Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fifteen Years as a Californian!

With all of the anticipation about giving birth, I didn’t realize that August 2, 2017, marked the 15th anniversary of my moving to California! On August 2, 2002, after an 8-day road trip across the country from Philadelphia, I crossed into Fresno. I immediately wondered, “Where is California?” It was 112 degrees and almost everywhere I looked was a “W” or “Abortion Kills” bumper sticker. I felt like I had entered some kind of hell. Fifteen years, a PhD, a career, an elected office, a husband, and two kids later, I have a lot on which to reflect and for which to be grateful!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Iceland, April 2016

Link to all photos here.

For my 40th birthday, I couldn’t think of anything better to do than to have a girls’ trip to Iceland. Well, that and going to the French Laundry. And between dealing with newish motherhood and spending a lot of energy trying to find that elusive work-life balance and “leaning in” in the appropriate manner, the time was ripe for a real vacation (because let’s face it, traveling with a baby or toddler isn’t a vacation; it’s a trip where you do everything you normally do but in a different location).

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

French Laundry for my 40th Birthday

About 15 years ago, Chef Morimoto opened his restaurant in Philadelphia. About 2 weeks after the opening, a large group of fellow foodie friends and I went for the omakase. We had somewhere around 12 courses, which are written down on a napkin I still have somewhere, and delicious drink concoctions. It was, to this day, the best dining experience I had ever had. 

The French Laundry may have topped that. The only thing I wanted for my 40th birthday was a once-in-a-lifetime experience at The French Laundry, which has been rated as “best restaurant in the world.” It took 3 months and mad phone skills to get the reservation (my birthday was January 2 and we went on March 12), but it was so worth the wait. The food, the champagne, and the wine were incredible. Our meal lasted about three and a half hours. I was grateful for the suggestion to go for lunch rather than dinner, especially since most nights these days I’m falling asleep by 9.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Thoughts on the eve of my 40th birthday (and 2016)

As I reflect on the first 40 years of my life, I’m so grateful for all of the opportunities that I’ve had and all of the people who have pushed me to try all of the closed doors in the long, vast hallway I wandered down aimlessly during my first 25 years. As I turn the page to the next chapter, I can honestly say that I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far. Twenty years ago, I never could have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be where I am.

Monday, March 31, 2014

South America: Colombia, Argentina, & Uruguay

Links to Shutterfly galleries of all pictures below.

Desperate for some travel and knowing that it could be our last hoorah for a while, we debated between sticking with our schedule of alternating travel and vacation and going to Hawai’i or deviating and going somewhere exploratory. We were going to visit family on the East coast right after Christmas, so we wanted somewhere that would be somewhat easy to travel to from the East coast but to return to the West coast. We settled on exploratory, and South America, partly because it was a new continent for both of us. There were so many places on the continent where we both wanted to see, but Argentina has always been high on Matt’s list, so that’s where we planned. When we realized that it would be slightly cheaper (and man, is travel to South America expensive!!!) to actually spend a few days in Bogotรก rather than just connect, we figured, “why not?” And of course, we couldn’t be in Buenos Aires without taking advantage of the proximity to Uruguay, so we spent a day in Colonia.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Honeymooning in Europe: Austria, Czech Rep., Croatia, & Montenegro

It took us quite a while to decide where to go for our honeymoon. We typically like to alternate trips between “vacation” (e.g., lying on a beach somewhere) and travel (exploring a new country and culture), after which we usually need a vacation. We had gone to our beloved Hawai’i in November after the election to wind down from the roller coaster of running for office, so travel was next up. We debated for a while about going back to SE Asia (and stopping in China to see a friend), going to Argentina (which would have been a 5th continent for both of us) or Australia, or even deviating from our vacation-travel schedule and going to somewhere like Tahiti. We wanted to take advantage of the fact that we would be on the East coast, and Matt had never been to Europe and always talked about wanting to see Austria, so we ultimately decided on Austria. I had always wanted to go to Croatia, so we combined the two. We initially thought about adding in Capri somewhere, but quickly realized that with only 2 weeks it wouldn’t work. We scheduled a flight to Salzburg, train to Vienna, day trip to Prague, flight to Dubrovnik, and day trip to Montenegro. We had the option to go to Budapest, but we only had time for either there or Prague, and since Matt is Czech, it was an easy choice. It was a great trip, but by the time the wedding was over, I was thinking how nice it would have been to just sit on a beach. :-)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Ultimate Adventure, Part 2: Getting Hitched

After nine years together, Matt and I decided to get married. Well, we had decided to get married before, but life happened, I decided to run for office, etc., etc. So this time we were really going to get married. And we were going to do it in Philadelphia, where I’m from. You would think that perhaps we’re a little crazy trying to plan a wedding from across the country. And while I’m running for office in San Francisco. And you probably wouldn’t be wrong. But it was actually easier than we anticipated. It only really required one trip to Philly to look at venues before deciding. We deliberately selected a venue that was all-inclusive (ceremony, food, bar, centerpieces) so we would just have to show up, and we were able to talk to most potential vendors via Skype or phone. We did schedule another trip about 4 months before the wedding, during which time we met with a florist and officiate and did our engagement photo shoot (included in our photography package) and our food and cake tastings. Considering how organized we were in the process, the planning went pretty smoothly.