Back in late August we went to the Color Factory. We bought a ticket online through their site for a day we had off so we can go first thing in the morning. We thought it wouldn't be as busy. It was still relatively busy, which makes sense since they sold out of the tickets. It was just wishful thinking! :) Below are some pictures from our visit. It's a little pricey, but we enjoyed it and only wished there were more rooms! If you're looking to go, tickets are going on sale tomorrow (Sept 13th) at 11am PST on their website. Good luck and enjoy!
Grant and I decided to go on a last minute trip to Mexico to celebrate our 7 year anniversary. August is rainy season, so we were kind of nervous, but it actually was fine. We decided to go to Mexico City for 5 days and then end our trip at the beach in Sayulita for 3 days.
We heard that both Mexico City and Sayulita are dog-friendly so we decided to take Boba with us. The process to take a dog to Mexico was pretty easy. You need to have a health certificate that has been filled by your vet. You should have two copies, in case they take a copy on the way in. You will need to also show it on the way out. Then you should check with your airline about their dog policy. Usually if your dog is under 20 pounds including the soft carrier, you should be able to bring them in cabin with an additional cost. We just usually feed her lightly, have her run around for a bit at the park, and then makes sure she potties before entering the airport. Then she does a pretty good job of just sleeping through the flight.
The first few nights we stayed in an Airbnb in the Condesa neighborhood. It's a great hip neighborhood right next to the other hip neighborhood Roma. We loved walking around the neighborhoods and eating along the way. We felt safe walking around there.
We then moved to a boutique hotel called Chaya B&B.
It's a beautiful space and it's dog-friendly. The only thing is that it's on the 4th floor and there are no elevators and there's no AC. We still enjoyed our stay their. They have hammocks you can chill in and they cook you delicious breakfast in the morning. Our room had a pretty view of the park. Unfortunately, that park doesn't allow dogs. While at the hotel you should also check out the fun shops below.
I've put together a list of our highlights below:
Eat and Drink:
Pujol - This was my favorite meal in Mexico City. My friend Jill highly recommended this restaurant to us. I booked it immediately on OpenTable and then watched the Chef's Table episode about it on Netflix to see what were getting ourselves into. It was a six-course meal. The whole meal was really good. My favorites were the baby corn, soft-shell crab, mole, flan, and churro. I also loved their tamarind mezcal drink. Besides the food, the space was also beautiful.
Contramar - One of our neighbors in SF mentioned that Cala, a restaurant in our neighborhood, had a restaurant in Mexico City as well, so we had to try it out. I made a reservation by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org, but when we went it looked pretty empty so maybe we might not have needed it. Either way, I liked the peace of mind. My favorite thing here was the tuna tostadas. We also ordered some fish tacos which were pretty good, but the tuna tostadas were the real winner for me. I could have the tuna tostadas and their lemonade with chia seeds all day long. They also have a strawberry meringue dessert that is pretty tasty too.
Hanky Panky Cocktail Bar - This is a speakeasy that I forget how we found out about this place. You have to reserve through their Facebook page and then they give you the location of the bar. Once you arrive the bar is behind a taqueria. And once you go into the bar it reminds me of the Local Edition and co here in SF. We did one of their earliest reservations and it was nice and quiet. The cocktails are American prices but were really tasty. My favorite cocktail was Saint Germain Des Pres. We thought the overall experience from entering to exiting was fun.
Chilpa - We love chilaquiles and this was place where you could essentially build a custom bowl of chilaquiles. I thought it was pretty good, but I still think Primavera at the Saturday's farmer's market at the Ferry Building is still my favorite. Do you have a favorite chilaquiles place? Please share if you do!
Pescadio de Sonora - We went here for fresh fried fish tacos which were pretty good.
Maque - A little cafe near Parque México. The food was ok and comes in big portions, but my favorite thing here was their fresh cornbread.
Pantera Fresca - Loved their popsicles. It was very refreshing, especially since it was pretty hot out. We tried their limón and strawberry cream. They were both good, but I think the limón was my favorite. They are also know for a popsicle with a chocolate rabbit on top.
Churrería El Moro - I've seen this place on Instagram and loved all the tiling so I put in on our list. We loved their mini churros when fresh out of fryer. We had their regular churro a little cold and it wasn't as good.
