Mother Nature, you tease.

TSheezy and I decided to do Skyline to the Sea last weekend (June 21-22). It’s one of the most beautiful trails in the area and it’s long, but it’s mostly flat and downhill so it’s doable. The general itinerary is over three days, but we decided to do it in two because of work.

I’m sure she’s going to write an epic blog post with really detailed information and photos and it’s going to be all grammatically correct and etc but in the meantime, here’s the hike from my perspective:

A Recap of Modern Day Hiking Events

Day 1 (Castle Rock -> Lane Campsite, 19 miles)

05:10 Alarm is going off. Texting TSheezy. Shower. Make coffee. Make eggs. Where the hell is TSheezy we were supposed to leave at 5:30 I WANT TO BE HIKING I’M SO EXCITED!!!

06:00 TSheezy shows up but forgot socks. Turns out I forgot socks too. Drive back to her place and grab socks for everyone! Yay socks!

07:15 No parking at Saratoga Gap. Drat. Drive to Castle Rock. What an extra 3.1 miles on top of the 17 we were already planning on hiking?

07:30 Meet some bros. Laugh at bros. Hit the trail! “Everything is else really light in the grand scheme of WATER”

08:00 Oops we only brought one almost empty bottle of bug spray. The other one is on the floor of my house. Ah…

09:00 It’s so nice out! What a lovely day for a joyous saunter through the woods!

(All photos shamelessly stolen from TSheezy. #ImNotSorry)

09:30 So glad we got socks. It’s cushioning the bumping from my ankle boot into my SUS ankle plate and screws (somewhat)!

10:30 LALALA HIKING IS LOVELYYYYYYY!

11:30 (Mile 9.5) Hit Waterman Gap Trail Camp. Refill water. Eat a ton of beef jerky. Why is beef jerky so goooooood?? Dried mangos also good. More on this later. THuski elevates legs, part 1.

12:00 Onwards and downwards!

12:45 TSheezy tries to use Instagram because she’s amazed there is reception. I’m amazed that we’re in the beautiful wilderness and she’s thinking of Instagram. TSheezy returns to the task at hand of why she pulled out the phone in the first place to give MelMel a quick status update of where we arm and confirmed that we will still require pickup from Waddell Beach on Sunday. Eat more beef jerky.

13:45 Knee is killing me. Apply knee brace for extra support. Trail mix for the win. Did we just walk in a circle? We just walked in a circle. Around the road. Well I guess the fastest way from Point A to Point B is most definitely a series of circles. Yes.

14:30 WHY IS THERE A PEACOCK IN THE TRAIL. Are people allowed to have pet peacocks? Oh wait where is it going oh it’s crossing the street… what a brave and adventurous peacock! TSheezy you saw that too right I’m not hallucinating right?? Right?

Right.

16:30 Hollow Tree Trail! 1.58more miles to the campsite.. wait… what… why does this sign marker say 3.2 miles? WELL THERE’S NO WAY THAT’S RIGHT COMPARED TO THE INTERNET (note that Lane is about a 6 mile detour from the Skyline to the Sea trial but the preferred campsite, Jay, only allows people who had camped at another site the night before)

17:00 Where is the campsite

17:15 Where is the campsite

17:30 Seriously WTF where is the campsite

17:35 Oh my god my knee is killing me where is the campsite. A family passes by while I’m sitting on a log repositioning my knee brace.

Kid with Bieber hair: Was that your friend up ahead?
Me: Yeah! How long ago did you pass her?
Kid: Yeah… she’s really really far ahead.

Dammit.

17:45 *At every turn* “I really hope I turn the corner and the campsite is there…. NOPE JUST CHUCK TESTA”

18:00 Stupid leaves on the trail because nobody takes this trial. Stupid Internet map. Stupid backpack. Stupid broken joints. WHERE ARE YOU CAMPSITEEEEEEEEE??

18:05 Don’t mind me, just hiking along and yelling “SGOTTTTTT” every 5 minutes trying to get my friends’ attention (to no avail because she is very far ahead of me because she has strong not-broken knees and not-broken ankles of non-sadness)

18:10 “SGOTTTTTTTTTTT”

18:15 Contemplate setting up camp in this very nice looking grove of trees. “SGOTTTTT!!!!”

