Wednesday, December 20, 2017

See Ya 2017

Happy holidays, everyone!

I hope that you all will be surrounded by good eats, blissful festivities, and close family and friends. I'm looking forward for some much needed time with family and friends this weekend. Christmas is my favorite holiday because it's the happiest time of the year. I love surprising my family and friends with gifts from the heart. I take a lot of time in selecting and handcrafting gifts geared towards each person's personality and likes. In addition to gift giving, I picked a charity to help out this holiday season, and I am looking forward to making this a Christmas tradition for subsequent years to come.

Tonight, I decided to take a break from all of the Christmas parties for some much needed self-care. This month has been tough to say the least, both mentally and physically. My health took an unexpected turn this month with issues related to allergies and stress. I'm doing a little bit better now, but the symptoms seem to creep back on me every couple of days. Hopefully, this weekend will bring about some much needed rest.

I'm looking forward to 2018 for some much needed change. 2017 has been a year of adventures, personal growth, and valuable life lessons. I can't wait to continue my educational and career development, travel, and volunteer work. 

I wish you all a very exciting and safe new year! Thank you for following me on my journey, and continuing to support my blog and photography. I've read every single comment and direct message, and I'm very thankful to all of you for encouraging me to continue to pursue my hobbies and passions. Also, thank you to everyone who commented and messaged me about travel recommendations to France and Italy. I'm super excited for 2018! xo

Until next year,


Friday, November 24, 2017


Happy belated Thanksgiving!

I hope you all had a lovely holiday with your loved ones. I just wanted to say thank you to each and every one of you for being part of my blogging journey these past few years. I really appreciate all of the feedback and comments.

Reflecting back, this year has been one of the most challenging years that I have faced. Amid the ups and downs of everyday life, I am very thankful for the continued love and support from family and close friends who have always been there for me through the toughest of times.

2017 has been a year of adventure, soul searching, and figuring things out. I've learned a lot about building inner strength, initiating change, and letting things go. Growing up has never been so hard. 

Having learned so many lessons this year, things are starting to look up. I've never felt more sure about who I want to be, what I want to do, and where I want to end up in the next couple of years. Organization, a positive mindset, and a plan of action definitely help!

Here's to finishing the year strong, and to many more memories to come.

Until next time,


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Palm Springs

Can you believe it? We're already halfway through November. I've been so busy that it took me some time to wrap my head around the fact that Thanksgiving is next week.

This past holiday weekend, I took some time to get some much needed R&R and meaningful time with my family. With everyone being spread out, it's hard to get everyone together all of the time. This past weekend, we all headed up to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree to celebrate my dad's belated 60th birthday. It was great to see everyone and to relax under the beautiful California sun.

DAY 1:

We headed off to Cabazon Dinosaurs where we had a 'dino'mite time searching for fossils, searching for dinosaurs, and climbing the inside of a T-Rex. After a long drive, we grabbed dinner at Resevoir and then settled in for the night.

DAY 2:

My family has a bunch of early risers, so we got our day started with some breakfast from Elmer's. Amazing breakfast, great coffee, and giant German pancakes. We loved this place so much, we eventually came back for round 2 on Monday.

After breakfast, we headed to the Crochet Museum, where we found a lot of interesting art installations. I was a little bit confused when we got there, but nonetheless, I settled right in and found myself amidst a creative wonderland.

While everyone seemed to enjoy the pitstop, we were all very excited to head to Joshua Tree National Park. Due to the holiday weekend, admission was free. We had an amazing time climbing boulders, checking out desert plants, and watching people rock climb and boulder. Everybody was in great sprits, and we all had fun in good ole Mother Nature. 

Following a long day out in the desert, we headed to PioneerTown and then Pappy + Harriet's for lunch. PioneerTown had a very rustic feel to it. We saw a woman spinning yarn out of wool, and cowboys walking out and about. While we enjoyed the town, we enjoyed the food at Pappy + Harriet's even more. It was here that we had some of the best chili that we've ever had. We loved it so much, we ordered chili for takeout. We'll definitely be back!

Of course every long day calls for a trip back to the house for some relaxation and pool time. It was a great day indeed.

DAY 3:

We began day three bright and early at FARM, a French inspired breakfast hot spot in Palm Springs. I absolutely loved their French press coffee and breakfast. My sister and I split some French Toast and a Croissant Breakfast Sandwich, while the rest of the family dined on specialties like the Croque Madame, and the Saumon Epinards. 