Las Horchatas - Across the street from the Churrería was a little horchata store that I we just happened upon and decided to try it out cause we both love horchata so much. We got their original one and loved it, we ended up getting two.
Panaderia Rosetta Havre - Cute little restaurant with tasty pastries and a charming little outside dining area.
Limonsneros - Another place that we had a reservation at on OpenTable, but also seemed pretty empty. I was again still happy to have a reservation. My favorites were flautas flor de jamaica and their tamarind mezcal cocktail. We also got the salsa de molcajete with crickets which was also good, but they made it a little too spicy for me. The crickets weren't bad and it was cool to see them make it at the table.
Taqueria El Abanico - This place is not really close to any of the places we were visiting, but I read they had the best carnitas tacos so we had to try them out. We walked over and grabbed some tacos. They are big tacos and we added chicharron to them and there's a topping bar to put other goodies on top if you please. Their horchata was pretty good too.
Don Paletto - They make dog popsicles and ice cream. It wasn't in any of the neighborhoods we were planning on exploring, but we decided to make a trip there anyways since we were already in Mexico City with Boba. We got her a little popsicle and she seemed to love it.
La Fiera Mezcal - I found Andrea on Instagram. She sells mezcal that comes in fun hand-painted bottles that I thought would be great souvenirs. So I emailed her at email@example.com to see if I could get my hands on some. I thought there would be a store, but she just delivers to them to you or you can do a tasting with her as well. We didn't have much time so we just picked the bottles and mezcals we wanted based on her descriptions. I don't have a good picture of the bottles yet, but you can see pictures on her Instagram.
Things to do:
Teoithuacan - Pyramids a little over an hour from Mexico City. We didn't have much time so we decided to take an Uber there, but we heard it's pretty easy to take a bus there as well. Once you get there you buy a ticket and walk in. We walked up the pyramid of the sun but didn't have time to walk up to the moon cause we had to be back in the city for a reservation. It was still fun to go and walk up the sun. It was hot and a little steep, but we made it! :) We heard there was a cave restaurant that's close by that seemed cool, but we weren't able to get reservations. So we didn't get to go see it. I heard that reservations were recommended.
Frida Museum - I didn't know much about Frida, but her house/museum was recommended to me by a couple of my friends so I bought tickets online. I'm glad I did! There was no line for people who had tickets.
Casa Luis Barragán - Another place I saw all over Instagram. I wasn't sure what to expect, but we booked a tour of his house and studio anyways. You can book a head of time online. We had a great tour guide and the tour was really good. If you want to take pictures around the house you have to pay a hefty fee of 500 pesos. However if you want to just take pictures at the famous pink wall at the top, then you don't have to pay. Well at least our tour guide said it was ok for us to take pictures up there without a photo badge.
Bosque de Chapultapec - A huge park that has museums, Chapultapec Castle, paddle boating, gardens, etc. This park unfortunately does not allow does though.
Anthropology Museum - We got tickets at the door for this museum. This was a cool museum that had both indoor and outdoor exhibits. It also had lots of huge artifacts indoors that was amazing to see to see, like sections of pyramids.
Chapultapec Castle - We walked here 10 minutes before closing so they just let us go in without purchasing a ticket. We didn't really get to see the inside of the castle, but we got to see a nice view of Mexico City and walk around the gardens. It was still worth it to just see that much.
Paseo de la Reforma - They close this street on Sunday so people can just bike, run, rollerblade, etc. It's like a bigger version of Sunday Streets in SF. I also heard that you're able to rent bikes for free for this event as well but we didn't try it, so I'm not sure how that all works. It was still cool to see all the bikers and rollerbladers go by.
Parque Espana and Parque Mexico - Dog-friendly parks that are next to each other with shops and cafes surrounding them in Condesa.
Alameda Central - A small park next to the Palacio de Bella Artes. Not dog-friendly but nice to walk through.
Palacio de Bella Artes - Pretty building. We didn't have time to go inside but heard good things about it.
Casa de los Azules - Across the street from the Palacio de Bella Artes. This building has fun blue tiles all over it.