18:20 Pass a nice couple walking in the opposite direction

Me: Hello! Did you happen to pass the turnoff for Lane Campground?
Them: Yeah! It’s about 200 yards ahead!

YES!!!!!!! Glory! Hope! Happiness! I am filled with new energy.

18:25 Where is the campsite. This is more than 200 yards. Does that couple know what yards are? Do I know what yards are?

18:28 All is lost.

18:30 (Mile 19) I FOUND THE CAMPSITE! And TSheezy! *Collapse on tarp*

18:35 Hour 13. The mosquito situation is becoming dire. We have discovered that due to some hilarious miscommunication we only brought one bug net. For… a hammock. Only big enough for two people if they cuddle. TSheezy has no intention of cuddling with me. Am too tired to be sad.

Take stock of the water situation (no water at Lane). Cook dinner. Instant couscous and instant mashed potatoes have never tasted so delicious!!!! Tie things to trees so the bears can’t get them. Let me rephrase – tie things to trees so the SHORT bears can’t get them. If Mama bear wanted that food she would house that food.

19:30 Elevate. Pass out on tarp while clutching dried mango and with legs 90 degrees up in the air.

20:30 Sunset. Not that we were awake for it or anything

Day 2 (Lane Campground -> Waddell Beach, 16 miles?)

06:30 Alarm goes off. “Sgot wake up.” “Unnnhhhhhhhh”

07:30 “Sgot it’s 7:30 we should get up.” “Unnnhhhhh”

07:40 Limp over to bear-food-rope-tree contraption. Retrieve food. Make oatmeal. Stoves are cooooooool

08:00 Pack. Put on knee brace and ankle brace. Apply more bug spray. The nozzle barely sprays anymore we are so low on bug spray. I guess I’ll wear long pants today.

10:00 Arrive at Big Basin HQ. Drink about 4 liters of water each. Refill all bottles. Rest. Elevate. Make instant coffee directly in my water bottle. I now have ALLLL the energy for limping down the mountain really fast!

10:45 Onwards.

12:45 Arrive at Berry Creek Falls. Elevate. Eat more beef jerky. And chocolate. And bars.

13:15 Continue.

13:30 FINAL 6 MILE FLAT STRETCH!! Should be easy right?

14:30 Tired.

15:30 When can we see the beach? MOTHER NATURE YOU’RE SUCH A TEASE

16:30 Right foot. Left foot. Right foot. Left foot.

17:00 One and a half more miles. Come on Tiffany you can do it. You can do it. You can do it.

17:05 We’re out of beef jerky.

17:10 Dried cranberries just aren’t as good as beef jerky.

17:30 Wait seriously why can’t I see the beach yet?????

17:45 Arrive at Waddell Beach. Crawl across the highway and collapse on the beach. Zone out on the ground next to our packs while TSheezy tries to get reception on her phone to call Melissa.

BUT FIRST, LET ME TAKE A #SELFIE!!

17:50 There is no reception

17:55 Still no reception

18:00 Briefly discuss walking a mile away where other people got reception.

18:10 Start talking to a nice guy who ends up giving us a ride back into Santa Cruz (thanks random dude!!)

18:35 Arrive at TSheezy’s friend house and collapse on his floor while we want for MelMel.

19:30 TAQUERIAAAAAAAAAAAAA

21:00 Back to Castle rock, pick up car, go home, throw things on floor, shower, pass out.\

To Do: Things to Accomplish for 2014

AKA Resolutions. But that sounds cliche. Though it does sound cliche how I’m rephrasing it, no?

1) Keep in better touch with my friends and people that I care about. I always use the excuse “it’s great that we can still get along so well even though we haven’t seen each other in forever; that’s the sign of a good friendship!” Yes, that may be true, and I’m lucky to have friendships that are so good that we can last through that, but I need to spend more time building these friendships and furthering them. I do care about everyone, after all! Take more trips, see more people!

2) Stop doing things to make other people happy; do things to make myself happy.

