Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Old Fashion'd

For the most part, I grew up in New Mexico. Specifically, I grew up near the Four Corners area (where Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico come together for a quick kiss in the desert southwest). Why bring this up? Well, boys and girls, this is where I first discovered my love of fashion. Yes, FASHION.

Now, as I've said many times before, I am no fashionista. Lord, give me a pair of shorts and a comfy old t-shirt and I will be the happiest girl around. But I adore looking at fashion! I love the various textures, the colors and patterns... the seasonality of it brings me so much joy year round! Now you may be asking yourself... what does all of this have to do with growing up in New Mexico?

New Mexico is not known as the fashion mecca of the modern world. People there dress for comfort and practicality - rarely does one go out in expensive designer garb unless it's a special occasion. That being said, there is definitely a sense of style in the southwest. Turquoise, velvet, and silver are always popular, as are cowboy boots and sweeping skirts. A lot of the fashion culture is borrowed from the many Native American cultures found within the state, a culture so rich in history that it always fascinated me. And it's no wonder - the Native American fashions are beautiful!

AP Photo/Coeur D'Alene Art Auction, Michael Scott

So, you can only imagine my delight when I saw the above picture in CBS news on Monday morning! The gorgeous shirt above recently sold for an astounding $877,500. Why so special? The shirt, which dates back to 1877, was originally owned and worn by the infamous Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe. In fact, a portrait of him wearing the shirt can be found in the Smithsonian. This same portrait was also used for a US Postage Stamp once upon a time. From what I can tell from the photo, it appears to have been made from deerskin, horse hair, and possibly feathers. The beautiful, intricate beadwork still looks to be in good condition... even if it has been over 100 years since it was made. Wow! I truly wish I could have seen the work in person. It's just so fantastic!

Lately, there has been a resurgence in affection for Native American-inspired fashion. In fact, even the most recent Target ad had a whole page dedicated to Southwestern style. Very cool. Now I can tell my more fashion-forward friends that I was really ahead of the times for all those years. Ha! In the meantime, I'll continue to adore actual fashion (and fashionable people) from afar... you can find me at home, probably hanging out in my shorts. :)

Until next time...

--- Becks

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Christmas in July! (...sort of)

This is day 2 of being sick on my days off (ugh - I don't even get the benefit of sick days? SO LAME!). Anyway, because I can't really do much more than lay around and feel sorry for myself, I've spent the bulk of my last two days watching Sex and the City, blogging, and buying things I don't need online. I've also spent the last hour or so reading other people's blogs and tumblrs, which has led me to discover so many cool things (and to spend the aforementioned money online). 

Anyway, one of the coolio things I learned about today is the super fabulous upcoming collaboration between Target and Neiman Marcus. 

What a smart idea! Target has long been bringing high end fashion to the masses with partnerships with the likes of Missoni, Zac Posen, and Jason Wu. This partnership with NM, however, looks like it may just be the biggest (and, possibly, most successful) partnership to date. If the teaser above is any indication, Target shoppers are going to experience the luscious luxury of 24 fabulous designers. Marchesa! Alice and Olivia! Diane von Furstenburg! And it looks like two of my favorites, Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta, too! EEEEP!

Oh, how I can't wait for the holidays to roll around now. How very clever for these two companies to partner like this! Well, back to my SATC reruns!

Until next time...

--- Becks

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Hot Summer Days

The temperature outside today was 105. My car said it was 140, but whatever (and that's why I'm an idiot for having a black SUV, ladies and gentlemen). Regardless, it was H-O-T! And while I will sit here and complain about this heat, today's "feels like" temperature has nothing on the hell-like humid awfulness of Houston, TX last summer. Bah!

But anyway, I digress... hot days today make me a little stir crazy. After spending the bulk of the last three years of my life in airports and hotels, I am shocked (and happy) to report that I have done very little traveling since relocating to Southern California last September. My suitcase actually remains unpacked for months at a time... my dog doesn't lose weight (he fasts the first day or two anytime I travel). I haven't stepped inside an airport more than twice in the last 10 months - a new record for me!

