April 30, 2014

what's in my beach bag

What's in my beach bag

Here's a glimpse of some items I keep in my beach bag, and some items that I'm still pining for that would make my beach (or pool) bag complete! I've been loving the Skipping Girl tote bags for some time now and have yet to get my hands on one. It's awesome because they're made from recycled/repurposed old fishing twine which means they are not only eco-friendly, but the twine allows any bits of sand to just fall through so it doesn't get stuck in your bag! They come in so many fun patterns, this one is currently my favorite (cherry pattern pictured above). What's in your beach bag?

Left to right:
Insulated Klean Kanteen - there's nothing more refreshing than an ice cold drink on a hot day
Baby Lips Dr. Rescue - who wants dry, chapped lips in the sweltering sun? Not me!
Ocean Potion Sunblock - this is my favorite brand of sunscreen. It absorbs quickly and does the job
Kindle - it's nice to have a few option of books to read at the beach while not having to tote around all the extra weight
Triple C earbuds - these ones by Triple C are stylish and retract so you don't have to worry about cords getting all tangled in your bag
Topshop sunglasses - these are fun and inexpensive enough to where you won't have to worry if they get sandy, wet, or oily from sunblock
Clear Avery Lolo Bag - this small waterproof pouch is perfect to throw jewelry in or if you're a beachcomber like me, any treasures you find on the beach
Pack to Basics reusable lunch bag - I like to maximize every minute at the beach, so I usually pack lunch or snacks so I don't have to pack up and leave, then come back. This insulated bag is perfect for sandwiches, fruit, or even snacky foods like cheeses and chocolate because it keeps everything cool
REI Binoculars - compact and powerful enough to see if there's any marine life you can see from shore
Samudra pouch - excellent pouch/clutch to put your wallet, phone, and anything else you want to keep protected. They come in awesome prints which are actually photos printed on material
Turkish Towel/Blanket - nice and large, perfect for beach lounging and it's by a brand I love
Watershot underwater housing for iPhone - I still have my eye on one of these for my iPhone. It's portable, easy and reliable for getting awesome underwater photos
Biltmore x Madewell cap - caps are awesome for covering up unruly beach hair and giving your face some much needed sun protection

April 25, 2014

finally, friday

Have I ever mentioned to you that I love beets? I especially love them roasted and in a salad or on their own accompanied by a salty cheese and a little balsamic vinegar. They're colorful, sweet, and hearty... and I love them. Just look at how beautiful they are, how could you not?

Absolutely in love with these sandals and the color just puts them over the top.

As if laying on the beach isn't already awesome enough, just add this towel for extra fun.

Turning slime into eco-friendly fabric from an animal that eats dead things? Weird, and oddly super cool (if it actually happens)!

How adorable are these "Winter Sweater Toes"? Must keep in mind for this year's Holiday season!

Absolutely in love with this brand and it doesn't help that everything is super soft times ten.

April 22, 2014

earth day 2014

When I was in Thailand beach vacationing a month ago, it was wonderful to be at such a lovely tropical, picturesque place. The warm comfortable air and cool sea breeze, the ocean that felt like warm bathwater, the blue sky that turned to an orange-pink sky during sunset and the deserted beaches that made you feel like you were in a remote paradise. Everything about this place was perfect. It was until the first morning that I woke up early to beach comb only to find garbage and plastic that had washed up on the beach overnight. It was heartbreaking to see it and I probably wouldn't have if I didn't wake up early because the staff was actually picking up the garbage to clean the beach before their guests arose. It was then that reality hit me and I was no longer in this dreamy place that probably only now exists in my head.

If you don't know by now, I'm a lover of all things water, ocean and sea. There's just something about the sea that I love, I crave, and just makes me so super happy. It's definitely my happy place. It's also a place I would hate to see ruined or destroyed because of every day human existence, and sadly, it's something that I've seen first hand, and you probably have too if you've ever been to a beach. Whether it's people leaving their trash behind, or plastic that has washed up on the beach from the ocean, or even lumps of tar (yes, some of you Socal folks know what I'm talking about) it's so evident that we are polluting our world, and the thing is, most people don't think about it, or if they do they just think "Oh, this place is dirty", but don't actually realize what it does to our environment and the importance of it and how it affects us. It's not just about enjoyment of nature, it's also about your personal health and well-being. It's not about if you care about the ocean or not, it's about how these things will affect you. I'm not going to go into too much detail, but if my story wasn't enough or you're interested in learning more, I recommend starting off with watching the documentary Plastic Paradise.

