The Non-Definitive Guide To Life

If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with rain" - Dolly Parton

Posts for Texas

TX: The Magic of Marfa

ADVENTURES, TRAVEL - September 16, 2016

Marfa, TX – October 25, 2014 / DAY 24 of #ontheroad1014

We drove into Marfa’s number one hideaway El Cosmico at 10:05pm. I’d been on the phone with the receptionist earlier in the evening inquiring about lodging. There was a wedding in town and everything was booked but we could pay the $10 service fee and sleep on the property using their amenities. We hadn’t packed a tent for this road trip, so we decided to just sleep in our car in the El Cosmico parking lot. Dan parked the car and I ran to the office as the receptionist I had been talking to was locking up, operating hours were 7am-10pm. She was really friendly and just told us to pay in the morning as the register had been closed out, and then pointed to where the restrooms were located. I returned to the car and explained what was up to Dan. Some friends we made in Austin were playing that night at a bar in town, so we drove over there.

It was a dark night in Marfa and we had been driving for over 8 hours, tired but ready to see what Marfa’s night scene had to offer we enjoyed our time by the smoky fires of Lost Horse Saloon. The owner and patch-eyed cowboy, Ty Mitchell caught my attention as he does most visitors, his tall stature and cool confidence inspiring the narrative of short stories one scribbles down on bar napkins. I was exhausted and my personality was not sparkling. It was a night of polite observation, watching a large black lab sniff at the feet of locals and travelers. Interns and artists chatting about their next venture with beer bottles in their hands. The ground was covered in rocks and bottle caps.




The band, Ted the Block, who’s touring schedule had coincidentally aligned with our road trip adventure took the stage and filled the bar with their catchy but experimental songs. A cacophony of melody produced with a grab bag of instruments that resembled the insides of a box labeled music stuff that’s hiding in the garage. After they played we went back to the El Cosmico parking lot and cleaned up for bed. It was cold and thankfully the few blankets we had with us, combined with filling the car with hot air before settling in for sleep, cocooned in a warm bubble. Yet, my mind didn’t want to rest and I repeatedly woke up in the passenger seat uncomfortable. On one of my hours of waking I noticed the sun was soon going to rise, so I woke up Dan and suggested we go and watch the sunrise from a hammock we’d spotted earlier. Grabbing our blanket we went to the hammock and cuddled under the tree, watching the golden sun rise above the horizon. It’s my number one favorite moment of the entire road trip.






We paid for our stay at El Cosmico and explored the grounds before headed to breakfast at Buns n’ Roses, a flowers, gifts, and breakfast joint. The food was ok, the company was delightful. Family members of the wedding that was in town were seated beside us and I enjoyed eavesdropping on the happy conversations.    Unfortunately, we missed seeing all the cool day things about Marfa, since we were in the final days of our trip and Dan really wanted us to see the Carlsbad Caverns before going to Santa Fe, New Mexico. We were on a schedule and had to say good bye to the small town before any of the stores or galleries opened. I often dream of returning to Marfa, to unplug and relax for a week or even just a few days.  Surrender to my creative energies without the pressure of performance or deadlines breathing down my neck.  I see why Marfa is this mecca for artists because it has a calm presence, a blank canvas for your mind to work from.



marfa-13 marfa-14 marfa-15 marfa-9 marfa-8

Last stop before hitting the road again was Prada, Marfa an art installation created in 2005 left to the elements. It’s a good 20 plus minutes from the center of town and on the side of the road, desert all around. We took our pictures, left some postcards, and were on our way. Later that day I actually received a tweet from a fellow traveler who had seen my postcard hidden behind Prada Marfa.




