When in Portland, Visit the Portland Japanese Garden

Portland, Oregon is a breathtaking city that’s filled with independent minds working together to form an incredible culture. From food to landmarks, Portland knows how to ‘wow’ you in a way that makes you question your flight back home. Should I really hop on that plane on Monday? Truth be told, it’s reasonable to challenge such reality.
Portland Japanese Garden is a popular tourist and local destination for any season. I went on a November afternoon when heavy jackets were a must. What you see on this post is pretty much what I wore throughout my stay. Different pants and shirt, but the same jacket and beanie.
The beanie is unique because my friend sent it to me from New York! It’s a collection from Minx NY which is a combination of scarf and beanie. The idea seemed a bit odd when she described it, but I didn’t question it! Let it be known that you should never go to Portland in fall or winter without a beanie. Bringing it was the best idea I’ve made this month as I would have been freezing throughout my visit. It got the point where a jacket, boots, and beanie was a necessity.
Portland Japanese Garden was serene. It was a well-thought of landscape that takes your breath away. A stroll through the garden felt like wonderland as foliage engulfed the area. You’re greeted with waterfalls to which you can sit and ponder. Had I more time, I would have grabbed my book and drank tea in the presence of such beauty.
Indeed, it’s one of those places you have to visit when in Portland. The whole perimeter could be scaled within thirty minutes, but it’s not a surprise if one should decide to dedicate one full day.

Death Valley National Park

This week has been going so well for me. My boss decided that we weren’t working today so I have the day off! This is perfect because if I have to sit in my cubicle for the next eight hours, I wouldn’t be able to sit still! I’m way too excited for my trip to Portland, Oregon!
I’m actually going tonight which is nerve wracking because I haven’t packed at all. I mean it’s only for three days, but to my defense, I’m a girl. I have to have my necessities. Packing used to be easy for me. I remember going to Vegas for one weekend with bringing almost an empty bag. The girls around me thought that I was crazy because they’re hauling suitcases around.
Anyway, I’m sitting here on the couch wondering what I should do with my extra time. One thing that pings in my mind is to pack, but my lazy self is too stubborn to do anything productive. See, I meant to do all this last night, but I was drawn by a book. Next thing you know, I passed out like a baby.
Also, one thing that’s impeded me from productivity is this damn chill. I already have the heater on and I’m still freezing! This makes me wonder if I’d even survive Portland this weekend.
I just realized I rambled on about this weekend instead of Death Valley! So a few weeks ago, the best person in the world, decided to take me to Death Valley. Honestly, I didn’t see the appeal. I’m more of trees and butterflies and everything nice, but this was not bad at all! The only alarming thing about this trip was the part when I saw a live tarantula. Yes, in the wild. A fat hairy spider just a few inches away from me. To my surprise, it was so docile that it didn’t bother freaking out at the sight of me freaking. Well, now that I think about it, I just sound like a maniac. To my defense, it looked deadly! Okay, yeah I’m lying.
So the first few photos you see here is from Dante’s View. I never thought I would see anything like it. For a moment, I thought, this is not Earth. Absolutely not! As we inclined to the top, I wanted to shut my eyes because one, I was getting all the goosebumps! Two, I wanted to get more goosebumps! So, I closed them until I was directed to take a gander. This spot– It’s one of those places you just have to see to believe.
Death Valley has always seemed a little spooky for me because of its name, but now I’ve come to appreciate it a bit more. Oh, and get this… I went over there in celebration of my birthday. Yeah, it was a bit of an irony– but a good story to tell in the future!
We stayed until night time, but after seeing that spider, I consistently shouted, “spider check!” And scoped through my general area to see suspicious creatures lurking around. Luckily, there was nothing in sight!
I’m a big fan of stargazing so we stayed until the sun was gone. The small dots in the sky along with the moon was just amazing. It’s one of those things that you never get to appreciate in the city because of the lights. When you at Death Valley, stay a bit longer to look at the stars. Preferably when there’s no moon. Regardless, it’ll always be a beautiful night.

