January 26, 2014

Girls Weekend in Portland, Oregon

Portland has been on my wanderlust bucket list for quite some time,
climbing up the ranks not only for the stunning views, but also for its highly attractive foodie scene. 
A few months ago one of my best friends called to tell me that she'll be in Oregon for a work conference,
and that I should fly out and join her that weekend for a quick girls getaway. 

It turned out to be such an amazing weekend, full of good ol' bonding time over sight seeing, hiking, and of course, eating!
Below is a little photo diary from our time there, 
along with a few suggestions for your next visit to Portland. 
The food truck scene in Portland is seriously on point!!
You can practically find one on every corner. 
Such a great way to try out different cuisines on a budget!
The street style in Portlandia was pretty amazing. 
Some people definitely live up to the "grunge" description.
If I had a nickel for each time my friends and I were told 
"you're not from around here, are you?", 
I'd be able to buy myself a whole outfit just like the one above. 
From what I hear, the line at Voodoo Doughnuts is always long, 
but it's SO worth it. 
The magic is in the hole!!
Check out my next post for a full rundown.  
If you're planning to stay in downtown Portland,
you really don't need to rent a car. 
We were able to explore everywhere by foot. 
It's really the best way to check out the city.
The Ace Hotel always has a cool vibe,
and the one in Portland certainly didn't disappoint. 
We stopped by there to have some late night drinks right after getting into town. 
Powell's Books is heaven on earth for undercover nerds like us. 
We spent several hours wandering around the countless aisles,
trying to figure out how many books we can fit into our carry on luggage to bring back to San Diego.
The Portland Japanese Garden is a perfect place to take a nap on a hot summer day. 
So peaceful!
The International Rose Test Garden is pretty much AMAZING. 
Thousands of gorgeous flowers everywhere you look... 
And the scent!
I wanted to just bottle it up and take it home with me.
Girls trips are SO necessary every once in a while.
Stay tuned for my Portland foodie recommendations. 
You're not going to want to miss it!


January 20, 2014


I have a funny little story about my best friends and I, 
or "FTC", as we like to refer to ourselves. 
It's a silly little nickname really, 
something we came up with several years ago while road-tripping back from a wild weekend in Vegas. 
We got to talking about how nice it is to share an affinity for the luxuries in life - 
food, travel, fashion,
why don't we just call ourselves the Finer Things Club? 
We had a good laugh about it, 
but the term kind of stuck. 
We try to live up to the name as much as possible, 
considering that we're all in different stages of our lives and don't even live in the same state. 

To us, the term luxury doesn't always have to be synonymous with spending a fortune.
Sure, we can all appreciate a ten-course meal at a Michelin star restaurant,
but we can be equally as pleased to spend hours in the kitchen, 
mocking up a tasting menu of our own as long as our friends are by our side.
In fact, that's how we decided to spend the holidays several weeks ago,
taking advantage of the short time we had together.
We researched hundreds of recipes, matched up some wine pairings to each course, and even crafted up an official menu. 
We were delighted to see how well everything turned out! 
It was a beautiful night that I'm hoping to recreate in the very near future.
Because in the end, laughter is all that matters. 
That is the true luxury of life. 
Love these girls so much!


January 9, 2014

Singapore Photo Diary

For the last leg of our Southeast Asia tour,
we decided to visit Singapore, 
an affluent modern city that is full of Chinese, Malay and Indian influences and a tropical climate.
There are many reasons why I wanted to check this place out - 
tasty food, good shopping and a vibrant night-life scene being just a few. 
I'm happy to report that Singapore did not disappoint us on any of those fronts. 
The only bummer was that when we were there, 
the city was shrouded in haze as smoke from forest fires in nearby Sumatra drifted across the Malacca Strait in the city's worst pollution crisis in more than a decade.
It didn't actually stop us from going out and exploring, but unfortunately we missed out on some of the views.

Below is a small photo diary from our time there, with a few recommendations.
Schedule some shopping time! It felt like there was a mall on every corner.
Bugis Junction was right by our hotel, so we were popping in and out on a constant basis. 
Devour some Chili Crab! One of the most popular Singapore dishes.
Despite the name, it's not very spicy at all, but is absolutely drool worthy!
We tried the one above at Jumbo Seafood. Sooo yummy!
Our "Fade to Black - Metallica" room at the Wanderlust Hotel.
This place was AWESOME!
Situated in Little Italy, this hotel was created with adventurous travelers in mind.
Each of the 29 rooms has a different theme. Ours happened to be rockstar worthy.
(Can you tell I was feeling inspired?)
I highly, highly recommend this place for your next trip to Singapore.
Be sure to check out Cocotte, a lovely French bistro on the ground level of the hotel. 
Anyone willing to guess what this dish was?
It may look like noodles, but it was actually jelly fish!
We saw it on the menu at Jumbo Seafood and just had to give it a try.
Very different! 
The Singapore Flyer taken over by the haze.
It's the world's tallest Ferris wheel, and if the conditions permitted, we would have definitely gone for a spin.
You have to check out Merlion Park and have your photo taken with Singapore's mascot!
Stop by Chinatown to indulge in some dim sum and pick up a few souvenirs!
Window shopping on Orchard Road! So many beautiful things to fantasize about. 
Yum! Dim Sum!