San Francisco Travel Guide

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Well hello!  We just got back from a phenomenal trip to San Francisco.  Though we had originally intended to attend Pokémon Worlds, having all that free time in San Francisco really let us explore so many different neighborhoods and see so much in 5 days.  It was my first time there, and everything was so photo-worthy!  Even better, Matt’s been there a bunch of times and we were able to do things that were new to him too.  We love to explore, and we walked A LOT.  Here’s our trip!


Watch Day 1 – Exploring San Francisco!

  • What We Did: Walked to see the Painted Ladies, checked out the view at Buena Vista Park, walked through Haight-Ashbury and Golden Gate Park, stopping to admire the Japanese Tea Garden.
  • What We Ate: Sushi-Go-Round at Isobune in Japantown, Muracci’s curry
  • Step Count: 23,265 (9.27 miles)

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Watch Day 2 [soon!  I’m working on the vlogs and will update this post as they go up.]

  • What We Did: Walked to the Ferry Building, then the whole Embarcadero, and Fisherman’s Wharf, then Ghiradelli Square, over to Lombard Street and all the way to the Palace of Fine Arts and the Golden Gate Bridge.
  • What We Ate: a Nutella Belgian Waffle at Pier 39 with an apple cider from Biscoff next door, a sourdough turtle from BoudinIn-N-Out Burger for lunch, dinner with Matt’s friend at YakiniQ for Korean barbecue.
  • Step Count: 32,813 (13.24 miles)

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Watch Day 3 [soon!  I’m working on the vlogs and will update this post as they go up.]

  • What We Did: spent some more time exploring (& shopping in!) Japantown, walked through Chinatown  and to Coit Tower.
  • What We Ate: Tonkatsu in Japantown at Koji Osakaya, dinner with my cousin & his girlfriend at Hunan House in Chinatown.
  • Step Count: 23,317 (9.3 miles)


Watch Day 4 [soon!  I’m working on the vlogs and will update this post as they go up.]

  • What We Did: ate our way through the Mission, soaked up some sun in Dolores Park and walked down Valencia Street, which was closed to traffic and a total party.
  • What We Ate: The Rebel Within at Craftsmen & Wolves, a sandwich & a tart at Tartine, two scoops of ice cream at Bi-Rite, and sushi at Amasia in Noe Valley.
  • Step Count: 18,606 (7.47 miles)

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Watch Day 5 [soon!  I’m working on the vlogs and will update this post as they go up.]

  • What We Did: A museum visit to California Academy of the Sciences just in time to watch the penguins get fed and chase butterflies in their rainforest exhibit, walked through Inner & Outer Richmond to Sea Cliff, then the breath-taking hike of Lands End and the Sutro Baths.
  • What We Ate: breakfast at Pinecrest Diner, lunch at Lou’s Cafe, and dinner with Matt’s friends at Iza Ramen where I finally got my takoyaki!
  • Step Count: 16,047 (6.4 miles)

Stay tuned to see much, much more of this trip!


Travel Bug (US edition)

Three years ago, I had this temp job that hired a lot of co-op students from a local university.  One such student sat behind me and we’d chat on occasion.  She was from Ireland, studying abroad in the US.  While my summer weekends were spent escaping to the beaches of Rhode Island, she travelled the United States.  I quickly realized she’d seen more of my home country than I had!

So, I’ve had this running list of US cities I wanted to visit.  It’s evolved a bit over time, but I decided to post this now, since the travel bug has hit me hard and I’m making real progress!


Swamp Queen Palette


Grav3yardgirl and Tarte’s Swamp Queen Palette has been out for a while– I actually had it marked on my calendar when it was supposed to hit Sephora, near two months ago.  Of course, I had a little trouble getting my hands on it.  I was able to pick it up on my recent trip to Las Vegas, and thanks to restocks, I’ve seen it in stores at home too.

Now that I’ve had it for a bit and had a chance to play around with it, I wanted to share my thoughts with you!

