Friendship: How to make time for each other when life gets busy.

img_2092Ask anyone nowadays how they’ve been and it seems the answer is always “busy.”  There are so many events, work, kids, family, the list goes on and on.  Hopefully you are filling your time with things you enjoy doing but it doesn’t make you any less busy!  Chelsea, Lindsay, and I have by no means perfected the art of preserving a staple friend date but we’ve been doing pretty good lately with a few simple hacks so we thought we’d share.  We all live in different parts of the bay area now, separated by trains, buses, and boats.  Literally.  This past week, we had a standing dinner date and were talking about how consistent we’ve been lately and how a few things have helped us preserve our cherished time together.  In case you need some ideas to get your gal gang back together for some face time, here are some things that have helped us.

  • Get it on the calendar.  As soon as everyone can agree on a date, we add it to our calendars so we don’t accidentally double book and have to cancel.  Give it some space, too.  Every week might be too much of a commitment for everyone and being so frequent, might give people a way out since they can just join next week.  Not that we are suggesting tricking friends into hanging out :).
  • Make it convenient.  We’ve been meeting for coffee or dinner at the hub of transportation so before or after our meet ups, each of us can get on or off that train, bus, or boat.  Adjust for the groups needs, for example if someone is trying to stick to a diet, go for a walk.
  • Make it quality time.  If everyone only has an hour to give, make sure everyone has a chance to talk about what’s going on in their lives good or bad.
  • Try new places or specials on the menu!  We’ve been going to the same place for a few meet ups lately and have tried a few different menu items each time which has been really fun.  This brings an added touch of excitement to an already fun meet up.

img_2037Here we are trying the lemon shake and an assortment of fries.  What can I say, they were delicious!

I also have frequent FaceTime/phone dates with one of my gal gang who has moved out of state.  We have a standing calendar save for a phone date but even if we can’t connect that week, we still text and communicate so at least we aren’t letting too much time go by before checking in with each other.

What are some of the ways you’ve been able to make time for friend dates?

Bodysuit Hack – Turn it around!

img_2069(Bodysuit – Madewell they no longer carry this one but here are some others, Jeans – American Eagle, Bag – gift from my mom that she got in Italy at a market, Necklace – gift from my brother/sister in law from a fair trade market in Sonoma, Sunglasses – Forever21)

When bodysuits started to become a trend, I loved how flattering they were on people and I really wanted to try them out.  However, I could never find one that looked like it would fit well or wasn’t too skimpy for my body type.  I ended up buying this one here in this post from Madewell one day without trying it on with the thought process that since it was long sleeved, how could it go wrong?  Well the V-Neck cut of it was just too deep for my chest and it’s been sitting in my closet for months.  One day my friend and co-worker, Mallory, walked into the office with this adorable back swooped body suit that I had to ask about.  Turns out, she had a similar problem as myself and was crafty enough to figure out that a good way to still wear the bodysuit was simply to turn it around.  I went from never wearing my body suit to it being one of my favorite tops thanks to this hack!

img_2076I love how classy the high neck looks on the body suit now.  Someone even complimented it the other day and said it looked like an Audrey Hepburn look the other day.  I was so flattered!

img_2091A friend passed down these Madewell booties to me and they are so comfortable, I wear them all the time.  Also, props for all the clothing swaps I’ve had with my friends and family.  I truly get such great use out of hand me downs.

img_2072When in doubt, flip it around!  Thanks Mallory for your creativity and outfit hacking!

Happy 4th of July everyone – enjoy the holiday week.

 

4 Days in Death Valley – What to see.

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Dan and I journeyed to Death Valley this past February and it was completely stunning.  Shame on me for not knowing this but when I thought of Death Valley, I had always imagined it to be just a vast desert with tumbleweeds blowing by every hour.  I could not have been more wrong!  We saw so many different colors, landscapes, and interesting places.  We went in February which is during peak season and it was sunny but quite cold.  The average annual rainfall is 2.36 inches…  Therefore, it’s not likely you will get rained out of any outdoor activities :).  You do need to bring lots of water though since there aren’t many places to fill up your water bottles.

We had a goal in mind of going for walks and exploring photography so if those are of interest to you, here is what our itinerary looked like and is absolutely possible in 4 days:

