organizing my desk with knock knock!

Once a year, I treat myself to a Knock Knock Pad - Two years ago, it was a Pro-Con list. Last year, it was a to-do list. This year, it's the Five Days a Week Keyboard Pad. Knock Knock sent me this awesome long pad that serves as a to-do list and weekly planner. This is a space saver, and rests at the base of your keyboard.

I tested it out at work and love how its 15" size aligns with my laptop. It is a colorful accent to my work space! The 5-day + weekend format makes the week seem do-able and visually spaced out.  I am sure that these pages will be increasingly full over the next few days, but I love the little countdowns at the bottom corners. "Can You Taste It?" is my favorite!! Checking those off will be so satisfying throughout the year...

The weekend pad consists of separate weekend sticky notes that are especially fun. It makes looking forward to the weekend even more fun for a stationery lover like myself!

It is definitely more useful in a work or office setting, because it actually gets use. My desk at home is more for personal stuff - blogging, pinterest-ing, and general reading. I really do enjoy using it at work, and have received compliments on it from like-minded people who love a good writing surface. I discovered that Knock Knock also makes a mousepad with a similar format, which will probably be my next purchase when this keyboard pad runs out.

Til then, it's a pretty nice rest for the wrists when typing. If you're in love with Knock Knock as much as me, then sign up for their e-newsletter!! New signups get 20% off your purchase of $50!  

Thanks Knock Knock! Can't wait to see what you come out with next!

ciao, xo


coffee diaries | scapegoat

 This place is an eptiome of minimalist California cool. Located a couple dozen yards from the sand and sea, Scapegoat provides a chill fuel-up-and-go atmosphere for beachgoers and ocean enthusiasts alike. Copies of Kinfolk and The Surfer's Journal occupy shelf space in this all-white, tiny, spartan coffee nook. A projector splashes the back wall with surfing footage, while the bright sun illuminates the remaining walls. This $4.50 latte was whipped up with true barista skill, and man was it strong! I of course loved the latte art, which seems to be an essential characteristic in every cup poured. Without much place to sit, it seems like Scapegoat is just the perfect spot for a pre- or post- meal pick-me-up, to take with you as you stroll along the Strand and window shop in the stores on Pier Avenue. Why can't every beach street have a cafe like this?

Scapegoat is definitely a unique cafe in Hermosa! You can read more about it, the source of their beans, their business inspo, and reason behind their unusual name here .

25 Pier Ave
Hermosa Beach, CA



whirlwind trip: seattle

 Seattle!! What a gem! We spent a beautiful whirlwind of 2 days here in the Emerald City and it was an absolute delight, such a great city to explore from scratch without any major plans. My first instinct was noting how laid back and outdoorsy the city felt; it is not a city of high glamour or materialism. It seems to be booming and growing everyday, with new construction and building. In every corner of the city, blue and green surrounds the eye.

The highlights of the trip were our trip to Bainbridge Island and the family time that we were able to spend with my aunt, uncle, mother and cousins in between our time in the city. We planned the trip poorly, but managed to fit in a lot of the items on my bucket list!

Day 1 : We arrived early in the morning at met my mom at our hotel in downtown Seattle.  We stayed at the lovely Westin and honestly, it was one of the most luxurious rooms I've stayed in! The down sheets and comfy pillows were by far my favorite part! We got started right away after stowing our bags, and headed first for Pike Place Market. S and I wanted to do some touristy things, like see the fish being thrown at Pike Place and the scenic views of the Puget Sound. We had so much fun with my mom goofing off and leisurely walking past the stalls! My particular favorite were all the flower vendors, who had the most vibrant bouquets with generous heaps of sunflowers, dahlias, snapdragons, and ranunculus. We had lunch at the delicious Sound View Cafes - our table had chicken quesadillas, sandwiches, and fries - and enjoyed our seat. We were perched right above the piers along the Puget Sound, so we had a prime view of the ferries humming along the waterways and disappearing in and out of the fog.