Xochimilco - This place is a little over an hour to get to from Mexico City. We got an Uber to take us there. It features colorful boats that you can ride through canals of farmland. As you ride you can buy food, drinks, gifts, or get a mariachi band to play for you. If you have more time, there's also a doll island that you can visit. We decided to take a last minute trip before leaving Mexico City so we had about 2 hours to ride. We researched and found out how much it was suppose to cost per hour so we can have a point a reference when people tried to sell us on the boats. As we drove to the boats, people would ride bikes next to our Uber and try to sell us on their boat. We read that they should be around 200 pesos per hour, but they were trying to have us pay 500 so we refused. Once we got to the boats we had a guy follow us. We haggled with him and eventually got 2 hours for 400 pesos. It had a fun time and it was dog-friendly. The only part we didn't like was when we ordered food from a boat and we asked for the price of food he wouldn't tell us and then eventually said 150 pesos and when we were gonna pay he said oh no per person so be careful with prices!
After Mexico City we flew to Puerto Vallarta and then took an Uber to our Airbnb in Sayulita. Our Uber could not make it up the hill to the house cause it was so steep and rocky. We ended up having him park halfway up and walked the rest of the way. The house was pretty and had a good view of the water, but there were bugs everywhere and there was only one AC in the bedroom. Also it was a 15 minute walk into town, which would not have been bad if it wasn't so hot.
We did the walk the next day and it was brutal in the heat. We were so uncomfortable. The downtown area is really cute with little shops and restaurants. We were able to get a pitcher of lemonade to cool us down at Don Pedro's and then we hung out on the beach. The water unfortunately was so brown, dirty, and really warm though and there were so many people trying to sell you things as you tried to sun bathe. There was some relaxation time though, we did do a couple dips in the ocean, and Boba got to swim a little in her water vest. We eventually visited some of the cute boutiques, but didn't find anything we liked. We also ate at La Rustica and a taco shop, but thought the food was ok. We've heard great things about Sayulita, but unfortunately it was not the place for us this time around. I could see the potential though! Hopefully we can go back when it's not as hot.
We wanted a really relaxing last couple days of our trip and decided that we should move somewhere else. We went on Hotel Tonight and was able to find a great deal at the Four Seasons in Punta Mita not too far from Sayulita. I had never been to a Four Seasons but it was great! We would never be able to afford a long stay there but it was great for two nights. The service there was excellent and they are super dog-friendly. Right when we arrived they brought drinks for all of us including Boba! When we got to our room they setup a bed, toys, and custom dog treats for Boba. When we went to the beach they brought her her own palapa and a water bowl. She was treated so well and everyone was excited to see her. She got to go swim again in the ocean and this time it was clean and blue. We had a much more relaxing time here and was a great way to end our trip. Overall, we had lots of fun. Let me know if you have any questions!
Although 2017 is time to move forward, I wanted to reflect on 2016. 2016 was a tough year with lots of mixed emotions besides that in politics.
Running a business and working full-time is really rough, but I'm not making enough to support myself yet, so for now I just have to keep hustling.
Design + Happiness has definitely been a crazy ride this past year with many tears shed. It's been tough to navigate all the parts of running a business. Designing is the fun part, but working with manufacturers and printers I think has been the toughest part for me. I've gone through many different places trying to find one to settle with. I don't know how people do it. I've definitely wasted a lot of time and money with companies that have created inconsistent products or just bad products for me. I'm hoping 2017 is the year that I can figure out my production process so I can get back to focusing on designing.
On a high note, I got my first wholesale account this year and got a total of 4 by the end of the year. I attended 2 additional craft fairs this year, Renegade Craft Fairs, that I didn't get into the prior year. And 10x'ed my sales on Etsy. So things are looking up, slowly but surely.
Additionally, we got to go to some fun adventures including a couple trips home to LA, a trip to New York, and Dillon Beach. Boba turned 1 this year and is continuing to brighten our day. I got to go hang out at Camp David as part of my work, which was a chance of a lifetime that I will never forget. I ran another half-marathon. And had a great, white Christmas and a fun New Year with my family. Those were some of the highlights of the year.
Here are my resolutions for the year:
- Continue to grow and improve my business
- Go to at least one craft fair outside of San Francisco
- Blog more
- Exercise more
- Eat healthier
- Worry less
- Go on more adventures
- Learn how to play the ukulele
- Take more pictures
- Continue to make more things
- Keep on hustling
We'll see how it goes! What are yours? Hope everyone has a fantastic year! Happy New Year!