  • Day 1 
    • Rented a car in Vegas and drove to Death Valley.  The drive is beautiful!  It took us about 2.5 hrs.  Pro-tip: make sure to check what time the rental car company opens if you go this route, we flew in early in the morning and had to wait (not long) for the company to open up to get the car.
    • Stopped at Zabriskie Point on the way in as well as a few other unmarked spots for photos.
    • Checked into The Ranch at Death Valley.  This hotel is OK.  It’s in a great location but for how expensive it is, not worth it.  Hopefully some of the money goes back to the park.  The Oasis is a really upscale hotel in the park which looks really fancy and then there are campgrounds so there are three spectrums of choices to choose from.  Camping would be really fun but the temperatures are sort of extreme in both directions so I was glad we ended up in hotel after we saw the campgrounds were sold out.
    • Went for sunset at Badwater Basin which was awesome!!  You can walk for miles and miles around the lowest point in North America.
  • Day 2
    • Sunrise at Zabriskie Point.  This spot is great.  Easy to access by car with a parking lot and you can walk up a short path to enjoy the view or hike around.
    • Second stop was the Mesquite Sand Dunes.  Quite a bit of walking and trying to walk uphill in sand but very beautiful.  We enjoy hiking so it was fun to get out in the dunes and see a sea of the beautifully soft rolling hills.  We also saw a big group of kids who brought sleds and they were having a blast.  That was really fun to see.
    • We ended with a sunset at the Ubehebe Crater.  Very unique and beautiful spot to see and hike around!   I should mention this full day entailed a lot of driving to each point of interest so just FYI in case you suffer from car sickness.
  • Day 3
    • We rented a jeep from Farabee’s Jeep Rentals.  Very friendly staff, extremely easy to rent, and very close to the campgrounds and the Ranch where we were staying.  They gave us maps and explained all of the places we could potentially take the jeep.  That helped us decide to go on an adventure through a long, 4WD drive through Titus Canyon which was amazing.  Beautiful vistas and it’s a one way drive so you don’t have to worry about any other vehicles coming around blind turns towards you.
    • Sunset at The Artist’s Palette.  The mineral colors here aren’t as stark as some of the photos you will find online but as soon as the sun dropped and there was a shadow cast on the mounds, the colors really started to pop.  It is suggested to come here at sunset and I’d agree with that.  You will find many other people here at this time.
  • Day 4
    • Breakfast and then hike through Golden Canyon Trailhead.  Nice and easy with great views of these red cathedrals.  So interesting how big some of these features are but fragile.  They are all made of minerals and light, sand type materials.
    • After the nice morning hike, we packed up and headed on our road trip back to Vegas.

Important things to consider when visiting Death Valley:

  • Time of year for temperature purposes.
  • Having a car is crucial.  Everything is really far apart.  On the plus side, there’s a gas station conveniently located near the campgrounds.
  • Bring your own food and water.  This isn’t a necessity but I wish we would have.  There are stores and a few restaurants in the park but they cost a bit more and the quality isn’t great.  In fact, I got a stomach bug from one of the restaurants so I wish we would have brought a lot more snacks to make on our own.  Also, when we’d drive to each different location, we hardly ever encountered water fill stations.  That’s not common in a desert type of environment like it is in mountain settings.
  • What you want to see in what time frame.  The park is massive so figure out what are the top sights you want to see and try to map it out by location.
  • Logistics are key.  There are very few places to stay actually inside the park so you will need to book in advance especially if you are going during peak time (mid-Oct to mid-May).  This also goes for activities like renting a jeep or booking a tour.  I would say this park was not as busy as Yosemite is in the Summer but I think that’s just the nature of how spread out Death Valley is.

OK if you made it through all of that, now you will see some of these amazing places through a few photos I snapped.

img_0274Badwater Basin

img_0301Zabriskie Point at sunrise

img_0308Ubehebe Crater

 

Jeep adventure through Titus Canyon.

img_0400Hike through the canyons that lay below Zabriskie Point called Golden Canyon Trailhead.

img_0163The drive in as we started to see interesting features pop up, we’d pull over to explore and take photos.

img_5338The Artist’s Palette was easy to access and the colors were stunning!IMG_0436You can hike around in The Artist’s Palette which is so fun to get up close to the beautiful pastel colors.

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Here’s Dan hiking another mound near the Artist’s Palette to get an elevated photo.

IMG_5155The Mesquite Sand Dunes.

IMG_5178The texture of the Ubehebe Crater was so unique.

IMG_0200More views driving out of Death Valley.

There were of course a few more things we could have seen in the park but I was happy with the amount of time we spent there and all of the locations we went to.  It was a trip well worth it!

 

Campfire Attire.

IMG_5472_2Summer nights in the Bay Area (San Francisco specifically) aren’t particularly warm, so it’s a great opportunity to have a bonfire or a small wood fire in your backyard. It’s a little hard to shoot pictures at night so you’ll have to pretend that I am around a fire here!

IMG_5471(I love Moscow Mules and we have a few of these copper cups that we use to keep our drinks super cold. Mules are my go-to cocktail (and shoe), even around a bonfire.)

IMG_5469_2(This chair is super easy to put together and is also a rocking chair- Pendleton)

IMG_5466_2(Beanie- Forever 21, Blanket- Brittany’s personal throw)

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I’m ready for Summer to officially start! Aren’t you?

Rocker Glam featuring Lindsay.

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Let me tell you a thing about our gorgeous gal, Lindsay, here.  This girl has been our fashionista sista for many years and she continues to slay the fashion game.  We had a girls dinner a few weeks ago and Linds walked in stunning as ever.  She always has that classy but rocker look going on and we needed to post this outfit of hers on our blog!