Call it my hippie nature coming out, but we've got to start thinking of these things and about the things we can do to help preserve everything we've been blessed with on Earth. Now, I'm not the picture perfect example by any means when it comes to saving the environment. I'm also not so radical that I think everyone should resort to going back to living like cavemen, but I do think there are some simple things we can start with to make a difference, and if we all did them, that difference would be huge. Here are a few simple, easy things you can start (or keep) doing to help:

  • Use reusable cloth bags when grocery shopping
  • Buy a reusable water bottle or two and use these instead of plastic water bottles (insulated ones are great for hot and cold drinks, especially helpful when getting coffee at your local coffee shop too)
  • Try to use less one-time use plastic as much as you can (utensils, straws, cups, etc)
  • Take shorter showers

If you're up for a bigger challenge try some of these:
  • Going trash free for a whole day (you can do it!)
  • Go even one step further when grocery shopping and put your produce in a reusable produce bag or just skip a bag entirely-- it's gonna go into a bag (hopefully your reusable one) when you take it home anyway
  • Buy reusable utensils and keep them with you or in your car so you have them on hand if the only option is one-time use plastic
  • When possible, always choose glass or aluminum over plastic beverage bottles

April 19, 2014

happy easter weekend!

A beautiful day at Hermosa Beach

This week was a bit spontaneous because I headed down to LA to visit my best friend for her 30th birthday (so I'm doing a short post today instead of a curated Friday post). I had an awesome time since I hadn't seen her in a while and it was really lovely to catch up. Anyway, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I don't know if you do, but I'll be celebrating Easter tomorrow and remembering all that He's done for me.

Happy weekend!

April 17, 2014

wild hawaiian opah with capers

I've only ever seen Opah, aka Moonfish, when I've been in Hawaii. I'm not sure if it's only native to the Hawaiian waters, but I do know that it does live there and is a fish Hawaiians will often eat. When I saw wild Hawaiian Opah being sold at my local grocery I freaked out and absolutely had to get it. I actually had no idea how I was going to prepare it, but in the end I threw together a few things in the kitchen and resulted in a really delicious dinner for two. The fish has a meaty texture while still being a little on the flaky side (like seabass or cod) and when cooked just right, like any kind of fish, is moist and delicious. I enjoyed it and would definitely get it on the (rare) occasion it's at my grocery store again. I'll provide a rough idea of what ingredients I used, and if you're really interested in a detailed recipe I can scrape my memory and put one together for you, just let me know in the comments section!

Wild Hawaiian Opah with capers

The Sauce, sauteed
Handful of capers
Vegetable broth
Grape tomatoes
One large clove of garlic
Juice of half a lemon
Chopped cilantro
Pat of butter
A little honey
Salt and Pepper to taste

The Fish
Opah (seasoned with salt and pepper). Pan seared then finished off in the oven.

The Vegetables

Two large handfuls of haricot vert, boiled long enough to take off the rawness but still maintain it's crisp. Place on plate and the sauce from the fish will be enough to flavor it.

April 14, 2014

music mondays

The only real song I've ever liked from JT. Seriously. I will play this one on my own, and when it comes on the radio, I'll turn the volume up. Happy Monday!

April 11, 2014

finally, friday

Apologies for the poor lighting!

I tend to eat salad pretty regularly throughout the year, but once the warmer weather sets in and summer produce begins to bounty I really love me a good, hearty salad. My favorite thing about salad other than for it's obvious health benefits, is that they are easy to throw together, and there are endless combinations. This past week was my first time using baby kale as the main leafy green and I loved it. I added a tomato varietal, some hearts of palm, avocado, seared ahi, a sprinkling of shaved romano, and dressed it in a light caesar vinaigrette dressing. Here's to the warmer weather!

Crazy video taken of an unusual, rarely seen, but really cool sea creature.

After recently coming back from Korea, this article is all too familiar.

Found an awesome company that sells laid back, casual, quirky clothes for the ocean lover.

I was never the type of person who liked going to crowded music festivals, but for those of you who love them, but aren't going to be at Coachella this year, maybe this will soften the blow?

What does your coffee style say about you?

April 07, 2014

music mondays

Some fun tunes for the warm, beautiful weather!

April 03, 2014

february and march favorites

I decided since I didn't get to do a February favorites before I left for Asia, that I would combine both February and March together. That, and I didn't feel like I had enough favorites to share an actual post with you all. So alas, here are my February and March favorites.