Grant and Boba had never been to New York City, so we decided it would be fun to go hang out there for a week. We decided to rent out an Airbnb in Williamsburg as hotel prices were really high. I loved being close to the subway, cute coffeeshops, restaurants, and shops. It was a little colder than I would have liked, but we survived! I was also able to catch up with old high school friends and old co-workers, which was another nice bonus. In no particular order, below are some of our highlights.
ASSSSCAT 3000 at UCBT Chelsea - On Sunday nights they offer a free improv show at 9:30pm as long as you're willing to wait in line. We waited in line for about an hour, then they give you a number. Once you get a number you can roam around until the show starts which is about an hour later where you then stand back in line in numerical order. The show was great and was one of our favorite things we did on our trip.
New York Pizza Suprema - We had some time to kill before ASSSSCAT 3000 so we walked around and found this pizza place. I think this was my favorite pizza out of the slices we tried so far. We mainly went to cheap pizza places. I really liked the Upside Down Pizza. Although Prince Street Pizza's pepperoni pizza is a close 2nd.
Prince Street Pizza - I liked their pepperoni pizza.
Dominique Ansel Bakery - If you want a cronut, you want to get there before 10am. We got both the DKAs and Cronuts. They were both delicious, but I think I'm leaning toward team DKA. I would love to try another cronut flavor though.
Paintbox - This place is definitely a splurge, but I love their nail designs and branding as a whole, so I had to try it at least once. I loved the entire experience from when you enter the door and see their pink furniture and look through their nicely bounded book of nail designs. I got my nails done by Evelyn and loved the outcome. I got a gel mani featuring the use of loose glitter that lasted about 3 weeks.
Baohaus - Since we watch Fresh Off The Boat, we wanted to check out Baohaus. The Chairman Baos were our favorite.
Momofuku Milk Bar - Since we watch MasterChef we wanted to check out Momofuku Milk Bar. Even though it was cold out we still decided to try cereal milk ice cream and I'm glad we did.
Birch Coffee - I love Chai lattes and really loved the one here. We got it twice during our trip at two different locations and they were both yummy. I could use some now.
ABC Carpet & Home - Many floors full of beautiful home goods and fun decor. In particular, I loved seeing Muuto furniture in person.
Ippudo - The ramen special we got was ok. We probably should have went with the classic, but we loved the Yamitsuki Goma Kyuri, pork Hirata Buns, and lychee soda.
Katz's Delicatessen - I made sure to have Grant watch When Harry Met Sally before we went to New York so we can go here. We shared a half pastrami sandwich and half matzo ball soup. They were both delicious.
Van Leeuwen Aritisan Ice Cream - We stopped by to share some delicious honeycomb ice cream.
Pietro Nolita - If you love pink like I do, you'll love this place. We were too late for their breakfast, but we were able to get a yummy croissant and take pictures.
Away - I love their carry-on suitcase and their store happened to open the week we arrived. I loved seeing the other sizes in person and the customer service was excellent. I really want to get the medium size suitcase one day.
McNally Jackson Store: Goods For The Stuff - A cute, small store with pretty office supplies.
Maman - Love the to-go cups and lavender hot chocolate. I wasn't sure about lavender in hot chocolate at first, but then I loved it. I like chocolate, but sometimes I think it's too much and I thought that the lavender complemented the chocolate very well to not be so sweet. I need to try making some lavender hot chocolate myself.
Russ & Daughters Cafe - Love the decor and design. The wait was long, but we walked around the area and checked out some stores in the area. We enjoyed the Lower Sunny Side, Matzo Ball Soup, The Classic Board, shrub, and egg cream soda.
CW Pencil Enterprise - Pencils, pencils, pencils. If you love pencils, this is the place for you.
Anna Sheffield Jewelry - I've been following Anna Sheffield on Instagram for a while now, and wanted to see her jewelry in person. It was more beautiful in person.
Uncle Boons - A one Michelin star Thai restaurant. The food was pretty tasty. We enjoyed the bone marrow, Mieng Kum, Roti, Khao Soi, and Massamun Neuh. Although, I like my parent's Massamun a little more. :)
Whitney Museum - Love that it was pay what you wish on Fridays from 7pm - 10pm, since we only had 1 hour left until closing.
American Museum of Natural History - We enjoyed looking at all the taxidermy and gemstones and going to the Planetarium. Although, if you go to the Planetarium I recommend sitting in the back as you would probably not strain your neck as much as we did. We sadly did not see Neil DeGrasse Tyson there. :P
Washington Square Park - We just liked sitting near the fountain and people watching.
