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RintheBay: So long, sweet summer

Thirty days in the States and the following has come to my attention: It’s super weird to wear shoes inside the house. Ranch is the best flavor. It’s nice to feel like a normal-sized person. It’s nice to wave and greet every person you walk past. It’s nice not hearing anyone aggressively clear their throats of phlegm. There is so/too much on television. There are only five songs on the car radio and somehow all of them feature Justin Bieber. Driving is stressful but I love buying things in bulk and not having to worry about how I will carry it all up six flights of stairs in one go.

bestie visit!

This trip has been a whirlwind. Coming off of the end of my first year in Hong Kong, besties visiting, two incredible weeks in Thailand (blogs forthcoming), I felt ready to get on a 15 hour plane and head into the bosom of my family. LOLz when am I ever ready to get on a plane. Or do anything at all.

I had about 10 hours to pack for my summer after coming home from my Thailand trip. I won’t be back in the States for a year, so I threw in leggings and some dresses and thought that should do it, as everyone who’s lived abroad knows that you come with empty suitcases so that you may fill them up with all the things. The nice thing about living in HK versus Brazil is that I’m not so desperate to bring back tortillas, frosting, iced coffee packets, and the other backbones of any good nutrition plan. But I do need clothes. Your typical clothing store in Asia doesn’t carry sizes up to “girl who eats a lot of Mexican food” so I anticipated shopping.

I took off at about 12:30pm Hong Kong time, after an hour on the tarmac, during which we were told that there was so much bad weather over Japan that they were working on a new flight plan. Oh goody. Then that took so long, they had to refuel. Such a confidence builder. I was seated next to a VERY excited guy from China who clapped a LOT and I’m not sure had ever worn deodorant. Despite our new flight plan meant to avoid turbulence, the ride was so bumpy that there was no service for the first two-something hours. They kept stopping beverages and starting again and then stopping. Which would be okay, if new regulations for America-bound flights hadn’t required us to throw away all our newly purchased snacks and waters. It made for a cranky and thirsty few hours. And for some reason I couldn’t settle on a movie . . . I watched movies I had already seen over other people’s shoulders though. Not even with subtitles. Why do we do that?!

my dog is my copilot

But none of that mattered when I was greeted by the best dogs EVER at baggage claim. It was also nice to see the humans that drove them there – my mom and sisters. We did the traditional In-N-Out lunch before heading home, where I attempted to stay awake for the entire day. Hong Kong is 15-16 hours ahead of California, so my body was like “heeyyyy whatcha doing awake now” but I kept throwing bean dip and craft beer at it to acclimate. I saw fam from Washington and Reno and facetimed Virginia people, all while completely delirious with jetlag.

good ol san francisco

The next few days got weird – some nights I stayed up until 6am, enthralled with OnDemand. I took early morning walks. I fell asleep in the middle of the day. But I managed to do my part to keep Target in business, saw fam, had a sleepover with my bestie in the city. It was so nice to walk on my trail, understand the currency, not have anyone run into me. And no humidity! Praise be!

Elsie with her best friend, Buddy. Giving us a photo shoot. Giving me life.

Within days of landing, I was blessed with a visit from the Pithers, my friends since Rio, who now live in Hong Kong. They stayed with my family, and Elsie made best friends with my dog, much to everyone’s delight. We spent a day in the city and then I dropped them off to get an RV, as they were headed on an epic family road trip California-Oregon-Idaho-Yellowstone-Utah-Nevada-San Diego that made me quite green with envy. Anyone up for that adventure in the next few years?

IMG_7341 2

I went to a Giants game, had pool days, chilled with the dogs, had my Hk roommate visit on her way to San Francisco for the weekend (she lives in Colorado), and then headed for an epic weekend of camping with my sisters. The following is best reenacted in person, alas . . .

Outdoorsy girls as we are, we like to take annual camping trips. Something about climate change, high gas prices, heat waves, wildfires, droughts, and no running water might have something to do with the very cheap prices we found this summer. But we went for it. We had to. It’s tradition.

IMG_7963We pulled up to Glory Hole, on Lake Melones, and realized we’d booked a site on the edge of a cliff with zero percent shade, in 100+ degree temps, high fire warnings, afternoon windstorms. Neato. We quickly got in touch with Ranger Rick and negotiated a new campsite. It was easy because the campground was empty. Because no one else was dumb enough to be out in that heat. We picked a nice lil spot overlooking the lake and began set up.