Though I initially didn’t feel wowed my the packaging, the faux wood is actually pretty nice– it’s textured and sturdy.  When you first open it, you’ll notice– it smells like chocolate!  Yum.  Inside holds 9 eyeshadow shades, a bronzer, blush, and highlight.  This makes the palette somewhat unique, but actually isn’t much of a selling point for me.

I love the eyeshadow shades– I knew I had to get the palette when I saw them.  I’m not a huge fan of Bunny, but I’ve watched here enough to get most of the names.  They are:

  • #SFS (rose gold*): more of a neutral with a slight pink hue and a shimmer
  • natural peaches (peachy nude): a matte, bronzey tone, more neutral than orange
  • dogman (burnt sienna): super shimmery orange-tone bronze
  • big baby (cream): a light matte neutral
  • sassy bun (copper peach): this is more rose gold/copper, more shimmer than #SFS
  • sippy sippy (glittery brown): chunky gold glitter in dark brown
  • haunting (lavender): a neutral bordering purple, almost gray, with shimmer
  • uncommon (purple slate) a darker, deeper purple version of the previous, shimmer
  • mancat (deep plum): matte deep purple, near plum

*Tarte’s color descriptions

The bronzer, sweet tea, is near as orange-tone as the dogman eyeshadow and almost as shimmery.  The blush, does this thing really work?,  is a raspberry pink, again, very shimmery.  The highlight takes the cake– gator wings has chunks of glitter in a very light shade.  It’s SUPER shimmery on; I’m talking crazy sparkle catching the light.  The chunk glitter isn’t apparent in wear.  Now, for me, I can’t put this much glitter on my face; my skin can’t handle it.  I could adapt any of these into an eyeshadow and be fine with them, though.

The eyeshadows themselves are a great array of neutral colors especially great for blue eyes.  There is a lot of glitz involved in this palette, but that’s kind of fun.  I’ve still been able to create some subtle, wearable, everyday looks with it and I’m so glad I got it.  My favorite shade is natural peaches!

Did you pick up this Grav3yardgirl x Tarte palette?  Are you hoping to?  What do you think?

Fixes for a Bad Day


I wrote this because I was having  bad day.*

Maybe you sleep through your alarm.  Maybe you turn on the shower and there’s no hot water… for the second time this week.  Maybe your work phone is already buzzing and the emails from your boss do not seem pleasant.  Maybe once you make it out the door, it’s raining and you’ve left your umbrella upstairs.  Maybe the train is late.  Maybe it’s all of these things, a combination of a few plus a couple others, but you’re having a bad day.

Wait.  Slow down.  A few bad moments do not a bad day make.  Here are some things you can do to turn your mood around when you think you’re having a bad day.

Relax. | Sometimes all you can do is take a breath.  If you’re out and about, take a moment to center yourself and calm down.  If you’re home, make a cup of tea.  Do a pamper activity like a face mask or painting your nails– for me, even just washing my face can bring about a renewed calm.

Take A Walk. | If you are at work and that’s what’s frustrating you, step away.  Take a lap around the block.  When my internet’s out at home and that’s the icing on the cake, I take a walk.  I take in the sights, maybe take some photos.  It helps clear your head!

Treat Yourself. | This could be that ridiculous $5 Frappuccino at Starbucks, or making yourself a fresh batch of cookies.  I find treating myself to my favorite foods a great way to take the edge off of a bad day.  I don’t suggest you eat a pint of ice cream, but I think you earned a little treat.

Reward Yourself. | Maybe Starbucks was already your splurge for the day, but I believe in retail therapy.  Go ahead; buy the lipstick you’ve been eyeing.  Has something been in your Amazon cart forever?  It’s time to check out!

Hit the Gym. | I never want to go to the gym, but I never regret going.  Take a run outside or on the treadmill.  Hit up yoga or your favorite class– Body Pump is great for making me feel like I can do anything!

Get Things Done. | This might sound crazy, but I clean when I’m stressed.  When my home is a mess, my mind is a mess and I find checking little things off the list– laundry, dishes, vacuuming– helps me feel better.

