amy chizmeshya

A business college grad becoming a self-proclaimed student of fashion.

DIY Seamless Panties

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I’m not much of a brand-whore but I do love quality. After a round on interning/selling for Nordstrom , this sale-savvy, bargain shopping gal made a self-discovery. Quality product is worth it to me. And considering that people generally enjoy products that they can rely on and fit all their needs, I imagine you do too.

After breaking my aversion towards pricey (but valuable) products I also discovered that my pockets aren’t as deep as my desire to buy quality. The next paycheck will barely cover rent let alone a $100 t-shirt from Vince (but god, the fabric and fit… I want to be buried in that shirt). That being said, I also can’t spend $10 on 5 pairs of panties… specifically the no-show seamless panties from Victoria Secret.

So off I went to my favorite fabric shop in town, Fabric Outlet in the Mission. This place is like a home away from home and by that I mean its a fantastic equivalent to SAS Fabrics in Phoenix, a koo koo fabric heaven that is a bit of a visual fuck. So. MUCH. Fabric. And Beads. And Lace. And whoa.  I bee-lined it to the remnant bin, found a piece of nylon/lycra fabric for 50 cents and grabbed a yard of stretch lace. And so it begins.

DIY Seamless Panties – Pattern and Sewing 

Ingredients:

1/2 yard of Nylon/Lyrca Fabric or random remnant cuts

1 yard of stretchy lace

1 sheet of remnant tissue paper from your latest birthday present

Total Cost: $1.62

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Make sure to have your slippers in the picture too. It helps…

Step 1

Take your favorite pair of panties (of similar fabric so that when they stretch they maintain the same amount of stretch and the measurements are accurate)  – trace the outline of the front.

Add length to the crotch so that the fabric can meet up with the back piece of fabric. By the way, isn’t crotch the grossest word? Woof. Not a fan but it is what it is…

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Step 2

Create a measuring point for the back side of your undies. I measure how high to create a point and how far from the side edge – then added a dot and free hand an arch to that point.

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Chuck wanted me to remind you all of his fantastic photographic accuracy. Note the picture being so sharp that you can even see the hair growing out of the mole on my left arm. #truetalent #thanksforpointingthatoutchuck

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***Note the Points on each side and the free-handed arch that leads to it and down to meet the other piece of fabric***

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Since these are seamless panties you don’t have to consider the seam on most of the pattern but I did add some length to the sides for the seam where we will sew. I also said it was  1/7th of something. I don’t know what because it doesn’t make any sense but in my caffeinated, creative haze I wrote 1/7th so there you have it.

Step 3

Pin and cut the fabric according to the pattern! Both the front and then the back. Sorry, you can only use this homemade very legit pattern once.

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Drink lots of coffee and eat nothing so that you shake like a little Chihuahua and take blurry pictures.

Step 4

Take a small cut of fabric and sew a quick little pouch around the crotch (cringing). All you ladies know this unmentionable but absolutely necessary  little strip of fabric. OK then. On to the next step.

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Step 5

Pin and sew the sides of the pieces. So easy and quick!

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Sew the crotch (god, how many times to I have to use this word?) parts together by hand. It’s a tiny piece of fabric and you really want to make sure its a solid seam.

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Step 6

Pin the lace and sew it to the top rim of the panties. I chose to have the lace half on the fabric/half on the skin.

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Viola! “Seamless” panties!

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Andrea

Many women can agree that a loving mother is a strange blend of your most annoying conscience and your saving grace.  She’ll be the first person to hassle you and the last person to leave when shit hits the fan. She can’t help but fuss over you and its kind of okay because even though you aren’t a little girl anymore it feels good to have her love. And bit by bit you’ll watch her trust you too. If you are really close, she’ll start peeling back the layers of armor she’s accumulated over the years, built up through all the times she fought for herself and then for you, and you’ll get a glimpse of the girl she was and the woman she’s become outside of your Mother. She’ll become more than your Mother. She’ll become a woman that you respect and love and admire and watch out for just the way she watched out for you all your life.

While she always will be my mother above all else, I admire her as a woman named Andrea, a woman that has taught me lessons outside of her role in my upbringing.  A fun chick that speaks her mind and spreads her warmth and makes life more enjoyable, less boring. A woman you ought to know and learn from as well. Meet Andrea and her amazing life lessons….

