New Orleans

This Christmas, Clay and I traveled to New Orleans to spend a week with friends and family. It was a first-time visit for both of us and we were excited to be staying in an 1850s home on historic Esplanade Avenue.

Our first evening in the city, we wandered through the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street. We ate jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, and fried catfish for dinner and of course had some voodoo juice from an obnoxious plastic to-go cup.




We rode the street car plenty, a fun and convenient way of traveling through the city. I especially loved the few that allowed open windows and we could really appreciate the cool New Orleans weather.


We visited Louis Armstrong Park, Jackson Square, and watched family members enjoy raw oysters (I prefer my oysters fried). We ate delicious buttermilk drops from Wink’s and beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde, where we inadvertently cut the huge line of people waiting for a table. Oops!



On Clay’s birthday we took a tour of Mardis Gras World, a cheesy attraction to see how the mardis gras parade floats are made. It was fun seeing the huge styrofoam and papier-mâché sculptures and I felt nostalgic for the many hours and late nights I spent in the sculpture studio in college.




For lunch we tried the original hurricane at Pat O’Briens. Four shots of liquor in each drink took out a few of us!

One of the highlights of the trip was a tour of Laura Plantation, a historic Créole sugar plantation on the Mississippi River. The owner took us through the property and explained the history of the plantation through several generations. The house itself is an example of traditional Créole-style architecture and was constructed with specially designed cypress beams (each numbered, as pictured below) and without a single nail.


The property has a handful of slave quarters still standing: 64 square foot rooms where entire families would live together. This is the slave house where the tales of Compair Lapin (clever rabbit) were recorded, the Créole version of Br’er Rabbit.


We also visited the historic Degas House on Esplanade, just a few homes down from where we were staying. The home was owned by Degas’ uncle where the artist lived for a short time in 1872. I didn’t know Degas stayed in New Orleans in his lifetime and it was a delight to see.


One of the more memorable things about New Orleans are the above-ground cemeteries, similar to those seen in Europe. They are haunting and beautiful and reminded me of Paris. Two notable tombs we visited were Marie Laveau’s, the Voodoo Queen, and actor Nicolas Cage’s. A tomb worthy of a national treasure indeed.



The entire trip was filled with good seafood, but the most picturesque was definitely the crawfish boil at B&C Seafood Market.

And the absolute best food we had was french toast and fried chicken at a neighborhood spot called Lil Dizzy’s. Several of us agreed it was the best french toast we’d ever had.

Another great Christmas trip in the books. I wonder where we’ll go next year.

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2014 is almost over

It’s been several months since I’ve posted here, but I’m back. Just in time for 2014 to come to an end. With no expectation of making up for over 9 months of updates, here’s my 2014 quick highlight reel.

In February I decided to say farewell to my team at meltmedia and joined the team at &yet.

It’s been amazing! Design, development, illustration, and personal growth. It really is a dream job and I can’t believe how lucky I’ve been. The team is headquartered in Richland, WA and working remotely has been quite the learning experience.

For my birthday in April, we spent the weekend at Disneyland. Managed to take a neat photo from the top of Screamin’ at California Adventure.

The same weekend we saw The Book of Mormon at Pantages Theatre. It’s just as awesome as I hoped and I can’t get those songs out of my head.

Soon after, our niece Rebekah was born! She’s amazing. Here’s a picture of her and my brother from her Red Egg and Ginger party in September.

At the end of April I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Fortaleza, Brazil to speak at JSConf. Clay and I had a horrible airport experience, but Brazil is so beautiful we soon forgot.



In July we traveled to Minnesota to hang with Clay’s family and visit his childhood home once more before his parents put it on the market. We saw the Twins play, hiked at Gooseberry Falls, and drank/biked on a Pedal Pub.


In August my A Single Div project made its way to the front page of Hacker News. It was exciting and overwhelming to have so many people sharing my project. And it was later featured in the December issue of Net Magazine. Crazy!

For Halloween I attended my friend’s Wes Anderson themed party. I went as the narrator from Moonrise Kingdom. I was proud of my last minute costume.

Had a wonderful Thanksgiving at my parents’ house in Scottsdale. Clay’s and Vanessa’s families joined us and it was great having everyone there together.