Immerse Yourself. | Escape into a great book or TV show to get away from whatever is bothering you.  Certain shows always make me smile, like Friends or The Office.  I find Youtube videos to be a great way to get out of your head– vlogs show someone else’s life and can be a distraction from your own.  Of course, I love to play a video game to get into an immersive adventure!

Create. | Painting, drawing, or any kind of craft can be a great, therapeutic way to relax.  Those fancy adult coloring books are meant to do just that, aren’t they?  Write!*  Getting yourself into a little creative project shifts the focus from the negative.

Laugh. | Laughter is truly the best medicine.  Once you’re smiling, you’ll find it hard to be upset.  I mentioned watching Friends or The Office above– I pick those because I can’t help but laugh.  Maybe there’s a website that always cracks you up– bookmark these for bad days.  Chat with a friend who can always cheer you up.

What do you do when you’re having a bad day?

An Open Letter to Pokémon

Re: Entry Restrictions at the 2016 World Championships


I attended Pokémon Worlds last year in Boston as a spectator and had a wonderful time.  Since then, I’ve planned on going to San Francisco for Worlds this year.  Spoiler alert: I pulled the trigger.  I booked flights and a hotel.  I spent money to fly across the country for this event.

One week before said event, this announcement comes out.  I’m pretty upset.  This is probably a huge waste of time and money for a lot of people.  Thankfully, I really want to see San Francisco and will have no trouble occupying my time there.  Still, I’m deeply disappointed.  When it has always been open to the public, you don’t wait until the week prior to announce that it won’t be.  My boyfriend has never been to Worlds before, and now he won’t get to experience it.

I’ve been a pokémon fan for 20 years and that’s no going to change (and let’s be real: Surfing Raichu is adorable), but this is pretty despicable.

Anyone in the same boat as me?  I know people are mad, so let’s hear it!

Current Everyday Make-Up


The alarm goes off.  I do nothing.  The second alarm goes off.  I struggle out of bed, and go about getting ready for my day.  Somehow I always feel like more of a human once my make-up is done.  For work especially, I wear an everyday look again and again– something basic and professional.  I thought today I’d share with you what my everyday go-to products are!

Foundation: Smashbox Camera Ready BB Water

I’ve really not been into foundation lately.  It’s hot!  This light formulation lets my skin breathe and still has enough coverage to handle days when my skin isn’t looking its best!

Concealer: NARS radiant creamy concealer & Benefit Boi-oing

Nothing brightens my under-eye area like NARS concealer in shade vanilla– it’s just the perfect color for me.  For the cysts that have been popping up on my chin or the odd zit here & there, Boi-oing is high enough coverage to make them disappear.

Powder: Too Faced Primed & Poreless Pressed Powder

I bought this completely randomly, but I ended up loving it for a finishing powder.  It’s colorless and locks my foundation & concealer down for hot days.

Bronzer: Benefit Hoola

Now that I have a bit of a tan, Benefit’s Hoola is perfect for a little bit of contour and a little bit of warmth.  The accompanying brush is nice for contour, but I like to use a larger brush for bronzing.

Eye Primer: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion

This is my go-to eye shadow primer.  I wear the original formula– it’s light, colorless, and keeps my winged eyeliner in place.

Eyeliner: Tarteist Double Take Eyeliner

I’ve discovered a new favorite.  Tarte’s liquid eyeliner is my new go-to for my daily wings that, at this point, are just part of my face.  It is waterproof, but I find removal a lot easier than my previous favorite.  I love the pencil side too– it glides on easily and lasts longer than any pencil that has graced my waterline.

Mascara: Benefit They’re Real! Tinted Lash Primer & Benefit Roller Lash

My lashes are so sad, I can’t go anywhere without mascara.  Benefit’s primer has been a god-send.  It’s brown, so it darkens my light lashes while lengthening and separating.  Paired with Roller Lash, I got the curl and length I need to make it look like I have lashes!

What are your go-to everyday products?