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Vietnam, Sapa – Hiking and Rice and Everything Nice [Part III]

27 Oct

Our final day in Sapa was G’s favorite…

Mostly because he had finally met his match – the sweetest and feistiest H’mong girl who helped her mom lead us through the rice paddies fearlessly.

Our final day in Sapa was my least favorite…

Mostly because I had to hold-on for dear-life as we slipped and slide-d our way down the mountain.


Yes, indeed, to get down the muddy slopes of Sapa, I had to be fully supported (body, mind and soul) by a sweet old H’mong lady who was about 1/2 my size and had approximately 100 times my strength.

Don’t judge!

Each of us foreigners was equipped with a pint-sized support system…

This coupling happened to be my favorite:

Anyway, once we got the hang of mud-skiing, we were able to relax, look up, and start noticing the magical views around us.

We crossed over bridges…

Hiked through hidden valleys…

Learned how to die clothes using indigo leaves (thanks to Cou, our FANTASTIC tour guide for the day)…

Met some new friends…

Saw some more perfectly sculpted rice fields…

And finished it all off with some pho…

(and a smile)

Guess it wasn’t such a bad ending to our trip after all.

Vietnam, N & P – we love you! Thanks for a perfect vacation.


For more information about Sapa, including details about transportation, tour guide and accommodation, see earlier posts about our trip here: PART I and PART II

Memories of Israel – The Desert [Part II]

9 Jul

If you haven’t been to Israel before, I hope these posts of “Memories of Israel” spark your interest.  I have intentionally kept them wording-light and photo-rich, so please email me if you would like more details.


So, there we were…

looking out into infinity, as we stood at the edge of the Makhtesh.

What is a Makhtesh, you ask?  A Makhtesh is a rare geological land-form that looks a lot like a huge canyon, but is actually an erosion crater (as opposed to craters that were created by meteoric impacts).  There are only seven erosion craters in the entire world, five of them are situated in the Negev desert & the other two are found in the Sinai desert.

And as beautiful as the Makhtesh was during the day,

it was even more incredible at night.

Besides discovering the Makhtesh, the rest of our time in the desert was filled with awesome hikes,

surprising finds,

(Above: A tree, fighting for life, in the middle of nowhere

Below: Fossils of huge snails in the Makhtesh wall)

& lots of family bonding…

more accurately, A TON of family bonding, especially after the arrival of my sweet cousins, who came to join us for the last 2 days of the trip.

I could go on, and tell you the detailed stories of how, accidentally, the battery died in our uncle’s car or how I got so sun-burned that I could barely wear a t-shirt or how my brother got so sick that he had to rush back to Tel Aviv to see a doctor… but why ruin such a perfectly beautiful trip?  The only thing I remember clearly today, is how we had the best time in the most unlikely of places- the desert!

Best Week Ever?!

11 Apr

Hey lovelies!

It has been almost a week since my return from the Holy Land & I am bursting with news and events that I have to tell you about.  Unfortunately, I’m currently lacking the time, or rather (let’s just say it), the time management skills, to write a full-on detailed post about Israel, but I promise to update you shortly because my trip was really THAT good.

Instead, I’ve decided to tell you just a few short reasons why the past 7 days were, most likely, the best ever:

Let’s just start off with the most obvious fact- this week, I got to chillax with my brother (after a full year of missing!), my parents, and my beautifully amazingly wonderful family in Israel.

(more pictures to come, familia)


I also got to show off my new haircut…

(Indeed, this is me, singing a song of joy and gratitude after the chop. )


While eating a crêpe.


And then, of course, I got to fly home to him…

and them…

(Ladies this is such an old photo, but I just couldn’t help myself!)

And the rest of my Korean family-friends.


Plus, oh, did I mention…

I got a job at Samsung!!!  I am finally a working woman!


So, now you can understand why I think this week is the best week ever.

Many more details coming soon.