And to wrap up the year, we snuck in one more Disneyland trip before our annual passes expired. It was the busiest I’ve ever seen the park, but it was still very magical.

After Christmas we’re heading to New Orleans to spend the last few days of 2014 with Clay’s family. Next year is going to be awesome.

Lego Movie

For anyone who’s been a kid in the last handful of decades, you must see The Lego Movie. It’s seriously fun and the animation is just so so cool. Plus, I dare you to keep “Everything is Awesome” out of your head.




Warby Parker’s Palm Canyon Collection

I’m a sucker for a good pair of glasses. Everyone’s favorite online glasses shop Warby Parker just released their new Palm Canyon Collection. It features their coolest frames with a charming textural update. The details on the frames are made by “melding sheets of woodwork-inspired acetate and tortoise acetate together” and each pair is unique, just like you. Check out the entire collection at warbyparker.com.

Qui Austin

This year, Clay and I spent the time between Christmas and New Year’s Day in Austin, Texas with his family. While there, I was able to cross off an item from my 30 Before 30 list, #15: Eat at a Top Chef’s restaurant. Not only was it a Top Chef, but it was one of my very favorites: Paul Qui from Top Chef Texas.

They graciously accommodated our party of 14 for a 3-hour meal. The menu was exciting and the service was unbelievable. Every course came with unique flatware, locally-designed plates, and table-side presentations. Paul even served and explained a few dishes to our table.

I was already so excited and then I saw calimocho on the menu. I make my own basic version by adding red wine to Diet Coke, but theirs was, expectedly, soooo much better. It included some spices I can’t remember and orange peel. And it came in this really neat spouted carafe. Amazing.


Qui serves family-style so we were able to try most of the food from the menu. We started with an “ode to Michel Bras”: chilled turnip dashi over a selction of vegetables from Austin farmers, and kinilaw: amberjack filipino ceviche (one of my favorite dishes of the night).

Next we had chicken adobo rice, kare kare: filipino peanut curry vegetables, cabbage with crispy chicken skin and spiced yogurt, and sea urchin pasta (not pictured). The kare kare was the best thing I ate. It was a new flavor and so delicious; it didn’t even need meat.


Next we tried dinuguan: pork and blood gnocchi, three preparations of rabbit, and chicken inasal. I couldn’t get good pictures of these courses, but they were all phenomenal. My mother-in-law even said it was the best chicken she’d ever had. After dinner they brought us crackers with a foam topping, meant to taste just like Ritz crackers and cheese. This was an exciting Top Chef kind of moment for me. I haven’t eaten much foam anything, let alone cheese-flavored foam.

For dessert we tried halo halo and a cheddar cheese ice cream sandwich. Both were delicious and so different than anything I’ve ever tasted.

All in all, it was an unforgettable experience. Now Clay and I are talking about traveling the country to eat at more Top Chef’s restaurants. And I can’t wait!

American Hustle

Clay and I spent Christmas Eve with my parents, eating a delicious dinner at Cafepino and then seeing American Hustle at the Cine Capri. I’d already heard some amazing reviews of the film, especially that the acting was beyond superb. And they weren’t kidding.

American Hustle follows confidence man Irving Rosenfeld and his lover Sydney Prosser, played by Christian Bale and Amy Adams, as they find themselves helping FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) catch other white collar criminals. The film relies on exceptional acting and little else. Christian Bale is so good, both physically and emotionally transforming. And Jennifer Lawrence is pure perfection, as usual.

Besides the acting, the story is compelling and the ending is definitely worth the journey. And a delightful performance from Louis C.K. will keep you smiling. I definitely recommend it.

Doctor Who Gifts

I’ve just started watching Doctor Who on Netflix. I know, I know; I should have started a long time ago! For those who’ve been long-time fans, there’s some really awesome Doctor Who stuff that would make great gifts.

TARDIS shower curtain – $29.99
TARDIS cookie jar – $29.99
TARDIS and Dalek salt and pepper shakers – $17.99
TARDIS tea infuser – $15.99
Doctor Who Mr. Potato Head – $23.55
TARDIS iPhone case – $35.00
TARDIS Starry Night pillow – $20.00
TARDIS laplander – $19.99
Doctor Who ice cube tray – $9.09