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Blazer: Hinge, Nordstrom TBD department (also on Poshmark here)
T-shirt: Style Stalker Lagerfeld – terminator tee (nastygal.com)
Pants: Paige leather pants (Nordstrom Rack)
Shoes: Pour La Victroire, criss cross peep toe platforms (crossroads, new)
Bag: Obey – oversized canvas bag (crossroads find, new)
Ring: Vitality ring purchased in the Mission
Earrings: Vince Camuto, French clip, gold geometric earrings
Sunnies: C&C California Matte sunnies (Marshall’s)

img_1609If there’s one thing we also know and love about our Linds is she knows where to find some of the best fashion for a great price.  Her outfits are always perfectly put together while also allowing to show her fun and edgy side.

img_1620We were loving this oversized bag as well!  If you commute, you know sometimes it feels like you need to pack your house in order to accommodate your day.

img_1621Every detail was perfect with this outfit.  We loved the t shirt with the blazer and all the gold accessories.  It was perfection!

img_1600When we need glam advice, we go to Linds because she is the definition of glam!

Otavalo Market, Ecuador

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(All photos by Daniel Nevares – @danieljtravels)

I’m not a huge shopper but I was in shopping heaven when we strolled into the Otavalo Market in Ecuador.  It’s about an hour and a half drive from Quito and it is well worth it.  Apparently, they have been promoting this market a ton so there were a bit of tourist in the area but that didn’t matter.  There was so much culture and so many beautiful things, it didn’t disappoint.  I had been brushing up on my Spanish before this trip so it was also a great opportunity to practice the language.  I ended up with many, many things from this market and I would go back in a heartbeat.

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The colors were stunning.  I love bright colors so I was drawn to all the fabrics.

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I had to stop at every vendor.

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My first purchase was the hat you’ve seen in many posts now.  I love it so much and got it from this stand.

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I had to try on a lot to find “the one” and this woman was great with my broken Spanish and indecisive nature.

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There were so many options!  Honestly, if they were easier to transport I probably would have bought so many.

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And then I found the one I loved the most that has now graced many of our blog posts :).  I was so pleased I looked to Dan in excitement only to see he had been taking photos of us the whole time.  His Spanish is great so whenever I would get stuck on what to say, I would look to him with this exact expression like “come help me with a word!”

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With my new hat, we carried on.  There were many other things I was interested in like the food and some colorful ponchos.

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It seemed I needed one to match my hat and this is where we found this adorable woman who insisted on helping me try them all on.  Of course hoping I would buy them but I’m a sucker for cute locals with beautiful merchandise :).

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After settling on this poncho and a blue one (oh and multiple others for family members), we felt pretty good about supporting the locals.  Things were not expensive and the quality is great.

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Here I am with a backpack full and multiple other bags but don’t worry, you will see how much I wear all the things in previous and future posts.  I hate to be wasteful or own things I don’t wear and sometimes I struggle with buying things wondering when I will ever wear them.  My Ecuador finds though have become my staples and I just love them!

Pocket Dress.

IMG_5534_2When you find a dress with pockets, you wear it. This is such a great dress that Brittany got from a friend as a gift. The black side panelling is slimming and the length is perfect for Spring. It’s finally getting to the temperature where we can wear some skirts and dresses without our tights. We just need to start working on our tans…

IMG_5536_2(Dress- Nordstrom)

IMG_5538(Shoes- Free People)

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Stars and Sparkles.

IMG_5520_2(Shoes – Sorel’s similar here, Skirt – Nordstrom similar here, Denim jacket – Madewell, Hat – locally made at the Otovalo Market in Ecuador)
When I saw this amazing skirt of Chelsea’s, I knew I had to try it on immediately.  I’ve always wanted to figure out how to wear an amazingly fun, Carrie Bradshaw type skirt and this was the perfect skirt.  I basically raided her closet because the Sorel platforms are also hers and probably the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.  Paired with a simple top, denim jacket, and my favorite hat, what more could you want in a fun outfit?

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Rock It Wear.

IMG_5553_2Last October Nick and I went to Spain for a wedding and had a great time. We ate, we saw, and we (I) shopped. One of my favorite things that I picked up was this t-shirt from Mango. We’ve got a Mango in San Francisco but I hadn’t actually gone into a store until I was in Barcelona. It was full of great things but this beaded top was where it was at.

IMG_5557_2(Jacket- Forever 21, Purse- Zara, Jeggings- Paige Denim, and Booties- L.A.M.B.)

IMG_5560(Aside from the top I am crazy about my booties by L.A.M.B.)

Brittany and I are going to the Smashing Pumpkins reunion tour in August and I think I’ve got my outfit picked out. I’m just counting down the days!

Comfy Casual.

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{Dress – Athleta on sale now!, necklace – Anthro find your style here, shoes – French Blu from Nordstrom cute similar style here, purse – Marc Jacob from Nordstrom love this similar one}
One of my favorite purchases ever was this Athleta dress.  It’s so comfy and can be worn so many different ways.  I wear it around the house or dress it up with some strappy sandals and a good necklace.  Maybe it’s a west coast thing but anytime I can make casual work, it’s safe to say I will take that chance.

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Best parts of this dress are the soft material and the thumb holes!

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This paired perfectly with a big chunky solid colored soft necklace.

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So simple and comfortable, this is definitely one of my favorite closet finds of the moment.