3) Typical girl things – be less fat, work out at least 2x a week (this is a vast improvement over the first 9 months of 2013!), eat more healthy

4) Spend less money on clothes; especially things that look exactly the same just in different colors. I’ve already stopped using my EXPRESS and VS credit cards to get out of the cycle of “oh sweet I have $40 worth of points expiring in two weeks – time to buy more to use this discount!” IT’S A RUSE. A CLEVER, CLEVER RUSE!

5) Stand up for what I want. Identify what needs to be done to get what I want, and go for it. Make. Shit. Happen.

These were bouncing around in my head, but it seems much more formal now that I’ve typed them out!

Cheers!

Tiff

Coffee is for Closers

Three years ago, if you had told me I’d enjoy drinking coffee, I would have laughed and called you crazy. Back then, to me coffee was bitter and strong – a drink for grownups, grumpy college students, and parents in pajamas. I’ll have a cup of tea instead, please.

Cafe Latte from Blue Bottle Coffee – San Francisco, CA

Two years ago, if you had told me I’d have my own coffee maker, I would have giggled secretly about how little you knew me. I started drinking coffee with too much cream and too much sugar – I drowned out the taste with condensed milk. I never made my own coffee, but I drank it if someone else made it for me. I studied in Lyngby, Denmark for a semester, an hour outside of Copenhagen and my personal consumption ratio of Carlsberg to coffee was about 3:1.

Why?

1 – Because I am a small person with an even smaller tolerance for alcohol. Because my friends were hardcore Danes with livers of steel from their viking descendants, and they had decided that I needed to stop being an embarrassment and passing out during pre-gaming. My Danish kitchen-mate Andreas’s parents were environmental engineers overseas in South America, so he always had a unique selection of coffee beans on hand and he pumped me full of caffeine before we all went out.

Why?

2 – Because my Italian friend Stefano often forged friendships over coffee hours. He brought an old fashioned Bialetti Moka Express and a stock of coffee from home to Denmark. We all loved his company over espresso so much that he was having coffee three times a day, was constantly wired on caffeine, and had a steady stream of visitors. We loved it so much, in fact, that he had to write home to replenish his supply (and also the science behind a moka is fastinating! Yes, we went to an engineering school, go figure.)

Why?

3 – Because my Belgian friend Len loved lattes. He introduced me to cafe culture and changed my view of coffee drinkers from half asleep students drooling in 8am lectures to stylish people taking time out of their day to sit down together and enjoy a cup of coffee, wool coats hung neatly and designer handbags carefully placed next to them. People coming in off the streets to escape the cold – shaking the snow off their gloves and smiling as they wrap their hands around a cup of coffee and whispering the latest gossip. I started with hot chocolates, and after constantly admiring the beautiful designs drawn into his lattes, started slowly ordering lattes.

Charlie Brown Mocha from Charlie Brown Cafe – Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

One year ago, I bought a moka. I went on a trip throughout Europe, and stopped to visit Stefano in his hometown. I gave my travel companions (my little sister and my friend Melissa) a quick run-down of my friends and when I came to Stefano, I told them that he was the coffee master. That people would walk across campus on a snowy day just to sit in his container (he literally lived in a shipping container – the school ran out of housing and had to strap together a bunch of shipping containers and renovate them for temporary student housing) and enjoy a cup of Stefano’s coffee and his conversation. My sister has been a coffee fiend since she 12 (or some other ridiculously early age) so she was excited to meet him. One cup of coffee, and the memories started rushing back. Bliss. Our last day there, he took us to a store and between my sister and I, we bought five Bialetti Moka espresso makers. One each for both of us, and gifts for our family and friends. His family gifted us with coffee, and we’ve been drinking it on special occasions with our family ever since (we ran out a few weeks ago, tears were shed, and I immediately ordered a tin of the same coffee online).

A week after I returned to the United States, I began my first full time job. Two of my co-workers and I started making it a habit to go down to the second floor to use the “secret espresso maker” (it wasn’t really a secret, it was just less frequented by our team) and chat. We travel abroad at least once a month, and the majority of us end up in Shenzhen. We often go to Hong Kong on weekends to blow off stress, and I started taking time before going out on the town to find a new coffee spot and “caffinate myself” before the evening’s adventures. At least – that’s what I said. Secretly, I love searching out somewhere new, finding my own place to sit with my laptop and do my emails while enjoying a hot cup of coffee. After a week of being in Shenzhen with too many people, it’s nice to spend a moment alone – whether to catch up on work or zone out and people watch.

