A Whirlwind 72 Hours in Finland

Norway, Denmark, and Sweden were all incredible countries with a lot to offer.  We decided to add one more country to top our Scandinavia trip off, and we were glad we did.  Finland was pretty amazing, and as draining as our whirlwind trip was, we felt we topped it all of on a high note.  With a limited amount of time there; we tried to cram as much as we could in a short time, but ended it on an amazing experience at one of the greatest Finnish traditions, the sauna. We were lucky enough to find a night cruise from Stockholm to Helsinki through Viking Line Cruises.  We set sail on the Gabriella Cruise ship, and got a private room (with private bathroom) for $104 total!  Our private room had 4 beds, so if you travel there with multiple people it is a steal.  Even with the 3 of […]

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24 Hours in Oslo with Parents and a Little One

My retired parents spend about half the year in my childhood neighborhood in Illinois, and the other half of the year all the way out in the Philippines.  Neither place is anywhere by my daughter in Oakland.  My husband and I both had grandparents raising us in our childhood, and we sometimes worry that my daughter doesn’t have enough of that same quality time. We recently took a trip with them to Norway, and spent some time in Oslo together.  The idea of trying to experience a new city is a little daunting because we would be in a larger group, and at different stages of life’s interests and general fitness.  I can see the benefit and prefer to travel in small groups when necessary, but I knew some adjustments would need to be made to enjoy our time together and see all that we wanted to see. As we […]

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Vacation Planning 101

If you haven’t guessed already from my Instagram account, I am in taking a little fall trip out to Scandinavia.  We will be in 4 different countries: Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland.  The trip is mostly for my family (my husband, daughter, and I), but my parents will be joining us to Norway as they had never been before.  We are traveling by plane, car, train, and cruise boat to 6 different cities, so planning took some time and coordination. I have been talking to some friends about it recently who have been pretty shocked to hear the deals that we’ve found and the tips to travel when organizing for this vacation.  We’ve tried to do the bulk of the prep work early on, so I don’t remember all of details, but I can share with you what I thought were key things to my planning. FINDING A LOCATION So we knew […]

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5 of my Favorite Stops En Route to Yosemite

Last weekend, we were fortunate enough to get another yearly tradition squeezed into our busy month, a trip to Yosemite.  I know I’ve been spending so much time camping in October, but this trip was different.  After two weekends of backpacking, and as the park was going to have the first winter storm of the season, I was happy to glamp it up with a yurt.  Yurts are canvas structures; imagine a round cabin but instead of walls like we would normally see on cabins, its wrapped in canvas. Not only are we generally excited to spend a weekend in a yurt, but we are able to spend it at one of my favorite National Parks.  It still seems a little unreal that I am so close to it now, about 3-4 hours away.  A short drive from the hustle and bustle of the city is the amazing views and fresh air of […]

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My Struggle with Interior Design Sustainability

There’s something bothering me about my profession, and I don’t think I was able to really put it into words until I started considering what made some projects more difficult for me and what I would be looking for in my own space.  As an interior designer, my job is to outfit your home with a new look and an overall aesthetic.  I promote purchasing goods, making shopping lists for clients to create that look.  At this point in my own life, I struggle with purchasing things for my own home, however pretty it may be.  I actually purge regularly, removing things from my space and identify more with creating spacial efficiency.  This idea is almost the opposite of what is provided by some interior designers and how people identify what interior designers do. Photo of that one time I came dressed to match LA’s Pacific Design Center. I started considering […]

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My First Timers Guide to San Francisco

Ever since moving to the Bay Area 8 years ago, I’ve had my share of visitors who have come in for a day to a couple weeks.  Every now and then, I meet someone who’s never been to San Francisco and just want a quick day or weekend to see the tourist-typical spots here.  I’ve passed along this information so many times, I thought I should share it on the blog. QUICK TIPS FOR DOING THE TOURIST THING AROUND SF   The Golden Gate Bridge can be covered in fog at certain times of the day, I think it’s mostly mornings and later at night, so check the forecast if you wanted to go out and see it. Seeing it from the Welcome Center is nice, but if you want to avoid weekend tourists, you can also get a good view from Chrissy Field too.   Alcatraz books up fast and […]

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Can a Curious 4-Year Old Understand Space and Science?

4-Year olds are curious creatures.  They can go on for days with the question, “why”.  Evie is no different, and it has really been interesting to see what her little head can come up with sometimes.  We had never been to Oakland’s beloved Chabot Space & Science Center, but have heard nothing but great things about it.  I wasn’t sure if Evie was ready for the concepts, but now I know she has been ready and it was up to me to really give her ways to explore it. The museum came highly recommended by friends and we decided to take some time to explore it.  Of course, right off the bat, Evie was a ball of energy.  She saw all sorts of things that she wanted to touch but didn’t want to hear what it was all about.  I assume this is a common thing with her age group. […]

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When Traveling and Fashion Collide: An Interview With Zane of Bay Area Headwraps

The stars were rightly aligned when I was lucky enough to meet the local artisan Zane from Bay Area Headwraps.  I was on a walk with my daughter in our Oakland neighborhood and on the way to the post office across from the local Saturday Farmer’s Market.  I constantly saw her table set up but had never ventured to that side of the street.  I had admired the bright colors and fun fabrics from afar and was so excited that the person behind the brand was the sweet and personable, Zane.  I absolutely love supporting artists and artisans that I know and love, so when Evie and I were lucky to attend one of her private events I got to dive into more details about her background and her work.  She had some interesting travel and culture experiences, and you can see her passions of fashion and life permeating in […]

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The Realities of Working From Home with a Child

Summer is upon me once again and I have been both looking forward and dreading this time with my four year old, Evie.  When I decided to take on freelance work and work-from-home options, it was when she was an infant, so juggling the two jobs made sense to me.  I would feed the baby, then work on something as she slept.  When things got really busy, I would switch off with my husband when he got home from work and have him watch her as I get more done after regular work hours.  Now that she’s a little older, I may have gotten spoiled by having her in school. School keeps her busy, they are always engaging her in new activities and different types of play, that she is never really bored.  I am not about to layout multiple activities for her.  Last summer, I put her in a […]

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Inspired by Lanna Culture and Design in Thailand

In the my last post of Chiang Mai, I briefly mentioned how I was loving the style of our hotel, the Shewe Wana.  I started noticing more examples of this colonial Chinese design all over the city and was completely captured by the details and history of it all.  To understand it, I needed to understand the history and the location. Chiang Mai is one of the oldest cities of Thailand, and was actually part of the Lanna Kingdom back in the late 1200s.  The Lanna Kingdom had influences from all over because of the historic Silk Road trade route.  A blend of Indian and Chinese cultures really infused the Kingdom that was already rich in its own natural wealth.  Northern Thailand has an abundance of nature to enjoy with a picturesque atmosphere of rivers, forests, mountains, animals, and more. I started noticing all the use of old and reclaimed woods, […]

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