One Year Older

I’m not going to lie, I’m having quarter life crisis! Now that I’m in my mid-twenties, I’m starting to question everything! If I could, I would want to push time back and start some things over again. Though, life isn’t exactly in our favor. With skepticism aside, I would just like to list a few things that makes me happy.
1. Love – I’m thankful to love and be loved.
2. My Seastars – We’re a lot like sisters because even though we find ourselves bickering at each other, we still love one another. I’m thankful for having them in my life.
3. Haru and Kobi – my cutest fluff balls in my life!
4. Yelp – When you’re an Elite, you’re like a foodie on steroids. Everything is to another level from check-in everywhere I go to taking photos of all food ordered. I mean, everyone I know are courteous enough to wait until I snap there food!
5. Hanging out in a cozy bookshop like Barnes and Noble.
6. Herbal tea with honey and lemon.
7. The oh-so-talented Childish Gambino.
8. Not being so afraid of flying anymore!
9. Discovering new places.
10. When a coworker becomes a friend.
11. Picking flowers in the market.
12. Flower decorations at home.
13. A walk on the beach.
14. Laughing about the silliest things.
15. Having someone to admire.
16. Giving candy to trick-o-treaters.
17. Yelp Elite Events – all the samples at your disposal.
18. Being together.
19. Daydreaming
20. The sun on my face on a chilly day.
21. Christmas shopping.
22. Quality time with grandpa.
23. Watching a good live show!
24. A day at the beach.
25. Getting featured for a creative work.
26. Falling asleep at the sound of rain.
27. Waking up to my love.
28. Imitating a French laugh.
29. Snickering about inside jokes.
30. Rainbow lattes

 

In California With My Toes In the Sand

I’ve been to a handful of cities that has astounded me to the core, but there will never be a city like Los Angeles. When it’s summer all year round, who can complain about clear skies when it’s snowing like crazy in the east coast. The only thing we can really complain about is not having enough days off to spend under the sun.
Last September, I had the pleasure to visit my best friend. When I’m in town, we make an effort to go to the beach just because I’m so far from it now. Funny enough, when I used to live in Los Angeles, we hardly went to the beach. “Winter” was a no-no because it was too chilly so we stayed home most of the time.
So, when I was there, my best friend loves me enough to take me to the beach twice that weekend. Once on the day I landed, and second was a few hours before my flight. I love days at the beach with her because it gives us the space to talk about anything and everything. With the wind blowing and waves crashing, it’s total bliss. Thinking about it now makes me miss my best friend even more! Still, I’m kind of on this strike because I think it’s time for her to come over and visit me! I think she’s way overdue.
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A Winter Must-Have

I haven’t adjusted the thermostat at home, so it’s running at 70 degrees while we’re transitioning into cooler temperatures. This was not the brightest idea because I was freezing when I woke up this morning. Immediately, I grabbed my Minx NY slipper socks, and my feet felt oh-so-toasty. Where has this been all my life? I feel like I need like a bajillion on these bad boys in my closet! They’re comfortable to use anywhere you go, but I think I’ll keep them indoors. I love the beautiful prints as they remind me of my favorite holiday which is Christmas!
Besides that, I had a really awesome Sunday morning filled with doggy cuddles by Kobi! We watched football, and I sipped on some herbal tea. May I please have more mornings like these? I have a feeling that I’m about to have a chaotic week ahead of me, so I enjoyed every bit of this day.
I hope all of you have a fantastic week! And for those of you who are half way around the world, wishing you a happy Monday filled with coffee and silence!

Two Mischievous Dogs

I know that I don’t really talk about my furry fluffs on House of Akih, but these two dogs are a HUGE part of my life. Haru and Kobi has been with me for a few years, and each of them are big on their respected personalities.

Haru (small) is the most independent dog I’ve ever met. When she was a puppy, she had a pretty severe separation anxiety, so I did my best to get rid of it. Well, it backfired because now, she’s completely independent to the point that she almost has a personality of a cat. Very odd. Still, I’m proud of her as she knows so many tricks! I’m not talking about your typical sit and stay command. This cutie will sit, lay down, play dead, high five, put her toys away and more without the need of a treat.