Highline - Loved walking through the Highline and sitting down every now and then to soak it all in. The Highline is just such a great idea. I really wished San Francisco had something like this.
Central Park - We rented bikes and biked through the park. It was a great way to take in the park. I wished we had a little more time to make more stops, but we did stop to see the Alice in Wonderland sculpture and Strawberry Fields which were pretty cool.
Pies 'n' Thighs - The wait was a little long, but food was worth the wait. We enjoyed the chicken biscuit, smoked bacon collards, mac 'n' cheese, cheese grits, cornbread, and cherry pie.
Bulter's Bakeshop - Such a beautiful space. I love the gold tabletops, the pink to-go cups, and pastries from a Michelin starred pastry chef were tasty. We especially loved the breakfast empanada with green sauce pictured below.
Loosie's Kitchen - We had a great brunch here! If you want to eat brunch here on the weekend, you'll need to make a reservation online. When you get there, you'll walk through a bar to get to the dining area. The decor is very pretty and the food was delicious. They also have a fun outdoor area, but they had just installed some insulation and weren't able to open the doors when we were there. Our favorites were the baked eggs, eggs benedict, and the nutella beignets!
Wiliamsburg mural - Found this sidewalk through @aww.sam's Instagram and I had to find it. It's at Metropolitan and Roebling right where the Citi bikes are. I'm glad we went there even though it was out of our way and I didn't have much time to soak it all in. I was still able to get some fun photos.
Catbird - I love Catbird's jewelry. I own a few of their rings and I have the You are the moon and stars stackable necklace on my wish list. They also have a Wedding Annex that is lovely with great service.
Bird - If I had lots of money, I would shop here for clothes, bags, and accessories, but it's also a fun store to window shop.
Leif - Cute store for home goods, stationery, and other gifts.
Mociun - I've been following this company on Instagram for awhile and have seen their jewelry in some of the San Francisco stores, but it was so great to go to their shop. I love their jewelry and hope to own their jewelry one day. I especially love the pavé diamond rings.
Love Thy Beast - I love this company. Boba has their puffy, bamboo hoodie, and bag and loves them. Their puffy jacket is probably my favorite thing Boba ones. It's been great for the cold, rain, and snow. We loved seeing their studio/showroom and meeting Orzo and Tiziana.
Atrium DUMBO - We went to this Michelin recommended restaurant for dinner. It had great food, decor, and ambiance. I enjoyed the soup of the day, duck, and brioche doughnuts.
We hope to go back to NYC again, maybe in the Spring next time. I'll also have to plan ahead to get tickets to some tapings. I really want to go to The Tonight Show and Last Week Tonight and maybe a Broadway show too. Until next time, NYC!
If you have any recommendations for NYC, please feel free to comment below. Thanks in advance!
Grant, Boba, and I flew down for my dad's 60th birthday. Well, the weekend after for a quick LA trip. My dad likes to walk and people watch, so we walked around Third Street Promenade and the Santa Monica Pier. I am from Santa Monica and miss being so close to the beach. The beach in San Francisco is not that same.
We had some Tito's Tacos, which is one of my family's favorite places to eat. It's a place my parents have been eating before we were all born so it's very nostalgic. I love their tacos, chips, salsa, chili con carne, and refried beans, but I know it's not for everyone.
We also went to one of my favorite ramen places, Tsujita LA. I love the Char Siu Tsukemen here. The line was pretty long, but we got through it. Here's Boba waiting in line:
Afterwards we decided to hike to the Hollywood sign since my dad and I have never hiked up there before. I thought that would be fun thing to do especially after we stuffed ourselves with ramen.
I thought it was a great hike besides the horse poop. Boba even hiked up with us. We could have hiked more to the back of the sign, but the sun was setting by the time we got to the front of it. I like seeing the sign from the front more anyways. Maybe we'll hike to the back next time.
After that we took my dad to Salt and Straw. I love their honey lavender ice cream and their salted caramel ice cream. So good! Can't wait for them to open in San Francisco.
Overall, it was a fun weekend with the family. My brother likes to joke that we just did everything I wanted to do and so it was my birthday weekend, but my dad just has similar taste! :P
Happy 60th Birthday Dad! We love you!