting to LA??!?! no thank you! I went home and started researching other schools and community colleges where I could learn this stuff. But ya know what? Not so many options. There are some, but they have a minimum of 15 months and they actually cost MORE than FiDM. Plus, the course curriculum is not as jazzy. I kept finding myself wanting to figure out how to make it work at FiDM. Once I get my mind set on something it’s really hard to change it.

Here are the options I’m working through:

1) Stay in SD, suck it up and commute for a year. Enjoy the 2 1/2 hour train rides…read a book…bring my laptop and use the free wifi. Get the fun and exposure of LA without having to live there. It sounds like half my time could be split between LA and Orange County…which would also lessen the commute. This wouldn’t be awful if it were only twice a week. But definitely not ideal, and not what I was expecting for le gran send-off!

2) Move to LA for a year. omg I can’t believe I just typed that! I don’t like this option for many reasons. A) I JUST got done moving and I like it in San Diego. B) I don’t really see myself as an LA type of girl and C) what would happen when the year is over? I would feel like a lost puppy without a home. Would I ever move back down to SD? Would I somehow end up staying in LA (nooooo!). From a cost perspective, however, this is the smarter option. Between train tickets and rent LA is less. EEEEEFFF.

3) Try to just teach myself and skip school. Yeah, right. That’s been working out reeeeeeaall well…….

4) Start hookin’ so I can afford a commuter pad in LA. razz

Jesus. So much to think about. I still really want to do this. I have big dreams and I’m not letting go. I’ll have to think on this…but no matter what…big changes are a comin’!

ilikethis

The Dreamer – (discovered on Lisa’s blog)

My High Council of Jedi Knights

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There is a PHENOMENAL book out there for anyone stuck in the corporate world who wants to start exploring their options for getting out. It’s called Escape from Cubicle Nation by Pamela Slim. I first read this book when a fellow rebel coworker handed it to me about 2 years ago. Little did I know it would serve as my roadmap this whole time, until I could finally make the jump. I’m sure I’ll be talking about this book a lot more, cause it’s fab and it’s been a serious gamechanger for me.

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In one of the chapters Pam talks about forming a High Council of Jedi Knights (her way of saying a support group) before you leave. There’s a lot more to it than I’m explaining but her point is that you need people you can call when you start doubting yourself and everything you’re doing. People who can pull you out of a rut. People you can trust to help you grow your new ideas.

As I’ve been preparing for my own big send-off, I’ve been keeping this thought in the back of my mind. Who is an eternal supporter? Who is a negative nancy? Who is old school and just can’t understand why I would want to leave a cush office job (…DAD!). Lots to think about as I assemble my council. Then tonight a sad thing happened…someone I thought was on my ‘eternal supporter’ list threw me for a loop and I had to remove him from the council (yeah, I’m elitist like that). Here’s what happened…

I was reading before bed when all the sudden GENIUS struck! My mind was racing and one idea starting snowballing into brilliance. It was one of those moments where 10 minutes went by before I realized my eyes were at the bottom of the page, but I had NO idea what I just read because I was in a daydream fog (this happens all the time, btw). I put down my book and started brainstorming. I got up and started googling. It was a moment of clarity and I felt like I had a new (and awesome!) chunk of my future business plan worked out. I was SO beyond excited. I felt like I had the key to success, in my brain and in my plan. I of course couldn’t sleep after this, so I called a friend who I knew would be up.

With a shortness of breath, and extreme enthusiasm, I told him what I had discovered. I was half working through new ideas/half trying to catch him up on my discovery. I couldn’t slow down and I wouldn’t shut up. At the end I said, “I just KNOW this is going to work!” šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚ šŸ™‚

And you know what he said?

“Well, I hope it works out, you know there are a lot of curveballs that life could throw at you.”

Huh? Wasn’t expecting that! Can’t you just be as excited as me? In zero seconds flat I was heartbroken and deflated. I went from floating in the clouds to being anchored into the cement pavement. This particular person has that effect on me. We talked some more and I started to get the sense that this person not only disliked my idea, but he really didn’t believe in me and my potential as an entrepreneur. Well, if I couldn’t sleep before, I REALLY couldn’t sleep now. I was so heartbroken.