After lunch, we perused a lot of stores and got used to walking the hills of Seattle. We stopped by Beecher's Cheeses and glimpsed at the first Starbucks location - but honestly they were teeming with people and the thought of being stuck in lines was horrible. We made our way out of the Pike Place area and we ended our day shopping by visiting the REI store. Seriously, it was the coolest of stores I've been to. I'm not a big outdoors enthusiast, but after going into REI I wanted to become one! The camping equipment and apparel had me dreaming of redwood forests and open Washington roads.

For dinner we went to visit family in the northern suburbs of Seattle - a simple pizza and wine with the family was SO relaxing and chill. I was in love with the area and was so glad we spent the day entirely outside. S and I had an early start that morning (we were up at 3am!) so I was definitely craving sleep by the time dinner was done.

Day 2 : The original plan was to see the San Juan Islands by ferry but due to our lack of planning and time constraints, we figured that a short trip to Bainbridge Island would satisfy our desires to travel on the Washington ferries. It was! We enjoyed the morning so much, even though it was a bit cloudy and we didn't see Mount Rainier very clearly (darn!). The expansive blue waters and hazy hills in the distance make Seattle so dreamy - I know it rains a lot, but it makes the greens lush and happy. Bainbridge Island was ridiculously beautiful, and as we pulled up we realized that it was quite small and quaint. S and I strolled around by foot and opted to take a walking trail along the water that eventually led up into the town center. We saw the marina, which was quite parched of water as Seattle is experiencing a dry summer. After exploring the woods, looking at the wild berries and all of the boats in the water, we meandered up into the center of town and found the most adorable main street. It was filled with cafes, a bookstore, cute boutiques and gift shops, and other mom & pop stores. Absolutely no chains or franchises (except for maybe a bank). It was charming! My favorite stop was our spontaneous find at the Blackbird Bakery - seriously we just stumbled upon it! - for a latte and a little apple pie. We loved that little bakery!

On our ferry ride back, we snapped photos of the Seattle skyline once it came into view and figured our next move. I was really interesting in snapping some pictures of the city from a high point - thank goodness S is always up for my outrageous ambitions - so I did a little old fashioned searching on a paper map from our hotel. I found that the Columbia Center, the tallest building in Seattle, was the best spot for observing the city and the surrounding water and mountains. It also happens to be the 2nd tallest building on the west coast! Seriously, it was gigantic and quite impressive. We ventured to the observation deck on the 73rd floor for $15 each (ouch) and had a most amazing 360degree view of the city. If it were a bit clearer we probably would have seen Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker! That was a bummer. But the view was so stunning, we stayed up there for quite a while and really got the most out of the deck. We had lunch at the Columbia Center and planned our way back up to the suburbs for a last family visit.

Our remarkable visit is over, but we cannot wait to be back to explore more of the Pacific Northwest!! I am itching to go back!


- Mercury Coffee based out of Woodinville is seriously amazing coffee - the best I have had in a WHILE! I am so glad I discovered this company, and wish there was a location near me. Check it out! We had a fantastic experience at the cute to-go shack we visited, along with fantastic service. A must-visit. It makes Starbucks taste like dishwater!
- Pike Place calligraphy, flowers, and fish tossing!
- Taco dinner with family outdoors, enjoying the last of the daylight
- The walking trail at Bainbridge Island, and exploring the woods with S!
- Seeing (or at least being pointed in the direction of) Seattle giants such as Microsoft and Nintendo
- The stadiums (S's fave!)
- Blackbird Bakery
- Seeing the Space Needle at night, peeking through the buildings as we zoomed down I-5
- Hanging out at REI and contemplating camping life - it would be fun to hang out in a tree tent, right?
- Introducing Mom to UBER! :) She loved it and we had amazing drivers!
- Stopping for iced coffees with Mom and S
- The Columbia Sky Deck - seriously amazing views, arguably the best in the city.
- Our hotel - love at first sight!
- Metsker's Maps is a favorite store in our family! I use a lot of their maps in my work, and could spend hours in there - it's amazingly overwhelming.

