Friday, July 24, 2015

the best way to see dc

it's been a long time since i visited dc with tourist intentions; normally when i head back east, it's to hang out with family. but this trip was a girls trip, and one of the girls wanted to do some sightseeing in dc. but we're not a normal sightseeing bunch -- we're a "pick one thing in each museum and move on" kind of group. we saw the first ladies collection at the american history museum, the gems and minerals at the natural history museum, and that was it. it was so refreshing. instead of being burdened by trying to see it all, we chose only the things that actually interested us.




a quick guide --

in williamsburg:

eat: pierce's pitt barbeque for a delicious pulled pork sandwich and the cheese shop for iconic williamsburg sandwiches. 

drink: the green leafe cafe, a favorite watering hole for the local college students

in dc:

eat: the ever delicious zatinya, a mediterranean delight near chinatown

see: the monuments and the museums. pick a metro stop near the mall, there are a ton to choose from, check out a few exhibits in the museums, and then walk. from the capitol to the lincoln memorial is approximately 2.5 miles, and on a sunny day, it can be the most magnificent walk. plus, then you get to see all the museums and memorials. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

the siren song of an LA night

los angeles has a certain allure. it's the land of hollywood; it's glitz and glamour and juice cleanses. but it's also grit and grim and a giant city of highways and concrete. the food is delicious, the weather is phenomenal, and the traffic is the pits. but there are mountains and waves and everything in between. it's a beautiful city.


a quick guide to los angeles:

eat: daikokuya, hands down the best ramen i've ever eaten. 

drink: 82 and villians tavern: both are so different and so good. at 82, arcade meets bar, and everyone can relive the glory days of pacman and pinball, while at villians there is live music and off the wall, but crazy delicious, cocktails with fun names like belladonna and stan lee. 

do: hike in the deukmejian wilderness park. i'm sure there are a million hikes to do in and around la, but this is the one we did and it was great, although there is very little shade so be sure to bring water. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

historic florence, arizona

i have been driving through florence for three years, shuttling between work and the local schools there, but it's only recently that i took the time to explore the downtown area. it's a blast from the past! there are old neon signs, saloons, and signs painted on the buildings. and despite it only being a couple of blocks long, with many of the signs leftover from bygone days, it's definitely a cute town to explore. 


also in the area, and worth a visit: casa grande ruins

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

downtown tucson: a photo walk

this past march, we participated in a photo walk of downtown tucson. it's something i've always wanted to do -- walk around my town and, with no agenda and no list of things to do, take pictures. i see people hosting and taking part in instameets and photowalks, and i'm so jealous. but like anything without a specific purpose, it's hard to do, hard to find the time, hard to make it a priority.



this photowalk, organized by why i love where i live, focused on the following local shops, businesses, and restaurants in the downtown area: 
  • fed by threads, a clothing shop that sells american-made items and helps provide meals at food banks for each item sold 
  • salon salon, a hair and lifestyle shop located in tucson's historic train station
  • connect coworking, a shared office space that inspires collaboration and innovation
  • hotel congress, steeped in history, it's the heart of historical tucson, and it boasts a cafe, tavern, events venue, and club
  • maynards market, a delicious restaurant and market that hosts numerous events to promote local tucson flavor and flair

Sunday, July 12, 2015

mt. lemmon in the springtime

what do you do when you've planned a day of climbing and hiking and can't find the trail? you make your own, of course. we searched for a while, but when we still couldn't find the trailhead, we decided to make our way up the hill, trail or no. seven hundred vertical feet later, we reached the top, got cell service, and discovered that we were on the wrong ridge; that's why we couldn't find the trail! no matter. the day was beautiful, the wind was whipping, and the exercise was great. and when we reached the bottom again, this time via a trail and not through the brush, we still had enough sunlight to climb a few boulders. 

(a few weeks later we went back to find the real trail and had a bit more success.)

hike/climb: incinerator ridge

Saturday, July 11, 2015

a trip of opportunity: narita, japan

flying to and from vietnam is exhausting; the trip is almost a full 24 hours long. but, when the airlines force you to have a ten hour layover, you make the most of it. lucky for us, our layover was in narita, japan, just outside of tokyo. and despite traveling all night just to get that far, we decided there was no way we were going to pass up the opportunity to explore a little!




a quick guide to narita -- 

eat: everything. we stumbled onto a small street festival celebrating new year's that had a million tiny stalls serving everything from sake to octopus to cakes to meat on a stick. we definitely recommend trying the milk ice cream. if you're looking for more of a sit down meal, try ramen bayashi for a bowl of delicious ramen.

see: the naritasan shinshoji temple. a short walk from the train station, this temple is the highlight of narita. there are a collection of buildings and shrines for the more historical, as well as a large park for those looking to work off some of the delicious food they've eaten along omote-sando street.

do: walk along omote-sando street. this is the heart of narita; you'll find food, temples, and shops here.

tips: there is free wifi in the airport for you to research train times & fees and it is approximately 30 minutes from narita airport to narita the city, via train. be sure you have your passport with you as you'll need that to reenter the airport.