Ranger Rick (actual name – Justin. Beer belly – adorable. Shirt – always untucked. Wife’s name – Joy.) came over and let us know that he had “relocated” 39 rattlesnakes so far this season and was hoping for an even 40 this weekend! So let us know when we found one on the site! I said several colorful things and then let him know that I had no desire to be there for number 40, thankyouverymuch. He then let us know about the fire that had swept through the neighboring campsite the weekend before, and the dry weather, and to keep hydrated, and the entire undertone of our conversation was that we were going to die out there.

We like to prep for camping nearly as much as actually camping. Car is FULL. Playlist MADE. Soda DRANK. Snacks on POINT.

Jenna and I went to work on setting up the tent, which is the greatest way to test the bonds of any relationship. Of course, on a cliff in a windstorm, it led to pee-your-pants hysterics, Jenna breaking her pinky toe, me needing a beer break, and general chaos. At some point on one of the several beer breaks (my sister broke her toe! Had to break!) we noticed these large flying bugs drooping around our campsite. I happened to check facebook, where someone had chimed in to my post about our campsite at Glory Hole and laughingly mentioned the flying spiders.

Um. Say what, now?

Turns out there is a thing known as the tarantula wasp, which is a tiny dragon that eats big spiders. And they were hunting around our campsite, because our site was known for being very tarantula-friendly.


We armed ourselves with liquid courage and waited for night to fall. Sophie arrived about eight and we had traditional premade spaghetti dinner, watched the campfire, and chatted happily away until a large family reunion started setting up in the dark in the campsite next to us. In an otherwise empty campground.

our totally beautiful view

Okay, okay, we thought. No worries. Until their large rottweiler came bounding over and headbutted me (and later spent the night whining outside our tent). Until we learned everyone’s names because Rosa started screaming them at 6am to wake up so they could get ready for the lake with the abuelos, while bumping “Havana” on the stereo, which is a song that makes me want to take an icepick to my eardrums.

Being the totally chill people we are, we consulted the rules posted at the bathrooms (which by the way, were just port a potties baking in the sun as there was no running water. Yes. 100 degrees, no showers, pooping on other people’s hot poop) casually filed a complaint with Ranger Rick about the off-leash dog and mucho ruido outside of camp quiet hours. Then I added a little “not to sound high maintenance, but…..could we move campsites again???”

IMG_7967And so we found ourselves, on the surface of a dusty sun, relocating for the third time. Of course, the wind picked up and blew our mattress away, but this led to us meeting our neighbors, a pregnant couple from Colorado, recently relocated to Lodi, vacationing here in hell with us. When it was over, we just sat in chairs with cervezas, occasionally wandering to the spigot to gather water to pour over ourselves. We watched hawks and dragonflies chase each other, told stupid stories, and played cornhole. We went on stick hunts at night to make massive fires and set up wasp traps and watched them lure in the tiny flying demons. We ate a lot of bacon and used an app on my phone to map out unknown constellations. Someone on facebook said that peeing around your campsite keeps the rattlers away. We still don’t know if that’s true, but we did our best.

my very important new magnet

Another fun piece of advice that someone sent us via facebook was that the lake, which was supposed to be our sweet relief, was full of leeches. Another friend told of the baby rattler they found under their tent. Buzzards flew overhead constantly, apparently scoping out the remains of previous campers. At one point we drove into town for an ice chest refill, sweet sweet air conditioning, ice cream, and a side trip down the streets of Angels Camp. It’s where Mark Twain hid out while running from authorities, got the inspiration for his big break, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” Angels Camp is also home to a big population of Bigfoot chasers, so I felt very known in my soul there.

I also feel known when people read this, despite their Bigfoot beliefs, or lack thereof. So thank you. If you haven’t heard it yet today, and you need to – thank you. So very much more happened this summer, so there is more to come. But I’m supposed to be packing (when there’s a blog, you know there’s something I should be doing . . . )

another fun things about home – finding memorabilia like this scrapbook from college spring break 2001 in Mexico. We were and still are this much fun.

traveling stuffs

I like this pic of me. Adventure, animal, travel, and I miss that scarf.
I like this pic of me. Adventure, animal, travel, and I miss that scarf.

I love me a good travel. I’ve done tours, backpacking, solo trips, road trips, chicken buses, well-planned and no plans. To date, I’ve been to 29 countries, mostly Central and South America and Europe. And I’ve been to 31 states. I’m from California, have lived in North Carolina, Washington, and Brazil, and am moving to Hong Kong in July 2017.

My last trip was Chile/Argentina/Faulkland Islands/Uruguay on an Antarctic cruise. PENGUINS!

My next trip is Idaho!