ciao! xo


destination: seattle

photo sources {in no particular order} : one / two / three / four / five / six

S and I are super excited to visit Seattle! It is going to be a beautiful trip - it is one of our 'bucket list' destinations. We leave tomorrow! Our anticipation has been growing as we think about all the beautiful things we will hopefully see in the Pacific Northwest...my only concern is that we won't see enough (but we will always come back!). Not that these pictures do it justice...but they make me all the more excited to see it! So I am preparing an extremely ambitious bucket list that I don't expect to complete all the way...just put a dent in, and save the rest for later. :)

- Friday Harbor
- Wine tasting
- Lavender farm
- See the city from above at night
- Ferry rides to Bremerton
- Venture through Pike's Place and beyond
- See an orca whale :)
- Lots of coffee diaries :)
- Drive through the Cascades
- Dine at a rooftop bar
- Bainbridge Island
- University District farmers market
- Kayak the San Juan Islands
- Deception Pass
- Go horseback riding
- Monorail!
- Metzgar's Maps
- Whidbey Island

And that isn't even the thick of it!! I am forgetting a lot of the things I've dreamt up so I'll be adding those (hopefully). I cannot wait to check these off the list :)

ciao! xo


bag envy

one // two // three // four // five

When the anticipation of fall starts buzzing around I automatically think: time for a new bag. Is this realistic? No. But I can dream!! I got a bright orange structured tote last fall and I am loving the pop of color it brights to my outfits. I have a philosophy around accessories, based on my own style preferences -  because I usually tend to wear neutral clothes, I love a punchy and bright accessory. For instance, I would never wear pants or a sweater in that yellow shade (3) but in a bag I think its a little unexpected and stylish. Same goes for scarfs, shoes, you name it.

To contradict myself, I have also recently become smitten with that romantic blush shade - the slightest pink - to complement my love for neutrals. It is definitely more feminine, but I looveeee that look!! Of course most of these are out of my budget, but it is simple to find lookalikes for a much more reasonable price. Backpack 4 would be perfect for grad school, or even now being in California and always riding my bike (bikes and backpacks just go so well together). These kind of pieces are investment pieces, purchases to be spread out over time...but I am thinking about taking the plunge!!

Finally, bag 5 is actually a bag meant solely for cameras. It is a beautifully constructed messenger bag that can fit a camera body and 1-2 additional lenses! (Where is the heart eyes emoji?) I have been thinking about doing a DIY where I re-outfit an old bag into a camera lens bag, but this is definitely superior to anything I could make.

How about you - what are your dream bags of the moment? Which one, #1-5, do you like the best?

ciao! xo


el matador beach

Hello from El Matador Beach in Malibu! S and I embarked on a mini-road trip adventure to see the dramatic rocks and coves of El Matador. It wasn't like anything I had ever seen (or expected!). We didn't just stumble upon it - it is known in LA for being one of the most picturesque and romantic beaches with a killer view of the Pacific. And it did not disappoint! We had some snafus getting some parking, but all of that was quickly forgotten once we got up close to these massive rocks jutting out of the beach.

To get down to the beach there is this rickety, rusty and steep staircase that brings you down. Other than that it's just slopes of sand and hoping that your flip flops don't fail you! Actually, I was surprised there wasn't another - safer - way to get down to the beach, considering we're in LA. But that is what makes El Matador one of the lesser known, "hidden" beaches. We finished our time at El Matador by walking and examining each part of the beach -  which is quite small.  Each little segment of the sand is hidden by the expansive rocks obscuring your view, so I particularly enjoyed walking beyond each and every rock to see what sort of vista it offered. Every once in a while we were sprayed by an errant wave crashing against the rocks, and us :)

This spot is a favorite of photographers, too. I saw a mother and son doing a family portrait with a photographer in the shady coves of the less-crowded parts of the beach, and can only imagine how beautiful those portraits will turn out! The rocky background or smooth Pacific blues just complement each other so well. We didn't stay long, but you can definitely do a day trip here (parking is $8 or free on the PCH - unless you're me and put $20 into the machine that doesn't spit back change). 

I want the weekend back for more adventures with S!!

ciao, xo