Cali Road Trip + LIB Festival!

The week before Memorial day I had a super relaxing and fun trip up the famous Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). A winding road that snakes along the California coastline taking you from LA beaches, through Santa Barbara farmland, between the redwoods of Big Sur, and into the skyline of San Francisco.

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The day started with a sore head from birthday festivities the night before, but we managed the 1.5 hour drive to the Strawberry festival in Oxnard. Strawberry nachos, smoothies, kebabs, and popcorn screamed at us from the food stall signs as we walked in. Picture perfect strawberries were for sale from local farms and we picked up a few on the way out.

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Back on the road, driving through lush farmland, we stopped into Solvang, a Danish Village. Wandered through the cute Danish style houses, windmills, and shops.

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On the way out we stopped at Ostrichland where we fed the Ostriches and Emus. They were quite aggressive, so both Chris and I were happy to get back on the road with all our fingers intact.

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We spent the night in San Luis Obispo, walking to the Mission, bubblegum wall, eating delicious tri tip at Firestone Brewery, and of course, watching Game of Thrones.

The following day was my birthday! The drive to Hearst Castle did not take too long and we were soon on top of the hill at La Cuesta Encantada. The lush grounds, European inspired architecture, and awe inspiring views never cease to amaze me. For lunch we drove across the highway into San Simeon for delicious burgers made from Hearst beef, yum! A quick stop off at Piedras Blanchas to see (and smell) the elephant seals and then were on our way to Monterey.

Elephant seals

We had a gorgeous 2 hour drive alongside the coastal cliffs of CA. Across the famous Bixby bridge and into the redwood forests of Big Sur. It was a wonderfully relaxing drive despite ending up behind a very slow tractor at one point.

PCH

We got into Monterey late afternoon, checked into our Air BnB and went for a walk along fisherman’s wharf. All of the buildings on the wharf looked ramshackle and randomly put together, but in a beautiful, functional way. After sampling a number of clam chowders (all of them award winning of course) we headed to Cannery Row for dinner. For my birthday dinner we splurged and I had fresh crab, scallops, and shrimp at a beautiful beachside restaurant.

The next morning was spent at Monterey Aquarium. I highly recommend stopping in here if you are in the area. From the deep sea exhibit to the sea otters, I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around the aquarium and seeing the variety of fish and animals.

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After the aquarium we ate delicious chowder on the wharf and jumped in a cab to Carmel-by-the-sea. A charming little town, and Clint Eastwood was once the mayor here! We wandered along the beach, dipping our feet into the freezing ocean and stopping to pet the numerous dogs running around. Afterwards we went wine tasting and then stopped into a cheese shop where they stuffed us with samples. Walked down to the Mission and learned about a bit of California history.
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On the walk to/from the mission we saw so many wonderful looking houses, each with their own personality. In Carmel, the houses don’t have numbers, they just have house names and the street reference! Stopped into a pub for bacon bloody mary’s before heading to a wonderful dinner at La Balena. I HIGHLY recommend this restaurant for anyone  in the area.

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The following day was a quick drive into San Francisco where I parked the car and vowed not to touch the car until we had to leave the city. After checking into the hotel we did the very fun and touristy cable car ride to the wharf.

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Took in views of the Golden Gate bridge, pier 39 shops, the sea lions, and then headed straight up the hill to Coit Tower.

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The views at the top of the hill were amazing and the hike was a great workout. On the way down we stopped into Washington Square before heading into Chinatown. Stopped into Li Po for a Chinese mai tai, then moved to the Buddha lounge where we drank buddha beers and had a “three penis” shot. The siblings showed up and we all went for dinner and drinks before heading to Holy Cow club where we got to shake hands with Shaq!

The following day the parentals arrived and we all went for a lovely graduation dinner at La Bricola. Another winning restaurant we visited on this trip.

Friday was more wandering around the city. We stopped at Girhardelli square for a sundae before preparing ourselves for my sister’s graduation.

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Graduation was at AT&T park and the views were gorgeous! The graduation itself was very disorganized and after 2 hours of speeches, the whole family decided to bail and go for dinner (including my sister).