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Austin Adventures | SXSW Day Three (part two)



sxsw day 3 rain
We arrived 30 minutes before Viet Cong started, thinking that would be ample time to get checked in and into the show. WE WERE SO WRONG!! Our check in went smoothly and we were even treated to express lane wristbands. But the line was long and slow. Standing in the rain, the water poured down on Bowerbird and I for 45 minutes. I felt terrible for Dan who was jacketless, but we had received guest spots from the singer, and I had no desire to bail. Fortunately someone came by selling plastic ponchos and I scooped one up for Bowerbird, making the remaining thirty minutes ever so slightly more bearable. We heard Viet Cong start as we waited for security to let more people into the Fader Fort. Unfortunately, between the rain and the street, we couldn’t hear their set with as much clarity as the Stubbs Bridge. And of course in the nick of time, we were given access to the fort and ran towards the stage dodging mud puddles. For the remainder of their set we wormed our way into the dense crowd of people who were clearly there to see a following hip-hop act, and were able to reach the center with a few hundred people in front of us.

Viet Cong sxsw day 3

The show was worth every raindrop. Viet Cong dropped into a wicked game of riffs and played Death, an 11-minute song off their 2015 album. The bands energy was high despite the majority of the crowds lack of interest. My face was plastered with a beaming smile, as we caught about four songs. After the set was done, I wanted to explore what the Fader Fort had to offer in branded experiences. Sadly, they were mostly outside. A chalkboard wall with a car in front of it, a bottle painting station to promote the use of glass, and a Dell ‘lounge’. Bowerbird was over it. Even though the rain had stopped he was soaking, and I’d like to make this my formal THANK YOU to him as he humored my curiosity. Inside the Fader Fort was a little warmer and we found some choice seating to ‘dry off. Figuring out our next move, we didn’t know of another show so decided to head to the Dresden, one of Austin’s oldest hotels, for a Manhatten.

sxsw day 3 II

sxsw day 3 III
While walking to the hotel we heard an interesting band coming out of a juice bar and ducked in. The nice thing about SXSW is there are a lot of venues where you can just pop in. Parties that you don’t need to RSVP too with smaller bands. It’s a place made for those that enjoy new discoveries. By the time we were inside the juice bar, the band had finished. But this bar was EXTRA toasty, so we paused again to ‘dry off’. I’m using dry off in quotations because I think it took three hours for Dan to dry completely and a majority of the drying took place in the Dresden hotel. His plastic poncho started to create its own ecosystem and condensation billowed underneath. We waited around for the next band to start and picked up some spicy curry tacos that warmed us internally. Austin is all about the food trucks. After about two songs of the new band, we left again to head to the Dresden.

dresden hotel sxsw day three
The Dresden is a gorgeous hotel. Bowerbird and I really have a thing for old hotels, not haunted hotels, but hotels with a lot of character. Maybe one day I’ll do a blog post about the places we’ve stayed. We headed to the bar, which was packed with industry people wearing official SXSW badges, and order our whiskey beverages. With drinks in hand, we tried to find seats in the crowded lounge area. Finding an open chair and the second half of a love seat couch, we asked if they were reserved and plopped down next to two other gentlemen. We all started chatting about music and who they had gone to see. One of the men had a wicked mustache and deep voice with a thick Texas accent, I was mesmerized. Noticing the artist wristband on Dan’s arm, the men asked what band he was in and where they had played. Surprisingly they happened to be at the Levitation party the day before. And when their third friend came back from the bar, we figured out they were all there the same time Flaamingos was playing. The third friend had actually watched their set. It was so cool, I’m still in awe of the fact my boyfriend played SXSW. He had a decent size crowd, people cheered, AND we ran into someone who had seen his set and genuinely enjoyed it. Not that I don’t think Dan’s music isn’t amazing, he is wicked talented, but what are the chances we meet someone who actually saw his set.
Later that night we saw one more band and then eventually headed back to the hotel early. Catching Thoroughly Modern Milly on cable, eating bread and cheese for dinner. Friday was an epic day! One of those days for the record books. I stayed in Austin an extra two days with my beautiful friend Lauren, and without Dan. Lauren treated me to an amazing day in the park, Barton Springs, a much-needed juice after all the alcohol and salty food I’d been eating, and her sweet friendship. Those extra two days in Austin, even without Dan, really made me want to move to the city. We’ll see….

So it’s finally up, my full SXSW Austin Adventure – 2 months later – to the day.