Young Andrea

Young Andrea

1.) If you’re ready to forgive, say sorry first.

One of the most valuable life lessons my mom ever taught me was to be humble in your own fighting fouls. I remember getting into heated arguments with my mom. You know – the hysterics, crying, whining, hating, stomping, slamming (as you can imagine, I was the model child). After time in my room,  I would come to my senses and go apologize for being a nut case. Even when I was a little girl, she would apologize as well, which I found to be so rare and phenomenal for a parent. I knew she was never my equal but I felt a sense of respect from her and love from her that trumped being my disciplinary.

When she was actually at fault for anything, she always gave an earnest apology. This carried on in my own lifestyle. While I’ve always had a sense of self respect, I’ve learned that pride is a whole other ugly mess. When I’m feeling hot-headed and filled with pride, I always remember how fair my mom is. I remember that resolution will always be a bigger consolation than isolating yourself in your anger or blame.

My Mom and I when I graduated University

My Mom and I when I graduated University

2.) Spend money on travel.

While we all know that money cannot buy happiness, it can definitely encourage marvelous experiences. I have the fondest memories of traveling with my parents to Canada, San Diego, Europe, New Orleans and cabins up north. While the hotels were rarely glamorous and half of our meals were comprised of homemade picnics, my mom encouraged smalls indulgences, big adventures and embracing other lifestyles. My dad almost always had a shit fit about spending money on travel – telling us it was worthless and a horrible way to spend money – but we always knew it was due to his strong disdain for change and that even he would come back happier, lighter and more in tune with the important things in life. Cliched as it may be, travel does open your eyes to the possibilities in life. It forces you to embrace spontaneity and most importantly, it gives you a fresh perspective. It’s always healthy to get out of your little bubble. You see what is holding you back and also what makes home so great.

Mom Traveling in her 20's

Mom Traveling in her 20’s

3.) Be genuine.

When I think of a one word definition of my mom, its genuine. The woman speaks her mind. Sometimes it gets her in trouble, but she has enough social graces and confidence to breeze past it. What makes her so pleasantly genuine? You always know where you stand and yet it never offends because she is not close minded towards your stance. She embraces her opinion but will always respect yours. She has taught me that to maintain the perfect balance of self-respect and thoughtfulness, you must stand your ground but accept when others won’t agree with grace. They might not be perfect but neither are you.

4.) Find humor in life and then spread it.

A very fortunate trait that my sisters and I happened to inherit  is my mom’s ability to find humor in humanity – our oddities, our endearing, bizarre traits. There is something so wonderful in the way my mom giggles at the little child busying themselves with the simplest task or the old man that is irrevocably grouchy because he just can’t help himself. It is the way she finds compassion in peoples faults and values their approach on life. I can absolutely attribute my sense of humor to my mother and I’m so grateful. Much of my families bonding is built of off harmless mocking of one another and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Rather than rush through life with your headphones in and your sunglasses on – stop avoiding people and their unique, brief impacts on your life. Seek to understand and appreciate them. If nothing else, you’ll have a hilarious story to share.

Happy Girl

Happy Girl

5.) Don’t waste time worrying. Spend time living.

During a particularly rough patch in life, my mom was my default therapist. She heard all the ugly and all the anguish. While it was a little of just me going in mental circles with no relief, there was a lot of her trying to get me to see that worry is a complete waste of life. It will still happen. Time will pass and you’ll look back and realize that your anguish was just a waste of precious life – precious time that you can’t get back. In a period of worry or stress, its feels so impossible to look paste the thick fog of anxiety but you have to realize that life will still happen. That day will still pass. You’ll still get older and all the times your worried about the what if’s are times that you could have spent just living it. Everyone says live in the moment and as simple and exhausted this phrase is, do it. Live in the moment. It’s a popular term for self-salvation because it works. Just enjoy it. Stop dissecting and just live. There is too much shit in life to hold onto the bad stuff. Absorb the good and forget the rest. 

The Present Day Beauty

The Present Day Beauty

Her Color.

Her Color.

DIY Art and Metal Framing

A few weeks back I had visit from one of my good old Arizonan friends. Cool as cool can be since we met in high school, girlfriend is the original hipster (that means before the word became tainted and meant a truly original-effortlessly chic little lady). Naturally, my  default taste for black, white and pretty much anything painfully orthodox is completely disrupted by her presence. She polishes her nails and lightly curls her hair but chooses her outfits like a little girl plays dress up – fearlessly, playfully – adorning herself in subtle baubles that don’t scream ACCESSORIZE  and patterns that don’t “match,” but actually totally do.