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The next day, we all piled into the car to head to Lightning in a Bottle festival. It took about 3 hours to get there and we arrived in the mid-day heat to a huge camp already set up by our festi crew. The rest of the day was an awesome combination of music, events, and meeting new people. We played giant skeeball, impersonated a blowfish on acid, saw fire dancers, and danced our legs off in animal onesies.

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Second day of the festival was just as exciting and full of hippy activities. We napped during the mid-day sun in the shade of meditation mountain, did some yoga, listened to a talk on how to get high from licking frogs, and watched the most bizarre burlesque show I have ever seen. As the sun set over the hills, it was a great moment to enjoy the time I spent at the festival with family and friends.

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The next day was difficult to pack up and head home, but we said our goodbyes and were back on the road to LA after 2.5 hour waiting to get out of the festival venue.

This trip was a great balance of relaxation, adventure, family time, and festival excitement. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment and cannot wait for the next trip!

 

UK Road Trip – March (Better late than never post)

I’ve been a super slacker and not posted my March road trip in the UK:

First day we set off for the lovely town of Bath. On the ride in we saw loads of beautiful countryside, cows, sheep, and horses.IMG_5119

Bath is an old Roman town and it did not disappoint. From the beautiful buildings of the Crescent to the Pulteney Bridge we were surrounded by gorgeous architecture.

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After a long day of wandering around the city, we had a fabulous dinner at a riverside restaurant recommended by a local, the Bathwick Boatman.

The following morning we were back on the road to the Eden Project. Tucked away among the English countryside in an old clay quarry, the Eden project is made up of 2 biomes, one with a Mediterranean climate and one with a rainforest environment. It was a fantastic afternoon wandering around all the plants and trees and viewing the interesting architecture of the biomes.

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Continuing our roadtrip, we found ourselves in Newquay for the evening. It was very windy, but we managed to walk to a lovely seafood restaurant on a cliff overlooking the ocean. After dinner, it was pub time, where massive celebrations were held for the England win over Germany in a friendly football match. The next morning, our sore heads were quickly cleared with fresh scones, jam, clotted cream, and an extremely windy walk along the oceanside cliffs.

 

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Newquay

About an hour’s drive later we found ourselves at the Lost Gardens of Heligan. This was the highlight of the trip for me! Acres of varied landscapes that we explored all day. The jungle rope bridge, the Victorian gardens, the fruit trees, and farm animals, around every corner was an adventure waiting for us. I highly recommend this stop to anyone who passes through Cornwall.IMG_5199

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From the Lost Gardens we went to St Ives. Up to this point, we had managed to stay one step ahead of Storm Katie… until we got to St Ives. In St Ives we stayed in a hobbit house on the highest hill in town. This would have been a magical place to sit around the firepit at night and enjoy the spectacular views of the little fishing village. However, at nightime we found ourselves hoping that the Hobbit house would not blow over or get washed away in the torrential rain.

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Despite the nights being a little harrowing, we had a lovely walk around the town during the day. It’s a lovely little village where at low tide, all the ships end up tilted on the sand and the kids play on the beach. When the tide comes in, the boats are all ready to sail out and catch some delicious seafood.

Low Tide

Low Tide

High tide

High tide

We nibbled on Cornish pasties, ate fresh seafood, and treated ourselves to a film at the rather outdated (but quaint) movie theater.

Two nights in St Ives, and we were back on the road to London. Overall, a fully packed, but relaxing trip that I greatly enjoyed!

The next adventure will be posted shortly!

 

 

New Year – New Construction!

It’s been a while since my last update because I’ve slowly been working on different aspects of the house.

It’s been slow going because of all the exciting things I’ve been doing! From New York City for New Years, to free LA Museum day, and Lucha va Voom, I’ve been keeping busy in the New Year.

Lucha va Voom= Mexican masked wrestling and burlesque.

Lucha va Voom= Mexican masked wrestling and burlesque.

New York!

New York!

The original Batmobile at the Peterson Automotive museum.

The original Batmobile at the Peterson Automotive museum.

The biggest improvement to the house has been the front entryway. It was a horrible mess of big trees, pebbles, and wooden fences hiding the trash cans.

To start of this huge project, I spent 2 weekends going through all the gray rocks and putting them into bags to remove from the house.

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Then I removed the green fence hiding all the trash cans. The trash cans were moved to the side of the house, out of sight.