All this being said, I kind of miss it. The traveling, that is. Gone are the days of free flights and seat upgrades - those miles are long gone or expired. I miss the adventure of travel! I miss the crappy airport food, the sometimes comfortable hotel beds, the delicious "local" cuisines... Needless to say, I'm ready for a trip that doesn't involve work or a funeral.

Which brings me to my next topic... where to go? And when? Anytime the temperatures are hot like they were today, my mind immediately turns to fall. The crisp fall air, the crunch and color of the autumn leaves, football... and my birthday. I haven't had many good birthdays. I'm not blaming it on anyone or anything - bad luck just seems to linger around on my birthday. I really wish I could just punch Bad Luck in the face sometimes.

Without putting too much expectation on it, I'd really like to enjoy my birthday this year. Last year, I treated myself to a couple of days in Hollywood. I stayed at the W Hotel at Hollywood & Vine, attended a Dia de los Muertos celebration at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, got a pedicure at Bliss Spa, and went on the Warner Bros Studio Tour! All of this was very fun... and lonely. Oh, and did I mention I got food poisoning? Blech!

This year I want to try again, but maybe something a little less busy? I had originally envisioned a repeat trip to NYC for my birthday as I had in 2008:

Standing on the top of the Empire State Building, the day before my 28th birthday

Alas, a trip to NYC would be one I would have to make alone. While I'm comfortable traveling solo, I don't really want to do NYC alone - NYC is a city you want to enjoy with friends or a loved one.

So, after further consideration, I've narrowed my ideas to a few... Although I love the adventure that comes with traveling, this birthday I just want to go to places I know (or where I know people). Here are my ideas so far:

I know I left it in my rearview last fall, but I still have several close and dear friends there. 
Maybe I need to do a return visit?

New Mexico? Aka home! 
I am going there in a month for the birth of my nephew...  
Would October wouldn't be too soon for a repeat performance?

San Diego?
 It's been 3 years since I've been there, and it is one of my favorite cities... 
I love this view from the rooftop bar of the Marriott too! Alas, would it be as much fun alone?

I <3 Disneyland, but I've gone three times in the last 12 months. Excessive? Maybe. Fun? Yes.

I'll sit on this and think a little more. It's very likely that this will be a solo vacation unless I opt to go back home. Maybe a spa trip in Palm Springs or Phoenix could do me good? Hmm. I'll keep you posted.

Until next time...

--- Becks

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Real Food

Earlier this week, I was invited to help a friend work at the Farmers Market in Irvine, CA. My friend's family sells nuts grown in the San Joaquin Valley (almonds, pistachios, and walnuts). Ordinarily, her parents go but since they were on vacation, she was going to go alone. Of course, being a big fan of farmer's markets in general, I jumped at the opportunity to go!

We took our time driving down to Irvine, arriving late Friday night. We woke early Saturday morning and headed to the market. The Irvine Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 8am to noon in the parking lot across from UC - Irvine, near the intersection of Campus and Bridge. While there are other vendors, produce is the big draw here with both local and exotic produce to suit everyone's fancy.

We set up shop just two tents in from the In-N-Out drive-thru, nestled between the awesome team from Orange County Produce and the friendliest florist, Louie Cruz. Nearby were the fruit stands of Tilden Farms and Eddie's amazing nursery. And I can't forget to mention Cal-Poly, who we bartered with for the sweetest fresh squeezed orange juice I think I've ever had. Needless to say, we certainly had the sweetest spot of the entire market, in my humble opinion :)

About midmorning, I took a stroll on my own to check out the sights and sounds of the larger market area. I was amazed at the diversity of the produce, which included locally grown, organic, and Asian produce. There was an awesome tent selling hummus at 3 for $10, which you can guarantee I'll be buying next time. Roasted corn, fresh baked bread, grass fed beef and freshly caught fish... it's totally sensory overload. Being the horrible planner that I am, however, I did not plan well for my trip since I figured I'd be working more than shopping the market. Alas, below is the only stuff I scored this weekend:

I only bought from the vendors closest to us since they were (a) close and (b) so kind, but I hope to sample others in the future. For my first trip, however, I "only" came home with fresh flowers from Louie (aren't they gorgeous?), sweet organic oranges from Tilden, potted herbs from Eddie (two types of basil and cilantro), a 3 pack of berries from a vendor that's name is escaping me (raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries - oh my!), almonds and pistachios from my friend (buy one get one free... for me!), and organic dinosaur kale from Orange County Produce (which they generously gave me for free - so nice!). 