I love this about her. The way she is so truly immersed in her own sense of style and yet it so refreshingly original and perfect all at once that everyone wants to have it but no one can fathom how to emulate it.

So, of course, going out to a thrift store together, I ended up making a haste purchase of very unnecessary, un-like-me things, like a gorgeously framed/matted picture that was terribly faded and bland. Hello $7 art project.

And so the DIY Art story goes…

Here is the before picture. Very faded from the sun. Boring and apparently not an original. I don’t know who spends big bucks on getting this poster professionally framed but there must be a small population who likes to do that so… more power to them!

Before Image

Before Image

We also payed a visit to my favorite addiction, Daiso. Pretty much a Japanese dollar store that mass produces everything you could ever possibly need but somehow adds a touch of pink or a cute animal shape to it. You can get erases that look like food and just about every baking utensil or mold you could ever possibly need but all in the size of an easy bake oven kit.

Paper Strips

Paper Strips

So we bought these strips to make paper stars and realized they were the wrong size….

Strips!

Strips!

So with a help of some Modge Podge, a really thick paint brush and patience that I rarely have for crafts as such, you’ll get artwork like the geometric rainbow effect below. Clearly, I liked all the colors so I just went to town but if you happen to be more into darks or more into pastels the packet had a ton of each so you could easily vary a smaller amount of colors.

Simply line up and stack the strips one by one. I also added a strip down the center to break the horizontal lines.

Finished Art

Finished Art

Now on to the FUN stuff.

I might have spontaneously felt really inspired to get this started and literally ripped apart the original framing. I ended up cracking the glass and coercing my assistant (errrhm, my boyfriend) to assist me in cleaning it up after it scattered all over his desk rug. WOOPS.

Alas, getting started on framing the new art, I had no idea how to put back the hack job that I made out of the (previously gorgeous) metal frame. I searched EVERYWHERE on Youtube and the internet on how to frame artwork. Apparently everyone and their dog needs to learn how to put a picture in a pre-made frame  (insert impatient glare here) and how to cut matting so it matches the photo (insert Grumpy Cat’s face here) but no one cares about building tricky metal frames. Finally, I found a video on how to do so and, while I spent the majority of my video debating the sex of the demonstrator, it proved to be a really easy task!

Frame

Frame

Start with the four metal sides, your screws, corners and spring clips.

Screws, Corners and Spring Clips

Screws, Corners and Spring Clips

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Secure the bottom left and right corners.

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Put all your screws on the shag rug so you lose them and spend twice as long framing this art.

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Once you’ve tighten the bottom two corners, carefully slide the art into place.

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This was personal preference, but I lined up the spring clips before I slid them in so that they’d be evenly dispersed.

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The final product.

Wall Art

Wall Art

Best Friendships

“Never trust a girl that doesn’t have girlfriends.” I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before… I know why they say it too, because relationships between women are the most complex. While they can also be the most rewarding, they involve a perfect dance of consciousness, care, social graces, mutual respect and humor that isn’t quite the same as any relationship you’ll have with a guy whether its friendship or romance. I’ve always thought that if a girl cannot maintain a close relationship with another chick she’s probably too selfish because there is nothing more giving than a girl friendship – with men you can get away with being opportunistic, self-focused or independent. With girls you have to relate, being thoughtful of their lives/actions and show that you care, knowing that you’ll always get the same in return. There is a loyalty, selflessness and bond that is unparalleled.

My mom always told me that, while it’s important to love your guy, strongly maintain your friendships with your girlfriends. They’re irreplaceable and will give you things that romance can’t. As always, she is right. There is just something about girlfriends that serves a purpose that men can’t. As woman with a mission to stay happy and sane, it’s a vital necessity to give that kind of BFF love and take it too.

While I’ve been lucky to find a handful of truly spectacular (amazing) women to laugh, love and cry with – to inspire me, help me, humble me and pick me up when times are shit – there is one girl in particular that has won my heart as my truest friend, my soul sister, my PERSON. Let me introduce to you Miss Ashley Rose. 

ash

 We met the first day of pre-college,  in our dorm hallway. Pretty instantly, we became each others family away from family, chosen sisters on a path to creating a truly idyllic 4 years of growth and education that would surpass any semester in STATS 101. We grew the most beautiful friendship two girls could ask for. Among the big best-friend milestones – the trips around the world, the moving in together, the throwing parties together, the merging our social lives- we tucked away little memories that built trust and love piece by piece.

