Living vs traveling

March 30, 2010

After one month living in San Francisco, it still hasn’t quite hit me that I’m not just here on vacation. There’s a lot to see in a big city, and it’s a bit overwhelming to dive into it all at once. Especially as a freelancer, “just” out of college, when I have a lot more control over my time. So what’s the best way to transition? Well, I’m still trying to figure it out. But here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

On freelancing:

  • Morning productivity is essential.
  • Don’t work in your pjs.
  • Overdosing or underdosing on coffee isn’t exactly healthy. (*still working on this one)
  • Bring business cards. Everywhere!
  • Treat freelance (even pro-bono!) like a real job. Keep real hours, or get a real job.
  • Keep learning! Remember how you learn more outside of class than in class? It’s the same thing when you graduate. Just without the classes.
  • Creation over consumption keeps a creative mind happy.

On city life:

  • Cook in, drink out. Food is delicious here, but expensive!
  • Despite what most maps look like, California is not 2 inches long. It takes time to get anywhere.
  • iPhones are the key to the city. Sorry, Steve, you just don’t have the apps.
  • Dress to impress. You never know who you’ll meet, or why you’ll wish you showered today.
  • Don’t be flaky, but if you blow a guy off chances you aren’t going to see him again.
  • Discover one new thing every day. This is most important, and fun way I’ve found to deal with exploring the city, as a resident not a tourist. Thanks to google maps + phone gps, yelp, and foursquare, it’s a lot easier to figure out where the hot spots are and how to get there. I’m currently on a mission to find my favorite bar and cafe in the city. There are a lot, but in the end it’ll hopefully help with my decision of where I want to live.

When you are traveling, it’s super easy to break routine, and do what you want, when you want. I’m not a naturally routine-oriented person, so perhaps that’s why I enjoy traveling and exploring so much. Though this move has definitely reoriented me with the importance of a dose of stability. Most of these are old concepts I’m re-adapting to, from my glory days in Barcelona. So far, I still love it and can’t wait to find my perfect little (world domination!) niche!


Day 1: San Francisco

February 23, 2010

The time has come for me to fly the coop, and leave Champaign in search of beginning the next chapter in my life. A couple weeks ago, I bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco, not really knowing what to expect or how to prepare. You’d think with all of my traveling this year, I’d be a pro.

Well, I’ve only been here for a day, and already I’m off to a ridiculous start. To be expected, no? It would figure that the very first time in my life that I miss a flight would be when I’m trying my very best not to fuck up. Well, I missed my flight. And no, it wasn’t due to the expected 10 inches of snow we were supposed to get the night before. Fortunately, I just had to wait on standby for 4 hours. (Didn’t quite make the cut for the 60 other people waiting on standby for an earlier flight)

My arrival to the city wasn’t to be understated either. While it’s not my first time in the city, it was still an impressionable entrance:

Perhaps it’s a good thing I didn’t go out the first night. Who knows what would have happened. This morning, in my first attempts to find a fitting coffee shop (I miss Cafe Kopi!), I managed to spill my second cup all over myself. Could have been worse. But then, a couple hours later, some creepazoid managed to spill his latte all over my stuff. Probably just an excuse to get me to talk to him and touch all of my things. I quickly packed up and left.

Again, things could be worse. But I’m almost too excited to just be here that a couple of curveballs aren’t going to throw me off. Perhaps I’m accident prone, or maybe the cosmic forces are just against this major life change. But whatever it is, I’m sticking it out, and trying not to get into too much trouble :)

Happy Valentines Day

February 14, 2010

This one is from the one person who will always be my valentine, no matter where I am in the world or in life—my mom. Yep. She’s pretty cool. She even used my favorite Chiquita banana stickers (peeled off from the millions I’ve stuck to the side of the fridge) and dug out some of my old kindergarten journals to craft this year’s card. Funny, reading through it I haven’t really changed much. Apparently I still liked wearing my “goggles” as much as I do now. (note the picture below is not from 1993… it’s actually from last October.)

Happy Birthday, mom! Thanks for always having good food in the fridge.