I’m by no means a professional traveler or professional blogger. My travel stories tend to run on the “check out this totally crazy thing that happened and here are the pics.” I hate when people are snobby about traveling, or post a bunch of “Date a Girl who Travels” or “You Should Totally Travel” without recognizing that most people don’t get to travel because they can’t afford it, or are married and have kids.

To be honest, I can’t afford it. Some of these stories are mission trips that people sponsored on. For Central America, I sold everything I owned to go. For Brazil, I sold my car. And I always live pretty cheaply in anticipation of traveling.

When in doubt, be someone people want to be around. Like Sasquatch.
When in doubt, be someone people want to be around. Like Sasquatch.


  • me describing the cute outfits i wore somewhere. i’m lucky if they’re clean.
  • me figuring out cool travel hacks. my bar for success is just surviving.
  • me doing a yoga pose during a sunset somewhere. beer bellies make most poses very uncomfortable.


  • that I am able to find a karaoke bar in any country ever.
  • that I am able to find cookies in any country ever.
  • several stories that explain why my mom often refuses to read my blog.
  • a stupid amount of selfies with silly things.
  • stories of friends from around the world.
  • animals.
  • nature. nature’s my favorite.

Please let me know if there is anything you would like to see, or like to know! Until I figure out something better, the blogs are organized by country or concept:

How To Do Christmas Real Bad This Year

my plan for Christmas Day.
my plan for Christmas Day.

1. Be too embarrassed to come home and see family. Well, embarrassed is part of it – I’ve gained weight, couldn’t get a real job, have no friends, and broke up with the man I thought I was going to marry after I moved out here. It’s like 75% too embarrassed and not wanting to deal with questions/pity/advice about it, and 35% knowing that if I came all the way home for the holidays, it would be even harder to have to return to NC and stay for a few more months before I sorted out my next steps in life. Yeah, that’s 110%. That’s how much I always put into everything I do. Even failing. Boom.

2. Decide to not get a tree. I haven’t smelled anything piney and wonderful. Might need to just stalk a tree farm for a while to get that taken care of. Or buy a nice scented candle…but those never truly compare.

3. Fail at Pinterest-y decorating ideas. So my moms sent me this adorable poor man’s decoration Pin – dried orange slices! Dipped in sparkly sugar! And I could hang them on brown string and it would be cute!

It is supposed to look like this:

“la la la, I’m Pinterest and I exceed expectations!”

But mine look like this:

pinterest is stoopid.
pinterest is stoopid.
it's not tooooo bad, right?!
it’s not tooooo bad, right?!

Keep in mind that involved about six hours of vigilant oven watching and orange slice turning.

And a wild consumption of sugar.

My roommate straight up laughed, bent over double, when I insisted in hanging them on the string across the fire, with the fake tiny tree I bought on sale at the Kroger. With one ornament – a bear I bought at Yellowstone, where ex-BF and family and I vacationed this summer.

4. Work somewhere where they play pop-y slash poop-y remixes of classic Christmas songs, destroying your ability to enjoy them outside in your real life.

5. Try to put up Christmas lights and fail, but keep them up there anyway. Be that house. So my roommate, much to my surprise, was totally supportive about putting Christmas lights up. He hauled out boxes of lights I didn’t even know he had, and we spent hours twisting and twining them around the bannisters of our front porch. I was so excited. So many strands! Ah!

it's just not gonna work, is it?
it’s just not gonna work, is it? ps try and ignore how cool my outfit is. it was 31 degrees out and i hadn’t worked that day.

I put on Christmas music, drank some wine out of my Kroger Christmas cup, and we had some good chats about working out, while we both drank booze, which is typical of our lawyer/teacher lifestyle.Then I went to wind out the extension chord from the outlet in the back to the front of the house, and discovered the dilemma you see in this photo:

Yeah. After hours and hours, we had tried to mate two female ends of the Christmas lights. This was my turn to laugh.

So we figured that we could just work the extension chord around to the other side of the house, and plug it in from there, instead of undoing eight strands of lights tightly woven among the beams of our porch.

We took a break for a few hours, deciding to wait until night truly fell upon the earth to plug the lights in for the grand finale. (what really happened is I wrapped a strand of lights around myself, drank wine, and burned up pieces from the recycling pile in the fire until my roommate was ready.)

Finally it was dark enough! Here we go! Plug in the lights!

But as we walked to do so, a terrible feeling came over me. I turned with a horrified look to my roommate to say,

“We never checked to see if the lights worked before we put them up, did we?!”

His eyes widened in fear. But there was no turning back.

We plugged them in, ran to the front of the house, and:


Yup. Isn’t it glorious and anticlimactic?