After breakfast, we headed to the Living Desert zoo and gardens. There, we rode camels, fed giraffes, and petted baby goats. The kids were ecstatic to see all of the animals, especially the camels. We also were able to witness the cheetah run, which was a unique experience. Overall, it was a relaxing afternoon filled with exploration and wildlife education.

Of course, no afternoon would be complete without another retreat to the pool. By the time family game night rolled around, I was ready to retire for the day.

DAY 4:

On our final day in Palm Springs, we had breakfast at Elmer's for our last hurrah. Everyone was still in very good spirits, and we were all quite happy to have been able to spend this much time together as a family. 

Following breakfast, we headed to the local botanical gardens for a morning stroll before heading back home. The cactarium was my favorite part of the botanical gardens, offering an array of both beautiful and obscure looking cacti in a greenhouse. 

Overall, I really enjoyed spending this past weekend with my family. Being away from my regular routine and spending time in the company of loved ones has helped me to reset and refocus on my life. I'm excited to see more of my family in the upcoming weeks with the holidays coming up. Christmas is my favorite holiday, so I'm looking forward to our annual family traditions and festivities. 

I hope that everybody will have an amazing Thanksgiving weekend next week, and a lovely holiday season!

Until next time,


Friday, October 20, 2017

Back to Black

Autumn by far is my favorite time of the year. There's something about cold weather, spooky stories, and the morning gloom that really draws me in. Today's look is inspired by my love of Hamilton: An American Musical, film inspired photography, dark hues, comfy style, and of course, cute shoes.

Seeing as we are drawing closer to Halloween, I thought that I would share an easy look that you can wear for the occasion or perhaps for a dressy night out on the town. I love this outfit because it has chic yet androgynous feel to it. Plus, who doesn't love a good black ensemble?

The Shoes:

Can we take a second to admire these adorable black Teddy patent leather oxfords from Restricted Shoes? The design is simple yet sleek. I really appreciate the fact that they took such a masculine style shoe and re-engineered the style to make it the more wearable for women.

Having previously owned several pairs of Restricted Shoes over the last couple of years, I can attest to the fact that these new shoes had zero break in time. From the time I took them out of the box, to the time I took them off at the end of the day, I had no issues with blisters or chafing. I usually have sensitive feet when it comes to breaking in new shoes, but I didn't experience any complications with these Teddy patent oxfords whatsoever. The shoes are always comfortable and true to size, which I really appreciate. My favorite part about the shoes is that I can dress it up or down. Seeing as I have been attending a lot more business related meetings and events, these shoes go great with dresses, skirts, and slacks.

The Outfit:

I paired together my favorite white ruffle blouse from Sister Jane with my Bandcamp Cropped Jacket from Nasty Gal for some contrast and texture. For bottoms, I wore my favorite black slacks to tie together my military suit look. If you'd like to recreate the military jacket look, I recommend getting a thrifted blazer, some simple upholstery rope, buttons, and a glue gun from a craft store.

The Verdict:

I love the comfort and versatility of this look. For the most part, it combines clothing items that many of us already have: a white top, black pants/slacks, and a black jacket. I think the Teddy oxfords really take this look to the next level.

I hope you enjoyed this look, and will give it a try. Let me know if you decide try this out for Halloween! I'd love to see your pictures! If you'd like to connect with me, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter via @Tran_gerine. Special thanks to Restricted Shoes for teaming up with me for this look.

Until next time,


Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Welcome to Portland.

Fall is my favorite time of the year to travel. There are no crowds, the weather's great, and it's easier to make accommodations. While I usually tend to go to the East Coast to watch the leaves change colors, I thought I'd switch it up this year and stay on the West Coast.

This year, my best friend, Melissa, and I decided to head up to Portland, Oregon for our vacation. Unlike other trips that we have taken in the past, we decided to leave our trip itinerary open this time. It was nice being able to relax and not have to rush from location to location. Overall, Portland was beautiful and calm, despite the slight haze looming over the city on the first day due to the forest fires from the previous weeks.

DAY 1:

Melissa and I had an early start on Saturday, both leaving on the first flights to Portland from our respective cities. The first order of business when we arrived: Brunch! We decided to settle into the city with a nice brunch from Tasty n Alder, which was a real treat to fill our empty stomachs. Afterward, we grabbed some coffee from Case Study Coffee Roasters to get our caffeine fix before exploring the city.