Let me tell you a little backstory here. When I was a freshman in college I was dating a musician. We were starting to go our separate ways and he didn’t understand why I wanted to become a businesswoman and why I was going down a different path. During one tense moment he said, “You know, you have to be smart to become an engineer. It’s HARD. Are you sure you want to do this? You have to be really smart to get through it.” Really smart? um, excuse me! What are you implying here, buddy? He didn’t know it at the time, but he planted a little seed inside me that would serve as FUEL TO THE FIRE over the next 4 years. I’m not kidding. That one comment, unbeknownst to him, set me off on a warpath. I was going to get that f$%ing degree even if it killed me. Smart enough??? It didn’t matter how miserable I was, or how much I hated my classes, I had a point to prove. I didn’t want to fail on this one. Even long after we broke up, I wasn’t about to let him be right.

So I got that degree. I made sure of it. B.S. Computer Engineering. I was proud. And, just so there wasn’t ANY doubt, I went ahead and got a master’s degree too (also in engineering). I’m not trying to brag here, but I am trying to give you a clue into my kooky head and explain how strong my determination is when someone doubts me. I flip the switch, and it becomes a life mission.

(of course I should mention, his comment obviously wasn’t the ONLY reason I got the degree. please. I’m not THAT pathetic.)

Now, that same feeling has resurfaced with business-doubter-man. The second I felt his doubt…the rage started.

(source)

I knew it was coming. At first I was sad, and then I remembered. This is just fuel to the fire. And you know what? When I do achieve success in running my own business, he will be the type of guy to come back and say “Oh, you got lucky. You caught a lucky break.” WRONG. He hopes that I make it and then he says it’s lucky if I do. Hope and luck. As my grad school accounting professor drilled into my head: “HOPE IS NOT A PLAN!”

I do have a plan. And I wanted to tell him I’m not an idiot. I’m getting my ducks in a row. I’ve built a financial cushion for this journey. I’ve written out a plan. I’m taking action every day to change my path but I’m not jumping off a cliff here. I will continue to work my plan and move forward. And when I do achieve my goals, it sure as hell won’t be because of luck. It will be because I’ve earned it, and took risks, and also listened for opportunities. I just got really infuriated by this whole notion!

Anyway. Leaving with a quote this time.

“Believe in yourself, because if you don’t, no one will.”

(I think this was from Marilyn Monroe, but google did not confirm, so I might have just made it up.)

get by with a little help from my friends

This weekend was BUSY! My friend Diana came to visit from San Francisco and we had lots of sightseeing/partying/catching up to do!

I have to say it was REALLY nice to see a familiar face after the big move to SD! Sometimes you don’t know how much you miss someone until you see them in person. Everyone used to call us “the D’s” (and I’m sure obvious boob jokes ensued). Well, the D’s did some exploring this weekend. We started out with an ocean walk at La Jolla cove:

“Herrooo….are you looking at me??”

Next we got all dolled up and went to the Gaslamp for dinner + a little bar crawl of sorts. I didn’t take many pictures…guess we were having too much fun.Ā razzĀ  We did try a new place called Analog. (i know it might seem like I have this weird fetish for mix tapes lately. i can’t explain it. i love me some good mixes!)

The theme was obviously a throwback. They played some techno remixes of Foster the People songs and I felt like Talking Heads could have easily come out of the speakers at any time. When you enter the dancing room there are a million laser-y lights and blinking/flashing sensations going on. I felt like it could have been a very ecstasy-friendly crowd? Just a wild guess. It looked something like this:

Oh, and they had an ENTIRE wall of tapes. We spent a good 10 minutes looking at old bands we forgot about.

There was only one type of guy at Analog: metro, metro and metro šŸ˜‰ Apparently there is a dress code for men at this place. You have to wear either a) a tight-fitted longsleeve shirt or b) freshly pressed and tailored button down or c) a fitted new-age plaid. Every guy had the same, gelled-up hair like Jake Gyllenhaal (swoon!):

oof! zee eyes! zeh kill me!

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To be honest I really wanted to like Analog cause it seemed like such a good idea. But we weren’t feeling the vibe and ended up leaving after about an hour.

Yesterday after a little sleep-in we drove down to Balboa park and walked around. They have a BEAUTIFUL lily pond area there and I can’t wait to go back when it’s in full bloom!