SXSW day 3 banner

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Austin Adventure | SXSW Day Three (part one)


Let’s all pretend for a moment that it hasn’t been four weeks plus and I’m writing about SXSW day three like it was just last week.


After finding out that SXSW doesn’t really start till 2:00pm, Bowerbird and I were letting our morning be slow and relaxing, until we found out Viet Cong was playing at the Spin party at 12:30pm. We discovered this probably around 11:30am, which one might think isn’t enough time to get ready for life, but when I travel time moves differently. I’m capable of getting ready faster and apparently one does not need to account for traffic time. The weather outside was grim, but I figured it would clear up. So we got ready in a flash and called our Lyft driver. Coincidentally it was the same gentleman who drove us the day before, and now officially besties he told us about an amazing dive bar with badass burgers we had to check out.
Getting to the Spin party just as Viet Cong started playing, this is when we sadly found out people have to RSVP to parties for special entrance badges and crap. Disappointed but not discouraged, the Spin party was in the backyard of Stubbs BBQ. Parallel to the restaurant is a bridge that looks into the back area, so standing next to running tour buses, Bowerbird and I listened to what little was left of the Viet Cong set. We were also able to catch Metz, an amazing punk band that made me feel like I was fourteen again. Just a little punk kid listening to the music from outside, because I couldn’t get into the show. We had our own mosh pit going on as I danced and gleefully bumped into Bowerbird.

SXSW spin partyOutside the Spin Party

After Metz played we walked back to the main street to go and find that dive burger joint, and as we passed by Stubbs the singer of Viet Cong was maneuvering gear outside. Dan recognized him and musician to musician gave him props. We also mentioned how we weren’t able to get in but checked out the set from the bridge. The singer, Matt, totally commiserated with us, as he had played SXSW before without a clue as to how all the parties ran too. He told us he was playing later that day, and I mentioned how that was an invite only event. He then offered to get us on the list, and we exchanged info with no promises but a possible chance to check out the band at the Fader Fort.

sxsw day III

Walking on cloud 11, Dan and I couldn’t believe how our luck had changed, and we we’re just hours and a possible guest list spot away from seeing Viet Cong. We found the dive bar/burger joint, Casino El Camino and had some of the best burgers in our life. Totally worth the hype, and I’m a major burger junky. The bar has a great atmosphere too, this gothic classic horror movie vibe, like the original Wolfman and Frankenstein wife. They were playing this cult classic, 976 Evil, which looked bizarre and must be seen. Mid- burger bite we received confirmation for the Fader Fort list, utterly stunned and thankful, Dan and I just couldn’t stop smiling in astonishment.

Casino El Camino

We explored a few more shows ( no RSVP needed) and  met up with an old friend of Bowerbirds, before we decided to head back to the hotel as it was pouring rain. I was wearing leather shorts. Neither of us was properly dressed. Our Lyft driver back to the hotel was a Cellist who vented about the fact straight hipsters had been invading his favorite gay bar. He also proclaimed he wasn’t a heterophobe, which sent me into a fit of laughter because I had never heard the term. I had a lot of really amazing and a few really weird Lyft drivers. But Lyft drivers like him were priceless. He was really sweet, as he helped instruct me as to how to book him again in order for him to wait in the hotel parking lot while we quickly changed. As we got rain ready, our driver went to Starbucks and even picked me up a black coffee. He was epic! Chugging down the caffeine we were off to 5th street with only an hour to set-time and in peak traffic hours.

Racoon Mural

Alright, I’m going to pause real quick because our story continues well into the night and there needs to be some breathing room in this post. So click here for Part 2 – or go do something productive.

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Austin Adventures | SXSW Day Two


Hello Again! It has taken me awhile to get this post up because I’ve been working on this video.
All the footage is from the day I’m talking about below.