Not bad for my first time, eh? Hehe. If you live in Orange County, I hope you do give the Irvine Farmers Market a try! It's considered the best of Orange County - and with good reason! Seriously, just check out Yelp if you don't believe me. :)

Until next time...

--- Becks

Friday, July 6, 2012

Day Trip with Diego!

I longed to be at the beach all day yesterday. It was silly, really... I knew the beaches of Southern California would have been awfully crowded, and traffic would've been a nightmare. Still, I really, really, really wanted to go to the beach, so I decided that today I would go.

My toilet, on the other hand, had other plans. I woke up fairly early this morning, ready to pack up and start my day. When I went to the loo, however, I noticed a large puddle of water around the base of my toilet. YUCK! Grossed out beyond compare, I quickly dialed a recommended plumber and asked if they could come check it out (the joys of home ownership, folks - truly overrated!). They told me that they couldn't get out here until noon. Bah!

I finished getting dressed and, feeling defeated, decided to take my dog for a walk in the neighborhood instead. Neither of us were terribly happy. Around 11:30, the plumber showed up (woohoo - early!) and quickly fixed the problem. Gasket problems, or something like that? Anyhoo, I paid the gentleman and kindly thanked him. It was now noon and I was ready for lunch. After lunch, my brother convinced me that the beach isn't that far away, so I packed up Diego's things, hopped him up in the SUV and headed south.

On the way to the beach, I decided to cut through West Hollywood. A fellow blogger had told me about a very cool Batman billboard off Sunset Blvd that I really wanted to check out. Last September, my brother and I stumbled upon the Dark Knight set in downtown LA, and I have been eagerly waiting for the movie ever since. I finally found it, and was not disappointed:

At La Brea and Sunset in Hollywood

How freaking cool is that? The billboard is kind of hidden, but if you head north on La Brea towards Sunset, you'll find it just past the Jim Henson Studios :) So rad.

After our little sidetrack, my pup and I headed west for the Pacific Ocean. Boy, were we disappointed. Not only were the beaches packed, but none of the ones with available parking allowed dogs! I know that the most dog-friendly beaches are in Huntington and Malibu, but I was hoping I could at least walk him "on-leash" closer than that. Sigh. 

After driving back east, I decided to head towards Burbank to go grab a green tea latte before heading back home. While I was sitting in traffic on the 101, however, I remembered that there was a terrific dog park near Lake Hollywood. Poor Diego had been such a trooper all day - the least I could do was take him there, right? 

My dog has gone Hollywood!
Lake Hollywood Park (an unofficial dog park)
3160 N. Canyon Dr, Los Angeles, CA

This dog park is fairly big, but sadly is not fenced in so I had to keep Diego on leash. That's the bad thing about Basset Hounds - you can't take them off the leash unless there is a gate. Their nose will lead them on adventures, and you won't be able to call them back! Sigh. Diego still had fun, though, and made a lot of new doggy friends. He also made some not-so-doggy friends like this guy:

Creepy, right?

Alas, the sun was rapidly falling and it was time to pack it up and head home. I let Diego circle the park one last time before we went. Of course, he thought he could trick me into letting him play a little more...

We always want what we can't have...

Diego and I said our goodbyes to our new Lake Hollywood friends, hiked back up to our car, and headed back home. Of course, I still got my green tea latte... and we took a small detour through Toluca Lake to meet up with a friend... but it was worth it. Hopefully next time, we can make doggy dates with some of our friends that live down south. That, or at least go to the friggin' beach. Sigh. All's well that ends well, at least!

Until next time...