On Such A Winter’s Day

17 Mar

It’s 2:30 am & the incessant rain is still scrambling the neon view of the city from my window.

I wish I could tell you that I’ve just come back from a wild night out with friends, but the sad truth is that I’m sitting on the floor, staring at my suitcase & waiting for it to pack itself.  Needless to say, this plan hasn’t worked out very well, but I’m determined not to give up on my sorcerous suitcase.  In the meantime, why not help it & myself procrastinate a bit more by writing a short post?

I knew you’d understand.

So, as I’m prep-astinating for my upcoming trip, I realize that I haven’t told you a thing about my perfect visit back to ze homeland of California.  (Bad blogger! Bad!)  But, really, there isn’t much to say except that it was perfect.

My dearest California did not disappoint.  The sun was shining the entire month of January, allowing me to hike, après coffee, dance in the streets, consider riding a bike, farmers market (used as a verb), and get the ugliest sports-bra tan of my life.

And in addition to all these wonderful things, the greatest and brightest and most important highlight of my trip was the people… my family and friends who continuously keep me California dreaming.

So, I thought I’d take this time to thank and introduce to you, in no particular order, some of the people who make my Cali life special:

Starting with my CUTIE PARENTS!  Oh, how my heart bursts with miss for them.


And, of course, these two lovebirds who had the sunniest winter wedding San Francisco had ever seen.

(It was a love-filled night – complete with skits, songs, & LOTS of dancing.)


Also you should meet and welcome the newest and smallest edition to our group- peanut A!


Then there are my Fetus Friends- indeed I’m lucky enough to have 3 friends that I’ve known since I was in utero!

And I’m super extra lucky because they all still live in SF & one of them is the BEST cook in the world (and likes to feed me)!  And I love her.


Then there is the crew that helps me laugh my way through life.  I have no idea how many hours we’ve spent sitting and cracking up because of/at each other, but I know that I’ll never tire of it.  (Jay you were the missing piece of the pentagon.)


And these 4 loves, who I met separately, in different stages of my life, who somehow (magically) found one another in this crazy world and coupled up.  Married up, that is.   I love when friend-groups combine.

Frieds, pass the sherry.


Plus there are my AMAZING 😉 LA ladies who lunch, and now restore homes.


 And last but furthest from the least, my older sisters, who will kill me for posting a picture of them AFTER our crazy night in Santa Monica.  (Why do I always take pictures the day after we glam up?!)

And the coffee that saved our lives. (I thought is was worth a mention.)


Of course, there are so many friends that did not get blogged because I was too in the moment (lazy) to take pictures, but I love you just the same.

To everyone back in the states, thanks for making this trip home the best I’ve ever had.

(Steiny, I was going to  photoshop your “professional” LinkedIn photo into one of the groups pics, but decided you’d like me a lot more if I refrained.)

(R, you need to send me the pics from our Rancho San Antonio Hike together!)


A Boy Becomes a Man – G Loses His Thirginity

12 Mar

This weekend we celebrated G’s 30th…

Which was quite a special occasion because the kid man intensely dislikes making a big deal of his birthday.   (Well, he wasn’t exactly thrilled about celebrating this year either, but I started wearing him down in January so that he would give up the fight come March.)


Pre-birthday – a foundation for the celebration:

In order not to overwhelm the fragile birthday boy, I started things off nice & casual the night before he turned 30, by making his favorite San Francisco meal-

meatball subs a la Marina Submarine, with a final course of G’s dearly beloved…



El Birthday Itself – 30 is for romancing

I turned the love-meter up a notch for the actual eve of G’s birthday, enchanting him with some appetizers and wine at Fifty Cafe (located near Dosan park)…

followed by a perfect (perfect perfect) dinner at The Kitchen.

We dined slowly and thoroughly on traditional Italian soup, tomato and eggplant bruschetta, sautéed clams with cherry tomatoes, THE BEST calabreze pizza I have ever had in my life, and linguine alla pescatore.