This is the most exciting SXSW day, because it’s when Dan’s band Flaamingos played their showcase. Bowerbird and I started the day early, and by early I mean 11:00am, heading for the convention center to pick up my wristband. I was all worried thinking we had gotten a late start on the day, but our Lyft driver assured us we were very early. I ended up having to pay $80 for a music wristband, that I’m still not quite certain what it got me access too. But I got a nifty tote bag, and Dan was told he could pick up a free backpack in the artist suite. I’m all about the free swag and really had to encourage him to take advantage of it. We then explored the convention center and wandered into the screen printed music poster emporium. So many colors, so many designs!! It reminded me of when I interned at Myspace and there was a huge wall, more like a hallway, covered in the screen printed posters from every secret show. I thought this must be where they scouted the artists. Next I followed Bowerbird into the gear section, where he made a b-line for the synths. The sound of people jamming out some smooth jazz filled the air, along with the constant buzz of gear geek chatter. We had to wait awhile till a particular synth opened up for Dan to fiddle with – he was in heaven.

Feeling sluggish from a night of heavy food and beer, we walked to the Daily Juice for some fresh pressed veggies and fruit. It’s incredible how much walking can be done in Downtown Austin and I never felt nervous about falling onto a ‘bad street’. Sadly that is the not the case for Downtown Los Angeles. SXSW involves lots and lots and lots of walking.  We headed to the Under The Radar party at the Flamingo Cantina. I wanted to show my support as I used to intern for the magazine many moons ago. The Flamingo Cantina was off 6th street. This street felt like was the heart of SXSW as everything branches off from it.  The cantina was a tropical themed bar and I had caught the party between sets, it was hot and humid inside, and really captured that Caribbean atmosphere. Bowerbird, claustrophobic and uncomfortable, bailed just as we got inside. I said my hellos, but then got an email stating there were some artists finishing up a mural on Barton Springs.

Oh yeah – I decided to turn this SXSW trip into a work trip by getting some coverage of the POW! WOW! Hawaii and SXSW collaboration for the art blog Sour Harvest. You can read the article on their website now.

The mural was going to be finished up within the next hour or two and seeing a great opportunity to interview the artists, I said goodbye to Under The Radar and started walking toward Barton Springs. As I was exiting the cantina, Dan was in line to get back in. I found that to be a little funny. The walk from 6th street to Barton Springs is 30 minutes, fortunately it wasn’t sweltering, so we just enjoyed the exercise and we were able to see what SXSW was doing on the other side of the bridge.

walk from 6th st to Barton Springs

By the time I interviewed the artist and we got a quick snack, it was time to head back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the band and collect their gear. Playing the Levitation Showcase at Hotel Vegas, although I’ve come to realize they were actually playing in The Volstead room, they had to be there at 5:30 for their 7:30pm set time. Levitation also puts on Austin Psych Fest, a festival with a drool-worthy lineup, fingers crossed Flaamingos plays next year – a girl can dream. The outdoor patio was packed! It felt totally electric in that special psychedelic way. With so many people outside the challenge for Flaamingos was to draw people away from the big bands outside and into their small room. And they did it!! I was totally stoked on the crowd that gathered. It’s quite an accomplishment as they’re not a local band, and they had people watching them instead of Moon Duo 😀 We spent the rest of the night wandering around SXSW east part of 6th street, and just enjoying this unique music experience. I also ate some epic Cajun poutine.

sxsw day two art and music

Honorable Highlight:

At some point, the band and I got a shot at the bar to celebrate. As we were ordering our subsequent drinks, an older gentlemen was standing beside me ordering a beer. He told the bartender he wanted to wipe the top of the cans before they were opened. This reminded me of what my Ba-Chan and Ji-Chan would do as they would have soda collecting dust in their garage before bringing it into the house. I told him my grandparents did this, not to say he was a grandparent, but I totally relate to the clean can tops. He then said, “well you know they just sit in basements where rats crawl all over them pissing and shitting on the crates. It’s disgusting.” With a little more banter and chuckles, I walked away with my drink and he with his clean beers… this gentleman is the singer of iconic post-punk band Pop Group. Did not realize this till he was on stage of course, classic Bekka.