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Here you can see the fence is removed and a blue security gate is now in place. The fence took a weekend to install. Digging the holes for the posts was quite a workout!

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The biggest part of the project was removing all the trees. My brother did an AMAZING job taking down all the trees. It took me 2 weekends to cut up all the branches, and nearly 3 weeks of squirreling all the branches in my neighbors trash cans to finally get it cleared.

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In order the turn that front area into a second parking spot we had to widen the gate. Then, I called the professionals in to do all the pavers.

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Now the front looks amazing, and more importantly I have a secondary parking spot!!!

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There is still much to be done to the front to make the house more inviting. I am planning on painting the house, widening the driveway approach, and getting some pretty planters in place. However, at the moment I’m extremely pleased with all the hard work that was put into making the front of the house look fabulous.

Dixie Road Trip 2015

I’ve neglected this for so long! Since last May I’ve done a little bit of baking, but it’s just been too hot to be in the kitchen over a stove. I did make my father’s birthday cakes, and cream puffs – both which turned out successfully!

Dad's cake 2        Dad's cake 1

In term of life events I’ve had a few exciting things happening:

  • Great birthday week
  • 4th of July at Lake Tahoe
  • Bought a new car
  • Bought a new bike
  • Saw Manchester United vs Barcelona in Santa Clara
  • Hard Summer music fest
  • DirtyBird Campout
  • Venice CicLaVia
  • Downtown CicLaVia

The most exciting event was my Dixie Roadtrip! Just got back on Monday and still getting over what an awesome time it was and how nice the people in the South are. Here’s a little snippet of the trip:

Atlanta, GA

Flew in late Thursday night with my brother to meet up with 2 UK friends our AirBnB. Did an amazing cycle along the BeltLine, through Piedmont Park, midtown, and the Olympic park the next day.

Cycling in Atlanta

That evening we had our first fried chicken and waffles of the trip. It wasn’t a great one, but we drowned our disappointment with a few beers before heading to the Chamber of Horrors haunted house. Had a blast running through the maze screaming before heading to the Clermont Lounge – an Atlanta Institution! Described to us as “A place where strippers go to retire” it ended up being pretty popping, with an almost club like atmosphere.

Haunted House

The following day we picked up our rental car (which was dubbed Unicorn Sparkle Pants) and watched a bit of the RedBull Soapbox race before heading off to Nashville.Redbull soapbox derby

Nashville, TN

Ended up finding a hotel in West Nashville because everything else was booked due to all the sporting events that were happening. Headed to Broadway in downtown Nashville and were dazzled by all the lights and neon signs on the street. Walked up and down the street for a bit before heading to Monell’s to gorge ourselves on family style Southern cooking. Biscuits, fried chicken, fried catfish, and banana pudding… we had to roll ourselves out of there and back to Broadway for some live country and honky tonk music. Stopped into various places during the evening, including Robert’s Western World and Tootsies.

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The next day it rained most of the day because of Hurricane Patricia. We managed to get ourselves out of bed for a bit of breakfast before scoring some free tickets to the end of the Titan’s game. Spent the rest of Sunday watching football then hit Broadway one last time for music before heading to Memphis.

Memphis, TN

On the way to Memphis we stopped at the Loveless cafe, which has THE best biscuits I have ever had.

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On the way we stopped at the Nike outlet for shopping and picked up some ponchos from the dollar store since it rained the entire way. Still raining, we dumped out stuff at the hotel and went for a wander to Beal street. Like a mini Nashville, it was full of bright lights and neon signs. The rain and it being a Monday night, it was pretty dead, but we stopped into the Coyote Ugly bar and had a good chat with the bartender who gave us suggestions for our next stop on the road trip. Ate delicious, delicious BBQ at central BBQ, before parking ourselves into a blues bar for some good music.

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The next morning at breakfast we decided to take the bartender’s advice and head west to Little Rock. It would take us out of the path of Patricia as we’d already had enough of the rain. On the way we stopped at Graceland and it was amazing to see Elvis’s place and all the awards he won.

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Little Rock, AR

The rain stopped as we pulled into Little Rock so we had a nice wander down President Clinton Blvd.

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Did some bar hopping and ended up at a cool bar where we got 4th place in the Halloween trivia night!

