Sunday, September 29, 2013

vancouver eats // cafe medina.

vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.
vancouver eats // cafe medina.

Testimonials of the best lavender latte popped up in the Pinterest universe a few months back, getting my coffee taste buds all tingly with excitement. Is it true? The very best?? It would be nice to finally get my lips on a perfect cup of one! It's not like I've spent all summer attempting to concoct a mind-blowing version, only to have most of them fail miserably. (This lavender flavoring business is a finicky art!) So now I've made it my mission to get to Cafe Medina if I ever find myself in Vancouver again.

Which I did. 2 weeks ago. Oh, sweet, sweet elixir. We finally meet!

Good espresso kick. Dash of milk. Hint of lavender. Smooth on the tongue. Subtle bitterness. No chemical aftertaste. More cowbell. Now that's some exceptional lavender latte! Perfect complement to my gigantor bowl of granola, fruit and yohgurt, which was the energy boost I needed without the crash. Surprisingly fulfilling, too. Even Vince's mini cast iron entree of Fricassé was also a gourmet treat, a culinary mastery of balancing light and heavy, rich and delicate. And honestly - who can say no to braised short ribs and grilled foccacia?

But it was the ambiance that sealed the deal for me. After waiting outside the cafe along with the hungry masses for 15 minutes, we were ushered pass the main dining area to a side door leading into a non-descript hallway. The journey continued pass the kitchen into a dark room, which led to another room. What welcomed us was an intimate setting perfect for candid chatter. Brick walls, exposed wood beams, tall ceilings, urban art, contemporary light fixtures. All squeezed into a small, private room. My favorite part: natural light flooding in from the 9-foot windows. Swoon.

Hidden gems just makes the food that much better, innit? Needless to say, I ate my brunch extra slow that morning. Cafe Medina, I kinda like you. I'm def hitting you up again the next time I'm in Vancouver! 

besos ... jin.

Friday, September 27, 2013

throwback travel thursdays // czech republic 2008.

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These 'Throwback Travel Thursdays' are coming to a bittersweet end. (Oh, and nevermind that it's not actually Thursday anymore. Kinda waited til the last minute to crank this out.) But yeah, can't believe it took me 6 months to plow through all my travels between 2006-2012! Now the real question is if I want to continue with my travels before 2006. It would be another 15 or so countries, at least 4 more months dedicated to weekly travel writing. It's an ambitious project to continue. Maybe something to start up again next year, 'cause to be honest, I do welcome the break after today! So it's only fitting to end here in the meantime with one of my favoritest cities in the whole wide world: Prague.

Now Prague is one of those past visited cities that me and Ricky constantly reminisce about from time to time. Actually, just 2 weeks ago we've spent a good 30 minutes laughing over travel funnies and mishaps from Prague! 'Remember when we OD'd on Haribo gummy bears?', 'Remember those giant frisbee-size wafers sitting on our hotel pillows instead of mints?', 'Remember when we bought a bunch of Absinthe from that one random store we found in an alley?', 'Remember when 2 bottles of Absinthe broke in my luggage and all my clothes got drenched? MotherF$*#%!' Hahaha! The funnies goes on and on! Good times!

Other than the inside travel jokes and memories, Prague is a stunner. A vast contrast from the rest of Czech Republic, it seems. The 4 hour train ride from Vienna to Prague proved to be a bit underwhelming, with tons of greenery blurring by and looking oddly like Texas. Occasionally, remnants of communism would dot the landscape, more so when crossing the Czech border, but the noticeable change in scenery occurred once we've entered Prague. Stunning Gothic and Bohemian architecture suddenly revealing themselves from the forest and arising from the Vltava river. It's absolutely amazing how many of Prague's historical attractions survived the world war destruction. These sites are breathtaking! Gorgeous! Pristine! Some even thoroughly enjoyed solo. That's right. Sweet, sweet alone time. When you're constantly with someone (Ricky and Vince) for over 2 weeks, 24/7, all the freakin' time - hey, that's a lot of Ricky and Vince! With Vince already back in the states after Vienna and out of the picture, it was just Ricky to get away from. Just for the day. And I must say, there are some pros in traveling solo for a bit. It's quite therapeutic. Humbling, even.