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Staycations don't always save you money...

... but they sure are fun! In late May, my mom, sisters, and my nieces came to visit my brother and I in California. They had never been to my new house, and wanted to do some southern and central California sight-seeing while they were here. It was so good to see them!

First on their agenda was a tour of Kern Canyon. Kern Canyon winds along Hwy 178 from Bakersfield, CA to Lake Isabella. The road take dramatic turns at the bottom of the canyon, giving you a fantastic view of Kern River and the greater valley.

Looking down on Kern River from the roadside - I wish I had taken better pictures!

The strange topography of the Kern River Valley.

Next in our itinerary was a trip to the Central Coast. We headed north to Cambria to see the sights of Moonstone Beach. We saw so many seals, elephant seals, sea lions, sea anemones, and hermit crabs! My nieces loved it! I only wish it would have been warmer, and that we could have went to Hearst Castle too!

Cambria, as seen from Moonstone Beach.

Our sea lion friends!

My nieces looking around for sand dollars and sea shells at Morro Rock in Morro Bay.

This isn't any of us, but something I oh-so-want to do!

Looking down on Morro Bay. 

For kicks, my mom and one of my sisters went to Burbank/Pasadena for the day. We ate at my favorite brunch place (Bea Bea's - seriously... go there!), toured the outsides of all the Burbank/Studio City studios, did some stalking of film sites for Halloween and My So-Called Life, and saw the Hollywood Sign!

Sisters in Hollywood!

My family concluded the trip with a visit to Disneyland! My brother, my youngest sister and her daughter had never been so it was a treat to see them there.

My niece meeting her favorite princess, Aurora.

Peter Pan up to no good during the parade.

My brother and my niece got into trouble again in Toon Town!

All in all, it was a very fun trip. We didn't get to do everything on everyone's list, but we sure did a lot in the short time they were here. Alas, all good things come to an end and they left back to NM after a short 5 day visit. Hopefully, they had fun and they'll be back to visit again soon. 

Until next time...

--- Becks

Spring Forward to Summer!

So, since I started this blog a bit late... I'm a bit late on doing my spring recap (I'll do better in the future, I swear!). My first spring as a Californian was amazing. Living in a place that feels like eternal spring is definitely different, but I was a bit amazed how much I felt at home with it.

To kickoff spring in style, I took my brother whale watching in Oxnard, CA (thank you, Groupon!). It was amazing! We only spotted two small whales, but to see them so close and in the wild was super cool. The tour we took coasted us around the Channel Islands, which was really neat to see too. Welcome to CA, right?

Representing the Texans in CA... go figure!

The closest thing to a money shot I got all day. Sigh.

I feel like I've spent a ton of time in the last few months in the Los Angeles area - maybe I should just move there? Ha ha. At least the city isn't too far away - I never thought this small town girl would miss living in the city this much!

The view of the Hollywood Bowl from Mulholland Dr. - the most simultaneously beautiful and terrifying drive in LA.

Poppies growing on the grapevine (I-5 between LA and Bakersfield)

Sitting on the True Blood couch at the Paley Center (thanks to Lindsay Blake of!

And hanging out at the Central Perk!

During my last "pre-family vacation" trip to LA, a coworker and I decided to get our nails done in Burbank. While waiting for our appointment, who do we run into but Jennifer Love Hewitt herself. She was with her mom, so we didn't bother her. I'm glad we didn't too - her mother sadly lost her battle with cancer just weeks later. We also dined at both Bea Bea's in Burbank (terrific French Toast!) and Katsuya in Brentwood. YUM!

I'll post about the recent family stay-cation in my next post, with lots of pictures to come!

Until next time...

--- Becks

3 x 5s of the last 7 years...

I have a few blogs, but very few tell my story. I decided to start this blog as a way of sharing my story in words... and in pictures. I'm going to use this blog as a way of showing you who I am - the things I like, the places I travel, etc.

