TRAVEL | San Francisco

One new international, one new domestic. My travel for 2015 is done.

Every year from now, I will be going to a new city/place within the states and then one internationally by myself. As for 2016, haven't even thought about where to go yet since I always travel at the end of the year at the weirdest times. So far it's worked in my favor since it's always off season travel. 

Anyways, solo travel is the best. What I mean is that there's nothing holding you back from doing what you want to do. You can absolutely do whatever you want at your own speed and be selfish in the best way possible because there's there's no one else with you holding you back. Every trip I got lost, I spent too much money, ate more food than usual, met random strangers who are now my friends, and then coming back home with memories of the good and bad times of it all.

San Francisco was my new domestic and for the days I was there, I had such a good time. Even though I didn't get to do my major culinary experience, I ran around with my good friend Alyse who I met many years ago back at school. The funny thing is that when we met up again, we connected so seamlessly. It felt really good to be around her in a city I had  minimal knowledge about. I basically ran around with her every night getting lost and enjoying ourselves at bars, dinners with friends. This honestly explains why I didn't take so many photos. Simply just enjoying the time out with her and everyone else. Thank you Alyse (+ James).

Here are some thoughts and highlights of the trip:

  1. San Fran is one hell of a pretty city. It's filled with beautiful people and they're all SO NICE, almost too nice. It's just stupid expensive on all areas from food, drink, and LIVING.
  2. My list was filled with trendy bars and restaurants. They all didn't open till 4:30/5/or 6PM! Alyse told me everyone likes to be outside on the west coast (which makes sense) and that's why things don't open earlier. 
  3. Zeitgeist was the best beer garden in the city. The guys looked like they were from 'Sons of Anarchy' but they were so nice to me giving me free beer and talking about whatever life story they wanted with the other bar people.
  4. Hot Toddy's were abundant when I was roaming my culinary list. It was kind of chilly but it was warm for me. Mmm Hot Toddy's.
  5. The most I spent on a brunch by myself was $72 including tip. Was it worth it? Yes. Does my wallet hate me? HELL YES. Thank you Foreign Cinema
  6. I swear, everyone uses Uber more than Lyft in SF. I'm a Lyft fan to be honest but everyone took those methods of transportation everywhere.
  7. Met up with my old coworker Tina and her husband at Brass Tacks - also met the bartender and a few others around me before I headed off to Oakland. This is one of those spots that is cozy enough which a cool social vibe. 
  8. SantaCon happened the same weekend I was there and it was a complete shit show. 
  9. My friend Tracy was there the same weekend I was there doing a photo shoot and it was good to meet up with her. I met her back in June when I went to Los Angeles/Malibu/Ventura/Santa Barbara.
  10. Alyse made my SF weekend perfect. From the east coast, now living in the west coast. I'm glad she hasn't changed a single bit. Thank you for everything and I'll be coming back soon. 


  1. BRUNCH: Foreign Cinema
  2. BRUNCH (runner up): Bar Tartine
  3. DINNER: The Progress
  4. DINNER (running up): Tacolicious
  5. BAR: Zeigeist 
  6. BAR (runner up): Brass Tacks
  7. CAFÉ: Ritual Coffee Roasters
  8. CAFÉ (runner up): Four Barrel Coffee


Last of the three-part series of my West Coast | California trip.

On the last full day of my trip out west coast, we all jumped on a train and took off to Santa Barbara. It's a beautiful place and it was my second favorite spot of the entire trip. We spent the entire day roaming the town and did as much as could before our last train left. Looking back on it now - we climbed trees, aimlessly wandered into random shops, played with birds, flights of beer at the public market, and walked the entire main street of Santa Barbara. Even though we left in the evening, the remaining time we had at home was spent recuperating before the last night together. I needed a vacation like this and had so much fun. I'm very thankful for Tara and all of the new friends I've made. I will come back there again soon. Here are my top 10...

  1. Tara is afraid of birds (parrots specifically?) and the photo above was the first time she broke her fear and gave him a kiss. I mean, look at him, he's so happy.
  2. Forgot my camera battery at home and we had to rush back. We thought we missed the train but we pulled some insane "Indian Jones" like last minute moves to get on!
  3. We avoided paying for our train fares on our way to Santa Barbara saying our Amtrak phone apps aren't working. Pretty solid win.
  4. Learned so much about crystals from Tracy. Didn't know there was so much behind it all and you should all check out her stuff - it's amazing. Echoz Crystals.
  5. I took a nap on Tara and Ali's porch when we got back from Santa Barbara. God that was glorious.
  6. I think I took over 2,000 photos for the entire trip - went a bit crazy but so WORTH.
  7. We failed horribly trying to avoid paying for our train fares back leaving Santa Barbara. The dude from Amtrak was on the hunt for us when we tried changing trains. 
  8. Tracy took my credit card away from me since I kept paying for their drinks, haha.
  9. I said it before but you all should buy Our Kandles made by Tara & Ali. 100% soy wax and it smells amazing.
  10. I'm very thankful for Tara & Ali for being very so accommodating my stay there. Giving me your bed and then you doubled up with Ali, ice cream, food, drinks, and everything else.


Before I type away on this post, I just wanted to make it aware that this is my first of a three-part series of my time out in the west coast. There will be a lot of similar photo's of the same individuals, people, landscapes, food, scene, etc. I want you to soak in the experience how I saw it. Hope you like it. Enjoy!

For the first time ever in my life, I traveled to the beautiful west coast of California to visit my lovely and gorgeous friend Tara. I packed my bags, my camera, got on a plane, and jet-setted myself to an area of constant sun and beaches. Really needed a change of pace from the aggressive city lifestyle and slow things down a bit. Life is precious, you know? Anyways, you're probably wondering about who is this girl I posted a bazillion photos of, "so who's Tara anyways?" Obviously she's in the photos above BUT she's also a wonderful, fantastic, light hearted, and adventurous woman that I kinda-sorta knew / randomly met at Delilah's (one of my go-to spots in Chicago) during her cross country road trip! I won't write much but will list top 10 things all in random order of Day 1...

  1. El Matador Beach is truly beautiful (look at my photos above!). We spent the entire evening walking down the beach, see couples do engagement photo's. climbing rocks, and even running under them before the wave hit the shoreline. This was on my #1 thing to do on my "to-do list."
  2. Driving down the Pacific Coast Highway to pick up Tara from work to get lunch and all while blasted song's like this and or this. Had the worst time finding her gas tank button to refill the tank!
  3. I didn't bring any shorts and thought it was a MAJOR FAIL but I saw everyone else wear jeans, so I got used to it. Sorta MAJOR WIN(?!)
  4. Sat on their porch drinking coffee watching the sun rise. This sounds odd but I miss having a porch/patio. Basically hung out there A LOT.
  5. Their house smelled AMAZING. You guys should really get a Our Kandles. I'm getting TWO.
  6. I had to get a nail clipper and hair spray at RiteAid because the nails were getting annoying and constant sun makes my hair droop like whoa. Yeah, they laughed at me for this, haha.
  7. When it was night, I was used to the "cold weather." Coming from Chicago, it was GLORIOUS.
  8. Went to get coffee downtown at Marie Shannon's and the girls behind the counter looked like post-American Apparel employee's who's happy prancing days are over hating their job now and just serving amazing delicious coffee and bacon empanadas. Oh, they were so good. 
  9. Going back home together, we blasted/sang songs like this and or this. Not ashamed, I know the lyrics to the first song.
  10. Bought the first meal/drinks at The Misfit even though I was on vacation, Tara wasn't so happy about this. Oops! Nice boy, ya know?