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The next morning we had the cheese dip that is famous in Arkansas (which tastes just like queso) and drove out to Pinnacle Mountain for Chris’s birthday hike. It was drizzling when we got there, but we persevered and made it to the top for beautiful views of the Maumeve and Arkansas rivers and the entire valley below us.

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During the hike, Chris split his pants so we stopped at the outlet mall where the lady at the Levi’s store sang a gorgeous rendition of Happy Birthday to him. The ride to Natchez, MS was rather long so we stopped into Vicksburg, MS for a delicious birthday dinner and some key lime pie.

Natchez, MS

Arrived quite late so we passed out in the hotel. Next morning we walked through the historical center of town and went on a tour of Stanton Hall – an antebellum house. The house was very grand and we got a great history of the house and the city itself.

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Upon recommendation from the lady in the shop, we walked back to the Mississippi River and stopped into the Saloon. It was a great little bar with the old folk sitting outside on the porch in rocking chairs with beers and chatting about the old times. Apparently Davy Crockett used to stop in this saloon when he was traveling down the river.

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Back into the car on the way to New Orleans!

New Orleans, LA

Dropped the car off and headed straight to Bourbon St for the Ghost tour! The ghost tour wasn’t as exciting as expected, so we bailed halfway through and had a wander around the French Quarter by ourselves. The following day we headed to Voodoo Fest! Had an amazing day watching Jauz, Florence and the Machine, Metric, Alesso, Girl Talk, and Jack U.IMG_4886

After a hard day of dancing, we headed to Cafe du Monde for beignets and then to bed.

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On Halloween day it rained all day. During the afternoon we wandered around the French Quarter and joined a walking brass band!

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Got into our costumes at the apt before heading into the festival. Spent an awesome few hours dancing in the rain and the mud to Giorgio Morodor, Duke Dumont, and Steve Angello. Headed back to Bourbon St for more Halloween dancing and shenanigans.

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The next day we were all a bit worse for wear so ended up eating delicious cajun food and watching the Saints football game. Due to severe flooding Voodoo fest was canceled, so we scrambled and got tickets to Eric Prydz at the Metropolitan club. Spent most of the day chilling at the apartment before heading to the club for the last night of dancing and fun!

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The next morning was a sad goodbye to everyone and the last day of the trip.

The trip was amazing! We met so many lovely people, ate so much good food, and had such a fabulous time. I can’t wait for the next trip!

 

(If interested, here are reviews of the places we ate at along the trip: Dixie Road Trip 2015)

Euro Trip 2015!

In mid-May I jetted of to Europe for a wedding and an epic road trip.

Had a quick stopover in London before flying over to Tirgu Mures, Romania. The large sign “Transylvania Airport” greeted us as we landed at our first stop on the trip. The lady we met on the plane decided we weren’t going to take a cab – she was going to have her brother in law drop us off at our hotel, what a great start to the trip!

We had a one night in Tirgu before being picked up by the Groom and his father in law for a lovely drive through the lush and green Transylvanian countryside to the town of Bistrita.

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The wedding was the following day so we had a wander around the town and rested up. That first evening we got to taste the delights of Romania food, including cirbo (sour soup), wild boar, and bear salami!

The wedding was gorgeous! The ceremony was held in a Romania Orthodox Church.

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The reception was in our hotel’s ballroom. Tables were set up for 400 guests. We spent the next 10 hours drinking, dancing, and making our way through 6 different courses. There were fireworks at the end of the evening, a perfect end to a wedding I will never forget.

The next morning was a rough car ride to the town of Cluj Napoca where we planned to jump on a train to Budapest. When we got to the train station, the ticket lady revealed to us that the 3pm train we were hoping to get on didn’t run on Sundays… the next train was at 2am! So we spent the day in Cluj with our new friends from the wedding, seeing the sites, eating, and drinking until the time came for us to board our train.

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We booked a sleeper car, which was just like all the old films about the Orient Express! The top bunks pulled down and the bottom bunks folded up into chairs. We had a couple other people in our “room” and did our best to figure all this out without waking everyone up.

 

 

 

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At 5am we heard a bang! Bang! Bang! on the door. “Passport control!” Romanian immigration checked us out of the country and 30 mins later, the Hungarian immigration checked us into the country. I found it all quite charming, but everyone else in the bunks just seemed annoyed by it all.