After I wiped away my tears from laughter, I turned to roomie and said “you want to just leave them up?”

“Yeah. That’s fine.”

So far I have seen only one car reverse from the stop sign on the corner to come back and look at how dumb my house is.

Anyway. I’m also not giving presents this year. Partly because I’m not going home, partly because I can’t afford it, partly because I don’t even know where to shop in Durham. But also because my family doesn’t really need anything. Instead I’m going to donate some money to Compassion International, where I sponsor a cupcake of a child called Reyna, in my family’s name.

We live in America. We’re healthy and richer than we can even know. We don’t need anything. Except cuddles.

o-THEOBEAU6-570Here. I leave you with a puppy and a baby. Watch out, it’s a deadly combination.

Loves and mistletoes and dreams and glitter and duck butts.


Funemployment: My Top 10 Favs about our Road Trip

the grand beautiful!!
the grand tetons…so beautiful!!

I just got back from a week traveling with my boyfriend and family to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, to celebrate my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was fun, it was exhausting, it was beautiful.

Ten Things I Loved:

10. Food. This could be reasons 1-9. Because. I love food. We ate our way through California/Nevada/Utah/Idaho/Wyoming and back again. I had the best biscuits, BBQ, hush puppies, pulled pork, Moose Tracks milkshakes at gas stations, etc. And I didn’t feel guilty about any of it, because I’m on vacation.

SONY DSC9. Driving. My butt hurt and my legs cramped, but there is something really nice in driving and not in a hurry. The ability to cross five states in eight days is pretty sweet. I kept thinking of the settlers who had to do it in wagons, ala Oregon Trail style. Heck to the no!

8. Meeting new people. My boyfriend has never met a stranger. We can be at a gas station in Utah or on an aerial tram in Wyoming, and he’s met everyone in the building within ten minutes. Sometimes this is embarrassing or inconvenient, but it’s so cool when a “stranger” is randomly from the same town you are, or knows your cousin, or is also allergic to apples.

7. Time Travel. There is something always bizarre about crossing time zones, or discovering “Mexico time” or “Southern Time” or even “vacation time,” where you don’t set an alarm to wake up, and you’ll get there when and if you get there.

6. Souvenirs. I am a big sucker for stickers, magnets, key chains, anything Americana, trucker hats, etc. If it looks white trash, I want it. The hokier, the better. I want a sparkly Christmas ornament, a coaster, a fanny pack. And I love collecting all this crap to haul around with me so that later I can…I’m not sure what.

utah5. Roads Less Traveled. The wrong turn trying to find a mismarked “Historical Site” that leads down a road with a million double-wide trailers and some beautiful Mormon Temples. The off-the-beaten path to the most beautiful shade of blue lake you’ve ever seen. The random online review that leads you to the world’s largest bottle of ketchup. Why not?!

4. Things that go wrong. When our best laid plans fail, we truly get to know each other’s character. And so you schedule a fishing trip in Idaho Falls, and leave your cabin at 10pm only to find out that your buddy’s house is actually in Boise, which is seven hours away, on the exact opposite side of the state you need it to be. So you argue in the car for a while, and then take off into the night and figure out what little motel you can stay in and make the best of it, and try to continue dating throughout the whole thing. (this happened to…a friend. :) )

3. Things that are small and beautiful. Things like the yellow flowers on the side of the road, or the bunnies, or the baby that flirts with you at the tram station. Or the towns you could miss if you blinked. Or the cop in Utah who lets you off when a warning when you were at least 15 miles over the speed limit.

SONY DSC2. Things that are big and beautiful. The bison and the moose you have always heard about, that walk alongside your vehicle in Yellowstone, or peek through the trees in your backyard in Jackson Hole. Or the Grand Tetons towering over the valley, the Snake River winding slowly through the meadows, reminding you how insignificant and silly you are in the midst of all creatures great and small.

1. Time Together. You really can’t beat 2,500 miles, five states, about 35 hours together in a car. The songs we sang, the tiny towns we saw, the mutual eye rolls…it was all a part of a larger thing that ultimately made us “level up” in our relationship as a couple. And then to spend so much time SONY DSCwith my family to celebrate my grandparents, two very interesting people, in one of the most gorgeous places on earth, was truly awesome.

The pictures are beautiful, but they don’t do justice to my memories.

Viva Jackson Hole!

Funemployment: Wide Open Spaces

photoAs I mentioned in my last blog, I have quit my job for looooooove. How romantic. :) To celebrate this, and the idea of love in general (my grandparents 50th year anniversary of being married and not killing each other), boyfriend and I got in a car (I’m still afraid of planes) and drove a million hours to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Foot of Yellowstone, glacier peaks, the Tetons, moose, bears hoping to wrestle with me, way too much food and drink and family for a week.