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Austin Adventures | SXSW – Day One

ADVENTURES, TRAVEL - April 1, 2015

Austin Adventure Day One

It’s been a week since I returned from Austin and I feel ready to tackle my recap. This adventure was filled with new and fun experiences which I can’t edit down into less than 600 words. So to help my memory, structure my thoughts, and keep your attention span – I’m going to break this down by each the day.


I flew out of Long Beach airport, which is the most beautiful and relaxing airport ever, on Jetblue. I was a ball of nerves. Concerned about having too many carry-ons, I began shoving my purse into my bookbag, so I’d only be holding one bag in addition to my suitcase. This made my bookbag look incredibly awkward and slightly suspicious. During this feet of space efficiency, a group of guys sat around me all carrying skateboards. Channeling my anxious energy, I asked if they were headed to Austin on a sponsorship. They nodded their heads in an uber cool manner but said little else. Their manager eventually made a little light talk with me, picking up on my nerves, and teasing me about my large carryon suitcase. Then he broke down their arrival which involved one dude predominately wearing his Beats by Dre headphones and another a super sick fur jacket. They were with Supreme NYC. I loved this one fella in a purple hoodie, he rambled on about the shit Tex-Mex and seemed to be extremely health conscious. As he was munching on nuts I informed him about the need to keep up his hydration, my sister told me nuts take more water to digest.


Boarding the plane, I sat next to some nice women and spent the entire flight writing a blog post for Fit and Awesome.  I arrived in Austin around 4:00pm, just as Bowerbird was picking up his badges at the convention center. With no interest in waiting at the airport for an hour, I finally used my Lyft app. I set it up in New Orleans, but never used it. So following the prompts I was totally shocked when it told me my ride would arrive in 1 minute and to be outside. I had no idea where the exit to the airport was let alone where I should meet this person outside. My anxiety really started to bubble. The Lyft driver called me to see where I was and I politely informed him I was riding down an escalator to what I thought was outside. After a little back and forth we figured out where he was to pick me up and I was on my way to the hotel.

My room at the hotel was massive. Prices were inflated for SXSW, so I really wasn’t expecting much. But my room was huge complete with a kitchen, full sofa, large desk area to work, a king size bed and nice bathroom. My only complaint was there wasn’t a bath and the water pressure was merh. I love my baths and water pressure. On every Airbnb review I leave, I end up remarking on the water pressure. At the hotel, I felt like twiddling my thumbs, not sure where to go next and what was happening with Bowerbird, so I waited. At 6:00pm they had a Nacho social, so I headed down there for a snack and some wine. I really don’t recall how I killed time between the airport and when Bowerbird arrived, but together we left my hotel for Downtown Austin around 8:00pm.hoteltime

As SXSW is a series of blocked off streets, you don’t even need to know exactly where to go in order to land in some sort of action. So we drove in a general direction close to the convention center and lucked out, finding a parking spot as another van was pulling away. We then stumbled onto Rainey Street, a collection of houses converted into bars and music venues. There was music to be overheard, but our mission was food. There was a food truck corral we popped into, but we really just wanted to sit and be served. Walking towards downtown I was certain we’d find more restaurant type of establishments. Passing branded experiences like the Bates Motel, the marketing nerd in me was going wild. We were drawn into Gus’s Hot & Spicy Fried Chicken from the scent permeating around the building. I have pretty high fried chicken standards. The best fried chicken I’ve ever had was made by Shug Knights mother (I went to High School with his niece). So I always wonder if I’ll ever get to experience fried chicken that tasted as amazing as Shug Knight’s mother. I finally did! This fried chicken was spicy and flavorful, we later found out the waiters have to sign a non-disclosure agreement and can’t work at another fried chicken restaurant within one year from leaving Gus’s. They don’t mess around with their chicken.


After dinner, we met up with my friend Lauren and her new beau Michael. They took us to a venue/bar which was in one of the converted houses. A cute bar with a twenties flare, I’d like to go back there when it’s not wrapped up in the SXSW craziness. We didn’t stay too long and parted ways as we were all fading from a busy day. With Bowerbird’s show the next day – we needed beauty rest. We walked over to a grocery market that seemed to be away from the chaos of the blocked off streets and requested a Lyft driver. In thirty minutes, we were back at our hotel and off to dreamland.