8 hours after leaving Transylvania, we were in Budapest, Hungary. Arriving quite early in the morning we checked in, had a bit of brekkie, and jumped on a hop on/hop off tour. We saw Hero’s square, the City Park, and stopped at the top of the hill on the Buda side to see the Liberty Statue.

Hero's Square

Hero’s Square

Left side of the Danube is Buda, right side is Pest.

Left side of the Danube is Buda, right side is Pest.

That evening we went to a bar/pub called For Sale where we gorged ourselves on delicious goulash before heading over to Szimpla Kert, a ruin bar. Ruin bars are places that have taken over ruined buildings, decorated them in the most random way possible, stuck a bar in it, added a DJ, and wha-la! One of the coolest bars I’ve ever been to.

The next day we ate in the Central Market then took a boat ride down the Danube. It was a lovely day on the river and we got to see buildings on Castle Hill and the Parliament building.

Parliament Building

Parliament Building

At this point it was time to head to Vienna. We packed our bags again and headed to the train station. At the train station we noticed a train to Vienna was leaving in 30 minutes, with the next one leaving in 3 hours. In the line to buy our tickets and the clock is ticking down… 7 minutes before the train was scheduled to leave we finally got our tickets and ran to the train! We made it just in time for the 2.5 hour ride to Vienna.

Getting in late to Vienna we decided we’d had enough meat and bread and ate at a Vietnamese hole in the wall. Spent the next few hours just wandering around the city admiring all the beautiful buildings before finishing the night off watching the Barcelona vs Bayern Munich match.

Vienna

Vienna

The next day we stopped at the Leopold museum where we discovered that the artist Egon Schiele liked to paint a lot of naked ladies. After getting our fill of naked ladies, we wandered down to the National Opera House. The building is absolutely gorgeous. That evening’s show was sold out, but we managed to score some tickets to see Die Fledermaus at the Volksopera. We met up with an old friend of mine for a few drinks, ran to the hotel to change, and then headed off to the Opera.

The opera was wonderful! The only unpleasant moment of the evening was when we had to request new seats after the first act because the old lady next to me kept releasing some rather potent gas. This was very difficult to politely explain to the ushers at the theater, but we finally got the point across and all had a bit of a giggle. Otherwise, the singing and costumes were fantastic!

Being cultured at the opera

Being cultured at the opera

The following day we had breakfast in the Naschmarkt and then headed to Schönbrunn Palace. It’s an absolutely spectacular place full of opulence and grandeur. I got a very delicious strudel there and we totally rocked the maze.

Schönbrunn Palace

Schönbrunn Palace

The maze

The maze

Drinks in the museumsquartier that evening and the next day we were off to Prague! No drama with the tickets at the station this time.

The rest of our crew met up with us in Prague. The first night we ended up eating delicious food then heading straight to the Roxy Club for drinks and dancing. The next day we wandered all over the city admiring the beautiful architecture. We crossed over the Charles Bridge and hiked up to the Castle District. Wandered back across the Danube and into the Jewish Quarter.

On Charles Bridge

On Charles Bridge

Stairs up to Castle District

Stairs up to Castle District

Charles Bridge

Charles Bridge

Clock Tower in main Square

Clock Tower in main Square

That evening we went to Cross Club and the Bukanyra boat club for some more dancing and drinking. The next morning was a bit of a recovery morning. We wandered around Wenceslas Square doing some shopping and meandering around. We tried some of the Trdelnik (a cinnamon pastry) and then headed out to the airport.

How Trdelnik  is sold on the street.

How Trdelnik is sold/made on the street.

I spent another day in London catching up with friends and doing some more shopping before my most epic trip came to an end.

I met amazing people, tried delicious food, and saw beautiful places! It was an absolutely fantastic holiday and I can’t wait for the next one!

 

Seattle!!!

I’ve been living in the house for the last month and putting it together piece by piece. Most of the house is done, but I’m missing a few pieces of furniture and the rec room still needs to be finished. I was unable to work on the house this past week because I went to Seattle for work.

Seattle is an amazing city! When we weren’t working our butts off in the data center, we had time to wander around the city taking in the sites, sounds, and food.

One of the best welcome’s I’ve had to a city, after checking in I was greeted by none other than Chuck Norris in my room!