Downtown Portland had a small town feel with many mom n' pop shops and restaurants throughout the city. Aside from Starbucks, there were not many franchise businesses in the area. Much of the city reminded me of Downtown L.A., which I loved. The people were kind and polite, and the drivers were quite generous in their yielding abilities unlike the drivers in Southern California.

While strolling through the city, we came across Powell's City of Books, a definite must see for visitors coming to Portland. My favorite part of the bookstore was reading all of the staff pick summaries for books that they recommended. Of course, Melissa and I both left with some good reads to take home.

Next, we decided to go on an afternoon hike at Marquam Nature Park. It was even more beautiful than I had imagined. Ironically, Melissa and I made it to the hiking trail just in time for magic hour, where we got some amazing light in the forest. The trails were relatively easy to follow, and we had no trouble getting in and out of the park. If I ever return to Portland one day, I will definitely return to Marquam Nature Park. It was so peaceful and serene. I would highly recommend this place to anybody who loves nature and hiking.

After a long day out and about, we checked into our Airbnb cottage. It was the most adorable place we've ever seen. Small, spacious, clean, quiet, and minimalistic. Just what we needed on vacation. There was lots of natural light, and plenty of utilities at our disposal.

Next, we headed out to Multnomah Whiskey Library in Downtown Portland for a drink. A co-worker of mine highly recommended this place, so it was worth checking out. When we arrived, we were whisked away upstairs to a private room that resembled a den. The Multnomah Whiskey LIbrary was cozy and spacious, with knowledgable bartenders, and whiskey fanatics scattered throughout the room. We learned a lot about whiskey that evening, and had the pleasure of sipping on some local favorites. The Multnomah Whiskey Library was definitiely worth the hype, and I will definitely be back!

After our whiskey adventure, we decided to go out for some beers at the ever so popular, Deschutes Brewery. Overall, it was a great experience. The brewery was spacious and cabin-like. Melissa and I both enjoyed dinner and some craft beer tastings before heading out to check out some other Portland sights and sounds.

DAY 2: 

We loved brunch so much in Portland that we decided to do it again. On Sunday morning, we went to Irving Street Kitchen, a popular spot for tourists and locals alike to get some good eats.

I ordered the Three Grain Waffle Breakfast board: three grain waffles, scrambled eggs, Irving St. bacon, and maple syrup. The bacon was amazing, and I usually don't eat bacon. It was crispy, flavorful, and perfectly cooked. If you're a bacon fan, this place is for you! 

As opposed to a ordering a traditional coffee that morning, I decided to be adventurous and order the Cowboy Coffee: cold brew coffee, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Ramazzotti, and cream. That was the highlight of my morning. If you ever get a chance to come to this place, I highly recommend the Cowboy Coffee! It's worth it!

After brunch, we headed to Salt & Straw for some ice cream. We got to sample some of the local flavors such as Oregon Honey Rocky Road, Bone Marrow & Smoked Cherries, and Petunia's Peach Crumble Bars. The Oregon Honey Rocky Road was by far my favorite flavor, made with fresh house-made marshmallows and caramelized walnuts. I wish that I could've taken a pint home with me. I loved it so much!

Since we had been eating for the majority of the morning, Melissa and I decided that it would be best to get some exercise in. After we finished our ice cram at Salt & Straw, we headed to the International Rose Test Garden. The trek to the garden was exhausting. We climbed plenty of stairs and nearly got attacked by some yellow jacket bees along the way. We also experienced some light rain along the way, which continued on and off for the rest of the afternoon. 

Aside from those minor details, the rose garden was gorgeous. The flowers were vibrant, large, and beautiful. I was surprised that there were so many beautiful flowers still in bloom despite the seasonal transition into fall. If you love unique hybrid flowers, this is definitely the place for you!

Of course every journey has to come to an end. It was really delightful being able to spend some time with my best friend, and being able to unplug from life for a bit. While I did get sick during our trip, I'm glad to be back at home resting and recovering.

Have any of you been to Portland? If so, what was your favorite part about it? Where should I head off to next? Fell free to connect with me via Instagram or Twitter via @Tran_gerine. I can't wait to hear what you guys have to share! 

Until next time,