For every woman out there, I hope you have an Ashley. A unique, enthusiastic, sunny chick that makes you feel ridiculous and liberated and happy all at once. A girl who lives off of flamboyance, sparkles, dreams and laughter. A friend who makes you want to tell her you love and appreciate her all the time and reciprocates that feeling.

One of the First Nights We Hung Out... Little Freshman Babies! Hello, Awkward Half-Hug

One of the First Nights We Hung Out… Little Freshman Babies! Hello, Awkward Half-Hug

I make it very clear how highly I think of my darling friend, but the loveliest part is the bond we created. All throughout out college we stuck by one another… simultaneously, the most gregarious pair of social butterflies and obnoxiously joined at the hip. Perhaps that’s why we’ve always worked out, we never stifled one another, we only gave each other more reason to fly. Our bizarre little union was so intense that we cried and laughed our final day of living together because we knew that we’d have a better chance of finding relationships now that we didn’t have each other as often. Maybe we’d actually need boyfriends because we didn’t have our other half… Despite loving my boyfriend very, very much, my relationship with him would be the furthest cry from a “replacement” of my relationship with Ashley. The bond Ash and I have is not something you can replicate.

LoOkInG HaWt

LoOkInG HaWt

I hope you have a girlfriend. It’s good to have a girlfriend. A pal who mocks life’s bullshit the way you do, who agrees with your bitching even when she knows you’re being dramatic. A girl that supports your less-than-perfect habits/humor and thinks you’re funny all the time and encourages another glass of wine or missing the train to take a taxi.

I hope you have a best girl friend. 

Best Friends

Best Friends

To love is to…

If you love a flower, don’t pick it up. Because if you pick it up and it dies and it ceases to be what you love. So if you love a flower, let it be. Love is not about possession. Love is about appreciation.

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Summer is for flowing dresses and iced, sugary drinks :) happy summer Friday everyone!

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Necessities.

Claude Quote

I feel ya bro… or Claude Monet. Flowers are a must for me too. There are a couple things that I promised my grown up self.

1.) You’ll have fresh flowers on your table every week.

2.) You’ll buy yourself an overpriced leather bag when you get your first big girl paycheck.

3.) You’ll do dinner parties.

While I’m still much too cheap to buy myself a purse that cost more than $100 and dinner parties are more like having a friend over and splitting a bottle of red then eventually getting take out, I have managed to keep my promise to myself with the fresh flowers thing. It doesn’t hurt that many of the stores in this city are jam packed with reasonably priced, stunning bouquets. I am kind of in flower heaven and for a weirdo like me, whose life goal is to be an old lady with a substantially bad ass garden, I’m pretty much living the dream.

Behold my weekly floral… 

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$3.99 at Trader Joes? Don’t mind if I do…

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This is a pricier set at a whopping $4.99 (SpLuRgE)

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And these are far far out of my price range at $70+ They were a gift from the lover. He knows I kind of cringe with the typical red roses and really out did himself ;) There is even cabbage in it! What the heck?! I could see the florist being like, yeah, we’re freakin organic and local, throw some cabbage in that bitch!

design

And so, in lieu of my true obsession with flowers, I dreamed up this summery flower dream. I want it in real life. For me. Maybe a potential project for when I finally decide to start sewing again.

Elegance

“Elegance is not standing out, but being remembered.”

- Giorgio Armani

elegance

Comfort Vs. Style

 I love my morning walk to the office. I like taking in the morning sun beams shooting through the cityscape’s cracks and crevices, taking in my good, jivin music that makes me feel all cool and urban and ambitious and ready for life and (my favorite) taking in all the cool outfits from my fellow city dwellers.

I  see a nice blend of highly professional, stuffy, stiff ensembles and super laid back, casual-chic get ups. In a city where style is prevalent, but smarts is much higher on the totem poll, its not uncommon to see considerably casual work outfits in very high powered rolls. Albeit, that casual sports jacket might cost a grand and come from some really uppity retailer. Still, the general vibe is efficiency over pomp, comfort over show and subtle glamour.