We walked around and proceeded to take several hundred ‘senior photos’:

The majority of which we cried laughing at later.

Finally, like any good tourists, we had to check out Extraordinary Desserts. This place came highly recommended and it didn’t disappoint.

Let the sampling begin! First we tried the roasted pimento cheddar cheese dip. It had a PUNCH of cheese flavor with a nice balance from the red peppers. YUM!

Next we tried the buffalo mozzie bruschetta with pesto genovese (we fancy huh??):

OOOOOOH it was delish! Party in my mouth! But now it was time to get down to bidness. The real reason we came:

This was a showstopper! A coconut-mango-tart-thingy. (They change their dessert menu every day and therefore don’t post the names). Fun to look at and fun to eat.

This was a warmed chocolate almond croissant. I felt like I was in some sidewalk cafe in Europe!

Last stop on the tour: a cream cheese and chocolate brownie. Heaven sent!

Here’s my (not so official) review:

Food: (5/5) ā€“ The apps were yummy and they had a delicious brunch buffet set up with some creative options (like caramelized onions). The menu was unique and fancy. The dessert is obviously their main showcase, and it was pretty extraordinary(!).

Service : (1/5) ā€“ HORRIBLE service. This is my only real complaint. The hostess told us it would be about a 25 minute wait, but it was more than an hour. It set us off in a bad mood. Our waitress was slow and inattentive. I feel like they rely heavily on their reputation and really skip on the service here. Disappointed!

Date Approp?: (4/5) ā€“ Yes, maybe for a 3rd or 4th date – brunch would be fabulous. Go early to avoid the rush! The setting is cute and it’s always fun to do a sampling of desserts.

Would I go here again?: (4/5) Yes, but not often because it was packed with (presumably) tourists and it took forever to get a table.

Ambiance: (5/5) Clean, open space with pretty artwork on the walls. The tables were high-top and modern. The plates and champagne glasses really completed the perfect brunch atmosphere.

i’ll sass you right out the door

I woke up feeling SASSY this morning and had to roll with it. Here’s a little mix I put together – mostly indie/girly songs with some power behind them. Also, I’m just going to link to youtube until I can find a satisfactory playlist tool to embed. It was too slow when I inserted ALL the vids before.

The last one, Infinity Guitars…well, I was trying to save that for my Woman Power mix but just couldn’t wait. It was too hard. It needed to come out today.

True Affection – The Blow

Trick Pony – Charlotte Gainsbourg

Love is a Deserter – The Kills

Crazy Eights – Tapes n Tapes

Infinity Guitars – Sleigh Bells

PS how hot is she, bustin’ in with that baseball bat???

Return of the Bath

Somewhere, out there, the blog gods are looking down at me with scornful eyes…

You’re writing about bathtime now, really?Ā yeah…

Why don’t you just stick to your theme, D?? FREEDOM! remember? I know, but…

BATHING????? REALLY? maybe…

Don’t you know anything about blogging? You’re supposed to post consistently and give your readers expectations! Eeep!

What kind of dog and pony show are you running here, anyway??? A fun one?

Yeah. So about this blog. I feel like it would be a good idea to have more focus and structure but I just can’t. I have started several blogs in the past including:

  • A food/recipe blog
  • A dating coaching blog
  • A “Life’s Little Moments” blog
  • A household projects blog
  • more I’m forgetting?

I probably own more domain names than I can remember and they’re probably auto-renewing on my credit card which I probably should be checking into…hmmm. Anyway the story always holds. I start with chest-bursting enthusiasm, post for a few weeks, realize what a pain in the butt it is and slowly stop posting. Or I get overly critical and try to achieve perfection at every post, which completely takes away the fun and creative process. SO. This is the first blog where I keep having random things pop up in my head that I actually WANT to write about. And the second that I tell myself, ‘no, I shouldn’t write about that…it has nothing to do with being free at heart’ then my brain thinks of 10 MORE random things. My little rebel mind takes over.

This blog is 100% serving as my personal release right now, and I’m not ready to put any sort of cap on it and filter what goes in and what goes out. I just can’t yet. I feel like I have a backlog of posts that have been pent up for years and are finally coming to surface.