AJ & I had a lot of fun experimenting with different combinations of tasty things. Here are a few tasty ideas, because everyone’s mom has a birthday at least once a year. (Pardon the shitty quality phone pictures)

Pan tomate:
Every good tapas spread needs some bread to accompany the cheeses, spreads, and charcuteries.
Grab a french baguette, cut it in half horizontally. Squeeze/rub a tomato all over the bread, until the tomato is pretty much juiced, and kind of gross. (set the rest of the tomato aside, you can cut it up and put a few diced pieces on top, or use it for other things too!). Spread olive oil all over the top, and some garlic. I experimented this time with a little bit of oregano and pepper. Not a bad idea. Throw it in the oven for a couple minutes and viola. Tomato bread! Tastes great with a bit of prosciutto or cheese on top.

In this pic you can also see some garlic shrimps, hummus, patatas bravas, and lots of cheeses & crackers, etc.

Veggie mix:
This one isn’t too hard to figure out. We were going to make veggie kebabs, but couldn’t find any skewers. So frying up some eggplant, zucchini, red peppers, onions, and garlic did the trick.

Patatas bravas:
Basically fried potato wedges, spiced with garlic, paprika, onion, tobasco or chilis, and cumin. (though I think we cheated with a bravas spice packet) These taste delicious with a bit of aioli sauce. (a mixture of egg whites, olive oil, garlic, and lemon) For a slightly less complicated but still delicious sauce, you can always just use ketchup & mayo combination. Don’t knock it til you try it!

Garlic shrimp:
Get some shrimp (not cocktail shrimp! My roomies and I made that mistake a couple years ago. So weird.) Basically, just fry it up with lots of oil and garlic. The best garlic shrimp I ever had was in Barcelona, with fresh shrimp from the Boquería. mmm.

Avo wedges:
Another super simple plate. Just cut up some avocados, and throw some olive oil and salt on it. This is also a tasty snack if you’ve just got an avocado, take the pit out, put the oil and salt into the middle and eat it out of the skin with a spoon. mmm.

Cream cheese dill pickles:
Spread a bit of cream cheese over mini dill pickes, and wrap it in turkey. (Also tastes good wrapped in salami, but turkey is a bit healthier.)

Spinach & Feta Guacamole:
In the red pepper ‘bowl’, in the middle of the pickle plate, is probably my favorite concoction—discovered late one night while playing around in AJ’s kitchen with a bunch of random ingredients in his fridge. Cut up some baby spinach, avocados, and feta cheese. Mush it up a bit, and throw in the rest of those juiced / diced tomatoes from the pan tomate above. It’s kind of like guacamole, but the spinach and feta really make it tasty. I honestly don’t know why we put it in a red pepper for a bowl, it just looks nice and makes it not so awkward to lick, or even eat, the bowl afterwards.

Bacon dates:
These. Are. Amazing. One of my favorite things to bring to potlucks and parties. Take some dates, cut them in half (but not all the way through), take the pit out and stuff it with gorgonzola cheese. Wrap with half a piece of bacon (depending how big your dates are), and put a toothpick in it to keep from coming apart. Put it in the oven at 350° for about 15 minutes, or until the cheese is kind of melty.

Goat cheese bread:
Behind that, we’ve got some baguette slices with goat cheese. You can top this with fried slices of red pepper or avocado slices.

Anyways, I’d say overall it was a pretty successful birthday party. This actually made a lot of food for just 6 people, and didn’t take too much prep time (about an hour and a half?). I mostly just use a lot of the same ingredients with the things I cook and try to find new combinations. People sometimes get overwhelmed with tapas if you have too many choices and have to add things together yourself, so the pre-made combos really seemed to go over well. And for dessert, you can never go wrong with chocolate mayonnaise cake and port wine :)

Late Night Crafts, vol. 2

January 24, 2010

Partially inspired by Able Parris, partially in continuum of my recent midnight art projects, and partially in tribute to the hours I used to spend cutting things out of magazines and pasting them wherever I pleased… I have decided to start a new moleskine dedicated solely to collaging, drawing, & type. Basically a sketchbook. Sort of.

This one in particular (to be expanded upon soon) is my attempts at drawing type freehand, based off of Hoefler Text (Black Swash!). Time to bust out of these winter blues and start making stuff!

Animals: crackers vs wild

January 14, 2010

I guess you could say I’ve seen some pretty sweet animals this year. (and not just at the circus)

Late night crafts

January 8, 2010

Sometimes it’s hard to break out of a creative slump. Instead of going out to the bars it’s generally more satisfying to be productive with this time. Therefore, I cut up newspapers and see what happens. It’s probably not a finished piece, but it’s 3:30am and I generally like it, although it doesn’t look as much like an airplane as I might have hoped. Also, please excuse the shitty quality phone pictures.