One morning, through the throngs of busy-bee commuters, I noticed a girl that looked absolutely glamorous. Her hair was in a perfectly bouncy ponytail, her vibrant red pencil skirt contrasted her simply navy and white dotted blouse. While admiring her perfectly poised appearance she awkwardly attempted to pull down her skirt, tugging and fussing discretely. All of sudden, she didn’t seem as easy, breezy and confident but I smiled because I’d been there too, many times, along with the rest of the female population.

We have every intention to look effortlessly glamorous and find ourselves pulling and prodding to keep that look solid. I’m pretty sure I did it the other week when I wore a fitted skirt that would start out office appropriate and ride all the way up to stripper status by the end of a two block walk. My cool look was ruined by my continuous pulling of the skirt. I looked uncomfortable, I felt uncomfortable. The worst part is that it kills the whole image. Nothing is less stylish than looking like you’re awkward  in your own skin/outfit. As all the big fashion labels put it, confidence is key.

With this in mind, I’ve spent much of my semi-adult life finding clothing that looks stylish but feels 100% comfortable. There have been a few hiccups along the way – you know,  those sad little purchases that seem promising but are worn once and end up getting dusty in your closet after you noticed the zip kept itching your side or your boobs look smooshed in it. However, much of the time I’ve become fairly successful at finding that perfect blend of what I find comfortable and what I find stylish. My go-to’s are listed below.

Sturdy Heels/Wedges:

If you actually plan on walking at all and not wobbling like a newborn deer, I suggest wearing a semi-thick, semi-low heel that has a toe strap and upper ankle strap. They’re always more secure and make your entire foot work, rather than placing all the weight/strain on one part. Also, please note the emphasis on SEMI low and thick heels, anything else is considered a “kitten heel,” which sounds really cute but is actually really scary and should be limited to your 1999 prom photos.

Nudist

Nudes are my favorite ;) Not only do they sound scandalous when you write them on a blog but they elongate your legs by blending with your skin tone and they pretty much go with everything because, ta-da, they’re neutral and understated. YES.

Wedges

As seen in pretty much every sorority photo on earth, wedges are a girls best friend – cue the hand-on-hip, leg popped, head tilt pose with plastered smile. While they look deceptively similar to a platform heel, they are actually a thousand times better.  They make you look like you actually care about your appearance and elongate your legs without bringing on the killer discomfort that comes after wearing heels for more than 60 seconds.

The Ultimate Summer Heels

Alas, my ultimate summer heel. Quite frankly, I have no friggin clue what these are called other than heaven. They’re painless, comfy, breezy but close-toed and have gotten about a bajillion compliments since date of purchase.

Tights:

Tights are a working girls best friend. When that dress/skirt just seems too short for comfort at work, try tights to make you feel insta-appropriate and work-safe. Pair with a cute pair of riding boots and you’ve got yourself chic and cozy. Also, hello hidden leg fuzz. You can truly do a week straight of fashionable but sans-shave if you mix some tights into the plethora of pants. Some girls might find this gross, I find it to be quite savvy. Sorry I’m not sorry :)

Tights

True story  – While I received zero of those questionable glances at work (woo passed the work-approriate test!) I also had a man stop in front of me while I was in line at lunch and  silently make his pecs dance and flex his arms for me… weirdest way I’ve ever been hit on in my life but apparently, while this outfit gets the thumbs up at work, its also capable of attracting strange men. I wore jeans the next day.

Loose Tops:

Speaking of lunch, loose tops are my best friends. Nothing is better than letting the gut loose after a gargantuan lunch. I prefer tops that flatter your collarbone and shoulders and sneakily hide that  midday pooch. Also, black is boring but always a fantastic compliment to another louder piece. I may or may not have a closet full of black tops…

Loose Tops

THE sweater:

Not necessarily a vital piece when I was back in Arizona, but here in San Francisco where the weather is a daily mystery, nothing is more important than a cozy, simple sweater that fits in your purse AND keeps you relatively warm. While its not apparent in this photo, the sweater I am wearing actually has a sorta massive rip on the back left shoulder. I was so in love with this stupid thing that I decided to wear it till its death 2 months ago and finally bought another, less awesome, crew neck to replace it. I still keep it in my closet because I have a problem with letting go you never know…

Looking Serious

PS: I am embarrassed to look this serious. Channeling my inner fashion bitch.