So why don’t you like, just write in a journal or something? We don’t really care that you’re taking a bath. I don’t know. It’s different when it’s out for the world to see. Plus, if I wrote here like I wrote in my journal, you’d definitely lock me up in an insane asylum. truth.

Fine, we get it, you’re using us to experiment and get comfortable posting your crap out into the world. Anything else, missy? Ummm, expect some really random posts coming up, including a v-log soon.

Why didn’t you go through this self-indulgent, all-about-you thing in your teen years? Cause I was trying to grow up too fast and never really stopped to listen to what I wanted/needed…so I’m hitting it a little late.

And we’re just supposed to sit back and keep reading while you clear out your skeletons and start making some sense? Yes, please. In a way I’ve never quite experienced before, sitting down to write these posts and making my comics has been the best form of therapy. I’m gettin’ healed, doc!!!

Fine, tell us about your stinkin’ bath. K!!!! I will!!!! šŸ™‚

SOOOOOOO I took this awesome bath tonight. It was awesome and extra special because my old place in Palo only had a stand-up shower, and my place before that only had a really old tub that was not the soaking kind, and the bottom line is that it’s been years since I’ve had a good soak. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to develop healthier ways to manage stress…like walking, yoga, writing, etc. But one thing that used to be my go-to, that I was really missing, was…….bathtime! When I moved into my current place, I was ALL ABOUT the tub. But when I got here, you know what those heartless bastards didn’t tell me??? There is no drain stopper. Meaning, there is no way to actually fill up the tub!? WTF? Believe me, I was pissed. I tried every trick from every hotel I’d ever stayed at. There was no hidden plug. There was no looks-like-a-faucet but is really a plug for aesthetic reasons just beyond my view. Nada. Nothing. SOOOOOO. I went to Target. Nothing. I went to CVS. Nothing. Every day my bath seemed more and more like a distant dream. Finally, the only tub stopper in all the land showed up on Amazon:

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So I waited and waited and waited. And finally, she came in the mail. What did I do? I had a bleach party and gave the tub a good scrubbin’. Who knows what the last tenant might have done in there. Sure, my feet go in there every day, but this is like, different. I poured myself a glass of red and waited…waited…and waited. It was finally so. Bathtime reunion.

Was that a letdown story? Hope not. I’m off to bed now. Night!

handi stall

(click to enlarge – you have to click upper and bottom portions separately. *sigh*. the tools.)

PS ā™„ ā™„ ā™„ HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! ā™„ ā™„ ā™„

We Feel Free…

Heard this on an episode of White Collar. Loved it, obvs.

missing Palo

It never fails. I complain and complain and complain, and whenever an opportunity for change comes along, I get squeamish. I can talk myself into anything. I can convince myself that I’m stuck in a bad situation and would do ANYTHING for a reprieve. But when it comes time to move on, I get anxious and suddenly cling to that thing I’ve been hating. Stockholm Syndrome?

This happened to me a little over a month ago when I moved from Palo Alto to San Diego. Whenever I have anxiety about change, I cry and watch Teen Mom power through and put one foot in front of the other. The anxiety is never enough to prevent me from taking action, but there is almost always an emotional rebound that comes with it. Today, my friends, I’m finally feeling it.

When I lived in Palo I was in a really crappy studio, like 400 sq. ft. I could constantly hear my neighbors upstairs (several kids…stomping). There was no dishwasher and no washer/dryer in unit. The only bonus was that it was in a beautiful neighborhood and I loved going on walks. I chose that apartment so I could save up and eventually have enough of a financial cushion to leave my current job.

At the time I couldn’t wait to get out. I couldn’t wait for the next big thing. I’m 100% glad I moved and I LOVE San Diego. But I haven’t been able to fall into my routine here yet. It’s easy to look back and think about how organized I used to be, with my daily walks and clean living space. I just have to remember that it wasn’t all sunshine and roses, and it took me time and effort to create that little lifestyle, and I can rebuild it here.

Sidenote – I’m terrified that when it comes time to leave my day job, I will be inundated with that same fear of leaving. I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there. Anyway, here’s a little photo tribute to Palo, taken last December on a walk through the ‘hood (we had a very late turning of the leaves in Cali). There was constant beauty. Palo, I miss you but I’m moving on!