 I wouldn’t have changed a thing except for the fact that they wouldn’t allow flash photography (hence the fuzzy pics).

We had such a good time at The Kitchen that we stayed until it closed- and then it was off to the bars!  (Where I got as fuzzy as my pictures.)


30 + a day – Let’s dance old man!

My plan had worked- two days of calm and delicious celebrations had lead G to start enjoying his birthday- and finally we were ready to really PARTY!

The night started with a little bit of this (thanks to Maama H)…

Followed by a lot of that…

Interspersed with a Zoolander this…

And ending with our amazing Seoulsome friends at the bars- thank you all for coming out!

I think the birthday Grinch is finally cured!

Where was I?

8 Feb

Some people have their feet on the ground,

but some (ME!) have their head buried in it…

Shame on me for letting 2 months fly by without writing a single post- I owe you an explanation.  But instead of conjuring up a mediocre excuse, let me just give you a quick update.

Since I last blogged, a lot of things have happened:

(1) I was offered a dream job in Korea at a company that shall remain nameless, but rhymes with…

(2) I was unable to accept mentioned dream job because the Fashion Minister of Korea (I kid you not) denied me a work visa.

(3) This unpleasant situation left me feeling generally upset with everything.  Cue video of my daily discontent & embittered rant:

(4)  During my blue period, I promised myself not to blog until I had a better attitude – because no one needs to read a “woe is me” post (much less 100 of them).  <–this is my excuse!

(5) To get out of my funk, I booked a ticket home (1st time in 1 year!).  I knew that coming back (back) to SF would refuel and re-energize my spirit.

(6)  I spent a perfect month with my family (-E) and friends and returned to Seoul 100% myself.

I’m back with a vengeance.

Now, where were we???



Ostrich Photo found on Google Images HERE

LOVE trailer found on the fabulous blog, Fashionista

Mugato clip is from one of the best movies of all time, Zoolander

Giving Thanks to My ABA

24 Nov

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year- the perfect time to celebrate life’s many blessings, including specifically, my dad.


My dad is my greatest teacher.

From him I learned:

The difference between night and knight, write and right, and even right and wrong

The mystery of  , the usefulness of π, and the dream of infinite pie

The beauty of a topographic map (you just never know when the next time you’ll be stranded in the wilderness with nothing but a map & a compass to lead you back to civilization)

The greatness of Bach

The strength of a run-on sentence, especially when supported by a semi;colon (or two)

The importance of traveling often, especially to old cities with walls around them (and churches, Oh Maria Maria)

The healing powers of a long hike

The list of lessons goes on forever, but I’ll skip straight to the most important thing that my dad has ever taught me –


My dad truly loves,

truly prioritizes,

truly supports

my mom, my brother, and me, every single day.

He has shown us the best kind of love, the type that has no limits; the perfect love that wraps you tight, even when you are oceans away…

My dad is my greatest teacher.


(Oh and he also helped me pass high school chemistry.  Maybe high school in general.)

P.S. Here is a little song just for you

Free Hugs

1 Sep

Feeling a tiny tiny bit down today, for no particular reason

(probably because I am indoors catching up on loads of work, while the sun is shining brightly outside),

so I watched a video that always cheers me up.

It’s an oldie, but a goody.

Hope it makes you smile & love.

(I am secretly tempted to try this with G in Seoul – let’s see if I can convince him to do it.)

This Week I Liked…Links

29 Aug

I really just HAVE to share 4 of my favorite links from this week:

(1)  If you haven’t heard of him already, you must watch the heartbreaking video of Song-bong Choi  from the show, Korea’s Got Talent.

  Click HERE to watch Choi sing & tell his story

(Fair warning, get your Kleenex ready!)

The story behind the singer:

Choi was abandoned at an orphanage at the age of three, where he lived for two years until he ran away due to abuse.  At only five years old, Choi lived alone, on the streets, selling chewing gum and energy drinks to survive.  Choi lived this nightmare for 10 years.  He didn’t even have a proper name until a woman running a food cart gave him the name, Ji-Sung.