Accessories:

Saving the best for last! Whenever it’s 10 minutes till departure and my outfit is dull (lots of black) and I am too lazy to change, accessories are the BEST way to look like I actually care about my appearance. Whip on some watch, slide on some rings, clip a damn flower in your hair and get ready to feel all jazzed up.

frost yourself

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As of late, statement necklaces make me beam. I may or may not take off these pieces halfway through my day and find them in my purse when I decide to be a responsible adult and clean it out a month later… but that is beside the point.

All in all, work clothes is really up to the place you work. Some people might have to wear fancy pants (literally) while others can get away with jeans and a tee. I’m lucky to be at a company that really lets me do whatever as long as I look put together. As my director put it the other day, wear what will make you feel most professional AND ready to face the day. No matter what you think, there is a little part of you that will act the way you feel and if your look makes you feel on top of your shit, you will be.

sketch

 (coffee + camera=blurry + apologies)

Epic Hike: Dos

I’m a little late on this post, but its much easier to regurgitate the happiness of a beautiful day when the day has passed. Had a written it the day of, my post would simply be some variation of Man it was just epic, JUST epic on auto-replay.

As mentioned in previous posts, my boyfriend is quite averse to the impromptu or spontaneous. When I decided to throw out a burst of enthusiasm for a day hike, I knew I had to sell it. I also knew that best technique was a sneak attack and then retreat so he could sit on the idea and finally accept it. After a hop in the shower to leave him to himself and his self-soothing (meticulous) planning, we compromised on a hike in Marin County through the Matt Davis Trail that started at Stinson Beach and looped its way through Mount Tamalpais.

Just a little heads up, we don’t actually hike every weekend. While claiming love of outdoor adventures, I’ll be the first to admit we are glued to the couch much of the weekend with bits and pieces of errands, adventures or good company. There is nothing as addictive as a Netflix series and a fully juiced phone for hours of playing Threes (don’t even get me started).

Come noon, we hopped on the subway to our friends apartment, grabbed some overpriced water/breakfast at the adjacent Whole Foods and headed into their garage to find our car where we left it, ready for her next outing, holding remnant bottles from the last.

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Bye, bye city. We we’re off to Stinson Beach. The roads to the beach were insanely curly and tight. I had a nice blend of nausea and anxiety with all these winding roads having ZERO buffer. For some reason, California government has no problem with people literally driving off cliffs. The only other time I had dealt with such treacherous mountain highways was in Croatia as a child, where the laws are leaner and the cars are smaller.

 

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Alas we made it and started our hike in a Jurassic Park -like  climb near a mountain creek. There were massive trees with so many limbs it looked like veins (note the teeny tiny person in the bottom right of the picture) and beautiful ferns sprouting all over.

 

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The best part about the trail was that we hit so many different terrains. Just when the scenery started to blend into a monotony, we’d come across a new path. After Jurassic Park we hit a dry, windy mountain top with this infinite scene of wooded pretty. And then we took a turn into the loveliest rolling hills, complete with a warm, subtle breeze.

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With the exception of the trail being about 2 feet wide with a 50 foot grassy cliff to your right, this part felt as beautiful as it looks and sounds. We also founds this epic Fern Gully-esque terrain with a bunch of fallen trees…

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As you can see here, Chuck lifted a couple twigs in the way of your path. No big deal ;)Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

 

All was fine and dandy until about halfway in when Coolio Cool Pants over here decided to run the trail “to get ahead of the crowd” and twisted/sprained/idk-what her ankle. Chuck picked me up right away and we slowly walked it off, finished the remainder of the hike in an hour ish time. You can see the beautifully swollen results below.

 

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To reward ourselves for being healthy and adventurous we found ourselves a very cozy indoor/outdoor cafe with a nice selection of unhealthy, unadventurous beer and burgers with a hefty side of onion rings.  It’s the kind of meal that has you seeing stars and smiling like some dopey cartoon character that got hit with a frying pan. We were positively gluttonous, fueling our tired limbs with saturated fats and carbs. YUM!

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Regardless of my flimsy ankle, this hike proved to be the best one yet – beautiful, challenging, evolving and overall rewarding – much like life. Yes, I just ended my post with THAT tedious metaphor. Sorry, I’m not sorry :)

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