Def looking forward to the day I get to go back to Prague. Something about this city adds a lil spring to your step and brings the adventurous spirit out in ya. The carefree vibe and 'tude feeding off the awe-inspiring city visuals is truly infectious. I can only imagine how much Prague changed since the last I was there. In 2008, Prague was at the brink of no longer becoming Europe's best kept secret. Everything was still dirt cheap. Now uber touristy and overcrowded with travelers, it probably lost some of it's hidden charm and affordability. But who cares when first impressions left such an indelible mark in ya? Prague will always be a happy, happy place for me.

Prague, I am coming back for ya!

besos ... jin.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

8 years ago, today.

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8 years ago, today, I dated this guy. And have been dating him ever since! Wow! Where has the time gone?? Feels like we've been married for 8, not 2! I must make my yearly thanks to the bestest wing-woman evar for making it all happen. Hurricane Rita. Even though she sent me on a dreadful 19 hour evacuation course out of Houston (curses!), subsequently, I wouldn't have spent 5 wonderful days in Austin with Vince while waiting out the storm. Because of her and the story behind me and V's early courtship days (it's a good one, y'all!), our dating anniversary actually means more to us than the wedding anniversary. Here's to another 8 years of 'dating', V!

besos ... jincent.

diy // tissue tassel balloons.

diy // tissue tassel.

I love it when something so ordinary can be transformed into a whimsical beauty in a matter of minutes. Especially one that only needs a simple, insanely easy AND cheap twist to it's facade, such as these gold + mint tassels hanging off my otherwise ho-hum birthday balloons a few weeks ago. Now that's a vast transformation. It kinda makes birthdays fun again, if you're in your 30s (like me) and dreads getting older (like me). =/ Anyways, got 30 minutes? Here's how!

diy // tissue tassel.

Materials // Tissue paper, balloons (picked up from Party City), and scissors. (That twine in there is for the DIY tissue tassel garland, if ya ever wanna go that route. I kinda played with the idea after sprucing up my balloons.)

How to // Now I'd be lying if I said you don't need a step-by-step pictoral spread. Of course you need step-by-step pix! I didn't realize this until after the fact, as I sit here, attempting to list off written directions, thinking, 'This is confusing ish, man!' World's worse DIY tissue tassel directions ever, I know. But too lazy to go back and take step-by-step pix, here's the DIY tutorial from Designs by Nicolina that I based my tassels on. I didn't have a cutter on hand and used scissors instead, which is probably a much longer process. I also didn't cut the last piece all the way through. After the rolling process, I simply wrapped the rolled-up piece around the knotted end of the balloon and twisted away to secure. 1 or 2 tassels per balloon is the max before gravity takes over.

The easy way out on the directions, I'm sure, but honestly, I just really, really wanted to take pictures of the finished product. My favorite step in any DIY! And something I would rather do on my birthday anyways, getting inexplicably lost in the moment, snapping away at pretty things. All day long if I had a choice. Here are a few selects for your viewing pleasure.

diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.
diy // tissue tassel.

I would love to deck out a giant balloon with tons of tassels like these lovely Geronimo! creations, (an idea for a photoshoot that I've been meaning to do for, like, years) but this DIY was a last minute thing and had to settle with easily attainable materials in a hurry. So last minute, I've actually started and finished the project on my birthday! Queen of last-minute projects right here!

besos ... jin.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

wardrobe remix // summer slowdown.

lookbook // summer slowdown.
lookbook // summer slowdown.
lookbook // summer slowdown.
lookbook // summer slowdown.
lookbook // summer slowdown.
lookbook // summer slowdown.
UO tank top // UO skirt // F21 sandals // H&M sunnies // F21 mustache necklace // UO canvas bag.

Threw this Labor Day outfit together a couple of weeks ago before heading out to Seattle / Vancouver for a week. Yeah, you've read it right. That's a Labor Day outfit. I know, I know. Everything about this outfit probably, okay, most likely, broke every rule about Fall dressing. But we're in Texas. Summer sticks around for a really, really long time around here. Despite it already being September. Heh. That's Fall in Texas for ya! Or supposedly Fall. I'm not sure if we even get Fall in Texas. Anywho, with the Texas heat still in the triple digits, looks like I'll be wearing this ensemble a few more times before tucking it away for next summer. Sorry, Fall, we're not quite ready for ya just yet!

besos ... jin.

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