900 miles, three gas fillups, one baby tumbleweed, land so flat that we could see the beginning AND the end of a train.

I realized that I don’t trust anyone or anything in Nevada. This might have something to due with how many episodes of Xfiles I have seen. I just think that everyone living out in the middle of nowhere is involved in a cult/religious uprising/government conspiracy/hiding from the law. After dinner at a casino, because nothing else is open that late on a Sunday (past 7pm), we found one dingy motel room with outlets that didn’t work, but managed to have a bottle opener attached to the bathroom sink, and stopped for the night.

photo (1)We woke in the morning to drive the final three something hours, and I felt like I kept having to take pictures and to pick my jaw up off the floor. We are in the the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. The sky is so big. The air tastes like clouds and the sun feels brighter somehow. People are happy and friendly, and I’ve seen four meese. I hear water rushing all around me, everything is green green green and full of promise and all I want to do is hike to the top of something tall and then roll down the hill.

Tomorrow we are taking a river float down a river where we are guaranteed to meet a bear that wants to be friendly with me. Then we plan on letting the town of Jackson Hole, with it’s many cowboy bars, showing us a thing or two about how to have a good time.

photo (4)I am so, so, so happy. To be drinking in fresh air, eating BBQ everything, nothing better to do but have a good time. Everything about the rest of life will get really real in a few weeks, but for now, it’s just 5 o’clock right here.



I will be 30 years old in the year 2014. Things I’d like to do by then, a bucket list of sorts. Because goals are importanical.

Hey girl teacher1. Go to grad school for….something.(Graduated with a 4.0 from my teaching credential program, December 2012)

2. Make the “Freshly Pressed” featured blog page here on

3. Record a CD. Recorded one in Spanish and one in English :).

4. Publish a book.

5. Go to a dinner and a movie by myself and not check my cell phone even once. It was kind of scary, but I did it!!!

6. Go to Alcatraz.

my homemade bucha!!!
my homemade bucha!!!

7. Brew my own Kombucha. Yeah baby! Did this! Blog about it coming….

8. Read 100 books.

9. Memorize 20 songs on the guitar by heart.

10. Go to 100 Giants games. (65 down.)

11. Visit Yellowstone. June 2013. So. Beautiful.

12. Make a lasagna from scratch. It was nom nom.

13. Log 1,500 miles walking/running/hiking on (currently at 1575!!!!!)

me and gma loving our Giants.
me and gma loving our Giants.

14. Go to Giants Spring Training. (DID IT!!! 2013!)

15. Have 100 email subscribers to this blog. (have 164 by email, 550 by twitter, 246 on Facebook!)

16. Make Yelp Elite!!  Check out my page at I freaking LOVE Yelp!

17. Run a 5K. Completed my first, the Pleasant Hill Firecracker Fun Run. 31 something minutes. Yay! something accomplished! Now, back to the couch.

18. Visit Joshua Tree or Zion. Pretty cool.

update: knitting is for morons.
update: knitting is for morons.

19. Visit three new countries or states. Oregon, Colorado, Florida! Tackled Ireland and Spain, Summer 2013. Breezed through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, LIVED in North Carolina.

20. Learn how to knit. In my defense, I freaking TRIED.

Oh yeah baby
Oh yeah baby

21. Brew my own beer! Check out the experience here!

22. Take a wine-tasting course. I’m gonna say that this is covered because I am taking a two week Bartending course to be a certified bartender! I have learned a LOT.

23. Run a 10k. Turkey Trot 2011! Finished in 1:05 and planning on getting that under an hour :)

24. Have 300 followers on Twitter. (have 550+)

25. Get 100,000 hits on this blog. Yeah baby! Took 16 months. New goal – 300,000 by my 30th birthday!

26. Read the entire Bible. (Finished April 21, 2013!)

pat burrell. soooo dreamy.
pat burrell. soooo dreamy.

27. Meet someone famous. Met Pat Burrell!!!

28. Sing at an open mic night.

29. Participate in a flash mob. We had an adorable flash mob at my school, totally surprising our principal. This counts…but I’d like to step it up and do one better.

30. Visit 30 new wineries or breweries. (17 down)

New Things to Add:

Write 100 reviews on Yelp this year (started at 332, on 429!)

Visit 10 National or State Parks (Yosemite, Lassen, Donner, Yellowstone, Blue Ridge Parkway so far)

Reread all the works of Jane Austen (Just read Persuasion, Northanger Abbey)

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