Chuck Norris

Pike’s Market was amazing. Fresh fish, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and anything else you could imagine are sold at the market.

Pike's Market

We ended up at piroshky piroshky multiple times for their amazing smoked salmon pate and of course had to stop for a picture in front of the original Starbucks

Delicious food

Original Starbucks

 

I also indulged at the famous Beecher’s Cheese and the Pike Place Chowder Co. I have been writing overtime on my Yelp account in order to keep up with all the places we ate at. I think I’ve only gotten through about half the places! One of the more interesting items I tried was the Pancakes and bacon cupcake at Yellow leaf cupcake co:

Pancacke and bacon cupcake - yellow leaf cupcake

Seattle is a very walkable city and I was able to hit most of the main sites. The Space Needle is viewable from most parts of Seattle.

Seattle Space Needle

I stopped into the EMP museum, which was a lot of fun. They had a Star Wars costume exhibit on, which I had to stop into. They also had amazing exhibits on music, horror films. Nirvana, Jimi Hendrix in London, Sci Fi, and Fantasy.

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Highly recommended was the Chihuly museum and garden. I’ve enjoyed a number of his previous exhibits and was not disappointed by this one. His glass works are an amazing mix of bright colors and fun shapes. They even had a glass making demonstration, where over 45 minutes they shaped a vase out of a blob of glass. It was pretty impressive and I have new respect for glassblowers.

Chihuly

Chihuly

 

Seattle is a fantastic city and the people were super friendly. I did notice a number of drug addicts wandering around the street, but they tended to keep to themselves/talk to themselves. The weather held out for us, only raining one day during the week. Overall I had a great time and highly recommend a visit to Seattle.

 

I Bought a House! – Construction – Part 1

I’ve been house hunting over the last year, and in early December finally had my offer accepted on a house in Culver City. The escrow process was supposed to be pretty straight forward, however due to an incompetent broker, the process turned into a stressful 2 months in which the seller threatened to pull out of the deal a number of times.

However, on 22 January 2015, escrow closed and I finally became the owner of a 2 bedroom/1 bath house next to Sony Studios. I got a great deal on the house, which meant that work needed to be done on it. Over the last month I’ve been working diligently on the house with the help of my family and friends.

House Construction

Here’s a recap of what I’ve been up to:

1. Demolition of the awful wood panels in the 2nd bedroom and replacing rotten wood framing.

During the escrow process it came to light that there was a major leak in the roof. My mortgage would not be approved without the roof getting fixed, so the roof got fixed. When we pulled off the awful 70’s wood paneling we discovered a whole corner where the wood had rotted out from the leak. The corner had to be re-framed and plastered. We also had to pull off ancient wall paper that was hiding under the wood paneling.

Taking off the ugly 70's wood paneling. You can see the white wall peeking out from under the pink wallpaper.

Taking off the ugly 70’s wood paneling. You can see the white wall peeking out from under the pink wallpaper.

Re-framing the corner

Re-framing the corner

2. Demolishing the shed on the side of the house.

The last owner of the house built an ugly shed on the side of the house which he used to store junk. It blocked light into the 2nd bedroom, blocked entry into the back room (which I am turning into a rec room), and blocked entry to the side door into the kitchen. The shed had to come down.

The outside of the ugly shed

The outside of the ugly shed

The inside of the ugly shed. The door to the right leads into the kitchen and the door at the back leads into the garage/rec room.

The inside of the ugly shed. The door to the right leads into the kitchen and the door at the back leads into the garage/rec room. This is post-removal of their junk.

Knocking down the ugly shed.

Oliver & Frankie knocking down the ugly shed.

The ugly shed has been taken down. The house now has more light!

The ugly shed has been taken down. The house now has more light!

 

3. Build a second bathroom.

I am going to rent out the second room and wanted to add an attached private bathroom. The planning part of this build was quite difficult as there were a number of configurations I could have done. This part of the project has also been the most stressful. In the end I opted to convert the closet and laundry room into a second bathroom. This would give the second bedroom a bathroom, and would still give me a walkway from the kitchen to the side door. This is still in progress, but it is finally starting to look like  bathroom!

Knocked out the back of the closet wall into the laundry room.

View through the side door – Knocked out the back of the closet wall into the laundry room.