**The footage from this day was all blurry and wobbly, doubt I’ll be making a vlog (sad face)**

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Austin Adventures T-Minus 48 HOURS

ADVENTURES, TRAVEL - March 16, 2015


I’m going back to Austin! Before my road trip in October I had hardly traveled anywhere out of California in my adult life. Except for mini road trips to Arizona and Nevada. My trip to New York last summer was the first time I bought a plane ticket as an adult. Not my first time on a plane, but the first time I looked at a flight schedule to figure out pricing and what worked best for me. Anyways, Bowerbird is playing SXSW and it’s one of those experiences I want to share with him. A craziness I could experience firsthand and not just through road stories. So with a little encouragement and the help of a credit card, I booked my flight to Austin. Bonus, I have friends in Austin, friends flying out to Austin, and Under the Radar throws their own party (former intern). SIDENOTE: I suddenly I have the urge to watch LOSER.

I fly out on Wednesday, just as the music portion of SXSW kicks off. When Bowerbird and I went to Austin on our road trip we felt like we didn’t have enough time to explore. The city seemed to be overflowing with good food, adorable window shopping, and of course great music venues. It will be nice to get ROUND TWO in. I’ve been using the one music venue we went to, Cheer Up Charlies, as a point of reference in figuring out the distance of my hotel to where Bowerbird will be playing and the rest of the SXSW madness. p.s. Bowerbird’s band Flaamingos will be playing a showcase at Hotel Vegas presented by Levitation.

Flaamingos SXSW


Cheer Up Charlies – is an eclectic space, a colorful music venue with a back patio that seems to be carved out of a rock. We totally ended up with an epic Cracker Jack box prize when we went there, as Ted the Block, a side project of musician Winston Goertz-Giffen happened to be playing. Ted the Block is totally weird in a hypnotizing way. He and his girlfriend were also road-tripping, and we made instant friends with this set of creatives. We later met up with them in Marfa, total coincidence so more on that later.

cheerup charlies

FLASHBACK – a vintage clothing store. It’s inside a purple house, and we wandered in while waiting to meet up for lunch with a friend nearby. Being from LA and in a new town, we tended to be extremely early to places.  The clothing and merchandise weaved throughout the rooms of the house. Flashback had really amazing finds I had to fall in-love with and walk away from, like dresses fit for June Carter Cash. I wanted them all.

Flashback Vintage Clothing


flashback vintage favorites



MICKLETHWAIT BBQ – One of the well-known and highly recommended BBQ establishments in Austin. It’s a trailer with a smoker next to it! We weren’t very aggressive when it came to the BBQ game in Austin, so we really lucked out in getting some BBQ at Micklethwait. We had gone around 5:00pm for an early dinner, and were met with a sign that read SOLD OUT till 7:30pm.  Later we found out the only reason they had any meat for dinner was because they were hosting a movie night.  We camped out in their parking lot for a few hours patiently waiting.  But the wait was totally worth it! Especially for Bowerbird as he can’t eat anything with refined or added sugar. While on the trip Bowerbird had to miss out on Memphis BBQ, and we avoided most Southern BBQ places because 99% of them use sugar in their rubs or sauces. But Micklethwait rub was all spice and flavor!

Micklethwait Craft Meats BBQ

This time around, I really want to get a picture with the Hi, How Are You alien aka the Daniel Johnston mural. We drove by it in October, but forgot to go back for a photo-op. This time I’m sure there will be a line of tourist trying to snap their picture with the iconic wall. I used to intern at a gallery that at one point represented Daniel Johnston, and there were tons of photocopies of Daniel Johnston drawings in boxes, random boxes. I wish I would have nabbed some – I’m sure no one would have noticed. It was a strange place. Guess I can keep the karma points. Plus, I should just buy a t-shirt and help support Daniel.

I’ll be vlogging, instagraming, blogging (maybe) – we all know how blogging and traveling works for me, and tweeting. So hope you enjoy exploring Austin with me.

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