Skin Foundation Stick - great for traveling and gives nice build able coverage, and Extra Repair Foundation SPF 25 - a little goes a very long way and it's been so good for my extra dry skin lately
I got this lipstick in Korea and I'm in love. It's the perfect natural pink on your lips you'd think I was born with it! ;)
Been loving the soft, subtle lashes lately and this Megaplush volume express waterproof mascara does the job
Wearing all this waterproof mascara lately calls for a good eye makeup remover. Neutrogena oil-free eye makeup remover is da bomb
Lived in these 'kinis for a few days when I was in Thailand. Perfect for minimal tan lines.
The perfect black strappy tank from Zara. With it's double layer silk-like material it's got enough oomph so you don't just feel like you're wearing any old cami

April 01, 2014

running all over thailand

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go to Thailand especially since it's been a destination on my list of places to visit for a while now. On our trip we went to Chiang Mai, Koh Mak, and Bangkok. Overall, I had a good time, and have many awesome moments and memories from the trip, but I have to be honest that I left feeling a little disappointed. I struggled a lot with Thailand mainly for one reason, and that being I didn't feel like, as a visitor, I was able to quite grasp the real culture of Thailand very easily. And I know you're going to think I'm crazy for saying that from all the wonderful photos I got, but let me explain further.

I think there are two types of travelers. Those that go to a place and want to experience it's culture in probably the truest way you can. Doing the things locals would do. Whether it's eating like a local, visiting more low-key destinations, taking their local transport, etc. Then, there are those that just visit the popular tourist attractions and don't necessarily get the chance to see deeper into the every day lives of the people living there (maybe due to time restraint, preference, or just not knowing). I'm not saying one is better than the other, but for me, I prefer to really try and experience what it would be like living in that place, having experiences that the locals would (of course I still do some of the touristy things, c'mon you can't come to SF and not see the Golden Gate Bridge or visit Alcatraz!). I know I might not be making sense to some of you, so here is a post that I coincidentally recently read on the same subject that might explain it a bit better.

I'm not exactly sure why I left feeling like I couldn't dig deeper than the surface level when I was in Thailand. It could have been that I needed to spend more time there (we were there eight days), my expectations could have been set really high to begin with, the scammers were everywhere which could have been distracting, or maybe it was the language barrier (although I've been to other non-english speaking countries before and I didn't have this experience), I'm not really sure. It felt as if a lot of things that were culturally significant to the Thai people were now exploited and used to make money off of tourists. Maybe it's me just being naive to the fact that every country in the world does this, but to this extent? Traveling to Japan and Korea more recently, I didn't feel this at all. I felt the culture everywhere and really felt I could be a part of it and not feel like I was being shown things just for the sake of making money. Don't get me wrong either, I know it's a developing country and people will do what they can to make money and live, but I also think there's a way to go about doing that and at the same time preserving and sharing your culture for others to enjoy.

I would still recommend visiting Thailand if you haven't before, but if your travel style is like mine, do more research and try to venture out into some areas that are on the outskirts or areas with few tourists-- even if it will take you more time to do so, it will likely be worth it. We had the wonderful opportunity to go about 30 minutes outside of Bangkok for a day and a half with some local folks we knew (where there were no tourists) and had an awesome time!

Has anyone had a similar experience in Thailand or another country? Or maybe you've had the total opposite experience? I'd love to hear other thoughts on this so please share!

Dried fish on the street in Bangkok's Chinatown
Raw marinated shrimp... anyone know if you eat this raw?
Curries at a night market in Rangsit (30 minutes outside bkk)
Hand-carved soap flowers in Chiang Mai
Banana rotee with nutella
Making umbrellas
Hand-painting umbrellas and fans - so talented!
I'm now including sticky rice on top of all my homemade sundaes. This one is mango ice cream with pandan sticky rice. YUM
Crab that's been fermenting for over a month. Usually eaten in Som Tam (papaya salad)
Market in Chiang Mai
Miang kham - a serious flavor explosion in your mouth. SO good.
Best, cheapest meal we had in Chiang Mai. #1 for their khao soi
A street vendor that pulled up while we waited for the Ferry to Koh Mak. Serving up freshly made papaya salad.
Uncrowded beaches on Koh Mak, supposedly one of the last "untouched" islands
A bar at the end of the pier on Koh Mak
Exploring the little island via scooter
More exploring
Filling up on gas
The best view on the whole island
Sunset on Koh Mak