Kobi is the goofiest character I’ve seen across the board. He’s smart in a mischievous way, but he will love the f*ck out of you if you deserve it. He will demand scratches and stare while you eat, but again… He will love you! Prepare for hours of cuddles even when you don’t want them. He also knows a couple of tricks when treats are involved. In terms of learning, he learns much faster than Haru but he’ll perform them on his own little goofy way.

Well, there you have it! I’ll make an effort to post more about them here, but if I don’t, you can catch them on their Instagram!

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Paris Las Vegas Hotel

I was a firm believer that the best place to see Las Vegas was at the Stratosphere. I mean, it was the tallest building in the Strip so I didn’t really understand how any other place could possibly beat it. I was wrong. I was dead wrong. The Paris Las Vegas Hotel has the best view of Las Vegas by far. It’s a 360 view and from down below is the beautiful Bellagio Hotel that plays it’s wonderful water fountain show every 15 minutes. The vantage point was located right at the heart of Las Vegas which is one of the best places to visit when you’re in town.
Honestly, it took me about five years to finally decide to visit it. Why I waited so long was beyond me. But when I saw the deal on Groupon, I jumped at the opportunity! Has anyone been there before?
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Trip to Los Angeles

I lived in Los Angeles for about 11 years and I rarely visited the beach. Now, that I live in Las Vegas, I began to realize how much I’ve missed. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I now appreciate Las Vegas for what it is, but if you gave me a choice between the ocean and the desert, I’d choose the waters in a heartbeat!

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is one my favorite beaches to visit when I’m in Los Angeles. Why? Well, you get a stunning view of the Pier from the water, and everything just seems to convenient. I also love that besides your typical activities, there’s a ride to go on like the Ferris wheel. Funnel cakes to enjoy at the beach front and the pleasure to go people watching from the pier and at the beach.
Just a few block from there is the Third Street Promenade which is an awesome place to be when you want to look for good things to eat and places to shop! I also find it easy to find restrooms when needed as they have plenty available. If you don’t want to be at the pier anymore, the beach is literally a few steps away.

Pokemon GO

Now, Santa Monica is CRAZY busy because of Pokemon GO. Part of the reason why I agreed to go was because of the “rare” Pokemon I could catch there. Seriously, every where you go, there’s a lure in each Pokestop. I wanna say that catching all the water Pokemon was an amazing success.
Okay, you might be frowning at me because I’m at the beach but my face was glued to the phone. Well, that’s not entirely true because I got to watch the sunset and walked along the water. Truth be told, I want to do it all over again. That ended way too quickly.

Metro Train

Oh! One of the best parts about going to Santa Monica Pier was the ride there. Me being a regular commuter of Los Angeles, found out that there was a new train stop at Santa Monica. So, if you want to beat the ANNOYING LA traffic, this is one of the best transportation to use. From downtown it was about a 30-40 minute ride? Not bad at all when you think about it. You’re not a driver, you get to avoid all the crazies and you don’t have to worry about parking. UGH! The parking; don’t even get me started on that nightmare.
So basically Los Angeles is starting to implement public transportation in a super hip way. My coworker asked me if there were suspicious looking people in the train, and actually– there was a mix of people from all economical status. I think that’s what I like about LA, not only the cultural diversity but the status from poor to middle class riding along in one train. No big deal, and no one looks at you funny.

Chinatown

Before going to Santa Monica we decided to visit Chinatown which is easily accessible from the train. A lot has changed from the last time I saw it. Part of the reason why I want to visit was because I wanted to snag a good deal on a turtle. So I went to one of those alleys that looks like one of those place you would only see in the movies. I had to look for whoever sold turtles. I swear that there’s a freaking black market for them because these cuties are literally disposable to them! So, there they were, staring at me. Waiting for my purchase. The vendor was going to sell it for only $5, but at the last minute, I backed out. Why? I was afraid of being a bad turtle mommy. I don’t think welcoming a pet out of whim is a good idea.

Hollywood

After that, I went to Hollywood where Hollywood Walk of Fame was. There was something about that place that made me think that I was in Las Vegas again. Maybe it was because it looked similar to the Strip. All the people walking shoulder to shoulder with people in costumes waiting for you to take a picture with them for a tip. Yep, that may be it.
Now, I just want to relive it all over again. Thinking about it is already giving me the blues.

 

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