Cafe Latte from Initial Cafe TST – Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong

In December, I slowly started taking my coffee black. I’m slightly lactose-intoleranct – just in the sense that I can’t drink straight milk. I’ve never enjoyed creamer that much in coffee in the first place, and I noticed that on days that I drank coffee I was feeling bloated for the whole day, especially on trips to China. Once I realized it was the milk, I started taking it with just sugar, and now, black. I eat the sugar cubes separately =)

But even though I take my coffee black, that still doesn’t stop me from enjoying a cappuccino, or mocha, or a latte now and again. It doesn’t stop me from searching out fun new cafes and coffee stands in San Francisco and trying out their specials, especially when they are conveniently located on my walk from my home to the company shuttle.

And I’ve found that coffee is something that I not only enjoy with a close friend, but on my own. While tea and dinner and drinks are fun with at least another one or more, I look forward to escaping from my life and sitting down in the corner of a cafe, slowly enjoying a flavorful cup, surrounded by people I don’t know. I’m a person who is constantly in motion; I get bored easily, but when I go to a cafe I can sit for hours on end. Though, in retrospect, it might not be the atmosphere but more the caffeine. (More research required).

So why this post now? Because I am in Hong Kong and I have 10 hours to kill before my 1:00am flight to Seoul. I am temporarily homeless, as I had to check out of the Sheraton at 4:00pm, so I’m setting up shop in cafes scattered through Tsim Sha Tsui. This is my third cafe of the day, and my second cup of coffee (I was content with a lemonade at one earlier). So why not write a post on my generally dormant blog? At least – why not draft one? I don’t have any internet, so this will sit on my desktop until I get somewhere with wi-fi.

Till next time,
<3 Tiff

P.S. If you click on the links, you’ll see they go to my Everplaces account, a website that has been called “Pintrest for the real world” on online reviews. It’s great! If you’re interested in seeing more coffee locations I’ve saved (still building up the collection!) you can see it here – Coffee is for Closers.

Being from California means you always have strawberries and avocados!

Cooking is something I really enjoy, but with my work schedule (and also laziness) I don’t do it often enough. One of my favorite parts of living with my two best friends back at school was when we would ditch our 8am classes on Friday morning, sleep in, and then make a brunch consisting of everything that happened to be in the refrigerator! We almost always had salsa, so huevos rancheros was a given; sometimes the waffle maker would come out, we’d eat all the fruit and cheese in the fridge, and I would fry up some bacon while our landlord opened the door so it wouldn’t set off the smoke alarm. Tortilla in the fridge? Just warm in the microwave, sprinkle on some salt, roll up, deliver to face!

Needless to say, I miss the good ol’ days.

The nice thing about meeting someone cute is that you start wanting to make food for them – though this may just be the feminine instinct inside me talking (BITCH MAKE ME SOME BIBIMBAP!) Given that I haven’t really had to cook for myself in the past year due to a combination of eating at work and traveling for business, it’s been a difficult but fun task remembering old tricks in the kitchen. One that has mostly been driven by the onset of homesickness for California due to frequent trips to China is the need to add avocado and/or strawberry to EVERYTHING. And I do mean everything:

waffles

Really, just an excuse to post a photo of food, because, well, why not?

Nail Polish Sale!

If you know me, you know I have WAY too much nail polish for my own good. Seriously, I do not have enough fingers =( Anyways, I’m getting rid of a chunk of my stash, mostly colors that are really similar to ones I already have – the majority of them have only been used on 1 finger or 1 hand, and I’d love to sell them in bulk =D Please leave a comment or send me an email if you’re interested (hu.tiff@gmail.com). If directed here via Cat, please contact her!

Thirty-six bottles of bright awesome colors below the cut! (I’m open to negotiations, especially in bulk, so feel free to contact me for questions!)

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Singapore Slings

Hello everyone! This post has been sitting in the drafts box and has been ready to go for a long time coming! So, without further ado – the Singapore Sling!