The hot water heater was moved outside and the washer/dryer was moved to the rec room. You can see that the original 1928 fuse box is located right in the middle of my new bathroom. The main fuse box is no longer located there, however the box was being used as a major junction box. A professional electrician was called in to move the cables.

Laying backer board into the floor before tiling. You can see the archway leading into the kitchen.

 

A plumber was called in to run the new pipes for the toilet, sink, shower, and the washer/dryer line in the rec room.

The kitchen archway. This is the walkway to the side door. The framing in view is the back of the shower.

The kitchen archway. This is the walkway to the side door. The framing in view is the back of the shower.

Tiling the bathroom. This is the view from the bathroom door. The hole in view is where the toilet will go.

Tiling the bathroom. This is the view from the bathroom door. The hole in view is where the toilet will go.

After the tiling was done, the plumber was called back to do the finishing work – install the shower and toilet. Coming back to the house to inspect the work, I was in shock. He had installed the toilet facing the wall! Doh! I immediately called him back to fix the issue. He had to move the water pipe and the toilet hole. You can see the difference in the photo above from the photo below. The water pipe in the photo above is on the left of the hole and the hole isn’t centered. Below, he has centered the toilet hole and moved the water pipe to the back wall behind the toilet. Some of the tiles had to be replaced after the toilet was re-aligned.

The walls of the bathroom have been drywalled. shower can been seen on the right, sink will be on the left.

The walls of the bathroom have been dry walled. Shower can been seen on the right, sink will be on the left.

4. Update the garage/rec room.

The garage in the back is too small to fit a car in it, so I am turning it into a rec room! The original owner was using this room as a third bedroom. It was dark and depressing and had a weird bathroom that didn’t have any walls or doors. I took out the bathroom (this was actually a part of my loan approval) and took out one of the lofts to raise the ceiling. I also re-did most of the electrical as whoever did it before made an absolute hash out of it. This is still in progress… more pics to come.

Oliver demo-ing the rec room wall.

Oliver demoing the rec room wall.

Taking out one of the lofts  (where the cross beams are) and the weird closets in the room.

Taking out one of the lofts (where the cross beams are) and the weird closets in the room.

Rewiring the plugs and new light switches in the rec room. (The door leads to the back patio)

Rewiring plugs and new light switches in the rec room. (The door leads to the back patio)

Dry walling the rec room.

Insulating and dry walling the rec room.

5. Changing all the locks.

Changed the locks on the front security door, front door, and drilled news holes to install locks in the back doors.

6. Fix the guttering – Back patio done, need to install the side guttering.

7. Swap out the light switches. Some dimmer switches are broken – still in progress.

8. Install new electrical fixtures. In progress – receptacles have been installed, waiting for dry walling to finish to mount the fixtures.

Installing new switches for the hallway and outdoor light.

Installing new switches for the hallway and outdoor light.

9. Storage shed on the back side of the house was demolished and removed.

10. Asbestos pipe removal. An old asbestos pipe was in the middle of the new bathroom. After a few outrageous quotes for removal, we decided to to some research online and do it ourselves. The pipe came out very easily and is bagged, ready to take to the special disposal center.

Interesting House Info

Demo and dry walling has been very difficult because the house was build in 1928 and the walls are not a standard drywall. The walls were made with wooden slats and then layered with plaster on top. So, in essence we had to take down a whole wall of wood if we wanted to demo anything. For the new walls, we have to make sure that it’s flush with the old walls, which means lots of shimming.

Front of original wall - you can see the wood slats through the plaster.

Front of original wall – you can see the wood slats through the plaster.

The back of the original walls.

The back of the original walls. You can see the plaster through the wooden slats.

During the construction, Home Depot has basically been my second home. Running back and forth to pick up all the items I need has been rough, but Rosita has been a great help carting sinks, dry wall, plaster, 2×4’s, and loads of other stuff to the new house.

Rosita carrying construction material.

Rosita carrying construction material.

The End of Construction is in Sight!

We’ve started to clean out the front rooms to get it ready to paint! Once the 2nd bathroom and the rec room are ready I will get the place painted and move in. So excited! There are a million and one projects I have in mind for the place, but one step at a time.

Here’s a look at the newly cleaned dining room:

A clean dining room!

A clean dining room!

Next blog post will be a finished house. Am already starting to think about furnishing the place and decorating!