Choi was inspired to start singing at age 12, when he first heard a classical vocalist at the nightclub where he sold gum.  In order to pursue his love of singing, Choi completed the GED equivalent for elementary school and junior high, and started attending Daejeon Arts High School, where he received classical voice training.

I was completely depressed after hearing of Choi’s gut-wrenching past, but also truly amazed by his ambition, perseverance and talent.  His voice gave me the chills and also brought me to tears.

For me, watching Choi sing puts so many things in perspective.  It reminds me to be grateful, EVERYDAY, for the life that I’m living and also COMPELS me to help those in my community who are less fortunate.

Coincidentally, for the past month, I’ve been researching volunteer opportunities in Korean orphanages.  If anyone knows of a non-denominational organization working in orphanages in Seoul, please let me know.


(2)  After hearing a story like Choi’s, I think we are all in need of good a laugh.  So, on a MUCH MUCH lighter note… or actually (ironically), a heavier note … I wanted to share with you this HILARIOUS article by Sally of the blog Unbrave Girl.

Click here to read Sally’s “Big Girl’s Guide to Surviving Asia”

Sally’s witty & entertaining stories of being a “fat” girl in Asia had me hysterical laughing.  Her insight was especially hilarious (and comforting) after my recent trip to Japan, where I found myself STUFFING my body into an ELASTIC, FLOWY skirt.  I kid you not, even the loose & effortless hippie skirt requires some sucking-in when in Tokyo.


(3)  Speaking of skirts & effortless looks, I can’t help but post this New York Magazine article about Jenna Lyons, the tres chic president of J. Crew

Click here to read about Jenna’s roll in J. Crew and get a glimpse of her personal, unique and masterful sense of style.

(If my compliments haven’t made it obvious enough – I’m a true Jenna Lyons fan)


(4) And to end this post on a fun note- I thought I’d share my song of the week.  You know, the song I’ve played over and over and over again (to the point where G starts grumbling to himself when I run to the computer to replay it), & still can’t quite get enough:

I can’t take any credit for finding this fun party song, as it was introduced to me by one of my favorite music bloggers (and dear friend), on

Check her out!

Nogit and O – Tonight?!

27 Aug

Two Night?


Two Night?!


Tonight, two lights in my life are getting married.


I met Nogit at “seminar tzofim” in New York

& we became insta-friends (sisters).

She quickly changed my life by forcing me to go to U. C. Berkeley

and then coerced me into joining XO – Merci!

(Still trying to figure out a way to thank you for paving my life-course…)

She ALWAYS keeps it real,

and her clarity, determination and huge heart (+huge laugh) make her as addictive as my morning coffee.

Not to mention the fact that she is the only person -in the world- who will indulge me in a 3 hour conversation with a fake French/British/Israeli accent.

I love you.


I met O at Berkeley, 3 hours before my super-scary-hard economics final.

He was playing the guitar in the study-hall in an attempt to “lighten the mood.”

That didn’t go over too well with me.

(What?! I was stressed!)

At the time, I may have pretended to be more annoyed with him than I actually was, but secretly, during that absurd sing-along moment, O had instantly secured a little place in my heart…

Which is why I predicted that Nogit would fall in love with him.

And she did.

(And we did.)

So today, my dearest of friends, I wish you a huge MAZAL TOV.

May you continue to grow & rejoice in your beautiful relationship,

and find strength within each other to continue changing the world with your passion for justice and compassion for all…

the world is lucky to have 2 people like you.

מכל הלב

I wish I could be there to celebrate in your presence, but be sure that I’m raising a glass for you and for your future.


Is it too selfish to also raise an extra glass for OUR future?  Looking forward to a lifetime of sharing traditions (pass the Kiddush cup), holidays, sing-alongs and racy skype dance-offs!

Love you both.