In March of 2011, my good friend Dirdo and I went to Singapore to visit our friend Heather, who was studying at NTU. Amongst all of our adventures traipsing through the city and taking a million touristy pictures (okay, maybe mostly just me!), one place we made sure to stop was Raffles Hotel for their signature Singapore Slings.

Singapore Slings at the Raffles Hotel

A quick bit of history: the first Singapore Sling was created at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel around 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon (嚴崇文). The original recipe has since been lost, but the current version is still tropical, still gorgeous, and still a delectable drink!

We plunked ourselves down at the outdoor bar at Raffles after a long day of exploring the city and decided that we had to treat ourselves to a Singapore Sling. Even though it was 25 SGD + 5 tip. The wallet hurt a little bit, but oh, it was so worth it!

No mixes or any of that nonsense – good fruit juices and liquor, then shake, shake, shake, shake!

Us with our Singapore Slings!

I can’t remember the exact recipe followed by the bartender, but here’s one of the best I’ve found:

Glass: Sling (or Collins, if you’re not fully stocked =D)
Garnish: Maraschino cherry, pineapple

1 oz Gin (Sapphire)
1/2 oz Cherry Brandy (Heering cherry liqueur)
3 oz Pineapple juice (fresh, if possible)
1/4 oz Benedictine
1/4 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Grenadine (I like homemade =D)
Fill with club soda

Shake all ingredients (except soda) with ice then strain into glass with crushed ice – fill with club soda and garnish with fruit!

Use the good shit. It’ll be better. I promise =)

Cheers!
-Tiff

Why I need to spend more time packing

In an exciting turn of events, I spent about half an hour packing for my most recent China trip. Because I am a moron and was not thinking clearly, here are the things that I forgot:

– Sunblock
– Glasses
– Gym clothes
– Hair ties (for factory and gym)
– Refill my contact solution
– Anything remotely pajama-esque
– Nail clipper or nail file

I’m sure there are other things as well, but I have not needed them yet.

I should start making a list or something… but that would just be too easy!

Also this blog post is brought to you by jetlag and Toblerone!

Now to see if the gym has clothes for me to borrow… -_____-

Day 19-23: Thira/Santorini, Hellas (Θήρα)

In fall 2010, Jess approached me and asked if I would be down to go on an epic adventure in Greece with a few of our mutual friends from DTU. I accepted in a heartbeat – Greece is one of the countries on the very top of my list of places I want to visit (it’s an EXTENSIVE list too!) and I am so so happy that Holger and Joe were able to make it happen. I booked flights in and out of Athens and left the rest for Holger to figure out, but I never would have dreamed that we would end up on Santorini Island – cliff diving, lying on the beach, crashing ATVs, and enjoying the beauty of an amazing sunset off the coast of Ia. These pictures don’t even begin to explain what an amazing experience it was!

Sunset over Caldera Beach

(Because no story about Santorini is complete without a photo of the beautiful blue roofs =D)

Pictures and adventures below the cut!

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Why I should just take the subway everywhere (China edition)

So I’ve been in China since August 18th and I’ve gotten a bit of experience with being driven around here. This is actually my first time in China, and it’s incredibly different from anywhere else I’ve been previously. The transportation around here is just as cray as it is in Vietnam, but it very different ways. In Vietnam, there are tons of mopeds and they are very good at dodging pedestrians, so there aren’t too many accidents. Here, people drive faster and seem to be more impatient, resulting in more collisions and almost-running-over of pedestrians! Since I’ve been here, I’ve been in buses, vans, and taxis, and as I have promised Smos that I would be creating some sweet charts, I took the opportunity to compile an excellent chart documenting my general experiences in a vehicle in China:

Please note that for all but one of the unsafe conditions, the driver was also efficient and got us to our final destination much quicker than if he had obeyed basic traffic laws. There is currently no correlation between the driver spitting on another car and speed, but while he was spitting and pulling his head back in through the window, there was a lot of extra swerving, which may have contributed a slight addition to our speed due to the added friction. Or I could totally be talking out of my butt =)

(Additionally, my co-worker throwing up was attributed to him having terrible food poisoning, but the driving may have contributed slightly to nausea. You’re welcome for the image =D)

In retrospect, this is actually a very bad choice of chart. Stacked bar chart may have been better.

If I had a sweet chart-making group, this would not have happened.

Back to work!