Before I tell you where I am and where I'm going, I thought it would be helpful to share with you where I've been. As I mention in my "About me", I have relocated 4 times in the last 7 years. When my mom told me that nothing in life is permanent, she wasn't kidding! Since graduating from college, I have lived in Texas, Louisiana, and (most recently) California. I've really enjoyed my adventures, but I sure am ready to settle down in one place for a while. Here are a few pictures of the adventures that have brought me here -


Not the greatest picture, but this is me - a newly minted Texan - in 2005.

I had the best first neighbors in Houston - many of which have become my closest friends to date!

2006 was a pretty calm year (travel-wise). Most of my money was spent on going to weddings back in New Mexico, but I did go to St Louis for work! It was a great trip!

I made two trips to California in 2007 - the first being with my friend (E) to Los Angeles, where we met King Kong and I met Spencer Pratt (not pictured - but was surprisingly nice!)

My second trip was to San Diego with my friends, T and C, for my birthday. This is a before-sunburn picture (I spent the rest of this trip as red as a lobster! Yuck!)

At the beginning of 2008, my company moved me to New Orleans. My commute was about 45 minutes, with 24 miles of that driving over a bridge on Lake Pontchartrain. Quite the experience for this desert dweller.

2008 was by far my busiest travel year. I racked up over 250,000 flying miles, traveling all over the US, including: a spa trip with the girls in Phoenix, AZ (pictured above); various work trips to Mobile, AL, Lafayette, LA, Chicago, IL (pictured below), and San Francisco, CA (also pictured below); and fun trips to Sacramento, CA, Lake Tahoe, CA, and Tampa, FL! Whew! I also finally got to visit NYC... and did so twice that year! :)

My first long-distance business trip of the year - a conference in Chicago, IL!

I left for San Francisco only 3 days after returning from Chicago... I was a little worn out, to say the least.

Luckily, I know how to play as hard as I work - and got to see Lake Tahoe with my friend C for the first time!

AND I finally arrived in NYC after waiting a lifetime to visit it! I like it so much I went back for my birthday too!

Sadly, my life in New Orleans introduced me to my first hurricanes too. Yes, I said hurricanes. I was in NYC when New Orleans was evacuated for Gustav (my brother packed up my stuff and met me in Houston). Then, we were evacuated in Houston for the arrival of Ike! Luckily, the only damage my apartment received was my door to the outside storage, which was completely ripped off! But... it could have been worse...

Luckily, New Orleans also introduced me to fun things to, like my first Saints game!

And my first Mardi Gras! Sadly, my time in New Orleans came to an end the day after Fat Tuesday, and I was relocated back to Houston in early 2009.

Life back in Houston taught me a lot, and introduced me to even more random adventures. Between 2009 - 2011, I traveled even more, bought a house, bought a new car, adopted a dog, and introduced me to many new friends. Rather than split it all out, I'll just share with you a few of the pictures of my adventures. 

Took my sisters, nieces, and my mom to vacation in San Diego, CA :)

Spent a TON of time in WY in 2009 & 2010.

Went to Vegas with the bestie - need to go back again soon!

Spent my 30th birthday at the happiest place on earth - Disneyland!

Celebrated the beginning of 2009, 2010, and 2011 on the water with friends!

Bestie wanted a repeat of Disney magic for her birthday - so we went to Disney World!

Went to my first Dodgers game in 2010 - so much fun!

Visited my friends in Dallas a couple of times before I left TX - isn't the view from their townhouse amazing?

Took my first solo vacation in 2011 - to Seattle, WA!

The company allowed me to travel in style via private jet several times between 2010 - 2011. 

Was fortunate enough to get reservations at Club 33 in Disneyland for my mom and niece. Very cool!

K's wife got me free sideline passes to a NFL Texans game (I got to say hello to Drew Brees, who was playing against the Texans that day. Made - my - year!)

And finally saw the Grand Canyon for the first time as I drove out to move to CA!

I've been a very lucky girl so far, and I don't take a second of it for granted. I've come a long way from my tiny hometown in New Mexico, and I can't wait to see what the rest of my life has in store for me. I hope you enjoy sharing in my world! Welcome to my blog!

Until next time...

--- Becks